Chapter 36

1And it came to pass in the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, that Sennacherib the king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and seized them.   אוַיְהִ֡י בְּאַרְבַּע֩ עֶשְׂרֵ֨ה שָׁנָ֜ה לַמֶּ֣לֶךְ חִזְקִיָּ֗הוּ עָלָ֞ה סַנְחֵרִ֚יב מֶֽלֶךְ־אַשּׁוּר֙ עַ֣ל כָּל־עָרֵ֧י יְהוּדָ֛ה הַבְּצֻר֖וֹת וַֽיִּתְפְּשֵֽׂם:
2And the king of Assyria sent Rabshakeh from Lachish to Jerusalem to King Hezekiah with an army of a great [multitude], and he stood near the conduit of the upper pool, on the road of the washer's field.   בוַיִּשְׁלַ֣ח מֶֽלֶךְ־אַשּׁ֣וּר | אֶת־רַבְשָׁקֵ֨ה מִלָּכִ֧ישׁ יְרֽוּשָׁלְַ֛מָה אֶל־הַמֶּ֥לֶךְ חִזְקִיָּ֖הוּ בְּחֵ֣יל כָּבֵ֑ד וַיַּֽעֲמֹ֗ד בִּתְעָלַת֙ הַבְּרֵכָ֣ה הָֽעֶלְיוֹנָ֔ה בִּמְסִלַּ֖ת שְׂדֵ֥ה כוֹבֵֽס:
near the conduit: fosed (fosse) in French, (a ditch, a trench, a moat.)  
the pool: A place where water is gathered, dug in the ground by man, in which to put fish. It is long and wide.  
on the road: A paved road. (chemin in French.)  
the washer’s field: Jonathan renders: A field where the washers stretch out, i.e., where the washers stretch out the garments.  
3And Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, who was appointed over the Temple and Shebna the scribe and Joah the son of Asaph, the recorder, came out to him.   גוַיֵּצֵ֥א אֵלָ֛יו אֶלְיָקִ֥ים בֶּן־חִלְקִיָּ֖הוּ אֲשֶׁ֣ר עַל־הַבָּ֑יִת וְשֶׁבְנָא֙ הַסֹּפֵ֔ר וְיוֹאָ֥ח בֶּן־אָסָ֖ף הַמַּזְכִּֽיר:
the recorder: The writer of the records in the annals. (Another explanation: He would record which judgment came before him first, that he adjudicate it first.)  
4And Rabshakeh said to them, "Say now to Hezekiah, 'So has the great king, the king of Assyria, said, 'What is this confidence that you have trusted?'   דוַיֹּ֚אמֶר אֲלֵיהֶם֙ רַבְשָׁקֵ֔ה אִמְרוּ־נָ֖א אֶל־חִזְקִיָּ֑הוּ כֹּֽה־אָמַ֞ר הַמֶּ֚לֶךְ הַגָּדוֹל֙ מֶ֣לֶךְ אַשּׁ֔וּר מָ֧ה הַבִּטָּח֛וֹן הַזֶּ֖ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר בָּטָֽחְתָּ:
5I said, 'It is but words of the lips; counsel and might are needed for war. Now, on whom do you depend that you have rebelled against me?   האָמַ֙רְתִּי֙ אַךְ־דְּבַ֣ר שְׂפָתַ֔יִם עֵצָ֥ה וּגְבוּרָ֖ה לַמִּלְחָמָ֑ה עַתָּה֙ עַל־מִ֣י בָטַ֔חְתָּ כִּ֥י מָרַ֖דְתָּ בִּֽי:
I said: (until now), “It is but words of the lips, that he speaks (lit., in his mouth), saying, ‘I will not serve the king of Assyria.’ And when he sees that I will march against him with an army, he will recant. Now I have marched. From now on, either he will serve me, or he will need to seek counsel and might for war.”  
Now: that the time has come, tell me now on whom you have depended to rebel against me.  
6Behold you have depended upon the support of this splintered reed, upon Egypt, upon which a man will lean, and it will go into his palm and puncture it; so is Pharaoh the king of Egypt to all who trust in him.   והִנֵּ֣ה בָטַ֡חְתָּ עַל־מִשְׁעֶנֶת֩ הַקָּנֶ֨ה הָֽרָצ֚וּץ הַזֶּה֙ עַל־מִצְרַ֔יִם אֲשֶׁ֨ר יִסָּמֵ֥ךְ אִישׁ֙ עָלָ֔יו וּבָ֥א בְכַפּ֖וֹ וּנְקָבָ֑הּ כֵּן פַּרְעֹ֣ה מֶֽלֶךְ־מִצְרַ֔יִם לְכָל־הַבֹּֽטְחִ֖ים עָלָֽיו:
upon which a man will lean: On the splintered and broken reed, and the scaly envelopes enter his palm and puncture it, so is Pharaoh to those who trust him. Eventually, their aid will be to their detriment.  
