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19 Then Uzziah was wroth, and had a censer

CHAPTER XXVII. in his hand to burn incense; and while rhe was

Here is a very short account of the reign of Jotham, a pious prosperous prioce, wroth with the priests, the leprosy even rose up in

whom one would wish to have known more of, but we may better dispose ith

the brevity of his story, because that which lengthened the history of the bree his forehead before the priests in the house of the last kings, was, their degeneracy in their Intter end, which we have tada laittial Lord, from beside the incense altar.

account of; but there was no occasion for such a melancholy cousunica of the

history of his reign, which is only an account, I. Of the date aort continance 20 And Azariah the chief priest, and all the of his reign, v.1, 8. 11. The general good character of it, v. 2, 6. 111. The

prosperity of it, . 3.-5. IV. The period of it, v. 7, 9. priests, looked upon him, and, behold, he was leprous in his forehead, and they thrust himout from thence; JOTHAM "was twenty and five years old when Lord had smitten him.

in Jerusalem. His mother's name also was Jeru21 And Uzziah the king was a leper unto the shah, the daughter of Zadok. day of his death, and dwelt in a several* house, u 2 And he did that which was right in the sight being a leper; for he was cut off from the house of the Lord, according to all that his father Uzziah of the Lord; and Jotham his son was over the did : howbeit he entered not into the temple of the king's house, judging the people of the land. Lord. And the people did yet corruptly.

22 Now the rest of the acts of Uzziah, first and 3 He built the high gate of the house of the last, did Isaiah 'the prophet, the son of Amoz, write. Lord, and on the wall of Ophel he built much.

23 So «Uzziah slept with his fathers, and they 4 Moreover, he built cities in the mountains of buried him with his fathers in the field of the burial Judab, and in the forests he built castles and towers. which belonged to the kings; for they said, He 5 He fought also with the king of the Ammonis a leper: and Jotham his son reigned in his ites, and prevailed against them. And the children stead.

of Ammon gave him the same year an hundred Num. 12. 10. 2 Kings 5. 27. ? c. 25. 16. 8 Esth, 6. 12. 1 2 Kings 15. 5.

te la. 6. 1.

a 2 Kings 15. 32, &c. or, the lower, c. 33. 14. Nel. free. Lev, 13. 46. Num. 5. 2. 12. 15. 2 Kiogs 7.3.

3. 26, 27. 4. He fell into a passion with the priests that reproved him, Miriam's case, is compared to her father's spitting in her face, and would push forward to do what he intended notwithstanding; Num. 12. 14. (5.) He invaded the dignity of the priesthood (v. 19,) Uzziah was wroth, and would not part with the censer

which he had no right to, and is for that deprived even of his out of his hand: he took it ill to be checked, and would not bear royal dignity which he had a righi to. They that covet forbidit. Nitimur in vetitum-We are prone to do what is forbidden. den honours, forfeit allowed ones. Adam, hy catching at the

II. His punishment was, an incurable leprosy, which rose tree of knowledge which he might not eat of, debarred himself up in his forehead while he was contending with the priests. If from the tree of life which he might have eaten of. Let all that he bad submitted to the priests' adınonition, acknowledged his read it say, The Lord is righteous. error, and gone back, all had been well; but when he was wroth with the priests, and fell foul upon them, then God was wroth with

NOTES TO CHAPTER XXVII. him, and smote him with a plague of leprosy. Josephus says that V. 1-9. There is not much more related here concerning he threatened the priests with death if they opposed him, and Jotham, than we had before, 2 Kings 15. 32, &c. that then the carth shook, the roof of the temple opened, and 1. That he reigned well: he did that which was right in the through the cleft a beam of the sun darted directly upon the sight of the Lord; the course of his reign was good, and pleasking's face, wherein immediately the leprosy appeared. And ing to God, whose favour he made his end, and his word his rule, some conjecture, that that was the earthquake in the days of and (which shows that he acted from a good principle) he preUzziah, which we read of Am. 1. 1. and Zech, 14. 5.

pared his ways before the Lord his God, (v. 6;) that is, He Now this sudden stroke,

walked circumspectly and with much caution, contrived how to 1. Ended the controversy between him and the priests; for shun that which was evil, and compass that which was good; when the leprosy appeared, they were imboldened to thrust him he looked before him, and cast his affairs into such a posture out of the temple; nay, he himself hasted to go oul, because the and method as made the regular management of them the more Lord had smilien him with a disease which was, in a particular easy. Or, he established or fixed his ways before the Lord, manner, a token of his displeasure, and which he knew seclud- that is, he walked steadily and constantly in the way of his ed him from common converse with men, much more from the duty, was uniform and resolute in it; not like some of those that altar of God. He would not be convinced by what the priests went before him, who, though they had some good in them, lost said, but God took an effectual course to convince him. If pre- their credit by their inconstancy, and inconsistency with themsumptuous men will not be made to see their error by the judg- selves. They had run well, but something hindered them. It ments of God's mouth, they shall be made to see it by the judg- was not so with Jotham. ments of his hand. Il evidenced some religious fear of God in Two things are observed here in his character : the heart of this king, even in the midst of his transgression, (1.) What was amiss in bis father he amended in himself, that, as soon as he found God was angry with him, he not only v.2. He did according to all that his father did well and wisely; let fall his attempt, but retired with the utmost precipitation. howbeit, he would not imitate him in what he did amiss ; for he Though he strove with the priests, he would not strive with his entered not into the temple of the Lord to burn incense as his Maker.

