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AND when these things had been duly celebrated, all Israel that were found in the cities of Juda, went out, and they broke the idols, and cut down the groves. demolished the high places, and destroyed the altars, not only out of all Juda and Benjamin, but out of Ephraim also and Manasses, till they had utterly destroyed them: then all the children of Israel returned to their possessions and cities.

Ver. 1.  Manasses, whether king Osee consented, or the people of Juda followed the dictates of their zeal, neglecting the regular order of things, which forbids the subjects of one kingdom to interfere thus with those of another.  Grotius.  S. Aug. q. in Deut. vii. and 12.

 

--- If Ezechias gave orders, we may suppose that he was assured of his neighbour's consent.  Josias (C. xxxiv. 6.) followed his example after most part of Israel was led away captive, and the country obeyed the king of Assyria.  C.




2 And Ezechias appointed companies of the priests, and the Levites, by their courses, every man in his own office, to wit, both of the priests, and of the Levites, for holocausts, and for peace offerings, to minister, and to praise, and to sing in the gates of the camp of the Lord.

Ver. 2.  Praise: lit. "confess."  H.

 

--- There is a confession of God's perfections, as well as of sin.  W.

 

--- Gates, within their respective courts.  C.

 

--- The Turks style the palace of their emperor, "the sublime porte."  H.

 

--- Camp, or temple.  Sept. "in the gates, in the courts of the house of the Lord."  M.

 

--- Grabe has not in the gates.  H.

 

--- We know that they did not sing there, but in the courts, (C.) or halls.  H.


3 And the king's part was, that of his proper substance the holocaust should be offered always morning and evening, and on the sabbaths, and the new moons and the other solemnities, as it is written in the law of Moses.

Ver. 3.  Substance.  Since David had place the ark in the palace of Sion, it seems the kings had furnished the solemn victims for morning and evening, on all the festivals.  Solomon also engaged to do it every day; and his magnificence herein astonished the queen of Saba.  C. viii. 13. and ix. 4. and 3 K. ix. 25.  Ezechiel (xlv.) assigns revenues to the prince for this purpose; but, as the people were often without any, they paid each the third part of a sicle, to furnish the victims.  2 Esd. x. 32.  C.

 

--- The king did not wish to exempt himself from contributing, while he required that the people should support the priests.  The troublesome times had greatly impaired the revenues of the temple, &c.  T.


4 He commanded also the people that dwelt in Jerusalem, to give to the priests, and the Levites their portion, that they might attend to the law of the Lord.

Ver. 4.  Portion.  Lit. "parts," (H.) first-fruits and tithes.  M.

 

--- Lord, without being taken off by worldly cares.  It would be well if Christian princes would make an adequate provision for the ministers of religion: (v. 16.  T.) as the law of nature dictates, that those who serve the public should be supported by it.  D.




5 Which when it was noised abroad in the ears of the people, the children of Israel offered in abundance the firstfruits of corn, wine, and oil, and honey: and brought the tithe of all things which the ground bringeth forth.

Ver. 5.  Honey for the priests, not for sacrifice.  Lev. ii. 11.  It may include dates, or palm wine.  See Pliny xiii. 4.  C.

 

--- Forth; only wheat, barley, the fruits of vine, olive, pomegranate, fig, and palm-trees.  R. Solomon.  Lev. xxvii. 30.  C.


6 Moreover the children of Israel and Juda, that dwelt in the cities of Juda, brought in the tithes of oxen, and sheep, and the tithes of holy things, which they had vowed to the Lord their God: and carrying them all, made many heaps.

Ver. 6.  Things, out of which the Levites had to give tithes to the priests.  Lyran.  Num. xviii. 26.  M.

 

--- Vowed.  Heb. "consecrated to....God, and laid them in heaps."  H.




7 In the third month they began to lay the foundations of the heaps, and in the seventh month, they finished them.

Ver. 7.  Them, bringing from Pentecost till the harvest was ended.


