Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: 2 Kings
Book: 2 Kings
Chapter: 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.