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Pekahiah Reigns,

thousand talents of silver, that his hand might be with him to confirm the kingdom in his hand. (20) And Menahem 1exacted the money of Israel, even of all the mighty men of wealth, of each man fifty shekels of silver, to give to the king of Assyria. So the king of Assyria turned back, and stayed not there in the land.

II. KINGS, XV.

(21) And the rest of the acts of Menahem, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel? (22) And Menahem slept with his fathers; and Pekahiah his son reigned in his stead.

(23) In the fiftieth year of Azariah king of Judah Pekahiah the son of Menahem began to reign over Israel in Samaria, and reigned two years. (24) And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD: he departed not from the sins of

and is Slain by Remaliah.

Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin. (25) But Pekah the son of Remaliah, a captain of his, conspired against him, and smote him in Samaria, in the palace of the king's house, with Argob and Arieh, and with him fifty

1 Heb., caused to men of the Gileadites: and he killed him, and reigned in his room.

come forth.

(26) And the rest of the acts of Pekahiah, and all that he did, behold, they are written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel.

(27) In the two and fiftieth year of Azariah king of Judah Pekah the son of Remaliah began to reign over Israel in Samaria, and reigned twenty years. (28) And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD: he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin.

(29) In the days of Pekah king of

pretenders as a vassal of Assyria. (Comp. Hosea v. 13, vii. 11, viii. 9.) Tiglath Pileser had first reduced Rezin king of Syria-Damascus, which was probably much weakened by the victories of Jeroboam II. (See Note on verse 14.)

(23-26) THE REIGN OF PEKAHIAH (Heb., Pěkahyah).

B.C. 759.

B.C. 759.

B.C. 761.

(20) Exacted.-Literally, caused to go out; a word already used in the sense of to lay out, expend money (chap. xii. 12). Probably, therefore, laid (vayyissä), i.e., imposed, should be read here (Gen. xxxi. 17).

Of.-Heb., upon.

B.C. 740.

The mighty men of wealth.-A later use of the Hebrew phrase, which, in older parlance, means "the heroes of the host" (Judges vi. 12; 1 Sam. ix. 1).

Fifty shekels.-The talent of silver was worth 3,000 shekels. The payment of 1,000 talents (3,000,000 shekels) therefore implies a total of 60,000 persons able to contribute. Fifty shekels were one maneh (Assyrian, mana; Greek, uvû, and Latin, mina). There was no great Temple treasury to draw from in the northern kingdom, and any palace hoards would have disappeared in the confusions attending the frequent revolutions of the time.

There. Or, then (Ps. xiv. 5).

(23) In the fiftieth year.-The forty-ninth, if verse

seventeen were exact.

(25) But... a captain of his.-And... his adjutant (or knight, chap. vii. 2).

The palace of the king's house. The same expression occurred in 1 Kings xvi. 18. The word armôn, rendered "palace," is usually explained as meaning citadel or keep, from a root meaning to be high. (Comp. рa in Greek.) Ewald makes it the harem, which, as the innermost and most strongly-guarded part of an Oriental palace, is probably meant here. Thither Pekahiah had fled for refuge before the conspirators.

person who bore this name was a native of the district of Bashan so designated (1 Kings iv. 13); Arieh ("lion "), like our own Coeur-de-Lion, betokens strength and bravery. (Comp. 1 Chron. xii. 8, "The Gadites, whose faces were as the faces of lions.")

With Argob and Arieh.-Pekah slew these two persons, probably officers of the royal guard, who stood by their master, as well as the king himself.

The peculiar names are an indication of the historical character of the account. Argob suggests that the

And with him fifty men of the Gileadites. -Or, and with him were fifty, &c. Pekah was supported by fifty soldiers, probably of the royal guard. Menahem himself was of Gadite origin (verse 17), and so belonged to Gilead. He would therefore be likely to recruit his body-guard from among the Gileadites, who were always famous for their prowess. (Comp. Josh. xvii. 1; Judges xi. 12; 1 Chron. xxvi. 31.) The two names Argob and Arieh agree with this supposition. The LXX. reads, in place of "the Gileadites," ånd Tûv TETPAKoolwv, “of the four hundred," which reminds us of David's 'six hundred Gibbôrím (2 Sam. xv. 18).

