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32 In the second year of Pekah, the son of Re-maliah, Ahaz, the son of Jotham king of Judah

of Pekah the son of Re

maliah king of Israel, began 'Jotham the son of Uzziah king of Judah to reign.

33 Five and twenty years old was he when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem: and his mother's name was Jerusha, the daughter of Zadok.

34 And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD: he did according to all that his father

Uzziah had done.

35 Howbeit, the high places were not removed: the people sacrificed and burnt incense still in the high places. He built the higher gate of the house of the LORD.

36 Now the rest of the acts of Jotham, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?

37 In those days the LORD began to send against Judah, Rezin "the king of Syria, and Pekah "the son of Remaliah.

38 And Jotham slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David his father and Ahaz his son reigned in his stead.

CHAPTER XVI.

This chapter is wholly taken up with the reign of Ahaz; and we have quite enough of it, unless it were better. He had a good father, and a better son, and yet was

himself one of the worst of the kings of Judah. 1. He was a notorious idolater, king of Assyria to invade Syria and Israel, v. 5-9. III. He took pattern, from

v. 1-4. II. With the temple, as well as his he the

an Idol's altar which he saw at Damascus, for a new altar in God's temple, v.

10-16. IV. He abused and embezzled the furniture of the temple, v. 17, 18.

And so his story ends, v. 19, 20.

t 2 Chr. 27. 1, &c. At the end of Jotham's reign. v c. 16. 5. w ver. 27. a 2 Chr. 28. 1, &c. b Lev. 18. 21. Ps. 106. 37, 38. c Deut. 12. 31. Ps. 106. 35.

2. That he died in the midst of his days, v. 38. Of most of the kings of Judah we are told how old they were when they began their reign, and by that may compute how old they were when they died; but no account is kept of the age of any of the kings of Israel, (that I remember,) only of the years of their reigns. This honour God would put upon the kings of the house of David above those of other families. And by these accounts it appears that there was none of all the kings of Judah, that reached David's age, 70, the common age of man. Asa's age I do not find, Uzziah lived to be 68, Manasseh 67, and Jehoshaphat 60; and these were the three oldest; many of them that were of note, did not reach 50. This Jotham died at 41. He was too great a blessing to be continued long to such an unworthy people. His death was a judgment, especially considering the character of his son and successor.

V. 32-38. We have here a short account of the reign of Jotham king of Judah, of whom we are told,

d Deut 12. 2. 1 Kings 14. 23. els. 7. 1, &c. fc. 14. 22. Eloth. Tilgath-pileser, 1 Chr. 5. 25, &c. 2 Chr. 28. 20, Tilgath-pilneser. g c. 15. 29. c. 12. 18. and family, which therefore was really a reproach to him; (Degeneranti genus opprobrium—A good extraction is a disgrace to him who degenerates from it;) and that though he enjoyed the benefit of David's piety, he did not tread in the steps of it.

1. That he reigned very well, did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, v. 34. Josephus gives him a very high character, that he was pious toward God, just toward men, and laid 2. That he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, (v. 3,) out himself for the public good; that, whatever was amiss, he who all worshipped the calves. He was not joined in any affinity took care to have it rectified; and, in short, wanted no virtue with them, as Jehoram and Ahaziah were with the house of that became a good prince. Though the high places were not Ahab, but ex mero motu-without any instigation, walked in taken away, yet, to draw people from them, and keep them their way. The kings of Israel pleaded policy and reasons of close to God's holy place, he showed great respect to the tem-state for their idolatry, but Ahaz had no such pretence, in him ple, and built the higher gate which he went through to the it was the most unreasonable impolitic thing that could be. They temple. If magistrates cannot do all they would, for the sup- were his enemies, and had proved enemies to themselves too pressing of vice and profaneness, let them do so much the more by their idolatry; yet he walked in their way. for the support and advancement of piety and virtue, and bringing of them into reputation. If they cannot pull down the high places of sin, yet let them build and beautify the high gate of God's house.

3. That he made his sons to pass through the fire, to the ho nour of his dunghill deities. He burned them, so it is expressly said of him, 2 Chr. 28. 3, burned some of them, and perhaps made others of them, (Hezekiah himself not excepted, though afterward he was never the worse for it,) to pass between two fires, or to be drawn through a flame, in token of their dedication to the idol.

3. That in his days the confederacy was formed against Judah by Rezin, and Remaliah's son, the king of Syria, and the king of Israel, which appeared so very formidable in the beginning of the reign of Ahaz, that, upon notice of it, the heart of that prince was moved, and the heart of the people, as the trees of the wood are moved with the wind, Is. 7. 2. The confederates were unjust in the attempt, yet it is here said, (v. 37,) The Lord began to send them against Judah, as he bade Shimei curse David, and took away from Job what the Sabeans robbed him of. Men are God's hand, the sword, the rod, in his hand, which he makes use of as he pleases, to serve his own righteous counsels, though men be unrighteous in their intentions. This storm gathered in the reign of pious Jotham, but he came to his grave in peace, and it fell upon his degenerate son.

NOTES TO CHAPTER XVI.

V. 1-4. We have here a general character of the reign of Ahaz, few and evil were his days: few, for he died at 36; evil, for we are here told,

began to reign.

2 Twenty years old was Ahaz when he began to reign, and reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem, and did not that which was right in the sight of the LORD his God, like David his father.

