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A. M. 3246. A. C. 758; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A M. 4686. A. C. 725. 1 KINGS rij. TO THE END OF 2 CH RON. cesses, he returned again, and invested Lachish, and delivered the demand from the king of Assyria, spake thence, contrary to all faith, and the agreement subsist in the Hebrew tongue, and in a very insolent and impeing between him and the kings of Judah, sent three of his rious manner, to the three ministers of state whom Heprincipal officers, with a good detachment of forces to ) zekiah sent to parley with him, telling them, “That it demand the surrender of Jerusalem.
was in vain for them to trust in their God for help, be* Rabshakeh, for that was the name of the person who cause his master's arms had been all along so victorious,
that the gods of other nations could not resist their course, before Pelusium, when he had brought his platforms, as Josephus and much more vain would it be, to depend on the king of tells us, within a little of the top of the walls, and was upon the Egypt for assistance, who was hardly able to support his very point of giving the assault, news was brought him, that Tir- own dominions, and would certainly fail them when hakah king of Ethiopia was upon his march, with a great rein they looked for his aid. Their wisest way, forcement to assist the Egyptians; whereupon he immediately
therefore, raised the siege, and drew of his army, which gave occasion to would be to surrender the town to his master, the great the fabulous account in Herodotus, namely
, "That upon the king of Assyria, at discretion ; for if they pretended to king's prayer to his god Vulcan, there came in one night such stand a siege, (and this he spake with a louder voice troops of rats, into the camp of the Assyrians, that they gnawed than ordinary, in the audience of the people that were all their bowstrings to pieces, and so, in effect, disarmed the whole camp of the besiegers, and made them
draw off from the upon the wall, and in hopes of creating a revolt town with so much precipitation.”—Le Clerc's Commentary on among them,) his master would distress them to such a 2 Kings xxiii. 29, and Jewish Antiquities, b. x. c. 1. The degree, that they should be compelled to eat their own overthrow of Sennacherib, whese expedition was designed parti-excrements, and drink their own piss.'” cularly against Egypt, is described by Herodotus, (ii. 141,) but
When Hezekiah heard the blasphemous message, evidently corrupted by the Egyptian priests from whom Herodotus received the narration. His words are: “ After this a priest of which Rabshakeh had delivered to his ministers, he rent Vulcan, by name Setho, ascended the throne. He very impru- his clothes, put on sackcloth, went to the temple to dently treated the soldiers with great severity, as though he address himself to God, and sent an account thereof should never stand in need of their services. He insulted them in many ways, and took from them the lands which had been to his prophet Isaiah. But Isaiah's answer was, not to granted to them by former kings, at the rate of twelve aruræ fear the menaces of the proud Assyrian ; for that God (égaugas) to a man. (Compare Is. xix. 14.) But afterwards would soon find out a method to make him depart his when Sennacherib king of the Arabs and Assyrians was advanc-country; c which accordingly came to pass. For news ing against Egypt with a great army, the Egyptian soldiers refused to lend their aid against him. The priest was now in great perplexity; and, going into the temple, complained to his idol, cation should be versed in the Phænician, which is in a manner with tears, of the peril he was in. In the midst of his complaints the same with the Hebrew language, is no wonder at all. Morehe was overtaken by sleep, and there appeared to him in a vision, over, had he been a Jew, though an apostate, he should have the god standing by him, and bidding him to be of good courage, known better, one would think, than to have upbraided Hezekiahi, for no misfortune should befall him in encountering the Arabian with acting according to the law under which he lived, in de army; for he himself would send him helpers. Confiding in this stroying the groves and altars of idols, and in requiring bis subdream, he took such Egyptians as were willing to follow him, and jects to worship God in Jerusalem only, (2 Kings xviii. 22)— encamped at Pelusium; for through this place the invaders must | Le Clerc's Commentary. necessarily make their attack. None of the soldiers followed him, 6 The words in the text are, Now behold thou trustest upon but only the merchants, artificers, and populace. When they had the staff of this bruised reed, even upon Egypt, (2 Kings xviii