father did; but took warning by his fate not to dare so presump2. It remained a lasting punishment of his transgression ; for tuous a thing. Note, We must not imitate the best men, and he continued a leper to the day of his death, shut up in confine- those we have the greatest veneration for, any further than they ment, and shut out from society, and forced to leave it to his did well; but, on the contrary, their falls, and the injurious conson to manage all his business, v. 21. Thus God gave an in- sequences, must be warnings to us to walk the more circumstance of his resisting the proud, and of his jealousy for the purity spectly, that we stumble not at the same stone that they slumand honour of his own institutions: thus he gave fair warning bled at. even to great and good men to know and keep their distance, (2.) What was amiss in his people he could not prevail to and not to intrude into those things which they have not seen : amend. The people did yet corruptly. Perhaps it reflects thus he gave Uzziah a loud and constant call to repentance, and some blame upon him, that he was wanting in his part toward a long space to repent, which we have reason to hope he made the reformation of the land. Men may be very good themselves, a good improvement of. He had been a man of much business and yet not have courage and zeal to do what they might do in the world, but being taken off from that, and confined to a toward the reforming of others. However, it certainly reflects several house, he had leisure to think of another world, and pre a great deal of blame upon the people, that they did not do pare for it. By this judgment upon the king, God intended to what they might have done to improve the advantages of so possess the people with a great veneration for the temple, the good a reign: they had good instructions given them, and a priesthood, and other sacred things, which they had been apt good example set before them, but they would not be reformed; to think meanly of. While the king was a leper, he was as good so that even in the reign of their good kings, as well as the bad as dead, dead while he lived, and buried alive ; and so the law ones, they were treasuring up wrath against the day of wrath; was, in effect, answered, that the stranger which cometh nigh for they still did corruptly, and the Founder melted in vain. shall be put to death. The disgrace survived him ; for when he 2. That he prospered, and became truly reputable. was dead, they would not bury him in the sepulchres of the kings, (1.) He built. He began with the gate of the house of the because he was a leper, which stained all his other glory. Loril, which he repaired, beautified, and raised. He then

was a punishment that answ the sin, as face does to fortified the wall of Ophel, and built cities in the mountains of face in a glass. (1.) Pride was at the bottom of his transgres-Judah, (v. 3, 4;) inok all possible care for the fortifying of his sion, and thus God humbled him, and put dishonour upon him. country and the replenishing of it. (2.) He invaded the office of the priests in contempt of them, (2.) He conquered. He prevailed against the Ammonites, and God struck him with a disease, which in a particular man who had invaded Judah in Jehosha phat's time. (ch. 20. 1,) ner made him subject to the inspection and sentence of the triumphed over them, and exacted great contributions from priests ; for to them pertained the judgment of the leprosy, Deut. them, v. 5. 24. 8. (3.) He thrust himself into the temple of God, whither (3.) He became mighty (v. 6) in wealth and power, and the priests only had admission, and for that was thrust out of infuence upon the neighbouring nations, who courted his friendthe very courts of the temple, into which the meanest of his sub- ship, and feared his displeasure ; and this he got by preparing jects that was ceremonially clean, had free access. (4.) He his ways before the Lord his God. The more steadlast we are confronted the priests that faced him and opposed his presump- in religion, the more mighty we are both for the resistance of tion, and for that the leprosy rose in his forehead, which, in that which is evil, and for the performance of that which is good.

A a

cc. 19. 3. & 2 Kings 16. 2, &c. b Ex.

S the second

i c. 11. 4.

&c. Zech. 1. 15.

I Gen. 4. 10. Ezra 9. 6. Rev. 18. 5.

talents of silver, and ten thousand measures of 4 He sacrificed also, and burnt incense in the wheat, and ten thousand of barley. So much did high places, and on the hills, and under every green the children of Ammon pay unto him, both the se tree. cond year and the third.

5 Wherefore the Lord his God delivered him 6 So Jotham became mighty, "because he pre- into the hand of the king of Syria; and they smote pared his ways before the Lord his God.

him, and carried away a great multitude of them 7 Now the rest of the acts of Jotham, and all captives, and brought theni to Damascus. And his wars, and his ways, lo, they are written in the he was also delivered into the hand of the king of book of the kings of Israel and Judah.

Israel, who smote him with a great slaughter, 8 He was five and twenty years old when he 6 For Pekah ethe son of Reinaliah slew in Judah began to reign, and reigned sixteen years in Jeru- an hundred and twenty thousand in one day, which salem.

were all valiant men; because they had forsaken 9 And Jotham slept with his fathers, and they the LORD God of their fathers. buried him in the city of David : and Ahaz his son 7 And Zichri, a mighty man of Ephraim, slew reigned in his stead.

