Daily Bible Radio

A Stabbing on the Wall

2 Kings 18:26-37 :

Then Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, Shebnah, and Joah, said to Rabshakeh, “Please speak to your servants in the Syrian language, for we understand it. Don’t speak with us in the Jews’ language, in the hearing of the people who are on the wall.”

But Rabshakeh said to them, “Has my master sent me to your master and to you, to speak these words? Hasn’t he sent me to the men who sit on the wall, to eat their own dung, and to drink their own urine with you?” Then Rabshakeh stood, and cried with a loud voice in the Jews’ language, and spoke, saying, “Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria. Thus says the king, ‘Don’t let Hezekiah deceive you; for he will not be able to deliver you out of his hand. Don’t let Hezekiah make you trust in Yahweh, saying, “Yahweh will surely deliver us, and this city shall not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.” Don’t listen to Hezekiah.’ For thus says the king of Assyria, ‘Make your peace with me, and come out to me; and everyone of you eat from his own vine, and everyone from his own fig tree, and everyone drink water from his own cistern; until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive trees and of honey, that you may live, and not die. Don’t listen to Hezekiah, when he persuades you, 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 of Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim, of Hena, and Ivvah? Have they delivered Samaria out of my hand? Who are they among all the gods of the countries, that have delivered their country out of my hand, that Yahweh should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand?’ ”

But the people stayed quiet, and answered him not a word; for the king’s commandment was, “Don’t answer him.” Then Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, who was over the household, came with Shebna the scribe, and Joah the son of Asaph the recorder, to Hezekiah with their clothes torn, and told him Rabshakeh’s words.

Evidently, the walls of Jerusalem were lined with curious observers as Rabshakeh delivered his devious message to king Hezekiah. When the negotiators requested that he speak in his own language instead of Hebrew, Rabshakeh spoke even more directly to the people on the wall using the disgusting and horrifying images of the future he wanted them to consider if they continued to follow their king. He contrasted the eating of their own waste, to eating good food in peace under the authority of the king of Assyria. This was gross but it wasn't uncommon, as we have already read, for supplies to be cut off from a walled city to the point at which extreme measures are taken just to survive. Then Rabshakeh attempted to use the argument that all of the other people that they had already conquered had gods too, and they didn't help them. He specifically mentioned the city of their own brothers in Samaria.

Thankfully, the people remained obedient and subservient to king Hezekiah. Evidently, God had given him wisdom enough to warn the people to not answer. The message was still out, however. Now they all had to trust that God would help them to psychologically handle the situation well.

Notice how much damage evil words can cause. They can be as bad as weapons.

Proverbs 12:18 :

There is one who speaks rashly like the piercing of a sword,
but the tongue of the wise heals.

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