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n. Hezekiah: The Prophet Isaiah,—Ch. 29–32
α. Hezekiah’s Beginnings; the Cleansing and Consecration of the Temple: 2 Chronicles 29:0
2 Chronicles 29:1.Hezekiah became king when he was twenty and five years old, and he reigned twenty and nine years in Jerusalem; and his mother’s name was Abijah, daughter of Zechariah 2:0 And he did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord, according to all that David his father had done.
3He, in the first year of his reign, in the first month, opened the doors of the house of the Lord, and renewed them. 4And he brought in the priests and Levites, and assembled them in the broad way of the east, 5And said unto them, Hear me, ye Levites; now sanctify yourselves and sanctify the house of the Lord God of your fathers, and remove the filthiness out of the holy place. 6For our fathers have transgressed and done that which was evil in the eyes of the Lord our God, and have forsaken Him, and have turned 7their face from the dwelling of the Lord, and shown the back. They have also shut the doors of the porch, and put out the lamps, and have not burned incense nor offered burnt-offering in the holy place unto the God of Israel. 8And the displeasure of the Lord was against Judah and Jerusalem, and He delivered them to horror,1 to astonishment, and to hissing, as ye see with 9your eyes. And lo, our fathers have fallen by the sword, and our sons and our daughters and our wives are in captivity for this. 10Now it is in my heart to make a covenant with the Lord God of Israel, that the hotness of 11His anger may turn away from us. My sons, now delay not; for the Lord hath chosen you to stand before Him to serve Him, and to be His ministers and incense-burners.
12Then the Levites arose, Mahath son of Amasai, and Joel son of Azariah, of the sons of the Kohathites; and of the sons of Merari, Kish son of Abdi, and Azariah son of Jehalelel;2 and of the Gershonites, Joah son of Zimmah, and Eden son of Jonah 1:0; Jonah 1:03And of the sons of Elizaphan, Shimri and Jeuel;3 14and of the sons of Asaph, Zechariah and Mattaniah. And of the sons of Heman, Jehuel4 and Shimi; and of the sons of Jeduthun, Shemaiah and Uzziel. 15And they gathered their brethren, and sanctified themselves, and came at the command of the king, by the words of the Lord, to cleanse the house of the Lord. 16And the priests went into the interior of the house of the Lord to cleanse, and brought out all the uncleanness that they found in the temple of the Lord into the court of the house of the Lord; and the 17Levites took it to carry it out abroad into the brook Kidron. And they began on the first of the first month to sanctify, and on the eighth day of the month they came to the porch of the Lord; and they sanctified the house of the Lord eight days, and in the sixteenth day of the first month they made 18an end. And they went in to Hezekiah the king, and said, We have cleansed all the house of the Lord, and the altar of burnt-offering and all its vessels, 19and the table of shew-bread and all its vessels. And all the vessels which King Ahaz in his reign cast away in his infidelity we have prepared and sanctified, and behold, they are before the altar of the Lord.
20And Hezekiah the king rose early and gathered the rulers of the city, and went up to the house of the Lord. 21And they brought seven bullocks, and seven rams, and seven lambs, and seven he-goats for a sin-offering for the kingdom; and for the sanctuary, and for Judah, and he bade the sons of 22Aaron the priests to offer them on the altar of the Lord. And they killed the cattle, and the priests received the blood and sprinkled it on the altar; and they killed the rams, and they sprinkled the blood upon the altar; and they killed the lambs, and they sprinkled the blood upon the altar. 23And they brought the he-goats of the sin-offering before the king and the congregation, and they laid their hands upon them. 24And the priests killed them, and offered their blood for sin upon the altar, to atone for all Israel; for the king had ordered the burnt-offering and the sin-offering for all Israel. 25And he set the Levites in the house of the Lord, with cymbals, with psalteries, and with harps, by the command of David, and Gad the king’s seer, and Nathan the prophet; for by the Lord was the commandment by His prophets. 26And the Levites stood with the instruments of David, and the priests 27with the trumpets. And Hezekiah said to offer the burnt-offering on the altar; and when the burnt-offering began, the song of the Lord began also with the trumpets,5 and after the instruments of David king of Israel. 28And all the congregation worshipped, and the song was sung, and the trumpets sounded;6 the whole until the burnt-offering was ended. 29And when they made an end of offering, the king and all that were with him bowed down 30and worshipped. And Hezekiah the king and the princes said to the Levites to praise the Lord with the words of David and Asaph the seer; and they praised with gladness, and bowed down and worshipped.
31And Hezekiah answered and said, Now ye have filled your hand unto the Lord, draw nigh and bring sacrifices and thank-offerings into the house of the Lord: and the congregation brought sacrifices and thank-offerings, and every one that was willing of heart, burnt-offerings. 32And the number of the burnt-offerings, which the congregation brought, was seventy bullocks, a hundred rams, two hundred lambs; all these for a burnt-offering to the Lord. 33And the consecrated things were six hundred oxen and three thousand 34sheep. Only the priests were too few, and they could not flay all the burnt-offerings, and their brethren the Levites assisted them till the work was ended, and till the priests had sanctified themselves; for the Levites were more upright of heart to sanctify themselves than the priests. 35And also the burnt-offering was in abundance, with the fat of the peace-offerings, and the libations for the burnt-offering: and the service of the house of the 36Lord was established. And Hezekiah and all the people were glad that God had prepared the people; for the thing was done suddenly.
β. The Passover: 2 Chronicles 30:0
2 Chronicles 30:0. . 1And Hezekiah sent to all Israel and Judah, and wrote letters also to Ephraim and Manasseh, to come to the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, to 2keep the passover unto the Lord God of Israel. And the king took counsel with his princes, and all the congregation in Jerusalem, to keep the passover in the second month. 3For they could not keep it at that time, because the priests had not sanctified themselves sufficiently, nor had the people gathered 4, 5to Jerusalem. And the thing pleased the king and all the people. And they settled the thing, to issue a proclamation in all Israel, from Beer-sheba even to Dan, to come to keep the passover unto the Lord God of Israel at Jerusalem; 6for they had not kept it with a multitude as it was written. And the posts went with the letters from the hand of the king and his princes through all Israel and Judah, and at the command of the king, saying, Ye sons of Israel, return unto the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, and He will return to the escaped remaining to you from the hand of the kings of Assyria. 7And be not ye like your fathers and your brethren, who revolted against the Lord God of their fathers, and He gave them up to desolation, as ye see. 8Now be not stiff-necked like your fathers; yield yourselves to the Lord, and go into His sanctuary, which He hath sanctified for ever, and serve the Lord your God, that the hotness of His anger may turn from you. 9For if ye return to the Lord, your brethren and your children shall find compassion before their captors, and they shall return to this land; for the Lord your God is gracious and merciful, and He will not turn His face from you if ye return to Him.
10And the posts passed from city to city in the land of Ephraim and Manasseh 11and unto Zebulun; and they scoffed at them and mocked them. But some men of Asher and Manasseh and Zebulun humbled themselves, and 12came to Jerusalem. Also the hand of God was upon Judah to give them one heart to do the command of the king and the princes, by the word of the Lord.
13And much people assembled at Jerusalem to keep the feast of unleavened bread in the second month, a very great congregation. 14And they arose and took away the altars that were in Jerusalem; and all the altars for incense 15they took away, and cast into the brook Kidron. And they killed the pass-over on the fourteenth of the second month: and the priests and the Levites were ashamed, and sanctified themselves, and brought burnt-offerings into the house of the Lord. 16And they stood in their place after their rule, according to the law of Moses the man of God, the priests sprinkling the blood from the hand of the Levites. 17For there were many in the congregation that were not sanctified; and the Levites took charge of the killing of the passovers for all that were unclean, to sanctify them unto the Lord. 18For a multitude of the people, many from Ephraim and Manasseh, Issachar and Zebulun, had not cleansed themselves, yet they ate the passover not as it was written: for 19Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, The good Lord pardon7 every one That hath prepared his heart to seek God, the Lord God of his fathers, though 20not in the cleanness of the sanctuary. And the Lord heard Hezekiah, and 21healed the people. And the sons of Israel that were in Jerusalem kept the feast of unleavened bread seven days with great gladness; and the Levites and the priests were praising the Lord day by day, with instruments of might to the Lord. 22And Hezekiah spake to the heart of all the Levites who had good understanding of the Lord: and they ate8 the feast seven days, offering sacrifices of peace, and confessing to the Lord God of their fathers.
23And the whole congregation resolved to keep other seven days with gladness. 24For Hezekiah king of Judah gave to the congregation a thousand bullocks and seven thousand sheep; and the princes gave to the congregation a thousand bullocks and ten thousand sheep: and a great many priests sanctified themselves. 25And all the congregation of Judah, and the priests and Levites, and all the congregation that came out of Israel, and the strangers 26that came from the land of Israel, and that dwelt in Judah, were glad. And there was great gladness in Jerusalem; for since the days of Solomon son of 27David king of Israel was not the like in Jerusalem. And the priests [and] the Levites9 arose and blessed the people: and their voice was heard, and their prayer came up to His holy dwelling, to heaven.10
γ. Further Religious Reforms of Hezekiah: 2 Chronicles 31:0
2 Chronicles 31:1.And when all this was finished, all Israel that were present went out to the cities of Judah, and brake the statues, and cut down the asherim, and pulled down the high places and the altars out of all Judah and Benjamin, and in Ephraim and Manasseh, completely: and all the sons of Israel returned, every man to his possession, unto their cities.
