|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
17:24-41 The terror of the Almighty will sometimes produce a forced or feigned submission in unconverted men; like those brought from different countries to inhabit Israel. But such will form unworthy thoughts of God, will expect to please him by outward forms, and will vainly try to reconcile his service with the love of the world and the indulgence of their lusts. May that fear of the Lord, which is the beginning of wisdom, possess our hearts, and influence our conduct, that we may be ready for every change. Wordly settlements are uncertain; we know not whither we may be driven before we die, and we must soon leave the world; but the righteous hath chosen that good part which shall not be taken from him.
Verse 28. - Then one of the priests whom they had carried away from Samaria - the country, not the city, as in vers. 24 and 25 - came and dwelt in Bethel. Bethel from a very early time greatly eclipsed Dan. While the allusions to Bethel, commonly called "Bethaven" (" House of nothingness" for "House of God "), are frequent in the Israelitish prophets (Hosea 4:15; Hosea 5:8; Hosea 10:5, 8, 15; Amos 3:14; Amos 4:4; Amos 5:5, 6; Amos 7:10-13), there is but a single distinct allusion to Dan (Amos 8:14). Bethel was "the king's chapel" and "the king's court" (Amos 7:13). The priest selected by Sargon's advisers was a Bethelite priest, and, returning thither, took up the worship familiar to him. And taught them - i.e., the new settlers - how they should fear the Lord. This worship could only be that of the calf-priests instituted by Jeroboam, which was, however, most certainly a worship of Jehovah, and an imitation or travesty of the temple - worship at Jerusalem. Whether the returned priest set up a new calf-idol to replace the one which had been carried off to Assyria (Hosea 10:5), is doubtful.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Then one of the priests whom, they had carried away from Samaria came and dwelt in Bethel,.... According to an Arabic writer (r), his name was Uzziah; but Epiphanius (s) says his name was Esdras; but he wrongly makes him to be sent by Nebuchadnezzar, thirty years after the captivity of the Jews in Babylon: this priest was, doubtless, one of the priests of the calves; for there were none else in the kingdom of Israel carried captive, and as seems also by his choosing to dwell in Bethel, where probably he formerly dwelt, and officiated in the service of the calf there, and by teaching to make priests of the lowest order of the people, as Jeroboam's priests were, 2 Kings 17:32.
and taught them how they should fear the Lord; serve and worship him; he might not teach them the worship of the calves, that being a political business, and now no end to be answered by it; and besides, they were now carried out of the land. This priest taught, no doubt, according to the law of Moses, but was not the author of the Pentateuch; which ridiculous conceit of Le Clerc is sufficiently exposed by Witsius (t).
(r) Abulpharag. Hist. Dynast. Dyn. 3. p. 65. (s) Contr. Haeres. l. 1. Haer. 8. (t) Miscellan. tom. 1. l. 1. c. 14. sect. 7. 28.
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