Page images
PDF
EPUB

A. M. 3246. A. C. 758 ; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 4670. A. C. 741. 1 KINGS viii. TO THE END OF 2 CHRON. Ahaz, in his circumstances, thought proper to overlook ;/ ing that they had helped their respective people; whereas and not only so, but when he heard that Tiglath-Pileser his God, forsooth, had forsaken him, and therefore dewas returned to Damascus, he went thither to pay him served no farther homage. But in the height of all his homage and obeisance, as his vassal and tributary. While impiety and profaneness, he was cut off by a sudden he continued at Damascus, he happened to see an idola- stroke, in the very prime of his age, after he had lived trous altar, of so curious a make and figure in his opinion, six and thirty, and reigned sixteen years; and, being that he ordered a model of it to be taken, and sent to buried in the city of David, though not in the royal Urijah, the high priest at Jerusalem, 4 with injunctions sepulchres, d for that honour he was denied because of to have another made as like it as possible ; and when his iniquities, he was succeeded by his son Hezekiah, he returned, he removed the altar of the Lord out of its who was a worthy and religious prince. place in the temple, and ordered this new one to be set e In the five and twentieth year of his age Hezekiah up in its stead, and that sacrifices for the future should be offered on it alone.

d 2 Chron. xxviii. 27. The Israelites were accustomed to The truth is, the more his misfortunes came upon him, reigned over them uprightly. On the contrary, some marks of

honour in a peculiar manner the memory of those kings who had the greater his contempt of Almighty God grew: inso- posthumous disgrace followed those monarchs who left the world much that, having defaced 6 several of the most stately under the disapprobation of their people. The proper place of vessels of the temple, he caused it at last to be wholly interment was in Jerusalem. There, in some appointed reshut up; and, suppressing all divine worship throughout the circumstance of this being the cemetery for successive rulers,

ceptacle, the remains of their princes were deposited: and, from the kingdom, in the room thereof he set up the worship it was said, when one died and was so buried, that he was gathered of the gods of the Syrians, c and of other nations, alleg- to his fathers. Several instances occur in the history of the kings

of Israel, wherein, on certain accounts, they were not thus in

terred with their predecessors, but in some other place in Jerua It must not be denied, indeed, but that the high priest carried salem. So it was with Ahaz, who, though brought into the his complaisance much too far, in obeying the king's injunction, city, was not buried in the sepulchres of the kings of Israel. In which he ought, with all his power and interest, to have opposed. some other cases, perhaps to mark out a greater degree of cenGod prescribed to Moses in what form, and with what materials, sure, they were taken to a small distance from Jerusalem. It he was to make the altar, (Exod. xxvii. 1, &c.) The altar is said that · Uzziah was buried with his fathers in the field of which Solomon made, was indeed four times as large, (2 Chron. the burial which belonged to the kings; for they said, he is a iv. I.) but then God had given such solemn testimony of his leper.' (2 Chron. xxvi. 23.) It was doubtless with a design to approbation of it, that there was no touching it without impiety : make a suitable impression on the minds of their kings while for the high priest could not but know that this innovation of living, that such distinctions were made after their decease. the king's did not proceed from any principle of religion, but They might thus restrain them from evil or excite them to good, from a design to degrade the altar of the Lord, as well as the according as they were fearful of being execrated, or desirous of other sacred vessels of the temple. But what shall we say for being honoured, 'when they were dead. The Egyptians had a this? There will, in all ages, be some men found, who will be custom in some measure similar to this: it was, however, general ready to execute the most impious commands that can possibly as to all persons, though it received very particular attention, as come from the throne.- Patrick's and Calmet's Commentaries. far as it concerned their kings. It is thus described in Frank

