2 Kings 18:14-16 (NIV)
14 So Hezekiah king of Judah sent this message to the king of Assyria at Lachish: “I have done wrong. Withdraw from me, and I will pay whatever you demand of me.” The king of Assyria exacted from Hezekiah king of Judah three hundred talents[c] of silver and thirty talents[d] of gold.
15 So Hezekiah gave him all the silver that was found in the temple of the Lord and in the treasuries of the royal palace.
16 At this time Hezekiah king of Judah stripped off the gold with which he had covered the doors and doorposts of the temple of the Lord, and gave it to the king of Assyria.
Archaeological discovery of the Royal Assyrian annals apparently provides some hints about this matter. Scholars had composed a Table listing the tribute payments demanded by eight Assyrian monarchs over two centuries. There was a record of Hezekiah's tribute.
However, soon after the defeat of Assyria, in 2 Kings 20:12-19, envoys from Babylon visited Hezekiah for consolation of his illness, and likely wanted to know how the Assyrians were defeated. 2 Kings 20:13 records:
Hezekiah received the envoys and showed them all that was in his storehouses—the silver, the gold, the spices and the fine olive oil—his armory and everything found among his treasures. There was nothing in his palace or in all his kingdom that Hezekiah did not show them.
The tribute of Hezekiah by that time was huge. If he did pay the tribute, how could he show the envoy such a vast treasure? Would it be possible that;
- The tribute was paid but in an earlier time of 701BC.
- The tribute was not paid and that was the reason Sennacherib did not retreat.