2 Kings 23:33
And Pharaohnechoh put him in bands at Riblah in the land of Hamath, that he might not reign in Jerusalem; and put the land to a tribute of an hundred talents of silver, and a talent of gold.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(33) And Pharaoh-nechoh put him in bands . . .—See Note on 2Chronicles 36:3. The LXX. here has “removed him,” but the other versions “bound him.”

That he might not reign.—This is the reading of the Hebrew margin, some MSS., and the LXX., Vulg., and Targum. The Syriac and Arabic have, “when he reigned,” which is the ordinary Hebrew text. The original text of the whole was perhaps this: “and Pharaoh-nechoh bound him at Riblah . . . and removed him from reigning in Jerusalem;” i.e., he threw him into bonds, and pronounced his deposition. (Comp, the construction in 1Kings 15:13.) Riblah (now Ribleh) lay in a strong position on the Orontes, commanding the caravan route from Palestine to the Euphrates. Necho had advanced so far, after the battle of Megiddo, and taken up his quarters there, as Nebuchadnezzar did afterwards (2Kings 25:6; 2Kings 25:20-21). Josephus relates that Necho summoned Jehoahaz to his camp at Riblah. The passage, Ezekiel 19:4, suggests that he got the king of Judah into his power by fraud: “he was taken in their pit.” It used to be supposed, on the strength of Herod, ii. 159, that Necho captured Jerusalem. What Herodotus says is this: “And engaging the Syrians on foot at Magdolus, Nechoh was victorious. After the battle he took Kadytis, a great city of Syria.” Kadytis has been thought to be either Hadath (“the new town;” referring to the rebuilding of Jerusalem after the Return), or el-Kuds(“the holy;” the modern Arabic title of Jerusalem), or Gaza. In reality it is Kadesh on the Orontes, one of the great Hittite capitals, and not far from Hamath.

A talent of gold.—So Chronicles. The LXX. here reads, an hundred talents of gold (a transcriber’s error). The Syriac and Arabic, ten talents, which may be right. (Comp. 2Kings 18:14, where the proportion of silver to gold is ten to one.)

Tribute.—The Hebrew word means fine. The Vulg. renders rightly, “et imposuit multum terrae.”

2 Kings 23:33. Pharaoh-nechoh put him in bands — Either because he presumed to take the kingdom without his consent; or, because he renewed the war against Egypt. At Riblah — An eminent city in Syria, where Pharaoh now was, that he might finish or make good his conquests, and whither Jehoahaz was carried to receive his sentence. That he might not reign — Or, because he had reigned, that is, taken the kingdom without right, and without his leave. And put the land to a tribute — Namely, an annual tribute, whereby they should acknowledge him to be their superior, and for which he would be their protector when they needed his help.

23:31-37 After Josiah was laid in his grave, one trouble came on another, till, in twenty-two years, Jerusalem was destroyed. The wicked perished in great numbers, the remnant were purified, and Josiah's reformation had raised up some to join the few who were the precious seed of their future church and nation. A little time, and slender abilities, often suffice to undo the good which pious men have, for a course of years, been labouring to effect. But, blessed be God, the good work which he begins by his regenerating Spirit, cannot be done away, but withstands all changes and temptations.Pharaoh-Nechoh, after bringing Phoenicia and Syria under his rule, and penetrating as far as Carchemish, returned to Southern Syria, and learned what had occurred at Jerusalem in his absence. He sent orders to Jehoahaz to attend the court which he was holding at Riblah, and Jehoahaz fell into the trap Ezekiel 19:4.

Riblah still retains its name. It is situated on the Orontes, in the Coele-Syrian valley, near the point where the valley opens into a wide and fertile plain. Neco seems to have been the first to perceive its importance. Afterward Nebuchadnezzar made it his headquarters during his sieges of Jerusalem and Tyre 2 Kings 25:21; Jeremiah 39:5; Jeremiah 52:9-10, Jeremiah 52:26.

29. In his days Pharaoh-nechoh—(See 2Ch 35:20-27). Pharaoh-nechoh put him in bands; either because he presumed to take the kingdom without his leave and consent; or because he renewed the war against Pharaoh, as some affirm, and by him was conquered and taken prisoner.

Riblah; an eminent city in Syria; of which see Numbers 34:11 2 Kings 25:6; where Pharaoh now was to finish or make good his conquests, whither Jehoahaz was carried to receive his sentence.