6 The words in the text, according to our translation, are, lin's History of Ancient and Modern Egypt, (vol. i. p. 374.) Ahaz cut off the borders of the bases, and removed the laver “ As soon as a man was dead, he was brought to his trial. The from off them, and took down the sea from off the brazen oxen public accuser was heard. If he proved the deceased had led a that were under it, and put it upon a pavement of stones, and bad life, his memory was condemned, and he was deprived of the covert for the sabbath, that they had built in the house, and the honours of sepulture. Thus, that sage people were affected the king's entry without, turned he trom the house of the Lord, with laws which extended even beyond the grave, and every for the king of Assyria.' (2 Kings xvi. 17, 18.) His removing one, struck with the disgrace inflicted on the dead person, was the bases, the laver, and the brazen sea, was palpably with a de- afraid to reflect dishonour on his own memory, and that of his sign to deface the service of God in the temple, and thence to family. But what was singular, the sovereign himself was not bring it to public contempt; but then commentators are much at exempt from this public inquest upon his death. The public a loss to know what we are to understand by the covert for peace was interested in the lives of their sovereigns in their adthe sabbath within, and the king's entry without the temple.' ministration, and as death terminated all their actions, it was Now the prophet Ezekiel tells us expressly, that the gate of the then deemed for the public welfare that they should suffer an inner court which looked towards the east, was opened only on impartial scrutiny by a public trial, as well as the most common the sabbath, and on the day of the new moon;' and that in these subject. Even some of them were not ranked among the hondays the king was to enter into the temple at this gate, and oured dead; and consequently were deprived of public burial. continue at the entrance of the priests' court, where was the The Israelites would not suffer the bodies of some of their flagibrazen scaffold which Solomon erected, (2 Chron. vi. 13.) a tious princes to be carried into the sepulchres appropriated to place for the king to pay his devotions on, until his sacrifices their virtuous sovereigns. The custom was singular: the effect were offered ; and if so, the musack, which we translate cover, must have been powerful and influential. The most haughty might be a kind of canopy, or other covered place, under which despot saw, by the solemn investigation of human conduct, that the king sat when he came to the service of the temple on the at death he also would be doomed to infamy and execution.” sabbath, or other great solemnities, which was therefore called What degree of conformity there was between the practice of the covert of the sabbath; and the reason why the king ordered the Israelites and the Egyptians, and with whom the custom first this to be taken away was because he intended to trouble him- originated, may be difficult to ascertain and decide, but the conself no more with coming to the temple, and by this action to duct of the latter appears to be founded on the same principle as express his hatred likewise, and contempt of the sabbath. - that of the former, and as it is more circumstantially detailed, Calmet's and Patrick's Commentaries, and Spencer on the Laws atiords us an agreeable explanation of a rite but slightly menof the Hebrews, b. i. c. 1.

tioned in the Scriptures.-ED. c This was a monstrous stupidity, to think that these gods e Of Ahaz it is recorded that he was but twenty years old had any power over him, who could not defend themselves from when he began to reign,' and that he reigned sixteen before he the arms of Tiglath-Pileser! Thinking, however, that they had died ; so that in the whole he lived six and thirty years, (2 Kings distressed him, he sacrificed to them, in order to appease their xvi. 2.) Now his son Hezekiah is said to have been five and wrath, that they might do him no farther hurt; in the same twenty years old when he began to reign,' (2 Kings xviii. 2.) and manner as the ancient Romans were wont to bribe the gods consequently his father must have begot him when he was eleven their enemies with larger sacrifices than ordinary, in hopes of years old, which seems a little incredible: and, to solve this bringing them over to their party, and cahing them their difficulty, commentators have taken several ways. Some have friends.- Patrick's Cornmentary.

imagined that Hezekiah was not the real, but adopted son only

[ocr errors]

A. M. 3246. A. C. 758 ; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 4670. A. C. 741. 1 KINGS viii. TO THE END OF 2 CHRON. began to reign; and, after he had got the full posses- | be restored to its place again; and whatever other pollusion of the kingdom, (for, during his father’s illness, he tions it had contracted during his father's administration, acted only as viceroy under him,) he began in good he ordered them all to be purged and done away. earnest to a set about a thorough reformation of religion. Then calling the priests and Levites together, he requirTo this purpose he caused the doors of the temple, which ed them to sanctify themselves according to the direchis father had ordered to be shut up, to be opened ; his tions of the law; and, after that, the former he appointfather's new altar to be removed ; the altar of the Lord to ed to offer sacrifices, b in order to atone for the king's,

