2Kings 20

 

בַּיָּמִים הָהֵם חָלָה חִזְקִיָּהוּ לָמוּת וַיָּבֹא אֵלָיו יְשַׁעְיָהוּ בֶן־אָמוֹץ הַנָּבִיא וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו כֹּה־אָמַר יְהוָה צַו   20:1 לְבֵיתֶךָ כִּי מֵת אַתָּה וְלֹא תִחְיֶה׃

2Kin. 20:1   In those days Hezekiah became ill enough to die, and Isaiah son of Amoz, the prophet, came to him and said to him, “Thus says the Lord:  ‘Give command to your house, for you are dying and you will not live.’”

וַיַּסֵּב אֶת־פָּנָיו אֶל־הַקִּיר וַיִּתְפַּלֵּל אֶל־יְהוָה לֵאמֹר׃   20:2

2Kin. 20:2   Then he turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord saying,

אָנָּה יְהוָה זְכָר־נָא אֵת אֲשֶׁר הִתְהַלַּכְתִּי לְפָנֶיךָ בֶּאֱמֶת וּבְלֵבָב שָׁלֵם וְהַטּוֹב בְּעֵינֶיךָ עָשִׂיתִי וַיֵּבְךְּ   20:3 חִזְקִיָּהוּ בְּכִי גָדוֹל׃

2Kin. 20:3   “I beseech You, O Lord, remember now how I have walked before You in truth and with a whole heart, and I have done what is good in Your eyes.”  And Hezekiah wept a great weeping.

וַיְהִי יְשַׁעְיָהוּ לֹא יָצָא (הָעִיר) [חָצֵר] הַתִּיכֹנָה וּדְבַר־יְהוָה הָיָה אֵלָיו לֵאמֹר׃   20:4

2Kin. 20:4   And it happened, Isaiah had not departed the middle (of the city) [courtyard] when the word of the Lord came to him saying,

The word in parentheses, translated as of the city, was thought by the sages to be an error.  I assume the reason being that Isaiah normally remained in the city.  If so, I’m not sure I can agree with the sages (humility aside).  The expression in the verse is the middle of the city, not the city itself.  And the middle of the city was the Temple area.  So I am led to believe that the Hebrew is correct as written.  Nevertheless, I’ve included the correction of the sages in the brackets.

שׁוּב וְאָמַרְתָּ אֶל־חִזְקִיָּהוּ נְגִיד־עַמִּי כֹּה־אָמַר יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵי דָּוִד אָבִיךָ שָׁמַעְתִּי אֶת־תְּפִלָּתֶךָ רָאִיתִי   20:5 אֶת־דִּמְעָתֶךָ הִנְנִי רֹפֶא לָךְ בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁלִישִׁי תַּעֲלֶה בֵּית יְהוָה׃

2Kin. 20:5   “Go back and say to Hezekiah, prince of My people:  ‘Thus says the Lord, God of David, your father:  ‘I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears.  Behold, I am healing you.  On the third day you will go up to the house of the Lord,

וְהֹסַפְתִּי עַל־יָמֶיךָ חֲמֵשׁ עֶשְׂרֵה שָׁנָה וּמִכַּף מֶלֶךְ־אַשּׁוּר אַצִּילְךָ וְאֵת הָעִיר הַזֹּאת וְגַנּוֹתִי עַל־הָעִיר   20:6 הַזֹּאת לְמַעֲנִי וּלְמַעַן דָּוִד עַבְדִּי׃

2Kin. 20:6   and I will add fifteen years onto your days, and I shall deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria, and I shall be a Defense about this city, for My sake and for the sake of David, My servant.’”

וַיֹּאמֶר יְשַׁעְיָהוּ קְחוּ דְּבֶלֶת תְּאֵנִים וַיִּקְחוּ וַיָּשִׂימוּ עַל־הַשְּׁחִין וַיֶּחִי׃   20:7

2Kin. 20:7   And Isaiah said, “Get a cake of figs.”  And they got and they put on the boil and he recovered.

וַיֹּאמֶר חִזְקִיָּהוּ אֶל־יְשַׁעְיָהוּ מָה אוֹת כִּי־יִרְפָּא יְהוָה לִי וְעָלִיתִי בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁלִישִׁי בֵּית יְהוָה׃   20:8

2Kin. 20:8   Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “What will be a sign that the Lord will give healing to me, and I will go up on the third day to the house of the Lord?”

