2 Kings 15:37
In those days the LORD began to send against Judah Rezin the king of Syria, and Pekah the son of Remaliah.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
2 Kings 15:37. In those days — That is, toward the end of Jotham’s reign; the Lord began to send against Judah, Rezin and Pekah — As he bid Shimei curse David, when he gave him an opportunity of doing it, without fear of punishment. Wicked men are the sword, the rod in God’s hand, which he makes use of as he pleases, to serve his own righteous counsels, though they be unrighteous in their intentions. This storm was gathered in the reign of pious Jotham, but he came to his grave in peace, and it fell upon his degenerate son Ahaz, whose heart, upon notice of it, was moved, as were the hearts of the people, as the trees of the wood are moved by the wind, Isaiah 7:2.15:32-38 Jotham showed great respect to the temple. If magistrates cannot do all they would, for the suppressing of vice and profaneness, let them do the more to support and advance piety and virtue.The recent invasions of Pul and Tiglath-Pileser had effectually alarmed Pekah and Rezin, and had induced them to put aside the traditional jealousies which naturally kept them apart, and to make a league offensive and defensive. Into this league they were anxious that Judaea should enter; but they distrusted the house of David, which had been so long hostile both to Damascus and to Samaria. They consequently formed the design of transferring the Jewish crown to a certain Ben-Tabeal Isaiah 7:6, probably a Jewish noble, perhaps a refugee at one of their courts, whom they could trust to join heartily in their schemes (2 Kings 16:5 note). 37. the Lord began to send against Judah Rezin the king of Syria, &c.—This is the first intimation of the hostile feelings of the kings of Israel and Syria, to Judah, which led them to form an alliance and make joint preparations for war. [See on [344]2Ch 27:5.] However, war was not actually waged till the reign of Ahaz. In those days i.e. towards the end of Jotham’s reign.

The Lord began to send, i.e. disposed their hearts to unite their forces together, and to make preparation for a war against Judah; which yet they did not execute till Ahaz’s reign. In those days,.... At the end of the days of Jotham, or after his death, things might be in design, and preparations made before, but nothing of what follows came to pass in his life, but in the times of his son:

the Lord began to send against Judah Rezin the king of Syria, and Pekah the son of Remaliah: to make war with them as a scourge to Ahaz for his sins; of which is in the following chapter.

In {m} those days the LORD began to send against Judah Rezin the king of Syria, and {n} Pekah the son of Remaliah.

(m) After the death of Jotham.

(n) Who in one day slew 120,000 of Judah's fighting men 2Ch 28:6, because they had forsaken the true God.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
37. In those days] In the days of Jotham the confederacy between Israel and Syria against Judah was formed, though the effects were not felt to the full till the days of Jotham’s son Ahaz. In Isaiah 7 we find that Rezin king of Syria, and Pekah king of Israel, had come up against Jerusalem to fight against it, and were minded to set up a king in Judah of their own choosing, who is there spoken of as ‘the son of Tabeel’. At that time for the consolation and encouragement of Ahaz the oracle concerning ‘Immanuel’ was sent to him through Isaiah.

the Lord began to send] Though He began to send enemies upon Judah, yet the Lord did not, as Isaiah’s prophecy shews us, leave His people without hope, but in the midst of their chastisement He was thinking upon mercy, and spake by the mouth of the prophet concerning that greatest mercy, the sending of His Son.

Rezin the king of Syria] The name of this king appears several times in the Assyrian records. His country had before this time been made tributary to Assyria. The policy of Rezin appears not only to have embraced a conquest of Judah in alliance with Pekah, but also, after making himself more powerful in that way, the shaking off the yoke of Assyria. For this reason the Assyrian power was the more easily induced to help Ahaz in resisting Israel and Syria. The history of that help is given in the next chapter where the acts of Pekah against Judah are more fully dwelt upon.Verse 37. - In those days the Lord began to send against Judah Resin the King of Syria. Rezin's name occurs in the Assyrian inscriptions early in the reign of Tigiath-pileser, probably in the year B.C. 743. At that time he pays to the Assyrians a heavy tribute, consisting of eighteen talents of gold, three hundred talents of silver, two hundred talents of copper, and twenty talents of spices. Subsequently, about the year B.C. 734, he is found in revolt. His alliance with Pekah, here implied, is directly stated by Isaiah 7:2. Begun in Jotham's reign, it continued, and came to a head, in the reign of Ahaz (see 2 Kings 16:5 and Isaiah 7:1-9; Isaiah 8:6). And Pekah the son of Remaliah. Pekah and Rezin intended to establish on the Jewish throne a certain Ben-Tabeal (Isaiah 7:6), a creature of their own, with whose aid they thought to offer an effectual resistance to Assyria. Pekah met with his death in a conspiracy organized by Hosea the son of Elah, who made himself king "in the twentieth year of Jotham." There is something very strange in this chronological datum, as Jotham only reigned sixteen years (2 Kings 15:33), and Ahaz began to reign in the seventeenth year of Pekah (2 Kings 16:1); so that Pekah's death would fall in the fourth year of Ahaz. The reason for this striking statement can only be found, as Usher has shown (Chronol. sacr. p. 80), in the fact that nothing has yet been said about Jotham's successor Ahaz, because the reign of Jotham himself is not mentioned till 2 Kings 15:32.

(Note: Other attempts to solve this difficulty are either arbitrary and precarious, e.g., the conjectures of the earlier chronologists quoted by Winer (R. W. s. v. Jotham), or forced, like the notion of Vaihinger in Herzog's Cycl. (art. Jotham), that the words בן־עזיה ליותם are to be eliminated as an interpolation, in which case the datum "in the twentieth year" becomes perfectly enigmatical; and again the assertion of Hitzig (Comm. z. Jesaj. pp. 72, 73), that instead of in the twentieth year of Jotham, we should read "in the twentieth year of Ahaz the son of Jotham," which could only be consistently carried out by altering the text of not less than seven passages (viz., 2 Kings 15:33; 2 Kings 16:1, and 2 Kings 16:2, 2 Kings 16:17; 2 Chronicles 27:1 and 2 Chronicles 27:8, and 2 Chronicles 28:1); and lastly, the assumption of Thenius, that the words from בשׁנת to עזיה have crept into the text through a double mistake of the copyist and an arbitrary alteration of what had been thus falsely written, which is much too complicated to appear at all credible, even if the reasons which are supposed to render it probable had been more forcible and correct than they really are. For the first reason, viz., that the statement in what year of the contemporaneous ruler a king came to the throne is always first given when the history of this king commences, is disproved by 2 Kings 1:17; the second, that the name of the king by the year of whose reign the accession of another is defined is invariably introduced with the epithet king of Judah or king of Israel, is shown by 2 Kings 12:2 and 2 Kings 16:1 to be not in accordance with fact; and the third, that this very king is never described by the introduction of his father's name, as he is here, except where the intention is to prevent misunderstanding, as in 2 Kings 14:1, 2 Kings 14:23, or in the case of usurpers without ancestors (2 Kings 15:32, 2 Kings 16:1 and 2 Kings 16:15), is also incorrect in its first portion, for in the case of Amaziah in 2 Kings 14:23 there was no misunderstanding to prevent, and even in the case of Joash in 2 Kings 14:1 the epithet king of Israel would have been quite sufficient to guard against any misunderstanding.)

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