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Bible Commentaries

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical
2 Chronicles 24

 

 

Verses 1-27

h. Joash: the Prophet Zechariah Son of Jehoiada.—Ch24

α. Reign of Joash under the Guidance of Jehoiada: Repair of the Temple: 2 Chronicles 24:1-14

2 Chronicles 24:1.Joash was seven years old when he became king; and he reigned forty years in Jerusalem: and his mother’s name was Zibiah of Beer-sheba 2 And Joash did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord all the days of 3 Jehoiada the priest. And Jehoiada chose for him two wives; and he begat sons and daughters.

4And it came to pass after this that it was in the heart of Joash to renew the house of the Lord 5 And he gathered the priests and the Levites, and said to them, Go out into the cities of Judah, and gather of all Israel money to repair the house of your God from year to year, and hasten ye the matter: but the Levites hastened it not 6 And the king called for Jehoiada the chief, and said unto him, Why hast thou not required of the Levites to bring in out of Judah and Jerusalem the tax of Moses the servant of the Lord, and of the 7 congregation of Israel, for the tent of witness? For Athaliah the wicked doer [ and] her sons[FN1] have broken up the house of God, and bestowed all the 8 consecrated things of the house of the Lord upon Baalim. And the king commanded, and they made a chest, and set it without at the gate of the 9 house of the Lord. And they proclaimed in Judah and Jerusalem, to bring in to the Lord the tax of Moses the servant of God upon Israel in the wilder ness 10 And all the princes and all the people were glad, and they brought 11 and cast into the chest, till it was full. And at the time when the chest was brought to the survey of the king by the Levites, and when they saw that there was much money, then went the king’s scribe and the officer of the head priest and emptied the chest, and took it, and carried it to its place again: thus they did day by day, and gathered money in abundance 12 And the king and Jehoiada gave it to the work-master of the service of the house of the Lord, and they hired masons and carpenters to renew the house of the Lord, and also smiths in iron and brass to repair the house of the Lord 13 And the workmen wrought, and furtherance was given to the work by their hand: and they set the house of God in its form, and strengthened it 14 And when they had finished, they brought before the king and Jehoiada the rest of the money, and they made of it vessels for the house of the lord, vessels for ministering and offering, and cups, and vessels of gold and silver: and they offered burnt-offerings in the house of the Lord continually all the days of Jehoiada.

β. Death of Jehoiada: Stoning of his Song of Solomon, the Prophet Zechariah: 2 Chronicles 24:15-22

15And Jehoiada was old and full of days, and he died; he was a hundred and thirty years old when he died 16 And they buried him in the city of David with the kings; for he had done good in Israel, and for God and His 17 house. And after the death of Jehoiada came the princes of Judah, and bowed down before the king: then the king hearkened unto them 18 And they left the house of the Lord God of their fathers, and served the Asherim and the idols: and wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for this their 19 trespass. And he sent prophets among them, to bring them back to the Lord; and they testified against them, and they did not give ear 20 And the Spirit of God clothed Zechariah son of Jehoiada the priest[FN2]; and he stood up before the people, and said unto them, Thus saith God, Why transgress ye the commandments of the Lord, and do not prosper? for ye have forsaken the Lord, and He has forsaken you 21 And they conspired against him, and stoned him by command of the king in the court of the house of the Lord 22 And Joash the king remembered not the kindness which Jehoiada had done to him, and slew his son: and when he died, he said, The Lord shall see and require.

γ. Distress of Joash by the Syrians, and his End: 2 Chronicles 24:23-27

23And it came to pass in the course of a year, that the host of Syria came up against him; and they came to Judah and Jerusalem, and destroyed all the princes of the people out of the people,[FN3] and sent all the spoil of them 24 unto the king to Damascus.[FN4] For the host of Syria came with few men; and the Lord gave into their hand a very great host, because they had forsaken the Lord God of their fathers: and they executed judgments upon Joash 25 And when they went from him, for they left him with many wounds, his servants conspired against him for the blood of the sons[FN5] of Jehoiada the priest, and slew him on his bed, and he died: and they buried him in the 26 city of David, but they buried him not in the sepulchres of the kings. And these were the conspirators against him: Zabad son of Shimath the Ammonitess, 27and Jehozabad son of Shimrith the Moabitess. And his sons, and the greatness[FN6] of the burden upon him, and the building of the house of God, behold, they are written in the commentary of the book of the Kings: and Amaziah his son reigned in his stead.

i. Amaziah.—Ch25

α. Duration of his Reign, and its Spirit: 2 Chronicles 25:1-4

2 Chronicles 25:1.Amaziah became king when twenty and five years old; and he reigned twenty and nine years in Jerusalem: and his mother’s name was Jehoaddan of Jerusalem 2 And he did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord, but 3 not with undivided heart. And it came to pass, when the kingdom was established to him, that he slew his servants who smote the king his father 4 But he put not their sons to death, but as it is written in the law in the book of Moses, as the Lord commanded, saying, The fathers shall not die for the sons, nor shall the sons die for the fathers; but every one shall die for his own sin.

β. The Conquest of the Edomites in the Valley of Salt: 2 Chronicles 25:5-13

5And Amaziah gathered Judah, and arranged them by father-houses, by captains of thousands and captains of hundreds, for all Judah and Benjamin: and he mustered them from twenty years old and upwards, and found them three hundred thousand choice men, going out to war, holding spear and 6 shield. And he hired out of Israel a hundred thousand mighty men of valour 7 for a hundred talents of silver. And a man of God came to him, saying, O king, let not the army of Israel go with thee; for the Lord is not with 8 Israel, with all the sons of Ephraim. But go thou; do, be strong for the battle; [ otherwise[FN7]] God shall make thee fall before the enemy; for with God is power to help and to cast down 9 And Amaziah said to the man of God, But what shall we do for the hundred[FN8] talents which I have given to the host of Israel? And the man of God said, It rests with the Lord to give 10 thee much more than this. And Amaziah separated them, to wit, the host that was come to him from Ephraim, to go to their place: and their anger was greatly kindled against Judah, and they returned to their place in hot 11 anger. And Amaziah took courage, and led forth his people, and went to 12 the valley of Salt, and smote of the sons of Seir ten thousand. And the sons of Judah took ten thousand alive, and brought them to the top of the rock, and cast them down from the top of the rock, and all of them 13 were broken in pieces. And the men of the host which Amaziah sent back from going with him to battle, fell upon the cities of Judah, from Samaria even to Beth-horon, and smote of them three thousand, and took much spoil.

γ. Amaziah’s Idolatry, War with Joash of Israel, and End: 2 Chronicles 25:14-28

14And it came to pass, after Amaziah was come from smiting the Edomites, that he brought the gods of the sons of Seir, and set them up for him as gods, 15and bowed down before them, and burnt incense to them. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Amaziah, and He sent unto him a prophet, who said to him, Why hast thou sought after the gods of the people, who did not deliver their own people out of thy hand? 16And it came to pass as he talked with him, that he said unto him, Have we made thee councillor to the king? Forbear; why should they smite thee? And the prophet forbare, and said, I know that God hath resolved to destroy thee, because thou hast 17 done this, and hast not hearkened to my counsel. And Amaziah king of Judah took counsel, and sent to Joash son of Jehoahaz, son of Jehu king of Israel, saying, Come,[FN9] let us look one another in the face 18 And Joash king of Israel sent to Amaziah king of Judah, saying, The thorn that was in Lebanon sent to the cedar that was in Lebanon, saying, Give thy daughter to my son to wife; and a beast of the field that was in Lebanon passed by and trampled on the thorn 19 Thou sayest, Lo, thou hast smitten Edom; and thy heart hath lifted thee up to boast: now abide at home; why provokest thou evil, that thou mayest fall, and Judah with thee?

20And Amaziah hearkened not; for it was of God that they might be given 21 up, because they sought after the gods of Edom. And Joash king of Israel went up, and they looked one another in the face, he and Amaziah king of Judah, at Beth-shemesh, which is of Judah 22 And Judah was smitten before 23 Israel; and they fled every man to his tent. And Joash king of Israel took Amaziah king of Judah, son of Joash, son of Jehoahaz, at Beth-shemesh, and brought him to Jerusalem, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem from the 24 gate of Ephraim to the corner gate,[FN10] four hundred cubits. And all the gold and the silver, and all the vessels that were found in the house of God with Obed-edom, and the treasures of the king’s house, and the hostages; and Hebrews 25returned to Samaria. And Amaziah son of Joash king of Judah lived after 26 the death of Joash son of Jehoahaz king of Israel fifteen years. And the rest of the acts of Amaziah, first and last, behold, are they not written in the 27 book of the kings of Judah and Israel? And from the time that Amaziah turned away from the Lord, they made a conspiracy against him in Jerusalem; and he fled to Lachish: and they sent after him to Lachish, and there put him to death 28 And they brought him upon horses, and buried him with his fathers in the city of Judah.[FN11]

k. Uzziah.—Ch26

α. His early Theocratic Inclination and Prosperous Reign: 2 Chronicles 26:1-15

2 Chronicles 26:1.And all the people of Judah took Uzziah, when sixteen years old, and made him king instead of his father Amaziah 2 He built Eloth, and restored it to Judah, after the king had slept with his fathers 3 Sixteen years old was Uzziah when he became king; and he reigned fifty and two years in Jerusalem: and his mother’s name was Jechiliah[FN12] of Jerusalem 4 And he did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord, according to all that 5 Amaziah his father had done. And he continued to seek God in the days of Zechariah, who understood the visions[FN13] of God: and so long as he sought the Lord, God made him prosper.

6And he went out and fought with the Philistines, and brake down the wall of Gath, and the wall of Jabneh, and the wall of Ashdod, and built cities about Ashdod and among the Philistines 7 And God helped him against the Philistines, and against the Arabs that dwelt in Gur-baal,[FN14] and against the Meunites 8 And the Ammonites[FN15] gave gifts to Uzziah: and his name 9 went even to Egypt; for he became very mighty. And Uzziah built towers in Jerusalem, at the corner gate and at the valley-gate, and at the corner, and 10 fortified them. And he built towers in the wilderness, and dug many wells; for he had much cattle in the lowland and in the plain; husbandmen and vine-dressers in the mountains and in Carmel; for he was a lover of land 11 And Uzziah had a host of fighting men, that went out to war in troops, by the number of their muster at the hand of Jeuel[FN16] the scribe, and Maaseiah the officer, at the hand of Hananiah, one of the captains of the king 12 The whole number of the chiefs of the fathers for the mighty men of valour 13 was two thousand and six hundred. And at their hand was an army of three hundred thousand and seven thousand and five hundred fighting men in full strength, to help the king against the foe 14 And Uzziah prepared for them, for the whole army, shields and spears, and helmets and coats of mail, and 15 bows and sling-stones. And at Jerusalem he made engines, the invention of craftsmen, to be on the towers and battlements, to shoot arrows and great stones: and his name went forth far abroad; for he was marvellously helped till he was strong.

