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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

2 Chronicles 29

 

 

Verse 1

Hezekiah began to reign when he was five and twenty years old, and he reigned nine and twenty years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Abijah, the daughter of Zechariah.

Hezekiah began to reign ... - (see the notes at 2 Kings 18:1-3) His mother's name, which, in the passage referred to, appears in an abridged form, is here given in full.


Verse 2

And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that David his father had done.

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 3

He in the first year of his reign, in the first month, opened the doors of the house of the LORD, and repaired them.

In the first year of his reign, in the first month - not the first month after his accession to the throne, but in Nisan, the first month of the sacred year, the season appointed for the celebration of the Passover.

Opened the doors of the house of the Lord - which had been closed up by his father (2 Chronicles 28:24).

And repaired them - or embellished them (cf. 2 Kings 18:16).


Verse 4

And he brought in the priests and the Levites, and gathered them together into the east street,

The east street - the court of the priests, which fronted the eastern gate of the temple. Assembling the priests and Levites there, he enjoined them to set about the immediate purification of the temple. It does not appear that the order referred to the removal of idols, because objects of idolatrous homage could scarcely have been put there, seeing the doors had been shut up; but in its forsaken and desolate state the temple and its courts had been polluted by every kind of impurities.


Verse 5

And said unto them, Hear me, ye Levites, sanctify now yourselves, and sanctify the house of the LORD God of your fathers, and carry forth the filthiness out of the holy place.

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 6

For our fathers have trespassed, and done that which was evil in the eyes of the LORD our God, and have forsaken him, and have turned away their faces from the habitation of the LORD, and turned their backs.

Our fathers have trespassed. Ahaz and the generation contemporary with him were specially meant, because they "turned away their faces from the habitation of the Lord;" and whether or not they turned east to the rising sun, they abandoned the worship of God.


Verse 7

Also they have shut up the doors of the porch, and put out the lamps, and have not burned incense nor offered burnt offerings in the holy place unto the God of Israel.

They ... shut up the doors of the porch - so that the sacred ritual was entirely discontinued.


Verse 8

Wherefore the wrath of the LORD was upon Judah and Jerusalem, and he hath delivered them to trouble, to astonishment, and to hissing, as ye see with your eyes.

Wherefore the wrath of the Lord was upon Judah and Jerusalem. This pious king had the discernment to ascribe all the national calamities that had befallen the kingdom to the true cause-namely, apostasy from God. The country had been laid waste by successive wars of invasion, and its resources drained-many families mourned members of their household still suffering the miseries of foreign captivity-all their former prosperity and glory had fled-and to what was this painful and humiliating state of affairs to be traced, but the manifest judgment of God upon the kingdom for its sins?


Verse 9

For, lo, our fathers have fallen by the sword, and our sons and our daughters and our wives are in captivity for this.

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 10

Now it is in mine heart to make a covenant with the LORD God of Israel, that his fierce wrath may turn away from us.

Now it is in mine heart to make a covenant with ... God. Convinced of the sin and bitter fruits of idolatry, Hezekiah intended to reverse the policy of his father, and to restore, in all its ancient purity and glory, the worship of the true God. His announcement of this resolution at the beginning of his reign attests his sincere piety, and it also proves the strength of his conviction that righteousness exalteth a nation; because, instead of waiting until his throne was consolidated, he devised measures of national reformation at the beginning of his reign, and vigorously faced all the difficulties which, in such a course, he had to encounter, after the people's habits had so long been moulded to idolatry. His intentions were first disclosed to this meeting of the priests and Levites-for the agency of these officials was to be employed in carrying them into effect.


Verse 11

My sons, be not now negligent: for the LORD hath chosen you to stand before him, to serve him, and that ye should minister unto him, and burn incense.

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 12

Then the Levites arose, Mahath the son of Amasai, and Joel the son of Azariah, of the sons of the Kohathites: and of the sons of Merari, Kish the son of Abdi, and Azariah the son of Jehalelel: and of the Gershonites; Joah the son of Zimmah, and Eden the son of Joah:

Then the Levites arose. Fourteen chiefs undertook the duty of collecting and preparing their brethren for the important work of 'cleansing the Lord's house.' Beginning with the outer courts-that of the priests and that of the people-the cleansing of these occupied eight days, after which they set themselves to purify the interior; but as the Levites were not allowed to enter within the walls of the temple, the priests brought all the sweepings out to the porch, where they were received by the Levites, and thrown into the brook Kidron. This took eight days more; and at the end of this period they repaired to the palace, and announced that not only had the whole of the sacred edifice, within and without, undergone a thorough purification, but all the vessels which the late king had taken away and applied to a common use in his palace had been restored "and sanctified."


Verses 13-18

And of the sons of Elizaphan; Shimri, and Jeiel: and of the sons of Asaph; Zechariah, and Mattaniah:

No JFB commentary on these verses.


Verse 19

Moreover all the vessels, which king Ahaz in his reign did cast away in his transgression, have we prepared and sanctified, and, behold, they are before the altar of the LORD.

Did cast away , [Septuagint, ha emianen] - which he had profaned or defiled.


Verse 20

Then Hezekiah the king rose early, and gathered the rulers of the city, and went up to the house of the LORD.

