Hezekiah’s Illness and Recovery

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

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,(C) and have done what pleases you.”(D) And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah: “Go and tell Hezekiah, ‘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 fifteen years to your life.[b](E) And I will rescue you and this city from the grasp of the king of Assyria; I will defend this city.(F) This is the sign to you(G) from the Lord that he will do what he has promised: I am going to make the sun’s shadow that goes down on the stairway of Ahaz go back by ten steps.’”(H) So the sun’s shadow[c] went back the ten steps it had descended.

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

10 I said: In the prime[d] of my life(I)
I must go to the gates of Sheol;(J)
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;(K)
I will not look on humanity any longer
with the inhabitants of what is passing away.[e]
12 My dwelling is plucked up and removed from me
like a shepherd’s tent.(L)
I have rolled up my life like a weaver;(M)
he cuts me off from the loom.(N)
By nightfall[f] you make an end of me.(O)
13 I thought until the morning:
He will break all my bones like a lion.
By nightfall you make an end of me.
14 I chirp like a swallow or a crane;
I moan like a dove.(P)
My eyes grow weak looking upward.
Lord, I am oppressed; support me.(Q)

15 What can I say?
He has spoken to me,
and he himself has done it.
I walk along slowly all my years(R)
because of the bitterness of my soul.(S)
16 Lord, by such things people live,(T)
and in every one of them my spirit finds life;
you have restored me to health(U)
and let me live.(V)
17 Indeed, it was for my own well-being
that I had such intense bitterness;(W)
but your love has delivered me
from the Pit of destruction,(X)
for you have thrown all my sins behind your back.(Y)
18 For Sheol cannot thank you;
Death cannot praise you.(Z)
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.(AA)
20 The Lord is ready to save me;
we will play stringed instruments
all the days of our lives
at the house of the Lord.(AB)

21 Now Isaiah(AC) 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?”

Hezekiah’s Folly

39 At that time(AD) Merodach-baladan son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a gift to Hezekiah since he heard that he had been sick and had recovered. Hezekiah was pleased with the letters, and he showed the envoys his treasure house—the silver, the gold, the spices, and the precious oil—and all his armory, and everything that was found in his treasuries.(AE) There was nothing in his palace and in all his realm that Hezekiah did not show them.(AF)

Then the prophet Isaiah came to King Hezekiah and asked him, “What did these men say, and where did they come to you from?”

Hezekiah replied, “They came to me from a distant country, from Babylon.”

Isaiah asked, “What have they seen in your palace?”

Hezekiah answered, “They have seen everything in my palace. There isn’t anything in my treasuries that I didn’t show them.”

Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the Lord of Armies:(AG) ‘Look, the days are coming when everything in your palace and all that your predecessors have stored up until today will be carried off to Babylon; nothing will be left,’ says the Lord.(AH) ‘Some of your descendants—who come from you, whom you father—will be taken away, and they will become eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.’”

Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “The word of the Lord that you have spoken is good,” for he thought: There will be peace and security during my lifetime.(AI)

God’s People Comforted

40 “Comfort, comfort my people,”(AJ)
says your God.
“Speak tenderly to[g] Jerusalem,
and announce to her
that her time of hard service is over,
her iniquity(AK) has been pardoned,(AL)
and she has received from the Lord’s hand
double for all her sins.”(AM)

A voice of one crying out:

Prepare the way of the Lord in the wilderness;(AN)
make a straight highway for our God in the desert.(AO)
Every valley will be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill will be leveled;
the uneven ground will become smooth
and the rough places, a plain.(AP)
And the glory of the Lord will appear,(AQ)
and all humanity[h] together will see it,(AR)
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.(AS)

A voice was saying, “Cry out!”
Another said,[i] “What should I cry out?”
“All humanity is grass,(AT)
and all its goodness is like the flower of the field.(AU)
The grass withers, the flowers fade
when the breath[j] of the Lord blows on them;[k]
indeed, the people are grass.
The grass withers, the flowers fade,(AV)
but the word of our God remains forever.”(AW)

Zion, herald of good news,
go up on a high mountain.(AX)
Jerusalem, herald of good news,(AY)
raise your voice loudly.
Raise it, do not be afraid!
Say to the cities of Judah,
“Here is your God!” (AZ)
10 See, the Lord God comes with strength,
and his power establishes his rule.(BA)
His wages are with him,(BB)
and his reward accompanies him.
11 He protects his flock like a shepherd;(BC)
he gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them in the fold of his garment.
He gently leads those that are nursing.

12 Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand
or marked off the heavens with the span of his hand?(BD)
Who has gathered the dust of the earth in a measure
or weighed the mountains on a balance
and the hills on the scales?
13 Who has directed[l] the Spirit of the Lord,
or who gave him counsel?(BE)
14 Who did he consult?
Who gave him understanding(BF)
and taught him the paths of justice?
Who taught him knowledge
and showed him the way of understanding?
15 Look, the nations are like a drop in a bucket;
they are considered as a speck of dust on the scales;
he lifts up the islands like fine dust.
16 Lebanon’s cedars are not enough for fuel,
or its animals enough for a burnt offering.(BG)
17 All the nations are as nothing before him;
they are considered by him
as empty nothingness.(BH)

18 With whom will you compare God?
What likeness will you set up for comparison with him?(BI)
19 An idol?—something that a smelter casts
and a metalworker plates with gold
and makes silver chains for?(BJ)
20 A poor person contributes wood for a pedestal
that will not rot.[m]
He looks for a skilled craftsman
to set up an idol that will not fall over.(BK)

21 Do you not know?(BL)
Have you not heard?
Has it not been declared to you
from the beginning?
Have you not considered
the foundations of the earth?(BM)
22 God is enthroned above the circle of the earth;
its inhabitants are like grasshoppers.(BN)
He stretches out the heavens like thin cloth(BO)
and spreads them out like a tent to live in.(BP)
23 He reduces princes to nothing(BQ)
and makes judges of the earth like a wasteland.
24 They are barely planted, barely sown,
their stem hardly takes root in the ground
when he blows on them and they wither,
and a whirlwind carries them away like stubble.(BR)

25 “To whom will you compare me,(BS)
or who is my equal?” asks the Holy One.
26 Look up and see!
Who created(BT) these?
He brings out the stars by number;
he calls all of them by name.(BU)
Because of his great power and strength,
not one of them is missing.

27 Jacob, why do you say,
and Israel, why do you assert,
“My way is hidden from the Lord,
and my claim is ignored by my God”?(BV)
28 Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,(BW)
the Creator of the whole earth.
He never becomes faint or weary;
there is no limit to his understanding.(BX)
29 He gives strength to the faint
and strengthens the powerless.
30 Youths may become faint and weary,
and young men stumble and fall,
31 but those who trust in the Lord
will renew their strength;(BY)
they will soar on wings like eagles;(BZ)
they will run and not become weary,
they will walk and not faint.

Footnotes

  1. 38:1 Lit live
  2. 38:5 Lit days, also in v. 10
  3. 38:8 Lit And the sun
  4. 38:10 Lit quiet
  5. 38:11 Some Hb mss, Tg read of the world
  6. 38:12 Lit From day until night, also in v. 13
  7. 40:2 Lit Speak to the heart of
  8. 40:5 Lit flesh
  9. 40:6 DSS, LXX, Vg read I said
  10. 40:7 Or wind, or Spirit
  11. 40:7 Lit it
  12. 40:13 Or measured, or comprehended
  13. 40:20 Or who is too poor for such an offering, or who chooses mulberry wood as a votive gift; Hb obscure

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