2 Kings 20
New English Translation
Hezekiah is Healed
20 In those days Hezekiah was stricken with a terminal illness.[a] The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz visited him and told him, “This is what the Lord has said, ‘Give your household instructions, for you are about to die; you will not get well.’”[b] 2 He turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, 3 “Please, Lord. Remember how I have served you[c] faithfully and with wholehearted devotion,[d] and how I have carried out your will.”[e] Then Hezekiah wept bitterly.[f]
4 Isaiah had not yet left the middle courtyard[g] when the Lord’s message came to him, 5 “Go back and tell Hezekiah, the leader of my people: ‘This is what the Lord God of your ancestor David has said: “I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Look, I will heal you. The day after tomorrow[h] you will go up to the Lord’s temple. 6 I will add fifteen years to your life and rescue you and this city from the king of Assyria. I will shield this city for the sake of my reputation and because of my promise to David my servant.”’”[i] 7 Isaiah ordered, “Get a fig cake.” So they did as he ordered[j] and placed it on the ulcerated sore, and he recovered.[k]
8 Hezekiah had said to Isaiah, “What is the confirming sign that the Lord will heal me and that I will go up to the Lord’s temple the day after tomorrow?” 9 Isaiah replied, “This is your sign from the Lord confirming that the Lord will do what he has said. Do you want the shadow to move ahead ten steps or to go back ten steps?”[l] 10 Hezekiah answered, “It is easy for the shadow to lengthen ten steps, but not for it[m] to go back ten steps.” 11 Isaiah the prophet called out to the Lord, and the Lord[n] made the shadow go back ten steps on the stairs of Ahaz.[o]
Messengers from Babylon Visit Hezekiah
12 At that time Merodach Baladan[p] son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent messengers with letters and a gift to Hezekiah, for he had heard that Hezekiah was ill. 13 Hezekiah welcomed[q] them and showed them his whole storehouse, with its silver, gold, spices, and high quality olive oil, as well as his armory and everything in his treasuries. Hezekiah showed them everything in his palace and in his whole kingdom.[r] 14 Isaiah the prophet visited King Hezekiah and asked him, “What did these men say? Where do they come from?” Hezekiah replied, “They come from the distant land of Babylon.” 15 Isaiah[s] asked, “What have they seen in your palace?” Hezekiah replied, “They have seen everything in my palace. I showed them everything[t] in my treasuries.” 16 Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Listen to the Lord’s message, 17 ‘Look, a time is[u] coming when everything in your palace and the things your ancestors have accumulated to this day will be carried away to Babylon; nothing will be left,’ says the Lord. 18 ‘Some of your very own descendants whom you father[v] will be taken away and will be made eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.’” 19 Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “The Lord’s message which you have announced is appropriate.”[w] Then he added,[x] “At least there will be peace and stability during my lifetime.”[y]
20 The rest of the events of Hezekiah’s reign and all his accomplishments, including how he built a pool and conduit to bring[z] water into the city, are recorded in the scroll called the Annals of the Kings of Judah.[aa] 21 Hezekiah passed away[ab] and his son Manasseh replaced him as king.
- 2 Kings 20:1 tn Heb “was sick to the point of dying.”
- 2 Kings 20:1 tn Heb “will not live.”
- 2 Kings 20:3 tn Heb “walked before you.” For a helpful discussion of the background and meaning of this Hebrew idiom, see M. Cogan and H. Tadmor, II Kings (AB), 254.
- 2 Kings 20:3 tn Heb “and with a complete heart.”
- 2 Kings 20:3 tn Heb “and that which is good in your eyes I have done.”
- 2 Kings 20:3 tn Heb “wept with great weeping.”
- 2 Kings 20:4 tc “Courtyard” (חָצֵר, khatser) is the reading tradition (Qere) also supported by the LXX, while the written text (Kethib) has הָעִיר (haʿir), “the city.”
- 2 Kings 20:5 tn Heb “on the third day.”
- 2 Kings 20:6 tn Heb “for my sake and for the sake of David my servant.”
- 2 Kings 20:7 tn Heb “and they got [a fig cake].”
- 2 Kings 20:7 tn Heb “and he lived.”
- 2 Kings 20:9 tn The Hebrew הָלַךְ (halakh, a perfect), “it has moved ahead,” should be emended to הֲיֵלֵךְ (hayelekh, an imperfect with interrogative he [ה] prefixed), “shall it move ahead.”
- 2 Kings 20:10 tn Heb “the shadow.” The noun has been replaced by the pronoun (“it”) in the translation for stylistic reasons.
- 2 Kings 20:11 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the Lord) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- 2 Kings 20:11 tn Heb “made the shadow return, on the steps which [the sun] had gone down, on the steps of Ahaz, back ten steps.” sn These steps probably functioned as a type of sundial. See HALOT 614 s.v. מַעֲלָה and M. Cogan and H. Tadmor, II Kings (AB), 256.
- 2 Kings 20:12 tc The MT has “Berodach-Baladan,” but several Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic, and Latin witnesses agree with the parallel passage in Isa 39:1 and read “Merodach Baladan.”
- 2 Kings 20:13 tc Heb “listened to.” Some Hebrew mss, as well as the LXX, Syriac, and Vulgate versions agree with the parallel passage in Isa 39:2 and read, “was happy with.”
- 2 Kings 20:13 tn Heb “there was nothing which Hezekiah did not show them in his house and in all his kingdom.”
- 2 Kings 20:15 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Isaiah) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- 2 Kings 20:15 tn Heb “there was not a thing that I did not show them.”
- 2 Kings 20:17 tn Heb “days are.”
- 2 Kings 20:18 tn Heb “Some of your sons, who go out from you, whom you father.”
- 2 Kings 20:19 tn Heb “good.”
- 2 Kings 20:19 tn Heb “and he said.” Many English versions translate, “for he thought.” The verb אָמַר (ʾamar), “say,” is sometimes used of what one thinks (that is, says to oneself). Cf. NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT.
- 2 Kings 20:19 tn Heb “Is it not [true] there will be peace and stability in my days?” The rhetorical question expects the answer, “Yes, there will be peace and stability.”
- 2 Kings 20:20 tn Heb “and he brought.”
- 2 Kings 20:20 tn Heb “As for the rest of the events of Hezekiah, and all his strength, and how he made a pool and a conduit and brought water to the city, are they not written on the scroll of the events of the days of the kings of Judah?”
- 2 Kings 20:21 tn Heb “lay down with his fathers.”