Wesley's Notes on the Bible
In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz came to him, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live.
20:1 Those days - In the year of the Assyrian invasion. Set, and c. - Make thy will, and settle the affairs of thy family and kingdom. Not live - Such threatenings, though absolutely expressed, have often secret conditions.
Then he turned his face to the wall, and prayed unto the LORD, saying,
20:2 Turned his face - As he lay in his bed. He could not retire to his closet, but he retired as well as he could, turned from the company, to converse with God.
I beseech thee, O LORD, remember now how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore.
20:3 In truth - Sincerely with an honest mind. I am not conscious to myself of any gross exorbitances, for which thou usest to shorten mens days. Wept - For that horror of death which is and was common to men, especially, in the times of the Old Testament, when the grace of God in Christ was not so fully manifested, as now it is: and, for the distracted condition in which the church and state were then likely to be left, through the uncertainty of the succession to the crown.
And it came to pass, afore Isaiah was gone out into the middle court, that the word of the LORD came to him, saying,
20:4 Court - Of the king's palace. This is noted to shew God's great readiness to hear the prayers of his children.
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.
20:5 God of, and c. - I am mindful of my promise made to David and his house, and will make it good in thy person. Shalt go - To give me solemn praise for this mercy.
And I will add unto thy days fifteen years; and I will deliver thee and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city for mine own sake, and for my servant David's sake.
20:6 Fifteen years - We have not an instance of any other, who was told before - hand just how long, he should live. God has wisely kept us at uncertainties, that we may be always ready.
And Isaiah said, Take a lump of figs. And they took and laid it on the boil, and he recovered.
And Hezekiah said unto Isaiah, What shall be the sign that the LORD will heal me, and that I shall go up into the house of the LORD the third day?
And Isaiah said, This sign shalt thou have of the LORD, that the LORD will do the thing that he hath spoken: shall the shadow go forward ten degrees, or go back ten degrees?
And Hezekiah answered, It is a light thing for the shadow to go down ten degrees: nay, but let the shadow return backward ten degrees.
20:10 Go down - In an instant: for that motion of the sun is natural for the kind of it, though miraculous for the swiftness of it; but the other would be both ways miraculous.
And Isaiah the prophet cried unto the LORD: and he brought the shadow ten degrees backward, by which it had gone down in the dial of Ahaz.
20:11 Degrees - These degrees were lines in the dial: but whether each of these lines or degrees noted an hour, or half an hour, or a quarter of an hour, is uncertain. But the sun itself went back, and the shadow with it. This miracle was noted by the Babylonians, who, having understood that it was done for Hezekiah's sake, sent to enquire into the truth and manner of it, 2Chron 32:31. Of Ahaz - Which Ahaz had made in the king's palace. This dial he mentions, because the truth of the miracle might be best and soonest discovered there, this dial possibly being visible out of the king's chamber, and the degrees being most distinct and conspicuous in it.
At that time Berodachbaladan, the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a present unto Hezekiah: for he had heard that Hezekiah had been sick.
20:12 Berodach - baladan - He seems to have been the king of Assyria's vice - roy in Babylon, and upon that terrible slaughter in the Assyrian host, and the death of Sennacherib, and the differences among his sons, to have usurped absolute sovereignty over Babylon. And either himself or his son destroyed the Assyrian monarchy, and translated the empire to Babylon. Sent - Partly, for the reasons mentioned, 2Chron 32:31, and partly, to assure himself of the assistance of Hezekiah against the Assyrians, their common enemy.
And Hezekiah hearkened unto them, and shewed them all the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armour, and all that was found in his treasures: there was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah shewed them not.
20:13 His treasures - For though his country had lately been harassed by the Assyrians, yet he had reserved all his treasures and precious things, which he and his fathers had gathered in Jerusalem. Besides, he had considerable spoils out of the Assyrian camp. Also he had many presents sent to him, 2Chron 32:23. Shewed - Which he did through pride of heart, 2Chron 32:25,26, being lifted up by the great honour which God had done him, in working such glorious miracles for his sake, and by the great respects rendered to him from divers princes, and now by this great Babylonian monarch. So hard a matter is it even for a good man to be high and humble.
Then came Isaiah the prophet unto king Hezekiah, and said unto him, What said these men? and from whence came they unto thee? And Hezekiah said, They are come from a far country, even from Babylon.
And he said, What have they seen in thine house? And Hezekiah answered, All the things that are in mine house have they seen: there is nothing among my treasures that I have not shewed them.
And Isaiah said unto Hezekiah, Hear the word of the LORD.
Behold, the days come, that all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store unto this day, shall be carried into Babylon: nothing shall be left, saith the LORD.
20:17 Behold - This judgment is denounced against him for his pride; for his ingratitude, whereby he took that honour to himself which he should have given entirely to God; and for his carnal confidence in that league which he had now made with the king of Babylon, by which, it is probable, he thought his mountain to be so strong, that it could not be removed.
And of thy sons that shall issue from thee, which thou shalt beget, shall they take away; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.
20:18 Thy sons - Of thy grand - children. Eunuchs - They shall be servants to that heathen monarch, whereby both their bodies will be subject to slavery, and their souls exposed to the peril of idolatry, and all sorts of wickedness.
Then said Hezekiah unto Isaiah, Good is the word of the LORD which thou hast spoken. And he said, Is it not good, if peace and truth be in my days?
20:19 Good is, and c. - I heartily submit to this sentence, as being both just, and merciful. True penitents, when they are under divine rebukes, call them not only just, but good. Not only submit to, but accept of the punishment of their iniquity. So Hezekiah did, and by this it appeared, he was indeed humbled for the pride of his heart.
And the rest of the acts of Hezekiah, and all his might, and how he made a pool, and a conduit, and brought water into the city, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?
And Hezekiah slept with his fathers: and Manasseh his son reigned in his stead.