2 Kings 17:34
To this day they do after the former manners: they fear not the LORD, neither do they after their statutes, or after their ordinances, or after the law and commandment which the LORD commanded the children of Jacob, whom he named Israel;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(34-41) THE RELIGIOUS STATE OF THE MIXED POPULATION OF SAMARIA IN THE TIME OF THE EDITOR.

(34) They do after the former manners.—They still keep up the religious customs of the first colonists.

They fear not the Lord.—They fear Him not in the sense of a right fear; they do not honour Him in the way He has prescribed in the Torah. The LXX. omits both nots in this verse.

After their statutes, or after their ordinances.—The writer here thinks of the remnant of the Ten Tribes who amalgamated with the new settlers (2Kings 23:19; 2Chronicles 34:6; 2Chronicles 34:9; 2Chronicles 34:33; John 4:12).

Ordinances.—Heb., ordinance, or judgment.

Or after the law and commandment.—This pair of terms is exegetical of the preceding pair. Probably, however, the original reading was, “after the statutes, and after the ordinances,” as in 2Kings 17:37, where the same four terms recur. Then the sense will simply be, that the Samaritans contemporary with the writer do not worship Jehovah according to the Torah.

2 Kings 17:34. Unto this day, &c. — That is, till the time when this book was written, and long after, about three hundred years in all, till the time of Alexander the Great, when Manasseh, brother to Jaddus the high-priest of the Jews, having married the daughter of Sanballat, governor of the Samaritans, went over to them, and, obtaining leave of Alexander to build a temple on mount Gerizim, drew over many of the Jews to him, and prevailed with the Samaritans to cast away their idols, and to worship the God of Israel only. Yet their worship was mixed with so much superstition, that our Lord tells them they knew not what they worshipped. They do after the former manners — As the Israelites, before their captivity, (2 Kings 17:33,) gave these nations an ill example, in serving the Lord and Baal together; so these nations both worshipped the God of Israel, and those other gods. But, adds the historian, they feared not the Lord — Their pretended fear of him, and serving him together with their idols, was not worthy of the name of piety, or the fear of the Lord: nor would God accept such a mongrel religion and false worship as they offered to him. Neither do they after their statutes — God’s law delivered to the Israelites, and to them as their inheritance, Psalm 119:111. This is alleged as an evidence that they did not fear the Lord, whatsoever they pretended, because they lived in the constant breach of his statutes. Which the Lord commanded the children of Jacob, whom he named Israel — A name signifying Jacob’s special interest in God, and power with him, which was given to him, not only for himself, but for his posterity also, whom God frequently honoured with that name. And by this great favour he aggravates the sin, both of the Israelites, and of those nations planted in their land, who professed to learn their way of worshipping God, and to imitate it.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.They fear not the Lord - The new-comers in one sense feared Yahweh 2 Kings 17:33, 2 Kings 17:41. They acknowledged His name, admitted Him among their gods, and kept up His worship at the high place at Bethel according to the rites instituted by Jeroboam 2 Kings 17:28. But in another sense they did not fear Him. To acknowledge Yahweh together with other gods is not really to acknowledge Him at all. 34. Unto this day—the time of the Babylonian exile, when this book was composed. Their religion was a strange medley or compound of the service of God and the service of idols. Such was the first settlement of the people, afterwards called Samaritans, who were sent from Assyria to colonize the land, when the kingdom of Israel, after having continued three hundred fifty-six years, was overthrown. Unto this day they do; either,

1. The Samaritans, whose religion he hath hitherto been describing, and to the description whereof he returns, 2 Kings 17:41. So the following verses are a digression, wherein he designs only to take an occasion to compare them with the Israelites, and to aggravate the sins of the Israelites above theirs, which he doth, 2 Kings 17:35, &c., and then returns to the former description, 2 Kings 17:41. Or rather,

