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Bible Commentaries

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible

Isaiah 38

Verses 1-22

Sickness and Recovery of Hezekiah

Continuation of the historical appendix to Isaiah’s prophecies. The chapter is parallel to 2 Kings 20:1-11 (where see notes), but contains a considerable addition in the shape of Hezekiah’s song of thanks-giving upon his recovery. Chronologically this chapter precedes 36 and 37: see on Isaiah 36:1.

1-8. To Hezekiah in his sickness Isaiah promises 15 more years of life, and confirms the promise by a sign.

9-20. Hezekiah’s song of thanksgiving.

21, 22. The remedy for the king’s disease was suggested by Isaiah, and the sign was given at the king’s request.

1. Thus saith, etc.] The passage affords a striking illustration of the conditional nature of prophetic utterance, for at Hezekiah’s intercession the sentence was revoked.

5. Fifteen years] Hezekiah’s sickness therefore befell him in his 14th year (714): see on Isaiah 36:1. Though some long time before Sennacherib’s great invasion, danger was already apprehended from Assyria (Isaiah 38:6).

8. The. account in 2 Kings 20:8-11 is fuller. Degrees.. sun dial] RV ’steps.. steps.’ Some kind of clock is evidently indicated, probably a pillar standing upon steps and casting a shadow in such a way that a particular portion of time was represented by a step.

10. Cutting off] RV ’noontide.’

11. See the Lord] Hezekiah is probably thinking of the Temple worship. The v. illustrates the gloomy conception of the Hebrews as to the state of man after death: cp. Isaiah 38:18.

12. Cut off] RV ’rolled up.’ With pining sickness] RV ’from the loom.’ From day.. night] i.e. in one day. The words refer to the swiftness with which the end comes, not to prolongation of suffering.

13. I reckoned.. lion] RV ’I quieted myself until morning; as a lion,’ etc.

14. Mourn] i.e. moan, referring to the sound made by the dove. Undertake for me] RV ’be thou my surety’: Genesis 43:9; Genesis 44:32.

15. Softly] RM ’as in solemn procession’ (Psalms 42:4). In] RV ’because of.’

16. By these things] i.e. the word of God and the action of His providence. The reference is to the first part of Isaiah 38:15: cp. Deuteronomy 8:3; Matthew 4:4. So wilt thou] RV ’wherefore.’

17. Behold.. bitterness] RV ’Behold it was for my peace that I had,’ etc. He sees on looking back that the chastisement had been for his good. My sins] God’s favour in restoration to health is viewed as a sign of forgiveness.

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Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 38". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". 1909.