their own, and the people's sins; and the latter, with of Aha., and might therefore succeed his foster-father at this or any other age; but this hypothesis, as Bochart observes, spoils The words in the text are,— For a sin-offering for the kingthe descent of our Saviour from David. Others suppose that dom,' that is, for the king's sins and those of his predecessors; there was an interregnum for some years, occasioned by a sedi- | ' for the sanctuary,' for the priests' sins, and the profanations of tion that happened in Jerusalem: but there is no foundation for the temple; · and for Judah,' that is, for all the people who had this hypothesis in history; on the contrary it is much more like followed the bad examples of their impious kings. Now, the ly that, as Hezekiah was a man grown, and greatly beloved by offering which the law prescribed for the transgression of the the people, he should immediately succeed upon his father's de- people, was a young bullock; and for the offences of the prince, mise. Others imagine that, in detestation of Ahaz’s wickedness, was a goat, (Lev. ir. 23, &c.) but good Hezekiah, we find, vas his reign is omitted in this account, and that therefore the pas- willing to do more than the law commanded. He was sensible sage should be thus rendered: Ahaz was twenty years old when that both prince and people had been guilty, not only of sins his father began to reign.' But this is reversing the order of of ignorance, for which these sacrifices were instituted, but words in the text, and turning them into a sense that is far from of wilful and presumptuous crimes of gross idolatry, a profanation being natural. Others, not satisfied with any of these solutions, of the temple, and an utter extinction of the worship of God; and will needs have it that there is an error crept into the text itself therefore he appointed seven bullocks for a burnt-ofiering, and by the negligence of some transcriber, who, instead of twenty, as many goats for a sin-offering, upon presumption that these made Hezekiah five and twenty years old when his reign com- numerous sacrifices were, is not necessary, at least highly fit and menced, merely by mistaking the numerical letters: but it is becoming, upon the account of the great and long neglert not so well, even in numerical matters, which are most liable to divine service, and the multitude and long continuance of their variation, to find any fault with the text except where there is no other offences against God, for which they were now to beg forother tolerable solution, which is not the case here. Io these giveness.-Calmet's and Patrick's Commentaries. days, and long before, it was no unusual thing, upon several con- c Moses, in the service of the tabernacle, did not appoint the siderations, for kings to take the son who was to succeed them use of many musical instruments; only he caused some trumpets into partnership with them before they died. Now Ahaz, by to be made, which, upon solemn occasions, were to be sounded his mismanagement, had brought himself into so many intangle at the time when the burnt-offering and peace-offering were upon ments (2 Chron, xxviii. 16, &c. and xxix. 7, &c.) as to want an the altar, (Num. x. 10.) But David, by the advice of the proassistaut in the government, and accordingly, it appears that he phets Gad and Nathan, introduced several kinds of music into admitted his son in that capacity. For, whereas it is said of the service of the temple, as a thing highly conducive to inspire Hezekiah that he began to reign in the third year of Hoshea son people with respect, with joy, and with affection for the solemniof Elah, (2 Kings xviii. 1.) and of Hoshea that he began to ties and assemblies of religion, (1 Chron. xxiii. 5, and xxv. 1.) reign in the fourteenth year of Ahaz, (2 Kings xvii. 1.) it is and it is farther observable, that the institution of musie, in reevident that Hezekiah began to reign in the fourteenth year of ligious assemblies, is not a matter of human invention, but what Ahaz his father, and so reigned two or three years before his was ordained by God, and has the sanction and authority of his father's death. So that at the first date of his reign, which was prophets to confirm it; for so was the commandment of the in conjunction with his father, he might be but two or three and Lord by his prophets,' (2 Chron. xxix. 25.) [The musical intwenty, and his father, consequently, when he begot him, two or struments of the Hebrews are, perhaps, what has been hitherto three years older than the common computation. But there is least understood of anything in Scripture. Calmet considers them another way of solving this difficulty. It is a common thing, under three classes ; lst, stringed instruments; 2nd, hand irrboth in sacred and profane authors, in the computation of time, struments, or divers kinds of flutes; 3d, different kinds of drutes. to take no notice whether the year they mention be perfect or (1) Of stringed instruments, are the nabel, and the psaltery, a imperfect, whether finished or but newly begun. Upon this psanneterin. (Dan .iii. 5.) These three names apparently sig account Ahaz might be near one and twenty years old when he nify nearly, or altogether, the same thing. They considerably began to reign, and near seventeen years older when he died: resembled the harp; the ancient cythara or the askur, or the terand, on the other hand, Hezekiah when he began to reign, might stringed instrument; both were nearly of the figure A: but the be but just entering into his five and twentieth year, and by nablum or psaltery, was hollow toward the top, and played on this means Ahaz might be near fourteen years old when he begat toward the bottom, whereas the cythæra or ten-stringed instrument Hezekiah, which is no extraordinary thing at all. Nay, even was played on the upper part, and was hollow below; both were upon the lowest supposition, that he was but eleven or twelve touched by a small bow or fret, or by the fingers. The kinnor, or years old, yet instances are innumerable, such as Bochart and ancient lyre, had sometimes six, sometimes nine strings, strung others have given, of persons that have procreated children at from top to bottom, and sounded by means of a hollow belly, over that age: for it is not so much the number of years, as the nature which they passed; they were touched by a small bow, or fret, or by of the climate, the constitution of the body, the stature of the the finger. The ancient symphony was nearly the same as our vie. person, the quality of the diet, &c., that ought to be considered The sambuc was a stringed instrument, which was vearly the in this affair.—Bochart's Phaleg. p. 920; Millar's History of same, it is thought, as the modern psaltery. (2.) We discover the Church, p. 201; Bedford's Scripture Chronology, Patrick's in Scripture various sorts of trumpets and flutes, of which it is and Calmet's Commentaries. [According to Dr Boothrwyd, difficult to ascertain the forms. "The most remarkable of this Ahaz was twenty-five years of age when he began to reign, kind is the ancient organ, in Hebrew huggab, the ancient pijë a and if this emendation be correct, the difficulty in question Pan, row common among us. (3.) Drums were of many kinds vanishes; for Ahaz would then have been only sixteen years the Hebrew tupt, whence comes tympanum, is taken for all kinds of age when he begat Hezekialı.–See Boothroyd on 2 Kings of drums or timbrels. The zabzelim is commonly translated by xvi. 2.-Ed.

