As the narrative opens, Sennacherib launches a military campaign against Judah, quickly seizing its fortified cities. Then, Isaiah reports, “[T]he king of Assyria sent Rabshakeh from Lachish to Jerusalem to King Hezekiah with a large army” (36:2). When Eliakim and his crew go out to meet him, Rabshakeh threatens and taunts the entire kingdom, proposing a deal to secure Judah’s compliance. Rabshakeh mocks the uselessness of the alliance with Egypt, and even questions the utility of relying on the God of Israel, YHWH. “Have I now come up without the Lord’s approval against this land to destroy it?” he asks. “The Lord said to me, ‘Go up against this land and destroy it’” (36:10). He asserts that he himself, not Judah, has God’s will on his side, and that he has divine authorization for his attack on Judah.