XXIX Hezekiah's exhortation to the priests and Levites, ver. 1-11. The care of the Levites to cleanse the temple and put things into order, ver. 12-19. A solemn revival of God's ordinances, ver. 20- 36.
Verse 4. And he brought in,&c. - He found Judah low and naked, yet did not make it his first business to revive the civil interests of his kingdom, but to restore religion to a good posture. Those that begin with God, begin at the right end of their work; and it will prosper accordingly.
Verse 5. Filthiness - That filthy altar, which Ahaz had put in the place of God's altar, 2 Kings xvi, 11, and the idols, or other abominable things which were there.
Verse 6. Turned, &c. - They have wilfully and obstinately forsaken God and his worship; that posture being a signification of contempt.
Verse 7. They - He saith not, my father, because it became him as a son, to be as tender as might be of his father's name: and because his father would not have done all this, if their fathers had not neglected their duty.
Verse 8. Hissing - To such calamities as all that see and hear of, shall be astonished at, and hiss at those, who by their own sin and folly have brought such miseries upon themselves. When we are under the rebukes of God's providence, it is good for us to inquire, Whether we have not neglected God's ordinances, and whether that be not the controversy he has with us?
Verse 9. Captivity - Tho' they were presently released, chap. xxviii, 5, 14, 15.
Verse 11. Sons - So he calls them, though many of them were elder than himself, because he was by his tender love and affection, as he was by his office obliged to be, a nursing father to them. Negligent - In sanctifying yourselves and the temple, ver. 5, and in quickening and preparing yourselves and the people for God's service.
Verse 15. To cleanse - From the dirt it had contracted, while it was so long shut up; from dust, cobwebs, and the rust of the vessels. Much more from the idols, and idolatrous altars which had been set up therein.
Verse 17. The first day - A happy beginning of the new year! Thus should every year begin with the reformation of what is amiss, and the purging away of all the defilements contracted the foregoing year.
Verse 19. Sanctified - Tho' the vessels of the sanctuary may be profaned for a while, God will find a time and a way to sanctify them. Neither his ordinances nor his obedient people, shall be suffered to fail forever.
Verse 21. Seven - The number seven is customary in sacred matters, and is here used in regard of the vast numbers and various kinds of sins, the guilt whereof yet lay upon the kingdom, which was now to be expiated. Indeed, in case of one particular sin of ignorance done by the people, there was but one bullock to be offered, but here the sins were many and presumptuous. Kingdom - To make atonement for the sins of the king and the royal family, and the court. Sanctuary - For all the idolatry and uncleanness wherewith the temple had been polluted. They thought it not enough to lament and forsake their sins, but they brought a sin-offering. Even our repentance and reformation will not obtain pardon, but thro' Christ, who was made sin, that is, a sin-offering for us.
Verse 23. They laid - The king and the elders of the congregation in the name of the whole congregation.
Verse 27. The song - The psalms composed by David and Asaph. Even sorrow for sin must not put us out of tune for praising God. By faith we must even then rejoice in the Lord our righteousness, and our prayers and praises must attend with his offering, to be accepted only in the virtue of it.
Verse 31. Consecrated - Now that you have reconciled yourselves and the house to God, and that he is willing and ready to accept your sacrifices. Burnt-offerings - Wherein there was more generosity than in the other sacrifices, because they were wholly burnt and offered to God.
Verse 33. Consecrated things - All the offerings consecrated to God, besides the burnt-offerings already mentioned.
Verse 34. Too few - Such as were sanctified and fit for their work, as the following words shew: for otherwise the number of the priests was more than sufficient for this employment. Burnt-offerings - And much less all the other sacrifices, which were more numerous; the slaying whereof was the priests proper work. The Levites - Necessity excusing their deviation from the rule.
Verse 36. Rejoiced - It was, as a very great, so a sudden change, that the people, who but the other day were so ready to comply with wicked Ahaz in his idolatrous presumptions, were now so free and forward in God's service: whereby it plainly appeared to be the work of God, changing their hearts by his Holy Spirit.