Isaiah 38

Hezekiah cries to the Lord about his impending death 1
Grant of fifteen years and sundial shadow turned back 4
Hezekiah writes of coming death 9
He expresses gratefulness and describes condition in death 15
Isaiah prescribes a fig pack for the boil and Hezekiah asks for a sign 21

Find parallel accounts of Hezekiah's illness and death in 2ki20 and 2ch3224ff.
.1 ¶ In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came unto him, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Set thine house in order: for thou shalt die, and not live.
2  Then Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall, and prayed unto the LORD,
3  And said, Remember now, O LORD, I beseech thee, how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore.
  2 - Turned ... prayed We may pray in any position. When we can kneel we should because it helps us sense our dependence on the Lord.
.4  Then came the word of the LORD to Isaiah, saying,
.5  Go, and say to Hezekiah, Thus saith the LORD, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will add unto thy days fifteen years.
.6  And I will deliver thee and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria: and I will defend this city.
7  And this shall be a sign unto thee from the LORD, that the LORD will do this thing that he hath spoken;
8  Behold, I will bring again the shadow of the degrees, which is gone down in the sun dial of Ahaz, ten degrees backward. So the sun returned ten degrees, by which degrees it was gone down.
  8 - Bring again the shadow See 2ki2009.
.9 ¶ The writing of Hezekiah king of Judah, when he had been sick, and was recovered of his sickness:   9 - The writing of Hezekiah This psalm of Hezekiah (through v20) is not found in the other accounts of his healing. Notice that the v9 is in the third person while first person is used before and after. The verses may have been rearranged so that the introduction (superscription) appears at the beginning of the psalm.
.10  I said in the cutting off of my days, I shall go to the gates of the grave: I am deprived of the residue of my years.
11  I said, I shall not see the LORD, even the LORD, in the land of the living: I shall behold man no more with the inhabitants of the world.
  10 - In the cutting off Literally, "in the middle." Hezekiah was probably about 40 years of age."
  11 - I shall not see the Lord According to the king's testimony, death would not have brought him into the presence of the Lord (unless blind). He would not see people either. In other words, he would not have gone to heaven at death. jb1421, jn1413, ps00805, ps11517, ps10404, ec0905f, v18. For more on the topic see a special page.
12  Mine age is departed, and is removed from me as a shepherd’s tent: I have cut off like a weaver my life: he will cut me off with pining sickness: from day even to night wilt thou make an end of me.
13  I reckoned till morning, that, as a lion, so will he break all my bones: from day even to night wilt thou make an end of me.
14  Like a crane or a swallow, so did I chatter: I did mourn as a dove: mine eyes fail with looking upward: O LORD, I am oppressed; undertake for me.
  12 - Mine age is departed Hezekiah is praying about his impending death and perhaps turns to the present tense for a stronger statement. In the next clause it is future again. His departed age can be seen to refer to not growing older at death. the "shepherd's tent" stands for a time and is carried off.
  13 - I reckoned Literally, "I calmed down" See how the Hebrew word is translated at ps13804.
  14 - Dove We might think of the mourning dove. Click to hear the call. (From Used by permission. 5/03)
  14 - Undertake for me Or "I am troubled my Lord; come to my aid." (NIV).
.15  What shall I say? he hath both spoken unto me, and himself hath done it: I shall go softly all my years in the bitterness of my soul.
16  O Lord, by these things men live, and in all these things is the life of my spirit: so wilt thou recover me, and make me to live.
17  Behold, for peace I had great bitterness: but thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption: for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back.
  15 - Softly ... in the bitterness Dying is generally considered a bitter experience v17, ec0726, 1sa1532. Hezekiah pledges to live in reverence the rest of his life, remembering his experience of facing death.
  16 - By these things men live The Lord spoke to him in the preceding verse. People live by the word of God da0803, mal0404. To the Lord's gift of life was added the gift of His words.
  17 - Peace The bitter experience was God's working for the best interests of the king. See ho0417.
  17 - Sins ... behind They no longer stood between Hezekiah and his Lord. Compare mt1820.
18  For the grave cannot praise thee, death can not celebrate thee: they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth.
19  The living, the living, he shall praise thee, as I do this day: the father to the children shall make known thy truth.
20  The LORD was ready to save me: therefore we will sing my songs to the stringed instruments all the days of our life in the house of the LORD
  18 - Praise A clear statement about the condition of humans in death. Also see texts cited for v11.
  20 - Save me Good reason for singing.
21  For Isaiah had said, Let them take a lump of figs, and lay it for a plaister upon the boil, and he shall recover.
22  Hezekiah also had said, What is the sign that I shall go up to the house of the LORD?
  22 - Sign The sign was to strengthen the faith of the king and to be a witness to the true God.
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