2 Kings 18-19 Bible in Basic English

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The Reign of Hezekiah

18 1  Now in the third year of Hoshea, son of Elah, king of Israel, Hezekiah, the son of Ahaz, became king of Judah. 2  He was twenty-five years old when he became king, ruling in Jerusalem for twenty-nine years; his mother's name was Abi, the daughter of Zechariah. 3  He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord as David his father had done. 4  He had the high places taken away, and the stone pillars broken to bits, and the Asherah cut down; and the brass snake which Moses had made was crushed to powder at his order, because in those days the children of Israel had offerings burned before it, and he gave it the name Nehushtan. 5  He had faith in the Lord, the God of Israel; so that there was no one like him among all the kings of Judah who were before him. 6  For his heart was fixed on the Lord, not turning from his ways, and he did his orders which the Lord gave to Moses. 7  And the Lord was with him; he did well in all his undertakings: and he took up arms against the king of Assyria and was his servant no longer. 8  He overcame the Philistines as far as Gaza and its limits, from the tower of the watchman to the walled town.

The Fall of Samaria

9  Now in the fourth year of King Hezekiah, which was the seventh year of Hoshea, son of Elah, king of Israel, Shalmaneser, king of Assyria, came up against Samaria, shutting it in with his armies. 10  And at the end of three years they took it; in the sixth year of Hezekiah's rule, which was the ninth year of Hoshea, king of Israel, Samaria was taken. 11  And the king of Assyria took Israel away as prisoners into Assyria, placing them in Halah and in Habor on the river Gozan, and in the towns of the Medes; 12  Because they did not give ear to the voice of the Lord their God, but went against his agreement, even against everything ordered by Moses, the servant of the Lord, and they did not give ear to it or do it.

The Invasion of Sennacherib

13  Now in the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah, Sennacherib, king of Assyria, came up against all the walled towns of Judah and took them. 14  And Hezekiah, king of Judah, sent to Lachish, to the king of Assyria, saying, I have done wrong; give up attacking me, and whatever you put on me I will undergo. And the payment he was to make was fixed by the king of Assyria at three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold. 15  So Hezekiah gave him all the silver in the house of the Lord, and in the king's store-house. 16  And at that time Hezekiah had the gold from the doors of the Lord's house, and from the door-pillars plated by him, cut off and gave it to the king of Assyria.

17  Then the king of Assyria sent the Tartan and the Rab-saris and the Rab-shakeh from Lachish to Jerusalem, to King Hezekiah, with a strong force. And they went up and came to Jerusalem, and took up their position by the stream of the higher pool, by the highway of the washerman's field. 18  And they sent for the king, and Eliakim, the son of Hilkiah, who was over the house, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah, the son of Asaph, the recorder, came out to them. 19  And the Rab-shakeh said to them, Say now to Hezekiah, These are the words of the great king, the king of Assyria: In what are you placing your hope? 20  You say you have a design, and strength for war, but these are only words. Now to whom are you looking for support, that you have gone against my authority? 21  See, now, you are basing your hope on that broken rod of Egypt, which will go through a man's hand if he makes use of it for a support; for so is Pharaoh, king of Egypt, to all who put their faith in him. 22  And if you say to me, Our hope is in the Lord our God: is it not he, whose high places and altars Hezekiah has taken away, saying to Judah and Jerusalem that worship may only be given before this altar in Jerusalem? 23  And now, take a chance with my master, the king of Assyria, and I will give you two thousand horses, if you are able to put horsemen on them. 24  How then may you put to shame the least of my master's servants? and you have put your hope in Egypt for war-carriages and horsemen: 25  And have I now come up to send destruction on this place without the Lord's authority? It was the Lord himself who said to me, Go up against this land and make it waste. 26  Then Eliakim, the son of Hilkiah, and Shebna and Joah said to the Rab-shakeh, Will you kindly make use of the Aramaean language in talking to your servants, for we are used to it, and do not make use of the Jews' language in the hearing of the people on the wall. 27  But the Rab-shakeh said to them, Is it to your master or to you that my master has sent me to say these words? has he not sent me to the men seated on the wall? for they are the people who will be short of food with you when the town is shut in. 28  Then the Rab-shakeh got up and said with a loud voice in the Jews' language, Give ear to the words of the great king, the king of Assyria; 29  This is what the king says: Do not be tricked by Hezekiah, for there is no salvation for you in him. 30  And do not let Hezekiah make you put your faith in the Lord, saying, The Lord will certainly keep us safe, and this town will not be given into the hands of the king of Assyria. 31  Do not give ear to Hezekiah, for this is what the king of Assyria says: Make peace with me and come out to me; and everyone will be free to take the fruit of his vine and of his fig-tree, and the water of his spring; 32  Till I come and take you away to a land like yours, a land of grain and wine, a land of bread and vine-gardens, a land of oil-giving olives and of honey, so that life and not death may be your fate. Give no attention to Hezekiah when he says to you, The Lord will keep us safe. 33  Has any one of the gods of the nations kept his land from falling into the hands of the king of Assyria? 34  Where are the gods of Hamath and of Arpad? where are the gods of Sepharvaim, of Hena and Ivvah? have they kept Samaria out of my hands? 35  Who among all the gods of these countries have kept their country from falling into my hands, to give cause for the thought that the Lord will keep Jerusalem from falling into my hands? 36  But the people kept quiet and gave him no answer: for the king's order was, Give him no answer. 37  Then Eliakim, the son of Hilkiah, who was over the house, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah, the son of Asaph, the recorder, came to Hezekiah, with their clothing parted as a sign of grief, and gave him an account of what the Rab-shakeh had said.

