2 Chronicles 28:20
And Tilgathpilneser king of Assyria came to him, and distressed him, but strengthened him not.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
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. Then the armed men (החלוּץ, cf. 1 Chronicles 12:23) who had escorted the prisoners to Samaria left the prisoners and the booty before the princes and the whole assembly.
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