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The Healing of Hezekiah
by Wayne Blank
"shall the shadow go forward ten degrees, or go back ten degrees"
Hezekiah was a king of Judah (see When Israel Became "Israel" and "Judah"; also the Fact Finder question below) who reigned about twenty-nine years. He is generally regarded as a good king who stood up to the invading Assyrians and who did much to abolish idolatry from his kingdom. Nevertheless, like all humans, good and bad, Hezekiah eventually found himself facing death. The Lord did something for Hezekiah though that doesn't happen to most humans; he was given an extra 15 years of life, not for his own sake, but to serve The Lord's purpose.
"And it came to pass, afore Isaiah was gone out into the middle court, that the word of The Lord came to him, saying, Turn again, and tell Hezekiah the captain of my people, Thus saith The Lord, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee: on the third day thou shalt go up unto the house of The Lord. And I will add unto thy days fifteen years; and I will deliver thee and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city for mine own sake, and for my servant David's sake.
The healing of Hezekiah also saw another miracle, a sign that Hezekiah asked for - the shadow of a sun dial to go backwards.
"And Hezekiah said unto Isaiah, What shall be the sign that The Lord will heal me, and that I shall go up into the house of The Lord the third day? And Isaiah said, This sign shalt thou have of The Lord, that The Lord will do the thing that he hath spoken: shall the shadow go forward ten degrees, or go back ten degrees? And Hezekiah answered, It is a light thing for the shadow to go down ten degrees: nay, but let the shadow return backward ten degrees. And Isaiah the prophet cried unto The Lord: and he brought the shadow ten degrees backward, by which it had gone down in the dial of Ahaz." (2 Kings 20:8-11 KJV)
Fact Finder: Where did Hezekiah fit in the royal line of Jesus Christ?