2 Chronicles 28:20
And Tilgathpilneser king of Assyria came unto him, and distressed him, but strengthened him not.
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(20) Tilgath-pilneser (Heb., Pilne’èser). In 2 Kings more correctly called Tiglath-pileser (Pil’èser). (See Note on 1Chronicles 5:26.) According to the As syrian Eponym Canon, Tiglath-pileser II. came to the throne B.C. 745, and marched westward against Damascus and Israel, B.C. 734. The importance of these dates for the chronology of the period is obvious.

Came unto him.—Comp. the more detailed narrative in 2Kings 16:7-10; and see Note on 2Chronicles 28:16. Tiglath was induced by the message and present of Ahaz to undertake a campaign in the west; he captured Damascus, slew Rezin, and transported the population of the city to Kir (Kings, l.c.). After this, “king Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria” (2Kings 16:10). The chronicler in the words before us, is estimating the results of this expedition as they affected the interests of Judah. At the prayer of Ahaz the Assyrian had indeed “come to him”; but not with any purpose of strengthening the southern kingdom. Glad of a pretext for interference in the affairs of the west, the ambitious usurper was simply bent on the extension of his own empire; and when the more powerful states of Syria and Israel lay at his feet, he naturally proceeded to require a most unequivocal acknowledgment of vassalage from Ahaz. He thus “distressed” or oppressed him by reducing his kingdom to a mere dependency of Assyria, besides impoverishing him of all his treasure, which Ahaz had sent as the price of this ruinous help.

Distressed him, but strengthened him not.—This is correct. A possible rendering is: “and besieged him, and conquered him not”; but the context is against it. (The word chazaq, “strengthened,” everywhere else means to be strong, or, to prevail. LXX. omits the last words, rendering the whole καὶ ἐπάταξεν αὐτόν. Syriac and Arabic, “besieged him.” The Vulg. has: “et afflixit eum, et nullo resistente vastavit.” That Judah now became tributary to Assyria is evident from 2Kings 18:7; 2Kings 18:14; 2Kings 18:20.

2 Chronicles 28:20-21. Tilgath-pilneser came and distressed him — By quartering the Assyrian soldiers upon his country, by growing insolent and imperious, and creating him a great deal of vexation, and by proving as a broken reed, which not only fails him that leans upon it, but pierces his hand. Or, straitened him, (as יצר, jatsar, rather signifies,) namely, by robbing him of his treasures. For Ahaz took away a portion, &c. — He pillaged the house of God, and the king’s house, and pressed the princes for money to hire these foreign forces into his service. For though he had conformed to the idolatry of these his heathen neighbours, they did not value or love him the more for that; nor did his compliance, by which he lost God, gain them; nor could he make any interest with them but by his money. Thus it is generally found that wicked men have no real affection for those that revolt to them, nor care to do them a kindness. But he strengthened him not — A most emphatical expression: for though he weakened his present enemy, the Syrian, as is related 2 Kings 16:9, taking Damascus, and carrying the people away captive; yet really, all things considered, he did not strengthen Ahaz and his kingdom. He did not help him to recover the cities which the Philistines had taken from him; nor did he lend him any forces, or enable him to recruit his own. On the contrary, he weakened him; for by removing the Syrian, who, though a troublesome neighbour, was a kind of bulwark to him, and by destroying Samaria, he opened a way for the invasion of his country with more facility, as happened in the very next reign.

