Isaiah 38:1

In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came unto him, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Set thine house in order: for thou shalt die, and not live.

In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death,.... This was about the time that Sennacherib invaded Judea, threatened Jerusalem with a siege, and his army was destroyed by an angel from heaven; but, whether it was before or after the destruction of his army, interpreters are not agreed. Some of the Jewish writers, as Jarchi upon the place, and others {a}, say, it was three days before the ruin of Sennacherib's army; and that it was on the third day that Hezekiah recovered, and went up to the temple, that the destruction was; and that it was the first day of the passover; and that this was before the city of Jerusalem was delivered from him; and the fears of him seem clear from Isaiah 38:6 and some are of opinion that his sickness was occasioned by the consternation and terror he was thrown into, by reason of the Assyrian army, which threatened ruin to him and his kingdom. Though Josephus {b} says, that it was after his deliverance from it, and when he had given thanks to God for it; however, it is certain it was in the same year, since it was in the fourteenth year of Hezekiah's reign that Sennacherib invaded Judea, and from this his sickness and recovery fifteen years were added to his days, and he reigned no more than twenty nine years, 2 Kings 8:2 what this sickness was cannot be said with certainty; some have conjectured it to be the plague, since he had a malignant ulcer, of which he was cured by a plaster of figs; but, be it what it will, it was a deadly one in its own nature, it was a sickness unto death, a mortal one; though it was not eventually so, through the interposition of divine power, which prevented it. The reason of this sickness, which Jarchi gives, that it was because he did not take to himself a wife, is without foundation; more likely the reason of it was, to keep him humble, and that he might not be lifted up with the deliverance, or be more thankful for it:

And Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, came unto him: not of his own accord to visit him, but was sent by the Lord with a message to him:

and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Set thine house in order; or, "give orders to thine house" {c}: to the men of thine house, as the Targum; his domestics, his counsellors and courtiers, what they should do after his death; how his personal estate should be disposed of; how the throne should be filled up; who should succeed him, since he had no son: the family and secular affairs of men should be put in order, and direction given for the management of them, and their substance and estates should be disposed of by will before their death; and much more a concern should be shown for the setting in order their spiritual affairs, or that they may be habitually ready for death and eternity;

for thou shall die, and not live: or not recover of thy sickness, as the Targum adds: "for thou art a dead man", as it may be rendered, in all human appearance; the disease being deadly, and of which he could not recover by the help of any medicine; nothing but almighty power could save him; and this is said, to observe to him his danger, to give him the sentence of death in himself, and to set him a praying, as it did.

{a} Seder Olam Rabba, c. 23. p. 65.
{b} Antiqu. l. 10. c. 2. sect. 1.
{c} Ktybl wu "praecipe domui tuae", Musculus, Vatablus, Pagniaus, Montanus.