Isaiah 38:8
Parallel Verses
New International Version
I will make the shadow cast by the sun go back the ten steps it has gone down on the stairway of Ahaz.'" So the sunlight went back the ten steps it had gone down.

New Living Translation
I will cause the sun's shadow to move ten steps backward on the sundial of Ahaz!'" So the shadow on the sundial moved backward ten steps.

English Standard Version
Behold, I will make the shadow cast by the declining sun on the dial of Ahaz turn back ten steps.” So the sun turned back on the dial the ten steps by which it had declined.

New American Standard Bible
"Behold, I will cause the shadow on the stairway, which has gone down with the sun on the stairway of Ahaz, to go back ten steps." So the sun's shadow went back ten steps on the stairway on which it had gone down.

King James Bible
Behold, 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.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
I am going to make the sun's shadow that goes down on Ahaz's stairway go back by 10 steps." So the sun's shadow went back the 10 steps it had descended.

International Standard Version
Watch! I will make the shadow on the steps of the upper dial of Ahaz that marks the sun go ten steps backwards."'" Then the sunlight turned back on the dial the ten steps by which it had gone down.

NET Bible
Look, I will make the shadow go back ten steps on the stairs of Ahaz." And then the shadow went back ten steps.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
The sun made a shadow that went down the stairway of Ahaz's upper palace. I'm going to make the shadow go back ten steps." So the sun on the stairway went back up the ten steps it had gone down.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Behold, 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.

King James 2000 Bible
Behold, I will bring again the shadow of the degrees, which has gone down in the sun dial of Ahaz, ten degrees backward. So the sun returned ten degrees, by which degrees it had gone down.

American King James Version
Behold, 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.

American Standard Version
behold, I will cause the shadow on the steps, which is gone down on the dial of Ahaz with the sun, to return backward ten steps. So the sun returned ten steps on the dial whereon it was gone down.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Behold I will bring again the shadow of the lines, by which it is now gone down in the sun dial of Achaz with the sun, ten lines backward. And the sun returned ten lines by the degrees by which it was gone down.

Darby Bible Translation
behold, I will bring again the shadow of the degrees which hath gone down with the sun on the dial of Ahaz, ten degrees backward. So the sun returned on the dial ten degrees, by which it had gone down.

English Revised Version
behold, I will cause the shadow on the steps, which is gone down on the dial of Ahaz with the sun, to return backward ten steps. So the sun returned ten steps on the dial whereon it was gone down.

Webster's Bible Translation
Behold, I will bring again the shadow of the degrees, which hath gone down on the sun-dial of Ahaz ten degrees backward. So the sun returned ten degrees, by which degrees it had gone down.

World English Bible
Behold, I will cause the shadow on the sundial, which has gone down on the sundial of Ahaz with the sun, to return backward ten steps. So the sun returned ten steps on the sundial on which it had gone down."'"

Young's Literal Translation
Lo, I am bringing back the shadow of the degrees that it hath gone down on the degrees of Ahaz, by the sun, backward ten degrees:' and the sun turneth back ten degrees in the degrees that it had gone down.
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

38:1-8 When we pray in our sickness, though God send not to us such an answer as he here sent to Hezekiah, yet, if by his Spirit he bids us be of good cheer, assures us that our sins are forgiven, and that, whether we live or die, we shall be his, we do not pray in vain. See 2Ki 20:1-11.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 8. - The sun-dial of Ahaz. We are informed by Herodotus that the sun-dial was an invention of the Babylonians (Herod., 2:109), from whom it would readily pass to the Assyrians. Ahaz may have obtained a knowledge of it, or an actual specimen, when he visited Tiglath-Pileser at Damascus (2 Kings 16:10), and, on his return to his capital, have caused one to be erected there. Sun-dials are of several kinds. The one here spoken of seems to have consisted of a set of steps, with a perpendicular gnomon or pole at the top, the shadow of which receded up the steps as the sun rose in the heavens, and descended down them as the sun declined. We must suppose that the sign was given in the forenoon, when the shadow was gradually creeping up the steps. Hezekiah thought that a sudden jump in the same direction would be as nothing compared with a reversal of the motion, and therefore required that the shadow should go back, which it did. How the effect was produced, whether by an eclipse as argued by Mr. Bosanquet ('Transactions of Society of Bibl. Archaeology,' vol. 3. pp. 34-40), or by refraction, or by an actual alteration of the earth's motion, we are not told; but there is reason to believe that the cause, whatever it was, was local, not general, since the King of Babylon subsequently sent ambassadors, to inquire concerning "the wonder that was done in the land" (2 Chronicles 32:31). The sun returned ten degrees. We must not press this expression as indicating a real alteration of the sun's place in the heavens. The meaning is that the shadow cast by the sun returned.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Behold, I will bring again the shadow of the degrees,.... Or lines made on a dial plate, to show the progress of the sun, and what time of day it was. Some think only the shadow was brought back by the power of God, the sun keeping its course as usual; but in the next clause the sun is expressly said to return ten degrees: besides, it is not easy to conceive how the shadow of the sun should go back, unless the sun itself did; if it had been only the shadow of it on Ahaz's dial, it would not have fallen under the notice of other nations, or have been the subject of their inquiry, as it was of the Babylonians, 2 Chronicles 32:31,

which is gone down on the sundial of Ahaz, the first sundial we read of; and though there might be others at this time, yet the lines or degrees might be more plain in this; and besides, this might be near the king's bedchamber, and to which he could look out at, and see the wonder himself, the shadow to return ten degrees backward; what those degrees, lines, or marks on the dial showed, is not certain. The Targum makes them to be hours, paraphrasing the words thus;

