2 Kings 20:5
Turn again, and tell Hezekiah the captain of my people, Thus saith the LORD, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee: on the third day thou shalt go up unto the house of the LORD.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(5) The captain of my people.—Or, ruler (nāgîd); a designation of honour (1Kings 1:35; 1Samuel 10:1). This is wanting in Isaiah 38, as well as the end of the verse “I will heal thee,” &c. That narrative looks like an abbreviated transcript of the present, or of a common original.

On the third day.—Comp. Hosea 6:2. Here, however, there is no ground for understanding the expression other than literally. The precise nature of Hezekiah’s malady cannot be ascertained.

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.The captain of my people - This phrase (which does not occur elsewhere in Kings) is remarkable, and speaks for the authenticity of this full report of the actual words of the prophet's message (abbreviated in Isaiah 38:1, etc.). The title, "Captain נגיד nāgı̂yd of God's people," commonly used of David, is applied to Hezekiah, as David's true follower 2 Kings 18:3. 5. Thus saith … the God of David thy father—An immediate answer was given to his prayer, containing an assurance that the Lord was mindful of His promise to David and would accomplish it in Hezekiah's experience, both by the prolongation of his life, and his deliverance from the Assyrians.

on the third day—The perfect recovery from a dangerous sickness, within so short a time, shows the miraculous character of the cure (see his thanksgiving song, Isa 38:9). The disease cannot be ascertained; but the text gives no hint that the plague was raging then in Jerusalem; and although Arab physicians apply a cataplasm of figs to plague-boils, they also do so in other cases, as figs are considered useful in ripening and soothing inflammatory ulcers.

The God of David thy father; I am mindful of my promise made to David and his house, and will make it good in thy person.

On the third day; which shows that the cure was miraculous.

Thou shalt go up unto the house of the Lord, to give me solemn praise for this mercy; which proves the perfection of the cure.

Turn again, and tell Hezekiah the captain of my people,.... The king of them, as the Targum:

thus saith the Lord God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears; See Gill on Isaiah 38:5.

behold, I will heal thee; instantly, miraculously; and none but God could heal him, his disease being in its kind mortal, and he had been told from the Lord that he should die:

on the third day thou shalt go up unto the house of the Lord: the temple, to give thanks for his recovery; and this he should do on the third day from thence; so soon should he be well, which would show the cure to be miraculous.

Turn again, and tell Hezekiah the captain of my people, Thus saith the LORD, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy {d} prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee: on the third day thou shalt go up unto the {e} house of the LORD.

(d) Because of his true repentance and prayer, God turned away his wrath.

(e) To give thanks for your deliverance.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
5. tell [R.V. say to] Hezekiah the captain [R.V. prince] of my people] The first of these changes is in conformity with Isaiah. The latter clause ‘the captain &c.’ is not in the parallel place in Isaiah, where, in this portion of the narrative, the whole record is much briefer.

The name ‘prince’ (Heb. nagid) is that which was applied by Jehovah Himself to the first elected king of Israel (1 Samuel 9:16), Saul.

behold, I will heal thee: on the third day thou shalt go up unto the house of the Lord] These words are not found in Isaiah. But there is given there the thanksgiving of Hezekiah which expresses the feelings with which the king would go up to the temple to acknowledge the goodness which had spared his life. It is called ‘the writing of Hezekiah when he had been sick and was recovered of his sickness’ (Isaiah 38:9), and is a sort of psalm of thanksgiving.

Though the promise of God ‘thou shalt go up unto the house of the Lord’ is omitted in Isaiah we yet see from the concluding words of Isaiah 38. that the thought of it was in the writer’s mind, for he tells us ‘Hezekiah had said, What is the sign that I shall go up to the house of the Lord?’

Verse 5. - Turn again - or, turn back - "retrace thy steps, and enter once more into the bedchamber of the king" - and tell Hezekiah the captain of my people. An unusual title for the Jewish monarch, but one applied in 1 Samuel 9:16 and 1 Sam 10:1 to Saul, and in 1 Samuel 13:14 and 2 Samuel 5:2 to David. The proper meaning of נָגִיד is "leader" - "one who goes in front." Thus saith the Lord, the God of David thy father - Hezekiah obtains mercy, both as David's son and as David's imitator (see 2 Kings 18:3) - I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears (comp. Exodus 2:24; Exodus 3:7; Psalm 56:8). There is not a cry, not a groan, not a tear, not a sigh of his faithful ones, to which the heart of God is not open, which does not touch him, move him, draw forth his sympathy. If he does not always grant our prayers, it is because we "ask amiss" - without faith, or without fervor, or things not good for us. Hezekiah's earnest, faithful, and not unwise prayer was, as such prayers always are, effectual. Behold, I will heal thee: on the third day thou shalt go up unto the house of the Lord; i.e. thou shalt be so completely recovered as to be able to quit thy palace and pay thy vows in the courts of the Lord's house. God knows that to do this will be Hezekiah's first wish, as soon as his sickness is past (comp. Isaiah 38:20). 2 Kings 20:5This prayer of the godly king was answered immediately. Isaiah had not gone out of the midst of the city, when the word of the Lord came to him to return to the king, and tell him that the Lord would cure him in three days and add fifteen years to his life, and that He would also deliver him from the power of the Assyrians and defend Jerusalem. התּיּכנה העיר, the middle city, i.e., the central portion of the city, namely, the Zion city, in which the royal citadel stood. The Keri הת חצר, the central court, not of the temple, but of the royal citadel, which is adopted in all the ancient versions, is nothing more than an interpretation of the עיר as denoting the royal castle, after the analogy of 2 Kings 10:25. The distinct assurance added to the promise "I will heal thee," viz., "on the third day thou wilt go into the house of the Lord," was intended as a pledge to the king of the promised cure. The announcement that God would add fifteen years to his life is not put into the prophet's mouth ex eventu (Knobel and others); for the opinion that distinct statements as to time are at variance with the nature of prophecy is merely based upon an a priori denial of the supernatural character of prophecy. The words, "and I will deliver thee out of the hand of the Assyrians," imply most distinctly that the Assyrian had only occupied the land and threatened Jerusalem, and had not yet withdrawn. The explanation given by Vitringa and others, that the words contain simply a promise of deliverance out of the hand of the oppressor for the next fifteen years, puts a meaning into them which they do not contain, as is clearly shown by Isaiah 37:20, where this thought is expressed in a totally different manner. וגו על־העיר וגנּותי ע: as in 2 Kings 19:34, where the prophet repeated this divine promise in consequence of the attempt of Sennacherib to get Jerusalem into his power.
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