. arrived there, field mice in great numbers spread themselves 21.) The comparison is excellent, to denote an ally that is it about among their enemies, and gnawed in pieces the quivers only weak and unable to help, but dangerous likewise to these and bows, and thongs of the shields, so that on the following that rely upon him for succour; and his representing the power morning they were obliged to flee, destitute of arms, and many of Egypt to be as brittle as the canes or reeds that grow on the fell. Even to this day there stands in the temple of Vulcan a banks of the Nile, for it is to this, no doubt, that the Assyrian stone statue of this king, having a mouse in his hand, and speak- orator alludes, is a great beauty in the similitude. This, howing by an inscription to the following effect, . Let him who looks ever, must be allowed, that what he here speaks in contempt of the on me reverence the gods.'” From this narrative, though con- Egyptian strength, has more of ostentation in it than truth; besiderably distorted, it is plain that the Egyptians attributed their cause the Assyrian army, having lately made an attempt to subdeliverance from Sennacherib to a deity, and to that deity whom due that kingdom, was now returned into Judea with disgrace the Greeks call oHPusatos, Vulcan. Among the Egyptians he is Patrick's, Le Clerc's, and Calmet's Commentaries. named Phtha or Kneph; and because he is said to have made the e 2 Kings xix. 7. Behold I will send a blast upon him.' The world, he is also called Anusaugy's, the artificer. Now, as the God destruction of Sennacherib and his army appears to have bect of the Hebrews was the Creator of the world, the Egyptians might effected by that pestilential wind called the simoom. Mr Bruce easily confound him with their Phtha, and attribute this deliver- thus speaks of it:-“We had no sooner got into the plains than ance to the latter. The circumstance of Setho's going into the we felt great symptoms of the simoom; and about a quarter be temple and complaining of his danger to Phtha, is manifestly bor-fore twelve, our prisoner first, and then Idris called out, " The rowed from what is related of Hezekiah, (Is. xxxvii. 14, 15.) simoom ! the simoom !' My curiosity would not sufler me to Eusebius makes Setho the first king of the nineteenth Diospolitic fall down without looking behind me: about due south, a little to dynasty, and assigns to his reign fifty-five years. But if Tirha- the east, I saw the coloured haze as before. It seemed now is kah, whom Manetho places as the third of the twenty-fifth Ethio- be rather less compressed, and to have with it a shade of blue : pic dynasty, with a reign of twenty years, was master of Egypt, the edges of it were not defined as those of the former, but like: then Setho could be only a tributary king and a vassal of this uni- very thin smoke, with about a yard in the middle tinged with versal conqueror, or, at most could only reign over the Delta and those colours. We all fell upon our faces, and the simcom passed Upper Egypt.-Jahn's Hebrew Commonwealth.-Ed. with a gentle shuffling wind. It continued to blow in this mat
a Tartan, Rabsaris, and Rabshakeh, are not the proper names ner till near three o'clock, so that we were all taken ill that night, of these men, but rather denote their employments and offices. and scarcely strength was left us to load the camels, and arrange Tartan signifies the president of the customs, Rabsaris, the the baggage.” (Travels, vol. iv. p. 581.) in another place Ms chief eunuch, and Rabshakeh, the principal cup-bearer; and be- Bruce describes it as producing a desperate kind of indiferener cause he spake Hebrew with some Auency, the rabbins are gene- about life; that it brought upon him a degree of cowardice and rally of opinion, that he was either an apostate Jew, or one of the languor, which he struggled with in vain; and that it completrh captivity of Israel. It is certain that he was a very eloquent exhausted his strength. From the accounts of various travellers
, mai, and his speech very well calculated to raise sedition, or it appears to have been almost instantaneously fatal and petrise defection among the besieged; but that a person of his edu-ing. It was consequently a fit agent to be employed in desviado
A. M. 3246. A. C. 758; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 4686. 4. C. 725. 1 KINGS viii. TO THE END OF 2 CHRON. being brought him that Tirhakah king of Ethiopia, or of of the Lord came down into the camp of the Assyrians, the Cuthites rather in Arabia, had invaded some part of and smote no less than a hundred fourscore and five his dominions, he immediately raised the siege of Lib- thousand men : d so that, terrified with this slaughter, nah, a where he then was, and marched against the ene- Sennacherib made haste into his own country, and took iny : however, before he raised the siege, he sent a up his residence at Nineveh ; where he had not been second summons to Hezekiah, as insolent and blasphe-| long, before e his two eldest sons, Adrammelech and mous as the former. This was delivered in a letter; Sharezer conspired against him, and, as he was worshipand Hezekiah had no sooner read it, but he went into the temple, spread it before the Lord, and implored of lightning; others by fire from heaven; others by a scorching
and others by their falling foul of one another in the obscuhim a deliverance from this outrageous enemy; which rity of the night; but which way soever it was effected, accordIsaiah assured hiin he should have, because that the Lording to the Hebrew idiom, there is no impropriety in saying, that had taken the city of Jerusalem under his protection, and it was done by a destroying angel, which is a comprehensive would not therefore suffer the king of Assyria, 6 not- phrase, that reconciles all the Scripture passages wherein this
terrible defeat is mentioned, and all the sentiments of commenwithstanding all his vain boastings, to come near it.
