Isaiah 38

1Hezekiah, warned by Isaiah to prepare for death, 4upon his prayer is promised an addition of fifteen years to his life, and the return of the sun's shadow ten degrees backward for a sign. 9His psalm of thanksgiving.

1IN1 those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came unto him, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Set thine house in order: for thou shalt die, and not live.

1 What is related here has happened shortly after the army of the Assyrians was smitten of God by the angel.

2Then Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall, and 2prayed unto the LORD,

2 His prayer follows here presently in verse 3. See 2 Kings 20:1, etc.

3And said, Remember now, O LORD, I beseech thee, how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have 3done 4that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah 5wept sore.

3 This is as a testimony of a good conscience, resting and relying only on the mercy of God, without any presumption of a man’s own righteousness. See verse 17; Jesus Syrach 48:25, 26.

4 See 2 Kings 18:3, etc.

5 Hebr. wept a great weeping.

4¶Then came the word of the LORD to Isaiah, saying,

5Go, and say to Hezekiah, Thus saith the LORD, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will add 6unto thy days fifteen years.

6 That is, unto the days of your life.

6And 7I will deliver thee and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria: and I will defend this city.

7 God the Lord promises to this king, besides the lengthening of his life, also rest and peace in his kingdom and protection against the mighty Assyrians, who might have been able again to raise an army to battle against him and to besiege Jerusalem.

7And this shall be a sign unto thee from the LORD, that the LORD will do 8this thing that he hath spoken;

8 Or, this matter.

89Behold, I will bring again the shadow of the degrees, which is gone down in the sun dial of Ahaz, ten degrees backward. So the sun returned ten degrees, by which degrees it was gone down.

9 Referring to this 8th verse, see 2 Kings 20 on verse 9, on verse 10, on verse 11.

9¶The writing of Hezekiah king of Judah, when he had been sick, and was 10recovered of his sickness:

10 Hebr. was made alive, as verse 21.

1011I said 12in the cutting off of my days, I 13shall go to the gates of the grave: 14I am deprived of the residue of my years.

11 That is, I thought and pondered within myself thus.

12 Or, because of the cutting off of my days, that is, when my days were cut off or shortened; or, when it was told me that my days would be quickly cut off, that is, that I would die quickly. It is a similitude borrowed from weavers, that, having finished weaving their web, they do then cut it off.

13 That is, I must die quickly.

14 That is, the remainder of my years is taken away from me, or, they cause me to want the remainder or the residue of my days, that is, what is lacking of my years, namely, of those years which by the course of nature I could yet live, or ought yet to live, as I had persuaded myself.

11I said, I shall not see 15the LORD, even the LORD, 16in the land of the living: I shall behold man no more 17with the inhabitants of the world.

15 That is, appear no more before the Lord in the sanctuary and be present at the entire service, which was performed when the godly went together in the temple.

16 That is, in this world, or in this life. See this manner of speech also Job 28:13; Psalm 27:13, with the annotations. As also Psalm 142:5; Isa. 53:8.

17 That is, among them who dwell in the world, among men who are now alive. See Psalm 27:13; 116:9.

1218Mine age is 19departed, and is removed from me as 20a shepherd’s tent: I have 21cut off like 22a weaver my life: 23he will cut me off 24with pining sickness: 25from day even to night wilt 26thou make 27an end of me.

18 Or, my lifetime. Other, my habitation, my abiding time. Hebr. dor. See Psalm 12 on verse 7.

19 Or, pulled away.

20 Which abides not firm and constant in one place, but is removed from one place to another, as serves the occasion. See Job 27:18.

21 Or, clipped off, torn off, broken off. The meaning is: I have by my sins given the Lord cause to cut off my life before nature’s time is come.

22 Namely, when he has woven it off.

23 Namely, the Lord. Here is a change of person; for, he speaks sometimes of God in the third person, and sometimes to God in the second person.

24 This word signifies also with the Hebrews an hair-lace, Cant. 7:5; see the annotation there. Other, as a thin thread.

25 That is, quickly, in a short time, before the day is spent and the evening has come. As also verse 13.

26 O Lord.

27 Or, weave me off, and then cut me off, as verse 13.

13 I 28reckoned 29till morning, that, as a lion, so will 30he break all my 31bones: 32from day even to night wilt thou make an end of 33me.

28 Namely, in my thoughts, that is, I thought. Other, I reckoned till morning, that he as a lion would break all my bones. Or thus: I set myself before him till morning, as a lion that he should break all my bones, etc.

29 Namely, may I live, or might I live till morning! Some take what follows thus: but he brake all my bones like a lion.

30 Namely, God, or, it, namely, the sickness or the misery. See Job 10:16.

31 See Job 7 on verse 15.

32 That is, yet this day before the night comes.

33 That is, my life, my years.

14Like a crane or a swallow, so did I chatter: Ia did 34mourn as a dove: mine eyes 35fail with looking upward: O LORD, 36I am oppressed; 37undertake for me.

a Isa. 59:11.

