Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Kings 20:2

Then he turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord , saying,
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Blessing;   Disease;   Faith;   Hezekiah;   Isaiah;   Prayer;   Rulers;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Diseases;   Prayer, Private;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Healing;   Hezekiah;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Heal, Health;   Miracle;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Gehazi;   Prayer;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Prophecy, Prophets;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Isaiah, Book of;   Israel;   Text, Versions, and Languages of Ot;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Tears;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Hezekiah;   Manasseh;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Hezekiah;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Urim and Thummim;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Kingdom of Judah;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Liturgy;   Rahab;  

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

He turned his face to the wall - Contrast 1 Kings 21:4. Ahab turned in sullenness, because he was too angry to converse; Hezekiah in devotion, because he wished to pray undisturbed.

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Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 2 Kings 20:2". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/2-kings-20.html. 1870.

Geneva Study Bible

Then he turned his face to the a wall, and prayed unto the LORD, saying,

(a) That his mind might not be troubled.
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Bibliographical Information
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 2 Kings 20:2". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/2-kings-20.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

he turned his face to the wall — not like Ahab (1 Kings 21:4), in fretful discontent, but in order to secure a better opportunity for prayer.

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Kings 20:2". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/2-kings-20.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Then he turned his face to the wall, and prayed unto the LORD, saying,

Turned his face — As he lay in his bed. He could not retire to his closet, but he retired as well as he could, turned from the company, to converse with God.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 20:2". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/2-kings-20.html. 1765.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

HEZEKIAH’S PRAYER

‘He turned his face to the wall and prayed unto the Lord.’

2 Kings 20:2

Hezekiah is reckoned as one of the three perfect kings of Judah, the other two being David and Josiah. His reign of twenty-nine years was marked by great material advancement. The aqueduct of Jerusalem preserves his fame to this day. Under Ahaz the kingdom had deteriorated in morals. The idolatry which he established was suppressed by his son. The worship of Jehovah, which had been neglected, was restored, and the nation enjoyed an era of great prosperity. Ahaz had permitted, in the very precincts of the Temple, to be set up chariots and altars dedicated to the sun. Hezekiah was fortunate in having Isaiah as his tutor and prophet.

I. Hezekiah was a man of prayer.—We see the names of the good prophet and the good king often linked together. The man who can pray best in sickness is the man who prays in health. The man who prays in sickness, but never in health, is a moral coward. Hezekiah went to the secret place for prayer. Shutting the world out he was shut in with God. If we would have Christ hear our prayers we must remember the five rules He gave us for prayers. First, a period for prayer, ‘when thou prayest.’ Second, a place for prayer, ‘enter into thy closet.’ Third, privacy in prayer, ‘when thou hast shut the door.’ Fourth, persons in prayer, ‘pray to thy Father.’ Fifth, promise in prayer, ‘and thy Father which is in secret, He shall reward thee openly.’ The safeguard to all our prayers should be, ‘Thy will be done.’

II. Hezekiah pleaded his own righteousness, which was the best he could do at his time.—We, however can plead the righteousness of Jesus Christ. God has a variety of ways by which He can answer prayer. Our sign is the Cross of Calvary, and in that sign we shall conquer. It cast its shadows on the summit of Calvary, and to the end of time those who come within its shadow will find peace and rest and sweet assurance.

III. Prayer is the one instrument in the power of man by which he can halt the golden chariot of the sun and call to his side the God of the universe.—Prayer from Hezekiah’s lips had the power to destroy the adversaries of God. His prayers had the power to save his nation when it was depleted and seemed an easy prey for the enemy. His prayers brought to him God’s gift, length of days and other temporal blessings. His prayers also brought him remission of his sins and removal of the punishment which sin incurs. Not only does God hear our prayers, but He sees our tears. There will come a time when He will wipe away all tears from our eyes. Hezekiah need have no fear of death during the fifteen years that had been given to him. But with the cancelling of the death warrant for fifteen years he would only be a man of fifty-four years when the warrant would be issued again. Added life is not always added blessing. The gift of God to us is eternal life through Jesus Christ. We are bidden to ask forgiveness of God daily, and it is His high prerogative to forgive those who are forgiving. In God’s hands alone are the issues of life and death.

