2 Chronicles 36:21
To fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfill three score and ten years.
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(21) To fulfil.lĕmalûth (an Aramaised form).

The word . . . Jeremiah.—The seventy years of Babylonian exile are predicted in Jeremiah 25:11-12. (Comp. also Jeremiah 29:10 : “Thus saith the Lord, After seventy years be accomplished for Babylon, I will visit you.”)

Until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths.—“Enjoyed” is çĕthāh, which Gesenius renders persolvit, “made good,” “discharged,” as a debt. The meaning is that during the long years of the exile, the land would enjoy that rest of which it had been defrauded by the neglect of the law concerning the sabbatical years (Leviticus 25:1-7). The following words, “as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath” (literally, all the days of the desolation she rested) are taken from Leviticus 26:34-35.

To fulfil threescore and ten years.i.e., in order to fulfil the seventy years of exile foretold by Jeremiah.

We have no right whatever to press the words of the sacred writer, in the sense of assuming that he means to say that when Jerusalem was taken by the Chaldeans exactly seventy sabbatical years had been neglected—that is, that the law in this respect had not been observed for 490 years (70×7), or ever since the institution of monarchy in Israel (490 + 588 = 1,078).

The seventy years are reckoned from the 4th of Jehoiakim, when the prophecy was uttered (Jeremiah 25:1; Jeremiah 25:12), to the first year of Cyrus, and the return under Zernbbabel, 536 B.C.

THE EDICT OF CYRUS, AUTHORISING THE RETURN (2Chronicles 36:22-23). (Comp. Ezra 1:1-3; 3 Esdr. 2:1-5; Isaiah 44:28; Isaiah 45-47)

(22) Now in the first year of Cyrus.—This verse is the same as Ezra 1:1, save that it has “by the mouth “instead of “from the mouth.” The latter is probably correct. (Comp. 2Chronicles 36:12 supra.) So some MSS. here also.

That the word . . . Jeremiah.—Concerning the seventy years.

Stirred up the spirit.1Chronicles 5:26;2Chronicles 21:16.

That he made a proclamation.And he made a voice pass (2Chronicles 30:5).

Throughout all his kingdom . . . and put it also in writing.Into all . . . and also into a writing.

Writing.Miktāb (2Chronicles 35:4.)

The Lord.Iahweh. Instead of this Ezra 1:3 has, Iehi, “Be;” so also 3 Esdr. 2:5. “The Lord—with him!” (Iahiveh ‘immô) is a frequent formula in the chronicle, and is probably correct here. (Some Hebrew MSS. and the Vulg. unite the readings.)

And let him go up.—Whither The sentence is abruptly broken off here, but continued in Ezra 1:3. As to the relation between the Chronicles and Ezra, see Introduction.

Thus saith Cyrus, king of Persia.—Comp. the words of Darius Hystaspes on the famous Behistuu Inscription, which begins “I am Darius, the great king, the king of kings, the king of Persia;” while every paragraph opens with “Saith Darius the king.”

All the kingdoms . . . given me.—Comp. the words of Darius: “Saith Darius the king :—By the grace of Ormazd I am king; Ormazd has granted me the empire.”

The Lord God of heaven.Jehovah, the God of heaven. “The god of heaven” was a title of Ormazd or Ahuramazda, the Supreme Being according to Persian belief, which was Zoroastrianism. It is not at all wonderful that Cyrus should have identified the God of Israel with his own deity, especially if he had heard of the prophecies Isaiah 44:28, &c. Such a politic syncretism was the settled practice of the Roman empire in a later age.

