And Abijah pursued after Jeroboam, and took cities from him, Bethel with the towns thereof, and Jeshanah with the towns thereof, and Ephraim with the towns thereof.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Took cities from him.—The three cities and their districts were only temporarily annexed to Judah. According to 1Kings 15:17-21, Baasha, King of Israel, attempted in the next reign to fortify Ramah, which was only about five miles north of Jerusalem. He had probably recovered these towns before doing so (Bertheau).
Jeshanah.—Not mentioned elsewhere in the Old Testament. Probably identical with Ἰσάνας of Josephus (Ant. xiv. 15, § 12); site unknown. Syriac, Shālā; Arabic, Sāiā.
Ephrain.—So the Heb. margin; Heb. text, Ephron; and so LXX., Vulg., Syriac, Arabic. Mount Ephron (Joshua 15:9) was situated too far to the south to be intended here. Perhaps Ophrah, near Bethel (Judges 6:11), or the town called Ephraim (John 6:54)—especially if Ephrain be the right reading—which also was near Bethel, according to Josephus (Bell. Jud. iv. 9, §9), is to be understood. Ophrah and Ephraim may be identical.
The Arabic adds: “And Zāghār with the towns thereof.”2 Chronicles 13:19. Abijah took cities from him, Beth-el, &c. — Which, however, Jeroboam recovered afterward, as appears by the course of the history. What became of the golden calf at Beth-el, when that place came thus into the hands of the king of Judah, we are not told. Probably when Jeroboam’s host was discomfited, and he expected that Abijah would pursue his victory, he removed the golden calf from thence to some safer place. And Ephraim — A city so called, possibly the same which is mentioned John 11:54; or that which is called Ophra, Jdg 8:27.Joshua 18:23 note. Beth-el; which Jeroboam recovered afterwards, as appears by the course of the history, though it be not particularly mentioned, which is the case of many other considerable things. And in the mean time it is very probable, that when Jeroboam’s host was discomfited, and he expected that Abijah would pursue his victory, he removed the golden calf from Beth-el, which lay near Abijah’s kingdom, to some safer place.
Ephrain; a city so called, possibly the same which is mentioned John 11:54, or that which is called Ophrah, Judges 8:27.
and took cities from him; the following ones:
Bethel with the towns thereof; the villages adjoining to it; here one of the calves was set up, which either Jeroboam took care to remove before this place fell into the hands of Abijah, or Abijah let it remain, and did not destroy it:
and Jeshanah with the towns thereof; which Reland (x) thinks is the same that is called by Jerom (y) Jethaba:
and Ephraim with the towns thereof; a city so called, thought to be the same that is mentioned in the passage; see Gill on John 11:54; it is here called, in the Targum, Ephron; so Jerom (z) calls it, and says it was Sichem.And Abijah pursued after Jeroboam, and took cities from him, Bethel with the towns thereof, and Jeshanah with the towns thereof, and Ephraim with the towns thereof.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)19. Beth-el] Beth-el was apparently subsequently recovered by the Northern Kingdom; cp. 2 Kings 10:29. Nothing is said, be it noted, of the capture of the golden calf. It may have been removed for safety before the city was taken.
Jeshanah] Nothing is certainly known of this place, which is mentioned here only. It has been identified with Ain Sînia, a little to the north of Beth-el.
Ephrain] R.V. Ephron (following the C’thîb, whereas A.V. agrees with the K’rî). Ephrain is a later form of the name Ephron, as Shamrain (Ezra 4:10; Ezra 4:17) is of Shomron (Samaria). The place has been identified with eṭ-Ṭaiyebeh, a place S.E. of Ain Sînia and N.E. of Beitin (Beth-el). It was probably the city called Ephraim, to which our Lord retired after the raising of Lazarus (John 11:54).Verse 19. - Bethel. Abijah was, perhaps, the rather permitted to take this city as the head-quarters of Jeroboam's irreligious worship. Jeshanah. A place not known elsewhere in Scripture by this name, which by derivation means "old." Grove (Dr. Smith's 'Bible Dictionary,' 1. p. 1035) quotes Josephus ('Ant.,' 14:15.§ 12) as speaking of a place so named, the scene of a battle between Herod and Antigonus's general, Pappus, but Josephus does not assign its site. Ephrain; or, according to Chethiv, Epron. Grove (Dr. Smith's 'Bible Dictionary,' 1. p. 569) says that conjecture has identified it with the Ephraim of 2 Samuel 13:23, with the Ophrah of Joshua 18:23, and with the Ephraim of John 11:54; possibly the modern El-Taiyibeh (Dr. Robinson, 1:44), about five miles from Bethel. 2 Chronicles 13:13. Jeroboam caused the ambush (the troops appointed to be an ambush) to go round about, so as to come upon their rear (i.e., of the men of Judah); and so they (the main division of Jeroboam's troops) were before Judah, and the ambush in their rear (i.e., of the men of Judah); and the men of Judah, when they turned themselves (scil. to attack), saw war before and behind them, i.e., perceived that they were attacked in front and rear. In this dangerous position the men of Judah cried to the Lord, and the priests blew the trumpets (2 Chronicles 13:15); and as they raised this war-cry, God smote their enemies so that they took to flight. In ויּריעוּ and בּהריע the loud shout of the warriors and the clangour of the trumpets in the hands of the priests are comprehended; and הריע is neither to be taken to refer only to the war-cry raised by the warriors in making the attack, nor, with Bertheau, to be referred only to the blowing of the trumpets.
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