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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
2 Chronicles 32

 

 

Verse 1

After these things, and the establishment thereof, Sennacherib king of Assyria came, and entered into Judah, and encamped against the fenced cities, and thought to win them for himself.

After these things, and the establishment thereof - ie the restoration of the temple worship The precise After these things, and the establishment thereof - i:e., the restoration of the temple worship. The precise date is given, 2 Kings 18:13. Bent on recovering the independence of his country, Hezekiah had determined to refuse to pay the tribute which his father had bound himself to pay to Assyria.

Sennacherib ... entered into Judah, and encamped against the fenced cities. The whole land was ravaged; the strong fortresses of Ashdod (Isaiah 20:1) and Lachish had fallen; the siege of Libnah had commenced; when the king of Judah, doubting his ability to resist, sent to acknowledge his fault, and offer terms of submission by paying the tribute. The commencement of this Assyrian war was disastrous to Hezekiah (2 Kings 18:13). But the misfortunes of the early period of the war are here passed over, as the historian hastens to relate the remarkable deliverance which God performed for his kingdom of Judah.


Verse 2

And when Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib was come, and that he was purposed to fight against Jerusalem,

When Hesekiah saw that Sennacherib ... was purposed to fight against Jerusalem. An account of the means taken to fortify Jerusalem against the threatened siege is given only in this passage. The polluting or filling up of wells, and the altering of the course of rivers, is an old practice that still obtains in the wars of the East. Hezekiah's plan was to cover the fountain-heads, so that they might not be discovered by the enemy, and to carry the water by subterranean channels or pipes into the city-a plan which, while it would secure a constant supply to the inhabitants, would distress the besiegers, as the country all round Jerusalem was very destitute of water.


Verse 3

He took counsel with his princes and his mighty men to stop the waters of the fountains which were without the city: and they did help him.

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 4

So there was gathered much people together, who stopped all the fountains, and the brook that ran through the midst of the land, saying, Why should the kings of Assyria come, and find much water? So there was gathered much people ... who stopped all the fountains, and the brook that ran through the midst of the land , [ nachal (Hebrew #5158) hashowTeep (Hebrew #7857)] - the torrent that overflowed or was flooded (cf. Psalms 46:4; Isaiah 8:6). 'Where these various fountains were, we have now no positive means of ascertaining; though Enrogel, and the spring now called the Virgin's Fount, may well he numbered among them. Josephus mentions the existence of various fountains without the city, but does not name any of them in this connection but Siloam. "The brook," however, is located with sufficient precision to enable us to trace it very definitely. We are told that "it ran through the midst of the land." Now, a stream, running through either the Kidron or Hinnom valley, could, in no proper sense, be said to run "through the midst of the land;" but one flowing through the true Gihon valley, and separating Akra and Zion from Bezetha, Moriah, and Ophel, as a stream once doubtless did, could, with special propriety, be said to run through the midst of the land on which the (Holy) City was built. And that this is the correct meaning of the phrase is not only apparent from the force of circumstances, but is positively so declared in the Septuagint, where, moreover, it is called a "river," which, at least, implies a much larger stream than the Kidron, and comports well with the marginal reading, where it is said to "overflow through the midst of the land." Previous to the interference of man, there was, no doubt, a very copious stream that gushed forth in the upper portion of that shallow, basin-like concavity north of Damascus Gate, which is unquestionably the upper extremity of the Gihon valley, and pursuing its meandering course through this valley, entered the Tyropoeon at its great southern curve, down which it flowed into the valley of the Kidron' (Barclay's 'City of the Great King').


Verse 5

Also he strengthened himself, and built up all the wall that was broken, and raised it up to the towers, and another wall without, and repaired Millo in the city of David, and made darts and shields in abundance.

He strengthened himself. He made a careful inspection of the city defenses for the purpose of repairing breaches in the wall here (cf. 2 Kings 14:13), renewing the masonry there, raising projecting machines to the towers, and especially fortifying the lower portion of Zion, i:e., Millo, '(in) the original city of David.' "In" is a supplement of our translators, and the text reads better without it, because it was not the whole city that was repaired, but only the lower portion of Zion, or the original "city of David."


Verse 6

And he set captains of war over the people, and gathered them together to him in the street of the gate of the city, and spake comfortably to them, saying,

He ... gathered them together ... in the street of the gate of the city , [ r


Verses 7-17

Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him: for there be more with us than with him:

No JFB commentary on these verses.


Verse 18

Then they cried with a loud voice in the Jews' speech unto the people of Jerusalem that were on the wall, to affright them, and to trouble them; that they might take the city.

They cried with a loud voice ... unto the people of Jerusalem ... on the wall. It appears that the wall on the west side of the city reached as far to the side of the uppermost pool of Gibon at that time as it does now, if not further; and the wall was so close to that pool, that those sent to negotiate with the Assyrian general answered him in their own tongue (see the note at 2 Kings 18:27).


Verse 19-20

And they spake against the God of Jerusalem, as against the gods of the people of the earth, which were the work of the hands of man.

No JFB commentary on these verses.


Verse 21

And the LORD sent an angel, which cut off all the mighty men of valour, and the leaders and captains in the camp of the king of Assyria. So he returned with shame of face to his own land. And when he was come into the house of his god, they that came forth of his own bowels slew him there with the sword. An angel ... cut off all the mighty men - (see the notes at 2 Kings 19:35-37.)


Verse 22-23

Thus the LORD saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib the king of Assyria, and from the hand of all other, and guided them on every side.

No JFB commentary on these verses.


Verse 24

In those days Hezekiah was sick to the death, and prayed unto the LORD: and he spake unto him, and he gave him a sign.

