Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
Hezekiah began to reign when he was five and twenty years old, and he reigned nine and twenty years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Abijah, the daughter of Zechariah.Ch. 2 Chronicles 29:1-2 (= 2 Kings 18:1-3). The Reign of Hezekiah
1. Hezekiah] Heb. “Yehizkiah” (so usually in the Heb. text of Chron.). The form “Hezekiah” (Heb. “Hizkiah”) has been introduced from Kings.
Abijah] In 2 Kin. “Abi” which is probably only a shortened form of the name.
And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that David his father had done.
He in the first year of his reign, in the first month, opened the doors of the house of the LORD, and repaired them.3–11 (not in 2 Kin.). Hezekiah commands to cleanse the Temple
3. in the first month] i.e. in Nisan; cp. 2 Chronicles 30:2-3.
And he brought in the priests and the Levites, and gathered them together into the east street,4. into the east street] R.V. into the broad place on the east. The place meant was part of the Temple area; cp. Ezra 10:9, “the broad place before the house of God” (R.V.).
And said unto them, Hear me, ye Levites, sanctify now yourselves, and sanctify the house of the LORD God of your fathers, and carry forth the filthiness out of the holy place.5. sanctify now yourselves] Cp. Exodus 19:10-15.
For our fathers have trespassed, and done that which was evil in the eyes of the LORD our God, and have forsaken him, and have turned away their faces from the habitation of the LORD, and turned their backs.6. from the habitation of the Lord] Cp. 2 Chronicles 24:18 “they left the house of the Lord” (see note).
habitation] Heb. “tabernacle,” as in Exodus 25:9, al.
Also they have shut up the doors of the porch, and put out the lamps, and have not burned incense nor offered burnt offerings in the holy place unto the God of Israel.7. the lamps] Cp. 2 Chronicles 13:11; Exodus 25:31 ff.
Wherefore the wrath of the LORD was upon Judah and Jerusalem, and he hath delivered them to trouble, to astonishment, and to hissing, as ye see with your eyes.8. to trouble, to astonishment, and to hissing] R.V. to be tossed to and fro, to be an astonishment, and an hissing.
to trouble] Better as R.V. mg., to be a terror (or “cause of trembling”). The judgement on Israel fills the surrounding nations with trembling for themselves. The rendering of R.V. text “tossed to and fro” is inferior because the Heb. word describes “trembling” and not “motion from place to place.”
For, lo, our fathers have fallen by the sword, and our sons and our daughters and our wives are in captivity for this.
Now it is in mine heart to make a covenant with the LORD God of Israel, that his fierce wrath may turn away from us.10. a covenant] Cp. 2 Chronicles 15:12.
his fierce wrath] R.V. his fierce anger.
My sons, be not now negligent: for the LORD hath chosen you to stand before him, to serve him, and that ye should minister unto him, and burn incense.11. to stand before him] Deuteronomy 10:8.
to serve him, and that you should minister unto him] R.V. to minister unto him, and that ye should be his ministers.
Then the Levites arose, Mahath the son of Amasai, and Joel the son of Azariah, of the sons of the Kohathites: and of the sons of Merari, Kish the son of Abdi, and Azariah the son of Jehalelel: and of the Gershonites; Joah the son of Zimmah, and Eden the son of Joah:12. the Levites] The fourteen persons mentioned in these three verses comprise (a) two representatives each of the three great branches of Levi, namely, Kohath, Merari, and Gershon, (b) two representatives of the great Kohathite family of Elizaphan (cp. Numbers 3:30 and 1 Chronicles 15:8), (c) two representatives each of the three divisions of the singers, Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun (1 Chronicles 25:1).
12–19 (not in 2 Kin.). The Cleansing of the Temple
With this passage cp. 1Ma 4:36-51 (the cleansing of the Temple by Judas Maccabaeus).
And of the sons of Elizaphan; Shimri, and Jeiel: and of the sons of Asaph; Zechariah, and Mattaniah:
And of the sons of Heman; Jehiel, and Shimei: and of the sons of Jeduthun; Shemaiah, and Uzziel.