2And Hezekiah appointed the courses of the priests and the Levites after their courses, every man according to his service, of the priests and the Levites for burnt-offering and peace-offering, to minister, and to thank, and to 3praise in the gates of the camp of the Lord. And the king’s portion of his property for burnt-offerings, for the burnt-offerings of the morning and of the evening, and the burnt-offerings for the sabbaths, and the new moons, and 4the set feasts, as it is written in the law of the Lord. And he said to the people, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to give the portion of the priests and 5the Levites, that they might be stedfast in the law of the Lord. And when the word came forth, the sons of Israel brought abundantly the first-fruits of corn, must, and oil, and honey, and all the increase of the field; and the tithe 6of all they brought in abundance. And the sons of Israel and Judah that dwelt in the cities of Judah, they also brought the tithe of oxen and sheep, and the tithe of holy things11 consecrated unto the Lord their God, and laid them in heaps. 7In the third month they began to lay down the heaps, and 8in the seventh month they finished them. And Hezekiah and the princes came and saw the heaps, and they blessed the Lord and His people Israel. 9And Hezekiah inquired of the priests and Levites concerning the heaps. 10And Azariah the chief priest, of the house of Zadok, answered him and said, Since they began to bring the offerings into the house of the Lord, we have eaten and been satisfied, and left in abundance; for the Lord hath blessed His 11people, and this great store is left. And Hezekiah said to prepare chambers 12in the house of the Lord, and they prepared them. And they brought in the offerings and the tithe and the consecrated things faithfully; and over them Conaniah12 the Levite was ruler, and Shimi was second. 13And Jehiel, and Azaziah, and Nahath, and Asahel, and Jerimoth, and Jozabad, and Eliel, and Ismachiah, and Mahath, and Benaiah were overseers under Conaniah12 and his brother Shimi, by the appointment of Hezekiah the king, and Azariah 14the ruler of the house of God. And Kore, son of Jimnah the Levite, the porter toward the east, was over the freewill-offerings of God, to distribute 15the offering of the Lord, and the most holy things. And by him stood Eden, and Minjamin, and Jeshua, and Shemaiah, Amariah, and Shechaniah in the cities of the priests, with truth to give to their brethren, in the courses, to the 16great as to the small. Beside their register of males from three years old and upward, to every one that entereth into the house of the Lord, for the 17rate of each day, for their service in their charges by their courses. And the register of the priests by their father-houses; and the Levites from twenty years old and upward, in their charges by their courses. 18And to the register of all their little ones, their wives, sons, and daughters, for all the congregation; for in their faithfulness they sanctified themselves in the holy thing. 19And for the sons of Aaron the priests, in the fields of the suburbs of their cities, in every city [were appointed] men who were expressed by name, to give portions to every male among the priests, and to all the register of the Levites. 20And Hezekiah did thus in all Judah, and did that which was good and right and true before the Lord his God. 21And in every work which he began in the service of the house of God, and in the law and the commandment to seek his God, with all his heart he did, and prospered.
δ. Expedition of Sennacherib against Jerusalem, and averting of the threatened Danger by Divine Help: 2 Chronicles 32:1-23
2 Chronicles 32:1.After these events, and this faithfulness, Sennacherib king of Assyria came and entered into Judah, and besieged the fenced cities, and thought 2to break into them for himself. And Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib was come, and his face was for war against Jerusalem. And 3he took counsel with his princes and his mighty men to stop the waters of the fountains, which 4were without the city; and they helped him. And much people was gathered, and they stopped all the fountains, and the brook that flowed through the land,13 saying, Why should the kings of Assyria come and find much water? 5And he strengthened himself, and built up all the wall that was broken, and raised it to the towers,14 and another wall without, and strengthened Millo in the city of David, and made weapons in abundance, and shields. 6And he set captains of war over the people, and gathered them to him in the broad 7way at the gate of the city, and spake to their heart, saying, Be brave and strong, fear not nor be dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him; for with us is more than with him. 8With him is an arm of flesh; and with us is the Lord our God, to help us, and to fight our battles: and the people relied upon the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.
9After this Sennacherib king of Assyria sent his servants to Jerusalem, and he himself stood against Lachish, and all his power with him, against Hezekiah king of Judah, and against all Judah that was at Jerusalem, saying, 10Thus saith Sennacherib king of Assyria, Whereon do ye trust, and why sit ye in restraint in Jerusalem? 11Doth not Hezekiah mislead you to deliver you to die by hunger and thirst, saying, The Lord our God shall deliver us from 12the hand of the king of Assyria? Hath not this Hezekiah removed his high places and his altars, and said to Judah and to Jerusalem, saying, Before one altar shall ye worship, and burn incense upon it? 13Know ye not what I and my fathers have done to all the peoples of the lands? Have the gods of the nations of the lands been at all able to deliver their lands from my hand? 14Who was there among all the gods of these nations, that my fathers extirpated, that could deliver his people out of my hand, that your God should be able to 15deliver you from my hand? And now let not Hezekiah deceive you nor seduce you in this way, neither believe him; for no god of any nation or kingdom was able to deliver his people from my hand, nor the hand of my fathers; much more your God shall not deliver you from my hand. 16And his servants spake yet more against the Lord, and against Hezekiah His servant. 17And he wrote a letter to rail on the Lord God of Israel, and to speak against Him, saying, Like the gods of the nations of the lands who have not delivered their people from my hand, so shall not the God of Hezekiah deliver His 18people from my hand. And they cried with a loud voice, in the Jewish tongue, to the people of Jerusalem that were on the wall, to affright them and trouble them, that they might take the city. 19And they spake to the God of Jerusalem as against the gods of the peoples of the earth, the work of men’s hands.
20And for this Hezekiah the king, and Isaiah son of Amoz the prophet, 21prayed and cried to heaven. And the Lord sent an angel, and cut off every valiant hero and leader and captain in the camp of the king of Assyria: and he returned with shame of face to his own land; and he came into the house of his god, and they that came out of his own bowels15 there slew him with 22the sword. And the Lord saved Hezekiah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, from the hand of Sennacherib king of Assyria, and from the hand of all,16 and defended them around. 23And many brought a gift to the Lord at Jerusalem, and jewels to Hezekiah king of Judah; and he was exalted in the eyes of all nations thereafter.
ε. Sickness, Remaining Years, and End of Hezekiah: 2 Chronicles 29:24-33
24In those days Hezekiah was sick unto death, and he prayed unto the 25Lord: and He spake unto him, and gave him a sign. And Hezekiah repaid not according to the benefit done to him; for his heart became proud, and 26there was indignation against him, and against Judah and Jerusalem. And Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart, he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and the indignation of the Lord came not upon them in the days of Hezekiah.
27And Hezekiah had very much riches and glory; and he made himself treasuries for silver, and gold, and precious stones, and spices, and shields, and 28all articles of desire. And storehouses for the increase of corn, and must, and 29oil; and stalls for all kinds of cattle, and flocks for the folds.17 And he made him cities, and possession of flocks and herds in abundance; for God 30had given him very much substance. And this Hezekiah stopped the upper outflow of the water of Gihon, and led it18 straight down to the west of the 31city of David: and Hezekiah prospered in all his work. And so in the case of the ambassadors of the princes of Babel, who sent to him to inquire of the wonder that was done in the land, God left him, to try him, to know all that was in his heart.
32And the rest of the acts of Hezekiah, and his kindness, behold, they are written in the vision of Isaiah the prophet, son of Amoz, in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel. 33And Hezekiah slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the height of the sepulchres of the sons of David; and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem gave him glory in his death: and Manasseh his son became king in his stead.
Preliminary Remark.—While the military and political side of the reign of Hezekiah, its relation to the Assyrian monarchy, its threatened annihilation by the invasion of Sennacherib, with the divine deliverance from this catastrophe, the later sickness and recovery of the king, and his proceedings with ambassadors of Babylon,—while all this is much more fully narrated in the books of Kings (2 Kings 18:8 to 2 Kings 20:9), and in the parallel records of the book of Isaiah, than here, our author, on the contrary, treats much more fully and clearly of the reformation of worship by Hezekiah at the beginning of his reign, his cleansing and reconsecration of the temple, his grand and general celebration of the passover, in which many north Israelites participated, and his other measures for the order and purification of religious life. To the sections concerning this inner religious and theocratic side of the regin of Hezekiah, 2 Chronicles 29-31, correspond in 2 Kings merely the seven introductory verses of 2 Chronicles 18:0, so that almost the whole contents of those three chapters are peculiar to the Chronist.
1. Hezekiah’s Beginnings: the Cleansing and Consecration of the Temple: 2 Chronicles 29:0.—Hezekiah became king. יְחִזְקִיָּהוּ, the fullest form of this name, signifies “whom Jehovah strengthens,” as the somewhat shortened חִזְקִיָּהוּ, Isaiah 37:1 ff., or חִזְקִיָּה, 2 Kings 18:1 ff., means “strength of Jehovah.” The Assyrian monuments present the form Ha-Za-ki-ya-hu, corresponding to that of Isaiah; see Schrader, p. 168 ff. Moreover, 2 Chronicles 29:1-2 agree almost throughout with 2 Kings 18:1-3. for the chronology see Evangelical and Ethical Reflections, No. 3.
2 Chronicles 29:3-19. The Cleansing of the Temple.—He in the first year of his reign, in the first month, that is, in Nisan, the first month of the ecclesiastical year, not (as Caspari thinks, Beiträge zur Einleitung in das Buch Jesaia, p. 111) in the first month of the reign of Hezekiah. How long, that is, how many months, he had reigned when he in the first month of the new year began his measures of reform, remains uncertain; the assumption of Von Gumpach (Die Zeitrechn. der Babylonier und Assyrer, p. 99) and Bertheau, that Hezekiah’s reign began with the first month (Tisri) of the previous year, appears a bare conjecture in face of the indefiniteness of the statement in our text.—And renewed them, repaired them—a renovating process which is more exactly described in 2 Kings 18:16 as an overlaying with gold plate.
2 Chronicles 29:4. And assembled them in the broad way of the east, not perhaps, in the inner court (Bertheau, Kamph.), but in an open area outside the whole temple building, on the south-east or east; comp. Ezra 10:9, Nehemiah 8:1; Nehemiah 8:3; Nehemiah 8:16.
2 Chronicles 29:5. Now sanctify yourselves, an indispensable prerequisite for a worthy and effectual performance of the business of cleansing the temple; comp. 2 Chronicles 29:15 and Exodus 19:10. On נִדָּה, filthiness as a designation of idolatry, comp. Lamentations 1:17; Ezra 9:11; and the synonym טֻמְאָה in 2 Chronicles 29:16.
2 Chronicles 29:6. For our fathers have transgressed—Ahaz and his contemporaries, for the statement in 2 Chronicles 29:7 suits these only. On “to turn the back” (properly “give”), comp. Nehemiah 9:29.
2 Chronicles 29:7. They have also shut the doors of the porch, and thus of the whole temple, for only through the porch was there access to the holy and most holy place; comp. 2 Chronicles 28:24, where also the new alter of burnt-offering erected by Ahaz in the court after the heathenish model is mentioned, which the Chronist, according to our passage (“nor offered burnt-offering”) regarded by no means as a lawful place of worship.
2 Chronicles 29:8. And the displeasure of the Lord, etc.; comp. 2 Chronicles 19:2; 2 Chronicles 19:10, 2 Chronicles 29:18, 2 Chronicles 32:25; and for the following strong terms: “horror, astonishment, and hissing,” Deuteronomy 28:25; Jeremiah 19:8; Jeremiah 24:9; Jeremiah 25:9; Lamentations 2:15; and also 2 Chronicles 30:7. For 2 Chronicles 29:9 comp. the Evangelical and Ethical Reflections on the verse before, No. 3
2 Chronicles 29:10. Now it is in my heart; comp. 2 Chronicles 6:7, 2 Chronicles 9:1;1 Chronicles 22:7; 1 Chronicles 28:2.
