1 Hezekiah son of Ahaz began to rule over Judah in the third year of King Hoshea's reign in Israel.
2 He was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years. His mother was Abijah,* the daughter of Zechariah.1
3 He did what was pleasing in the LORD's sight, just as his ancestor David had done.
4 He removed the pagan shrines, smashed the sacred pillars, and knocked down the Asherah poles. He broke up the bronze serpent that Moses had made, because the people of Israel had begun to worship it by burning incense to it. The bronze serpent was called Nehushtan.*2
5 Hezekiah trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel. There was never another king like him in the land of Judah, either before or after his time.
6 He remained faithful to the LORD in everything, and he carefully obeyed all the commands the LORD had given Moses.
7 So the LORD was with him, and Hezekiah was successful in everything he did. He revolted against the king of Assyria and refused to pay him tribute.
8 He also conquered the Philistines as far distant as Gaza and its territory, from their smallest outpost to their largest walled city.
9 During the fourth year of Hezekiah's reign, which was the seventh year of King Hoshea's reign in Israel, King Shalmaneser of Assyria attacked Israel and began a siege on the city of Samaria.
10 Three years later, during the sixth year of King Hezekiah's reign and the ninth year of King Hoshea's reign in Israel, Samaria fell.
11 At that time the king of Assyria deported the Israelites to Assyria and put them in colonies in Halah, along the banks of the Habor River in Gozan, and among the cities of the Medes.
12 For they had refused to listen to the LORD their God. Instead, they had violated his covenant--all the laws the LORD had given through his servant Moses.
13 In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah's reign, King Sennacherib of Assyria came to attack the fortified cities of Judah and conquered them.
14 King Hezekiah sent this message to the king of Assyria at Lachish: "I have done wrong. I will pay whatever tribute money you demand if you will only go away." The king of Assyria then demanded a settlement of more than eleven tons of silver and about one ton of gold.*3
15 To gather this amount, King Hezekiah used all the silver stored in the Temple of the LORD and in the palace treasury.
16 Hezekiah even stripped the gold from the doors of the LORD's Temple and from the doorposts he had overlaid with gold, and he gave it all to the Assyrian king.
17 Nevertheless the king of Assyria sent his commander in chief, his field commander, and his personal representative from Lachish with a huge army to confront King Hezekiah in Jerusalem. The Assyrians stopped beside the aqueduct that feeds water into the upper pool, near the road leading to the field where cloth is bleached.
18 They summoned King Hezekiah, but the king sent these officials to meet with them: Eliakim son of Hilkiah, the palace administrator, Shebna the court secretary, and Joah son of Asaph, the royal historian.
19 Then the Assyrian king's personal representative sent this message to King Hezekiah: "This is what the great king of Assyria says: What are you trusting in that makes you so confident?
20 Do you think that mere words can substitute for military skill and strength? Which of your allies will give you any military backing against Assyria?
21 Will Egypt? If you lean on Egypt, you will find it to be a stick that breaks beneath your weight and pierces your hand. The pharaoh of Egypt is completely unreliable!
22 "But perhaps you will say, `We are trusting in the LORD our God!' But isn't he the one who was insulted by King Hezekiah? Didn't Hezekiah tear down his shrines and altars and make everyone in Judah worship only at the altar here in Jerusalem?
23 "I'll tell you what! My master, the king of Assyria, will strike a bargain with you. If you can find two thousand horsemen in your entire army, he will give you two thousand horses for them to ride on!