3 But he walked in the way of the kings of Israel; yea, and made his son to pass through the fire, according to the abomination of the heathen, whom the LORD cast out from before the children of Israel.

1. That he did not that which was right, like David, (v. 2;) that is, he had none of that concern and affection for the instituted service and worship of God, which David was famous for. He had no love for the temple, made no conscience of his duty to God, nor had any regard to his law. Herein he was unlike David; it was his honour, that he was of the house and lineage of David, and it was owing to God's ancient covenant with David, that he was now upon the throne, which aggravated his wickedness, that he was a reproach to that honourable name

4 And he sacrificed and burnt incense in the high places, and on the hills, and under every green tree.

5 Then Rezin king of Syria, and Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel, came up to Jerusalem to war; and they besieged Ahaz, but could not overcome him.

6 At that time Rezin king of Syria recovered Elath to Syria, and drave the Jews from Elath: and the Syrians came to Elath, and dwelt there unto this day.

7 So Ahaz sent messengers to 'Tiglath-pileser sking of Assyria, saying, I am thy servant, and thy son: come up, and save me out of the hand of the king of Syria, and out of the hand of the king of Israel, which rise up against me.

found in the house of the LORD, and in the treasures 8 And Ahaz took the silver and gold that was

4. That he did according to the abomination of the heathen whom the Lord had cast out. It was an instance of his great folly, that he would be guided by those in his religion, and follow them, whom he saw fallen into the ditch before his eyes; and of his great impiety, that he would conform to those usages which God had declared to be abominable to him; and set himself to write after the copy of those whom God had cast out, thus walking directly contrary to God.

5. That he sacrificed in the high places, v. 4. If his father had but had zeal enough to take them away, it might have prevented the debauching of his sons: but they that connive at sin, know not what dangerous snares they lay for those that come after them. He forsook God's house, was weary of that place where, in his father's time, he had often been detained before the Lord, and performed his devotions on high hills, where he had a better prospect, and under green trees, where he had a more pleasant shade. It was a religion little worth, which was guided by fancy, not by faith.

V. 5-9. Here is, I. The attempt of his confederate neighbours, the kings of Syria and Israel, upon him. They thought to have made themselves masters of Jerusalem, and to have set a king of their own in it, Is. 7, 6. In that, they fell short, but the king of Syria recovered Elath, a considerable port upon the Red sea, which Amaziah had taken from the Syrians, ch. 14. 22. What can they keep, that have lost their religion? Let them expect, thenceforward, to be always on the losing hand. 2. His project to get clear of them. Having forsaken God, he had neither courage nor strength to make head against his enemies, nor could he, with any boldness, ask help of God, but he made his court to the king of Assyria, and got him to come in for his relief. Those whose hearts condemn them, will go any whither in a day of distress, rather than to God. Was it because there was not a God in Israel, that he sent to the Assyrian for help? Was the Rock of ages removed out of its place, that he stayed himself on this broken reed? The sin itself was its own punishment; for though it is true that he gained his point, (the king of Assyria hearkened to him, and, to serve his own turn, made a descent upon Damascus, whereby he gave a powerful diversion to the king of Syria, v. 9,) and obliged him to let fall his design against Ahaz, carrying the Syrians captive

of the king's house, and sent it for a present to the | sprinkled the blood of this peace-offerings, upon the king of Assyria. altar.

9 And the king of Assyria hearkened unto him; for the king of Assyria went up against Damascus, and took it, and carried the people of it captive to Kir, and slew Rezin.

14 And he brought also the brazen altar," which was before the LORD, from the fore-front of the house, from between the altar and the house of the LORD, and put it on the north side of the altar. 15 And king Ahaz commanded Urijah the priest, saying, Upon the great altar burn the morning "burnt-offering, and the evening meat-offering, and the king's burnt-sacrifice, and his meat-offering, with the burnt-offering of all the people of the land, and their meat-offering, and their drink-offerings; and sprinkle upon it all the blood of the burnt-offer

11 And Urijah the priest built an altar according to all that king Ahaz had sent from Damascus :ing, and all the blood of the sacrifice and the braso Urijah the priest made it against king Ahaz came zen altar shall be for me to inquire by. from Damascus.

16 Thus did Urijah the priest, according to all that king Ahaz commanded.

17 And king Ahaz cut off the borders of the bases, and removed the laver from off them; and took down the sea from off the brazen oxen that were under it, and put it upon a pavement of stones :

m 2 Chr. 4. 1. n Ex. 29. 39-41.

*

10 And king Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria, and saw an altar that was at Damascus and king Ahaz sent to Urijah the priest the fashion of the altar, and the pattern of it, according to all the workmanship thereof.

12 And when the king was come from Damascus, the king saw the altar and the king approached to the altar, and offered 'thereon.

13 And he burnt his burnt-offering, and his meat-offering, and poured his drink-offering, and

• Dammesek. i Foretold, Am. 1. 5. k Ps. 106. 39. Num. 18. 3. 2 Chr. 26. 16, 19.

to Kir, as Amos had expressly foretold, (ch. 1. 5,) yet, considering all, he made but a bad bargain; for, to compass this,

(1.) He enslaved himself; (v. 7,) I am thy servant and thy son; that is, "I will be as dutiful and obedient to thee as to a master or father, if thou wilt but do me this good turn." Had he thus humbled himself to God, and implored his favour, he might have been delivered upon easier terms; he might have saved his money, and needed only to have parted with his sins: but if the prodigal forsake his father's house, he soon becomes a slave to the worst of masters, Luke 15. 15.