Maaseiah the king's son, and Azrikam the governor

of the house, and Elkanah that was next to the CHAPTER XXVIII.

king. This chapter in the history of the reign of Ahaz the son of Jotham ; a bad reign it

8 And the children of Israel carried away capwas, and which helped to augment the fierce anger of the Lord. 'We have bere, tive of their brethren itwo hundred thousand, wo1.5-5. 111. The reproof which God sent by a prophet to the army of Israel for men, sons, and daughters, and took also away much reprool, 8. 9-15. IV. The many calamities that followed after som har mit spoil from them, and brought the spoil to Samaria. his people, v. 18-21. V. The continuance of his idulatry notwithstanding, 9 But a prophet of the Lord was there, whose v. 2-95 ; and so his story ends, v. 26, 27.

name was Oded ; and he went out before the host HAZ aras twenty years old when he began that came to Samaria, and said unto them, Behold, rusalem: but he did not that which was right in the with Judah, he hath delivered them into your hand, sight of the Lord, like David his father :

and ye khave slain them in a rage that reacheth 'up 2 For he walked in the ways of the kings of Is- unto heaven. rael, and made also “molten images for Baalim. 10 And now ye purpose to keep under the chil

3 Moreover, he *burnt incense in the valley dof dren of Judah and Jerusalem for bondmen mand the son of Hinnom, and burnt his children in the bondwomen unto you: but are there not with fire, after the abominations of the heathen, whom you, even "with you, sins against the Lord your the Lord had cast out before the children of Israel. God? • Thie. b c. 25. 5. for, establishs !.

h heut. 31. 16, 17. Joch. 24. 2.. Is. 1. 28. Jer. 15.6. 34. 17. Lev. 19. 4. c judg. 2. 11. Hos 2. 13, 17, or, fered sacrifice. Ps. 69. 25. 18. 10.5–7. 47. 6. Jer. 50, 17, 18 Ez, 25, 12-17. 25. 2, 3. Ob. 10, d 2 Kings 33. 10. e Lev. 18. 21. c. 33. 6. Ps. 106. 37. Jer. 32. 33. Ez, 15, 21, 21,

m Lev. 25. 39, &c. Mic. 6. 7. Is. 7. 1. | Darmerek. & 2 Kings 15. 27. son of rulour. n Jer. 25. 29. Mart. 7. 2-4.

3. That he finished his course too soon, but finished it with V. 6-15. We have here, honour; he had the unhappiness to die in the midst of his days; I. Treacherous Judah under the rebukes of God's providence, but, to balance that, the happiness not to outlive his reputation, and they are very severe. Never was such bloody work made as his three last predecessors did. He died when he was but among them, since they were a kingdom, and by Israelites too. forty-one years of age, (v. 8,) but his wars and his ways, his Ahaz walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, and the king wars abroad and his ways at home, were so glorious, that they of Israel was the instrument God made use of for his punishwere recorded in the book of the kings of Israel, as well as of ment. It is just with God to make those our plagues, whom we the kings of Judah,v.7. The last words of the chapter convey make our patterns, or make ourselves partners with in sin. A the painful intelligence, that Ahaz his son reigned in his stead, war broke out between Judah and Israel, in which Judah was whose character, in all respects, was the reverse of his. When worsted. For, 1. There was a great slaughter of men in the the wealth and power which wise men have done good with, field of battle : vast numbers ; 120,000 men, and valiant men too devolve upon fools, that will do hurt with them, it is a lamenta at other times, were slain, (v. 6,) and some of the first rank; tion, and shall be for a lamentation.

the king's son for one.

He had sacrificed some of his sons to

Moloch, justly therefore is this sacrificed to the divine venNOTES TO CHAPTER XXVIII.

geance. Here is another that was next the king, his friend, the V.1-5. Nover surely had a man greater opportunity of prime minister of state, or perhaps next him in the battle, so doing well than Ahaz had, finding things in a good posture, the ihat the king himself had narrow escape, v. 7. The kingdom kingdom rich and strong, and religion established; and yet here of Israel was not strong at this time, and yet strong enough in we have him in these few verses,

bring this great destruction npon Judah. But certainly so many 1. Wretchedly corrupted and debauched. He had had a good men, great men, stout men, could not have been cut off in one education given him, and a good example set him; but parents day, if they had not been strangely dispirited, both by the concannot give grace to their children; all the instructions he had, sciousness of their own guilt, and by the righteous hand of God were lost upon him, he did not that which was right in the sight upon them. Even valiant men were numbered as sheep for the of the Lord, (v. 1;) nay, he did a great deal that was wrong, a slaughter, and became an easy prey to the enemy, because they wrong to God, to his own soul, and to his people; he walked in hard forsaken the Lord God of their fathers, and he had therethe way of the revolted Israelites, and the devoted Canaanites, fore forsaken them. 2. There was a great captivity of women made molten images, and worshipped them, contrary to the anıl children, v. 8. When the army in the field was rouled, the second commandment; nay he made them for Baalim, con cities, and towns, and country villages, were all easily stripped, trary to the first commandment. He forsook the temple of the the inhabitants taken for slaves, and their wealth for a prey. Lord, and sacrificed and burned incense on the hills, as if those II. Even victorious Israel under the rebukes of God's word, would place him nearer heaven; and under every green tree, as for the bad principle they had gone upon in making war with if those would signify the protection and influence of heaven by Judah, and the bad use they made of their success; and the their shade and dropping. To complete his wickedness, as one good effect of this rebuke. Here is, perfectly divested of all natural affection as well as religion, and 1. The message which God sent them by a prophet, who perfectly devoted to the service and interest of the great enemy of went out to meet them, not to applaud their valour, or conmankind, he burned his children in the fire to Moloch, (v. 3,) not gratulate them on their victory, though they returned laden with thinking it enough to dedicate them to that infernal fiend by spoils and triumphs, but in God's name to tell them of their causing them to pass through the fire. See what an absolute faults, and warn them of the judgments of God. sway the prince of the power of the air bears among the chil (1.) He tells them how they came by this victory of which dren of disobedience.