the LXX and the Vulgate, cymbala; instruments a A great demonstration this of his sincere piety and zeal towards very clattering sound, made in the form of a cap or hat, and God, that he began so soon to reform the corruption of religion, struck one against the other, while

held one in each hand. Later and did not stay till be had established himself in his throne! interpreters by zabzelim, understand the sistrum, an instrumenat He might think, however, that the surest way to establish him- anciently very common in Egypt. It was nearly of an ovel self in the throne, was to establish the true worship of God; figure, and crossed by brass wires, which jingled upon being though he could not but foresee that he ran a great hazard in shaken, while their ends were secured from falling out of the attempting the abolition of idolatry,

which had been confirmed frame, by their heads being larger than the orifice which containby some years' prescription.- Patrick's Commentary.

ed the wire. The Hebrews mention an instrument called ska

brass of a

A. M. 3246. A C. 758, OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 4686. A. C.725. I KINGS viii. TO THE END OF 2 CHRON. musical instruments, to sing praises to God in the words | Manasseh, and Zebulun, should laugh at Hezekiah's of David, a aud of Asaph the seer.

messengers, when they invited them to this feast. Great Having thus restored the service of the temple, he multitudes, however, even from those parts, came to proposed with himself to revive the passover, which, by Jerusalem upon this occasion ; and the concourse indeed reason of the division of the kingdon, and the frequent was so numerous, that this might be justly reckoned one commotions that had happened thereupon, had not been of the greatest passovers that had been solemnized from regularly observed for a long while. To this purpose, he the days of king Solomon. The time which the law diadvised with the princes, and chief men of the kingdom; rects for the continuance of this feast, is seven days; but and because it was thought, that neither the temple, the forasmuch as it had been long neglected, they now doupriests, nor the people, could be sufficiently sanctified, bled the time, and kept it for fourteen, with great joy against the usual time of observing it, which was in the and gladness of heart: and as soon as the solemnity was first month of the year, it was resolved, that b it should ended, those that belonged to the tribes of Judah and be celebrated in the second : and accordingly a procla- Benjamin, d went and brake the images in pieces, cut mation was issued out, requiring not only the people of down the groves, threw down the high places, and altars Judah, but all other Israelites of whatever tribe they belonging to strange gods, and absolutely destroyed all were, to come to this solemnity.

the monuments of idolatry which were any where to be It could hardly be expected but that, after so long found, either in Jerusalem, Judea, or any of the coasts a disuse of this holy festival, an attempt to revive it belonging to them ; as those of the other tribes, in their should meet with some scorn and opposition; and therefore return home, did the same in all the rest of Israel ; so we need not wonder that many of the tribes of Ephraim, that idolatry was quite abolished, and the true worship

of God again universally restored. leshim, which the LXX translate cymbala; but Jerome sistra. Nay there was one thing, namely, the brazen serpent, It is found only in 1 Sam. xviii, 6. The term shaleshim suggests e which might have been of innocent use, and served in that it was of three sides, (triangular) and it might be that ancient triangular instrument, which carried on each side several rings, that were jingled by a stick, and gave a sharp rattling d This, as the text tells us, was done not only in the tribes of sound. The original also mentions mezzilothaim, which were of Judah and Benjamin, but in those of Ephraim also and Manasseh, brass, and of a sharp sound. This word is usually translated (2 Chron. xxxi. 1.) which though they were part of Hoshea's cymbala ; some however render it tintinnabula, little bells, which dominion, yet Hezekiah might direct this abolition of idolatry is countenanced by Zechariah xiv, 20, which says, the time shall in them, in virtue of a law which bound Israel, as well as Judah, come when on the bracelets of the horses shall be written Holi- and required the extirpation of these things in the whole land of ness to the Lord! We know that bells were anciently worn by Canaan; by the special impulse and direction of God's Spirit, horses trained for war to accustom them to noise.--Calmet which puts men upon heroic actions, though not to be drawn into abridged.-ED.

