2 Kings 16:11
And Urijah the priest built an altar according to all that king Ahaz had sent from Damascus: so Urijah the priest made it against king Ahaz came from Damascus.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
2 Kings 16:11-12. And Urijah built an altar, &c. — He complied with the king’s command against his own conscience, and against the express command of that great God to whom the king and he both were subject. The priest made it against Ahaz came from Damascus — He made haste and delayed not to do it, to please the king, and advance himself. The king approached to the altar, and offered thereon — Namely, a sacrifice, and that not unto God, but unto the Syrian idols, (2 Chronicles 28:23-24,) to whom that altar was appropriated. A wonderful blindness, to worship those gods, and expect help from them, who could not preserve their own country from ruin! Whether Ahaz offered this sacrifice himself, or by a priest, is not certain.

16:10-16 God's altar had hitherto been kept in its place, and in use; but Ahaz put another in the room of it. The natural regard of the mind of man to some sort of religion, is not easily extinguished; but except it be regulated by the word, and by the Spirit of God, it produces absurd superstitions, or detestable idolatries. Or, at best, it quiets the sinner's conscience with unmeaning ceremonies. Infidels have often been remarkable for believing ridiculous falsehoods.And saw an altar - Rather, "The altar," i. e. an Assyrian altar, and connected with that formal recognition of the Assyrian deities which the Ninevite monarchs appear to have required of all the nations whom they received into their empire.

The fashion of the altar - Assyrian altars were not very elaborate, but they were very different from the Jewish. They were comparatively small, and scarcely suited for "whole burnt-offerings." One type was square, about half the height of a man, and ornamented round the top with a sort of battlement. Another had a triangular base and a circular top consisting of a single flat stone. A third was a sort of portable stand, narrow, and about the height of a man. This last was of the kind which the kings took with them in their expeditions.

10-16. And king Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglath-pileser—This was a visit of respect, and perhaps of gratitude. During his stay in that heathen city, Ahaz saw an altar with which he was greatly captivated. Forthwith a sketch of it was transmitted to Jerusalem, with orders to Urijah the priest to get one constructed according to the Damascus model, and let this new altar supersede the old one in the temple. Urijah, with culpable complaisance, acted according to his instructions (2Ki 16:16). The sin in this affair consisted in meddling with, and improving according to human taste and fancy, the altars of the temple, the patterns of which had been furnished by divine authority (Ex 25:40; 26:30; 27:1; 1Ch 28:19). Urijah was one of the witnesses taken by Isaiah to bear his prediction against Syria and Israel (Isa 8:2). So he complied with the king’s command against his own conscience, and against the express command of that great God, to which the king and he both were subject. He made haste, and delayed not to do it, to please the king, and advance himself.

And Urijah the priest built an altar according to all that King Ahaz had sent from Damascus,.... Exactly according to the size, form, figure, and carved work of it, though expressly contrary to the command of God; which fixed both the form and matter of the altar of God, with everything appertaining to it, which he, being high priest, could not be ignorant of, Exodus 27:1, &c. but he was a timeserver, and sought to curry favour with his prince:

so Urijah the priest made it against King Ahaz came from Damascus; both king and priest were in haste to have this altar made. Ahaz could not stay till he came home, but sent directions about it from Damascus, and the priest was so expeditious in observing his commands, that he got it done before he came thence to Jerusalem.

And Urijah the priest built an altar {g} according to all that king Ahaz had sent from Damascus: so Urijah the priest made it against king Ahaz came from Damascus.

(g) We see that there is no prince so wicked that he cannot find liars and false ministers to serve his purposes.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
11. so Urijah … Damascus] These words are omitted by the LXX. though not in all MSS. Perhaps because the preceding clause ends with the same word as this, the eye of a scribe may have been misled. The part played by Urijah in this business is not mentioned by the Chronicler. The R.V. renders this clause So did Urijah the priest make it. This is done to shew that the word ‘so’ refers to the previous phrase ‘according to all that king Ahaz had sent’.

Verse 11. - And Urijah the priest. No doubt the Uriah of Isaiah (Isaiah 8:2), who might be a "faithful witness" to the record of a fact, though a bad man, over-complaisant in carrying out the will of the king. Built an altar according to all that King Ahaz had sent from Damascus: - rather, built the altar, i.e. the altar commanded by the monarch - so Urijah the priest made it against King Ahaz came from Damascus. A bold high priest like Azariah (2 Chronicles 26:17) would have refused to work the king's will in such a matter, which was certainly a desecration of the temple, and to some extent a compromise with idolatry. But Urijah was a man of a weaker fiber, and does not seem to have thought even of remonstrance, much less of resistance. 2 Kings 16:11Ahaz paid Tiglath-pileser a visit in Damascus, "to present to him his thanks and congratulations, and possibly also to prevent a visit from Tiglath-pileser to himself, which would not have been very welcome" (Thenius). The form דּוּמשׂק is neither to be altered into דּמּשׂק nor regarded as a copyist's error for דּרמשׂק, as we have several words in this chapter that are formed with dull Syriac u-sound. The visit of Ahaz to Damascus is simply mentioned on account of what follows, namely, that Ahaz saw an altar there, which pleased him so much that he sent a picture and model of it "according to all the workmanship thereof," i.e., its style of architecture, to Urijah the priest (see Isaiah 8:2), and had an altar made like it for the temple, upon which, on his return to Jerusalem, he ordered all the burnt-offerings, meat-offerings, and drink-offerings to be presented. The allusion here is to the offerings which he commanded to be presented for his prosperous return to Jerusalem.
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