Then Hezekiah the king rose early, and gathered the rulers of the city. His anxiety to enter upon the expiatory service with all possible despatch, now that the temple had been properly prepared for it, prevented his summoning the whole representatives of Israel. The requisite number of victims having been provided, and the officers of the temple having sanctified themselves according to the directions of the law, the priests were appointed to offer sacrifices of atonement successively "for the kingdom," - i:e., for the sins of the king and his predecessors; "for the sanctuary" - i:e., for the sins of the priests themselves, and for the desecration of the temple: "and for Judah" - i:e., for the people, who, by their voluntary consent, were involved in the guilt of the national apostasy.

When the nation had ignorantly fallen into the sin of idolatry, the sacrifice of a single bullock or goat was prescribed, with the addition of another bullock as a burnt offering. But when the apostasy had been general and aggravated, involving not only the neglect of the appointed rites of religion, but also the adoption of foreign and pagan observances, both a bullock and a goat [on the use of the word tsaapiyr (Hebrew #6842), he-goat, see 'Introduction' to Chronicles] were required as particular sacrifices, with the added bullock for the burnt offering, which betokened the revival of the ancient ritual.

Thus, Hezekiah, on re-opening the temple after it had been for some time closed and many foreign superstitions introduced, offered for the two offences an expiating sacrifice of bullocks and goats. Animals of the kinds used in sacrifice were offered by sevens-that number indicating completeness. The Levites were ordered to praise God in their several choirs, divided into different classes, among which there seems to have been a female choir (see the note at 1 Chronicles 25:5); and with musical instruments, which, although not originally used in the tabernacle, had been enlisted in the service of divine worship by David, on the advice of the prophets Gad and Nathan, as well calculated to animate the devotions of the people.

At the close of the special services of the occasion-namely, the offering of atonement sacrifices-the king and all civic rulers who were present joined in the worship. A grand anthem was sung (2 Chronicles 29:30) by the choir, consisting of some of the Psalms of David and Asaph (the name of Asaph, as a writer of sacred songs, is still famous in the East, particularly in Affghanistan and the valley of Cashmere: Wolff's 'Missionary Researches,' p. 493), and a great number of thank offerings, praise offerings, and free-will burnt offerings were presented at the invitation of the king.

Thus, at the restoration of the divine service in the time of Hezekiah, the sacred odes or hymns of David were publicly recognized as part of the divinely-appointed worship of Zion. But, as Saalschutz observes ('Archaeol. der Hebr.,' 1:, p. 299), no notice is taken of women with timbrels, and dances (see the notes at 2 Samuel 6:14; 2 Samuel 6:20; 2 Samuel 6:22), so that this element was discontinued after David's death.


Verses 21-30

And they brought seven bullocks, and seven rams, and seven lambs, and seven he goats, for a sin offering for the kingdom, and for the sanctuary, and for Judah. And he commanded the priests the sons of Aaron to offer them on the altar of the LORD. No JFB commentary on these verses.


Verse 31

Then Hezekiah answered and said, Now ye have consecrated yourselves unto the LORD, come near and bring sacrifices and thank offerings into the house of the LORD. And the congregation brought in sacrifices and thank offerings; and as many as were of a free heart burnt offerings.

Hezekiah ... said, Now ye have consecrated yourselves unto the Lord, come near. This address was made to the priests, as being now, by the sacrifice of the expiation offerings, anew consecrated to the service of God, and qualified to resume the functions of their sacred office (Exodus 28:41; Exodus 29:32).

The congregation brought in - i:e., the body of civic rulers present.


Verse 32-33

And the number of the burnt offerings, which the congregation brought, was threescore and ten bullocks, an hundred rams, and two hundred lambs: all these were for a burnt offering to the LORD.

No JFB commentary on these verses.


Verse 34

But the priests were too few, so that they could not flay all the burnt offerings: wherefore their brethren the Levites did help them, till the work was ended, and until the other priests had sanctified themselves: for the Levites were more upright in heart to sanctify themselves than the priests.

The priests were too few ... wherefore their brethren the Levites did help them. The skins of beasts intended as peace offerings might be taken off by the officers, because in such cases the carcass was not wholly laid upon the altar; but animals meant for burnt offerings, which were wholly consumed by fire, could be flayed by the priests alone, not even Levites being allowed to touch them, except, as here, in cases of unavoidable necessity (2 Chronicles 35:11). The duty being assigned by the law to the priests (Leviticus 1:6), was construed by consuetudinary practice as an exclusion of all others not connected with the Aaronic family. For the Levites were more right in heart to sanctify themselves than the priests - i:e., displayed greater alacrity than the priests. This service was hastened on by the irrepressible solicitude of the king; and whether it was that many of the priests being absent in the country, had not arrived in time-whether, from the long interruption of the public duties, some of them had relaxed in their wonted attention to personal cleanliness, and had many preparations to make-or whether, from some having participated in the idolatrous services introduced by Ahaz, they were backward in repairing to the temple-a reflection does seem to be cast upon their order as dilatory and not universally ready for duty (cf 2 Chronicles 30:15). Thus, was the newly-consecrated temple re-opened, to the no small joy of the pious king and all the people.

 


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Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 29:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/2-chronicles-29.html. 1871-8.

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