2 Chronicles 23:2
And they went about in Judah, and gathered the Levites out of all the cities of Judah, and the chief of the fathers of Israel, and they came to Jerusalem.
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(2) And they went about in Judah.2Chronicles 17:9; 1Samuel 7:16.

The chief of the fathers.The heads of the clans, or chiefs of houses.

This and the next verse are added by the chronicler. In Kings the narrative passes at once to the charge of 2Chronicles 23:4 : “This is the thing that ye shall do,” which is there addressed to the “captains of the hundreds,” or centurions of the royal guard. In fact, the parallel text is nearly if not altogether silent as to the part played by the Levites in the Restoration; and the chronicler appears to have supplemented that account with materials derived from other authorities, and perhaps from Levitical traditions. That he should have done so, is only consistent with his general practice and the special purpose of his history. At the same time, allowing for certain characteristic additions, interpretations, and substitutions of phrase for phrase, which will be specified in these Notes, the narrative of the chronicler absolutely coincides with that of Kings, treating of the same events, and rigidly observing the same limits, as well as maintaining a general identity of language. We conclude, therefore, that in this case, as elsewhere, the chronicler has used as the groundwork of his relation a historical text which contained sections substantially identical with the present narratives of Kings, but accompanied by numerous details not found in those books.

2 Chronicles 23:2. And gathered the Levites out of all the cities of Judah — Because he knew them to be well affected to the cause of God and the king, to which they were bound by the two strongest ties, conscience and interest: and because he could collect them without any suspicion, it being their duty to attend at Jerusalem at the solemn feasts, the time of one which was probably chosen for this purpose. And the chief of the fathers Israel — Judah is here called Israel, as in several other places. They came to Jerusalem — To settle their resolutions with Jehoiada.23:12-20 A warning from God was sent to Jehoram. The Spirit of prophecy might direct Elijah to prepare this writing in the foresight of Jehoram's crimes. He is plainly told that his sin should certainly ruin him. But no marvel that sinners are not frightened from sin, and to repentance, by the threatenings of misery in another world, when the certainty of misery in this world, the sinking of their estates, and the ruin of their health, will not restrain them from vicious courses. See Jehoram here stripped of all his comforts. Thus God plainly showed that the controversy was with him, and his house. He had slain all his brethren to strengthen himself; now, all his sons are slain but one. David's house must not be wholly destroyed, like those of Israel's kings, because a blessing was in it; that of the Messiah. Good men may be afflicted with diseases; but to them they are fatherly chastisements, and by the support of Divine consolations the soul may dwell at ease, even when the body lies in pain. To be sick and poor, sick and solitary, but especially to be sick and in sin, sick and under the curse of God, sick and without grace to bear it, is a most deplorable case. Wickedness and profaneness make men despicable, even in the eyes of those who have but little religion.Jehoiada was unwilling to trust the success of the revolution wholly and entirely to the royal body-guard. Accordingly, the captains collected from the cities of Judah a strong body of Levites and the chief of the fathers of Israel (i. e. "Judah," see 2 Chronicles 20:34 note) who were brought up to Jerusalem. 2. chief of all the fathers of Israel—This name is frequently used in Chronicles for Judah and Benjamin, now all that remained of Israel. Having cautiously entrusted the secret of the young prince's preservation to all the leading men in the kingdom, he enlisted their interest in the royal cause and got their pledge to support it by a secret oath of fidelity.

they came to Jerusalem—The time chosen for the grand discovery was, probably, one of the annual festivals, when there was a general concourse of the nation at the capital.

Gathered the Levites out of all the cities of Judah; partly because they could do this without any suspicion, upon pretence of some solemn feast; which time, it is probable, was chosen for this purpose; and partly because he knew them to be well affected to the cause of God and the king, to which they were obliged by the two firmest ties, conscience and interest.

