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This chapter contains the reign of Ahaz, and gives an account of the idolatry he was guilty of, ( 2 Chronicles 28:1-4), what calamities came upon him and his people, being delivered up into the hands of the kings of Syria and Israel, who slew many, and carried others captives, ( Chronicles 28:5-8), though they that were taken captive by Israel, at the admonition of a prophet, were sent back again, ( 2 Chronicles 28:9-15), how also he was distressed by the Edomites and Philistines, and not helped by the king of Assyria, he sent for and made presents to, ( 2 Chronicles 28:16-21) and yet went into more and greater idolatries, ( 2 Chronicles 28:22-25), and the chapter is concluded with his death and burial, ( Chronicles 28:26,27).
Ver. 1-4. Ahaz was twenty years old when he began to reign , etc.] These verses are much the same with ( 2 Kings 16:2-4), only in ( Chronicles 28:2) it is said, he made also molten images for Baalim ; the several Baals or idols of the nations round about, as well as served Jeroboam’s calves; (see Judges 2:11), and he is said in ( 2 Chronicles 28:3), to burn incense in the valley of the son of Hinnom ; to Molech, the god of the Ammonites, who was worshipped there. (See Gill on “ 2 Kings 16:2”) (See Gill on “ 2 Kings 16:3”) (See Gill on “ 2 Kings 16:4”) Ver. 5 . Wherefore the Lord his God delivered him into the hand of the king of Syria , etc.] Whose name was Rezin, ( 2 Kings 16:5), though that is an after expedition to this, which is there related. The Lord is called the God of Ahaz, because he was so of right; he had dominion over him, and ought to have been worshipped by him; and, besides, he was so by virtue of the national covenant between God and the people Ahaz was king of; and moreover, Ahaz professed he was his God, though in an hypocritical manner, and he forsook the true worship of him: and they smote him, and carried away a great multitude of them captives, and brought them to Damascus ; whereas in a later expedition, related in ( 2 Kings 16:5), they did not succeed: and he was also delivered into the hand of the king of Israel ; whose name was Pekah: who smote him with a great slaughter ; as is next related.
Ver. 6 . For Pekah son of Remaliah , etc.] Who was at this time king of Israel: slew in Judah an hundred and twenty thousand in one day , which were all valiant men ; a great slaughter to be made at one time, and of valiant men, but not so great as that in ( 2 Chronicles 13:17), because they had forsaken the Lord God of their fathers ; this was not a reason with Pekah for slaying them, he himself being an idolater, but why the Lord suffered them to be slain by him.
Ver. 7 . And Zichri, a mighty man of Ephraim, slew Maaseiah the king’s son , etc.] Who therefore must have escaped being burnt in the valley of Hinnom, or only was caused to pass through the fire there, ( Chronicles 28:3), and Azrikam the governor of the house ; steward or treasurer in the king’s house, in the same office as Sheban was, ( Isaiah 22:15) and Elkanah that was next to the king : prime minister of state.
Ver. 8 . And the children of Israel carried captive of their brethren two hundred thousand women, sons and daughters , etc.] Which was a very large and unusual number to be carried captive; but having made such a slaughter of the men, and the rest being intimidated thereby, it was the more easily done: and took away also much spoil from them ; wealth and riches out of their cities, and even from Jerusalem; for by the preceding verse it seems as if they came thither: and brought the spoils to Samaria ; or rather “towards Samaria” f120 , as some render the word; for they were not as yet come to it, nor did they bring it and their captives thither, (see 2 Chronicles 9:15).
Ver. 9 . But a prophet of the Lord was there, whose name was Oded , etc.] Not the same that was in the time of Asa, ( 2 Chronicles 15:1,8), and he went out before the host that came to Samaria ; that was coming thither; he went out of Samaria to meet them: and said unto them, behold, because the Lord God of your fathers was wroth with Judah, he hath delivered them into your hand ; he let them know it was not owing to their wisdom and conduct, their prowess and courage, that they had got the victory over them, but because the Lord was displeased with them for their sins, and therefore gave them up into their hands: and ye have slain them in a rage that reaches up unto heaven ; that is, with an exceeding great rage and fury, and the cry of which reached to heaven also, and was displeasing to God; he suggests to them, that they had exceeded all bounds, and had not shown that compassion to their brethren, when fallen into their hands, they ought to have done, and which therefore was resented by the God of heaven, (see Zechariah 1:15).
