|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
20:14-19 The Spirit of prophecy came upon a Levite in the midst of the congregation. The Spirit, like the wind, blows where and on whom He listeth. He encouraged them to trust in God. Let the Christian soldier go out against his spiritual enemies, and the God of peace will make him more than a conqueror. Our trials will prove our gain. The advantage will be all our own, but the whole glory must be given to God.
Verse 16. - The cliff of Ziz. Read with Revised Version, the ascent of Ziz (or probably Hazziz), a place named only here. The Hebrew word here rendered "cliff ' is the familiar מַעֲלֵה, meaning "an ascent," or "a rising ground." It is replaced in the Septuagint by both ἀνάβασις and πρόσβασις. Stanley, in an interesting note on the word ('Sinai and Palestine,' p. 500, edit. 1866), says it is applied to several localities in Palestine, viz.:
(1) The "Ascent of Akrabbim," i.e. scorpions (Numbers 34:4; Judges 1:36; Joshua 15:3), on the south border of Judah and probably the same as the Pass of Safeh.
(2) "The going up to (or of) Adummim," i.e. the "ascent of the Red," near Gilgal, on border of Judah and Benjamin (Joshua 15:7; Joshua 18:17), probably the same with the "Pass of Jericho."
(3) The" going up to Gut" (2 Kings 9:27).
(4) Our present text.
(5) The "mounting up of Luhith" in Moab (Isaiah 15:5; Jeremiah 48:5). The word is also applied to the steep pass from Gibeon to Beth-heron (Joshua 10:10; 1 Macc. 3:16); to the road up the Mount of Olives (2 Samuel 15:30); and to the approach to the city in which Samuel anointed Saul (1 Samuel 9:11), i.e. "the hill up to the city." The passage, Judges 8:13, Authorized Version "before the sun was up," Revised Version "from the ascent of Heres," possibly designates a rising ground, named . 'the Ascent of the Sun," or, "of Heres." The following extract from Keil, with its quotations from Robinson, is interesting. "The wilderness Jezreel was without doubt the name of a part of the great stretch of fiat country bounded on the south by the Waddy El Ghar, and extending from the Dead Sea to the neighbourhood of Tekoa, which is now called El Hassasah, after a waddy on its northern side. The whole country on the west side of the Dead Sea," where it does not consist of mountain ridges or deep valleys, is high table-land sloping gradually towards the east, wholly waste, merely covered here and there by a few bushes and without the slightest trace of having ever been cultivated' (Robinson's 'Palest.,' sub voce). Our present ascent of Ziz, or Hazziz, has perhaps remained in the Waddy El Hassasah Robinson takes it to be the pass, which at present leads from Ain-jiddy to the table-land. Yet it is described by him as a 'fearful pass,' and it can hardly be thought of here even if the enemy like the Bedouins, now when on their forays, may be supposed to have marched along the shore of the sea, and ascended to the tableland only at Engedi; for the Israelites did not meet the enemy in this ascent, but above upon the table-land." Josephus translates הַצִּיצ by ἑξοχῆς, but with no legitimate justification. The end of the brook; i.e. rather the end of the brook-way, or course of the brook when there was water to make one.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Tomorrow go ye down against them,.... This was the fast day, and so not proper to march out in, but on the morrow they might go out with great confidence and intrepidity; and as Jerusalem was situated on an eminence, they are directed to go down:
behold, they come up by the cliff of Ziz; a steep hill, so called from the flowers upon it:
and ye shall find them at the end of the brook; on the bank of Kidron, according to Beckius, which seems not likely to be meant, since they went as far as the wilderness of Tekoa, 2 Chronicles 20:20,
before the wilderness of Jeruel; the same with that of Tekoa, or near it.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
16. they come up by the cliff of Ziz—This seems to have been nothing else than the present pass which leads northwards, by an ascent from En-gedi to Jerusalem, issuing a little below Tekoa. The wilderness of Jeruel was probably the large flat district adjoining the desert of Tekoa, called El-Husasah, from a wady on its northern side [Robinson].
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