2 Kings 17:10
And they set them up images and groves in every high hill, and under every green tree:
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(10) Images and groves.Pillars and Asherasi.e., sacred trunks.

The second degree of guilt: the setting up of idolatrous symbols.

17:7-23 Though the destruction of the kingdom of the ten tribes was but briefly related, it is in these verses largely commented upon, and the reasons of it given. It was destruction from the Almighty: the Assyrian was but the rod of his anger, Isa 10:5. Those that bring sin into a country or family, bring a plague into it, and will have to answer for all the mischief that follows. And vast as the outward wickedness of the world is, the secret sins, evil thoughts, desires, and purposes of mankind are much greater. There are outward sins which are marked by infamy; but ingratitude, neglect, and enmity to God, and the idolatry and impiety which proceed therefrom, are far more malignant. Without turning from every evil way, and keeping God's statutes, there can be no true godliness; but this must spring from belief of his testimony, as to wrath against all ungodliness and unrighteousness, and his mercy in Christ Jesus.Literally, the words run thus - "And the children of Israel concealed (or 'dissembled') words which were not so concerning the Lord their God;" the true meaning of which probably is, the Israelites cloaked or covered their idolatry with the pretence that it was a worship of Yahweh: they glossed it over and dissembled toward God, instead of openly acknowledging their apostasy.

From the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city - This phrase was probably a proverbial expression for universality, meaning strictly; "alike in the most populous and in the most desolate regions." "Towers of watchmen" were built for the protection of the flocks and herds which were pastured in waste and desert places 2 Chronicles 26:10; 2 Chronicles 27:4.

2Ki 17:7-41. Samaria Taken, and Israel for Their Sins Carried Captive.

7. For so it was, that the children of Israel had sinned—There is here given a very full and impressive vindication of the divine procedure in punishing His highly privileged, but rebellious and apostate, people. No wonder that amid so gross a perversion of the worship of the true God, and the national propensity to do reverence to idols, the divine patience was exhausted; and that the God whom they had forsaken permitted them to go into captivity, that they might learn the difference between His service and that of their despotic conquerors.

No text from Poole on this verse. And they set them up images and groves in every high hill, and under every green tree. That is, statues and idols; for groves of trees could not be set under green trees; but they placed idols of stone, and of wood, as the latter were, in such places as Heathens were wont to do; see Jeremiah 3:6; see Gill on 1 Kings 14:23, so the Indians to this day have idols dispersed here and there in the fields, placed in little groves, or at the foot of some hill that casts a shadow (h).

(h) Agreement of Customs between the East Indians and Jews, art. 5. p. 34.

And they set them up images and groves in every high hill, and under every green tree:
10. images and groves …] R.V. pillars and Asherim upon. On the ‘pillars’ see note on 2 Kings 3:2, and on the Asherim, which were probably wooden images of a goddess Asherah, see on 2 Kings 13:6.Verse 10. - And they set them up images; rather, pillars (comp. Gem 28:18, 22; 31:13, 45, 51, 52; 35:14, 20; Exodus 24:4; Deuteronomy 12:3; 2 Samuel 18:18, where the same word is so rendered). The matse voth were stone pillars, anciently connected with the worship of Baal, but in Judah perhaps used in a debased and debasing worship of Jehovah with self-invented rites, instead of those which had the express sanction of God, being commanded in the Law (see the 'Speaker's Commentary,' vol. 1.p. 417). And groves (compare the comment on 1 Kings 14:14 and in every high hill - rather, on every high hill - and under every green tree. Mote that the "groves" (ash,-rim) were "set up under green trees," and must therefore have been artificial structures of some kind, such as could stand beneath their boughs. The king of Assyria found a conspiracy in Hoshea; for he had sent messengers to So the king of Egypt, and did not pay the tribute to the king of Assyria, as year by year. The Egyptian king סוא, So, possibly to be pronounced סוה, Seveh, is no doubt one of the two Shebeks of the twenty-fifth dynasty, belonging to the Ethiopian tribe; but whether he was the second king of this dynasty, Sbtk (Brugsch, hist. d'Egypte, i. p. 244), the Sevechus of Manetho, who is said to have ascended the throne, according to Wilkinson, in the year 728, as Vitringa (Isa. ii. p. 318), Gesenius, Ewald, and others suppose, or the first king of this Ethiopian dynasty, Sabako the father of Sevechus, which is the opinion of Usher and Marsham, whom M. v. Niebuhr (Gesch. pp. 458ff. and 463) and M. Duncker (i. p. 693) have followed in recent times, cannot possibly be decided in the present state of Egyptological research.

