Isaiah 38

1 In those days was Hezekiah sick and near death. Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, came to him, and said to him, “the LORD says, ‘Set your house in order, for you will die, and not live.’” 2 Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD, 3 and said, “Remember now, the LORD, I beg you, how I have walked before you in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in your sight.” Hezekiah wept bitterly. 4 Then the LORD’s word came to Isaiah, saying, 5 “Go, and tell Hezekiah, ‘the LORD says, the God of David your father, “I have heard your prayer. I have seen your tears. Behold, I will add fifteen years to your life. 6 I will deliver you and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria, and I 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 spoken. 8 Behold, I will cause the shadow on the sundial, which has gone down on the sundial of Ahaz with the sun, to return backward ten steps. So the sun returned ten steps on the sundial on which it had gone down.”’” 9 The writing of Hezekiah king of Judah, when he had been sick, and had recovered of his sickness. 10 I said, “In the middle of my life I go into the gates of Sheol. I am deprived of the residue of my years.” 11 I said, “I won’t see the LORD, the LORD in the land of the living. I will see man no more with the inhabitants of the world. 12 My dwelling is removed, and is carried away from me like a shepherd’s tent. I have rolled up, like a weaver, my life. He will cut me off from the loom. From day even to night you will make an end of me. 13 I waited patiently until morning. He breaks all my bones like a lion. From day even to night you will make an end of me. 14 I chattered like a swallow or a crane. I moaned like a dove. My eyes weaken looking upward. Lord, I am oppressed. Be my security.” 15 What will I say? He has both spoken to me, and himself has done it. I will walk carefully all my years because of the anguish of my soul. 16 Lord, men live by these things; and my spirit finds life in all of them: you restore me, and cause me to live. 17 Behold, for peace I had great anguish, but you have in love for my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption; for you have cast all my sins behind your back. 18 For Sheol can’t praise you. Death can’t celebrate you. Those who go down into the pit can’t hope for your truth. 19 The living, the living, he shall praise you, as I do today. The father shall make known your truth to the children. 20 The LORD will save me. Therefore we will sing my songs with stringed instruments all the days of our life in the LORD’s house. 21 Now Isaiah had said, “Let them take a cake of figs, and lay it for a poultice on the boil, and he shall recover.” 22 Hezekiah also had said, “What is the sign that I will go up to the LORD’s house?”

(Previous Chapter)    •    (Next Chapter)

Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

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 do not pray in vain. See II Kin. 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.

Back to Top