28:1-27 The wicked reign of Ahaz in Judah. - Israel gained this victory because God was wroth with Judah, and made them the rod of his indignation. He reminds them of their own sins. It ill becomes sinners to be cruel. Could they hope for the mercy of God, if they neither showed mercy nor justice to their brethren? Let it be remembered, that every man is our neighbour, our brother, our fellow man, if not our fellow Christian. And no man who is acquainted with the word of God, need fear to maintain that slavery is against the law of love and the gospel of grace. Who can hold his brother in bondage, without breaking the rule of doing to others as he would they should do unto him? But when sinners are left to their own heart's lusts, they grow more desperate in wickedness. God commands them to release the prisoners, and they obeyed. The Lord brought Judah low. Those who will not humble themselves under the word of God, will justly be humbled by his judgments. It is often found, that wicked men themselves have no real affection for those that revolt to them, nor do they care to do them a kindness. This is that king Ahaz! that wretched man! Those are wicked and vile indeed, that are made worse by their afflictions, instead of being made better by them; who, in their distress, trespass yet more, and have their hearts more fully set in them to do evil. But no marvel that men's affections and devotions are misplaced, when they mistake the author of their trouble and of their help. The progress of wickedness and misery is often rapid; and it is awful to reflect upon a sinner's being driven away in his wickedness into the eternal world.Tilgath-pilneser - This form of the name is doubly corrupt. See the properly Hebraized form in 2 Kings 15:29.

Distressed him, but strengthened him not - This statement, and that at the end of 2 Chronicles 28:21, is supplemental to, and not contradictory of, 2 Kings 16:9. Here it is the writer's object to note that the material assistance rendered by Tiglath-pileser to Ahab, was no real "help" or "strength," but rather a cause of "distress."

20. Tilgath-pilneser … distressed him, but strengthened him not—that is, notwithstanding the temporary relief which Tilgath-pilneser afforded him by the conquest of Damascus and the slaughter of Rezin (2Ki 16:9), little advantage resulted from it, for Tilgath-pilneser spent the winter in voluptuous revelry at Damascus; and the connection formed with the Assyrian king was eventually a source of new and greater calamities and humiliation to the kingdom of Judah (2Ch 28:2, 3). No text from Poole on this verse.

And Tilgathpilneser king of Assyria came unto him,.... Not to Jerusalem, but to Damascus, where he made a diversion in his favour, and took that city, and where Ahaz met him, 2 Kings 16:9.

and distressed him, but strengthened him not; exhausted his treasures, and laid a tribute upon him, but did not help him against the Edomites and Philistines, or recover for him the cities they had taken from him; and, in taking Damascus, he served himself more than Ahaz, and paved the way for seizing upon the ten tribes.

And Tilgathpilneser king of Assyria came unto him, and distressed him, but strengthened him not.
20. Tilgath-pilneser] i.e. Tiglath-pileser III. Cp. 1 Chronicles 5:6 (note).

came … him not] Some error in the text is probable here. The Hebrew cannot be rendered as in the A.V., but no satisfactory emendation has been proposed.

Verse 20. - Tilgath-Pilneser (see 1 Chronicles 5:6, 26; 2 Kings 15:29; 2 Kings 16:10, our parallel. See our notes in full on 1 Chronicles 5:6, 26). Gesenius dates his reign as King of Assyria as B.C. 753-734; others as about B.C. 747-728. Distressed him, but strengthened him not. This is in our writer's usual deeper moral and religious vein, and was no doubt most true. For all Ahaz paid and bribed out of the sacrilegiously employed treasure of the temple, out of the depreciating and partial dismantling of "the house of the king," and out of the begged contributions or taxes extortionately wrung "of the princes" (see the succinct account of next verse, and compare the parallel in its vers. 8, 18), he bought a master for himself, servitude, tributariness, and the humiliation of disgrace itself. The temporary relief he obtained (and which the writer of Chronicles in no way means to deny) from one enemy rivetted round his neck the yoke of another and greater. And worse than this, he secured in his own heart the greatest adversary of all - a restless, implacable foe, which ever goaded him on to worse folly and deeper sin. 2 Chronicles 28:20Judah suffered this defeat, because God humbled them on account of Ahaz. Ahaz is called king of Israel, not because he walked in the ways of the kings of the kingdom of the ten tribes (2 Chronicles 28:2), but ironically, because his government was the bitterest satire upon the name of the king of Israel, i.e., of the people of God (Casp.); so that Israel here, and in 2 Chronicles 28:27, as in 2 Chronicles 21:2; 2 Chronicles 12:6, is used with reference to the pregnant signification of the word. הפריע כּי, for (Ahaz) had acted wantonly in Judah; not: made Judah wanton, for הפריע is construed with b, not with accus. obj., as in Exodus 5:4.

