Hezekiah’s illness

At about that time Hezekiah became deathly sick. The prophet Isaiah, Amoz’s son, came to him and said: “The Lord God says this: Put your affairs in order because you are about to die. You won’t survive this.”

Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord: “Please, Lord, remember how I’ve walked before you in truth and sincerity. I’ve done what you consider to be good.” Then Hezekiah cried and cried.

Then the Lord’s word came to Isaiah: “Go and say to Hezekiah: The Lord, the God of your ancestor David, says this: I have heard your prayer and have seen your tears. I will add fifteen years to your life. I will rescue you and this city from the power of the Assyrian king. I will defend this city. This will be your sign from the Lord that he will do what he promised: once the shadow cast by the sun descends on the steps of Ahaz, I will make it back up ten steps.” And the sun went back ten of the steps that it had already descended.

A composition by Judah’s King Hezekiah when he was sick and then recovered from his sickness:

10 I thought, I must depart in the prime of my life;
I have been relegated to the gates of the underworld[a] for the rest of my life.
11 I thought, I won’t see the Lord.
The Lord is in the land of the living.
I won’t look upon humans again
or be with the inhabitants of the world.
12 My lifetime is plucked up
and taken from me like a shepherd’s tent.
My life is shriveled like woven cloth;
God cuts me off from the loom.
Between daybreak and nightfall
you carry out your verdict against me.
13 I cried out[b] until morning:
“Like a lion God crushes all my bones.
Between daybreak and nightfall
you carry out your verdict against me.
14 Like a swallow[c] I chirp;
I moan like a dove.
My eyes have grown weary looking to heaven.
Lord, I’m overwhelmed; support me!”
15 What can I say?
God has spoken to me;
he himself has acted.
I will wander[d] my whole life
with a bitter spirit.
16 The Lord Most High is the one who gives life to every heart,
who gives life to the spirit![e]
17 Look, he indeed exchanged my bitterness for wholeness.[f]
You yourself have spared[g] my whole being
from the pit of destruction,
because you have cast all my sins
behind your back.
18 The underworld[h] can’t thank you,
nor can death[i] praise you;
those who go down to the pit
can’t hope for your faithfulness.
19 The living, the living can thank you, as I do today.
Parents will tell children about your faithfulness.
20 The Lord has truly saved me,
and we will make music[j] at the Lord’s house all the days of our lives.

21 Then Isaiah said, “Prepare a salve made from figs, put it on the swelling, and he’ll get better.”

22 Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “What’s the sign that I’ll be able to go up to the Lord’s temple?”


  1. Isaiah 38:10 Heb Sheol
  2. Isaiah 38:13 Or I lay down
  3. Isaiah 38:14 Heb uncertain
  4. Isaiah 38:15 Heb uncertain
  5. Isaiah 38:16 Heb uncertain
  6. Isaiah 38:17 Heb uncertain
  7. Isaiah 38:17 Cf LXX, Vulg; MT loved
  8. Isaiah 38:18 Heb Sheol
  9. Isaiah 38:18 Heb Maveth
  10. Isaiah 38:20 Or my stringed instruments