And the king of Assyria listened to him: for the king of Assyria went up against Damascus, and took it, and carried the people of it captive to Kir, and slew Rezin.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Went up against Damascus, and took it.—We learn from the inscriptions that Damascus stood a two years’ siege. (The Eponym-list makes Tiglath Pileser march against Damascus for two successive years, namely 733 and 732 B.C. )
Carried the people of it captive to Kir.—(Comp. Amos 1:5; Amos 9:7.) The name Kir is not found in the fragmentary remains of the annals of Tiglath Pileser. Schrader (p. 261 seq.) gives a mutilated inscription, apparently relating to the fall of Damascus.
And slew Rezin.—Sir H. Rawlinson found this fact recorded on a tablet of Tiglath Pileser’s, since unfortunately lost. In the inscription just referred to Tiglath says: “I entered the gate of his city; his chief officers alive [I took, and] on stakes I caused to lift them up” (i.e., impaled them).
Kir was the aboriginal home of the Arameans, according to Amos 9:7. It is mentioned along with Elam in Isaiah 22:6. “It has been generally identified with the district by the river Cyrus (the modern Georgia). But, besides the linguistic objection pointed out by Delitzsch (Qir cannot be equivalent to Kúr), it appears that the Assyrian empire never extended to the Cyrus. We must, therefore, consider Kir to be a part of Mesopotamia.” (Cheyne.)2 Kings 16:9. And carried the people of it captive to Kir — Not Kir of Moab, (Isaiah 15:1,) but a part of Media, which was then subject to the king of Assyria. It is remarkable, that this taking of Damascus, and carrying the inhabitants of it captive to this place, nay, and the slaying of Rezin the king, was expressly foretold by Amos some time before it happened. See the margin.1 Chronicles 5:26. Megiddo and Dor appear also to have been occupied, and the Arabs of the south chastised. Tiglathpileser then returned to Damascus, where a son of Rezin had assumed the crown; he besieged and took the city, and punished Rezin's son with death. Tiglath-pileser appears by one of his inscriptions to have held a court at Damascus, to which it is probable that the tributary kings of the neighborhood were summoned to pay their tributes and do homage for their kingdoms. Among the tributes brought to him at this time, those of Judaea, Edom, Ammon, Moab, Gaza, Ascalon, and Tyre, are mentioned.
Kir - Kir is mentioned by Amos Amo 9:7 as the country from which the Syrians came. It is joined by Isaiah Isa 22:6 with Elam or Elymais. Its position can only be conjectured. Perhaps the word designates a region adjoining Elymais, in the extreme southeastern limits of Assyria.Against Damascus, the metropolis of the Syrians, and the head of that kingdom, Isaiah 7:8; as was prophesied, Amos 1:5.
Kir; not Kir of Moab, Isaiah 15:1, but a part of Media, which then was subject to the king of Assyria.
for the king of Syria went up against Damascus, and took it; the metropolis of the kingdom of Syria, and so made a powerful diversion in favour of the king of Judah:
and carried the people of it captive to Kir; not Cyrene, as the Vulgate Latin version, a country belonging to Egypt, which the king of Assyria had no power over; but a place in upper Media, as Josephus (p) relates, which belonged to the Assyrian king; see Isaiah 22:6, compared with 2 Kings 21:2, of this captivity Amos had prophesied some time before, Amos 1:5.
and slew Rezin; the king of Syria, which also was foretold in the same prophecy.And the king of Assyria hearkened unto him: for the king of Assyria went up against Damascus, and took it, and carried the people of it captive to Kir, and slew Rezin.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)9. the king of Assyria went up against Damascus] In the Assyrian records it appears that Tiglath-pileser went first against Damascus in b. c. 733, but not being successful came again next year and then reduced the city. (Schrader, p. 152.) Cf. Amos 1:3-5.
the people of it captive] See above on 2 Kings 15:29.
