Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Kings 20:20

Now the rest of the acts of Hezekiah and all his might, and how he made the pool and the conduit and brought water into the city, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah?
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Hezekiah;   Jerusalem;   Temptation;   Water;   Thompson Chain Reference - Gihon;   Pools;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Cities;   Jerusalem;   Pools and Ponds;   Water;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Jerusalem;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Conduit;   Pool;   River;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Hezekiah;   Jerusalem;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Aqueducts;   Assyria, History and Religion of;   Book(s);   Cities and Urban Life;   Conduit;   Gihon;   Jerusalem;   Kings, 1 and 2;   Pool;   Reservoir;   Shiloah, Waters of;   Water;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Isaiah, Book of;   Israel;   Jerusalem;   River;   Siloam;   Text, Versions, and Languages of Ot;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Conduit;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Hezekiah;   Manasseh;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Conduit;   Hezekiah;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Bath, Bathing;   Hezeki'ah;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Hezekiah (2);   Palestine (Recent Exploration, I.e. as of 1915);   Sennacherib;   Siloam;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Jerusalem;   Siloam Inscription;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

The rest of the acts of Hezekiah - See the parallel places in Isaiah and in 2 Chronicles. In this latter book, 2 Chronicles 32:24-33, we find several particulars that are not inserted here; especially concerning his pride, the increase of his riches, his storehouses of corn, wine, and oil; his stalls for all manner of beasts; his cities, flocks, and herds, in abundance; and the bringing the upper water course of Gihon to the west side of the city of David, by which he brought a plentiful supply of water into that city, etc., etc., etc.

On the subject of the Babylonian embassy I may say a few words. However we may endeavor to excuse Hezekiah, it is certain that he made an exhibition of his riches and power in a spirit of great vanity; and that this did displease the Lord. It was also ruinous to Judea: when those foreigners had seen such a profusion of wealth, such princely establishments, and such a fruitful land, it was natural for them to conceive the wish that they had such treasures, and from that to covet the very treasures they saw. They made their report to their king and countrymen, and the desire to possess the Jewish wealth became general; and in consequence of this there is little doubt that the conquest of Jerusalem was projected. History is not barren in such instances: the same kind of cause has produced similar effects. Take two or three notable instances.

When the barbarous Goth and Vandal nations saw the pleasant and fruitful plains and hills of Italy, and the vast treasures of the Roman people, the abundance of the necessaries, conveniences, comforts, and luxuries of life, which met their eyes in every direction; they were never at rest till their swords put them in possession of the whole, and brought the mistress of the world to irretrievable ruin.

Vortigern, a British king, unhappily invited the Saxons, in 445, to assist him against his rebellious subjects: they came, saw the land that it was good, and in the end took possession of it, having driven out, or into the mountains of Wales, all the original Britons.

The Danes, in the ninth century, made some inroads into England, found the land better than their own, and never rested till they established themselves in this country, and, after having ruled it for a considerable time, were at last, with the utmost difficulty, driven out.

These nations had only to see a better land in order to covet it, and their exertions were not wanting in order to possess it.

How far other nations, since those times, have imitated the most foolish and impolitic conduct of the Jewish king, and how far their conduct may have been or may yet be marked with the same consequences, the pages of impartial history have shown and will show: God's ways are all equal, and the judge of all the earth will do right. But we need not wonder, after this, that the Jews fell into the hands of the Babylonians, for this was the political consequence of their own conduct: nor could it be otherwise, the circumstances of both nations considered, unless God, by a miraculous interposition, had saved them; and this it was inconsistent with his justice to do, because they had, in their pride and vanity, offended against him. To be lifted up with pride and vain glory in the possession of any blessings, is the most direct way to lose them; as it induces God, who dispensed them for our benefit, to resume them, because that which was designed for our good, through our own perversity becomes our bane.

1. I have intimated, in the note on 2 Kings 20:11, that the shadow was brought back on the dial of Ahaz by means of refraction. On this subject some farther observations may not be improper.

2. Any person may easily convince himself of the effect of refraction by this simple experiment: Place a vessel on the floor, and put a piece of coin on the bottom, close to that part of the vessel which is farthest off from yourself; then move back till you find that the edge of the vessel next to yourself fairly covers the coin, and that it is now entirely out of sight. Stand exactly in that position, and let a person pour water gently into the vessel, and you will soon find the coin to reappear, and to be entirely in sight when the vessel is full, though neither it nor you have changed your positions in the least.

By the refracting power of the atmosphere we have several minutes more of the solar light each day than we should otherwise have.

"The atmosphere refracts the sun's rays so as to bring him in sight every clear day, before he rises in the horizon, and to keep him in view for some minutes after he is really set below it. For at some times of the year we see the sun ten minutes longer above the horizon than he would be if there were no refractions, and above six minutes every day at a mean rate." - Ferguson.

