Hezekiah’s Illness and Recovery

38 In those days Hezekiah became terminally ill.(A) The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz came and said to him, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Set your house in order,(B) for you are about to die; you will not recover.’”[a]

Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord. He said, “Please, Lord, remember how I have walked before you faithfully and wholeheartedly,(C) and have done what pleases you.”(D) And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah: “Go and tell Hezekiah, ‘This is what the Lord God of your ancestor David says: I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Look, I am going to add fifteen years to your life.[b](E) And I will rescue you and this city from the grasp of the king of Assyria; I will defend this city.(F) This is the sign to you(G) from the Lord that he will do what he has promised: I am going to make the sun’s shadow that goes down on the stairway of Ahaz go back by ten steps.’”(H) So the sun’s shadow[c] went back the ten steps it had descended.

A poem by King Hezekiah of Judah after he had been sick and had recovered from his illness:

10 I said: In the prime[d] of my life(I)
I must go to the gates of Sheol;(J)
I am deprived of the rest of my years.
11 I said: I will never see the Lord,
the Lord in the land of the living;(K)
I will not look on humanity any longer
with the inhabitants of what is passing away.[e]
12 My dwelling is plucked up and removed from me
like a shepherd’s tent.(L)
I have rolled up my life like a weaver;(M)
he cuts me off from the loom.(N)
By nightfall[f] you make an end of me.(O)
13 I thought until the morning:
He will break all my bones like a lion.
By nightfall you make an end of me.
14 I chirp like a swallow or a crane;
I moan like a dove.(P)
My eyes grow weak looking upward.
Lord, I am oppressed; support me.(Q)

15 What can I say?
He has spoken to me,
and he himself has done it.
I walk along slowly all my years(R)
because of the bitterness of my soul.(S)
16 Lord, by such things people live,(T)
and in every one of them my spirit finds life;
you have restored me to health(U)
and let me live.(V)
17 Indeed, it was for my own well-being
that I had such intense bitterness;(W)
but your love has delivered me
from the Pit of destruction,(X)
for you have thrown all my sins behind your back.(Y)
18 For Sheol cannot thank you;
Death cannot praise you.(Z)
Those who go down to the Pit
cannot hope for your faithfulness.
19 The living, only the living can thank you,
as I do today;
a father will make your faithfulness known to children.(AA)
20 The Lord is ready to save me;
we will play stringed instruments
all the days of our lives
at the house of the Lord.(AB)

21 Now Isaiah(AC) had said, “Let them take a lump of pressed figs and apply it to his infected skin, so that he may recover.” 22 And Hezekiah had asked, “What is the sign that I will go up to the Lord’s temple?”

Footnotes

  1. 38:1 Lit live
  2. 38:5 Lit days, also in v. 10
  3. 38:8 Lit And the sun
  4. 38:10 Lit quiet
  5. 38:11 Some Hb mss, Tg read of the world
  6. 38:12 Lit From day until night, also in v. 13

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