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The Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi Commentary
   

Yeshayahu- Isaiah - Chapter 38

Yeshayahu- Isaiah - Chapter 38

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Rashi's Commentary:

Chapter 38

1. In those days Hezekiah became critically ill, when Isaiah the son of Amoz, the prophet, came to him and said to him, "So has the Lord said, 'Give orders to your household, for you are going to die and you shall not live.   א. בַּיָּמִים הָהֵם חָלָה חִזְקִיָּהוּ לָמוּת וַיָּבוֹא אֵלָיו יְשַׁעְיָהוּ בֶן אָמוֹץ הַנָּבִיא וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו כֹּה אָמַר יְהֹוָה צַו לְבֵיתֶךָ כִּי מֵת אַתָּה וְלֹא תִחְיֶה:
In those days: Three days before Sennacherib’s downfall, Hezekiah became ill, and the third day, when he went up to the house of the Lord, was the day of Sennacherib’s downfall, and it was the first festive day of Passover.  
for you are going to die and you shall not live: You are going to die in this world, and you shall not live in the world to come, for you have not married, as it is stated in Berachoth 10b.  
2. " And Hezekiah turned his face to the wall, and he prayed to the Lord.   ב. וַיַּסֵּב חִזְקִיָּהוּ פָּנָיו אֶל הַקִּיר וַיִּתְפַּלֵּל אֶל יְהֹוָה:
3. And he said, "Please, O Lord, remember now, how I walked before You truly and wholeheartedly, and I did what is good in Your eyes." And Hezekiah wept profusely.   ג. וַיֹּאמַר אָנָּה יְהֹוָה זְכָר נָא אֵת אֲשֶׁר הִתְהַלַּכְתִּי לְפָנֶיךָ בֶּאֱמֶת וּבְלֵב שָׁלֵם וְהַטּוֹב בְּעֵינֶיךָ עָשִׂיתִי וַיֵּבְךְּ חִזְקִיָּהוּ בְּכִי גָדוֹל:
Please, O Lord: (אָנָּה) Where is Your mercy?  
4. And the word of the Lord came to Isaiah, saying,   ד. וַיְהִי דְּבַר יְהֹוָה אֶל יְשַׁעְיָהוּ לֵאמֹר:
5. "Go and say to Hezekiah, 'So has the Lord God of your father David said, "I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Behold I will add fifteen years to your life.   ה. הָלוֹךְ וְאָמַרְתָּ אֶל חִזְקִיָּהוּ כֹּה אָמַר יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵי דָּוִד אָבִיךָ שָׁמַעְתִּי אֶת תְּפִלָּתֶךָ רָאִיתִי אֶת דִּמְעָתֶךָ הִנְנִי יוֹסִף עַל יָמֶיךָ חֲמֵשׁ עֶשְׂרֵה שָׁנָה:
Behold I will add: (יוֹסִיף, lit., he will add.) Behold I am He Who will add to your life.  
6. And from the hand of the king of Assyria will I save you and this city, and I will protect this city."   ו. וּמִכַּף מֶלֶךְ אַשּׁוּר אַצִּילְךָ וְאֵת הָעִיר הַזֹּאת וְגַנּוֹתִי עַל הָעִיר הַזֹּאת:
And from the hand of the king of Assyria will I save you: We deduce that he became ill before the downfall of Sennacherib.  
7. And this is your sign from the Lord, that the Lord will fulfill this word that He spoke.   ז. וְזֶה לְּךָ הָאוֹת מֵאֵת יְהֹוָה אֲשֶׁר יַעֲשֶׂה יְהֹוָה אֶת הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה אֲשֶׁר דִּבֵּר:
And this is your sign: That you shall be cured, and that your days shall be increased, as is explained below (v. 22), and in Kings (2 20:8) he asked, “What is the sign that I will go up?”  