Josephus accounts for the short reign of Pekahiah by the statement that he imitated the cruelty of his father.

(27-31) THE REIGN OF PEKAH, SON OF REMALIAH, IN SAMARIA.

(27) Reigned twenty years.-This does not agree with the duration assigned to the reign of Jotham (verse 33), and the year assigned as the beginning of Hoshea's reign (chap. xvii. 1). For, according to verse 32, Pekah had reigned about two years when Jotham succeeded in Judah, and Jotham reigned sixteen years; and, according to chap. xvii. 1, Pekah was succeeded by Hoshea in the twelfth year of Jotham's successor, Ahaz. These data make the duration of Pekah's reign from twenty-eight to thirty years. We must, therefore, either assume, with Thenius, that "the numeral sign for 30 () has been corrupted into 20 (5)," or, with Ewald, that "and nine" has been accidentally omitted after "twenty."

(29) Tiglath-pileser. This Assyrian sovereign, who reigned from 745 to 727 B.C., is called in his own inscriptions, Tukulti- (or Tuklat) 'abal-Esarra, which Schrader renders, "my trust is Adar"-literally, Trust is the son of the temple of Sarra. (See Note on 1

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II. KINGS, XV.

Israel Invaded by Tiglath-pileser.

Israel came Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria, and took Ijon, and Abel-bethmaachah, and Janoah, and Kedesh, and Hazor, and Gilead, and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali, and carried them captive to Assyria.

(30) And Hoshea the son of Elah made a conspiracy against Pekah the son of Remaliah, and smote him, and slew him, and reigned in his stead, in the twentieth year of Jotham the son of Uzziah.

(31) And the rest of the acts of Pekah, and all that he did, behold, they are written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel.

(32) In the second year of Pekah the son of Remaliah king of Israel began Jotham the son of Uzziah king of Judah to reign. (33) Five and twenty

B.C. 739.

a 2 Chron. 27. 1.

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B.C. 758.

Chron. v. 26.) "The idea we get of this king from the remains of these inscriptions corresponds throughout to what we know of him from the Bible. Everywhere he is presented as a powerful warrior-king, who subjugated the entire tract of anterior Asia, from the frontier mountains of Media in the east to the Mediterranean sea in the west, including a part of Cappadocia " (Schrader, K.A.T., p. 247).

Took Ijon, and Abel-beth-maachah all the land of Naphtali.-Comp. 1 Kings xv. 20.

Janoah.-Not the border-town between Ephraim and Manasseh (Josh. xvi. 6), as the context requires a place in the northernmost part of Israel.

Kedesh. On the western shore of the waters of Merom (Josh. xxi. 37).

Hazor.-See 1 Kings ix. 15.

Gilead. See chap. xiv. 25; 1 Chron. v. 26. It was no long time since Jeroboam II. had recovered it for Israel. According to Schrader (K.A.T., pp. 254, seq.) the reference of the verse is to Tiglath Pileser's expedition in B.C. 734, called in the Eponym list an expedition to the land of Pilista (Philistia). With this Schrader connects a fragment of the annals which begins with a list of towns conquered by Tiglath, and ends thus: . . . "the town of Gaal (ad) . . . (A) bil. of the upper part of the land of Beth-Omri (i.e., Samaria). . . in its whole extent I annexed to the territory of Assyria; my prefects the sagans I appointed over them." The fragment goes on to mention the flight of Hânûn, king of Gaza, to Egypt, and the carrying off of his goods and his gods by the conqueror. It is added, The land of Beth-Omri the whole body of his men, their goods, to the land of Assyria I led away, Pakaha (i.e., Pekah) their king I slew (so Schrader;

66

·

over

? they slew '), and A-u-si-ha (i.e., Hoshea) them I appointed. Ten (talents of gold, 1,000 talents of silver) I received from them."