tators concerning it.-Calmet's Dissert. on the Defeat of the In the mean time, the king of Assyria having engaged Army of Sennacherib. the Ethiopian army, and given them a great overthrow,
d The reign of the good king Hezekiah was signalized by the was in full march to Jerusalem, flushed with this freshed to him and his people out of the hands of the Assyrians under
extraordinary and memorable deliverance, which the Lord grantvictory, and resolved to destroy the place, and every Sennacherib. The destruction of the vast multitude whom that soul in it; when the very night after that the prophet invader commanded, and who became all dead corpses in a single had given the king of Judah this assurance, an angel e night, is in one passage attributed to an angel of the Lord; but,
in another part of the same history, and also by Isaiah, it is said
to have been occasioned by a blast, which is generally, and on ing the army of Sennacherib. It sometimes happens, that dur- good grounds, supposed to mean the simoom, or hot pestilential ing an excessive heat, there comes a breath of air still more wind which is so prevalent in the sultry regions of the east. It burning, and that both men and beasts being already overpowered is a south wind, which, blowing over an immense tract of and faint, this small increase of heat entirely deprives them of heated ground or sand, becomes itself so hot and stifling, as to respiration.—Niebuhr's Description of Arabia, p. 81.-Ed. occasion the greatest danger, and even immediate death to the
a Libnah was not far from Lachish, both situated on the moun- traveller. Its approach is indicated by a haze in the atmosphere, tains of Judea ; and it is probable that Sennacherib, not finding in colours like the purple part of the rainbow, and passes along himself able to carry the latter, had removed the siege to Libnah, with silent and incredible velocity. The moment it is perceived which was a place not so well fortified in his opinion, and yet so by the natives and the camels, who are well acquainted with its situated, that by keeping a good guard in the chops of the moun- fatal power, they instantly fall to the ground, and bury their tains, he might carry on the siege, without any fear of Tirhakah's mouth and nostrils in the sand. Della Valle mentions the coming upon him.-- Le Clerc's Commentary.
melancholy fate of two gentlemen, who were travelling with him, 6 The prophet, in his answer to Hezekiah, has given us an ad- and who having gone, during the middle of the day, into a khan mirable description of the ridiculous vanity and ostentation of a to rest, fell asleep at the open window, and were found dead, king puffed up with great success: * By thy messengers thou hast and their bodies very black and disfigured, in consequence of a reproached the Lord, and hast said, With the multitude of my blast of the simoom having passed over them while they lay, unchariots I am come up to the height of the mountains, and the conscious of their danger, in that exposed situation. Another sides of Lebanon; and I will enter into the lodgings of his borders, traveller mentions, that the water in their skins was dried up in and enter into the forest of his Carmel. I have digged, and a moment, and that his companion, who had been bathing in the drunk strange waters, and with the soles of my feet have 1 dried Tigris, having on a pair of Turkish drawers, showed them, on up all the rivers of besieged places,' (2 Kings xix. 23, &c.) as if his return, perfectly dried in an instant by this hot wind having he had said, “What can resist the force of my victorious arms? come across the river. The most circumstantial, however, as Or where is the place that is inaccessible to the strength and ac- well as the most recent account of a dreadful destruction, occativity of these troops? I have scaled the top of the highest sioned by this hot wind in the year 1813, is given in the newsmountains, with my heavy chariots of war, I have ascended papers of that day. The caravan from Mecca to Aleppo coneven Lebanon itself, and through the most difficult passages have sisted of 2000 souls, merchants and travellers, pilgrims returning opened and plained myself a way. Who then shall hinder me from performing their devotions at Mecca, and a numerous train from taking up my quarters in what part of Judea I please, from of attendants, the whole escorted by 400 military. The march either climbing up to the top of Carmel, or from coming down was in three columns. On the 15th of August, they entered into the fruitful vales, by making an entire conquest of the coun- the great Arabian desert, in which they travelled seven days, try? At my call fountains, even in the driest places, arise; at and were nearly approaching its boundary. A few hours more my beck the hills subside, the rocks divide, and make me a way; would have placed them beyond the reach of danger, when, on and at my approach, the deepest rivers and ditches run dry; so the morning of the 23d, just as they had struck their tents, and that resistance is unavailable, and victory must attend my stan-begun their march, a wind rose and blew with tremendous dard wherever I go, or whatever enterprise I take in hand.” rapidity. They pushed on as fast as their beasts of burden could
