New Defender's Study Bible Notes
20:1 In those days. This phrase probably includes the whole period of Hezekiah’s involvement with the Assyrians. This is the only place in the Bible where a righteous man was told by God that he had only a short time to live, and there must be a reason for it. The most likely reason was God’s expression of disapproval of Hezekiah’s compromise in giving the gold and silver in the temple to Sennacherib in the unsuccessful hope that this would keep him from invading Judah. Then when Hezekiah prayed—probably including repentance and confession—God not only healed him but promised to deliver the city from the threatened invasion by the Assyrians (II Kings 20:6). This would mean that the events of II Kings 20:1-11 had actually occurred before the events of II Kings 18:17–19:37.
20:7 the boil. Presumably this boil would have developed an infection that would have proved fatal, had God not intervened miraculously, using a poultice of figs as symbolic of His healing touch.
20:9 Isaiah said. This more properly could be rendered “had said.” The sign most likely had been requested before the actual healing.
20:11 ten degrees backward. The word for “degrees” actually means “stairs.” The unique “dial” of Ahaz evidently indicated the time of day by the particular step which the shadow had reached on a flight of stairs. The method of producing this remarkable miracle is enigmatic. If the reference to “the wonder that was done in the land (II Chronicles 32:31) was meant to apply to this miracle rather than to the destruction of Sennacherib’s army, it would suggest a local, rather than worldwide, phenomenon. There is no reference to atmospheric disturbances, which would probably be severe if the earth had reversed its rotation for a time (note the storm associated with Joshua’s long day, as reported in Joshua 10:11-14), nor is there any corresponding account found in the ancient astronomical records of other nations, as in the case of Joshua’s long day. The dynamics of this miracle—causing the sun’s shadow somehow to reverse itself in this particular location—must remain unknown, but the Creator who made the sun and its radiations and the media through which they must pass in reaching the earth is fully able to control them to accomplish the desired result.
20:12 Berodach-baladan. This name is a variant of Merodach-baladan. Merodach was a form of the name of Babylon’s chief deity, probably a deification of its founder Nimrod.
20:13 and the gold. This event is further indication that Hezekiah’s sickness and the embassage from Babylon took place before Sennacherib’s invasion. Otherwise there would have been no silver and gold in the temple to show the Babylonians; it was all given to Sennacherib (II Kings 18:15,16).
20:18 take away. See II Kings 24:14. “All the princes, and all the mighty men of valour,” were taken captive into Babylon.
20:18 eunuchs. Among those placed “in the palace of the king of Babylon” were “Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah” (Daniel 1:6). They were “of the king’s seed, and of the princes” and were placed in the king’s palace under “Ashpenaz, the master of his eunuchs” (Daniel 1:3). Later they were placed directly under Melzar by “the prince of the eunuchs” (Daniel 1:11).
20:20 a pool, and a conduit. The conduit and pool were constructed by King Hezekiah in anticipation of the coming Assyrian siege, in order to assure a water supply for Jerusalem during the siege. The tunnel was rediscovered in the 19th century, cut in solid rock under Mt. Zion and the city walls, extending 1780 feet from Gihon Spring to the pool of Siloam. On the tunnel wall, near its exit, was found a Hebrew inscription commemorating the completion of the tunnel, and noting the surveying skill of its engineers, who constructed it simultaneously from both ends, meeting in the center. The Old Testament date of the tunnel, corresponding to Hezekiah’s time, has recently been confirmed by radiocarbon dating.