imitation; or out of a firm persuasion that his neighbour Hoshea, a David was both a great poet and master of music, and might who had permitted his subjects to repair to the passover, would therefore modulate and compose his own hymns; but whether the approve and consent to what he did in this respect.-Poole's Anmusic of them might not be altered and improved in after ages, notations, because the words only are here taken notice of, is a matter of e The reason which the Scripture assigns for Hezekiah's desome uncertainty. The Asaph here mentioned was the person stroying this brazen serpent is,- because unto this day the chilwho lived in David's days, so famous for his skill in music, and dren of Israel had burnt incense to it,'(2 Kings xviii. 4.) We are the several devout pieces, which he composed, are those which not however to suppose, that, all along from the days of Moses, we meet with in the collection of the Psalms; but others will this brazen serpent was made an object of religious worship: this needs have it, but for what reason I cannot tell, that the author is what neither David nor Solomon, in the beginning of his reign, of the Psalms ascribed to Asaph, was another person who lived would have allowed of; nor can we think, but that either Asa or in after times, though perhaps of the same family, as well as name, Jehoshaphat, when they rooted out idolatry, would have made an with this famous Asaph who lived in David's.- Patrick's Com- end of this, had they perceived that the people, at that time, mentary.

either paid worship or burnt incense to it. The commencement 6 The direction which the law gives, is,—That the passover of this superstition therefore must be of a later date, and since should be celebrated on the fourteenth day of the first month, the time that Ahab's family, by being allied to the crown of which the Jews call Nisan; but because it was found impossible Judah by marriage, introduced all kinds of idolatry. Now, one to get all things in readiness against that time, it was judged more false inducement to the worship of this image might be a mistake advisable to adjourn it to the fourteenth of the next month, of the words of Moses. For whereas it is said, 'that whosoever which the Jews call Jair, rather than stay to the next year; and looketh upon it shall live,' (Num. xxi, 1.) some might thence for this they had some encouragement; because the law allows, fancy, that, by its mediation, they might obtain a blessing, and so that, in case any man shall be unclean, by reason of a dead make it the object of their superstition at first. However, we body, or be on a journey afar off, he may eat the passover on may imagine that their burning incense, or any other perfumes the fourteenth day of the second month,' (Num. ix. 10, 11.) and before it, was designed only in honour to the true God, by whose what was an indulgence to particular persons, they thought might direction Moses made it; but then, in process of their superstiwell be allowed to the whole congregation of Israel.- Patrick's tion, they either worshipped the God of Israel under that image, Commentary.

or what is worse, substituted a heathen God in his room, and c Hezekiah, it is certain, had no right to invite Hoshea's sub-worshipped the brazen serpent as his image; which they might jects to repair to Jerusalem to the celebration of his passover; more easily be induced to do, because the practice of some neighyet for the doing of this, we may well presume, that he had en- bouring nations was to worship their gods under the form of a couragement from Hoshea himself, who, as to the matter of reli- serpent. Upon this account Hezekiah wisely chose rather to lose gion, as we said before, has a better character in Scripture than this memorial of God's wonderful mercy to his people in the wilany of his predecessors from the division of the two kingdoms. derness, than to suffer.it any longer to be abused to idolatry, and But the truth of the matter was, that both the golden calves, therefore ‘be brake it in pieces,' that is, as the Talmudists exwhich had made this political separation, were now taken away, plain it, he ground it to powder, and then scattered it in the that of Dan by Tiglath-Pileser, and the other of Bethel, by air, that there might not be the least remains of it. And yet, his son Salmaneser; and therefore the apostate Jews, being thus notwithstanding all the care which he took to destroy it, Sigonius deprived of their idols, began to return to the Lord, and to go up in his history of Italy, tells us, that in the church of St Ambrose, to Jerusalem to worship, for some time before Hezekiah made in Milan, they show a brazen serpent entire, which they pretend them this invitation to his passover.- Prideaux's Connection, to be the very same which Moses erected in the wilderness; anno 7:29.

