2 Chronicles 34:12
And the men did the work faithfully: and the overseers of them were Jahath and Obadiah, the Levites, of the sons of Merari; and Zechariah and Meshullam, of the sons of the Kohathites, to set it forward; and other of the Levites, all that could skill of instruments of music.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(12) And the men did the work faithfully.—Literally, And the men were working (or dealing) in good faith in the work. In 2Kings 22:7 Josiah bids the High Priest not to require any account of the money delivered to the master-workmen, “because they work in good faith.”

And the overseers of them were.And over them were set. The names of the overseers, and the details added in next verse, are peculiar to and characteristic of the chronicler.

To set it forward.To lead, conduct, preside; usually a musical term. (Comp. 1Chronicles 23:4.)

And other . . . music.—Literally, and the Levites, to wit, every one skilled in the instruments of song. (Comp. 1Chronicles 15:16; 1Chronicles 25:7.)

2 Chronicles 34:12. All that could skill of instruments of music — All these, here named, were skilful in instruments of music — Which may be here mentioned, to intimate, that as they were skilful, so they were exercised in both employments, and did successively oversee the work, and praise God with their voices and instruments.34:1-33 Josiah's good reign in Judah. - As the years of infancy cannot be useful to our fellow-creatures, our earliest youth should be dedicated to God, that we may not waste any of the remaining short space of life. Happy and wise are those who seek the Lord and prepare for usefulness at an early age, when others are pursuing sinful pleasures, contracting bad habits, and forming ruinous connexions. Who can express the anguish prevented by early piety, and its blessed effects? Diligent self-examination and watchfulness will convince us of the deceitfulness and wickedness of our own hearts, and the sinfulness of our lives. We are here encouraged to humble ourselves before God, and to seek unto him, as Josiah did. And believers are here taught, not to fear death, but to welcome it, when it takes them away from the evil to come. Nothing hastens the ruin of a people, nor ripens them for it, more than their disregard of the attempts made for their reformation. Be not deceived, God is not mocked. The current and tide of affections only turns at the command of Him who raises up those that are dead in trespasses and sins. We behold peculiar loveliness, in the grace the Lord bestows on those, who in tender years seek to know and to love the Saviour. Hath Jesus, the Day-spring from on high, visited you? Can you trace your knowledge of this light and life of man, like Josiah, from your youth? Oh the unspeakable happiness of becoming acquainted with Jesus from our earliest years!The "houses" intended are either the "chambers" which surrounded the temple on three sides 1 Kings 6:5, or out-buildings attached to the courts. The "kings of Judah" intended are, no doubt, Manasseh and Amon. 2Ch 34:8-18. He Repairs the Temple.

8. in the eighteenth year of his reign … he sent Shaphan—(See on [474]2Ki 22:3-9).

Or, all these here named were skilful in instruments of music; which may be here mentioned, either to their commendation, that they were fit for and careful and diligent in this employment, wherewith they were now intrusted, no less than in their own proper work; or to intimate, that as they were skilful, so they were exercised in both their employments, and did successively oversee the work, and praised God with their voices and instruments for his gracious and powerful help in carrying on the work. And the men did that work faithfully,.... The labouring men, as also their inspectors, see 2 Kings 22:7.

and the overseers of them were Jahath and Obadiah, the Levites, of the sons of Merari; the third son of Levi:

and Zechariah and Meshullam, of the sons of the Kohathites; who had their name from Kohath, the second son of Levi:

to set it forward; to urge and animate the men to their work, to keep them constant to it, and see that they did it well:

and other of the Levites, all that could skill of instruments of music; these, when they were not employed in singing in the temple, attended this service, to look after the workmen at the repairs of it; and perhaps they might play, as some think, on their instruments of music, while the men were at work, that they might go on in it the more pleasantly and cheerfully.

And the men did the work {g} faithfully: and the overseers of them were Jahath and Obadiah, the Levites, of the sons of Merari; and Zechariah and Meshullam, of the sons of the Kohathites, to set it forward; and other of the Levites, all that could skill of instruments of musick.

(g) Meaning that they were in such credit for their fidelity that they made no accounts of that which they received, 2Ki 22:7,9.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
12. the overseers] There is no parallel in 2 Kin. for the rest of this verse and for 2 Chronicles 34:13.

to set it forward] The same Heb. word is used in 1 Chronicles 23:4.

could skill] “Skill” is used as a verb also in 2 Chronicles 2:7-8. skill of instruments = “play skilfully upon instruments.”Verse 12. - Faithfully, Refer back to note, 2 Chronicles 31:12. To set... forward; Hebrew, לְנַצֶּהַ; the idea, of course, not so much that of expediting, as of guiding and instructing. The mention of those Levites whoso business was music is rather a surprise, and is not found in the parallel. 2 Chronicles 34:6 and 2 Chronicles 34:7 form a connected sentence: And in the cities of Manasseh ..., in their ruins round about, there he pulled down the altars, etc. The tribe of Simeon is here, as in 2 Chronicles 15:9, reckoned among the tribes of the kingdom of Israel, because the Simeonites, although they belonged geographically to the kingdom of Judah, yet in religion remained attached to the worship on the high places practised by the ten tribes; see on 2 Chronicles 15:9. "And unto Naphtali" is added, to designate the kingdom of Israel in its whole extent to the northern frontier of Canaan. The form בתיהם בּחר (in the Keth. divided into two words) gives no suitable sense. R. Sal. explains, timentes in planitie habitare, sed fixerunt in monte domicilia, rendering it "in their mountain-dwellings." This the words cannot mean.

(Note: The lxx translate ἐν τοῖς τόποις αὐτῶν, expressing merely the בתיהם. The Targ. has צדיוּתהון בבית, in domo (s. loco) desolationis eorum.)

The Keri בּחרבתיהם, "with their swords," is suggested by Ezekiel 26:9, and is accepted by D. Kimchi, Abu Melech, and others, and understood to denote instruments with which the altars, groves, and images were cut down. But this interpretation also is certainly incorrect. The word is rather to be pointed בּחרבתיהם, in their wastes (ruins) (cf. Psalm 109:10), and to be taken as an explanatory apposition to בּערי: in the cities of Manasseh ..., namely, in their ruins round about; for the land had been deserted since the times of Shalmaneser, and its cities were in great part in ruins. The statement as to the locality precedes in the form of an absolute sentence, and that which is predicated of it follows in the form of an apodosis with ו consec. (וינתּץ). להדק כּתּת, he dashed to pieces to crush; the form הדק is not a perfect after ל, but an infinitive which has retained the vowel of the perfect; cf. Ew. 238, d.

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