7And if you say to me, 'We trust the Lord our God,' is He not the one Whose high places and altars Hezekiah has removed? He has said to Judah and to Jerusalem, 'Before this altar shall you prostrate yourselves.'   זוְכִֽי־תֹאמַ֣ר אֵלַ֔י אֶל־יְהֹוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֵ֖ינוּ בָּטָ֑חְנוּ הֲלוֹא־ה֗וּא אֲשֶׁ֨ר הֵסִ֚יר חִזְקִיָּ֙הוּ֙ אֶת־בָּמֹתָ֣יו וְאֶת־מִזְבְּחֹתָ֔יו וַיֹּ֚אמֶר לִֽיהוּדָ֙ה וְלִיר֣וּשָׁלִַ֔ם לִפְנֵ֛י הַמִּזְבֵּ֥חַ הַזֶּ֖ה תִּֽשְׁתַּֽחֲוֽוּ:
Whose high places… has removed: He abolished all the pagan temples and the altars and the high places, and has coerced all Judah to prostrate themselves before one altar.  
8And now, wager now with my lord the king of Assyria, and I will give you two thousand horses if you are able to supply riders upon them of your men.   חוְעַתָּה֙ הִתְעָ֣רֶב נָ֔א אֶת־אֲדֹנִ֖י הַמֶּ֣לֶךְ אַשּׁ֑וּר וְאֶתְּנָ֚ה לְךָ֙ אַלְפַּ֣יִם סוּסִ֔ים אִם־תּוּכַ֕ל לָ֥תֶת לְךָ֖ רֹֽכְבִ֥ים עֲלֵיהֶֽם:
wager now: on this matter, if you will be able to accomplish it. This is an expression of a wager, which is called gajjer in O.F.  
9And how can you repulse a captain, one of the smallest of my master's servants, and you rely on Egypt for chariots and horsemen?   טוְאֵ֣יךְ תָּשִׁ֗יב אֵ֠ת פְּנֵ֨י פַחַ֥ת אַחַ֛ד עַבְדֵ֥י אֲדֹנִ֖י הַקְּטַנִּ֑ים וַתִּבְטַ֚ח לְךָ֙ עַל־מִצְרַ֔יִם לְרֶ֖כֶב וּלְפָֽרָשִֽׁים:
And how can you repulse: even a captain, who is one of my master’s smallest servants, for the smallest of the heads of his troops is in charge of two thousand men.  
one of… servants: (אַחַד) one of the servants of. Comp. (Gen. 21:15) “One of (אַחַד) the bushes.” Also (II Sam. 6:20) “One of (אַחַד) the idlers.”  
10And now, is it [with] other than the Lord that I have come up against this land to destroy it? The Lord said to me, 'Go up to this land and destroy it.' "   יוְעַתָּה֙ הֲמִבַּלְעֲדֵ֣י יְהֹוָ֔ה עָלִ֛יתִי עַל־הָאָ֥רֶץ הַזֹּ֖את לְהַשְׁחִיתָ֑הּ יְהֹוָה֙ אָמַ֣ר אֵלַ֔י עֲלֵ֛ה אֶל־הָאָ֥רֶץ הַזֹּ֖את וְהַשְׁחִיתָֽהּ:
is it [with] other than the Lord: Without His permission?  
The Lord said to me: The prophets have already prophesied (supra 8:4): “The wealth of Damascus and the plunder of Samaria shall be carried off before the king of Assyria.” But he erred, saying (supra 10: 11), “Indeed, as I did to Samaria…, so will I do to Jerusalem…”  
11And Eliakim and Shebna and Joah said to Rabshakeh, "Please speak to your servants in Aramaic for we understand it; do not speak with us in Judean within the hearing of the people who are on the wall."   יאוַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֶלְיָקִים֩ וְשֶׁבְנָ֨א וְיוֹאָ֜ח אֶל־רַבְשָׁקֵ֗ה דַּבֶּר־נָ֚א אֶל־עֲבָדֶ֙יךָ֙ אֲרָמִ֔ית כִּ֥י שֹֽׁמְעִ֖ים אֲנָ֑חְנוּ וְאַל־תְּדַבֵּ֚ר אֵלֵ֙ינוּ֙ יְהוּדִ֔ית בְּאָזְנֵ֣י הָעָ֔ם אֲשֶׁ֖ר עַל־הַחוֹמָֽה:
for we understand it: (שֹׁמְעִים, lit. hear.) We understand that language, an expression of hearing (entendenc in O. F.).  
do not speak with us in Judean: for all the people understand the Judean language, and they are frightened by your words. (Since he said to them, “Say now to Hezekiah,” they thought that he did not come to frighten the people. Since Rabshakeh was an apostate Jew, they thought that even though his master’s orders were incumbent upon Rabshakeh to observe, his heart was attracted to his family and he would take pity upon them.)  
