2 Kings 17:27
Then the king of Assyria commanded, saying, Carry thither one of the priests whom ye brought from thence; and let them go and dwell there, and let him teach them the manner of the God of the land.
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(27) Carry.Cause to go.

Let them go and dwell.—To be corrected after the Syriac and Vulg.: let him go and dwell.

Ye brought.Ye carried away.

2 Kings 17:27. Then the king of Assyria commanded, Carry thither one of the priests — That is, one of the chief priests, with others under his inspection and direction, as may be gathered from the following words, where it is said of the same person or persons, Let them go, &c, and then, Let him teach, &c. — Nor is it probable that one priest could suffice for the instruction of the inhabitants of so many and distant districts.

17:24-41 The terror of the Almighty will sometimes produce a forced or feigned submission in unconverted men; like those brought from different countries to inhabit Israel. But such will form unworthy thoughts of God, will expect to please him by outward forms, and will vainly try to reconcile his service with the love of the world and the indulgence of their lusts. May that fear of the Lord, which is the beginning of wisdom, possess our hearts, and influence our conduct, that we may be ready for every change. Wordly settlements are uncertain; we know not whither we may be driven before we die, and we must soon leave the world; but the righteous hath chosen that good part which shall not be taken from him.Carry one of the priests ...; let them go and dwell there, and let him teach - The double change of number is curious; but rise text needs no emendation. The priest would require to be accompanied by assistants, who would "go and dwell," but would not be qualified to "teach." The arcana of the worship would be known to none excepting the priests who had ministered at the two national sanctuaries of Dan and Bethel. 24-28. the king of Assyria brought men from Babylon, etc.—This was not Shalmaneser, but Esar-haddon (Eze 4:2). The places vacated by the captive Israelites he ordered to be occupied by several colonies of his own subjects from Babylon and other provinces.

from Cuthah—the Chaldee form of Cush or Susiana, now Khusistan.

Ava—supposed to be Ahivaz, situated on the river Karuns, which empties into the head of the Persian Gulf.

Hamath—on the Orontes.

Sepharvaim—Siphara, a city on the Euphrates above Babylon.

placed them in the cities of Samaria, &c.—It must not be supposed that the Israelites were universally removed to a man. A remnant was left, chiefly however of the poor and lower classes, with whom these foreign colonists mingled; so that the prevailing character of society about Samaria was heathen, not Israelite. For the Assyrian colonists became masters of the land; and, forming partial intermarriages with the remnant Jews, the inhabitants became a mongrel race, no longer a people of Ephraim (Isa 7:6). These people, imperfectly instructed in the creed of the Jews, acquired also a mongrel doctrine. Being too few to replenish the land, lions, by which the land had been infested (Jud 14:5; 1Sa 17:34; 1Ki 13:24; 20:36; So 4:8), multiplied and committed frequent ravages upon them. Recognizing in these attacks a judgment from the God of the land, whom they had not worshipped, they petitioned the Assyrian court to send them some Jewish priests who might instruct them in the right way of serving Him. The king, in compliance with their request, sent them one of the exiled priests of Israel [2Ki 17:27], who established his headquarters at Beth-el, and taught them how they should fear the Lord. It is not said that he took a copy of the Pentateuch with him, out of which he might teach them. Oral teaching was much better fitted for the superstitious people than instruction out of a written book. He could teach them more effectually by word of mouth. Believing that he would adopt the best and simplest method for them, it is unlikely that he took the written law with him, and so gave origin to the Samaritan copy of the Pentateuch [Davidson, Criticism]. Besides, it is evident from his being one of the exiled priests, and from his settlement at Beth-el, that he was not a Levite, but one of the calf-worshipping priests. Consequently his instructions would be neither sound nor efficient.

One of the priests, i.e. one of the chief of the priests, with others, to be under his inspection and direction, as may be gathered from the following words; where it is said of the same person, or persons,

let them go, & c., and then,

let him teach, & c. Nor is it probable that one priest could suffice for the instruction of the inhabitants of so many and distant parts.

Then the king of Assyria commanded, saying,.... Gave the following orders and directions:

carry thither one of the priests whom ye brought from thence; for they carried away all the people of every class, civil and religious:

and let him go and dwell there, and let him teach them the manner of the God of the land; it is in the plural number, "let them go", &c. (o); there might be more priests than one ordered, or, however, others, to attend and assist him in his work; the Jews say (p), two were sent to circumcise them, and teach them the book of the law; and they give their names, Dosthai, or Dosithaeus, and Zachariah; and Josephus (q) says, the people desired that priests might be sent to them of the captives.

(o) "eant et sedeant", Montanus. (p) Pirke Eliezer, c. 38. (q) Antiqu. l. 9. c. 14. sect. 3.

Then the king of Assyria commanded, saying, Carry thither one of the priests whom ye brought from thence; and let them go and dwell there, and let him teach them the manner of the God {p} of the land.

(p) That is, how to worship him: thus the wicked rather than losing their conveniences will change to all religions.

27. one of the priests whom ye brought from thence] The Assyrian king takes what he would believe to be the best step towards remedying the mischief. A priest of the Israelitish worship was clearly the right person to be sent. No doubt all the priests were among the population that had been carried away. Hence the few Israelites left behind would not be regarded as capable of instructing the new colonists. For among the heathen, ‘the manner’, i.e. the ceremonial and particular observances in performing worship, was the matter of highest import. The less spiritual the worship, the more it tends to lay weight on the ‘manner’ and mode of the worship. Hence the magnificence so usual in idolatrous countries. The LXX. does not represent the words ‘one of the priests’.

let them go] The priest would not be expected to go alone. For such services as the king of Assyria had in his thoughts the person ministering must be attended by a body of minor people to add grandeur to the ceremonies.

and let him teach] The priest would naturally be the teacher. Hence we can see the reason of the change of number in the pronouns in this clause and the last.

Verse 27. - Then the King of Assyria commanded, saying, Carry thither one of the priests whom ye brought from thence. It does not appear that this was a suggestion of the colonists. Either it was the king's own idea, or that of one of his advisers. The priests, who ministered at the two national sanctuaries - those of Dan and Bethel - had, as important personages, been all carried off. Though a "remnant" of Israel was left in the land (2 Chronicles 34:9), they were probably of the baser sort (comp. 2 Kings 25:12), or at any rate could not be trusted to know the details and intricacies of the Samaritan ritual. Thus it was necessary to send back a priest. And let them go and dwell there. We should have expected, "Let him go;" but the writer assumes that the priest would have an entourage, assistant-ministers and servants, and so says, "Let them go;" but immediately afterwards, And let him teach - since he alone would be competent - them the manner of the God of the land. 2 Kings 17:27In the earliest period of their settlement in the cities of Samaria the new settlers were visited by lions, which may have multiplied greatly during the time that the land was lying waste. The settlers regarded this as a punishment from Jehovah, i.e., from the deity of the land, whom they did not worship, and therefore asked the king of Assyria for a priest to teach them the right, i.e., the proper, worship of God of the land; whereupon the king sent them one of the priests who had been carried away, and he took up his abode in Bethel, and instructed the people in the worship of Jehovah. The author of our books also looked upon the lions as sent by Jehovah as a punishment, according to Leviticus 26:22, because the new settlers did not fear Him. העריות: the lions which had taken up their abode there. שׁם וישׁבוּ וילכוּ: that they (the priest with his companions) went away and dwelt there. There is no need therefore to alter the plural into the singular.

The priest sent by the Assyrian king was of course an Israelitish priest of the calves, for he was one of those who had been carried away and settled in Bethel, the chief seat of Jeroboam's image-worship, and he also taught the colonists to fear or worship Jehovah after the manner of the land. This explains the state of divine worship in the land as described in 2 Kings 17:29. "Every separate nation (גּוי גּוי: see Ewald, 313, a.) made itself its own gods, and set them up in the houses of the high places (הבּמות בּית: see at 1 Kings 12:31, and for the singular בּית, Ewald, 270, c.) which the Samaritans (השּׁמרנים, not the colonists sent thither by Esarhaddon, but the former inhabitants of the kingdom of Israel, who are so called from the capital Samaria) had made (built); every nation in the cities where they dwelt."

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