2 Chronicles 36:21. Until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths — “God had commanded them to let their land rest every seventh year; and because the Jews had violated this, as well as other precepts, God gave their land a long sabbath, or rest, for no less than ten times seven years, which Jeremiah threatened, as in the margin. If it be true, that they had neglected this law for the space of four hundred and ninety years, having ploughed their ground in the seventh as well as in other years, then the judgment of God upon them was very remarkable, in causing their ground to rest, and be free from tillage, just as long as it should have been if they had observed his law. For in those four hundred and ninety years, says Procopius Gazæus, when they were under the government of kings, there were seventy years to be kept as sabbaths, which, that the land might enjoy its sabbath, were spent in the captivity of Babylon. Their punishment, too, was made more remarkable in this particular, if it be true, as some have observed, that both the kingdom of Samaria and the kingdom of Judah were destroyed in a sabbatical year; and that immediately after a jubilee, the city and temple were destroyed by Titus, according to Scaliger’s computation.” See Patrick, Calmet, and Dodd.36:1-21 The ruin of Judah and Jerusalem came on by degrees. The methods God takes to call back sinners by his word, by ministers, by conscience, by providences, are all instances of his compassion toward them, and his unwillingness that any should perish. See here what woful havoc sin makes, and, as we value the comfort and continuance of our earthly blessings, let us keep that worm from the root of them. They had many times ploughed and sowed their land in the seventh year, when it should have rested, and now it lay unploughed and unsown for ten times seven years. God will be no loser in his glory at last, by the disobedience of men. If they refused to let the land rest, God would make it rest. What place, O God, shall thy justice spare, if Jerusalem has perished? If that delight of thine were cut off for wickedness, let us not be high-minded, but fear.See the marginal references. The 70 years of desolation prophesied by Jeremiah, commenced in the fourth year of Jehoiakim (Jeremiah 25:1, Jeremiah 25:12; compare Daniel 1:1), or 605 B.C.; and should therefore have terminated, if they were fully complete, in 536 B.C. As, however, the historical date of the taking of Babylon by Cyrus is 538 B.C., or two years earlier, it has been usual to suppose that the Jews reckoned "the reign of the kingdom of Persia" as commencing two years after the capture of Babylon, on the death or supersession of "Darius the Mede." But the term "seventy" may be taken as a round number, and the prophecy as sufficiently fulfilled by a desolation which lasted 68 years.

Until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths - Between the time of Moses and the commencement of the captivity, there had been (about) 70 occasions on which the Law of the sabbatical year Leviticus 25:4-7 had been violated.

21. until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths—The return of every seventh was to be held as a sabbatic year, a season of rest to all classes, even to the land itself, which was to be fallow. This divine institution, however, was neglected—how soon and how long, appears from the prophecy of Moses (see on [483]Le 26:34), and of Jeremiah in this passage (see Jer 25:9-12), which told that for divine retribution it was now to remain desolate seventy years. As the Assyrian conquerors usually colonized their conquered provinces, so remarkable a deviation in Palestine from their customary policy must be ascribed to the overruling providence of God. Had enjoyed her sabbaths, i.e. had rested from the labour of the husbandmen in ploughing and harrowing it, &c., the people that should have managed it being destroyed. Of the phrase, See Poole "Leviticus 25:2".

To fulfil threescore and ten years; that so the seventy years’ captivity prophesied of by Jeremiah might be accomplished. To fulfil the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah,.... That is, the Jews were so long servants in Babylon, as in the preceding verse, to accomplish Jeremiah's prophecy of it, 2 Chronicles 25:12.

until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths; the sabbatical years, or seventh year sabbaths, which, according to the law of the land, was to rest from being tilled, Leviticus 25:4, which law had been neglected by the Jews, and now, whether they would or not, the land should have rest for want of persons to till it:

for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfil threescore and ten years; as threatened in Leviticus 26:34 on which text Jarchi observes, that at the destruction of the first temple the law concerning the sabbath, or rest of the land had been neglected four hundred and thirty years, in which space were sixty nine sabbatical years; and, according to Maimonides (d), it was at the end of a sabbatic year that the city and temple were destroyed, and so just seventy years had been neglected, and the land was tilled in them as in other years, and now it had rest that exact number of years; but of this we cannot be certain, though it is probable.

(d) Hilchot Shemitah Veyobel, c. 10. sect. 3.

To fulfil the word of the LORD by the {l} mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfil threescore and ten years.

(l) Who threatened the vengeance of God and 70 years captivity, which he called the sabbaths or rest of the land, Jer 25:11.