34 Or, sigh, groan.

35 Or, lift up. Namely, toward heaven, or to God, upon Whom I called. Other, were consumed, or plucked out, that is, the powers of mine eyes were wasted and destroyed. Or, they fail, namely, with looking toward heaven.

36 Hebr. oppression is unto me, namely, by this mine sickness, which does so violently oppress me, that I shall not be able to finish my course, unless Thou Lord have mercy on me.

37 That is, set Thyself between me and my sickness, as a surety sets himself between the creditor and the debtor, to free and secure him from being cast into prison. See Psalm 119:122. Other, be pleasant unto me. Other, weave me off, that is, stretch out my life, until I grow old and feeble, and die through natural weakness and infirmity, and cut not off the thread of my life until it is run to an end. A phrase borrowed of weavers.

1538What shall I say? he hath both spoken unto me, and himself hath done it: I shall go 39softly 40all my years 41in the bitterness of my soul.

38 That is, how shall I be able to thank God sufficiently for His great mercy? He has indeed caused death to be announced to me, but when I prayed to Him, He has graciously granted me life again. Other, what I spake that he said unto me, namely, by the prophet Isaiah, verse 5. The sense is: When I prayed unto the Lord that He would be my Surety, or that He would weave me off (verse 14), that is, He would permit me to live yet some years longer, He presently yielded and granted my request.

39 Or, gently. See Psalm 42 on verse 4. Some conceive that it signifies a soft progress, as when a mother leads her young child forward, and that here is the sense: My former distress shall make me walk more circumspectly for time to come. So on the contrary, rashness is put for heedlessness or imprudence, Isa. 32:4.

40 That is, all my lifetime.

41 Because I have endured the deadly and bitter pangs of that painful disease.

16O Lord, 42by these things men live, and in all these things is the life 43of my spirit: so wilt thou 44recover me, and make me to live.

42 Or, in or through these things, or, as some, words, that is, through Thy lovingkindness, promises and sealing of Thy promises and mercies.

43 That is, of my soul; and the life of my soul, that is, a merry and quiet life.

44 Or, refreshed and made alive. Hebr. making me alive or keeping me alive, which according to the nature of the Hebrew language is as much as, thou hast kept me alive, or healed me, that is, Thou hast restored unto me my former strength which I had utterly lost in that grievous sickness. Others render this obscure verse thus: They shall live, for whom (or toward whom) the Lord is, that is, whose Protector is the Lord, and all that are therein (or, and all that are in those things, which is, that live in such a condition that they have God with them) they shall obtain the same life which my spirit now hath. So that this appears, make me whole and heal me.

17Behold, 45for peace I had great bitterness: 46but thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from 47the pit of corruption: for thou hast cast 48all my sins 49behind thy back.

45 Namely, after Thou had given me peace, namely, by destroying the Assyrians, a bitterness happened unto me, namely, this grievous sickness. Other, upon peace, that is, immediately after I had peace. Other, for peace, that is, that it might be for the best, a bitterness came upon me, namely, that sore malady.

46 Other, but it hath pleased thee to deliver my soul, that is, me, from the pit of corruption.

47 That is, the grave, wherein the dead body is eaten up and consumed by worms.

48 Whereby I have deserved this sickness and other punishments besides. Had he not sinned, he would have had no sickness or would not have died; for, death and all adhering miseries have their cause from sin. Therefore says Christ: son, thy sins are forgiven thee, arise, etc.

49 That is, Thou hast forgiven them unto me, so that they shall come no more before Thine eyes.

18For 50the grave cannot praise thee, 51death can not celebrate thee: they that go down into the pit cannot 52hope for thy truth.

50 That is, the dead that are in the grave cannot declare and set forth Thy praise here in this world among the living. See Psalm 6:5; 30:9; 88:10; 115:17.

51 That is, the dead. Other, hell, that is, those who are in hell, or, in the grave.

52 Or, wait, or trust.

19The living, the living, he shall praise thee, as I do this day: the father to the children shall make known 53thy truth.

53 Or, cause them to have knowledge of thy truth. The Hebrew particle el is also taken for eth. And thy truth, that is, that Thou hast made me whole, as Thou hadst promised me.

20The LORD 54was ready to save me: therefore we will sing my songs to the stringed instruments all the days of our life in the house of the LORD.

54 Or, is come to deliver me, or, shall deliver me, or, hath delivered me.

21For Isaiah had said, Letb them take a lump of figs, and lay it for a plaister 55upon the boil, and he shall recover.

b 2 Kings 20:7.

55 Or, upon the swelling, namely, of king Hezekiah.

22Hezekiah also had said, 56What is the sign 57that I shall go up to the house of the LORD?

56 This he did not ask out of unbelief or distrust on God’s promises, but that his faith might be strengthened thereby, in regard that the promise did seem totally to be in contradiction to the threatening of God, verse 1.

57 That is, that I shall recover and go into the house of the Lord to bless and praise Him in the midst of His congregation for my recovery. This happened the third day, according to the promise of God by Isaiah, 2 Kings 20:5.