Isaiah 38

Hezekiah’s Illness

1 In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, “This is what the LORD says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover.”
2 Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD,
3 “Remember, LORD, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.
4 Then the word of the LORD came to Isaiah:
5 “Go and tell Hezekiah, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will add fifteen years to your life.
6 And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city.
7 “ ‘This is the LORD’s sign to you that the LORD will do what he has promised:
8 I will make the shadow cast by the sun go back the ten steps it has gone down on the stairway of Ahaz.’ ” So the sunlight went back the ten steps it had gone down.
9 A writing of Hezekiah king of Judah after his illness and recovery:
10 I said, “In the prime of my life must I go through the gates of death and be robbed of the rest of my years?”
11 I said, “I will not again see the LORD himself in the land of the living; no longer will I look on my fellow man, or be with those who now dwell in this world.
12 Like a shepherd’s tent my house has been pulled down and taken from me. Like a weaver I have rolled up my life, and he has cut me off from the loom; day and night you made an end of me.
13 I waited patiently till dawn, but like a lion he broke all my bones; day and night you made an end of me.
14 I cried like a swift or thrush, I moaned like a mourning dove. My eyes grew weak as I looked to the heavens. I am being threatened; Lord, come to my aid!”
15 But what can I say? He has spoken to me, and he himself has done this. I will walk humbly all my years because of this anguish of my soul.
16 Lord, by such things people live; and my spirit finds life in them too. You restored me to health and let me live.
17 Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish. In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; you have put all my sins behind your back.
18 For the grave cannot praise you, death cannot sing your praise; those who go down to the pit cannot hope for your faithfulness.
19 The living, the living—they praise you, as I am doing today; parents tell their children about your faithfulness.
20 The LORD will save me, and we will sing with stringed instruments all the days of our lives in the temple of the LORD.
21 Isaiah had said, “Prepare a poultice of figs and apply it to the boil, and he will recover.”
22 Hezekiah had asked, “What will be the sign that I will go up to the temple 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 51

  • 1. S Isaiah 37:2
  • 2. 2 Samuel 17:23
  • 3. 2 Kings 8:10
  • 4. Nehemiah 13:14; Psalms 26:3
  • 5. S 1 Kings 8:61; S 1 Chronicles 29:19
  • 6. S Deuteronomy 6:18; S Deuteronomy 10:20
  • 7. Psalms 6:8
  • 8. 1 Samuel 13:13; Isaiah 39:5
  • 9. 2 Kings 18:3
  • 10. Psalms 6:6
  • 11. S 2 Kings 18:2
  • 12. S Isaiah 31:5; Isaiah 37:35
  • 13. S Genesis 24:14; S 2 Chronicles 32:31; Isaiah 7:11,14; S Isaiah 20:3
  • 14. Joshua 10:13
  • 15. Psalms 102:24
  • 16. S Job 17:16; Psalms 107:18; 2 Corinthians 1:9
  • 17. S Job 17:11
  • 18. S Isaiah 12:2
  • 19. S Job 28:13; S Psalms 27:13; Psalms 116:9
  • 20. Isaiah 33:20; 2 Corinthians 5:1,4; 2 Peter 1:13-14
  • 21. S Job 4:21
  • 22. S Isaiah 34:4; Hebrews 1:12
  • 23. S Numbers 11:15; S Job 7:6; S Psalms 31:22
  • 24. ver 13; Psalms 32:4; Psalms 73:14
  • 25. S Psalms 37:7
  • 26. S Job 9:17; Psalms 51:8
  • 27. S Job 10:16; Jeremiah 34:17; Lamentations 3:4; Daniel 6:24
  • 28. S ver 12
  • 29. S Genesis 8:8; S Isaiah 59:11
  • 30. S Psalms 6:7
  • 31. S Genesis 50:24; S Job 17:3
  • 32. 2 Samuel 7:20
  • 33. S Psalms 39:9
  • 34. 1 Kings 21:27
  • 35. S Job 7:11
  • 36. Psalms 119:25; Hebrews 12:9
  • 37. Romans 8:28; Hebrews 12:11
  • 38. S Job 7:11; Psalms 119:71,75
  • 39. S Job 17:16; S Psalms 30:3
  • 40. Psalms 103:3; Jeremiah 31:34
  • 41. S Psalms 103:12; Isaiah 43:25; Micah 7:19
  • 42. S Numbers 16:30; S Ecclesiastes 9:10
  • 43. Psalms 6:5; Psalms 88:10-11; Psalms 115:17
  • 44. S Psalms 30:9
  • 45. Deuteronomy 6:7; Psalms 118:17; Psalms 119:175
  • 46. S Deuteronomy 11:19
  • 47. Psalms 68:25
  • 48. S Psalms 33:2; S Psalms 45:8
  • 49. Psalms 23:6; S Psalms 63:4; Psalms 116:2
  • 50. Psalms 116:17-19
  • 51. S 2 Chronicles 32:31

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

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