c The ancient Jews, as well as the Persians and Arabians, carry them, to escape the threatened dauger, when the fatal were of opinion, that there is an angel of death, or an exterminat simoom set in suddenly, the sky was overcast, dense clouds ing angel, to whom God has given the commission to take away the appeared, whose extremity darkened the horizon, and shot with lives, either of single persons, or of multitudes of people at once, the rapidity of lightning across the desert. They approached the wherein the Almighty gives the order, but leaves the method of columns of the caravan. Both men and beasts, overcome by a doing it to the discretion of the angel; so that in which way soever sense of common danger, uttered piercing cries, and the next the infliction is made, it is always said to be done by the angel of moment fell beneath its pestilential influence. Of 2000 souls God. The modern Jews are much of the same opinion: for they composing the caravan, not more than twenty escaped the calamaintain that this angel of death stands at every dying man's bed's mity, and these owed their preservation to the swiftness of their head, with a naked sword in his hand, at the extremity of which dromedaries. Such, in all probability, was the terrible agent there hang three drops of gall, and that the sick person, seeing this which heaven employed for the destruction of the prodigious angel, in a great fright opens his mouth, whereupon he immedi- army led on by the king of Assyria.-Jamieson's Eastern Manately drops into it these three fatal drops; the first of which occa- ners.--Ed. sions his death ; the second makes him pale and livid; and the third e When Sennacherib was got home, after the loss of so great reduces him to the dust in the grave, with some other notions of an army, he demanded of some about him, what the reason might the like nature. Now since the Scripture has nowhere said ex- be, that the irresistible God of heaven so favoured the Jewish pressly, in what manner this Assyrian army was destroyed, some nation? To which he was answered, that Abraham, from whom have thought that it was by a plague; others by thunder and they were descended, by sacrificing his only son to him, liad
A. M. 3246. A. C. 758 ; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 4772. A. C. 639. 1 KINGS viii. TO THE END OF 2 CHRON. ping at the temple of Nisroch, a his god, fell upon him, | The prophets © who were sent to reprove him, he treated and slew him; and afterwards making their escape into with the utmost contempt and outrage, and filled, in Armenia, gave room for Esarhaddon, their younger short, all the land with innocent blood, which he shed in brother, to succeed in the throne.
carrying on his detestable purposes : but it was not long After this signal defeat of the Assyrian army, Hezekiah before the divine vengeance overtook him. lived the remainder of his days in peace and tranquillity, Esarhaddon being settled in the kingdom of Babylon, being both honoured and revered by all neighbouring began to set his thoughts on the recovery of what his nations, who by this, and several more instances, perceiv- father Sennacherib had lost in Syria and Palestine ; and ed that he was under the immediate protection of God, having raised a great army, marched into the territories and were therefore afraid to give him any molestation. So of the ten tribes, from whence he carried away a great that, being at rest from wars, he applied his thoughts to multitude of Israelites, who were remains of the former the good government of his people, and the improve-captivity, and so sending some of his generals with a ment of the city of Jerusalem, by erecting magazines, part of his army to Judea to reduce that country likewise, and filling them with arms, and by making a new aque- they vanquished Manasseh in battle, and having taken duct, which was of great convenience to the inhabitants him hid in a thicket of briers and brambles, brought him for the supplying them with water. At length, after a prisoner to Esarhaddon, d who put him in irons, and carcourse of great and worthy actions, be died in the ried him prisoner to Babylon. twenty-ninth year of his reign, and was buried, with e His prison and chains brought him to himself, and great solemnity, 6 in the most honourable place of the made him so sensible of his heinous provocations against sepulchres of the sons of David. Happy in every thing God, that with deep sorrow and humiliation, f he implorelse, except in being succeeded by a son, whose name ed the divine pity and forgiveness, and thereupon prewas Manasseh, and who, in the beginning of his reign vailed with God, to mollify the king of Babylon's heart, more especially, proved the very worst of all his race. who restored him to his liberty, and reinstated him in his
Manasseh was but a minor of twelve years old when kingdom. he succeeded to the crown; and as he had the mis- Upon his return to Jerusalem, he redressed, as much fortune to fall into the hands of such guardians and chief as he could, the mischiefs which his former impiety had ministers, as were ill affected to his father's reformation, they took all the care imaginable to breed him up in the
c The prophets who were supposed to have been living in this strongest aversion to it, and to corrupt his mind with the Obadiah ; and who was the greatest prophet of them all
king's reign, were Hoshea, Joel, Nahum, Habakkuk, some say worst of principles, both as to religion and government. In the late reign he was in great esteem at court, and being himFor he not only worshipped idols, restored high places, self of the blood royal, and as some say, the king's father-in-law, and erected altars unto Baal, but in the room of the ark he thought it more incumbent upon him to endeavour to reclaim of the covenant set up an idol, even in the sanctuary ed him against Isaiah, that, instead of hearkening to his remon
him from his degenerate wicked courses. But this so exasperalitself, made his children pass through the fire to Mo- strances, he caused him to be apprehended, and to make his loch, practised witchcrafts and enchantments, and con- torture both more lingering, and more exquisite, had him sawa sulted soothsayers, and such persons as dealt with asunder with a wooden saw, to which the author of the epistle to familiar spirits.