And it is entirely owing to refraction that we have any morning or evening twilight; without this power in the atmosphere, the heavens would be as black as ebony in the absence of the sun; and at his rising we should pass in a moment from the deepest darkness into the brightest light; and at his setting, from the most intense light to the most profound darkness, which in a few days would be sufficient to destroy the visual organs of all the animals in air, earth, or sea.

That the rays of light can be supernaturally refracted, and the sun appear to be where he actually is not, we have a most remarkable instance in Kepler. Some Hollanders, who wintered in Nova Zembla in the year 1596, were surprised to find that after a continual night of three months, the sun began to rise seventeen days sooner than (according to computation deduced from the altitude of the pole, observed to be seventy-six degrees) he should have done; which can only be accounted for by a miracle, or by an extraordinary refraction of the sun's rays passing through the cold dense air in that climate. At that time the sun, as Kepler computes, was almost five degrees below the horizon when he appeared; and consequently the refraction of his rays was about nine times stronger than it is with us.

3. Now this might be all purely natural, though it was extraordinary, and it proves the possibility of what I have conjectured, even on natural principles; but the foretelling of this, and leaving the going back or forward to the choice of the king, and the thing occurring in the place and time when and where it was predicted, shows that it was supernatural and miraculous, though the means were purely natural. Yet in that climate, (Lat. thirty-one degrees fifty minutes north, and Long. thirty-five degrees twenty-five minutes east), where vapors to produce an extraordinary refraction of the solar rays could not be expected, the collecting or producing them heightens and ascertains the miracle. "But why contend that the thing was done by refraction? Could not God as easily have caused the sun, or rather the earth, to turn back, as to have produced this extraordinary and miraculous refraction?" I answer, Yes. But it is much more consistent with the wisdom and perfections of God to perform a work or accomplish an end by simple means, than by those that are complex; and had it been done in the other way, it would have required a miracle to invert and a miracle to restore; and a strong convulsion on the earth's surface to bring it ten degrees suddenly back, and to take it the same suddenly forward. The miracle, according to my supposition, was performed on the atmosphere, and without in the least disturbing even that; whereas, on the other supposition, it could not have been done without suspending or interrupting the laws of the solar system, and this without gaining a hair's breadth in credulity or conviction more by such stupendous interpositions than might be effected by the agency of clouds and vapors. The point to be gained was the bringing back the shadow on the dial ten degrees: this might have been gained by the means I have here described, as well as by the other; and these means being much more simple, were more worthy the Divine choice than those which are more complex, and could not have been used without producing the necessity of working at least double or treble miracles.

4. Before I proceed to the immediate object of inquiry, I shall beg leave to make some observations on the invention and construction of Dials in general.

Sundials must have been of great antiquity, though the earliest we hear of is that of Ahaz; but this certainly was not the first of its kind, though it is the first on record. Ahaz began his reign about four hundred years before Alexander, and about twelve years after the foundation of Rome.

Anaximenes, the Milesian, who flourished about four hundred years before Christ, is said by Pliny to have been the first who made a sundial, the use of which he taught to the Spartans, but others give this honor to Thales, his countryman, who flourished two hundred years before him.

Aristarchus of Samos, who lived before Archimedes, invented a plain horizontal disc, with a gnomon, to distinguish the hours, and had its rim raised all around, to prevent the shadow from extending too far.

Probably all these were rude and evanescent attempts, for it does not appear that the Romans, who borrowed all their knowledge from the Greeks, knew any thing of a sundial before that set up by Papirius Cursor, about four hundred and sixty years after the foundation of Rome; before which time, says Pliny, there was no mention of any account of time but by the rising and setting of the sun. This dial was erected near the temple of Quirinus, but is allowed to have been very inaccurate. About thirty years after, the consul Marcus Valerius Messala brought a dial out of Sicily, which he placed on a pillar near the rostrum; but as it was not made for the latitude of Rome, it did not show the time exactly; however it was the only one they had for a hundred years, when Martius Philippus set up one more exact.

Since those times the science of dialing has been cultivated in most civilized nations, but we have no professed treatise on the subject before the time of the jesuit Clavius, who, in the latter part of the sixteenth century, demonstrated both the theory and practice of dialling; but he did this after the most rigid mathematical principles, so as to render that which was simple in itself exceedingly obscure. Though we have useful and correct works of this kind from Rivard, De Parcieux, Dom. Bedos de Celles, Joseph Blaise Garnier, Gravesande, Emerson, Martin, and Leadbetter; yet something more specific, more simple, and more general, is a desideratum in the science of sciaterics or dialling.

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Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 2 Kings 20:20". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/2-kings-20.html. 1832.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And the rest of the acts of Hezekiah, and all his might,.... Which he exerted in his wars with his enemies, and in the reformation of religion, and abolition of idolatry:

and how he made a pool, and a conduit, and brought water into the city; at the same time that he cut it off from the enemy without, see 2 Chronicles 32:3,

are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? a book often referred to in this history, but since lost; many of his acts are recorded in the canonical book of Chronicles, 2 Chronicles 29:1.

