The Sun Dial of Ahaz

Isaiah 38:7-8. “And this shall be a sign unto thee from the LORD, that the LORD will do this thing that He hath spoken; Behold, I will bring again the shadow of the degrees, which is gone down in the sun dial of Ahaz, ten degree backward. So the sun returned ten degrees, by which degrees it was gone down.”

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I’ve always been fascinated by sun dials. Whoever first came up with the idea must have spent a great deal of time observing the  position of the sun in relation to the earth, and watching how the shadows fell as the day moved into night.

Maybe this sign from God could be considered the first instance of daylight saving time 🙂

God offered a sign, or a proof, to Hezekiah that his life would be lengthened for 15 years.  That sign had to be something that man could not devise. This is the only timepiece mentioned in the Bible, but there must have been others, ways to count the hours of the night, and to count the watches of three and four hours.

Moving the shadow backward ten degrees was a miracle of God. There is no doubt that Hezekiah was convinced that the promise of 15 more years would come true when God’s promised sign came to pass.

I wonder if Hezekiah, Isaiah, and others stood by the sundial to watch this amazing event. I wonder if they gazed into the sky, squinting and shading their eyes, to see the sun move backward ten degrees.

I imagine that event was discussed in many of the houses, shops, and streets of Jerusalem, and even outside the city where God’s promise may not have been known. Think of the consternation of the people, the watchers of the sky, when the sun moved backward ten degrees!  And it was all simply to assure King Hezekiah that God could and would keep His word.  Amazing.

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