2 Kings 10:25
And it came to pass, as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, that Jehu said to the guard and to the captains, Go in, and slay them; let none come forth. And they smote them with the edge of the sword; and the guard and the captains cast them out, and went to the city of the house of Baal.
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(25) As soon as he had made an end.—The Syriac has, when they (i.e., the Baal priests) had made an end. This is probably right. (Comp. the beginning of 2Kings 10:24). We can hardly suppose with Ewald that Jehu personally offered sacrifices in the character of an ardent Baal-worshipper. For the massacre Jehu chose the moment when all the assembly was absorbed in worship.

To the guard and to the captains.—Literally, to the runners (or couriers) and to the adjutants (or squires; 2Kings 9:25). (Comp. 1Kings 9:22.) The royal guardsmen and their officers are meant.

Cast them out.—That is, threw the dead bodies out of the temple. This is the explanation of the Targum and the other versions. Thenius asks why this should be specially mentioned, and proposes to understand the verb intransitively, “rushed out,” which suits very well with what follows.

And went to the city of the house of Baal.—The word city has here its original meaning, which is also that of the Greek πόλις—viz., citadel, stronghold; properly, a place surrounded by a ring-fence or rampart. Jehu’s guards, after the completion of their bloody work in the court of the temple, rushed up the steps into the sanctuary itself, which, like the temple of Solomon, resembled a fortress. (“Ex atrio irruperunt satellites Jehu in ipsam arcem templi.”—Sebastian Schmidt.) Gesenius explains the word as meaning the temenos or sacred enclosure of the temple, but that does not suit the context. (The origin of the word ‘îr, “city,” obscure in Hebrew, is revealed by the cuneiform inscriptions in the Accadian word erim or eri, meaning “foundation,” and Urui.e., Ur, a proper name, meaning “the city.”)

10:15-28 Is thine heart right? This is a question we should often put to ourselves. I make a fair profession, have gained a reputation among men, but, is my heart right? Am I sincere with God? Jehonadab owned Jehu in the work, both of revenge and of reformation. An upright heart approves itself to God, and seeks no more than his acceptance; but if we aim at the applause of men, we are upon a false foundation. Whether Jehu looked any further we cannot judge. The law of God was express, that idolaters were to be put to death. Thus idolatry was abolished for the present out of Israel. May we desire that it be rooted out of our hearts.As soon as he had made an end of offering - The actual sacrificers were no doubt the priests of Baal; but Jehu is considered to have made the offering, since he furnished the victims. Compare 1 Kings 8:62-63.

The guard - literally, "the runners." This name seems to have been given to the royal body-guard as early as the time of Saul (1 Samuel 22:17, margin). It was their duty to run by the side of the king's chariot as he moved from plaze to place.

Cast them out, and went - Rather, "the captains hasted and went," or "went hastily;" which gives a satisfactory sense. That the soldiers should have troubled themselves to cast the bodies of the slain out of the temple enclosure is very unlikely.

The city of the house of Baal - i. e., the temple itself, as distinguished from the court in which it stood, is intended. The guard having slain all who were in the court, rushed on and entered the sanctuary, there no doubt completing the massacre, and further tearing down and bringing out the sacred objects mentioned in the next verse.

22. Bring forth vestments for all the worshippers of Baal—The priests of Baal were clad, probably, in robes of white byssus while they were engaged in the functions of their office, and these were kept under the care of an officer in a particular wardrobe of Baal's temple. This treacherous massacre, and the means taken to accomplish it, are paralleled by the slaughter of the Janissaries and other terrible tragedies in the modern history of the East. As soon as he, i.e. the chief priest of Baal: see 2 Chronicles 23:17.

Made an end of offering the burnt-offerings; so far he suffered them to proceed; either because till then they were not all come into the house; or because having been taken in the very act of gross idolatry, their destruction was more just and reasonable.

To the guard, and to the captains, i.e. to the fourscore men and their officers.

Cast them out, i.e. cast their carcasses out of the city. But that was not proper work for the guard; nor could they so soon have done it; nor would they stay to do it, when they were going in haste to other work; nor indeed was it necessary to be done, because they intended to pull down the house, and bury them in its ruins, and turn it into a draught house, as it follows. This word therefore is and may be joined with the next, and both rendered, they went hastily and eagerly; properly, they flung themselves out, (hiphil for hithpahel, which is not unusual in the Hebrew language,) and went. The like expression is used Esther 6:12, hasted, Heb. pushed himself on, or flung himself, i.e. went with great haste; and in the Greek text, Mark 14:72.

To the city of the house of Baal; either,

1. To some city near to Samaria, where another eminent temple of Baal was erected. But this seems not to agree with the context, there being but one house or temple of Baal mentioned, both in the foregoing and following verses. Or rather,

2. To some buildings belonging to this house of Baal, which may be here called the city, either for some particular reason now unknown, or 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, &c.; so it may properly 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 great 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 into these buildings the guard might go, and that hastily, to surprise and kill those inferior ministers of Baal, who were there employed in preparing things for the sacrifices which were to be offered, or in other services belonging to that house, or that solemnity.

