Add parallel Print Page Options

20 Hezekiah now became deathly sick, and Isaiah the prophet went to visit him.

“Set your affairs in order and prepare to die,” Isaiah told him. “The Lord says you won’t recover.”

Hezekiah turned his face to the wall.

“O Lord,” he pleaded, “remember how I’ve always tried to obey you and to please you in everything I do. . . . ” Then he broke down and cried.

So before Isaiah had left the courtyard, the Lord spoke to him again.

“Go back to Hezekiah, the leader of my people, and tell him that the Lord God of his ancestor David has heard his prayer and seen his tears. I will heal him, and three days from now he will be out of bed and at the Temple! I will add fifteen years to his life and save him and this city from the king of Assyria. And it will all be done for the glory of my own name and for the sake of my servant David.”

Isaiah then instructed Hezekiah to boil some dried figs and to make a paste of them and spread it on the boil. And he recovered!

Meanwhile, King Hezekiah had said to Isaiah, “Do a miracle to prove to me that the Lord will heal me and that I will be able to go to the Temple again three days from now.”

“All right, the Lord will give you a proof,” Isaiah told him. “Do you want the shadow on the sundial to go forward ten points or backward ten points?”

10 “The shadow always moves forward,” Hezekiah replied; “make it go backward.”

11 So Isaiah asked the Lord to do this, and he caused the shadow to move ten points backward on the sundial of Ahaz![a]

12 At that time Merodach-baladan (the son of King Baladan of Babylon) sent ambassadors with greetings and a present to Hezekiah, for he had learned of his sickness. 13 Hezekiah welcomed them and showed them all his treasures—the silver, gold, spices, aromatic oils, the armory—everything.

14 Then Isaiah went to King Hezekiah and asked him, “What did these men want? Where are they from?”

“From far away in Babylon,” Hezekiah replied.

15 “What have they seen in your palace?” Isaiah asked.

And Hezekiah replied, “Everything. I showed them all my treasures.”

16 Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Listen to the word of the Lord: 17 The time will come when everything in this palace shall be carried to Babylon. All the treasures of your ancestors will be taken—nothing shall be left. 18 Some of your own sons will be taken away and made into eunuchs who will serve in the palace of the king of Babylon.”

19 “All right,” Hezekiah replied, “if this is what the Lord wants, it is good.” But he was really thinking, “At least there will be peace and security during the remainder of my own life!”

20 The rest of the history of Hezekiah and his great deeds—including the pool and conduit he made and how he brought water into the city—are recorded in The Annals of the Kings of Judah. 21 When he died, his son Manasseh became the new king.


  1. 2 Kings 20:11 on the sundial of Ahaz, or “on the steps of Ahaz.” Egyptian sundials in this period were made in the form of miniature staircases, so that the shadow moved up and down the steps.

Hezekiah’s Illness(A)

20 In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, “This is what the Lord says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover.”

Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, “Remember,(B) Lord, how I have walked(C) before you faithfully(D) and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

Before Isaiah had left the middle court, the word of the Lord came to him: “Go back and tell Hezekiah, the ruler of my people, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of your father David, says: I have heard(E) your prayer and seen your tears;(F) I will heal you. On the third day from now you will go up to the temple of the Lord. I will add fifteen years to your life. And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend(G) this city for my sake and for the sake of my servant David.’”

Then Isaiah said, “Prepare a poultice of figs.” They did so and applied it to the boil,(H) and he recovered.

Hezekiah had asked Isaiah, “What will be the sign that the Lord will heal me and that I will go up to the temple of the Lord on the third day from now?”

Isaiah answered, “This is the Lord’s sign(I) to you that the Lord will do what he has promised: Shall the shadow go forward ten steps, or shall it go back ten steps?”

10 “It is a simple(J) matter for the shadow to go forward ten steps,” said Hezekiah. “Rather, have it go back ten steps.”

11 Then the prophet Isaiah called on the Lord, and the Lord made the shadow go back(K) the ten steps it had gone down on the stairway of Ahaz.

Envoys From Babylon(L)(M)

12 At that time Marduk-Baladan son of Baladan king of Babylon sent Hezekiah letters and a gift, because he had heard of Hezekiah’s illness. 13 Hezekiah received the envoys and showed them all that was in his storehouses—the silver, the gold, the spices and the fine olive oil—his armory and everything found among his treasures. There was nothing in his palace or in all his kingdom that Hezekiah did not show them.

14 Then Isaiah the prophet went to King Hezekiah and asked, “What did those men say, and where did they come from?”

“From a distant land,” Hezekiah replied. “They came from Babylon.”

15 The prophet asked, “What did they see in your palace?”

“They saw everything in my palace,” Hezekiah said. “There is nothing among my treasures that I did not show them.”

16 Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the Lord: 17 The time will surely come when everything in your palace, and all that your predecessors have stored up until this day, will be carried off to Babylon.(N) Nothing will be left, says the Lord. 18 And some of your descendants,(O) your own flesh and blood who will be born to you, will be taken away, and they will become eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.”(P)

19 “The word of the Lord you have spoken is good,” Hezekiah replied. For he thought, “Will there not be peace and security in my lifetime?”

20 As for the other events of Hezekiah’s reign, all his achievements and how he made the pool(Q) and the tunnel(R) by which he brought water into the city, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah? 21 Hezekiah rested with his ancestors. And Manasseh his son succeeded him as king.