בַּיָּמִים הָהֵם חָלָה חִזְקִיָּהוּ לָמוּת וַיָּבֹוא אֵלָיו יְשַׁעְיָהוּ בֶן־אָמֹוץ הַנָּבִיא וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו כֹּה־אָמַר יְהוָה 38:1 צַו לְבֵיתֶךָ כִּי מֵת אַתָּה וְלֹא תִחְיֶה׃
Isai. 38:1 In those days Hezekiah was sick enough to die. And Isaiah son of Amoz, the prophet, came to him and said to him, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Give a charge to your house, for you shall die, and not live.’”
וַיַּסֵּב חִזְקִיָּהוּ פָּנָיו אֶל־הַקִּיר וַיִּתְפַּלֵּל אֶל־יְהוָה׃ 38:2
Isai. 38:2 Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord.
וַיֹּאמַר אָנָּה יְהוָה זְכָר־נָא אֵת אֲשֶׁר הִתְהַלַּכְתִּי לְפָנֶיךָ בֶּאֱמֶת וּבְלֵב שָׁלֵם וְהַטֹּוב בְּעֵינֶיךָ עָשִׂיתִי 38:3 וַיֵּבְךְּ חִזְקִיָּהוּ בְּכִי גָדֹול׃
Isai. 38:3 And he said, “ Where is the Lord? Remember, I pray, how I have walked before You in truth and with a whole heart, and I have done what was good in Your eyes.” And Hezekiah wailed a great weeping.
וַיְהִי דְּבַר־יְהוָה אֶל־יְשַׁעְיָהוּ לֵאמֹר׃ 38:4
Isai. 38:4 Then the word of the Lord occurred to Isaiah saying,
הָלֹוךְ וְאָמַרְתָּ אֶל־חִזְקִיָּהוּ כֹּה־אָמַר יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵי דָּוִד אָבִיךָ שָׁמַעְתִּי אֶת־תְּפִלָּתֶךָ רָאִיתִי אֶת־דִּמְעָתֶךָ 38:5 הִנְנִי יֹוסִף עַל־יָמֶיךָ חֲמֵשׁ עֶשְׂרֵה שָׁנָה׃
Isai. 38:5 “Go, and you will say to Hezekiah, ‘Thus says the Lord, God of David, your father: ‘I have heard your prayer. I have seen your tears. Behold, I will add onto your days fifteen years.’
וּמִכַּף מֶלֶךְ־אַשּׁוּר אַצִּילְךָ וְאֵת הָעִיר הַזֹּאת וְגַנֹּותִי עַל־הָעִיר הַזֹּאת׃ 38:6
Isai. 38:6 ‘And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria, and I will be a Protection over this city.’”
וְזֶה־לְּךָ הָאֹות מֵאֵת יְהוָה אֲשֶׁר יַעֲשֶׂה יְהוָה אֶת־הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה אֲשֶׁר דִּבֵּר׃ 38:7
Isai. 38:7 And this shall be the sign for you from the Lord that the Lord will do this thing that He has spoken:
הִנְנִי מֵשִׁיב אֶת־צֵל הַמַּעֲלֹות אֲשֶׁר יָרְדָה בְמַעֲלֹות אָחָז בַּשֶּׁמֶשׁ אֲחֹרַנִּית עֶשֶׂר מַעֲלֹות וַתָּשָׁב 38:8 הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ עֶשֶׂר מַעֲלֹות בַּמַּעֲלֹות אֲשֶׁר יָרָד ָ׃
Isai. 38:8 “Behold, I am turning back the shadow of the sundial on which it comes down on the sundial steps of Ahaz by the sun ten degrees backwards.” And the sun was turned back ten degrees by the degrees that it had come down.
Another great miracle! The earth not only stopped rotating, it actually turned backward 1/36 of a revolution. But as I’ve remarked before, in Joshua Chapter 10 (Josh. 10:13), it might have been only a local phenomenon. Then only the shadow was made to go back.
מִכְתָּב לְחִזְקִיָּהוּ מֶלֶךְ־יְהוּדָה בַּחֲלֹתֹו וַיְחִי מֵחָלְיֹו׃ 38:9
Isai. 38:9 The writing of Hezekiah's, king of Judah, on his illness when he recovered from his illness:
אֲנִי אָמַרְתִּי בִּדְמִי יָמַי אֵלֵכָה בְּשַׁעֲרֵי שְׁאֹול פֻּקַּדְתִּי יֶתֶר שְׁנֹותָי׃ 38:10
Isai. 38:10 I said, “In the prime of my time
I shall go through the gates of the netherworld;
I have numbered the rest of my years.”
אָמַרְתִּי לֹא־אֶרְאֶה יָהּ יָהּ בְּאֶרֶץ הַחַיִּים לֹא־אַבִּיט אָדָם עֹוד עִם־יֹושְׁבֵי חָדֶל׃ 38:11
Isai. 38:11 I said, “I shall not see the Lord, God,
in the land of the living.
I shall not behold man any more
among the inhabitants of the world.”
