Verses 24–33

Here we conclude the story of Hezekiah with an account of three things concerning him:—

I. His sickness and his recovery from it, 2 Chron. 32:24. The account of his sickness is but briefly mentioned here; we had a large narrative of it, 2 Kgs. 20:1-11 His disease seemed likely to be mortal. In the extremity of it he prayed. God answered him, and gave him a sign that he should recover, the going back of the sun ten degrees.

II. His sin and his repentance for it, which were also more largely related, 2 Kgs. 20:12-21 Yet several things are here observed concerning his sin which we had not there. 1. The occasion of it was the king of Babylon’s sending an honourable embassy to him to congratulate him on his recovery. But here it is added that they came to enquire of the wonder that was done in the land (2 Chron. 32:31), either the destruction of the Assyrian army or the going back of the sun. The Assyrians were their enemies; they came to enquire concerning their fall, that they might triumph in it. The sun was their god; they came to enquire concerning the favour he had shown to Hezekiah, that they might honour him whom their god honoured, 2 Chron. 32:31. These miracles were wrought to alarm and awaken a stupid careless world, and turn them from dumb and lame idols to the living God; and men were startled by them, but not converted till a greater wonder was done in that land, in the appearing of Jesus Christ, Matt. 2:1, 2. 2. God left him to himself in it, to try him, 2 Chron. 32:31. God, by the power of his almighty grace, could have prevented the sin; but he permitted it for wise and holy ends, that, by this trial and his weakness in it, he might know, that is, it might be known (a usual Hebraism), what was in his heart, that he was not so perfect in grace as he thought he was, but had his follies and infirmities as other men. God left him to himself to be proud of his wealth, to keep him from being proud of his holiness. It is good for us to know ourselves, and our own weakness and sinfulness, that we may not be conceited or self-confident, but may always think meanly of ourselves and live in a dependence upon divine grace. We know not the corruption of our own hearts, nor what we shall do if God leave us to ourselves. Lord, lead us not into temptation. 3. His sin was the his heart was lifted up, 2 Chron. 32:25. He was proud of the honour God had put upon him in so many instances, the honour his neighbours did him in bringing him presents, and now that the king of Babylon should send an embassy to him to caress and court him: this exalted him above measure. When Hezekiah had destroyed other idolatries he began to idolize himself. O what need have great men, and good men, and useful men, to study their own infirmities and follies, and their obligations to free grace, that they may never think highly of themselves, and to beg earnestly of God that he will hide pride from them and always keep them humble! 4. The aggravation of his sin was the he made so bad a return to God for his favours to him, making even those favours the food and fuel of his pride (2 Chron. 32:25): He rendered not again according to the benefit done unto him. Note, It is justly expected that those who have received mercy from God should study to make some suitable returns for the mercies they have received; and, if they do not, their ingratitude will certainly be charged upon them. Though we cannot render an equivalent, or the payment of a debt, we must render the acknowledgment of a favour. What shall I render that may be so accepted? Ps. 116:12. 5. The divine displeasure he was under for this sin; though it was but a heart-sin, and the overt-act seemed not only innocent but civil (the showing of his treasures to a friend), yet wrath came upon him and his kingdom for it, 2 Chron. 32:25. Note, Pride is a sin that God hates as much as any, and particularly in his own people. Those that exalt themselves must expect to be abased, and put under humbling providences. Wrath came on David for his pride in numbering the people. 6. His repentance for this sin: He humbled himself for the pride of his heart. Note, (1.) Though God may, for wise and holy ends, suffer his people to fall into sin, yet he will not suffer them to lie still in it; they shall not be utterly cast down. (2.) Heart-sins are to be repented of, though they go no further. (3.) Self-humiliation is a necessary branch of repentance. (4.) Pride of heart, by which we have lifted up ourselves, is a sin for which we ought in a special manner to humble ourselves. (5.) People ought to mourn for the sins of their rulers. The inhabitants of Jerusalem humbled themselves with Hezekiah, because they either knew that they also had been guilty of the same sin, or at least fea ede red that they might share in the punishment. When David, in his pride, numbered the people, they all smarted for his sin. 7. The reprieve granted thereupon. The wrath came not in his days. While he lived the country had peace and truth prevailed; so much does repentance avail to put by, or at least to put off, the tokens of God’s anger.

III. Here is the honour done to Hezekiah, 1. By the providence of God while he lived. He had exceeding much riches and honour (2 Chron. 32:27), replenished his stores, victualled his campus, fortified his city, and did all he wished to do; for God had given him very much substance, 2 Chron. 32:29. Among his great performances, his turning the water-course of Gihon is mentioned (2 Chron. 32:30), which was done upon occasion of Sennacherib’s invasion, 2 Chron. 32:3, 4. The water had come into that which is called the old pool (Isa. 22:11) and the upper pool (Isa. 7:3); but he gathered the waters into a new place, for the greater convenience of the city, called the lower pool, Isa. 22:9. And, in general, he prospered in all his works, for they were good works. 2. By the respect paid to his memory when he was dead. (1.) The prophet Isaiah wrote his life and reign (2 Chron. 32:32), his acts and his goodness or piety, or which it is part of the honour to be recorded and remembered, for examples to others. (2.) The people did him honour at his death (2 Chron. 32:33), buried him in the chief of the sepulchres, made as great a burning for him as for Asa, or, which is a much greater honour, made great lamentation for him, as for Josiah. See how the honour of serious godliness is manifested in the consciences of men. Though it is to be feared that the generality of the people did not heartily comply with the reforming kings, yet they could not but praise their endeavours for reformation, and the memory of those kings was blessed among them. It is a debt we owe to those who have been eminently useful in their day to do them honour at their death, when they are out of the reach of flattery and we have seen the end of their conversation. The due payment of this debt will be an encouragement to others to do likewise.