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King Hezekiah's Illness and Recovery(A)

20 About this time King Hezekiah became sick and almost died. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to see him and said to him, “The Lord tells you that you are to put everything in order, because you will not recover. Get ready to die.”

Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed: “Remember, Lord, that I have served you faithfully and loyally and that I have always tried to do what you wanted me to.” And he began to cry bitterly.

Isaiah left the king, but before he had passed through the central courtyard of the palace the Lord told him to go back to Hezekiah, ruler of the Lord's people, and say to him, “I, the Lord, the God of your ancestor David, have heard your prayer and seen your tears. I will heal you, and in three days you will go to the Temple. I will let you live fifteen years longer. I will rescue you and this city Jerusalem from the emperor of Assyria. I will defend this city, for the sake of my own honor and because of the promise I made to my servant David.”

Then Isaiah told the king's attendants to put on his boil a paste made of figs, and he would get well.[a] King Hezekiah asked, “What is the sign to prove that the Lord will heal me and that three days later I will be able to go to the Temple?”

Isaiah replied, “The Lord will give you a sign to prove that he will keep his promise. Now, would you prefer to have the shadow on the stairway go forward ten steps or go back ten steps?”[b]

10 Hezekiah answered, “It's easy to have the shadow go forward ten steps![c] Have it go back ten steps.”[d]

11 Isaiah prayed to the Lord, and the Lord made the shadow go back ten steps[e] on the stairway[f] set up by King Ahaz.

Messengers from Babylonia(B)

12 About that same time the king of Babylonia, Merodach Baladan, the son of Baladan, heard that King Hezekiah had been sick, so he sent him a letter and a present. 13 Hezekiah welcomed the messengers and showed them his wealth—his silver and gold, his spices and perfumes, and all his military equipment. There was nothing in his storerooms or anywhere in his kingdom that he did not show them. 14 Then the prophet Isaiah went to King Hezekiah and asked, “Where did these men come from and what did they say to you?”

Hezekiah answered, “They came from a very distant country, from Babylonia.”

15 “What did they see in the palace?”

“They saw everything. There is nothing in the storerooms that I didn't show them.”

16 Isaiah then told the king, “The Lord Almighty says that 17 (C)a time is coming when everything in your palace, everything that your ancestors have stored up to this day, will be carried off to Babylonia. Nothing will be left. 18 (D)Some of your own direct descendants will be taken away and made eunuchs to serve in the palace of the king of Babylonia.”

19 King Hezekiah understood this to mean that there would be peace and security during his lifetime, so he replied, “The message you have given me from the Lord is good.”

The End of Hezekiah's Reign(E)

20 Everything else that King Hezekiah did, his brave deeds, and an account of how he built a reservoir and dug a tunnel to bring water into the city, are all recorded in The History of the Kings of Judah.

21 Hezekiah died, and his son Manasseh succeeded him as king.

Footnotes

  1. 2 Kings 20:7 One ancient translation (and see Is 38.21) figs, and he would get well; Hebrew figs. They did so, and he got well.
  2. 2 Kings 20:9 stairway … steps … steps…; or sundial … degrees … degrees.
  3. 2 Kings 20:10 steps; or degrees.
  4. 2 Kings 20:10 steps; or degrees.
  5. 2 Kings 20:11 steps; or degrees.
  6. 2 Kings 20:11 stairway; or sundial. Archaeological evidence suggests that the stairway referred to in this passage was one specially constructed to tell time.

Hezekiah’s Illness(A)

20 In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, “This is what the Lord says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover.”

Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, “Remember,(B) Lord, how I have walked(C) before you faithfully(D) and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

Before Isaiah had left the middle court, the word of the Lord came to him: “Go back and tell Hezekiah, the ruler of my people, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of your father David, says: I have heard(E) your prayer and seen your tears;(F) I will heal you. On the third day from now you will go up to the temple of the Lord. I will add fifteen years to your life. And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend(G) this city for my sake and for the sake of my servant David.’”

Then Isaiah said, “Prepare a poultice of figs.” They did so and applied it to the boil,(H) and he recovered.

Hezekiah had asked Isaiah, “What will be the sign that the Lord will heal me and that I will go up to the temple of the Lord on the third day from now?”

Isaiah answered, “This is the Lord’s sign(I) to you that the Lord will do what he has promised: Shall the shadow go forward ten steps, or shall it go back ten steps?”

10 “It is a simple(J) matter for the shadow to go forward ten steps,” said Hezekiah. “Rather, have it go back ten steps.”

11 Then the prophet Isaiah called on the Lord, and the Lord made the shadow go back(K) the ten steps it had gone down on the stairway of Ahaz.

Envoys From Babylon(L)(M)

12 At that time Marduk-Baladan son of Baladan king of Babylon sent Hezekiah letters and a gift, because he had heard of Hezekiah’s illness. 13 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.

14 Then Isaiah the prophet went to King Hezekiah and asked, “What did those men say, and where did they come from?”

“From a distant land,” Hezekiah replied. “They came from Babylon.”

15 The prophet asked, “What did they see in your palace?”

“They saw everything in my palace,” Hezekiah said. “There is nothing among my treasures that I did not show them.”

16 Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the Lord: 17 The time will surely come when everything in your palace, and all that your predecessors have stored up until this day, will be carried off to Babylon.(N) Nothing will be left, says the Lord. 18 And some of your descendants,(O) your own flesh and blood who will be born to you, will be taken away, and they will become eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.”(P)

19 “The word of the Lord you have spoken is good,” Hezekiah replied. For he thought, “Will there not be peace and security in my lifetime?”

20 As for the other events of Hezekiah’s reign, all his achievements and how he made the pool(Q) and the tunnel(R) by which he brought water into the city, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah? 21 Hezekiah rested with his ancestors. And Manasseh his son succeeded him as king.

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