וַיֹּאמֶר יְשַׁעְיָהוּ זֶה־לְּךָ הָאוֹת מֵאֵת יְהוָה כִּי יַעֲשֶׂה יְהוָה אֶת־הַדָּבָר אֲשֶׁר דִּבֵּר הָלַךְ הַצֵּל עֶשֶׂר   20:9 מַעֲלוֹת אִם־יָשׁוּב עֶשֶׂר מַעֲלוֹת׃

2Kin. 20:9   And Isaiah said, “This shall be the sign for you from the Lord that the Lord will do the thing of which he spoke:  Shall the shadow go forward ten degrees, or go back ten degrees?”

וַיֹּאמֶר יְחִזְקִיָּהוּ נָקֵל לַצֵּל לִנְטוֹת עֶשֶׂר מַעֲלוֹת לֹא כִי יָשׁוּב הַצֵּל אֲחֹרַנִּית עֶשֶׂר מַעֲלוֹת׃   20:10

2Kin. 20:10   And Hezekiah said, “It is easy for the shadow to advance ten degrees; no, but let it go back backward ten degrees.”                                                                            [Return to 2Chr. 32:24]

The degrees of a circle (a sundial) were already understood in the scribe’s time.  This should come as no surprise, since the rough elements of geometry were already known and being used by the Egyptians and Babylonians.  But it is a bit unnerving to me to realize that properties of angles were understood to a considerable extent in the land of  Israel.  And Hezekiah is asking the Lord to move the sun (that is, the earth) backward.

וַיִּקְרָא יְשַׁעְיָהוּ הַנָּבִיא אֶל־יְהוָה וַיָּשֶׁב אֶת־הַצֵּל בַּמַּעֲלוֹת אֲשֶׁר יָרְדָה בְּמַעֲלוֹת אָחָז אֲחֹרַנִּית עֶשֶׂר   20:11 מַעֲלוֹת׃

2Kin. 20:11   Then Isaiah, the prophet, called out to the Lord, and He returned the shadow by degrees until it came down on the sundial steps of Ahaz backwards ten degrees.

I wonder, did the whole world experience this phenomenon, or just the area of Jerusalem?  If the whole world, one would expect to find a written record of this event somewhere.  But I don’t believe any has been found.  So I imagine it probably happened only in the vicinity of Hezekiah.  Then the earth probably did not move, only the shadow on the sundial.  So this was only a “small” miracle compared to the earth rotating backward.

בָּעֵת הַהִיא שָׁלַח בְּרֹאדַךְ בַּלְאֲדָן בֶּן־בַּלְאֲדָן מֶלֶךְ־בָּבֶל סְפָרִים וּמִנְחָה אֶל־חִזְקִיָּהוּ כִּי שָׁמַע כִּי   20:12 חָלָה   20:1 חִזְקִיָּהוּ׃

2Kin. 20:12   At that time Berodach-baladan, the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a gift to Hezekiah for he had heard that Hezekiah was sick.

וַיִּשְׁמַע עֲלֵיהֶם חִזְקִיָּהוּ וַיַּרְאֵם אֶת־כָּל־בֵּית נְכֹתֹה אֶת־הַכֶּסֶף וְאֶת־הַזָּהָב וְאֶת־הַבְּשָׂמִים וְאֵת שֶׁמֶן   20:13 הַטּוֹב וְאֵת בֵּית כֵּלָיו וְאֵת כָּל־אֲשֶׁר נִמְצָא בְּאוֹצְרֹתָיו לֹא־הָיָה דָבָר אֲשֶׁר לֹא־הֶרְאָם חִזְקִיָּהוּ בְּבֵיתוֹ וּבְכָל־מֶמְשַׁלְתּוֹ׃

2Kin. 20:13   And Hezekiah listened to them, and he showed them all of the house of treasures, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious oil, and the house of his armor, and all that was found in his treasuries.  There was not a thing that Hezekiah did not show them in his house or in all his dominion.

The three appearances of the pronoun them in this verse must refer to the bearers of the letters and gift from Berodach-baladan.

וַיָּבֹא יְשַׁעְיָהוּ הַנָּבִיא אֶל־הַמֶּלֶךְ חִזְקִיָּהוּ וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו מָה אָמְרוּ הָאֲנָשִׁים הָאֵלֶּה וּמֵאַיִן יָבֹאוּ   20:14

אֵלֶיךָ וַיֹּאמֶר חִזְקִיָּהוּ מֵאֶרֶץ רְחֹוקָה בָּאוּ מִבָּבֶל׃

2Kin. 20:14   Then Isaiah, the prophet, came to king Hezekiah and said to him, “What did these men say?  And from where would they have come to you?”  And Hezekiah said, “From a land far off they came, from Babylon.

