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CHAP. XXXVIII.

The first part of this chapter gives an account of Hezekiah's dangere

ou8 sickness and miraculous recovery ; the latter part is a lender and beautiful song of thanksgiving, in which this pious king breathed out the sentiments of a grateful heart when his life was as it were restored.

ITN those days was Hezekiah sick unto death, that is, of some

1 distemper, which in the common course of nalure would prove mortal.* And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came unto

him, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Set thine house 2 in order : for thou shalt die, and not live. Then Hezekiah

turned his face toward the wall, and prayed unto the LORD, 3 And said, Remember, now, O LORD, I beseech thee, how I

have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done (that which is) good in thy sight. And Hezekiah

wept sore, from the apprehension that he should leave his kingdom 4 in distress, and without an heir. Then came the word of the 5 Lord to Isaiah, saying, Go and say to Hezekiah, Thus saith the Lord, the God of David thy father, whose family seemed to be in

danger of exlinction, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy 6 tears : behold, I will add unto thy days fifteen years. And I

will deliver thee and this city out of the hand of the king of 7 Assyria : and I will defend this city. And this [shall be a

sign unto thee from the Lord, that the LORD will do this thing 8 that he hath spoken ; Behold, I will bring again the shadow of

the degrees, which is gone down in the sun dial of Ahaz, ten degrees backward.t So the sun returned ten degrees, by which

degrees it was gone down. 9 The writing of Hezekiah king of Judah, when he had been

sick, and was recovered of his sickness ; or, a song of shanksgiv. 10 ing for his deliverance : I said in the cutting off of my days, I shall,

go to the gates of the grave : I am deprived of the residue of

my years; being but about thirty nine years old, I might naturally 11 expect a longer life. I said, I shall not see the LORD, seven

the LORD, in the land of the living, in his house and ordinances ; that is, no more join in or support his worship : I shall behold man no more with the inhabitants of the world ; I shall see my subjects and friends no more ; I shall have no more opportunities

of doing good to the public or myself ; a sentiment full of piety and 12 benevolence. Mine age is departed, and is removed from me as

a shepherd's tent ; a weak, frail building, that is easily taken down or removed from place to place : I have cut off like a weaver my life ; have given up all my schemes and prospects : he will cut me off with pining sickness : from day (even] to night wil:

This sickness happened in the space between Sennacherib's invasion and the destruction of his army.

† Probably an inflection of the rays of the sun which continued for some tinc. VOL. V.

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thou make an end of me ; I thought this would be the case every 13 morning and evening. I reckoned 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; I thought the violence of my paire

would destroy me before morning, like a lion breaking my bones, 14 Like a crane (or) a swallow, so did I chatter : I did mourn as a

dove ; my voice was weak and broken, 80 that I could only sigh and bemoan myself : inine eyes fail (with looking] upward ; or rather, mine eyes are so wenk that I cannot look up: O LORD, I am oppressed ; undertake for me ; I am sinking under this heavy

affliction ; O Lord, appear for me, before death seizes upon me. 15 What shall I say ? an expression of God's great goodness,

and of his own thankfulness ; how shall I find words 10 express my gratilude ? he hath both spoken unto me, and himself hath done [it ;] he promised health, and it immediately came : I shall go softly all my years in the bitterness of my soul ; I shall all my days remember the bitterness of my

soul ; or it may refer 10 walking humbly and circumspectly be16 fore God afier it. O LORD, by these things,) thy power and

goodness, [men] live, and I in particular, and in all these [things

is] the life of my spirit : so wilt thou recover me, and make 17 me to live ; by thee I shall still be supported. Behold, for 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 sins behind thy back ; thou hast forgiven my sins which brought

this dis'emper upon me, and hast shown thy favour to me by thus 18 recovering me. For the grave cannot praise thee, death can

[not] celebrate thee: they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth ; they cannot glorify thee on earth and serve man

kind, or expect to see thy firomises to thy church and people fulfilled. 19 The living, the living, he shall praise thee, as I [do] this day :

the father to the children shall make known thy truth ; they that have been recovered shall praise thee themselves, and relate

thy goodness to their children, to encourage them to trust in thee. 20 The LORD (was ready] 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 ; not only this song, but other devout composi.

tions ; not merely in one visit paid to the sanc!uary, but as long as 21 my recovered life shall continue. For Isaiah had said, Let them

take a lump of figs, and lay [it] for a plaister upon the boil, 22 and he shall recover.* Hezekiah also had said, What [is] the

sign, that I shall go up to the house of the LORD ? that was the first place he designed to visit, and therefore he put the question with particular reference to it.

Perhaps these might have a natural virtue to ripen the imposthume, but could act heal it so so without extraordinary into positivilo

REFLECTIONS.

1. THIS chapter suggests many useful instructions to the sick

1 and infirm; and such any of us may very soon be. We should therefore set our houses in order, make our wills; setile our affairs, and contrive for the peace of survivors. Especially should we set our souls in order ; renew the exercise of repentance and faith, and make our peace with God, with men, and our own consciences. Let the sick pray, and humble themselves ; acknowledge the hand of God in the visitation, and seek help from him ; but they should not neglect the assistance of physicians and medicines, lest they lempt the Lord their God. Though Hezekiah's recovery was in a great measure miraculous, yet natural means were used, to teach us the use of them. Let us not think our fears of death signs of our being in a sinful state, for even Hezekiah wept sore at its approach, though he could appeal to God that he had walked before him in truth, and with a perfect heart, and had dine that which was good in his sight.