the Hebrews, c. xi. 37.; may be thought to allude.- Calmet's
Commentary, and Houell's History, in the notes, Nor was he content to practise these abominations
d From Isaiah xx. 1, we may leart, that Esarhaddon, whom himself, but being naturally of a cruel temper, he raised the sacred writer in that place calls Sargon, king of Assyria, sent bitter persecutions against those who would not conform. Tartan, his general into Palestine ; and it was he, very probably,
who took Manasseh and carried him prisoner to Babylon. Esarpurchased his protection to his progeny; whereupon the king haddon was some time before, no more than king of Assyria, but replied, “If that will win him, I will spare him two of mine to upon his accession to the throne, he made himself master of Bagain him to my side:' which when his two sons, Sharezer and bylon and Chaldea, and so united the two empires together.Adrammelech heard, they resolved to prevent their own death by Calmet's Commentary and Prideaux's Connection, anno 677. sacrificing him. But for all this fiction, there is no other founda- e The Jewish doctors have a tradition, that while Manasseh tion but that scarce any thing else can be thought of, that was at Babylon, by the direction of his conqueror, he was put in can afford any excuse for so wicked a parricide. Prideaux's a large brazen vessel full of holes, and set near to a great fire ; Connection, anno 709.
that in this extremity, he had recourse to all his false deities, to a Some take this god to be the figure of Noah's ark; others of whom he had ofiered so many sacrifices, but received no relief a dove, which was worshipped among the Assyrians; and others from them; that remembering what he had heard his good father of an eagle. The Hebrew of Tobit, published by Munster, calls Hezekiah say, namely, when thou art in tribulation, if thou turi it Dagon; but Selden acknowledges, that in all his reading he to the Lord thy God, he will not forsake thee, ocither destroy never met with any thing that could help him to explain it. thee,' (Deut. iv. 30, 31.) he was thereupon immediately deliJurieu, however, seems to be more lucky in his inquiries; for, vered, and in a moment translated to his kingdom; but this is no by several arguments, he has made it appear, that this idol was less a fiction, than that miraculous flame which the author of the Jupiter Belus, the founder of the Babylonish empire, who was imperfect comment upon St Matthew speaks of, that encompasworshipped under the form of an eagle; and therefore, he observes sed him on a sudden, as he was praying to God, and having farther, that as this Belus in profane history was the same with melted his chains asunder, set him at liberty. See Tradit
. Hebr. the Nimrod of Moses, between Nimrod and Nisroch the dissi- in Paralip. et Targum, in 2 Chron. xxiji. 1). In all probability militude is not great, nor is it improbable that to perpetuate his it was Saos Duchin, the successor of Esarhaddon, who, sume honour, his votaries might change the name of Nimrod, which years after his captivity, released Manasseh out of prison. signifies a rebel, into that of Nisroch, which denotes a young f We have a prayer, which it is pretended he made in prison. eagle.--Patrick's Commentary, and Jurieu's History of Doc- | The church does not receive it as canonical, but it has a place trines, &c. part 4. c. 11.
among the apocryphal pieces, and in our collections, stands be6 In the innermost and chiefest of the rooms of the royal fore the books of the Maccabees. The Greek church, however, sepulchres of the house of David, was the body of Hezekialı placed has received it into their Euchologium, or book of prayers
, and in a niche, which in the upper end of the room was very likely at they use it sometimes as a kind of devout form, and what cothat time cut on purpose for it, to do him the greater honour.- tains nothing in it deserving censure. Calmet's Dictionary usPrideaux's Connection, anno 699.
der the word Manasseh.
A, M. 3246. A. C. 758 ; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 4772. A. C. 693. 1 KINGS viii. TO THE END OF 2 CHRON. done. He abolished the idolatrous profanations of the carved and molten images that were dedicated to idol. temple ; restored, in all things, the reformation which his atry. The graves of idolatrous priests he dug up, and · father had made, and obliged all his subjects to worship burned their bones upon some of these altars, thereby and serve the Lord only ; so that, after this, God blessed to defile and pollute them for ever; and d whatever him with a long and prosperous reign, longer indeed priests of the Levitical order had at any time sacrithan any of the kings of Judah, either before or after ticed on the high places, though it were to the true him, had reigned. He possessed the throne full five and God, these he took care to depose from their sacerfifty years : and yet, notwithstanding his signal repen- dotal office. The houses of the Sodomites he broke tance, because his former wickedness was so great, he down: Tophet, f which was in the valley of Hinnom, was not allowed the honour of being buried in any of the he defiled. The horses & dedicated to the sun he reroyal sepulchres, but was laid in a grave made in the garden belonging to his own house, called the garden of derivatives are used. Here follow proofs. In chap. xxiii. 6, it Uzzah, 4 and was succeeded by his son Amon.