β. His Boasting, and Divine Chastisement by Leprosy: his End: 2 Chronicles 26:16-23

16And when he became strong, his heart was lifted up to do corruptly, and he transgressed against the Lord his God; and he went into the temple of the Lord to burn incense upon the altar of incense 17 And Azariah the priest went in after him, and with him eighty priests of the Lord, men of valour 18 And they withstood Uzziah the king, and said unto him, It pertaineth not unto thee, Uzziah, to burn incense unto the Lord, but to the priests, the sons of Aaron, that are consecrated to burn incense: go out of the sanctuary; for thou hast transgressed; and it shall not be for thine honour from the Lord 19 God. And Uzziah was wroth, and had a censer in his hand to burn incense: and while he was wroth with the priests, the leprosy burst forth on his forehead before the priests in the house of the Lord from beside the incensealtar 20 And Azariah the head priest and all the priests looked upon him, and, behold, he was leprous in his forehead, and they drove him out thence; and even he himself hasted to go out, because the Lord had smitten him 21 And Uzziah the king was a leper unto the day of his death, and dwelt in a sick-house as a leper; for he was cut off from the house of the Lord: and Jotham his son was over the king’s house, judging the people of the land.

22And the rest of the acts of Uzziah, first and last, Isaiah son of Amos the 23 prophet wrote. And Uzziah slept with his fathers; and they buried him with his fathers in the burial field of the kings; for they said, He is a leper: and Jotham his son reigned in his stead.

l. Jotham.—Ch27

Chap 2 Chronicles 27:1.Jotham was twenty and five years old when he became king; and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem: and his mother’s name was Jerushah daughter of Zadok 2 And he did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord, according to all that his father Uzziah did; only he entered not into the temple of the Lord: and the people did yet corruptly 3 He built the high gate of the house of the Lord; and on the wall of Ophel he built 4 much. And he built cities in the mountains of Judah, and in the forests Hebrews 5built castles and towers. And he fought with the king of the sons of Ammon, and prevailed over them: and the sons of Ammon gave him in that year a hundred talents of silver, and ten thousand cors of wheat, and ten thousand of barley: this the sons of Ammon paid him also in the second and third 6 year. And Jotham strengthened himself; for he established his ways before the Lord his God.

7And the rest of the acts of Jotham, and all his wars and his ways, lo, 8they are written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah. He was twenty and five years old when he became king; and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem 9 And Jotham slept with his fathers; and they buried him in the city of David: and Ahaz his son reigned in his stead.

m. Ahaz: The Prophet Oded.—Ch28

α. Idolatry of Ahaz: his Defeat by the Syrians and Ephraimites: 2 Chronicles 28:1-8

2 Chronicles 28:1.Ahaz was twenty[FN17] years old when he became king; and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem: and he did not that which was right in 2 the eyes of the Lord, like David his father. And he walked in the ways of 3 the kings of Israel, and made also molten images for Baalim. And he burnt incense in the valley of Ben-hinnom, and burnt his sons in the fire, after the abominations of the nations, whom the Lord had cast out before 4 the sons of Israel. And he sacrificed and burnt incense in the high places, 5and on the hills, and under every green tree. And the Lord his God gave him into the hand of the king of Syria; and they smote him, and took from him a great many captives, and brought them to Damascus:[FN18] and he was also given into the hand of the king of Israel, and he inflicted on him a great 6 blow. And Pekah son of Remaliah slew in Judah a hundred and twenty thousand in one day, all sons of valour, because they had forsaken the Lord God of their fathers 7 And Zichri, a mighty man of Ephraim, slew Maaseiah the king’s Song of Solomon, and Azrikam, the governor of the house, and Elkanah the 8 vicegerent of the king. And the sons of Israel took captive of their brethren two hundred thousand, women, sons, and daughters, and stripped them of great spoil, and brought the spoil to Samaria.

β. Oded the Prophet procures the Release of the Captives: 2 Chronicles 28:9-15

9And a prophet of the Lord was there, of the name of Oded; and he went out before the host that came to Samaria, and said unto them, Behold, in the wrath of the Lord God of your fathers against Judah He hath given them into your hand; and ye slew of them with a rage that reacheth unto heaven 10 And now ye purpose to subject the sons of Judah and Jerusalem for bondsmen and bondsmaids to you: are there not even with you yourselves trespasses against the Lord your God? And 11 now hear me, and release the captives which ye have taken of your brethren; for the hot anger of the Lord 12 is upon you. Then arose men of the chiefs of the sons of Ephraim, Azariah son of Johanan, Berechiah son of Meshillemoth, and Hezekiah son of Shallum, and Amasa son of Hadlai, against those who came from the war, 13And said unto them, Ye shall not bring the captives hither; for with the trespass of the Lord upon us ye intend to add to our sins and to our trespass: for great 14 is our trespass, and there is hot anger against Israel. And the armed host left the captives and the spoil before the princes and all the congregation 15 Then there rose up the men who were expressed by name, and took the captives, and clothed all that were naked of them from the spoil, and gave them clothes, and shoes, and food, and drink, and anointed them, and carried them on asses, all the weary, and brought them to Jericho, the city of palms, beside their brethren: and they returned to Samaria.

γ. Further Visitations of Ahaz on account of his Idolatry: his End: 2 Chronicles 28:16-27

16At that time King Ahaz sent unto the kings of Assyria to help him17, 18And again the Edomites came and smote Judah, and took captives. And the Philistines invaded the cities of the lowland and of the south of Judah, and took Beth-shemesh, and Ajalon, and Gederoth, and Socho with her daughters, and Timnah with her daughters, and Gimzo with her daughters: and they 19 dwelt there. For the Lord humbled Judah on account of Ahaz king of Israel, because he had revolted in Judah, and transgressed greatly against the 20 Lord. And Tilgath-pilneser king of Assyria came against him, and distressed 21 him, and strengthened him not. For Ahaz had plundered the house of the Lord, and the house of the king and the princes, and given it to the king of Assyria; and it was not a help to him 22 And in the time of his distress Hebrews 23transgressed yet more against the Lord, this king Ahaz. And sacrificed to the gods of Damascus that smote him, and said, Because the gods of the kings of Syria, they help them, I will sacrifice to them, that they may help me: and they were the downfall of him and of all Israel 24 And Ahaz gathered the vessels of the house of God, and cut up the vessels of the house of God, and shut the doors of the house of the Lord; and he made him altars in every corner of Jerusalem 25 And in every single city of Judah he made high places to burn incense to other gods, and provoked to anger the Lord God of his fathers.

26And the rest of his acts and all his ways, first and last, behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel 27 And Ahaz slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city in Jerusalem: for they brought him not into the sepulchres of the kings of Israel: and Hezekiah his son reigned in his stead.

EXEGETICAL

We take together the reports, contained in 2 Chronicles24-28, of the five reigns from Joash to Ahaz, partly on account of their general similarity, partly because in 2 Kings12, 14-16, we have pretty full and nearly literal parallels to them.

1.Reign of Joash under the Guidance of Jehoiada: Repair of the Temple: 2 Chronicles 24:1-14—The parallel account in 2 Kings 12:1-17 is more detailed in the statement of several circumstances, especially with regard to the repair of the temple, but yet receives many important supplements from the present narrative, which is derived from the same sources, but constructed on different views and principles.

2 Chronicles 24:2. All the days of Jehoiada the priest. Somewhat different in 2 Kings: “during all his days, while Jehoiada instructed him.”

2 Chronicles 24:3. And Jehoiada chose for him two wives. וַיִּשָּׂא־לוֹ here obviously expresses this sense, not as in 2 Chronicles 13:21 : “ took to himself”; for it refers to this, that the young king soon married and begat an heir to the throne.

2 Chronicles 24:4-14. The Repair of the Temple; comp. Bähr’s exposition of 2 Kings 12:5-17.—To renew the house of the Lord; comp. 2 Chronicles 15:8, and the synonym “to repair” (properly, “strengthen, make strong again”) in 2 Chronicles 24:5; 2 Kings 12:6.—And hasten ye the matter, properly, “ with respect to the matter.” On the relation of the following statement, according to which the Levites hastened not, to the apparently different narrative in 2 Kings, comp. Bähr.

2 Chronicles 24:6. And the king called for Jehoiada the chief, namely, of the priesthood, by which, however, is not necessarily meant the high priest; the phrase כֹּהֵן הָרֹאשׁ, “head-priest, supreme priest,” may (as, for example, above 2 Chronicles 19:11 of Amariah, or beneath 2 Chronicles 26:20 of Prayer of Azariah, under King Uzziah) denote the legal high priest, but has not necessarily this meaning; comp. on238.—Why hast thou not required of the Levites to bring in, literally, “asked of the Levites,” etc. (comp. Job 5:8; Psalm 142:3) ? The “ tax ” or assessment of Moses (מַשְׂאַת, as 2 Chronicles 24:9; comp. Ezekiel 20:40) is that of the sanctuary (heave–offering) imposed, Exodus 30:12-16; Exodus 38:25, by Moses, and willingly paid by the community of Israel, of half a shekel a head.

2 Chronicles 24:7. For Athaliah . . . (and) her sons. By these “sons” of Athaliah are scarcely meant the priests of Baal (Jerome) or certain bastard sons of the queen (Ewald, Gesch. iii1, 290), but probably Ahaziah with his brothers and brothers’ sons (comp. 2 Chronicles 21:17, 2 Chronicles 22:3 f.), that might have shown their zeal for idolatry at a very early age (comp. Berth, also Hitz. Gesch. p203).—Broken up the house of God; פָּרַץ, as 1 Chronicles 13:11; Job 30:14; Ecclesiastes 10:8.—All the consecrated things of the house of the Lord; all the gold and silver vessels, weapons, etc, preserved there as gifts. Of such profanation of the temple treasures by the idolatrous sons of Athaliah, moreover, the Chronist only reports, who here supplements the statements of 2 Kings.

2 Chronicles 24:10. Cast into the chest till it was full. עַד לְבַלֵּה, as 2 Chronicles 21:1 (comp. also עַד כַּלֵּה, 2 Kings 13:17; 2 Kings 13:19); literally, “even to making full,” whereby may be meant either the fulness of the number of givers, or even the fulness of the chest that received the gifts. The latter sense, which the Sept and Vulg. express, commends itself most, as 2 Chronicles 24:11 shows, and should not therefore have been questioned by Berth, Kamph, etc.

2 Chronicles 24:11. And at the time, etc, literally, “and it came to pass at the time when one brought the chest to the survey of the king,” that Isaiah, for the royal surveillance or keeping (פְּקֻדָּה, as in 2 Chronicles 23:18).—And when they saw that there was much money, properly, “and on their seeing,” etc.—Thus they did day by day, literally, “ to day by day ” (comp. 1 Chronicles 12:22), that Isaiah, every day when it was necessary, every time that the chest was full.

