XXXI The remains of idolatry are destroyed, ver. 1. Hezekiah provides work and maintenance for the priests and Levites, ver. 2- 4. The people bring in their dues abundantly, ver. 5-10. Officers are appointed to dispose of them, ver. 11-19. Hezekiah's sincerity, ver. 20, 21.
Verse 1. Manasseh - By the special impulse and direction of God's spirit. And he knew Hoshea contented himself with the worship of the calves, and did not practice that great idolatry which his predecessors had used, and therefore would patiently suffer the breaking of the images of Baal, and the things belonging to them.
Verse 2. The tents - Within the gates of the house of the Lord: which is here called tents, because the host of the Lord, the priests and Levites, encamped there. And perhaps to intimate, that it was shortly to be removed.
Verse 3. Of his substance - Which had hitherto been taken out of the treasures of the temple, but that he might ease the people in their present poverty, which his predecessor had brought upon them, and engage them to a more chearful attendance upon God's service, he took the burden upon himself.
Verse 4. Encouraged - Freed them from worldly cares and distractions, and enabled to give up themselves entirely to the serious study of God's law, and to the instruction, and direction, and quickening of the people.
Verse 5. Came abroad - As Soon as the king extended that command to all the parts of his kingdom, which, ver. 4, was confined to them that dwelt in Jerusalem. Honey - Or, dates, as the Hebrew writers generally, understand this word, which were given to them, because of the sweetness of their taste in some sort resembling honey. For the law requires no tithes, but of the fruits of trees, or of the earth, or of beasts.
Verse 6. By heaps - What the priests and the Levites had occasion for, they made use of, and the overplus was laid in heaps.
Verse 7. Third month - Of the sacred year, in which their harvest began. Seventh - In which their harvest ended and the feast of tabernacles was kept.
Verse 8. Blessed the Lord - Both for giving such plentiful provisions to his land and for giving his people such liberal hearts. And they praised the people for their forwardness and faithfulness in it.
Verse 9. Questioned - How it came to pass that no more of their provision was spent and that there yet remained such great heaps of it.
Verse 14. Most holy things - The remainders of the freewill-offering, the sin-offering, and trespass-offering, and the shew-bread; to see that all had a competent maintenance for themselves and their families.
Verse 15. And next, &c. - These were intrusted with receiving and distributing the several portions belonging to the priests who abode in their several cities, whilst their brethren came up to Jerusalem.
Verse 18. For, &c. - This is alleged as a reason why their wives and children were provided for out of the holy things, because they sequestered themselves from worldly affairs, by which they might otherwise have provided for their families.