Chapter I
Chapter II
Chapter III
Chapter IV
Chapter V
Chapter VI
Chapter VII
Chapter VIII
Chapter IX
Chapter X
Chapter XI
Chapter XII
Chapter XIII
Chapter XIV
Chapter XV
Chapter XVI
Chapter XVII
Chapter XVIII
Chapter XIX
Chapter XX
Chapter XXI
Chapter XXII
Chapter XXIII
Chapter XXIV
Chapter XXV
Chapter XXVI
Chapter XXVII
Chapter XXVIII
Chapter XXIX
Chapter XXX
Chapter XXXI
Chapter XXXII
Chapter XXXIII
Chapter XXXIV
Chapter XXXV
Chapter XXXVI

This book begins with the reign of Solomon, continues the history of the kings of Judah to the captivity, and concludes with the fall of that illustrious monarchy and the destruction of the temple. That monarchy, as it was prior in time, so it was in dignity to the four which Nebuchadnezzar dreamed of. The Babylonian began in Nebuchadnezzar himself, and lasted about seventy years: the Persian monarchy, in several families, about an hundred and thirty: the Grecian, in its several branches, about three hundred: and three hundred more went far with the Roman. Whereas the monarchy of Judah continued considerable in a lineal descent, between four and five hundred years. We had the story of the house of David before intermixt with that of the kings of Israel: but here we have its entire, much is repeated here which we had before: yet many passages are enlarged on, and divers added which we had not before, especially relating to religion: the reign of Solomon we have, chap. 1 - 9. That of Rehoboam, chap. 10 - 12. The short reign of Ahijah, chap. 13. The long rein of Asa, chap. 14 - 16. The reign of Jehoshaphat, chap. 17 - 20. Of Jehoram and Ahaziah, chap. 21, 22. Of Joash and Amaziah, chap. 23 - 25. Of Uzziah, chap. 26. Of Jotham, chap. 27. Of Ahaz, chap. 28. Of Hezekiah, chap. 29 - 32. Of Manasseh and Amon, chap. 33. Of Josiah, chap. 34, 35. Of his sons, chap. 36.

Chapter I

Solomon's sacrifices, ver. 1 - 6. His prayer and God's answer, ver. 7 - 12. The strength, wealth, and trade of Israel, ver. 13 - 17.

2 Spake - Concerning his intention of going to Gibeon, and that they should attend him thither.
4 The ark - He separated the ark from the tabernacle, and brought it to Jerusalem, where he intended to build a more noble and lasting habitation for it.
5 Sought - Sought the Lord and his favour by hearty prayers and sacrifices in the place which God had appointed.
8 To reign, &c. - Give me the spirit of my father David, that Israel may not suffer by the change. The eminency of those that went before us, and the obligation that lies upon us, to keep and carry on the good work they were engaged in, should quicken our prayers for wisdom and grace, that we may do the work of God in our day, as faithful as they did in theirs.
12 Neither &c. - Those that make this world their end, come short of the other, and frequently of this too. But those who make the other world their end, shall not only obtain that, but shalt have as much as is convenient of this world in their way.

Chapter II

Solomon appoints men to build the temple and his own house, ver. 1 - 2. His message to Huram, ver. 3 - 10. Huram's obliging answer, ver. 11 - 16.

1 His kingdom - A royal palace for himself and his successors.
5 Great - For though the temple strictly so called, was but small, yet the buildings belonging to it, were large and numerous.
6 Contain - When I speak of building an house for our great God, let none think I mean to comprehend God within it, for he is infinite. To sacrifice - To worship him there where he is graciously present.
12 Made heaven and earth - It seems Huram was not only a friend to the Jewish nation, but a proselyte to their religion, and that he worshipped Jehovah, the God of Israel, (who was now known by that name to the neighbour - nations) as the God that made heaven and earth, and the fountain of power as well as of being.
14 Of Dan, &c. - A good omen of uniting Jew and Gentile in the gospel - temple.
17 The strangers - For David had not only numbered his own people, but afterward the strangers, that Solomon might have a true account of them, and employ them about his buildings. Yet Solomon numbered them again, because death might have made a considerable alteration among them since David's numbering.
18 Hewers in the mountains - He would not employ the free - born Israelites in this drudgery, but the strangers that were proselytes, who having no lands, applied themselves to trades, and got their living by their industry or ingenuity.

Chapter III

The place and time of his building the temple, ver. 1, 2. The dimension and ornaments of it, ver. 3 - 9. The cherubim in the most holy place, ver. 10 - 13. The veil, ver. 14. The two pillars, ver. 15 - 17.

1 Moriah - It was the belief of the ancient Jews, that the temple was built on that very place, where Abraham offered up Issac.
3 Instructed - By David, and by the Spirit of God. The measure - According to he measure which was first fixed.
4 The height - This being a kind of turret to the building.
5 Greater house - The holy place, which was thrice as large as the holy of holies.
9 Nails - Each of the nails, screws, or pins, by which the golden plates were fastened to the walls, weighed, or rather was worth, fifty shekels, workmanship and all. Upper chambers - Rather, the roof.
10 Image work - Or, of moveable work, not fixed to the mercy - seat, as the Mosaical cherubim, but in a moving posture. It seems, they were designed to represent the angels, who attend the Divine Majesty.
13 Inward - Heb. towards the house, that is, the most holy house.
14 The veil - The inner veil before the most holy place. This denoted the darkness of that dispensation and the distance at which the worshippers were kept. But at the death of Christ this veil was rent; for thro' him we are brought nigh, and have boldness, or liberty, not only to look, but to enter into the holiest.
17 Jachin - That is, He shall establish. Boaz - That is, In it is strength.

Chapter IV

The brazen altar, sea and lavers, ver. 1 - 5. The golden candlesticks and tables, ver. 7, 8. The doors overlaid with brass, the vessels of the altar, and other brass work, ver. 9 - 18. The golden altar of incense with its appurtenances, ver. 19 - 22.

7 Their form - The old form which God prescribed to Moses.
8 Ten tables - Whereon the shew - bread was set, ver.19. Perhaps each of these had twelve loaves on it. As the house was enlarged, so was the provision.
16 His father - He is so called because Solomon usually called him by that name out of that great respect which he bare to him for his excellent art and service which he did for him: it being usual to call great artists and inventors of things by this name.
20 The manner - According to the prescription of God to Moses.
22 Of gold - In part; they were made of wood, but covered with golden plates.

Chapter V

Solomon brings the dedicated treasures into the house, and the ark into the sanctuary, ver. 1 - 10. While the priests and Levites sing praise, the glory of God fills the house, ver. 11 - 14.

1 The gold - The remainder of those vast sums mentioned, 1Chron 22:14.
5 The ark - The ark was a type of Christ, and a token of the presence of God. That gracious promise, Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world, does in effect bring the ark into our religious assemblies, if we claim it by faith and prayer. And this we should be earnest for: the temple itself, if Christ leave it, is a desolate place. Those &c. - As many of them as were fit for use, it is probable, were still used. The rest were carefully laid up, as monuments of antiquity.
9 To this day - When this history was first written; not when it was reviewed by Ezra: for after the return from Babylon, neither staves nor ark were any more seen.
11 By course - According to David's appointment, 1Chron 24:1 - 31, 25:1 - 22, which was only for the ordinary service, but in extraordinary solemnities, such as this, they all came together.
14 Glory of the Lord - And this beautified it more than all the gold with which it was overlaid, or the precious stones with which it was garnished. Yet even that was no glory, in comparison of the glory of the gospel - dispensation.

Chapter VI

Solomon declares his intent in building the house, ver. 1 - 11. His prayer of dedication, ver. 12 - 42.

