Reading 108/341, 2 Kings 18.26-21.18

...2 Kings...

Then said Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, and Shebnah, and Joah, to Rabshakeh, Please speak to your servants in the Syrian language; for we understand it, and do not speak with us in the Jews' language, in the ears of the people who are on the wall. But Rabshakeh said to them, Has my master sent me to your master, and to you, to speak these words? Has not he sent me to the men who sit on the wall, to eat their own dung, and to drink their own water with you? Then Rabshakeh stood, and cried with a loud voice in the Jews' language, and spoke, saying, Hear you the word of the great king, the king of Assyria. Thus says the king, Do not let Hezekiah deceive you; for he will not be able to deliver you out of his hand, nor let Hezekiah make you trust in the Lord, saying, the Lord will surely deliver us, and this city shall not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria. Do not listen to Hezekiah, for thus says the king of Assyria, Make your peace with me, and come out to me, and eat you everyone of his vine, and everyone of his fig tree, and everyone drink the waters of his own cistern; Until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive trees and of honey, that you may live, and not die, and do not listen to Hezekiah, when he persuades you, saying, the Lord will deliver us. Has any of the gods of the nations ever delivered his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria? Where are the gods of Hamath, and of Arpad? where are the gods of Sepharvaim, of Hena, and Ivvah? have they delivered Samaria out of my hand? Who are they among all the gods of the countries, that have delivered their country out of my hand, that the Lord should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand? But the people held their peace, and answered him not a word; for the king's commandment was, saying, Do not answer him. Then came Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, who was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah the son of Asaph the recorder, to Hezekiah with their clothes torn, and told him the words of Rabshakeh. It happened, when king Hezekiah heard it, that he tore his clothes, and covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the Lord. He sent Eliakim, who was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and the elders of the priests, covered with sackcloth, to Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz. They said to him, Thus says Hezekiah, This day is a day of trouble, and of rebuke, and of rejection; for the children are come to the birth, and there is not strength to bring forth. It may be the Lord your God will hear all the words of Rabshakeh, whom the king of Assyria his master has sent to defy the living God, and will rebuke the words which the Lord your God has heard. Therefore lift up your prayer for the remnant that is left. So the servants of king Hezekiah came to Isaiah. Isaiah said to them, Thus shall you tell your master, Thus says the Lord, Do not be afraid of the words that you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me. Behold, I will put a spirit in him, and he shall hear news, and shall return to his own land, and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land. So Rabshakeh returned, and found the king of Assyria warring against Libnah; for he had heard that he was departed from Lachish. When he heard say of Tirhakah king of Ethiopia, Behold, he is come out to fight against you, he sent messengers again to Hezekiah, saying, Thus shall you speak to Hezekiah king of Judah, saying, Do not let your God in whom you trust deceive you, saying, Jerusalem shall not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria. Behold, you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands, by destroying them utterly, and shall you be delivered? Have the gods of the nations delivered them, which my fathers have destroyed, Gozan, and Haran, and Rezeph, and the children of Eden that were in Telassar? Where is the king of Hamath, and the king of Arpad, and the king of the city of Sepharvaim, of Hena, and Ivvah? Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it, and Hezekiah went up to the house of the Lord, and spread it before the Lord. Hezekiah prayed before the Lord, and said, the Lord, the God of Israel, who sit above the cherubim, you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth. Incline your ear, the Lord, and hear; open your eyes, the Lord, and see, and hear the words of Sennacherib, with which he has sent him to defy the living God. Of a truth, the Lord, the kings of Assyria have laid waste the nations and their lands, and have cast their gods into the fire; for they were no gods, but the work of men's hands, wood and stone; therefore they have destroyed them. Now therefore, the Lord our God, save you us, I beg you, out of his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you the Lord are God alone. Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying, Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, Whereas you have prayed to me against Sennacherib king of Assyria, I have heard you. This is the word that the Lord has spoken concerning him, The virgin daughter of Zion has despised you and ridiculed you; the daughter of Jerusalem has shaken her head at you. Whom have you defied and blasphemed? and against whom have you exalted your voice and lifted up your eyes on high? against the Holy One of Israel. By your messengers you have defied the Lord, and have said, With the multitude of my chariots am I come up to the height of the mountains, to the innermost parts of Lebanon, and I will cut down the tall cedars of it, and the choice fir trees of it, and I will enter into his farthest lodging place, the forest of his fruitful field. I have dug and drunk strange waters, and with the sole of my feet will I dry up all the rivers of Egypt. Have not you heard how I have done it long ago, and formed it of ancient times? now have I brought it to pass, that it should be yours to lay waste fortified cities into ruinous heaps. Therefore their inhabitants were of small power, they were dismayed and confounded; they were as the grass of the field, and as the green herb, as the grass on the housetops, and as grain blasted before it is grown up. But I know your sitting down, and your going out, and your coming in, and your raging against me. Because of your raging against me, and because your arrogance is come up into my ears, therefore will I put my hook in your nose, and my bridle in your lips, and I will turn you back by the way by which you came. This shall be the sign to you, You shall eat this year what grows of itself, and in the second year what springs of the same, and in the third year sow you, and reap, and plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of it. The remnant that has escaped of the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward. For out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant, and out of Mount Zion those who shall escape, the zeal of the Lord shall perform this. Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the king of Assyria, He shall not come to this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor shall he come before it with shield, nor cast up a mound against it. By the way that he came, by the same shall he return, and he shall not come to this city, says the Lord. For I will defend this city to save it, for my own sake, and for my servant David's sake. It happened that night, that the angel of the Lord went forth, and struck in the camp of the Assyrians one hundred eighty-five thousand, and when men arose early in the morning, behold, these were all dead bodies. So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and lived at Nineveh. It happened, as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer struck him with the sword, and they escaped into the land of Ararat. Esar Haddon his son reigned in his place. In those days was Hezekiah sick to death. Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him, and said to him, Thus says the Lord, Set your house in order, for you shall die, and not live. Then he turned his face to the wall, and prayed to the Lord, saying, Remember now, the Lord, I beg you, how I have walked before you in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done what is good in your sight. Hezekiah wept sore. It happened, before Isaiah was gone out into the middle part of the city, that the word of the Lord came to him, saying, Turn back, and tell Hezekiah the prince of my people, Thus says the Lord, the God of David your father, I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears, behold, I will heal you; on the third day you shall go up to the house of the Lord. I will add to your days fifteen years, and I will deliver you and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria, and I will defend this city for my own sake, and for my servant David's sake. Isaiah said, Take a cake of figs. They took and laid it on the boil, and he recovered. Hezekiah said to Isaiah, What shall be the sign that the Lord will heal me, and that I shall go up to the house of the Lord the third day? Isaiah said, This shall be the sign to you from the Lord, that the Lord will do the thing that he has spoken, shall the shadow go forward ten steps, or go back ten steps? Hezekiah answered, It is a light thing for the shadow to decline ten steps, nay, but let the shadow return backward ten steps. Isaiah the prophet cried to the Lord, and he brought the shadow ten steps backward, by which it had gone down on the dial of Ahaz. At that time Berodach Baladan the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a present to Hezekiah; for he had heard that Hezekiah had been sick. Hezekiah listened to them, and shown them all the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious oil, and the house of his armor, and all that was found in his treasures, there was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah did not show them. Then came Isaiah the prophet to king Hezekiah, and said to him, What said these men? and from whence came they to you? Hezekiah said, They are come from a far country, from Babylon. He said, What have they seen in your house? Hezekiah answered, All that is in my house have they seen, there is nothing among my treasures that I have not shown them. Isaiah said to Hezekiah, Hear the word of the Lord. Behold, the days come, that all that is in your house, and what your fathers have laid up in store to this day, shall be carried to Babylon, nothing shall be left, says the Lord. Of your sons who shall issue from you, whom you shall father, shall they take away, and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon. Then said Hezekiah to Isaiah, Good is the word of the Lord which you have spoken. He said moreover, Is not it so, if peace and truth shall be in my days? Now the rest of the acts of Hezekiah, and all his might, and how he made the pool, and the conduit, and brought water into the city, are not they written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? Hezekiah slept with his fathers, and Manasseh his son reigned in his place. Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem, and his mother's name was Hephzibah. He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, after the abominations of the nations whom the Lord cast out before the children of Israel. For he built again the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed, and he reared up altars for Baal, and made an Asherah, as did Ahab king of Israel, and worshiped all the army of the sky, and served them. He built altars in the house of the Lord, of which the Lord said, In Jerusalem will I put my name. He built altars for all the army of the sky in the two courts of the house of the Lord. He made his son to pass through the fire, and practiced sorcery, and used enchantments, and dealt with those who had familiar spirits, and with wizards, he worked much evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger. He set the engraved image of Asherah, that he had made, in the house of which the Lord said to David and to Solomon his son, In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, will I put my name forever; nor will I cause the feet of Israel to wander any more out of the land which I gave their fathers, if only they will observe to do according to all that I have commanded them, and according to all the law that my servant Moses commanded them. But they did not listen, and Manasseh seduced them to do what is evil more than did the nations whom the Lord destroyed before the children of Israel. The Lord spoke by his servants the prophets, saying, Because Manasseh king of Judah has done these abominations, and has done wickedly above all that the Amorites did, who were before him, and has made Judah also to sin with his idols; therefore thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, Behold, I bring such evil on Jerusalem and Judah, that whoever hears of it, both his ears shall tingle. I will stretch over Jerusalem the line of Samaria, and the plummet of the house of Ahab, and I will wipe Jerusalem as a man wipes a dish, wiping it and turning it upside down. I will cast off the remnant of my inheritance, and deliver them into the hand of their enemies, and they shall become a prey and a spoil to all their enemies; because they have done what is evil in my sight, and have provoked me to anger, since the day their fathers came forth out of Egypt, to this day. Moreover Manasseh shed innocent blood very much, until he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another; besides his sin with which he made Judah to sin, in doing what was evil in the sight of the Lord. Now the rest of the acts of Manasseh, and all that he did, and his sin that he sinned, are not they written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? Manasseh slept with his fathers, and was buried in the garden of his own house, in the garden of Uzza, and Amon his son reigned in his place.

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