they were so proud ; it was not because God favoured them, or 2. Wretchedly spoiled and made a prey of. When he forsook that they had merited it at his hand, but because he was wroth God, and, at a vast expense, put himself under the protection of with Jurlah, and made them the rod of his indignation. Not false gods, God, who, of right, was his God, delivered him into for your righteousness, be it known to you, but for their wickedthe hands of his enemies, v. 5. (1.) The Syrians insulted him, ness, (Deut. 9. 5,) they are broken off"; therefore be not ye highand triumphed over him, beat him in the field, and carried minded, but fear, lest God also spare not you, Rom. 11. 20, 21. away a great many of his people into captivity. (2.) The king (2.) He charges them with the abuse of the power God had of Israel, though an idolater too, was made a scourge to him, given them over their brethren. They understand not what and smote him with a great slaughter. The people suffered by victory is, who think it gives them authority to do what they these judgments, their blood was shed, their country wasted, will, and that the longest sword is the clearest claim to lives their families ruined; for when they had a good king, though and estates; (Jusque datum sceleri-Might is right ;) no, as it they did corruptly, (ch. 27. 2,) yet then his goodness sheltered is impolitic not to use a victory, so it is impious to abuse it. him; but now that they had a bad one, all their defence was The conquerors are here reproved, [1.] For the cruelty of the departed from them, and an inundation of judgments broke in slaughter they had made in the field. They had indeed shed upon them. They that knew not their happiness in the fore- the blood of war, in war; we suppose that 10 be lawful, but it going reign, were taught to value it by the miseries of this reign. I turned into sin to them, because they did it from a bad principle

6 ls. 1. 28. Hos. 13. 9.

22. Luke 8. 27, 35. » Ob. 10.13, 14.

.

11 Now hear me, therefore, and deliver the cap 18 The Philistines "also had invaded the cities of tives again, which ye have taken captive of your the low country, and of the south of Judah, and had brethren: for Pthe fierce wrath of the Lord is upon taken Beth-shemesh, and Ajalon, and Gederoth, and you.

Shocho with the villages thereof, and Timnah with 12 Then certain of the heads of the children the villages thereof, Gimzo alsó and the villages of Ephraim, Azariah the son of Johanan, Berechiah thereof: and they dwelt there. the son of Meshillemoth, and Jehizkiah the son of 19 For the Lord had brought Judah low, beShallum, and Amasa the son of Hadlai, stood up cause of Ahaz king of Israel: for he made Judah against ihem that came from the war,

naked, and transgressed sore against the LORD. 13 And said unto them, Ye shall not bring in the 20 And Tilgath-pilneser 'king of Assyria came unto captives hither: for whereas we have offended him, and distressed him, but strengthened him not. against the Lord already, ye intend to add more to 21 For Abaz took away a portion out of the our sins and to our trespass ; for our trespass is house of the Lord, and out of the house of the king, great, and there is fierce wrath against Israel. and of the princes, and gave it unto the king of

14 So the armed men left the captives and the Assyria : but he helped him not. spoil before the princes and all the congregation. 22 And in the time of his distress did he tres

15 And the men which were expressed by name pass yet more against the LORD: this is that king srose up, and took the captives, and with the spoil Ahaz. clothed all that were naked among them, and ar 23 For he sacrificed unto the gods of Damasrayed them, and shod them, and gave them to eat cus, which smote him, and he said, Because the rand to drink, and anointed them, and carried all gods of the kings of Syria help them, therefore the feeble of them upon asses, and brought them will I sacrifice to them, that they may help me. to Jericho the city of palm-trees, to their brethren: But they were the ruin bof him, and of all Israel. then they returned to Samaria.

24 And Ahaz gathered together the vessels of 16 At that time did king Ahaz send unto the the house of God, and cut in pieces the vessels of kings of Assyria to help him.

the house of God, and shut up the doors of the 17 For again the Edomites had come and smit- house of the Lord, and he made him altars in every ten Judah, and carried away captives.*

corner of Jerusalem. 1a, 58. 6. Jer. 34. 14. p Jam. 2. 13. q ver. 12. r 2 Kings 6. 22. Prov. 25. 21, w Ez. 16. 27, 57. z Ps. 106. 13. Ex. 32. 25. Rev. 3. n, 18. 16.15. z 2 Kings

• Rom. 15. 1. Deut. 34. 3. Judg. 1. 16.42 Kings 16.7. 15. 29. 16. 7-9. Darmesek. Jer. 10.5. 44.17—28.
a captivity.

ce. 29. 3, 7. of enmity to their brethren, and after a bad manner, with a calls of God by so many prophets, to root idolatry out of their barbarous fury, a rage reaching up to heaven, that is, that cries kingdom, which, soon after this, was the ruin of it. to God for vengeance against such bloody men, that delighted V.16--27. Here is, in military execution. They that serve God's justice, if they I. The great distress which the kingdom of Ahaz was reduced do it with rage and a spirit of revenge, make themselves ob to for his sin. In general, 1. The Lord brought Judah low, o. 19. noxious to it, and forfeit the honour of acting for him: for the They had lately been very high in wealth and power ; but God wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. [2.) For found means to take them down, and make them as despicable the imperious treatment they gave their prisoners. "Ye now as they had been formidable. They that will not humble thempurpose to keep them under, to use them or sell them as slaves, selves under the word of God, will justly be humbled by his though they are your brethren and free-born Israelites.” God judgments. Iniquity brings men low, Ps. 106. 43. 2. Abaz takes notice of what men purpose, as well as of what they say made Judah naked. As his sin debased them, so it exposed and do.