1 Thick darkness - He has indeed made darkness his pavilion. But let this house be the residence of that darkness. It is in the upper world that he dwells in light, such as no eye can approach.
9 But thy son, &c. - Thus one sows, and another reaps. And let not the wisest of men, think it any disparagement to pursue the good designs which those that went before them had laid.
14 O Lord, &c. - By this prayer the temple of Solomon is made a figure of Christ, the great Mediator thro' whom we are to offer up all our prayers, and to expect all God's favours, and to whom we are to have an eye in everything wherein we have to do with God.
21 And when they shall, &c. - He asks not, that God would help them without their praying for themselves, but that God would help them, in answer to their prayers. Even Christ's intercession does not supersede, but encourage our supplications.
41 Arise - O thou that sittest in the heavens, arise from the throne of thy glory, and come down into this place, which thou hast appointed for thy constant habitation, from which thou wilt not remove, as formerly thou hast done, from place to place. And the ark - Thou in the ark. Thy strength - Which is the sign and instrument of thy great power put forth from time to time on the behalf of thy people. Salvation - Let them be encompassed on every side with thy protection and benediction.
42 Thine anointed - Of me, who by thy command was anointed the king and ruler of thy people: do not deny my requests, nor send me from the throne of thy grace with a dejected countenance. The mercies - Those which thou hast promised to David and to his house for ever. And thus may we plead, with an eye to Christ, who is called David, Hos 3:5. Lord, remember his merits, and accept of us, on the account of them. Remember the promises of the everlasting covenant, which are called the sure mercies of David, Isa 55:3. This must be all our desire, all our hope, all our prayer, and all our plea; for it is all our salvation.

Chapter VII

God answers by fire, the people worship, ver. 1 - 3. Solomon's sacrifices, ver. 4 - 7. After keeping the feast he sends the people away, ver. 8 - 11. God appears to him in a vision, ver. 12 - 22.

1 The fire &c. - In token of God's acceptance of his prayer. The surest evidence of God's acceptance of our prayers is the descent of his holy fire upon us. As a farther token that God accepted Solomon's prayer, the glory of the Lord filled the house; the heart that is filled with an holy awe and reverence of the divine glory, to which God manifests his greatness, and (which is no less his glory) his goodness, is thereby owned as a living temple.
3 With their faces - Thus expressing their awful dread of the Divine Majesty, their chearful submission to the Divine authority, and the sense they had of their utter unworthiness to enter into his presence. Upon - The cloud first came down upon the house, and then entered into the house, and was seen both within it by the priests, and without it by the people.
6 David praised - For David composed the psalms or hymns, and appointed them to be sung by the Levites, and instrumental music to be joined to their voices.
16 This house - There will I make myself known, and there will I be called upon.

Chapter VIII

Solomon's buildings, ver. 1 - 6. His workmen and officers, ver. 7 - 10. He settles his wife, ver. 11. Fixes the method of the temple service, ver. 12 - 16. His trade, ver. 17, 18.

11 The house - He built this house for her; because the ark was now in the house of David, which therefore ought to be kept pure and free from the very danger and appearance of pollution.
14 Man of God - A prophet inspired by God in these matters, whose commands therefore are the commands of God.
16 Prepared - All the materials were procured, and in all points fitted and compleated before - hand.

Chapter IX

The queen of Sheba visits Solomon, ver. 1 - 12. The riches and splendor of his court, ver. 13 - 28. The conclusion of his reign, ver. 29 - 31.

8 For the Lord - In the Lord's name and stead, in a special manner, because he sat in God's own throne, and ruled over God's peculiar people, and did in an eminent manner maintain the honour of God in his land, and in the eyes of all the world. Those mercies are doubly sweet, in which we can taste the kindness and good will of God as our God.
12 Besides - Besides what he gave her of his royal bounty, as is expressed, 1Kings 10:13, which was in compensation for her presents.
23 And all the kings of the earth sought the presence of Solomon - All in those parts of the world.
29 Iddo - This, and the other prophets mentioned, were also historians, and wrote annals of their times; out of which these sacred books were taken, either by these, or other prophets.
31 And Solomon slept - We have here Solomon in his throne, and Solomon in his grave; for the throne could not secure him from the grave. Here is he stripped of his pomp, and leaving all his wealth and power, not to one whom he knew not whether he would be a wise man or a fool; but one he knew would be a fool! This was not only vanity, but vexation of spirit.

Chapter X

The people request Rehoboam to ease their grievances, ver. 1 - 5. Rehoboam rejecting the old mens counsel, by the advice of the young men answers them roughly, ver. 6 - 15. Ten tribes revolt, ver. 16 - 19.

4 Grievous - It is probable, when Solomon had declined from God, that God left him to himself to act thus impolitically.
7 If thou be kind, &c. - Moderate counsels are generally best. Gentleness will do what violence will not do. Good words cost nothing but a little self - denial, and yet they purchase great things.
16 See to thine own house - When public affairs are in a ferment, violent proceedings do but make ill worse. Many have been driven to the mischief they did not intend, by being too severely dealt with.

Chapter XI

Rehoboam is forbidden to fight against Israel, ver. 1 - 4. He secures the two tribes, ver. 5 - 12. The priests and Levites resort to him, ver. 13 - 17. His wives and children, ver. 18 - 23.

3 Son of Solomon - Intimating, that this was determined for the sin of Solomon, and therefore could not be reversed.
5 Built - Repaired, enlarged, and fortified them. They were built before.
14 Cast them off - They would not suffer them to instruct the Israelites in the worship of God, nor to go up to Jerusalem to worship in their courses: and these priests would not join with them in the worship of the calves, as they were commanded to do; and therefore they, willingly forsook all their patrimonies and possessions for God's sake. No secular advantages whatsoever should detain us there, where we are in danger of making shipwreck of faith and a good conscience.
15 High places - Or, for the high places, both for the devils (the Baals, or false gods, which divers of his people worshipped, whom he encouraged to do so, giving them liberty to do anything but to serve God at Jerusalem) and for the calves. So he erected two sorts of high places, some for Baal, and some for the true God, whom be pretended to worship, in and by the calves.
16 Set their heart - Such as loved and feared God in truth.
17 So they strengthened the kingdom of Judah - Not only by the addition of so many persons to it: but by their piety and prayers they procured a blessing upon the kingdom which was a sanctuary to them. They made him strong three years; for so long he served God; but when he forsook God, none could strengthen him. We retain our strength as long as we cleave to God and our duty, and no longer. And Solomon - This honourable mention of Solomon, as a pattern of piety, is a considerable evidence of his true repentance before his death.
22 Ruler - He declared him his successor, and gave him the dominion over, his brethren.
23 Dispersed - Lest his other sons should after his death unite together against Abijah, he wisely dispersed them into distant places.

Chapter XII

Rehoboam forsaking God is oppressed by Shishak, ver. 1 - 4. He humbles himself, and is preserved in his kingdom, but spoiled of his treasures, ver. 6 - 12. His character and death, ver. 13 - 16.

1 And all Israel - So called, because they forsook God, as Israel had done.
2 Fifth year - Presently after the apostacy of the king and people, which was in the fourth year.
3 Lubims - A people of Africk bordering upon Egypt. Sukkiims - A people living in tents, as the word signifies; and such there were not far from Egypt, both in Africk and in Arabia. Ethiopians - Either those beyond Egypt, or the Arabians.
7 Some deliverance - I will give some stop to the course of my wrath, which was ready to be poured forth upon them to their utter destruction. Those who acknowledge God is righteous in afflicting them, shall find him gracious.
8 May know - That they may experimentally know the difference between my yoke and the yoke of a foreign and idolatrous prince.
12 Went well - The began to recruity themselves, and regain some degree of their former prosperity.
14 Did evil - Or, settled not, although he humbled himself, for a season, yet he quickly relapsed into sin, because his heart was not right with God.

Chapter XIII

Abijah sets the battle in array against Jeroboam, ver. 1 - 3. He declares the justice of his cause, ver. 4 - 12. Trusts in God and gains the victory, ver. 13 - 20. His wives and children, ver. 21. 22.

5 Of salt - By a perpetual covenant.
8 Golden calves - There is that among you which may damp your confidence: you worship those images which God abhors.
9 Consecrate - To make himself a priest.
10 The Lord - Heb. Jehovah, the only true God. We - Maintain his worship which you have rejected.
11 Pure table - Made of pure gold, Exod 25:23,24, he saith table and candlestick, though there were ten of each, because ordinarily there was but one of each used at a time for those uses. We keep - Perhaps he flattered himself, that his keeping up the external worship of God would make satisfaction for the errors of his life.
12 Trumpets - Upon the sounding whereof God hath solemnly promised to assist his people, Numb 10:9. The Lord - You have not only us for your enemies, but God, even the God whom your fathers served. It is folly to fight against the God of almighty power: but it is treachery and base ingratitude, to fight against your father's God.
13 Jeroboam - While Abijah was discoursing, Jeroboam takes the advantage of it to lay an ambush. It does not appear that he made any answer to all that Abijah said. The longest sword he thinks will determine the matter, not the better cause.
15 Gave a shout - It is unspeakable comfort, that no stratagem or ambush can cut off our communication with heaven. To the cry of prayer they added the shout of faith, and so became more than conquerors.
20 The Lord struck him - He escaped the sword of Abijah: but God struck him: there is no escaping his sword.
21 Married - Not after this victory, for he died presently after it, but in the whole time of his life.

