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The Sundial of Ahaz

By December 18, 2014November 15th, 2020No Comments

The Sundial of Ahaz Border SundialsDid you know that Sundials are mentioned within the bible in reference to a miraculous sign from God? In fact the account recorded by Isaiah (chapter 38, verse 8) is the earliest mention of any sundial.

In those days King Hezekiah who was dying pleaded with the Lord to live. The Lord told Isaiah to tell Hezekiah that he would let him live on for 15 years. Hezekiah asks Isaiah for a sign to confirm that the Lord would heal him. And Isaiah replies,

Behold, I will cause the shadow on the sundial, which has gone down on the sundial of Ahaz with the sun, to return backward ten steps. So the sun returned ten steps on the sundial on which it had gone down.” Isaiah 38:8

Hezekiah was offered a choice: the shadow on the sundial could go either 10 degrees backwards or 10 degrees forwards. Hezekiah assumed that the sun going backward would be a greater sign since it would go against nature. The only way in which the shadow on a sundial could go backwards would be for the sun to reverse its course and appear to traverse the sky from west to east, which, since it is the earth that moves, and not the sun, would imply that the earth had changed its direction of rotation and was turning backwards. Such a defiance of nature would really be a sign of God’s power for Hezekiah.

We are not promising nature defying miracles but we can assure you that whilst the sun continues to traverse our sky’s east to west, our sundials will always tell the correct time!

Happy Christmas!

To find out more about this bible story try the following links: