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Isaiah 38Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

Hezekiah’s Illness and Recovery

38 In those days Hezekiah became terminally ill. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz came and said to him, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Put your affairs in order,[a] for you are about to die; you will not recover.’”[b]

Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord. He said, “Please, Lord, remember how I have walked before You faithfully and wholeheartedly, and have done what pleases You.”[c] And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah: “Go and tell Hezekiah that this is what the Lord God of your ancestor David says: I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Look, I am going to add 15 years to your life.[d] And I will deliver you and this city from the power of the king of Assyria; I will defend this city. This is the sign to you from the Lord that He will do what[e] He has promised:[f] I am going to make the sun’s shadow that goes down on Ahaz’s stairway go back by 10 steps.” So the sun’s shadow[g] went back the 10 steps it had descended.

A poem by Hezekiah king of Judah after he had been sick and had recovered from his illness:

10 I said: In the prime[h] of my life[i]
I must go to the gates of Sheol;
I am deprived of the rest of my years.
11 I said: I will never see the Lord,
the Lord in the land of the living;
I will not look on humanity any longer
with the inhabitants of what is passing away.[j]
12 My dwelling is plucked up and removed from me
like a shepherd’s tent.
I have rolled up my life like a weaver;
He cuts me off from the loom.[k]
You make an end of me from day until night.
13 I thought until the morning:
He will break all my bones like a lion;
You make an end of me day and night.
14 I chirp like a swallow or a crane;
I moan like a dove.
My eyes grow weak looking upward.
Lord, I am oppressed; support me.

15 What can I say?
He has spoken to me,
and He Himself has done it.
I walk along slowly all my years
because of the bitterness of my soul,
16 Lord, because of these promises people live,
and in all of them is the life of my spirit as well;
You have restored me to health
and let me live.
17 Indeed, it was for my own welfare
that I had such great bitterness;
but Your love has delivered me
from the Pit of destruction,
for You have thrown all my sins behind Your back.
18 For Sheol cannot thank You;
Death cannot praise You.
Those who go down to the Pit
cannot hope for Your faithfulness.
19 The living, only the living can thank You,
as I do today;
a father will make Your faithfulness known to children.
20 The Lord will[l] save me;
we will play stringed instruments
all the days of our lives
at the house of the Lord.

21 Now Isaiah had said, “Let them take a lump of pressed figs and apply it to his infected skin, so that he may recover.” 22 And Hezekiah had asked, “What is the sign that I will go up to the Lord’s temple?”

Footnotes:

  1. Isaiah 38:1 Lit Command your house
  2. Isaiah 38:1 Lit live
  3. Isaiah 38:3 Lit what is good in Your eyes
  4. Isaiah 38:5 Lit days
  5. Isaiah 38:7 Lit this thing
  6. Isaiah 38:7 Lit said
  7. Isaiah 38:8 Lit And the sun
  8. Isaiah 38:10 Lit quiet
  9. Isaiah 38:10 Lit days
  10. Isaiah 38:11 Some Hb mss, Tg read of the world
  11. Isaiah 38:12 Lit thrum
  12. Isaiah 38:20 Lit to
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