The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Second Book of Paralipomena
After all this faithful service done, Juda was invaded by Sennacherib, king of the Assyrians, who laid siege to its fortified cities, thinking to make them his own.
Ezechias, warned by his approach that Jerusalem was the chief object of his attack,
bade his nobles and commanders consider the plan of shutting in the water courses that ran beyond the city walls.
To this all agreed, and he set a multitude of hands to work stopping up all the springs, as well as the stream that flowed through the open country; should there be water flowing freely for the kings of Assyria to profit by it?
No pains did he spare to rebuild the wall where it had fallen into disrepair, with towers to crown it and a second wall within; Mello, too, in the Keep of David he fortified anew, and prepared shields and all other weapons of defence.
Then he appointed commanders for his army; and these he bade assemble in the open space by the city gate, where he spoke to them for their encouragement.
Play the man, he said, and keep your courage high; let there be no shrinking, no faint hearts, at the sight of the Assyrian king and the hordes that follow him; we have many more on our side than they on theirs.
Theirs is but mortal strength; we have the Lord our God to aid us, and fight on our side. In such words from king Ezechias the hearts of the men of Juda found support.
Sennacherib, the Assyrian king, was laying siege with his army to Lachis; and now he sent envoys to Jerusalem with a message for king Ezechias and for all the citizens;
Word to you, they said, from the king of Assyria. What confidence is it that makes you so bold, cooped up there in Jerusalem?
Will you die there of hunger and thirst, deluded by Ezechias’ promise that the Lord your God will deliver you from the power of the Assyrian king?
Tell me, who is Ezechias? Is he not the man who has robbed this God of hill-shrine and altar, leaving you but one altar to repair to, when you would do worship and burn incense before him?
See how I and my fathers have subdued the world, and the gods of a whole world could not rescue it from me!
Tell me, in all these countries my fathers and I have laid waste, was there ever a god found could save his people from my power, that you should trust this God of yours when the same power threatens you?
Do not be deluded by the persuasions of Ezechias; do not listen to him. All those peoples and kingdoms my fathers and I have conquered, their gods notwithstanding; will your God do better?
Much else these courtiers said in dispraise of the Lord God, and his servant Ezechias;
there was a letter, too, Sennacherib wrote, full of blasphemy against the Lord God of Israel, boasting that Ezechias’ God could not save his people from attack, where the gods of so many other nations had failed them.
Nay, they must needs raise a cry in the Hebrew tongue, to daunt the folk who sat on Jerusalem walls, and persuade them to yield up the city.
Lightly did they speak of Jerusalem’s God, as if he had been all one with those old gods the Chanaanites worshipped, idols made by human hands.
Against such blasphemers, king Ezechias and the prophet Isaias, son of Amos, fell to prayer, crying out to heaven for aid;
and with that, the Lord sent out his angel, who smote down warrior and chieftain and commander in the Assyrian king’s camp, so that he went home in sorry plight. And there, when he was at worship in the temple of his god, two sons of his own body drew their swords on him and slew him.
Thus it was the Lord rescued Ezechias and the men of Jerusalem from the Assyrian king’s power, and of all else that assailed them; on every side he kept them free from alarm.
Many were the victims and offerings that were brought to the Lord at Jerusalem; many were the gifts made by Ezechias king of Juda, whom all the nations held thenceforward in high renown.
And now Ezechias fell sick, and was at death’s door; but he prayed to the Lord, and the Lord answered his prayer, giving him a sign of his recovery.
Yet it was an ill return he made for all these benefits; his heart was puffed up with pride, so that he brought punishment upon himself, on Juda, too, and Jerusalem;
for this pride of his, both he and the citizens of Jerusalem afterwards humbled themselves, and it was not in Ezechias’ own time that the Lord’s vengeance fell.
Great were the riches of Ezechias and his fame; great was the store of silver and gold, of jewels and spices, of weapons for every purpose and of precious ware, that king Ezechias laid up.
He had store-houses too, for corn, wine and oil, stables full of beasts, and folds full of flocks;
new cities he must build, so many were his herds of sheep and cattle, so abundant were the possessions the Lord had given him.
It was this Ezechias that blocked the upper waters of the Gihon stream, and conveyed them under ground into the western part of the Keep of David. In all that he did, he prospered;
and if, when the princes of Babylon came to enquire about the portent that had happened in his country, God left him to his own counsel, it was but to try him, and test the dispositions of his heart.
What else Ezechias did, all his acts of piety, may be found set down in the Vision of Isaias, son of Amos, and in the Record of the kings of Juda and Israel.
So Ezechias was laid to rest with his fathers, on the slope where the tombs of David’s sons are; and all Juda and Jerusalem did honour to his funeral. And the throne passed to his son Manasses.
The Holy Bible