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Now when all this was finished, all Israel that were present went out to the cities of Judah, and brake the images in pieces, and cut down the groves, and threw down the high places and the altars out of all Judah and Benjamin, in Ephraim also and Manasseh, until they had utterly destroyed them all. Then all the children of Israel returned, every man to his possession, into their own cities.
All Israel ... present went out to the cities of Judah. The solemnities of this paschal season left a deep and salutary impression on the minds of the assembled worshippers; attachment to the ancient institutions of their country was extensively revived; ardour in the service of God animated every bosom; and, under the impulse of the devout feelings inspired by the occasion, they took measures at the close of the Passover for extirpating idolatrous statues and altars out of every city, as at the beginning of the festival they had done in Jerusalem.
Judah and Benjamin - denotes the southern kingdom.
Ephraim also and Manasseh - refer to the northern kingdom. This unsparing demolition of the monuments of idolatry would receive all encouragement from the king and public authorities of the former; and the force of the popular movement was sufficient to effect the same results among the tribes of Israel, whatever opposition the power of Hoshea, or the invectives of some profane brethren, might have made. Thus, the reign of idolatry being completely overthrown, and the pure worship of God re-established throughout the land, the people returned, each one to their own home, in the confident expectation that, through the divine blessing, they would enjoy a happy future of national peace and prosperity.
And Hezekiah appointed the courses of the priests and the Levites after their courses, every man according to his service, the priests and Levites for burnt offerings and for peace offerings, to minister, and to give thanks, and to praise in the gates of the tents of the LORD.
Hezekiah appointed the courses of the priests ... The king now turned his attention to provide for the orderly performance of the temple worship-arranging the priests and Levites in their courses, assigning to each one his proper place and functions-and issuing edicts for the regular payment of these dues from which the revenues of the sanctuary were derived.
In the gates of the tents of the Lord, [ bªsha`areey (H8179) machªnowt (H4264) Yahweh (H3069)] - in the gates of the camps of the Lord; i:e., the area enclosed by the outer wall of the temple. To set a proper example to his subjects, his own proportion was announced in the first instance, for to the king it belonged, out of his privy purse, to defray the expenses of the altar, both stated and occasional (Numbers 28:3-4; Numbers 28:9; Numbers 28:11; Numbers 28:19); and in making this contribution from his own means, Hezekiah followed the course which David and Solomon had taken before him (see the notes at 2 Chronicles 8:14; 1 Kings 9:25).
Afterward he re-appointed the people's dues to the temple; and from its being necessary to issue a royal mandate in reference to this matter, it appears that the sacred tribute had been either totally neglected, or as the idolatrous princes were known to appropriate it to their own purposes, the people had in many cases refused or evaded the duty. But in the improved state of public feeling Hezekiah's commandment was readily obeyed, and contributions of first-fruits and tithes were poured in with great liberality from all parts of Judah, as well as from Israel.
The first-fruits, even of some articles of produce that were unfit for sacrifice (Leviticus 2:11), such as [ dªbash (H1706)] honey of bees (margin, dates: see the note at Genesis 43:11), were appropriated to the priests (Numbers 18:12-13; Deuteronomy 18:4); the tithes (Leviticus 27:31) were intended for the support of the whole Levitical tribe (Numbers 18:8; Numbers 18:20; Numbers 18:24).
He appointed also the king's portion of his substance for the burnt offerings, to wit, for the morning and evening burnt offerings, and the burnt offerings for the sabbaths, and for the new moons, and for the set feasts, as it is written in the law of the LORD. No JFB commentary on these verses.
And concerning the children of Israel and Judah, that dwelt in the cities of Judah, they also brought in the tithe of oxen and sheep, and the tithe of holy things which were consecrated unto the LORD their God, and laid them by heaps.
And laid them by heaps. The contributions began to be sent in shortly after the celebration of the Passover, which had taken place in the middle of the second month. Some time would elapse before the king's order reached all parts of the kingdom. The wheat harvest occurred in the third month, so that the sheaves of that grain, being presented before any other, formed "the foundation" - an under-layer in the grain stores of the temple; and the first-fruits of their land produce being successively sent in all the summer until the close of the fruit and vintage season - i:e., the seventh month-continued to raise heap upon heap.
In the third month they began to lay the foundation of the heaps, and finished them in the seventh month.
No JFB commentary on these verses.
Then Hezekiah questioned with the priests and the Levites concerning the heaps.
Hezekiah questioned with the priests and the Levites concerning the heaps. The object of his inquiries was to ascertain whether the supplies afforded the prospect of a sufficient maintenance for the members of the sacred order.
And Azariah the chief priest of the house of Zadok answered him, and said, Since the people began to bring the offerings into the house of the LORD, we have had enough to eat, and have left plenty: for the LORD hath blessed his people; and that which is left is this great store.
Azariah ... answered ... we have had enough. This is probably the person mentioned, 2 Chronicles 26:17 and his reply was to the following purport: There has been an abundant harvest, and a corresponding plenty in the incoming of first-fruits and tithes; the people have testified their gratitude to Him who has crowned the year with His goodness by their liberality toward His servants.
Then Hezekiah commanded to prepare chambers in the house of the LORD; and they prepared them,
Hezekiah commanded to prepare chambers - store-houses, granaries, or cellars. Either the old ones, which had been allowed through neglect to fall into decay, were to be repaired, or additional ones built. Private individuals brought their own first-fruits to the temple; but the tithes were levied by the Levites, who kept a faithful account of them in their several places of abode, and transmitted the allotted proportion to the priests. Officers were appointed to distribute equal rations to all in the cities of the priests who, from age or other reasons, could not repair to the temple. With the exception of children under three years of age-an exception made probably from their being considered unfit to receive solid food-lists were kept of the number and age of every male, of priests according to their fathers' house, and Levites from 20 years of age and up (see Numbers 6:3; Numbers 28:24; 1 Chronicles 23:24). But, besides, provision was also made for their wives, daughters, and servants.
And brought in the offerings and the tithes and the dedicated things faithfully: over which Cononiah the Levite was ruler, and Shimei his brother was the next.
No JFB commentary on these verses.
And to the genealogy of all their little ones, their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, through all the congregation: for in their set office they sanctified themselves in holiness:
For in their set office they sanctified themselves. This is the reason assigned for providing for the wives and children out of the revenues of the sanctuary-that priests, withdrawing from those secular pursuits by which they might have maintained their households, devoted themselves entirely to the functions of the ministry.
Also of the sons of Aaron the priests, which were in the fields of the suburbs of their cities, in every several city, the men that were expressed by name, to give portions to all the males among the priests, and to all that were reckoned by genealogies among the Levites.
No JFB commentary on this verse.
And thus did Hezekiah throughout all Judah, and wrought that which was good and right and truth before the LORD his God.
Hezekiah ... wrought that which was good and right. He displayed the qualities of a constitutional king, in restoring and upholding the ancient institutions of the kingdom, while his zealous and persevering efforts to promote the cause of true religion and the best interests of his subjects entitled him to be ranked with the most illustrious of his predecessors (2 Kings 18:5).
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 31". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://studylight.org/
the Fourth Week after Epiphany