2 Chronicles 29:11. My sons, familiar, persuasive address, as in Proverbs 1:8, etc.—Now delay not, literally, “withdraw yourselves not” (תִּשָּׁלוּ, Niph. of שָׁלָה; comp. Job 27:8). on b, comp. 2 Chronicles 26:18; 1 Chronicles 23:13; Deuteronomy 10:8.
2 Chronicles 29:12. Then the Levites arose. Of the following fourteen names, Joah son of Zimmah, and Kish son of Abdi, occur already in the Levitical genealogy, 1 Chronicles 6:5 f., 1 Chronicles 6:29; Mahath, Eden, and Jehiel recur in 2 Chronicles 31:13-15.
2 Chronicles 29:13. And of the son of Elizaphan, Shimri. That of this family two Levites are expressly mentioned, is explained by the high repute which Elizaphan or Elzaphan, son of Uzziel, son of Kohath (Exodus 6:18), enjoyed as prince of the house of Kohath in the time of Moses (Numbers 3:30). Hence their co-ordination here, on the hand, with the three Levitical head families, and on the other with the three singing families of Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun.
2 Chronicles 29:15. And they gathered their brethren, the remaining Levites present in Jerusalem.—At the command of the king by the words of the Lord; comp. 2 Chronicles 30:12; 1 Chronicles 25:5. The king’s command was founded on the divine prescription of the law.
2 Chronicles 29:16. And the priests… brought out all the uncleanness … into the court, all the sacrificial vessels employed in idolatry, perhaps also the remains of the idolatrous offerings, and the like. For טֻמְאָה, see on 2 Chronicles 29:5; for the brook Kidron, comp. 2 Chronicles 15:16, 2 Chronicles 30:14.
2 Chronicles 29:17. They began on the first of the first month. On the first eight days of the month they employed themselves in the cleansing of the court, the eight following in that of the temple itself, so that they ha finished on the sixteenth.
2 Chronicles 29:19. And all the vessels which King Ahaz … cast away; comp. 2 Chronicles 11:14. These are the brazen altar of burnt-offering, the brazen sea, and lavers on the stands; see 2 Kings 16:14; 2 Kings 16:17. For הֵבַנּוּ, abbreviated form of הֲבינוֹנוּ (1 Chronicles 29:16), see Ew. § 196, b.—And behold, they are before the altar of the Lord, the altar of burnt-offering.
2 Chronicles 29:20-30. The sacrifices at the Reconsecration of the Temple.
2 Chronicles 29:21. And they brought seven bullocks. The seven bullocks, rams, and lambs were, as the sequel shows, to serve as a burnt-offering, the seven he-goats, 2 Chronicles 29:23, as a sin-offering; comp. Ezra 8:35.
2 Chronicles 29:22. And the priests received the blood, “took it,” as in 2 Chronicles 29:16.
2 Chronicles 29:23. Laid their hands upon them, “leaned their hands upon them,” comp. Leviticus 1:4, from which it moreover follows that this laying on of hands took place also in the burnt-offerings. Perhaps it is specially mentioned only in the case of the sin-offering, because the circumstance that the king and the congregation (naturally its representatives, the princes) directly laid their hands on the sin-offering clearly exhibited the relation of the expiatory act to the whole of Israel; comp. the following verse.
2 Chronicles 29:24. And the priests … offered their blood for sin upon the altar, literally, “made their blood to atone”; חִטֵּא, as in Leviticus 4:30; Leviticus 4:34; Leviticus 9:15. The whole of Israel is not merely the southern kingdom (Judah and Benjamin), but, as 2 Chronicles 30:5 ff. shows, the whole of the twelve tribes; Hezekiah’s great expiatory act was intended to affect even the Ephraimites.
2 Chronicles 29:25. And he set the Levites … with cymbals; comp. 1 Chronicles 15:16, and with respect to the command of David, 2 Chronicles 8:14. For Gad and Nathan as counsellors and assistants of David in his arrangement of the temple service, comp. 1 Chronicles 21:29. —By His prophets, “by the hand of His prophets,” is an explanatory apposition to בְּיַד יְהוָֹה, and denotes that the divine commandment is accomplished by the instrumentality of the prophets.
2 Chronicles 29:26. With the instruments of David, with the instruments introduced into the divine service by David; comp. 1 Chronicles 23:5; 1 Chronicles 15:16.
2 Chronicles 29:27. And when the burnt-offering began, the song of the Lord began, that is, the praise of the Lord by singing with musical accompaniment; comp. 1 Chronicles 16:42; 1 Chronicles 25:7.—And after the instruments of David, literally, at the hands of the instruments of David; comp. 1 Chronicles 6:16; 1 Chronicles 25:2-3; 1 Chronicles 25:6; 2 Chronicles 23:18. The instruments of David appear, accordingly, as governing and leading the whole musical performance, according to a view of the relation between singing and music somewhat different from the modern.
2 Chronicles 29:28. And the song was sung, properly, “was singing, sounded.” The sense of the whole verse is obvious: during the whole time of the offering the praising musical performance continued. Accordingly 2 Chronicles 29:30 also must be understood not as if the Levites had struck up a song of praise on the close of the offering at the command of the king, but in the sense of a supplementary notice of this, that they were Davidic and Asaphic songs, which the Levitical singers performed during the solemnity. Asaph is here called a seer (חֹזֶה), as elsewhere also Heman (1 Chronicles 25:5) and Jeduthun (2 Chronicles 35:15).—And they praised with gladness, “even unto gladness,” as in 1 Chronicles 15:16.
2 Chronicles 29:31-36. The Presenting of Sacrifices, Thank-Offerings, and Free-Will Offerings, as the Closing Act of the Consecration.—Now ye have filled your hand unto the Lord, “have consecrated yourselves to His service”; comp. 2 Chronicles 8:9; Exodus 28:41; Exodus 32:29, etc. The words appear addressed only to the priests; but as the following sentence; “Draw nigh and bring sacrifices and thank-offerings,” etc., according to 2 Chronicles 29:32 ff., applies to the whole community, this is to be considered as included with the priests, and participating in their office. Our passage belongs, therefore, to the Old Testament testimonies for the universality of the priestly dignity in the kingdom of God, like Exodus 19:6; Hosea 4:6; Isaiah 61:6.—Sacrifices and thank-offerings, that is, perhaps, “sacrifices even thank-offerings,” or “sacrifices as thank-offerings”; for, according to Leviticus 7:11; Leviticus 7:16, the thank-offerings (תּוֹדוֹת) appear as a special class of sacrifices (זְבָחִים or זִבְחֵי שְׁלָמִים), along with vows and free-will offerings.
2 Chronicles 29:33. And the consecrated things,הַקָּדָשִׁים, the holy things; here the animals presented as thank-offerings. This is clear not only from 2 Chronicles 29:32, but also from such passages as 2 Chronicles 35:13; Nehemiah 10:34.
2 Chronicles 29:34. Only the priests were too few, and they could not flay all the burnt-offerings. “In private burnt-offerings the flaying of the animal was the business of the worshipper, Leviticus 1:6; but in those presented on festivals in the name of the community, it was the business of the priests, in which, because it had no specially priestly character, the Levites might help” (Keil).—On חִזֵּק, “strengthen,” here “assist,” comp. 2 Chronicles 28:20; Ezra 6:22.—For the Levites were more upright of heart to sanctify themselves than the priests, who, perhaps because they were nearer the court, were more deeply involved in the idolatrous movement under Ahaz. יִשְׁרֵי לֵב, properly, rectiores animo, better inclined, under a more righteous impulse.
2 Chronicles 29:35. And also the burnt-offering was in abundance, the voluntary burnt-offerings, 2 Chronicles 29:31 f. (70 oxen, 100 rams, 200 lambs in number), which were added to the proper sacrifice of consecration; and hence the burden of labour on the priests was very great. For the fat pieces next mentioned, comp. Leviticus 3:3-5; for the libations as an accompaniment of the burnt - offering, Numbers 15:1-16.—And the service of the house of the Lord was established, prepared, arranged; comp. 2 Chronicles 29:36; 2 Chronicles 35:10; 2 Chronicles 35:16. The “service” (עֲבדָה) is the regular sacrificial worship in the temple, not its cleansing and consecration, as Berth, thinks.
2 Chronicles 29:36. Were glad that God had, etc.; עַל אֲשֶׁר הֵכִין = עַל הַהֵכּין; comp.1 Chronicles 26:28. This refers not, perhaps, to the willingness of the people, which God effected by His grace (Ramb., Berth.), but the cleansing of the temple and restoration of the true theocratic worship, which was accomplished by the willing part taken by the people.—For the thing was done suddenly, with unexpected readiness; comp. 2 Chronicles 29:3.
2. The Passover: 2 Chronicles 30:0.
2 Chronicles 30:1-12. Preparations for it.—And wrote letters also to Ephraim and Manasseh, to those belonging to the northern kingdom, who are here named by their chief tribes; comp. 2 Chronicles 30:5; 2 Chronicles 30:10.
2 Chronicles 30:2. And the king took counsel (comp. 2 Chronicles 25:17) … to keep the pass-over in the second month. Such an after-celebration of the passover is permitted by the law, Numbers 9:6-13, to those who, from Levitical defilement, or being on a journey, were prevented from celebrating it at the right time, on the 14th Nisan. On this decision of the law Hezekiah here rests in transferring the whole celebration from the first to the second month, because, as is expressly stated, 2 Chronicles 30:3, those two cases of hindrance (impurity of the priests, and distance of the greater part of the people from Jerusalem) were actually involved. Peculiar, yet destitute of sufficient ground, is the assumption of Hitzig (Gesch. p. 219), that the law in Numbers 9:6 ff. was first occasioned by Hezekiah’s after-celebration of the passover, even as almost all the laws of the fourth book of Moses originated in the times of Hezekiah.
2 Chronicles 30:3. Because the priests had not sanctified themselves sufficiently.לְמַדַּי, compounded of ל, מָה, and דַּי, signifies properly, “to that which was enough,” ad sufficientiam, and, in connection with לֹא, expresses here the thought that a sufficient number of sanctified Levitically clean priests could not be ready in the month of Nisan to celebrate the passover at that time (בָּעֵת הַהִיא); comp. 2 Chronicles 29:34. Observe, moreover, how clearly the contents of this verse, as well as the following, point to this, that the celebration of the passover, of which it treats, was to take place, and did take place, in the next month, after the consecration of the temple, and therefore in the first year of Hezekiah’s reign. Comp. at the close of this chapter.