B.C. cir. 742.

The Reign of Jotham in Judah.

years old was he when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Jerusha, the daughter of Zadok. (34) And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD: he did according to all that his father Uzziah had done. (35) Howbeit the high places were not removed the people sacrificed and burned incense still in the high places. He built the higher gate of the house of the LORD.

(36) Now the rest of the acts of Jotham, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?

(37) In those days the LORD began to send against Judah Rezin the king of Syria, and Pekah the son of Remaliah. (38) And Jotham slept with his fathers,

chap. xvii. 3 represents Hoshea as paying tribute to Shalmaneser IV., the successor of Tiglath.

In the twentieth year of Jotham.-This is a suspicious statement, as not agreeing with verse 33, according to which Jotham reigned sixteen years only. (32-38) THE REIGN OF JOTHAM IN JERUSALEM. (Comp. 2 Chron. xxvii.)

(32) In the second year of Pekah.-Who came to the throne in the last year of Uzziah (Azariah, verse 27). (34) According to all that his father Uzziah had done. The chronicler qualifies this general statement by adding that Jotham did not, like his father, invade the Holy Place. (Comp. 2 Chron. xxvii. 2, with 2 Chron. xxvi. 16.)

-

(35) Howbeit the high places. — The chronicler generalises this statement: "And the people did yet corruptly."

He built.-Rather, He it was who built. For "the higher gate," see Note on 2 Chron. xxvii. 3. Thenius considers that the term higher denotes rank rather than local position. (See Jer. xx. 2; Ezek. viii. 3, 5, 14, 16; ix. 2; xl. 38-43; and comp. chap. xii. 9.)

(36) Now the rest of the acts of Jotham.-Some of these are related in 2 Chron. xxvii. 4-6. We read there how Jotham built towns and castles, and towers of refuge, and how he fought victoriously against Ammon, and exacted from that nation a heavy tribute three years running. Ewald and Thenius admit the historical value of this brief narrative, which is indeed evident on the face of it.

(37) In those days-i.e., in the last year of Jotham. The attacks of the allies at first took the form of isolated raids. In the next reign the country was invaded by them in full force. (See chap. xvi. 5, seq., and the Notes there.)

(30) Hoshea... slew him, and reigned in his stead. See the inscription of Tiglath Pileser, quoted in the last Note, from which, as Schrader remarks, it is clear that Hoshea only secured his hold on the crown by recognition of the suzerainty of Assyria. The brief record of Kings does not mention his; but

Rezin.—Comp. Rezon, Heb., Rězôn (1 Kings xi. 23), the founder of the dynasty. The present name is spelt in the Hebrew of Kings and Isaiah (vii. 1) Rěçîn. The Assyrian spelling in the records of Tiglath Pileser, who conquered and slew Rezin, suggests that the right spelling was Raçôn (Assyrian, Raçunnu). The first and last kings of the Syrian monarchy thus bore similar names, both, perhaps, meaning "prince."

II. KINGS, XVI.

The Reign

and was buried with his fathers in the a 2 Chron. 28. 1.
city of David his father: and Ahaz his
son reigned in his stead.

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XVI.

THE REIGN OF AHAZ. (Comp. 2 Chron. xxviii.) (2) Twenty years old. The number should probably be twenty-and-five, according to the LXX., Syriac, and Arabic of 2 Chron. xxviii. 1. Otherwise, Ahaz was begotten when his father was ten (or, eleven) years old-a thing perhaps not impossible in the East, where both sexes reach maturity earlier than among Western races.

(3) But he walked in the way.-See Notes on 2 Chron. xxviii. 2.

