Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Assyrian negotiations

Good morning sisters and brothers,
Yesterday we heard about Hezekiah, King of Israel's reforms and his faithfulness to God. We also heard that he rebelled against Assyria, the Kingdom that had conquered Israel and made Judah a vassal state. Today we find out the King of Assyria's response. It's an interesting passage that gives us an insight into ancient diplomacy and the interaction between rulers and subjects. It's also interesting that the Assyrian leaders know about Hezekiah's reforms and say that God sent the King to destroy Jerusalem. God's role in political events is often hard to discern, but that doesn't keep politicians from claiming God is on their side. As people of faith we are called to look for God's will and to support that will in our lives, both as individuals, church members and voters.

God bless,


2 Kings 18:17-32
17The king of Assyria sent the Tartan, the Rab-saris, and the Rabshakeh with a great army from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem. They went up and came to Jerusalem. When they arrived, they came and stood by the conduit of the upper pool, which is on the highway to the Fuller’s Field. 18When they called for the king, there came out to them Eliakim son of Hilkiah, who was in charge of the palace, and Shebnah the secretary, and Joah son of Asaph, the recorder.

19The Rabshakeh said to them, “Say to Hezekiah: Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria: On what do you base this confidence of yours? 20Do you think that mere words are strategy and power for war? On whom do you now rely, that you have rebelled against me? 21See, you are relying now on Egypt, that broken reed of a staff, which will pierce the hand of anyone who leans on it. Such is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who rely on him. 22But if you say to me, ‘We rely on the Lord our God,’ is it not he whose high places and altars Hezekiah has removed, saying to Judah and to Jerusalem, ‘You shall worship before this altar in Jerusalem’? 23Come now, make a wager with my master the king of Assyria: I will give you two thousand horses, if you are able on your part to set riders on them. 24How then can you repulse a single captain among the least of my master’s servants, when you rely on Egypt for chariots and for horsemen? 

25Moreover, is it without the Lord that I have come up against this place to destroy it? The Lord said to me, Go up against this land, and destroy it.” 26Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah, and Shebnah, and Joah said to the Rabshakeh, “Please speak to your servants in the Aramaic language, for we understand it; do not speak to us in the language of Judah within the hearing of the people who are on the wall.” 27But the Rabshakeh said to them, “Has my master sent me to speak these words to your master and to you, and not to the people sitting on the wall, who are doomed with you to eat their own dung and to drink their own urine?” 

28Then the 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! 29Thus says the king: ‘Do not let Hezekiah deceive you, for he will not be able to deliver you out of my hand. 30Do not let Hezekiah make you rely on the Lord by saying, The Lord will surely deliver us, and this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.’ 31Do not listen to Hezekiah; for thus says the king of Assyria: ‘Make your peace with me and come out to me; then every one of you will eat from your own vine and your own fig tree, and drink water from your own cistern, 32until 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 oil and honey, that you may live and not die. Do not listen to Hezekiah when he misleads you by saying, The Lord will deliver us.

No comments:

Post a Comment