Sennacherib Invades Judah.
13 Then the Rabshakeh stood and called out in a loud voice in the language of Judah: "Hear the words of the great king, the king of Assyria!
14 Thus says the king: 'Do not let Hezekiah deceive you, for he will not be able to deliver you.
15 Do not let Hezekiah make you trust in the LORD by saying, "The LORD will surely deliver us. This city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria."
16 Do not listen to Hezekiah. For thus says the king of Assyria: Make your peace with me and come out to me. Then each one of you will eat of his own vine, and each one of his own fig tree, and each one of you will drink the water of his own cistern,
17 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.
18 Beware lest Hezekiah mislead you by saying, "The LORD will deliver us." Has any of the gods of the nations delivered his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria?
19 Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? Have they delivered Samaria out of my hand?
20 Who among all the gods of these lands have delivered their lands out of my hand, that the LORD should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand?'"
21 But they were silent and answered him not a word, for the king’s command was, "Do not answer him."
22 Then Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, who was over the household, and Shebna the secretary, and Joah the son of Asaph, the recorder, came to Hezekiah with their clothes torn, and told him the words of the Rabshakeh.
The Assyrians were attempting to intimidate Judah by "negotiating" with a megaphone. That is, the intent was to cause a rebellion by increasing the fear factor. The Assyrian idea of a successful negotiation was to bring about complete surrender. The Assyrian way was to completely remove the conquered people from their land and to relocate them. This is what had happened to Israel. Their primary ploy here, knowing the reputation of the God of Judah, was to emphasize the inability of gods from other vanquished foes to save from the Assyrian onslaught. [Isaiah 36:19-20 -- "Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? Have they delivered Samaria out of my hand? Who among all the gods of these lands have delivered their lands out of my hand, that the LORD should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand?'"]
At least Judah listened to the instruction of King Hezekiah and did not answer the Assyrian taunts. [Isaiah 36:21 -- "But they were silent and answered him not a word, for the king’s command was, "Do not answer him."] Now they needed to take the next step; that is, to listen to the words of King Hezekiah concerning whom they should trust. ["Isaiah 36:18 "Beware lest Hezekiah mislead you by saying, 'The LORD will deliver us.'"] It may be easier to remain silent in a hostile environment than it is to be bold in a hostile environment. Boldness here would not be the return of taunts, but rather the proclamation that the progression of God's glory cannot be thwarted by the resistance of man.