Ver. 10 . And now ye purpose to keep under the children of Judah and Jerusalem for bondmen and bondwomen unto you , etc.] As seemed by taking and bringing captive such a number of them, contrary to the law, ( Leviticus 25:39-46) but are there not with you, even with you, sins against the Lord your God ? for which they deserved to be chastised as well as their brethren the men of Judah, and might expect it, and especially if they used them in a barbarous manner, and contrary to the will of God.
Ver. 11 . Now hear me therefore , etc.] And not only hear, but be obedient: and deliver the captives again, which ye have taken of your brethren ; their women, sons and daughters, even all of them, the whole 200,000: for the fierce wrath of God is upon you ; hangs over your heads, and will fall upon you, unless you do this.
Ver. 12 . Then certain of the heads of the children of Ephraim , etc.] Of the principal men of the ten tribes, whose names follow: Azariah the son of Johanan, Berechiah the son of Meshillemoth, and Jehizkiah the son of Shallum, and Amasa the son of Hadlai, stood up against them that came from the war ; who were bringing the captives and spoils to Samaria; but these princes, being influenced by what the prophet said, hindered their proceeding any further.
Ver. 13 . And said unto them, ye shall not bring in the captives hither , etc.] That is, into Samaria, near which it seems they now were: for whereas we have offended against the Lord already ; by exceeding in their cruelty against their brethren of Judah, as well as by worshipping the calves: ye intend to add more to our sins and to our trespass : by making slaves of those they had taken captives, which was against the express law of God: for your trespass is great ; which they had committed already, by their idolatrous practices: and there is fierce wrath against Israel ; which they perceived by what the prophet had said.
Ver. 14 . So the armed men left the captives and the spoil before the princes and the congregation .] Which were come out of Samaria to meet them; such an effect had the word’s of the prophet, and the princes, upon them, that they not only left the captives with them, but the spoil, to dispose of, as they thought fit.
Ver. 15 . And the men that were expressed by name rose up , etc.] Either those before named, ( 2 Chronicles 28:12) as Jarchi, and so the Vulgate Latin version; or such as they pitched upon, nominated, and appointed: and took the captives, and with the spoil clothed all that were naked among them, and arrayed them, and shod them ; put clothes on their backs, and shoes on their feet, who either were taken or carried away before they could put on their garments, or had been stripped of them: and gave them to eat, and drink, and anointed them ; not only fed them, being hungry and thirsty, but anointed them for refreshment after travelling; the Targum is, “washed them”, from dirt and filth contracted by travelling: and carried all the feeble of them on asses ; women and children that were not able to walk afoot so far back again: and brought them to Jericho, the city of palm trees, to their brethren ; a city on the borders both of Judah and Israel, and famous for the number of palm trees near it, (see Judges 1:16) in all which these inhabitants of Samaria acted the part of the good Samaritan, ( Luke 10:33,34), then they returned to Samaria : the prophet, with the princes, and the army, and the whole congregation.
Ver. 16 . At that time did King Ahaz send to the kings of Assyria to help him .] To Tiglathpileser, and his son, (see 2 Kings 16:7), and the Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Arabic versions, read in the singular, and so the Targum.
Ver. 17 . For again the Edomites had come , etc.] As in the days of Jehoshaphat, ( 2 Chronicles 20:10), and smitten Judah, and carried away captives ; taking the advantage of the weak and low condition Ahaz was in, and which was the reason of his sending to the king of Assyria.
