24 In those days Hezekiah became terminally ill; and he prayed to the Lord, and He answered him and gave him a [miraculous] sign. 25 But Hezekiah did nothing [for the Lord] in return for the benefit bestowed on him, because his heart had become proud; therefore God’s wrath came on him and on Judah and Jerusalem. 26 However, Hezekiah humbled his proud heart, both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the Lord did not come on them during the days of Hezekiah.
38 In those days Hezekiah [king of Judah] became sick and was at the point of death. And Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, came to him and said, “For the Lord says this, ‘Set your house in order and prepare a will, for you shall die; you will not live.’”2 Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, 3 and said, “Please, O Lord, just remember how I have walked before You in faithfulness and truth, and with a whole heart [absolutely devoted to You], and have done what is good in Your sight.” And Hezekiah wept greatly.
4 Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah, saying, 5 “Go and say to Hezekiah, ‘For the Lord, the God of David your father says this, “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; listen carefully, I will add fifteen years to your life. 6 I will rescue you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city [Jerusalem].”’
7 “This shall be the sign to you from the Lord, that the Lord will do this thing that He has spoken: 8 Listen carefully, I will turn the shadow on the stairway [denoting the time of day] ten steps backward, the shadow on the stairway ([a]sundial) of Ahaz.” And the sunlight went ten steps backward on the stairway where it had [previously] gone down.
Isaiah 38:8Some suggest that this stairway was built to serve as a sundial; others think that it was just a stairway whose design happened to function as a kind of sundial. The Hebrew word simply means “ascent,” which can be a stair or a stairway. If it was fully exposed to the sun, the shadow must have been cast by some object, such as a pole. Otherwise, if it was covered, then perhaps there was an opening through which the sun shone and illuminated part of the stairway.
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