2 Kings 20

Hezekiah's Illness and Recovery

1 1In those days Hezekiah became mortally ill. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him and said to him, "Thus says the LORD, '2Set your house in order, for you shall die and not live.' "
2 Then he turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD, saying,
3 "3Remember now, O LORD, I beseech You, 4how I have walked before You in truth and with a whole heart and have done what is good in Your sight." And 5Hezekiah wept bitterly *.
4 Before Isaiah had gone out of the middle court, the word of the LORD came to him, saying,
5 "Return and say to 6Hezekiah the leader of My people, 'Thus says the LORD, the God of your father David, "7I have heard your prayer, 8I have seen your tears; behold, I will heal you. On the third day you shall go up to the house of the LORD.
6 "I will add fifteen * years to your life, and I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria; and 9I will defend this city for My own sake and for My servant David's sake.""'
7 Then Isaiah said, "Take a cake of figs." And they took and laid it on the boil, and he recovered.
8 Now Hezekiah said to Isaiah, "What will be the sign that the LORD will heal me, and that I shall go up to the house of the LORD the third day?"
9 Isaiah said, "10This shall be the sign to you from the LORD, that the LORD will do the thing that He has spoken: shall the shadow go forward ten steps or go back ten steps?"
10 So Hezekiah answered, "It is easy for the shadow to decline ten steps; no, but let the shadow turn backward ten steps."
11 Isaiah the prophet cried to the LORD, and 11He brought the shadow on the stairway back ten steps by which it had gone down on the stairway of Ahaz.

Hezekiah Shows Babylon His Treasures

12 12At that time Berodach-baladan a son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a present to Hezekiah, for he heard that Hezekiah had been sick.
13 Hezekiah listened to them, and showed them 13all his treasure house, the silver and the gold and the spices and the precious oil and the house of his armor and all that was found in his treasuries. There was nothing * in his house nor in all his dominion 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 have 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?" So Hezekiah answered, "They have seen all that is in my house; there is nothing * among my treasuries that I have not shown them."
16 Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, "Hear the word of the LORD.
17 'Behold, the days are coming when 14all that is in your house, and all that your fathers have laid up in store to this day will be carried to Babylon; nothing * shall be left,' says the LORD.
18 'Some 15of your sons who shall issue from you, whom you will beget, will be taken away; and they will become 16officials in the palace of the king of Babylon.' "
19 Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, "The word of the LORD which you have spoken is 17good." For he thought, "Is it not so, if there will be peace and truth in my days?"
20 18Now the rest of the acts of Hezekiah and all his might, and how he 19made the pool and the conduit and brought water into the city, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles * of the Kings of Judah?
21 20So Hezekiah slept with his fathers, and Manasseh his son became king 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 20

  • 1. 2 Chronicles 32:24; Isaiah 38:1-22
  • 2. 2 Samuel 17:23
  • 3. Nehemiah 5:19; Nehemiah 13:14, 22, 31
  • 4. 2 Kings 18:3-6
  • 5. 2 Samuel 12:21, 22
  • 6. 1 Samuel 9:16; 1 Samuel 10:1
  • 7. 2 Kings 19:20
  • 8. Psalms 39:12
  • 9. 2 Kings 19:34
  • 10. Isaiah 38:7
  • 11. Joshua 10:12-14; Isaiah 38:8
  • 12. 2 Chronicles 32:31; Isaiah 39:1-8
  • 13. 2 Chronicles 32:27
  • 14. 2 Kings 24:13; 2 Kings 25:13-15; 2 Chronicles 36:10; Jeremiah 52:17-19
  • 15. 2 Kings 24:12; 2 Chronicles 33:11
  • 16. Daniel 1:3-7
  • 17. 1 Samuel 3:18
  • 18. 2 Chronicles 32:32
  • 19. Nehemiah 3:16
  • 20. 2 Chronicles 32:33

Footnotes 9

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

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