In those days Hezekiah was sick to the death, and prayed unto the Lord - (see the notes at 2 Kings 20:1-11.)

And he spake unto him, and he gave him a sign. [ wayo'mer (Hebrew #559) low (H3807a). This verb never signifies to speak with any one; it means to say, and is always followed by the thing said. Gesenius translates the words here. 'and He promised him' (namely, what Hezekiah had prayed for), or suggests that there is a hiatus between low (H3807a) and yo'mer (Hebrew #559).]


Verse 25

But Hezekiah rendered not again according to the benefit done unto him; for his heart was lifted up: therefore there was wrath upon him, and upon Judah and Jerusalem.

But Hezekiah rendered not again according to the benefit done unto him. The conduct of Hezekiah in showing his armoury and treasure-house to the Babylonian ambassadors might seem a trivial offence if offence at all, and not rather an act of common civility to strangers who had come from a distant country, or of respect to the sovereign who sent them. But in judging of actions the divine eye is especially fixed on the intention (2 Chronicles 32:31). In this respect Hezekiak failed. Either he valued himself too much on account of the signal tokens of divine favour he had received, as if they had been merited by his righteous conduct; or trusted in his riches, as if they could have proved the means of his defense; or perhaps he offended in both these respects. Whatever might be the particular ground of displeasure, God declared by the prophet Isaiah that he should be carried away captive, etc. (Isaiah 29:7-8.)

Then was wrath upon him.


Verse 26

Notwithstanding Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart, both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the LORD came not upon them in the days of Hezekiah.

Wrath ... came not upon them in the days of Hezekiah. For even the sincere repentance of the servants of God, after great transgressions, has not prevented, although it has sometimes delayed, the judicial visitation (cf. 1 Samuel 3:14; 2 Samuel 12:10-14) (see Jamieson's 'Sacred History,' 2:, 118).


Verse 27

And Hezekiah had exceeding much riches and honour: and he made himself treasuries for silver, and for gold, and for precious stones, and for spices, and for shields, and for all manner of pleasant jewels;

Hezekiah had exceeding much riches and honour - (cf. 2 Kings 20:13; Isaiah 39:2.) A great portion of his personal wealth, like that of David and Uzziah, consisted in immense possessions of agricultural and pastoral produce. Besides, he had accumulated large treasures in gold, silver, and precious things, which he had taken as spoils from the Philistines, and which he had received as presents from neighbouring states, among which he was held in great honour as a king under the special protection of heaven. Much of his great wealth he expended in improving capital, erecting forts, and promoting the internal benefit of his kingdom.


Verse 28-29

Storehouses also for the increase of corn, and wine, and oil; and stalls for all manner of beasts, and cotes for flocks.

No JFB commentary on these verses.


Verse 30

This same Hezekiah also stopped the upper watercourse of Gihon, and brought it straight down to the west side of the city of David. And Hezekiah prospered in all his works.

Stopped the ... water course of Gihon, and brought it ... to the west side of the city ... - (cf. 2 Kings 20:20.) Particular notice is here taken of the aqueduct, as among the greatest of Hezekiah's works. 'In exploring the subterranean channel conveying the water from Virgin's Fount to Siloam, I discovered a similar channel entering from the north, a few yards from its commencement; and on tracing it up near the Mugrabin Gate, where it became so choked with rubbish that it could be traversed no further, I there found it turned to the west, in the direction of the south end of the cleft, or saddle, of Zion; and if this channel was not constructed for the purpose of conveying the waters of Hezekiah's aqueduct, I am unable to suggest any purpose to which it could have been applied. Perhaps the reason why it was not brought down on the Zion side was that Zion was already well watered in its lower portion by the Great Pool, "the lower pool of Gihon." And accordingly Williams, "Holy City," renders this passage, "He stopped the upper out-flow of the waters of Gihon, and led them down westward to the city"' (Barclay's 'City of the Great King:' cf. Robinson's 'Biblical Researches,' 1:, p. 484; 'Tent and Khan,' p. 271; Porter's 'Handbook,' p. 135; Hardy's 'Notices of the Holy Land,' p. 141).

The construction of this aqueduct required not only masonic but engineering skill; because the passage was bored through a continuous mass of rock. Hezekiah's pool or reservoir, made to receive the water within the northwest part of the city, still remains. It is an oblong quadrangular tank, 240 feet in length, from 144 to 150 feet in breadth, but, from recent excavations, appears to have extended somewhat further toward the north. Tischendorf ('Travels in the East') calls it a Turkish bath. But it bears all the marks of a great antiquity.


Verse 31

Howbeit in the business of the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon, who sent unto him to inquire of the wonder that was done in the land, God left him, to try him, that he might know all that was in his heart.

In the business of the ambassadors ... They brought a present (2 Chronicles 32:23) (see the notes at 2 Kings 20:12-13), and a letter of congratulation on his recovery, in which particular inquiries were made about the miracle of the sun's retrocession-a natural phenomenon that could not fail to excite great interest and curiosity at Babylon, where astronomy was so much studied. At the same time there is reason to believe that they proposed a defensive league against the Assyrians.

God left him, to try him ... Hezekiah's offence was not so much in the display of his military stores and treasures, as in not giving to God the glory both of the miracle and of his recovery, and thus leading those pagan ambassadors to know Him.


Verse 32

Now the rest of the acts of Hezekiah, and his goodness, behold, they are written in the vision of Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, and in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel.

The rest of the acts of Hezekiah ... they are written in the vision of Isaiah the prophet ... and in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel. "And" being at supplement of our translators, it seems from the structure of the sentence that the chronicler intended only to refer to the narrative in 2 Kings, in which Isaiah's prophecy of deliverance is embodied.

 


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 32:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/2-chronicles-32.html. 1871-8.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, November 13th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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