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The Back Steps in the Sun Dial of Ahaz


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#1    Ben Masada

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 08:50 PM

THE BACK STEPS IN THE SUN DIAL OF AHAZ

King Hezekiah had got sick and Prophet Isaiah told him that it was to death. "Put your house in order, said Isaiah, for your time has arrived." (Isa. 38:1)

The King cried like a child asking for an extension to his life. I don't blame him; I would do the same. He was granted 15 years more. The man was so happy that he could not believe it! So, he asked for a sign to make sure he had really escaped death.

The shadow in the sun dial of Ahaz; yes! I want it to go back ten steps. Please, Isaiah! Pleaded Hezekiah. Granted! Was Isaiah's answer, "This is the sign for you." (Isa. 38:7) It means that it was all in the mind of Hezekiah; no one else had to be aware of what would happen.

The expression "To go back" with reference to a clock or watch is to go back in time, which is the same as to remember or to be reminded of something of the past. Ten steps of time are ten years. The year for this event in the life of Hezekiah was 691 BCE. Ten years prior to this event would take them back to 701 BCE when Sennacherib, king of Assyria besieged Jerusalem and, about 185,000 of his men, during that fateful night got mysteriously killed, which caused Sennacherib to lift the siege and return to Assyria where he was assassinated by his two sons. (2 Kings 19:35-37)

That's the act of God Hezekiah was reminded of that had happened ten years before in order to trust the word of God through Prophet Isaiah. Hence, the ten steps of time in years that went back in the sun dial of Ahaz. (2 Kings 20:11) Hezekiah remembered the miracle of that night and believed. And of course! He had his life extended 15 years more. Never mind that, Herodotus, the Greek Historian, somehow found out that the miracle of that night in the Assyrian camp outside Jerusalem had been a bubonic plague. He had come to this understanding from the bubonic plague that killed many of the Philistines in the city of Ashdod when they took over the Ark of the Covenant from the Israelites in a war. (I Sam. 5:6,7)

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#2    Jor-el

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 09:28 PM

View PostBen Masada, on 18 March 2013 - 08:50 PM, said:

THE BACK STEPS IN THE SUN DIAL OF AHAZ

King Hezekiah had got sick and Prophet Isaiah told him that it was to death. "Put your house in order, said Isaiah, for your time has arrived." (Isa. 38:1)

The King cried like a child asking for an extension to his life. I don't blame him; I would do the same. He was granted 15 years more. The man was so happy that he could not believe it! So, he asked for a sign to make sure he had really escaped death.

The shadow in the sun dial of Ahaz; yes! I want it to go back ten steps. Please, Isaiah! Pleaded Hezekiah. Granted! Was Isaiah's answer, "This is the sign for you." (Isa. 38:7) It means that it was all in the mind of Hezekiah; no one else had to be aware of what would happen.

The expression "To go back" with reference to a clock or watch is to go back in time, which is the same as to remember or to be reminded of something of the past. Ten steps of time are ten years. The year for this event in the life of Hezekiah was 691 BCE. Ten years prior to this event would take them back to 701 BCE when Sennacherib, king of Assyria besieged Jerusalem and, about 185,000 of his men, during that fateful night got mysteriously killed, which caused Sennacherib to lift the siege and return to Assyria where he was assassinated by his two sons. (2 Kings 19:35-37)

That's the act of God Hezekiah was reminded of that had happened ten years before in order to trust the word of God through Prophet Isaiah. Hence, the ten steps of time in years that went back in the sun dial of Ahaz. (2 Kings 20:11) Hezekiah remembered the miracle of that night and believed. And of course! He had his life extended 15 years more. Never mind that, Herodotus, the Greek Historian, somehow found out that the miracle of that night in the Assyrian camp outside Jerusalem had been a bubonic plague. He had come to this understanding from the bubonic plague that killed many of the Philistines in the city of Ashdod when they took over the Ark of the Covenant from the Israelites in a war. (I Sam. 5:6,7)

Ben

It is interesting that the text does not actually say the sun moved back, the shadow did that, it also does not say that it is a sundial either. The term references a stairway, as in New American Standard Bible (©1995)

"Behold, I will cause the shadow on the stairway, which has gone down with the sun on the stairway of Ahaz, to go back ten steps." So the sun's shadow went back ten steps on the stairway on which it had gone down.

The LXX in the Greek pretty much says the same thing...