is said, that · Josiah brought out the groves from the house of the This prince, imitating the first part of his father's reign, there be in the temple ? there was none planted there, nor was
Lord.' This translation seems very absurd; for what grove could and not the repentance of his latter, gave himself to
there room for any. The plain meaning of vaiyotse eth haasheall manner of wickedness and impiety; so that God rah nibbeyth Yehovah is, And he brought out the (goddess) shortened his government, by permitting some of his Asherah from the house of the Lord, and burnt it.' That this is own domestics, after a reign of two years, to conspire the true meaning of the place appears further from verse 7, where against him, and slay him : but as wicked as he was, the deshim, of the whoremongers,) . where the women wove hang
it is said, “he broke down the houses of the Sodomites,' (hakkepeople of the land took care to revenge his murder, by ings for the grove,' (bottim laasherah, houses or shrines for putting all to death who had any hand in it, though they Asherah.) Similar perhaps to those which the silversmiths made would not, at his burial, honour him, any more than his for Diana, (Acts xix. 24.) It is rather absurd to suppose that father, with a place among the sepulchres of the sons of the women were employed in making curtains to encompass a
grove. The Syriac and Arabic versions countenance the interDavid.
pretation I have given above. In verse 6, the former says, “he His son Josiah, who was then a child no more than cast out the idol, dechlotho, from the house of the Lord,' and in eight years old, succeeded in the throne ; but, having the verse 7, ‘he threw down the houses, dazione, of the prostitutes ; happiness to fall under the conduct of better guardians and the women who wove garments, ledechlotho, for the idols
which were there. The Arabic is exactly the same. From the in his minority, than did Manasseh his grandfather, he whole it is evident that Asherah was no other than Venus ; the proved, when grown up, a prince of very extraordinary nature of whose worship is plain enough from the mention of worth, equal, if not superior, in piety, virtue, and good whoremongers and prostitutes. I deny not that there were groves ness, to the best of his predecessors. In the sixteenth consecrated to idolatrous worship among the Gentiles, but I am year of his age, he took upon him the administration of the text in most places reads better when understood in this the kingdom; and beginning with the reformation of reli- way.-Dr A. Clarke, 2 Kings xxi. end of chap.-ED. gion, endeavoured to purge it from all those corruptions,
à Several of these priests, seeing the worship of the temple which had been introduced in the preceding reigns. To abandoned, and, after that the tenths, and offerings, and sacrifices
were taken away, having nothing to subsist themselves, had the this purpose, he took a progress through the whole weakness to repair to the high places, and there offer unto God kingdom, and wherever he came, brake down the altars, such oblations and sacrifices as the people brought them; for it cut down the groves, C and brake in pieces all the does not appear that any of them entered into the service of
false gods; but because this was giving countenance by their pre
sence and ministry to a worship that was forbidden, (Deut. xii. a This garden, as some think, was made in that very spot of 11.) he would not receive them any more into the service of the ground where Uzzah was struck dead, for “touching the ark of temple, though he suffered them to be maintained by it. He puts the Lord,' (2 Sam. vi. 7.) but others imagine, that this was the them, in short, into the conditions of those priests that had any place where L'zziah, who died a leper, was buried, (2 Chron. blemish, who might not ofler the bread of their God,' and yet xxvi. 23.) and that Manasseh chose to be buried here, as un- might 'eat the bread of their God, both of the holy and most worthy, because of his manifold sins, whereof he nevertheless holy,' Lev. xxi. 21, 22.—Calmet's and Patrick's Commentaries. repented, to be laid in any of the royal sepulchres of the kings of e This was the name which is sometimes given to the most Judah.- Patrick's and Calmet's Commentaries.