(2.) He impoverished himself; for he took the silver and gold that were laid up in the treasury both of the temple and of the kingdom, and sent it to the king of Assyria, v. 8. Both church and state must be squeezed and exhausted, to gratify this his new patron and guardian. I know not what authority he had thus to dispose of the public stock; but it is common for those that have brought themselves into straits by one sin, to help themselves out by another; and those that have alienated themselves from God, will make no difficulty of alienating any of his rights.

V. 10-16. Though Ahaz had himself sacrificed in high places, on hills, and under every green tree, (v. 4,) yet God's altar had hitherto continued in its place, and in use, and the king's burntoffering and his meat-offering, (v. 15,) had been offered upon it by the priests that attended it; but here we have it taken away by wicked Ahaz, and another altar, an idolatrous one, put in the room of it-a bolder stroke than the worst of the kings had yet given to religion. We have here,

the peace-offerings which were his. o 1 Kings 7. 23, 28.

trust.

this altar, in compliance with an idolatrous prince. For hereby, 1. He prostituted his authority, and profaned the crown of his priesthood, making himself a servant to the lusts of men. There is not a greater disgrace to the ministry, than obsequiousness to such wicked commands as this was. 2. He betrayed his As priest, he was bound to maintain and defend God's institutions, and to oppose and witness against all innovations; and for him to assist and serve the king, in setting up an altar to confront the altar which, by divine appointment, he was consecrated to minister at, was such a piece of treachery and perfidiousness, as may justly render him infamous to all posterity. Had he only connived at the doing of it, had he been frightened into it by menaces, had he endeavoured to dissuade the king from it, or but delayed the doing of it till he came home, that he might first talk with him about it, it had not been so bad; but so willingly to walk after his commandment, as if he were glad of the opportunity to oblige him, was such an affront to the God he served, as was utterly inexcusable.

III. The dedicating of it. Urijah, perceiving that the king's heart was much upon it, took care to have it ready against he came down, and set it near the brazen altar, but somewhat lower and further from the door of the temple. The king was exceedingly pleased with it, approached to it with all possible veneration, and offered thereon his burnt-offering, &c. v. 12, 13. His sacrifices were not offered to the God of Israel, but to the gods of Damascus, (as we find, 2 Chr. 28. 23;) and when he borrowed the Syrians' altar, no marvel that he borrowed their gods. Naaman, the Syrian, embraced the God of Israel, I. The model of this new altar, taken from one at Damascus, when he got earth from the land of Israel to make an altar of. by the king himself, v. 10. The king of Assyria having taken IV. The removal of God's altar, to make room for it. UriDamascus, thither Abaz went, to congratulate him on his suc- jah was so modest, that he put this altar at the lower end of cess, to return him thanks for the kindness he had done him by the court, and left God's altar in its place, between this and the this expedition, and, as his servant and son, to receive his com- house of the Lord, v. 14. But that would not satisfy Ahaz; he mands. Had he been faithful to his God, he had not needed to removed God's altar to an obscure corner, in the north side of have crouched thus to a foreign power. At Damascus, either the court, and put his own before the sanctuary, in the place of while viewing the rarities of the place, or rather while joining it. He thinks his new altar is much more stately, and much with them in their devotion, (for when he was there, he thought more sightly, and disgraces that; and therefore let that be laid it no harm to do as they did,) he saw an altar that pleased his aside as a vessel in which there was no pleasure. His superfancy extremely, not such a plain old-fashioned one as that which stitious invention at first justled with, but at length justled out, he had been trained up in an attendance upon at Jerusalem, but God's sacred institution. Note, Those will soon come to make curiously carved, it is likely, and adorned with image work; nothing of God, that will not be content to make him their all. there were many things about it which were significant, he Ahaz durst not (perhaps for fear of the people) quite demolish thought, surprising, charming, and calculated to excite his devo- the brazen altar, and knock it to pieces; but while he ordered tion. Solomon had but a dull fancy, he thinks, compared with all the sacrifices to be offered upon his new altar, (v. 15,) The the ingenious artist that made this altar. Nothing will serve brazen altar (says he) shall be for me to inquire by. Having him but he must have an altar just like this; a pattern of it must thrust it out from the use for which it was instituted, which be taken immediately; he cannot stay till he returns himself, was to sanctify the gifts offered upon it, he pretends to advance but sends it before him in all haste, with orders to Urijah the it above its institution, which it is common for superstitious priest to get one made exactly according to this model, and have people to do. The altar was never designed for an oracle, yet it ready against he came home. The pattern God showed to Ahaz will have it for that use. The Romish church seemMoses in the mount, or to David by the Spirit, was not compa-ingly magnifies Christ's sacraments, yet wretchedly corrupts rable to this pattern sent from Damascus. The hearts of idola- them. But some give another sense of Ahaz's purpose; "As ters walked after their eyes, which are therefore said to go a for the brazen altar, I will consider what to do with it, and give whoring after their idols; but the true worshippers worship the order about it." The Jews say, that, afterward, of the brass true God by faith. of it he made that famous dial, which was called the dial of Ahaz, ch. 20. 11. The base compliance of the poor-spirited priest with the presumptuous usurpations of an ill-spirited king, is again taken notice of; (v. 16,) Urijah the priest did according to all that king Ahaz commanded. Miserable is the case of great men, when those that should reprove them for their sins, strengthen and serve them in their sins.