38:7 Isaiah replied,9 “This is your sign from the Lord confirming that the Lord will do what he has said: 38:8 Look, I will make the shadow go back ten steps on the stairs of Ahaz.”10 And then the shadow went back ten steps.11

Edited by Jor-el, 18 March 2013 - 09:32 PM.

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#3    Ben Masada

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 08:33 PM

View PostJor-el, on 18 March 2013 - 09:28 PM, said:

It is interesting that the text does not actually say the sun moved back, the shadow did that, it also does not say that it is a sundial either. The term references a stairway, as in New American Standard Bible (©1995)

"Behold, I will cause the shadow on the stairway, which has gone down with the sun on the stairway of Ahaz, to go back ten steps." So the sun's shadow went back ten steps on the stairway on which it had gone down.

The LXX in the Greek pretty much says the same thing...

38:7 Isaiah replied,9 “This is your sign from the Lord confirming that the Lord will do what he has said: 38:8 Look, I will make the shadow go back ten steps on the stairs of Ahaz.”10 And then the shadow went back ten steps.11

Even if it were literal, with the steps or degrees that the shadow on the sundial or stairway of Ahaz went down it would mean that the sun went back and not forward. But it was all metaphorical to point to a "going back" of the memory of Hezekiar to ten years in the past about what happened to the armies of Senacherib around Jerusalem when 185,000 Assyrian army men were killed by a plague or self-destruction as a result of confusing chaos.

Ben.


#4    Jor-el

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 09:09 PM

View PostBen Masada, on 19 March 2013 - 08:33 PM, said:

Even if it were literal, with the steps or degrees that the shadow on the sundial or stairway of Ahaz went down it would mean that the sun went back and not forward. But it was all metaphorical to point to a "going back" of the memory of Hezekiar to ten years in the past about what happened to the armies of Senacherib around Jerusalem when 185,000 Assyrian army men were killed by a plague or self-destruction as a result of confusing chaos.

Ben.

The sun didn't go anywhere, that is not what the text describes. It describes an effect, the shadows on the steps retreated, ten steps. While this can have meaning as you describe, it is also resultant from the manipulation of light. The sun didn't have to go back in its course for the effect to occur.

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#5    Sherapy

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 07:51 PM

View PostBen Masada, on 18 March 2013 - 08:50 PM, said:

THE BACK STEPS IN THE SUN DIAL OF AHAZ

King Hezekiah had got sick and Prophet Isaiah told him that it was to death. "Put your house in order, said Isaiah, for your time has arrived." (Isa. 38:1)

The King cried like a child asking for an extension to his life. I don't blame him; I would do the same. He was granted 15 years more. The man was so happy that he could not believe it! So, he asked for a sign to make sure he had really escaped death.

The shadow in the sun dial of Ahaz; yes! I want it to go back ten steps. Please, Isaiah! Pleaded Hezekiah. Granted! Was Isaiah's answer, "This is the sign for you." (Isa. 38:7) It means that it was all in the mind of Hezekiah; no one else had to be aware of what would happen.

The expression "To go back" with reference to a clock or watch is to go back in time, which is the same as to remember or to be reminded of something of the past. Ten steps of time are ten years. The year for this event in the life of Hezekiah was 691 BCE. Ten years prior to this event would take them back to 701 BCE when Sennacherib, king of Assyria besieged Jerusalem and, about 185,000 of his men, during that fateful night got mysteriously killed, which caused Sennacherib to lift the siege and return to Assyria where he was assassinated by his two sons. (2 Kings 19:35-37)

That's the act of God Hezekiah was reminded of that had happened ten years before in order to trust the word of God through Prophet Isaiah. Hence, the ten steps of time in years that went back in the sun dial of Ahaz. (2 Kings 20:11) Hezekiah remembered the miracle of that night and believed. And of course! He had his life extended 15 years more. Never mind that, Herodotus, the Greek Historian, somehow found out that the miracle of that night in the Assyrian camp outside Jerusalem had been a bubonic plague. He had come to this understanding from the bubonic plague that killed many of the Philistines in the city of Ashdod when they took over the Ark of the Covenant from the Israelites in a war. (I Sam. 5:6,7)

Ben

Sounds like a reasonable analysis of literature to me. Well done Ben!




