2 Kings 20

* Hezekiah's sickness, His recovery in answer to prayer. (1-11)

Hezekiah shows his treasures to the ambassadors from Babylon,

His death. (12-21)

1-11 Hezekiah was sick unto death, in the same year in which

the king of Assyria besieged Jerusalem. A warning to prepare for

death was brought to Hezekiah by Isaiah. Prayer is one of the

best preparations for death, because by it we fetch in strength

and grace from God, to enable us to finish well. He wept sorely:

some gather from hence that he was unwilling to die; it is in

the nature of man to dread the separation of soul and body.

There was also something peculiar in Hezekiah's case; he was now

in the midst of his usefulness. Let Hezekiah's prayer, see #Isa

38|. interpret his tears; in that is nothing which is like his

having been under that fear of death, which has bondage or

torment. Hezekiah's piety made his sick-bed easy. "O Lord,

remember now;" he does not speak as if God needed to be put in

mind of any thing by us; nor, as if the reward might be demanded

as due; it is Christ's righteousness only that is the purchase

of mercy and grace. Hezekiah does not pray, Lord, spare me; but,

Lord, remember me; whether I live or die, let me be thine. God

always hears the prayers of the broken in heart, and will give

health, length of days, and temporal deliverances, as much and

as long as is truly good for them. Means were to be used for

Hezekiah's recovery; yet, considering to what a height the

disease was come, and how suddenly it was checked, the cure was

miraculous. It is our duty, when sick, to use such means as are

proper to help nature, else we do not trust God, but tempt him.

For the confirmation of his faith, the shadow of the sun was

carried back, and the light was continued longer than usual, in

a miraculous manner. This work of wonder shows the power of God

in heaven as well as on earth, the great notice he takes of

prayer, and the great favour he bears to his chosen.
12-21 The king of Babylon was at this time independent of the

king of Assyria, though shortly after subdued by him. Hezekiah

showed his treasures and armour, and other proofs of his wealth

and power. This was the effect of pride and ostentation, and

departing from simple reliance on God. He also seems to have

missed the opportunity of speaking to the Chaldeans, about Him

who had wrought the miracles which excited their attention, and

of pointing out to them the absurdity and evil of idolatry. What

is more common than to show our friends our houses and

possessions? But if we do this in the pride of ours hearts, to

gain applause from men, not giving praise to God, it becomes sin

in us, as it did in Hezekiah. We may expect vexation from every

object with which we are unduly pleased. Isaiah, who had often

been Hezekiah's comforter, is now is reprover. The blessed

Spirit is both, #Joh 16:7,8|. Ministers must be both, as there

is occasion. Hezekiah allowed the justice of the sentence, and

God's goodness in the respite. Yet the prospect respecting his

family and nation must have given him many painful feelings.

Hezekiah was indeed humbled for the pride of his heart. And

blessed are the dead who die in the Lord; for they rest from

their labours, and their works do follow them.

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