Chapter XIV

The piety of Asa, ver. 1 - 5. His policy, ver. 6 - 8. His victory over the Ethiopians, ver. 9 - 15.

1 Quiet - There was no open war, but there were private hostilities between his and Baasha's subjects.
6 The land had rest - Those have rest indeed, to whom God gives rest; peace indeed, to whom Christ gives peace. We find by experience, it is good to seek the Lord. While we pursue the world, we meet with nothing but vexation.
7 Before us - In our power.
9 Ethiopian - Or, the Arabian, as the Hebrew word Cush is commonly used: these being much nearer to Asa than the Ethiopians.
11 Let not man prevail - If he prevails against us, he prevails, as it were, against thee; because thou art our God. And we rest on thee, and go forth in thy name, which thou hast encouraged us to do.
12 Smote - With terror, and an unaccountable consternation.
14 Smote the cities - because they had joined, with Zerah in this war.

Chapter XV

God's message to Asa, ver. 1 - 7. Idols removed and the spoil dedicated to God, ver. 8 - 11. Judah makes a covenant with God, ver. 12 - 15. Asa removes his mother, destroys her idol, and brings the dedicated things into the temple, ver. 16 - 18. He has great peace, ver. 19.

1 Spirit of God - Both to instruct him what to say, and to enable him to say it plainly and boldly.
3 Now Israel - They have long lived without the found knowledge and worship of the true God. Israel is here understood of the whole nation of Israel in former times, and especially in the times of the judges: for then many times they were in a great measure, without God and his law, and teaching priests, as plainly appears from the book of the Judges; they were brought to all the exigencies and calamities following; and they sometimes turned to the Lord, and he was found of them.
5 In those times - When Israel lived in the gross neglect of God and his law. No peace - Men could not go abroad about their private occasions without great danger; as it was in the days of Shamgar, Judg 5:6.
6 And nation, &c. - One part of the people of Israel destroyed the other by civil wars. As all Israel are called a nation, so the several tribes of them are sometimes called nations.
7 Be strong - Go on resolutely to maintain God's worship and to root out idolatry, as you have begun to do; for this is the only method of preserving yourselves from such calamities as your predecessors have felt.
8 Of Oded - Of Azariah, ver.1, who was also called by his father's name Oded.
12 Into covenant - The matter of this covenant was nothing but what they were before obliged to. And tho' no promise could lay any higher obligation upon them, than they were already under, yet it would help to increase their sense of the obligation, and to arm them against temptations. And by joining all together in this, they strengthened the hands of each other
15 Rejoiced at the oath - The times of renewing our covenant with God, should be times of rejoicing. It is an honour and happiness to be in bonds with God. And the closer, the better.

Chapter XVI

Asa hires the Syrians to invade Israel, ver. 1 - 6. Puts the prophet who reproved him for it in prison, ver. 7 - 10. His sickness, death and burial, ver, 11 - 14.

1 Of the reign - Or, of the kingdom of Asa, that is, of the kingdom of Judah, which was now Asa's kingdom; or from the time of the division of the two kingdoms. Rehoboam reigned seventeen years, Abijah three years, Asa had now reigned fifteen years, all which put together, make up the thirty five years mentioned chap.15:19, and in the next year Baasha wars against him; and the ground of the war was the defection of many of his subjects to Asa, chap.15:9.
7 Escaped - And so reserved to be a scourge to thy kingdom and posterity: whereas if he had joined with Baasha against thee, thou shouldst have overthrown them both, and prevented all that mischief which that monarch will do to thy family.
8 Lubims - Either, the Lybians in Africa; or another people, possibly descended from them, but now seated in some part of Arabia.
9 Done foolishly - It is a foolish thing to lean on a broken reed, when we have the rock of ages to rely upon. Perfect - Upright and sincere, as thine is not. He was sincere in the general course of his life, but some particulars, whereof this is one, his heart did not perfectly cleave to God.
12 Sought not - He did not humble himself before God, but put his confidence in the skill and faithfulness of his physicians. His making use of physicians was his duty, but his trusting in them, and expecting that from them, which was to be had from God only, was his sin and folly. The help of every creature must be used, with an eye to the creator, and in dependence on him, who makes every creature that to us which it is, without whom the most skilful and faithful are physicians of no value.
14 Burning - Of precious spices; thereby testifying their respect to him notwithstanding his miscarriages.

Chapter XVII

Jehoshaphat is established in his kingdom, ver. 1 - 3. His piety, ver. 4 - 6. He sends Levites to teach Judah, ver. 7 - 9. His influence over his neighbours, ver. 10, 11. His greatness, captains and armies, ver. 12 - 19.

3 Sought not, &c. - It is true, he recovered from that fall. "Yet perhaps, says Mr. Henry, he never, while he lived, fully retrieved the spiritual strength he lost by it."
5 Brought presents - As subjects in those times used to do to their kings, as a token of their respect and subjection to them.
6 Lifted up - Above all discouragements, and fears. He was valiant and resolute for God and his ways. Groves - Those wherein idols were worshipped, and though Asa had done this before, yet either he did not do it thoroughly; or the Jews (who were many of them mad upon their idols) had secretly made new ones, in the latter part of his reign, when he grew more infirm in body, and more remiss in God's cause.
7 To teach - To inform the people of their duty, and of the king's pleasure, as judges teach or instruct the people in the laws of the land, when they deliver their charges upon the bench; so did these princes in the king's name admonish and require the people to observe and obey the laws of God, which were the municipal laws of that land: the particular explication and enforcement whereof, they left to the Levites and priests here following, who were sent for this end, and accordingly taught the people, ver.9.
9 And they taught, &c. - And these itinerant judges and itinerant preachers together, Mr. Henry observes were instrumental to diffuse a blessed light throughout the cities of Judah.
10 Fear fell - Justly concluding from his singular piety that God would eminently appear for him, for even the Heathens could not but observe, that the kings of Judah were either prosperous or unhappy, according as they served God or forsook him.
13 Business - To repair and fortify them, and furnish them with provisions: and to purge out all their relicks of idolatry and injustice.
19 Waited - These above - mentioned were the trained bands or auxiliaries: whose chief officers waited on the king to receive his commands, and to raise, and bring in all, or part of their forces, to the service of the king as need required. A vast number for so small a compass of ground, to furnish out and maintain. But we may consider, that God had promised to make the seed of Abraham like the sand of the sea for number; that there had now been a long peace; that many were come to them from the kingdom of Israel and that Jehoshaphat was under a special blessing of God. They were doubtless dispersed all the country over, every one residing on his own land: only they were ready at call, whenever there was occasion.

Chapter XVIII

Jehoshaphat joins affinity with Ahab, and consents to go with him to Ramoth - gilead, ver. 1 - 3. The false prophets promise them success, ver. 4 - 11. Micaiah foretells the death of Ahab, ver. 6 - 27. Jehoshaphat hardly escapes, ver. 28 - 32. Ahab slain, ver. 33, 34.

1 With Ahab - For Joram's eldest son married Athaliah, Ahab's daughter.
4 Enquire, &c. - This we should do, whatever we undertake, by particular, believing prayer, by an unbiased consulting of the scriptures and our own consciences, and by a close regard to the hints of providence.
22 Lying spirit, &c. - See the power of Satan! One lying spirit can make four hundred lying prophets. And thus he frequently becomes a murderer by being a liar, and destroys men by deceiving them.
26 This fellow, &c. - How frequently has this been the lot of faithful ministers, to be hated and ill treated, merely for being true to God: and just and kind to the souls of men! But that day will declare who is in the right, and who is in the wrong, when Christ appears to the unspeakable consolation of the persecuted, and the everlasting confusion of their persecutors.
31 Cried out - He cried out, either to his friends to help, or to his enemies, to let them know, he was not the king of Israel: or to God, and not in vain; for he moved the captains to depart from him. Many are moved in a manner unaccountable both to themselves and others; but an invisible power moves them.
34 He died - What can hurt those whom God will protect? And what can shelter those whom God will destroy? Jehoshaphat is saved in his robes; Ahab is killed in his armour!

