Isaiah 38

Hezekiah’s Sickness and Recovery

What does the Bible tell us about the illness that struck Hezekiah?

Hezekiah became ill to the point of death (Isaiah 38:1 and 2 Kings 20:1). Although the nature of the illness is not specifically stated, it involved a boil, which was treated by a poultice (Isaiah 38:21 and 2 Kings 20:7).

Isaiah the prophet instructed Hezekiah to set his house in order because he was going to die (Isaiah 38:1 and 2 Kings 20:1). The news caused Hezekiah to weep and to cry out to the Lord in prayer (Isaiah 38:2-3 and 2 Kings 20:2-3). Once again, God heard the sincere prayer of Hezekiah and told Isaiah to inform the king that God would add fifteen years to his life and deliver and defend Jerusalem from the Assyrians (Isaiah 38:4-6 and 2 Kings 20:5-6).

As a confirmation that these things would happen, God caused the sun to move backwards ten steps (perhaps degrees) on the stairway of Ahaz, believed to have been a sundial or time-telling device (Isaiah 38:7-8 and 2 Kings 20:8-11). Isaiah’s account includes Hezekiah’s prayer, which is not a part of the account in 2 Kings 20.

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