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 tried to be faithful to you and do what is pleasing in your sight." 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 that the LORD will give you to prove 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 about his experience:
I said, "In the prime of my life, must I now enter the place of the dead? Am I to be robbed of my normal 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 laugh 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 had 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 have restored my health and have allowed me to live!
Yes, it was good for me to suffer this anguish, for you have rescued me from death and have forgiven all my sins.
For the dead cannot praise you; they cannot raise their voices in praise. Those who go down to destruction can no longer hope in your faithfulness.
Only the living can praise you as I do today. Each generation can make known your faithfulness to the next.
Think of it -- the LORD has healed 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 three days from now?"