As is sometimes the case with the scriptures, part of chapter 20 occurs chronologically before chapter 19. This chapter starts in verses 1-19 at about 713 BC – about twelve years before Sennacherib’s invasion 15 years before Hezekiah’s death (verse 6). Hezekiah had become sick, and Isaiah has told him to set his house in order, as he was about to die. Hezekiah’s tearful prayer in verses 2-3 is heard by the Lord, and He sends Isaiah back to let him know that he has been given 15 more years, and will be healed. It is here also, that He promises to deliver Hezekiah and the city out of the hands of the Assyrians. 2 Kings 18:2 tells us that Hezekiah was 25 when he took the throne, and that he reigned 29 years – so we can deduce that he was only 39 at this time. His beautiful, grateful psalm to the Lord is recorded in Isaiah 38.
The king of Babylon, Merodach-baladan, heard of Hezekiah’s sickness, and sent envoys with gifts (verse 12). Verse 13 records Hezekiah’s pride at work, as he shows those envoys all the wealth in his house. It is then that Isaiah informs him that Babylon will carry all of it away, and his sons will become eunuchs in their palace. Hezekiah’s complacency at that news is both baffling and troubling, but a man who had just been miraculously healed would probably have a unique view about the will of God.
Verse 20 refers to the tunnel that Hezekiah had cut, diverting water from the Gihon Spring to the Pool of Siloam, which laid within the city walls. An inscription was cut into the conduit wall and is known as the Siloam Tunnel Inscription, commemorating that construction. Ferrell Jenkins has several great photos and information about Hezekiah’s tunnel at this link to his Biblical Studies Info Page.
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog. All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility. When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com. For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.