infamous of all prostitutes, who expose their bodies to be abused 6 This, as some Jewish authors observe, is the usual number contrary to nature, in honour of those filthy deities whom they of years to which the sons of those kings did arrive, who, by their worshipped. Their houses were near the temple, and therefore abominations, provoked God to anger; as they instance in the son these were persons consecrated to impurity; and that they might of Jeroboam, (1 Kings xv. 25.) the son of Baasha, (chap. xvi. 8.) commit their abominations with a greater licentiousness, they had the son of Ahab, (chap. xxii. 51.)- Patrick's Commentary. women appointed to make them tents, wherein they were wont
c In 2 Kings xxi. 3 and 7, it is said, that • Manasseh made a to retire upon these detestable occasions.-Calmet's Commentary. grove, and he set a graven image of the grove,' &c., vaiyasem eth f It is the general opinion of the Jews, that the word tophet pesel haasherah, asher asah: ' And he put the graven image of comes from toph, which, in their language, signifies a drum; Asherah, which he had made,' into the house. Asherah, which because drums, in this place, were used to be beat, in order to we translate grove, is undoubtedly the name of an idol; and pro-deaden the cries of those children which were burned alive to the bably of one which was carved out of wood. R. S. Jarchi, on idol Moloch; but there is one objection to this etymology, nameGeo. xii. 3, says, “that Asherah means a tree, which was worship- ly, that it does not appear that the larger kind of drums, such as ped by the Gentiles;" like as the oak was worshipped by the an- are in use now, were at all known to the ancients. There was cient Druids in Britain, Castel in Lex. Hept. sub voce Ten, a lesser sort, indeed, or what we call a tabor, wherewith they defines Asherah thus: 'a wooden image dedicated to Astarte or made music in their dancing; but these were not loud enough Venus. The LXX. render the words by ances; and Flaminius for the present purpose, and the larger kind we owe to the AraNobilis, on 2 Kings xxiii. 4, says, “ Again Theoderet observes, bians, who first brought them into Spain, from whence they were aroos is Astarte and Venus: and by other interpreters called dispersed all Europe over.-Le Clerc's Commentary. Ashtaroth.” The Targum of Ben Uzziel, on Deut. vii. 5, g It is certain that all the people of the east worshipped the • Their groves shall ye cut down,' translates the place thus:- sun, and consecrated horses to it, because they were nimble and veilaney sigedeghon tekatsetsim, and the oaks of their adoration swist in their course, even as they supposed it to be: “The Pershall ye cut down.' From the above it is pretty evident that sian appeases the ray-encircled Apollo with a horse, lest a slowidols, not groves, are generally intended where asherah and its footed victim should be given to the fleet God.” (Ovid. Fast. b.
A. M. 3246. A. C. 758; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 4772. A. C. 639. I KINGS viii. TO THE END OF 2 CHRON. moved ; burned its chariots with fire ; and being not satis- of the Lord; who returned them in answer, that the fied with destroying all the monuments of idolatry in judgments threatened in the book of the law would not his own dominions, he visited in person the cities of be long before they fell upon the kingdom of Judah ; Ephraim and Manasseh, and all the rest of the land but that, because the king had expressed so deep a conwhich had formerly been possessed by the ten tribes, cern upon hearing the denunciation of them, their exe. and there did the same. But while he was at Bethel, "cution should be delayed till after his death.' discovering by the inscription the monument of the pro- The good king, however, in order to appease the phet who was sent from Judah to declare against the wrath of God, called together a solenm assembly of all altar which Jeroboam had there set up, and (above three the elders and people of Judah and Jerusalem ; and going hundred years before) to nanse the very name of Josiah with them to the temple, he caused the law of God there who was to destroy it; he would not suffer it to be to be distinctly read; and when that was done, both he touched, nor his bones to be molested.
and all the people entered into a covenant to observe all Having thus carried on the work of reformation in the that was contained in it. After this be made another distant parts of his kingdom, he took care in the next progress round the kingdom of Judah and Samaria, to place, to have the temple repaired. To this purpose, destroy every the least remainder of idolatry that he he ordered Hilkiah the high priest to take a general could meet with ; and when the season of the next pass. view of it, and see what was necessary to be done ; over was come, had it d kept with such exactness and who, while he was surveying and examining every place, solemnity, as had never been observed from the days of chanced to find a book of the law of the Lord given Samuel the prophet to that time. by Moses.' The book was carried to the king, who, In a word, this excellent prince did all that in him lay having heard some part of it read, rent his robes in to atone for the sins of the people, and appease the wrath dread of the curses denounced against a wicked people, of God; but his decree, e for the removal of Judah into a and immediately sent the high priest, and some other of his chief officers, to Huldah ¢ the prophetess to inquire certainly it makes much to her renown, that she was consulted
upon this weighty occasion, when both Jeremiah and Zephaniah
were at that time prophets in Judah, But Zephaniah, perhaps, i.) But then the question is, whether the people of Judah sacri- at that time, might not have commenced a prophet; because, ficed these horses to the sun, as it is certain that the Armeni. though we are told that he prophesied in the days of Josiah, ans, Persians, and other nations did, or only led them out in (Zeph. i. 1.) yet we are nowhere informed in what part of his state every morning, to meet and salute the sun at its rising. reign he entered upon the prophetic office. Jeremiah, too, might The ancients had a notion likewise, that the sun itself was car- at that time be absent from Jerusalem, at his house at Anathoth, ried about in a chariot; and therefore chariots, as well as horses, or some more remote part of the kingdom; so that, considering were dedicated to it. Since then we find these horses and Josiah’s haste and impatience, there might be no other remedy chariots standing so near together, the horses, we may suppose, at hand to apply to but this woman: great is the wrath of the were designed to draw the chariots, and the chariots to carry the Lord that is kindled against us,' says the king to his ministers, king and his other great officers, who were idolaters of this (2 Kings xxii. 13.) and therefore his intent, in sending them, kind, out at the east gate of the city every morning, to salute might be to inquire whether there were any hopes of appeasing and adore the sun at its coming above the horizon. — Bochart's his wrath, and in what manner it was to be done. Being thereHieroz. part. 1. b. xi. c. 10.