2 Chronicles 24:12. And the king . . . gave it to the work-master of the service of the house of the Lord. עֲבֹדַת בֵּית־יְהוָֹה here, not “ service in the house of the Lord,” as 1 Chronicles 23:24, but labour, repair of the house of the Lord.—And they hired, literally, “and they were hiring,” continually from day to day; comp. Matthew 20:1 ff. “ Masons and carpenters”; so in 1 Chronicles 22:14; comp. Ezra 3:7.

2 Chronicles 24:13. And furtherance was given to the work by their hand, literally, “there went up (was laid, Jeremiah 8:22) binding on the work”; on אֲרוּכָה, “binding, healing,” comp. Nehemiah 6:1; Jeremiah 30:17.—And they set the house of God in its form; literally, “on its measure” ( Exodus 30:32), that Isaiah, in the original proportions.

2 Chronicles 24:14. And they made of it vessels, literally, “made it vessels” (into vessels); comp. Ezra 1:7.—Vessels for ministering and offering, altar vessels (comp. Numbers 4:12), from which cups ( Exodus 25:29) and other gold and silver vessels are there distinguished.—And they offered burnt-offerings . . . all the days of Jehoiada: as long as he had the direction of the temple worship, it was conducted in a regular and legal way; that it had quite ceased after Jehoiada’s death, neither the present phrase nor the subsequent narrative affirms.

2. Death of Jehoiada: Stoning of his Son: the Prophet Zechariah: 2 Chronicles 24:15-22. There is no parallel to this section in 2 Kings12; but it is of no less importance for the pragmatic understanding of that which is related underneath, 2 Chronicles 24:23 ff, concerning the last events in the life of Joash.—And Jehoiada was old and full of days.שְׂבַע יָמִים as otherwise only of the patriarchs Abraham and Isaac, of David ( 1 Chronicles 24:1; comp. 2 Chronicles 29:28), and of Job ( Job 42:17), so in general is it used only of five men of God in the Old Testament; comp. Achelis, Das Zeitalter der Patriarchen, a contribution to the understanding of Scripture (Barm1871), p46. From the following statement of his age as130 years at his death, it follows that he must have been about100 years old when he helped his nephew by a successful revolution to the throne (877 b.C. by the common chronology); for the repair of the temple carried on by Joash and him (which he survived for a time, according to 2 Chronicles 24:14 of our chapter), fell, according to 2 Kings 12:7, in the twenty-third year of that king.

2 Chronicles 24:16. And they buried him . . . with the kings. With this honourable distinction bestowed upon him at his death, the directly following record of the slaughter of his like-minded son stands in the same contrast as that presented by Christ, Matthew 23:29 ff, over against the Pharisees.

2 Chronicles 24:17. Bowed down before the king, earnestly entreating; for what? The following words show that it was for permission to worship strange gods along with the Lord. That Joash himself forthwith took part in this worship of idols is not affirmed, but that he bore the full responsibility of it, and afterwards took a direct part in the impiety, is plain from 2 Chronicles 24:21 f.; comp. 2 Chronicles 24:25.

2 Chronicles 24:18. Served the Asherim, etc.; comp. on 2 Chronicles 16:2. For the flame of wrath (קֶצֶף) which this enkindled, comp. 2 Chronicles 19:2; 2 Chronicles 19:10, 2 Chronicles 29:8.

2 Chronicles 24:19. Testified against them, by way of warning, pointing to the inevitable consequences of their apostasy; comp. 2 Kings 17:13; Psalm 50:7; Nehemiah 9:26; Nehemiah 9:29. Was Joel also among these prophetic monitors? As we may conjecture from his book that his age nearly coincided with the reign of Joash, it is not improbable; comp. Wünsche, Die Weissagung des Proph. Joel, Introd. p 13 ff.; also Keil, Introd. to the O. T. p322 f.

2 Chronicles 24:20. And the Spirit of God clothed Zechariah son of Jehoiada the priest. On לָבַשׁ, “clothe,” comp. 1 Chronicles 12:18. The identity with the Zechariah mentioned by Christ, Matthew 23:35, Luke 11:51, as slain between the temple and the altar, who is called in the former passage “the son of Barachias,” is to be assumed the more certainly, as—1. The place of his death quite agrees there and here (the θυσιατήριον is the altar of burnt-offering, which stood in the court; comp. 2 Chronicles 24:21); 2. An allusion is made in the speech of Christ to our passage before mentioning the martyrdom of Zechariah; see above on 2 Chronicles 24:16; 2 Chronicles, 3. The Barachias named in Matthew 23:35 as the father of Zechariah may have been the son of Jehoiada, and Zechariah his grandson, which is highly probable, from the great age to which Jehoiada attained.—Stood up before the people, properly, “above the people” (מֵעַל לְ, as in 2 Chronicles 13:4); the inner court, from which he spoke, and where he was afterwards slain, was higher than the outer, where the people stood.—And do not prosper, or: and will be unfortunate, will have no success. The two things are, in a theocratico-prophetical point of view, inseparably connected: the forsaking of the Lord (comp. 2 Chronicles 12:5, 2 Chronicles 15:2, etc.), and becoming unfortunate; comp. 2 Chronicles 26:5 (Uzziah).

2 Chronicles 24:21. And they conspired against him; comp. 2 Chronicles 24:25; 1 Kings 15:27, and also 2 Chronicles 23:13. The true witness of God is slain by stoning, the very penalty which is in the law ( Leviticus 20:2; Leviticus 24:23) imposed on idolaters, to which therefore his murderers were doomed.

2 Chronicles 24:22. And Joash . . . remembered not the kindness; חֶסֶד, as in Micah 6:8. Joash appears here designated as the murderer of the son (or grandson) of Jehoiada, certainly not for mere silent connivance at the wicked deed, but for positive and direct participation in it; comp. 2 Chronicles 24:21.—The Lord shall see and require, or “ will see (comp. Psalm 84:10) and require” (דרשׁ, here “seek revenge, punish;” comp. Psalm 9:13; 1 Samuel 20:16).

3. Distress of Joash by the Syrians, and his End: 2 Chronicles 24:23-27. Here again 2 Kings 12:18-21 affords a parallel, where that which relates to the invasion of the Syrians is narrated more particularly, and their king, Hazael (Haza-ilu of the Assyrian inscriptions), is named as executor of this judgment on Joash.—And it came to pass in the course of a year, “in the circuit of a year,” the year beginning with the death of the prophet Zechariah.—That the host of Syria, as in 2 Chronicles 24:24.—And destroyed all the princes of the people out of the people, out of the mass of the people (comp. Psalm 89:20), so that these were spared, but their chiefs, who were the authors of the religious and moral evil ( 2 Chronicles 24:17 f.), were overtaken by the doom of extermination. On the variants in the old versions with respect to “out of the people,” see Crit. Note.—With few men, literally, “with smallness of men”; comp. Job 8:7.—And they executed judgments upon Joash. עָשָׂה שְׁפָטִים, as in Exodus 12:12; Numbers 33:4; Ezekiel 5:10; Ezekiel 5:15; elsewhere with בְ, here with אֵת (comp. עָשָׂה טוֹב אֵת, 1 Samuel 24:19).The judgment upon Joash refers especially to the mortal wound which he received.

2 Chronicles 24:25. For they left him with many wounds. מַֽחֲלֻיִים, less suitably translated “diseases” by Luther, occurs only here; but comp. the similar תַּֽחֲלֻאִים21:19 With respect to the somewhat surprising “sons of Jehoiada” (instead of son), see Crit. Note.—And slew him on his bed; narrated more particularly 2 Kings 12:21. The burial was not in the tombs of the kings, but in another place, as in the case of Joram; see 2 Chronicles 21:20.

2 Chronicles 24:26. On the names of the conspirators, of which one is different in 2 Kings12 (Jozachar for Zabad), see Bähr on this passage.

2 Chronicles 24:27. And his sons, and the greatness of the burden upon him, the greatness of the treasure which he had to send as tribute to Hazael in Syria; comp. 2 Kings 12:19. So it is perhaps to be explained (with Then. and Kamph.) on the basis of the Kethibוְרֹב הַמַּשָּׂא עָלָיו. Possible also is the interpretation adopted by Cleric, Keil, and others: “and the multitude of prophetic oracles concerning him” (comp. 2 Chronicles 24:19), though in this case the singular הַמַּשָּׂא is somewhat strange. On the contrary, the reference, attempted by the Vulg, Luther, and others, of the רב המשׂא to the temple tribute ( 2 Chronicles 24:6; 2 Chronicles 24:9) imposed by Joash would require a change into מַשְּׂאַת, and the עָלָיו would not suit this view (for which we should rather expect עַל יִשְׂרָאֵל. The Keriיִרֶב gives rise to the sense: “ and with regard to his sons the oracle (that of the dying Zechariah, 2 Chronicles 24:22 b) multiplied itself in them,” which is obviously much too obscure, and could scarcely be intended by the Masoretes themselves. The Sept. alters the text quite arbitrarily, καὶ προσῆλθον αὐτῷ οἱ πέντε ( חֲמִשָּׁה for הַמַּשָּׂא), and so the Syriac.—Behold, they are written in the commentary of the book of Kings, the elaboration of this book; comp. on 2 Chronicles 13:12, and Introd. § 5, ii.

4. Amaziah: a. Duration of his Reign, and its Spirit: 2 Chronicles 25:1-4; comp. the essentially parallel verses, 2 Kings 14:1-6.

2 Chronicles 25:2. And he did. . . but not with undivided heart. For this is in 2 Kings: “yet not like David his father, he did according to all that his father Joash did.” This more particular statement our author avoided, perhaps, on account of the less favourable light in which he had exhibited Joash. The following also: “only the high places were not removed,” etc, he omits; perhaps he intended sufficiently to indicate this partial continuance of idolatry by his “not with undivided heart” (comp. 2 Chronicles 16:9).

2 Chronicles 25:4. Put not their sons to death, according to the law, Deuteronomy 24:16; comp. Bähr on 2 Kings 14:6.

5. Continuation: b. The Conquest of the Edomites in the Valley of Salt: 2 Chronicles 25:5-13. Again a section peculiar to the Chronist, for which nothing is found in 2 Kings 14:7 but the brief notice that Amaziah smote the Edomites in the valley of Salt, took their city Sela, and gave it the name Joktheel.—And he mustered them (comp. Numbers 1:3) and found them 300,000 choice men; thus almost a million less than the force of Judah and Benjamin under Jehoshaphat, 2 Chronicles 17, and, if the numbers there are to be considered incorrect, even much less than the sum total of the troops of the south kingdom given in 2 Chronicles 14:7 for the time of Asa. But it is obvious that the number of troops must be shown to be much diminished by defeats sustained during the last reigns and other calamities, and therefore in need of being strengthened by foreign mercenary soldiers, as the following verse clearly proves.—Going out to war (comp. 1 Chronicles 5:18), holding spear and shield; comp. 1 Chronicles 13:9; Jeremiah 46:9.

2 Chronicles 25:7. With all the sons of Ephraim. This is a more definite addition to “Israel” (comp. Isaiah 17:3; Isaiah 28:1) that appears not unnecessary, because the author often designates the kingdom or people of Judah also as Israel (comp. on 2 Chronicles 12:1).