them. It made them naked to their shame; for it exposed them (3.) He reminds them of their own sins, by which they also to contempt as a man unclothed. It made them naked to their were obnoxious to the wrath of God. Are there not with you, danger; for it exposed them to assaults, as a man unarmed, even with you, sins against the Lord your God? He appeals to Ex. 32. 25. Sin strips men. In particular, the Edomites, to their own consciences, and to the notorious evidence of the be revenged for Amaziah's cruel treatment of them, (ch. 25. 12,) thing. “Though you are now made the instruments of cor smote Judah, and carried off many captives, v. 17. The Philisrecting Judah for sin, yet do not think that you are therefore tines also insulted them, took and kept possession of several innocent yourselves; no, you also are guilty before God." cities villages that lay near them, (v. 18,) and so they were This is intended as a check, (1.) To their triumph in their revenged for the incursions which Uzziah had made upon them, success; “You are sinners, and it ill becomes sinners to be ch. 26.6. And, to show that it was purely the sin of Ahaz that proud; you have carried the day now, but be not secure, the brought the Philistines upon his country, in the very year that wbeel may ere long return upon yourselves, for if judgment he died, the prophet Isaiah foretold the destruction of the Phibegin thus with those that have the house of God among them, listines by his son, Is. 14. 28, 29. what shall be the end of such as worship the calves ?(2.) To II. The addition which Ahaz made both to the national distheir severity toward their brethren; “'You have now got them tress and the national guilt. under, but you ought to show mercy to them, for you yourselves 1. He added to the distress, by making court to strange kings, are undone if you do not find mercy with God. It ill becomes in hopes they would relieve him. When the Edomites and sinners to be cruel. You have transgressions enough to answer Philistines were vexatious to him, he sent to the kings of Assyfor already, and need not add this to the rest."

ria to help him, (v. 16,) for he found his own kingdom weakened (4.) He commands them to release the prisoners, and to send and made naked, and he could not put any confidence in God, them home again carefully; (v. 11,) for, "You having sinned, and therefore was at a vast expense to get an interest in the the fierce wrath of God is upon you, and there is no other way of king of Assyria. He pillaged the house of God, and the king's escaping it than by showing mercy.'

house, and squeezed the princes for money to hire these foreign 2. The resolution of the princes, thereupon, not to detain the forces into his service, v. 21. Though he had conformed 10 the prisoners. They stood up against them that came from the war, idolatry of the heathen nations, his neighbours, they did not ihough flushed with victory, and told them plainly, that they value him for that, nor love him the better, nor did his complishould not bring their captives into Samaria, v. 12, 13. They ance, by which he lost God, gain them, nor could he make any had sin enough already to answer for, and would have nothing interest in them but with his money. It is often found that done to add to their trespass. In this they discovered an wicked men themselves have no real affection for those that reobedient regard to the word of God by his prophet, and a volt to them, nor do they care to do them a kindness. A de. tender compassion toward their brethren, which was wrought generate branch is looked upon, on all sides, as an abominable in them by the tender mercy of God; for he regarded ihe branch, Is. 14.19. But what did Ahaz get by the king of Assyaffliction of this poor people, and heard their cry, and made ria? Why, he came to him, but he distressed him, and strength. them to be pitied of a! those that carried them captive, Ps.ened him not, (v. 20,) helped him not, v. 21. The forces of the 106. 44, 46.

Assyrian quartered upon his country, and so impoverished and 3. The compliance of the soldiers with the resolution of the weakened it; they grew insolent and imperious, and created him princes in this matter, and the dismission of the captives there a great deal of vexation, like a broken reed, which not only fails, upon. (1.) The armed men, though, being armed, they might by but pierces the hand. force have maintained their title to what they got by the sword, 2. He added to the guilt, by making court to strange gods, in acquiesced, and left their captives and the spoil to the disposal of hopes they would relieve him. In his distress, instead of rethe princes, (v. 14,) and herein they showed a more true heroic penting of his idolatry, which he had reason enough to see the bravery than they did in taking ther. It is a great honour for folly of, he trespassed yet more, (v. 22,) was more mad than ever any man to yield to the authority of reason and religion against upon his idols; a brand of infamy is here set upon him for it. bis interest. (2.) The princes very generously sent home the This is that king Ahaz, that wretched man, who was the scanpoor captives, well accommodated, v. 15. Those that hope to dal of the house of David, and the curse and plague of his gefind mercy with God, must learn hence with what tenderness to neration. Note, Those are wicked and vile indeed, that are carry themselves toward those that lie at their mercy. It is made worse by their afflictions, instead of being made better by strange that these princes, who, in this instance, discovered them ; who, in their distress, trespass yet more, have their cor, such a deference to the word of God, and such an influence ruptions exasperated by that which should mollify them, and upon the people, had not so much grace, as, in obedience to the their hearts more fully set in them to do evil. Let us see what

25 And in every dseveral city of Judah he made month, opened the doors of the house of the LORD, high places to *burn incense unto other gods, and and repaired them, provoked to anger the Lord God of his fathers. 4 And he brought in the priests and the Levites,

26 Now the rest of his acts, and of all his ways, and gathered them together into the east street, first and last, behold, they are written in the book 5 And said unto them, Hear me, ye Levites : of the kings of Judah and Israel.

