2 Kings 13:6
Nevertheless they departed not from the sins of the house of Jeroboam, who made Israel sin, but walked therein: and there remained the grove also in Samaria.)
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(6) Nevertheless they departed not.—The restoration of Divine favour did not issue in the abolition of the irregular worship introduced by Jeroboam I. as the state religion of the northern kingdom. This is written, of course, from the point of view of the Judæan editor of Kings, who lived long after the events of which he is writing in the period of the exile. It does not appear from the history of Elijah and Elisha, incorporated in his work, that either of those great prophets ever protested against the worship established at Bethel and Dan.

The house of Jeroboam—Some MSS., the Syriac, Targum, and Arabic omit “house.” But the specification of the dynasty is here very appropriate.

But walked therein.—Rather, therein they walked; the reading of the LXX. (Alex.),Vulg., and Targum being probably correct. It is the conduct of the nation that is being described.

And there remained the grove also in Samaria.—Rather, and moreover the Asherah stood (i.e., was set up) in Samaria. The Asherah was the sacred tree, so often depicted in Assyrian art. It symbolised the productive principle of nature, and was sacred to Ashtoreth. With the return of peace, and the renewal of prosperity, luxury also soon reappeared, and the idolatry that specially countenanced it lifted up its head again. (See the Note on 2Kings 17:16.)

13:1-9 It was the ancient honour of Israel that they were a praying people. Jehoahaz, their king, in his distress, besought the Lord; applied himself for help, but not to the calves; what help could they give him? He sought the Lord. See how swift God is to show mercy; how ready to hear prayer; how willing to find a reason to be gracious; else he would not look so far back as the ancient covenant Israel had so often broken, and forfeited. Let this invite and engage us for ever to him; and encourage even those who have forsaken him, to return and repent; for there is forgiveness with him, that he may be feared. And if the Lord answer the mere cry of distress for temporal relief, much more will he regard the prayer of faith for spiritual blessings.But walked therein - Rather, "he walked therein," meaning Joash, the "saviour" of the preceding verse.

There remained the grove also in Samaria - It seems strange that Jehu had not destroyed this when he put down the worship of Baal 2 Kings 10:26-28. Perhaps the "grove" or "Asherah" worship was too closely connected with the old worship in high places to be set aside with the same ease as the rites newly introduced from Phoenicia.

6. there remained the grove—Asherah—the idol set up by Ahab (1Ki 16:33), which ought to have been demolished (De 7:5). Which Ahab had planted for the worship of Baal, 1 Kings 16:32, and which should have been destroyed, Deu 7:5.

Nevertheless, they departed not from the sins of the house of Jeroboam, who made Israel to sin, but walked therein,.... Continued to worship the calves still, which was an instance of great ingratitude; the Syriac and Arabic versions read, "he departed not"; Jehoahaz the king:

and there remained the grove in Samaria; which Ahab made there, 1 Kings 16:33, neither Jehu nor his son had it cut down, though Baal was destroyed.

Nevertheless they departed not from the sins of the house of Jeroboam, who made Israel sin, but walked therein: and there remained the {e} grove also in Samaria.)

(e) In which they committed their idolatry, and which the Lord had commanded to be destroyed De 16:21.

6. and there remained the grove [R.V. Ashêrah] also in Samaria] On Ashêrah, by which is probably meant a wooden image of a goddess worshipped with similar rites to those of the god Baal, see note on 1 Kings 14:15. Jehu had not eliminated all that belonged to the Tyrian idolatry, and his successors were no more earnest to do so than himself.

Verse 6. - Nevertheless they departed not from the sins of the house of Jeroboam, who made Israel sin. "The house of Jeroboam" is an unusual expression in this connection, and is scarcely appropriate, since every "house" had acted in the same way, Some manuscripts omit the word, and it is wanting in the Chaldee, Syriac, and Arabic versions. Thenius would cancel it. But walked therein; literally, he walked. But here again a corruption may be suspected. Instead of הָלָך we should read חָלְכוּ, which lost its final letter in consequence of the vau that immediately followed it. And there remained the grove also in Samaria. "The grove in Samaria" was that idolatrous emblem which Ahab had set up at Jezebel's suggestion (1 Kings 16:33), the nature of which has been much disputed. Some think that it was "an image of Astarte" (see 'Homiletic Commentary' on 1 Kings, p. 374); but more probably it was a mere emblem, analogous to the Assyrian "sacred tree." Its material may sometimes have been wood, but was perhaps more usually metal. The mistranslation "grove" originated with the Septuagint translators, who uniformly rendered אֲשֵׂרָה by ἄλσος. It is surprising that Jehu did not destroy the asherah together with the other idolatrous erections of Ahab in Samaria (2 Kings 10:26-28); but, for some reason or other, it seems to have been spared, and to have been still standing. So long as it stood, even if it did not attract the religious regards of any, it would be a standing dishonor to God, and would so increase the sin of the nation. Hence its mention in this passage. 2 Kings 13:6"Only they departed not," etc., is inserted as a parenthesis and must be expressed thus: "although they departed not from the sin of Jeroboam."
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