20 About this time, Hezekiah got sick and was almost dead. Isaiah the prophet went in and told him, “The Lord says you won’t ever get well. You are going to die, so you had better start doing what needs to be done.”
2 Hezekiah turned toward the wall and prayed, 3 “Don’t forget that I have been faithful to you, Lord. I have obeyed you with all my heart, and I do whatever you say is right.” After this, he cried hard.
4 Before Isaiah got to the middle court of the palace, 5 the Lord sent him back to Hezekiah with this message:
Hezekiah, you are the ruler of my people, and I am the Lord God, who was worshiped by your ancestor David. I heard you pray, and I saw you cry. I will heal you, so that three days from now you will be able to worship in my temple. 6 I will let you live fifteen years more, while I protect you and your city from the king of Assyria. I will defend this city as an honor to me and to my servant David.
7 Then Isaiah said to the king’s servants, “Bring some mashed figs and place them on the king’s open sore. He will then get well.”
8 Hezekiah asked Isaiah, “Can you prove that the Lord will heal me, so that I can worship in his temple in three days?”
9 Isaiah replied, “The Lord will prove to you that he will keep his promise. Will the shadow made by the setting sun on the stairway go forward ten steps or back ten steps?”[a]
10 “It’s normal for the sun to go forward,” Hezekiah answered. “But how can it go back?”
11 Isaiah prayed, and the Lord made the shadow go back ten steps on the stairway built for King Ahaz.[b]
The Lord Is Still with Hezekiah
12 Merodach[c] Baladan, the son of Baladan, was now king of Babylonia.[d] And when he learned that Hezekiah had been sick, he sent messengers with letters and a gift for him. 13 Hezekiah welcomed[e] the messengers and showed them all the silver, the gold, the spices, and the fine oils that were in his storehouse. He even showed them where he kept his weapons. Nothing in his palace or in his entire kingdom was kept hidden from them.
14 Isaiah asked Hezekiah, “Where did these men come from? What did they want?”
“They came all the way from Babylonia,” Hezekiah answered.
15 “What did you show them?” Isaiah asked.
Hezekiah answered, “I showed them everything in my kingdom.”
16 Then Isaiah told Hezekiah:
I have a message for you from the Lord. 17 One day everything you and your ancestors have stored up will be taken to Babylonia. The Lord has promised that nothing will be left. 18 Some of your own sons will be taken to Babylonia, where they will be disgraced and made to serve in the king’s palace.
19 Hezekiah thought, “At least our nation will be at peace for a while.” So he told Isaiah, “The message you brought me from the Lord is good.”
20 Everything else Hezekiah did while he was king, including how he made the upper pool and tunnel to bring water into Jerusalem, is written in The History of the Kings of Judah. 21 Hezekiah died, and his son Manasseh became king.
20.9Will. . . steps: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
20.11the shadow. . . Ahaz: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
20.12Merodach: The Hebrew text has “Berodach,” another spelling of the name.
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