And it came to pass at the end of the year, that the host of Syria came up against him: and they came to Judah and Jerusalem, and destroyed all the princes of the people from among the people, and sent all the spoil of them to the king of Damascus.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)THE LORD’S VENGEANCE, viz., THE SYRIAN INVASION AND SLAUGHTER OF THE PRINCES, AND THE MURDER OF JOASH (2Chronicles 24:23-27). (Comp. 2Kings 12:17-21.)
(23) At the end of the year.—At the running out of the year, viz., the year of the murder of Zechariah. (See for the phrase, Exodus 34:22.)
The host of Syria came up against him.—Comp. 2Kings 12:17. Our passage seems to show that a small part (2Chronicles 24:24) of the besieging army was detached, and sent against Jerusalem. (Comp. 2Kings 18:14; 2Kings 18:17.) The princes of Judah (2Chronicles 24:17) at the head of a large force met the invaders in the field; but the Syrians routed them, and “destroyed all the princes of the people from among the people.” We may suppose that they made it their special aim to cut off the leaders of the Jewish host. (Comp. 2Chronicles 18:30.) Thus the apostate princes were overtaken by the prophetic doom. (LXX., “the princes of the people among the people; “Syriac and Vulg. and Arabic omit “from among the people.” But comp. Isaiah 7:8.)
And sent all the spoil of them.—To Hazael, who was probably still at Gath with the main body of his troops.2 Chronicles 24:23. At the end of the year the host of Syria came up — So soon did God hear the cry of his holy prophet’s blood and revenge it. They came and destroyed all the princes — That it might appear they were sent and directed by God, to single out to destruction the first beginners, and chief promoters, of this general apostacy. And sent all the spoil unto the king of Damascus — To Hazael the king of that part of Syria called Syria Damascena, from its capital city Damascus.
23. at the end of the year the host of Syria came up—This invasion took place under the personal conduct of Hazael, whom Joash, to save the miseries of a siege, prevailed on to withdraw his forces by a large present of gold (2Ki 12:18). Most probably, also, he promised the payment of an annual tribute, on the neglect or refusal of which the Syrians returned the following year, and with a mere handful of men inflicted a total and humiliating defeat on the collected force of the Hebrews.At the end of the year; so soon did God hear the cry of his holy prophet’s blood, and revenge it.
Destroyed all the princes of the people; that it might appear they were sent and directed by God to single out to destruction the first beginners and chief promoters of this general apostacy.
Unto the king of Damascus; to Hazael, the king of that part of Syria called Syria Damascena, from its capital city Damascus.
that the host of Syria came up against him; against Joash, king of Judah, under Hazael king of Syria, or however sent by him; for some think this is a different expedition from that in 2 Kings 12:17 though others take it to be the same:
and they came to Judah and Jerusalem; not only came into the land of Judah, but as far as Jerusalem, the forces of Joash not being able to stop them:
and destroyed all the princes of the people from among the people; the idolatrous princes of Judah, 2 Chronicles 24:17, which is very remarkable that they should be distinguished from the people in their destruction, who had been the chief cause of the wrath of God coming upon them:And it came to pass at the end of the year, that the host of Syria came up against him: and they came to Judah and Jerusalem, and destroyed all the princes of the people from among the people, and sent all the spoil of them unto the king of Damascus.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)23. at the end of the year] Rather, in the course of a year, i.e. when the same time of year had come round again.
the host of Syria] R.V. the army of the Syrians (as in 2 Chronicles 24:24).
the princes] Who had been leaders in the apostasy (2 Chronicles 24:17).
from among the people] The reading of the Heb. is doubtful; the words should perhaps be expunged.
23, 24 (cp. 2 Kings 12:17-18). The Syrian Invasion
In 2 Kin. the invasion is not represented as a judgment on Joash, for no sin is mentioned for which this could be the punishment.
As regards the campaign itself 2 Kin. simply says that the Syrians were bought off with a heavy bribe from attacking Jerusalem; nothing is said of the amount of damage done during the invasion. The Chronicler on the contrary says nothing of the cause of the withdrawal of the Syrians, but simply says that a small force of them inflicted great loss and took much spoil. The two accounts supplement rather than contradict each other.Verse 23. - At the end of the year; Hebrew, תְּקוּפַת; margin, both of the Authorized Version and the Revised Version, revolution. The word is found three other times, Exodus 34:22; 1 Samuel 1:20; Psalm 19:7. The versions, of course, express correctly what is meant, but probably the season of spring is also conveyed (2 Samuel 11:1; 1 Chronicles 20:1). The host of Syria. Their king was Hazael (2 Kings 12:17), whether actually with them is perhaps not certain, but the last clause in the verse just quoted would seem to convey that impression. He was King of Damascus (Aram, or Syria), and having already temporarily mastered Israel (2 Kings 13:3, 4, 22), the way was paved to Gath (2 Chronicles 11:8; 2 Chronicles 17:11), whence wistful eyes were bent on Jerusalem, nearly thirty miles distant thence. Destroyed all the princes of the people; i.e. as in the next verse. And sent all the spoil. Whether intended so here or not, probably the strict subject of the verb in this clause is Joash and his counsellors (ver. 18 in parallel), in their fright - and just fright - helpless after the slaughter chronicled in our following verse, bribing off Hazael and his host, as in parallel. The suggestion is most plausible that tidings of Zechariah's martyrdom and of the occasion of it were the very incentive to Hazael's incursion, and an illustration of the "means" by which God works, and by which he wrought his purpose in this instance. The spoil of them. If this means only the spoil of the defeated army strictly, then our text gives no trace of the contents of ver. 18 in parallel just alluded to; but the frequent dislocation incident to copied extracts and matter borrowed from original sources, and so often evidenced in the present history, when we have been comparing the two derived accounts to which we are indebted for it, incline us to the above view, as one quite open at any rate to possibility. 2 Chronicles 24:18. They forsook Jahve the God of their fathers, etc. There came wrath upon Judah because of this their trespass. קצף, a wrathful judgment of the Lord, cf. 2 Chronicles 29:8, viz., the invasion of the land by Hazael, 2 Chronicles 24:23. On the construction זאת אשׁמתם, cf. Ew. 293, c, S. 740. Against this defection prophets whom the Lord sent did indeed lift up their testimony, but they would not hearken to them. Of these prophets, one, Zechariah the son of the high priest Jehoiada, is mentioned by name in 2 Chronicles 24:20., who, seized by the Spirit of the Lord, announced to the people divine punishment for their defection, and was thereupon, at the king's command, stoned in the court of the temple. With לבשׁה רוּח cf. 1 Chronicles 12:18, and the commentary on Judges 6:34. לעם מעל, above the people, viz., as we learn from 2 Chronicles 24:21, in the inner, higher-lying court, so that he was above the people who were in the outer court. "Why transgress ye the commandments of the Lord, and (why) will ye not prosper?" Fidelity to the Lord is the condition of prosperity. If Israel forsake the Lord, the Lord will also forsake it; cf. 2 Chronicles 12:5; 2 Chronicles 15:2.
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