Made his son to pass through the fire.-The chronicler rightly explains this as a sacrifice by fire. That such an appalling rite is really intended may be seen by reference to chap. xvii. 31; Jer. xix. 5; Ezek. xvi. 20, xxiii. 37; Jer. xxxii. 35. The expression, "To make to pass through the fire to Moloch" (Lev. xviii. 21) may have originated, as Movers suggests, in the idea that the burning was a kind of passage to union with the deity, after the dross of the flesh had been purged away; or it may be a mere euphemism. Ahaz appears to have been the first Israelite king who offered such a sacrifice. He, no doubt, regarded it as a last desperate resource against the oppression of his northern enemies. It is absurd to suppose that the king intended it in love to his child, as Thenius suggests. (See Judges xi. 31.) Such dreadful sacrifices were only made in cases of dire extremity. (Comp. chap. iii. 27.) The heathen.-More particularly the Ammonites, who made such sacrifices to Molech or Milcom.

(4) In the high places.-These are evidently distinguished from "the hills," two different prepositions being used in the Hebrew as in the English. A bāmāh, or “high-place," was a local sanctuary, and it appears that a sacred pillar or altar might be called a bamah. Mesha king of Moab speaks of his pillar as “this bāmath.” (See Note on chap. i. 1.)

Under every green tree.-Comp. 1 Kings xiv. 23; Hosea xiv. 8. Thenius says not so much a green as a thick-foliaged and shadow-yielding tree. "They burn incense .. under oaks, and poplars, and teil trees, because the shadow thereof is good" (Hosea iv. 13).

B.C. 742.

THE SYRO-EPHRAIMITIC WAR, AND THE INTERVENTION OF TIGLATH PILESER. (Comp. Isa. vii. -ix. 7, "an epitome of the discourses delivered by the prophet at this great national crisis."-Cheyne.) (5) Then Rezin king of Syria . . . to war. This verse agrees almost word for word with Isa. vii. 1. The time is soon after the accession of Ahaz. "Jotham,

of Ahaz.

way of the kings of Israel, yea, and made his son to pass through the fire, according to the abominations of the heathen, whom the LORD cast out from before the children of Israel. (4) And he sacrificed and burnt incense in the high places, and on the hills, and under every green tree.

(5) Then Rezin king of Syria and Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel came up to Jerusalem to war: and they besieged Ahaz, but could not overcome him. (6) At that time Rezin king of

the last of a series of strong and generally successful princes, had died at a critical moment, when Pekah and Rezin were maturing their plans against his kingdom. The opposing parties in northern Israel suspended their feuds to make common cause against Judah (Isa. ix. 21), and the proud inhabitants of Samaria hoped by this policy to more than restore the prestige forfeited in previous years of calamity (Isa. ix. 9, 10). At the same time the Syrians began to operate in the eastern dependencies of Judah, their aim being to possess themselves of the harbour of Elath on the Red Sea, while the Philistines attacked the Judeans in the rear, and ravaged the fertile lowlands (Isa ix. 12, verse 6). A heavy and sudden disaster had already fallen on the Judean arms, a defeat in which 'head and tail, palm-branch and rush' had been mown down in indiscriminate slaughter (Isa. ix. 14). Ahaz was no fit leader in so critical a time; his character was petulant and childish, his policy was dictated in the harem (Isa. iii. 12). Nor was the internal order of the state calculated to inspire confidence. Wealth, indeed, had greatly accumulated in the preceding time of prosperity, but its distribution had been such that it weakened rather than added strength to the nation. The rich nobles were steeped in sensual luxury, the court was full of gallantry, feminine extravagance and vanity gave the tone to aristocratic society (Isa. v. 11, iii. 16; comp. iii. 12, iv. 4), which, like the noblesse of France on the eve of the Revolution, was absorbed in gaiety and pleasure, while the masses were ground down by oppression, and the cry of their distress filled the land (Isa. iii. 15, v. 7)."-Prof. Robertson Smith.

They besieged Ahaz.—The allies wanted to compel Judah to join them in their attempt to throw off the burdensome yoke of Assyria, imposed in 738 B.C. (chap. xv. 19); and thought the best way to secure this was to dethrone the dynasty of David, and set up a creature of their own-"the son of Tabeal” (Isa. vii. 6).

