Isaiah 38

Listen to Isaiah 38

Hezekiah's Sickness and Recovery

1 1In those days Hezekiah became 2sick and was at the point of death. And 3Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him, and said to him, "Thus says the LORD: Set your house in order, for you shall die, you shall not recover."[a]
2 Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD,
3 and said, "Please, O LORD, remember how 4I have walked before you in faithfulness and with a whole heart, and have done what is good in your sight." And Hezekiah wept bitterly.
4 Then the word of the LORD came to Isaiah:
5 "Go and say to Hezekiah, Thus says the LORD, the God of David your father: I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Behold, I will add 5fifteen years to your life.[b]
6 6I will deliver you and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria, and will defend this city.
7 "This shall be the sign to you from the LORD, that the LORD will do this thing that he has promised:
8 7Behold, I will make the shadow cast by the declining sun on the dial of Ahaz turn back ten steps." So the sun turned back on the dial the ten steps by which it had declined.[c]
9 A writing of Hezekiah king of Judah, after he had been sick and had recovered from his sickness:
10 I said, 8In the middle[d] of my days I must depart; I am consigned to the gates of Sheol for the rest of my years.
11 I said, I shall not see the LORD, the LORD 9in the land of the living; I shall look on man no more among the inhabitants of the world.
12 My dwelling is plucked up and removed from me 10like a shepherd's tent; 11like a weaver 12I have rolled up my life; 13he cuts me off from the loom; 14from day to night you bring me to an end;
13 15I calmed myself[e] until morning; like a lion 16he breaks all my bones; from day to night you bring me to an end.
14 Like 17a swallow or a crane I chirp; 18I moan like a dove. 19My eyes are weary with looking upward. O Lord, I am oppressed; 20be my pledge of safety!
15 What shall I say? For he has spoken to me, and he himself has done it. 21I walk slowly all my years because of the bitterness of my soul.
16 22O Lord, by these things men live, and in all these is the life of my spirit. Oh restore me to health and make me live!
17 23Behold, it was for my welfare that I had great bitterness; 24but in love you have delivered my life from the pit of destruction, 25for you have cast all my sins behind your back.
18 26For Sheol does not thank you; death does not praise you; those who go down to the pit do not hope for your faithfulness.
19 The living, the living, he thanks you, as I do this day; 27the father makes known to the children your faithfulness.
20 The LORD will save me, and we will play my music on stringed instruments all the days of our lives, 28at the house of the LORD.
21 29Now Isaiah had said, "Let them take a cake of figs and apply it to the boil, that he may recover."
22 Hezekiah also had said, "What is the sign that I shall go up to the house of the LORD?"

Isaiah 38 Commentary

Chapter 38

Hezekiah's sickness and recovery. (1-8) His thanksgiving. (9-22)

Verses 1-8 When we pray in our sickness, though God send not to us such an answer as he here sent to Hezekiah, yet, if by his Spirit he bids us be of good cheer, assures us that our sins are forgiven, and that, whether we live or die, we shall be his, we ( 2 Kings. 20:1-11 )

Verses 9-22 We have here Hezekiah's thanksgiving. It is well for us to remember the mercies we receive in sickness. Hezekiah records the condition he was in. He dwells upon this; I shall no more see the Lord. A good man wishes not to live for any other end than that he may serve God, and have communion with him. Our present residence is like that of a shepherd in his hut, a poor, mean, and cold lodging, and with a trust committed to our charge, as the shepherd has. Our days are compared to the weaver's shuttle, ( Job 7:6 ) , passing and repassing very swiftly, every throw leaving a thread behind it; and when finished, the piece is cut off, taken out of the loom, and showed to our Master to be judged of. A good man, when his life is cut off, his cares and fatigues are cut off with it, and he rests from his labours. But our times are in God's hand; he has appointed what shall be the length of the piece. When sick, we are very apt to calculate our time, but are still at uncertainty. It should be more our care how we shall get safe to another world. And the more we taste of the loving-kindness of God, the more will our hearts love him, and live to him. It was in love to our poor perishing souls that Christ delivered them. The pardon does not make the sin not to have been sin, but not to be punished as it deserves. It is pleasant to think of our recoveries from sickness, when we see them flowing from the pardon of sin. Hezekiah's opportunity to glorify God in this world, he made the business, and pleasure, and end of life. Being recovered, he resolves to abound in praising and serving God. God's promises are not to do away, but to quicken and encourage the use of means. Life and health are given that we may glorify God and do good.

Cross References 29

  • 1. For ver. 1-8, see 2 Kings 20:1-6, 9-11
  • 2. 2 Chronicles 32:24
  • 3. See Isaiah 1:1
  • 4. 2 Kings 18:5, 6
  • 5. 2 Kings 18:2, 13
  • 6. Isaiah 37:35
  • 7. [2 Kings 20:9, 10]
  • 8. [Psalms 102:24]
  • 9. Psalms 27:13; [Psalms 88:5]
  • 10. [2 Corinthians 5:1]
  • 11. Job 7:6
  • 12. [Hebrews 1:12]
  • 13. Job 6:9
  • 14. [Job 4:20; Psalms 73:14]
  • 15. [Psalms 30:5]
  • 16. [Psalms 38:3]
  • 17. [Jeremiah 8:7]
  • 18. Isaiah 59:11
  • 19. Psalms 69:3
  • 20. Psalms 119:122; [Psalms 86:17; Hebrews 7:22]
  • 21. 1 Kings 21:27
  • 22. Deuteronomy 8:3
  • 23. Psalms 119:67, 75
  • 24. [Psalms 103:12; Micah 7:19]
  • 25. [Psalms 103:12; Micah 7:19]
  • 26. Psalms 88:10-12; Psalms 115:17; [Ecclesiastes 9:10]
  • 27. Deuteronomy 4:9; Deuteronomy 6:7; Psalms 78:3, 4
  • 28. 2 Kings 20:5
  • 29. 2 Kings 20:7, 8

Footnotes 5

  • [a]. Or live; also verses 9, 21
  • [b]. Hebrew to your days
  • [c]. The meaning of the Hebrew verse is uncertain
  • [d]. Or In the quiet
  • [e]. Or (with Targum) I cried for help

Chapter Summary


This chapter gives an account of Hezekiah's sickness, recovery, and thanksgiving on that account. His sickness, and the nature of it, and his preparation for it, as directed to by the prophet, Isa 38:1, his prayer to God upon it, Isa 38:2,3 the answer returned unto it, by which he is assured of living fifteen years more, and of the deliverance and protection of the city of Jerusalem from the Assyrians, Isa 38:4-6, the token of his recovery, the sun going back ten degrees on the dial of Ahaz, Isa 38:7,8, a writing of Hezekiah's upon his recovery, in commemoration of it, Isa 38:9, in which he represents the deplorable condition he had been in, the terrible apprehensions he had of things, especially of the wrath and fury of the Almighty, and his sorrowful and mournful complaints, Isa 38:10-14, he observes his deliverance according to the word of God; expresses his faith in it; promises to retain a cheerful sense of it; owning that it was by the promises of God that he had lived as other saints did; and ascribes his preservation from the grave to the love of God to him, of which the forgiveness of his sins was an evidence, Isa 38:15-17, the end of which salvation was, that he might praise the Lord, which he determined to do, on stringed instruments, Isa 38:18-20, and the chapter is closed with observing the means of curing him of his boil; and that it was at his request that the sign of his recovery was given him, Isa 38:21,22.

Isaiah 38 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.