though it must be owned, that among their learned men, there

h. M. 3246. A. C. 758; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 4656, A. C. 725. I KINGS viii. TO THE END OF 2 CHRON. the same manner as did the pot of manna, and Aaron's He was succeeded by his son Sennacherib, wbo, as rod, for a monument of God's miraculous mercy to the soon as he was settled on the throne, renewed the deIsraelites in their passage through the wilderness ; but, mand for the tribute, and upon Hezekiah's refusing to because the preceding times of iniquity had made it an comply, marched a great army into Judea, in order to object of idolatrous worship, Hezekiah thought proper fall upon him. to destroy it, in order to take away all occasion of the d Not long before this, Hezekiah was taken with a sore like abuse for the future. Having thus removed all the illness, and had a message from God, by the prophet objects of idolatry, he took care in the next place to re- | Isaiah, to settle his aflairs and prepare for death ; but, store the temple worship to its ancient splendour and upon his great concern, and hearty prayer w God, he purity. To this purpose he put the priests and Levites obtained another message from him by the same prophet, in their courses, and appointed every one his proper promising him a reprieve for fifteen years longer

, and a ministration. The tithes and first fruits, which idolatrous deliverance from the Assyrians, who were then coming princes had detained, on purpose to bring the priesthood against him. Both these were events beyond his expecinto poverty, and thence into contempt, he returned to tation; and therefore, to give him a full assurance of the church; and a out of his own privy purse, as we say, faith, God, at his request, made the sun go backward ordered the expenses of the daily oblations, as well as often degrees upon the sun-dial that Abaz had erected; the larger offerings on the great festivals of the year to and when, by the prophet's directions, a plaster of tigs be defrayed.

was applied to his ulcer, he recovered in the space of Upon these, and several other accounts, Hezekiah three days, and went up to the temple to return God deserved the title of one of the best of kings that ever thanks for so wonderful a deliverance. reigned in Judah ; nor was God in the least wanting to Upon Hezekiah’s recovery, Merodach-Baladan king reward his piety in a most signal manner. For, while of Babylon sent ambassadors e to congratulate him, and Salmaneser was engaged in the siege of Samaria, he at the same time to enter into an alliance with him against warred against the Philistines, and not only regained all Sennacherib, whose growing power the Babylonians, as the cities of Judah, which they had seized during the well as the Jews, had reason to fear : and Hezekiah was time that Pekah and Rezin jointly distressed the land, so taken with the honour done beim upon this occabut also dispossessed them of almost all their own terri- sion, that, out of the vanity and pride of his heart, be tories, except Gaza and Gath.

showed the ambassadors all the wealth and strength As soon as the siege of Samaria was over, Salmane. ser sent to Hezekiah to demand the tribute which his war which Hezekiah had lately made upon them, laid hold on the father Ahaz had agreed to pay to the kings of Assyria ; opportunity to reduce Gath, which had some time before revolted but Hezekiah refused to pay it ; which would doubtless from under his obedience. Hereupon the people of Gath, have brought the Assyrian upon him, with all his power, against the Tyrians. He soon took several of their cities, and

applying themselves to Salmaneser, engaged him in their cause had he not been diverted by the war c he entered into at length closely besieged their capital: but before he could carry against Tyre, and died before he had put an end to it. the place, which held out for five years, he died, and by that

means gave some respite to Hezekiah.- Prideaux's Connection,

anno 720. are some who acknowledge the cheat, and disclaim it.-Le Clerc's d In the course of the sacred history, this sickness of Hezekiah's Commentary and Prideau.r's Connection, anno 726.

is placed immediately after the defeat and death of Sennacherib; a After that David had brought the ark of the Lord into the whereas it plainly happened before that time, because in the mes tent which he had pitched for it, near his own palace, the Scrip- sage which God sent him upon his bed of sickness by the prophet ture seems to intimate, (1 Chron. xvi. 1.) that he divided the Isaiah, he promises to deliver Jerusalem out of the hands of the priests and Levites into two bodies; one of which he left at Gi- king of Assyria,' (2 Kings xx. 6.) The truth of the matter isbeah, to attend in the tabernacle which Moses made; and the Hezekiah reigned in all nine and twenty years, (2 Kings xvii. other he took with him to Jerusalem. And from this time, it is 2.) He had already reigned fourteen years, when Sennacherib highly probable, that out of his own estate he supplied whatever invaded him (2 Kings xviii. 13.), and after his sickness he cowas necessary for the sacred ministry of this his domestic taber- tinued to reign fifteen years (2 Kings xx. 6.), so that his sickness nacle on Mount Sion. When Solomon had built the temple, he must have happened in the very same year that the king of Asobliged himself to defray all the expenses, both ordinary and ex- syria invaded his kingdom; but the sacred penman deferred the traordinary, of the altar, (2 Chron. viii. 13.) And, in like man- account he was to give of that, until he had finished the history ner, upon the rebuilding of the temple, at the return from the of Sennacherib, which he was willing to give the reader at one captivity, Ezekiel assigns a proper revenue to the king, to answer view; and this is the true reason of the mislocation--- Calaeta the expense of all sacrifices, both stated and occasional, (chap. Commentary. xlvi.) so that Hezekiah in this did properly no more than what e The conquests which the Assyrians were everywhere making was incumbent on him; though several of his idolatrous prede- could not fail of giving umbrage to the neighbouring powers lo cessors had doubtless withdrawn the fund appropriated to that confederate against them; and therefore we may well suppere purpose, which made it so commendable in him to restore it to that, besides the business of congratulating Hezekiah's recovery, its proper channel. - Calmet's and Patrick's Commentaries. the purpose of this embassy was to enter into an alliance with

