|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
28:1-27 The wicked reign of Ahaz in Judah. - Israel gained this victory because God was wroth with Judah, and made them the rod of his indignation. He reminds them of their own sins. It ill becomes sinners to be cruel. Could they hope for the mercy of God, if they neither showed mercy nor justice to their brethren? Let it be remembered, that every man is our neighbour, our brother, our fellow man, if not our fellow Christian. And no man who is acquainted with the word of God, need fear to maintain that slavery is against the law of love and the gospel of grace. Who can hold his brother in bondage, without breaking the rule of doing to others as he would they should do unto him? But when sinners are left to their own heart's lusts, they grow more desperate in wickedness. God commands them to release the prisoners, and they obeyed. The Lord brought Judah low. Those who will not humble themselves under the word of God, will justly be humbled by his judgments. It is often found, that wicked men themselves have no real affection for those that revolt to them, nor do they care to do them a kindness. This is that king Ahaz! that wretched man! Those are wicked and vile indeed, that are made worse by their afflictions, instead of being made better by them; who, in their distress, trespass yet more, and have their hearts more fully set in them to do evil. But no marvel that men's affections and devotions are misplaced, when they mistake the author of their trouble and of their help. The progress of wickedness and misery is often rapid; and it is awful to reflect upon a sinner's being driven away in his wickedness into the eternal world.
Verse 20. - Tilgath-Pilneser (see 1 Chronicles 5:6, 26; 2 Kings 15:29; 2 Kings 16:10, our parallel. See our notes in full on 1 Chronicles 5:6, 26). Gesenius dates his reign as King of Assyria as B.C. 753-734; others as about B.C. 747-728. Distressed him, but strengthened him not. This is in our writer's usual deeper moral and religious vein, and was no doubt most true. For all Ahaz paid and bribed out of the sacrilegiously employed treasure of the temple, out of the depreciating and partial dismantling of "the house of the king," and out of the begged contributions or taxes extortionately wrung "of the princes" (see the succinct account of next verse, and compare the parallel in its vers. 8, 18), he bought a master for himself, servitude, tributariness, and the humiliation of disgrace itself. The temporary relief he obtained (and which the writer of Chronicles in no way means to deny) from one enemy rivetted round his neck the yoke of another and greater. And worse than this, he secured in his own heart the greatest adversary of all - a restless, implacable foe, which ever goaded him on to worse folly and deeper sin.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And Tilgathpilneser king of Assyria came unto him,.... 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.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
20. Tilgath-pilneser … distressed him, but strengthened him not—that is, notwithstanding the temporary relief which Tilgath-pilneser afforded him by the conquest of Damascus and the slaughter of Rezin (2Ki 16:9), little advantage resulted from it, for Tilgath-pilneser spent the winter in voluptuous revelry at Damascus; and the connection formed with the Assyrian king was eventually a source of new and greater calamities and humiliation to the kingdom of Judah (2Ch 28:2, 3).
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