8 And when Ezechias and his princes came in, they saw the heaps, and they blessed the Lord and the people of Israel. 9 And Ezechias asked the priests and the Levites, why the heaps lay so. 10 Azarias the chief priest of the race of Sadoc answered him, saying: Since the firstfruits began to be offered in the house of the Lord, we have eaten, and have been filled, and abundance is left, because the Lord hath blessed his people: and of that which is left is this great store which thou seest.

Ver. 10.  Sadoc, being his grandson, (1 Par. vi. 12.  C.) or the father of Sellum.   Jun.

 

--- People, with abundance; so that more would belong to the priests.  C.


11 Then Ezechias commanded to prepare storehouses in the house of the Lord. And when they had done so,

Ver. 11.  Storehouses.  Sept. pastoforia.  Solomon had prepared such.  T.

 

--- But they had gone to ruin, and others might be requisite.  C.

 

--- The old granaries were to be repaired.  M.

 

--- People brought their first-fruits to the temple: but the Levites gathered the tithes, and gave a share to the priests, and to those who were on duty.  2 Esd. x. 36.


12 They brought in faithfully both the firstfruits, and the tithes, and all they had vowed. And the overseer of them was Chonenias the Levite, and Semei his brother was the second,

Ver. 12.  Second; his vicar or coadjutor.  C.  C. xxvi. 11. and xxviii. 7.  M.


13 And after him Jehiel, and Azarias, and Nahath, and Asael, and Jerimoth, and Jozabad, and Eliel, and Jesmachias, and Mahath, and Banaias, overseers under the hand of Chonenias, and Semei his brother, by the commandment of Ezechias the king, and Azarias the high priest of the house of God, to whom all things appertained.

Ver. 13.  High: lit. "pontiff."  H.

 

--- Heb. "captain."  He is styled first priest, v. 10.  C.

 

--- To whom, &c. is neither in Heb. nor in the Sept.  M.  C.  D.




14 But Core the son of Jemna the Levite, the porter of the east gate, was overseer of the things which were freely offered to the Lord, and of the firstfruits and the things dedicated for the holy of holies.

Ver. 14.  And of.  Prot. "To distribute the oblations of the Lord, and the most holy things," (H.) to the priests.




15 And under his charge were Eden, and Benjamin, Jesue, and Semeias, and Amarias, and Sechenias, in the cities of the priests, to distribute faithfully portions to their brethren, both little and great:


16 Besides the males from three years old and upward, to all that went into the temple of the Lord, and whatsoever there was need of in the ministry, and their offices according to their courses, day by day.

Ver. 16.  Besides, (exceptis.  C.) not to mention.  H.  See Lev. xxiii. 38.  Girls are included, v. 18.  It is supposed (C.) that children were at the breast till they were three years old, and therefore no portion is assigned them before.  Mariana.


17 To the priests by their families, and to the Levites from the twentieth year and upward, by their classes and companies.

Ver. 17.  Upward.  Ezechias followed the regulation of David, rather than that of Moses, who deferred the service till the 25th or 30th year.  Num. iv. 3. and viii. 24.  1 Paralipomenon xxiii. 24.


18 And to all the multitude, both to their wives, and to their children of both sexes, victuals were given faithfully out of the things that had been sanctified.

Ver. 18.  To all.  Prot. "the genealogy of all their little ones, their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, through all the congregation: for in their set office they sanctified themselves in holiness."  H.

 

--- All complied with their respective duties; the people, the distributors, and the priests.  C.


19 Also of the sons of Aaron who were in the fields and in the suburbs of each city, there were men appointed, to distribute portions to all the males, among the priests and the Levites.

Ver. 19.  Aaron.  Heb. and Sept. add, "the priests," (M.) which is sufficiently understood.

 

--- And in.  Heb. "of."  H.


20 So Ezechias did all things, which we have said in all Juda, and wrought that which was good; and right, and truth, before the Lord his God,

Ver. 20.  God.  This is the highest praise that can be given to a prince; and, in effect, we read there was none like him.  4 K. xviii. 5.  C.

 

--- Sept. omit and truth.  Ezechias loved it, and sincerely desired to serve the Lord.  H.




21 In all the service of the ministry of the house of the Lord according to the law and the ceremonies, desiring to seek his God with all his heart, and he did it and prospered,
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