Could not overcome him.-Literally, they were not able to war, as in Isa. vii. 2. The allies could not storm the city, which had been strongly fortified by Uzziah and Jotham (2 Chron. xxvi. 9, xxvii. 3).

(6) At that time.-Bähr regards this verse as a parenthesis, so that verse 7 is the strict continuation of verse 5, and "At that time" simply assigns this war as the epoch when Judah lost its only harbour and chief emporium-a grave blow to the national prosperity. It is perhaps impossible to weave the various data of Isaiah, Kings, and Chronicles into a single narrative which shall be free from all objection. But it seems probable that, after the successes recorded in 2 Chron. xxviii. 5, seq., the confederates advanced upon Jerusa

II. KINGS, XVI.

Judah Invaded by

Syria recovered Elath to Syria, and
drave the Jews from Elath: and the
Syrians came to Elath, and dwelt there.
unto this day. (7) So Ahaz sent messen-
gers to Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria,
saying, I am thy servant and thy son:

come up,
and save me out of the hand Heb., Dammesek. Rezin.
of the king of Syria, and out of the hand
of the king of Israel, which rise up
against me. (8) And Ahaz took the silver
and gold that was found in the house of
the LORD, and in the treasures of the

lem, and that Ahaz despatched his envoys to Tiglath
Pileser. The allies soon despaired of a siege, and
Pekah fell to ravaging the country, while Rezin pushed
on to Elath, determined not to return home without
having achieved some permanent success.
The ap-
proach of Tiglath Pileser compelled the two kings to
give up their enterprise, and hasten to defend their
own frontiers.

Recovered Elath to Syria . . . the Syrians.The words for Syria and Edom, Syrians and Edomites, are very much alike in Hebrew writing, and the Hebrew margin, many MSS., the LXX. and Vulg. read Edomites for Syrians here. If this be correct, we must also restore Edom for Syria, as many critics propose. The meaning then becomes this: Rezin emancipated the Edomites from the yoke of Judah imposed on them by Uzziah (chap. xiv. 22) in order to win their active co-operation against Judah. Bähr, however, prefers the readings of the ordinary text, and supposes that Rezin simply expelled the Jews from Elath, and established there a commercial colony of Syrians.

(7) So Ahaz sent messengers.-See Notes on 2 Chron. xxviii. 16, 20.

Israel and Syria.

king's house, and sent it for a present to the king of Assyria. (9) And the king of Assyria hearkened unto him: for the king of Assyria went up against 1Damascus, and took it, and carried the people of it captive to Kir, and slew

Which rise up against me.-Or, which are assailing me. "The vain confidence of the rulers of Judah, described by Isaiah in his first prophetic book, was rudely shaken by the progress of the war with Pekah and Rezin. Unreasoning confidence had given way to equally unreasoning panic. They saw only one way of escape-namely, to throw themselves upon the protection of Assyria." (Robertson Smith.)

(8) Ahaz took the silver and gold.-" He was well aware that the only conditions on which protection would be vouchsafed were acceptance of the Assyrian suzerainty with the payment of a huge tribute, and an embassy was despatched laden with all the treasures of the palace and the Temple. The ambassadors had no difficulty in attaining their object, which perfectly fell in with the schemes of the great king. The invincible army was set in motion, Damascus was taken, and its inhabitants led captive, and Gilead and Galilee suffered the same fate" (Robertson Smith). (Comp. chap. xv. 29.) According to Schrader, the expedition" to Philistia" in 734 B.C., was directed against Pekah, who probably saved himself by an instant submission. It was only after Tiglath had settled matters with the northern kingdom, and so isolated Damascus, that he turned his arms against Rezin. Two whole years were spent in reducing him (733-732 B.C.)__In an inscription dating from his seventeenth year, Tiglath Pileser mentions that he received tribute from Eniel, king of Hamath, Muthumbaal, king of Arvad, Sanibu of Ammon, Salamanu of Moab, Mitinti of Ascalon, Jahuhazi (Jehoahaz, i.e., Ahaz) of Judah, Qaus

(10) And king Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria, and saw an altar that was at Damascus: and king Ahaz sent to Urijah the priest the fashion of the altar, and the pattern

malaka of Edom, Hanun of Gaza, and other princes. This probably relates to the expedition of 734 B.C., in which year, therefore, Ahaz (Jehoahaz) must have put himself under the protection of Assyria (Schrader, K.A.T., p. 257 seq.).