2. Those who have been recovered from sickness may see what should be their temper and conduct. It is proper to recollect, and keep written memorials of their danger and deliverance ; of the workings of their thoughts and affections ; their views of God, themselves, and another world, and of their resolutions and vows. Let them be very thankful for their escapes from death; remembering, that it was the Lord that healed them, that recovered them from the pit of corruption, when just sinking into it ; they should express their thankfulness in their addresses to God, and in their conversation with others, for their encouragement. It should be our care to walk humbly with God ; to proceed with caution and watchfulness in the way of duty; to be zealous for his honour, and diligent and serious in our attendance upon his ordinances. Heže. kiah’s love to God's house showed itself very remarkably during his sickness ; he lamented his being deprived of attendance there, and resolved to frequent it constantly while he lived. Thus should we improve our recoveries from sickness, or our continued health ; remembering, that life is short, and that there is no knowledge, wisdom, or device, in the grave, whither we are all going.

CHAP. XXXIX.*

I A T that time Merodachbaladan, the son of Baladan, king of

1 Babylon, sent letters and a present to Hezekiah : for he 2 had heard that he had been sick, and was recovered. And Hez

ekiah was glad of them, and showed them the house of lis precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armour, and all that

* For the illustration and improvement of this chapter, see 2 Kings, XX. 12-9.

was found in his treasures : there was nothing in his house, nor 3 in all his dominion, that Hezekiah showed them not. Then

came Isaiah the prophet unto king Hezekiah, and said unto him, What said these men ? and from whence came they unto thee?

And Hezekiah said, They are come from a far country unto 4 me, (even) from Babylon. Then said he, What have they seen

in thine house ? And Hezekiah answered, All that (is) in mine house have they seen : there is nothing among my treasures 5 that I have not showed them. Then said Isaiah to Hezekiah, 6 Hear the word of the LORD of hosts: Behold, the days come,

that all that [is] in thine house, and [that] which thy fathers have laid up in store until this day, shall be carried to Babylon: 7 nothing shall be left, saith the LORD. And of thy sons that

shall issue from thee, which thou shalt beget, shall they take

away ; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of 8 Babylon. Then said Hezekiah to Isaiah, Good [is] the word of

the LORD which thou hast spoken. He said moreover, For there shall be peace and truth in my days.

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We now come to the last part of Isaiah's prophecy, which is by much

the most sublime and important. It contains many comfortable predictions of the restoration of the Jews from captivity, of the blessings of the gospel, and the conversion of the Jews in the latter days, But in this chapter, and in many other places, these events are so intermingled, that, though the general sense is plain, it is hard to determine to which event the prophet refers.

I NOMFORT ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God ;

U that is, to the prophets during the captivity, and to all chris2 tian ministers in future ages. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusa

lem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned : for she hath received of the LORD's hand double for all her sins; not double to what she deserved, but double in proportion to God's severity in correcting other sins ful nations, because she was more eminently favoured. It may have a reference to the law of paying double damages, Exod. xxii. 4. Immediately a harbinger is introduced, giving orders as was usual in the march of eastern generals, to remove every obstacle,

and prepare the way for their return into their own land. 3 The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye

the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God; probably referring to Cyrus's proclamation of deliver

ance to the Jewe; or rather to the gospel salvation; and it is so 4 applied to John the Baptist, Mat, jjj. 3. Every valley shall be

exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low : and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain ;

all difficulties shall vanish; men's pride and prejudices shall be re5 moved : And the glory of the LORD, his glorious power and

goodness, shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see [it] together : 6 for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken [it.] The voice said to

the prophel, Cry, or proclaim aloud. And he said, What shall I

cry? All flesh [is) grass, and all the goodliness thereof (is) as 7 the flower of the field: The grass withereth, the flower fadeth,

because the spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it: surely the peo8 ple (is) grass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth : but

the word of our God shall stand for ever? there is no dependence to be laid on the wisdom, power, and promises of men, but the promisce of God are faithful, and nothing shall prevent the execution of them. So Peter applies the words in his first epistle, chap.in

23—25. 9 0 Zion, that bringest good tidings, or, O thou that tellest good

ridings to Zion, get thee up into the high mountain ; 0 Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, or, O thou thai tellest good tidings 10 Jerusalem, list up thy voice with strength ; proclaim aloud on the mountains, from whence thou canst besi be heard ; lift [it] up,

be not afraid, for God will make his word good ; say unto the 10 cities of Judah, Behold your God ! Behold, the Lord God will

come with strong (hand,] or, against the strong, and his arm shall rule for him ; he will complete your deliverance, and establish the Messiah's kingdom, without human assistance : behold,

his reward [is] with him, and his work, or, recompense for his 11 work, before him. He, that is, the Messiah, shall feed his flock

like a shepherd : he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry (them,] that is, the lame and sick, in his bosom, (and)

shall gently lead those that are with young. 12 Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand,

and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance ? To confirm your faith in these promises, observe the exact order in which the earth is formed ; the mountains are weighed, the waters and the dust are measured; so

that there is not a drop 100 much, nor a grain superfluous or defi13 cient ; and say, Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD when

he made the world, or [being] his counsellor hath taught him to 14 govern it? With whom took he counsel, and (who) instructed

him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him 15 knowledge, and showed to him the way of understanding ? Be

hold, the nations Care] as a drop of a bucket, as inconsiderable, when compared with the ocean, as a drop of water, and are count. ed as the small dust of the balance ; 80 small, when compared with the whole earth, as not to affect the nicest scales ; behold, he taketh up the isles, as a very little thing ; the isles, though so

spacious, strong, and deep rooted, are in his hand what a light thing 16 18 in ours, which we take up, turn, and manage as we please. And,

if we would study to present un oblation answerable to his greainess, Lebanon [is] not sufficient to burn, nor the beasts thereof

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