1 In those days (i.e. Hezekiah's 14th year: for 15 years [603-588 B.C.] are added to his life [v.5], and he reigned 29 years [2 Kings 18:2]; 14 + 15 = 29) was Hezekiah sick unto death (this sickness was therefore during the siege). And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him, and said to him, "Thus says the Lord, 'Give charge concerning your house: for you will certainly die.' "
2 Then Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall, and prayed to the Lord, (as in 37:4 ["lift up"] and vv.14,15. Contrast 39:2, where, when the king of Babylon sent letters and he neglected prayer)
3 And said, "Remember now, O Lord, I beseech You, how I have walked before You in truth and with a perfect heart (see 10:20), and have done that which is good in Your sight." And Hezekiah wept a great weeping. (cp. 2 Kings 20:3)
C² F 4-6. Yahaveh's Message to Hezekiah. G 7,8. The Sign given. F 9-20. Hezekiah's Prayer to Yahaveh. G 21,22. The Sign asked for.
4 Then came the word of the Lord to Isaiah (the only occ. of this in the case of Isaiah. Cp. Gen.15:1), saying,
5 "Go, and say to Hezekiah, 'Thus says the Lord, the God of David your father (this Divine title reminds and assures Hezekiah that Yehovah would be faithful to His promise made to David in 2 Sam. 7. See 2 Kings 20:5), 'I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears: behold, I will add to your days fifteen years. (hence the number of the "Songs of the Degrees". See 2 Kings 20:9)
6 And I will deliver you and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria (the city was thus still besieged): and I will (Hezekiah trusted this promise) shield this city. (see 31:5)
7 And this shall be the sign to you from the Lord (Hezekiah had not asked for this sign [see v.22]. This shows that v.22 is not "displaced" as alleged. See also 7:11), that the Lord will do this thing that He has spoken;
8 Behold, I will bring again the shadow of the steps (it is to these "degrees", or steps of the sundial of Ahaz his father, that Hezekiah refers in the title for "The Songs of the Degrees". See 2 Kings 20:9. "Steps" note the emphasis placed on these by the fivefold repetition of the word), which is gone down in the sun step of Ahaz, ten steps backward.' ' " So the sun returned ten steps, by which steps it was gone down.
F a 9. The Superscription. b 10-20-. The Prayer. a -20. The Subscription.
9 The engraving of Hezekiah king of Judah (Heb. michtab. Another spelling of michtam. The word Michtam is from Katam, to cut in, or engrave, as in Jer. 2:22 "your iniquity is graven before Me". The word, therefore, points to a graven and therefore a permanent weighting; graven on account of its importance [cp. Job 19:24]. This verse is the super-scription common to most Psalms, corresponding with he subscription [v.-20]), when he had been sick, and was recovered of his sickness:
10 I said "in the cutting off of my days, I shall go to the gates of Sheôl (see Matt.16:18): I am deprived of the residue of my years."
11 I said, "I shall not appear before THE LORD (see 1:12; and "appear" Ex.23:15; 34:20), even THE LORD, in the land of the living (this expression occ. 3 times with Art. ["the living"] in the Hebrew [here, Job 28:13; and Ps.142:5]. Without the Art. it occ. 8 times See Ezek. 26:20. "The living", i.e. alive on earth. Not Sheôl, which is the place of the dead): I shall behold humans no more with the inhabitants of a quiet land. (i.e. when this invasion shall be ended)
12 Mine generation (or succession) is departed, and is removed from me as a shepherd's tent: I have cut off like a weaver his thread] my life (see 19:9): He will cut me off with pining sickness: from day even to night will You make an end of me."
13 I waited expectantly till morning, that, as a lion [awaits his prey], so will He break all my bones (see Ps. 22:16): from day even to night wilt You make an end of me.
14 Like a crane or a swallow (or, like a twittering swallow), so did I chatter: I did mourn as a dove (see Ps. 55:17. Cp. Ezek. 7:16): My eyes fail with looking upward: O Lord, I am oppressed; be a surety for me. (cp. Job 17:3 ["put me in surety"])
15 What shall I say? He has both spoken to me, and Himself has done it: I shall go slowly all my years in the bitterness of my soul.
16 O Lord, upon these [Your doings men] revive (Ps.104.29,30), and the reviving of my spirit (ruach) [is] altogether in them: so will You recover me, and make me to live.
17 Behold, for peace I had great bitterness: but You have in love to my soul delivered it from the pit or corruption: for You have cast all my sins behind Your back. (sins unforgiven are said to be "before His face" [Ps. 109.14,15. Jer. 16:17. Hos.7:2]. Cp. Mic. 7:19. Hence "happiness" of Ps. 32:1)
18 For Sheôl cannot praise You (fig., put for those who are in it), death can not celebrate You (note the Ellipsis of second negative. See Gen.2:6, and 1 Kings 2:9. Cp. for the teaching Pss. 6:5; 30:9; 88:10,12. Ecc. 9:10. "Celebrate", see note on "shall not give their light", 13:10): and they that go down into the pit cannot hope for Your truth.
19 The living, the living (fig., for emphasis, implying that only such are able to praise), he shall praise You, as I do this day: the father to the sons shall make known Your truth. (see Deut. 4:9; 6:7)
20 The Lord was gracious to save me:
therefore we will sing my songs to the stringed instruments all the days of our life in the house of the Lord. (i.e. the "Songs of the Degrees [Steps]". Where are "my songs", and what were they if not the 15 songs named after the 10 steps by which the shadow of the sun went back on the sundial of Ahaz [vv.7,8]?)
21 For Isaiah had said, "Let them take a lump of figs, and lay it for a plaster upon the boil, and he shall recover."
22 Hezekiah also had said, "What is the sign (see vv. 7,8) that I shall go up to the house of the Lord?"