2 Chronicles 31:5
And as soon as the commandment came abroad, the children of Israel brought in abundance the first fruits of corn, wine, and oil, and honey, and of all the increase of the field; and the tithe of all things brought they in abundantly.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(5) And . . . came abroad.—Literally, And when the word broke forthi.e., spread abroad.

The children of Israel.—Here the people of Jerusalem, who in the chronicler’s day had a preeminent right to the name. (See on next verse.) The firstfruits were for the priests (Numbers 18:12, seq., where the oil, wine, and wheat are specified).

And the tithe . . . abundantly.—For the Levites (Numbers 18:21-24).

2 Chronicles 31:5. As soon as the commandment came abroad — Either, 1st, As soon as the report of this command of the king was known abroad in other parts; or, 2d, As soon as the king had enlarged and extended that command to all the parts of his kingdom, which (2 Chronicles 31:4) was confined to them that dwelt in Jerusalem. Honey — Or dates, as the Hebrew writers generally understand the word דבשׁ, debash, in this place, a name which was given to them because of the sweetness of their taste, in some sort resembling honey. For the law requires no tithes but those of the fruits of trees, or of the earth, or of beasts.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.Honey - See the margin. It is doubtful whether bee-honey was liable to first-fruits. The sort here intended may therefore be that which, according to Josephus, was manufactured from dates. 2-5. Hezekiah appointed the courses of the priests, &c.—The king now turned his attention to provide for the orderly performance of the temple-worship—arranging the priests and Levites in their courses, assigning to every one his proper place and functions—and issuing edicts for the regular payment of those dues from which the revenues of the sanctuary were derived. To set a proper example to his subjects, his own proportion was announced in the first instance, for to the king it belonged, out of his privy purse, to defray the expenses of the altar, both stated and occasional (Nu 28:3, 4, 9, 11, 19); and in making this contribution from his own means, Hezekiah followed the course which David and Solomon had taken before him (see 2Ch 8:14; 1Ki 9:25). Afterwards he reappointed the people's dues to the temple; and from its being necessary to issue a royal mandate in reference to this matter, it appears that the sacred tribute had been either totally neglected, or (as the idolatrous princes were known to appropriate it to their own purposes) the people had in many cases refused or evaded the duty. But with the improved state of public feeling, Hezekiah's commandment was readily obeyed, and contributions of first-fruits and tithes were poured in with great liberality from all parts of Judah, as well as from Israel. The first-fruits, even of some articles of produce that were unfit for sacrifice (Le 2:11), such as honey (Margin, "dates"), were appropriated to the priests (Nu 18:12, 13; De 18:4). The tithes (Le 27:31) were intended for the support of the whole Levitical tribe (Nu 18:8, 20, 24). As soon as the commandment came abroad; either,

1. As soon as the report of this command of the king, 2 Chronicles 31:4, was got abroad into other parts. Or,

2. As soon as the king enlarged and extended that command to all the parts of his kingdom, which, 2 Chronicles 31:4, was confined to them that dwell in Jerusalem. Honey, or, dates, as the Hebrew writers generally, and many other learned Hebricians, understand this word, which is given to them because of the sweetness of their taste, in some sort resembling honey. For the law requires no tithes but of the fruits of trees, or of the earth, or of beasts. And as soon as the commandment came abroad,.... Not only was published in the city of Jerusalem, but the report of it, or rather that itself, was spread throughout the cities of Judah:

the children of Israel brought in abundance the firstfruits of corn, wine, and oil, and honey; the three first of these are expressed in the law, Deuteronomy 18:4 but not honey; wherefore the Targum here, and the Jewish writers in general, interpret it of the "dubsa" of the palm tree, as they call it, the fruit and liquor of that, which is of a sweet taste, and which the Scenite Arabs called "dabusa", as Pliny (w) from Juba relates; for so it should be read, and not "dabulan" or "dablan", as in some copies: but though honey was forbid to be used in sacrifice, it was not forbidden to be eaten; and as the land of Judea abounded with honey, properly so called, the priests might have the firstfruits of that as of other liquors; See Gill on Deuteronomy 8:8,

and of all the increase of the field; of the trees of it, vines, fig trees, pomegranates, &c. as Kimchi:

and the tithe of all things; even of herbs, as the same writer, and so the Talmud (x), which were free from tithes by the law, see Matthew 23:23,

brought they in abundantly; even of all that their vineyards, oliveyards, and fields produced.

(w) Nat. Hist. l. 13. c. 4. (x) T. Bab. Nedarim, fol. 55. 1.

And as soon as the commandment came abroad, the children of Israel brought in abundance the firstfruits of corn, wine, and oil, and honey, and of all the increase of the field; and the tithe of all things brought they in abundantly.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
5. brought in abundance] R.V. gave in abundance.

and honey] Honey (Heb. děbash) is not elsewhere mentioned as subject to tithe; perhaps grape syrup (modern Arabic dibs) is meant here, as in Genesis 43:11 and Ezekiel 27:17 (according to some commentators). Honey (like leaven) was forbidden for sacrificial use (Leviticus 2:11).Verse 5. - Honey; Hebrew, דְּבַשׁ. This is no doubt the proper word for the honey of bees, for see Judges 14:8-18; 1 Samuel 14:27; Psalm 19:11, and many other passages. It is not certain, however, that the word did not cover other sweet preparations, as probably in Genesis 43:11; Ezekiel 27:17. The alternative reading, "dates," has thus come into the margin, but on very insufficient title, as, while there is doubt as to whether the honey of bees was generally tithed, there is none at all that the people's pious zeal might prompt them to bring tithe of it voluntarily, among other things, that they at any time held in honour and had in abundance. The joy was great, for there had not been the like in Jerusalem since the days of Solomon. The meaning is, that this feast could be compared only with the feast at the dedication of the temple in the time of Solomon, 2 Chronicles 7:1-10, in respect to its length, the richness of the sacrificial gifts, the multitude of those who participated, and the joyous feeling it caused" (Berth.). The feast at the dedication of the temple had been a festival of fourteen days; for the feast of tabernacles, which lasted seven days, came immediately after the proper dedicatory feast, and since the time of Solomon all the tribes had never been united at a feast in Jerusalem.
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