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Chapter 20

End of Hezekiah’s Reign. (A)In those days, when Hezekiah was mortally ill, the prophet Isaiah, son of Amoz, came and said to him: “Thus says the Lord: Put your house in order, for you are about to die; you shall not recover.” He turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord: “Ah, Lord, remember how faithfully and wholeheartedly I conducted myself in your presence, doing what was good in your sight!” And Hezekiah wept bitterly. Before Isaiah had left the central courtyard, the word of the Lord came to him: Go back and tell Hezekiah, the leader of my people: “Thus says the Lord, the God of David your father:

I have heard your prayer;
    I have seen your tears.
    Now I am healing you.
On the third day you shall go up
    to the house of the Lord.
I will add to your life fifteen years.
    I will rescue you and this city
    from the hand of the king of Assyria;
I will be a shield to this city
    for my own sake and the sake of David my servant.”

Then Isaiah said, “Bring a poultice of figs and apply it to the boil for his recovery.” Hezekiah asked Isaiah, “What is the sign that the Lord will heal me and that I shall go up to the house of the Lord on the third day?” Isaiah replied, “This will be the sign for you from the Lord that he will carry out the word he has spoken: Shall the shadow go forward or back ten steps?” 10 “It is easy for the shadow to advance ten steps,” Hezekiah answered. “Rather, let it go back ten steps.” 11 So Isaiah the prophet invoked the Lord. He made the shadow go back the ten steps it had descended on the staircase to the terrace of Ahaz.

12 At that time, Berodach-baladan,[a] son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and gifts to Hezekiah when he heard that he had been ill. 13 Hezekiah listened to the envoys and then showed off his whole treasury: his silver, gold, spices and perfumed oil, his armory, and everything in his storerooms; there was nothing in his house or in all his realm that Hezekiah did not show them. 14 Then Isaiah the prophet came to King Hezekiah and asked him: “What did these men say to you? Where did they come from?” Hezekiah replied, “They came from a distant land, from Babylon.” 15 He asked, “What did they see in your house?” Hezekiah answered, “They saw everything in my house. There is nothing in my storerooms that I did not show them.” 16 Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah: “Hear the word of the Lord: 17 The time is coming when all that is in your house, everything that your ancestors have stored up until this day, shall be carried off to Babylon; nothing shall be left, says the Lord. 18 Some of your own descendants, your offspring, your progeny, shall be taken and made attendants in the palace of the king of Babylon.” 19 Hezekiah replied to Isaiah, “The word of the Lord which you have spoken is good.” For he thought, “There will be peace and stability in my lifetime.”

20 The rest of the acts of Hezekiah, with all his valor, and how he constructed the pool and conduit[b] and brought water into the city, are recorded in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah.(B) 21 Hezekiah rested with his ancestors, and his son Manasseh succeeded him as king.


  1. 20:12 Berodach-baladan: this famous king’s name is more correctly recorded in Is 39:1 as “Merodach-baladan.” The Babylonian form, Marduk-apal-idinna, means “Marduk has granted a son.” Historically, any embassy from him to Hezekiah must have been aimed at establishing an anti-Assyrian strategy of cooperation.
  2. 20:20 Pool and conduit: Hezekiah’s tunnel is described in more detail in 2 Chr 32:30.