|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
23:31-37 After Josiah was laid in his grave, one trouble came on another, till, in twenty-two years, Jerusalem was destroyed. The wicked perished in great numbers, the remnant were purified, and Josiah's reformation had raised up some to join the few who were the precious seed of their future church and nation. A little time, and slender abilities, often suffice to undo the good which pious men have, for a course of years, been labouring to effect. But, blessed be God, the good work which he begins by his regenerating Spirit, cannot be done away, but withstands all changes and temptations.
Verse 33. - And Pharaoh-Nechoh put him in bands at Riblah. "Riblah," which retains its name, was situated in the Coele-Syrian plain, on the right bank of the Orontes, in lat. 34° 23' N. nearly. It commanded a ford over the river (Condor, 'Heth and Moab,' p. 17), and is in the midst of a rich, corn-producing country. Hamath, to which it was regarded as belonging, is situated more than fifty miles further down the river. Riblah was well placed as a center for communication with the neighboring countries. As Dr. Robinson says ('Researches,' vol. 3. p. 545), "From this point the roads were open by Aleppo and the Euphrates to Nineveh, or by Palmyra (Tadmor) to Babylon, by the end of Lebanon and the coast to Palestine (Philistia) and Egypt, or through the, Buka'a and the Jordan valley to the center of the Holy Land." Nebuchadnezzar followed the example of Nechoh in making Ribiah his headquarters during his sieges of Tyro and Jerusalem (see 2 Kings 25:21; Jeremiah 39:5; Jeremiah 52:9, 10, 26, 27). In the land of Hamath. The "land of Hamath" was the upper part of the Coele-Syrian valley from about lat. 34° to lat. 35° 30' N. That he might not reign in Jerusalem. Nechoh might naturally distrust the people's choice. He might also regard the setting up of any king at Jerusalem without his sanction as an act of contumacy on the part of a nation which had been practically conquered by the complete defeat of Josiah at Megiddo. Whether his conduct in seizing Jehoahaz after inviting him to a conference was justifiable or not may be questioned; but, in point of fact, he did but use the right of the conqueror somewhat harshly. And put the land to a tribute of an hundred talents of silver, and a talent of gold. (So Josephus, l.s.c.) The tribute was a very moderate one. A century earlier Sennacherib had enacted a tribute of three hundred talents of silver, and thirty of gold (see above, 2 Kings 18:14). We may conjecture that Nechoh wished to conciliate the Jews, regarding them as capable of rendering him good service in the struggle, on which he had entered, with Babylon.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And Pharaohnechoh put him in bands at Riblah in the land of Hamath,.... Places in Syria; Hamath was formerly a kingdom in Syria, and Riblah is said by Jerom (c) to be Antioch of Syria, near to which was the fountain of Daphne; and in the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem on Numbers 34:11. Daphne is put for Riblah; and Josephus (d) says Antioch was by Daphne of Syria; and in the Apocrypha:"Which when Onias knew of a surety, he reproved him, and withdrew himself into a sanctuary at Daphne, that lieth by Antiochia.'' (2 Maccabees 4:33)Daphne is said to be by Antioch; with which place Pompey was greatly delighted, because of the pleasantness of it, and the abundance of waters about it (e): hither, it is probable, Jehoahaz went with an army to avenge his father's death on the king of Egypt, or to assist the king of Babylon, or both; and here Pharaoh met with him, and took him, and bound him; he seems to be of a martial spirit, from Ezekiel 19:3.
that he might not reign in Jerusalem; whither afterwards the king of Egypt came, and took it; and so Herodotus (f) says that after he had conquered the Syrians at Migdol, he took Cadytis, a great city of Syria, which seems to be Jerusalem, the holy city:
and put the land to a tribute of one hundred talents of silver, and a talent of gold; the land of Judah; and one hundred talents, according to Bunting (g), amounted to 37,500 pounds of our money; and a talent of gold, according to Brerewood (h), was 4,500 pounds; but Bishop Cumberland (i) makes it 5,067 pounds, three shillings, and ten pence; a talent of gold could not be so large in Homer's time, since he speaks of seven of them given at once in a way of hospitality (k).
(c) Comment. in Ezekiel 47.fol. 261. C. (d) Antiqu. l. 17. c. 2. sect. 3.((e) Rufi Fest. Breviar. Eutrop. Hist. Rom. l. 6. (f) Ut supra. (Chronic. Secil. 18. p. 568.) (g) Ut supra, (Travels, &c.) p. 288. (h) De Ponder & Pret. Vet. Num. c. 4. (i) Scripture Weights and Measures, ch. 4. p. 21. (k) Odyss. 9. ver. 258. & Odyss. 24. ver. 321.
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