2 Chronicles 30:5. And they settled the thing, resolved upon it; comp. 2 Chronicles 33:8; Nehemiah 10:33. For the proverbial form: “from Beer-sheba even to Dan,” to designate the whole territory of Israel, comp. Judges 20:1; 1 Samuel 3:20; 2 Samuel 3:10, etc.; see above on 2 Chronicles 19:4.—For they had not kept it with a multitude; so is לֹא לָרֹב most probably to be taken. The celebration should take place with a numerous concourse of people; comp. 2 Chronicles 30:13; Ezra 3:4. The explanation followed by Kimchi, then by Luther, and recently by de Wette: “For not for a long time,” is verbally inadmissible (comp. for לָרֹב, in the sense of “in multitude, numerous,” also 2 Chronicles 30:24). A statement also follows in 2 Chronicles 30:26 of the length of time during which the passover had not been celebrated by great numbers.
2 Chronicles 30:6. And the posts went, the royal couriers (whether belonging directly to the king’s guards is, notwithstanding 2 Chronicles 23:1 ff., uncertain); comp. Esther 3:13; Esther 3:15; Esther 8:14.—Remaining to you from the hand of the kings of Assyria, of Tiglath-pileser and his viceroys (archons, eponyms); see on 2 Chronicles 28:16. Pul (whether different from Tiglath-pileser, comp. on 1 Chronicles 5:26) cannot be here intended, because he led no Israelites captive; see 2 Kings 15:19. Neither can Shalmaneser be meant, as he came to the throne almost at the same time with Hezekiah, and his invasion took place in the sixth year of this king, while that which is here recorded belongs to the first year; see under 2 Chronicles 30:27.
2 Chronicles 30:8. Now be not stiffnecked like your fathers, since the time of Jeroboam. On “making the neck stiff ” = being stiffnecked, comp. 2 Kings 17:14; Nehemiah 9:16 f.; on “giving the hand,” for yielding oneself, vowing allegiance to, 2 Kings 10:15; Ezra 10:19; Ezekiel 17:18 (as also 1 Chronicles 29:24, Lamentations 5:6, “submit to”); for the close of the verse, 2 Chronicles 29:10.—Your brethren and your children shall find compassion before, literally, “shall be for compassion before your captors;” comp. Nehemiah 1:11.
2 Chronicles 30:10. And unto Zebulun; thus not quite to the extreme north border (not literally even to Dan, 2 Chronicles 30:5). Observe the concrete historical character of this notice, by no means favouring the suspicion of a pure fiction of these reports on the part of our author. The messengers also might very easily reach Zebulun (and the southern Asher, 2 Chronicles 30:11) in the interval between the 16th Nisan (2 Chronicles 29:17) and the 14th of the following month; they could scarcely have travelled to the more northern Naphtali, next to Dan (Laish), and North Asher. But these most northern parts of the country had been quite wasted and depopulated by Tiglath-pileser; see 2 Kings 15:29. That which is here stated (2 Chronicles 30:10-11) agrees still less with the hypothesis of Caspari and Keil, that all that is related in our chapter happened in the time after the fall of Samaria (see under 2 Chronicles 30:27), as the artificial attempts at adaptation by Keil show.
2 Chronicles 30:12. Also the hand of God was upon Judah to give them one heart. The phrase: יַד הָאֱלֹהִים הָֽיְתָה בְ, here sensu bono of the blessed effect of the divine power (comp. Ezra 8:22), otherwise usually in the sense of judicial punishment (Exodus 9:3; Deuteronomy 2:15, etc.).—By the word of the Lord; comp. 2 Chronicles 29:15.
2 Chronicles 30:13-22. The Festival itself.—Took away the altars; those erected by Ahaz for idolatrous burnt-offerings and incense; comp. 2 Chronicles 28:24.
2 Chronicles 30:15. And the priests and the Levites were ashamed; a clause referring to 2 Chronicles 30:3, which points by way of supplement to this, that the present full participation of the Levitical spirituality, in contrast with the former deficiency (especially with regard to the priests, 2 Chronicles 29:34), was owing to the feeling of shame meanwhile awakened in the whole order on account of their former participation in idolatry.
2 Chronicles 30:16. And they stood in their place.עֹמֶד, “place, stand,” as 2 Chronicles 35:10; Daniel 8:17-18.—After their rule; comp. 1 Chronicles 6:17.—The priests sprinkling the blood from the hand of the Levites, that is, the Levites handed them the blood to sprinkle on the altar. That the Levites here did this, whereas this handing of the blood was the part of the several worshipping householders (2 Chronicles 35:6; Ezra 6:20), is explained, 2 Chronicles 30:17, by pointing out that only the Levites were as yet all properly cleansed, and not the remaining multitude (רַבַּת here, and 2 Chronicles 30:18, a neuter substantive before the preposition, and not an adverb, as in Psalms 120:6).
2 Chronicles 30:18. Many from Ephraim and Manasseh, Issachar and Zebulun. The Chronist reports this not from “an excess of national feeling,” as if he wished to represent the whole northern kingdom as subjected to the Jewish king Hezekiah (H. Schultz, Theologie des Alten T. ii. 309), but simply because some of the tribes of the northern kingdom, then governed by Hosea, and already on the verge of total ruin, had sent representatives to the passover of Hezekiah, to signify that the feeling of national guilt was awakened in them in all its strength. That in 2 Chronicles 30:11 the tribes of Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun, but here Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun, are named as “humbled” (returning penitent to the theocratic centre of worship), appears to rest on definite historical grounds, the nature of which we cannot now determine.—Yet they ate the pass-over not as it was written, as Levitically unclean, and thus contrary to the precept, Numbers 9:6; comp. Josephus, de B. Jud.vi. 9.3, and under 2 Chronicles 30:26.—The good Lord pardon. “With these closing words of 2 Chronicles 30:18 (יהוה הטוב יכפר בעד) are to be immediately connected, notwithstanding the Masoretic division of the verses, the initial words of 2 Chronicles 30:19 : “Every one that hath prepared his heart to seek God.” בְּעַד stands thus before the relative sentence, 2 Chronicles 30:19 [rather before כָּל־], without אֲשֶׁר (as אל, 1 Chronicles 15:12). On כִּפֶּר, in the sense of forgiving, comp. Psalms 65:4; Leviticus 16:6; Leviticus 16:11.—Though not in the cleanness of the sanctuary, though they did not strictly comply with the legal prescriptions concerning the purity to be observed in approaching the sanctuary. A remarkable mildness and almost evangelical freedom of view are expressed in these words.
2 Chronicles 30:20. And healed the people, forgave their guilt, healed them in an ethical respect; comp. Psalms 41:5; Hosea 14:5; Jeremiah 3:22. The healing of disease or of death, that was to be apprehended as punishment for their guilt (Leviticus 15:31), is scarcely intended (against Berth. and Kamph.).
2 Chronicles 30:21. And the sons of Israel that were in Jerusalem, “were found”; comp. 2 Chronicles 29:29, 2 Chronicles 31:1.—With instruments of might to the Lord, instruments by which they ascribed might to the Lord, glorified His might (comp. Psalms 29:1), therefore with instruments for praising the might of the Lord. Interesting, but not quite certain, is the interpretation of Kamphausen, who takes בִּכְלֵי עז by itself in the sense: “with instruments of might,” that is, with loud sound.
2 Chronicles 30:22. And Hezekiah spake to the heart of all the Levites, spake hearty, loving, encouraging words to them.—Who had good understanding of the Lord, of the service of the Lord.—And they ate the feast seven days. We are scarcely to read, with the Sept. (see Crit. Note): “And they completed the feast;” for the reading: “eat the feast,” appears simply modelled after the known: “eat the passover,” as the following: “offering sacrifices of peace,” clearly shows (comp. also Psalms 118:27). Moreover, the collective worshippers, not merely the Levites and priests, are the subject.—And confessing to the Lord God of their fathers, namely, with praise and thanksgiving—not, perhaps, with penitent confession of their guilt, as some of the ancients thought. הִתְוַדָּה is quite the ἐξομολογεῖσθαι of the Hellenistic Greek (and so of the Sept. in our passage).
2 Chronicles 30:23-27. The Feast of Seven Days after the Passover.—Resolved to keep (“make”) other seven days with gladness. שִׂמְחָה, adverbial accusative for בְּשִׂמְחָה
2 Chronicles 30:24. For Hezekiah . . . gave to the congregation (properly, heaved, gave as a heave-offering; comp. 2 Chronicles 35:7) a thousand bullocks, etc.; that is, the king and princes had contributed victims so liberally for the passover, that they had not consumed the whole during the seven days of the feast, but had still provision for so long an after-feast.—And a great many priests sanctified themselves; the extraordinary abundance of offerings could thus be overtaken; comp. 2 Chronicles 30:3; 2 Chronicles 29:34.
2 Chronicles 30:25. And the strangers that came from the land of Israel, and that dwelt in Judah. These strangers (גֵּרִים) from Israel and Judah are here, as certainly as they were distinct from “the congregation that came out of Israel” ( = Ephraim), that is, from the Ephraimites mentioned 2 Chronicles 30:11; 2 Chronicles 30:18, actually “strangers,” that is, proselytes. It is otherwise in 2 Chronicles 15:9, where those dwelling as strangers among the Jews, from Ephraim and Manasseh and Simeon, are simply the Israelites that have migrated thence.
2 Chronicles 30:26. For since the days of Solomon … was not the like in Jerusalem, no so fair and sublime a festival celebrated by so great a multitude. But the point of comparison is perhaps not any passover under Solomon, but rather the feast of the consecration of the temple under this king (2 Chronicles 7:1-10). This resembles the passover of Hezekiah in this respect, that, with the feast of tabernacles following, it lasted also fourteen days. Because this only is intended, and not any passover of Solomon, there is no contradiction between our passage, or in general between that which is depicted in our chapter and 2 Chronicles 35:18, and 2 Kings 23:22. If in the latter passage it is said of Josiah’s passover: “There was not holden such a passover from the days of the Judges,” this remark refers, in the first place, to the purity and legitimacy of the feast; and in this respect the present celebration by Hezekiah was defective, just as our author has expressly acknowledged.
2 Chronicles 30:27. And the priests (and) the Levites arose; comp. Crit. Note. That the benediction of the priests was heard, and actually penetrated to His (God’s) dwelling in the heaven, our historian might conclude with sufficient certainty, from the further gladness and elevation of heart which he had to recount in the two following chapters of Hezekiah’s reign (in its inner as well as outer aspect).