"behold, I will bring again the shadow of the stone of hours, by which the sun is gone down on the dial of Ahaz, backwards ten degrees; and the sun returned ten hours on the figure of the stone of hours, in which it went down;''

but others think they pointed out half hours; and others but quarters of hours; but, be it which it will, it matters not, the miracle was the same:

so the sun returned ten degrees, by which degrees it was gone down; and so this day was longer by these degrees than a common day, be they what they will, and according as we suppose the sun went back, suddenly, or as it usually moved, though in a retrograde way, and made the same progress again through these degrees. The Jews have a fable, that the day King Ahaz died was shortened ten hours, and now lengthened the same at this season, which brought time right again. According to Gussetius, these were not degrees or marks on a sundial, to know the time of day, for this was a later invention, ascribed to Anaximene's, a disciple of Anaximander (c), two hundred years after this; but were steps or stairs built by Ahaz, to go up from the ground to the roof of the house, on the outside of it, and which might consist of twenty steps or more; and on which the sun cast a shadow all hours of the day, "and this declined ten of these steps", which might be at the window of Hezekiah's bedchamber. (d).

(d) Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 2. c. 76. (d) Vid. Comment. Ebr. p. 859.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

8. bring again—cause to return (Jos 10:12-14). In 2Ki 20:9, 11, the choice is stated to have been given to Hezekiah, whether the shadow should go forward, or go back, ten degrees. Hezekiah replied, "It is a light thing (a less decisive miracle) for the shadow to go down (its usual direction) ten degrees: nay, but let it return backward ten degrees"; so Isaiah cried to Jehovah that it should be so, and it was so (compare Jos 10:12, 14).

sundial of Ahaz—Herodotus (2.109) states that the sundial and the division of the day into twelve hours, were invented by the Babylonians; from them Ahaz borrowed the invention. He was one, from his connection with Tiglath-pileser, likely to have done so (2Ki 16:7, 10). "Shadow of the degrees" means the shadow made on the degrees. Josephus thinks these degrees were steps ascending to the palace of Ahaz; the time of day was indicated by the number of steps reached by the shadow. But probably a sundial, strictly so called, is meant; it was of such a size, and so placed, that Hezekiah, when convalescent, could witness the miracle from his chamber. Compare Isa 38:21, 22 with 2Ki 20:9, where translate, shall this shadow go forward, &c.; the dial was no doubt in sight, probably "in the middle court" (2Ki 20:4), the point where Isaiah turned back to announce God's gracious answers to Hezekiah. Hence this particular sign was given. The retrogression of the shadow may have been effected by refraction; a cloud denser than the air interposing between the gnomon and dial would cause the phenomenon, which does not take from the miracle, for God gave him the choice whether the shadow should go forward or back, and regulated the time and place. Bosanquet makes the fourteenth year of Hezekiah to be 689 B.C., the known year of a solar eclipse, to which he ascribes the recession of the shadow. At all events, there is no need for supposing any revolution of the relative positions of the sun and earth, but merely an effect produced on the shadow (2Ki 20:9-11); that effect was only local, and designed for the satisfaction of Hezekiah, for the Babylonian astronomers and king "sent to enquire of the wonder that was done in the land" (2Ch 32:31), implying that it had not extended to their country. No mention of any instrument for marking time occurs before this dial of Ahaz, 700 B.C. The first mention of the "hour" is made by Daniel at Babylon (Da 3:6).

Isaiah 38:8 Additional Commentaries
Context
Hezekiah's Illness and Recovery
7"This shall be the sign to you from the LORD, that the LORD will do this thing that He has spoken: 8"Behold, I will cause the shadow on the stairway, which has gone down with the sun on the stairway of Ahaz, to go back ten steps." So the sun's shadow went back ten steps on the stairway on which it had gone down.
Cross References
Joshua 10:12
On the day the LORD gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the LORD in the presence of Israel: "Sun, stand still over Gibeon, and you, moon, over the Valley of Aijalon."

Joshua 10:13
So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on its enemies, as it is written in the Book of Jashar. The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day.

Judges 6:17
Gideon replied, "If now I have found favor in your eyes, give me a sign that it is really you talking to me.

2 Kings 20:9
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?"

2 Kings 20:11
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 Chronicles 32:31
But when envoys were sent by the rulers of Babylon to ask him about the miraculous sign that had occurred in the land, God left him to test him and to know everything that was in his heart.

Isaiah 7:11
"Ask the LORD your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights."

Isaiah 38:9
A writing of Hezekiah king of Judah after his illness and recovery:
Treasury of Scripture

Behold, 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.

I will bring

Joshua 10:12-14 Then spoke Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered …

2 Kings 20:11 And Isaiah the prophet cried to the LORD: and he brought the shadow …

2 Chronicles 32:24,31 In those days Hezekiah was sick to the death, and prayed to the LORD: …

Matthew 16:1 The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired …

the sun dial. Heb. the degrees by, or, with the sun. Or, as the Hebrew might be rendered, 'the steps of Ahaz'. The researches of curious travellers in Hindostan, observes Bp. Stock, have lately discovered in that country, three observatories of similar form, the most remarkable of which is to be seen with four miles of Delhi, the ancient capital of the Mogul empire. A rectangled triangle, whose hypotenuse is a staircase, (apparently parallel to the axis of the earth,) bisects a zone, or coping of a wall, which wall connects the two terminating towers at right and left. The coping itself is of a circular form, and accurately graduated, to mark, by the gnomon above, the sun's progress before and after noon.

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