2 Kings 20

Listen to 2 Kings 20

Hezekiah's Illness and Recovery

1 1In those days 2Hezekiah became sick and was at the point of death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him and said to him, "Thus says the LORD, 3'Set your house in order, for you shall die; you shall not recover.'"
2 Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD, saying,
3 "Now, O LORD, 4please remember how I have walked before you in faithfulness and 5with a whole heart, 6and have done what is good in your sight."7And Hezekiah wept bitterly.
4 And before Isaiah had gone out of the middle court, the word of the LORD came to him:
5 "Turn back, and say to Hezekiah 8the leader of my people, Thus says the LORD, the God of David your father: 9I have heard your prayer; 10I have seen your tears. Behold, I will heal you. On the third day you shall go up to the house of the LORD,
6 and I will add fifteen years to your life. I will deliver you and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria, 11and I will defend this city for my own sake and for my servant David's sake."
7 And Isaiah said, "Bring a cake of figs. And let them take and lay it on the boil, that he may recover."
8 And Hezekiah said to Isaiah, "What shall be the sign that the LORD will heal me, and that I shall go up to the house of the LORD on the third day?"
9 And Isaiah said, "This shall be 12the sign to you from the LORD, that the LORD will do the thing that he has promised: shall the shadow go forward ten steps, or go back ten steps?"
10 And Hezekiah answered, "It is an easy thing for the shadow 13to lengthen ten steps. Rather let the shadow go back ten steps."
11 And Isaiah the prophet called to the LORD, 14and he brought the shadow back ten steps, by which it had gone down on the steps of Ahaz.

Hezekiah and the Babylonian Envoys

12 15At that time 16Merodach-baladan the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, 17sent envoys with letters and a present to Hezekiah, for he heard that Hezekiah had been sick.
13 And Hezekiah welcomed them, and he showed them 18all his treasure house, the silver, the gold, the spices, the precious oil, his armory, all that was found in his storehouses. There was nothing in his house or in all his realm that Hezekiah did not show them.
14 Then Isaiah the prophet came to King Hezekiah, and said to him, "What did these men say? And from where did they come to you?" And Hezekiah said, "They have come from a far country, from Babylon."
15 He said, "What have they seen in your house?" And Hezekiah answered, "They have seen all that is in my house; there is nothing in my storehouses that I did not show them."
16 Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, "Hear the word of the LORD:
17 Behold, the days are coming, when 19all that is in your house, and that which your fathers have stored up till this day, shall be carried to Babylon. Nothing shall be left, says the LORD.
18 20And some of your own sons, who shall be born to you, shall be taken away, 21and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon."
19 Then said Hezekiah to Isaiah, 22"The word of the LORD that you have spoken is good." For he thought, "Why not, if there will be peace and security in my days?"
20 23The rest of the deeds of Hezekiah and all his might and how he made 24the pool and the conduit 25and brought water into the city, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah?
21 26And Hezekiah slept with his fathers, and Manasseh his son reigned in his place.

2 Kings 20 Commentary

Chapter 20

Hezekiah's sickness, His recovery in answer to prayer. (1-11) Hezekiah shows his treasures to the ambassadors from Babylon, His death. (12-21)

Verses 1-11 Hezekiah was sick unto death, in the same year in which the king of Assyria besieged Jerusalem. A warning to prepare for death was brought to Hezekiah by Isaiah. Prayer is one of the best preparations for death, because by it we fetch in strength and grace from God, to enable us to finish well. He wept sorely: some gather from hence that he was unwilling to die; it is in the nature of man to dread the separation of soul and body. There was also something peculiar in Hezekiah's case; he was now in the midst of his usefulness. Let Hezekiah's prayer, see Isa 38. interpret his tears; in that is nothing which is like his having been under that fear of death, which has bondage or torment. Hezekiah's piety made his sick-bed easy. "O Lord, remember now;" he does not speak as if God needed to be put in mind of any thing by us; nor, as if the reward might be demanded as due; it is Christ's righteousness only that is the purchase of mercy and grace. Hezekiah does not pray, Lord, spare me; but, Lord, remember me; whether I live or die, let me be thine. God always hears the prayers of the broken in heart, and will give health, length of days, and temporal deliverances, as much and as long as is truly good for them. Means were to be used for Hezekiah's recovery; yet, considering to what a height the disease was come, and how suddenly it was checked, the cure was miraculous. It is our duty, when sick, to use such means as are proper to help nature, else we do not trust God, but tempt him. For the confirmation of his faith, the shadow of the sun was carried back, and the light was continued longer than usual, in a miraculous manner. This work of wonder shows the power of God in heaven as well as on earth, the great notice he takes of prayer, and the great favour he bears to his chosen.