2. The Israelites, who are the principal subjects of this whole discourse; and of whom he unquestionably speaks, 2 Kings 17:35, and thence to 2 Kings 17:41, of whom also the last words of 2 Kings 17:33 are to be understood; and from thence he takes an occasion to return to his main business, to relate and aggravate the sins of Israel, and thereby to justify his severe proceedings against them to all the world. So the sense of the place is this, As the Israelites before their captivity gave these nations an ill example, in serving the Lord and Baal together; so, or after their former manner, they do unto this day, in the land of their captivity. They fear not the Lord; though they pretended to fear and serve both the Lord and idols, yet in truth they did not, and do not fear or worship the Lord, but their own calves, or other vain inventions; and God will not accept that mongrel and false worship, which they pretend to give to the true God. Or this may intimate that the Israelites were worse than their successors, because these feared the Lord and idols too; but they did quite cast off the fear and worship of God in their captivity, and wholly degenerate into heathenish idolatry. Their statutes, i.e. God’s law delivered to their fathers, and to them, as their inheritance, Psalm 119:111. This is alleged as an evidence that they did not fear the Lord, whatsoever they pretended because they lived in the constant breach of his statutes. The children of Jacob, i.e. themselves; the noun put for the pronoun; which is usual among the Hebrews. Israel; a name signifying his special interest in God, and power with him, which was given to him, not only for himself, but for his posterity also, whom God frequently honours with that name. And by this great favour he aggravates their sin. Unto this day they do after the former manners,.... Which may be understood either of the new colonies in Samaria doing after the former customs in their own land, or after the customs of the idolatrous Israelites; or of the Israelites in captivity continuing in their idolatry, not being in the least reformed by their troubles; or of such of them as were left in the land, who repented not of their idolatries, nor reformed from them:

they fear not the Lord; did not worship him, at least not alone, and much less in a spiritual manner, with reverence and godly fear:

neither do they after their statutes, or after their ordinances, or after the law and commandment which the Lord commanded the children of Jacob, whom he named Israel; that is, they did not observe the statutes and ordinances of the law given on Mount Sinai respecting religious worship, to act according to them.

Unto this day they do after the former manners: they fear not the LORD, neither do they after {s} their statutes, or after their ordinances, or after the law and commandment which the LORD commanded the children of Jacob, whom he named Israel;

(s) He means by this the Israelites to whom God had given his commandments.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
34. they fear not the Lord] i.e. This worship of Jehovah, merely because they regard Him as the local deity of the land, is no worship at all. God will not be served from policy. There need be no difficulty in understanding the words here in contrast to ‘they feared the Lord’ in verses 32, 33, 41. These latter express what the new colonists thought they were doing, and what they also thought to be enough. This verse expresses what the writer knew to be the truth as God regarded the service.

neither do they after their statutes] ‘Their’ refers by anticipation to ‘the children of Jacob’, who are mentioned at the close of the verse.

after the law and commandment] As the preposition is twice expressed in Hebrew, R.V. has or after the commandment.

whom he named Israel] See Genesis 32:28.Verse 34. - Unto this day - i.e., the time at which Kings was written (about B.C. 580-560) - they do after the former manners - that is, they maintain the mixed religion, which they set up on the coming of the Samaritan priest from Assyria a hundred and fifty or sixty years previously - they fear not the Lord. This statement seems directly opposed to the thrice-repeated one (vers. 32, 33, 41), "They feared the Lord;" but the apparent contradiction is easily reconciled. The new immigrants "feared Jehovah" in a certain sense, i.e. externally. They admitted him into their pantheon, and had ritual observances in his honor. But they did not really fear him in their hearts. Had they done so, they would have inquired what were his laws, statutes, and ordinances, and would have set themselves to obey them. This they did not think of doing. Neither do they after their statutes, or after their ordinances - either the "statutes" and "ordinances" are regarded as having become de jure "theirs" by their occupation of the Holy Land, or "their" refers by anticipation to "the children of Jacob" towards the close of the verse - or after the Law - rather, and after the Law - and commandment which the Lord commanded the children of Jacob, whom he named Israel (see Genesis 32:28). 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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