Melachim 2/Kings 2-Chapter 20: The illness, and reign and legacy of Chizkiyah

Chapter 20: The illness, and reign and legacy of Chizkiyah

  1. Chizkiyah becomes critically ill and miraculously survives
  • Chizkiyah becomes critically ill and is told of his upcoming death: In those days [three days prior to the annihilation of the Army of Sancheirev[1]] Chizkiyah became critically ill. Yeshayahu the son of Amotz the prophet came to visit Chizkiyah and told him that Hashem has said that he should give his last testament to his family being that he will not survive this illness and he will die [in both this world and the next world as a punishment for him not getting married and not having children[2]].
  • Chizkiyah prays to God to save him: Chizkiyah turned his face toward the wall and prayed to Hashem, saying, “Please, Hashem, remember now how I did what was righteous in Your eyes and followed you with truth and purity [so please grant me life and do not let me die].” Chizkiyah then wept profusely.
  • Yeshayahu receives a second prophecy and tells Chizkiyah that he will live: Prior to Yeshayahu leaving the inner court of the palace, Hashem revealed himself once again to Yeshayahu and told him to return and tell Chizkiyah that he has heard his prayer and seen his tears and He has decided to heal him. “On the third day you will be recovered enough that you shall go up to the Temple. I will add another fifteen years to your life and I will save you and the city of Jerusalem from the hand of the king of Ashur, for My sake and for the sake of My servant David.”
  • Yeshayahu heals Chizkiyah with figs: Yeshayahu instructed for a cake of fresh pressed figs to be brought and placed on the boil of Chizkiyah, and this was done, and he was healed. [This was considered a double miracle being that figs do not have healing powers and on the contrary, they actually cause them damage.[3]]
  • Chizkiyah asks for a sign that he will be healed: Chizkiyah then asked Yeshayahu, to give him a sign that God will heal him and that he will be able to go to the temple on the third day. Yeshayahu then told him that the sign from God is that the shade [of the sundial[4]] will move up or down 10 steps. Chizkiyah then replied that it is easy for the shade to advance ten steps and so he rather requests the sign that the shade return ten steps. The prophet Yeshayahu then called to Hashem and requested from Him to make the above sign and so Hashem brought the shade back ten steps.

  1. Chizkiyah shows his palace to messengers from Babylon and receives a dire prophecy:
  • At that time [after Chizkiyah miraculously recovered from his illness], Berodach-Baladan the son of Baladan, the king of Babylon, sent letters and a gift to Chizkiya after hearing of his recovery.
  • Chizkiyah shows his palace to the emissaries of Babylon: Chizkiyah listened to the emissaries, and he showed them his entire treasure, the silver, the gold, the spices, and oil, and the entire house in which he kept his vessels. Chizkiyah showed them everything in his palace and in his kingdom [including the Aron and Luchos, and Sefer Torah[5]], without leaving anything unshown.
  • Yeshayahu confronts Chizkiyah for what he did: Yeshayahu, the prophet, came to King Chizkiyah and confronted him asking him as to what the men from Babylon said and as to what they want. Chizkiyah replied to him that the men came from a distant country, from Babylon. Yeshayahu then asked him as to what he showed them in the palace? Chizkiyah replied that he showed them everything that is in the palace and treasury.
  • Yeshayahu prophesizes the downfall of Chizkiyah and exile of his children: Yeshayahu then told Chizkiyah, to listen to the following prophecy that he has to say: “A time will come when everything in your palace and what your ancestors have stored there, will be carried off to Babylon. Nothing will remain. Your descendants will be taken down to exile in Babylon and become officers in the palace of the king of Babylon.” Chizkiyah replied to Yeshayahu that he is happy that at least there will still be peace during his days.

  1. The legacy of Chizkiyah:
  • The remaining events of Chizkiyah and all of his mighty deeds, and how he brought a channel of water into the city of Jerusalem, are written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Yehuda.
  • His passing: Chizkiyah passed away and was buried together with his ancestors.
  • His successor: Minasheh, the son of Chizkiyah, reigned in his stead.

[1] Rashi 20:1

[2] Rashi 20:1

[3] Rashi 20:7

[4] See Rashi 20:9

[5] Rashi 20:13

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