2 Chronicles 13:9
Have you not cast out the priests of the LORD, the sons of Aaron, and the Levites, and have made you priests after the manner of the nations of other lands? so that whoever comes to consecrate himself with a young bullock and seven rams, the same may be a priest of them that are no gods.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(9) The priests of the Lord . . . and the Levites.—The Hebrew seems to include the Levites among the priests of the Lord.

Cast out.Banished (Jeremiah 8:3).

After the manner of the nations of other lands.—Literally, like the peoples of the lands; that is, priests of all classes of the nation, and not members of the divinely chosen tribe of Levi. (See 1Kings 12:31; 1Kings 13:33). The surrounding heathen had no exclusive sacerdotal castes.

So that whosoever cometh . . .—Literally, every one that cometh, that they may fill his hand, with a steer, son of a herd, and seven rams, becometh a priest unto non-gods. “To fill a man’s hand” was the legal phrase for giving him authority and instituting him as a priest. (See Exodus 28:41; Exodus 29:9; Judges 17:5.) Every one that came with the prescribed sacrifices (see Exodus 29) was admissible to the new priesthood. The phrase “a young bullock and seven rams” is not a full account of the sacrifices required by the law of Moses for the consecration of a priest. Perhaps Abijah did not care to be exact; but it is quite possible that Jeroboam had modified the Mosaic rule.

The compound substantive “no-gods” (lō’ ’elôhîm) is like lō’ ’êl and lō’ ’elōah (Deuteronomy 32:17; Deuteronomy 32:21). The calves are spoken of as mere idols, although there is little doubt that Jeroboam set them up as representations of the God of Israel.

2 Chronicles 13:9. Have ye not cast out the priests of the Lord? — The house of Aaron, whom God appointed to minister in holy things. And have made you priests, after the manner of the nations? — In conformity to the custom of the idolatrous nations. So that whosoever cometh to consecrate himself with a young bullock — To make himself a priest, Leviticus 7:3. Whosoever desires to be in the office, and will be at the charge of his consecration, though ever so much a scandal to the character; the same may be a priest of them that are no gods — That have nothing of the nature or power of gods, though you give them that name. Such, however, though very unfit to be priests, were most fit of all others to be their priests. For what could be more suitable to gods that were no gods, than priests that were no priests?13:1-22 Abijah overcomes Jeroboam. - Jeroboam and his people, by apostacy and idolatry, merited the severe punishment Abijah was permitted to execute upon them. It appears from the character of Abijah, 1Ki 15:3, that he was not himself truly religious, yet he encouraged himself from the religion of his people. It is common for those that deny the power of godliness, to boast of the form of it. Many that have little religion themselves, value it in others. But it was true that there were numbers of pious worshippers in Judah, and that theirs was the more righteous cause. In their distress, when danger was on every side, which way should they look for deliverance unless upward? It is an unspeakable comfort, that our way thither is always open. They cried unto the Lord. Earnest prayer is crying. To the cry of prayer they added the shout of faith, and became more than conquerors. Jeroboam escaped the sword of Abijah, but God struck him; there is no escaping his sword.Seven rams - "A bullock and two rams" was the offering which God had required at the original consecration of the sons of Aaron Exodus 29:1; Leviticus 8:2. Jeroboam, for reasons of his own, enlarged the sacrifice, and required it at the consecration of every priest. 4-12. Abijah stood up upon Mount Zemaraim—He had entered the enemy's territory and was encamped on an eminence near Beth-el (Jos 18:22). Jeroboam's army lay at the foot of the hill, and as a pitched battle was expected, Abijah, according to the singular usage of ancient times, harangued the enemy. The speakers in such circumstances, while always extolling their own merits, poured out torrents of invective and virulent abuse upon the adversary. So did Abijah. He dwelt on the divine right of the house of David to the throne; and sinking all reference to the heaven-condemned offenses of Solomon and the divine appointment of Jeroboam, as well as the divine sanction of the separation, he upbraided Jeroboam as a usurper, and his subjects as rebels, who took advantage of the youth and inexperience of Rehoboam. Then contrasting the religious state of the two kingdoms, he drew a black picture of the impious innovations and gross idolatry introduced by Jeroboam, with his expulsion and impoverishment (2Ch 11:14) of the Levites. He dwelt with reasonable pride on the pure and regular observance of the ancient institutions of Moses in his own dominion [2Ch 13:11] and concluded with this emphatic appeal: "O children of Israel, fight ye not against Jehovah, the God of your fathers, for ye shall not prosper." To consecrate himself, i. e. to make himself a priest. See Poole "Leviticus 7:37".

That are no gods; that have nothing of the nature or power, though you give them the name of gods. Have ye not cast out the priests of the Lord the sons of Aaron, and the Levites,.... Because they would not sacrifice to his idols, and that they might not instruct the people in the pure worship of God, and that he and his people might be free from the payment of tithes, firstfruits, &c. and their cities fall into his hands:

and have made you priests after the manner of the nations of other lands? after the manner of the Gentiles, without any regard to any particular tribe, which God had appointed those to be taken from:

so that whosoever cometh to consecrate himself with a young bullock and seven rams; which were five more than what were required by the law of Moses for the consecration of a priest, Exodus 29:1, the same

may be a priest of them that are no gods; by nature, only nominal and fictitious deities, as the calves were, which had no divinity in them, see 1 Kings 13:31.

Have ye not cast out the priests of the LORD, the sons of Aaron, and the Levites, and have made you priests after the manner of the nations of other lands? so that whosoever cometh to consecrate himself with a {i} young bullock and seven rams, the same may be a priest of them that are no gods.

(i) He shows the nature of idolaters who take no trial of the calling, life and doctrine of their ministers, but think the most vile and greatest beasts sufficient to serve their turn.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
9. cast out] R.V. driven out; cp. note on 2 Chronicles 11:14.

to consecrate himself] Lit. to fill his hand. Moses is directed (Exodus 29:1 ff.) to ordain Aaron and his sons priests by three ceremonies: (1) by anointing them, (2) by filling their hands, i.e. by presenting them with victims upon which they laid their hands, (3) by hallowing them, i.e. by sprinkling some of the blood of the victim upon them.

a young bullock and seven rams] Aaronic priests were consecrated with a young bullock and two rams (Exodus 29:1).The War between Abijah and Jeroboam. - היתה מלחמה, war arose, broke out.

2 Chronicles 13:3

Abijah began the war with an army of 400,000 valiant warriors. בּחוּר אישׁ, chosen men. את מ אסר, to bind on war, i.e., to open the war. Jeroboam prepared for the war with 800,000 warriors. The number of Jeroboam's warriors is exactly that which Joab returned as the result, as to Israel, of the numbering of the people commanded by David, while that of Abijah's army is less by 100,000 men than Joab numbered in Judah (2 Samuel 24:9).

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