And they gathered their brethren, and sanctified themselves, and came, according to the commandment of the king, by the words of the LORD, to cleanse the house of the LORD.15. and came] R.V. and went in.
by the words of the Lord] The phrase suggests that Hezekiah had been moved to issue his command by the utterances of a prophet, but this is nowhere actually stated.
And the priests went into the inner part of the house of the LORD, to cleanse it, and brought out all the uncleanness that they found in the temple of the LORD into the court of the house of the LORD. And the Levites took it, to carry it out abroad into the brook Kidron.16. the priests] The work was so divided between priests and Levites that only the priests went into the house.
into the inner part of the house] Render, within the house. The reference is not to the Holy of Holies specially, but to the whole interior of the house.
uncleanness] Cp. 2 Chronicles 29:5; Isaiah 30:22.
into the brook] R.V. to the brook. The brook Kidron is the deep valley on the east of Jerusalem separating it from the Mount of Olives; 2 Samuel 15:23; John 18:1.
Now they began on the first day of the first month to sanctify, and on the eighth day of the month came they to the porch of the LORD: so they sanctified the house of the LORD in eight days; and in the sixteenth day of the first month they made an end.17. to sanctify … so they sanctified] Two periods of eight days each were spent in “sanctifying,” the courts apparently occupying eight days and the house itself eight days.
in the sixteenth day] The LXX. translators read τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τῇ τρισκαιδεκάτῃ, i.e. on the thirteenth day, perhaps because the fourteenth day of the first month was the Day of the Passover, a day on which no work could be done.
Then they went in to Hezekiah the king, and said, We have cleansed all the house of the LORD, and the altar of burnt offering, with all the vessels thereof, and the shewbread table, with all the vessels thereof.18. the king] R.V. the king within the palace.
the shewbread table] R.V. the table of shewbread.
Moreover all the vessels, which king Ahaz in his reign did cast away in his transgression, have we prepared and sanctified, and, behold, they are before the altar of the LORD.19. cast away] According to 2 Chronicles 28:24, “cut in pieces”; cp. 2 Kings 16:17. The reference is probably to the “bases” and the “sea.”
in his transgression] R.V. when he trespassed.
have we prepared] Render, have we set up. Ahaz had taken away the supports both of the laver and of the sea (2 Kings 16:17).
Then Hezekiah the king rose early, and gathered the rulers of the city, and went up to the house of the LORD.20. the rulers of the city] R.V. the princes of the city.
20–30 (not in 2 Kin.). The Sevenfold Sacrifice for the Reconciliation of the People
The ritual of the sin offering is fully given in Leviticus 4. Ahaz had broken the covenant and Hezekiah’s sin offering was intended to atone for the breach.
And they brought seven bullocks, and seven rams, and seven lambs, and seven he goats, for a sin offering for the kingdom, and for the sanctuary, and for Judah. And he commanded the priests the sons of Aaron to offer them on the altar of the LORD.21. they brought] Acc. to Leviticus 4:3; Leviticus 4:23; Leviticus 4:32 the sin offering might be a bullock or a he goat or a lamb. As the sacrifice was not for an individual but for a whole people the sin offering on this occasion consisted of seven of each of four different sacrificial animals.
for the kingdom] i.e. for the kingly house.
for the sanctuary] i.e. for the Temple (cp. Leviticus 16:16), but probably inclusive of the personnel of the Temple, i.e. the priests and Levites, since otherwise they would have been passed over in the great sin offering.
on the altar of the Lord] Not on the altar of Ahaz (2 Kings 16:11).
So they killed the bullocks, and the priests received the blood, and sprinkled it on the altar: likewise, when they had killed the rams, they sprinkled the blood upon the altar: they killed also the lambs, and they sprinkled the blood upon the altar.22. received the blood] In basins with which they dashed (not “sprinkled”) the blood against the altar. This dashing was different from the sprinkling with the finger.
And they brought forth the he goats for the sin offering before the king and the congregation; and they laid their hands upon them:23. brought forth] R.V. brought near, i.e. to the king and the people.
and they laid their hands] “they” = the representatives of the people; cp. Leviticus 4:15.
And the priests killed them, and they made reconciliation with their blood upon the altar, to make an atonement for all Israel: for the king commanded that the burnt offering and the sin offering should be made for all Israel.24. made reconciliation] R.V. made a sin offering.
