2 Kings 17:17
And they caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire, and used divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(17) And they caused . . . fire.—The cultus of Moloch (2Kings 16:3).

Used divination and enchantments.Deuteronomy 18:10; Numbers 23:23. “Divinationibus inserviebant et auguriis” (Vulg.).

Sold themselves.—Idolatry is regarded as a servitude. (Comp. 1Kings 21:20; 1Kings 21:25.)

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.Compare 2 Kings 16:3 note, and see Leviticus 20:2-5 note. 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.

Sold themselves to do evil; of which phrase See Poole "1 Kings 21:20". And they caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire,.... To Baal or Moloch, which were the same, and represented the sun, which, as the above writer observes, presides in the element of fire; this was done either by way of lustration, or so as to be burnt, see 2 Kings 16:3.

and used divination and enchantments: to get knowledge of what was to be done at present, or of things to come, neglecting the word of God and his prophets, and acting against the express law of God, Deuteronomy 18:10.

and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger; as Ahab their king did, see 1 Kings 21:20, they were as much the servants of sin as if they had sold themselves to be slaves to it.

And they caused their sons and their daughters to {h} pass through the fire, and used divination and enchantments, and {i} sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.

(h) Read 2Ki 16:3.

(i) Read of this phrase in 1Ki 21:20,25.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
17. to pass through the fire] Of the character of this Moloch-worship, see above 2 Kings 16:3, note.

used divination and enchantments] The former word probably refers to some way of seeking out guidance by lots, or by arrows with different marks on them, and the words on the selected one were taken as a direction what to do (cf. Ezekiel 21:21-22). The latter word refers to omens derived from sights or sounds. This was the way in which Joseph used his divining cup (Genesis 44:5).

sold themselves to do evil] R.V. that which was evil. The phrase is used before of Ahab (1 Kings 21:25), who had assuredly been the leader of Israel into the worst of their idolatries.Verse 17. - And they caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire. (On this phrase, see the comment upon 2 Kings 16:3.) The sin of child-murder had not Been previously laid to the charge of Israel; but, as it had infected Judah (2 Kings 16:3), there is no reason why it should not have invaded also the sister kingdom. Perhaps it is alluded to by Hosea 4:2; Hosea 5:2; and Hosea 6:8. It was an old sin of the Canaanitish nations (Leviticus 18:21, etc.), and continued to be practiced by the Moabites (2 Kings 3:27; Amos 2:1) and Ammonites, neighbors of Israel. And used divination and enchantments. The "witchcrafts" of Jezebel have been already mentioned (2 Kings 9:22). Magical practices always accompanied idolatry, and were of many kinds. Sometimes divination was by means of staves or rods (rhabdomancy), which were manipulated in various ways (Herod., 4:67; Schol. ad Nicandr., 'Theriac.,' 613; Tacit., 'German.,' § 10; Atom. Marc., 31:2; Hosea 4:12). Sometimes it was by arrows (Ezekiel 21:21). Very often, especially in Greece and Rome, it was by inspecting the entrails of victims. Where faith in God wanes, a trust in magical practices, astrology, chiromancy, "sertes Virgilianae," horoscopes, spirit-rapping, and the like, almost always supervenes. And sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger. (On the expression, "sold themselves to do evil," see the comment upon 1 Kings 21:20.) "And burned incense there upon all the high places, like the nations which Jehovah drove out before them." הגלה, lit., to lead into exile, is applied here to the expulsion and destruction of the Canaanites, with special reference to the banishment of the Israelites.
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