The Second Book of the Kings

Chapter 20

Hezekiah, having received a message of death, by prayer has his life lengthened, 1-7. The sun goes ten degrees backward for a sign of that promise, 8-11. Berodach-baladan, sending to visit Hezekiah because of the wonder, has notice of his treasures, 12, 13. Isaiah understanding thereof, foretells the Babylonian captivity, 14-19. Manasseh succeeds Hezekiah, 20, 21.

1 In those days Hezekiah was sick to death. And the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz came to him and said to him, "Thus says the LORD: 'Set 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 "I implore you, O LORD, remember now how I have walked before you in truth and with a perfect heart and have done that which is good in your sight." And Hezekiah wept grievously. 4 And it came to pass, before Isaiah had gone out into the middle court, that the word of the LORD came to him, saying, 5 "Turn back and tell Hezekiah the captain of my people, 'Thus says the LORD, the God of David your father: "I have heard your prayer. I 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 to your days fifteen years. And I will deliver you and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria, and I will defend this city for my own sake and for my servant David's sake."'" 7 And Isaiah said, "Take a lump of figs." And they took and laid it on the boil, and he recovered.

8 And Hezekiah said to Isaiah, "What shall be the sign that the LORD will heal me and that I shall go up into the house of the LORD the third day?" 9 And Isaiah said, "This sign you shall have from the LORD that the LORD will do the thing that he has spoken: shall the shadow go forward ten degrees, or go back ten degrees?" 10 And Hezekiah answered, "It is a light thing for the shadow to go forward ten degrees. No, but let the shadow return backward ten degrees." 11 And Isaiah the prophet cried to the LORD, and he brought the shadow ten degrees backward, by which it had gone down on the dial of Ahaz.

12 At that time Berodach-baladan, the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a present to Hezekiah, for he had heard that Hezekiah had been sick. 13 And Hezekiah listened to them and showed them all the house of his precious things: the silver, the gold, the spices, the precious ointment, all the house of his armor, and all that was found in his treasures. 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 did they come to you?" And Hezekiah said, "They have come from a far country even from Babylon." 15 And he said, "What have they seen in your house?" And Hezekiah answered, "All the things that are in my house they have seen. There is nothing among my treasures that I have not shown them."

16 And Isaiah said to Hezekiah, "Hear the word of the LORD. 17 'Behold, the days come that all that is in your house and that which your fathers have laid up in store to this day shall be carried into Babylon. Nothing shall be left,' says the LORD. 18 'And of your sons who shall issue from you, which you shall beget, they shall take away, and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.'" 19 Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, "Good is the word of the LORD which you have spoken." And he said, "Is it not good if peace and truth are in my days?"

20 And the rest of the acts of Hezekiah and all his might, and how he made a pool and a conduit and brought water into the city, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? 21 And Hezekiah slept with his fathers, and Manasseh his son reigned in his stead.


Matthew Henry Commentary - 2nd Kings, Chapter 20[➚]


[v.8-11] - This is the second time that God had manipulated time in order to make His glory known. The first was when God extended the day so that the people of Israel could defeat the Amorites (Joshua 10:12-14). This time, God is turning back time in order to give a sign to Hezekiah that He would heal him and add fifteen years to his life, and then deliver him and the city out of the hand of the king of Assyria (verse 6). God gave Hezekiah the choice of moving the shadow on the sun-dial forward or backward. Since the shadow always moves forward with time, Hezekiah had God move the shadow back, causing time to turn back. It is within God's power to alter time. It is also within His power to do so in order that He may bestow favor upon His people.