2 Chronicles 31:1
Now when all this was finished, all Israel that were present went out to the cities of Judah, and brake the images in pieces, and cut down the groves, and threw down the high places and the altars out of all Judah and Benjamin, in Ephraim also and Manasseh, until they had utterly destroyed them all. Then all the children of Israel returned, every man to his possession, into their own cities.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(1) Destruction of the images and high places in both kingdoms. (Comp. 2Kings 18:4.)

Now when all this was finished.And when they had finished all this—that is, the business of the Passover.

All Israel that were present went out.—Their iconoclastic zeal had been thoroughly roused by the festival in which they had just taken part.

The images.—Maççebôth, “pillars.” (See Hosea 3:4, and 2Chronicles 14:2.)

The groves.The Ashērîm. The sacred trunks, emblematic of physical fertility. (Comp. Hosea 4:13.)

In Ephraim also and Manasseh.—That is, in the territory of the northern kingdom, which was at this time in the last stage of political weakness, and rapidly drifting towards final ruin. The band of Jewish and Israelite zealots would not, therefore, be likely to encounter any serious opposition.

Until they had utterly destroyed.—‘Adlĕkallēh (2Chronicles 24:10). Literally, so far as to finishing.

2 Chronicles 31:1. In Ephraim and Manasseh also — Though these tribes were a part of Hoshea’s kingdom, yet Hezekiah might direct this abolition of idolatry in them, either in virtue of the law of God, to which both Israel and Judah owed subjection, and which commanded the extirpation of these things, out of the whole land of Canaan; or by the special impulse and direction of God’s Spirit, which puts men upon heroic and extraordinary actions, though not to be drawn into imitation; or out of a firm persuasion that his neighbour Hoshea, who had permitted his subjects to repair to the passover, would consent to, and approve of, what he did in this respect.

31:1-21 Hezekiah destroys idolatry. - After the passover, the people of Israel applied with vigour to destroy the monuments of idolatry. Public ordinances should stir us up to cleanse our hearts, our houses, and shops, from the filth of sin, and the idolatry of covetousness, and to excite others to do the same. The after-improvement of solemn ordinances, is of the greatest importance to personal, family, and public religion. When they had tasted the sweetness of God's ordinance in the late passover, they were free in maintaining the temple service. Those who enjoy the benefit of a settled ministry, will not grudge the expense of it. In all that Hezekiah attempted in God's service, he was earnest and single in his aim and dependence, and was prospered accordingly. Whether we have few or many talents intrusted to us, may we thus seek to improve them, and encourage others to do the same. What is undertaken with a sincere regard to the glory of God, will succeed to our own honour and comfort at last.Jerusalem had been cleansed 2 Chronicles 30:14; now the land had to be purged. Hezekiah therefore gave his sanction to a popular movement directed as much against the "high places" which had been maintained since the times of the patriarchs, as against the remnants of the Baal-worship, or the innovations of Ahaz. See 2 Kings 18:4 note. The invasion of the northern kingdom "Ephraim and Manasseh" by a tumultuous crowd from the southern one, and the success which attended the movement, can only be explained by the state of weakness into which the northern kingdom had fallen (see the note at 2 Chronicles 29:24). CHAPTER 31

2Ch 31:1-10. The People Forward in Destroying Idolatry.

1. all Israel … present went out to the cities of Judah—The solemnities of this paschal season left a deep and salutary impression on the minds of the assembled worshippers; attachment to the ancient institutions of their country was extensively revived; ardor in the service of God animated every bosom; and under the impulse of the devout feelings inspired by the occasion, they took measures at the close of the passover for extirpating idolatrous statues and altars out of every city, as at the beginning of the festival they had done in Jerusalem.

Judah and Benjamin—denote the southern kingdom.

Ephraim also and Manasseh—refer to the northern kingdom. This unsparing demolition of the monuments of idolatry would receive all encouragement from the king and public authorities of the former; and the force of the popular movement was sufficient to effect the same results among the tribes of Israel, whatever opposition the power of Hoshea or the invectives of some profane brethren might have made. Thus the reign of idolatry being completely overthrown and the pure worship of God re-established throughout the land, the people returned every one to his own home, in the confident expectation that, through the divine blessing, they would enjoy a happy future of national peace and prosperity.The people forward in destroying idolatry: Hezekiah ordereth the courses of the priests and Levites; and provideth for their work and maintenance, 2 Chronicles 31:1-4. The people forward in offerings and tithes, 2 Chronicles 31:5-10. Hezekiah appointeth officers to dispose of the tithes, 2 Chronicles 31:11-19; his sincerity, 2 Chronicles 31:20,21.

