Isaiah 38 – “Hezekiah’s Thanksgiving Psalm”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
Hezekiah recalls how he fell sick, called out to God, and was healed.

II. Photo
God sends Hezekiah a sign: “‘I am going to make the shadow on the steps, which has descended on the steps of Ahaz because of the sun, recede ten steps.’ And the sun[’s shadow] receded ten steps, the same steps as it had descended.” (v. 8 )

III. Important Verses
1: In those days Hezekiah fell dangerously ill. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz came and said to him, “Thus said the LORD: Set your affairs in order, for you are going to die; you will not get well.”
2-3: Thereupon Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD. “Please, O LORD,” he said, “remember how I have walked before You sincerely and wholeheartedly, and have done what is pleasing to You.” And Hezekiah wept profusely.
4-8:  Then the word of the LORD came to Isaiah: “Go and tell Hezekiah: Thus said the LORD, the God of your father David: I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears. I hereby add fifteen years to your life. I will also rescue you and this city from the hands of the king of Assyria. I will protect this city. And this is the sign for you from the LORD that the LORD will do the thing that He has promised: I am going to make the shadow on the steps, which has descended on the dial of Ahaz because of the sun, recede ten steps.” And the sun[’s shadow] receded ten steps, the same steps as it had descended.
17: Truly, it was for my own good That I had such great bitterness: You saved my life From the pit of destruction, For You have cast behind Your back All my offenses.

IV. Outline

1a. Hezekiah falls ill
1b. Isaiah tells him to prepare for death
2-3. Hezekiah petitions God for help
4-8. God’s response
    4. God speaks to Isaiah
    5-8a. Oracle: God will heal Hezekiah, protect Jerusalem, and provide a sign
8b. A sign of assurance: the sun’s shadow recedes
9-20. Hezekiah’s thanksgiving psalm
    9. Historical introduction
    10-15. Recollection of misery and petition
        10-11. Fear of death
        12-14a. Torturous pain
        14b. Petition
        15. Hopelessness
    16. God’s act of healing
    17. God’s goodness in punishing people
    18. Only the living can praise God
    19. Gratefulness for life
    20. Music at the temple
21. Isaiah prepares to heal Hezekiah
22. Hezekiah asks for a sign

V. Comment
No comment today. Stay tuned

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Blenkinsopp, Joseph. “Isaiah 1-39” The Anchor Bible vol. 19 (New York: Doubleday, 2000).
Collins, John J. “Introduction to the Hebrew Bible,” (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004).
Sweeney, Marvin A. “Isaiah 1-39 with an Introduction to Prophetic Literature” The Forms of Old Testament Literature vol. 16 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans, 1996).
Photo taken from http://jonathangreenwald.com/pblog/images/20071125193509_stone_stairs.jpg

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