II. The making of it by Urijah the priest, v. 11. This Urijah, it is likely, was the chief priest, who, at this time, presided in the temple service. To him Ahaz sent an intimation of his mind, (for we read not of any express orders he gave him,) to get an altar made by this pattern. And, without any dispute, or objection, he put it in hand immediately, being perhaps as fond of it as the king was, at least, being very willing to humour the king, and desirous to curry favor with him. Perhaps he might have this excuse for gratifying the king herein, that, by this means, he might keep him to the temple at Jerusalem, and prevent his totally deserting it for the high places and the groves. "Let us oblige him in this," (thinks Urijah,) "and then he will bring all his sacrifices to us; for by this craft we get our living." But, whatever pretence he had, it was a most base, wicked thing for him that was a priest, a chief priest, to make VOL. I.-115

V. 17-20. Here is, 1. Ahaz abusing the temple: not the building itself, but some of the furniture of it. (1.) He defaced the bases on which the lavers were set, (1 Kings 7. 28, 29,) and took down the molten sea, v. 17. These the priests used for washing; against them therefore he seems to have had a particular spite. It is one of the greatest prejudices that can be done to religion, to obstruct the purifying of the priests, the Lord's ministers. (2.) He removed the covert for the sabbath; erected either in honour of the sabbath, or for the conveniency of the priests,

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CHAPTER XVII.

This chapter gives us an account of the captivity of the ten tribes, and so finishes the history of that kingdom, after it had continued about 265 years, from the setting up of Jeroboam the son of Nebat. In it, we have, I. A short narrative of this destruction, v. 1-6. II. Remarks upon it, and the causes of it, for the Justifying of tiod in it, and for warning to others, v. 7-23. III. An account of the nations which succeeded them in the possession of their land, and the mongrel religion set up among them, v. 24-41.

6 In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Assyria took Samaria, and carried Israel away into

N the twelfth year of Ahaz, king of Judah, began Assyria, and placed them in Halah, and in Habor

a

over Israel nine years.

p 2 Chr. 28. 27. a After an interregnum, c. 15. 30. b c. 18. 9. • rendered, 2 Sam. 8. 2. tor, tribute.

when, on the sabbath they officiated in greater numbers than on other days. Whatever it was, it should seem that in removing it, he intended to put a contempt upon the sabbath, and so to open as wide an inlet as any other to all manner of impiety. (3.) The king's entry, which led to the house of the Lord, for the convenience of the royal family, (perhaps, that ascent which Solomon had made, and which the queen of Sheba admired, 1 Kings 10. 5,) he turned another way, to show that he did not intend to frequent the house of the Lord any more. This he did for the king of Assyria, to oblige him, who perhaps returned his visit, and found fault with this entry, as an inconvenience and disparagement to his palace. When those that have had a ready passage to the house of the Lord, to please their neighbours, turn it another way, they are going down the hill apace toward their ruin.

2. Ahaz resigning his life in the midst of his days, at 36 years of age, (v. 19,) and leaving his kingdom to a better man, Hezekiah his son, (v. 20,) who proved as much a friend to the temple, as he had been an enemy to it. Perhaps this very son he had made to pass through the fire, and thereby dedicated him to Moloch; but God, by his grace, snatched him as a brand out of the burning.

NOTES TO CHAPTER XVII.

V. 1-6. We have here the reign and ruin of Hoshea, the last of the kings of Israel, concerning whom observe,

I. That though he forced his way to the crown by treason and murder, (as we read ch. 15. 30,) yet he gained not the possession of it till seven or eight years after; for it was in the fourth year of Ahaz that he slew Pekah, but did not himself begin to reign till the 12th year of Ahaz, v. 1. Whether by the king of Assyria, or by the king of Judab, or by some of his own people, does not appear; but, it seems, so long he was kept out of the throne he aimed at. Justly were his bad practices thus chastised, and the word of the prophet was thus fulfilled, (Hos. 10. 3,) Now they shall say, We have no king, because we feared not the Lord.

2 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, but not as the kings of Israel that were before him.

3 Against him came up Shalmaneser king of Assyria; and Hoshea became his servant, and gave him presents.

4 And the king of Assyria found conspiracy in Hoshea: for he had sent messengers to So king of Egypt, and brought no present to the king of Assyria, as he had done year by year: therefore the king of Assyria shut him up, and bound him in prison.

5 Then the king of Assyria came up throughout all the land, and went up to Samaria, and besieged it three years.

II. That though he was bad, yet not so bad as the kings of Israel that had been before him, (v. 2,) not so devoted to the calves as they had been. One of them, (that at Dan,) the Jews say, had been, before this, carried away by the king of Assyria in that expedition, ch. 15. 29, to which, perhaps, the prophet refers; (Hos. 8. 5,) Thy calf, O Samaria, has cast thee off; which made him put the less confidence in the other. And some say that this Hoshea took off the embargo which the former kings had put their subjects under, forbidding them to go up to Jerusalem to worship, which he permitted those to do, that had a mind to it. But what shall we think of this dispensation of providence, that the destruction of the kingdom of Israel should come in the reign of one of the best of its kings? Thy judgments, O God, are a great deep. God would hereby show that in bringing this ruin upon them, he designed to punish, 1. Not only the sins of that generation, but of the foregoing ages, and to reckon for the iniquities of their fathers, who had been long in filling the measure, and treasuring up wrath against this day of wrath. 2. Not only the sins of their kings, but the sins of the people. If Hoshea was not so bad as the former kings, yet the people were as bad as those that went before them, and it was an aggravation of their badness, and brought ruin the sooner, that their king did not set them so bad an example as the former kings had done, nor hinder them from reforming; he gave them leave to do better, but they did as bad as ever, which laid the blame of their sin and ruin wholly upon themselves.

