And he said to him that was over the vestry, Bring forth vestments for all the worshippers of Baal. And he brought them forth vestments.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)The vestry.—The word (meltāhāh) occurs here only. The Targum has chests (qumtrayyâ—i.e., κάμπτραι, “caskets”; comp. Latin, capsa). The LXX. does not translate the word.
The Syriac has, “And he said to the treasurer” (gizbârâ). The Vulg., “And he said to those who were over the vestments.” Thenius thinks the word merely means “cell” or “storechamber,” like lishkāh, the root of which may be cognate (1Chronicles 28:12). It is said that there is an Ethiopie word, meaning “linen robe,” which is connected with this curious term. Thus it would be literally “vestry.”
Brought them forth vestments.—Literally, the vestments—viz., those which were customary on such occasions. Thenius supposes that festival attire from Jehu’s palace is meant, rather than from the wardrobe of the Baal temple. But it seems more natural to understand that Jehu simply gives directions that all the priests and prophets should be careful to wear their distinctive dress at the festival, which was to be a specially great one. (Comp. Herod. v. 5; Sil. Ital. iii. 24 seq.)2 Kings 10:22. He said, Bring forth vestments — Sacred garments, such as were used by the priests, and others of God’s ministers in his service; whence idolaters borrowed the custom of using such garments in the worship of their false gods. For all the worshippers of Baal — It can hardly be supposed, that absolutely all the people that worshipped Baal, and were now assembled, are included here, and had vestments brought them; because the people in general wore no distinct garments in their worship, whether of Jehovah or Baal, but the priests and other ministers only.Vestments; sacred garments; such as were used by the priests and others of the Lord’s ministry in God’s worship; and from thence the devil borrowed this custom in his worship.
bring forth vestments for all the worshippers of Baal; not for the priests only, but for all that worshipped; and this he ordered for the greater solemnity of this service, as he would have it thought; but, in truth, that the worshippers of Baal might be separated, and distinguished from the worshippers of the Lord, that not one of them might be among them:And he said unto him that was over the vestry, Bring forth vestments for all the worshippers of Baal. And he brought them forth vestments.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)22. he said unto him that was over the vestry] The vestry must have belonged to the house of Baal; we cannot suppose that the king’s wardrobe-keeper had a stock of robes to supply such a multitude of worshippers. Probably because of the control which had been exercised there by the house of Ahab, Jehu could give orders in Baal’s temple and have them obeyed. It appears from the narrative that vestments were not used only by the priests, but by all the worshippers as well. Perhaps there was some distinction between the character and material of the robes.Verse 22. - And he said unto him that was over the vestry. The word translated "vestry" (מֶלְתָּחָה) occurs only in this place; but its meaning is sufficiently ascertained, first, from the context, and secondly, from the cognate Ethiopic altah, which means "a linen garment." Linen garments were regarded as especially pure, and were generally affected by the priests of ancient religions, and preferred by the worshippers. Heathen temples had almost always "vestries" or "wardrobes" attached to them, where garments considered suitable were laid up in store. Bring forth vestments for all the worshippers of Baal. It may be doubted whether "all the worshippers of Baal" could have been supplied with robes out of the temple vestry, which would ordinarily contain only vestments for the priests. But Jehu may have had the supply kept up from the robe-room of the palace, which would be practically inexhaustible. The gift of garments to all comers, which was certainly not usual, must have been intended to render the festival as attractive as possible. And he brought them forth vestments. The keeper of the wardrobe obeyed the order given him, and supplied vestments to all the worshippers. Jeremiah 35:6). The rule which the latter laid down for his sons and descendants for all time, was to lead a simple nomad life, namely, to dwell in tents, follow no agricultural pursuits, and abstain from wine; which rule they observed so sacredly, that the prophet Jeremiah held them up as models before his own contemporaries, who broke the law of God in the most shameless manner, and was able to announce to the Rechabites that they would be exempted from the Chaldaean judgment for their faithful observance of their father's precept (Jeremiah 35). Rechab, from whom the descendants of Jehonadab derived their tribe-name, was the son of Hammath, and belonged to the tribe of the Kenites (1 Chronicles 2:55), to which Hobab the father-in-law of Moses also belonged (Numbers 10:29); so that the Rechabites were probably descendants of Hobab, since the Kenites the sons of Hobab had gone with the Israelites from the Arabian desert to Canaan, and had there carried on their nomad life (Judges 1:16; Judges 4:11; 1 Samuel 15:6; see Witsii Miscell. ss. ii. p. 223ff.). This Jehonadab was therefore a man distinguished for the strictness of his life, and Jehu appears to have received him in this friendly manner on account of the great distinction in which he was held, not only in his own tribe, but also in Israel generally, that he might exalt himself in the eyes of the people through his friendship.
(Note: According to C. a Lapide, Jehu took him up into his chariot "that he might establish his authority with the Samaritans, and secure a name for integrity by having Jehonadab as his ally, a man whom all held to be both an upright and holy man, that in this way he might the more easily carry out the slaughter of the Baalites, which he was planning, without any one daring to resist him.")
- In את־לבבך הישׁ, "is with regard to thy heart honourable or upright?" את is used to subordinate the noun to the clause, in the sense of quoad (see Ewald, 277, a.). לאחאב כּל־הנּשׁארים, "all that remained to Ahab," i.e., all the remaining members of Ahab's house.
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