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Bible Commentaries

Expositor's Dictionary of Texts

2 Chronicles 20

Verses 1-37

2 Chronicles 20:26

The word valley is a poem in itself; it is associated with a great deal that is beautiful, comforting, and that gives the soul a sense of security and plentifulness. The Bible is full of valleys, as it is full of wells. You know this beautiful land of the mountain and the stream and the great flood and the green sward and the unexpected garden and the great and terrible wilderness oh, that world of sand, that foe that mocks the spring, and smites the summer as a woman might be smitten on the cheekbone.

I. What is this valley of Berachah? In some senses I do not care much for it; I know it means the valley of blessing, and that the people, in whom I have not the slightest confidence at all, sang themselves hoarse in the valley of Berachah, because they were fed like oxen that were to be slaughtered. I suspect some things, I have no respect for anthems simply in themselves considered; I must know their history, their meaning, their ultimate purpose. There is a better time for singing than the time of all this commercial aggrandizement and secular comfort. One little song of patience is worth the whole of this blaring noise; a sigh may be vaster in its meaning than an anthem; yet there was a victory; the victory was in some sort divinely guided and secured. There are fruits of war which may be legitimately gathered by those who have won them by strategy or skill or sharp sword; all that may be true, but I do not care for a national anthem that may not be through and through nationally honest.

II. There is another valley mentioned in Numbers 32:9 'the valley of Eshcol'. What valley is that? 'Tis the valley of grapes and summer fruits, all of which we may pluck, because it is the intent of Divine love that we should possess ourselves of such luxuriant vineyards. Do we not suddenly come upon the grapes intellectual, social, educational, spiritual? Is not hunger itself often surprised by unexpected plentifulness? Yet sometimes men cannot believe even in this uncrushed wine of the grape; they will hasten home and say, Do not, we beseech thee, venture in that direction; grapes enough there may be, even to abundance, but we had better remain where we are; can a man live upon grapes? we cannot deny the purple fruit, yea, some of the people have brought large bunches of the grapes to show us what a fruitful land is beyond; but on the whole is it not better to remain where we are? Thus enthusiasm is killed, and all daring, high exploit, and noble endeavour. Ambition may be perverted, but ambition may be one of the forms or aspects of inspiration. We want the true spies that say to us, We have seen a land worth going to; it grows life, it is warm with summer, it is boundless with an illimitable hospitality. Young souls, do not be frightened by the man sitting next you, for he is no man, he is hardly a figure in wax.

III. In Hosea there is a glorious valley 'the valley of Achor' (II.15). What is the meaning of Achor in this connexion? what is its broad significance, without going into the immediate geographical detail? what is the broad spiritual interpretation of Achor? It may be given in two little words, each word a syllable, one of the words a letter: 'a door of hope'. Behold, I have set before thee a door of hope; I have given thee a new beginning, new chances, new opportunities, new mornings; this is not the end, this is the beginning; there is the great wall, go grope in blindness, but with finger-tips that can see; thou wilt in that great blank wall find a door; it is there, I made it, I made it for thee; I know the blankness of the wall, but on my word go thou forth and grope for the door, the Achor that will give thee visions beyond big as horizons, big as firmaments, big as outlined heavens: go forth in the spirit of hope. We are saved by hope. The voice of the Christian religion is a voice of hope. Realize that, and live as if you believed it.

IV. In the book of Isaiah we have a beautiful valley; in chap. 22:1 we read about 'the valley of vision'. That is a large valley, that valley is worth living in. To live with people who have always seen new lights, new possibilities, and new and brighter interpretations than have ever been realized before; that is companionship, that is resurrection. Who cares for these dullards who never see new lights, new companions, and the outlines of new springs and summers in the morning sky?

V. Can Ezekiel be alive and not take his position in this great question of valleys? Ezekiel saw a valley, it was a valley of dry bones. It was an awful valley, a valley of dead men's bones, a valley of death, filled not with the sheeted dead, but with those that had, so to say, been blown to pieces by some great wind of contempt; and the Lord said, 'Son of man, can these bones live?' And the son of man said, 'O Lord God, Thou knowest'. The wisest answer to every Divine inquiry: refer the question back; let Him who propounds the problem solve it.

Joseph Parker, City Temple Pulpit, vol. III. p. 118.

References. XX. 26. R. F. Horton, Lyndhurst Road Pulpit, p. 1. XX. 35-37. B. D. Johns, Pulpit Notes, p. 138. XXI. 20. T. Champness, New Coins from Old Gold, p. 128. XXIV. 1-25. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xl. No. 2365. XXIV. 2, 17. A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture 2 Kings, Chronicles, etc., p. 184. XXIV. 2, 17, 18. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xl. No. 2365. XXIV. 4-14. A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture, 2 Kings, Chronicles, etc., p. 191. XXIV. 4, 5, 13. A. Phelps, The Old Testament a Living Book for All Ages, p. 67. XXIV. 20. R. F. Horton, Christian World Pulpit, vol. lxii. 1902, p. 217. XXV. 2. J. Thain Davidson, The City Youth, p. 253. XXV. 9. A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture 2 Kings, Chronicles, etc., p. 199. E. Browne, Some Moral Proofs of the Resurrection, p. 114. C. Garrett, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xli. 1892, p. 225. F. E. Clark, Christian World Pulpit, vol. lviii. 1900, p. 33. XXVI. 16-20. A. Phelps, The Old Testament a Living Book for All Ages, p. 79.

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Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 20". Expositor's Dictionary of Text. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/edt/2-chronicles-20.html. 1910.