Q. At one of your seminars you mentioned the Book of Hezekiah. Refresh my memory about where it is located.

A. You won’t find it. As far as I know it doesn’t exist! I probably was sharing examples of my adolescent and sometimes misguided sense of humor! As a preacher’s kid, I had plenty of opportunity to hear scripture quoted or misquoted and I did my share of misquoting. For example, when attending the children’s division of a church where my father was a guest speaker, I was sometimes asked to repeat a Bible verse from memory. It was such fun (if I thought I could get away with it) to repeat Hezekiah 13:13—Better to be silent and be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt. It sounded very authentic! Later on of course, I’d dissolve in laughter as I recalled the puzzled expressions on some faces.

I thought it was double the fun because what sounded like a wise saying was attributed to someone who was quite unwise, to say nothing of the fact that the book of Hezekiah didn’t exist. By way of excuse, let me point out that I was quite young at the time and my brain was still developing!

Around 700 BC, so the story goes, King Hezekiah became very sick and feared for his life. Ambassadors from Babylon came bearing gifts because they’d heard of his illness. Unfortunately, Hezekiah opened his big mouth and voluntarily showed the visitors every item of value in his palace and in his kingdom. The King recovered, but years later all his treasures were stolen in a raid—based on information gleaned from that visit. Too bad! Obviously Hezekiah didn’t know my preacher-father who regularly quoted the mythical 11th commandment: “Thou shalt not explain.”