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Hezekiah’s Illness

38 In those days, Hezekiah became sick to death, and Isaiah son of Amoz, the prophet, came to him and said to him, “Thus says Yahweh: ‘Order your house, for you are about to die, and you shall not recover.’” Then[a] Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to Yahweh, and he said, “O Yahweh, please remember how[b] I have walked before your presence[c] in faithfulness with a whole heart, and I have done the good in your eyes!” And Hezekiah wept with great weeping.

Then[d] the word of Yahweh came[e] to Isaiah, saying, “Go and say to Hezekiah, ‘Thus says Yahweh, the God of David your ancestor:[f] “I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Look, I am going to[g] add fifteen years to your days. And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria, and I will defend this city.”’

And this is the sign to you from Yahweh, that Yahweh will do this thing that he has spoken: Look! I will cause the shadow of the steps, which it had gone down on the steps of Ahaz with the sun, to turn backwards ten steps.” And the sun turned back ten steps on the steps which it had gone down.

A writing of Hezekiah, king of Judah, when he was sick and had recovered from his sickness:

10 I was the one who said, “I must go in the quiet of my days;
    I am summoned through the gates of Sheol for the rest of my years.”
11 I said, “I shall not see Yah! Yah in the land of the living!
    I shall no more look at humankind among the inhabitants of the world.
12 My dwelling place is pulled up and removed from me like the tent of my shepherd;
    I have rolled up my life like a weaver.
He cuts me off from the thrum;
    from day to night you bring me to an end.
13 I lie down[h] until morning;
    like a lion, so he breaks all my bones;
    from day to night you bring me to an end.
14 Like a horse or a crane, so I chirp;
    I moan like a dove.
My eyes are weak toward the height.
    Lord, I have oppression; lend me support!
15 What can I say? For[i] he has spoken to me,
    and he himself has done it.
I will walk slowly all my years because of the bitterness of my soul.
16 Lord, they live by them, and the life of my spirit belongs to all among them.
And restore me to health and keep me alive!
17 Look! Bitterness was bitter to me for peace.
And you were the one who loved[j] my life from the pit of destruction,
    for you have cast all my sins behind your back.
18 For Sheol cannot praise you; death cannot praise you.
    Those who go down to the pit cannot hope for your faithfulness.
19 The living, the living one praises you like me today;
    a father will make your faithfulness known to children.
20 Yahweh, save me, and we will play my music on stringed instruments all the days of our lives at the temple[k] of Yahweh.”

21 And Isaiah said, “Let them take[l] a lump of figs, and let them rub it on the boil so that[m] he may recover.” 22 And Hezekiah said, “What is the sign that I shall go up to the temple[n] of Yahweh?”


  1. Isaiah 38:2 Or “And”
  2. Isaiah 38:3 Or “that”
  3. Isaiah 38:3 Literally “face”
  4. Isaiah 38:4 Or “And”
  5. Isaiah 38:4 Or “was”
  6. Isaiah 38:5 Or “father”
  7. Isaiah 38:5 Literally, “Behold me; he will add,” but in this context it makes better sense to change the “he” to “I”; most translations follow this emendation
  8. Isaiah 38:13 Or “cry out”
  9. Isaiah 38:15 Or “And”
  10. Isaiah 38:17 Or possibly “kept back,” which sounds similar in Hebrew
  11. Isaiah 38:20 Or “house”
  12. Isaiah 38:21 Literally “lift up”
  13. Isaiah 38:21 Or “and”
  14. Isaiah 38:22 Or “house”