After this episode the narrator comes back upon the help which Ahaz sought of the Assyrians. The Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser (on the name, see on 1 Chronicles 5:6) did indeed come, but עליו, against him (Ahaz), and oppressed him, but strengthened him not. חזקו ולא לו ויּצר Thenius and Bertheau translate: he oppressed him, that is, besieged him, yet did not overcome him; adducing in support of this, that חזק c. accus. cannot be shown to occur in the signification to strengthen one, and according to Jeremiah 20:7; 1 Kings 16:22, is to be translated, to overcome. But this translation does not at all suit the reason given in the following clause: "for Ahaz had plundered the house of Jahve, ... and given it to the king of Asshur; but it did not result in help to him." The sending away of the temple and palace treasures to the Assyrian king, to obtain his help, cannot possibly be stated as the reason why Tiglath-pileser besieged Ahaz, but did not overcome him, but only as a reason why he did not give Ahaz the expected help, and so did not strengthen him. חזקו ולא corresponds to the לו לעזרה ולא, 2 Chronicles 28:21, and both clauses refer back to לו לעזר, 2 Chronicles 28:16. That which Ahaz wished to buy from Tiglath-pileser, by sending him the treasures of the palace and the temple, - namely, help against his enemies, - he did not thereby obtain, but the opposite, viz., that Tiglath-pileser came against him and oppressed him. When, on the contrary, Thenius takes the matter thus, that the subjection of Ahaz under Tiglath-pileser was indeed prevented by the treasures given, but the support desired was not purchased by them, he has ungrammatically taken חזק as imperfect, and violently torn away the לו לעזרה לו ולא from what precedes. If we connect these words, as the adversative ולא requires, with וגו ויּתּן, then the expression, "Ahaz gave the Assyrian king the treasures of the temple, ... but it did not result in help to him," gives no support to the idea that Tiglath-pileser besieged Ahaz, but could not overcome him. The context therefore necessarily demands that חזק should have the active signification, to strengthen, notwithstanding that חזק in Kal is mainly used as intransitive. Moreover, לו ויּצר also does not denote he besieged, as אליו ויּצר or עליו, 2 Samuel 20:15; 1 Samuel 23:8; but only, he oppressed him, and cannot here be translated otherwise than the לו חצר, 2 Chronicles 28:22, which corresponds to it, where Bertheau also has decided in favour of the signification oppress. It is not stated wherein the oppression consisted; but without doubt it was that Tiglath-pileser, after he had both slain Rezin and conquered his kingdom, and also taken away many cities in Galilee and the land of Naphtali from Pekah, carrying away the inhabitants to Assyria (2 Kings 16:9 and 2 Kings 15:29), advanced against Ahaz himself, to make him a tributary. The verbs חלק and ויּתּן (2 Chronicles 28:21) are pluperfects: "for Ahaz had plundered," etc. Not when Tiglath-pileser oppressed him, but when he besought help of that king, Ahaz had sent him the treasures of the temple and the palace as שׁחד, 2 Kings 16:7-8. חלק denotes to plunder, like חלק, a share of booty, Numbers 31:36, and booty, Job 17:5. The selection of this word for the taking away of the treasures of silver and gold out of the temple and palace arises from the impassioned nature of the language. The taking away of these treasures was, in fact, a plundering of the temple and of the palace. Had Ahaz trusted in the Lord his God, he would not have required to lay violent hands on these treasures. והשּׂרים is added to המּלך בּית, to signify that Ahaz laid hands upon the precious things belonging to the high officials who dwelt in the palace, and delivered them over to the Assyrian king (Berth.).