8. Behold I return the shade of the steps that it went down on the steps of Ahaz by the sun backwards ten steps, and the sun returned ten steps on the steps that it had descended.   ח. הִנְנִי מֵשִׁיב אֶת צֵל הַמַּעֲלוֹת אֲשֶׁר יָרְדָה בְמַעֲלוֹת אָחָז בַּשֶּׁמֶשׁ אֲחֹרַנִּית עֶשֶׂר מַעֲלוֹת וַתָּשָׁב הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ עֶשֶׂר מַעֲלוֹת בַּמַּעֲלוֹת אֲשֶׁר יָרָדָה:
Behold I return: the shade backwards ten steps which it went down.  
the shade of the steps: A sort of steps made opposite the sun to determine the hours of the day, like the clocks (horloge in French) that craftsmen make (sectarians make [Parshandatha]).  
that it went down: It hastened to go down, and the day was shortened by ten hours on the day Ahaz died, in order that they should not eulogize him, and now they went backwards on the day Hezekiah recovered, and ten hours were added to the day.  
9. The writing of Hezekiah, king of Judah, when he became ill and recovered from his illness.   ט. מִכְתָּב לְחִזְקִיָּהוּ מֶלֶךְ יְהוּדָה בַּחֲלֹתוֹ וַיְחִי מֵחָלְיוֹ:
The writing of Hezekiah: Jonathan paraphrases: A writing of thanksgiving for the miracle performed for Hezekiah.  
10. I said, "In the desolation of my days will I go into the gates of the grave; I am deprived of the rest of my years."   י. אֲנִי אָמַרְתִּי בִּדְמִי יָמַי אֵלֵכָה בְּשַׁעֲרֵי שְׁאוֹל פֻּקַּדְתִּי יֶתֶר שְׁנוֹתָי:
I said, In the desolation of my days: (בִּדְמִי) When I saw my days בִּדְמִי, in desolation and in silence. Comp. (Zeph. 1:11) “For the entire people of Canaan has been silenced (נִדְמָה).” That is to say that when I became ill, I said, “I will go into the gates of the grave.” Now I will die, since, until that day, no sick person had recovered.  
I am deprived of the rest of my years: (פֻּקַּדְתִּי) Comp.“(Num. 31:49) No man was missing (נִפְקַד) of us.” I am missing the rest of my years. Jonathan, however, renders: My remembrance has entered for good; years have been added to my years. I have been visited (נִפְקַדְתִּי) for good, and my years have been increased.  
11. I said, "I will not see the Eternal; the Eternal is in the land of the living; I will no longer look upon man, [but I will be] with those who dwell in withdrawal.   יא. אָמַרְתִּי לֹא אֶרְאֶה יָהּ יָהּ בְּאֶרֶץ הַחַיִּים לֹא אַבִּיט אָדָם עוֹד עִם יוֹשְׁבֵי חָדֶל:
[I will not see the Eternal: (יָהּ) I will no longer use the name יָהּ.]  
in the land of the living: The living use it, but the dead are not permitted, as it is said (Ps. 115: 17): “The dead shall not praise the Eternal (יָהּ).” It is a rule for the dead that they may never mention the Name consisting of two letters.]  
in the land of the living: in the Temple.  
I will no longer look upon man: (I.e., I will) no longer (look upon) a living (man).  
with those who dwell in withdrawal: (חָדֶל) For I will be with the dead, who dwell in a land withdrawn and withheld from the living.  
12. My generation was removed and exiled from me like a shepherd's tent; I severed, like a weaver, my life; from glory He shall deprive me; from day and night You shall finish me.   יב. דּוֹרִי נִסַּע וְנִגְלָה מִנִּי כְּאֹהֶל רֹעִי קִפַּדְתִּי כָאֹרֵג חַיַּי מִדַּלָּה יְבַצְּעֵנִי מִיּוֹם עַד לַיְלָה תַּשְׁלִימֵנִי:
My generation was removed and exiled from me: The people of my generation were removed from me.  
was removed: (נִסַּע) synonymous with נִסְּחוּ. Comp. (supra 33:20) “whose pegs shall never be moved (יִסַּע).”  
like a shepherd’s tent: Like the tent of one who tends animals, which he moves from here and sets up in another pasture when this pasture is depleted.  
