Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Kings 17:16

They forsook all the commandments of the Lord their God and made for themselves molten images, even two calves, and made an Asherah and worshiped all the host of heaven and served Baal.
New American Standard

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Assyria;   Baal;   Babylon;   Groves;   Idolatry;   Judgments;   Rulers;   Stars;   Scofield Reference Index - Israel;   Thompson Chain Reference - Calves, Jeroboam's;   False;   Golden Calves;   Idolatry;   Images;   Worship;   Worship, False;   Worship, True and False;   The Topic Concordance - Disobedience;   Fear;   Following;   Idolatry;   Rejection;   Unbelief;   Vanity;   Worship;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Forsaking God;   Groves;   Idolatry;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Captivity;   Egypt;   Shalmaneser;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Baal;   Idol, idolatry;   Israel;   Samaria, samaritans;   Uncleanness;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Amos, Theology of;   Chronicles, Theology of;   Ethics;   Leadership;   Persecution;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Samaritans;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Host of Heaven;   Stars;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Baal (1);   Idol;   Kings, the Books of;   Sabaoth, Lord of;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Asherah;   Covenant;   Dan;   Gods, Pagan;   Golden Calf;   High Place;   Host of Heaven;   Kings, 1 and 2;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Host of Heaven;   Idolatry;   Israel;   Samaria;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Baal, Baalim ;   Calf, Golden;   Israel ;   Moon;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Shalmanezer;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Baal;   Captivity;   Hezekiah;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Ba'al,;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Baal;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Adoration;   Astrology;   Calf, Golden;   Host of Heaven;   Idolatry;   Queen of Heaven;   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Baal;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - High Place;   Host of Heaven;   Sacrifice;  

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

In 2 Kings 17:10 there is a reference to the old high-place worship, which was professedly a worship of Yahweh, but with unauthorized rites and emblems; here the reference is to Ahab‘s setting up a grove to Baal in the city of Samaria (marginal reference).

And worshipped all the host of heaven - Astral worship has not hitherto been mentioned as practiced by the Israelites. Moses had warned against it Deuteronomy 4:19; Deuteronomy 17:3, so that it no doubt existed in his day, either among the Canaanite nations or among the Arabians Job 31:26-28. Perhaps it was involved to some extent in the Baal worship of the Phoenicians, for Baal and Astarte were probably associated in the minds of their worshippers with the Sun and moon. Later in the history we shall find a very decided and well-developed astral worship prevalent among the Jews, which is probably Assyro-Babylonian (2 Kings 21:3 note).

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Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 2 Kings 17:16". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/2-kings-17.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And they left all the commandments of the Lord their God,.... Which their idolatry led them to; and indeed he that offends in one point is guilty of them all, James 2:10.

and made them molten images, even two calves; which they set up at Dan and Bethel, in the times of their first king Jeroboam, 1 Kings 13:28.

and made a grove; as Ahab, another of their kings, did, 1 Kings 16:33.

and worshipped all the host of heaven: not the angels, sometimes so called, but, besides the sun and moon, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Mercury, Venus:

and served Baal; which was service to the sun, as Abarbinel interprets it; this was the god of the Zidonians Ahab worshipped, having married a princess of that people, 1 Kings 16:31.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 17:16". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/2-kings-17.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And they left all the commandments of the LORD their God, and made them molten images, [even] two calves, and made a grove, and worshipped all the g host of heaven, and served Baal.

(g) That is, the sun, moon and stars, (Deuteronomy 4:19).
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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 2 Kings 17:16". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/2-kings-17.html. 1599-1645.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And they left all the commandments of the LORD their God, and made them molten images, even two calves, and made a grove, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served Baal.

Left all — They grew worse and worse; from a partial disobedience to some of God's laws, they fell by degrees to a total apostacy from all.

The host — The stars, as Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 17:16". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/2-kings-17.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

2 Kings 17:16 And they left all the commandments of the LORD their God, and made them molten images, [even] two calves, and made a grove, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served Baal.

Ver. 16. And they left all the commandments of God.] So they will soon do, who take liberty to leave any; for the whole law is but one copulative, as the schools speak.

All the host of heaven.] So the heavenly bodies, sun, moon, and stars are called, for their (1.) number; (2.) order; (3.) obedience.

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 17:16". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/2-kings-17.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

They left all the commandments of the Lord; they grew worse and worse; from a partial disobedience to some of God’s laws, they fell by degrees to a total apostacy from all of them.

The host of heaven; the stars, as Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus, &c. See Deuteronomy 4:19.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Kings 17:16". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/2-kings-17.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

16.Two calves — See at 1 Kings 12:28.

Grove — See note on 1 Kings 14:15.