#6    Ben Masada

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 06:21 PM

View PostJor-el, on 19 March 2013 - 09:09 PM, said:

The sun didn't go anywhere, that is not what the text describes. It describes an effect, the shadows on the steps retreated, ten steps. While this can have meaning as you describe, it is also resultant from the manipulation of light. The sun didn't have to go back in its course for the effect to occur.

What's going on, can't you see that I agree with you? The sun indeed did not go anywhere but went on it's normal course. I said and repeat here that the text is a metaphor to point to a regress of Hezekiar's memory to the so-called miracle of the death of the Assyrians ten years prior to the day.

Ben


#7    Ben Masada

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 06:23 PM

View PostSherapy, on 20 March 2013 - 07:51 PM, said:

Sounds like a reasonable analysis of literature to me. Well done Ben!

A good piece of literature, poetic or prose, is written in metaphorical language.


#8    Jor-el

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 06:37 PM

View PostBen Masada, on 21 March 2013 - 06:23 PM, said:

A good piece of literature, poetic or prose, is written in metaphorical language.

So how do you decide when its historical narrative and when it isn't? And by this I am solely interested in the bible. Or is the bible only metaphorical from start to finish?

Edited by Jor-el, 21 March 2013 - 06:37 PM.

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#9    Ben Masada

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 06:45 PM

View PostJor-el, on 21 March 2013 - 06:37 PM, said:

So how do you decide when its historical narrative and when it isn't? And by this I am solely interested in the bible. Or is the bible only metaphorical from start to finish?

The context gives us most the hints to arrive at what the text is pointing to. No, the Bible is not all metaphorical. The historical part for instance must be interepreted literally to conform with the historical fact of the time.

Ben


#10    Jor-el

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 07:12 PM

View PostBen Masada, on 21 March 2013 - 06:45 PM, said:

The context gives us most the hints to arrive at what the text is pointing to. No, the Bible is not all metaphorical. The historical part for instance must be interepreted literally to conform with the historical fact of the time.

Ben

And you think Isaiah 38:7 is not a historical fact, even though the text is quite plain to read as a historical narrative.

So are you interpreting the text simply by what is written or are you making choices to explain away unbelievable situations?

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#11    Ben Masada

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 09:03 PM

View PostJor-el, on 21 March 2013 - 07:12 PM, said:

And you think Isaiah 38:7 is not a historical fact, even though the text is quite plain to read as a historical narrative.

So are you interpreting the text simply by what is written or are you making choices to explain away unbelievable situations?

No, it is not a historical fact. It is an explanation of the prophet to the king about how the king would achieve his request of a sign to believe.

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#12    Jor-el

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 06:37 PM

View PostBen Masada, on 22 March 2013 - 09:03 PM, said:

No, it is not a historical fact. It is an explanation of the prophet to the king about how the king would achieve his request of a sign to believe.

Ben

Explain this in a little more detail, an explanation by what prophet to what king, if it isn't historical fact then neither existed.

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#13    Ben Masada

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 06:05 PM

View PostJor-el, on 24 March 2013 - 06:37 PM, said:

Explain this in a little more detail, an explanation by what prophet to what king, if it isn't historical fact then neither existed.

All right Jorel, you got me on that one. It was indeed a historical fact, but conveyed in metaphorical terms. In other words, a metaphorical case in History. That was Isaiah the Prophet to Hezekiah king of Judah.

Ben

Edited by Ben Masada, 26 March 2013 - 06:06 PM.


#14    Jor-el

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 06:36 PM

View PostBen Masada, on 26 March 2013 - 06:05 PM, said:

All right Jorel, you got me on that one. It was indeed a historical fact, but conveyed in metaphorical terms. In other words, a metaphorical case in History. That was Isaiah the Prophet to Hezekiah king of Judah.

Ben

So what you are actually saying is that although both these people actually existed, the dialogue presented is a fabrication and should not be taken seriously?

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#15    Ben Masada

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 07:28 PM

View PostJor-el, on 26 March 2013 - 06:36 PM, said:

So what you are actually saying is that although both these people actually existed, the dialogue presented is a fabrication and should not be taken seriously?

No, that's not what I am trying to convey. The dialogue did happen. What did not happen was the literal move of the shadow in the sundial of Ahaz ten steps backward. That was Isaiah's metaphorical way to make Hezekiah remember what had happened ten years prior to that dialogue as a reason to trust that he would live another 15 years by being spared to die then of his disease.

Ben

Edited by Ben Masada, 26 March 2013 - 07:29 PM.





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