2 Kings 21:13
And I will stretch over Jerusalem the line of Samaria, and the plummet of the house of Ahab: and I will wipe Jerusalem as a man wipes a dish, wiping it, and turning it upside down.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(13) And I will stretch over Jerusalem . . .—Comp. Amos 7:7-9; Isaiah 34:11; Lamentations 2:8. The sense is, I will deal with Jerusalem by the same rigorous rule of judgment as I have dealt already with Samaria. The figure of the measuring line and plummet suggests the idea that Jerusalem should be levelled and “laid even with the ground.”

As a man wipeth a (the) dish . . .—The wiping of the dish represents the destruction of the people, the turning it upside down, the overthrow of the city itself. Or perhaps, as Thenius says, the two acts together represent the single notion of making an end.

Wiping it and turning it . . .—This implies a different pointing of the text (infinitives instead of perfects, which is probably right).

2 Kings 21:13. I will stretch over Jerusalem the line of Samaria — She shall have the same measure and lot; that is, the same judgments which Samaria has had. For the line is often put for one’s lot or portion, because men’s portions or possessions used to be measured by lines. Or it is a metaphor taken from workmen, who mark out by lines what parts of a building they would have thrown down, and what they would have to stand. I will wipe Jerusalem as a man wipeth a dish, &c. — As men do with a dish that hath been used, first wholly empty it of all that is in it, then thoroughly cleanse and wipe it, and lastly turn it upside down, that nothing may remain in it; so will I deal with Jerusalem, thoroughly empty and purge it from all its wicked inhabitants. Yet the comparison intimates, that this should be in order to the purifying, not the final destruction of Jerusalem. The dish shall not be broken in pieces, or wholly cast away, but only wiped.21:10-18 Here is the doom of Judah and Jerusalem. The words used represent the city emptied and utterly desolate, yet not destroyed thereby, but cleansed, and to be kept for the future dwelling of the Jews: forsaken, yet not finally, and only as to outward privileges, for individual believers were preserved in that visitation. The Lord will cast off any professing people who dishonour him by their crimes, but never will desert his cause on earth. In the book of Chronicles we read of Manasseh's repentance, and acceptance with God; thus we may learn not to despair of the recovery of the greatest sinners. But let none dare to persist in sin, presuming that they may repent and reform when they please. There are a few instances of the conversion of notorious sinners, that none may despair; and but few, that none may presume.The general meaning is plain, but the exact force of the metaphor used is not so clear. If the "line" and the "plummet" be "symbols of rule" or law, the meaning will be - "I will apply exactly the same measure and rule to Jerusalem as to Samaria - I will treat both alike with strict and even justice." 13. the line of Samaria, and the plummet of the house of Ahab—Captives doomed to destruction were sometimes grouped together and marked off by means of a measuring-line and plummet (2Sa 8:2; Isa 34:11; Am 7:7); so that the line of Samaria means the line drawn for the destruction of Samaria; the plummet of the house of Ahab, for exterminating his apostate family; and the import of the threatening declaration here is that Judah would be utterly destroyed, as Samaria and the dynasty of Ahab had been.

I will wipe Jerusalem, &c.—The same doom is denounced more strongly in a figure unmistakably significant.

Jerusalem shall have the same measure and lot, i.e. the same judgments, which Samaria had. The line is oft put for one’s lot or portion, as Psalm 16:6 2 Corinthians 10:16, because men’s portions or possessions used to be measured by lines, Psalm 78:55 Amos 7:17. Or it is a metaphor from workmen who mark out by lines what part of the building they would have thrown down, and what they would have stand. See Isaiah 34:11 Lamentations 2:8 Amos 7:7,8 Zec 1:16. Or it is an allusion to that fact of David, who destroyed the Moabites by a measuring line, 2 Samuel 8:2.

