King Hezekiah's Illness and Recovery
(Is 38.1–8, 21–22; 2 Chr 32.24–26)
1About this time King Hezekiah fell ill 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.”
2Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed: 3“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.
4Isaiah left the king, but before he had passed through the central courtyard of the palace the LORD told him 5to 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. 6I will let you live fifteen years longer. I will rescue you and this city of Jerusalem from the emperor of Assyria. I will defend this city, for the sake of my own honour and because of the promise I made to my servant David.”
7Then Isaiah told the king's attendants to put on his boil a paste made of figs, and he would get well.#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. 8King 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?”
9Isaiah replied, “The LORD will give you a sign to prove that he will keep his promise. Now, would you prefer the shadow on the stairway to go forward ten steps or go back ten steps?”#20.9 stairway… steps… steps; or sundial… divisions… divisions.
10Hezekiah answered, “It's easy to make the shadow go forward ten steps!#20.10, 20.11 steps; or divisions. Make it go back ten steps.”#20.10, 20.11 steps; or divisions.
11Isaiah prayed to the LORD, and the LORD made the shadow go back ten steps#20.11, 20.10 steps; or divisions. on the stairway#20.11 stairway; or sundial. Archaeological evidence suggests that the stairway referred to in this passage was one specially constructed to tell the time. set up by King Ahaz.
Messengers from Babylonia
12About that same time the king of Babylonia, Merodach Baladan, the son of Baladan, heard that King Hezekiah had been ill, so he sent him a letter and a present. 13Hezekiah 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. 14Then 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.”
16Isaiah then said to the king, “The LORD Almighty says that 17#2 Kgs 24.13; 2 Chr 36.10a 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#2 Kgs 24.14–15; Dan 1.1–7Some of your own direct descendants will be taken away and made eunuchs to serve in the palace of the king of Babylonia.”
19King 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
(2 Chr 32.32–33)
20Everything 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. 21Hezekiah died, and his son Manasseh succeeded him as king.