Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Kings 17:9

The sons of Israel did things secretly which were not right against the Lord their God. Moreover, they built for themselves high places in all their towns, from watchtower to fortified city.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Assyria;   Babylon;   High Places;   Judgments;   Rulers;   Scofield Reference Index - Israel;   Thompson Chain Reference - Concealment of Sin;   Concealment-Exposure;   False;   High Places;   Idolatry;   Places;   Secret Sins;   Sin;   Sins;   Worship, False;   Worship, True and False;   The Topic Concordance - Disobedience;   Fear;   Following;   Idolatry;   Vanity;   Worship;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Forsaking God;   High Places;   Idolatry;   Sins, National;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Captivity;   Egypt;   Micaiah;   Shalmaneser;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Baal;   Idol, idolatry;   Israel;   Samaria, samaritans;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Amos, Theology of;   Chronicles, Theology of;   Ethics;   Persecution;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Samaritans;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Watches;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Ahab;   High Places;   Idol;   Kings, the Books of;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Dan;   High Place;   Kings, 1 and 2;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Fortification and Siegecraft;   Israel;   Samaria;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Shalmanezer;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Captivity;   Hezekiah;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Tower;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Kingdom of Israel;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Gardener;   High Place;   Hoshea;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - High Place;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Did secretly those things - There was much hidden iniquity and private idolatry among them, as well as public and notorious crimes.

From the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city - That is, the idolatry was universal; every place was made a place for some idolatrous rite or act of worship; from the largest city to the smallest village, and from the public watchtower to the shepherd's cot.

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Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 2 Kings 17:9". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/2-kings-17.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Literally, the words run thus - “And the children of Israel concealed (or ‹dissembled‘) words which were not so concerning the Lord their God;” the true meaning of which probably is, the Israelites cloaked or covered their idolatry with the pretence that it was a worship of Yahweh: they glossed it over and dissembled toward God, instead of openly acknowledging their apostasy.

From the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city - This phrase was probably a proverbial expression for universality, meaning strictly; “alike in the most populous and in the most desolate regions.” “Towers of watchmen” were built for the protection of the flocks and herds which were pastured in waste and desert places 2 Chronicles 26:10; 2 Chronicles 27:4.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 2 Kings 17:9". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/2-kings-17.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

2 Kings 17:9

And the children of Israel did secretly those things that were not right.

Infatuation of sin

Again we come upon this report which we have had as it were a thousand times in identical terms. What is the wonderful charm of evil? Surely the philosophers have not answered that inquiry completely. There must be some peculiar inexpressible charm in evil, or men would no do it, and do it with both hands earnestly, and live in the doing of it, and reap in its execution some kind of harvest of contentment and gladness. What is this charm? Men repeat the evil even whilst denominating it iniquity and marking it as vile. In this matter we are curiously and wondrously made. We go back to the evil. The devil seems to be more attractive than God. One would have thought that one vision of truth, beauty, heaven’s own light, would have for ever fascinated us, and made us incapable of meanness, wrong-doing, untruthfulness, or any form or colour of iniquity. But it is not so. The devil is most charmful! We know he tells lies, but he tolls them eloquently. We are aware that he cannot keep any promise that he ever made, yet when he puts out his black hand to us we grope for it in the dark, and think the fellowship not without advantage! Who can explain this? Is the explanation in the heart? “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked,” (J. Parker, D. D.)

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Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "2 Kings 17:9". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/2-kings-17.html. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And the children of Israel did secretly those things that were not right against the Lord their God,.... As being partly conscious to themselves that they were not right, and ashamed to commit them openly; and partly as foolishly imagining, that, being done privately, they were not seen and observed of God, having imbibed some atheistical notions of him, that he was not omniscient, or saw not, and had forsaken the earth; or they "covered"F7יחפאו "occultaverunt", Montanus, Vatablus, Grotius; "palliaverunt", Piscator. these actions of theirs under reigned and plausible pretences, that what they did they were obliged to by their kings, and with political views, and that they worshipped the true God in the calves; but these were coverings too thin not to be seen through:

and they built them high places in all their cities, from the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city; not content with those built in former times, they built new ones; and these not in their metropolis only, but in all the cities of the kingdom; and not in large cities only, but in every town and village between one fortified city and another; even wherever there was a watch tower erected, either for shepherds to watch their flocks, or for keepers of gardens, orchards, and vineyards, to watch the fruits of them, that they were not taken away.

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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 17:9". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/2-kings-17.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And the children of Israel did secretly [those] things that [were] not right against the LORD their God, and they built them high places in all their cities, from the tower e of the watchmen to the fenced city.

(e) Meaning, throughout all their borders.
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Bibliographical Information
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 2 Kings 17:9". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/2-kings-17.html. 1599-1645.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And the children of Israel did secretly those things that were not right against the LORD their God, and they built them high places in all their cities, from the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city.

