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What does Hezekiah mean by the shadow going forward or backward ten steps?

I don't understand this passage. Can anyone explain this?

2 Kings 20:10

NIV - 10 "It is a simple matter for the shadow to go forward ten steps," said Hezekiah. "Rather, have it go back ten steps."

Clarify Share Report Asked April 20 2016 Open uri20140203 16647 1ofbks8 Rosemary Nord

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Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
The "steps" referred to in the verse were steps on a stair-shaped timekeeping device called the "stairway of Ahaz" mentioned in the next verse (2 Kings 20:11). It operated on the same principle as a sundial, indicating the approximate time of day by the changing position of the shadow that was cast by the sun as it rose and fell from east to west across the daytime sky, with the shadow going up the steps until the sun's highest position in the sky, and then down the steps as the sun set.

Hezekiah's request for a sign from God consisted of asking that the shadow reverse its normal progression and go backward, similar to the request made by Joshua in Joshua 10 that God make the sun stand still in the sky when Israel was fighting against the five kings of the Amorites in its conquest of the Promised Land, so that Israel could complete its victory over them before night fell.

April 20 2016 0 responses Vote Up Share Report


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