2 Kings 17:32
So they feared the LORD, and made to themselves of the lowest of them priests of the high places, which sacrificed for them in the houses of the high places.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(32) They feared.They were fearing. (See Note on 2Kings 17:25; 2Kings 17:28, supra.)

Of the lowest of them.—Rather, of all orders, or promiscuously. (Comp. 1Kings 12:31.) This is another indication that it was Jeroboam’s mode of worship which was now restored.

Which sacrificed.—Heb., and they used to do. The verb do is used in the sense of sacra facere, just like the Greek - ποιεῗν ἔρδειν ρέζειν.

Priests of the high places.—Rather, bāmāh-priests (omit the). Bamah-priests are opposed to the priests of Jehovah’s Temple.

2 Kings 17:32. So they feared the Lord — Worshipped him externally in that way which the Israelites had used: having and serving gods of their own besides. And made unto themselves of the lowest of them priests, &c. — See note on 1 Kings 12:31. Which sacrificed in the high places — Unto the true God; for as to the worship of their own gods, they needed no instruction, and would not permit a person of another religion to minister therein.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.Of the lowest of them - Rather, "from all ranks." See marginal reference note. 31. Nibhaz—under that of a dog—that Egyptian form of animal-worship having prevailed in ancient Syria, as is evident from the image of a large dog at the mouth of the Nahr-el-Kelb, or Dog river.

Tartak—According to the rabbis, it was in the form of an ass, but others understand it as a planet of ill-omen, probably Saturn.

Adrammelech—supposed by some to be the same as Molech, and in Assyrian mythology to stand for the sun. It was worshipped in the form of a mule—others maintain in that of a peacock.

Anammelech—worshipped in the form of a hare; others say in that of a goat.

Of the lowest of them priests of the high places: See Poole "1 Kings 12:31".

Which sacrificed for them, to wit, unto the true God; for as to the worship of their own gods, they needed no instruction, and would not permit a person of another religion to minister therein. So they feared the Lord,.... Worshipped the God of Israel in the manner they were taught:

and made unto themselves of the lowest of them priests of the high places, which sacrificed for them in the houses of the high places; these were made after the manner of Jeroboam's priests, 1 Kings 12:31, and were to sacrifice to the God of Israel in the high places, and temples built there; for otherwise they had, no doubt, priests of their own to sacrifice to their gods, and which they brought with them.

So they feared the LORD, and made unto themselves of the lowest of them priests of the high places, which sacrificed for them in the houses of the high places.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
32. So they feared the Lord] i.e. In the way in which their ideas of the worship of the local divinity demanded. This they did, says Bp Hall, ‘not for devotion, but for impunity. Vain politicians to think to satisfy God by patching up religions … What a prodigious mixture was here, true with false, Jewish with paganish, divine with devilish … No beggar’s cloak is more pieced than the religion of these new inhabitants of Israel. I know not how their bodies sped for the lions. I am sure their souls fared the worse for this medley. Above all things God hates a mongrel devotion. If we be not all Israel, it were better to be all Asshur. It cannot so much displease God to be unknown or neglected as to be consorted with idols’.

and made unto themselves of the lowest of them priests] R.V. and made unto them from among themselves priests. See note on 1 Kings 12:31. The word represented by ‘lowest’ means an ‘end’ or ‘extremity’, but the idea of the phrase is that the choice of these priests was made anywhere, from the whole mass of the nation, from all that was comprised in it between one extremity and the other. This was distinctly contrary to what the Jews had been taught, that the priests were to come exclusively from one tribe, and the high priests from a special family.

houses of the high places] Hence it seems that not an altar only, bat a temple of some kind was erected on the high places.Verse 32. - So they feared the Lord - rather, and they (also) honored Jehovah; i.e. with their idolatrous worship they combined also the worship of Jehovah (comp. ver. 28) - and made unto themselves of the lowest of them priests of the high places - i.e., followed the example of Jeroboam in taking for priests persons of all ranks, even the lowest (see the comment on 1 Kings 12:31) - which sacrificed for them in the houses of the high places (comp. ver. 29). In 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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