12And Rabshakeh said, "Did my master send me to speak these words to your master and to you? Is it not to the men who sit on the wall to eat their dung and drink their urine with you?"   יבוַיֹּ֣אמֶר רַבְשָׁקֵ֗ה הַאֶ֨ל אֲדֹנֶ֚יךָ וְאֵלֶ֙יךָ֙ שְׁלָחַ֣נִי אֲדֹנִ֔י לְדַבֵּ֖ר אֶת־הַדְּבָרִ֣ים הָאֵ֑לֶּה הֲלֹ֣א עַל־הָֽאֲנָשִׁ֗ים הַיּֽשְׁבִים֙ עַל־הַ֣חוֹמָ֔ה לֶֽאֱכֹ֣ל אֶת־צֽוֹאָתָ֗ם (כתיב חֹֽרָאיהָ֗ם) וְלִשְׁתּ֛וֹת אֶת־מֵימֵ֥י רַגְלֵיהֶ֖ם (כתיב שֵׁיֵ֥נַיֵהֶ֖ם) עִמָּכֶֽם:
Did… to your master: (הַאֶל) This is the interrogative form. It is therefore vowelized with a ‘hataf pattah’ (not so in our editions). Did my master send me to you two alone? Indeed, he sent me to all of them, and for that reason I have come, so that all the people hear and see, and let not Hezekiah persuade them to rebel.  
to eat their dung: They too (sic) would eat in the hunger of the siege.  
their dung: The kethib reads חֹרָאֵיהֶם, the dung that is excreted through their orifice. Our Sages instituted to euphemize and read it צוֹאָתָם, i.e., their dung. Thus did our Rabbis teach: Verses written in uncomplimentary words are to be read in a complimentary manner, e.g., (Deut. 28:27) עֲפֹלִים (is read) טְחֹרִים. (Both mean hemorrhoids. The former means ‘that which is in the dark holes,’ being more explicit than the latter. (ibid. v. 30) יִשְׁגָּלֶנָּה (is to be read) יִשְׁכָּבֶנָּה. (Both denoting intimacy, the former related as well to a dog.) חֹרָאֵיהֶם (is to be read) צוֹאָתָם, שִׁינֵיהֶם (is to be read) מֵימֵי רַגְלֵיהֶם.  
their urine: The kethib is שִׁינֵיהֶם, loose excrement. The teeth of the large intestine. That is the intestine called tabahie in O.F. that stands on three teeth, (i.e. the glands of the rectum, which is held by three glands. They are called שִׁנַּיִּם because they are shaped like teeth).  
13And Rabshakeh stood and called in a loud voice in Judean, and he said, "Listen to the words of the great king, the king of Assyria!   יגוַיַּֽעֲמֹד֙ רַבְשָׁקֵ֔ה וַיִּקְרָ֥א בְקֽוֹל־גָּד֖וֹל יְהוּדִ֑ית וַיֹּ֕אמֶר שִׁמְע֗וּ אֶת־דִּבְרֵ֛י הַמֶּ֥לֶךְ הַגָּד֖וֹל מֶ֥לֶךְ אַשּֽׁוּר:
14So has the king said, 'Let not Hezekiah deceive you, for he will not be able to deliver you.   ידכֹּה אָמַ֣ר הַמֶּ֔לֶךְ אַל־יַשִּׁ֥א לָכֶ֖ם חִזְקִיָּ֑הוּ כִּ֥י לֹֽא־יוּכַ֖ל לְהַצִּ֥יל אֶתְכֶֽם:
deceive: (יַשִּׁיא) mislead.  
15And let not Hezekiah make you rely on the Lord, saying, 'The Lord will save us, and this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.'   טווְאַל־יַבְטַ֨ח אֶתְכֶ֚ם חִזְקִיָּ֙הוּ֙ אֶל־יְהֹוָ֣ה לֵאמֹ֔ר הַצֵּ֥ל יַצִּילֵ֖נוּ יְהֹוָ֑ה לֹ֚א תִנָּתֵן֙ הָעִ֣יר הַזֹּ֔את בְּיַ֖ד מֶ֥לֶךְ אַשּֽׁוּר:
16Do not listen to Hezekiah, for so has the king of Assyria said, 'Make peace with me, and come out to me, and each man will eat of his vine and each man of his fig tree, and each man will drink the water of his cistern.   טזאַל־תִּשְׁמְע֖וּ אֶל־חִזְקִיָּ֑הוּ כִּי֩ כֹ֨ה אָמַ֜ר הַמֶּ֣לֶךְ אַשּׁ֗וּר עֲשׂוּ־אִתִּ֚י בְרָכָה֙ וּצְא֣וּ אֵלַ֔י וְאִכְל֚וּ אִישׁ־גַּפְנוֹ֙ וְאִ֣ישׁ תְּאֵֽנָת֔וֹ וּשְׁת֖וּ אִ֥ישׁ מֵֽי־בוֹרֽוֹ:
Make peace with me: (בְרָכָה, lit., a blessing.) Come out to me for peace and greet me and bring me a gift of peace. בְּרָכָה is saloud in O.F., salutation. Comp. (Gen. 47:10) “And Jacob greeted Pharaoh.”  
