And when they went in to offer sacrifices and burnt offerings, Jehu appointed fourscore men without, and said, If any of the men whom I have brought into your hands escape, he that lets him go, his life shall be for the life of him.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)When.—Omit.
They went in.—The priests and prophets went into the inner court of the Baal temple, which probably resembled in general construction that of Jehovah at Jerusalem.
Sacrifices and burnt offerings—i.e., peace offerings and burnt offerings, which could only be offered in an open court.
Jehu appointed fourscore men without.—Rather, now Jehu had set him on the outside (of the building) fourscore men.
If any of the men . . . life of him.—Literally, The man that escapeth of the men whom I am bringing into your hands—his life for his life! This is a little incoherent, as is natural in energetic speech, but the sense is clear. Thenius, however, suggests that the verb “escapeth” should be pointed as a transitive form (pihel instead of niphal). This gives: “The man that letteth escape any of the men,” &c., an improvement that may be right, although the old versions agree with the present Hebrew pointing of the word.2 Kings 10:24-25. When they went in to offer sacrifices — When some went to the altar to offer in the name of the rest. Jehu appointed fourscore men without — Far more being, doubtless, in readiness to assist them in case of any opposition. As he had made an end of offering — That is, as the chief priest of Baal had made an end. So far Jehu suffered them to proceed, either because till then they were not all come into the house; or because, being taken in the very act of gross idolatry, their punishment would appear to be more just and reasonable. Jehu said to the guard and the captains — To the fourscore men and their officers. The guard, &c., cast them out — Cast their carcasses out, of the house. And went to the city of the house of Baal — To some buildings belonging to that house; which may be here called the city, because they were very numerous and capacious. For as there were divers chambers and rooms built without the temple, belonging to it, for the use of the priests and Levites; so it may probably be conceived that this famous temple of Baal had many such buildings, in some of which the priests of Baal, or of the groves, (whereof there were numbers belonging to the king’s court, 1 Kings 18:19,) peradventure might dwell; and others of them might be for divers uses, belonging to the house and service of Baal: and to these buildings the guard might hastily go to surprise and put to death these inferior ministers of Baal, who were there employed in services belonging to that house, or that solemnity.When they went in; when some in the name of the rest went to the altar to offer sacrifice.
Jehu appointed fourscore men; far greater numbers being doubtless in readiness to assist then, in case of any opposition.
Jehu appointed eighty men without; without the temple of Baal, at the several doors and avenues of it:
and said, if any of the men whom I have brought into your hands escape, he that letteth him go, his life shall be for the life of him; should be put to death for it in his room; the life of a watchman set to guard should go for the life of one that escaped.And when they went in to offer sacrifices and burnt offerings, Jehu appointed fourscore men without, and said, If any of the men whom I have brought into your hands escape, he that letteth him go, his life shall be for the life of him.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)24. And when they went in] R.V. omits ‘when’, and makes this clause an independent sentence. The LXX. has ‘and he went in’ (καἰ εἰσῆλθε).
Jehu appointed] In consequence of what has been done in the previous clause, R.V. renders ‘Now Jehu had appointed’. And as there is in the sentence a pronoun and preposition of which the A.V. takes no account, R.V. adds him = for himself, after ‘appointed’.
If any of the men whom I have brought] R.V. I bring. The sentence is very elliptical as will be seen from the italics of A.V. But the same words only are represented in LXX. For the phrase cf. 1 Kings 20:39; 1 Kings 20:42.Verse 24. - And when they went in - rather, when they had gone in; i.e. when the whole multitude of Baal-worshippers, priests and people, had entered within the precincts of the temple - to offer sacrifices and burnt offerings. The priests officiate, but the offerings are regarded as conjointly made by priest and people. Jehu appointed four score men without. Josephus says ('Ant. Jud.,' 9:6. § 6) that they were the most trusty men of his body-guard, which is likely enough. They were no doubt also known to Jehu as attached to the worship of Jehovah. And said, If any of the men whom I have brought into your hands escape, he that letteth him go, his life shall be for the life of him (comp. 1 Kings 20:39). Gaolers were commonly put to death if a prisoner committed to their charge escaped them (see Acts 12:19; Acts 16:27). 2 Kings 10:28. Under the pretence of wishing to serve Baal even more than Ahab had done, Jehu appointed a great sacrificial festival for this idol, and had all the worshippers of Baal throughout all the land summoned to attend it; he then placed eighty of his guards around the temple of Baal in which they were assembled, and after the sacrifice was offered, had the priests and worshippers of Baal cut down by them with the sword. Objectively considered, the slaying of the worshippers of Baal was in accordance with the law, and, according to the theocratical principle, was perfectly right; but the subjective motives which impelled Jehu, apart from the artifice, were thoroughly selfish, as Seb. Schmidt has correctly observed. For since the priests and prophets of Baal throughout the Israelitish kingdom were bound up with the dynasty of Ahab, with all their interests and with their whole existence, they might be very dangerous to Jehu, if on any political grounds he should happen not to promote their objects, whereas by their extermination he might hope to draw to his side the whole of the very numerous supporters of the Jehovah-worship, which had formerly been legally established in Israel, and thereby establish his throne more firmly. The very fact that Jehu allowed the calf-worship to continue, is a proof that he simply used religion as the means of securing his own ends (2 Kings 10:29). עצרה קדּשׁוּ (2 Kings 10:20), "sanctify a festal assembly," i.e., proclaim in the land a festal assembly for Baal (compare Isaiah 1:13; and for עצרה equals עצרת, see at Leviticus 23:36). ויּקראוּ, and they proclaimed, sc. the festal meeting.
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