2 KINGS 20
Historically, verses 1-11 should appear after ch. 19:34 for it occurred before the destruction of the Assyrians.*
Sickness strikes down the king
1 In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz came to him, and said unto him, Thus saith Yahweh, Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live.
24 In those days Hezekiah was sick to the death, and prayed unto the Lord: and he spake unto him, and he gave him a sign.
25 But Hezekiah rendered not again according to the benefit done unto him; for his heart was lifted up: therefore there was wrath upon him, and upon Judah and Jerusalem.
26 Notwithstanding Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart, both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the Lord came not upon them in the days of Hezekiah. 2Chron 32
God said he had done well. The time had come for him to rest. He was forty years old. He had a good record and God was willing to terminate his period of trial and probation.
"The righteous man is taken away from the evil to come"-Isa. 57:1
But Hezekiah was not ready, and he prayed to God to live. In this, he questioned the wisdom of God, and rejected His merciful rest. Having failed in this test, his life was lengthened for further testing and trial. Continuing, there is evidence that a declension had in part set in, and the king's character was seen in a less favourable aspect.
"But Hezekiah rendered not again according to the benefit done unto him; for his heart was lifted up: therefore there was wrath upon him, and upon Judah and Jerusalem. Howbeit in the business of the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon, who sent unto his to enquire of the wonder that was done in the land, God left him, to try him, that he might knew all that was that was in his heart."
In his pride he showed off all his possessions and glory to the ambassadors from Babylon. There was not a thing that he failed to display. Humility and prudence were alike forgotten. God directly connects this incident with the later carrying away of all these treasures into Babylon, as cause and effect-Isa. 39.
Bro Growcott - Strength and weakness
He was "sick unto death," a physical malady that was in a very virulent and incurable form, implying the living death of leprosy (v. 7). It typified the cause of physical defilement in mankind: the "law of sin and death" which afflicts all mankind, and from which there is no cure apart from the divine redemption.*
18 For the grave cannot praise thee, death can not celebrate thee: they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth.
19 The living, the living, he shall praise thee, as I do this day: the father to the children shall make known thy truth. Isa 38
..."In those days" relate to the eve of the Assyrian attack (cp. v. 6). It would add to the consternation and confusion of the crisis, and thrust the city into further gloom. His sickness was of a very virulent and incurable form, laying the basis for Isa. 53:4. *
2 Then he turned his face to the wall, and prayed unto Yahweh, saying,
The Prayer of Faith
3 I beseech thee, O Yahweh, remember now how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore.
He was without a successor, and his death would weaken the attitude of the people in resistance of the Sin-power Sennacherib. It would mean the end of all hopes to establish the fulness of the divine worship (cp. Isa. 38:9-20). *
An answer of peace
4 And it came to pass, afore Isaiah was gone out into the middle court, that the word of Yahweh came to him, saying,
5 Turn again, and tell Hezekiah the captain of my people, Thus saith Yahweh, the Elohim of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee: on the third day thou shalt go up unto the house of Yahweh.
It was clearly "a sign" (2Chr. 32:24), foreshadowing the death and resurrection of the Lord. It was this condition that drove the king to prayer: v3...as Christ came from the darkness of the earth in three days. *
6 And I will add unto thy days 15 years; and I will deliver thee and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city for mine own sake, and for my servant David's sake.
The Nature of the Sickness
7 And Isaiah said, Take a lump of figs. And they took and laid it on the boil, and he recovered.
Isaiah the prophet became an inspired physician "in the Truth" to him. Luke, was "the beloved physician" (Col. 4:14) Paul also was a physician by the power of the spirit of Yahweh (Acts 28:8, 9). In the apostolic times there was room for physicians of both sorts, natural and by holy spirit power (selected)
We will go to the doctor (who, like Luke, may perchance be "in Christ"), but we will not expect him to do what Christ alone can accomplish.
It is a mistake to suppose that "the Truth" apart from the doctor can deliver us in cases of nervous or mental breakdown. That very condition is liable to give distorted views of "the Truth." We have known some very sad cases. A competent "outside" diagnosis is of very great value, even apart from remedial treatment, and is by no means to be despised.