וַיֹּאמֶר מָה רָאוּ בְּבֵיתֶךָ וַיֹּאמֶר חִזְקִיָּהוּ אֵת כָּל־אֲשֶׁר בְּבֵיתִי רָאוּ לֹא־הָיָה דָבָר אֲשֶׁר לֹא־הִרְאִיתִם   20:15 בְּאֹצְרֹתָי׃

2Kin. 20:15   And he said, “What have they seen in your house?”  And Hezekiah said, “They have seen all that is in my house.  There is not a thing that I did not show them among my treasures.”

וַיֹּאמֶר יְשַׁעְיָהוּ אֶל־חִזְקִיָּהוּ שְׁמַע דְּבַר־יְהוָה׃   20:16

2Kin. 20:16   And Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the Lord:

הִנֵּה יָמִים בָּאִים וְנִשָּׂא כָּל־אֲשֶׁר בְּבֵיתֶךָ וַאֲשֶׁר אָצְרוּ אֲבֹתֶיךָ עַד־הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה בָּבֶלָה לֹא־יִוָּתֵר דָּבָר   20:17 אָמַר יְהוָה׃

2Kin. 20:17   ‘Behold, the days are coming when all that is in your house, and that your fathers had stored up until this day, will be carried away to Babylon.’”  “’There shall not be a thing left,’ says the Lord.”

וּמִבָּנֶיךָ אֲשֶׁר יֵצְאוּ מִמְּךָ אֲשֶׁר תּוֹלִיד (יִקָּח) [יִקָּחוּ] וְהָיוּ סָרִיסִים בְּהֵיכַל מֶלֶךְ בָּבֶל׃   20:18

2Kin. 20:18   “And from your sons who shall issue from you, whom you shall beget, they shall be taken away, and shall become officers in the palace of the king of Babylon.”

The word in parentheses, translated as they shall be taken away, is spelled in the singular form and should be plural.  The correction is in the brackets.

וַיֹּאמֶר חִזְקִיָּהוּ אֶל־יְשַׁעְיָהוּ טוֹב דְּבַר־יְהוָה אֲשֶׁר דִּבַּרְתָּ וַיֹּאמֶר הֲלוֹא אִם־שָׁלוֹם וֶאֱמֶת יִהְיֶה   20:19

 בְיָמָי׃

2Kin. 20:19   And Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “The word of the Lord that you have spoken is good.” And he said, “If not, would there be peace and truth in my days?”

Hezekiah’s words in the second part of this verse are difficult to translate and interpret.  The Hebrew words for If not are inverted and therefore can be translated in at least three ways, each leading to a subtly different interpretation of the whole expression.  The choice I’ve made makes it sound most strongly as if Hezekiah is putting a selfish and self-centered spin on Isaiah’s prophecy.  He seems to be hinting that he doesn’t really care what happens to the treasures of his house or to his sons, only that he will have peace and truth for his remaining fifteen years.  The other two translations that I have found imply the same result, only more weakly.

וְיֶתֶר דִּבְרֵי חִזְקִיָּהוּ וְכָל־גְּבוּרָתוֹ וַאֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה אֶת־הַבְּרֵכָה וְאֶת־הַתְּעָלָה וַיָּבֵא אֶת־הַמַּיִם הָעִירָה   20:20 הֲלֹא־הֵם כְּתוּבִים עַל־סֵפֶר דִּבְרֵי הַיָּמִים לְמַלְכֵי יְהוּדָה׃

2Kin. 20:20   And the rest of the acts of Hezekiah and all his might, and how he made the pool and the conduit and brought in water to the city, are they not written on the scroll of the chronicles of the days of the kings of Judah?                                                                       [Return to 2Chr. 32:32]

וַיִּשְׁכַּב חִזְקִיָּהוּ עִם־אֲבֹתָיו וַיִּמְלֹךְ מְנַשֶּׁה בְנוֹ תַּחְתָּיו׃   20:21

2Kin. 20:21   And Hezekiah slept with his fathers, and his son, Manasseh, became king in his place.                                                                                                                 [Return to 2Chr. 32:33]

 

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