2 Chronicles 26:10
Also he built towers in the desert, and digged many wells: for he had much cattle, both in the low country, and in the plains: husbandmen also, and vine dressers in the mountains, and in Carmel: for he loved husbandry.
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(10) In the desert.—Or, grazing country, i.e., the “wilderness of Judah,” on the west of the Dead Sea. The towers were for the protection of the royal herds against the predatory Bedawin. (Comp. Micah 4:8 : “And thou, O tower of the flock.”)

Digged many wells.Hewed out many cisterns; to supply his herds with water.

For he had much cattle.—Scil, there, in the wilderness of Judah. But perhaps we should render thus: “For he had much cattle; and in the lowland and in the plain he had husbandmen; and vinedressers in the mountains and in the glebe land.” So Syriac.

Both in the low country.And in the lowland of Judah; the Shephēlah, between the hills and the Mediterranean.

And in the plains.Plain (mîshôr). “The Plain,” par excellence, appears to mean the high level east of the Dead Sea and Jordan (Deuteronomy 4:43; Joshua 20:8). This was the territory of Reuben, which Uzziah probably recovered from Moab and Ammon (2Chronicles 26:8). (Comp. Isaiah 16:1, from which it appears that the kings of Judah at this epoch claimed sovereignty over the country on the eastern side of the Jordan.)

And in Carmel.—Or, the fruitful field, the glebe land (Isaiah 29:17; Isaiah 32:15).

With the whole verse Comp. the account of David’s agricultural and pastoral wealth (1Chronicles 27:25-31).

He loved husbandry.A lover of land was he, i.e., of the soil. (Comp. the expression, “man of the land,” i.e., husbandman, Genesis 9:20.)

2 Chronicles 26:10-11. He built towers in the desert — Partly to guard his cattle from the inroads and depredations which the Arabians were accustomed to make: and partly to give notice of the approach of any enemy, and to put some stop to their march on that side. Uzziah had an army that went out to war by bands — Some bands at one time, and some at another, as occasion required.

26:1-15 As long as Uzziah sought the Lord, and minded religion, God made him to prosper. Those only prosper whom God makes to prosper; for prosperity is his gift. Many have owned, that as long as they sought the Lord, and kept close to their duty, they prospered; but when they forsook God, every thing went cross. God never continues either to bless the indolent or to withhold his blessing from the diligent. He will never suffer any to seek his face in vain. Uzziah's name was famed throughout all the neighbouring countries. A name with God and good people makes truly honourable. He did not delight in war, nor addict himself to sports, but delighted in husbandry.He built towers in the desert - Refuges for the flocks and the herdsmen in the wild pasture country on the borders of the holy land, especially toward the south and southeast.

Wells - The marginal translation is preferable. Judaea depends largely for its water-supply on reservoirs in which the rain-fall is stored. These are generally cut in the natural rock, and covered at top.

For he had much cattle ... - Some prefer, "for he had much cattle there, and in the low country, and on the dawns," with allusion to three pasture districts:

(1) The "wilderness," or high tract to the south and southeast, extending from the western shores of the Dead Sea to the vicinity of Beersheba;

(2) The "low country," or maritime plain on the west, between the hills of Judaea and the sea; and

(3) The "downs," or rich grazing land beyond the Jordan, on the plateau of Gilead. Uzziah's possession of this last-named district must have been connected with the submission of the Ammonites (see 2 Chronicles 26:8).

In the mountains, and in Carmel - These terms describe Judaea Proper - the hilly tract between the low maritime plain on the one side, and the wilderness and Jordan valley on the other. By "Carmel" we must understand, not the mountain of that name, which belonged to Samaria, but the cultivated portions of the Judaean hill-tract (see the margin).

10. Also he built towers in the desert—for the threefold purpose of defense, of observation, and of shelter to his cattle. He dug also a great many wells, for he loved and encouraged all branches of agriculture. Some of these "were in the desert," that is, in the district to the southeast of Jerusalem, on the west of the Dead Sea, an extensive grazing district "in the low country" lying between the mountains of Judah and the Mediterranean; "and in the plains," east of the Jordan, within the territory of Reuben (De 4:43; Jos 20:8).

in Carmel—This mountain, being within the boundary of Israel, did not belong to Uzziah; and as it is here placed in opposition to the vine-bearing mountains, it is probably used, not as a proper name, but to signify, as the word denotes, "fruitful fields" (Margin).

He built towers in the desert; partly to guard his cattle from the inroads and depredations which the Arabians were accustomed to make; and partly to give notice of the approach of any enemy, and to give some stop to their march on that side.