2 Chronicles 25:8. But go thou alone, do, or “ execute it”; comp. 1 Chronicles 22:16; Ezra 10:4.—Be strong for the battle, (otherwise) God shall make thee fall before the enemy. The sense is obvious; “be strong, then will God not let thee fall.” Before יַכְשִׁילְךָ is to be supplied וְלֹא, with Ew, Berth, Keil, Kamph, etc.; for the כִּי אִם can neither be taken (with Cleric.) = sin minus, nor (with Seb. Schmidt, Ramb, etc.) = alioquin. That the text certainly needs emendation is manifest from the arbitrary and diverse interpretations presented by the old translators; for example, the Sept. ὄτι ἐὰν ὑπολάβῃς κατισχῦσαι ἐν τούτοις; Vulg. quod si vultis in robore exercitus bella consistere; Luther, “For so thou comest as to show a boldness in fight, God will let thee fall before thy enemies.”—For with God is power to help and to cast down, literally, “present is might in God,” etc. For the sentence, comp. 1 Chronicles 29:12; 2 Chronicles 20:6; also the well-known verse of G. Neumark, “He is the only wonder- Prayer of Manasseh, who now lift up, now cast down can.”

2 Chronicles 25:9. What shall we do for the 100 talents? In the mouth of a prudent ruler, who counts the cost in all his steps, certainly a very pardonable question, even as the answer given to it is highly worthy of a trustful man of God. נְּדוּד, “troop,” that Isaiah, a body of mercenaries; comp. 2 Chronicles 22:1; 2 Kings 13:20 f.

2 Chronicles 25:10. To wit, the host, etc. לְ before הַגְּדוּד is the defining לְ=namely (comp. 2 Chronicles 25:5 a); the whole is in apposition to the suffix in וַיַּבְדִּילֵם—And they returned to their place in hot anger, literally, “in the glow of anger” (comp. Exodus 11:8), enraged at the bad usage they had received, and at the prospect of booty being first held out to them and then withdrawn (comp. Acts 16:9).

2 Chronicles 25:11. And Amaziah took courage.הִתְחַוֵּק, as in 2 Chronicles 15:8; comp. also the חֲזַק of the prophet in 2 Chronicles 25:8. On the situation of the valley of Salt (south-east of the Dead Sea), see Bahr on 2 Kings 14:7.

2 Chronicles 25:12. And brought them to the top of the rock (לְרֹאשׁ הַסֶּלַע), probably the rock on or at which the Edomite capital Sela lay, so that the rendering “on the top of Sela” (Kamph, etc.) is admissible. The passage in 2 Kings 14:7, where the taking of Sela after the victory in the valley of Salt is recorded, and the present one thus complete one another. That the present report of the Chronist is merely derived from a misunderstanding of the text of the old source, somehow become illegible (Then, on 2 Kings 14:7), appears an inadmissible assumption on this account, that our writer would not have imputed so frightful and barbarous a proceeding as the throwing of thousands of captive Edomites down a precipice (comp. for the matter of fact, Psalm 137:9; Luke 4:29), on light grounds or on a mere misunderstanding, to a king like Amaziah (comp. on 1 Chronicles 18:2; 1 Chronicles 20:3). Besides, the number10,000 here, as in the previous verse, is a round number, and not to be pressed in its literal sense.

2 Chronicles 25:13. And the men of the host (literally, “sons of the host,” that Isaiah, the troops belonging to it) fell upon the cities of Judah; comp. for construction, Genesis 22:24. This pillaging raid of the mercenaries is to be regarded as simultaneous with the absence of Amaziah in Idumea, and favoured thereby; comp. the similar events in the thirty years and the seven years wars; also the invasion of Switzerland by the Armagnacs, and of Elsass under the Emperor Frederic III. (1444), etc.—From Samaria even to Beth-horon, that Isaiah, with Samaria as starting-point, and Beth-horon (see for its site on 1 Chronicles 7:24) as the termination of their raid, so that all the towns between these two, so far as they belonged to Judah, were exposed to pillage.

6. Close: c. Amaziah’s Idolatry, War with Joash of Israel, and End: 2 Chronicles 25:14-28. The second book of Kings presents no parallel to the statements regarding the desertion of Amaziah to the gods of the conquered Edomites, 2 Chronicles 25:14-16. On the contrary, the report of the war with Joash of Israel ( 2 Chronicles 25:17-24) agrees almost literally with 2 Kings 14:8-14, as also the following 2 Chronicles 25:25-28 with the closing remarks there, 2 Chronicles 25:17-20After Amaziah was come from smiting the Edomites; comp. 2 Samuel 1:1.The “gods” of the children of Seir are naturally their idols (otherwise פְּסִילִים or שִׁקֻּצִים); and the conquered Edomites are here called children of Seir, not because they were identical with the tribe of Seirites or Meunites ( 2 Chronicles 20:1; 2 Chronicles 20:10; 2 Chronicles 20:22) who dwelt with them, but because here, where the peculiarity of their gods as hill-gods came into view (comp. 1 Kings 20:23), it was very natural to designate them according to the hill-country in which they dwelt.

2 Chronicles 25:16. Have we made thee counsellor to the king? properly, “given”; the plural נְתַנּוּךָ is of communicative import, spoken from the position of the king and his council. With the question: “Why should they smite thee?” comp. the similar one: “Why will ye die, O house of Israel?” ( Ezekiel 33:11.)—I know (have now observed) that God hath resolved to destroy thee; comp. 1 Samuel 2:25 (Eli); and Exodus 6:1; Exodus 10:1; Exodus 10:11 :I, etc. (Pharaoh).—Because thou hast done this (worshipped the gods of Edom), and hast not hearkened to my counsel. Thus the prophet declares himself authorized to give counsel to the king, however scornfully the latter may have deprecated this as an assumption on his part.

2 Chronicles 25:17 ff.; comp. Bähr on 2 Kings 14:8 ff.—Took counsel, namely, with his counsellors and courtiers; comp. 2 Chronicles 10:6; 1 Chronicles 13:1 Luther’s rendering is also possible: resolved, came to the decision after counsel taken.—Come ( ‎‎‎לְכָה = לְךָ, “come on”; comp. Numbers 23:13; Judges 19:13), let us look one another in the face, measure, have a passage at arms with one another.

2 Chronicles 25:19. Thou sayest, Lo, thou hast smitten Edom, or if thou hast smitten. It Isaiah, moreover, of the same import if we render (with Luther, Kamph, etc.) “I have smitten.”—And thy heart hath lifted thee up (or “carried, urged thee;” comp. Exodus 35:21; Exodus 35:26) to boast, properly, “to make heavy”; comp. Isaiah 8:23. It is considerably different in 2 Kings 14:10; see Bähr on the passage.

2 Chronicles 25:20. For it was of God that they should be given up, literally, “that they might be given into the hand (of the enemy)”; comp. Deuteronomy 1:27; 1 Kings 20:42, etc.

2 Chronicles 25:22. And they fled every man to his tent, to his house; comp. 2 Chronicles 10:16; 1 Kings 8:66.

2 Chronicles 25:23. From the gate of Ephraim to the corner gate; so according to the emendation שַׁעַר הַפִּנָּה for שׁ׳ הַפּוֹנֶה, which latter reading gives no rational sense, as the direction in which the gate in question turns itself must have been stated if שׁ׳ הַפּוֹנֶה meant the gate turning itself (comp. Ezekiel 8:3).

2 Chronicles 25:24. And all the gold, namely, “he took,” a verb (לקח) which is to be supplied from 2 Kings 14:14

2 Chronicles 25:25-28. Comp. Bähr on the parallel 2 Kings 14:17-20; and with regard to “the book of the kings of Judah and Israel” ( 2 Chronicles 25:26), Introd. § 5, ii.

2 Chronicles 25:28. In the city of Judah appears to be an error in copying for “in the city of David,” occasioned by the following כָּל־עַם יְהוּדָה ( 2 Chronicles 26:1); comp. Crit. Note. If the Masoretic reading is to be retained, we might be tempted to think of the designation πόλις ’Ιούδα, occurring Luke 1:39, which, however, can scarcely be supposed to refer to Jerusalem (see Van Oosterzee on this passage).

7. Uzziah: a. His early Theocratic Inclination and Prosperous Reign: 2 Chronicles 26:1-15; comp. the very brief parallel, 2 Kings 14:21-22; 2 Kings 15:1-2, where the present ( 2 Chronicles 26:6-15) report of the successful wars of Uzziah, his buildings, and his strong military force, is wanting. There, moreover, this king, along with the present name (עֻזִּיָּהוּ, “might of Jehovah”), bears also the name Azariah (עֲזַרְיָה or עֲזַרְיָהוּ “whom Jehovah helps”). Comp. 2 Kings 14:21; 2 Kings 15:1; 2 Kings 15:6; 2 Kings 15:8; 2 Kings 15:23; 2 Kings 15:27, where the latter form is used, with 2 Kings 15:13; 2 Kings 15:30; 2 Kings 15:32; 2 Kings 15:34, where “Uzziah” stands, the form which the Chronist, irrespective of 1 Chronicles 3:12, always uses, and which is also found in the superscriptions of the prophets Hosea,, Amos, and Isaiah, as in Isaiah 6:1; Isaiah 7:1. The Assyrian cuneate inscriptions (the tablets of Tiglath-pileser; see Schrader, p114) present exclusively the form Azariah (Az-ri-ya-hu), whereby the opinion of those who regard this form as the later, or as the result of a mere error of writing, is refuted ( Song of Solomon, for example, Gesen-Dietrich in Lexicon). But Hitzig’s hypothesis also (Gesch. p209), that the name Azariah was transformed from that of the high priest contemporary with him ( 2 Chronicles 26:17) to the king, is refuted by this evidence of Assyrian inscriptions. Much rather the only assumption that remains warranted is: “that the similar names of almost equal import were used simultaneously” (Berth.); as was the case, for example, with Uzziel and Azarel, a descendant of Heman ( 1 Chronicles 25:4; 1 Chronicles 25:18). Not even the conjecture expressed by Bähr on 2 Kings 14:21 : “that the name Uzziah appears to have come into more general use after he ascended the throne,” will harmonize with the fact that the Assyrian kings know only the name Azariah.

2 Chronicles 26:2. He built Eloth. On the emphatic prefixing of this notice, even before the chronological dates of the following verse, see Bähr on the passage.

2 Chronicles 26:3. Reigned fifty-two years in Jerusalem, 810–759 b.C, according to the usual chronology, though, according to the Assyrian monuments, considerably later(according to Neteler, p225 ff, 786–735). On the name of the queen-mother Jechiliah (in 2 Kings Jecholiah, not Jechaliah, as Luther writes), see the Crit. Note.