On the date of Hezekiah’s passover, first Keil (Komment. zu den Büchern der Könige, 1845, p. 515 f.), then Caspari (Beiträge zur Einleitung in das Buch Jesaia, p. 109 ff.), and again Keil (Komment. zur Chron. p. 343 ff.), laid down the opinion that it was held not in the first year of his reign, in the next month after the cleansing of the temple, but considerably later, namely, after the destruction of the kingdom of the ten tribes, in his sixth year. Against this assumption, and for the usual view, according to which the Chronist in our chapter means to report something immediately following the feast of the consecration described in 2 Chronicles 29:0 : speak—1. The וconsec. in וַיִּשְׁלַח at the beginning of 2 Chronicles 30:1; 2 Chronicles 2:0. The statement in 2 Chronicles 30:3, that “the priests had not sanctified themselves sufficiently,” which clearly refers to 2 Chronicles 29:34, and does not at all permit the interposition of a period of six years between the two chapters; 3. The naming of the second month in 2 Chronicles 30:2, which is certainly to be understood from 2 Chronicles 29:3; 2 Chronicles 29:17 (the “first month,” that is, Nisan, in the first year of his reign), and therefore to be referred to the first year of Hezekiah. To these in themselves decisive grounds, which Keil vainly endeavours in a long discussion to invalidate, are to be added, as further cogent arguments—4. The circumstance that our author, if he had actually meant to represent the passover as instituted after the fall of Samaria and the destruction of the northern kingdom, and even with reference to the condition and necessity of the population occasioned by this catastrophe, must have expressly said so, as such an important motive for including the Ephraimites as partakers in the feast could not have been passed over in silence; 5. The circumstance that the manner in which these northern guests and their seats are mentioned in 2 Chronicles 30:6; 2 Chronicles 30:10 f. and 18 suits only the time after the invasion of Tiglath-pileser, not that after the fall of Samaria (see on these passages, especially 2 Chronicles 30:11); 6. The circumstance that the description given in 2 Chronicles 30:10-12 of the preparations for the festival, compared with the opening of the description of the feast itself in 2 Chronicles 30:13, makes only a short duration of these preparations probable; 7. And lastly, the circumstance that the appearance of a not inconsiderable number of communicants from the northern kingdom agrees very well with that which is attested in 2 Kings 17:2 of the comparatively pious and theocratic character of Hosea, the last king of Ephraim, and, on the contrary, can scarcely be reconciled with the report there, 2 Chronicles 30:24 ff., given concerning the moral and religious condition of the population left in the northern kingdom after the defeat of Hosea and the fall of Samaria. The usual assumption, which makes the temple consecration and the passover to take place in immediate succession in the first year of Hezekiah, appears from all this to be most agreeable to the text, and alone truly corresponding with the historical relations that have to be taken into account.
3. Further Religious Reforms of Hezekiah: 2 Chronicles 31:0.—On 2 Chronicles 31:1, comp. 2 Kings 18:4, where, however, on the one hand, the destruction of the images and altars also in Ephraim and Manasseh is not mentioned; on the other hand, the breaking of the figure of the brazen serpent (Nehushtan) is narrated, which our report does not expressly mention.—All Israel that were present; comp. 2 Chronicles 30:21. For the statues (monuments) and asherim, comp. on 2 Chronicles 14:2.—And in Ephraim and Manasseh completely. With reference to Ephraim and Manasseh, that is, the northern kingdom (comp. 2 Chronicles 30:10), this “completely” (עַד לְכַלֵּה) is naturally to be understood cumgrano salis, and not to be pressed as a strictly literal statement. The report that in Manasseh and Ephraim also the places of idolatrous worship were removed, could scarcely, on account of 2 Kings 17:24 ff., be brought into harmony with the assumption of Keil that these facts are to be placed after 722 b.C.
2 Chronicles 31:2. And Hezekiah appointed . . . after their courses, according to the classification originating with David; comp. 1 Chronicles 24:0; 2 Chronicles 8:14.—Every man according to his service, properly, “at the mouth of his service”; comp. Numbers 7:5; Numbers 7:7.—In the gates of the camp of the Lord, in the temple as well as in the court of the priests; comp: 1 Chronicles 9:18 ff.
2 Chronicles 31:3. And the king’s portion of his property for burnt-offerings, that is, the king furnished what he had to contribute to the burnt-offering in victims out of his possession (which is described underneath, 2 Chronicles 32:27 ff., as very great). Comp. the prescriptions of the law that here come into account, Numbers 28:3 ff; Numbers 29:1 ff.
2 Chronicles 31:4. And he said to the people . . . to give the portion of the priests and Levites, namely, the firstlings and tithes of the increase of the cattle and the field; see Exodus 23:19; Numbers 18:12; Numbers 18:21 ff.; Leviticus 27:30-33. The motive, “that they might be stedfast in the law of the Lord,” expresses the thought, that in order to fulfil their official duties they must be able to live free and untrammelled by earthly cares; comp. Nehemiah 13:10 ff.; 1 Corinthians 9:4 ff.; 2 Thessalonians 3:9; 1 Timothy 5:17 f.
2 Chronicles 31:5. And when the word came forth, properly, “spread forth”; comp. Job 1:10. The “sons of Israel” there mentioned are first only the inhabitants of Jerusalem, as 2 Chronicles 31:6 shows, for there first is mention made of the remaining “sons of Israel” (immigrants from the northern kingdom) and “sons of Judah.”
2 Chronicles 31:6. And the tithe of holy things consecrated unto the Lord their God. If in Numbers 18:8 ff. not tithe (מַֽעֲשֵׂר) but heave-offerings (תְּרוּמוֹת) of all consecrated things, that is, of all the consecrated gifts of the Israelites, are said to fall to the Levites, this difference from our statement is only apparent, not warranting any emendation of the text after the reading of the Sept. (ἐπιδέκατα αἰγῶν, καὶ, etc.; see Crit. Note). This is merely a diversity of the phrase; what is called, Numbers 18:0, “terumoth”, is here designated tithe, because the terumoth were in like manner “a remnant of that which was consecrated to the Lord, as the tithe was a remnant of all the cattle and field produce” (rightly Keil. against Berth, and Kamph.).
2 Chronicles 31:7. In the third month they began to lay down, or found; to form the heaps by gathering together the gifts in grain. The third month, in which Pentecost falls, is the time of the finished harvest, as the seventh month (with the feast of tabernacles) is that of the finished fruit and wine harvest. For the form לִיסּוֹד, with dag. in ס, see Ew. § 245 a.
2 Chronicles 31:9-19. The Application and Preservation of the Collected Gifts.—Inquired . . . concerning the heaps, he inquired how it came that so great a quantity of gifts was accumulated. Only to this meaning of his question does the following answer of the high priest correspond, especially the closing sentence of it.
2 Chronicles 31:10. And Azariah the chief priest. Whether this be the same as the Azariah occurring, 2 Chronicles 26:17, in the history of Uzziah, forty years before, is at least very uncertain.—And this great store is left, literally, “and that which is left (forms) this great store.” Perhaps וְנוֹתָר simply is to be read instead of וְהַנּוֹתָר (Kamph.).
2 Chronicles 31:11. And Hezekiah said to prepare in the house of the Lord, perhaps not new store-rooms (לְשָׁכוֹת, as 1 Chronicles 9:26), but only a portion of those already built by Solomon (1 Kings 6:5) for the reception of the stores (הֵכִין, as 1 Kings 6:19).
2 Chronicles 31:12. And they brought in the offerings, the first-fruits, 2 Chronicles 31:5. On the word “faithfully,” conscientiously, comp. 2 Chronicles 19:9.—And over them, over the first-fruits, tithe, and consecrated things. For the name Conanjahu, comp. the Crit. Note; for the term “second” (next after him), משׁנה, see 1 Chronicles 5:12; 2 Kings 25:18.
2 Chronicles 31:13. And Jehiel, and Azaziah, and Nahath. Two of these names, Jehiel and Nahath, occurred also in 2 Chronicles 29:12; 2 Chronicles 29:14; whether they refer to the same persons is doubtful.—Overseers under Conaniah, literally, “at the hand of Conaniah.”—By the appointment of Hezekiah, or by his order. The Azariah, “ruler of the house of God,” named along with the king is the high priest named 2 Chronicles 31:10 (comp. 1 Chronicles 9:11).
2 Chronicles 31:14. And Kore . . . the porter toward the east; comp. 1 Chronicles 9:18. It was his part to distribute “the offering of the Lord,” the portion of the peace-offering belonging to the Lord, and by him transferred to the priests (Leviticus 7:14; Leviticus 7:32; Leviticus 10:14 f.), “and the most holy things,” the part of the sin and trespass offerings to be eaten by the priests in the temple (Leviticus 6:10; Leviticus 6:22; Leviticus 7:6).
2 Chronicles 31:15. And by him (properly, “at his hand,” 2 Chronicles 31:13), under him, under his oversight.—With truth (comp. 2 Chronicles 31:12). This the Vulg. perhaps rightly connects with the following words: “ conscientiously to give,” though against the accents. The object of this “giving” is that share of firstlings, tithes, and consecrated things which the Levites dwelling in the priestly cities were entitled by law to receive.
2 Chronicles 31:16. Beside the register of males with the exception of the registered males from three years old and upwards who have “entered into the house of the Lord,” that is, are consecrated to the temple service in Jerusalem, and are therefore otherwise provided for (exempted from the provision in the priestly cities when they were at home); comp., for example, Samuel, etc.—For the rate of each day; לִדְבַר־יוֹם בְּיוֹמוֹ, as 2 Chronicles 8:13 f.; Nehemiah 11:23.
2 Chronicles 31:17 is, like 2 Chronicles 31:16, a parenthesis, referring to the registers of the priests and Levites.—And the register of the priests. וְאֵת, according to Ew. § 277, d; comp. Nehemiah 9:34. On the twentieth year of the Levites, at the beginning of their official functions, comp. 1 Chronicles 23:24; 1 Chronicles 23:27.
2 Chronicles 31:18 is connected with 2 Chronicles 31:15, after the two parentheses 2 Chronicles 31:16-17. With the dative there, לַֽאֲחֵיהֶם, corresponds the וּלְהִתְיַחֵשׂ, which likewise depends on לָתֵת, “to give to their brethren,” and to the register of all their little ones for all the congregation. This קָהָל לְכָל־ applies to the whole community of the Levites, including wives and children not merely to the priestly order (as S. Schmidt, Ramb., Kamph. intend).—For in their faithfulness they sanctified themselves in the holy thing. בֶּֽאֱמוּנָתָם, as 1 Chronicles 9:22. The “sanctifying themselves” (הִתְקַדֵּשׁ) refers to the disinterested and righteous distribution of the “holy thing,” that is, the offerings which they were entitled to receive.
2 Chronicles 31:19. And for the sons of Aaron . . . in the fields of the suburbs of their cities; comp. Deut. 25:34; Numbers 35:5.—Were appointed men, who were expressed by name, men of repute; comp. 2 Chronicles 28:15; 1 Chronicles 12:31. These officers, according to what follows, had the charge of the Levitical and priestly families occupying the land around the priestly cities, as those mentioned in 2 Chronicles 31:15 had the charge of the priests and Levites in these cities.
