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God, and shut up the doors of the house of the LORD, and he made bim altars in every corner of Jerusalem.
And in every several city of Judah he made high places to burn incense unto other gods, and provoked to anger the LORD God of his fathers.
And Ahaz reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem, and he slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city, even in Jerusalem : but they brought him not into the sepulchres of the kings of Israel, And Hezekiah his son reigned in his stead.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
It is evident that Ahaz either forgot, or paid no regard to, the threatenings of the prophet, that the king of Assyria should be a hired razor to cut off the house of Israel and Judah. For when he found himself oppressed by enemies on every side, instead of applying to the Lord for relief, he put himself under subjection to this very monarch, and endeavoured to hire his friendship with those treasures, which were appropriated to the LORD. His impious views were however defeated; for Tiglath-Pileser, instead of assisting Ahaz, came up and distressed him, but strengthened him not. It is supposed that he turned his whole force against Syria, and that, after killing Rezin the king of Damascus, he seized on that place, which was the capital city, and put an end to the kingdom of Syria.
What shocking impieties did Ahaz commit! That of removing the altar was a presumptuous breach of the Divine law ; and his paying adoration to the gods of Syria, was an open act of rebellion against the King of KINGS,
A haz had a very unquiet reign. What death he died is not mentioned ; but it is evident that his memory
was abhorred by his subjects, for he was not allowed an honourable burial in the sepulchres of the kings of Israel ; but was interred like a private person.
THE BEGINNING OF THE REIGN OF HEZEKIAH
KING OF JUDAH.
From 2 Chronicles, Chap. xxix.
Now it came to pass in the third year
of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, that Hezekiah the son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign.
Hezekiah began to reign when he was five and twenty
And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that David his father had done.
He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brazen serpent that Moses had made ; for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it; and he called it Nehushtan.
He, in the first year of his reign, in the first month opened the doors of the house of the Lord, and repaired them.
And he brought in the priests and the Levites, and gathered them together into the east street, 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 ;
For our fathers have trespassed, and done that which was evil in the eyes of the Lord our God, and have for. saken him, and have turned away their faces from the habitation of the LCRD, and turned their backs : T 2
Also they have shut up the doors of the porch, and put out the lamps, and have not burned incense, por offered burnt-offerings in the holy place, unto the God of Israel.
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.
For lo, our fathers have fallen by the sword, and our sons, and our daughters, and our wives, are in captivity for this.
Now it is mine heart to make a covenant with the Lord God of Israel, that his fierce wrath may turn away from us.
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.
Then the Levites arose, and gathered their brethren, and sanctified themselves, and cleansed the house of the LORD.
Then they went in to Hezekiah the king, and said, We have cleansed all the house of the LORD, and the altar. of burnt-offering with all the vessels thereof, and the shew-bread table, with all the vessels thereof.
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 ISORD.
Then Hezekiah the king rose early, and gathered the rulers of the city, and went up to the house of the LORD.
And they offered sacrifices and burnt-offerings for all Israel, by the king's commandment.
And he set the Levites in the house of the LORD with cymbals, with psalteries, and with harps, aceording to the commandment of David, and of Gad the king's seer,
and Nathan the propbet ; for so was the commandment of the LORD by his prophets.
And the Levites stood with the instruments of David, and the priests with the trumpets.
And Hezekiah commanded to offer the burnt offering upon the altar. And when she burnt-offering began, the song of the Lord began also with the trumpetsi-and with the instruments ordained by David king of Israel.
And all the congregation worshipped, and the singers sang, and the trumpeters sounded : and all this continued until the burnt-offering was finished. So the service of the house was set in order.
And when they had inade an end of offering, the king and all that were present with him bowed themselves and worshipped.
And Hezekiah rejoiced, and all the people, that GOD had prepared die people : for the thing was done - suda: denly
So there was great joy in Jerusalem ; for since the time of Solomon the son of David king of Israel there was not the like in Jerusalem.
Then take priests the Levites axosé, and blessed the people: and their voice was heard, and their prayer came up to his holy dwelling-place, even unto heaven..
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
The good Hezekiah had been an associate with his father in the last year of his reiga, and, widiout doubt, had beheld with great concern the neglect of God's worship, but he could not begin the reformation of the kingdom during the life of Ahaz,
Hezekiah was very sensible that the miseries which had fallen on the land of Judah were a just punishment T 3
for their wickedness, and the consequence of their breach of the Covenant, which the LORD had on his part so punctually performed : and he was very solicitoys to renew the covenant, "kpowing that the LORD had promised he would turn to his people whenever they should seek him with a perfect heart, and forsake the sins which had rendered them abominable in his sight. The speech which the good king made to the priests and Levites needs no explanation, and it had the intended effect.
We find that the people of Israel had even made the brazen serpent, which Moses set up in the wilderness, an. object of adoration ; Hezekiah therefore thought it necessary to destroy it.
The good king * next resolved to keep the passover, and, willing to extend his benevolence to the whole race of Jacob, he sent to all the tribes, to give them notice of his intention ; and though the land of Israel was in general immersed in idolatry, there were still who gladly obeyed the summons, and assisted at the solemnity.
That the feast of unleavened bread might be enjoyed by the poor as well as by the rich, Hezekiah himself made ample provision for it by his liberality, and every heart rejoiced in the hopes of God's returning favour ; their repentance found a gracious reception at the throne of mercy, and the BLESSING of the LORD was again restored to his people.
These religious exercises had a proper' effect on the minds of the Israelites, and they proceeded to destroy all the monuments of idolatry that remained. Hezekiah took care to renew the service of the Temple ac. fording to the original institution of it, and to provide
* See 2 Chron. ii. xxx.