2 Chronicles 26:5. And he continued to seek God, literally, “and he was to seek God, was out to seek Him”; comp. 2 Chronicles 31:21; Ezra 3:12.—In the days of Zechariah, who understood the visions of God. Accordingly this Zechariah, who is otherwise unknown (for he cannot be identified with the Zechariah son of Jeberechiah mentioned Isaiah 8:2, as he was at least a generation older), must be considered a prophet, and הַמֵּבִין בִּראוֹת הָאֱלֹהִים must be regarded as a chosen periphrasis for הָרֹאֶה, the seer (comp. Daniel 1:17). But as the vision of God cannot be taken as a work of human activity, the reading of the Sept. and other old witnesses (see Crit. Note) commends itself more, which gives the sense “expert in the fear of God,” or even “teacher of the fear of God” (comp. Nehemiah 8:9). Zechariah remains a prophetic teacher and counsellor of King Uzziah even with this reading (for his possible priestly character would have been marked by a הַכֹּהֵן); but that he was a “master in divine visions” is not to be read from it; and still less is it to be inferred that he and no other was the author of the oracles of Balaam (as is asserted in an arbitrary way by Fürst, Gesch. der bibl. Literatur. ii. pp231, 359).

2 Chronicles 26:6-15. Uzziah’s Successful Wars, Building of Cities, etc. (without parallel in 2 Kings).—And he . . . fought with the Philistines, to punish their pillaging inroad under Joram ( 2 Chronicles 21:16 f.). This punishment must have been inflicted by him in very full measure, probably by the subjection of their whole territory; for the cities said to have been destroyed by him, Gath (see on 2 Chronicles 9:8), Jabneh (=Jabneel, Joshua 15:11, later=Jamnia in the Maccab. and in Josephus), and Ashdod (now Esdud, comp. on Joshua 13:3), were at that time the chief places of the Philistines.

2 Chronicles 26:7. And God helped him.. . against the Arabs, who are named also, 2 Chronicles 17:11, with the Philistines. Where Gurbaal was is uncertain; it is by no means to be identified (after the Sept, see Crit. Note) with the Edomite Petra; rather with Gerar ( Genesis 20:1), of which the Targ. thinks. Concerning the Meunites, see on 1 Chronicles 4:41; 2 Chronicles 20:1.

Ver, 8. And his name went even to Egypt, literally, “even to the entrance of Egypt.” But by the name of Uzziah is scarcely meant merely his fame (Luther), but also his active influence, his power.—For he became very mighty, literally, “showed himself mighty ( Daniel 11:7) unto the height” (comp. 1 Chronicles 14:2; 1 Chronicles 29:25).

2 Chronicles 26:9. And Uzziah built towers . . . at the corner gate. The corner gate (comp. 2 Chronicles 25:23) lay at the north-west end of the city; the valley gate on the west side, where the Jaffa gate is now. On the east, over against these two points belonging to the west side where defence was most needed, is הַמִּקְצוֹעַ, the corner, to be sought—namely, a bend of the eastern wall near the horse gate; comp. Nehemiah 3:19-20; Nehemiah 3:24-25.

2 Chronicles 26:10. And he built towers in the wilderness, in the wilderness of Judah, to protect the herds grazing there; comp. 1 Chronicles 27:25; Micah 4:8; Isaiah 5:2; in which latter place mention is made of the digging of a well along with the tower building.—For he had much cattle in the lowland, etc, properly, “and in the lowland and in the plain,” etc. It appears, therefore, as if three regions were here distinguished—1. The wilderness (of Judah) west of the Dead Sea; 2. The lowlands at the Mediterranean (comp. 1 Chronicles 27:28); 3. The plain (הַמִּישׁוֹר), perhaps the plain beyond the Jordan, the territory of the Reubenites, a region specially adapted for grazing, which Uzziah was under the necessity of taking from the Ammonites ( 2 Chronicles 26:8).—Husbandmen and vinedressers in the mountains. Kamph. connects against the accents, “in the plain, husbandmen.” He will also explain וּבַכַּרְמֶל neither of the Mount Carmel ( Joshua 19:26; Song of Solomon 7:6), nor of Carmel in the south of Judah ( 1 Samuel 15:12), but renders “in the fruitful field” (comp. Isaiah 29:17), for which there is no constraining necessity.

2 Chronicles 26:11. And Uzziah had a host of fighting men, literally, “a host (comp. 2 Chronicles 14:7) maker of war” (comp. 2 Chronicles 26:13; 2 Chronicles 11:1), that went out to war (comp. 1 Chronicles 5:8) in troops (in a marshalled host).—By the number of their muster at the hand of Jeuel.בְּיר, as afterwards, “under the guidance of Hananiah,” is expressed by “at the hand” (עַל יַד as 1 Chronicles 25:6). The captain Hananiah appears therefore is superintendent, Jeuel and Maaseiah as subordinate executive officers in the business of the muster.

2 Chronicles 26:13. And at their hand (עַל יָדָם, as in the previous verse) an army of 307,500 fighting men. Thus each of the2600 father-houses constituted a corps under the command of the bravest among them. The total number of307,500 warriors agrees in the main with the above statement of the strength of the army under Amaziah, 2 Chronicles 25:5, and presupposes the more certainly an actual numeration for its basis, as it is not a round number.

2 Chronicles 26:14. And Uzziah prepared for them; comp. 1 Chronicles 15:1; 1 Chronicles 22:5,

2 Chronicles 26:15. He made engines, the invention of craftsmen, literally, “devices (חִשְּׁבֹנוֹת, excogitata), the device of the deviser” (מַֽחֲשֶׁבֶת חוֹשֵׁב), skilfully contrived engines of war, as the following words show—a kind of catapults or balisters, for assaulting besieging troops from the walls and towers of defence.—And his name went forth, etc.; comp. above, 2 Chronicles 26:8.

8. Uzziah: b. His Boasting and Divine Punishment by Leprosy; his End: 2 Chronicles 26:16-23. Comp. 2 Kings 15:5-7, where, however, the mere fact of the king’s becoming leprous is mentioned, without particularizing the cause, so that in fact the three verses correspond only to our 2 Chronicles 26:21-23.—And when he became strong,וכחזקתו, as in 2 Chronicles 12:1. For the following: “to do corruptly” (השׁחית), comp. 2 Chronicles 27:2.—Went into the temple of the Lord to burn incense, which, according to Exodus 30:7; Exodus 30:27, Numbers 18:1-7, only priests were to do. Uzziah wished to exercise regal and sacerdotal functions at the same time (as the Egyptian kings, and afterwards the Roman emperors). He fell into the same sin as Saul before him ( 1 Samuel 13:9 f.). It was not the restitution of a formerly legitimate union of regal and sacerdotal power, as it was nominally possessed by David and Solomon (Thenius, Ewald), which was his aim; for only occasionally, and in certain religious solemnities of an extraordinary kind, had those kings exercised several priestly functions, with the permission of the lawful priests (so correctly Bertheau, Keil, etc.).

2 Chronicles 26:17. And Azariah the priest. Whether he was actually high priest is not determined with perfect certainty from his subsequent designation as כֹּהֵן הָרֹאשׁ (as in the case of Jehoiada; see on 2 Chronicles 23:8); yet it is most probable that the “head priest,” who was accompanied with eighty priests, was the actual legitimate holder of high-priestly office. But very improbable is the identity asserted by Keil of this Azariah with the Azariah named in the list of high priests 1 Chron5:36, 37, as the father of Amariah, who belongs certainly to a considerably earlier time (see on this passage). On the predicate “men of valour,” בְּנֵי חַיִל, comp. 1 Chronicles 5:18.

2 Chronicles 26:18. And they withstood Uzziah, “stood against” him; comp. Daniel 11:14.—And it shall not be for thine honour from the Lord God, that Isaiah, thy offering incense serves not, as thou fanciest, to increase thy honour and glory before God, but rather brings thee shame, because thou thereby showest thyself to be disobedient and apostate.

2 Chronicles 26:19. And while he was wroth with the priests, the leprosy burst forth on his forehead, in punishment of his impious attempt. The punishment is the same that Miriam endured on account of her rebellion against Moses ( Numbers 12:10), and with which Elisha’s servant Gehazi was visited for his covetousness ( 2 Kings 5:27). In a physical and pathological sense, also, the malady may have been brought on in all these cases in essentially the same way,—“by a strong physical excitement, which brought the leprosy, already existing as a tendency in the system, suddenly to a visible eruption” (Friedreich, Zur Bibel, etc, pp228, 230). Wedel (Exercitationes medico-philologicœ, ii49) quite arbitrarily asserts that Uzziah’s malady was not leprosy, but syphilis. Not less arbitrary and contrary to the text is the attempt of K. Ad. Menzel to reduce the whole malady to a bold and sly mystification of the high priest Prayer of Azariah, who suddenly cried out that he saw the sign of leprosy on the forehead of the king, and by this application of his medical authority so far robbed him of his self-command that he allowed himself to be arrested and put in a place of confinement (Religion und Staatsidee, p89; comp. on 2 Chronicles 16:13). A special contrast to this crude attempt at a natural explanation by a miracle-rejecting rationalism is presented by the Jewish legend in Josephus, Antiq.ix104, which makes Uzziah be punished not merely by becoming leprous (supposed to be produced by a sunstroke which fell through the split roof of the temple on his face), but also by a simultaneous violent earthquake, the same which is mentioned Amos 1:1, by which that splitting of the temple roof was effected.

2 Chronicles 26:21. And dwelt in a sick-house, properly, “a house of separation”; see Bähr on 2 Kings 15:5, where also all that is necessary is remarked on the probable (amounting only to a few years) duration of Uzziah’s illness and of Jotham’s regency.

2 Chronicles 26:23. And they buried him with his fathers in the burial-field of the kings; for they said, He is a leper. They wished not to defile the proper tombs of the kings by burying his body in them, and therefore buried it in the field adjoining these tombs. In the parallel 2 Kings 15:7 f. this important detail is wanting.

9. Jotham: 2 Chronicles 27; comp. 2 Kings 15:32-38, and Bähr on this passage.

2 Chronicles 27:2. Only he entered not into the temple of the Lord; he abstained from such an impious undertaking as that of his father, 2 Chronicles 26:16 ff. This remark is wanting in 2 Kings. On the contrary, instead of the rather indefinite: “and the people did yet corruptly” (comp. on 2 Chronicles 26:16 ff.), we find there the more special statement: “the people still sacrificed and burnt incense on the high places.”

2 Chronicles 27:3. And on the wall of Ophel he built much; fortified thus the southern slope of the temple mountain, which is called Ophel (הָעֹפֶל; comp. 2 Chronicles 33:14; Nehemiah 3:26-27), and therein continued the fortifications of his father Uzziah, which had applied more to the west and east sides of the city wall. In 2 Kings this is wanting, as also the notice in the following verse of the towns and castles built by Jotham (for בִּירָנִיּוֹת, “castles, forts,” see on 2 Chronicles 17:12), while the previous notice regarding the building (anew) of the upper temple gate, the north gate in the inner court of the temple, is also found there.

