And when Athaliah heard the noise of the guard and of the people, she came to the people into the temple of the LORD.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Of the guard and of the people.—This is correct. The and has fallen out of the Hebrew text.
The guard.—The Aramaic form of the plural, rare in prose, occurs here. (Comp. 1Kings 11:33.) In 2Chronicles 23:11 the words are transposed. This gives a different sense—viz., “of the people running together” to which is added, “and acclaiming the king.” The chronicler may have found this in the work he followed, but the text before us seems preferable, as the word “runners” (Couriers) throughout the account means the royal guard.
The people.—See Note on 2Kings 11:14.
She came . . . into the temple.—Evidently, therefore, the palace was hard by the Temple. (See Note on 2Kings 11:16.)2 Kings 11:13. She came to the people — To inquire into the cause of this great noise; being hitherto kept in deep ignorance, because the affair was managed with so much secrecy, and in the temple; and because the people universally hated her, and wished her downfall. Into the temple of the Lord — That is, into the courts, into which, being a queen, she was permitted to enter, though contrary to the general order, 2 Kings 11:8. She seems, in her fright, to have come alone, or with but few attendants.
13. Athaliah heard the noise of the guard and of the people—The profound secrecy with which the conspiracy had been conducted rendered the unusual acclamations of the vast assembled crowd the more startling and roused the suspicions of the tyrant.
she came … into the temple of the Lord—that is, the courts, which she was permitted to enter by Jehoiada's directions (2Ki 11:8) in order that she might be secured.The noise of the people, who came thither upon the hearing of the noise and tidings of what was done.
She came to the people, to inquire into the cause of this great noise; being hitherto kept in deep ignorance; partly because it wits managed with so much secrecy, and in the temple; and partly because the people universally hated her, and wished her downfall.
Into the temple of the Lord, i.e. into the courts; whither by Jehoiada’s direction she was permitted to enter, though contrary to his general order, 2 Kings 11:8, that so he might draw her into his net. 2 Chronicles 23:12.
she came to the people into the temple of the Lord; the outward court, where the people were assembled; and she seems to come alone, unattended, in great surprise and consternation, and was admitted to pass the guards, being the queen, and alone, and perhaps by the particular order of Jehoiada, though contrary to the general orders he gave, 2 Kings 11:8.And when Athaliah heard the noise of the guard and of the people, she came to the people into the temple of the LORD.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)13. And when Athaliah heard the noise] The arrangements had all been made so cautiously that the queen-mother had no knowledge of what was being done. But we may suppose that ere long the report would reach her through her attendants, and so she went, where otherwise she was not wont to go, toward the house of the Lord. Unless she had thought it some matter of grave concern we cannot fancy her going out to put an end by her presence, if possible, to the proceeding. Josephus’ account is that ‘having heard the tumult and applause unexpectedly, Athaliah was greatly troubled, and hastened with her private troops from the palace: that the priests admitted her into the temple area, but prevented the armed men who were with her from entering’. The Bible narratives do not speak of a guard accompanying Athaliah, but it is not likely that she would go forth on such an errand without one, though the influence of a queen-mother was very powerful.
of the guard and of the people] There is no conjunction in the Hebrew, and the guard were the ‘runners’ spoken of above. The narrative in Chronicles transposes the two words, and the rendering there is ‘of the people running’, but probably the conjunction is wanting in both cases through the error of the scribe. So in 2 Chronicles 23:2 the R.V. has put on the margin ‘of the people, of the guard and of those who praised the king’.
she came to the people into the temple [R.V. house] of the Lord] The assembly was a notable one and seems to have been at the time of some feast which had brought a more than usually great concourse to Jerusalem.Verse 13. - And when Athaliah heard the noise of the guard (comp. 1 Kings 1:41-45, where the noise accompanying the coronation of Solomon was heard to an equal distance) and of the people. The "and," which is omitted in the present Hebrew text, may be supplied by a very slight alteration. We have only to read הָרָצִי וְהָעָם for הָרָצין הָעָם - an emendation rendered almost certain by the fact that the plural in אּיּן does not belong to the date of the writer of Kings. She came to the people into the temple of the Lord. It was not her habit to enter the temple on the sabbath, or on any ether day; but, hearing the noise, she hurried across from the palace to learn its cause. It would seem that she was still unsuspicious of danger, and brought no guards with her, nor any large body of attendants. 1 Chronicles 23-26 with Josephus (Ant. vii. 14, 7), who expressly says that every one of the twenty-four classes of priests had to attend to the worship of God "for eight days, from Sabbath to Sabbath," also with Luke 1:5. On the other hand, we do not know that there was any similar division and obligation to serve in connection with the royal body-guard or with the army. The current opinion, that by those who come on the Sabbath and those who go out on the Sabbath we are to understand the king's halberdiers or the guard of the palace, is therefore proved to be unfounded and untenable. And if there could be any doubt on the matter, it would be removed by 2 Kings 11:7 and 2 Kings 11:10. According to 2 Kings 11:7, two parts of those who went away (were relieved) on the Sabbath were to undertake the guarding of the house of Jehovah about the king, i.e., to keep guard over that room in the temple where the king then was. Could Jehoiada have used the royal body-guard, that was being relieved from guarding the palace, for such a purpose as this? Who can imagine that this is a credible thing? According to 2 Kings 11:10, Jehoiada gave to the captains over a hundred the weapons of king David, which were in the house of Jehovah. Did the palace-guard then return without weapons? In 2 Chronicles 23:4, "those coming on the Sabbath" are correctly described as the priests and Levites coming on the Sabbath, i.e., the priests and Levites who entered upon their week's duty at the temple on the Sabbath. According to this explanation of the words, which is the only one that can be grammatically sustained, the facts were as follows: "When Jehoiada had initiated the captains of the royal halberdiers, and with their help the heads of families of the people generally, into his plan of raising the youthful Joash to the throne and dethroning Athaliah, he determined to carry out the affair chiefly with the help of the priests and Levites who entered upon their duty in the temple on the Sabbath, and of those who left or were relived at the same time, and entrusted the command over these men to the captains of the royal halberdiers, that they might occupy the approaches to the temple with the priests and Levites under their command, so as to prevent the approach of any military from the king's palace and protect the youthful king. These captains had come to the temple without weapons, to avoid attracting attention. Jehoiada therefore gave them the weapons of king David that were kept in the temple.
