Isaiah 38:1-39:8 Reading the Passage

Think Twice Before You Pray – Isaiah 38:1-39:8

38 In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz came to him and said, This is what Jehovah says, Put your affairs in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover. (2) Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to Jehovah, (3) saying, O Jehovah, I beg you, remember how I have sincerely walked before you and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your sight. And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

(4) Then the word of Jehovah came to Isaiah, saying, (5) Go back and tell Hezekiah, This is what Jehovah, the God of your father David, says, I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Listen; I will add fifteen years to your life. (6) Furthermore, I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria; I will defend this city. (7) This will be the sign for you from Jehovah, confirming that Jehovah will do what he has said. (8) Look! I will cause the shadow cast by the sun to go back the ten steps it has gone down on the stairway of Ahaz. So the sunlight went back the ten steps it had gone down.

(9) The song written by Hezekiah king of Judah after his illness and recovery: (10) I said, In the prime of my life I shall go to the gates of Sheol; I am deprived of the remainder of my days. (11) I said, I shall not see Jehovah—indeed, Jehovah—in the land of the living; I shall no longer look upon man or be with those who dwell in this world. (12) Like a shepherd’s tent, my earthly dwelling has been pulled down and taken away from me. Like a weaver, I have rolled up my life, and he has cut me off from the loom. From day until night you are intent on bringing my life to an end. (13) I waited patiently until dawn; but like a lion, he breaks all my bones. From day until night you are intent on bringing my life to an end. (14) I cried like a swallow or a crane; I moaned like a mourning dove. My eyes looked wistfully to the heights. O Lord, I am oppressed, be my surety. (15) What shall I say? He has told me what he will do, and he himself has done it. I will walk humbly all my years because of the anguish of my soul. (16) By means of such experiences men learn how to live; and my spirit, also, has surely learned the way of life by this. (17) Surely it was for my benefit that I have suffered such anguish. But in love for my soul you have delivered me from the pit of corruption; you have cast all my sins behind your back. (18) Sheol cannot praise you; death cannot sing your praise. Those who go down into the pit cannot hope for your faithfulness. (19) The man who is alive—the man who is living—he is the one who will praise you, as I do this day. The father shall make your faithfulness known to his children. (20) Jehovah is willing to save me; therefore we will sing my songs accompanied with stringed instruments in the temple of Jehovah all the days of our lives.

(21) Now Isaiah had said, Let them prepare a poultice of figs and apply it as a plaster to the boil, and he will recover. (22) Also, Hezekiah had asked, What is the sign that I will go up to the temple of Jehovah?

39 At that time Merodach-Baladan son of Baladan king of Babylon sent Hezekiah letters and a gift, because he had heard of his illness and recovery. (2) Hezekiah received the envoys gladly and showed them the storehouse that contained his treasures—the silver, the gold, the spices, the fine oil, his entire armory and all that was found in his treasuries. There was nothing in his palace or in all his kingdom that Hezekiah did not show them.

(3) Then Isaiah the prophet came to King Hezekiah and asked him, What did those men say to you, and from where did they come? Hezekiah replied, They came to me from a distant country—all the way from Babylon! (4) Then Isaiah asked, What did they see in your palace? Hezekiah answered, They saw everything that is in my palace; there is nothing among my treasures that I did not show them.

(5) Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, Hear the word of Jehovah of hosts. (6) Listen. The day is coming when everything that is in your palace, and all that your forefathers have stored up until this day, will be carried away to Babylon. Nothing will be left, declares Jehovah. (7) And some of your sons, your own flesh and blood who will be born to you, will be taken away—they will become eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon. (8) Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, The word of Jehovah that you have spoken is good; for he thought, At least there will be peace and security during my lifetime.

Now proceed to the next section of this study, entitled, Exploring the Passage.