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Bible Commentaries
Isaiah 38

Bullinger's Companion Bible NotesBullinger's Companion Notes

Verse 1

In those days: i.e. Hezekiah's fourteenth year: for fifteen years (603-588 B.C.) are added to his life (Isaiah 38:5 ), and he reigned twenty-nine years (2 Kings 18:2 ); 14 + 15 = 29.

sick. This sickness was therefore during the siege.

the LORD. Hebrew. Jehovah. App-4 .

Set thine house in order = Give charge concerning thy house.

die, and not live = thou wilt certainly die. Figure of speech Pleonasm : by which a thing is put both ways (positive and negative) for emphasis.

Verse 2

prayed. As in Isaiah 37:4 ("lift up") and verses: Isaiah 38:14 , Isaiah 38:15 . Contrast Isaiah 39:2 , where, when the king of Babylon sent letters and he neglected prayer.

Verse 3

in truth. See note on Isaiah 10:20 .

wept sore = wept a great weeping. Figure of speech Polyptoton ( App-6 ), for emphasis. Compare 2 Kings 20:3 .

Verse 4

came. The only occurrence of this in the case of Isaiah. Compare Genesis 15:1 .

Verse 5

the God of David. This Divine title reminds and assures Hezekiah that Jehovah would be faithful to His promise made to David in 2 Samuel 7:0 . See App-67 and note on 2 Kings 20:5 .

fifteen years. Hence the number of the "Song of the Degrees". See App-67 .

Verse 6

I will deliver thee and this city. The city was thus still besieged.

I will. Hezekiah trusted this promise.

defend = shield. See note on Isaiah 31:5 .

Verse 7

a sign = the sign. Hezekiah had asked for this sign (see Isaiah 38:22 ). This shows that Isaiah 38:22 is not "displaced" as alleged. compare note on Isaiah 7:11 .

Verse 8

the shadow of the degrees. It is to these "degrees", or steps of the sundial of Ahaz his father, that Hezekiah refers in the title for "The Songs of the Degrees". See App-67 .

degrees = steps. Note the emphasis placed on these by the fivefold repetition of the word.

dial = degrees (making the fifth repetition of the word).

Verse 9

The writing, &c. Hebrew. michtab. Another spelling of michtam. See App-65 . This verse is the superscription common to most Psalms, corresponding with the subscription (Isaiah 38:20 ). See App-65 .

Verse 10

thegrave . Hebrew. Sheol. App-35 .

Verse 11

see THE LORD = appear before Jah. Reference to Pentateuch. See note on Isaiah 1:12 ; and on "appear" (Exodus 23:15 ; Exodus 34:20 ).

in the land of the living. This expression occurs three times with the Art. ("the living") in the Hebrew (viz. here; Job 28:13 ; and Psalms 142:5 ). Without the Art. it occurs eight times. See note on Ezekiel 26:20 .

the living: i.e. alive on the earth. Not Sheol, which is the place of the dead.

the world. Hebrew. hadel = a quiet land: i.e. when this invasion shall be ended. Some codices read heled (transposing the l and d) = the transitory world: hadel occurs only here.

Verse 12

age. Hebrew. dor = generation, or succession.

like a weaver. Supply Ellipsis thus: "like a weaver [his thread]. "See note on "weave" (Isaiah 19:9 ).

Verse 13

I reckoned = I waited expectantly.

as a lion = as a lion [awaits his prey].

so will He break. See note on Psalms 22:16 .

Verse 14

Like a crane or a swallow: or, like a twittering swallow.

mourn. See note on Psalms 55:17 . Compare Ezekiel 7:16 .

undertake = be a surety. Compare Job 17:3 ("put me in surety").

Verse 15

softly = slowly. Hebrew. dadah. Only here and in Psalms 42:4 ("went").

soul. Hebrew. nephesh . App-13 .

Verse 16

by these, &c. = upon these [Thy doings (Isaiah 38:15 ) men] revive (Psalms 104:29 , Psalms 104:30 ), and the reviving of my spirit [is] altogether in them.

spirit. Hebrew. ruach .

Verse 17

pit of corruption. = pit or corruption.

behind Thy back. Sins unforgiven are said to be "before His face" (Psalms 109:14 , Psalms 109:15 .Jeremiah 16:17 . Hosea 7:2 ). Compare Micah 7:19 . Hence the "happinesses" of Psalms 32:1 , Psa 32:16 .

Verse 18

the grave. Hebrew. Sheol . App-35 . Put here by Figure of speech Metonymy (of Subject), for those who are in it.

not. Note the Ellipsis of the second negative. See note on Genesis 2:6 , and 1 Kings 2:9 . Compare for the teaching Psalms 6:5 ; Psalms 30:9 ; Psalms 88:10 , Psalms 88:12 .Ecclesiastes 9:10 .

celebrate. See note on "shall not give their light" (Isaiah 13:10 ).

they. Some codices read "and they".

Verse 19

The living, the living. Figure of speech Epizeuxis , for emphasis, implying that only such are able to praise.

the father to the children. Note the reference to the Pentateuch (Deuteronomy 4:9 ; Deuteronomy 6:7 ).

children = sons.

Verse 20

was ready. Supply "was gracious".

therefore, &c. Note the subscription above.

we will sing my songs: i.e. the "Songs of the Degrees" ( App-67 ). Where are "my songs", and what were they if not the fifteen songs named after the ten degrees by which the shadow of the sun went back on the sundial of Ahaz (verses: Isaiah 38:7 , Isaiah 38:8 )?

the house of the LORD. Note Hezekiah's love for this in these songs (Psalms 122:1 Psalms 122:9 ; Psalms 134:1 , Psalms 134:2 ). See App-67 .

Verse 22

What is the sign . . . ? See on Isaiah 7:8 .

Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Isaiah 38". "Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bul/isaiah-38.html. 1909-1922.
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