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

Hezekiah’s Illness(A)

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

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

Then the word(I) of the Lord came to Isaiah: “Go and tell Hezekiah, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of your father David,(J) says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears;(K) I will add fifteen years(L) to your life. And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend(M) this city.

“‘This is the Lord’s sign(N) to you that the Lord will do what he has promised: I will make the shadow cast by the sun go back the ten steps it has gone down on the stairway of Ahaz.’” So the sunlight went back the ten steps it had gone down.(O)

A writing of Hezekiah king of Judah after his illness and recovery:

10 I said, “In the prime of my life(P)
    must I go through the gates of death(Q)
    and be robbed of the rest of my years?(R)
11 I said, “I will not again see the Lord himself(S)
    in the land of the living;(T)
no longer will I look on my fellow man,
    or be with those who now dwell in this world.
12 Like a shepherd’s tent(U) my house
    has been pulled down(V) and taken from me.
Like a weaver I have rolled(W) up my life,
    and he has cut me off from the loom;(X)
    day and night(Y) you made an end of me.
13 I waited patiently(Z) till dawn,
    but like a lion he broke(AA) all my bones;(AB)
    day and night(AC) you made an end of me.
14 I cried like a swift or thrush,
    I moaned like a mourning dove.(AD)
My eyes grew weak(AE) as I looked to the heavens.
    I am being threatened; Lord, come to my aid!”(AF)

15 But what can I say?(AG)
    He has spoken to me, and he himself has done this.(AH)
I will walk humbly(AI) all my years
    because of this anguish of my soul.(AJ)
16 Lord, by such things people live;
    and my spirit finds life in them too.
You restored me to health
    and let me live.(AK)
17 Surely it was for my benefit(AL)
    that I suffered such anguish.(AM)
In your love you kept me
    from the pit(AN) of destruction;
you have put all my sins(AO)
    behind your back.(AP)
18 For the grave(AQ) cannot praise you,
    death cannot sing your praise;(AR)
those who go down to the pit(AS)
    cannot hope for your faithfulness.
19 The living, the living—they praise(AT) you,
    as I am doing today;
parents tell their children(AU)
    about your faithfulness.

20 The Lord will save me,
    and we will sing(AV) with stringed instruments(AW)
all the days of our lives(AX)
    in the temple(AY) of the Lord.

21 Isaiah had said, “Prepare a poultice of figs and apply it to the boil, and he will recover.”

22 Hezekiah had asked, “What will be the sign(AZ) that I will go up to the temple of the Lord?”

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