With regard to the distribution of the different posts, the fact that two-thirds are spoken of first of all in 2 Kings 11:5, 2 Kings 11:6, and then two parts in 2 Kings 11:7, occasions no difficulty. For the two-thirds mentioned in 2 Kings 11:5, 2 Kings 11:6 were those who came on the Sabbath, whereas the "two divisions" (היּדות שׁתּי) referred to in 2 Kings 11:7 were all who went away on the Sabbath. Consequently the priests and Levites, who came on the Sabbath and entered upon the week's service, were divided into three sections; and those who should have been relieved, but were detained, into two. Probably the number of those who came this time to perform service at the temple was much larger than usual, as the priests were initiated into Jehoiada's secret; so that it was possible to make three divisions of those who arrived, whereas those who were about to depart could only be formed into two. The three divisions of those who were entering upon duty are also distinctly mentioned in the Chronicles; whereas, instead of the two divisions of those who were relieved, "all the people" are spoken of. The description of the different posts which were assigned to these several companies causes some difficulty. In general, so much is clearly indicated in 2 Kings 11:7 and 2 Kings 11:8, that the two divisions of those who were relieved on the Sabbath were to keep guard over the young king in the house of Jehovah, and therefore to remain in the inner spaces of the temple-court for his protection; whereas the three divisions of those who were entering upon duty were charged with the occupation of the external approaches to the temple. One-third was to "keep watch over the king's house," i.e., to observe whatever had to be observed in relation to the king's palace; not to occupy the king's palace, or to keep guard in the citadel at the palace gate (Thenius), but to keep watch towards the royal palace, i.e., to post themselves so that no one could force a way into the temple, with which the indefinite המּלך בּבית in the Chronicles harmonizes, if we only translate it "against (at) the king's house." The idea that the palace was guarded is precluded not only by 2 Kings 11:13, according to which Athaliah came out of the palace to the people to the house of Jehovah, which she would not have been able to do if the palace had been guarded, but also by the circumstance that, according to 2 Kings 11:19, the chief men were in the temple with the whole of the (assembled) people, and did not go out of the house of Jehovah into the king's house till after the anointing of Joash and the death of Athaliah. The other third was to station itself at the gate Sur (סוּר), or, according to the Chronicles, Yesod (יסוד), foundation-gate. There is no doubt as to the identity of the gate Sur and the gate Yesod; only we cannot decide whether one of these names has simply sprung from a copyist's error, or whether the gate had two different names. The name יסוד שׁער, foundation-gate, suggests a gate in the outer court of the temple, at the hollow of either the Tyropoeon or the Kedron; for the context precludes our thinking of a palace gate. The third division was to be posted "at the gate behind the runners;" or, as it is stated in 2 Kings 11:19, "at the gate of the runners." It is very evident from 2 Kings 11:19 that this gate led from the temple-court to the royal palace upon Zion, and was therefore on the western side of the court of the temple. This also follows from 2 Kings 11:4 of the Chronicles, according to which this division was to act as "doorkeepers of the thresholds" (הסּפּים לשׁערי), i.e., to keep guard at the gate of the thresholds. For we may safely infer, from a comparison with 1 Chronicles 9:19, that הסּפּים were the thresholds of the ascent to the temple. The last clause, "and shall keep guard over the house for defence," refers to all three divisions, and serves to define with greater precision the object for which they were stationed there. מסּח is not a proper name (lxx, Luther, and others), but an appellative in the sense of defence or resistance, from נסח, depellere. The meaning is, that they were to guard the house, to keep off the people, and not to let any of the party of Athaliah force a way into the temple. - In 2 Kings 11:7, הש יצאי כּל is an explanatory apposition to בּכם ot היּדות וּשׁתּי, "and the two parts in (of) you," namely, all who go out on the Sabbath, i.e., are relieved from duty. Their task, to observe the watch of the house of Jehovah with regard to the king, is more precisely defined in 2 Kings 11:8 as signifying, that they were to surround the king with weapons in their hands, and slay every one who attempted to force a way into their ranks. וּבבאו בּצאתו, i.e., in all his undertakings, or in all his steps; ובוא צאת being applied to the actions and pursuits of a man, as in Deuteronomy 28:6; Deuteronomy 31:2, etc. (see the Comm. on Numbers 27:17). Thenius has explained this incorrectly: "in his going out of the temple and entering into the palace."
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