And in every several city of Judah he made high places to burn incense to other gods, and provoked to anger the LORD God of his fathers.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)And in every several city of Judah he made high places.—Comp. 2Chronicles 28:2-4.
And provoked to anger.—Deuteronomy 32:16. Instead of this 2Chronicles 28:18 obscurely mentions further changes which Ahaz made in the Temple, “for fear of the king of Assyria." It seems probable that the sacrilege described in 2Chronicles 28:24 and in 2Kings 16:17-18, was perpetrated in collecting everything of any value to send to the rapacious Assyrian.2 Kings 16:17 note. The temple-worship was suspended, the lamps put out, and the doors shut, to prevent the priests from entering. The Jews still celebrate a yearly fast in commemoration of this time of affliction.
22. in the time of his distress did he trespass yet more against the Lord—This infatuated king surrendered himself to the influence of idolatry and exerted his royal authority to extend it, with the intensity of a passion—with the ignorance and servile fear of a heathen (2Ch 28:23) and a ruthless defiance of God (see on 2Ki 16:10-20).And in every several city of Judah he made high places to burn incense unto other gods, and provoked to anger the LORD God of his fathers.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)25. in every several city] Cp. Jeremiah 2:28.2 Chronicles 28:2), but ironically, because his government was the bitterest satire upon the name of the king of Israel, i.e., of the people of God (Casp.); so that Israel here, and in 2 Chronicles 28:27, as in 2 Chronicles 21:2; 2 Chronicles 12:6, is used with reference to the pregnant signification of the word. הפריע כּי, for (Ahaz) had acted wantonly in Judah; not: made Judah wanton, for הפריע is construed with b, not with accus. obj., as in Exodus 5:4.
After this episode the narrator comes back upon the help which Ahaz sought of the Assyrians. The Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser (on the name, see on 1 Chronicles 5:6) did indeed come, but עליו, against him (Ahaz), and oppressed him, but strengthened him not. חזקו ולא לו ויּצר Thenius and Bertheau translate: he oppressed him, that is, besieged him, yet did not overcome him; adducing in support of this, that חזק c. accus. cannot be shown to occur in the signification to strengthen one, and according to Jeremiah 20:7; 1 Kings 16:22, is to be translated, to overcome. But this translation does not at all suit the reason given in the following clause: "for Ahaz had plundered the house of Jahve, ... and given it to the king of Asshur; but it did not result in help to him." The sending away of the temple and palace treasures to the Assyrian king, to obtain his help, cannot possibly be stated as the reason why Tiglath-pileser besieged Ahaz, but did not overcome him, but only as a reason why he did not give Ahaz the expected help, and so did not strengthen him. חזקו ולא corresponds to the לו לעזרה ולא, 2 Chronicles 28:21, and both clauses refer back to לו לעזר, 2 Chronicles 28:16. That which Ahaz wished to buy from Tiglath-pileser, by sending him the treasures of the palace and the temple, - namely, help against his enemies, - he did not thereby obtain, but the opposite, viz., that Tiglath-pileser came against him and oppressed him. When, on the contrary, Thenius takes the matter thus, that the subjection of Ahaz under Tiglath-pileser was indeed prevented by the treasures given, but the support desired was not purchased by them, he has ungrammatically taken חזק as imperfect, and violently torn away the לו לעזרה לו ולא from what precedes. If we connect these words, as the adversative ולא requires, with וגו ויּתּן, then the expression, "Ahaz gave the Assyrian king the treasures of the temple, ... but it did not result in help to him," gives no support to the idea that Tiglath-pileser besieged Ahaz, but could not overcome him. The context therefore necessarily demands that חזק should have the active signification, to strengthen, notwithstanding that חזק in Kal is mainly used as intransitive. Moreover, לו ויּצר also does not denote he besieged, as אליו ויּצר or עליו, 2 Samuel 20:15; 1 Samuel 23:8; but only, he oppressed him, and cannot here be translated otherwise than the לו חצר, 2 Chronicles 28:22, which corresponds to it, where Bertheau also has decided in favour of the signification oppress. It is not stated wherein the oppression consisted; but without doubt it was that Tiglath-pileser, after he had both slain Rezin and conquered his kingdom, and also taken away many cities in Galilee and the land of Naphtali from Pekah, carrying away the inhabitants to Assyria (2 Kings 16:9 and 2 Kings 15:29), advanced against Ahaz himself, to make him a tributary. The verbs חלק and ויּתּן (2 Chronicles 28:21) are pluperfects: "for Ahaz had plundered," etc. Not when Tiglath-pileser oppressed him, but when he besought help of that king, Ahaz had sent him the treasures of the temple and the palace as שׁחד, 2 Kings 16:7-8. חלק denotes to plunder, like חלק, a share of booty, Numbers 31:36, and booty, Job 17:5. The selection of this word for the taking away of the treasures of silver and gold out of the temple and palace arises from the impassioned nature of the language. The taking away of these treasures was, in fact, a plundering of the temple and of the palace. Had Ahaz trusted in the Lord his God, he would not have required to lay violent hands on these treasures. והשּׂרים is added to המּלך בּית, to signify that Ahaz laid hands upon the precious things belonging to the high officials who dwelt in the palace, and delivered them over to the Assyrian king (Berth.).