2 Chronicles 27:5.And he fought with the king of the sons of Ammon. Of this victorious war with the Ammonites, also, nothing is found in 2 Kings. This war, like the buildings, appears to be a continuation of that waged by Uzziah; for, according to 2 Chronicles 26:8, the Ammonites had also to pay tribute to that king. It was therefore an attempt at revolt, for which they were now punished by Jotham with the imposition of a new and heavier tribute (100 talents of silver, with10,000 cors of barley and wheat yearly, is pretty well for a not very numerous people).—This the sons of Ammon paid him also in the second and the third year, but no longer than during these three years; perhaps on account of the war of Syria and Ephraim with Judah, which took its rise under Jotham, 2 Kings 15:37, and procured for the Ammonites their former independence.

2 Chronicles 27:6. And Jotham strengthened himself, namely, “in his kingdom”; comp. 2 Chronicles 13:21, and the following: “he established his ways,” Proverbs 21:29.

2 Chronicles 27:7. And all his wars. That these wars of Jotham, of which only one is here mentioned, were uniformly successful is not stated in the text; and therefore the war commenced with Syria and Ephraim, in which Jotham suffered some very severe defeats, may be here included (against Keil). In other respects the closing notices, 2 Chronicles 27:7-9, agree essentially with 2 Kings 15:36; 2 Kings 15:38.

10. Ahaz: a. His Idolatry, and Defeat by the Syrians and Ephraimites: 2 Chronicles 28:1-8; comp. 2 Kings 16:1 ff, where the first four verses, relating to the idolatry of Ahaz, agree tolerably well with 2 Chronicles 28:1-4 of our text; while the report of the war given in 2 Chronicles 28:5-18 presents considerable deviations from the narrative in our ch, 2 Chronicles 28:5 ff, 2 Chronicles 28:9, and 2 Chronicles 28:16 ff. Comp. on these differences, as well as on the whole report of the war, C. P. Caspari, Der syrisch-ephraimitische Krieg unter Jotham und Ahas, Christiania1849.—Ahaz was twenty years old. Thus also 2 Kings 16:2; but on account of the age of his son and successor,—Hezekiah being already twenty-five at the death of Ahaz,—it is more probable that the reading of the Sept, Syr, and Arab, is to be preferred, and the age of Ahaz at his accession set down at twenty-five (not, however, at thirty, as Hitzig, Gesch. Isr. p214, will have it). Moreover, the name Ahaz (אָחָז) is on the Assyrian monuments Jahu-kha-zi, which is elsewhere = the Hebr. Jehoahaz (יְהוֹאָחָז); see Schrader, pp25, 147, 151ff. This difference “is either to be referred to this, that the later Jews in the Old Testament changed the actual name of the king, namely Jehoahaz, in consequence of his idolatrous propensity, into Ahaz, by the omission of the divine name, or to this, that the Assyrians falsely transferred to Ahaz the like-sounding name of an earlier king (Jehoahaz), as they made Jehu a son instead of a successor of Omri” (Schrader, p152). If the first of these two conjectures, according to which Ahaz is a curtailed name, be correct, we may compare the change of such names as Jerubbaal (into Jerubbesheth) or Mephibaal (into Mephibosheth), and also the legend of the mediæval sects, as the Euchites, Bogomiles, etc, that Satan was originally called Satanael, and after his fall his name was deprived of the last syllable. Comp, moreover, on 2 Chronicles 28:21.

2 Chronicles 28:2 f. And made also molten images for Baalim; comp. Psalm 106:19; Judges 17:3, etc. Both these words and the following: “and he burnt incense in the valley of Ben-hinnom,” are wanting in 2 Kings; but they have there fallen out by an oversight (occasioned by a twofold וְגַם); comp. Bähr on the passage.—And burned his sons in the fire, or “made his sons pass through the fire.” According to 2 Kings, he performed this barbarous human sacrifice only in the case of one Song of Solomon, which is intrinsically the more probable (comp 2 Kings30:27; 21:6); the plur. אֶת־בָּנָיו of our passage is thus, as in 2 Chronicles 33:6, merely a rhetorical generalization (Casp, Keil, Bähr, etc.). On 2 Chronicles 28:3 b and4, comp. Bähr’s exposition of the parallel text.

2 Chronicles 28:5. The Lord his God gave him into the hand of the king of Syria. These introductory words of the following report of the war, compared with 2 Kings 16:6 ff, demonstrate that our writer proposes to give rather a rhetorically conceived than a strictly historical description of the chastisements inflicted on Ahaz by the Syrians and Ephraimites. Comp. Caspari as quoted, p 42 ff, and Keil, p325 f.: “The facts, which show how Ahaz, notwithstanding the grievous blows which fell on him and Judah, sinned yet more grievously against the Lord his God, are brought out of the historical material into relief, and oratorically represented, so that they display not only the increasing obstinacy of Ahaz, but also, by adducing the conduct of the citizens and warriors of the kingdom of Israel, the depth to which Judah had fallen.”—And they smote him, literally, “on him,” that Isaiah, they in flicted a defeat on his army.—And took from him a great many captives, “led captive from him a great leading of captives” (שִׁבְיָה, as in 2 Chronicles 28:11; Nehemiah 3:36).

2 Chronicles 28:6. And Pekah, son of Remaliah, slew in Judah 120,000 in one day, that Isaiah, in a great battle, with the pursuit and plundering that followed. Against the suspicion cast on this number by de Wette Gesenius, Winer, and others, as exaggerated, see Caspari, p37 ff, who points with justice—1. to the fanaticism of the Israelites and Syrians, who aimed directly at the annihilation of the Jewish power ( Isaiah 7:6; 2 Kings 15:16; comp. also 2 Chronicles 28:9); 2. to the military strength of the Jews (307,500), stated shortly before under Uzziah, 2 Chronicles 26:13, which shows that it was about a third of their force that was put to the sword; 3. to the round number120,000 (as also the subsequent number of200,000 captives), showing itself to be the product of a rough estimate, and not an exact enumeration.

2 Chronicles 28:7. And Zichri . . . slew Maaseiah the king’s Song of Solomon, probably a royal prince of an older generation, uncle, cousin, or brother of Ahaz, for he himself at this time had scarcely a son of military age. Azrikam also is perhaps to be regarded as a relative of the king, for a “governor of the house” can scarcely designate a president of the temple (according to 1 Chronicles 9:11; 2 Chronicles 31:13); rather might it be the title of a higher officer of the royal house or palace.—And Elkanah the vicegerent of the king, literally, “the second after the king,” his minister (chancellor, vizier).

2 Chronicles 28:8. And the sons of Israel took captive of their brethren. Observe the importance of this reference to the character of the war, as a barbarous strife between brother tribes.

11. Continuation: b. Oded the Prophet effects the Release of the Captives: 2 Chronicles 28:9-15 (without a parallel in 2 Kings).—And a prophet of the Lord was there of the name of Oded, in Samaria, the capital of the northern kingdom. Here, as well as in other places of this kingdom, prophets of the true God appear active till its complete fall (722 b.c.), as in particular the ministry of Hosea teaches, which was likewise exercised on this soil.—And he went out; comp. the report, 2 Chronicles 15:2, of Azariah son of Oded under Asa.—In the wrath . . . against Judah. Not so much your bravery as the judicial sentence of God for the punishment of idolatrous Israel is the cause of the great victory over your adversaries—a victory which you have abused by a frantic slaughter and carnage. On “that reacheth unto heaven,” comp. Genesis 18:21; Ezra 9:6

2 Chronicles 28:10. And now ye purpose to subject; comp. Genesis 1:28; Leviticus 25:42 ff.—Are there not even with you yourselves trespasses against the Lord? look for once at yourselves, whether ye do not perceive there enough of that which inculpates you before God. To this exhortation to repentance is suitably added the warning in 2 Chronicles 28:11, to beware of the further abuse of the power given them to execute the divine judgment, and therefore of the unmerciful treatment or even the longer retention of the captives.

2 Chronicles 28:12 f. Four of the chiefs of Ephraim declare their concurrence with this exhortation and warning of Oded. Their names occur only here, but they present, at all events, a weighty testimony for the concrete historical character and credibility of the present account.—For with the trespass of the Lord upon us, that the effect of our heavy guilt with God ( 2 Chronicles 28:10) may fall upon us, that the heavy punishment of sin may overtake us. אַשְׁמַת יהוָֹה is here the effect, the punishment of guilt contracted before God.

2 Chronicles 28:14. And the armed host left, the armed escort who conducted the captives to Samaria. הֶחָלוּץ, as in 1 Chronicles 12:23.

2 Chronicles 28:15. The men who were expressed by name, the notable men mentioned by name in the old records, who specially distinguished themselves at that time by a noble emulation of love and compassion for the poor captives; comp. 1 Chronicles 7:31; 1 Chronicles 16:41; 2 Chronicles 31:19. The analogy of these passages forbids us to think only of the four named in 2 Chronicles 28:12.—And clothed all that were naked of them, literally, “all the nakedness” (abstr. pro concr.).—And anointed them, because they should return home happy and cheerful.—And carried them on asses; to which is appended a limiting and more exactly defining phrase, all the weary (or “stumbling,” לְכָל־כּוֹשֵׁל). Observe the pictorial reality and epic breadth of the whole description, which exhibits itself even in designating Jericho as the city of palms (comp. Judges 3:13), and by the mention of it (as the border town of Judah, whither the captives were first brought; comp. Joshua 18:21) accords with the story of the good Samaritan. For, in fact, there is here a grand archetype of the deed of compassion described in this didactic narrative of the Lord, as sure as they were inhabitants of the city and later country of Samaria, who took so loving an interest in the helpless Jews. The thought that Christ drew directly from this episode of the present war several points of His noble lesson should by no means be absolutely rejected. Comp. Evangelical and Ethical Reflections, No3.

12. Close: c. Further Visitations of Ahaz on account of his Idolatry; his End: 2 Chronicles 28:16-27. Only the part of this section that refers to the relations of Ahaz to the Assyrian world-power (his seeking aid from Tiglath-pileser, his payment of tribute to the same, and his fall occasioned by this slavish submission to the idolatry of Syria and Damascus, 2 Chronicles 28:16; 2 Chronicles 28:20-25) is reported in 2 Kings16 ( 2 Chronicles 28:7-18), and there, indeed, much more fully than here. On the contrary, there is wanting there a statement of the contemporaneous humiliations of Ahaz by the Edomites and Philistines, as they are here reported, 2 Chronicles 28:17-19.—At that time King Ahaz sent unto the kings of Assyria. The rather indefinite בָּעֵת הַהִיא admits the assumption that this embassy to Assyria took place immediately after the invasion of Rezin and Pekah (Berth.), as well as that several months or years elapsed between these events (Keil). But according to 2 Kings 16:6 ff, the consequence of that first heavy defeat by the Syrians and Ephraimites, the taking of Elath by Rezin (and that which was connected with it, the invasion of the Edomites and Philistines), seems to have been the motive of Ahaz to apply to the Assyrians for aid. The plural “the kings of Assyria” is perhaps not rhetorical, as above, 2 Chronicles 28:3, בָּנָיו (Keil), but, as it seems, originally written under the consciousness that the head of the Assyrian government was composed of several factors, namely, the king and the Song of Solomon -called eponymus or archon of the current year; see in particular 2 Chronicles 30:4, where this view seems undeniable; also 2 Chronicles 30:6; and comp. Schrader, Studien und Kritiken, 1871, part iv.; Die Keilschriften, etc, p308 ff.