Verses 12-21 The king of Babylon was at this time independent of the king of Assyria, though shortly after subdued by him. Hezekiah showed his treasures and armour, and other proofs of his wealth and power. This was the effect of pride and ostentation, and departing from simple reliance on God. He also seems to have missed the opportunity of speaking to the Chaldeans, about Him who had wrought the miracles which excited their attention, and of pointing out to them the absurdity and evil of idolatry. What is more common than to show our friends our houses and possessions? But if we do this in the pride of ours hearts, to gain applause from men, not giving praise to God, it becomes sin in us, as it did in Hezekiah. We may expect vexation from every object with which we are unduly pleased. Isaiah, who had often been Hezekiah's comforter, is now is reprover. The blessed Spirit is both, ( john 16:7 john 16:8 ) . Ministers must be both, as there is occasion. Hezekiah allowed the justice of the sentence, and God's goodness in the respite. Yet the prospect respecting his family and nation must have given him many painful feelings. Hezekiah was indeed humbled for the pride of his heart. And blessed are the dead who die in the Lord; for they rest from their labours, and their works do follow them.

Cross References 26

  • 1. For ver. 1-11, see Isaiah 38:1-22
  • 2. 2 Chronicles 32:24
  • 3. [2 Samuel 17:23]
  • 4. [Nehemiah 5:19; Nehemiah 13:14, 22, 31]
  • 5. See 1 Kings 8:61
  • 6. 2 Kings 18:3
  • 7. [Psalms 39:12, 13]
  • 8. 1 Samuel 9:16; 1 Samuel 10:1
  • 9. 2 Kings 19:20; [Psalms 65:2]
  • 10. Psalms 39:12; Psalms 56:8
  • 11. 2 Kings 19:34
  • 12. See 2 Kings 19:29
  • 13. Psalms 102:11
  • 14. [Joshua 10:12, 13]
  • 15. For ver. 12-19, see Isaiah 39:1-8
  • 16. [Isaiah 39:1]
  • 17. [2 Chronicles 32:31]
  • 18. [2 Chronicles 32:27]
  • 19. 2 Kings 24:13; Jeremiah 20:5; [2 Kings 25:13]; See Jeremiah 27:19-22
  • 20. 2 Kings 24:12; 2 Chronicles 33:11
  • 21. [Daniel 1:3]
  • 22. 1 Samuel 3:18; [2 Chronicles 32:25, 26]
  • 23. [2 Chronicles 32:32]
  • 24. 2 Kings 18:17; Nehemiah 2:14; Nehemiah 3:16
  • 25. 2 Chronicles 32:30; [Isaiah 22:9, 11]
  • 26. 2 Chronicles 32:33

Chapter Summary

In this chapter is an account of Hezekiah's sickness, and of the means of his recovery, and of the sign given of it, 2 Kings 20:1 of the king of Babylon's congratulatory letter to him upon it, when he showed to the messengers that brought it his treasures, in the pride and vanity of his heart, 2 Kings 20:12 for which he was reproved by the prophet Isaiah, and was humbled, and submitted to the sentence pronounced on his house, 2 Kings 20:14, and the chapter is concluded with his reign and death, 2 Kings 20:20.

2 Kings 20 Commentaries