Wiping it, and turning it upside down, as men do with a dish that hath been used; first wholly empty it of all that is in it, then thoroughly cleanse and wipe it, and lastly turn it upside down, that nothing may remain in it: so will I deal with Jerusalem, thoroughly empty and purge it from all its wicked inhabitants, and that so as to cut off all hopes of restitution. And I will stretch over Jerusalem the line of Samaria,.... The Targum is, the line of destruction; and the sense is, that the same measure should be measured to Jerusalem as was to Samaria; that is, the same lot and portion should befall one as the other, that is, be utterly destroyed:

and the plummet of the house of Ahab; the Targum is, the weight or plummet of tribulation; signifying, that the same calamities should come upon the families of Jerusalem, and especially on the family of Manasseh as came upon the family of Ahab. It is a metaphor from builders that take down as well as raise up buildings by rule and measure, see 2 Samuel 8:2.

and I will wipe Jerusalem, as a man wipeth a dish, wiping it, and turning it upside down; as when one takes a dish or cup that has broth in it, or any liquid, as oil; and the Septuagint render it alabaster, in which ointment used to be put; and wipes it clean, that nothing may appear in it; and then turns it with its mouth downward, that, if any thing should remain, it might drain out; signifying hereby the emptying o Jerusalem of its palaces and houses, wealth and riches and of all its inhabitants; and yet the empty dish being preserved, seems to denote the restoration of Jerusalem after the seventy years' captivity. According to the Vulgate Latin version, the metaphor is taken from the blotting out of writing tables, and turning and rubbing the style upon them till the writing is no more seen.

And I will stretch over Jerusalem the line {d} of Samaria, and the plummet of the house of Ahab: and I will wipe Jerusalem as a man wipeth a dish, wiping it, and turning it upside down.

(d) As I have destroyed Samaria and the house of Ahab so will I destroy Judah.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
13. the line of Samaria, and the plummet of the house of Ahab] The figures are taken from the occupation of the builder. The builder employs line and plummet that he may carry out his work exactly according to the plan prescribed. But here the pattern is one of utter destruction, which God Himself threatens to carry out after the fashion of Samaria and the house of Ahab, which the previous generation had beheld utterly destroyed. Samaria and the house of Ahab were famous for building (see 1 Kings 22:39 note). Hence the peculiar fitness of the figure. These great builders, with all that they had built, were swept away and just so should it be with Jerusalem. The way in which a portion of the judgement was carried out is described by the Chronicler: ‘The Lord brought upon them the captains of the host of the king of Assyria, which took Manasseh in chains (R.V.) and bound him with fetters, and carried him to Babylon’.

as a man wipeth a dish] The description is of a thing that is done with, and will be used no more. ‘To turn it upside down’, is literally ‘to turn it upon the face thereof’, a rendering which brings out very completely the intention of using the dish no more. Such God declares will be His manner of dealing with Jerusalem. The verb rendered ‘wipe’ is the same which is used Genesis 7:4, ‘Every living substance … will I destroy’, and in Numbers 5:23 ‘he shall blot them out’, and in the solemn sentence, Exodus 32:33, ‘him will I blot out of my book’. The original very markedly shews that God’s wiping was to be a wiping out.Verse 13. - And I will stretch over Jerusalem the line of Samaria; i.e. "I will do to Jerusalem as I have done to Samaria; I will execute upon it a similar judgment." God applies his measuring-line, a perfectly uniform standard, to all nations, as to all individuals, and metes out to them an equal measure of justice. Jerusalem will be presently treated as Samaria has been recently treated; and a similar destruction will overtake it. The metaphor is not to be pressed, as if cities were destroyed with as much care as they are built, by constant use of the measuring-line and the plummet. And the plummet of the house of Ahab. The justice meted out to the house of Ahab shall be meted out also to the house of David. The ways of God are equal (Ezekiel 18:25), and he is no" respecter of persons." He has one law for all; and, as the house of David has sinned in the same way, and to the same extent, as the house of Ahab had sinned, one and the same punishment will fall upon both of them. And I will wipe Jerusalem as a man wipeth a dish, wiping it, and turning it upside down. Jerusalem will be emptied, as a man empties his dish of the refuse scraps remaining on it, and will be then put away, as done with. The metaphor expresses contempt as well as condemnation. Yea, he even placed the image of Asherah in the temple, i.e., in the Holy Place. In the description of his idolatry, which advances gradatim, this is introduced as the very worst crime. According to the express declaration of the Lord to David (2 Samuel 7:13) and Solomon (1 Kings 9:3 compared with 2 Kings 8:16), the temple was to serve as the dwelling-place of His name.
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