2 Kings 20:2
Then he turned his face to the wall, and prayed unto the LORD, saying,
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(2) Then he turned his face.—And he turned his face round (1Kings 21:4). Hezekiah did so to avoid being disturbed in his prayer; and perhaps because grief instinctively seeks a hiding-place.

2 Kings 20:2. Then he turned his face to the wall — As he lay in his bed. He could not retire to his closet; but he retired as well as he could; he turned from the company to converse with God. When we cannot be so private as we would in our devotions, nor perform them with the usual outward expressions of reverence and solemnity, yet we must not, therefore, omit them, but compose and address ourselves to them as well as we can.

20:1-11 Hezekiah was sick unto death, in the same year in which the king of Assyria besieged Jerusalem. A warning to prepare for death was brought to Hezekiah by Isaiah. Prayer is one of the best preparations for death, because by it we fetch in strength and grace from God, to enable us to finish well. He wept sorely: some gather from hence that he was unwilling to die; it is in the nature of man to dread the separation of soul and body. There was also something peculiar in Hezekiah's case; he was now in the midst of his usefulness. Let Hezekiah's prayer, see Isa 38. interpret his tears; in that is nothing which is like his having been under that fear of death, which has bondage or torment. Hezekiah's piety made his sick-bed easy. O Lord, remember now; he does not speak as if God needed to be put in mind of any thing by us; nor, as if the reward might be demanded as due; it is Christ's righteousness only that is the purchase of mercy and grace. Hezekiah does not pray, Lord, spare me; but, Lord, remember me; whether I live or die, let me be thine. God always hears the prayers of the broken in heart, and will give health, length of days, and temporal deliverances, as much and as long as is truly good for them. Means were to be used for Hezekiah's recovery; yet, considering to what a height the disease was come, and how suddenly it was checked, the cure was miraculous. It is our duty, when sick, to use such means as are proper to help nature, else we do not trust God, but tempt him. For the confirmation of his faith, the shadow of the sun was carried back, and the light was continued longer than usual, in a miraculous manner. This work of wonder shows the power of God in heaven as well as on earth, the great notice he takes of prayer, and the great favour he bears to his chosen.He turned his face to the wall - Contrast 1 Kings 21:4. Ahab turned in sullenness, because he was too angry to converse; Hezekiah in devotion, because he wished to pray undisturbed. 2. he turned his face to the wall—not like Ahab (1Ki 21:4), in fretful discontent, but in order to secure a better opportunity for prayer. He turned his face to the wall; either because the temple lay that way; or rather, that by turning his face from the company he might intimate his desire of privacy, and so might with more freedom and fervency pour out his soul to God.

In these days was Hezekiah sick unto death,.... Of this sickness of Hezekiah, the message of the prophet Isaiah to him, and his prayer upon it; see Gill on Isaiah 38:1; see Gill on Isaiah 38:2; see Gill on Isaiah 38:3. Then he turned his face to the {a} wall, and prayed unto the LORD, saying,

(a) That his mind might not be troubled.

2. Then he turned his face to the wall] He was in deep sorrow, and would pray without being observed. Ahab did the like, but it was in childish petulance (1 Kings 21:4). If Manasseh was the eldest son of Hezekiah, the king was at this time childless, for Manasseh was but twelve years old at his father’s death. Hence not only his own life, but the succession of the house of David appeared likely to come to an end.

Verse 2. - Then he turned his face to the wall - i.e., away from those who were standing beside his bed, and might have distracted his attention, to pray with more concentration and earnestness - and prayed unto the Lord, saying (comp. 2 Kings 19:15). It was natural to Hezekiah, in every kind of affliction and distress, to take his trouble direct to God. 2 Kings 20:2"In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death." By the expression "in those days" the illness of Hezekiah is merely assigned in a general manner to the same time as the events previously described. That it did not occur after the departure of the Assyrians, but at the commencement of the invasion of Sennacherib, i.e., in the fourteenth year of Hezekiah's reign, is evident from 2 Kings 20:6, namely, both from the fact that in answer to his prayer fifteen years more of life were promised him, and that he nevertheless reigned only twenty-nine years (2 Kings 18:2), and also from the fact that God promised to deliver him out of the hand of the Assyrians and to defend Jerusalem. The widespread notion that his sickness was an attack of plague, and was connected with the pestilence which had broken out in the Assyrian camp, is thereby deprived of its chief support, apart from the fact that the epithet (שׁחין (2 Kings 20:7), which is applied to the sickness, does not indicate pestilence. Isaiah then called upon him to set his house in order. לביתך צו: set thy house in order, lit., command or order with regard to thy house, not declare thy (last) will to thy family (Ges., Knob.), for צוּה is construed with the accus. pers. in the sense of commanding anything, whereas here ל is synonymous with אל (2 Samuel 17:23). "For thou wilt die and not live;" i.e., thy sickness is to death, namely, without the miraculous help of God. Sickness to death in the very prime of life (Hezekiah was then in the fortieth year of his age) appeared to the godly men of the Old Testament a sign of divine displeasure. Hezekiah was therefore greatly agitated by this announcement, and sought for consolation and help in prayer. He turned his face to the wall, sc. of the room, not of the temple (Chald.), i.e., away from those who were standing round, to be able to pray more collectedly.
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