In Ephraim also and Manasseh; either,

1. In those cities belonging to Ephraim and Manasseh, which the kings of Judah had formerly taken from the kings of Israel. Or,

2. In the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh. For although these were a part of Hoshea’s kingdom, yet Hezekiah presumed to do this, partly, by virtue of the law of God, to which both Israel and Judah owed subjection, which commanded the extirpation of these things out of the whole land of Canaan; partly, by the special impulse and direction of God’s Spirit, which sometimes did put persons upon heroical and extraordinary actions, not to be drawn into imitation; and partly, because he knew that Hoshea contented himself with the worship of the calves, and did not practise that great idolatry which his predecessors had used, and therefore would patiently suffer the breaking of these images of Baal, and the things belonging to them; which is all that was done at this time.

Now when all this was finished,.... The temple cleansed, the priests and Levites sanctified, the passover and feast of unleavened bread observed, and other seven days of rejoicing kept:

all Israel that were present went out to the cities of Judah, and brake the images in pieces, and cut down the groves, and threw down the high places and the altars out of all Judah and Benjamin; which had been erected by Ahaz, 2 Chronicles 28:2 at or about this time also the brasen serpent was broke to pieces, 2 Kings 18:4,

in Ephraim also and Manasseh, until they had utterly destroyed them all; which must be understood of such cities in those tribes that had been taken in former times by the kings of Judah from the kings of Israel; or such as were now in the hands of the Assyrians, who might not concern themselves in matters of religion; or this might be done at the connivance of Hoshea king of Israel, who had no regard to any other idolatry than the worship of the calves; and besides, having met with trouble from the Assyrians, and fearing more, might be willing to have his kingdom cleared of idolatry, in hope the divine displeasure would be removed:

then all the children of Israel returned every man to his possession into their own cities; and not till then, when all monuments of idolatry were removed.

Now when all this was finished, all Israel that were present went out to the cities of Judah, and {a} brake the images in pieces, and cut down the groves, and threw down the high places and the altars out of all Judah and Benjamin, in Ephraim also and Manasseh, until they had utterly destroyed them all. Then all the {b} children of Israel returned, every man to his possession, into their own cities.

(a) According to the commandment of the Lord, De 7:25, Jos 7:12.

(b) That is, all they who came to the passover.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Ch. 2 Chronicles 31:1 (cp. 2 Kings 18:4). Destruction of Idolatrous Symbols

1. Israel] Cp. 2 Chronicles 11:3 (note).

brake the images in pieces, and cut down the groves] R.V. brake in pieces the pillars, and hewed down the Asherim. Cp. 2 Chronicles 14:3 (note).

threw down] R.V. brake down.

in Ephraim also] Apparently the Northern Kingdom had come to an end; cp. 2 Chronicles 30:6; 2 Chronicles 30:9.

utterly destroyed them all] R.V. destroyed them all.

Verse 1. - As much as the last verse of the foregoing chapter was all of the religious fervour of the occasion, this verse is all of the, practical honest work of the people and their leaders. All Israel that were present; i.e. present (or Hebrew, "found") in Jerusalem at the conclusion of the Feast of the Passover. Jerusalem had already been attended to (ver. 14 of foregoing chapter). Now the right mind of the people bore the reformation with a wave of enthusiasm over all Judah and Benjamin; and their righteous zeal carried them also over the strict limits of their own kingdom into Ephraim... and Manasseh - a course the more practicable, and even the more technically correct, because of the crippled state of the northern kingdom, and the probably still continued captivity of King Hoshea of Israel (2 Kings 17:1-4; 2 Kings 18:1-7; compare also the matter of our 2 Chronicles 29:24). Images... groves... high places... altars (comp. 2 Chronicles 14:3, etc.). 2 Chronicles 31:1Destruction of the idols and the altars of the high places. Provisions for the ordering and maintenance of the temple worship, and the attendants upon it. - 2 Chronicles 31:1. At the conclusion of the festival, all the Israelites who had been present at the feast (הנּמצאים כּל־שׂראל to be understood as in 2 Chronicles 30:21) went into the cities of Judah, and destroyed all the idols, high places, and altars not only in Judah and Benjamin (the southern kingdom), but also in Ephraim and Manasseh (the domain of the ten tribes), utterly (עד־לככּה, cf. 2 Chronicles 24:10), and only then returned each to his home; cf. 2 Kings 18:4.
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