Rabshakeh warns Judah (2 Kings 18:28-18:35)

Then Rabshakeh stood and called out in a loud voice in the language of Judah. ‘Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria! Thus says the king. ‘Do not let King Hezekiah deceive you. He will not be able to deliver you out of my hand. Do not let King Hezekiah make you rely on Yahweh by saying, Yahweh will surely deliver us. This city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.’ Do not listen to King Hezekiah. Thus says the king of Assyria. ‘Make your peace with me and come out to me. Then every one of you will eat of your own vine and your own fig tree. You will drink water from your own cistern, until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of grain and wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive trees and honey, so that you may live and not die. Do not listen to King Hezekiah when he misleads you by saying, Yahweh 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 Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah? Have they delivered Samaria out of my hand? Who among all the gods of the countries have delivered their countries out of my hand, that Yahweh should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand?’”

Rabshakeh spoke in Hebrew, the ancient literary language of Judah. The new language of Aramaic will be influenced by Syria. He wanted the people to listen to the king of Assyria and not to their King Hezekiah. He thought that the king of Judah was deceiving them by saying that he was going to rely on Yahweh. Rabshakeh went on to point out that no god has helped anyone against the king of Assyria. In fact, he offered them their own vineyard, fig tree, and water in a new country that had grain, bread, wine and honey. Honey always seems to be a favorite when they were speaking of Judah, a land flowing with milk and honey. He pointed out that the gods of the Hamath, Arpad, Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah were all unsuccessful against the king of Assyria. Why would Yahweh be any different? Hamath and Arpad were in Syria in an alliance with Damascus, but taken over by the Assyrians. Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah were near Babylon, on the Euphrates River. In fact, Hena and Ivvah may have been the gods of Sepharvaim. They were also taken over by king of Assyria.

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