Chapter XIX

Jehoshaphat is reproved by a prophet, ver. 1 - 3. He reforms the kingdom, ver. 4. Gives instructions to the itinerant judges, ver. 5 - 7. And to the supreme court at Jerusalem, ver. 8 - 11.

2 Therefore - Therefore God will chastise thee for this miscarriage. Which he did partly by stirring up the Moabites, and others to invade him, chap.20:1, partly by permitting his eldest son Jehoram to kill all his brethren, chap.21:4, and principally by bringing that almost general destruction upon his grand - children by Jehu, 2Kings 9:27 10:13,14, which was the fruit of his alliance with Ahab.
3 Good things - Good marks proceeding from an honest heart; which God more regards than this particular error: and therefore though he will chasten thee, yet he will not utterly destroy thee.
4 Through - Through the whole kingdom, whereof these were the two bounds. And brought - Such of them as had revolted from God to idols, he reclaimed by his counsel and example, and by the instructions of the Levites and priests, whom he carried with him. Many, probably, had revolted to idolatry, when they saw their king so intimate with idolaters. Therefore he thought himself doubly obliged to do all he could to reduce them. If we truly repent of sin, we shall do our utmost to repair the damage we have done to religion, or the souls of others.
6 The Lord - You represent God's person to whom judgment belongeth, you have your commission from God, and not from man only; and your administration of justice is not only for man's good, but also for God's honour and service. With you - Both to observe your carriage, and to defend you against all those enemies whom the impartial exercise of justice may provoke.
7 Wherefore - And therefore you who are in God's stead, and do his work, and must give an account to him, must imitate God herein.
8 The fathers - Persons of other tribes eminent for their dignity, ability and integrity. But whether these persons made up one court, called the Sanhedrim, by which all causes ecclesiastical and civil were decided; or there were two distinct courts, the one ecclesiastical, consisting of the priests and Levites; the other civil, consisting of the chief of the fathers of Israel, it is not easy to determine. The Lord - For matters concerning the laws and worship, of God. Controversies - For matters of difference between man and man. When - When Jehoshaphat and his company were returned to Jerusalem, he made this order concerning establishing judges there.
10 Blood - This refers to Deut 17:8, between the blood of the person slain, and the blood of the man - slayer. All the cities of refuge, except Hebron, now belonged to the kingdom of Israel, so that the man - slayer now usually fled to the courts of the temple, or the horns of the altar. And therefore the trial of these, was reserved for the court at Jerusalem. Law, &c. - When any debates shall arise about the meaning of any of God's laws. Warn - Ye shall not only give a righteous sentence for what is past, but ye shall admonish the offender, and others, to take better heed for the future.
11 Over you - Shall be your president. Matters of the Lord - In Spiritual, or ecclesiastical matters. Ruler - The prince, or chief ruler, under the king, of the tribe of Judah. The king's matters - For civil causes, or controversies either between the king and his people; or between subject and subject, which may be called the king's matters, because it was a principal part of his office to see them justly decided. The Levites - Shall be at your command to see your just sentences executed; which work was fitly committed to the Levites, as persons who might add their instructions to the corrections, and might work the guilty to an acknowledgement of their fault and a submission to their punishment. The Lord - Shall protect and bless good judges.

Chapter XX

The land being invaded, Jehoshaphat and all the people seek God by fasting and prayer, ver. 1 - 13. They thankfully receive the promise of victory given by a prophet, ver. 14 - 19. Their enemies are overthrown, ver. 20 - 25. Their thanksgiving, ver. 25 - 30. The conclusion of his reign, ver. 31 - 37.

2 The sea - The dead sea, beyond which mount Seir lay. Syria - Largely so called, and so it includes the Moabites and Ammonites. And it may be thus expressed, to intimate that they came by the instigation of the Syrians, to revenge themselves of Jehoshaphat for joining with Ahab against them.
5 The house - Largely so called, in the court of the people, upon that brazen scaffold which Solomon had erected. New court - Before the priests court: which is called the new court, because it had lately been renewed when the altar was renewed.
7 Abraham - To whom thou hast engaged thyself by covenant to be his friend, and the friend of his seed for ever.
9 The sword - Or rather, the sword of judgement or of vengeance, that is, war, whereby thou punisheth thy people for their sins.
12 Wilt thou not judge - Wilt thou not give sentence against them, and execute it upon them? The justice of God is the refuge of those that are wronged. No might - Though he had great armies, yet he seems to have been surprized by these men, before his forces were in readiness to oppose them.
13 Little ones - Whom they used to present before the Lord in times of great distress, to stir up themselves to more fervent prayers, their eyes being upon their harmless and tender children, and to move God to compassion, because God hath declared, that he will be prevailed with, by such methods as these.
15 But God's - God will fight for you, and he alone will do the work, you need not strike a stroke.
16 Go down - From Jerusalem, where he and his army now were; which stood upon high ground.
19 Stood up - By Jehoshaphat's appointment. On high - With heart and voice lifted up: whereby they shewed their full assurance of the victory.
20 Believe - God's promise delivered to us by this prophet, and consequently all other predictions of the prophet.
21 Consulted - Jehoshaphat called a counsel of war, and it was resolved, to appoint singers to go out before the army, who had nothing to do, but to praise God, to praise his holiness, which is his beauty, to praise him as they did in the temple, that beauty of holiness. By this strange advance to the field of battle, Jehoshaphat shewed his firm reliance on the word of God, which enabled him to triumph before the battle, to animate his own men and confound the enemy.
22 To sing - So acceptable are the fervent prayers of God's people to God, and so terrible to their enemies. Ambushments - Or, liers in wait, either
  1. the holy angels, who appeared in the shape of men, and possibly put on the appearances and visages of the Moabites or Ammonites, and in that shape slew the rest, who supposing this slaughter to be done by a part of their own army, fell upon them, and so broke forth into mutual slaughters. Or,
  2. God raised jealousies and animosities among themselves, which broke forth, first into secret ambushments, which one party laid for another, and then into open hostilities to their utter destruction.
So vain are all mens attempts against God, who needs none to destroy his enemies but themselves, and their own mistakes, and passions, which he can, when he pleaseth, arm against them.
24 The watch tower - Which stood upon the cliff of Ziz, mentioned ver.16, and looked toward the wilderness, where their enemies lay encamped, whose numbers, and order, and condition, they could descry from thence.
25 Jewels - Which they brought with them to corrupt any of Jehoshaphat's officers as they saw occasion: to procure necessaries for their vast army from time to time: and because they came as to triumph rather than to fight, being confident of the victory because of their numbers, and especially because they thought to surprize Jehoshaphat ere he could make any considerable preparations against them; God also permitting them to be puffed up to their own destruction.
26 Berachah - Heb. of blessing; so called from their solemn blessings and praises given to God in it upon this occasion.
28 To the house - To renew their praises in the court of the temple, the proper and usual place for it. Praising God must not be the work of a day only, but our praises when we have received mercy, must be often repeated, as our prayers were, when we where in pursuit of it. Every day we must bless God: as long as we live, and while we have any being, we must praise him, spending our time in that work, in which we hope to spend our eternity.
33 Not taken - Not universally; the fault was not in Jehoshaphat, but in the people, who, though they did worship the true God, yet would not be confined to the temple, but for their own conveniency, or from their affection to their ancient custom chose to worship him in the high - places.
35 After this - This is mentioned as an aggravation of his sin, after so great an obligation laid upon him by God; and after he had been so singularly reproved by a prophet yet he relapsed into the same sin which proceeded partly from that near relation which was contracted between the two families, and partly from the easiness of Jehoshaphat's temper, which could not resist the solicitations of others, in such things as might seem indifferent. For he did not join with him in war, as he did with Ahab, but in a peaceable way only, in a matter of trade and commerce. And yet God reproves and punisheth him for it, ver.37, to shew his great dislike of all familiar conversation of his servants and people with professed enemies of God and of religion, as Ahaziah was. Very wickedly - Or who did industriously, and maliciously, and constantly work wickedness, as the Hebrew phrase implies, giving himself up to idolatry and all wickedness.