III. That the destruction came gradually. They were for some time made tributaries, before they were made captives, to the king of Assyria, (v. 3,) and if that lesser judgment had prevailed to humble and reform them, the greater had been prevented. IV. That they brought it upon themselves by the indirect course they took to shake off the yoke of the king of Assyria,

7 For so it was, that the children of Israel had

c c. 18. 10, 11. Foretold Hos. 13. 16. d Lev. 26. 32, 33. Deut. 28. 36, 64. 29. 27, 28. ei Chr. 5. 26.

v. 4.

Had the king and people of Israel applied themselves to God, made their peace with him, and their prayers to him, they might have recovered their liberty, ease, and honour; but they withheld their tribute, and trusted to the king of Egypt to assist them in their revolt, which, if it had taken effect, had been but to change their oppressors. But Egypt became to them the staff of a broken reed. This provoked the king of Assyria to proceed against them with more severity. Men get nothing by struggling with the net, but entangle themselves the more.

V. That it was an utter destruction that came upon them. 1. The king of Israel was made a prisoner; he was shut up and bound; being, it is probable, taken by surprise, before Samaria was besieged.

2. The land of Israel was made a prey. The army of the king of Assyria came up throughout all the land, and made themselves masters of it, (v. 5,) and used them as traitors punished with the sword of justice, rather than as fair enemies. 3. The royal city of Israel was besieged, and, at length, taken. Three years it held out, after the country was conquered, and, no doubt, a great deal of misery they endured in that time, which is not particularly recorded; but the very brevity of the story, and the passing of this matter over lightly, methinks, intimate that they were abandoned of God, and he did not now regard the affliction of Israel, as sometimes he had done.

4. The people of Israel were carried captives into Assyria, v. 6. The generality of the people, those that were of any note, were forced away into the conqueror's country, to be slaves and beggars there. (1.) Thus he was pleased to exercise a dominion over them, and to show that they were entirely at his disposal. (2.) By depriving them of their possessions and estates, real and personal, and exposing them to all the hardships and reproaches of a removal to a strange country, under the power of an imperious army, he chastised them for their rebellion, and their endeavour to shake off his yoke. (3.) Thus he effectually prevented all such attempts for the future, and secured their own country to himself. (4.) Thus he got the benefit of their service in his own country, as Pharaoh did that of their fathers; and so this unworthy people were lost, as they were found, and ended, as they began, in servitude, and under oppression. (5.) Thus he made room for those of his own country, that had little, and little to do, at home, to settle in a good land, a land flowing with milk and honey. All these seve ral ways, he served himself by this captivity of the ten tribes. We are here told in what places of his kingdom he disposed of them; in Halah and Habor, in places, we may suppose, far distant from each other, lest they should keep up a correspondence, incorporate again, and become formidable. There, we have reason to think, after some time, they were so mingled with the nations, that they were lost, and the name of Israel was no more in remembrance. They that forgot God, were themselves forgotten; they that studied to be like the nations, were buried among them; and they that would not serve God in their own land, were made to serve their enemies in a strange land. It is probable that they were the men of honour and estates, who were carried captive, and that many of the meaner sort of people were left behind, many of every tribe, who either went over to Judah, or became subject to the Assyrian colonies, and their posterity were Galileans or Samaritans. But thus ended Israel as a nation; now they became Lo-ammi, not a people; and Lo-ruhamah, unpitied. Now Canaan spewed them out. When we read their entry under Hoshea the son of Nun, who would have thought that such as this should have been their exit under Hoshea the son of Elah? Thus Rome's glory in Augustus, sunk many ages after, in Augustulus. Providence so ordered the eclipsing of the honour of the ten tribes, that the honour of Judah the royal tribe, and Levi the holy tribe, which yet remained, might shine the brighter. Yet we find a number sealed of each of the 12 tribes, (Rev. 7.) except Dan. James writes to the 12 tribes scattered abroad, (Jam. 1. 1,) and

sinned against the LORD their God, which had brought them up out of the land of Egypt, from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and had feared other gods,

8 And walked in the statutes of the heathen, whom the LORD cast out from before the children of Israel, and of the kings of Israel, which they had made.

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

10 And they set them up images and groves* in 'every high hill, and under every green tree:

11 And there they burnt incense in all the high places, as did the heathen whom the LORD carried away before them; and wrought wicked things to provoke the LORD to anger:

12 For they served idols, whereof the LORD had said "unto them, Ye shall not do this thing.

13 Yet the LORD testified against Israel, and against Judah, by all the prophets, and by all the seers, saying," Turn ye from your evil ways, and

f Lev. 18. 3. Deut. 18. 9. c. 16. 3. Ps. 106. 35. g Ez. 8. 12. h c. 18. 8. i 1 Kings 14. 23. Is. 57. 5. • * statutes. k Deut. 16. 21. Mic. 5. 14. Deut. 12. 2. c. 16. 4. m Ex. 20. 3, 4. Lev. 26. 1. Deut. 4. 19. 5. 7, 8. t by the hand of. # Is. 1. 16, 17. 55. 7. Jer. 18. 11. 25. 5. 35. 15. Ez. 18. 31. 2 Pet. 3. 9. o Deut. 31. 27. Prov. 29. 1. Is. 48. 4. Jer. 7. 26.

