2 Kings 19:1 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 the Lord says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover.”

2 Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, 3 “Remember, Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

4 Before Isaiah had left the middle court, the word of the Lord came to him: 5 “Go back and tell Hezekiah, the ruler of my people, ‘This is what the Lord, the God 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 the Lord. 6 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.’”

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

9 Isaiah answered, “This is the Lord’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?”

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

11 Then the prophet Isaiah called on the Lord, and the Lord made the shadow go back the ten steps it had gone down on the stairway of Ahaz.


He got a boil... I wonder if it's really a squamous cell.... I wonder if a fig poultice will work on a squamous cell. Now, my grandmother use to make up some kind of poultice for boils. That poultice of hers would draw a boil out over night. Of course she made sure to bury a dish towel in the back yard before sundown. But.... it always worked. I wanted to try it on my acne.... but she said she didn't have enough dish clothes. Anyway....

So Hezekiah got sick and prayed about it. Back then [before Christ gave His life on the Cross] I guess having a longer life was dependent on works .... sometimes.... because Hezekiah reminded God that Hezekiah had taken all the poles, statues, and junk in those fake temples away... and he prayed... a lot.... compared to the others... this man was a good guy to the utmost..... so God agreed to give Hezekiah 15 years of life. Good job, Hezekiah.

According to the easy English site... the chronological set up of this event is a little skewed.

This event probably happened before the army from Assyria attacked. The attack happened in the 14th year of Hezekiah’s rule. That was in 701 B.C.. Merodach Baladan (verse 12) died 2 years before that, in 703 B.C..

Hezekiah had some kind of plague (a disease that kills many people.) The evidence of that disease was some kind of boils (things like hard painful lumps under the skin). The illness became so serious that the people were expecting Hezekiah to die.

During Hezekiah’s life, Isaiah was the main prophet in Judah. God sent Isaiah with a message for Hezekiah. God told Hezekiah that he (Hezekiah) should not expect to recover. Instead, he should prepare for his death. Therefore, he should appoint the next king who would rule after him. And he should make financial arrangements in order to provide for his family.

This message upset Hezekiah greatly. He began to pray desperately. And his prayer was so desperate that he wept much. Hezekiah later wrote a record of what he prayed on that occasion (Isaiah 38:9-14). He considered that he was dying too soon. He had not achieved everything that he needed to achieve during his life. If he died at this time, his work for God would not be complete.

Hezekiah was not asking God to cure him because of his (Hezekiah’s) good deeds. He was asking God to act because of his (God’s) great kindness.

Hezekiah got an immediate answer. God promised to cure him. In 3 days, Hezekiah would be able to go to the temple to give thanks. He would live for 15 more years. And also, God would save Jerusalem’s people from an attack by Assyria’s army.

People often ask about Isaiah’s use of figs (fruit) in this passage. Figs were a very cheap and common remedy. But they are not a powerful enough remedy to cure a very serious illness. They certainly would not cure someone who is likely to die. Of course it is right to use medicines if they are available. God has provided medicines as the natural means to cure ill people. But it does not seem that the figs made Hezekiah well here. Perhaps Isaiah told Hezekiah to use figs as an act to show faith. Or perhaps the figs would ease Hezekiah’s pain until God cured him.

It took 3 days before Hezekiah was well enough to visit the temple again. Hezekiah was very grateful to God. And Hezekiah wanted to thank God for his kindness. That is why he went to the temple. He probably offered a special sacrifice there.

Soon afterwards, Hezekiah wrote his own record of these events. You can read it in Isaiah 38:9-20.

During his illness, Hezekiah asked God to give him some evidence that Isaiah’s prophecy was correct. Hezekiah’s father, King Ahaz, had built a staircase. When the sun’s shadow fell on it, it had the same function as a clock. It showed people what the time was. Hezekiah asked that the sun’s shadow should go back. Of course, such a thing never happens. The sun always travels in the same direction across the sky. So shadows always move in the same direction too. But somehow, God actually made the shadow go back. We do not know how that happened. It was a miracle.

I googled fig poultice. This is form amazinghealth.com.

Whether in dried form or as ripe fruit, figs not only taste great but they are one of the highest plant sources of calcium and fiber.

Split open a fig and soak it in warm water to create a poultice. Place thin layer of gauze over affected area then apply fig poultice. Change every eight hours or twice daily.

Use a fig poultice on inflamed boils, pain, and scar tissues.

So on the off chance I was on to something really cool.... I googled squamous cell and fig poultice.... boy... Nannie [my grandmother] really knew her stuff.

Back to the Bible Story..... On top of giving Hezekiah a recipe for an drawing salve for his boils.... God gave Hezekiah a miracle to prove the healing miracle would work. Hezekiah must have really touched God with his good works and prayer.... remember this is before Jesus gave his life on the cross so works worked.

So how did God make the shadow go backwards? Ahaz [Jezebel's hubby, not one of God's favorite people] built a solar clock into the temple steps. Hezekiah asked that the solar clock go backwards.... boy, Hezekiah really wants to test God.... So I googled the issue and up popped biblefellowshipunion.co.uk.. There's more on the topic.

So.... I have to go to the store.... and get some figs.