Chapter 38

1In 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.   אבַּיָּמִ֣ים הָהֵ֔ם חָלָ֥ה חִזְקִיָּ֖הוּ לָמ֑וּת וַיָּב֣וֹא אֵ֠לָיו יְשַׁעְיָ֨הוּ בֶן־אָמ֜וֹץ הַנָּבִ֗יא וַיֹּ֨אמֶר אֵלָ֜יו כֹּֽה־אָמַ֚ר יְהֹוָה֙ צַ֣ו לְבֵיתֶ֔ךָ כִּ֛י מֵ֥ת אַתָּ֖ה וְלֹ֥א תִֽחְיֶֽה:
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.   בוַיַּסֵּ֧ב חִזְקִיָּ֛הוּ פָּנָ֖יו אֶל־הַקִּ֑יר וַיִּתְפַּלֵּ֖ל אֶל־יְהֹוָֽה:
3And 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.   גוַיֹּאמַ֗ר אָנָּ֚ה יְהֹוָה֙ זְכָר־נָ֞א אֵ֣ת אֲשֶׁ֧ר הִתְהַלַּ֣כְתִּי לְפָנֶ֗יךָ בֶּֽאֱמֶת֙ וּבְלֵ֣ב שָׁלֵ֔ם וְהַטּ֥וֹב בְּעֵינֶ֖יךָ עָשִׂ֑יתִי וַיֵּ֥בְךְּ חִזְקִיָּ֖הוּ בְּכִ֥י גָדֽוֹל:
Please, O Lord: (אָנָּה) Where is Your mercy?  
4And the word of the Lord came to Isaiah, saying,   דוַיְהִי֙ דְּבַר־יְהֹוָ֔ה אֶל־יְשַׁעְיָ֖הוּ לֵאמֹֽר:
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.   ההָל֞וֹךְ וְאָמַרְתָּ֣ אֶל־חִזְקִיָּ֗הוּ כֹּֽה־אָמַ֚ר יְהֹוָה֙ אֱלֹהֵי֙ דָּוִ֣ד אָבִ֔יךָ שָׁמַ֙עְתִּי֙ אֶת־תְּפִלָּתֶ֔ךָ רָאִ֖יתִי אֶת־דִּמְעָתֶ֑ךָ הִנְנִי֙ יוֹסִ֣ף עַל־יָמֶ֔יךָ חֲמֵ֥שׁ עֶשְׂרֵ֖ה שָׁנָֽה:
Behold I will add: (יוֹסִיף, lit., he will add.) Behold I am He Who will add to your life.  
6And from the hand of the king of Assyria will I save you and this city, and I will protect this city."   ווּמִכַּ֚ף מֶֽלֶךְ־אַשּׁוּר֙ אַצִּ֣ילְךָ֔ וְאֵ֖ת הָעִ֣יר הַזֹּ֑את וְגַנּוֹתִ֖י עַל־הָעִ֥יר הַזֹּֽאת:
And from the hand of the king of Assyria will I save you: We deduce that he became ill before the downfall of Sennacherib.  
7And this is your sign from the Lord, that the Lord will fulfill this word that He spoke.   זוְזֶה־לְּךָ֥ הָא֖וֹת מֵאֵ֣ת יְהֹוָ֑ה אֲשֶׁר֙ יַֽעֲשֶׂ֣ה יְהֹוָ֔ה אֶת־הַדָּבָ֥ר הַזֶּ֖ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר דִּבֵּֽר:
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?”  
8Behold 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.   חהִֽנְנִ֣י מֵשִׁ֣יב אֶת־צֵ֣ל הַמַּֽעֲל֡וֹת אֲשֶׁ֣ר יָרְדָה֩ בְמַֽעֲל֨וֹת אָחָ֥ז בַּשֶּׁ֛מֶשׁ אֲחֹֽרַנִּ֖ית עֶ֣שֶׂר מַֽעֲל֑וֹת וַתָּ֚שָׁב הַשֶּׁ֙מֶשׁ֙ עֶ֣שֶׂר מַֽעֲל֔וֹת בַּֽמַּֽעֲל֖וֹת אֲשֶׁ֥ר יָרָֽדָה:
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.  
9The writing of Hezekiah, king of Judah, when he became ill and recovered from his illness.   טמִכְתָּ֖ב לְחִזְקִיָּ֣הוּ מֶֽלֶךְ יְהוּדָ֑ה בַּֽחֲלֹת֕וֹ וַיְחִ֖י מֵֽחָלְיֽוֹ:
The writing of Hezekiah: Jonathan paraphrases: A writing of thanksgiving for the miracle performed for Hezekiah.  
10I 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."   יאֲנִ֣י אָמַ֗רְתִּי בִּדְמִ֥י יָמַ֛י אֵלֵ֖כָה בְּשַֽׁעֲרֵ֣י שְׁא֑וֹל פֻּקַּ֖דְתִּי יֶ֥תֶר שְׁנוֹתָֽי:
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.  