Sanctify now yourselves, and sanctify the house of 27 And Ahaz slept with his fathers, and they the Lord God of your fathers, and carry forth the buried him in the city, even in Jerusalem; but they filthiness out of the holy fplace. brought him not into the sepulchres of the kings of 6 For four fathers have trespassed, and done Israel: and Hezekiah his son reigned in his stead. that which was evil in the eyes of the Lord our

God, and have forsaken him, and "have turned away CHAPTER XXIX.

their faces from the habitation of the LORD, and We are here entering upon a pleasant scene, the good and glorious reign of Heze turned *their backs. kiah ; in which we shall find more of God and religion, than, perhaps, in any of 7 Also they have shut up the doors of the porch, the good reigns we have set met with, fer he was a very room wie der mange pe pod and put out the lamps, and have not burnt incense mation which he set about with vigour, immediately after bis accession to the nor offered burnt-offerings in the holy place, unto crown. Here is, I. His exhortation to the priests and Levites, when he put thera in possession of the house of God again, v. 1-11. 11. "The care and pains the God of Israel. which the Levites took to cleanse the temple, and put things into order there, 8 Wherefore kthe wrath of the LORD was upon . 12--19. 11. A solemn revival of God's ordinances that had been neglected, in which atonement was made for the sins of the last reign, and the wheels sei Judah and Jerusalem, and he hath delivered them a going again, to the great satisfaction of king and people, v. 20-36.

to trouble, to astonishment, and to hissing,' as ye HEZ

EZEKIAH -began to reign when he was five see with your eyes.

and twenty years old, and he reigned nine and 9 For, lo, our fathers have fallen mby the sword; twenty years in Jerusalem; and his mother's name and our sons, and our daughters, and our wives, was A bijah, the daughter of Zechariah.

are in captivity for this. 2 And he did that which was right in the sight 10 Now it is in mine heart to make a covenant of the LORD, according to all that David his father "with the LORD God of Israel, that his fierce wrath had done.

may turn away from us. 3 He, in the first cyear of his reign, in the first 11 My sons, be not now negligent: for the d Jer, 11. 13.

Ofer.

a 2 Kings 18. 1. *c. b c. 26. 5. c. 101. 3. Gal. l. given the neck. i c. 28. 24. ver. 3. Mal. 1. 10. k c. 24. 18. t commotion, 16. d ver. 7. 1 Chr. 15. 12. c. 35. 6.

Ez. 8. 3, 9, &c. & Neh. 9. 16.

Deut. 29. 25. 1 1 Kings 9. 8. Jer. 18. 15, 16. 25. 9, 18. C. 23. 5, 8, 8%. Lam. A Jer. 2. 27. Ez. 8. 16.

5.7. ne. 15. 12. I or, deceived, his trespass was. (1.) He abused the house of God; for he house of the Lord, v. 3. We are willing to hope his father had cut in pieces the vessels of it, that the priests might not perform not quite suppressed the temple service; for then the holy fire the service of the temple, or not as it should be, for want of on the altar must have gone out, which we do not read of the vessels; and, at length, shut up the doors, that the people might rekindling of ; but he had hindered the people from attending not attend it, v. 24. This was worse than the worst of the kings it, and the priests, except such of them as were of his own before him had done. (2.) He confronted the altar of God, for party, 2 Kings 16. 15. But Hezekiah immediately threw the he made him altars in every corner of Jerusalem ; so that, as the church doors open, and brought in the priests and Leviles. He prop het speaks, they were like heaps in the furrows of the field, found Judah low and naked, yet did not make it his first busiHos. 12. 11. And in the cities of Judah, either by his power, ness to revive the civil interests of his kingdom, but to restore or by his purse, or by both, he erected high places for the people religion to its good posture again. Those that begin with God, to burn incense to what idol they pleased, as if on purpose to begin at the right end of their work, and it will prosper accordprovoke the god of his fathers, v. 25. (3.) He cast off God him- ingly. self; for he sacrificed to the gods of Damascus, (v. 23,) not be IV. His speech to the priests and Levites. It was well cause he loved them, for he thought they smote him; but because known, no doubt, that he had a real kindness for religion, and he feared them, thinking that they helped his enemies, and that was disaffected to the corruptions of the last reign; yet we do if he could bring them into his interest, they would help him. not find the priests and Levites addressing themselves to him Foolish man! It was his own God that smote him, and strength- for the restoration of the temple service, but he calls upon them; ened the Syrians against him, not the gods of Damascus ; had which, I doubt, bespeaks their coldness as much as his zeal he sacrificed to him, and to him only, he would have helped and perhaps, if they had done their part with vigour, things had him. But no marvel that men's affections and devotions are not been brought into so very bad a posture as Hezekiah found misplaced, when they mistake the author of their trouble and them in. their help. And what comes of it? The gods of Syria befriend Hezekiah's exhortation to the Levites is very pathetic. Abaz no more than the kings of Assyria did ; they were the ruin 1. He lays before them the desolations of religion, and the of him, and of all Israel. This sin provoked God to bring deplorable state to which it was brought among them; (v.6,7,) judgments upon them, to cut him off in the midst of his days, Our fathers have trespassed. He said not, my father, because when he was but thirty-six years old, and it debauched the it became him, as a son, to be as tender as might be of his fa. people so, that the reformation of the next reign could not pre- ther's name, and because his father would not have done all this, va il to cure them of their inclination to idolatry, but they re if their fathers had not neglected their duty. Urijah the priest tained that root of bitterness till the captivity of Babylon plucked had joined with Ahaz in setting up an idolatrous altar. He it up

complains, (1.) That the house of God had been deserted; They The chapter concludes with the conclusion of the reign of have forsaken God, and turned their backs upon his habitation, Ahaz, v. 26, 27. For aught that appears, he died impenitent, Note, Those that turn their backs upon God's ordinances, may and therefore died inglorious ; for he was not buried in the se- truly be said to forsake God himself. (2.) That the instituted pulchres of the kings. Justly was he thought unworthy to be worship of God there had been let fall; the lamps were not lightlaid among them, who was so unlike them; to be buried with ed, incense was not burned ; there are still such neglects as these, kings, who had used his kingly power for the destruction of the and they are no less culpable, if the word be not duly read and church, and not for its protection or edification.