2 Chronicles 31:20-21. Close of the Report of Hezekiah’s Reforms in Worship.—And did that which was good and right (comp. 2 Chronicles 14:1) and true before the Lord; הָאֱמֶת, as in 2 Chronicles 32:1; Zechariah 8:19.—And in every work which he began . . . to seek his God, or also, “seeking his God,” while he sought Him; comp. 2 Chronicles 26:5; Ezra 6:21.
4. Sennacherib’s Expedition against Jerusalem, and End: 2 Chronicles 32:1-23. Comp. the full parallel account in 2 Kings 18:13 to 2 Kings 19:37, and in Isaiah 36, 37, to which the present narrative, notwithstanding its parenetic, rhetorical brevity, makes some not unimportant additions. With the three parallel delineations is to be compared the full Assyriologic commentary of Schrader, pp. 168–212.—After these events and this faithfulness, Sennacherib, etc., properly, “Sancherib” (Sept.: Σενναχηρείμ in Chronicles, Σενναχηρίβ in 2 Kings and Isaiah), the Sin-ahi-irib or Sin-ahi-ir-ba (“Sin,” the moon-god, “gives the brothers much”) of the Assyrian inscriptions; according to the Assyrian canon of sovereigns, the son, reigning 705–681 b.C., and successor of Sargon, the successor of Shalmaneser and conqueror of Samaria; comp. Evangelical and Ethical Reflections, No. 3.—And thought to break into them for himself, to take them; comp. 2 Chronicles 21:17.
2 Chronicles 32:2. And his face was for war against Jerusalem; comp. 2 Chronicles 20:3; Luke 9:53.
2 Chronicles 32:3. Took counsel . . . to stop the waters of the fountains, not to close them up wholly, but to cover them over (Luther, cover), and draw away their waters by subterranean channels.
2 Chronicles 32:4. And they stopped . . . and the brook that flowed through the land, the Gihon, the brook of the valley of Ben-hin-nom; comp. 2 Chronicles 32:30; 2 Kings 20:20.—Why should the kings of Assyria. . . find much water? On the phrase, comp. Isaiah 5:4; for the plural “kings,” above on 2 Chronicles 28:16.
2 Chronicles 32:5. And he strengthened himself (וַיִּתְחַזֵּק), as 2 Chronicles 15:8, 2 Chronicles 23:1.—And built up all the wall that was broken; comp. Nehemiah 4:1; Proverbs 25:28.—And raised it to the towers, or, raised its towers, according to the probably original reading; see Crit. Note. The Masoretic text gives the quite unsuitable meaning, “and rose upon the towers,” or, “and brought to the towers” (the wall ? or the war engines?).—And another wall without, he built or repaired. This refers to the wall enclosing the lower city, or Acra, which already existed, according to Isaiah 22:11, the repair of which is here noticed. For Millo, comp. on 1 Chronicles 11:8; for the weapons made to defend these fortifications,—arrows, missiles, and shields,—comp. 2 Chronicles 23:10, 2 Chronicles 26:14.
2 Chronicles 32:6. And gathered them to him in the broad way at the gate of the city; whether on the same open area at the gate as that mentioned 2 Chronicles 29:4, toward the east, must, from the indefiniteness of the expression, remain uncertain; comp. also Nehemiah 8:1; Nehemiah 8:16.—And spake to their heart; comp. 2 Chronicles 30:22.
2 Chronicles 32:7. For with us is more than with him; comp. 2 Kings 6:16 and the following verse, which gives the particulars how there is “more” (רַב, not “a greater,” as Luther translates with Hezekiah and the Israelites than with the enemy. On “an arm of flesh” as a designation of human impotence and apparent power comp. Isaiah 31:8, Jeremiah 17:5, Psalms 56:5; on “to fight our battles,” 1 Samuel 8:20; 1 Samuel 18:17.
2 Chronicles 32:9-19. Sennacherib’s Advance to Jerusalem. Comp. the more ample account, 2 Kings 18:17-36.—And he himself stood against Lachish; comp. 2 Chronicles 25:27.—And all his power with him, literally, “all his sovereignty” (מֶמְשַׁלְתּוֹ); comp. Isaiah 34:1.
2 Chronicles 32:10. Whereon do ye trust? literally, “whereon are ye trusting and sitting in restraint?” (distress; comp. Deuteronomy 28:53 ff.; 2 Kings 24:10; 2 Kings 25:2; Ezekiel 4:7).
2 Chronicles 32:11. Doth not Hezekiah mislead you? literally, “is not Hezekiah misleading you (מַסִּית, as 2 Kings 18:32), to deliver you to die by hunger?” etc.—On 2 Chronicles 32:12, comp. 2 Kings 18:22; on 2 Chronicles 32:13-15, comp. 2 Kings 18:35, Isaiah 36:20; Isaiah 37:11-13.
2 Chronicles 32:16. And his servants spake yet more, the servants already, 2 Chronicles 32:9, mentioned, whose Assyrian titles (Tartan, Rabsaris, and Rabshakeh, 2 Kings 18:17; on which comp. Schrader’s illustrations, p. 198 ff.) our author thinks fit not to adduce, as he omits the whole contents of their blasphemous speeches.
2 Chronicles 32:17. And he wrote a letter. This was, according to 2 Kings 19:14, at a later period, after Rabshakeh had reported to him the obstinate resistance of the Jewish people; whereas the speech here reported in 2 Chronicles 32:18 of the servants of Sennacherib in the Jewish tongue is there (in 2 Kings) addressed to the Jews at the same time with the first negotiation. Our author has apparently traced the course of things in a real rather than a chronological order, because his aim was to exhibit an impressive advance in the steps (first a speech of the servants in the Assyrian tongue, then a letter of Sennacherib to Hezekiah, and lastly a demand to surrender in the Jewish tongue), from the same rhetorical motive that led him also before, on the occasion of the war with Syria and Ephraim, 2 Chronicles 28:16 ff., to co-ordinate the facts not so much in a temporal as in a real sequence.
2 Chronicles 32:20-23. Hezekiah’s and Isaiah’s Prayer, and the Divine Help; comp. 2 Kings 19:14-35 ff.; Isaiah 37:15-19.—And for this, עַל־זֹאת, on account of this railing on the God of Israel, which they must have heard.
2 Chronicles 32:21. And the Lord sent an angel; comp. 2 Kings 19:35 ff., and Bähr on this passage. The “valiant heroes” destroyed by the angel are the common soldiers (comp. 2 Chronicles 17:14), along with whom are then specially named the “leaders and captains” (officers and generals). On“ with shame of face,” comp. Ezra 9:7, Psalms 44:16; on “they that came out of his own bowels” = sons, comp. Genesis 15:4; Genesis 25:23, 2 Samuel 7:12; 2 Samuel 16:11; and see the Crit. Note.
2 Chronicles 32:22. And defended them around, literally, “led them around,” וַיְנַֽחֲלֵם (for which Berth, and Kamph., because the word is omitted in the Syr. and Arab., think ought to be read וַיָּנַח לָהֶם, “and gave them rest around”); comp.נָחַל, in the sense of protecting, Psalms 31:4; Isaiah 34:10; Isaiah 51:18, etc.
2 Chronicles 32:23. And many brought a gift to the Lord; comp. 2 Chronicles 17:11, 2 Chronicles 26:8; 2 Kings 20:12. Among the “many” seem to be reckoned, as the following clause shows, members of the neighbouring nations, who had been delivered by the helpful interposition of the God of the Jews from the same calamity of war and danger of ruin.
5. Sickness, Remaining Reign, and End of Hezekiah: 2 Chronicles 32:24-33.—In those days Hezekiah was sick. Considerably fuller in 2 Kings 20:1-11 and Isaiah 38:0 :
2 Chronicles 32:25. And Hezekiah repaid not according to the benefit done to him, literally, “according to the benefit in him”; comp. Psalms 116:12.—For his heart became proud, literally, “lifted itself up”; comp. 2 Chronicles 26:16. Wherein the proud uplifting consisted, namely, in the boastful exhibition of his treasures to the ambassadors of Babylon (2 Kings 20:12 ff.), is not here said, but is briefly indicated in 2 Chronicles 32:31; neither is the manner in which “indignation came upon him” (comp. 2 Chronicles 19:10; 1 Chronicles 27:24), namely, by a prophetic warning and announcement of punishment (Isaiah 39:5-7; 2 Kings 20:16 ff.), more particularly defined. The mode of narrative in our section is generally that of the epitome. On 2 Chronicles 32:26 comp. Isaiah 39:8; 2 Kings 20:19.
2 Chronicles 32:27-31. Hezekiah’s Riches, and Building of Cities and Water-courses.—And Hezekiah ha I very much riches; comp. 2 Kings 20:13, and the earlier accounts in the reigns of David (1 Chronicles 29:28), Solomon (2 Chronicles 1:12 ff.), and Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 18:1). Besides the metals themselves, are mentioned also among his treasures spices (as Daniel 11:8) and “shields,” that is, costly gilded weapons and the like (comp. Isaiah 39:2).
2 Chronicles 32:28. And storehouses for the increase of corn. מִסְכְּנוֹת (p. transpos. lit. for מִכְנְסוֹת, from כנם, heap up), magazines; comp. Exodus 1:11; 1 Kings 9:19; 2 Chronicles 8:4—And stalls for all kinds of cattle, literally, “for all cattle and cattle.”אֻרָוֹת, “stalls,” properly, “racks;” comp. the only orthographically different אֻרְיוֹת, 2 Chronicles 9:25, and at the close of our verse, אֲוֵרוֹת, which seems to mean folds. But perhaps the last clause is corrupt, and instead of “flocks for the folds,” rather (with the Sept. and Luther) an inversion of the terms is to be assumed; see Crit. Note
2 Chronicles 32:29. And he made him cities, עָרִים, perhaps watchtowers for the keepers of the cattle; comp. on 2 Chronicles 26:10. and 2 Kings 17:9.—And possession of flocks and herds in abundance; comp. Job 1:3; for רְכוּשׁ, possession, 2 Chronicles 31:3
2 Chronicles 32:30. This Hezekiah stopped; see on 2 Chronicles 32:3-4.—And led it straight down to the west of the city of David, led it, the water of the brook Gihon, flowing by the city on the east, by a subterranean channel westward into the city.
