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New American Bible

2002 11 11
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Chapter 20


In those days, when Hezekiah was mortally ill, the prophet Isaiah, son of Amoz, came and said to him: "Thus says the LORD: 'Put your house in order, for you are about to die; you shall not recover.'"


He turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD:


"O LORD, remember how faithfully and wholeheartedly I conducted myself in your presence, doing what was pleasing to you!" And Hezekiah wept bitterly.


Before Isaiah had left the central courtyard, the word of the LORD came to him:


"Go back and tell Hezekiah, the leader of my people: 'Thus says the LORD, the God of your forefather David: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears. I will heal you. In three days you shall go up to the LORD'S temple;


I will add fifteen years to your life. I will rescue you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria; I will be a shield to this city for my own sake, and for the sake of my servant David.'"


Isaiah then ordered a poultice of figs to be brought and applied to the boil, that he might recover.


Then Hezekiah asked Isaiah, "What is the sign that the LORD will heal me and that I shall go up to the temple of the LORD on the third day?"


Isaiah replied, "This will be the sign for you from the LORD that he will do what he has promised: Shall the shadow go forward or back ten steps?"


"It is easy for the shadow to advance ten steps," Hezekiah answered. "Rather, let it go back ten steps."


So the prophet Isaiah invoked the LORD, who made the shadow retreat the ten steps it had descended on the staircase to the terrace of Ahaz.


1 At that time, when Merodachbaladan, son of Baladan, king of Babylon, heard that Hezekiah had been ill, he sent letters and gifts to him.


Hezekiah was pleased at this, and therefore showed the messengers his whole treasury, his silver, gold, spices and fine oil, his armory, and all that was in his storerooms; there was nothing in his house or in all his realm that Hezekiah did not show them.


Then Isaiah the prophet came to King Hezekiah and asked him: "What did these men say to you? Where did they come from?" "They came from a distant land, from Babylon," replied Hezekiah.


"What did they see in your house?" the prophet asked. "They saw everything in my house," answered Hezekiah. "There is nothing in my storerooms that I did not show them."


Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah: "Hear the word of the LORD:


The time is coming when all that is in your house, and everything that your fathers have stored up until this day, shall be carried off to Babylon; nothing shall be left, says the LORD.


Some of your own bodily descendants shall be taken and made servants in the palace of the king of Babylon."


Hezekiah replied to Isaiah, "The word of the LORD which you have spoken is favorable." For he thought, "There will be peace and security in my lifetime."


2 The rest of the acts of Hezekiah, all his valor, and his construction of the pool and conduit by which water was brought into the city, are written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah.


Hezekiah rested with his ancestors and his son Manasseh succeeded him as king.



1 [12-19] Duplication of Isaiah 39:1-8.

2 [20] Pool and conduit: Hezekiah's tunnel; cf 2 Chron 32:30.

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