21. by the mouth of Jeremiah] Cp. Jeremiah 25:11; Jeremiah 29:10.

until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths] Cp. Leviticus 25:1-7; Leviticus 26:34-35.

threescore and ten years] i.e. two whole generations. It is very unlikely that the Chronicler intended to suggest that the Sabbatical years had been neglected throughout the period (about 490 = 70 × 7 years) during which the kingdom lasted, for he mentions several God-fearing kings (David, Solomon, Jehoshaphat) whose reigns would need to be subtracted from this total, so that the number of violated Sabbatical years would fall considerably below 70.Verse 21. - The word of the Lord. Note marginal references (Jeremiah 25:9-12; Jeremiah 29:10). The three score and ten years of desolateness may probably best be dated from Nebuchadnezzar's first taking of Jerusalem, B.C. 606-5. Although this date does not tally exactly with the B.C. 538 of Cyrus's conquest of Babylon, yet the discrepancy is easily explained on more than one sufficiently natural supposition (e.g. that Cyrus's reign was not exactly synchronous in the beginning of it with his conquest of Babylon, etc.). Enjoyed her sabbaths (see Leviticus 26:34, 35, 43-46). "And all princes of the priests and the people increased faithless transgressions, like to all the abominations of the heathen, and defiled the house of the Lord which He had consecrated in Jerusalem." Bertheau would refer this censure of their idolatry and the profanation of the temple to the guilt incurred by the whole people, especially in the time of Manasseh, because, from all we know from the book of Jeremiah, the reproach of idolatry did not at all, or at least did not specially, attach to the princes of the priests and the people in the time of Zedekiah. But this reason is neither tenable nor correct; for from Ezekiel 8 it is perfectly manifest that under Zedekiah, not only the people, but also the priesthood, were deeply sunk in idolatry, and that even the courts of the temple were defiled by it. And even though that idolatry did not take its rise under Zedekiah, but had been much practised under Jehoiakim, and was merely a revival and continuation of the idolatrous conduct of Manasseh and Amon, yet the reference of our verse to the time of Manasseh is excluded by the context; for here only that which was done under Zedekiah is spoken of, without any reference to earlier times.

Meanwhile God did not leave them without exhortation, warning, and threatening. - 2 Chronicles 36:15. Jahve sent to them by His messengers, from early morning onwards continually, for He spared His people and His dwelling-place; but they mocked the messengers of God, despised His words, and scoffed at His prophets. בּיד שׁלח, to send a message by any one, to make a sending. The object is to be supplied from the verb. ושׁלוח השׁכּם exactly as in Jeremiah 26:5; Jeremiah 29:19. For He spared His people, etc., viz., by this, that He, in long-suffering, again and again called upon the people by prophets to repent and return, and was not willing at once to destroy His people and His holy place. מלעיבים is ἁπ. λεγ., in Syr. it signifies subsannavit; the Hithp. also, מתּעתּעים (from תּעע), occurs only here as an intensive: to launch out in mockery. The distinction drawn between מלאכים (messengers) and נביאים (prophets) is rhetorical, for by the messengers of God it is chiefly prophets who are meant; but the expression is not to be confined to prophets in the narrower sense of the word, for it embraces all the men of God who, by word and deed, censured and punished the godless conduct of the idolaters. The statement in these two verses is certainly so very general, that it may apply to all the times of gradually increasing defection of the people from the Lord their God; but the author of the Chronicle had primarily in view only the time of Zedekiah, in which the defection reached its highest point. It should scarcely be objected that in the time of Zedekiah only Jeremiah is known as a prophet of the Lord, since Ezekiel 54ed and wrought among the exiles. For, in the first place, it does not hence certainly follow that Jeremiah and Ezekiel were the only prophets of that time; then, secondly, Jeremiah does not speak as an individual prophet, but holds up to the people the witness of all the earlier prophets (cf. e.g., 2 Chronicles 26:4-5), so that by him all the former prophets of God spoke to the people; and consequently the plural, His messengers, His prophets, is perfectly true even for the time of Zedekiah, if we always keep in mind the rhetorical character of the style. וגו עלות עד, until the anger of Jahve rose upon His people, so that there was no healing (deliverance) more.

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