2 Kings 20


‘In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, ‘This is what the LORD says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover.’ Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD, ‘Remember, LORD, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.’ And Hezekiah wept bitterly. Before Isaiah had left the middle court, the word of the LORD came to him: ‘Go back and tell Hezekiah, the ruler of my people, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you. On the third day from now you will go up to the temple of the LORD. I will add fifteen years to your life. And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city for my sake and for the sake of my servant David.’ Then Isaiah said, ‘Prepare a poultice of figs.’ They did so and applied it to the boil, and he recovered.’ 2 Kings 20:1-7

Hezekiah’s Illness

There is no doubt that this chapter, along with the parallel accounts found in Isaiah 38 and Isaiah 39, is really difficult to put into place chronologically.

Some believe that Hezekiah was taken ill before the invasion of Sennacherib in 701 B.C. The events recorded in 2 Kings 18:13 through to 2 Kings 19:37, would have taken place during the extra fifteen years of life that were given to Hezekiah.

Because God answered his prayer, it’s clear that God wanted Hezekiah to lead Judah through all these difficult years of the Assyrian invasion, 2 Chronicles 32:24-26 / Isaiah 38:1-8.

God hears Hezekiah’s prayers and tells him to get his ‘house in order’ because he was going to die. After hearing this, he turned and faced the wall to pray. God tells him He has ‘heard his prayers’ and ‘seen his tears’ and tells him, ‘He will heal him.’ God blessed Hezekiah with another fifteen years of life for Israel’s sake, not necessarily for Hezekiah’s sake.

‘Hezekiah had asked Isaiah, ‘What will be the sign that the LORD will heal me and that I will go up to the temple of the LORD on the third day from now?’ Isaiah answered, ‘This is the LORD’s sign to you that the LORD will do what he has promised: Shall the shadow go forward ten steps, or shall it go back ten steps?’ ‘It is a simple matter for the shadow to go forward ten steps,’ said Hezekiah. ‘Rather, have it go back ten steps.’ Then the prophet Isaiah called on the LORD, and the LORD made the shadow go back the ten steps it had gone down on the stairway of Ahaz.’ 2 Kings 20:8-11

Hezekiah asks Isaiah what will be the sign that the Lord will heal him, and Isaiah explains to him that the sign, which is miraculous will take place when he sees the shadow from the sun going backwards. God was going to turn back time by a total of forty minutes, of course, this isn’t the first time God has miraculously changed time, Joshua 10:13.

Envoys From Babylon

‘At that time Marduk-Baladan son of Baladan king of Babylon sent Hezekiah letters and a gift, because he had heard of Hezekiah’s illness. Hezekiah received the envoys and showed them all that was in his storehouses—the silver, the gold, the spices and the fine olive oil—his armoury and everything found among his treasures. There was nothing in his palace or in all his kingdom that Hezekiah did not show them.’ 2 Kings 20:12-13

Marduk-Baladan the king of Babylon decided to send letters and gifts to Hezekiah, probably to spy, Isaiah 39:1-8. Hezekiah was concerned about the threat of the Assyrians, and so, he provided for the Babylonians, probably because they could help him with his struggles against the Assyrians.

One thing is clear though, these envoys were more interested in Jerusalem’s wealth than they were in Hezekiah’s health.

‘Then Isaiah the prophet went to King Hezekiah and asked, ‘What did those men say, and where did they come from?’ ‘From a distant land,’ Hezekiah replied. ‘They came from Babylon.’ The prophet asked, ‘What did they see in your palace?’ ‘They saw everything in my palace,’ Hezekiah said. ‘There is nothing among my treasures that I did not show them.’ Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, ‘Hear the word of the LORD: The time will surely come when everything in your palace, and all that your predecessors have stored up until this day, will be carried off to Babylon. Nothing will be left, says the LORD. And some of your descendants, your own flesh and blood who will be born to you, will be taken away, and they will become eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.’ ‘The word of the LORD you have spoken is good,’ Hezekiah replied. For he thought, ‘Will there not be peace and security in my lifetime?’ 2 Kings 20:14-19

God’s prophet Isaiah goes to Hezekiah and asks him, ‘where these men had come from and what did they see?’. And the answer was simple, they were from Babylon and they saw everything that Hezekiah had because he showed them everything, he had, 2 Kings 20:12-13.

They came from Babylon not to see how Hezekiah was doing but to see how much wealth he had. They were spying out the place so that they could come back again to take all the treasures away from the temple and the royal court in 586 B.C.

Isaiah tells Hezekiah that the sons born to him will be taken away and become eunuchs in Babylon, Isaiah 24:10-17. Hezekiah correctly thought that the tragedy which Isaiah spoke about wouldn’t take place in his lifetime.

‘As for the other events of Hezekiah’s reign, all his achievements and how he made the pool and the tunnel by which he brought water into the city, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah? Hezekiah rested with his ancestors. And Manasseh his son succeeded him as king.’ 2 Kings 20:20-21

Before Hezekiah died and his son Manasseh took over his reign, Hezekiah brought water into the city, 2 Chronicles 32:32-33. The tunnel he made is still in existence today and is called, ‘Hezekiah’s tunnel’ for obvious reasons.

Experts tell us that the water was channelled through solid rock from the Pool of Gihon on the outside of the city wall and the tunnel itself is about 533 meters long, that is 1750 feet.

The reason for building the tunnel was simply to bring water into the city of Jerusalem, especially during times of siege.

Go To 2 Kings 21


"Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you."