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Biblical Personalities-Hezekiah’s Illness Print E-mail

Bible-Biblical-Personalities-Midrash-Hezekiah-SundialThe 12th of Nisan is the anniversary of, “In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, “This is what God says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover.”

 

Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to God, “Remember, God, how I have walked before You faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in Your eyes.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

Before Isaiah had left the middle court, the word of God came to him:

“Go back and tell Hezekiah, the ruler of my people, ‘This is what God, the Lord of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you. On the third day from now you will go up to the temple of God. I will add fifteen years to your life. And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city for my sake and for the sake of my servant David.’”

Then Isaiah said, “Prepare a poultice of figs.” They did so and applied it to the boil, and he recovered.

Hezekiah had asked Isaiah, “What will be the sign that God will heal me and that I will go up to the temple of God on the third day from now?”

Isaiah answered, “This is God’s sign to you that the LORD will do what he has promised: Shall the shadow go forward ten steps, or shall it go back ten steps?”

“It is a simple matter for the shadow to go forward ten steps,” said Hezekiah. “Rather, have it go back ten steps.”

Then the prophet Isaiah called on God, and God made the shadow go back the ten steps it had gone down on the stairway of Ahaz (II Kings 20:1-11)

Rav Hamnuna said: What is the meaning of the verse, “Who is as the wise man? And who knows the interpretation [pesher] of a thing?”

Who is like the Holy One, blessed be He, who knew how to effect a reconciliation [pesharah] between two righteous men, Hezekiah and Isaiah?

Hezekiah said: Let Isaiah come to me, for so we find that Elijah went to Ahab, as it says, “And Elijah went to show himself unto Ahab.”

Isaiah said: Let Hezekiah come to me, for so we find that Jehoram son of Ahab

went to Elisha.

What did the Holy One, blessed be He, do?

He brought sufferings upon Hezekiah and then said to Isaiah, Go visit the sick. For so it says, “In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death.”

“And Isaiah the prophet, son of Amoz, came to him and said unto him, Thus says God, ‘Set your house in order, for you shall die and not live.’

What is the meaning of ‘you shall die and not live’?

You shall die in this world and not live in the world to come.

He said to him: Why so bad?

He replied: Because you did not try to have children.

He said: The reason was because I saw by the holy spirit that the children issuing from me would not be virtuous.

He said to him: What have you to do with the secrets of the All-Merciful? You should have done what you were commanded, and let the Holy One, blessed be He, do that which pleases Him.

He said to him: Then give me now your daughter; perhaps through your merit and mine combined virtuous children will issue from me.

He replied: The doom has already been decreed.

Said the other: Son of Amoz, finish your prophecy and go. This tradition I have from the house of my ancestor: “Even if a sharp sword rests upon a man's neck he should not desist from prayer.”

This saying is also recorded in the names of Rabbi Yochanan and Rabbi Eleazar: Even if a sharp sword rests on a man's neck, he should not desist from prayer, as it says, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.”

Rav Hanan said: Even if the master of dreams says to a man that on the morrow he will die, he should not desist from prayer, for so it says, For in the multitude of dreams are vanities and also many words, but fear you God.”

Thereupon straightway, Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed unto the Lord. What is the meaning of ‘kir’ (wall)?

Rabbi Simeon b. Lakish said: He prayed from the innermost chambers [kiroth] of his heart, as it says, “My bowels, my bowels, I writhe in pain! Kiroth, The chambers, of my heart.”

Rabbi Levi said: He prayed with reference to another ‘kir’. He said before Him: “Sovereign of the Universe! The Shunammite woman made only one little chamber on the roof and You restored her son to life. How much more so then me whose ancestor overlaid the Temple with silver and gold! Remember now, O Lord, I beseech You,

how I have walked before You in truth and with a whole heart, and have done that which is good in Your sight.

What means, ‘I have done that which is good in Your sight’? — Rav Judah says in the

name of Rab: He joined the ge'ullah with the tefillah.

Rabbi  Levi said: He hid away the Book of Cures. (Berachot 9b-10a)

iPray-Prayer Skills: “‘Remember, God, how I have walked before You faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in Your eyes.’ And Hezekiah wept bitterly.”

(iGrow-Spiritual Tools)“Even if a sharp sword rests upon a man's neck he should not desist from prayer.”

Rabbi Simeon b. Lakish said: He prayed from the innermost chambers [kiroth] of his heart, as it says, “My bowels, my bowels, I writhe in pain! Kiroth, The chambers, of my heart.”

“Sovereign of the Universe! The Shunammite woman made only one little chamber on the roof and You restored her son to life. How much more so then me whose ancestor overlaid the Temple with silver and gold!

Remember now, O Lord, I beseech You, how I have walked before You in truth and with a whole heart, and have done that which is good in Your sight.

iPray-iAttach-Amidah: Connecting Geulah to Tefillah: He joined the ge'ullah with the tefillah.

Refuah: He hid away the Book of Cures.

Haggadah: Fifteen Steps of the Seder: “I will add fifteen years to your life.”

“Signs,”: The same way that Moshe requested signs from God to prove himself to the Children of Israel, Hezekiah asks, “Hezekiah had asked Isaiah, ‘What will be the sign that God will heal me and that I will go up to the temple of God on the third day from now?’”

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