2 Chronicles 28:17. And again the Edomites came, perhaps made free again by Rezin’s expedition against Elath, 2 Kings 16:6, from the Jewish yoke, which lay upon them from the time of Amaziah and Uzziah ( 2 Chronicles 25:11, 2 Chronicles 26:2). The tense is to be taken as the pluperfect: “and moreover וְעוֹד, et prœterea, et insuper; comp. Isaiah 1:5) the Edomites had come”; and so in the two following verses, for they also report something that preceded the fatal treaty with Tiglath-pileser, and served to bring it about.

2 Chronicles 28:18. And the Philistines invaded. Of the places conquered by them, Beth-shemesh ( 1 Chronicles 6:44), Ajalon ( 1 Chronicles 6:54), and Socho ( 2 Chronicles 11:7) have occurred already in our book. For Gederoth (in the Shephelah), comp. Joshua 15:41; for Timnah, now Tibneh, Joshua 15:10; for Gimzo, now Jimsu, a large village between Lydda and Beth-horon, Robins. Palest, iii 271 The mention of daughter cities (literally, “daughters”) along with the chief places, as in 2 Chronicles 13:9.

2 Chronicles 28:19. For the Lord humbled Judah on account of Ahaz king of Israel. Ahaz is perhaps ironically so named; for the title “King of Israel” can scarcely be an honourable designation in him, as in Rehoboam ( 2 Chronicles 12:6) or Jehoshaphat ( 2 Chronicles 21:2), or as in his fore-fathers in general, 2 Chronicles 28:27. It contains, perhaps, an allusion to the contrast between his idolatrous reign and the mind and walk of the true “Israel of God” (comp. Galatians 6:16, Caspari, Keil, etc.).—Because he had revolted in Judah. So is כִּי הִפְרִיעַ with בְּ following certainly to be taken, not as Kamph. and others think: “because he made Judah refractory”; comp. rather Exodus 5:4, which speaks also against the rendering of the Vulg.: eo quod nudasset eum auxilio, and of Luther (that he made Judah naked).

2 Chronicles 28:20. And Tiglath-pilneser. Concerning this form, as corresponding not so well to the Assyrian as the Tiglath-pileser of the other Old Testament sources, see on 1 Chronicles 5:6; for the conjectural identity of Pul with Tiglath-pileser, see on 1 Chronicles 5:26.—And distressed him, and strengthened him not. This is the only rendering agreeable to the context, according to which, חָזַק here, contrary to its usual intransitive meaning, expresses the active sense of strengthening (confortare, roborare). See for justification of this rendering against Luther, Then, Bertheau, etc. (who take חזק according to 2 Chronicles 27:5, Jeremiah 20:7, etc.= “overcome”): “he oppressed and besieged him, but subdued him not,” in particular Keil on this passage; rightly also Neteler and Kamph.

2 Chronicles 28:21. For Ahaz had plundered the house of the Lord. This was at the time that he sent the embassy with its cry for help to the mighty Assyrian king ( 2 Chronicles 28:16), for with empty hands he need not approach him (comp. also 2 Kings 16:7-8). חלק here is not “divide” (Luther), but “plunder, spoliare” (Vulg.); comp. חֵלֶק, booty, share of spoil ( Numbers 31:36; Job 17:5). The strong expression corresponds to the rhetorical tone of the narrator; thereby the certainly historical statement shows that the treasures of the king’s house, as well as those of the “princes” (the high officers of the palace, or perhaps also the princes of the royal house; comp. on 2 Chronicles 28:7), must have contributed, that the gift (שֹׁחַד, see 2 Kings 16:8) sent with the ambassadors might be worthy of acceptance. That Ahaz paid tribute to Tiglath-pileser is attested, besides our passage and the report in 2 Kings 16:7-9 (comp. also Isaiah 36:5, where Rabshakeh charges Hezekiah with revolt from Assyria), also by the Assyrian monumerts. In line 61 of an inscription composed in the last year of Tiglath-pileser’s reign (ii. R67), it is said that this king received tribute (madatu) from “Mittini of Askalon, Ahaz (Jehoahaz—Ja-hukha-zi) of Judah, Kozmalak of Edom.” That here Ahaz is spoken of as a tributary of the great king, and not Uzziah (as H. Rawlinson thought on account of the surprising form of the name), is shown by the naming of the rulers of Philistia and Edom, who in Uzziah’s time would scarcely have been co-ordinated with the Jewish king, the naming of whom along with Ahaz is quite consistent with the contents of the verses of our chapter. Comp. Schrader, p 151 ff.

2 Chronicles 28:22. And in the time of his distress, a date of like indefiniteness and pliability with בָּעֵת הַהִיא in 2 Chronicles 28:16. That the revolt of Ahaz to the gods of the Syrians thus took place after the distresses which the Edomites, Philistines, and Syrians prepared for him, cannot be definitely concluded from this passage; rather it seems to follow from 2 Chronicles 28:23 that he had already, during the war with Rezin, begun to testify his respect for the gods of his foe and his country. There is therefore no proper contradiction between our passage and 2 Kings 16:10 ff.; only that there is given a more concrete and definite report concerning this turning of Ahaz to the Syrian gods than in our section, which also, again, bears an eminently rhetorical and pathetic character, as indeed all that is related from 2 Chronicles 28:5 onwards.

2 Chronicles 28:24. And Ahaz . . . cut up the vessels of the house of God, that Isaiah, as is stated more precisely in 2 Kings 16:17, he broke out the sides of the bases, removed the lavers from them, transferred the sea from the brazen oxen to a stone pavement, etc.—And shut the doors of the house of the Lord, that Isaiah, according to 2 Chronicles 29:3; 2 Chronicles 29:7, the doors not of the court, but of the temple itself, or the porch before the holy and most holy places. Accordingly, the shutting of these doors signified that he suspended the worship of God in the holy and in the most holy place, while he left the altar of burnt-offering in the court; with which 2 Kings 16:15 f. agrees, although there the erection of a separate altar of burnt-offering, built after the model of Damascus of Syria, beside the brazen altar of Song of Solomon, is reported (see Bähr on the passage).—And made him altars in every corner of Jerusalem. Among these altars is included the new altar of burnt-offering in the court, 2 Kings 16:10-16, built at the command of Ahaz by the priest Uriah after the pattern of the idol-altar at Damascus. The כָּל in בְּכָל־פִּנָּה is not to be pressed, nor, for example: “under every tree,” in 2 Chronicles 28:4, nor the phrase: “in every single city of Judah,” in the following verse.

2 Chronicles 28:25. And provoked to anger the Lord (כעם, hiph, as in Deuteronomy 32:16; 1 Kings 14:9).

2 Chronicles 28:26-27; comp. the briefer closing notice in 2 Kings 16:19-20.—And they buried him in the city in Jerusalem; thus not: “in the city of David,” as is usually said, and further not: “in the sepulchres of the kings of Israel” (see on 2 Chronicles 28:19), but apart from the proper tombs of the kings—perhaps in the field mentioned in 2 Chronicles 26:23, where the leprous Uzziah was buried. 2 Kings 16:20 reports nothing of such an exception that was made with respect to the grave of Ahaz.

Evangelical And Ethical Reflections And Homiletic Hints On 2 Chronicles24-28

1. A period of fully a century and a half (877–727 in the usual chronology) is occupied by the five reigns here combined, comprising a reign of forty, of nearly thirty, and of fifty-two years. But none of them yields any permanent gain for the development of Judah into the normal form of a truly theocratic condition, as the deep corruption exhibited under the last, an instance of decided misrule, shows. When the Canaanitish idolatry, naturalized by Athaliah, after a short predominance, was again expelled, as an element utterly foreign to the Davidic house and the Jewish people, five reigns regularly following in legitimate succession, of which perhaps none was begun otherwise than under favourable auspices, and with joyful hopes on the side of the theocratic party, furnish before the end of150 years the sad result of a decided relapse into that idolatry. For the less insidiously evil and murderous than merely weak policy of Ahaz in every instance must be regarded as such a relapse, though it might not be the Tyrian-Canaanitish idolatry of Athaliah to which he chiefly yielded, but the Damascene-Syrian superstition of his adversary Rezin, and though, further, the outward form and show of the legitimate worship was perhaps better observed under him than under the priest-opposing daughter of Omri. On the whole, it is manifest that under Ahaz the corruption of religion and morals had gnawed more deeply than at that time, and struck firmer roots into the consciousness and customs of the people. It is now, at least, quite contrary to the state of things then, directly a priest, perhaps the high priest (Uriah, 2 Kings 16:10 ff.), who readily enters into the king’s idolatrous intentions, and lends a hand to desecrate the sanctuary of Jehovah with foreign modes of worship, elaborated after heathen models; a characteristic which the Chronist perhaps only neglected expressly to Mark, because it disgusted and annoyed him to report anything so unreasonable and abominable as this treason of a priest of the Lord. And as the priest, so the people does not now, at the beck of a true witness, as then of Jehoiada, rise up as one man to put an end to the foreign hateful thing at one blow, but presents so little resistance to the seductions to spiritual and corporeal adultery proceeding from the court, that it remains, during a reign of almost sixteen years, on the path of Baal-worship, and establishes not only idolatrous altars in every corner of Jerusalem, but also high places for burning incense to strange gods “in every single city of Judah” (comp. 2 Chronicles 28:24-25), without standing up in righteous indignation against such a course, or even earnestly seeking a return to theocratic obedience. That it could come to this a century and a half after the events under Athaliah, tells not of a gradual progress to a better state of things, but rather, of a slow but irresistible sinking into worse and worse—of a constant ripening of the people for that fearful judgment of God which now fell on the kindred people of Ephraim immediately after the death of Ahaz at the end of these150 years, and with respect to which for Judah, with all the energy of many attempts at reform (especially under Hezekiah and Josiah), nothing beyond a postponement, a delay of less than150 years more was secured.

