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2 CHRONICLES CHAPTER 30
Hezekiah proclaimeth a solemn passover for Judah and Israel, 2 Chronicles 30:1-12.
They, having destroyed the altars of idolatry, keep the feast fourteen days, 2 Chronicles 30:13-26.
The priests and Levites bless the people, 2 Chronicles 30:27.
To all Israel; whereby he understands all the persons of the ten tribes, who were now settled in his kingdom; as appears by their contradistinction to Ephraim and Manasseh here following. To Ephraim and Manasseh, i.e. to all the remainders of the ten tribes, 2 Chronicles 30:5, who ave here synecdochically expressed by the names of Ephraim and Manasseh, as elsewhere by the name of Ephraim only. But he names these two tribes, because they were nearest to his kingdom, and a great number of them had long since, and from time to time, joined themselves to the kingdom of Judah, 2 Chronicles 15:8,2 Chronicles 15:9, and therefore he had most hopes of success amongst them. That they should come to the house of the Lord at Jerusalem; admonishing them of their duty to God, and persuading them to comply with it.
Which was against the common rule and practice, but was justified by that supreme law of necessity, and by a just impediment, which made the doing of this in its proper time, to wit, the fourteenth day of the first month, impossible, because the temple was not cleansed nor they prepared till that time was past, 2 Chronicles 29:3,2 Chronicles 29:17. Compare Numbers 9:10,Numbers 9:11.
They could not keep it at that time, which God had appointed for it, Exodus 12:6; one reason whereof was evident in itself, because the temple was not then purified and prepared; to which he adds two other reasons.
The priests had not sanctified themselves sufficiently, to wit, in such manner and degree as was fit, nor in such numbers as were necessary for the flaying and offering of so many thousands of paschal offerings, as appears, because they were not sufficient for those offerings, which were comparatively few, 2 Chronicles 29:32-34.
Neither had the people gathered themselves together to Jerusalem; as they used and ought to do at that time from all places; which now they could not do, because neither the thing was agreed upon, nor the people summoned thither, till the proper time was past.
They established a decree; they fixed this resolution. In such sort as it was written, i. e. so as God had commanded them to do it, to wit, that all the males in Israel should do it; which express command of God they ought to have obeyed, rather than the wicked commands or edicts of men to the contrary; which was both the judgment and practice of the priests and Levites, and other godly Israelites, as is manifest from 2 Chronicles 15:8, &c.
To wit, Pul and Tilgath-pilneser, who had carried their brethren away captives, 2 Kings 15:19,2 Kings 15:29; 1 Chronicles 5:26; 2 Chronicles 28:20.
Yield yourselves unto the Lord, Heb. give the hand to him, i.e. submit yourselves to him by obeying his command, and renew your covenant with him; both which things were done amongst men by this ceremony of giving the hand. See 1 Chronicles 29:24; Ezra 10:19; Ezekiel 17:18.
Which he hath sanctified for ever; not for a transient and temporary use, but as long as the state and church of Israel had a being, whatsoever alterations should happen therein.
They laughed, i.e. the generality of the ten tribes; who by long want of meat had now lost all their appetite to God’s ordinances, and from a neglect were now fallen into a contempt and derision of them; for which they paid dear. For about six years after their refusal of this offer of grace they were all carried captive, 2 Kings 18:1,2 Kings 18:10.
i.e. God by the power of his grace inclined their hearts to a unanimous compliance with God’s and the king’s will. And this is mentioned as the reason of this wonderful change wrought in these men, who had lately been utterly averse from God’s worship, and wholly given up to idolatry; as was noted before on 2 Chronicles 29:36.
The altars, to wit, of burnt-offerings; because they are distinguished from the altars of incense here following; both which were removed and destroyed, partly because all the Israelites were confined to the altars of the temple, and partly because these altars were erected to idols.
The priests and the Levites were ashamed; their negligence and remissness being upbraided by the great and general alacrity and forwardness of the people.
The priests sprinkled the blood of the sacrifices upon the altar, Leviticus 1:5. Which they received of the hand of the Levites, who flayed and killed the sacrifices which the priests, if they had been sanctified, should have done, as it was observed before, 2 Chronicles 29:34.
