For the Levites left their suburbs and their possession, and came to Judah and Jerusalem: for Jeroboam and his sons had cast them off from executing the priest's office to the LORD:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Their suburbs.—Pasture-grounds (Numbers 35:1-8).
And their possession—i.e., the cities assigned to them among the ten tribes.
Jeroboam and his sons had cast them off from executing the priest’s office unto the Lord.—See 1Kings 12:26-31. There we are told that, as a matter of policy, Jeroboam established two centres of worship within his own dominions, so that his subjects might cease to visit the Temple of Jerusalem. In appointing priests chosen promiscuously from all classes of the people to minister in the new sanctuaries, Jeroboam struck a direct blow at the Levitical order, and “thrust them out from acting as priests to Jehovah,” as our verse declares.
And his sons.—Usually explained to mean his successors on the throne. (Comp. 1Chronicles 3:16.) “For in this matter all the kings of Israel walked in the footsteps of Jeroboam” (Keil). Of Jeroboam’s own sons Nadab was the only one who reigned (1Kings 15:25 sqq.); and the narrative of Kings (1 Kings 14, 15) mentions but one other son of this king. It does not, however, exclude the possibility of there having been more than these two, and if there were, they may have co-operated with their father in his religious policy.2 Chronicles 11:14. For Jeroboam and his sons cast them off — They would not suffer them to instruct the Israelites in the worship of God, nor to go up to Jerusalem to worship in their courses: and these priests would not join with them in the worship of the calves, as they were commanded by Jeroboam to do; and therefore they willingly forsook all their patrimonies and possessions for God’s sake. No secular advantages whatsoever should detain us there, where we are in danger of making shipwreck of faith and a good conscience. It was a mercy to these priests and Levites that they had a place of refuge to flee to; and that, when Jeroboam cast them off, there were those so near that would receive and bid them welcome; and that they were not forced to flee into the lands of the heathen. And it was an evidence that they loved their work better than their maintenance, in that they left their suburbs and possessions in the country, where they might have lived at ease upon their own property, because they were restrained from serving God there, and in that, casting themselves upon God’s providence, and the charity of their brethren, they came where they might have the full enjoyment of God’s ordinances, according to his own institution. They judged that poverty, in the way of duty, was to be chosen, rather than plenty, in the way of sin; and that it was better to live upon alms, or die in a prison, with a good conscience, than roll in wealth and pleasure with a prostituted one. At the same time, it was the wisdom and praise of Rehoboam and his people, that they bid them welcome, though they probably incommoded themselves to make room for them. Conscientious refugees bring a blessing along with them to the countries that entertain them, as they leave a curse behind them with those that expel them.2 Chronicles 11:16. Joshua 21:1 and came to Judah and Jerusalem; to the cities of Judah, which belonged to the Levites; and to Jerusalem, where they exercised their functions:
for Jeroboam and his sons had cast them off from exercising the priest's office unto the Lord; neither suffering them to go to Jerusalem in their courses, as they used to do by turns, nor to perform their office in their own dwellings, according to the law of God, in teaching and instructing the people.For the Levites left their suburbs and their possession, and came to Judah and Jerusalem: for Jeroboam and his sons had cast them off from executing the priest's office unto the LORD:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)14. suburbs] See note on 1 Chronicles 5:16.
had cast them off from executing] R.V. cast them off, that they should not execute. In 1 Kin. (1 Kings 12:31; 1 Kings 13:33) it is not said that Jeroboam rejected the tribe of Levi, but only that he allowed men of any tribe to become priests; “he … made priests from among all the people” (R.V.).Verse 14. - Left their suburbs (so Leviticus 25:34; Numbers 35:1, 3, 7; Joshua 14:4; Joshua 21:12). Jeroboam... had east them off. This glimpse reveals to us, with exceeding probability, that there had been some struggle on the solemn matter; we may readily imagine that Jeroboam had either tried it on in vain with the true priests and Levites, or had learned very conclusively beforehand that it would be vain to try it on (2 Chronicles 13:9). 1 Chronicles 18:1), and was under Solomon the seat of its own king, who was subject to the Israelite king (1 Kings 2:39), has not yet been certainly discovered; see on Joshua 13:3.
(Note: C. Schick, Reise in das Philisterland (in "Ausland" 1867, Nr. 7, S. 162), identifies Gath with the present Tel Safieh, "an isolated conical hill in the plain, like a sentinel of a watchtower or fortress, and on that account there was so much struggling for its possession." On the other hand, Konr. Furrer, Wanderungen durch Palstina, Zrich 1865, thinks, S. 133, that he has found the true situation of Gath in the Wady el Gat, northward of the ruins of Askalon.)
Mareshah, the city Marissa, on the road from Hebron to the land of the Philistines, was at a later time very important, and is not represented by the ruin Marash, twenty-four minutes to the south of Beit-Jibrin (Eleutheropolis); see on Joshua 15:44, and Tobl. dritte Wand. S. 129, 142f. Ziph is probably the Ziph mentioned in Joshua 15:55, in the hill country of Judah, of which ruins yet remain on the hill Ziph, about an hour and a quarter south-east of Hebron; see on Joshua 15:55. C. v. Raumer thinks, on the contrary, Pal. S. 222, Anm. 249, that our Ziph, as it is mentioned along with Mareshah and other cities of the lowland, cannot be identified with either of the Ziphs mentioned in Joshua 15:24 and Joshua 15:55, but is probably Achzib in the lowland mentioned along with Mareshah, Joshua 15:44; but this is very improbable.
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