Judah Delivered from Sennacherib

19 1  And on hearing it, King Hezekiah took off his robe, and put on haircloth, and went into the house of the Lord. 2  And he sent Eliakim, who was over the house, and Shebna the scribe, and the chief priests, dressed in haircloth, to Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz. 3  And they said to him, Hezekiah says, This day is a day of trouble and punishment and shame; for the children are ready to come to birth, but there is no strength to give birth to them. 4  It may be that the Lord your God will give ear to the words of the Rab-shakeh, whom the king of Assyria, his master, sent to say evil things against the living God, and will make his words come to nothing: so then make your prayer for the rest of the people. 5  So the servants of King Hezekiah came to Isaiah. 6  And Isaiah said to them, This is what you are to say to your master: The Lord says, Be not troubled by the words which the servants of the king of Assyria have said against me in your hearing. 7  See, I will put a spirit into him, and bad news will come to his ears, and he will go back to his land; and there I will have him put to death by the sword.

8  So the Rab-shakeh went back, and when he got there the king of Assyria was making war against Libnah, for it had come to his ears that he had gone away from Lachish. 9  And when news came to him that Tirhakah, king of Ethiopia, had made an attack on him, he sent representatives to Hezekiah again, saying, 10  This is what you are to say to Hezekiah, king of Judah: Let not your God, in whom is your faith, give you a false hope, saying, Jerusalem will not be given into the hands of the king of Assyria. 11  No doubt the story has come to your ears of what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands, putting them to the curse; and will you be kept safe? 12  Did the gods of the nations keep safe those on whom my fathers sent destruction, Gozan and Haran and Rezeph and the children of Eden who were in Telassar? 13  Where is the king of Hamath, and the king of Arpad, and the king of the town of Sepharvaim, of Hena and of Ivvah? 14  And Hezekiah took the letter from the hands of those who had come with it; and after reading it, Hezekiah went up to the house of the Lord, opening the letter there before the Lord. 15  And Hezekiah made his prayer to the Lord, saying, O Lord, the God of Israel, seated between the winged ones, you only are the God of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth. 16  Let your ear be turned to us, O Lord, and let your eyes be open, O Lord, and see; take note of all the words of Sennacherib who has sent men to say evil against the living God. 17  Truly, O Lord, the kings of Assyria have made waste the nations and their lands, 18  And have given their gods to the fire; for they were no gods, but wood and stone, the work of men's hands; so they have given them to destruction. 19  But now, O Lord our God, give us salvation from his hands, so that it may be clear to all the kingdoms of the earth that you and only you, O Lord, are God.

20  Then Isaiah, the son of Amoz, sent to Hezekiah, saying, The Lord, the God of Israel, says, The prayer which you have made to me against Sennacherib, king of Assyria, has come to my ears. 21  This is the word which the Lord has said about him: In the eyes of the virgin daughter of Zion you are shamed and laughed at; the daughter of Jerusalem has made sport of you. 22  Against whom have you said evil and bitter things? against whom has your voice been loud and your eyes lifted up? even against the Holy One of Israel. 23  You have sent your servants with evil words against the Lord, and have said, With all my war-carriages I have come up to the top of the mountains, to the inmost parts of Lebanon; its tall cedars will be cut down, and the best trees of its woods; I will come up into his highest places, into his thick woods. 24  I have made water-holes and taken their waters, and with my foot I have made all the rivers of Egypt dry. 25  Has it not come to your ears how I did it long before, purposing it in times long past? Now I have given effect to my design, so that by you strong towns might be turned into masses of broken walls. 26  This is why their townsmen had no power, they were broken and put to shame; they were like the grass of the field and the green plant, like grass on the house-tops. 27  But I have knowledge of your getting up and your resting, of your going out and your coming in. 28  Because your wrath against me and your words of pride have come up to my ears, I will put my hook in your nose and my cord in your lips, and I will make you go back by the way you came. 29  And this will be the sign to you: you will get your food this year from what comes up of itself; and in the second year from the produce of the same; and in the third year you will put in your seed and get in the grain and make vine-gardens and take of their fruit. 30  And those of Judah who are still living will again take root in the earth and give fruit. 31  For from Jerusalem those who have been kept safe will go out, and those who are still living will go out of Mount Zion: by the fixed purpose of the Lord of armies this will be done. 32  For this cause the Lord says about the king of Assyria, He will not come into this town, or send an arrow against it; he will not come before it with arms, or put up an earthwork against it; 33  By the way he came he will go back, and he will not get into this town, says the Lord. 34  For I will keep this town safe, for my honour, and for the honour of my servant David.

35  And that night the angel of the Lord went out and put to death in the army of the Assyrians a hundred and eighty-five thousand men; and when the people got up early in the morning, there was nothing to be seen but dead bodies. 36  So Sennacherib, king of Assyria, went back to his place at Nineveh. 37  And it came about, when he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, that his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer put him to death with the sword; and they went in flight into the land of Ararat. And Esar-haddon his son became king in his place.

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