|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
22:10-19 Here is a sentence of death upon two kings, the wicked sons of a very pious father. Josiah was prevented from seeing the evil to come in this world, and removed to see the good to come in the other world; therefore, weep not for him, but for his son Shallum, who is likely to live and die a wretched captive. Dying saints may be justly envied, while living sinners are justly pitied. Here also is the doom of Jehoiakim. No doubt it is lawful for princes and great men to build, beautify, and furnish houses; but those who enlarge their houses, and make them sumptuous, need carefully to watch against the workings of vain-glory. He built his houses by unrighteousness, with money gotten unjustly. And he defrauded his workmen of their wages. God notices the wrong done by the greatest to poor servants and labourers, and will repay those in justice, who will not, in justice, pay those whom they employ. The greatest of men must look upon the meanest as their neighbours, and be just to them accordingly. Jehoiakim was unjust, and made no conscience of shedding innocent blood. Covetousness, which is the root of all evil, was at the bottom of all. The children who despise their parents' old fashions, commonly come short of their real excellences. Jehoiakim knew that his father found the way of duty to be the way of comfort, yet he would not tread in his steps. He shall die unlamented, hateful for oppression and cruelty.
Verse 15. - Shalt thou reign - rather, dost thou reign; i.e. dost thou prove thy royal qualities) - because thou closest thyself in cedar? The second part of the clause must at any rate be. altered. Some render, "because thou viest (with thy forefathers) in cedar" (i.e. in building cedar palaces). Hitzig would strike out "in cedar," as having intruded from the preceding line (such a phenomenon meets us occasionally in the received Hebrew text), but this does not help us to a 'connected translation of the passage. Graf's rendering is grammatical, and not against usage; it is, "Dost thou reign because thou art eager about cedar-wood?" and yet the impression left on the mind is that there is some error in the text. The Septuagint finds a reference to one of Jehoiakim's predecessors, "because thou viest with Ahaz" (so the Vatican Codex), or, "... with Ahab" (so the Alexandrine and the Sinaitic or Friderico-Augustan). The latter king is celebrated in the Old Testament on account of his buildings, especially his ivory palace (2 Kings 22:39). The former was at any rate addicted to the imitation of foreign ways (2 Kings 16:11; 2 Kings 20:11). Did not thy father eat and drink? There was no call upon Jehoiakim to live the life of a Nazarite. "Eating and drinking," i.e. enjoying the good things within his reach, was perfectly admissible (Ecclesiastes 2:24); indeed, the Old Testament view of life is remarkable for its healthy naturalness. There was, however, one peremptory condition, itself as much in accordance with nature as with the Law of God, that the rights of other men should be studiously regarded. Josiah "ate and drank," but he also "did judgment and justice," and so "it was well with him."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Shalt thou reign because thou closest thyself in cedar?.... Dost thou think that thou shalt reign long, and thy throne be established firm and secure, because of thy cedar wainscot? as if that was a protection to thee, and were like the fortifications of a city or tower; when it may easily be broke to pieces, or burnt with fire; and must be a poor defence against a powerful enemy. The Targum is,
"dost thou think to be as the first king?''
as David; to be as great a prince, to keep as grand a court, and live in as splendid a manner, as he? The Septuagint version, instead of "ares", a cedar, reads "Ahaz", and takes it for the proper name of a king of Judah; and the Arabic version reads "Ahab"; and so the Alexandrian copy of the Septuagint; and both confound it with the next clause; the former rendering the words thus, "shalt thou reign, that thou provokest in", or "after the manner of Ahaz thy father?" and the latter thus,
"thou shalt not reign, because thou imitatest the original of Ahab thy father;''
but both wrong; though Grotius seems to approve of this reading:
did not thy father eat and drink, and do judgment and justice? that is, Josiah his father, who ate and drank in moderation, and lived cheerfully and comfortably; and kept a good table like a prince, without such a magnificent palace as he, his son, had built; and without oppressing his subjects, and detaining the hire of the labourer: living in a grand manner, becoming a king, may be done consistent with doing justice and judgment; let but that be done, and a prince will not be blamed for living like himself, and for supporting the dignity of his character and office, as Josiah did:
and then it was well with him; or, "therefore it was well with him" (u) he was blessed of God, and was prosperous and successful; he was happy himself as a prince, and his people under him, both enjoying peace and prosperity; there are never better times than when justice is done; by it the throne is established.
(u) "ideo bene fuit ei"; so Noldius renders the particle, Concord. Par. Ebr. p. 7.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
15. closest thyself—rather, "thou viest," that is, art emulous to surpass thy forefathers in the magnificence of thy palaces.
eat and drink—Did not Josiah, thy father, enjoy all that man really needs for his bodily wants? Did he need to build costly palaces to secure his throne? Nay, he did secure it by "judgment and justice"; whereas thou, with all thy luxurious building, sittest on a tottering throne.
then—on that account, therefore.
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