Chapter XXI

Jehoram succeeds, ver. 1 - 3. His wickedness, ver. 4 - 7. Edom and Libnah revolt and Jehoram is still more wicked, ver. 8 - 11. The prophecy of Elijah against him, ver. 12 - 15. The success of his enemies, ver. 16, 17. His sickness and death, ver. 18 - 20.

2 Azariah - Two sons called by the same name, though doubtless distinguished by some additional title: which is not mentioned here, because it did not concern succeeding ages to know it. Of Israel - So he is called either,
  1. Because he was so by right: or
  2. Because he was king not only of Judah and Benjamin, but of a great number of Israelites, who had come and settled in his kingdom.
4 Strengthened himself - He hardened his heart, as that word sometimes signifies. Princes - The chief of those Israelites, who out of love to God and the true religion, had forsaken their estates in the kingdom of Israel, and were now incorporated with the kingdom of Judah: because he thought these would be most zealous for that religion which he was resolved to oppose.
10 Libnah - Libnah seems to have set up for a free state. And the reason is here given, both why God permitted it, and why they did it, because Jehoram was become an idolater. While he adhered to God, they adhered to him; but when he cast God off, they cast him off. Whether this would justify them in their revolt or no, it justified God's providence which suffered it.
11 High places - Not to the Lord, but to Baals or false gods. And caused - Not only by his counsel and example, but by force, by threats, and penalties.
12 From Elijah - By this it appears, that Jehoram came to the throne before Elijah's translation. It is true, we find Elisha attending Jehoshaphat; but that might be, while Elijah was yet on earth: for we read of Jehoram's coming to the crown, before we read of Elijah's translation, 1Kings 22:50. We may suppose, the time of his departure was at hand, so that he could not go in person to Jehoram. But he left this writing, probably with Elisha, to be sent the first opportunity. The message is sent in the name of the Lord God of David his father, upbraiding him with his relation to David, as that which was no more his honour, but an aggravation of his degeneracy.
15 People - Because the generality of them sinned, in complying with his wicked and idolatrous commands. Wives - Whose lives shall go for the lives of thy brethren, ver.4.
16 Philistines - A people fully subdued and dispirited: but God now raises their spirits and courage to do his work. Ethiopians - A people in Arabia, so called, either for their likeness in complexion to the Ethiopians, or because the one of these people were a colony of the other.
17 His wives - Whom also they slew, chap.22:1, except Ahaziah and Athaliah; who possibly were hidden in some secret place. Left him - Blood for blood. He had slain all his brethren; they slay all his sons, but one. And he had not escaped, had be not been of the house of David; which must not be extirpated, like that of Ahab: because a blessing was in it; no less a blessing than that of the Messiah.
20 Desired - This is an emphatical expression, because it is usual with men to desire the deaths of some persons, whom afterward they lament, and heartily wish they were alive again. But for this ungodly and unhappy prince, his people did not only in his life time wish his death, but afterwards did not repent of those desires.

Chapter XXII

Ahaziah's wicked reign, ver. 1 - 4. Being confederate with Joram, he is slain by Jehu, ver. 5 - 9. Athaliah destroys the seed royal, and usurps the kingdom, ver. 10 - 12.

2 Forty two years - Some acknowledge an error in the transcribers of the present Hebrew copies, in which language the numeral letters for 22 and 42 are so like, that they might easily be mistaken. For that it was read 22 here, as it is in the book of Kings, in other Hebrew copies, they gather from hence, that it is at this day so read in divers ancient Greek copies, as also in those two ancient translations, the Syriack and the Arabick, and particularly in that most ancient copy of the Syriack which was used by the church of Antioch in the primitive times, and to this day is kept in the church of Antioch. The daughter - Of Ahab, Omri's Son. Grand - children are often called sons and daughters.
4 His father - Who, while he lived, seduced his son himself, and made other evil counsellors unnecessary.
9 Ahaziah - Who, tho' wounded, had made an escape, 2Kings 9:27.

Chapter XXIII

Jehoiada prepares the people and crowns the king, ver. 1 - 11. Athaliah is slain, ver. 12 - 15. The kingdom is reformed, ver. 16 - 21.

5 Foundation - At the east gate, so called because it stood lower than the rest of the doors at the foot of the steps, by which they went up from the king's house to the temple.
11 His sons - And Zechariah among the rest, whom afterwards he ungratefully slew, chap.24:21.
13 Rejoiced - To see a rod sprung out of the stem of Jesse! To see what they despaired of ever seeing, a king of the house of David.
16 Him - The Lord, as is expressed, 2Kings 11:17.
18 Appointed - Or, as it is in the Hebrew, put the offices of the house of the Lord into the hand, that is, he restored the priests and Levites to the exercise of their office.
21 Rejoiced, &c. - The generality of the people rejoiced, the rest were quiet and made no opposition. When the Son of David is enthroned in the soul, all therein is quiet, and springs of joy are opened.

Chapter XXIV

Joash takes care to repair the temple, ver. 1 - 14. After Jehoiada's death, he sets up the worship of Baal again, tho' warned, ver. 15 - 19. He puts Zechariah to death, ver. 20 - 22. Is invaded by the Syrians, ver. 23, 24. Struck with sore diseases and slain, ver. 25 - 27

6 The chief - It is observable, that he is not called the chief priest, or high - priest, but only the chief, or the head, which he might be in many other respects, either by reason of his near relation to the royal family: or because he was the chief of one of the twenty - four families.
7 The sons - Ahaziah, and his brethren before they were carried away captive, chap.21:17, who did this by her instigation, as this phrase implies. Broke up - Both broke up the treasuries, and defaced the house itself.
14 Vessels - Because Athaliah and her sons had taken the old ones away, ver.7.
15 An hundred and thirty years old - By which it appears, that he was born in Solomon's time, and had lived six entire reigns before this. They buried him among the kings, with this honourable encomium, (perhaps inscribed upon his grave - stone) that he had done good in Israel. But the little religion that Joash had, was all buried in his grave. See how great a judgment to any prince or people, the death of holy, useful men is!
16 Israel - In Judah, which was an eminent part of Israel, and the only part of it which owned God, or was owned by God as his Israel, to whom therefore he often appropriates this name.
17 Made obeisance - In that posture presenting their requests to him, that they might not be confined to troublesome journeys to Jerusalem, but might have the liberty, which their fore - fathers enjoyed, os worshipping God in the high - places. This liberty once obtained, they knew they could worship idols without disturbance: which was the thing at which they aimed. And for the prevention of such abuses, God obliged all to worship him in one place.
18 Left, &c. - The king and princes that awhile ago so zealously repaired the temple, now forsook the temple! So inconstant a thing is man! So little confidence is to be put in him!
20 Who stood - The people were assembled in the court of the temple, which they had not quite forsook, when Zechariah stood up in some of the desks that were in the court of the priests, and plainly told them their sin, and the consequences of it.
21 Stoned him - They stoned him immediately, without even colour of law; as horrid a piece of wickedness, as any we read of in all the history of the kings. That ever such a villainy should be committed, by men, by Israelites, in contempt and violation of everything that is just, honourable, and sacred! The Jews say, there were seven transgressions in one: They killed a priest, a prophet, a judge; they shed innocent blood; polluted the court of the temple, the Sabbath, and the day of expiation: for on that day, their tradition says, this happened.
22 Require it - Make inquisition for innocent blood. But the words may be rendered, The Lord will look upon it, and require it, will require satisfaction from you for it.
23 The year - So soon did God hear the cry of his holy prophet's blood, and revenge it. The princes - That it might appear they were sent and directed by God to single out to destruction the first beginners of this general apostacy.
25 Son - By which it seems, he slew not only Zechariah, but his brothers also. Perhaps they that slew him intended to take vengeance for that innocent blood. However that was it, which God intended, in permitting them to do it.
27 Burdens - The great judgments of God upon him, both by the Syrians, ver.24:23, and by great diseases, ver.25.

Chapter XXV

Amaziah revenges his father's death, ver. 1 - 4. Obeys the command of God and dismisses the Israelites, 5 - 10. Conquers the Edomites, ver. 11 - 13. Turns idolater and despises reproof, ver. 14 - 16. Challenges the king of Israel and suffers for it, ver. 17 - 24. Ends his days ingloriously, ver. 25 - 28.