to Kir] The LXX. does not represent these words, and we have no certain data to guide us to the locality intended. Isaiah, who lived close amid all these events, places Elam and Kir in close conjunction (2 Kings 22:6). Elam was in lower Mesopotamia, Kir was therefore most likely in the same district. Rawlinson suggests that it is a variant for Kish or Cush (Susiana) which was just on the south of Elam.
and slew Rezin] Thus making himself entire master of Syria. Hence, as we see immediately, Tiglath-pileser appears to have stayed some time in Damascus.Verse 9. - And the King of Assyria hearkened unto him. Overtures of the kind were almost certain to be accepted. The great conquering monarchs of the East were always glad to receive small states into their alliance for a time, and even to allow them a shadow of independence, while they made use of their services against their near neighbors. Tiglath-pileser was already bent on conquering Samaria and Damascus, and could not fail to perceive that their subjugation would be greatly facilitated by his having the support of Judaea. For the King of Assyria - rather, and the King of Assyria - went up against Damascus. Damascus was naturally attacked first, as nearer to Assyria than Samaria, and also as more wealthy and more important. Tiglath-pileser's records contain an account of the campaign, but it is unfortunately much mutilated. We may gather from it, however, that Resin began by meeting his assailant in the field, and engaging him in a battle which was stoutly contested. Eventually the Assyrians were victorious, and Resin, having fled hastily to Damascus, shut himself up within its walls. Tiglath-pileser pursued him, laid siege to the city, and eventually took it, though not perhaps till it had resisted for above a year ('Eponym Canon,' p. 65). The Assyrian monarch thus describes the siege (ibid., p. 121): "Damascus, his city, I besieged, and like a caged bird I enclosed him. His forests, the trees of which were without number, I cut down; I did not leave a tree standing. [I burnt] Hadara, the house of the father of Rezin, King of Syria." And took it. The ancient Damascene kingdom, which had lasted from the time of Solomon (1 Kings 11:24), was thus brought to an end. Damascus gave the Assyrians no further trouble; and within little more than thirty years it had been so absolutely absorbed into the empire that its governor was one of the Assyrian eponyms ('Eponym Canon,' p. 68). The capture of the city, foretold by Amos 1:4, 5, was followed by the destruction of its walls and palaces. And carried the people of it captive. The system of transplanting large masses of the population from one part of the empire to another seems to have begun with Tiglath-pileser. In his very imperfect and fragmentary annals we find the removal of above thirty thousand captives recorded, of whom more than half are women. His example was followed by his successors on a still larger scale. To Kir. The situation of "Kir" (קִיר) is wholly uncertain. It has been identified with Kis (Elam or Kissia); with the country watered by the Kur; with Kourena or Koura, on the river Mardus; with Karine, the modern Kirrind; with Kirkhi near Diartekr; and with Kiransi in the Urumiyeh country. But the similarity of sound is the sole basis for each and all of these identifications. It is best to confess our ignorance. And slew Rezin. This is perhaps implied, but it is not distinctly stated, in the extant annals of Tiglath-pileser. 2 Chronicles 28:2, "and also made molten images to the Baals." This refers, primarily, simply to the worship of Jehovah under the image of a calf, which they had invented; for this was the way in which all the kings of Israel walked. At the same time, in 2 Kings 8:18 the same formula is so used of Joram king of Judah as to include the worship of Baal by the dynasty of Ahab. Consequently in the verse before us also the way of the kings of Israel includes the worship of Baal, which is especially mentioned in the Chronicles. - "He even made his son pass through the fire," i.e., offered him in sacrifice to Moloch in the valley of Benhinnom (see at 2 Kings 23:10), after the abominations of the nations, whom Jehovah had cast out before Israel. Instead of בּנו we have the plural בּנין in 2 Chronicles 28:3, and in 2 Chronicles 28:16 אשּׁוּר מלכי, kings of Asshur, instead of אשּׁוּר מלך, although only one, viz., Tiglath-pileser, is spoken of. This repeated use of the plural shows very plainly that it is to be understood rhetorically, as expressing the thought in the most general manner, since the number was of less importance than the fact.