Also he built towers in the desert,.... In the desert of Arabia, to protect travellers from thieves and robbers, and particularly shepherds and their flocks, as appears by what follows; which a certain writer (p) thinks are the same which the Indians call pagodas; not such as served for temples, but were buildings encompassed with good walls, where flocks were gathered together in case of any alarm:

and digged many wells; for the watering of the flocks, which in those hot and desert places were of great use:

for he had much cattle, both in the low country and in the plains; both flocks and herds:

husbandmen also, and vinedressers in the mountains; husbandmen to take care of the corn, and manure the land for that, and gather it when ripe; and vinedressers to prune the vines, and look after them; which were very often planted on mountains, and on which also corn grew, Psalm 72:16.

and in Carmel; a place in the tribe of Judah, where Nabal dwelt, 1 Samuel 25:2 or it may be put for any fruitful field:

for he loved husbandry; not only the profit, but the exercise of it at times; and it was usual with great personages in the eastern countries to employ themselves in some such way; Saul after he was king attended the herd, 1 Samuel 11:5, Mesha king of Moab was a sheep master, 2 Kings 3:4, among the Romans, Quinctius Cincinnatus and Cato Major (q) were great lovers of husbandry; and we read of one of the Chinese emperors that gave himself to husbandry, held the plough himself, broke the clods, and cast in the seed, to set an example to the whole empire (r). Another of their emperors gave himself wholly to husbandry (s); an other chose an husbandman for his successor, and who also encouraged husbandry (t).

(p) Agreement of Customs between the East Indians and Jews, art. 13. p. 61. (q) In Cicero de Senectute. (r) Martin. Sinic. Hist. l. 8. p. 326. (s) Ib. l. 4. p. 92. (t) Ib. l. 1. p. 29, 32.

Also he built towers in the desert, and digged many wells: for he had much cattle, both in the low country, and in the plains: husbandmen also, and vine dressers in the mountains, and in {g} Carmel: for he loved husbandry.

(g) That is, in mount Carmel, or as the word signifies in the fruitful field, it is also taken for a green ear of corn when it is full, Le 2:14.

10. the desert] R.V. the wilderness (where the pastures were: cp. Psalm 65:12).

digged many wells] R.V. hewed out many cisterns.

both in the low country, and in the plains] R.V. in the lowland also, and in the plain (mg. table land). For the “lowland” (Heb. Shephçlah) see 2 Chronicles 1:15 (note). “The table land” (Heb. Mishor) is the name of the high pasture lands east of Jordan; apparently the part occupied by the Ammonites whom Uzziah had subdued is meant here.

husbandmen also] R.V. and he had husbandmen.

Carmel] R.V. the fruitful fields. “Carmel” is not always a proper name, nor does it always refer to the well-known mountain. In 1 Samuel 25:2 it designates a spot in the south of Judah near Maon; in 2 Kings 19:23 “of his Carmel” (A.V.) should be “of his fruitful field” (R.V.).

Verse 10. - Towers in the desert; Hebrew, בַּמִּזְבָּר; the rendering should be the usual one of "wilderness." This was the cattle-pasture west and south-west of the Dead Sea. The towers were needed for forts of observation against marauding and cattle-robbing incursions, as well as for shelter in some attacks. Many wells; Hebrew, בֹּרות. These were not springs, but rather, as in the margin, tanks and cisterns. Carmel. It is not probable that this is the proper name. The translation of Carmel is "fertile field." As a proper name it occurs about twenty times, from Joshua 12:22; Joshua 15:55; Joshua 19:26; on to Amos 1:2; Amos 9:3; and perhaps Micah 7:14; and as not a proper name it occurs about twenty times also; the "fruitful field," e.g., of Isaiah 29:17 and Isaiah 32:15 shows in the Hebrew text הַכַּרְמֶל. The aspect of this verse is very picturesque, and the picturesqueness very pleasant, with its low country and pasturing cattle, its plains and their herds, its hills and their vines, all quickened into life by the mention of towers and wells, husbandmen and vine-dressers, and finished off by the home-touch that this king's partiality looked to agricultural and pastoral pursuits. 2 Chronicles 26:10Moreover, Uzziah took measures for the defence of his herds, which formed one main part of his revenues and wealth. He built towers in the wilderness, in the steppe-lands on the west side of the Dead Sea, so well fitted for cattle-breeding (i.e., in the wilderness of Judah), to protect the herds against the attacks of the robber peoples of Edom and Arabia. And he dug many wells to water the cattle; "for he had much cattle" in the wilderness just mentioned, and "in the lowland" (Shephelah) on the Mediterranean Sea (see 1 Chronicles 27:28), and "in the plain" (מישׁור), i.e., the flat land on the east side of the Dead Sea, extending from Arnon to near Heshbon in the north, and to the northeast as far as Rabbath Ammon (see on Deuteronomy 3:10), i.e., the tribal land of Reuben, which accordingly at that time belonged to Judah. Probably it had been taken from the Israelites by the Moabites and Ammonites, and reconquered from them by Uzziah, and incorporated with his kingdom; for, according to 2 Chronicles 26:8, he had made the Ammonites tributary; cf. on 1 Chronicles 5:17. Husbandmen and vine-dressers had he in the mountains and upon Carmel, for he loved husbandry. After וגו אכּרים, לו היוּ is to be supplied. אדמה, the land, which is cultivated, stands here for agriculture. As to Carmel, see on Joshua 19:26.
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