I severed: (קִפַּדְתִּי) I severed my life quickly, like a weaver who hastens to weave. All this I thought. Jonathan renders: Like a stream with banks, like a stream that flows between high banks, which does not spread out, and consequently, its water flows swiftly. And I say that it is a swift stream named Oreg, and this is what Job (7:6) said, “My days are lighter than Areg,” also (ibid. 9:26), “They passed with the ships of Ebeh.”  
from glory He shall deprive me: (מִדַּלֶּה יְבַצְּעֵנִי). Jonathan renders: From the glory of my kingdom I am exiled. I thought that now He would deprive me of all my glory. The word דַלָּה is an expression of height. Comp. (Song 7:5) “And the braid (וְדַלַּת) of your head.”  
from day and night You shall finish me: (lit., from day to night.) Comp. (Num. 5:3) “Both male and female,” (lit., from male to female.) That is to say, from days and nights you shall finish me, and so did Jonathan render: My days and my nights are over.  
13. I made [myself] until morning like a lion, so it would break my bones; from day and night You shall finish me.   יג. שִׁוִּיתִי עַד בֹּקֶר כָּאֲרִי כֵּן יְשַׁבֵּר כָּל עַצְמוֹתָי מִיּוֹם עַד לַיְלָה תַּשְׁלִימֵנִי:
I made [myself]: myself all night to suffer the tortures of the illness, and I strengthened myself like a lion to suffer.  
so it would break my bones: Comp. (Ex. 1:12) “So they would multiply and so they would spread.” The more I would strengthen myself, so the illness would overpower me to break all my bones.  
14. Like a crane [and] a swallow, so I chatter; I moaned like a dove. My eyes were lifted on high. O Lord! Rob me! Pledge Yourself to me!   יד. כְּסוּס עָגוּר כֵּן אֲצַפְצֵף אֶהְגֶּה כַּיּוֹנָה דַּלּוּ עֵינַי לַמָּרוֹם אֲדֹנָי עָשְׁקָה לִּי עָרְבֵנִי:
like a crane: (סוּס) same as (Jer. 8:7), סִיס, and that is the name of a bird.  
like a crane, a swallow: like a crane and a swallow. (Alternatively,) like this bird, seized by the neck, and it screeches. So did Jonathan render: Like a crane that is caught and screeches.  
Rob me: (עָשְׁקָה), like עֲשֹׁק. Rob me, take me out of the hand of the angel of death, and pledge Yourself to save me. This (עָרְבֵנִי) is an expression of surety (garantieh in O.F.). Comp. (Ps. 119) “Pledge Yourself (עֲרוֹב) to Your servant for good.”  
Rob me: (לִי) Rob me from his hand. Comp. (Num. 12:13) “Please cure her (לָהּ),” like, cure her (אוֹתָהּ).  
15. What shall I speak? He said to me, and He fulfilled it. I will cause all my sleep to flee because of the bitterness of my soul.   טו. מָה אֲדַבֵּר וְאָמַר לִי וְהוּא עָשָׂה אֶדַּדֶּה כָל שְׁנוֹתַי עַל מַר נַפְשִׁי:
What shall I speak: praise and adoration before Him? Behold He promised me consolations, and He fulfilled them.  
I will cause all my sleep to flee: Comp. (Gen. 31:40) “And my sleep fled.” Jonathan renders שְׁנוֹתַי as an expression of years.  
concerning the bitterness of my soul: which was bitter, and You consoled me.  
16. O Lord! Concerning them, [You said] they shall live, and before all of them the life of my spirit, and You cured me and gave me life.   טז. אֲדֹנָי עֲלֵיהֶם יִחְיוּ וּלְכָל בָּהֶן חַיֵּי רוּחִי וְתַחֲלִימֵנִי וְהַחֲיֵנִי:
O Lord! Concerning them, [You said] they shall live: Jonathan renders: O Lord! Concerning all the dead, You said to resurrect.  
and before all of them the life of my spirit: And before all of them He resurrected the life of my spirit. But I say according to the simple meaning: The Lord is upon them, upon ‘my years’ mentioned above.  
‘How can I serve Him and repay Him for all the years,’: He caused His Shechinah and His kindness to rest upon them and said to me through His prophets, that they shall live.  
and to all upon which the life of my soul depends: And to everything upon which the life of my soul depends, the Lord said concerning them and they shall live.  
and You shall make me well: From now on, I know that you shall make me well and give me life.  