Did secretly — This belongs, either, 1. To their gross idolatries, and other abominable practices, which they were ashamed to own before others; or, 2. to the worship of calves: and so the words are otherwise rendered; they covered things that were not right towards the Lord: they covered their idolatrous worship of the calves, with fair pretences of necessity, the two kingdoms being now divided, and at enmity; and of their honest intention of serving the true God, and retaining the substance of the Jewish religion.

City — In all parts and places, both in cities, and in the country; yea, in the most uninhabited parts, where few or none dwell, beside the watchmen, who are left there in towers, to preserve the cattle and fruits of the earth, or to give notice of the approach of enemies.

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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 17:9". "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 17:9 And the children of Israel did secretly [those] things that [were] not right against the LORD their God, and they built them high places in all their cities, from the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city.

Ver. 9. And the children of Israel did secretly.] Heb., They hid, or covered, or cloaked over what they did, {see Ezekiel 8:12} but all in vain; for God is all eye, and to him dark things appear, dumb things answer, silence itself maketh confession, as an ancient speaketh.

From the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city,] i.e., From one corner of the country to another: a proverbial speech.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 17:9". 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

Things that were not right against the Lord: this belongs, either,

1. To their gross idolatries, and other abominable practices, which they were ashamed to own before others: compare Ezekiel 8:12. Or,

2. To the worship of calves; and so the words are otherwise rendered, and that agreeably to the Hebrew text, they cloaked, or disguised, or covered things that were not right against, or before, or towards the Lord, i.e. they covered their idolatrous worship of the calves with fair pretences of necessity, the two kingdoms being now divided, and at enmity; and of their honest intention of serving the true God, and retaining the substance of the Jewish religion, from which they alleged that they differed only in circumstances of worship.

From the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city; in all parts and places, both in cities and in the country; yea, in the most uninhabited and neglected parts, where few or none dwell beside the watchmen, who are left there in towers, to preserve the cattle and fruits of the earth, or to give notice of the approach of enemies.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Kings 17:9". 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

9.Did secretly those things that were not right against the Lord — Literally, covered things (or words, דברים which are not right upon Jehovah. The general idea is, that they distorted his worship, and sacrilegiously changed his ordinances. Keil translates and explains thus: “They covered words which were not right concerning Jehovah their God; that is, they sought to conceal the true nature of Jehovah by arbitrary perversions of the word of God. This covering of words over Jehovah showed itself in the fact that they built altars on high places, and by worshipping God in ways of their own invention concealed the nature of the revealed God, and made Jehovah like the idols.” Similarly Bahr: “They covered Jehovah with things which were not right; that is, they concealed him by them so that he could no longer be seen and recognised; which is as much as to say that they practically denied and ignored him.”

High places — Compare note on 1 Kings 3:2.

Tower of the watchmen — A tower built in the desert or in lonely places for the convenience of shepherds and the protection of flocks. Compare 2 Chronicles 26:10. Here and in chap. 2 Kings 18:8 it is named in antithesis to the thickly populated and fortified towns.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Kings 17:9". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/2-kings-17.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Offended. Hebrew, "They concealed (or spoke secretly; Haydock) words, which were not right before the Lord:" (Calmet) being guilty of hypocrisy or of blasphemy. (Haydock) --- Watchmen: the meanest huts. (Tirinus) --- All was contaminated. (Calmet) --- Towers were erected to guard the flocks from thieves, 2 Paralipomenon xxvi. 10. (Menochius)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 2 Kings 17:9". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/2-kings-17.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

from the tower . . . to the fenced city: from the remote watchtower in the country to the fortified city = the whole country.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 2 Kings 17:9". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/2-kings-17.html. 1909-1922.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(9) Did secretly.—The literal sense is covered. In this connection it is natural to remember that Heb. verbs of covering and hiding are often used in the sense of dealing perfidiously or deceitfully. (Comp. mâ’al, l Chron., with me’îl, “mantle;” and bâgad, “to deal treacherously,” Hosea 5:7, with bèged, “garment.”) The form in the text (the pihel of ‘hâphâ) is only found here.

They built them high places.—First, the institution of unlawful places of worship.

From the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city.—The towers are such as are mentioned in 2 Chronicles 26:10. Here, and in 2 Kings 18:8, these solitary buildings, tenanted by a few herdsmen, are contrasted with the embattled cities which protected multitudes. Wherever men were, whether in small or large numbers, these high places were established.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 17:9". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/2-kings-17.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And the children of Israel did secretly those things that were not right against the LORD their God, and they built them high places in all their cities, from the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city.
secretly
Deuteronomy 13:6; 27:15; Job 31:27; Ezekiel 8:12
from the tower
18:8; Hosea 12:11
Reciprocal: 1 Kings 14:23 - groves;  2 Kings 23:19 - the houses;  Jeremiah 32:30 - children;  Ezekiel 33:29 - because;  Habakkuk 2:1 - tower

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Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Kings 17:9". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/2-kings-17.html.