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Bible Commentaries
2 Kings 20

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary


Second Kings Chapter 20

2 Kings 20:1 "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 the LORD, Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live."

We are not told the exact time of the illness of Hezekiah. Most scholars believe this happened about the middle of the reign of Hezekiah. Notice, his sickness was unto death. Even the prophet Isaiah warned Hezekiah, that he was about to die. This is a word from the LORD spoken through Isaiah, because he said, "Thus saith the LORD".

2 Kings 20:2 "Then he turned his face to the wall, and prayed unto the LORD, saying,"

This is a man who did not want to die. He, possibly, looked at the wall, so Isaiah, and whoever else was standing there, would not see his despair. His prayer is not for the benefit of those around him. He prayed directly to the LORD. To the unsaved world, facing death brings horror and uncertainty. To those who are saved, there may a dread of the initial death, but there is, also, an awareness of a life we can expect, after we step through the door of death to new life on the other side. There is a stepping into eternity.

2 Kings 20:3 "I beseech thee, O LORD, 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."

Hezekiah’s thoughts are somewhere between the two I mentioned above. He is not horrified at death, but yet he would like to live a little longer. Hezekiah is not bragging on himself. He is just reminding the LORD, that he had made a conscious effort to walk before Him with clean hands and a pure heart. The Hebrews associated long life on this earth, as something you received, when you pleased God. Hezekiah’s weeping, to me, indicates that he feels he might have not pleased the LORD in some way. All people, whether Christians or not, might weep at being told of their soon death. There is a certain uncertainty of dying, that all living feel.

2 Kings 20:4 "And it came to pass, afore Isaiah was gone out into the middle court, that the word of the LORD came to him, saying,"

The LORD hears the prayers of the righteous. The answer is so immediate, that Isaiah had not even left the building, when the answer to Hezekiah’s prayer comes to him.

2 Kings 20:5 "Turn again, and tell Hezekiah the captain of my people, Thus saith the LORD, the God 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 the LORD."

The LORD stops Isaiah, and sends him back to Hezekiah with good news. Hezekiah is the leader of the people, in more than civil matters. He is their spiritual leader, as well. He had caused the worship in the high places to stop. He had caused people to come back to the temple to meet with their LORD. Hezekiah was truly a great man. Hezekiah not only told people how to live, but showed them by example. His life, in many ways, reminds the LORD of king David. What a beautiful answer to his prayers. God had heard his words, and seen his weeping. He had touched the heart of the LORD, and God would heal him. Notice, there is something for Hezekiah to do, to show he had faith in the message from God. On the third day, he must go to the temple. Many times, the people were healed as they went where the LORD sent them.

2 Kings 20:6 "And I will add unto thy days fifteen 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 sins of Judah, before Hezekiah became king, had greatly disappointed the LORD. Could it be that God was about to let the destruction come on Jerusalem? Perhaps, He had planned an early death for Hezekiah, so he would not see this destruction. When God answered Hezekiah’s prayers, the city of Jerusalem, also, got a reprieve. Not only would God extend the life of Hezekiah, but he would delay the destruction of Jerusalem. God loved Hezekiah, but he, also, loved the city of Jerusalem, and David.

2 Kings 20:7 "And Isaiah said, Take a lump of figs. And they took and laid [it] on the boil, and he recovered."

This shows God had a plan that, if carried out in faith, would heal Hezekiah. Figs, even today, are used by some people to cure boils. We would have to believe this boil was much more than just a boil, if it was about to kill Hezekiah. In this case, it is not the figs that healed Hezekiah, but the LORD. Putting on the figs was an act of faith. That was done in obedience to the LORD. The obedience of Hezekiah brought healing from the LORD.

2 Kings 20:8 "And Hezekiah said unto Isaiah, What [shall be] the sign that the LORD will heal me, and that I shall go up into the house of the LORD the third day?"

In the days of the prophets, like Isaiah, it was not unusual for God to give them a sign. Hezekiah was not out of line in asking for a sign. Hezekiah was like many of us. He did not want to wait to see if God had answered his prayer. Three days was a long time to wait.

2 Kings 20:9 "And Isaiah said, This sign shalt thou have of the LORD, that the LORD will do the thing that he hath spoken: shall the shadow go forward ten degrees, or go back ten degrees?"

This is a very unusual thing to happen. This would be an obvious sign that could not be denied.

2 Kings 20:10 "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."

Hezekiah had given a request for something, that would be impossible in the natural sense. You must have an impossibility, before you can have a miracle. God is not controlled by nature. God controls everything, including nature.

2 Kings 20:11 "And Isaiah the prophet cried unto the LORD: and he brought the shadow ten degrees backward, by which it had gone down in the dial of Ahaz."

I would not even attempt to rationalize this. I believe that it happened just as the Bible says, because the Bible says it did. Time actually backed up, but I do not know how it happened.

2 Kings 20:12 "At that time Berodach-baladan, the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a present unto Hezekiah: for he had heard that Hezekiah had been sick."