(9) Went up against Damascus, and took it. -We learn from the inscriptions that Damascus stood a two years' siege. (The Eponym-list makes Tiglath Pileser march against Damascus for two successive years, namely 733 and 732 B.C.)

Carried the people of it captive to Kir.— (Comp. Amos i. 5, ix. 7.) The name Kir is not found in the fragmentary remains of the annals of Tiglath Pileser. Schrader (p. 261 seq.) gives a mutilated inscription, apparently relating to the fall of Damascus.

And slew Rezin.-Sir H. Rawlinson found this fact recorded on a tablet of Tiglath Pileser's, since unfortunately lost. In the inscription just referred to Tiglath says: "I entered the gate of his city; his chief officers alive [I took, and] on stakes I caused to lift them up" (i.e., impaled them).

Kir was the aboriginal home of the Arameans, according to Amos ix. 7. It is mentioned along with Elam in Isa. xxii. 6. "It has been generally identified with the district by the river Cyrus (the modern Georgia). But, besides the linguistic objection pointed out by Delitzsch (Qir cannot be equivalent to Kúr), it appears that the Assyrian empire never extended to the Cyrus. We must, therefore, consider Kir to be a part of Mesopotamia." (Cheyne.)

(10) Ahaz went to Damascus, to meet Tiglath-pileser. The great king appears to have held his court there after the capture of the city, and to have summoned the vassal princes of Palestine thither to do him homage in person before his departure. (See the Note on verse 8.)

And saw an altar.-Rather, and he saw the altar, namely, that of the principal Temple. Upon the account which follows Prof. Robertson Smith well remarks that the frivolous character of Ahaz "was so little capable of appreciating the dangers involved in his new obligations, that he returned to Jerusalem with his head full of the artistic and religious curiosities he had seen on his journey. In a national crisis of the first magnitude he found no more pressing concern than the erection of a new altar in the Temple on a pattern brought from Damascus. The sundial of Ahaz (2 Kings xx. 11), and an erection on the roof of the Temple, with altars apparently designed for the worship of the host of heaven (2 Kings xxiii. 12), were works equally characteristic of the trifling and superstitious virtuoso, who imagined that the introduction of a few foreign novelties gave lustre to a reign which had fooled away the independence of Judah, and sought a

II. KINGS, XVI.

The Acts of Ahaz,

of it, according to all the workmanship
thereof. (1) 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. (12) And when the king
was come from Damascus, the king saw
the altar and the king approached to
the altar, and offered thereon. (13) And
he burnt his burnt offering and his
meat offering, and poured his drink
offering, and sprinkled the blood of his
peace offerings, upon the altar. (14) And
he brought also the brasen altar, which
was before the LORD, from the forefront
of the house, from between the altar
and the house of the LORD, and put it
on the north side of the altar.
(15) And

King of Judah

his.

king Ahaz commanded Urijah the priest, saying, Upon the great altar burn the morning burnt offering, and the evening meat offering, and the king's burnt sacrifice, and his meat offering, with the burnt offering of all the people of Heb. which were the land, and their meat offering, and their drink offerings; and sprinkle upon it all the blood of the burnt offering, and all the blood of the sacrifice: and the brasen altar shall be for me to enquire by. (16) Thus did Urijah the priest, according to all that king Ahaz commanded. (17) And king Ahaz cut off the borders of the bases, and removed the laver from off them; and took down the sea from off the brasen oxen that were under it, and put it upon a pave

B.C. 739.

momentary deliverance by accepting a service the burden of which was fast becoming intolerable" (Proph. of Israel, p. 251).