Although the author of the Chronicle makes the further remark, that the giving of these treasures over did not result in help to Ahaz, yet it cannot be at all doubtful that he had the fact recorded in 2 Kings 16:7-9 before his eyes, and says nothing inconsistent with that account. According to 2 Kings 16:9, Tiglath-pileser, in consequence of the present sent him, took the field, conquered and destroyed the kingdom of Rezin, and also took possession of the northern part of the kingdom of Israel, as is narrated in 2 Kings 15:29. The author of the Chronicle has not mentioned these events, because Ahaz was not thereby really helped. Although the kings Rezin and Pekah were compelled to abandon their plan of capturing Jerusalem and subduing the kingdom of Judah, by the inroad of the Assyrians into their land, yet this help was to be regarded as nothing, seeing that Tiglath-pileser not only retained the conquered territories and cities for himself, but also undertook the whole campaign, not to strengthen Ahaz, but for the extension of his own (the Assyrian) power, and so made use of it, and, as we are told in 2 Chronicles 28:20 of the Chronicle, oppressed Ahaz. This oppression is, it is true, not expressly mentioned in 2 Kings 16, but is hinted in 2 Kings 16:18, and placed beyond doubt by 2 Kings 18:7, 2 Kings 18:14, 2 Kings 18:20; cf. Isaiah 36:5. In 2 Kings 16:18 it is recorded that Ahaz removed the covered sabbath portico which had been built to the house of God, and the external entrance of the king into the house of the Lord, because of (מפּני) the king of Assyria. Manifestly Ahaz feared, as J. D. Mich. has already rightly concluded from this, that the king of Assyria, whom he had summoned to his assistance, might at some time desire to take possession of the city, and that in such a case this covered sabbath porch and an external entrance into the temple might be of use to him in the siege. This note, therefore, notwithstanding its obscurity, yet gives sufficiently clear testimony in favour of the statement in the Chronicle, that the king of Assyria, who had been called upon by Ahaz for help, oppressed him, upon which doubt has been cast by Gesen. Isa. i. S. 269, etc. Tiglath-pileser must have in some way shown a desire to possess Jerusalem, and Ahaz have consequently feared that he might wish to take it by force. But from 2 Kings 18:7, 2 Kings 18:14, 2 Kings 18:20, cf. Isaiah 36:5, it is quite certain Ahaz had become tributary to the Assyrian king, and the kingdom dependent upon the Assyrians. It is true, indeed, that in these passages, strictly interpreted, this subjection of Judah is only said to exist immediately before the invasion of Sennacherib; but since Assyria made no war upon Judah between the campaign of Tiglath-pileser against Damascus and Samaria and Sennacherib's attack, the subjection of Judah to Assyria, which Hezekiah brought to an end, can only have dated from the time of Ahaz, and can only have commenced when Ahaz had called in Tiglath-pileser to aid him against his enemies. Certainly the exact means by which Tiglath-pileser compelled Ahaz to submit and to pay tribute cannot be recognised under, and ascertained from, the rhetorical mode of expression: Tiglath-pileser came against him, and oppressed him. Neither עליו ויּבא nor לו ויּצר require us to suppose that Tiglath-pileser advanced against Jerusalem with an army, although it is not impossible that Tiglath-pileser, after having conquered the Israelite cities in Galilee and the land of Naphtali, and carried away their inhabitants to Assyria (2 Kings 15:29), may have made a further advance, and demanded of Ahaz tribute and submission, ordering a detachment of his troops to march into Judah to enforce his demand. But the words quoted do not necessarily mean more than that Tiglath made the demand on Ahaz for tribute from Galilee, with the threat that, if he should refuse it, he would march into and conquer Judah; and that Ahaz, feeling himself unable to cope successfully with so powerful a king, promised to pay the tribute without going to war. Even in this last case the author of the Chronicle might say that the king who had been summoned by Ahaz to his assistance came against him and oppressed him, and helped him not. Cf. also the elaborate defence of the account in the Chronicle, in Caspari, S. 56ff.
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