Berodach-baladan is, also, spoken of as Merodach-baladan in Isaiah chapter 39. The only thing that is known of Baladan, was that he was his father. It is unusual, that the story of the illness of Hezekiah had reached into Babylon. It is even more unusual for the king of Babylon to send the king of Judah a present, and a get well letter.

2 Kings 20:13 "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."

Them, in the verse above, is speaking of the messengers, who brought the letter. We do not know if it was Hezekiah’s fear of the Assyrians, that caused him to want an alliance with the Babylonians. Babylon was a heathen country. Hezekiah should not yoke up with heathens. Hezekiah was being hospitable, when he showed them his house, and also, the precious things the LORD had blessed him with. He might have been trying to convince them, that he would not be a burden on them, if they became allies. He showed them his armour and his ability to protect Judah.

2 Kings 20:14 "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 had not sent for Isaiah. God was not pleased with what Hezekiah had done, and He sends Isaiah to tell him so. This is as if Isaiah was saying to Hezekiah, that this was a very foolish thing to do. Isaiah was asking Hezekiah, why he would show his secrets to men he did not even know? God would not want Hezekiah depending on these worldly people for help against Assyria. Isaiah was trying to get a confession of wrong doing from Hezekiah.

2 Kings 20:15 "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."

Generally, someone, who came to see the king from another country, would not be shown where the wealth of the land was kept. This was extremely unusual for the king to do this. This was like entertaining a future burglar, and giving him the combination to your safe. This was a very foolish thing to do.

2 Kings 20:16 "And Isaiah said unto Hezekiah, Hear the word of the LORD."

Isaiah had heard enough. Now, he spoke judgment from God upon Hezekiah.

2 Kings 20:17 "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 the LORD."

Hezekiah had not ever quite realized that God was their help. They were not to make alliance for help from evil countries around them. The very opposite of what Hezekiah had wished would happen, by showing them these things, would happen. They had seen the treasures, and that would cause them to want to overthrow Judah, and take the treasures. Hezekiah’s plan had back-fired. Babylon would not ally with them, they would attack them.

2 Kings 20:18 "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 male descendents will not be married and produce descendents for Hezekiah. They will be made eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon. We know of several that are mentioned specifically. Jehoiachin, Zedekiah, and Daniel were some of them. This was a terrible judgment especially to Jews, who wanted to be remembered in their children’s children.

2 Kings 20:19 "Then said Hezekiah unto Isaiah, Good [is] the word of the LORD which thou hast spoken. And he said, [Is it] not [good], if peace and truth be in my days?"

Hezekiah realizes he had displeased the LORD. He accepted the punishment that God spoke through Isaiah. Even though the LORD was angered by what Hezekiah had done, He remembered that Hezekiah truly loved Him in his heart. He was merciful to Hezekiah in that he did not live to see this happen. During the life of Hezekiah, Judah would be relatively peaceful.

2 Kings 20:20 "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?"

The pool, mentioned here, had to be of exceptional, since it is spoken of as the pool. This pool was, probably, the same as the pool of Siloam. The conduit was a way to bring water into Jerusalem. There was a well in the Kedron valley, which the water was funnelled through this conduit into the pool of Siloam. The conduit discovered, which this most assuredly is speaking of, is 1,708 feet long. At places, it is as small as two feet tall, and it is as large as five feet tall in other places. This would have been a great feat for that day. There is still evidence in Jerusalem today, of this type of water system. The book of chronicles, mentioned here, is, again, the book of records of the king. This is speaking of civil records.

2 Kings 20:21 "And Hezekiah slept with his fathers: and Manasseh his son reigned in his stead."

We must remember, again, that Hezekiah stood out from the other kings, in that he wanted to please God. His son, Manasseh, will not follow in his father’s footsteps. He will be very evil. Hezekiah was buried near his ancestor David, in a place of honor.

2 Kings 20 Questions

1. How sick was Hezekiah?

2. Who came with a message from God to Isaiah?

3. When do most scholars believe the sickness of Hezekiah occurred?

4. Why did Hezekiah turn and face the wall?

5. What did Hezekiah remind the LORD of in his prayer?

6. What did his weeping indicate?

7. How quickly did God answer Hezekiah?

8. What was the good news Isaiah had for Hezekiah?

9. What was Hezekiah to do, on the third day after seeing Isaiah?

10. What good thing had Hezekiah done for the land?

11. How many years extra did God give Hezekiah?

12. The extension of Hezekiah’s life was not all that God did. What did He do for Jerusalem?

13. What were they to put on the boil?

14. What sign would be given, so that he would know he was healed?

15. Who was king of Babylon at this time?

16. Who did Hezekiah show everything he had to?

17. Why did Hezekaih do this?

18. What question did Isaiah ask Hezekiah about this?

19. In 2 Kings 20:16, what was Isaiah about to speak?

20. Who would someday carry off all the precious things of Judah?

21. What would happen to Hezekiah’s sons?

22. Who were some of the famous eunuchs?

23. How did Hezekiah accept the punishment?

24. What was the pool mentioned in 2 Kings 20:20?

25. What is a conduit?

Verse 1

2Ki 20:1

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on 2 Kings 20". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/2-kings-20.html.
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