The sign of the sundial (Isa 38:7-38:8)

“Isaiah said.

‘This is the sign to you

From Yahweh.

Yahweh will do this thing

That he has promised.

See!

I will make the shadow

Cast by the declining sun

On the dial of Ahaz

Turn back ten steps.’

So the sun turned back

On the dial

The ten steps

By which it had declined.”

This passage seems out of place here, since the healing of King Hezekiah is at the end of this chapter. This backwards moving of the sundial is the sign that Isaiah was to give to King Hezekiah. Instead of Isaiah crying out, this is an abbreviated version of what appeared to 2 Kings, chapter 20, with just the simple statement of Isaiah. This sundial had been installed by King Hezekiah’s father, King Ahaz (736-716 BCE). Since moving forward would not be difficult and was normal. However, if the shadow moved backward, that would be a strange. Thus the sundial moved back 10 intervals, indicating that the sun had moved backwards, which would have been miraculous. If they only knew that the earth was moving and not the sun, they would have been even more astonished.

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