fore well assured of this woman's fidelity in delivering the mind a The Jews will tell us, that, on one side of the grave, where and counsel of God, the ministers who went to inquire, concludthe prophet of Judah and the prophet of Bethel lay together, ed rightly, that it was much more considerable what message there grew nettles and thistles, on the other, myrtles, and other God sent, than by whose hand it was that he conveyed it.odoriferous plants, signifying that a true and false prophet lay Poole's Annototions. there; and that this raised the king's curiosity to inquire whose a The words of the text are,–Surely there was not held such that sepulchre was; but there is no ground for this fabulous fancy. a passover, from the days of the judges, nor in all the days of the The king, we may suppose, espied a stone or a pillar more emi- kings of Israel, and of the kings of Judah,' (2 Kings xxii. 22.) nent than the rest, with the names of the persons that were which, taken in a literal sense, must denote, that this passover, buried under it, and this made him ask the question of the men which was celebrated by two tribes only, was more numerous, and of the city, that is, some of the old inhabitants that had escaped more magnificent, than all those that were observed in the days of the captivity, and not any of those new-comers whom the king David and Solomon, in the most happy and flourishing state of the of Assyria had sent thither; for these could give no account of Jewish monarchy, and when the whole twelve tribes were met the ancient histories of the Israelites; neither can we suppose together, to solemnize that feast. It may not be amiss there that the sepulchre itself, after so many years' standing, could have fore to allow, that, in these expressions, there is a kind of suresis been distinguishable, had not some pious person or other, with an or exaggeration, not unusual in sacred, as well as in prcfane intent to perpetuate the memory of the thing, in each successive authors. For nothing is more common than to say, “never was age, taken care to preserve and repair it (Mat. xxiii. 29.) — Le so much splendour and magnificence sten,” when we mean D Clerc's and Patrick's Commentaries.
more, than that the thing we speak of was very splendid and 6 Whether it was the whole Pentateuch, or the book of Deut-) magnificent; unless we suppose with some, that a eronomy only, which the high priest found in the temple, it is given to this passover above all the rest, in respect of the exact generally agreed, that the part which Shaphan read to the king observation of the rites and ceremonies belonging to it, which, a was taken out of Deuteronomy, and not without some probability, other times, were performed according to custom, and several that the xxviiith, xxixth, and xxxth chapters were that portion of things either altered or omitted; whereas at this, every thin, Scripture which the secretary, who, as we are told 2 Kings xxii, was performed according to the prescribed form of the law, from 8, had read the book before he brought it to the king, thought which, since the finding of this authentic copy of it, Jessah proper upon this occasion to turn to; for therein is contained a enjoined them not to vary one tittle.- Calmet's and Le Clerc's renewal of the covenant, which Moses, as mediator, had made Commentaries. (What distinguished this passover from all others between God and the people of Israel at mount Horeb; and before it, was doubtless the regularity with which it was observed
, therein are those threats and terrible comminations to the trans- together with the zeal and devotion of those who were engaged gressors of the law, whether prince or people, which affected in it. The words of the text do not therefore apply to top Josiah so much; and which Moses had given the Levites to number present, but to the manner in which the solemnity na put on the side of the covenant, that it might be there for a wit- kept, and the spirit which animated the worshippers.)—ED. ness' against the transgressors of it, (Deut. xxxi. 25, 26.) e 'Though Josiah was doubtless sincere in what he did, and Calmet's Commentary.
omitted nothing to restore the purity of God's worship, wherever o 'This is the only mention we have of this prophetess, and his power extended; yet the people had still a hankering after