Hezekiah, you’re a goner
Hezekiah on his deathbed1 Hezekiah got terribly sick at the time. He was about to die. Isaiah son of Amoz came to him and delivered the bad news. “This message is from the LORD. You’re going to die. Get your personal and business affairs in order. You’re not going to get well.”
2 Hezekiah turned away from Isaiah and faced the wall. He started praying to the LORD.
3 “Please LORD, I have lived my life devoted to you with all my heart. I’ve behaved myself and done what you wanted.” Hezekiah sobbed in grief.
On second thought: 15 more years4 The LORD spoke to Isaiah.
5 “Turn around,” the LORD said. “Go back to Hezekiah. Tell him the LORD, the God of your ancestor David has another message for him: “I see you. I see the tears. I heard your words. And I’m adding 15 years to your life. 6 I’m going to rescue the city. I’m not going to let the Assyrians have it.
God turns back the clock7 I’m going to give you a sign to help you believe what I’m telling you. 8 I’m going to make the shadow on the Ahaz Staircase Sundialgo backwards 10 steps.”
That’s what happened. The sun’s shadow dropped back 10 steps.
Hezekiah’s song of thanks9 King Hezekiah of Judah wrote these words after he recovered from his illness.
It was noontime in my life,
The middle of my years.
Yet it was time for me to go.
I had a date with Death.
For he’s among the living.
I wouldn’t see humans
For they’re creatures of this world.
12 My home is taken from me
Like a shepherd’s tent taken down.
I’m like a weaver robbed of his loom.
I have to roll up my life and leave.
One day you let me live
The next day you take my life.
13 I cry all night and plead for help.
It crushes me to know I’m dying.
I can handle the daytime,
But nighttime is more than I can take.
14 I squawk like a swallow,
Rattle on like a crane.
Sometimes I just moan like dove.
My eyes are tired of looking up to you.
Lord, this hurts me. Please help.
15 What can I say about what happened?
He spoke to me. He did it himself.
I can’t sleep now,
As I think about how bitter I became.
16 Lord, life is yours to give.
You breathed life into my spirit.
And you made me healthy again.
17 Despite my bitterness at the thought of dying
You gave me back my life,
You restored my health
And threw my sins out of sight.
18 Deathcan’t thank you.
The grave can’t praise you.
The dead don’t count on you.
19 It’s the living who thank you,
As I do today.
From one generation to another,
Fathers tell children to trust you.
20 The LORD has saved me.
And for the rest of our lives
In the Temple of the LORD
We’ll sing this song
As the strings play along. 21 Isaiah said, let’s do this so Hezekiah will recover. Take some figs and apply them to the lesions on his skin and he’ll get well.
22 Hezekiah asked, “What sign will the LORD produce to convince me that I’ll recover and worship at the Temple again?”
The Ahaz staircase was apparently just a stairway that caught the changing shadows of the day in a way that allowed people to measure time. The builder may have designed the stairway as a sundial or not. But it seems people used it that way. As the sun moved from east to west, the shadow moved from west to east. But for Hezekiah that day, the shadow took a different route. How? Would a passing cloud mimic a shadow? The writer doesn’t say how God did it. And there’s no indication Hezekiah asked.
Literally, Sheol, a word Old Testament writers used to describe the place of the dead. It is a kind of underworld where the dead are cut off from the living—and from God—and there is no coming back.
The meaning of the original Hebrew sentence is unclear. It could read more literally “all day from morning to night you finish me,” or “in one day from morning to night you take my life.” But how to interpret either one is a guessing game.
The Hebrew language here is hard to understand. Translators handle the guesswork in many different ways.
Verses 21-22 are missing from the oldest copy of Isaiah, a 2,000-year-old complete scroll found among the Dead Sea Scrolls, copied around the time of Jesus’s ministry or the century before.
- Sorry, there are currently no questions for this chapter.