Illustration

‘God answers our prayers instrumentally. The case of Hezekiah is a typical one! God could have raised him from the sick bed as He did Lazarus from the grave, by a word; but, as a matter of fact, He did so by suggesting to Isaiah the remedy needed, and by blessing that remedy. In like manner, God could have answered St. Paul’s prayer for his storm-driven companions by stilling the tempest, as Christ did that by which the disciples were imperilled on the Lake of Galilee, by a word; but, as a matter of fact, He did so by giving them wisdom and strength to lay hold upon the boards and broken pieces of the ship, by which they all escaped safe to land. This is a most important truth, and it answers not a few semi-philosophical cavils against prayer. In 1872 King Edward VII, when Prince of Wales, and again, thirty years later, just before his coronation, was dangerously ill, and the whole nation united in supplications on his behalf; and our belief is, that his restoration on both occasions was an answer to prayer, quite as much as was the restoration of Hezekiah. Some say, “No, he owed his recovery to the skill of his physicians and the assiduity of his nurses.” Very good. But who gave the physicians their skill and the nurses their assiduity? Let those who, on the ground that medical skill of the highest order waited constantly at the bedside of the King, deny that his recovery was an answer to prayer, cipher out how much of the loaf on their table is due to mechanical causes, and how much of it is due to God. Their doing so will help them to understand the principle of which I have reminded you, that God answers prayer, as He dispenses blessing, instrumentally.’

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Bibliographical Information
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on 2 Kings 20:2". Church Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/2-kings-20.html. 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

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

Ver. 2. Then he turned his face to the wall.] Not so much out of fear of death, - though nature at death will have a bout with the best; and to die actively is not every man’s happiness; quis enim vult mori? prorsus nemo, saith one; death in itself is nature’s slaughter-man, hell’s harbinger, &c., - (a) nor at all because he was uncertain whither he should go when he died, as Jerome would have it: but Isaiah’s message of death was so harsh and heavy to him, because he had then died without issue, as appeareth in that Manasseh was but twelve years old at his father’s death.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 20:2". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/2-kings-20.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

He turned his face to the wall; either because the temple lay that way; or rather, that by turning his face from the company he might intimate his desire of privacy, and so might with more freedom and fervency pour out his soul to God.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Kings 20:2". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/2-kings-20.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

2.Turned his face to the wall — Towards the wall of his room, away from all present, so as not to be confused by the sight of men. This act was “not merely to collect his thoughts, or to conceal his tears, but as a natural expression of strong feeling. As Ahab turned his face towards the wall in anger, (1 Kings 21:4,) so Hezekiah dies the same in grief.” — Alexander.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Kings 20:2". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/2-kings-20.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

2 Kings 20:2. Then he turned his face to the wall — As he lay in his bed. He could not retire to his closet; but he retired as well as he could; he turned from the company to converse with God. When we cannot be so private as we would in our devotions, nor perform them with the usual outward expressions of reverence and solemnity, yet we must not, therefore, omit them, but compose and address ourselves to them as well as we can.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Kings 20:2". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/2-kings-20.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Wall, towards the temple; (Chaldean, &c.) or that he might be less distracted, and indulge his grief without restraint.

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 2 Kings 20:2". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/2-kings-20.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

he. Some codices, with four early printed editions, Septuagint, and Syriac, read "Hezekiah".

prayed. See note on 2 Kings 20:15. See his references to this in his "Songs of the degrees" (Psalms 120:1; Psalms 123:1-3; Psalms 130:1, Psalms 130:2); and App-67.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 2 Kings 20:2". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/2-kings-20.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Then he turned his face to the wall, and prayed unto the LORD, saying,

Turned his face to the wall. Not like Ahab (see the notes at 1 Kings 21:4 for an account of the position of beds), in fretful discontent, but in order to secure a better opportunity for prayer, to conceal his face from the notice of his attendants, that the fervency of his devotion might not be observed. But Lamy thinks that Hezekiah turned his face to the wall because he meant to pray looking in the direction of the temple ('De Tabernaculo,' lib. 7: cap. 1: sec. 5.

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Kings 20:2". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/2-kings-20.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(2) Then he turned his face.—And he turned his face round (1 Kings 21:4). Hezekiah did so to avoid being disturbed in his prayer; and perhaps because grief instinctively seeks a hiding-place.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 20:2". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/2-kings-20.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Then he turned his face to the wall, and prayed unto the LORD, saying,
he turned
1 Kings 8:30; Psalms 50:15; Isaiah 38:2,3; Matthew 6:6
Reciprocal: Job 33:26 - pray;  James 5:16 - The effectual

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Kings 20:2". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/2-kings-20.html.