i The words in the text are --So that, after him, was none him against Sennacherib, whose growing power the Babylonias like him amongst all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before had reason to fear, as well as the Jews; and, as the author of the him, (2 Kings xviii. 5.) Now it is plain that the same com- Chronicles expresses it, to inquire into the wonder that was mendation is given of Josiah, namely, that like unto him was done in the land,' (2 Chron. xxxii. 31.) that is, to inquire alaul there no king before him, which turned to the Lord, with all his the miracle of the sun's retrogradation, which could not failed heart, &c., neither after him arose there any like him,' (2 Kings being a matter of great curiosity to the Chaldeans, who, abore el xxiii. 25.) So that this character of Hezekiah must relate to other nations, were at that time given to the study of astroncay. some particular virtue wherein he stood distinguished from the Calmet's Commentary and Prideaux's Connection, anno 713. rest of the kings of Judah, and that was, ‘his trusting in the f The things which Hezekiah showed to the Babylonian lit. Lord God of Israel,' as it is in the beginning of the verse, and bassadors, were the riches of his house, his treasures, his armoury, not in the help of any foreign forces, as all the other kings, even and all his stores and strength for war; and the reason for his the most renowned for their piety, in some measure, are known doing this, was doubtless, to make the Babylonians put the great

. to have done.-Calmet's Commentary.

er value upon his friendship: but herein he offended God, llest c The king of Tyre finding the Philistines brought low by the fie not only laid a bait before these foreigners, to encourage them

A. M. 3246. A. C. 758; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 4686. A. C. 725. 1 KINGS viii. TO THE END OF 2 CHRON. of his kingdom, for which the prophet Isaiah was sent to compass round, and the brook c that passed by the walls reprove him, and to let him know that a day would of the city, in order to distress the enemy for want of come when all the stores he made such ostentation of water: and, to strengthen himself the more against them, should be carried into Babylon; which admonition « he he entered into an alliance offensive and defensive with received in a very decent and humble manner.

the king of Egypt. But this alliance the prophet Isaiah Sennacherib, in the mean time, advanced with a mighty highly blamed, as it implied a diffidence of the Almighty's army against the fenced cities of Judah ; and, having power to help him, and would redound to his own shame, taken several of them, he came at length and sat down and reproach, and confusion at last; which accordingly before Lachish, and threatened, after he had taken that, came to pass. For, while Sennacherib was besieging to besiege even Jerusalem itself. Hereupon Hezekiah, Lachish, Hezekiah, observing that this new ally of his taking advice of his princes and chief counsellors, made made no haste to come to his assistance, and being sadall manner of preparations for a vigorous defence. He ly sensible that of himself he was not sufficient to resist repaired the walls, and fortified them with towers. He so powerful an adversary as the king of Assyria, sent provided darts and shields in great abundance, and all ambassadors to him, desiring him to retire out of his other arms and artillery that might be useful, either to de- dominions, and promising to submit to such conditions fend the place or annoy the enemy. He had the people as he should be pleased to impose upon him. inrolled that were fit for war, and placed over them good

The demand which Sennacherib made, was the payofficers, both to instruct them in all military exercise, ment of three hundred talents d of silver, and thirty and to head and conduct them when they were to make talents of gold; which Hezekiah was not able to raise, their sallies. He stopped up the fountains for a good without exhausting all his treasures, and stripping the

