Saturday, March 29, 2008

Doubting Thomas

Hezekiah and the water clock, illustrating II (IV) Kings 20:1-11, with its 'moralising' equivalent, Doubting Thomas, from a Bible moralisée.
France, Paris; c. 1235-45
Bodleian Library, MS. Bodl. 270b, fol. 183v, roundels D 1-2

2 Kings Chapter 20
In those days, when Hezekiah was mortally ill, the prophet Isaiah, son of Amoz, came and said to him: "Thus says the LORD: 'Put your house in order, for you are about to die; you shall not recover.'"
He turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD:
"O LORD, remember how faithfully and wholeheartedly I conducted myself in your presence, doing what was pleasing to you!" And Hezekiah wept bitterly.
Before Isaiah had left the central courtyard, the word of the LORD came to him: 5
"Go back and tell Hezekiah, the leader of my people: 'Thus says the LORD, the God of your forefather David: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears. I will heal you. In three days you shall go up to the LORD'S temple;
I will add fifteen years to your life. I will rescue you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria; I will be a shield to this city for my own sake, and for the sake of my servant David.'"
Isaiah then ordered a poultice of figs to be brought and applied to the boil, that he might recover.
Then Hezekiah asked Isaiah, "What is the sign that the LORD will heal me and that I shall go up to the temple of the LORD on the third day?"
Isaiah replied, "This will be the sign for you from the LORD that he will do what he has promised: Shall the shadow go forward or back ten steps?"
"It is easy for the shadow to advance ten steps," Hezekiah answered. "Rather, let it go back ten steps."
So the prophet Isaiah invoked the LORD, who made the shadow retreat the ten steps it had descended on the staircase to the terrace of Ahaz

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