2 Kings 23:13
And the high places that were before Jerusalem, which were on the right hand of the mount of corruption, which Solomon the king of Israel had built for Ashtoreth the abomination of the Zidonians, and for Chemosh the abomination of the Moabites, and for Milcom the abomination of the children of Ammon, did the king defile.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(13) The high places that were before the city . . .—See 1Kings 11:5-8. “Before” means “to the east of,” because, to determine the cardinal points, one faced the sunrise. The right hand was then the south, the left hand the north, and the back the west.

The mount of corruption.—The southern summit of the Mount of Olives was so-called, because of the idolatry there practised. It still bears the name of the “Hill of Offence,” derived from the Vulg. “mons offensionis.” (The word rendered “corruption,” mashhîth, may originally have meant “anointing,” from māshah “to anoint,” and have simply referred to the olive oil there produced. The name would thus be equivalent to the German Oelberg. In later times the term was so modified as to express detestation of idol-worship.)

Did the king defile.—As it is not said that they were pulled down, these high places may have been merely sacred sites on the mountain, consisting of a levelled surface of rock, with holes scooped in them for receiving libations, &c. Such sites have been found in Palestine; and it is hardly conceivable that chapels erected by Solomon for the worship of Ashtoreth, Chemosh, and Milcom, would have been spared by such a king as Hezekiah, who even did away with the high places dedicated to Jehovah (2Kings 18:3).

2 Kings 23:13. The high places on the right hand of the mount of Corruption — That is, the mount of Olives, (1 Kings 11:7,) called the mount of Corruption, for the gross idolatry there practised. Which Solomon had builded for Ashtoreth, &c. — Not the same individual altars; which, doubtless, either Solomon, upon his repentance, or some other of Josiah’s predecessors, had taken away, but other altars built by Manasseh or Amen, which, because erected by Solomon’s example, and for the same use, and in the same place, are called by his name: this brand is left by the Holy Ghost upon his name and memory, as a just punishment of that abominable practice, and a means to deter others from the like. The abomination of the Zidonians — The idol, so called, because it was abominable, and made them abominable to God. Did the king defile — By dead men’s bones and other unclean things. 23:4-14 What abundance of wickedness in Judah and Jerusalem! One would not have believed it possible, that in Judah, where God was known, in Israel, where his name was great, in Salem, in Zion, where his dwelling-place was, such abominations should be found. Josiah had reigned eighteen years, and had himself set the people a good example, and kept up religion according to the Divine law; yet, when he came to search for idolatry, the depth and extent were very great. Both common history, and the records of God's word, teach, that all the real godliness or goodness ever found on earth, is derived from the new-creating Spirit of Jesus Christ.On the position of these high-places see 1 Kings 11:7 note. As they were allowed to remain under such kings as Asa, Jehoshaphat, and Hezekiah, they were probably among the old high-places where Yahweh had been worshipped blamelessly, or at least without any consciousness of guilt (see 1 Kings 3:2 note). Manasseh or Amon had however restored them to the condition which they had held in the reign of Solomon, and therefore Josiah would condemn them to a special defilement.

The mount of corruption - See the margin. It is suspected that the original name was Har ham-mishcah, "mount of anointing," and that this was changed afterward, by way of contempt, into Har ham-mashchith, "mount of corruption."

13, 14. the high places … which Solomon … had builded—(See on [354]1Ki 11:5).

the right hand of the mount of corruption—The Mount of Olives is a hilly range on the east of Jerusalem. This range has three summits, of which the central one is the Mount of Corruption, so called from the idol temples built there, and of course the hill on the right hand denotes the southernmost peak. Josiah is said not to have destroyed, but only defiled, "the high places on the hill of corruption." It is most probable that Hezekiah had long before demolished the idolatrous temples erected there by Solomon but, as the superstitious people continued to regard the spot as consecrated ground, Josiah defiled it.

The mount of corruption, i.e. the Mount of Olives, 1 Kings 11:7, here called the mount of corruption, for the gross idolatry there practised, which is oft expressed by the name of corruption. See Exodus 32:7 Deu 32:5. In the Hebrew is an elegant allusion between miscah, anointing, and masheith, corruption, as there is between Beth-el and Beth-aven, Hosea 4:15.

Which Solomon had builded; not the same individual altars; which doubtless either Solomon upon his repentance, or some other of Josiah’s godly predecessors, had taken away long before this time; but other altars built by Manasseh or Amon, which because erected by Solomon’s example, and for the same use, and in the same place, are called by his name; this brand being left by the Holy Ghost upon his name and memory, as a just punishment of that abominable practice, and a mean to deter others from the like.

For Ashtoreth; of which and the rest See Poole "1 Kings 11:5"; See Poole "1 Kings 11:6"; See Poole "1 Kings 11:7".

