King Hezekiah becomes gravely ill. The LORD miraculously heals the king. However, his pride will later lead to national calamity.
NOTE: This narrative has a parallel in 2 Kings chapter 20.
VERSE 1. In those days Hezekiah was sick and near death. Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, came to him, and said to him, “The LORD says, ‘Set your house in order, for you will die, and not live.’ ”
In those days. Since Hezekiah died in 686 BC, this illness would have been in 701 BC.
Set your house in order. We should have our house in order. However, many people do not. They are not prepared for their own passing away, whether it comes to eternal salvation or a Last Will and Testament or burial instructions.
VERSE 2. Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD,
VERSE 3. and said, “Remember now, the LORD, I beg you, how I have walked before you in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in your sight.” Then Hezekiah wept bitterly.
VERSE 4. Then the LORD’s word came to Isaiah, saying,
I will add fifteen years to your life. In verse 1 above, Hezekiah was told that his death was near. But now it is deferred for 15 more years.
Question: when we receive an unsavory message from God, is it immutable? Is it fixed like granite, unable to be changed? Must we view it with certitude? The experience of Hezekiah and Isaiah suggest not. For Hezekiah, it was as if God changed his mind.
Many people believe that by fasting and praying, by waging spiritual warfare, they can coax God into changing his mind.
VERSE 6. I will deliver you and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria, and I will defend this city.
VERSE 7. This shall be the sign to you from the LORD, that the LORD will do this thing that he has spoken.
VERSE 8. Behold, I will cause the shadow on the sundial, which has gone down on the sundial of Ahaz with the sun, to return backward ten steps.” ’ ” So the sun returned ten steps on the sundial on which it had gone down.
How this miracle of the reversal of the sun’s shadow occurred is not known. Perhaps the earth’s rotation was reversed or perhaps the sun’s rays were somehow refracted.
VERSE 9. The writing of Hezekiah king of Judah, when he had been sick, and had recovered of his sickness.
VERSE 10. I said, “In the middle of my life I go into the gates of Sheol. I am deprived of the residue of my years.”
I go into the gates of Sheol. The New Testament describes heaven and eternal life. But what does the Old Testament say about life after death? Read more »
VERSE 11. I said, “I won’t see the LORD, The LORD in the land of the living. I will see man no more with the inhabitants of the world.
VERSE 12. My dwelling is removed, and is carried away from me like a shepherd’s tent. I have rolled up my life like a weaver. He will cut me off from the loom. From day even to night you will make an end of me.
VERSE 13. I waited patiently until morning. He breaks all my bones like a lion. From day even to night you will make an end of me.
VERSE 14. I chattered like a swallow or a crane. I moaned like a dove. My eyes weaken looking upward. Lord, I am oppressed. Be my security.”
NLT translation. But what could I say? For he himself sent this sickness. Now I will walk humbly throughout my years because of this anguish I have felt.
he himself sent this sickness. Does God inflict suffering upon his people? Or do we humans simply attribute (“blame”) God for our suffering?
NLT translation. Lord, your discipline is good, for it leads to life and health. You restore my health and allow me to live!
your discipline is good. Hezekiah views his illness as a “discipline” or punishment from God. Hezekiah might put it this way:
“I was sinful. So God made me very ill. That illness was wonderful, because it brought me back to my senses, and I repented of my sin.”
That’s how the friends of Job saw it as well. They thought Job was suffering because of sin in his life.
A very different way of seeing illness is that it is a given. It is going to happen, both to the righteous and the unrighteous alike. However, when illness arrives, God can somehow cause it to work for the good.
Romans 8:28. We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, and are called according to his purpose. (NIV 1984 translation)
VERSE 17. Behold, for peace I had great anguish, but you have in love for my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption; for you have cast all my sins behind your back.
VERSE 18. For Sheol can’t praise you. Death can’t celebrate you. Those who go down into the pit can’t hope for your truth.
Those who go down into the pit. The New Testament describes heaven and eternal life. But what does the Old Testament say about life after death? Read more »
VERSE 19. The living, the living, he shall praise you, as I do today. The father shall make known your truth to the children.
NLT translation. Think of it–the LORD is ready to heal me! I will sing his praises with instruments every day of my life in the Temple of the LORD.
the LORD is ready to heal me! For those who are chronically ill, the prospect of healing is always at the forefront. It is about the only thing that gives them hope each day. We see that in the woman with the bleeding disorder for 12 years, who finally found her miracle in Jesus Christ.
a poultice on the boil. A poultice of dried figs was a common treatment for boils and ulcers in those days. The LORD used it medicinally to promote the healing. This is an example of healing occurring because of a combination of prayer, medicine, and God’s work.
VERSE 22. Hezekiah also had said, “What is the sign that I will go up to the LORD’s house?”
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.