Paul speaks of the 12 tribes which instantly served God day and night, Acts 26. 7. So that though we never read of the return of those that were carried captive, nor have any reason to credit the conjecture of some, that they yet remain a distinct body in some remote corner of the world; yet a remnant of them did escape, to keep up the name of Israel, till it came to be worn by the Gospel church, the spiritual Israel, in which it will ever remain, Gal. 6. 16.

V. 7-23. Though the destruction of the kingdom of the ten tribes was but briefly related, it is in these verses largely commented upon by our historian, and the reasons of it assigned, not taken from the second causes, the weakness of Israel, their impolitic management, and the strength and growing greatness of the Assyrian monarch, these things are overlooked; but only from the First Cause.

keep my commandments and my statutes, according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by my servants the prophets.

14 Notwithstanding, they would not hear, but hardened their necks, like to the neck of their fathers, that did not believe in the LORD their God.

15 And they rejected his statutes, and his covenant that he made with their fathers, and his testimonies which he testified against them; and they followed vanity, and became vain,' and went after the heathen that were round about them, concerning whom the LORD had charged "them, that they should not do like them.

1. It was the Lord that removed Israel out of his sight; whoever were the instruments, he was the Author, of this calamity. It was destruction from the Almighty; the Assyrian was but the rod of his anger, Is. 10. 5. It was the Lord that rejected the seed of Israel, else their enemies could not have seized upon them, ". 20. Who gave Jacob to the spoil, and Israel to the robbers? Did not the Lord? Is. 42. 24. We lose the benefit of national judgments, if we do not eye the hand of God in them, and the fulfilling of the scripture; for that also is taken notice of here; (v. 23,) The Lord removed Israel out of his favour, and out of their own land, as he had said by all his servants the prophets. Rather shall heaven and earth pass, than one tittle of God's word fall to the ground. When God's word and his works are compared, it will be found not only that they agree, but that they illustrate each other. But why would God ruin a people that were raised and incorporated, as Israel was, by miracles and oracles? Why would he undo that which himself had done, at so vast an expense? Was it purely an act of sovereignty? No, it was an act of necessary justice. For,

2. They provoked him to do this by their wickedness. Was it God's doing? Nay, it was their own; their way and their doings procured all this to themselves, and it was their own wickedness that did correct them. This the sacred historian shows here at large, that it might appear that God did them no wrong, and that others might hear and fear. Come, and see what it was that did all this mischief, that brake their power, and laid their honour in the dust; it was sin; that, and nothing else, separated between them and God; this is here very movingly laid open as the cause of all the desolations of Israel. He here shows, I. What God had done for Israel, to engage them to serve him. 1. He gave them their liberty; (v. 7,) he brought them from under the hand of Pharaoh who oppressed them, asserted their freedom, (Israel is my son,) and effected their freedom with a high hand; thus they were bound in duty and gratitude to be his servants, for he had loosed their bonds; nor would he that rescued them out of the hand of the king of Egypt, have contradicted himself so far as to deliver them into the hand of the king of Assyria, as he did, if they had not by their iniquity, betrayed their liberty, and sold themselves. 2. He gave them their law, and was himself their king; they were immediately under a divine regimen; they could not plead ignorance of good and evil, sin and duty, for God had particularly charged them against those very things which here he charges them with, (v. 15,) That they should not do like the heathen. Nor could they be in any doubt concerning their obligation to observe this charge, for they were the commandments and statutes of the Lord their God, (v. 13,) so that no room was left to dispute whether they should keep them or no; he had not dealt so with other nations, Ps. 147. 19, 20, 3. He gave them their land, for

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

17 And they caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire, and used divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.

18 Therefore the LORD was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of his sight: there was none left but the tribe of Judah only.

p Jer. 8. 9.

Deut. 29. 25, 26. r Deut. 6. 17, 18. Jer. 44.23. s Deut. 32. 21. 1 Sam. 12. 21. 1 Kings 16. 13. Jon. 2. 8. Rom. 1. 21. u Deut. 12. 30, 31, Ex. 32. 4, 8. 1 Kings 12. 28. 1 Kings 14. 15, 23. 15, 13. y Jer. 8. 2. z 1 Kings 16. 31. 22. 53. a Lev. 18. 21. c. 18. 3. Ez. 23. 37. b Deut. 18.10. e 1 Kings 21. 20. d 1 Kings 11. 13, 32.

he cast out the heathen from before them, (v. 8,) to make room for them; and the casting out of them for their idolatries, was as fair a warning as could be given to Israel not to do like them. II. What they had done against God, notwithstanding these engagements which he had laid upon them.