Bro CC Walker
The Christadelphian, Sept 1917
Hezekiah requests a sign
8 And Hezekiah said unto Isaiah, What shall be the sign that Yahweh will heal me, and that I shall go up into the house of Yahweh the third day?
9 And Isaiah said, This sign shalt thou have of Yahweh, that Yahweh will do the thing that he hath 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 down ten degrees: nay, but let the shadow return backward ten degrees.
11 And Isaiah the prophet cried unto Yahweh: and he brought the shadow ten degrees backward, by which it had gone down in the dial of Ahaz.
Congratulations from Babylon
12 At that time Berodachbaladan, the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a present unto Hezekiah: for he had heard that Hezekiah had been sick.
Hezekiah's miraculous restoration was hailed by the nations round about. Congratulations were received from Merodach-Balaam, but Hezekiah's folly in sharing such things with Babylon was condemned by Isaiah v17*
13 And Hezekiah hearkened unto them, and shewed them all the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armour, and all that was found in his treasures: there was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah shewed them not.
14 Then came Isaiah the prophet unto king Hezekiah, and said unto him, What said these men? and from whence came they unto thee? And Hezekiah said, They are come from a far country, even from Babylon.
Hezekiah's folly - too close to the world
15 And he said, What have they seen in thine house? And Hezekiah answered, All the things that are in mine house have they seen: there is nothing among my treasures that I have not shewed them.
Results of Hezekiah's folly
16 And Isaiah said unto Hezekiah, Hear the word of Yahweh.
Characteristics of a True Prophet
A true prophet is one who is under the direction of the Spirit of God. Without this Spirit he could as easily invade heaven and scale the throne of the Eternal, as to lift the thick veil of futurity and unravel its dark mysteries. Yet aided by that Divine afflatus, he records with unerring precision the destinies of nations and kingdoms, even before they exist.
In his revealings he uses no mummeries-no incantations-no cabalistic signs-no mysterious knockings. He invokes not the aid of familiar spirits-neither does he pretend to read the destinies of men and nations by the configurations of the heavenly orbs. He makes no pretensions to superior sagacity or foresight, nor to greater holiness. Neither does he boast of the possession of intellectual powers and literary attainments higher than other men.
When God makes choice of men to fill the Prophetic and Apostolic offices, he passes by the reputed wise, learned, and honorable among men, and chooses "the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and the weak things of the world to confound the things that are mighty," &c., and this he does "that no flesh should glory in his presence," 1 Cor. 1:27-29.
A true Prophet faithfully reports or records what God has revealed to him while under the Divine influence. If the things come to pass which he has spoken in the name of the Lord, then we know assuredly that the Lord has spoken by him.
Sometimes, when under the afflatus, the Prophet heard, as it were, the voice of God speaking to him, directing him what to do and what to say-as, "Thus saith the Lord;" "The word of the Lord came unto me, saying."
Sometimes in dreams and visions of the night, things and events were portrayed before them with all the minuteness and vividness of reality-a daguerreotype likeness of things before they transpire; as, for instance, the prophecies of Isaiah are represented as "visions of things which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem;" also the vision which Peter, James, and John saw on the mount of transfiguration, representative of the glory which Jesus and the saints will have in the future age; and also, the vision of things beyond the power of utterance, which Paul saw and heard in Paradise, &c.
Again, symbols are sometimes employed to represent nations, kingdoms, empires, peoples, governments, powers-Heaven's heraldic signs of things to come, represented by the sun, moon, stars, heavens, earth, seas, &c.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, July 1856
17 Behold, the days come, that all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store unto this day, shall be carried into Babylon: nothing shall be left, saith Yahweh.
.How important that we do not associate with the World in any respect as far as the Truth we uphold is concerned.*
18 And of thy sons that shall issue from thee, which thou shalt beget, shall they take away; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.
Hezekiah's meek acquiescence
19 Then said Hezekiah unto Isaiah, Good is the word of Yahweh which thou hast spoken. And he said, Is it not good, if peace and truth be 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.