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2 KINGS CHAPTER 16
Ahaz’s idolatry, 2 Kings 16:1-4.
Rezin king of Syria, and Pekah king of Israel, war against him: he hireth Tiglath-pileser against them, 2 Kings 16:5-9.
Ahaz goeth to Damascus to meet the king of Assyria; seeth an altar; the pattern whereof he sends to Urijah, who maketh one like it at Jerusalem: Ahaz sacrificeth on it, 2 Kings 16:10-16.
He spoileth the temple: Hezekiah succeedeth him, 2 Kings 16:17-20.
In the seventeenth year of Pekah; of which See Poole "2 Kings 15:30".
Twenty years old was Ahaz when he began to reign: of the difficulty hence arising, See Poole "2 Kings 18:2", to which it more properly belongs.
Made his son to pass through the fire; either,
1. By way of lustration, to pass hastily through it, so as to be scorched, and, as it were, baptized with it. Or,
2. By way of oblation, so as to be utterly consumed, and offered for a burntoffering, which was the practice of heathens, and of some Israelites, in imitation of them; of which see 2 Kings 21:6; Psalms 105:35; Jeremiah 7:31; which seems best to agree with 2 Chronicles 28:3, where it is said he burnt his children, i.e., some of them; first one, as is here noted; and afterwards others of them, as is there observed. Of these practices, see more on Leviticus 18:21; Deuteronomy 18:10.
After the manner of the heathens: See Poole "Deuteronomy 12:2"; See Poole "Jeremiah 2:20"; See Poole "Hosea 4:13".
Because God of his own mere grace undertook their protection, as he promised to do, and disappointed the hopes and design of their enemies; of which see on Isaiah 7:0.
Recovered Elath, i.e. took it from the Jews, who had not long since taken it, 2 Kings 14:22. It lay in the land of Edom, upon the Red Sea, very conveniently for navigation; of which See Poole "1 Kings 9:26".
I am thy servant and thy son; I yield myself to thee, as thy vassal, to serve and obey thee, and pay thee tribute, upon condition thou dost assist me against my enemies.
Out of the hand of the king of Syria, and out of the hand of the king of Israel; for though they were now gone from Jerusalem, yet he justly concluded they would return again, and from time to time molest and vex him.
Against Damascus, the metropolis of the Syrians, and the head of that kingdom, Isaiah 7:8; as was prophesied, Amos 1:5.
Kir; not Kir of Moab, Isaiah 15:1, but a part of Media, which then was subject to the king of Assyria.
To meet Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria; to congratulate his victory, and acknowledge his favour and help, and to beg the continuance of it.
Saw an altar of an excellent structure, upon which the Syrians used to offer to their idols: see 2 Chronicles 28:23.
So he complied with the king’s command against his own conscience, and against the express command of that great God, to which the king and he both were subject. He made haste, and delayed not to do it, to please the king, and advance himself.
To wit, a sacrifice, and that not unto God, but unto the Syrian idols, as appears from 2 Chronicles 28:23,2 Chronicles 28:24, to whom that altar was appropriated. Whether he offered by himself, or by a priest, is not certain.
For the heathens, and Ahaz, in imitation of them, offered the same sorts of offerings to their false gods which the Israelites did to the true, the devil being noted to be God’s ape in his worship.
The brazen altar of burnt-offerings, made by Solomon, and placed there by God’s appointment. Which was before the Lord, i.e. from before the Lord’s house: See Poole "Leviticus 1:3". From between the altar and the house of the Lord; or rather, from between his altar, &c., or, that altar, &c. His new altar was at first set below the brazen altar, and at a further distance from the temple. This he took for a disparagement to his altar; and therefore most impiously and audaciously takes that away, and puts his in its place.
On the north side of the altar; or, of that altar; or, of his altar; as before. So he put God’s altar out of its place and use.
Upon the great altar, i.e. this new altar; which was greater than Solomon’s, either in quantity, or in his estimation. Whatsoever is offered to the true God, either in my name, (for possibly he did not yet utterly forsake God, but worshipped idols with him,) or on the behalf of the people, shall be offered upon this new altar; which he seems to prescribe not only to gratify his own humour, but also in design to discourage, and by degrees to extinguish, the worship of the true God; for he concluded that the worshippers of God would never be willing to offer their sacrifices upon his altar. The brazen altar shall be for me to inquire by; that shall be reserved for my proper use, to inquire by, i.e. at which I may seek God, or his favour, or inquire of his will, to wit, by sacrifices joined with prayer, when I shall see fit. He saith only to seek, or to inquire; not seek the Lord, or to inquire of the Lord, as the phrase is more largely expressed elsewhere; but he would not vouchsafe to mention the name of the Lord, whom he had so grossly forsaken and despised.
Having once began to debauch his conscience, he could not now make an honourable retreat; and therefore proceeds to execute all the king’s commands.
Which he did, either to express his contempt of them, or to render them inconvenient for the uses to which they had been designed; or to dispose of them, or of the brass of them, in some other place and way, as best suited with his fancy; or for the king of Assyria as it follows in the next verse.
The covert for the sabbath; the form and use whereof is now unknown. It is generally understood of some building or covert; either that where the priests, after their weekly course was ended, abode until the next course came and relieved them, which was done upon the sabbath day; see 2 Kings 11:5,2 Kings 11:7; or that in which the guard or watchmen of the temple kept their station; or that under which the king used to sit to hear God’s word, and see the sacrifices; which is called the covert of the sabbath, because the chief times in which the king used it for those ends was the weekly sabbath, and other solemn days of feasting, or fasting, (which all come under the name of sabbaths in the Old Testament,) upon which the king used more certainly and solemnly to present himself before the Lord than at other times.
The king’s entry without; by which the king used to go from his palace to the temple: See Poole "1 Kings 10:5,1 Kings 10:12".
For the king of Assyria, i.e. that he might ingratiate himself with the king of Assyria, by his public contempt and rejection of that religion which had been the only partition-wall between the kings of Judah and other kings; and which possibly the present king of Assyria did vehemently dislike and hate, and therefore required these things from Ahaz.
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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Kings 16". Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
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