Ver. 18 . The Philistines also had invaded the cities of the low country , etc.] Which lay nearest to them, as Sharon, Lydda, Joppa, etc. in revenge of what Uzziah had done to them, ( 2 Chronicles 26:6,7), and of the south of Judah; they penetrated as far as that, from the west to the south of the land: and had taken Bethshemesh, and Ajalon, and Gederoth, and Shocho, with the villages thereof and Timnah with the villages thereof ; of which (see Joshua 15:10,35,41,57 19:42) and Gimzo also, and the villages thereof ; which though nowhere else mentioned in Scripture, yet we frequently read in Jewish writings of Nahum, a man of Ganizu, which perhaps is the same place with this: and they dwelt there ; kept them in their hands, and inhabited them.
Ver. 19 . For the Lord brought Judah low because of Ahaz king of Israel , etc.] Because of his impieties and idolatries, which the people by his example went into; he is called king of Israel, because he walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, and because he ruled over two of the tribes of Israel, and of right was king over all Israel, as David and Solomon his ancestors were; though the Vulgate Latin, Septuagint, and Syriac versions, read, king of Judah; and so the Targum: “for he made Judah naked”; stripped them of their religion, and the worship of God, and so of the divine protection, whereby they were exposed to their enemies, (see Exodus 32:25) the Targum is, “for the house of Judah ceased from the worship of the Lord;” transgressed sore against the Lord ; by committing gross idolatry the same Targum is, “they dealt falsely with the Word of the Lord.”
Ver. 20 . And Tilgathpilneser king of Assyria came unto him , etc.] Not to Jerusalem, but to Damascus, where he made a diversion in his favour, and took that city, and where Ahaz met him, ( 2 Kings 16:9) and distressed him, but strengthened him not ; exhausted his treasures, and laid a tribute upon him, but did not help him against the Edomites and Philistines, or recover for him the cities they had taken from him; and, in taking Damascus, he served himself more than Ahaz, and paved the way for seizing upon the ten tribes.
Ver. 21 . For Ahaz took away a portion out of the house of the Lord, and out of the house of the king, and of the princes , etc.] A part out of the treasures of the temple, and a part out of his own treasures, and another which he levied upon his nobles: and gave it unto the king of Assyria ; sent it to him as a present, to engage him on his side, and assist him against his enemies, ( 2 Kings 16:10-16) but he helped him not ; (see Gill on “ 2 Chronicles 28:20”).
Ver. 22 . And in the time of his distress did he trespass yet more against the Lord , etc.] By increasing his idolatries, as appears by what he did, in imitation of what he saw at Damascus, where he had an interview with the king of Assyria, ( 2 Kings 16:10-16) this is that King Ahaz ; that monster of iniquity, than whom there was none worse, nor any so bad, of all the kings of Judah.
Ver. 23 . For he sacrificed unto the gods of Damascus, which smote him , etc.] As he foolishly imagined, that they might do him no more hurt; as it is said of the Indians, that they worship the devil, that he may not hurt them; but that a king of Judah should do this is monstrous stupidity; rather therefore the meaning may be, that he worshipped the gods of those that smote him, those of the men or soldiers of Damascus (see 2 Chronicles 28:5) for the Spirit of God would never ascribe the smiting of him to idols, though he himself might; and he said, because the gods of the kings of Syria help them ; which looks as if this was before Damascus was taken by the king of Assyria, and when Rezin king of Syria prevailed over Ahaz: therefore will I sacrifice to them, that they may help me ; against the Edomites and Philistines; wherefore rather to this, his idolatry, respect is had in ( 2 Chronicles 28:22), but they were the ruin of him, and of all Israel ; the worship of them was the cause of all the calamities that came upon that part of Israel of which he was king.
Ver. 24 . And gathered together the vessels of the house of God, and cut in pieces the vessels of the house of God , etc.] And converted them to his own use, sold them, or melted the gold and silver, of which they were, and made money of them, his treasures being exhausted: and shut up the doors of the house of the Lord : that the people might not come and worship there, but on the high places he made: and he made him altars in every corner of Jerusalem ; that the priests might sacrifice there, and not in the temple.