You shall make me well: (תַּחְלִימֵנִי) You shall make me well and strengthen me. Comp. (Job 39:4) “Their children shall become strong (יַחְלְמוּ).”  
17. Behold for peace, it is bitter for me, yea it is bitter, and You desired my soul from the grave of decay, for You have cast behind You all my sins.   יז. הִנֵּה לְשָׁלוֹם מַר לִי מָר וְאַתָּה חָשַׁקְתָּ נַפְשִׁי מִשַּׁחַת בְּלִי כִּי הִשְׁלַכְתָּ אַחֲרֵי גֵוְךָ כָּל חֲטָאָי:
Behold for peace, it is bitter for me, yea it is bitter: When I was notified of the tidings of peace, even that was bitter for me, for my recovery was dependent upon the merit of others (v. 5): “So has the Lord God of your father David said…” ; (supra 37:35) “For My sake and for the sake of David your father.” Here You let me know that I am a sinner (See Ber. 10b). (So did the Sages explain it, but in order to reconcile the verse, it appears to mean: Behold for peace, it was bitter for me, yea it was bitter - When I was given the news by You that You would save me from the hand of Sennacherib, it was bitter for me, yea it was bitter because of my illness, that I was close to death, and I did not rejoice with the news.) But You desired my soul, that it descend not to the grave.  
18. For the grave shall not thank You, nor shall death praise You; those who descend into the pit shall not hope for Your truth.   יח. כִּי לֹא שְׁאוֹל תּוֹדֶךָּ מָוֶת יְהַלְלֶךָּ לֹא יְשַׂבְּרוּ יוֹרְדֵי בוֹר אֶל אֲמִתֶּךָ:
[For the grave shall not thank You: Had I died, I would not thank You for the miracle of the downfall of Sennacherib, and I would not hope for the realization of Your promise that You promised me concerning him.]  
19. The living, the living, he shall thank You, like me today; a father shall inform his children of Your truth.   יט. חַי חַי הוּא יוֹדֶךָ כָּמֹנִי הַיּוֹם אָב לְבָנִים יוֹדִיעַ אֶל אֲמִתֶּךָ:
The living, the living: This is an expression denoting living people; i.e., when they are living people in the world, this one is living and this one is living, thanksgiving emanates from between them. [Other editions:  
A living one to a living one: You are living, and it is proper to give thanksgiving to a living one.]  
inform: enseigner in French, to teach.  
of Your truth: (lit., to your truth.) The father informs and directs his son’s thoughts to Your truth, to believe in You.  
20. The Lord [has promised] to save me, and we will play my hymns all the days of our life in the house of the Lord."   כ. יְהֹוָה לְהוֹשִׁיעֵנִי וּנְגִינוֹתַי נְנַגֵּן כָּל יְמֵי חַיֵּינוּ עַל בֵּית יְהֹוָה:
21. And Isaiah said, "Let them take a cake of pressed figs and lay it for a plaster on the boil, and it will heal."   כא. וַיֹּאמֶר יְשַׁעְיָהוּ יִשְׂאוּ דְּבֶלֶת תְּאֵנִים וְיִמְרְחוּ עַל הַשְּׁחִין וְיֶחִי:
a cake of pressed figs: (דְּבֶלֶת) A pressed cake made from figs. When they are fresh, they are called תְּאֵנִים, and when they are pressed into a circular cake, they are called דְּבֵלָה.  
and lay it for a plaster: And they shall smooth it out to cause it to adhere to the boil, and this was a miracle within a miracle, for, even healthy flesh, upon which pressed figs are placed, decays. But the Holy One, blessed be He, places an injurious substance upon vulnerable tissue, and it heals.  
22. And Hezekiah said, "What a sign that I will go up to the house of the Lord!"   כב. וַיֹּאמֶר חִזְקִיָּהוּ מָה אוֹת כִּי אֶעֱלֶה בֵּית יְהֹוָה:
What a sign: How good and how beautiful is this sign which is given to me that I will go up to the house of the Lord!  
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