Isaiah 38 Bible Commentary

The Geneva Study Bible

(Read all of Isaiah 38)
38:1 In those a days was Hezekiah sick and near death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him, and said to him, Thus saith the LORD, Set thy house in order: for thou shalt die, and not live.

(a) Soon after that the Assyrians were slain: so that God will have the exercise of his children continually, that they may learn only to depend on God and aspire to the heavens.

38:2 Then Hezekiah b turned his face toward the wall, and prayed to the LORD,

(b) For his heart was touched with fear of God's judgment, seeing he had appointed him to die so quickly after his deliverance from so great calamity, as one unworthy to remain in that estate, and also foreseeing the great change that would come in the Church, as he left no son to reign after him: for as yet Manasseh was not born, and when he reigned, we see what a tyrant he was.

38:6 And I will deliver thee and this city c from the hand of the king of Assyria: and I will defend this city.

(c) He not only promises to prolong his life, but to give him rest and quietness from the Assyrians, who might have renewed their army to revenge their former defeat.

38:7 And d this [shall be] a sign to thee from the LORD, that the LORD will do this thing that he hath spoken;

(d) For Hezekiah had asked for a sign for the confirmation of his faith, as in (Isaiah 38:22; 2 Kings 20:8), to which he was moved by the singular motion of God's spirit.

38:8 Behold, I will bring again the shadow of the degrees, which hath gone down on the e sun dial of Ahaz, ten degrees backward. So the sun returned ten degrees, by which degrees it had gone down.

(e) Read (2 Kings 20:8).

38:9 f The writing of Hezekiah king of Judah, when he had been sick, and had recovered from his sickness:

(f) He left this song of his lamentation and thanksgiving to all posterity, as a monument of his own infirmity and thankful heart for God's benefits, as David did, (Psalms 51:1).

38:10 I said in the g cutting off of my days, I shall go to the gates of the grave: I am deprived of the rest of my years.

(c) At which time it was told to me, that I would die.

38:11 I said, h I shall not see the LORD, [even] the LORD, in the land of the living: I shall behold man no more with the inhabitants of the world.

(h) I will no more praise the Lord here in this temple among the faithful thus God permits his dearest children to want his consolation for a time that his grace afterward may appear when they feel their own weakness.

38:12 My age hath departed, and is removed from me as a shepherd's tent: I i have cut off like a weaver my life: he will cut me off with pining sickness: from day [even] k to night wilt thou make an end of me.

(i) By my sin I have provoked God to take my life from me.
(k) That is, in one day, or shortly.

38:13 I reckoned l till morning, [that], as a lion, so will he break all my bones: from day [even] to night wilt thou make an end of me.

(l) Overnight I thought that I would live till morning, but my pangs in the night persuaded me the contrary: he shows the horror that the faithful have when they apprehend God's judgment against their sin.

38:14 Like a crane [or] a swallow, so I m chattered: I mourned as a dove: my eyes fail [with looking] upward: O LORD, I am oppressed; undertake for me.

(m) I was so oppressed with sorrow, that I was not able to utter my words, but only to groan and sigh.

38:15 What shall I say? o he hath both spoken to me, and himself hath done [it]: I shall go p softly all my years in the bitterness of my soul.

(o) God has declared by his prophet that I will die and therefore I will yield to him.
(p) I will have no release, but continual sorrows while I live.

38:16 O Lord, q by these [things men] live, and in all these [things is] the life of my spirit: so wilt thou r restore me, and make me to live.

(q) They who will outlive the men that are now alive, and all they who are in these years will acknowledge this blessing.
(r) That after that you had condemned me to death you restored me to life.

38:17 Behold, for s peace I had great bitterness: but thou hast in love to my soul [delivered it] from the pit of corruption: for thou hast cast all my t sins behind thy back.

(s) While I thought to have lived in rest and ease being delivered from my enemy, I had grief upon grief.
(t) He values more the remission of his sins, and God's favour than a thousand lives.

38:18 For u the grave cannot praise thee, death can [not] celebrate thee: they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth.

(u) For as much as God has placed man in this world to glorify him, the godly take it as a sign of his wrath, when their days were shortened, either because they seemed unworthy for their sins to live longer in his service, or for their zeal to God's glory, seeing that there are so few in earth who regard it as in (Psalms 6:5,115:17).

38:19 The living, the living, he shall praise thee, as I [do] this day: the father to the x children shall make known thy truth.

(x) All posterity will acknowledge and the fathers according to their duty toward their children will instruct them in your graces and mercies toward me.

38:20 The LORD [was ready] to save me: therefore we will sing my songs to the stringed instruments all the days of y our life in the house of the LORD.

(y) He shows what is the use of the Congregation and Church, that is, to give the Lord thanks for his benefits.

38:21 For Isaiah had said, Let them take a lump of figs, and z lay [it] for a plaster upon the boil, and he shall recover.

(z) Read (2 Kings 20:7).

38:22 Hezekiah also a had said, What [is] the sign that I shall go up to the house of the LORD?

(a) As in (Isaiah 38:7).