2. None of the four comparatively theocratic reigns before Ahaz had been able to check the descent of the people with uneasy certainty and constancy on this downward path to final corruption; for none possessed the reverence for God and law, untainted by heathenish abominations, which characterized the rule of an Asa or Jehoshaphat. For Joash maintained a decidedly theocratic demeanour only so long as his paternal friend, instructor, and counsellor Jehoiada governed him, or so long as those two symbols given him ( 2 Chronicles 23:11) at his accession—the crown as the sign of power, and the law as the sign of theocratic wisdom—exercised their united influence over him;[FN19] after whose death he permits, at the request of the worldly-minded “princes of Judah” (representatives of the higher nobility, to whom the “priestly power” might long since have well been an abomination), the entrance again of idolatry, and causes the faithful witness of the truth, warning them of the evil consequences of such a course, the son of his instructor Jehoiada (and therefore his near relative), to be slain in the court of the temple. Whereupon also the threatened judgment of God, accomplished by a desolating raid of the Syrian Hazael, suddenly enters, and in a very short time brings about the end—and that a terrible end—of the unfaithful king. This reign resembles in more than one respect the history of such rulers of the Middle Ages or of modern times as the German emperors Otto III. and Henry IV, or in many respects Louis XIV. of France, who enjoyed the guardianship of excellent regents of the spiritual order at the beginning of their career, but afterwards failed to beware of the evil consequences of their passing over to a false independence. Not much better or happier was the reign of Amaziah, whose early measures, as the sparing of the children of the murderers who conspired against Joash ( 2 Chronicles 25:4; comp. Deuteronomy 24:16) shows, were entirely accordant with the precepts of the law; but who afterwards, in consequence of a successful war with Edom, which seems to have made the conqueror presumptuous, degenerated into heathenish practices, offered the tribute of worship to the gods of the conquered Edomites (naturally without meaning to abolish the legitimate worship of Jehovah, proceeding on some sort of theoretical and practical mingling of the two modes of worshipping God), and added to this the further folly of a supercilious provocation of the powerful Joash of Israel to war. A severe humiliation by this foe, as a reward for this haughty bearing (conjoined with which are here, again, scornful neglect and rough treatment of one of the prophets of Jehovah, ver16), here also failed to delay the issue; and the end of the king, effected by a band of traitors and conspirators, ver27, was as violent as that of his father. With respect to external politics as well as military and economic (financial) consolidation of their power, the two following reigns appear to have been more fortunate. The vigorous Uzziah, reigning more than a half century, restores in many respects once more the glorious days of a Jehoshaphat, especially with regard to the maintenance of his sway over the southern tribes, and the great advance of the defensive power and financial capability of the country. But when the true spiritual adviser whom he long followed, the prophet Zechariah, was separated from him, he also exhibited haughtiness, daring arrogance, and false independence in spiritual things. And if his people were not involved in the judgment incurred by this guilt, yet his transgression brought on himself a heavy and shameful fall, for which there was no recovery on this side the grave. He dies as one “smitten of God” ( Isaiah 53:4; comp. Job 2:7; Job 6:4 f, 2 Chronicles 16:12 ff.) in a sick-house, and does not even in death partake of the honour due to a king of the line of David, and also a powerful and celebrated prince ( 2 Chronicles 26:28). To his son Jotham, reigning a much shorter time, but in a like spirit and with like external fortune, a humiliation of the same kind is certainly spared; for “he entered not into the temple of the Lord,” ventured on no such daring stretch of his authority as Uzziah in his attempt to burn incense. And how far he was thereby from being without guilt, or free from inward participation in such offences, is shown by the reckless audacity with which his on and successor, during his whole reign (of equal length with that of his father), ventured to addict himself to the demoralizing idolatry of the neighbouring nations, and to procure for it unlimited entrance among his people. Of the father of such a son we can form no very favourable opinion, even if the scanty notices of our author announce little or nothing positively unfavourable concerning him.

3. The penal judgment of God for such continued yielding to the seducing and corrupting influence of heathenism, as it was decreed against Judah, soon after the corruption had broken forth in all its grossness, in the Song of Solomon -called war with Syria and Ephraim, appears, according to the representation of the Chronist, to have been terribly great and severe. More than100,000 fighting men fall as the sacrifice of a single battle-field, and almost double that number of women, children, and other prisoners of war are dragged away as slaves, and owe their instant unconditional release to the compassion of their kinsmen, the victorious Ephraimites, evoked by a bold and vehement prophetic admonition; so that in this case the Jews were put to shame by the more righteous and pious conduct of the citizens of the neighbouring kingdom (which, however, took place on the very eve of their religious and political ruin). But the spiritual blessing which should have sprung from so heavy and deeply humiliating a visitation was gone. No trace of the return of the heart to the true God and to His law comes to light in the subsequent accounts concerning the acts and events of the reign of Ahaz. And the calamities added to that great defeat, the invasions of the Edomites and Philistines, as well as the distress from the Assyrian king, whose alliance naturally soon proved to be an oppressive sovereignty, produce, instead of repentance toward God, only increasing submission to the idols. As slave children with venal servility kiss the rod with which they are chastised, so Ahaz thinks he must present more demonstrations of respect to the gods of his victorious foes, in proportion as they prepare for him heavier humiliations. And no one among the people brings him back from such folly; the voice of no prophet, though they press as strongly and closely upon his ear as that of an Isaiah ( Isaiah 7-10), is able to check the criminal course into which he has gone with his princes, his counsellors, and his strong party among the people. First under his son Hezekiah, repentance and amendment, the path to which was already prepared in many hearts by the previous afflictions, come to light; and that unusually severe judgment of God finally proves to be a wholesome corrective measure, the effect of which is to save, create new life, and purify; comp. Hezekiah’s own reflections on it, 2 Chronicles 29:9,—a passage which, at the same time, deserves to be taken into account as a supplementary testimony to the greatness of the loss suffered by the people from the defeats in question.

4. In the representation of the author of the books of Kings, this pragmatic connection of the defeats of Ahaz, especially that inflicted on him by the Syrians and Ephraimites, with his sins and his sinking into ever worse impenitence and idolatry, is less sharply and clearly exhibited than in the strong, rhetorically-coloured, and generally animated and impassioned style adopted by our author. But its substantial credibility can suffer no damage from this, that it here and there presents other points of view, and in part connects the events otherwise. As the reports of the Chronist, giving great prominence to the Levitical element in the revolution conducted by Jehoiada, as well as in the contributions for the temple and its repair under Joash, in contrast with those of the books of Kings, do not deserve to be cast in the shade and disparaged; or as that which our author more specially relates concerning Uzziah’s transgression and punishment from his Levitical point of view is not to be suspected in comparison with the allusive brevity of the older parallel account; even so we have no right to hesitate with regard to that which is peculiar to him in the description of the Syro-Ephraimitish war. The roundness, resting rather on an estimate than an exact enumeration, of the high numbers in 2 Chronicles 28:6-8 is the only thing that is to be conceded to the judgment of the opponent calling in question the strict historical accuracy of his narrative (see above on this passage). All other details of this description clearly rest on good historical ground; neither the names of the persons that fell, 2 Chronicles 28:7, in the great engagement with Pekah among the king’s relatives and nearest circle, nor those of the nobles of Ephiraim who supported by their vote the admonition of Oded to release the Jewish captives ( 2 Chronicles 28:12), look like mere invention. The invention of such names, in order to invest an account, legendary in itself, with the appearance of historical truth, would, in fact, be an inconceivable monstrosity, a unicum in the history of literary fictions. But they both hold and support each other, the undeniable historical reality of these names, and the credibility of the facts with which they are connected and environed. The entrance also of the prophet Oded, and the words spoken by him, are accredited by the reacting power of these concrete names. What is done to the Jewish captives by those four chiefs of Ephraim seems purely inconceivable without a vehement admonition, such as that spoken by Oded according to 2 Chronicles 28:9-11. Caspari therefore declares it to be the “highest levity” (against Gesenius, in his Commentary on Isaiah, p269, and other impugners of the historical truth of this prophetic utterance) to hold the report in vers9–11to be unworthy of credit, and yet to regard the contents of 2 Chronicles 28:12 ff. as historical. And in the same relation of supplement and of correspondence to 2 Kings stands in general all that our author reports different from the statements there concerning Ahaz and the steps taken by him for the furtherance of idolatry. As the remarks made by him, 2 Chronicles 28:17-19, concerning the invasions of the Edomites and Philistines, agree excellently with 2 Kings 16:6, so between that which he relates, 2 Chronicles 28:23-25, regarding the idolatrous profanation of the temple and its vessels and 2 Kings 16:10-16 there is no contradiction whatever, but merely a relation of supplement and confirmation. On the whole, it would seem superfluous, indeed almost paltry, after Caspari’s emphatic and pertinent argument in favour of the essential harmony of the two reports of the war, to enter further into subtle critical disquisitions or wide apologetic investigations regarding their apparent or even real points of difference.

Footnotes:

FN#1 - The absent copula before בניה is supplied in the Sept, Vulg, and Luth, and rightly.

FN#2 - The Sept. and Vulg. take הַבֹּהֵן rather as the accus. belonging to Zechariah (τὸν ἰερέα, sacerdotem).

FN#3 - The Vulg. and Syr. do not translate מֵעָם; the Sept. (ἐν τῶ̣ λαῷ) appears to have read בָּעָם.

FN#4 - Hebr. דַּרְמֶשֶׂק, as always in Chronicles; comp. 1 Chronicles 18:5.

FN#5 - For בני יהוידע the Sept. and Vulg. probably read aright בן י׳ The plur. seems a slip of the pen.

FN#6 - So according to the Kethib וְרֹב. on the Keri יִרֶב, “be multiplied” (the sentence upon him), see Exeg. Expl.

FN#7 - Before יַבְשִׁילְךָ is וְלֹא to be supplied, with almost all recent expositors. See Exeg. Expl.

FN#8 - For לַמֵּאוֹת we should certainly read, with the Keri (and a considerable number of mss.): לִמְאַת.

FN#9 - לְךָ, Kethib; the Keri is לְבָה. Comp Exeg. Expl.

FN#10 - שַׁעַר הַפּוֹנֶה, “gate of turning,” is undoubtedly and error for שׁ׳ הַפּנָּה, “corner gate”; comp. 2 Chronicles 26:9, and especially the parallel 2 Kings 14:13.

FN#11 - For בְּעִר יְהוּדָה the old versions (Sept, Vulg, Syr.) have: “in the city of David.”

FN#12 - The Keri amends יְכִילְיָה, after 2 Kings 15:2, into יְבָלְיָה, which is scarcely right.

FN#13 - Instead of בִּרְאוֹת should rather be read, with the Sept. (ἐν φόβω̣ χυρίου), Syr, Targ, Raschi, Kimchi, and some Hebrew mss. of de Rossi: בְּיִרְאַת.

FN#14 - Sept.: ἐπὶ τῆς πέτρας (Perhaps thinking of petra, the capital of Edom).

FN#15 - Sept.: οἱ Μιναῖοι, by mistake (from the preceding τοὺς Μιναίους).

FN#16 - So the Kethib (יְעוּאֵל); the Keri has יְעִיאֵל (as Ezra 8:13).

FN#17 - The Sept, Syr, and Arab. have twenty-five, a reading which Houbigant, Dathe, Ewald, Berth, and most moderns prefer. Comp. also J. A. Bengel, in the passage quoted, Introd. § 6, Rem. (p28).

FN#18 - Properly “Darmascus”; comp. 1 Chronicles 18:5-6; 2 Chronicles 14:2; 2 Chronicles 24:23.

[FN#19 - 19]Comp. Luther’s marginal note on this passage: “Finely are both the crown and the book presented to the King that he might be not only mighty, but also wise, or (as we may say) know God’s word and right. Thus, even now, we make kings with a sword and book.”

 


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Bibliography Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 24:4". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lcc/2-chronicles-24.html. 1857-84.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, November 18th, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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