The abomination, i.e. the idol, so called, because it was abominable, and made them abominable to God. And the high places that were before Jerusalem,.... Not only that were within the city, and at the gates of it, but what were without it:

which were on the right hand of the mount of corruption: the mount of Olives, so called from the idolatry and corrupt worship performed in it, by way of reproach, with a small alteration of the letters of the word for at the right hand, or south of this mountain, as the Targum; though others say (q), on the north side of the mount of Olives, four furlongs or half a mile from Jerusalem, were high places:

which Solomon king of Israel had builded for Ashtoreth the abomination of the Zidonians, and for Chemosh the abomination of the Moabites, and for Milcom the abomination of the children of Ammon; of which See Gill on 1 Kings 11:5, 1 Kings 11:7.

did the king defile; by casting unclean things into them. Rauwolff (r) says,"before Mount Zion toward the south, at the other side of the rivulet Kidron, lies the mount of transgression, called Mashith, 2 Kings 23:13, this is higher and steeper than any hereabout; there you still see some old walls of habitations, wherein the concubines of Solomon did live;''and Mr. Maundrell (s) observes, that below the hill stands now a village called Siloe, where it is said he kept them.

(q) Vid Adrichom. Theatrum T. S. p. 171. (r) Travels, par. 3. c. 4. p. 233. (s) Journey from Aleppo, &c. p. 102.

And the high places that were before Jerusalem, which were on the right hand of the {m} mount of corruption, which Solomon the king of Israel had builded for Ashtoreth the abomination of the Zidonians, and for Chemosh the abomination of the Moabites, and for Milcom the abomination of the children of Ammon, did the king defile.

(m) That was the mount of olives, so called because it was full of idols.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
13. the mount of corruption] This name was given to a portion of the Mount of Olives, because of the idolatrous temples which were erected there. It is called in the Vulgate rendering of this verse ‘Mons offensionis’, and so the hill is spoken of in Christian writings as ‘the Mount of Offence’. The word rendered ‘corruption’ is also often translated ‘destruction’ (see marg.), and this name is equally applicable, from the ruinous and destructive results which developed out of this introduction of idolatry by Solomon.

Ashtoreth] On Ashtoreth, Chemosh and Milcom, and the temples which Solomon built for them under the influence of his heathen wives, see the notes on 1 Kings 11:4-8.Verse 13. - And the high places that were before Jerusalem. The high places which Solomon established in the neighborhood of Jerusalem for the use of his wives, and in the worship at which he became himself entangled in his old age, appear to have been situated on the ridge of the mountain which lies over against Jerusalem to the east, a part of which is Olivet. The southern summit, the traditional roans offensionis, was probably the high place of Moloch (Milcom), while the most northern summit (now called Karem-es-Seyad) has some claim to be regarded as the high place of Chemosh. (So Broeardus in A.D. .) The site of the high place of Ashtoreth is doubtful. Which were on the right hand of the mount of corruption. The name "mount of corruption" seems to have been given after Solomon's time to the entire ridge of hills which lies over against Jerusalem to the east, on account of the rites which he had allowed to be established on it. The "right hand" of the mountain would, according to Jewish notions, be the more southern part. Which Solomon the King of Israel - rather, King of Israel, since there is no article - had builded for Ashtoreth the abomination of the Zidonians (see 1 Kings 11:7). Though Ashtoreth, or Astarte, or Ishtar, or the Dea Syra, was worshipped generally throughout Phoenicia, and perhaps even more widely, yet she was in a peculiar way "the abomination of the Zidonians," being the deity to whom the city of Sidon was especially dedicated (see the inscription on the tomb of Eshmunazar, published in the 'Records of the Past,' vol. 9. pp. 113, 114). And for Chemosh the abomination of the Moabites. Chemosh appears as the special god of the Moabites on the famous Moabite Stone in eleven places. The stone itself was dedicated to Chemosh (line 3). The Moabites are spoken of as "the people of Chemosh" (lines 5, 6). Success in war comes from him, and defeat is the result of his anger. One of his designations is "Ashtar-Chemosh" (line 17), or "Chemosh, who is also Ashtar," Ashtar being the male principle corresponding to the female Astarte or Ashtoreth. And for Milcom. Moloch was called by the Jews "Milcom," or "Malcam" - "their king" i.e. the king of the Ammonite people, since he was the sole god whom they acknowledged (see 1 Kings 11:5; Jeremiah 49:3 compared with Jeremiah 48:7; Amos 1:15; Zephaniah 1:5). The abomination of the children of Ammon (see 1 Kings 11:5, 7; and compare the comment on 1 Kings in the 'Pulpit Commentary,' p. 222). Did the king defile. The manner of the defilement is stated in the next verse. הקּדשׁים בּתּי, the houses (places of abode) of the paramours (for הקדשים see at 1 Kings 14:24), were probably only tents or huts, which were erected in the court of the temple for the paramours to dwell in, and in which there were also women who wove tent-temples (בּתּים) for Asherah (see at 2 Kings 17:30).

(Note: On this worship Movers has the following among other remarks (Phn. i. p. 686): "The mutilated Gallus (קדש) fancies that he is a woman: negant se viros esse ... muleires se volunt credi (Firmic.). He lives in close intimacy with the women, and they again are drawn towards the Galli by peculiar affection." He also expresses a conjecture "that the women of Jerusalem gave themselves up in honour of the goddess in the tents of the Galli which were pitched in the temple circle, on which account the כלב מחיר went to the temple treasury.")

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