very doors of the temple of the gold plates wherewith to invade his country, but seemed to place more confidence in they were overlaid. This diverted the king of Assyria this new alliance with them, than in the power of the Almighty, for some time ; so that, leaving Judea, he turned his whose favour and protection he had so long experienced. The arms against Egypt; e but after a series of different sucauthor of the Chronicles tells us, that, in the business of the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon, who sent unto him to want of water; but this is what the besiegers do generally pracinquire of the wonder that was done in the land, God left him, to tise against the besieged. In this manner it was Holofernes try him, that he might know all that was in his heart,' (2 Chron. intended to distress Bethulia, (Judith vii.); and of Semiramis, xxxii, 31.) And, from hence some have inferred, that Heze-Cyrus, and Alexander, it is reported, that they all took Babylon kiah's great offence lay, not so much in the ostentation of his by diverting the current of the Euphrates. But Hezekiah here military stores and treasures, as in his not giving sufficient glory takes another method; he is for preventing the Assyrians from to God for so signal a miracle, and his recovery ensuing there carrying on the siege of Jerusalem by intercepting the water, upon, and in his not representing this matter to these idolatrous that is, by filling up the fountain-heads with earth, that the ambassadors, in such powerful and convincing terms as might enemy might not perceive where any water was; and so carryhave drawn them over to the knowledge of the true God, which ing their streams through pipes and subterraneous channels into was the proper improvement he should have made of this divine the city, there to be received in basins and large pools for the vouchsafement to him.-Le Clerc's Commentary. [However benefit of the besieged: and this he might do with more facility we may endeavour to excuse Hezekiah, it is certain that he to himself, and prejudice to the enemy, because (except the made an exhibition of his riches and power in a spirit of great springs and brooks that were just contiguous to the city) the vanity; and that this did displease the Lord. It was also ruin- whole country, (according to Strabo, b. xvi.) for the space of ous to Judea ; when those foreigners had seen such a profusion of sixty furlongs round about, was all barren and waterless.Le wealth, such princely establishments, and such a fruitful land, it Clerc's Commentary. was natural for them to conceive the wish that they had such c This must be the brook Kidron, which ran in a valley of treasures, and from that to covet the very treasures they saw. that name, between the city and the mount of Olives, when it They made their report to their king and countrymen, and the had any water in it; for, except in the case of great rains, or desire to possess the Jewish wealth became general; and in con- the snow's dissolving from the mountains, it was generally dry. sequence of this there is little doubt that the conquest of Jerusalem However, if it had any fountain-head, by stopping up that, and was projected. ]— Dr A. Clarke.-ED.

diverting its current by conveyances under ground, Hezekiah a The words in the text are: “Then said Hezekiah unto might, in like manner, make it of no use to the besiegers. Isaiah, good is the word of the Lord, which thou hast spoken. Patrick's and Calmet's Commentaries. And he said, is it not good if peace and truth be in my days? d The Hebrew talent, according to Scripture, (Exod. xxv, (2 Kings xx. 19.) The prophet hath told him, that the very 39.) contains three hundred shekels, and every shekel answering people whom he had been so highly complimenting would carry to the value of three shillings, these three hundred talents of silhis posterity into captivity; and to return him such an answer ver must contain, of our money, thirteen thousand five hundred as this, shows not all the concern which a good prince ought to pounds; and the thirty talents of gold, one hundred and sixtyhave for his people and posterity. It shows, indeed, as if he four thousand two hundred and fifty; so that the whole sum here cared not what became of them, so long as he was permitted to paid by Hezekiah amounted to one hundred and seventy-seven live easy and happy. The words in the original are to this effect, thousand seven hundred and fifty pounds of our money.-Pri• that which thou hast told me from God, is good:' I willingly deaux's Connection, anno 713. submit to it: .but shall peace and truth,' that is, solid and last- e What might possibly be the occasion of a war between two ing peace, "continue for my time? “May I flatter myself with kingdoms so widely distant as Assyria and Egypt were, it is so much happiness? And will God be so gracious as not to difficult to know. We have nowhere any information from hisrevoke the grant which he hath made me of a longer continuance tory, and are left therefore to conjecture—that, after Salmaneser here? He is just, no doubt, in every thing he sends upon us; had taken away the ten tribes, and sent colonies in their room, but do these threats relate to me or my posterity only? Well the tribe of Simeon, which lay nearest to Egypt, becoming part were it for me, if he would suspend the execution of his wrath of his dominions, as well as the rest, the Egyptians might take for the little time that I have to live." This is the natural sense the advantage of the Assyrians' great distance, and make some of Hezekiah's answer; and accordingly Josephus makes him encroachments upon it. That Sennacherib, when he was come say, “ That though I am much afflicted at the thoughts of the as far as Judea, might take that opportunity to proceed with his misery that will befall my family, yet, since it is God's pleasure arms into Egypt, in order to be revenged on Sevechus, the son of that it should be so, I have no more to beg of Heaven, than that Sabacon or So, whom Herodotus calls Sethon, who was at this I may enjoy the small remainder of my miserable life in peace.- time king of Egypt, and the chief pontiff

' likewise of the god Jewish Antiq. b, x. c. 3. and Calmets Commentary.

Vulcan. And as he was a weak prince, the king of Assyria • It is an old stratagem in war, to distress an enemy by the gained many advantages over him; but, sitting down at length

« PreviousContinue »