That were not sanctified; that had more desire to come to the passover, than care and diligence to cleanse and prepare themselves for it. Now these persons were either,
1. The priests, who were before taxed with uncleanness and unpreparedness. Or rather,
2. The people, as is implied in the word
congregation, and expressed in the next verse, and confirmed by the reason here following.
The Levites had the charge of the killing, because many of the people were unclean, and therefore many more sacrifices were to be offered for their purification than the priests could kill. Of the passovers, i.e. either,
1. The paschal lambs: which the Levites here offered, because of the impurity of many of the masters of families, who otherwise, as some think, should have killed the paschal lambs in their own houses, Exodus 12:3. Or,
2. The other sacrifices which accompanied the passover, which also are called by the same name, as is evident from Deuteronomy 16:2,Deuteronomy 16:3, where See Poole "Deuteronomy 16:2", See Poole "Deuteronomy 16:3"; which the Levites here killed for the reason now mentioned.
For every one that was not clean; so far as they could make any discovery of their uncleanness, either by their own confession, or otherwise. But there were many whose uncleannesses were not known, and therefore did not cleanse themselves, as is said, 2 Chronicles 30:18, as they ought to have done.
Otherwise than it was written: they had so eager a desire to partake of this ordinance, that, rather than neglect it, they would venture upon it with some ceremonial uncleanness upon them.
i.e. With that ceremonial purification which was required of them that came into God’s sanctuary. So he calls it, to distinguish from that moral and internal purity which they are here acknowledged to have.
From their uncleanness; which itself was a spiritual disease, and which probably produced a disease, or distemper, or trouble in their minds and consciences; which also had formerly brought, and might justly now bring, even outward diseases upon the body, or, at least, guilt, which is a disease upon the soul; from all which the Lord was pleased now to heal them, by pardoning this their sin, and accepting them and their services, as if they had been clean; which it is likely God was pleased to manifest by some outward sign, possibly by fire from heaven consuming the sacrifices; which was the usual token of God’s approbation, as hath been formerly noted more than once.
Spake comfortably unto all the Levites; encouraged them to a cheerful and diligent attendance upon their holy ministrations by the promise of his favour and utmost care for them, which he faithfully performed, 2 Chronicles 31:4, &c.
That taught the good knowledge of the Lord; who by their office were to instruct and build up the people in the knowledge and fear of God; which is mentioned as the cause of his respect and kindness to them, which was for their work’s sake, as it is said, 1 Thessalonians 5:13.
Making confession: either,
1. Confessing their sins; which work was to accompany many of their sacrifices; of which see Leviticus 5:5; Leviticus 16:21. Or rather,
2. Confessing God’s goodness, or praising of God, which oft goes under this name, as 1 Chronicles 16:8,1 Chronicles 16:24, which also seems to be more proper work for this season of joy.
Not in the same manner as they had done the former, with offering new paschal lambs, and eating only unleavened bread, (of which there is not the least intimation in the text,) but only in the solemn worship of God, by sacrifices, and prayers, and praises, and public instruction of that great congregation in the good knowledge of the Lord; which was so dear to Hezekiah, 2 Chronicles 30:22, and at this time most seasonable and necessary for the people, after so long and dismal a night of ignorance, superstition, and idolatry, as both Israel and Judah had been involved in.
Hezekiah did give to the congregation; first to God, to whom the parts appointed were offered in way of thanksgiving; and then to the people, who feasted upon the relics, as the offerer used to do in peace-offerings; and Hezekiah, who was the offerer, gave away his right in the remains of the sacrifices to the people.
A thousand bullocks and seven thousand sheep; which generosity is the more considerable, because it was in the beginning of his reign, when he found the royal exchequer exhausted and empty; and when he had been at great expense about the cleansing and refitting of the temple, and making preparations for this great feast.
A great number of priests sanctified themselves; having now both more time and further need of sanctifying themselves to offer these numerous sacrifices.
The priests the Levites; those of the Levites who were priests also; for to them only this work belonged, 1 Chronicles 23:13. Or, the priests and the Levites; for as the Levites did some other part of the priests’ work at this time, it is not strange if they did this also. Or the priests might bless by solemn pronunciation of the blessing, and the Levites by their acclamations, or with their musical instruments.
Blessed the people; either commended them for their great zeal and diligence in God’s service; or rather, solemnly prayed to God to bless them; and their prayer was not in vain, as the following words show.
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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 30". Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Fourth Week after Epiphany