He took counsel with his princes and his mighty men to stop the waters of the fountains which were without the city: and they did help him.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)2 Chronicles 32:3-4. To stop the waters of the fountains — To fill them up with earth and other things cast into them, that it might not be known there was any water there, and withal to draw the waters by secret passages and pipes to Jerusalem. And the brook that ran through the midst of the land — The brook Kidron, which being but small, except when much rain fell, they easily filled up the spring of it. Saying, Why should the kings of Assyria find much water — Which was scarce in that country, and the want of it might greatly distress the Assyrian army.2 Chronicles 32:30. Hezekiah's object was probably twofold - to hide the springs outside the city in order to distress the Assyrians, and to convey their water underground into the city, in order to increase his own supply during the siege. To stop the waters of the fountains, with earth or other things cast into them; and withal to derive the waters by secret paths and pipes under ground to Jerusalem.
to stop the waters of the fountains which were without the city; that so the Assyrian army would find it difficult to supply themselves with water, which was an article of great importance:He took counsel with his princes and his mighty men to stop the waters of the fountains which were without the city: and they did help him.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)3. to stop the waters] Cp. 2 Kings 20:20 (“[Hezekiah] made the pool and the conduit and brought water into the city”) and Isaiah 22:9; Isaiah 22:11.
At the present day there is an underground tunnel cut through the rock leading from St Mary’s Well down to the Lower Pool of Siloam. It is rudely constructed and owing to its windings is 586 yards long, though the distance in a straight line is only 368 yards. As therefore the Lower Pool was probably within the ancient walls, while St Mary’s Well was outside, this tunnel may be Hezekiah’s conduit. If the well were stopped, the besiegers would lose the water, which would collect in the Pool for the use of the besieged. An inscription in ancient Hebrew characters (“The Siloam Inscription”) discovered in situ describes briefly the digging of the tunnel, but does not enable us to fix the date of it for certain. See for the original text Lidzbarski, Nordsemitische Epigraphik, Tafel xxi. 1, and for an English translation, Sayce, Fresh Light from the Ancient Monuments, p. 87.Verse 3. - To stop the waters of the fountains... without the city. These fountains or springs were probably those represented by En Rogel, on the Ophel spur or very large mound, or fortified hill (mistranslated possibly from that circumstance "tower," in 2 Kings 5:24; Isaiah 32:14), on the southeast of the temple. The object of Hezekiah is obvious enough. The word (סָתַּם) for "stopping" occurs in all thirteen times - twice in piel in Genesis, once in niph. in Nehemiah, and ten times in kal in Kings, Chronicles, Daniel, Ezekiel, and Psalms. It is for all material purposes very uniformly rendered in all these places by the word "stop" eight times, and otherwise "shut" or "closed," or to carry a derived meaning, "hidden" or "secret." If the word "shut" or "shut off" were employed, it would fit every occasion. So we are not told here how he stopped the fountain or fountains, but that he shut the waters off from one direction and guided them into another, vie. by a conduit running westward from the springs and the Gihon (i.e. the brook) flowing naturally down the Tyropoean valley to a pool prepared for it in the city (see our ver. 30; and 2 Kings 18:17; 2 Kings 20:20; Ecclus, 48:17; and Conder's 'Handbook to the Bible,' p. 339). This pool was very probably none other than the pool of Siloam. 2 Chronicles 31:17, it gives us no suitable sense. The addition, "and also to every priest and Levite was a larger or smaller portion given according to the catalogue" (Ramb., etc.), is arbitrary, and does not fully express the בּ before כּל־טפּם. Berth., on the other hand, correctly remarks, "After the parentheses in 2 Chronicles 31:16 and 2 Chronicles 31:17, וּלחתיחשׂ may be taken as a continuation of לתת in 2 Chronicles 31:16;" but the word itself he translates wrongly thus: The men were in the priests' cities, also to register their children, etc., disregarding the construction of התיחשׂ with בּ. - From 2 Chronicles 31:19, where the same construction recurs, we learn how to interpret בּכל־ט התיחשׁ: the catalogue equals those registered in (of) all their children. According to this view, ולהתיחשׂ corresponds to the לאחיהם, 2 Chronicles 31:15 : to give to their brethren, ... and to the registered of all their children, their wives, and their sons and daughters, viz., to the whole multitude (sc., of the wives, sons, and daughters), i.e., as many of them as there were. This interpretation of the לכל־קהל seems simpler than with Schmidt and Ramb. to understand קהל to denote the coroporation of priests. There was therefore no one forgotten or overlooked; "for according to their fidelity (2 Chronicles 31:15) did they show themselves holy in regard to the holy," i.e., they acted in a holy manner with the holy gifts, distributed them disinterestedly and impartially to all who had any claim to them.
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