(Note: The Greeks and Romans also use the plural instead of the singular in their rhetorical style of writing, especially when a father, a mother, or a son is spoken of. Cf. Cic. de prov. cons. xiv. 35: si ad jucundissimos liberos, si ad clarissimum generum redire properaret, where Julia, the only daughter of Caesar, and the wife of Pompey the Great, is referred to; and for other examples see Caspari, der Syr. Ephraimit. Krieg, p. 41.)
So far as the fact is concerned, we have here the first instance of an actual Moloch-sacrifice among the Israelites, i.e., of one performed by slaying and burning. For although the phrase בּאשׁ העביר or למּלך does not in itself denote the slaying and burning of the children as Moloch-sacrifices, but primarily affirms nothing more than the simple passing through fire, a kind of februation or baptism of fire (see at Leviticus 18:21); such passages as Ezekiel 16:21 and Jeremiah 7:31, where sacrificing in the valley of Benhinnom is called slaying and burning the children, show most distinctly that in the verse before us בּאשׁ העביר is to be taken as signifying actual sacrificing, i.e., the burning of the children slain in sacrifice to Moloch, and, as the emphatic וגם indicates, that this kind of idolatrous worship, which had never been heard of before in Judah and Israel, was introduced by Ahaz.
(Note: "If this idolatry had occurred among the Israelites before the time of Ahaz, its abominations would certainly not have been passed over by the biblical writers, who so frequently mention other forms of idolatry." These are the correct words of Movers (Phniz. i. p. 65), who only errs in the fact that on the one hand he supposes the origin of human sacrifices in the time of Ahaz to have been inwardly connected with the appearance of the Assyrians, and traces them to the acquaintance of the Israelites with the Assyrian fire-deities Adrammelech and Anammelech (2 Kings 17:31), and on the other hand gives this explanation of the phrase, "cause to pass through the fire for Moloch," which is used to denote the sacrificing of children: "the burning of children was regarded as a passage, whereby, after the separation of the impure and earthly dross of the body, the children attained to union with the deity" (p. 329). To this J. G. Mller has correctly replied (in Herzog's Cyclop.): "This mystic, pantheistic, moralizing view of human sacrifices is not the ancient and original view of genuine heathenism. It is no more the view of Hither Asia than the Mexican view (i.e., the one which lay at the foundation of the custom of the ancient Mexicans, of passing the new-born boy four times through the fire). The Phoenician myths, which Movers (p. 329) quotes in support of his view, refer to the offering of human sacrifices in worship, and the moral view is a later addition belonging to Hellenism. The sacrifices were rather given to the gods as food, as is evident from innumerable passages (compare the primitive religions of America), and they have no moral aim, but are intended to reward or bribe the gods with costly presents, either because of calamities that have already passed, or because of those that are anticipated with alarm; and, as Movers himself admits (p. 301), to make atonement for ceremonial sins, i.e., to follow smaller sacrifices by those of greater value.")
In the Chronicles, therefore העביר is correctly explained by ויּבער, "he burned;" though we cannot infer from this that העביר is always a mere conjecture for הבעיר, as Geiger does (Urschrift u. Uebers, der Bibel, p. 305). The offering of his son for Moloch took place, in all probability, during the severe oppression of Ahaz by the Syrians, and was intended to appease the wrath of the gods, as was done by the king of the Moabites in similar circumstances (2 Kings 3:27). - In 2 Kings 16:4 the idolatry is described in the standing formulae as sacrificing upon high places and hills, etc., as in 1 Kings 14:23. The temple-worship prescribed by the law could easily be continued along with this idolatry, since polytheism did not exclude the worship of Jehovah. It was not till the closing years of his reign that Ahaz went so far as to close the temple-hall, and thereby suspend the temple-worship (2 Chronicles 28:24); in any case it was not till after the alterations described in 2 Kings 16:11. as having been made in the temple.
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