דֹּורִי נִסַּע וְנִגְלָה מִנִּי כְּאֹהֶל רֹעִי קִפַּדְתִּי כָאֹרֵג חַיַּי מִדַּלָּה יְבַצְּעֵנִי מִיֹּום עַד־לַיְלָה תַּשְׁלִימֵנִי׃ 38:12
Isai. 38:12 “My habitat is pulled up
and rolled away from me
like the tent of a shepherd.
I roll up, like a weaver, my life.
From the thrum He will cut me off.
From day until night it will be my end.”
The thrum (in the fifth English line) is a weaving term -- the unwoven end of a warp thread -- I imagine it a metaphor for an unfinished work. While the Hebrew root of the word also means the poor, the masses, or a lock (of hair), I favored the above translation because of the weaver mentioned in the preceding line.
שִׁוִּיתִי עַד־בֹּקֶר כָּאֲרִי כֵּן יְשַׁבֵּר כָּל־עַצְמֹותָי מִיֹּום עַד־לַיְלָה תַּשְׁלִימֵנִי׃ 38:13
Isai. 38:13 “I become until morning like a lion,
surely he would tear all my bones!
From day until night it will be my end.”
I think in this verse, Isaiah does something odd, but clever. In the first two lines, he portrays Hezekiah as both the lion and its prey. But what kind of illness did Hezekiah have that he would be like a lion at night?
כְּסוּס עָגוּר כֵּן אֲצַפְצֵף אֶהְגֶּה כַּיֹּונָה דַּלּוּ עֵינַי לַמָּרֹום אֲדֹנָי עָשְׁקָה־לִּי עָרְבֵנִי׃ 38:14
Isai. 38:14 “Like a twittering swallow, so shall I chirp,
I will murmur like a dove.
My eyes are too feeble to be elevated.
O Lord, oppression is mine.
Be my Surety!”
מָה־אֲדַבֵּר וְאָמַר־לִי וְהוּא עָשָׂה אֶדַּדֶּה כָל־שְׁנֹותַי עַל־מַר נַפְשִׁי׃ 38:15
Isai. 38:15 “What shall I say?
As He speaks to me, so He does.
I shall go softly all my years
because of the bitterness of my soul.”
אֲדֹנָי עֲלֵיהֶם יִחְיוּ וּלְכָל־בָּהֶן חַיֵּי רוּחִי וְתַחֲלִימֵנִי וְהַחֲיֵנִי׃ 38:16
Isai. 38:16 “O Master, let them live by them,
and to every one in them, my life, my spirit.
So let me recover
and let me live!”
The Hebrew of this verse is not easy to understand. Nor is the literal English translation. First, to whom or to what do the two them pronouns in the first line refer? Other translations I’ve examined add additional words to make sense of the two lines. But even with the additional words, the grammar does not fall into place. The reason is that the thems in the first line are masculine and the them in the second line is feminine. No other translation that I’m aware of takes this distinction into account. In fact, the distinction is ignored (as are so many other grammatical details throughout the bible). Yet these pronouns could not be referring to the same nouns as the translations, including mine, imply. As to the third them, there is no other plural feminine noun to which it may refer anywhere nearby. I’m at a loss to make complete sense of the verse.
הִנֵּה לְשָׁלֹום מַר־לִי מָר וְאַתָּה חָשַׁקְתָּ נַפְשִׁי מִשַּׁחַת בְּלִי כִּי הִשְׁלַכְתָּ אַחֲרֵי גֵוְךָ כָּל־חֲטָאָי׃ 38:17
Isai. 38:17 “Behold, great bitterness for peace was mine,
but You connected to my soul
from the pit of annihilation,
for You have cast all my sins
behind Your back.”
כִּי לֹא שְׁאֹול תֹּודֶךָּ מָוֶת יְהַלְלֶךָּ לֹא־יְשַׂבְּרוּ יֹורְדֵי־בֹור אֶל־אֲמִתֶּךָ׃ 38:18
Isai. 38:18 “Surely the netherworld cannot praise You,
death celebrate You.
The descenders of the pit
cannot hope for Your truth.”
חַי חַי הוּא יֹודֶךָ כָּמֹונִי הַיֹּום אָב לְבָנִים יֹודִיעַ אֶל־אֲמִתֶּךָ׃ 38:19
Isai. 38:19 “Only someone alive, like me today,
he can praise You;
a father to children can declare
concerning Your truth.”
יְהוָה לְהֹושִׁיעֵנִי וּנְגִנֹותַי נְנַגֵּן כָּל־יְמֵי חַיֵּינוּ עַל־בֵּית יְהוָה׃ 38:20
Isai. 38:20 “The Lord is saving me;
so, my musicians,
let us play all the days of our lives
because of the house of the Lord.”
וַיֹּאמֶר יְשַׁעְיָהוּ יִשְׂאוּ דְּבֶלֶת תְּאֵנִים וְיִמְרְחוּ עַל־הַשְּׁחִין וְיֶחִי׃ 38:21
Isai. 38:21 And Isaiah said, “Let them carry a cake of figs so they can apply as a plaster on the ulcer, and he shall recover.”
וַיֹּאמֶר חִזְקִיָּהוּ מָה אֹות כִּי אֶעֱלֶה בֵּית יְהוָה׃ 38:22
Isai. 38:22 And Hezekiah said, “What a miracle that I may go up to the house of the Lord!”
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