1. In general; they sinned against the Lord their God, (v. 7,) they did those things that were not right, (v. 9,) but secretly; so wedded were they to their evil practices, that when they could not do them publicly, could not, for shame, or could not, for fear, they would do them secretly: an instance of their atheism, that they thought what was done in secret, was from under the eye of God himself, and would not be required. Again, they wrought wicked things in such a direct contradiction to the divine law, that it seemed as if it were done on purpose to provoke the Lord to anger, (v. 11,) in contempt of his authority, and defiance of his justice. They rejected God's statutes, and his covenant, (v. 15 ;) would not be bound up either by his command, or the consent they themselves had given to the covenant, but threw off the obligations of both, and therefore God justly rejected them, v. 20. See Hos. 4. 6. They left all the commandments of the Lord their God, (v. 16,) left the way, left the work, which those commandments prescribed them, and directed them in; nay, lastly, they sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord, that is, they wholly addicted themselves to sin, as slaves to the service of those to whom they are sold, and, by their obstinate persisting in sin, so hardened their own hearts, that, at length, it was become morally impossible for them to recover themselves, as one that has sold himself has put his liberty past recall. 2. In particular; though they were guilty (no doubt) of many immoralities, and violated all the commands of the second table, yet nothing is here specified, but their idolatry; that was the sin that did most easily beset them, that was, of all others, most provoking to God, it was the spiritual adultery that broke the marriage covenant, and was the inlet of all other wickedness; this is again and again mentioned here as the sin that ruined them. (1.) They feared other gods, (v. 7,) that is, worshipped them, and paid their homage to them, as if they feared their displeasure. (2.) They walked in the statutes of the heathen, which were contrary to God's statutes, (v. 8;) did as did the heathen, (v. 11;) went after the heathen that were round about them, (v. 15;) so prostituting the honour of their peculiarity, and defeating God's design concerning them, which was, that they should be distinguished from the heathen. Must they that were taught of God, go to school to the heathen? They that were appropriated to God, take their measures from the nations that were abandoned by him? (3.) They walked in the statutes of the idolatrous kings of Israel, (v. 8,) in all the sins of Jeroboam, v. 22. When their kings assumed a power to alter, and add to, the divine institutions, they submitted to them, and thought the command of their kings would bear them out, in disobedience to the command of their God. (4.) They built them high places in all their cities, (v. 9,) if it were but the tower of the watchmen, a country town, that had no walls, but only a tower to shelter the watch in time of danger, or but a lodge for shepherds, it must be honoured with a high place, and that with an altar; if it were a fenced city, it must be further fortified with a high place; having forsaken God's holy place, they knew no end of high places, in which every man followed his own fancy, and directed his devotion to what god he pleased: sacred things were hereby profaned and laid common, when their altars were as heaps in the furrows of the field, Hos. 12. 11. (5.) They set them up images and groves, Asherim, even wooden images, so some think that should be rendered, which we translate groves; or Ashtaroth, so others, (v. 10,) directly contrary to the second

19 Also Judah kept not the commandments of | placed in the cities of Samaria, know not the manthe LORD their God, but walked in the statutes of ner of the God of the land: therefore he hath sent Israel which they made. lions among them, and, behold, they slay them, because they know not the manner of the God of the land.

20 And the LORD rejected fall the seed of Israel, and afflicted them, and delivered them into the hand of spoilers, until he had cast them out of his sight.

21 For he rent Israel from the house of David; and they made Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, king: and Jeroboam drave Israel from following the LORD, and made them sin a great sin.

27 Then the king of Assyria commanded, saying, Carry thither one of the priests whom ye brought from thence, and let them go and dwell there, and let him teach them the manner of the God of the land.

22 For the children of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam which he did; they departed not from them;

28 Then one of the priests, whom they had carried away from Samaria, came and dwelt in Bethel, and taught them how they should fear the LORD. 29 Howbeit every nation made gods of their own, and put them in the houses of the high places which the Samaritans had made, every nation in their cities wherein they dwelt.

23 Until the LORD removed Israel out of his sight, as he had said by all his servants the prophets. So 'was Israel carried away out of their own land to Assyria unto this day.

30 And the men of Babylon made Succothbenoth, and the men of Cuth made Nergal, and the men of Hamath made Ashima,

24 And the king of Assyria brought men from Babylon," and from Cuthah, and from Ava," and from Hamath, and from Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria, instead of the children of Israel and they possessed Samaria, and dwelt in the cities thereof.

31 And the Avites made Nibhaz and Tartak, and the Sepharvites burnt their children in fire to Adrammelech and Anammelech the gods of Sepharvaim.

25 And so it was, at the beginning of their dwelling there, that they feared not the LORD; therefore the LORD Sent Plions among them, which slew some of them.

26 Wherefore they spake to the king of Assyria, saying, The nations which thou hast removed, and

⚫ Jer. 3. 8. f Jer. 6. 30. gc. 13. 3. 15. 29. Neh. 9. 27, 28. A1 Kings 11. 11. i1 Kings 12. 20, 28. * 1 Kings 14. 16. I ver. 6. m Ezra 4. 2, 10. ver. 30. o c. 18. 34, Ivar.

commandment. They served idols, (v. 12,) the works of their own hands, and creatures of their own fancy, though God had warned them particularly not to do this thing. (6.) They burned incense in all the high places, to the honour of strange gods, for it was to the dishonour of the true God, v. 11. (7.) They followed vanity; idols are called so, because they could do neither good nor evil, but were the most insignificant things that could be; they that worshipped them, were like unto them, and so they became vain and good for nothing, (v. 16;) vain in their devotions, which were brutish and ridiculous, and so became vain in their whole conversation. (8.) Beside the molten images, even the two calves, they worshipped all the host of heaven, the sun, moon, and stars, for it is not meant of the heavenly host of angels, they could not rise so far above sensible things as to think of them; and withal, they served Baal, the deified heroes of the Gentiles, v. 16. (9.) They caused their children to pass through the fire, in token of their dedicating of them to their idols; and lastly, they used divinations and enchantments, that they might receive directions from the gods to whom they paid their devotions.