2 Chronicles 32:31. And so in the case of the ambassadors of the princes of Babel. Instead of וְכֵן (that cannot be rendered, with Luther and others, in an adversative sense by “but” or “though” ) we expect וְלֹא or רַק לֹא, “only not.” But the author does not intend to represent the interview with the ambassadors of Babylon as an exception to the otherwise prosperous career of the king, but rather as a confirmation of that which is said in this respect; and especially as Hezekiah was not punished for the perversity of his conduct at that time, but only humbled, and for himself, at least, spared the deserved judgment of God (comp. 2 Chronicles 32:26). The plural “princes of Babel,” instead of the sing., which, according to 2 Kings 20:12 ff., we might expect, is perhaps to be interpreted as the term kings in 2 Chronicles 28:16, 2 Chronicles 30:6, 2 Chronicles 32:4. On the king Merodach-baladan, and on the chronology of this event, see Evangelical and Ethical Reflections, No. 3.
2 Chronicles 32:32-33. Close of the History of Hezekiah.—And his kindness, literally, “kindnesses” (חֲסָדִים, otherwise than 2 Chronicles 6:42); comp. rather Nehemiah 13:14 (against Keil).
2 Chronicles 32:33. And they buried him in the height (or also “the ascent”; comp. 2 Chronicles 20:16) of the sepulchres of, the sons of David, that is, in a place higher than the previous tombs of the kings, as in these, perhaps, there was no longer sufficient space.—And gave him glory, namely, by the burning of spices and the like, as at the death of Asa (2 Chronicles 16:14; comp. 2 Chronicles 21:19).
Evangelical And Ethical Reflections And Apologetic Remarks. (especially With Regard To Chronology) On 2 Chronicles 29-32
1. The relation of our author concerning the history of Hezekiah includes in itself two unequal parts of tolerably heterogeneous materials,—a detailed report of the reforms in worship with which the king began his reign (2 Chronicles 29-31), and an excerpted and compressed description of the chief warlike events and other public acts and occurrences of his reign (2 Chronicles 32:0). This plan, combining the supplementing with the excerpting process, clearly shows that it is Hezekiah the reformer of worship, and not the warlike prince and pious ruler, that he intends first and chiefly to depict. As a reformer of worship, Hezekiah deserves indeed to be held up along with Josiah, among all the kings from Solomon to the exile. The thoroughgoing spirit, strong faith, and energy displayed in his measures leaves all that had been formerly undertaken by Asa and Jehoshaphat far behind; and even the later Josiah, notwithstanding the character of stricter legality which his measures bore, cannot compare with him, inasmuch as the reforming activity of Hezekiah prepared the way for his own, and thus he stood, as it were, on the shoulders of Hezekiah, and had to look up to what was accomplished by the latter as his model. Between those less efficient and less decided predecessors and this successor, more zealous indeed, but less favoured by fortune, and aiming at no perpetuity of his labours, Hezekiah stands as the greatest hero of faith, as the purest evangelical character among the Jewish kings of the Old Testament. His work forms, by virtue of his powerful, ruthlessly stringent opposition to idolatry, and his honourable zeal for the law, coupled with sincere devotedness of heart to God, a striking typical parallel to that of the evangelical princes in the age of the Reformation,—John the Constant, Philip the Magnanimous, Edward VI., Gustavus Vasa, etc.; while his predecessors, Asa, Jehoshaphat, and Joash, correspond merely to the better disposed kings and emperors of the Middle Ages maintaining a certain independence towards Rome (as Frederic Barbarossa, Louis ix. of France, etc.); but in Josiah is presented the type of such epigoni of the more potent manifestations of the Reformation period as Ernest the Pious of Saxe Gotha, Frederic iv. of Denmark, etc. So far as such parallels between Israelitish and Christian history are allowable,—but that they should be instituted with great precaution and the most careful avoidance of the imminent danger of arbitrary trifling, is shown by very many warning examples, especially in the region of the Roman Catholic theological literature of recent times,19—it is natural to set beside the great reformatory activity of King Hezekiah the contemporary movement of a powerful reform and revival of the whole religious and moral life by such heroes of prophecy as Isaiah, Micah (and as probably an older Zechariah, author of Zechariah 9-11), and to suppose the one conditioned and supplemented by the other,—his action as the renovator of the religious life and the external theocratic order and discipline, and the endeavour of these prophetic men after the purification of the religious consciousness and the quickening of the moral conscience of their people. For certainly his religious reform would not have been practicable without the co-operation of this contemporaneous life-reform by his prophetic friends and counsellors; and we can as little separate the royal reformer Hezekiah from the royal seer, as those princes of the Reformation age from the Reformers Luther, Melanchthon, Bugenhagen, Calvin, etc.20 Indeed, the circle of those wise men around Hezekiah, to whom, according to Proverbs 25:1, was due the then completed collection of the old Solomonic proverbial literature, and in reference to whom Hezekiah himself has been called the Pisistratus of the Israelitish literature (Delitzsch, Kommentar über den Psalter, ii. 377), we may well assert to be a moment of the typical parallelism, and regard the work of these men as a type of the humanists contemporary with the Reformers, and often lending them support.
2. That in our author these manifestations, contemporaneous with Hezekiah, and co-operating with him, the importance of which certainly should not be undervalued, retire into the background, and that he mentions the prophet Isaiah only once in passing (2 Chronicles 32:20), and those wise “men of Hezekiah” not at all, corresponds exactly with his character as a historian abiding always by the priestly and Levitical point of view. The credibility of his narrative cannot be disputed on account of this onesidedness. A great number of highly definite and concrete statements in the chapters peculiar to him attest the character of their contents as well founded, and free from any suspicion of fiction. Thus the names of the fourteen Levites in 2 Chronicles 29:12-14 rest as undoubtedly on historical tradition as those of the others in 2 Chronicles 31:12-15. And as little as these names can be invented, will that which is related, 2 Chronicles 30:1 ff., (10 f., 18 ff., and 2 Chronicles 31:1, concerning the participation of inhabitants of the kingdom of the ten tribes in Hezekiah’s religious acts and reforms bear a fictitious character. The authenticity of these statements is liable to no manner of doubt, view them chronologically as we will—whether we refer them, with Keil and Caspari (see on 2 Chronicles 30:27), to events that happened after 722 b.C., or, with the majority of expositors, assign them a place in the first years of Hezekiah’s reign. The excerpt also from 2 Kings 18-20 and Isaiah 36-39, which he presents in 2 Chronicles 32:0, proves, by its essential agreement with these fuller parallels, the conscientiousness and reliableness of the procedure of our author. Where he presents smaller supplements to the reports there,—as, for example, in his accounts of the fortifications and measures of defence by Hezekiah in 2 Chronicles 32:5 (comp. 2 Chronicles 32:30),—these supplements bear in themselves their warrant as actual and trustworthy. And where he, in accordance with his rather real than chronological grouping of events, makes alterations in the order of the facts to be related, as in 2 Chronicles 32:16-18 (comp. also 2 Chronicles 32:24-31), there never results a representation strictly contrary to history. We are to note, moreover, the circumstance, significant of his theocratic idealizing tendency, and recalling analogous omissions in the history of the reigns of David, Solomon, and Jehoshaphat, that he passes over various incidents less favourable to the character of Hezekiah as a specially fortunate and illustrious ruler; for example, the facts that Sennacherib not only besieged but took many Jewish cities (comp. 2 Chronicles 32:1 with 2 Kings 18:13); that Hezekiah was compelled to pay a large tribute to the same sovereign, and for this purpose to take off the gold plating of the temple doors (2 Kings 18:16); that he rent his clothes and put on sackcloth (2 Kings 19:1), etc., and, on the whole, reports only that which proves his glorious and happy government. His representation of the work of Hezekiah has thus received a peculiarly optimistic colouring, beside which that of the other fuller report looks almost like pessimism. But even the sharpest critic would scarcely be able to show that the Chronistic narrative, notwithstanding its idealistic onesidedness, involves any misstatement of facts or distortion of history.