11I 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.   יאאָמַ֙רְתִּי֙ לֹֽא־אֶרְאֶ֣ה יָ֔הּ יָ֖הּ בְּאֶ֣רֶץ הַֽחַיִּ֑ים לֹֽא־אַבִּ֥יט אָדָ֛ם ע֖וֹד עִם־י֥וֹשְׁבֵי חָֽדֶל:
[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.  
12My 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.   יבדּוֹרִ֗י נִסַּ֧ע וְנִגְלָ֛ה מִנִּ֖י כְּאֹ֣הֶל רֹעִ֑י קִפַּ֨דְתִּי כָֽאֹרֵ֚ג חַיַּי֙ מִדַּלָּ֣ה יְבַצְּעֵ֔נִי מִיּ֥וֹם עַד־לַ֖יְלָה תַּשְׁלִימֵֽנִי:
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.  
13I made [myself] until morning like a lion, so it would break my bones; from day and night You shall finish me.   יגשִׁוִּ֚יתִי עַד־בֹּ֙קֶר֙ כָּֽאֲרִ֔י כֵּ֥ן יְשַׁבֵּ֖ר כָּל־עַצְמוֹתָ֑י מִיּ֥וֹם עַד־לַ֖יְלָה תַּשְׁלִימֵֽנִי:
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.  
14Like 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!   ידכְּס֚וּס עָגוּר֙ כֵּ֣ן אֲצַפְצֵ֔ף אֶהְגֶּ֖ה כַּיּוֹנָ֑ה דַּלּ֚וּ עֵינַי֙ לַמָּר֔וֹם אֲדֹנָ֖י עָֽשְׁקָה־לִּ֥י עָרְבֵֽנִי:
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).  
15What 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.   טומָֽה־אֲדַבֵּ֥ר וְאָֽמַר־לִ֖י וְה֣וּא עָשָׂ֑ה אֶדַּדֶּ֥ה כָל־שְׁנוֹתַ֖י עַל־מַ֥ר נַפְשִֽׁי:
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.  
16O 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.   טזאֲדֹנָ֖י עֲלֵיהֶ֣ם יִֽחְי֑וּ וּלְכָל־בָּהֶן֙ חַיֵּ֣י רוּחִ֔י וְתַֽחֲלִימֵ֖נִי וְהַֽחֲיֵֽנִי:
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).”  
17Behold 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.   יזהִנֵּ֥ה לְשָׁל֖וֹם מַר־לִ֣י מָ֑ר וְאַתָּ֞ה חָשַׁ֚קְתָּ נַפְשִׁי֙ מִשַּׁ֣חַת בְּלִ֔י כִּֽי־הִשְׁלַ֛כְתָּ אַֽחֲרֵ֥י גֵֽוְךָ֖ כָּל־חֲטָאָֽי:
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.  
18For the grave shall not thank You, nor shall death praise You; those who descend into the pit shall not hope for Your truth.   יחכִּֽי־לֹ֥א שְׁא֛וֹל תּוֹדֶ֖ךָּ מָ֣וֶת יְהַלְלֶ֑ךָּ לֹֽא־יְשַׂבְּר֥וּ יֽוֹרְדֵי־ב֖וֹר אֶל־אֲמִתֶּֽךָ:
[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.]  
19The living, the living, he shall thank You, like me today; a father shall inform his children of Your truth.   יטחַ֥י חַ֛י ה֥וּא יוֹדֶ֖ךָ כָּמֹ֣נִי הַיּ֑וֹם אָ֣ב לְבָנִ֔ים יוֹדִ֖יעַ אֶל־אֲמִתֶּֽךָ:
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.  
20The Lord [has promised] to save me, and we will play my hymns all the days of our life in the house of the Lord."   כיְהֹוָ֖ה לְהֽוֹשִׁיעֵ֑נִי וּנְגִֽינוֹתַ֧י נְנַגֵּ֛ן כָּל־יְמֵ֥י חַיֵּ֖ינוּ עַל־בֵּ֥ית יְהֹוָֽה:
21And Isaiah said, "Let them take a cake of pressed figs and lay it for a plaster on the boil, and it will heal."   כאוַיֹּ֣אמֶר יְשַׁעְיָ֔הוּ יִשְׂא֖וּ דְּבֶ֣לֶת תְּאֵנִ֑ים וְיִמְרְח֥וּ עַל־הַשְּׁחִ֖ין וְיֶֽחִי:
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.  
22And Hezekiah said, "What a sign that I will go up to the house of the Lord!"   כבוַיֹּ֥אמֶר חִזְקִיָּ֖הוּ מָ֣ה א֑וֹת כִּ֥י אֶעֱלֶ֖ה בֵּ֥ית יְהֹוָֽה:
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!