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THE CELEBRATION OF THE PASSOVER.
1. Hezekiah sent to all Israel Already had he caused an atonement to be made for “all Israel,” (2 Chronicles 29:24,) and now he seeks by special invitations to urge the several tribes of the northern kingdom to unite with Judah at the ancient temple in keeping the passover. Ephraim and Manasseh, though a part of all Israel, are specifically mentioned because of their historical importance.
To keep the passover in the second month The law expressly allowed those to keep the passover in the second month who, for special reasons, were unable to keep it in the first. Those reasons were uncleanness by reason of a dead body, and absence on a journey afar off. See Numbers 9:10-11. At that time, that is, in the first month, both these reasons, virtually, prevented most of the nation from holding the passover, because the priests had not sanctified themselves sufficiently, neither had the people gathered themselves together to Jerusalem. So the priests were ceremonially unclean, and the people were absent.
5. They had not done it of a long time לרב , here rendered of a long time, means rather, in a multitude, or in great numbers. The sense of the passage is, that the Israelites of the whole land had not observed the passover in a great multitude, as directed in the law. The law required the excision of every one who neglected the passover. Numbers 9:13.
6. The posts Hebrew, the runners; probably officers of the royal bodyguard.
The remnant of you, that are escaped out of the hand of the kings of Assyria This passage by no means necessarily implies the downfall of the northern kingdom, nor does any thing in the history of this passover necessitate or require the conclusion of Keil, that it was held subsequent to the final captivity of the ten tribes; for Pul, and Tiglath-pileser, (1 Chronicles 5:26,) and Shalmaneser, (2 Kings 17:3,) had carried many Israelites into exile before the first year of Hezekiah’s reign.
10. They laughed them to scorn They had no mind for reunion, and years of alienation and false worship had prepared them to treat with derision Hezekiah’s proposition.
11. Nevertheless, divers of Asher and Manasseh and of Zebulun… came to Jerusalem Also, as appears from 2 Chronicles 30:18, certain representatives of Ephraim and Issachar were present, so that, with Judah and Benjamin, at least seven of the ancient tribes were represented at this passover.
14. Took away the altars that were in Jerusalem That is, the numerous idolatrous altars that had been erected by Ahaz. 2 Chronicles 28:24.
15. The priests and the Levites were ashamed Because of their uncleanness and their lack of zeal for Jehovah’s worship. The zeal of others, and the thought of their own tendency to idolatry, put them to the blush. In 2 Chronicles 30:3, and 2 Chronicles 29:34, we learn that the delinquents were chiefly priests; but here it appears that there were Levites also who had not sufficiently sanctified themselves.
Sanctified themselves Or, had sanctified themselves; that is, previously to the fourteenth day of the month, so that they were ceremonially fit on that day to minister in the passover offerings.
Into the house of the Lord Into the court of burnt offerings, where the brazen altar stood.
16. They stood in their place after their manner Priest and Levite occupied each his prescribed place, and performed each his prescribed work according to the law the priests to sprinkle the blood, (see Leviticus 1:5; Leviticus 3:2,) the Levites to assist in any work that might be required. In the present instance the Levites killed the paschal victims. 2 Chronicles 30:17. “According to the Mishna, the custom was for the priests to stand in two rows extending from the altar to the outer court, where the people were assembled. As each offerer slew his lamb the blood was caught in a basin, which was handed to the nearest priest, who passed it on to his neighbour, and he to the next; the blood was thus conveyed to the altar, at the base of which it was thrown by the last priest in the row. While basins full of blood were thus passed up, empty basins were passed down in a constant succession, so that there was no pause or delay.” Rawlinson.
17. The Levites had the charge of the killing This was because the people were not sufficiently sanctified to slay their own paschal lambs. Ordinarily the offerer slew his own victim.
18. Many of Ephraim and Manasseh, Issachar and Zebulun, had not cleansed themselves Being at a distance and unfamiliar with the ceremonial requirements, they had nevertheless responded to Hezekiah’s call, (2 Chronicles 30:11,) and the king decided that in their case an exception should be made, and he accordingly prayed the Lord to pardon the defect. In this prayer of Hezekiah we note that loftier view of worship which discerns, in the pure desire of an humble heart, something better than bondage to the mere letter of the law.
20. Healed the people Their ceremonial and moral defilement is spoken of as a sickness. They were healed of their religious infirmity.
22. Hezekiah spake comfortably unto all the Levites Hebrew, spoke to the heart. He spoke encouraging and cheering words to them, commending their zeal and wisdom.
That taught the good knowledge of the Lord Rather, who were proficient in a good understanding of Jehovah; that is, well skilled to perform their part of the sanctuary service.
26. Since the time of Solomon… there was not the like in Jerusalem At the dedication of the temple Solomon had held a feast fourteen days, (chap. 2 Chronicles 7:9,) and probably this was the first time since then that any feast had been continued fourteen days in Jerusalem. Neither had there been since Solomon’s day a passover at which so many of the tribes had been represented, and over which there had been such enthusiasm and general joy.
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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 30". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://studylight.org/
the Fifth Week after Epiphany