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Hezekiah’s Illness and Recovery

38 During that time,[a] Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. Then Amoz’s son Isaiah the prophet came to him and told him, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Put your house in order, because you are going to die. You won’t recover.’”

Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord. “Please, Lord,” he said, “Remember how I have walked before you faithfully and with a true heart, and I have done what pleases you.”[b] And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

Then this message[c] from the Lord came to Isaiah: “Go tell Hezekiah, ‘This is what the Lord God of your ancestor David has to say: “I’ve heard your prayer and[d] I’ve seen your tears; so I will add fifteen years to your life. I’ll save you and this city from the[e] king of Assyria, and I’ll defend this city, for my own sake and for my servant David’s sake.[f] This is the Lord’s sign to you that the Lord will carry out this thing he has promised: Watch! I will make the shadow on the steps of the upper[g] dial of Ahaz that marks the sun go ten steps backwards.”’”

Then the sunlight turned back on the dial the ten steps by which it had gone down.

Hezekiah’s Prayer

A composition by King Hezekiah of Judah, following his illness and recovery:

10 I said, “Must I leave in the prime of my life?
    Must I be consigned to the control[h] of Sheol?[i]
        Bitter are[j] my years!”
11 I said, “I won’t see the Lord[k] in the land of the living;
    and[l] I’ll no longer observe human beings
        among the denizens of the grave.[m]
12 My house has been plucked up and vanishes[n] from me
    like a shepherd’s tent;
like a weaver, I’ve taken account of[o] my life,
    and he cuts me off from the loom—
        day and night you make an end of me.
13 I’ve been swept bare[p] until morning;
    just like a lion, he breaks all my bones—
        day and night you make an end of me.
14 Like a swallow or a crane I chirp,
    I moan like a dove.
My eyes look weakly upward.
    O Lord,[q] I am oppressed, so[r] stand up for me!
15 What can I say, so I tell myself,[s]
    since he has done this to me?[t]
I will walk slowly all my years
    because of my soul’s anguish.

16 “My Lord is against them, yet they live,
    and among all of them who live is his spirit.[u]
Now you have restored me to health,
    so let me live!
17 Yes, it was for my own good
    that I suffered extreme anguish.[v]
But in love you have held back[w] my life
    from the Pit[x] in which it has been confined;[y]
you have tossed all my sins
    behind your back.
18 For Sheol[z] cannot thank you,
    death cannot[aa] sing your praise;
and[ab] those who go down to the Pit[ac] cannot hope
    for your faithfulness.
19 The living—yes the living—they thank you,
    just as I am doing today;
fathers will tell their children
    about your faithfulness.
20 The Lord will save me,[ad]
    and we will play my music on strings
all the days of our lives
    in the Lord’s Temple.[ae]

21 Now Isaiah had said, “Let them prepare[af] a poultice of figs and apply it to the boil, so that he may recover.”

22 Hezekiah also had asked, “What will be the sign for me to go up to the Lord’s Temple?”[ag]


  1. Isaiah 38:1 Lit. During those days
  2. Isaiah 38:3 Lit. done what is good in your eyes
  3. Isaiah 38:4 Lit. Then the word
  4. Isaiah 38:5 So 1QIsaa LXX; the Heb. lacks and
  5. Isaiah 38:6 Lit. the hand of the
  6. Isaiah 38:6 So 1QIsaa; MT LXX lack for my own sake and for my servant David’s sake
  7. Isaiah 38:8 So 1QIsaa; the Heb. lacks upper
  8. Isaiah 38:10 Lit. gates; i.e. the place where legal cases were adjudicated
  9. Isaiah 38:10 I.e. the realm of the afterlife
  10. Isaiah 38:10 So 1QIsaa; MT LXX read the rest of
  11. Isaiah 38:11 Lit. Yah; So 1QIsaa; MT reads Yah Yah; MTmss read Lord
  12. Isaiah 38:11 So 1QIsaa; the Heb. lacks and
  13. Isaiah 38:11 Lit. cessation; or the end; So 1QIsaa MT; MTmss read the world
  14. Isaiah 38:12 So 1QIsaa; 1QIsab MT read and has been taken away
  15. Isaiah 38:12 So 1QIsaa; MT reads have rolled up
  16. Isaiah 38:13 So 1QIsaa; or I cried for help; MT reads I was composed; cf. Targ
  17. Isaiah 38:14 So 1QIsaa MT; 1QIsab reads Lord
  18. Isaiah 38:14 So 1QIsaa; the Heb. lacks so
  19. Isaiah 38:15 So 1QIsaa; MT reads for he has spoken to me
  20. Isaiah 38:15 So 1QIsaa; MT reads and it is he who has done it
  21. Isaiah 38:16 So 1QIsaa; MT reads is the life of my spirit
  22. Isaiah 38:17 So 1QIsaa; 1QIsab MT read bitter, bitter
  23. Isaiah 38:17 So 1QIsaa; cf. LXX; MT reads you have loved
  24. Isaiah 38:17 I.e. the realm of punishment in the afterlife
  25. Isaiah 38:17 So 1QIsaa; MT reads pit of destruction
  26. Isaiah 38:18 I.e. the realm of the afterlife
  27. Isaiah 38:18 So 1QIsaa LXX; implied in 1QIsab MT
  28. Isaiah 38:18 So 1QIsaa; the Heb. lacks and
  29. Isaiah 38:18 I.e. the realm of punishment in the afterlife
  30. Isaiah 38:20 At this point a later scribe inserted into 1QIsaa a repetition of v. 19 and the beginning of v. 20, but with some different spellings and a word missing.
  31. Isaiah 38:20 The same second scribe continued with the rest of this verse; not originally in 1QIsaa.
  32. Isaiah 38:21 So MT; LXX reads Take; 1QIsaa lacks Let them prepare
  33. Isaiah 38:22 So 1QIsab MT LXX; 1QIsaa lacks vs. 21-22; a later, third scribe, includes vs. 21-22