About that time Hezekiah became deathly ill, and the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to visit him. He gave the king this message: “This is what the LORD says: ‘Set your affairs in order, for you are going to die. You will not recover from this illness.’”
When Hezekiah heard this, he turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD,
“Remember, O LORD, how I have always been faithful to you and have served you single-mindedly, always doing what pleases you.” Then he broke down and wept bitterly.
Then this message came to Isaiah from the LORD :
“Go back to Hezekiah and tell him, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of your ancestor David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears. I will add fifteen years to your life,
and I will rescue you and this city from the king of Assyria. Yes, I will defend this city.
“‘And this is the sign from the LORD to prove that he will do as he promised:
I will cause the sun’s shadow to move ten steps backward on the sundial of Ahaz!’” So the shadow on the sundial moved backward ten steps.
When King Hezekiah was well again, he wrote this poem:
I said, “In the prime of my life, must I now enter the place of the dead? Am I to be robbed of the rest of my years?”
I said, “Never again will I see the LORD GOD while still in the land of the living. Never again will I see my friends or be with those who live in this world.
My life has been blown away like a shepherd’s tent in a storm. It has been cut short, as when a weaver cuts cloth from a loom. Suddenly, my life was over.
I waited patiently all night, but I was torn apart as though by lions. Suddenly, my life was over.
Delirious, I chattered like a swallow or a crane, and then I moaned like a mourning dove. My eyes grew tired of looking to heaven for help. I am in trouble, Lord. Help me!”
But what could I say? For he himself sent this sickness. Now I will walk humbly throughout my years because of this anguish I have felt.
Lord, your discipline is good, for it leads to life and health. You restore my health and allow me to live!
Yes, this anguish was good for me, for you have rescued me from death and forgiven all my sins.
For the dead cannot praise you; they cannot raise their voices in praise. Those who go down to the grave can no longer hope in your faithfulness.
Only the living can praise you as I do today. Each generation tells of your faithfulness to the next.
Think of it—the LORD is ready to heal me! I will sing his praises with instruments every day of my life in the Temple of the LORD .
Isaiah had said to Hezekiah’s servants, “Make an ointment from figs and spread it over the boil, and Hezekiah will recover.”
And Hezekiah had asked, “What sign will prove that I will go to the Temple of the LORD ?”