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20 At that time, Hezekiah was deathly sick. The prophet Isaiah (Amoz’s son) went to Hezekiah.

Isaiah: This is the Eternal’s message: “This is your last chance to make your final preparations because you are not going to recover; you are going to die.”

Then Hezekiah faced the wall and began to pray to the Eternal.

Hezekiah: Eternal One, I beg You to remember that I have lived in faithfulness and given my heart to you and have practiced goodness before Your eyes.

Hezekiah was truly distraught and wept bitterly. Before Isaiah had departed from the middle court, the Eternal’s message came to him.

Eternal One: Go back and tell Hezekiah, the leader of My people, “This is the message of the Eternal One, the God of your ancestor David: ‘I have listened to your prayer and have witnessed the tears falling down your face; therefore I am going to heal you. I want you to go to the Eternal’s temple on the third day. I will add 15 years to your life, and I am also going to save you and your city from Assyria’s king. I will fight on behalf of this city in order to preserve My honor and My servant David’s honor.’”

Isaiah: Fetch a lump of figs.

They placed the figs on the king’s open sore, and he was healed.

Long before the discovery of penicillin and invention of pharmaceuticals, people understand how to use natural remedies readily available. A poultice of figs—and a healthy dose of prayer—successfully heal Hezekiah’s sore. Many other plants have similar healing qualities: wild, poisonous gourds are used in small amounts as purgatives; terebinth resin, frankincense, and myrrh are common antiseptics (even though they are more popular as cosmetics); and mandrake fruit is thought to cure female infertility. While future generations might question the healing properties of plants, they are considered powerful medicines to the people in the ancient Near East.

Hezekiah (to Isaiah): Should I be looking for a sign from the Eternal, a sign that tells me He is going to heal me and that it is time for me to go to the Eternal’s temple on the third day?

Isaiah: Yes, this is the sign the Eternal One will give for you to know He will uphold His promise to you: will the shadow move forward 10 steps or retreat 10 steps?

Hezekiah: 10 It’s nothing special for the shadow to increase 10 steps. May the shadow retreat 10 steps.

11 The prophet Isaiah called out to the Eternal, and He caused the shadow on the stairs to retreat 10 steps down Ahaz’s stairs, which had been designed as a sundial.

12 During that period in time, Berodach-baladan, one son of Baladan, Babylon’s king, heard that Hezekiah was ill, so he sent him a gift and get-well messages. 13 After Hezekiah received the gift and the letters, he gave Berodach-baladan’s messengers a tour of his treasuries and showed them all the silver, gold, spices, oils, armor, and everything else that was in the treasure house. He left nothing out of the tour of his house and province.

Isaiah (to King Hezekiah): 14 What did those men tell you, and where did they come from?

Hezekiah: They came from a faraway land—Babylon.

Isaiah: 15 How much of your house did you show to them? What all did they see?

Hezekiah: They saw everything. I left nothing out of the tour I gave them through my treasuries.

Isaiah: 16 Listen to the Eternal’s message: 17 “A time is near when everything in your house, including everything that your ancestors have contributed until today, will be taken to Babylon. Not one item will remain in your house.” This is the Eternal’s message. 18 A time is near when your sons, who are yet to be born, will be removed from your land and made to be eunuchs in the Babylonian king’s palace.”

Hezekiah: 19 The Eternal’s message that you relayed to me is good.

(to himself) Is it not good that peace and truth will rule while I still live?

20 Is not the rest of Hezekiah’s story—his power and his construction of the pool and the conduit to provide water for the city—documented in the book of the chronicles of Judah’s kings?[a] 21 Hezekiah left this world to sleep with his fathers. His son, Manasseh, then inherited the throne.


  1. 20:20 The story of Hezekiah is also found in Isaiah 36:1–39:8.

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