Worshipped all the host of heaven — In our note on 2 Kings 16:10 we observed that the Assyrian astral worship was probably introduced into the kingdoms of Israel and Judah in the times of Pekah and Ahaz, and 2 Kings 21:3; 2 Kings 23:5; 2 Kings 23:11 show that it was common in Judah in the times of Manasseh and Ammon. But long anterior to this it may have been introduced in connexion with the Baal and Ashtoreth worship of Phenicia, for Ashtoreth was not without a sidereal character. “It is not by any means easy,” says Wilkins, (Phenicia and Israel, p. 171,) “to determine the exact form which the worship of the heavenly bodies took in the various nations of Western Asia. The purest form of star worship was that of the Assyrio-Persian magism; it admitted of no images of the deity, and in its adoration of the heavenly bodies it drew its deepest inspiration from the thought of their perfect beauty. This was the cultus to which Job (xxxi, 26) felt himself tempted when he ‘beheld the sun when it shined, or the moon walking in brightness.’ Compare Deuteronomy 4:19. A second mode of regarding the stars was that of the Phenicians, by whom they were looked upon as the originators of the growth and decay of nature — the embodiment of the creative and generative principle; and from this view there was readily developed a further symbolism, which led ere long to the grossest idolatry. The third great system of astral worship was that whose leading tendency was to dwell rather on the contemplation of the eternal unchangeableness of the heavenly bodies, as contrasted with the chances and changes of this transitory life. This was the form most common among the Chaldeans, and naturally produced the astrology for which they were famous. It is not always possible to determine which form of the worship of the host of heaven was that which presented itself as a temptation to the children of Israel; on the whole, we may assume it to have been the second, not only from the connexion in which it is mentioned, but also from the circumstances of the case.”

Served Baal — See note on 1 Kings 16:31.

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Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Kings 17:16". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/2-kings-17.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Heaven: sun and mood; and the stars, which were like the soldiers of the two former. This expression is very common in Scripture.

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 2 Kings 17:16". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/2-kings-17.html. 1859.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(16) Molten images.—1 Kings 12:28. Literally, a casting.

A grove.—An Asherah (1 Kings 14:23; 1 Kings 16:33). Schlottmann writes: “That Ashera was only another name for the same supreme goddess (i.e., Ashtoreth) is at once shown by the parallelism of ‘Baal and Ashtaroth’ (Judges 2:13) with ‘Baal and Asherim’ (the plural of Ashera) in Judges 3:7. In quite the same way Baal and Ashera stand side by side in Judges 6:28, 2 Kings 23:4; and in 1 Kings 18:19 the 450 prophets of the Baal and the 400 of the Ashera. further, in 2 Chronicles 15:16; 2 Chronicles 24:18, the LXX. render Ashera by Astarte; and in other passages Aquila, Symmachus, and the Peshito do the same thing.” He then refers to 1 Kings 14:23 and Isaiah 17:8; Isaiah 27:9, and continues: “according to these and many other passages, Ashera was used as the designation of the commonest material representation of the goddess. It consisted of a block of wood, of considerable size (Judges 6:26), and resembling a tree, as is shown by the expressions used in connection with it, such as ‘setting up,’ ‘planting,’ and ‘cutting down’ (2 Kings 17:10; Deuteronomy 16:21; Judges 6:28; 2 Kings 18:4, &c). In Isaiah 27:9 the LXX. actually renders tree; ‘and so the Peshito in Deut. vi 21, Micah 5:13. Hence, we must not think of pillars like the Greek Hermae, but of a real trunk planted in the ground, rootless, but not branchless; for which purpose pines and evergreens were preferred. The tree signifies, according to an ancient and widespread conception, nature, or the world, which in this case stands as goddess at the side of the Baal——the lord of the world. (Comp. the Norse tree, Yggdrasil, and the Assyrian sacred tree.) Hence, the Ashera was set up by the altar of Baal (Judges 6:28). (Comp. Deuteronomy 16:21.)” Schlottmann adds that Movers is wrong in making Astarte and Ashera two different goddesses, the former being “the stern, cruel virgin,” the latter, “the goddess who excites to pleasure;” and he justly observes that, as in the case of Baal, the same deity may be conceived under contrary aspects (Riehm’s Handworterbuch Bibl. Alterthums, pp. Ill—114). For the Hebrew conception of Astarte see Jeremiah 7:18; Jeremiah 44:17 seq. Kuenen, Rel. of Isr. i. 88 seq., agrees with Movers, but hardly proves his case.

Worshipped all the host of heaven.—2 Kings 21:3; comp. 2 Kings 23:4.

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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 17:16". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/2-kings-17.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And they left all the commandments of the LORD their God, and made them molten images, even two calves, and made a grove, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served Baal.
molten images
Exodus 32:4,8; 1 Kings 12:28; Psalms 106:18-20; Isaiah 44:9,10
a grove
10; 1 Kings 14:15,23; 15:13; 16:33
worshipped
Deuteronomy 4:19; Jeremiah 8:2
Baal
10:18-28; 11:18; 1 Kings 16:31; 22:53
Reciprocal: Deuteronomy 16:21 - GeneralJudges 10:6 - the gods of Zidon;  2 Kings 13:6 - and there remained;  2 Kings 18:6 - kept;  2 Kings 21:3 - and worshipped;  2 Kings 23:4 - Baal;  2 Kings 23:19 - to provoke the Lord;  Psalm 106:36 - And;  Jeremiah 44:17 - queen of heaven;  Ezekiel 23:8 - whoredoms;  Hosea 4:6 - seeing;  Hosea 8:5 - mine;  Hosea 8:12 - but;  Hosea 10:5 - the calves;  Hosea 10:14 - and all;  Hosea 11:2 - they sacrificed;  Hosea 13:1 - offended;  Amos 5:2 - is fallen;  Acts 7:42 - the host;  Acts 7:43 - ye took

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Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Kings 17:16". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/2-kings-17.html.