And he set the Levites in the house of the LORD with cymbals, with psalteries, and with harps, according to the commandment of David, and of Gad the king's seer, and Nathan the prophet: for so was the commandment of the LORD by his prophets.25. so was the commandment of the Lord by his prophets] Render, the commandment was by (through) the LORD, even by (through) his prophets. The Chronicler urges the point that David’s arrangements for Temple song were by inspiration; cp. 1 Chronicles 28:19.
And the Levites stood with the instruments of David, and the priests with the trumpets.26. with the instruments] LXX. ἐν ὀργάνοις. Cp. 1 Chronicles 23:5.
And Hezekiah commanded to offer the burnt offering upon the altar. And when the burnt offering began, the song of the LORD began also with the trumpets, and with the instruments ordained by David king of Israel.27. with the trumpets] R.V. and the trumpets. Cp. 1 Chronicles 15:24 (note).
and with the instruments ordained by David] Render, even according to the guidance of the instruments of David, i.e. led (or “accompanied”) by them.
And all the congregation worshipped, and the singers sang, and the trumpeters sounded: and all this continued until the burnt offering was finished.28. and all this] R.V. all this.
And when they had made an end of offering, the king and all that were present with him bowed themselves, and worshipped.29. bowed themselves, and worshipped] i.e. first bowed down (on their knees) and then completely prostrated themselves.
Moreover Hezekiah the king and the princes commanded the Levites to sing praise unto the LORD with the words of David, and of Asaph the seer. And they sang praises with gladness, and they bowed their heads and worshipped.30. to sing praise] R.V. to sing praises. Since (1) the Heb. word for “Psalms” means “Praises,” and (2) the words of David and Asaph are specially mentioned in this verse, it is clear that the Chronicler by this phrase means “to sing Psalms.”
Then Hezekiah answered and said, Now ye have consecrated yourselves unto the LORD, come near and bring sacrifices and thank offerings into the house of the LORD. And the congregation brought in sacrifices and thank offerings; and as many as were of a free heart burnt offerings.31–36 (not in Kings). A Great Sacrifice of Burnt Offerings and Thank Offerings
31. answered and said] i.e. answered the thoughts or expectation of the people, for no question had been asked; cp. Job 3:2 (R.V.).
ye have consecrated yourselves] Heb. “filled your hand”; cp. 2 Chronicles 13:9; Exodus 28:41.
were of a free heart burnt offerings] R.V. were of a willing heart brought burnt offerings.
And the number of the burnt offerings, which the congregation brought, was threescore and ten bullocks, an hundred rams, and two hundred lambs: all these were for a burnt offering to the LORD.32. for a burnt offering] Leviticus 1:1-13.
And the consecrated things were six hundred oxen and three thousand sheep.33. the consecrated things] The term was applied (1) to gold and other valuables offered in the Temple; cp. 2 Chronicles 15:18; 1 Chronicles 13:8-11; (2) to those parts of the various sacrifices which were assigned to be eaten by the priests; Leviticus 21:22 (“the holy [bread]”); Leviticus 22:2-3; Leviticus 22:15 (“the holy things”). Here the reference is more general, i.e. to the thankofferings (2 Chronicles 29:35) themselves.
But the priests were too few, so that they could not flay all the burnt offerings: wherefore their brethren the Levites did help them, till the work was ended, and until the other priests had sanctified themselves: for the Levites were more upright in heart to sanctify themselves than the priests.34. the other priests] R.V. the priests.
And also the burnt offerings were in abundance, with the fat of the peace offerings, and the drink offerings for every burnt offering. So the service of the house of the LORD was set in order.35. with the fat] Cp. 2 Chronicles 7:7; Leviticus 3:3; Leviticus 3:17.
drink offerings] Cp. Numbers 15:5; Numbers 15:7; Numbers 15:10. The offering was to be of wine, and the quantity used was to correspond with the size of the animal sacrificed.
was set in order] i.e. was re-established.
And Hezekiah rejoiced, and all the people, that God had prepared the people: for the thing was done suddenly.36. that God had prepared the people] R.V. because of that which God had prepared for the people. It was God, not Hezekiah, who had done it all.
suddenly] In the very first year of Hezekiah’s reign (2 Chronicles 29:3).