Although the author of the Chronicle makes the further remark, that the giving of these treasures over did not result in help to Ahaz, yet it cannot be at all doubtful that he had the fact recorded in 2 Kings 16:7-9 before his eyes, and says nothing inconsistent with that account. According to 2 Kings 16:9, Tiglath-pileser, in consequence of the present sent him, took the field, conquered and destroyed the kingdom of Rezin, and also took possession of the northern part of the kingdom of Israel, as is narrated in 2 Kings 15:29. The author of the Chronicle has not mentioned these events, because Ahaz was not thereby really helped. Although the kings Rezin and Pekah were compelled to abandon their plan of capturing Jerusalem and subduing the kingdom of Judah, by the inroad of the Assyrians into their land, yet this help was to be regarded as nothing, seeing that Tiglath-pileser not only retained the conquered territories and cities for himself, but also undertook the whole campaign, not to strengthen Ahaz, but for the extension of his own (the Assyrian) power, and so made use of it, and, as we are told in 2 Chronicles 28:20 of the Chronicle, oppressed Ahaz. This oppression is, it is true, not expressly mentioned in 2 Kings 16, but is hinted in 2 Kings 16:18, and placed beyond doubt by 2 Kings 18:7, 2 Kings 18:14, 2 Kings 18:20; cf. Isaiah 36:5. In 2 Kings 16:18 it is recorded that Ahaz removed the covered sabbath portico which had been built to the house of God, and the external entrance of the king into the house of the Lord, because of (מפּני) the king of Assyria. Manifestly Ahaz feared, as J. D. Mich. has already rightly concluded from this, that the king of Assyria, whom he had summoned to his assistance, might at some time desire to take possession of the city, and that in such a case this covered sabbath porch and an external entrance into the temple might be of use to him in the siege. This note, therefore, notwithstanding its obscurity, yet gives sufficiently clear testimony in favour of the statement in the Chronicle, that the king of Assyria, who had been called upon by Ahaz for help, oppressed him, upon which doubt has been cast by Gesen. Isa. i. S. 269, etc. Tiglath-pileser must have in some way shown a desire to possess Jerusalem, and Ahaz have consequently feared that he might wish to take it by force. But from 2 Kings 18:7, 2 Kings 18:14, 2 Kings 18:20, cf. Isaiah 36:5, it is quite certain Ahaz had become tributary to the Assyrian king, and the kingdom dependent upon the Assyrians. It is true, indeed, that in these passages, strictly interpreted, this subjection of Judah is only said to exist immediately before the invasion of Sennacherib; but since Assyria made no war upon Judah between the campaign of Tiglath-pileser against Damascus and Samaria and Sennacherib's attack, the subjection of Judah to Assyria, which Hezekiah brought to an end, can only have dated from the time of Ahaz, and can only have commenced when Ahaz had called in Tiglath-pileser to aid him against his enemies. Certainly the exact means by which Tiglath-pileser compelled Ahaz to submit and to pay tribute cannot be recognised under, and ascertained from, the rhetorical mode of expression: Tiglath-pileser came against him, and oppressed him. Neither עליו ויּבא nor לו ויּצר require us to suppose that Tiglath-pileser advanced against Jerusalem with an army, although it is not impossible that Tiglath-pileser, after having conquered the Israelite cities in Galilee and the land of Naphtali, and carried away their inhabitants to Assyria (2 Kings 15:29), may have made a further advance, and demanded of Ahaz tribute and submission, ordering a detachment of his troops to march into Judah to enforce his demand. But the words quoted do not necessarily mean more than that Tiglath made the demand on Ahaz for tribute from Galilee, with the threat that, if he should refuse it, he would march into and conquer Judah; and that Ahaz, feeling himself unable to cope successfully with so powerful a king, promised to pay the tribute without going to war. Even in this last case the author of the Chronicle might say that the king who had been summoned by Ahaz to his assistance came against him and oppressed him, and helped him not. Cf. also the elaborate defence of the account in the Chronicle, in Caspari, S. 56ff.

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