2 Kings Chapter 20  PDF  MSWord

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Go to Bible: 2 Kings 20
2Ki 20:1

“In those days.” This chapter is out of chronological order. This sickness occurred before the Assyrian attack on Judah (2 Kings 18:13). This can be calculated from the death of Hezekiah, and also from what God says here in 2 Kings 20:6.

“sick to the point of death.” The record of Hezekiah’s sickness and recovery is in 2 Kings 20:1-11; 2 Chronicles 32:24-26; and Isaiah 38:1-22.

2Ki 20:2(top)
2Ki 20:3

“And Hezekiah wept; it was a great weeping.” See commentary on Isaiah 38:3.

2Ki 20:4(top)
2Ki 20:5

“I have heard your prayer. I have seen your tears. Behold, I will heal you.” The record of the healing of Hezekiah is one of the most profound and obvious examples in the Bible about God answering prayer, and about how God reacts and adjusts when people obey Him and have intimate fellowship with Him. In this instance, God had told Isaiah that Hezekiah would die, but when King Hezekiah truly humbled himself and prayed, God changed His mind and healed Hezekiah. [For more on God changing His mind, see commentary on Jer. 18:8].

2Ki 20:6(top)
2Ki 20:7(top)
2Ki 20:8(top)
2Ki 20:9

“steps.” The Hebrew word can mean “degrees,” like degrees on a sundial, or it can mean “steps,” which can also apply to a sundial, but can also apply to a staircase. The scholars are divided, and the variations among the English Bibles reflect the lack of certainty on the part of the translators.

2Ki 20:10(top)
2Ki 20:11

“the sundial of Ahaz.” The Hebrew can refer to a sundial or to steps. E. Fox has “step-dial” in 2 Kings 20:11 (The Schocken Bible).

2Ki 20:12

“Berodach-baladan.” He is called “Merodach-baladan” in Isaiah 39:1, and there are Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic, and Latin manuscripts that have that name here in 2 Kings as well. It may be a copyists error, or there may be an intentional change of the name here in 2 Kings.

“sent letters and a present to Hezekiah.” This event is also recorded in Isaiah 39:1-8.

2Ki 20:13

“Hezekiah listened to them and showed them all his treasure house.” Hezekiah’s actions are prideful but understandable. Historically, it seems that at this time Merodach-baladan was the king of Babylon and the son of an earlier well-known king named Baladan. It is understandable why the King of Babylon would send a present to Hezekiah. It was at Jerusalem that Babylon’s enemy, the Assyrians, were defeated and much of their army killed (2 Kings 19:35), and no doubt Merodach-baladan was trying to establish closer ties with Hezekiah that would lead to an ultimate defeat of Assyria and give Babylon control of Mesopotamia. Hezekiah was no doubt flattered by the attention of Babylon and could not have foreseen in 721 BC or so that by 586 BC it would be the Babylonians who would destroy Judah, burn the Temple down, and carry the Judean people captive to Babylon.

2Ki 20:14(top)
2Ki 20:15(top)
2Ki 20:16(top)
2Ki 20:17(top)
2Ki 20:18

“eunuchs.” The Hebrew word can refer to eunuchs or to court officials, and the English versions are divided as to the meaning in this context. Actually, it is likely that both meanings are true. Some men were likely made eunuchs while others rose to prominence in the kingdom.

2Ki 20:19

“trustworthy peace.” The Hebrew text is most likely a hendiadys where two nouns are stated but one is meant as an adjective. The literal text is “peace and truth,” but the idea seems to be that the “truth” is that the Assyrians that Hezekiah was concerned about would not conquer Jerusalem if the treasures and his family was going to still be there years later, and he had been guaranteed 15 years by the prophet Isaiah. So the “peace and truth” is “truthful peace” (we would say, “trustworthy peace”) based on the word of Isaiah, which Hezekiah trusted.

Hezekiah is encouraged by the word of Isaiah that Judah will survive the impending Assyrian attack, so even though there will be trouble later, for the present the word of Yahweh is “good.” Also, Hezekiah knew well from personal experience that the word of Yahweh could change if people changed, and so he likely also thought that he might be able to somehow change this problematic word from Isaiah by repentance and prayer in a similar manner to how the revelation about his death was changed and 15 years were added to him.

2Ki 20:20(top)
2Ki 20:21(top)

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