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Bible Commentaries
2 Kings 16

Dummelow's Commentary on the BibleDummelow on the Bible

Verses 1-20

Ahaz and Assyria

This chapter describes the reign of Ahaz of Judah, his appeal to Assyria when attacked by Pekah of Israel and Rezin of Syria, and the overthrow of Damascus by the king of Assyria.

3. He walked, etc.] see 2 Chronicles 28:2 where he is described as making images for Baalim. Made his son.. fire] Children were sometimes actually sacrificed and burnt (see 2 Kings 17:31; 2 Kings 3:27), and the same thing may be meant here, but some think that the rite here described was a kind of ceremonial purification by fire, the child being merely passed across, or over, the flame in the course of idolatrous worship. Ahaz is the first Judæan king who is said to have adopted this practice; but he was followed in it by Manasseh (2 Kings 21:6), and frequent protests against it occur in the writings of successive prophets (Jeremiah 7:31; Jeremiah 19:5; Ezekiel 20:26, etc.).

5. Came up to Jerusalem] Pekah’s policy was to oppose the Assyrians, and in conjunction with Rezin he sought to induce Ahaz to join a coalition against them. Failing to persuade him, they took up arms for the purpose of dethroning him, and replacing him by ’the son of Tabeal’ (Isaiah 7:6), who was either a creature of the two confederates, or Pekah himself (’Tabeal’ being a cypher for Remaliah, the name of Pekah’s father). The successes of the invaders are described in 2 Chronicles 28:5-15, but though they inflicted much loss on Judah, they failed to take Jerusalem.

6. To Syria.. the Syrians] The context requires ’to Edom.. the Edomites’ (the latter correction being found in the LXX), since Elath had belonged to Edom and had been taken from it by Azariah (Uzziah, 2 Kings 14:22). According to 2 Chronicles 28:17 the Edomites took part in the war.

7. Sent.. Tiglath-pileser] This step was opposed by the prophet Isaiah, who counselled Ahaz to put his trust in the Lord, and asserted that the combination against him was not really formidable and would soon be overthrown (i.e. by Assyria, whom they had provoked). As a sign to reassure the king the prophet predicted the birth of a child whom his mother would call Immanuel (’God with us’); and declared that before he ceased to be an infant, both Israel and Syria would be deprived of their kings. Ahaz, however, disregarded Isaiah’s counsel; and the prophet accordingly predicted that the intervention of Assyria which he was inviting would be attended by calamities for Judah as well as for her enemies. See Isaiah 7.

8. Sent it for a present] Tiglath-pileser, in his inscriptions, records that he received tribute from ’Jehoahaz of Judah,’ Jehoahaz being probably the full name of Ahaz.

9. Hearkened unto him] The adhesion of Judah would facilitate Assyria’s operations against Egypt. Damascus] Damascus was taken and its people deported in 732 b.c., the event having been predicted by Amos (Amos 1:5).

Kir] near the lower Euphrates, the original home of the Syrian people (Amos 9:7).

10. Went to Damascus] perhaps to do homage to the Assyrian king there. Saw an altar] probably of Assyrian pattern, since Ahaz would be more likely to introduce into his own land the religion of the victors than of the vanquished.

11. Urijah] perhaps the Urijah of Isaiah 8:2.

13. Meat offering] RV ’meal offering’: and so in 2 Kings 16:15.

14. The brasen altar] i.e. the altar constructed by Solomon (1 Kings 8:64). This had hitherto occupied a central position in the court in front of the Temple; but now, in order to make room for the new altar (the ’great altar’ of 2 Kings 16:15), was placed between the latter and the N. side of the court.

15. To enquire by] i.e. to obtain indications of the divine will, possibly by the inspection of the victims that were offered upon it. But some render, ’shall be left for further consideration.’ If this is correct, Ahaz was too busy with his new altar to decide what was to become of the other that was consecrated to the service of the Lord.

17. The borders] RV ’the panels’: i.e. of the stands of the ten lavers made for Solomon: see 1 Kings 7:27-39.

The sea] i.e. the molten sea (1 Kings 7:23-26). Ahaz probably removed these various works of art to conceal them from the cupidity of the Assyrians.

18. The covert] RV ’the covered way’: not mentioned in the description of Solomon’s Temple. Turned he from] RV ’he turned unto.’ What is meant is obscure. For] RV ’because of’: probably the alterations described were intended to make the Temple appear less attractive, lest the Assyrian king should wish to dismantle it and appropriate its decorations.

19. The rest of the acts of Ahaz], see 2 Chronicles 28:24, 2 Chronicles 28:25. In Isaiah 7 is an account of the interview between Ahaz and the prophet Isaiah alluded to in the note on 2 Kings 16:7.

Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 16". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcb/2-kings-16.html. 1909.
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