2 But not, &c. - He was not an enemy to religion, but a cool and indifferent friend. He was not a man of serious piety; for his heart was not whole with God.
7 Let not, &c. - It is comfortable to employ those, who we have reason to hope, have an interest in heaven, but dangerous associating with those from whom the Lord is departed.
8 Do it - It is an ironical concession like that, go, and prosper.
10 Anger kindled - Because they were both disgraced by this rejection, and disappointed of that spoil which they hoped to gain, whereas now they are sent away empty; for the hundred talents probably were given to their officers only to raise men for this service.
13 Cities of Judah - Thus God chastised those cities of Judah for their idolatries which were found most in the parts next to Israel. The men of Israel had corrupted them, and now are a plague to them.
16 Art thou, &c. - Who art thou that presumest to direct my affairs, without my commission? The secure sinner perhaps values himself on having silenced his reprovers and monitors. But what comes of it? It is a plain indication he is marked out for ruin. They that are deaf to reproof, are ripening apace for destruction.
17 Advice - About the injury which the Israelites had done to his people, and how he should repair it. He took advice. But with whom? Not with the prophet, but with his flattering statesmen. It is good to take advice: but it should be of them who are fit to advise us.
20 Of God - Who gave him up to his own error and passion, in order to his ruin.
24 Obed - edom - With Obed - edom's posterity, to whom the custody of the sacred treasures was committed.

Chapter XXVI

Uzziah reigns well, ver. 1 - 5. Prospers in his wars, building, and the affairs of his kingdom, ver. 6 - 15. Invading the priest's office, is struck with a leprosy, ver. 16 - 20. Is confined to his death, ver. 21 - 23.

10 Towers - To guard his cattle from the inroads which the Arabians were accustomed to make: and to give notice of the approach of any enemy.
16 Into Jerusalem - Into the holy place, where the altar of incense stood, and into which none but the priests might enter, much less offer incense.
18 Withstood - Heb. stood up against Uzziah, not by force, or laying hands upon him to restrain him, for in the next verse you still find the censer in his hand; but only by admonition and reproof, which follows. Neither, &c. - Expect that God will punish thee, or put some brand of infamy upon thee for this presumption. But this they express modestly, because they considered that he to whom they spake, though an offender, was their sovereign.
19 His forehead - So that he could not hide his shame: though it is probable it was also in the rest of his body. From beside - By a stroke from an invisible hand coming from the altar; that he might be assured this was the effect of God's displeasure.
20 Thrust - Not by force, which needed not, for he voluntarily hasted away, as it follows; but by vehement persuasions and denunciations of God's farther judgments upon him, if he did not depart.
21 His death - God would have this leprosy to be incurable, as a lasting monument of his anger against such presumptuous invaders of the priest's office. Dwelt, &c. - As he was obliged to do by law, which he durst not now resist, being under the hand of God, and under the fear of worse plagues, if he did not so. For - He dwelt in a several house, because he might not come into the temple or courts, nor consequently into any publick assembly. So the punishment answered the sin, as face does to face in a glass. He thrust himself into the temple of God, whether the priests only had admission: and for that was thrust out of the very courts of the temple, into which the meanest of, his subjects might enter. He invaded the dignity of the priesthood, to which he had no right, and is for that deprived of the royal dignity, to which he had an undoubted right.

Chapter XXVII

Jotham reigns well and prospers, ver. 1 - 6. The conclusion of his reign, ver. 7 - 9.

2 He did - He did according to all that his father Uzziah did; except in his miscarriages. We must not imitate those we have the greatest esteem for, any farther than we do well; but their failings must be warnings to us, to walk more circumspectly.
3 Built - Repaired it: for it was built before, chap.11:5.

Chapter XXVIII

Ahaz reigns ill, ver. 1 - 4. Is smitten by the Syrians and Israelites, ver. 5 - 8. who send back the captives they had taken, ver. 9 - 15. Ahaz sends for help to the king of Asyria, but in vain, ver. 16 - 21. Yet he continues in idolatry, ver. 22 - 25. and dies, ver. 26, 27.

5 His God - God was his God, tho' not by special relation, (which Ahaz had renounced) yet by his sovereign dominion over him: for God did not forfeit his right by Ahaz's denying it.
6 Forsaken - Ahaz walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, and God chose the king of Israel for his scourge: it is just with God, to make them a plague to us, whom we have made our patterns, or partners in sin.
9 A rage - An unbounded rage, which cries to God for vengeance, against such bloody men.
10 To keep under - It ill becomes sinners to be cruel. Shew mercy to them, for you are undone, unless God shew you mercy.
14 Left the captives - And herein they shewed a more truly heroic bravery, than they did in taking them. It is true honour for a man to yield to reason and religion even in spite of interest.
15 Were expressed - Who were appointed to take care about the management of this business.
16 Kings - Princes, who may be called kings in a more general signification of the word.
19 Low - As high as they were before in wealth and power. They that will not humble themselves under the word of God will be humbled by his judgments. Naked - Taking away their ornament and their defence and strength, namely their treasures, which he sent to the Assyrian to no purpose; their frontier towns, and other strong holds, which by his folly and wickedness were lost; their religion, and the Divine protection, which was their great and only firm security.
20 Distressed - Or, straitened him, by robbing him of his treasures. Strengthened not - A most emphatical expression: for tho' he weakened his present enemy the Syrian, yet all things considered, he did not strengthen Ahaz and his kingdom, but weaken them; for by removing the Syrian, who, tho' a troublesome neighbour, was a kind of bulwark to him, he smoothed the way for himself, a far more dangerous enemy, as appears in the very next king's reign.
22 That Ahaz - That monster and reproach of mankind, that unteachable and incorrigible prince, whom even grievous afflictions made worse, which commonly make men better. This is he, whose name deserves to be remembered and detested for ever.

Chapter XXIX

Hezekiah's exhortation to the priests and Levites, ver. 1 - 11. The care of the Levites to cleanse the temple and put things into order, ver. 12 - 19. A solemn revival of God's ordinances, ver. 20 - 36.

4 And he brought in, &c - He found Judah low and naked, yet did not make it his first business to revive the civil interests of his kingdom, but to restore religion to a good posture. Those that begin with God, begin at the right end of their work; and it will prosper accordingly.
5 Filthiness - That filthy altar, which Ahaz had put in the place of God's altar, 2Kings 16:11, and the idols, or other abominable things which were there.
6 Turned, &c. - They have wilfully and obstinately forsaken God and his worship; that posture being a signification of contempt.
7 They - He saith not, my father, because it became him as a son, to be as tender as might be of his father's name: and because his father would not have done all this, if their fathers had not neglected their duty.
8 Hissing - To such calamities as all that see and hear of, shall be astonished at, and hiss at those, who by their own sin and folly have brought such miseries upon themselves. When we are under the rebukes of God's providence, it is good for us to enquire, Whether we have not neglected God's ordinances, and whether that be not the controversy he has with us?
9 Captivity - Tho' they were presently released, chap.28:5,14,15.
11 Sons - So he calls them, though many of them were elder than himself, because he was by his tender love and affection, as he was by his office obliged to be, a nursing father to them. Negligent - In sanctifying yourselves and the temple, ver.5, and in quickening and preparing yourselves and the people for God's service.
15 To cleanse - From the dirt it had contracted, while it was so long shut up; from dust, cobwebs, and the rust of the vessels. Much more from the idols, and idolatrous altars which had been set up therein.
17 The first day - A happy beginning of the new year! Thus should every year begin with the reformation of what is amiss, and the purging away of all the defilements contracted the foregoing year.
19 Sanctified - Tho' the vessels of the sanctuary may be profaned for a while, God will find a time and a way to sanctify them. Neither his ordinances nor his obedient people, shall be suffered to fail forever.
21 Seven - The number seven is customary in sacred matters, and is here used in regard of the vast numbers and various kinds of sins, the guilt whereof yet lay upon the kingdom, which was now to be expiated. Indeed, in case of one particular sin of ignorance done by the people, there was but one bullock to be offered, but here the sins were many and presumptuous. Kingdom - To make atonement for the sins of the king and the royal family, and the court. Sanctuary - For all the idolatry and uncleanness wherewith the temple had been polluted. They thought it not enough to lament and forsake their sins, but they brought a sin - offering. Even our repentance and reformation will not obtain pardon, but thro' Christ, who was made sin, that is, a sin - offering for us.
23 They laid - The king and the elders of the congregation in the name of the whole congregation.
27 The song - The psalms composed by David and Asaph. Even sorrow for sin must not put us out of tune for praising God. By faith we must even then rejoice in the Lord our righteousness, and our prayers and praises must attend with his offering, to be accepted only in the virtue of it.
31 Consecrated - Now that you have reconciled yourselves and the house to God, and that he is willing and ready to accept your sacrifices. Burnt - offerings - Wherein there was more generosity than in the other sacrifices, because they were wholly burnt and offered to God.
33 Consecrated things - All the offerings consecrated to God, besides the burnt - offerings already mentioned.
34 Too few - Such as were sanctified and fit for their work, as the following words shew: for otherwise the number of the priests was more than sufficient for this employment. Burnt - offerings - And much less all the other sacrifices, which were more numerous; the slaying whereof was the priests proper work. The Levites - Necessity excusing their deviation from the rule.
36 Rejoiced - It was, as a very great, so a sudden change, that the people, who but the other day were so ready to comply with wicked Ahaz in his idolatrous presumptions, were now so free and forward in God's service: whereby it plainly appeared to be the work of God, changing their hearts by his Holy Spirit.

