2 Kings 17:14
Notwithstanding they would not hear, but hardened their necks, like to the neck of their fathers, that did not believe in the LORD their God.
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(14) Notwithstanding . . . hear.—Rather, and they hearkened not.

Necks.—Heb., neck. (Comp. Deuteronomy 10:16; Jeremiah 17:23; 2Chronicles 36:13.)

Like to the neck.—LXX. and Syriac, more than the neck. One letter different in the Hebrew.

Did not believe in the Lord their God.—The reference is not to intellectual but to moral unbelief, evincing itself as disobedience. Vulg., “qui volerunt obediren.” They did not render the obedience of faith. (Comp. the use of ἀπειθεῖ ν in the Greek Testament.)

2 Kings 17:14. Notwithstanding, they would not hear, but hardened their necks — Refused to submit their necks to the yoke of God’s precepts: a metaphor taken from stubborn oxen that will not bow to the yoke. Like to the neck of their fathers — In the wilderness; that did not believe in the Lord their God — This was the original and primary cause of all their sins and sufferings, their unbelief; this formerly prevented their fathers from entering Canaan, and now turned them out of it: they did not truly believe in God’s power, and love, and faithfulness; did not receive his truths, though attested by signs and wonders innumerable; did not credit his threatenings, nor rely on his promises. The testimony of the prophets, therefore, was without effect, with respect to the nation in general, and their endeavours to reclaim them were exerted in vain. And God was compelled, humanly speaking, in vindication of his own infinite perfections, the injured rights of his moral government, and the cause of truth and righteousness, to execute the frequently-denounced vengeance, and send wrath upon them to the uttermost.17:7-23 Though the destruction of the kingdom of the ten tribes was but briefly related, it is in these verses largely commented upon, and the reasons of it given. It was destruction from the Almighty: the Assyrian was but the rod of his anger, Isa 10:5. Those that bring sin into a country or family, bring a plague into it, and will have to answer for all the mischief that follows. And vast as the outward wickedness of the world is, the secret sins, evil thoughts, desires, and purposes of mankind are much greater. There are outward sins which are marked by infamy; but ingratitude, neglect, and enmity to God, and the idolatry and impiety which proceed therefrom, are far more malignant. Without turning from every evil way, and keeping God's statutes, there can be no true godliness; but this must spring from belief of his testimony, as to wrath against all ungodliness and unrighteousness, and his mercy in Christ Jesus.To "harden" or "stiffen the neck" is a common Hebrew expression significative of unbending obstinacy and determined self-will. See the marginal references. 2Ki 17:7-41. Samaria Taken, and Israel for Their Sins Carried Captive.

7. For so it was, that the children of Israel had sinned—There is here given a very full and impressive vindication of the divine procedure in punishing His highly privileged, but rebellious and apostate, people. No wonder that amid so gross a perversion of the worship of the true God, and the national propensity to do reverence to idols, the divine patience was exhausted; and that the God whom they had forsaken permitted them to go into captivity, that they might learn the difference between His service and that of their despotic conquerors.

Hardened their necks, i.e. refused to submit their neck to the yoke of God’s precepts; a metaphor from stubborn oxen, that make their necks hard, or stiff, and will not bow to the yoke: See Poole "Deu 31:27". Notwithstanding, they would not hear,.... Their instructions, advice, and admonitions, and obey them:

but hardened their necks, like to the neck of their fathers, that did not believe in the Lord their God: as Terah and Nahor, who were idolaters; or rather, their fathers in the wilderness, that made and served the calf, and those that rebelled against Moses and Aaron; it is a metaphor taken from oxen, that will not submit their necks to the yoke, but draw back from it, or cast it off, see Acts 7:51.

Notwithstanding they would not hear, but hardened their necks, like to the neck of their {f} fathers, that did not believe in the LORD their God.

(f) So that to allege the authority of our fathers or great antiquity, except we can prove that they were godly, is but to declare that we are the children of the wicked.

14. hardened their necks] R.V. neck. The original has the singular, the people being regarded as one body. Israel throughout the Scripture is constantly reproached as a ‘stiffnecked’ people. Cf. Exodus 32:9; Exodus 33:3; Deuteronomy 10:16; Acts 7:51 and parallel passages.

that did not believe] R.V. who believed not. The relative is thus connected a little more clearly with its proper antecedent ‘fathers’.Verse 14. - Notwithstanding they would not hear; rather, and they would not hear. The construction still runs on without any change (see the comment on vers. 7 and 12). But hardened their necks. (On the origin of the phrase, see 'Homiletic Commentary' on Exodus 32:9.) The obstinate perversity of the Israelites, which the phrase expresses, is noted through the entire history (see Exodus 33:3, 5; Exodus 34:9; Deuteronomy 9:6, 13; Psalm 75:5; 2 Chronicles 30:8; 2 Chronicles 36:13; Nehemiah 9:16, 17, 29; Jeremiah 7:26; Jeremiah 17:23; Acts 7:51, etc.). Like to the neck of their fathers, that did not believe in the Lord their God. The reference is especially to the many passages in the Pentateuch where the Israelites are called "a stiff-necked people" (see, besides those already quoted, Deuteronomy 31:27). The apostasy of Israel manifested itself in two directions: 1. in their walking in the statutes of the nations who were cut off from before them, instead of in the statutes of Jehovah, as God had commanded (cf. Leviticus 18:4-5, and Leviticus 18:26, Leviticus 20:22-23, etc.; and for the formula וגו הורישׁ אשׁר הגּוים, which occurs repeatedly in our books - e.g., 2 Kings 16:3; 2 Kings 21:2, and 1 Kings 14:24 and 1 Kings 21:26 - compare Deuteronomy 11:23 and Deuteronomy 18:12); and 2. in their walking in the statutes which the kings of Israel had made, i.e., the worship of the calves. עשׂוּ אשׁר: it is evident from the parallel passage, 2 Kings 17:19, that the subject here stands before the relative.
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