(Note: It is true that M. Duncker says, "Synchronism gives Sabakon, who reigned from 726 to 714;" but he observes in the note at pp. 713ff. that the Egyptian chronology has only been firmly established as far back as the commencement of the reign of Psammetichus at the beginning of the year 664 b.c., that the length of the preceding dodekarchy is differently given by Diodorus Sic. and Manetho, and that the date at which Tarakos (Tirhaka), who succeeded Sevechus, ascended the throne is so very differently defined, that it is impossible for the present to come to any certain conclusion on the matter. Compare with this what M. v. Niebuhr (pp. 458ff.) adduces in proof of the difficulty of determining the commencement and length of the reign of Tirhaka, and the manner in which he proposes to solve the difficulties that arise from this in relation to the synchronism between the Egyptian and the Biblical chronology.)

- As soon as Salmanasar received intelligence of the conduct of Hoshea, which is called קשׁר, conspiracy, as being rebellion against his acknowledged superior, he had him arrested and put into prison in chains, and then overran the whole land, advanced against Samaria and besieged that city for three years, and captured it in the ninth year of Hoshea. These words are not to be understood as signifying that Hoshea had been taken prisoner before the siege of Samaria and thrown into prison, because in that case it is impossible to see how Salmanasar could have obtained possession of his person.

(Note: The supposition of the older commentators, that Hoshea fought a battle with Salmanasar before the siege of Samaria, and was taken prisoner in that battle, is not only very improbable, because this would hardly be passed over in our account, but has very little probability in itself. For "it is more probable that Hoshea betook himself to Samaria when threatened by the hostile army, and relied upon the help of the Egyptians, than that he went to meet Salmanasar and fought with him in the open field" (Maurer). There is still less probability in Ewald's view (Gesch. iii. p. 611), that "Salmanasar marched with unexpected rapidity against Hoshea, summoned him before him that he might hear his defence, and then, when he came, took him prisoner, and threw him into prison in chains, probably into a prison on the border of the land;" to which he adds this explanatory remark: "there is no other way in which we can understand the brief words in 2 Kings 17:4 as compared with 2 Kings 18:9-11... For if Hoshea had defended himself to the utmost, Salmanasar would not have had him arrested and incarcerated afterwards, but would have put him to death at once, as was the case with the king of Damascus." But Hoshea would certainly not have been so infatuated, after breaking away from Assyria and forming an alliance with So of Egypt, as to go at a simple summons from Salmanasar and present himself before him, since he could certainly have expected nothing but death or imprisonment as the result.)

We must rather assume, as many commentators have done, from R. Levi ben Gersom down to Maurer and Thenius, that it was not till the conquest of his capital Samaria that Hoshea fell into the hands of the Assyrians and was cast into a prison; so that the explanation to be given to the introduction of this circumstance before the siege and conquest of Samaria must be, that the historian first of all related the eventual result of Hoshea's rebellion against Salmanasar so far as Hoshea himself was concerned, and then proceeded to describe in greater detail the course of the affair in relation to his kingdom and capital. This does not necessitate our giving to the word ויּעצרהוּ the meaning "he assigned him a limit" (Thenius); but we may adhere to the meaning which has been philologically established, namely, arrest or incarcerate (Jeremiah 33:1; Jeremiah 36:5, etc.). ויּעל may be given thus: "he overran, that is to say, the entire land." The three years of the siege of Samaria were not full years, for, according to 2 Kings 18:9-10, it began in the seventh year of Hoshea, and the city was taken in the ninth year, although it is also given there as three years.

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