opened, for that was signified by the lighting of the lamps, and

if prayers and praises be not duly offered up, for that was sig. NOTES TO CHAPTER XXIX.

nified by the burning of incense. V.1-11. Here is,

2. He shows the sad consequences of the neglect and decay 1. Hezekiah's age when he came to the crown; he was twen- of religion among them, v. 8, 9. This was the cause of all the ty-five yeurs old. Joash, who came to the crown after two bad calamities they had lain under; God had, in anger, delivered reigns, was but seven years old ; Josiah, who came after two them to trouble, to the sword, and to captivity. When we are bad reigns, was but eight; which occasioned the delay of the under the rebukes of God's providence, it is good for us to inreformation. But Hezekiah was come to years, and so applied quire whether we have not neglected God's ordinances, and himself immediately to it.. We may well think with what a whether that be not the controversy he has with us. sorrowful heart he beheld his father's idolatry and profanoness, 3. He declares his own full purpose and resolution to revive how it troubled him to see the doors of the temple shut up, religion, and make it his business to promote it, v. 10. His in though, while his father lived, he durst not open them. His my heart, that is, “I am fully resolved to make a covenunt with soul, no doubt, wept in secret for it, and he vowed, that when the Lord God of Israel," that is, to worship him only, and he should receive the congregation, he would redress theso griev- in that way which he has appointed; for I am sure that, otherances, which made him do it with more readiness and reso-wise, his fierce anger will not turn away from us." This covelution.

pant he would not only make himself, but bring his people into II. His general character. He did that which was right, like the bond of. David, v. 2. Of several of his predecessors it had been said 4. He engages and excites the Levites and priests to do their that they did that which was right, but not like David, not duty on this occasion. This he begins with, (v. 5,) this he with David's integrity and zoal. But here was one that had ends with, (v. 11 ;) calls them Levites, to remind them of their as hearty an affection for the ark and law of God as ever David obligation to God calls them his sons, to remind them of their had.

relation to himself, that he expected that, as a son with the faIII. His speedy application to the great work of restoring re- ther, they should serve with him in the reformation of the land. ligion. The first thing he did, was, to open the doors of the (1.) Ho tells them what was their duty; to sanctify themselves VOL. I.-129

( 1025 )

.

er, offer sacrifice. I Chr. 23. 28.

9 ver. 5.

Lord hath chosen you to stand before him, to serve 18 Then they went in to Hezekiah the king, him, and that you should minister unto him, and and said, We have cleansed all the house of the *burn incense.

Lord, and the altar of burnt-offering, with all the 12 Then the Levites arose, Mahath the son of vessels thereof, and the show-bread table, with ail Amasai, and Joel the son of Azariah, of the sons the vessels thereof. of the Kohathites:', and of the sons of Merari; 19 Moreover, all the vessels which king Ahaz in Kish the son of Abdi, and Azariah the son of Je- his reign did cast away "in his transgression, have halelel: and of the Gershonites; Joah the son of we prepared and sanctified, and, behold, they are Zimmah, and Eden the son of Jvah:

before the altar of the LORD. 13 And of the sons of Elizaphan; Shimri, and 20 Then Hezekiah the king rose early, and Jeiel: and of the sons of Asaph ; Zechariah, and gathered the rulers of the city, and went up to the Matlaniah:

house of the Lord. 14 And of the sons of Heman; Jehiel, and 21 And they brought seven bullocks, and seven Shimei : and of the sons of Jeduthun; Shemaiah, rams, and seven lambs, and seven he-goats, for a and Uzziel.

sin-otlering for the kingdom, and for the sanctuary, 15. And they gathered their brethren, and sanc- and for Judah: and he commanded the priests, the tified themselves, and came, according to the com sons of Aaron, to ofler them on the altar of the mandment of the king, by the words of the LORD, Lord. to cleanse rthe house of the Lord.

22 So they killed the bullocks, and the priests 16 And the priests went into the inner part of received the blood, and sprinklede it on the allar: the house of the LORD to cleanse it, and brought likewise, when they had killed the rams, they sprinout 'all the uncleanness that they found in the tem- kled the blood upon the altar: they killed also the ple of the Lord into the court of the house of the lambs, and they sprinkled the blood upon the altar. Lord. And the Levites took it, to carry it out 23 And they brought forth the he-goats for abroad into the brook Kidron.

the sin-offering before the king and the congrega17 Now they began on the first day of the first tion; and they laid their hands upon them: month to sanctify, and on the eighth day of the 24 And the priests killed them, and they made month came they to the porch of the Lord: so reconciliation with their blood upon the altar, to they sanctified the house of the Lord in eight days; make an atonement for all Israel; for the king comand in the sixteenth day of the first month they manded that the burnt-offering and the sin-offering made an end.

should be made for all Israel. o Num. 3. 6. 7. 18. 2–6.

p Num. 1. 2, &c.

• Matt. 21, 12, 13.11 Kings 6. 3. u c. 28. 24. Les. 4.3, 14. Lev. 8. 14, 1 or, in the business.