That he might not reign; or, because he had reigned, i.e. taken the kingdom without right, and without his leave. Or, according to the other reading,

in the beginning of his reign; the word reigning being commonly used for beginning to reign; when he was scarce warm in his throne.

A tribute, to wit, a yearly tribute, whereby they should acknowledge him to be their superior; and for which he would be their protector when they needed his help.

And Pharaohnechoh put him in bands at Riblah in the land of Hamath,.... Places in Syria; Hamath was formerly a kingdom in Syria, and Riblah is said by Jerom (c) to be Antioch of Syria, near to which was the fountain of Daphne; and in the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem on Numbers 34:11. Daphne is put for Riblah; and Josephus (d) says Antioch was by Daphne of Syria; and in the Apocrypha:"Which when Onias knew of a surety, he reproved him, and withdrew himself into a sanctuary at Daphne, that lieth by Antiochia.'' (2 Maccabees 4:33)Daphne is said to be by Antioch; with which place Pompey was greatly delighted, because of the pleasantness of it, and the abundance of waters about it (e): hither, it is probable, Jehoahaz went with an army to avenge his father's death on the king of Egypt, or to assist the king of Babylon, or both; and here Pharaoh met with him, and took him, and bound him; he seems to be of a martial spirit, from Ezekiel 19:3.

that he might not reign in Jerusalem; whither afterwards the king of Egypt came, and took it; and so Herodotus (f) says that after he had conquered the Syrians at Migdol, he took Cadytis, a great city of Syria, which seems to be Jerusalem, the holy city:

and put the land to a tribute of one hundred talents of silver, and a talent of gold; the land of Judah; and one hundred talents, according to Bunting (g), amounted to 37,500 pounds of our money; and a talent of gold, according to Brerewood (h), was 4,500 pounds; but Bishop Cumberland (i) makes it 5,067 pounds, three shillings, and ten pence; a talent of gold could not be so large in Homer's time, since he speaks of seven of them given at once in a way of hospitality (k).

(c) Comment. in Ezekiel 47.fol. 261. C. (d) Antiqu. l. 17. c. 2. sect. 3.((e) Rufi Fest. Breviar. Eutrop. Hist. Rom. l. 6. (f) Ut supra. (Chronic. Secil. 18. p. 568.) (g) Ut supra, (Travels, &c.) p. 288. (h) De Ponder & Pret. Vet. Num. c. 4. (i) Scripture Weights and Measures, ch. 4. p. 21. (k) Odyss. 9. ver. 258. & Odyss. 24. ver. 321.

And Pharaohnechoh put him in bands {u} at Riblah in the land of Hamath, that he might not reign in Jerusalem; and put the land to a tribute of an hundred talents of silver, and a talent of gold.

(u) Which was Antiochia in Syria, also called Hamath.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
33. put him in bands at Riblah in the land of Hamath] In 2 Chronicles 36:3 it is said ‘the king of Egypt put Jehoahaz down at Jerusalem’. We cannot, however, be sure that this implies an advance by Pharaoh-nechoh upon the holy city. However, the appointment which the people had made was clearly not acceptable to the Egyptian king, and Jehoahaz was carried away to the point which Pharaoh had reached in his march from Carchemish, and there put in bonds.

Riblah] (called also Riblathah) was a city on the Orontes, and on the road which led from Palestine to Babylon. It is afterwards mentioned as the place at which Nebuchadnezzar tarried during the reduction of Jerusalem (2 Kings 25:20-21) and whither the captives were brought to him.

tribute of an hundred talents] On the value of these sums, see above on 2 Kings 5:5.

