Isaiah 38

Hezekiah becomes ill

1 At that time, Hezekiah became very ill. He nearly died. Then Amoz's son, Isaiah the prophet, went to Hezekiah. He said to Hezekiah, ‘This is what the Lord says: “You will soon die. You will not get better. So you must tell your family what to do after your death.” ’

2 Then Hezekiah turned his face towards the wall and he prayed to the Lord. 3 He prayed, ‘Lord, please remember that I have served you well. I have always obeyed you. You could trust me to do the things that you told me to do.’ Hezekiah wept very much.

4 Then the Lord said to Isaiah, 5 ‘Go and say this to Hezekiah: “This is what the Lord says, the God that your ancestor David worshipped. I have heard your prayer and I have seen your tears. So I will let you live for 15 more years. 6 I will rescue you and this city from the power of the king of Assyria. I will keep Jerusalem safe.” ’

7 Isaiah said, ‘The Lord will do what he has promised to do for you. This is how you will know that it will really happen. 8 You can see the sun's shadow when it falls on the stairs that King Ahaz built. The Lord will cause the shadow to go back ten steps on these stairs.’ Then the shadow did go back ten steps!

Hezekiah's song

9 When Hezekiah became better from his illness, he wrote this song:

10 I thought that I might die in the middle of my life.

I thought that I would go into the deep hole of death,

before I had lived all the years of my life.

11 I thought, ‘I will not see the Lord again,

while I live in this world.

I will no longer see the people who live in the world.

I will no longer live among them.’

12 My home here has gone,

as easily as they pull down a shepherd's tent.

God has cut off my life,

like a piece of cloth that they have just made.

They cut it off and they roll it up.

As quickly as day becomes night,

God brings my life to an end.

13 I waited until morning would come.

It seemed like God was breaking all my bones,

like a lion does.

As quickly as day becomes night,

God brings my life to an end.

14 I cry like a swallow.

I make a sad noise like a dove.

My eyes are weak as I look up to heaven for help.

Lord God, save me from my trouble!

15 I do not know what I can say.

The Lord has told me what must happen.

He has done what he decided to do.

I will live quietly for the rest of my life,

because I am very sad and upset.

16 Lord God, your promises give life to people.

May they give life to my spirit.

Please make me well again and let me live.

17 Yes, it was good for me to have this trouble.

You rescued me from the deep hole of death.

You removed my sins,

and you put them behind your back.

18 Dead people in their graves cannot praise you.

They cannot sing to thank you.

People who go down into the deep hole of death

cannot trust you to help them.

19 It is those people who are alive that can thank you.

And I am doing it today.

Fathers tell their children that they can trust you.

20 The Lord will now save me from death.

We will sing to thank the Lord in his temple.

We will sing with happy music every day of our lives.

21 Now Isaiah had said this: ‘Take some figs to make a medicine and put it on Hezekiah's boil. Then he will get better.’ 22 Hezekiah had asked, ‘What will show me that I will be able to go up to the Lord's temple?’

38:22Verses 21-22 may come between verse 6 and verse 7.