&c. Heb. 9. 21. I near. first, by repenting of their neglects, reforming their own hearts Let not men's usefulness, be it ever so eminent, make them and lives, and renewing their covenants with God, to do their forget their place. duly better for the time to come; and then to sanctify the house 3. The expedition with which they did this work, was very of God, as his servants, to make it clean from every thing that remarkable. They began on the first day of the first month, a was disagreeable, either through the disuse or the profanation happy beginning of the new year, and that promised a good of it, and to set it up for the purposes for which it was made. year; thus should every year begin with the reformation of (2.) He stirs them up to it, (v. 11,) " Be not now negligent, or what is amiss, and the purging away, by repentance, of all the remiss, in your duty. Let not this good work be retarded through defilements contracted the foregoing year. In eigbt days they your carelessness." Be not deceived, so the margin. They cleared and cleansed the temple, and in eight days more the that by their negligence in the service of God, think to moek courts of the temple, y. 17. Let those that do good work, learn God, and put a chea: upon him, do but deceive themselves, and to rid work and get it done. Let what is amiss be amended put a damning cheat upon their own souls. Be not secure, so quickly. some, as if there were no urgent call to do it, or no danger in 4. The report they made of it to Hezekiah, was very agree. not doing it. Men's negligence in religion is owing to their able, v. 18, 19.. They gave him an account of what they had carnal security. The consideration he quickens them with, is done, because it was he that set them on work; they boasted their office. God had herein put honour upon them; he has not of their own care and pains, nor did they come to him to be chosen you to stand before him. God expected work from them; paid, but to let him know that all the things that had been prothey were not chosen to be idle, to enjoy the dignity, and leave faned, were now sanctified according to law, and were ready the duty to be done by others, but to serve him, and to minister to be used again whenever he pleased. They knew the good king to him. They must therefore be ashamed of their late remiss-had set his heart upon God's altar, and longed to be attending ness, and now that the doors of the temple were opened again, that, and therefore they insisted most upon the readiness they set about their work with double diligence.

had put that into; that the vessels of the altar were scoured V. 12--19. We have here busy work, good work, and needful and brightened; those which Ahaz, in his transgression, had work, the cleansing of the house of the Lord.

cast away, as vessels in which there was no pleasure, those 1. The persons employed in this work were the priests and they gathered together, sanctified them, and laid them in their Levites, who should have kept it clean, but, not having done place before the altar.' Though the vessels of the sanctuary that, were concerned to make it clean. Several of the Levites may be profaned for a while, God will find a time and way to are hero named ; two of each of the three principal houses, sanctify them. Neither his ordinances, por his people, shall Kohath, Gershon, and Merari, v. 12. And two of each of the be suffered to fail for ever. three families of singers, Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun, v. 13. V. 20—36. The templo being cleansed, we have here an We cannot think these are named merely because they were account of the good use that was immediately made of it. A chief in place, for then surely the high priest, or some of the solemn assembly was called to meet the king at the temple, ibe heads of the courses of the priests, would have been mentioned; very next day, (v. 20;) and very blad, no doubt, all the good but because they were more zealous and active than the rest. people in Jerusalem were, when it was said, Let us go up to When God has work to do, he will raise up leading men to the house of the Lord, Ps. 122. 1. As sou as Hezekiah heard preside in it. And it is not always that the first in place and that the temple was ready for him, he lost no time, but made it rank are most fit for service, or most forward to it. These appear that he was ready for it. He rose early to go up to the Levites not only bestirred themselves, but gathered their bre- house of the Lord, carlier on that day than on other days, to thren, and quickened them to do according to the commandment show that his heari was upon his work there. of the king by the words of the Lord. Observe, They did Now this day's work was to look two ways; according to the king's command, but with an eye to God's I. Atonement must be made for the sins of the last reign. word; the king commanded them what was already their duty They thought it not enough to lament and forsake those sins, but by the word of God, and, in doing it, they regarded God's word they brought a sin-offering. Even our repentance and reformaas a rule to them, and the king's commandment as a spur to lion will not obtain pardon but in and through Christ, who was them.

made sin, that is, a sin-offering, for us. No peace but through 2. The work was cleansing the house of God, (1.) From the his blood, no not for penitents. Observe, common dirt it had contracted while it was shut up, dust and 1. The sin-offering was for the kingdom, the sanctuary, and cobwebs, and the rust of the vessels. (2.) From the idols and for Juilah, (v. 21;) that is, to make atonement for the sins of idolatrous allars that were set up in it, which, though kept ever princes, priests, and people, for they had all corrupted their so neat, were a greater pollution to it than if it had been made way. The law of Moses appointed sacrifices to make atone the commonsewer of the city. The priests were none of ment for the sins of the whole congregation, (Lev. 4. 13, 14. them mentioned as leading men in this work, yet none but they Num. 15. 24, 25,) that the valjonal judgments which their durst go into the inner part of the house, no nol lo cleanse it, national sins deserved, might be turned away; for this, we which they did, and, perhaps, the high priest into the holy of must now have an eye to Christ, the great Propitiation, as well holies, to cleanse that. And though the Levites had the honour as for the remission and salvation of particular persons. to be the leaders in the work, they did not disdain to be servitors 2. The law appointed only one goat for a sin-offering, as oa to the priests according to their office; for what filth the priests the day of atonement, (Lev. 16.15,) and on such extraordinary brought into the court, tho Levites carried to the brook Kidron. occasions as this, Num. 15. 24. But they here offered seven,

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