Then said Eliakim and Shebna and Joah unto Rabshakeh, Speak, I pray thee, unto thy servants in the Syrian language; for we understand it: and speak not to us in the Jews’ language, in the ears of the people that are on the wall. But Rabshakeh said, Hath my master sent me to thy master and to thee to speak these words? hath he not sent me to the men that sit upon the wall, that they may eat their own dung, and drink their own piss with you? Then Rabshakeh stood, and cried with a loud voice in the Jews’ language, and said, Hear ye the words of the great king, the king of Assyria. Thus saith the king, Let not Hezekiah deceive you: for he shall not be able to deliver you. Neither let Hezekiah make you trust in the LORD, saying, The LORD will surely deliver us: this city shall not be delivered into the hand of the king of Assyria. Hearken not to Hezekiah: for thus saith the king of Assyria, Make an agreement with me by a present, and come out to me: and eat ye every one of his vine, and every one of his fig tree, and drink ye every one the waters of his own cistern; Until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of corn and wine, a land of bread and vineyards. Beware lest Hezekiah persuade you, saying, The LORD will deliver us. Hath any of the gods of the nations delivered his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria? Where are the gods of Hamath and Arphad? where are the gods of Sepharvaim? and have they delivered Samaria out of my hand? Who are they among all the gods of these lands, that have delivered their land out of my hand, that the LORD should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand?
Hezekiah’s envoy feared that the Rabshakeh’s insolent boasts and threats, spoken in Hebrew, will undermine the morale of the men of Judah, so they ask him to speak in Aramaic. He not only refused, but began another loud lecture, charging that Hezekiah was deceiving the people into false security. He promised the men of Judah plenty of food if they surrendered to him, plus eventual relocation in a land of equal fertility. He listed a series of conquered cities whose gods had not been able to save them from the Assyrian juggernaut, and pointedly asked what chance Jerusalem had. The Rabshakeh arrogantly decided that God’s people should surrender.