The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Prophecy of Isaias
It was in the fourteenth year of Ezechias’ reign that Sennacherib, king of Assyria, marched on the fortified cities of Juda, and took them.✻
And the king of Assyria, who was then at Lachis, sent Rabsaces at the head of a strong force to Jerusalem, where king Ezechias was. This Rabsaces took up his stand on the aqueduct that fed the upper pool, on the way that brings you to the Fuller’s Field,
and there he was met by Eliacim, son of Helcias, the controller of the royal household, and Sobna, the scribe, and Joahe, son of Asaph, the recorder.
So he bade them tell Ezechias, Here is a message to thee from the great king, the king of Assyria. What confidence is this that makes thee so bold?
By what cunning or what force dost thou hope to meet me in arms? On whose help dost thou rely, that thou wouldst throw off my allegiance?
What, wilt thou rely on Egypt? That is to support thyself on a broken staff of cane, that will run into a man’s hand, if he presses on it, and pierce him through; such does Pharao, king of Egypt, prove himself to all those who rely on him.
Or wilt thou answer, We trust, I and my people, in the Lord our God? Tell me, who is he? Is he not the God whose hill-shrines and altars their king, Ezechias, has cleared away, bidding Juda and Jerusalem worship at one altar here?
Come now, if thou wert to make terms with my master, the king of Assyria, by which I must hand over to thee two thousand horses, wouldst thou be able to do thy part by putting riders on them?
Why, thou art no match even for a city prefect, the least of my master’s servants. Trust if thou wilt in Egypt, its chariots and its horsemen;
but dost thou doubt that I have the Lord’s warrant to come and subdue this land? It was the Lord himself who sent word to me, Make war on this land, and subdue it.
At this, Eliacim and Sobna and Joahe said to Rabsaces, My lord, pray talk to us in Syriac; we know it well. Do not talk to us in the Hebrew language, while all these folks are standing on the walls within hearing.
What, said Rabsaces, dost thou think my master hath sent me with this message for thee only, and for that master of thine? It is for the folk who man the walls, these companions of yours that have nothing left to eat or drink but the ventings of their own bodies.
Then Rabsaces stood up and cried aloud, in Hebrew, Here is a message to you from the great king, the king of Assyria!
This is the king’s warning, Do not be deluded by Ezechias, he is powerless to save you;
do not let Ezechias put you off by telling you to trust in God; that the Lord is certain to bring you aid, he cannot allow the king of Assyria to become master of your city.
No, do not listen to Ezechias; here are the terms the king of Assyria offers to you. Earn my good will by surrendering to me, and you shall live unmolested; to each the fruit of his own vine and fig-tree, to each the water from his own cistern.
Then, when I come back, I will transplant you into a land like your own, which will grudge you neither wheat nor wine, so rich is it in cornfields and vineyards.
No, do not let Ezechias stir you to action by telling you that the Lord will deliver you. What of other nations? Were their countries delivered, by this god or that, when the king of Assyria threatened them?
What gods had Emath and Arphad, what god had Sepharvaim? Did any power rescue Samaria from my attack?
Which of all the gods in the world has delivered his country when I threatened it, that you should trust in the Lord’s deliverance, when I threaten Jerusalem?
But all kept silence, and gave him no word in answer; the king had sent orders that they were not to answer him.
So Eliacim, son of Helcias, the controller of the royal household, and Sobna, the scribe, and Joahe, son of Asaph, the recorder, went back to Ezechias, with their garments torn about them, to let him know what Rabsaces had said.
The Holy Bible