Verse 33. - And Pharaoh-Nechoh put him in bands at Riblah. "Riblah," which retains its name, was situated in the Coele-Syrian plain, on the right bank of the Orontes, in lat. 34° 23' N. nearly. It commanded a ford over the river (Condor, 'Heth and Moab,' p. 17), and is in the midst of a rich, corn-producing country. Hamath, to which it was regarded as belonging, is situated more than fifty miles further down the river. Riblah was well placed as a center for communication with the neighboring countries. As Dr. Robinson says ('Researches,' vol. 3. p. 545), "From this point the roads were open by Aleppo and the Euphrates to Nineveh, or by Palmyra (Tadmor) to Babylon, by the end of Lebanon and the coast to Palestine (Philistia) and Egypt, or through the, Buka'a and the Jordan valley to the center of the Holy Land." Nebuchadnezzar followed the example of Nechoh in making Ribiah his headquarters during his sieges of Tyro and Jerusalem (see 2 Kings 25:21; Jeremiah 39:5; Jeremiah 52:9, 10, 26, 27). In the land of Hamath. The "land of Hamath" was the upper part of the Coele-Syrian valley from about lat. 34° to lat. 35° 30' N. That he might not reign in Jerusalem. Nechoh might naturally distrust the people's choice. He might also regard the setting up of any king at Jerusalem without his sanction as an act of contumacy on the part of a nation which had been practically conquered by the complete defeat of Josiah at Megiddo. Whether his conduct in seizing Jehoahaz after inviting him to a conference was justifiable or not may be questioned; but, in point of fact, he did but use the right of the conqueror somewhat harshly. And put the land to a tribute of an hundred talents of silver, and a talent of gold. (So Josephus, l.s.c.) The tribute was a very moderate one. A century earlier Sennacherib had enacted a tribute of three hundred talents of silver, and thirty of gold (see above, 2 Kings 18:14). We may conjecture that Nechoh wished to conciliate the Jews, regarding them as capable of rendering him good service in the struggle, on which he had entered, with Babylon. 2 Kings 23:33"Pharaoh Necho put him in fetters (ויּאסרהוּ) at Riblah in the land of Hamath, when he had become king at Jerusalem." In 2 Chronicles 36:3 we have, instead of this, "the king of Egypt deposed him (יסירהוּ) at Jerusalem." The Masoretes have substituted as Keri ממּלך, "away from being king," or "that he might be no longer king," in the place of בּמלך, and Thenius and Bertheau prefer the former, because the lxx have τοὺ μὴ βασιλεύειν not in our text only, but in the Chronicles also; but they ought not to have appealed to the Chronicles, inasmuch as the lxx have not rendered the Hebrew text there, but have simply repeated the words from the text of the book of Kings. The Keri is nothing more than an emendation explaining the sense, which the lxx have also followed. The two texts are not contradictory, but simply complete each other: for, as Clericus has correctly observed, "Jehoahaz would of course be removed from Jerusalem before he was cast into chains; and there was nothing to prevent his being dethroned at Jerusalem before he was taken to Riblah."

We are not told in what way Necho succeeded in getting Jehoahaz into his power, so as to put him in chains at Riblah. The assumption of J. D. Michaelis and others, that his elder brother Eliakim, being dissatisfied with the choice of Jehoahaz as king, had recourse to Necho at Riblah, in the hope of getting possession of his father's kingdom through his instrumentality, is precluded by the face that Jehoahaz would certainly not have been so foolish as to appear before the enemy of his country at a mere summons from Pharaoh, who was at Riblah, and allow him to depose him, when he was perfectly safe in Jerusalem, where the will of the people had raised him to the throne. If Necho wanted to interfere with the internal affairs of the kingdom of Judah, it would never have done for him to proceed beyond Palestine to Syria after the victory at Megiddo, without having first deposed Jehoahaz, who had been raised to the throne at Jerusalem without any regard to his will. The course of events was therefore probably the following: After the victory at Megiddo, Necho intended to continue his march to the Euphrates; but on hearing that Jehoahaz had ascended the throne, and possibly also in consequence of complaints which Eliakim had made to him on that account, he ordered a division of his army to march against Jerusalem, and while the main army was marching slowly to Riblah, he had Jerusalem taken, king Jehoahaz dethroned, the land laid under tribute, Eliakim appointed king as his vassal, and the deposed Jehoahaz brought to his headquarters at Riblah, then put into chains and transported to Egypt; so that the statement in 2 Chronicles 36:3, "he deposed him at Jerusalem," is to be taken quite literally, even if Necho did not come to Jerusalem in propri person, but simply effected this through the medium of one of his generals.