Chapter XXX

The king and people resolve to keep the passover, ver. 1 - 5. He invites Judah and Israel to it, ver. 6 - 12. The joyful celebration of it, ver. 13 - 27.

1 Israel - All the persons of the ten tribes, who were settled in his kingdom. Ephraim, &c. - To all the remainder of the ten tribes, ver.5, here expressed by the names of Ephraim and Manasseh, as elsewhere by the name of Ephraim only. But he names these two tribes, because they were nearest to his kingdom, and a great number of them had long since, and from time to time joined themselves to the kingdom of Judah, 2Chron 15:8,9. At Jerusalem - Admonishing them of their duty to Cod, and persuading them to comply with it.
2 Second month - Which was against the common rule, but the doing of this in its proper time, namely, the fourteenth day of the first month was impossible, because the temple was not cleansed, nor they prepared. As there was a proviso in the law, that particular persons who were unclean in the first month, might keep the passover the fourteenth day of the second month, he doubted not but that might be extended by the whole congregation.
3 They kept - Not in the same manner as they had done the former, V. 3. Sufficiently - In such manner as was fit, nor in such numbers as but in the solemn worship of God, by sacrifices, and prayers, and praise, were necessary for the slaying and offering of so many thousands of and publick instruction of that great congregation in the good knowledge paschal - offerings, as appears, because they were not sufficient for of the Lord; which was most necessary for the people after so long and those offerings, which were comparatively few, chap.29:32,33,34. dismal a night of ignorance, superstition and idolatry.
10 They - The generality of the ten tribes; who by long want of meat had now lost their appetite to God's ordinances, for which they paid dear. For about six years after their refusal of this offer of grace they were all carried away captive, 2Kings 18:1,10.
12 The hand of God - God by the power of his grace inclined their hearts to an unanimous compliance with God's and the king's will. And this is mentioned as the reason of this wonderful change wrought in these men, who had lately been given up to idolatry.
15 Ashamed - Their negligence and remissness being upbraided by the general forwardness of the people. The zeal which we observe in others, should make us ashamed of our own coldness, and quicken us not only to do our duty, but to do it with our might.
19 The sanctuary - With that purification which was required of them that came in God's sanctuary. So he calls it to distinguish from that internal purity which they are here acknowledged to have. The great thing required in our attendance on God's ordinances is, that we prepare our heart to seek him; that the inward man be engaged, that we make heart work of it. All is nothing without this.
20 Healed - That is, pardoned this their sin, and accepting them and their services, as if they had been clean.
22 Spoke comfortably - Encouraged them to a chearful and diligent attendance upon their holy ministrations. Princes and magistrates by encouraging faithful and laborious preachers, greatly promote the kingdom of God. That taught - Who by their office were to instruct and build up the people in the knowledge and fear of God: which is mentioned as the cause of his respect and kindness to them.
24 Did give - First to God, to whom the parts appointed were offered in a way of thanksgiving; and then to the people, who feasted upon the relicks, as the offerer used to do in peace - offerings: and Hezekiah, who was the offerer, gave away his right in the remains of the sacrifices to the people. Which generosity is the more considerable, because it was in the beginning of his reign, when he found the exchequer empty; and when he had been at great expense about cleansing and refitting the temple, and making preparations for this great feast.
27 The Levites - Those of the Levites who were priests also; for to them only this work belonged.

Chapter XXXI

The remains of idolatry are destroyed, ver. 1. Hezekiah provides work and maintenance for the priests and Levites, ver. 2 - 4. The people bring in their dues abundantly, ver. 5 - 10. Officers are appointed to dispose of them, ver. 11 - 19. Hezekiah's sincerity, ver. 20, 21.

1 Manasseh - By the special impulse and direction of God's spirit. And he knew Hoshea contented himself with the worship of the calves, and did not practise that great idolatry which his predecessors had used, and therefore would patiently suffer the breaking of the images of Baal, and the things belonging to them.
2 The tents - Within the gates of the house of the Lord: which is here called tents, because the host of the Lord, the priests and Levites, encamped there. And perhaps to intimate, that it was shortly to be removed.
3 Of his substance - Which had hitherto been taken out of the treasures of the temple, but that he might ease the people in their present poverty, which his predecessor had brought upon them, and engage them to a more chearful attendance upon God's service, he took the burden upon himself.
4 Encouraged - Freed them from worldly cares and distractions, and enabled to give up themselves entirely to the serious study of God's law, and to the instruction, and direction, and quickening of the people.
5 Came abroad - As Soon as the king extended that command to all the parts of his kingdom, which, ver.4, was confined to them that dwelt in Jerusalem. Honey - Or, dates, as the Hebrew writers generally, understand this word, which were given to them, because of the sweetness of their taste in some sort resembling honey. For the law requires no tithes, but of the fruits of trees, or of the earth, or of beasts.
6 By heaps - What the priests and the Levites had occasion for, they made use of, and the overplus was laid in heaps.
7 Third month - Of the sacred year, in which their harvest began. Seventh - In which their harvest ended and the feast of tabernacles was kept.
8 Blessed the Lord - Both for giving such plentiful provisions to his land and for giving his people such liberal hearts. And they praised the people for their forwardness and faithfulness in it.
9 Questioned - How it came to pass that no more of their provision was spent and that there yet remained such great heaps of it.
14 Most holy things - The remainders of the freewill - offering, the sin - offering, and trespass - offering, and the shew - bread; to see that all had a competent maintenance for themselves and their families.
15 And next, &c. - These were intrusted with receiving and distributing the several portions belonging to the priests who abode in their several cities, whilst their brethren came up to Jerusalem.
18 For, &c. - This is alleged as a reason why their wives and children were provided for out of the holy things, because they sequestered themselves from worldly affairs, by which they might otherwise have provided for their families.

Chapter XXXII

Sennacherib invading Judah, Hezekiah fortifies himself, ver. 1 - 8. The insolent letters and messages sent by Sennacherib, ver. 9 - 19. The destruction of his army, ver. 20 - 23. Hezekiah's sickness, riches, and death, ver. 24 - 33.

1 After, &c. - An emphatical preface, signifying, that notwithstanding all his zeal for God, God saw fit to exercise him with a sore trial. And God ordered it at this time, that he might have an opportunity of shewing himself strong, on the behalf of his returning people. It is possible, we may be in the way of our duty, and yet meet with trouble and danger. God permits this, for the trial of our confidence in him, and the manifestation of his care over us.
3 To stop - And withal to draw the waters by secret pipes underground to Jerusalem.
21 The Lord sent an angel - The Jewish comment says the word of the Lord sent Gabriel to do this execution, and that it done with lightning, and in the passover night, the same night wherein the first - born in Egypt were slain.
25 Lifted up - For that prodigious victory over the Assyrians, for his miraculous restoration from sickness, and for the honour since done him by an embassy from the great king of Babylon. All which probably raised in him too great an opinion of himself, as if these things were done for his piety and virtues.
29 Provided - He repaired, fortified, and beautified them for the honour and safety of his kingdom.
30 Stopped, &c. - A rivulet near Jerusalem consisting of two streams, the upper which was brought into one pool, called the upper pool, Isa 7:3, and the lower which was brought into another, called the lower pool, Isa 22:9. The former he diverted and brought by pipes into Jerusalem, which was a work of great art and labour.
31 Wonder that was done - Either the destruction of the Assyrians, or the going back of the sun. These miracles were wrought to alarm and awaken a stupid, careless world, and to turn them from dumb and lame idols to the living God. God left him - To himself, and suffered Satan to try him; that he might know he had infirmities and sins as well as virtues. O what need have great men, and good men, and useful men, to study their own follies and infirmities, and to beg earnestly of God, that he would hide pride from them!
33 Did him honour - It is a debt we owe to those who have been eminently useful, to do them honour at their death, when they are out of the reach of flattery, and we have seen the end of their conversation.