and each man will eat of his vine: And I will leave you, and dwell in peace until I find a land as good as your land, and I will exile you there, for so is my wont, to transfer nations from land to land, as it is said (supra 10:13): “And I remove the boundaries of the peoples.”  
17Until I come and take you to a land like your land, a land of grain and wine, a land of bread and vineyards.'   יזעַד־בֹּאִ֕י וְלָֽקַחְתִּ֥י אֶתְכֶ֖ם אֶל־אֶ֣רֶץ כְּאַרְצְכֶ֑ם אֶ֚רֶץ דָּגָן֙ וְתִיר֔וֹשׁ אֶ֥רֶץ לֶ֖חֶם וּכְרָמִֽים:
to a land like your land: Said Rabbi Shimon ben Yochai: Was this one (Sennacherib) a fool? This is an example of a king, etc. in Sifre, parshath Ekev (Deut. 7:12). He should have said, “to a land better than your land,” but he could not denigrate it.  
18Lest Hezekiah mislead you, saying, 'The Lord will save us.' Have the gods of the nations saved each one his land from the hand of the king of Assyria?   יחפֶּן־יַסִּ֨ית אֶתְכֶ֚ם חִזְקִיָּ֙הוּ֙ לֵאמֹ֔ר יְהֹוָ֖ה יַצִּילֵ֑נוּ הַֽהִצִּ֜ילוּ אֱלֹהֵ֚י הַגּוֹיִם֙ אִ֣ישׁ אֶת־אַרְצ֔וֹ מִיַּ֖ד מֶ֥לֶךְ אַשּֽׁוּר:
19Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad, where are the gods of Sepharvaim? Now did they save Samaria from my hand?   יטאַיֵּ֞ה אֱלֹהֵ֚י חֲמָת֙ וְאַרְפָּ֔ד אַיֵּ֖ה אֱלֹהֵ֣י סְפַרְוָ֑יִם וְכִֽי־הִצִּ֥ילוּ אֶת־שֹֽׁמְר֖וֹן מִיָּדִֽי:
Now did they save Samaria from my hand?: and the inhabitants of Samaria worshipped the Gods of the Arameans, who were their neighbors, and Hamath is from Aram.  
20Who are they among all the gods of the lands who saved their land from my hand, that the Lord should save Jerusalem from my hand?"   כמִ֗י בְּכָל־אֱלֹהֵ֚י הָֽאֲרָצוֹת֙ הָאֵ֔לֶּה אֲשֶׁר־הִצִּ֥ילוּ אֶת־אַרְצָ֖ם מִיָּדִ֑י כִּֽי־יַצִּ֧יל יְהֹוָ֛ה אֶת־יְרֽוּשָׁלִַ֖ם מִיָּדִֽי:
21And they remained silent and did not answer him even one word, for it was the king's order, saying, "Do not answer him."   כאוַיַּֽחֲרִ֔ישׁוּ וְלֹֽא־עָנ֥וּ אֹת֖וֹ דָּבָ֑ר כִּֽי־מִצְוַ֨ת הַמֶּ֥לֶךְ הִ֛יא לֵאמֹ֖ר לֹ֥א תַֽעֲנֻֽהוּ:
22And Eliakim the son of Hilkiah who was appointed over the Temple and Shebna the scribe and Joah the son of Asaph the recorder, came to Hezekiah, with torn garments, and they related to him the words of Rabshakeh.   כבוַיָּבֹ֣א אֶלְיָקִ֣ים בֶּן־חִלְקִיָּ֣הוּ אֲשֶׁר־עַל־הַ֠בַּיִת וְשֶׁבְנָ֨א הַסּוֹפֵ֜ר וְיוֹאָ֨ח בֶּן־אָסָ֧ף הַמַּזְכִּ֛יר אֶל־חִזְקִיָּ֖הוּ קְרוּעֵ֣י בְגָדִ֑ים וַיַּגִּ֣ידוּ ל֔וֹ אֵ֖ת דִּבְרֵ֥י רַבְשָׁקֵֽה:
with torn garments: Because they heard blasphemies of the Name of God, and that is tantamount to cursing the Name.