3. An important and difficult inquiry, that, however, concerns the narrative of our book equally with the older parallel text, is involved in the synchronism of the history of Hezekiah in the sacred Scripture and in the contemporary Assyrian monuments. While the most important event of this history in a temporal or spiritual respect, the fall of Samaria or the destruction of the northern kingdom by Shalmaneser and Sargon (namely, by Shalmaneser [Salmanu-âser, “God Salman is good”] as beginner, and by Sargon [Sarrukin, “mighty the king”] as finisher of the besieging and destroying work),21 according to the unanimous testimony of both sources, is to be placed in the year 722 (or 721) b.C., with regard to the next more important event, the invasion of Sennacherib (2 Chronicles 32:1-23, and the parallel), a difference is exhibited of not less than thirteen years between the statements of the Assyrian monuments and those of sacred Scripture. For those assign this expedition to the year 701, full twenty years after the accession of Sargon and the fall of Samaria; whereas the Bible (2 Kings 18:13; Isaiah 36:1) places it in the 14th year of Hezekiah, only eight or nine years after the fall of Samaria, which took place in the sixth year of this king, 714 b.C. A reconciliation of these very diverse dates seems at present impossible; and as there is a great number of Assyrian inscriptions which agree in assigning the great Egypto-Palestinian expedition of Sennacherib to the fourth year of his reign (that is, as he must have reigned 705–681, to the year 701), it seems necessary to abandon the biblical date as incorrect, and to substitute for the 14th the 27th or 28th year of Hezekiah as the date of the event. A further chronological difference appears to open between the Bible and the inscriptions with regard to the embassy of the Babylonian king Merodach-baladan to Hezekiah (2 Kings 20:12 ff.; Isaiah 39:1 ff.). If we hold this Merodach-baladan (Assyro - Babylonian, Marduk-habal-iddina, “Merodach bestowed the son”; see Schrader, p. 213) to be identical with the Μαρδοκέμπαδος of the Ptolemaic canon, the fifth king of Babylon according to this document, the whole transaction in question must, as the synchronism of the Assyrian inscriptions and of this canon determines the years 721–710 as the period of this monarch’s reign, be placed a number of years before the invasion of Sennacherib, on the presumption that this fell in 701. And even if we take, not that Mardokempad (or Marduk-habal-iddina), but a later sovereign of the same name reigning only a short time (six months), mentioned by Berosus (or Alexander Polyhistor) in Eusebius, Chron. Armen. i. p. 19, edit. Mai, for the Merodach-baladan of Holy Scripture, as is done by Winer, Knobel, Hitzig, and recently by Schrader (p. 213 ff.), yet the reign even of this second Merodach falls before 701, namely, according to the canon of Ptolemy, in the year 704 or 703. The transposition of the reports in question seems therefore unavoidable. The statement in Isaiah 39:0 (and 2 Kings 20:12 ff.) concerning Hezekiah’s display of his treasures before the ambassadors of Babylon must apparently be placed, with Oppert (“Die biblische chronologie, festgestellt nach den assyrischen Keilinschriften,” in the Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenl. Gesellschaft, 1869, p. 137 ff.), Delitzsch (Komment. zu Jes. 2d edit. 1869), Diestel (on Knobel’s Isaiah , 4 th edit.), and Schrader (Keilinschriften, p. 218), before the account in Isaiah 36 f. Isaiah 36:2 Kings 18 f.) of the expedition of Sennacherib, say about ten years, or (with Schrader) at least two or three years; and the full treasure-chambers which Hezekiah shows to the ambassadors must be regarded as those which Sennacherib had not yet emptied (2 Kings 18:13 ff.), not (with Keil, Knobel, Thenius, Bähr, Neteler, and others) as replenished from the booty left on the part of the hastily retreating army of Sennacherib, nor even as remaining sufficiently full notwithstanding the contribution imposed by the Assyrians.—The question, whether we are warranted or necessitated by the diverging dates of the monuments of profane history to assume so important chronological inaccuracies or perversions in the biblical sources, that is, in the here substantially agreeing reports of the second book of Kings, the book of Isaiah, and Chronicles, should scarcely be decided so hastily and unceremoniously in favour of the former testimonies, as has been done by Schrader (p. 292 ff.), in accordance with Diestel (pp. 169, 325), Rohling (in the Literar. Handweiser für das Kathol. Deutschland, 1872, No. 124), and others. With regard, also, to the wide differences between the Assyrian and biblical chronology before the reign of Hezekiah, which amount,22 in the estimate of Assyriologists, sometimes to forty or fifty years, the greatest possible precaution and reserve is to be recommended in drawing conclusions unfavourable to the authority of Holy Scripture. For if not in the way proposed by Oppert (according to which a break in the list of Assyrian eponyms for nearly fifty years would have to be assumed, and the great difference for this early period derived therefrom; which, however, Schrader, in the Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenl. Gesellschaft, vol. 2 Chronicles 25:0 : p. 449 ff., declares to be inadmissible23), yet in some other way, sooner or later, a greater approximation of the divergent testimonies might easily be accomplished, and so the difference of the dates at least considerably reduced—just as the chronological deviations of the Egyptian monuments from the biblical statements were formerly held by many Egyptologists to be more considerable than is now generally the case, after a more thorough and extensive investigation of the existing sources. Neteler has made an attempt, in several respects untenable and precipitate, to reconcile the divergences on both sides in the parts of his Commentary on Chronicles that refer to chronology (pp. 195 ff., 224 ff, 263 ff.), in which he brings down the reigns of the Israelitish and Jewish kings from the division of the kingdom (which he dates at 933 instead of 975 b.C.) to Zedekiah by several decennia (from Josiah at least by several years), and accordingly makes Jehu reign 846–819, Uzziah 786–735, Ahaz 720–705, Hezekiah 706–678 (from 692 with his son Manasseh as co-regent), Josiah 637–607. That this attempt, as well on the biblical side—here chiefly by arbitrary assuming of various co-regencies, as of Amaziah with his father Joash, of Uzziah with Amaziah, of Hezekiah with Ahaz, and of Manasseh with Hezekiah—as on the Assyriologic, rests on several untenable presuppositions (in the latter respect, for example, on the long-since refuted” opinion of the identity of Sargon with Shalmaneser), needs no further demonstration. Comp. Schrader’s critical counter remark in his review of Neteler’s commentary in the Literarischen Centralblatt of the year 1872. As little can we certainly regard the onesided chronology of Schrader, founded on the Assyrian documents, as absolutely satisfactory, especially as it involves not a few uncertainties, and often rests on documents not yet fully interpreted.24
 Kethib: זְוָעָה (as in Jeremiah 15:4, etc.); Keri: זַֽעֲוָה (as, for example, in Deuteronomy 28:25).
For the name יְהַלֶּלְאֵל the Sept., c. Al., gives ̓Ιαλλήλ; c. Vat., ’Iλαλεήλ; Vulg., Jalaleel.
 Kethib: “Jeuel”; Keri: “Jeiel”; comp. 1 Chronicles 9:35, and elsewhere.
 Kethib: “Jehuel”; keri: “Jehiel”. The latter form in 2 Chronicles 31:13 is the kethib.
The Sept. does not express the וְ before עַל־יְדֵי. The Vulg. and Syr. appear to have read it, but render very freely.
 kethib: מחצצרים; Keri: מחצרים; as in 1 Chronicles 15:24; 2 Chronicles 5:12; 2 Chronicles 7:6; 2 Chronicles 13:14.
The Sept., Vulg., and apparently the Syr., though it translates rather freely, give up here the Masoretic division of the verse, and join יְבַפֵּר בְּעַד immediately with the following verse. So also R. Kimchi, and after him most of the moderns.
For וַיֹּאבְלוּ, “and they ate,” the Sept. appears to have read וַֽיְבַלּוּ (χαὶ συνετέλεσαν).
The וְ before הַֽלְּוִיִּם in some mss., and in the old versions (Sept., Vulg., Syr.), seems a gloss from 2 Chronicles 30:25. Comp. for the asyndeton: “the priests, the Levites,” for example, 2 Chronicles 23:18.
For לשׁמים some mss. and old prints have השׁמים (accus. of direction).
For מַֽעֲשֵׂר קָדָשִׁים the Sept. (ἐπιδεκατα αἰγῶν καὶ ἡγίασαν) seems to have read וָעֵז וְהַקָּדָשִים, and so named “goats” also along with oxen and sheep.
For בּוֹנַנְיָהוּ the Kethib has twice (2 Chronicles 31:12-13) בָּנַנְיָהוּ (so also Luther).
Instead of בְּתוֹךְ־הָאָרֶץ the Sept. has read בְּתוֹךְ־הָעִיר; but the Masoretic reading is to be preferred on real grounds; comp. 2 Chronicles 32:30; 2 Kings 20:20; Sir 48:17.
For וַיַּעַל עַל־מִנְדָּלוֹת (Words which the Sept. leaves untranslated), from the et exstruxit turres desuper of the Vulg., וַיַּעַל עָלֶיהָ מִגְדָּלוֹת seems to have originally stood in the text (Ew., Keil, Kamph., etc.).
The Kethib מיציאו is miswritten for מִיצִיאֵי (contracted from מִן and יְציאֵי, constr. pl. of יָצִיא), a form like מִילידֵי, 1 Chronicles 20:4
Some mss. place אֹיְבָיו after מִיַּד־כֹּל, a supplement which, unnecessary in itself, is not confirmed by the Sept. or Vulg.
The Sept. (καὶ μάνδρας εἰς τὰ ποίμνια) appears to have had another reading; perhaps also the Vulg. (caulasque pecorum); comp. Luther’s translation: “and folds for the sheep.”
 Kethib: וַיְּשְּׁרֵם (Pi.); Keri: וַיַּשְּׁרֵם (Pi. contracted).
We refer especially to the writings of Phil. krementz (Present Bishop of Braunsberg),—The Old Testament as the Type of the New (Coblenz, 1863); Israel the Type of the Church, attempt to elucidate the history of Christianity by the typical history of Israel (Mainz, 1865); The Gospel in the Book of Genesis, or the Life of Jesus typified by the History of the Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph (Coblenz, 1867); The Life of Jesus the prophecy of the History of His Church (Freiburg, 1869): likewise to such works as that of the barefooted Carmelite Carl St. Aloysius, The History of Man, a Divine Work of Creation on the Region of the Moral World (Würzburg, 1861), and so forth. A useful counterpart to the extravagances of these works, with their paralienstic trifling, is pointed our by W. J. Thiersch: Genesis, according to its Moral and prophetical Import (Frankfurt a M. 1869).
Compare the remarks of Rudelbach on the typical relation of the Old Testament prophets to the Reformers in several of his writings; for example, in Reformation, Lutherthum, and Union; in his biography of Savonarola (p. 283 ff.); in the treatise, Die Grundtwig’sche Theorie und die Lutherische Kirche (in the Zeitschrift für die gesammte lutherische Theologie, 1857, i. p. 12). To this should be added the far and wide custom since the Reformation itself (for example, in Zwinglius in his letter ad Zasium, in Melanchthon, etc.) of drawing parallels between Luther and such prophets of the first rank as Elijah, Isaiah, etc. Comp. also Ewald, Geschichte des Volkes Israel, iii.1, pp. 321, 341.
This relation of the Shalmaneser of 2 Kings to the Sargon of Isaiah 20:0, Oppert and Schrader (Stud. und Krit. 1870. p. 527 ff.: 1871, p. 679 ff.) have now finally established, against the identity or only nominal diversity of these two governors asserted by many (M. v. Niebuhr Dunker, Sayce, Riehm, ect.). Comp. also Diestel, in Knobel’s Isaiah , 4 th edit. p. 169.
Comp. the juxtaposition of some of the biblical with the corresponding Assyrian dates, as they are presented by Schrader, p. 299.
(battle at Karkar)
(reign of Ahab)
(payment of tribute)
( ” of Jehu)
(at war with Tiglath-pileser)
( ” of Uzziah)
(payment of tribute)
( ” of Menahem)
(conquered by Tiglath-pileser)
( ” of Jehu)
(last year in which Aus’ih paid tributet Tiglath-pileser)
( ” of Hosea)
Fall of Samaria,
(fall of Samaria)
(expedition of Sennacherib)
(expedition of Sennacherib)
(payment of tribute)
(reign of Manasseh).
After differing at first about forty or fifty years, then about twenty or thirty, the Assyrian Chronology merges into the biblical in Hosea; in the fall of Samaria the two reckonings coincide; and so mainly in the reign of Manasseh; but with regard to the expedition of Sennacherib, a deviation of full thirteen years again takes place.
Comp. also Die Keilinschriften und das Alte Testament, p. 300 f.: “By this (granted that such an assumption [as the break of the list of eponyms for forty-seven years] were admissible) the difference between the Bible and the monuments would be expunged so far as the times of Ahab and Jehu are concerned; but john would have paid his tribute, which, according to Oppert’s calculation, must have been presented in the year 888, four years before his accession to the throne, 884. But in the time of Azariah and Menahem the omission of the forty-seven years would produce a still greater gap; at the most, twenty or thirty years would have to be cast off. etc.. . . And besides,. . . this whole notion of a break in the list of eponyms is untenable, and, irrespective of its internal improbability, is simply weecked on the parallel lists of reigns and the rotation of officers, extending over from the one reign to the other, which is thereby preserved to us.
Comp., as the most recent attempt at a critical chronology of this period, the treatise of H. Brand: Die Königs reihen von Juda und Israel nach den bibl. Berichten und den Keilinschriften, Leipzig 1873.
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Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 32". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany