2 Kings 17:28
Then one of the priests whom they had carried away from Samaria came and dwelt in Bethel, and taught them how they should fear the LORD.
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(28) And taught.And was teaching, implying a permanent work.

In Bethel.—Because he was a priest of the calfworship.

Fear the Lord.—Not in the modern ethical but in the ancient ceremonial sense.

2 Kings 17:28. Then one of the priests whom they had carried away came, &c. — A prophet would have done them more good, especially as it appears this was but one of the priests of the calves, who therefore chose to dwell at Beth-el. And taught them how they should fear the Lord — That is, the manner of God’s worship as it had been practised in Israel: for as to any thing further, whether respecting their duty to God or man, though he might possibly teach them to know more than they knew before, and to do better than they did, it is not likely he should teach them to know the truth, or to do well, unless he had taught his own people better.

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.The priest sent to the colonists was not a true Yahweh-priest, but one of those who had been attached to the calf-worship, probably at Bethel. Hence, he would be willing to tolerate the mixed religion, which a true Yahweh-priest would have unsparingly condemned. 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.

i.e. The manner of God’s worship, as it was practised in Israel; as may be gathered both from the quality of this person, who was all Israelitish priest; and from the place of his residence, Beth-el, a place infamous for the worship of the calves, and from the manner of their making priests by this man’s direction, 2 Kings 17:32.

Then one of the priests whom, they had carried away from Samaria came and dwelt in Bethel,.... According to an Arabic writer (r), his name was Uzziah; but Epiphanius (s) says his name was Esdras; but he wrongly makes him to be sent by Nebuchadnezzar, thirty years after the captivity of the Jews in Babylon: this priest was, doubtless, one of the priests of the calves; for there were none else in the kingdom of Israel carried captive, and as seems also by his choosing to dwell in Bethel, where probably he formerly dwelt, and officiated in the service of the calf there, and by teaching to make priests of the lowest order of the people, as Jeroboam's priests were, 2 Kings 17:32.

and taught them how they should fear the Lord; serve and worship him; he might not teach them the worship of the calves, that being a political business, and now no end to be answered by it; and besides, they were now carried out of the land. This priest taught, no doubt, according to the law of Moses, but was not the author of the Pentateuch; which ridiculous conceit of Le Clerc is sufficiently exposed by Witsius (t).

(r) Abulpharag. Hist. Dynast. Dyn. 3. p. 65. (s) Contr. Haeres. l. 1. Haer. 8. (t) Miscellan. tom. 1. l. 1. c. 14. sect. 7. 28.

Then one of the priests whom they had carried away from Samaria came and dwelt in Bethel, and taught them how they should fear the LORD.
28. Then [R.V. So] one of the priests whom they had carried away] We can see from this that the events here spoken of took place within a very limited time. The priest who had been taken away from Samaria was still alive, and in vigour enough to be selected to go back again and to undertake the office of a teacher among the heathen colonists.

came and dwelt in Beth-el] The place where one of the golden calves had been set up. The worship of these objects would be what the priest taught as the national worship of the ten tribes.

how they should fear the Lord] For the worship of the ten tribes was professedly a worship of Jehovah, though performed in a manner contradictory to His express commandment.

Verse 28. - Then one of the priests whom they had carried away from Samaria - the country, not the city, as in vers. 24 and 25 - came and dwelt in Bethel. Bethel from a very early time greatly eclipsed Dan. While the allusions to Bethel, commonly called "Bethaven" (" House of nothingness" for "House of God "), are frequent in the Israelitish prophets (Hosea 4:15; Hosea 5:8; Hosea 10:5, 8, 15; Amos 3:14; Amos 4:4; Amos 5:5, 6; Amos 7:10-13), there is but a single distinct allusion to Dan (Amos 8:14). Bethel was "the king's chapel" and "the king's court" (Amos 7:13). The priest selected by Sargon's advisers was a Bethelite priest, and, returning thither, took up the worship familiar to him. And taught them - i.e., the new settlers - how they should fear the Lord. This worship could only be that of the calf-priests instituted by Jeroboam, which was, however, most certainly a worship of Jehovah, and an imitation or travesty of the temple - worship at Jerusalem. Whether the returned priest set up a new calf-idol to replace the one which had been carried off to Assyria (Hosea 10:5), is doubtful. 2 Kings 17:28In 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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