2 Kings 16:4
And he sacrificed and burnt incense in the high places, and on the hills, and under every green tree.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(4) In the high places.—These are evidently distinguished from “the hills,” two different prepositions being used in the Hebrew as in the English. A bāmāh, or “high-place,” was a local sanctuary, and it appears that a sacred pillar or altar might be called a bāmāh. Mesha king of Moab speaks of his pillar as “this bāmath” (See Note on 2Kings 1:1.)

Under every green tree.—Comp. 1Kings 14:23; Hosea 14:8. Thenius says not so much a green as a thick-foliaged and shadow-yielding tree. “They burn incense . . . under oaks, and poplars, and teil trees, because the shadow thereof is good” (Hosea 4:13).

THE SYRO-EPHRAIMITIC WAR, AND THE INTERVENTION OF TIGLATH PILESER. (Comp. Isaiah 7:1 to Isaiah 9:7, “an epitome of the discourses delivered by the prophet at this great national crisis.”—Cheyne.)

2 Kings 16:4. He sacrificed, &c., in the high places — If his father had but had zeal enough to take them away, it might have prevented the corrupting of his sons. They that connive at sin, know not what dangerous snares they lay for those that come after them.16:1-9 Few and evil were the days of Ahaz. Those whose hearts condemn them, will go any where in a day of distress, rather than to God. The sin was its own punishment. It is common for those who bring themselves into straits by one sin, to try to help themselves out by another.He sacrificed ... - Other kings of Judah bad allowed their people to do so. Ahaz was the first, so far as we know, to countenance the practice by his own example. 3. walked in the way of the kings of Israel—This is descriptive of the early part of his reign, when, like the kings of Israel, he patronized the symbolic worship of God by images but he gradually went farther into gross idolatry (2Ch 28:2).

made his son to pass through the fire—(2Ki 23:10). The hands of the idol Moloch being red hot, the children were passed through between them, which was considered a form of lustration. There is reason to believe that, in certain circumstances, the children were burnt to death (Ps 106:37). This was strongly prohibited in the law (Le 18:21; 20:2-5; De 18:10), although there is no evidence that it was practised in Israel till the time of Ahaz.

After the manner of the heathens: See Poole "Deu 12:2"; See Poole "Jeremiah 2:20"; See Poole "Hosea 4:13". And he sacrificed and burnt incense in the high places, and on the hills,.... Which none of the kings of Judah before him ever did; for though they connived at this practice in the people, they never encouraged it by their own example; and very probably he offered sacrifices there to idols, see 2 Chronicles 28:25 whereas the people sacrificed to the true God, though at a wrong place:

and under every green tree; and which is never said of the people, and seems to confirm it, that Ahaz sacrificed to other gods, since the Heathens used to place idols under green trees, and worship them, whom the Jews imitated, Jeremiah 2:2.

And he sacrificed and burnt incense in the high places, and on the hills, and under every green tree.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
4. And he sacrificed, &c.] Hitherto we have heard only that the people continued the worship in the high places. Now the king takes part in the same, and so makes it doubly popular.

under every green tree] Expressly mentioned (Deuteronomy 12:2) as among the wrong doings of the heathen: ‘Ye shall utterly destroy all the places wherein the nations, which ye shall possess, served their gods, upon the high mountains and upon the hills, and under every green tree’.Verse 4. - And he sacrificed and burnt incense in the high places. The special sin of Ahaz here noted is that he not only allowed the high-place and grove worship, as so many other kings of Judah had done, e.g. Solomon (1 Kings 3:2), Rehoboam (1 Kings 14:23), Asa (1 Kings 15:14), Jehoshaphat (1 Kings 22:43), Joash (2 Kings 12:3), Amaziah (2 Kings 14:4), Azariah (2 Kings 15:4), and Jotham (2 Kings 15:35), but himself countenanced and took part in it, which no other king appears to have done. It was probably the stimulus that his example gave to the cult which induced Hezekiah to abolish it (see 2 Kings 18:4). And on the hills, and under every green tree (comp. 1 Kings 14:23, with the comment). Reign of Jotham of Judah (cf. 2 Chronicles 27:1-9). - 2 Kings 15:32. "In the second year of Pekah Jotham began to reign." This agrees with the statement in 2 Kings 15:27, that Pekah became king in the last year of Uzziah, supposing that it occurred at the commencement of the year. Jotham's sixteen years therefore came to a close in the seventeenth year of Pekah's reign (2 Kings 16:1). His reign was like that of his father Uzziah (compare 2 Kings 15:34, 2 Kings 15:35 with 2 Kings 15:3, 2 Kings 15:4), except, as is added in Chr. 2 Kings 15:2, that he did not force himself into the temple of the Lord, as Uzziah had done (2 Chronicles 26:16). All that is mentioned of his enterprises in the account before us is that he built the upper gate of the house of Jehovah, that is to say, that he restored it, or perhaps added to its beauty. The upper gate, according to Ezekiel 9:2 compared with 2 Kings 8:3, 2 Kings 8:5,2 Kings 8:14 and 2 Kings 8:16, is the gate at the north side of the inner or upper court, where all the sacrifices were slaughtered, according to Ezekiel 40:38-43. We also find from 2 Chronicles 27:3. that he built against the wall of Ophel, and several cities in the mountains of Judah, and castles and towers in the forests, and subdued the Ammonites, so that they paid him tribute for three years. Jotham carried on with great vigour, therefore, the work which his father had began, to increase the material prosperity of his subjects.
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