Isaiah 36:2-3. “And the king of Assyria sent Rabshakeh from Lachish to Jerusalem unto kin g Hezekiah with a great army. And he stood by the conduit of the upper pool in the highway of the fuller’s field. Then came forth unto him Eliakim, Hilkiah’s son, which was over the house, and Shebna, the scribe, and Joah, Asaphs’s son, the recorder.”
Rabshakeh was the head of the kings of Assyria’s cup bearers, those men who were chosen to drink the king’s wine before he did in case it was poisoned. Cushy job, but one wonders if it was worth the risk. In any case, he and his cohort of well-armed soldiers were delegated to meet with King Hezekiah’s representatives. Rabshakeh was there to deliver an ultimatum to Hezekiah. Even the choice of the meeting place was significant. It was the same place in which Isaiah had stood with Ahaz about 28 years before (v. 2; 7:3).
King Hezekiah sent Eliakim, who was overseer of the King’s palace, along with Shebna the scribe and Joah the recorder to this historic meeting. Apparently it was important to Hezekiah to have a detailed, accurate account of the meeting. We’ll see why a bit later in the story.
So now the scene is set for a very powerful and arrogant conqueror to threaten little Hezekiah and his city, ripe for the plucking. And the message is not kind.