(Note: Ewald (Gesch. iii. p. 720) also observes, that "Necho himself may have been in Jerusalem at the time for the purpose of installing his vassal:" this, he says, "is indicated by the brief words in 2 Kings 23:33-34, and nothing can be found to say against it in other historical sources;" though he assumes that Jehoahaz had allowed himself to be enticed by Necho to go to Riblah into the Egyptian camp, where he was craftily put into chains, and soon carried off as a prisoner to Egypt. - We should have a confirmation of the taking of Jerusalem by Necho in the account given by Herodotus (ii.:159): μετὰ δὲ τήν μάχην (i.e., after the battle at Megiddo) Κάδυτιν πόλιν τῆς Συρίης ἐοῦσαν μεγάλην εἶλε, if any evidence could be brought to establish the opinion that by Κάδυτις we are to understand Jerusalem. But although what Herodotus says (iii. 5) concerning Κάδυτις does not apply to any other city of Palestine so well as to Jerusalem, the use of the name Κάδυτις for Jerusalem has not yet been sufficiently explained, since it cannot come from קדושה, the holy city, because the ש of this word does not pass into t in any Semitic dialect, and the explanation recently attempted by Bttcher (N. ex. Krit. Aehrenlese, ii. pp. 119ff.) from the Aramaean חדיתא, the renewed city (new-town), is based upon many very questionable conjectures. At the same time so much is certain, that the view which Hitzig has revived (de Cadyti urbe Herod. Gott. 1829, p. 11, and Urgeschichte der Philister, pp. 96ff.), and which is now the prevalent one, viz., that Κάδυτις is Gaza, is exposed to some well-founded objections, even after what Stark (Gaza, pp. 218ff.) has adduced in its favour. The description which Herodotus gives (iii. 5) of the land-road to Egypt: ἀπὸ Φοινίκης μέχρι οὔρων τῶν Καδύτιος πόλιος ἥ ἐστι Σύρων τῶν Παλαιστινῶν καλεομένων· ἀπὸ δὲ Καδύτιος, ἐούσης πόλιος (ὡς ἐμοὶ δοκέει) Σαρδίων ου ̓ πολλῷ ἐλάσσονος, ἀπὸ ταύτης τὰ ἐμπόρια τὰ ἐπὶ θαλάσσης μέχρι Ἰηνύσου πόλιός ἐστι τοῦ Ἀραβίου· does not apply to Gaza, because there were no commercial towns on the sea-coast between the district of Gaza and the town of Yenysus (the present Khan Ynas); but between the district of Jerusalem and the town of Yenysus there were the Philistian cities Ashkelon and Gaza, which Herodotus might call τὰ ἐμπόρια τοὺ Ἀραβίου, whereas the comparison made between the size of Kadytis and that of Sardes points rather to Jerusalem than to Gaza. Still less can the datum in Jeremiah 47:1, "before Pharaoh smote Gaza," be adduced in support of Gaza. If we bear in mind that Jeremiah's prophecy (2 Kings 47) was not uttered before the fourth year of Jehoiakim's reign, and therefore that Pharaoh had not smitten Gaza at that time, supposing that this Pharaoh was really Necho, it cannot have been till after his defeat at Carchemish that Necho took Gaza on his return home. Ewald, Hitzig, and Graf assume that this was the case; but, as M. v. Niebuhr has correctly observed, it has "every military probability" against it, and even the incredibility that "a routed Oriental army in its retreat, which it evidently accomplished in one continuous march, notwithstanding the fact that on its line of march there were the strongest positions, on the Orontes, Lebanon, etc., at which it might have halted, should have taken the city upon its flight." And, lastly, the name Κάδυτις does not answer to the name Gaza, even through the latter was spelt Gazatu in early Egyptian (Brugsch, Geograph. Inschr. ii. p. 32) since the u (y) of the second syllable still remains unexplained.)

Riblah has been preserved in the miserable village of Rible, from ten to twelve hours to the S.S.W. of Hums (Emesa) by the river el Ahsy (Orontes), in a large fruitful plain of the northern portion of the Bekaa, which was very well adapted to serve as the camping ground of Necho's army as well as of that of Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings 25:6, 2 Kings 25:20-21), not only because it furnished the most abundant supply of food and fodder, but also on account of its situation on the great caravan-road from Palestine by Damascus, Emesa, and Hamath to Thapsacus and Carchemish on the Euphrates (cf. Rob. Bibl. Res. pp. 542-546 and 641).

In the payment imposed upon the land by Necho, one talent of gold (c. 25,000 thalers: 3750) does not seem to bear any correct proportion to 100 talents of silver (c. 250,000 thalers, or 37,500), and consequently the lxx have 100 talents of gold, the Syr. and Arab. 10 talents; and Thenius supposes this to have been the original reading, and explains the reading in the text from the dropping out of a y ( equals 10), though without reflecting that as a rule the number 10 would require the plural כּכּרים.

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