The chief of the fathers of Israel, i.e. both of the two tribes, and of the ten tribes, all which are called Israel; and he useth the name of Israel rather than that of Judah, because there were now great numbers of the other tribes incorporated with Judah; and these he esteemed more faithful than many of Judah, having given better proofs of the truth of their religion than they; and therefore he picked out of the chief men of the other tribes as well as of Judah and Benjamin. The contents of this chapter are the same with 2 Kings 11:4 and need no other explanation than what may be found in the notes there, to which the reader is referred.See Gill on 2 Kings 11:4. See Gill on 2 Kings 11:5. See Gill on 2 Kings 11:6. See Gill on 2 Kings 11:7. See Gill on 2 Kings 11:8. See Gill on 2 Kings 11:9. See Gill on 2 Kings 11:10. See Gill on 2 Kings 11:11. See Gill on 2 Kings 11:12. See Gill on 2 Kings 11:13. See Gill on 2 Kings 11:14. See Gill on 2 Kings 11:15. See Gill on 2 Kings 11:16. See Gill on 2 Kings 11:17. See Gill on 2 Kings 11:18. See Gill on 2 Kings 11:19. See Gill on 2 Kings 11:20. And they went about in Judah, and gathered the Levites out of all the cities of Judah, and the {b} chief of the fathers of Israel, and they came to Jerusalem.

(b) Meaning of Judah and Benjamin. To see why they are called Israel, see Geneva (l) 2Ch 15:17

2. gathered the Levites] This statement is not found in Kings, nor is it there stated as here (2 Chronicles 23:6) that only Levites were allowed inside the Temple to guard the king.

the chief of the fathers] R.V. the heads of fathers’ houses.

Israel] See 2 Chronicles 11:3 (note).Verse 2. - No mention is made in the parallel of the Levites, whom our writer is sure to signalize. The fathers of Israel. The sacredness of the phrase made it dear, above the narrowness of the distinctive appellation Judah, though the worthies all were gathered, as just;implied, out of "Judah." When Jehu was executing judgment upon the house of Ahab (נשׁפּט usually construed with את, to be at law with any one, to administer justice; cf. Isaiah 46:13, Ezekiel 38:22), he found the princes of Judah, and the sons of the brothers of Ahaziah, serving Ahaziah, and slew them. משׁרתים, i.e., in the train of King Ahaziah as his servants. As to when and where Jehu met the brothers' sons of Ahaziah and slew them, we have no further statement, as the author of the Chronicle mentions that fact only as a proof of the divinely directed extirpation of all the members of the idolatrous royal house. In 2 Kings 10:12-14 we read that Jehu, after he had extirpated the whole Israelite royal house - Joram and Jezebel, and the seventy sons of Ahab - went to Samaria, there to eradicate the Baal-worship, and upon his way thither met the brothers of Ahaziah the king of Judah, and caused them to be taken alive, and then slain, to the number of forty-two. These עחזיהוּ אחי, forty-two men, cannot have been actual brothers of Ahaziah, since all Ahaziah's brethren had, according to 2 Chronicles 22:1 and 2 Chronicles 21:17, been slain in the reign of Joram, in the invasion of the Philistines and Arabians. They must be brothers only in the wider sense, i.e., cousins and nephews of Ahaziah, as Movers (S. 258) and Ewald recognise, along with the older commentators. The Chronicle, therefore, is quite correct in saying, "sons of the brethren of Ahaziah," and along with these princes of Judah, who, according to the context, can only be princes who held offices at court, especially such as were entrusted with the education and guardianship of the royal princes. Perhaps these are included in the number forty-two (Kings). But even if this be not the case, we need not suppose that there were forty-two brothers' sons, or nephews of Ahaziah, since אחים includes cousins also, and in the text of the Chronicle no number is stated, although forty-two nephews would not be an unheard-of number; and we do not know how many elder brothers Ahaziah had. Certainly the nephews or brothers' sons of Ahaziah cannot have been very old, since Ahaziah's father Joram died at the age of forty, and Ahaziah, who became king in his twenty-second year, reigned only one year. But from the early development of posterity in southern lands, and the polygamy practised by the royal princes, Joram might easily have had in his fortieth year a considerable number of grandsons from five to eight years old, and boys of from six to nine years might quite well make a journey with their tutors to Jezreel to visit their relations. In this way the divergent statements as to the slaughter of the brothers and brothers' sons of Ahaziah, contained in 2 Kings 9 and in our 2 Chronicles 22:8, may be reconciled, without our being compelled, as Berth. thinks we are, to suppose that there were two different traditions on this subject.
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