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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 20:20". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/2-kings-20.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

pool and a conduit — (See on 2 Chronicles 32:30).

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Kings 20:20". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/2-kings-20.html. 1871-8.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

2 Kings 20:20 And the rest of the acts of Hezekiah, and all his might, and how he made a pool, and a conduit, and brought water into the city, [are] they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?

Ver. 20. How he made a pool and a conduit.] Of these, see 2 Kings 18:17, Nehemiah 3:15, 2 Chronicles 32:4; 2 Chronicles 32:30.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 20:20". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/2-kings-20.html. 1865-1868.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

CONCLUSION OF HEZEKIAH’S REIGN, 2 Kings 20:20-21.

20.His might — His valor or power in battle, by which he smote the Philistines. 2 Kings 18:8.

Pool’ conduit — The pool or cistern here mentioned is commonly identified with that still known as the “pool of Hezekiah,” which lies within the modern city, some distance northeast of the Yaffa Gate. “The natives now call it Birket-el-Hamman, from the circumstance that its waters are used to supply a bath in the vicinity. Its sides run towards the cardinal points. Its breadth at the north end is one hundred and forty-four feet; its length on the east side about two hundred and forty feet. The depth is not great. The bottom is rock levelled and covered with cement.” — Robinson. This pool is supplied from the waters of the Gihon, or “upper pool,” mentioned in 2 Kings 18:17, which are led by a conduit, or aqueduct, which passes under the city wall a little north of the Yaffa Gate. This is doubtless the same work as that referred to in 2 Chronicles 32:30: “Hezekiah also stopped the upper watercourse of Gihon, and brought it straight down to the west side of the city of David.” Thus the king brought water into the city by covering over the fountains about the city, and leading their waters by subterranean conduits inside the city walls. Compare 2 Chronicles 32:3-4.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Kings 20:20". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/2-kings-20.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

City. Probably before it was besieged by Sennacherib, 2 Paralipomenon xxxii. 4. --- Juda, and in the works of Isaias, 2 Paralipomenon xxxii. 32., and Isaias xxxvii., xxxviii., and xxxix. The prophet gives us the canticle of this pious king, who shone with so great splendour, and did so much for the good of his people, chap. xviii. 4, 5., and Ecclesiasticus xlviii. 19. (Calmet) --- He generously opposed the reign of vice, and though threatened with the most imminent dangers, came off with victory. Thus Jesus Christ declared war against idolatry and all vice, and established his Church in the midst of persecution. (Haydock) --- Ezechias was conducted to the gates of death, and brought back; Christ rose victorious from the grave, as the holy king seems to have foreseen, Isaias xxxviii. 19. (Calmet)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 2 Kings 20:20". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/2-kings-20.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

a pool = the pool. Compare 2 Kings 18:17. The pool of Siloam fed by the conduit mentioned below.

a Conduit = the conduit. A long underground channel discovered by Sir Charles Warren (in 1867) running from Gihon (now the Virgin"s Fount) down to Siloam. An inscription found in it describes the making of it. Compare 2 Chronicles 32:30.

brought water = brought the water. This is referred to by Hezekiah in Psalms 46:4, where it is contrasted with the raging waters of 2 Kings 20:3. Compare this with Isaiah 8:6-8.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 2 Kings 20:20". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/2-kings-20.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And the rest of the acts of Hezekiah, and all his might, and how he made a pool, and a conduit, and brought water into the city, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?

Pool, and a conduit - (see the notes at 2 Chronicles 32:30.)

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Kings 20:20". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/2-kings-20.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(20) His might.—See 2 Chronicles 32; Isaiah 33:18; Psalms 48:12-13.

A pool . . . a conduit . . . water.—Rather, the pool . . . the conduit . . . the water. The pool of Hezekiah is now the Birket-Hammâm-el-Batrak. (See Notes on 2 Chronicles 32:4; 2 Chronicles 32:30, and Isaiah 7:3.)

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 20:20". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/2-kings-20.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And the rest of the acts of Hezekiah, and all his might, and how he made a pool, and a conduit, and brought water into the city, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?
he made a pool
2 Chronicles 32:4,30,32; Nehemiah 3:16; Isaiah 22:9-11
the book
8:23; 15:6,26; 16:19; 1 Kings 14:19; 15:7,23
Reciprocal: 2 Kings 18:17 - the conduit of the upper pool;  2 Kings 21:17 - the rest;  2 Kings 21:25 - General2 Kings 23:28 - the rest;  2 Chronicles 35:27 - deeds;  Nehemiah 2:14 - the gate of the fountain;  Isaiah 7:3 - the end

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Kings 20:20". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/2-kings-20.html.