Urijah the priest-i.e., the high priest, who appears to be identical with the "credible witness" of Isa. viii. 2. His high official position would secure Urijah's credit as a witness.

..

Fashion pattern workmanship.These terms indicate that the king's interest in the matter was artistic rather than religious.

(12) The king approached to the altar, and offered thereon.-So the Targum renders. But all the other versions: "The king approached to the altar, and went up thereon." (Comp. 1 Kings xii. 32, 33.) It thus appears that Ahaz, like Uzziah, personally exercised the priestly function of sacrifice.

(13) And he burnt his burnt offering The verse describes the thank-offering of Ahaz for his late deliverance from deadly peril. From the present narrative it does not appear but that he offered it to Jehovah. The account in 2 Chron. xxviii. 23 must be understood to refer to other sacrifices instituted by Ahaz, who, like most of his contemporaries, thought the traditional worship of Jehovah not incompatible with the cultus of foreign deities. (Comp. verses 3, 4.)

(14) And he brought also the brasen altar -Literally, And as for the brasen altar, he brought it near (to the new one), away from the front of the house, to wit, from between the (new) altar, and the house of Jehovah; and put it at the side of the (new) altar northward. The brasen altar used to stand "before the Lord," i.e., in the middle of the court of the priests, and in front of the Temple proper. The verse seems to imply that Urijah had pushed it forward nearer to the sanctuary, and set the new Syrian altar in its place. Ahaz, not satisfied with this arrangement, which appeared to confer a kind of precedence on the old altar, drew it back again, and fixed it on the north side of his new altar.

(15) The great altar-i.e., as we say, "the high altar," the new Syrian one. So the high priest is sometimes called "the great priest" (kohen haggādôl). Ahaz orders that the daily national sacrifices, the royal offerings, and those of private individuals, shall all be offered at the new altar.

The morning burnt offering, and the evening meat offering. Not that there was no meat offering in the morning, and no burnt offering in the evening. (See Exod. xxix. 38-42; Num. xxviii. 3—8.) The morning meat offering is implied in the mention of the burnt offering, because no burnt offering was offered without one (Num. vii. 87, xv. 2-12). On the other hand, the evening meat offering was the only part of the evening sacrifice which the congregation could stay out, for the burnt offering had to burn all the night through (Lev. vi. 9).

The brasen altar.-The contrast seems to imply that the new altar was of a different material.

Shall be for me to enquire by-i.e., for consulting God. So Rashi. Others (as Keil): "I will think about what to do with it." Perhaps it is simply, "It shall be for me to look at," i.e., an ornamental duplicate of the other altar. (Comp. Ps. xxvii. 4.) Grätz suggests" to draw near" (i.e., to sacrifice), transposing the last two letters of the verb, which does not suit the context; and Thenius would read, "to seek," after the Syriac, which has "to ask " (i.e., to pray), as if the old altar of sacrifice were henceforth to be an altar of prayer. (?)

(17, 18) And king Ahaz cut off. The key to the right understanding of these verses is given in the last words of verse 18. Ahaz spoiled the Temple of its ornamental work, not out of wanton malice, but from dire necessity. He had to provide a present for the king of Assyria. Thus these verses are really a continuation of the first statement of verse 10. They inform us how Ahaz managed not to appear empty-handed at Damascus. (So Thenius.) Prof. R. Smith says: "Ahaz, whose treasures had been exhausted by his first tribute, was soon driven by the repeated demands of his masters to strip the Temple even of its ancient bronze. work and other fixed ornaments. The incidental mention of this fact in a fragment of the history of th Temple incorporated in the Book of Kings is sufficient evidence of the straits to which the kingdom of Judah was reduced."

Borders of the bases.-See 1 Kings vii. 28. Thenius thinks Ahaz replaced them with unadorned plates, and set the laver up in a different fashion; but the text does not say so. (Comp., however, chap. xxv. 13, 16; Jer. lii. 17.)

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