Chapter XXXIII

The wicked reign of Manasseh, ver. 1 - 10. His captivity, prayer, and reformation, ver. 11 - 17. The conclusion of his reign, ver. 18 - 20. The wicked reign and death of Amon, ver. 21 - 25.

11 To Babylon - The king of Babylon is here called the king of Assyria, because he had added Assyria to his empire, who having been informed by his ambassadors of the great riches which were in Hezekiah's treasures at Jerusalem, and being assured of Manasseh's degeneracy from the piety of his father, and from that God whose power alone made Hezekiah formidable, he thought this a fit season to invade Manasseh's kingdom. The Jews say, in the twenty second year of his reign.
12 Besought - It becomes sinners to humble themselves before that God, whom they have offended. It becomes sufferers to humble themselves before him that corrects them, and to accept of the punishment of their iniquity.
17 Still - Manasseh could not carry the reformation so far as he had carried the corruption. It is an easy thing to debauch men's manners; but not so easy to reform them again.
18 Of Israel - Of Judah, often called Israel, he speaks not of the book of Kings, for these things are not mentioned there, but of their publick records, whence the most important things were taken by the prophets, and put into those canonical books.
19 Hosai - A writer so called.

Chapter XXXIV

The general character of Josiah, ver. 1, 2. He roots out idolatry, ver. 3 - 7. Repairs the temple, ver. 8 - 13. Rends his clothes on hearing the book of the law, and sends to enquire of God, ver. 14 - 22. Huldah foretells the destruction of Jerusalem, ver. 23 - 28. Josiah and the people renew their covenant with God, ver. 29 - 33.

3 Young - ln the sixteenth year of his age; when he was entering into the age of temptation, and had the administration of his kingdom wholly in his own power, and none to restrain him; even then he begins to be religious in good earnest.
6 Naphtali - Which was in the utmost borders of the kingdom of Israel. For it must be remembered, that the ten tribes were now gone into captivity; and those who were come in their stead were weak and few, and not able to withstand the power of Josiah.
8 The house - The house of God, called the house by way of eminency.
11 Houses - The chambers joining to the temple.
12 Musick - All these here named, were skilful in instruments of musick. Which may be here mentioned, to intimate, that as they were skilful, so they were exercised in both employments, and did successively oversee the work, and praise God with their voices and instruments.
19 Rent his clothes - Were the things contained in scripture new to us, as they were here to Josiah, surely they would make deeper impressions upon us than they commonly do. But they are not the less weighty, and therefore should not be the less regarded, because they are well known.
32 To stand to it - He caused them to engage by an oath or covenant, that they would observe the laws of God, as his predecessors had formerly done, and which indeed they were before obliged to do.
33 Even to serve - The repetition shews, that this was the only thing his heart was set upon. He aimed at nothing in all he did, but to engage them to God and their duty.

Chapter XXXV

Josiah keeps a solemn passover, ver. 1 - 19. He goes against Pharaoh - necho, and is slain, ver, 20 - 24. He is bitterly lamented, ver. 25 - 27.

3 The house - In the holy of holies. Whence, it may seem, it had been removed, by some of the wicked kings of Judah, possibly by Josiah's father Amon. A burden - Or, that it might not be a burden, so these words are to be joined with the former, as the reason why Solomon built this house, that the ark might have a constant and fixed habitation, and not need to be carried from place to place upon their shoulders, as it had been done while it was in the tabernacle. Ministers must look upon themselves as servants both to Christ, and to the people, for his sake. They must take care and take pains, and lay themselves out to the utmost, both for the honour and glory of God, and for the benefit of his people, not as having dominion over their faith, but as helpers of their holiness and joy.
5 Stand - Or, minister, (as that word is frequently used) in the court of the priests. According - According to the several families both of the people, whom he calls their brethren, lest they should despise them, or grudge to serve them, and of the Levites. For the passover was to be eaten by the several families according to their numbers, and therefore he commands these persons, that when the paschal lambs were brought to them to be killed, they might so order the matter, that they might be distributed to the several families whether of the Levitical or other tribes.
8 Princes - Not the political, but ecclesiastical princes, or the chief of the priests and Levites, whose names here follow. Levites - For the use of any of the families of them, as need should be. For they supposed the thirty thousand which the king had given were not sufficient for all the families.
12 Removed - Some of the lesser cattle; for these also might be offered as burnt - offerings, Lev 1:10, and hence it may seem that all these small cattle were not given for paschal - lambs, but were to be offered as burnt - offerings for the people. And these they put apart lest they should be confounded with them which were for another use; and, that they might not be hindered from that which was their present work, that they might give, the paschal - lambs or kids. To offer - These words may belong to the last words, and to the paschal - lambs, which they were first to offer to the Lord, by killing them and sprinkling the blood, and then to give to the people; though the giving be here mentioned before the offering, such transpositions being usual in scripture. Oxen - As they did with the lesser cattle; they removed those oxen which were to be offered as burnt - offerings, from those which were to be offered as peace - offerings.
18 Like to that - The whole solemnity was performed exactly according to the law, whereas in Hezekiah's passover there were several irregularities: likewise Josiah furnished the whole congregation with beasts for sacrifice at his own charge, which no king ever did before him.
20 After all - When he and his people hoped that God was reconciled, and the foundation of a lasting happiness laid, their hopes were quickly blasted. So much are men often mistaken in their judgments about the designs of God's providence.
21 The house - Against the house of the king of Assyria, between whom and me there is war. It is at thy peril, if thou engage against one who has both a better army, and a better cause and God on his side.
22 Hearkened not - How can we think to prosper in our ways, if we do not acknowledge God in them!
25 To this day - In all their succeeding lamentations for their publick calamities, they remembered Josiah's death as their first and fatal blow, which opened the flood - gates to all their following miseries.

Chapter XXXVI

The wicked reign of Jehoahaz, ver. 1 - 4. Jehoiakim, ver. 5 - 8. Jehoiachin and Zedekiah, ver. 9 - 13. The wickedness of the people, ver. 14 - 16. Jerusalem destroyed, Judah laid waste, the people slain or led away captive, according to God's word, ver. 17 - 21. The proclamation of Cyrus, ver. 22, 23.

8 Found in him - That crime of rebellion against the king of Babylon, which for a time he kept in his own breast, but when he saw fit, discovered it, and was convicted of it.
10 Expired - Heb. at the return of the year: at the beginning of the next year, according to the sacred account of the Hebrews, at the spring of the year, the time when kings go forth to battle, as is elsewhere said, when Nebuchadnezzar, among others, went forth to settle and enlarge his conquests. His brother - Largely so called, for this was his uncle, or his father's brother, being the son of Josiah.
13 By God - Who had required him to swear fealty and constant obedience to him by the true God, whom he called upon to be a witness against him if he broke his oath. So his rebellion was aggravated with perjury, and horrid contempt of God.
15 Rising - Sending them early and diligently, as a careful house - holder, who rises betimes about his business. God sent them many prophets and messages, some at the very beginning of their apostacy, and others afterward, 'till the very day of their captivity.
16 No remedy - Because the people would not repent, and God would not pardon them.
17 Chaldees - Abraham was called out of Ur of the Chaldees, when God took him into covenant with himself. And now his degenerate seed are carried into that country again, to signify that they had forfeited all that kindness wherewith they had been loved for their father's sake, and the benefit of the covenant into which he was called.
21 Sabbaths - Had rested from the labour of the husbandman in plowing and harrowing it; the people that should have managed it being destroyed. Many a time had they ploughed and sowed their land in the seventh year, when it should have rested: and now it lay unploughed and unsown for ten times seven years. Yet even this might encourage them to hope, that they should in due time return to it again. Had others come and taken possession of it, they might have despaired of ever recovering it. But while it lay desolate, it, as it were, waited for them, and refused to acknowledge any other owners.

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