III. What means God used with them, to bring them off from their idolatries, and to how little purpose; he testified against them, showed them their sins, and warned them of the fatal consequences of them by all the prophets, and all the seers, (for so the prophets had been formerly called,) and had pressed them to turn from their evil ways, v. 13. We have read of prophets, more or less, in every reign; though they had forsaken God's family of priests, he did not leave them without a succession of prophets, who made it their business to teach them the good knowledge of the Lord, but all in vain, (v. 14;) they would not hear, but hardened their necks, persisted in their idolatries, and were like their fathers, that would not bow their necks to God's yoke, because they did not believe in him, did not receive his truths, nor would venture upon his promises: it seems to refer to their fathers in the wilderness; the same sin that kept them out of Canaan, turned these out, and that was, unbelief.

IV. How God punished them for their sins; he was very angry with them, (v. 18;) for, in the matter of his worship, he is a jealous God, and resents nothing more deeply than giving that honour to any creature, which is due to him only. He afflicted them, (v. 20,) and delivered them into the hands of spoilers, in the days of the judges and of Saul, and afterward, in the days of most of their kings, to see if they would be awakened by the judgments of God to consider and amend their ways; but when all these corrections did not prevail to drive out the folly, God first rent Israel from the house of David, under which they might have been happy. As Judah was hereby weakened, so Israel was hereby corrupted; for they made king a man who drove them from following the Lord, and made them sin a great sin, This was a national judgment, and the punishment of their former idolatries; and, at length, he removed them quite out of his sight, (v. 18, 23,) without giving them any hopes of a return out of their captivity.

v. 21.

Lastly, Here is a complaint against Judah in the midst of all; (v. 19,) Also Judah kept not the commandments of God; though they were not as yet quite so bad as Israel, yet they walked in the statutes of Israel; and this aggravated the sin of Israel, that they communicated the infection of it to Judah; see Ez. 23.

32 So they feared the LORD," and made unto themselves of the lowest of them priests of the high places, which sacrificed for them in the houses of the high places.

33 They feared the LORD, and served their own gods, after the manner of the nations whom they carried away from thence.

p 1 Kings 13. 26. Jer. 5. 6. Ez. 14. 21. q Mic. 4. 5. Tver. 24. Ezra 4. 9. Deut. 12. 31. u 1 Kings 12. 31. ver. 41. Zeph. 1. 5. or, who carried them away from thence.

11. Those that bring sin into a country or family, bring a plague into it, and will have to answer for all the mischief that follows.

V. 24-41. Never was land lost, (we say,) for want of an heir. When the children of Israel were dispossessed, and turned out of Canaan, the king of Assyria soon transplanted thither the supernumeraries of his own country, such as it could well spare, who should be servants to him, and masters to the Israelites that remained; and here we have an account of these new inhabitants, whose story is related here, that we may take our leave of Samaria, as also of the Israelites that were carried captive into Assyria.

I. Concerning the Assyrians that were brought into the land of Israel, we are here told,

1. That they possessed Samaria, and dwelt in the cities thereof, v. 24. It is common for lands to change their owners, but sad that the holy land should become a heathen land again; see what work sin makes.

2. That at their first coming God sent lions among them. They were probably insufficient to people the country, which occasioned the beasts of the field to multiply against them, (Ex. 23. 29;) yet, beside the natural cause, there was a manifest hand of God in it, who is Lord of hosts, of all the creatures, and can serve his own purposes by which he pleases, small or great, lice or lions. God ordered them this rough welcome, to check their pride and insolence, and to let them know that though they had conquered Israel, the God of Israel had power enough to deal with them, that he could have prevented their settling here, by ordering lions into the service of Israel, and that he permitted it, not for their righteousness, but the wickedness of his own people, and that they were now under his visitation: they had lived without God in their own land, and were not plagued with lions; but if they do so in this land, it is at their peril.

3. That they sent a remonstrance of this grievance to the king their master, setting forth, it is likely, the loss their infant colony had sustained by the lions, and the continual fear they were in of them, that they looked upon it to be a judgment upon them for not worshipping the God of the land, which they could not, because they knew not how, v. 26. The God of Israel was the God of the whole world, but they ignorantly call him the God of the land, apprehending themselves therefore within his reach, and concerned to be upon good terms with him; herein they shamed the Israelites, who were not so ready to hear the voice of God's judgments as they were, and who had not served the God of that land, though he was the God of their fathers, and their great Benefactor, and though they were well instructed in the manner of his worship. Assyrians beg to be taught that which Israelites hated to be taught.

4. That the king of Assyria took care to have them taught the manner of the God of the land, (v. 27, 28,) not out of any affection to that God, but to save his subjects from the lions. On this errand he sent back one of the priests whom he had carried away captive: a prophet would have done them more good, for this was but one of the priests of the calves, and therefore chose to dwell at Bethel for old acquaintance' sake, and though he might teach them to do better than they did, he was not likely to teach them to do well, unless he had taught his own people better; however, he came and dwelt among

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