II Kings 18 and II Chronicles 32
From the Journals of Hezekiah
I didn't like listening to Sennacherib's official shouting lies to the people of Jerusalem. They said them so loud, all my soldiers and citizens standing on the wall heard them.
I looked at the people's faces and saw their strength drain from them. They were listening to the bullies.
After my official Eliakim, Shebna and my field commander, Joah asked the Assyrians to speak in the Aramaic language, the bullies refused and shouted louder in Hebrew, the language our people understood.
The Assyrians said, "Do you think we only want Hezekiah and you to hear our message? No we want the soldiers and the citizens to hear. They need to know we will conquer and force them to have nothing to eat."
The commander stepped away from the officials and set his hands by his mouth to help his voice go farther. "Hear the word of the great king of Assyria. People of Jerusalem, do not let Hezekiah deceive you. He can't save you from us. Don't let Hezekiah persuade you to trust in the Lord. We will conquer Jerusalem.
"Don't listen to Hezekiah. Make peace with us and come join us. Every person who surrenders will have plenty to eat and drink. You will be taken to a land like Jerusalem. A land of bread and vineyards, olive trees and honey. Choose life and not death."
I wanted to cover my ears. I have served God as king of Judah and tried to teach the people to always worship Him. I wish I could make the bullies stop shouting. I wish the people of Jerusalem couldn't hear them. But the bullies didn't stop.
The official shouted again. "Don't listen to Hezekiah. He is misleading you when he says the Lord will deliver you. Has the god of any nation ever delivered them from our hands? Where are their gods now? How then can the Lord deliver Jerusalem from my hand?"
I can't even write any more of the horrible things the officials said. They called out in Hebrew to the people of Jerusalem standing at the wall just to scare them in order to capture our city. They even insulted our God by saying the God of Jerusalem was the work of men's hands. I couldn't stop my tears. The Almighty God, our creator, should not have to hear such words.
But, thanks be to God, the people of Jerusalem kept silent and said nothing back to the bullies. I had commanded them not to answer anything the bullies said.
When the officers came back inside the city and told me the rest of the mean things the bullies said about us and God, we fell to our knees and tore our clothes. We put on sackcloth and went to the temple of the Lord and cried out to Him.
Come back next time to see what happened.
1. Who were the bullies?
2. The bullies said mean things about Jerusalem, king Hezekiah, and God. What did the people do?
3. Did any of the people from Jerusalem rush out accept the gifts from the bullies?
4. When the officials came back in the city and told king Hezekiah the rest of the message, what did they all do?