And it came to pass, as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering,.... The chief of the priests of Baal, whose office it was to do this service:

that Jehu said to the guard, and to the captains, go in and slay them, let none come forth; this he said to the eighty men set to guard the temple, and the officers over them; and perhaps they might also have a reinforcement, since such a number seems scarcely sufficient to destroy so many as were here; though indeed it must be considered they were armed men:

and they smote them with the edge of the sword; put them all to death:

and the guard and the captains cast them out; those that were slain, as the Targum, their dead bodies; but it can hardly be thought they would be at the trouble of casting them out, when the house was to be pulled down, and made a jakes (a common sewer or dung house) of, as follows; rather therefore it should be rendered, "they cast" or "flung themselves" (u) with great force, and in great haste, as Kimchi, and rushed out of the temple, being eager to do as follows:

and went to the city of the house of Baal; to pull it down; to some city near Samaria where was a temple of Baal; or rather this may design the buildings about the temple of Baal, in which the priests and their families lived, and were so large that they might be called a city of themselves.

(u) "et proripuerunt se", De Dicu.

And it came to pass, as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, that Jehu said to the guard and to the captains, Go in, and slay them; let none come forth. And they smote them with the edge of the sword; and the guard and the captains cast them out, and went to the {k} city of the house of Baal.

(k) Which was near Samaria.

25. as soon as he had made an end of offering] That is, when the priests had completed the offering. We are not to suppose that Jehu himself acted as priest on the occasion, only as he had been the convoker of the solemn assembly, the whole ceremony is referred to him.

Jehu said to the guard] The ‘guard’ is that body of ‘runners’ which appears in the history as soon as a king was appointed, and which played a part in all state parade. Thus both Adonijah and Absalom provided them with ‘fifty men to run before them’ when they aspired to the throne (2 Samuel 15:1; 1 Kings 1:5). They are first spoken of in 1 Samuel 22:17, where the text of A.V. gives ‘footmen’ (R.V. guard) with ‘runners’ or ‘guard’ in the margin. Such men must necessarily be of great physical strength, and so well suited to do Jehu’s work on this occasion:

cast them out] There is no pronoun expressed in the Hebrew. And it is not easy to see why the dead bodies should have been cast out of a place which they wished to be thoroughly defiled. Hence it has been thought that the ‘casting’ here spoken of refers only to the throwing aside the dead to make their way through the courts towards the central portion of the building, where probably the more important sacrificing priests were stationed.

and went to the city of the house of Baal] The word rendered ‘city’ is applied to smaller enclosures than we usually understand by it now, and seems here to indicate some principal part of the temple edifice. In illustration of the use of this word for some small place, see Numbers 13:19, ‘What cities they be that they dwell in, whether in tents or in strongholds’. So too the desolate daughter of Zion is compared (Isaiah 1:8) to ‘a cottage in a vineyard, a lodge in a garden of cucumbers’, and then, in parallelism with these figures, to ‘a besieged city’. In such passages also as Genesis 4:17 city can only signify some solid substantial dwelling-place in distinction to the tents of the nomad population.

For a similar change of sense we may compare our English word ‘town’, which in the earliest English tûn (and in Icelandic still) signifies an enclosure, generally a farm-stead with the necessary outbuildings surrounded by one fence.

Verse 25. - And it came to pass, as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering. It has been concluded from this that Jehu" offered the sacrifices with his own hand, as though he were the most zealous of Baal's adorers" (Ewald, ' History of Israel,' vol. 4. p. 100); but the conclusion does not follow necessarily from the expression used. The suffix ו in כְּכַלֺלּתו may be used indefinitely, "when one finished," or "when they finished;" or Jehu may be said to have made the offerings, because he famished the victims, not because he immolated them with his own hand. Throughout heathendom, wherever there wore priests, it was the duty of the prints to slay the victims offered. That Jehu said to the guard - literally, to the runners (see the comment on 1 Kings 1:38) - and to the captains - i.e., the officers in command of the guard - Go in, and slay them; let none come forth. We must suppose that some guarded the doors, while others advanced into the crowd and struck right and left. The unarmed multitude seems to have made no resistance. And they smote them with the edge of the sword - i.e. cut them down unsparingly, smote and slew till none were left alive - and the guard and the captains cast them out. This is generally understood to mean that all the bodies were thrown by the guards out of the temple. Dean Stanley says, "The temple was strewn with corpses, which, "as fast as they fell, the guard and the officers threw out with their own hands" ('Jewish Church,' vol. 2. p. 188). But it is not apparent why they should have taken this trouble. Perhaps Bahr is right in suggesting that no more is meant than that the guard and the officers thrust the bodies out of their way, as they pressed forward to enter the sanctuary which contained the sacred images. And went to the city of the house of Baal. "They made their way," as Ewald says, "into the inner sanctuary, the enclosure of which rose like a lofty fortress - עיר originally meant "fortress" - where Baal was enthroned, surrounded by the images of his fellow-gods" ('History of Israel,' l.s.c.). It is to be remembered that the assembled multitude occupied the court or courts of the temple, within which, in a commanding position, was the "house" or "sanctuary" - perhaps reserved for the priests only. 2 Kings 10:25כּכלּתו: when he (the sacrificing priest, not Jehu) had finished the burnt-offering (the singular suffix ו may also be taken as indefinite, when one had finished, vid., Ewald, 294, b.), Jehu commanded the runners and aides-de-camp: Come and smite them (the worshippers of Baal), without one coming out (escaping); whereupon they smote them with the edge of the sword, i.e., slew them unsparingly. ויּשׁליכוּ: and the runners and aides-de-camp threw (those who had been slain) away, and went into the citadel of the temple of Baal. בּית־הבּעל עיר cannot be the city of the temple of Baal, i.e., that part of the city in which the temple of Baal stood, for the runners were already in the court of the temple of Baal; but it is no doubt the temple-citadel, the true temple-house (עיר from עוּר, locus circumseptus) - templum Baalis magnifice exstructum instar arcis alicujus (Seb. Schm.).
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