Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
Now when all this was finished, all Israel that were present went out to the cities of Judah, and brake the images in pieces, and cut down the groves, and threw down the high places and the altars out of all Judah and Benjamin, in Ephraim also and Manasseh, until they had utterly destroyed them all. Then all the children of Israel returned, every man to his possession, into their own cities.Ch. 2 Chronicles 31:1 (cp. 2 Kings 18:4). Destruction of Idolatrous Symbols
1. Israel] Cp. 2 Chronicles 11:3 (note).
brake the images in pieces, and cut down the groves] R.V. brake in pieces the pillars, and hewed down the Asherim. Cp. 2 Chronicles 14:3 (note).
threw down] R.V. brake down.
in Ephraim also] Apparently the Northern Kingdom had come to an end; cp. 2 Chronicles 30:6; 2 Chronicles 30:9.
utterly destroyed them all] R.V. destroyed them all.
And Hezekiah appointed the courses of the priests and the Levites after their courses, every man according to his service, the priests and Levites for burnt offerings and for peace offerings, to minister, and to give thanks, and to praise in the gates of the tents of the LORD.2–21 (not in 2 Kin.). Organisation of the Priests, Tithe
2. the courses] Cp. 1 Chronicles 24:1 ff.
the priests and Levites] R.V. both the priests and the Levites.
in the gates] Cp. Deuteronomy 16:5.
the tents of the Lord] R.V. the camp of the LORD, i.e. (in the language of Deut.) “the place which the Lord chose,” Jerusalem or, more exactly, the Temple area. Cp. 1 Chronicles 9:18, note.
He appointed also the king's portion of his substance for the burnt offerings, to wit, for the morning and evening burnt offerings, and the burnt offerings for the sabbaths, and for the new moons, and for the set feasts, as it is written in the law of the LORD.3. the burnt offerings] Cp. 2 Chronicles 8:12-13.
Moreover he commanded the people that dwelt in Jerusalem to give the portion of the priests and the Levites, that they might be encouraged in the law of the LORD.4. be encouraged in] R.V. give themselves to. Cp. Nehemiah 13:10-13.
And as soon as the commandment came abroad, the children of Israel brought in abundance the firstfruits of corn, wine, and oil, and honey, and of all the increase of the field; and the tithe of all things brought they in abundantly.5. brought in abundance] R.V. gave in abundance.
and honey] Honey (Heb. děbash) is not elsewhere mentioned as subject to tithe; perhaps grape syrup (modern Arabic dibs) is meant here, as in Genesis 43:11 and Ezekiel 27:17 (according to some commentators). Honey (like leaven) was forbidden for sacrificial use (Leviticus 2:11).
And concerning the children of Israel and Judah, that dwelt in the cities of Judah, they also brought in the tithe of oxen and sheep, and the tithe of holy things which were consecrated unto the LORD their God, and laid them by heaps.6. And concerning the children] R.V. And the children. Cp. 2 Chronicles 11:16.
holy things] R.V. dedicated things (as 2 Chronicles 31:12).
In the third month they began to lay the foundation of the heaps, and finished them in the seventh month.7. the third month] The Feast of Harvest took place at the beginning of this month and seven weeks later the Feast of Ingathering followed.
And when Hezekiah and the princes came and saw the heaps, they blessed the LORD, and his people Israel.
Then Hezekiah questioned with the priests and the Levites concerning the heaps.
And Azariah the chief priest of the house of Zadok answered him, and said, Since the people began to bring the offerings into the house of the LORD, we have had enough to eat, and have left plenty: for the LORD hath blessed his people; and that which is left is this great store.10. Azariah the chief priest] Not mentioned in connexion with Hezekiah’s previous arrangements: he may have been only just appointed.
of the house of Zadok] Cp. 1 Chronicles 24:1-4. There were two main families of priests, (1) the descendants of Eleazar the third son of Aaron, whose chief representative in David’s day was Zadok (hence they are here called “the house of Zadok”), (2) the descendants of Ithamar the fourth son of Aaron, represented in David’s time by Ahimelech (Saul’s victim) or by Abiathar (David’s protégé). The Chronicler prefers to name the descendants of Ithamar after Ahimelech (1 Chronicles 24:3).
the offerings] R.V. the oblations (so also 2 Chronicles 31:12). The Heb. word těrûmâh denotes the heave offering (Leviticus 7:32), which the priest heaved (“lifted on high”) and was allowed to keep for himself.
we have had enough to eat) R.V. we have eaten and had enough.
hath blessed his people] Cp. Malachi 3:10.
and that which is left is this great store] LXX., καὶ κατελίπομεν ἐπὶ τὸ πλῆθος τοῦτο, “we leave (‘have left’) this great store and more.” An apparently superfluous particle (eth) in the Heb. has troubled the translators and commentators.
Then Hezekiah commanded to prepare chambers in the house of the LORD; and they prepared them,11. chambers] Cp. 1 Chronicles 9:26, note.
And brought in the offerings and the tithes and the dedicated things faithfully: over which Cononiah the Levite was ruler, and Shimei his brother was the next.12. the dedicate things] Cp. 2 Chronicles 29:33 (note on the consecrated things).
was the next] R.V. was second. Cp. 2 Chronicles 28:7 “Elkanah that was next to the king.”
And Jehiel, and Azaziah, and Nahath, and Asahel, and Jerimoth, and Jozabad, and Eliel, and Ismachiah, and Mahath, and Benaiah, were overseers under the hand of Cononiah and Shimei his brother, at the commandment of Hezekiah the king, and Azariah the ruler of the house of God.13. at the commandment] R.V. by the appointment.
the ruler of the house of God] Cp. 1 Chronicles 9:11, note.
And Kore the son of Imnah the Levite, the porter toward the east, was over the freewill offerings of God, to distribute the oblations of the LORD, and the most holy things.14. toward the east] R.V. at the east gate.
the most holy things] To this class belonged the shewbread (Leviticus 24:9), the meal offering (Leviticus 2:2-3; Leviticus 6:14-18 [7–11, Heb.]), the sin offering (Leviticus 6:25-30), and the trespass offering (Leviticus 7:1-7). These could be eaten by the priests only, and in the holy place only.
And next him were Eden, and Miniamin, and Jeshua, and Shemaiah, Amariah, and Shecaniah, in the cities of the priests, in their set office, to give to their brethren by courses, as well to the great as to the small:15. next him] R.V. under him.
in the cities] The persons mentioned in 2 Chronicles 31:12-14 were in Jerusalem itself. The priestly cities are given 1 Chronicles 6:54-60.
in their set office] R.V. mg. in their trust.
Beside their genealogy of males, from three years old and upward, even unto every one that entereth into the house of the LORD, his daily portion for their service in their charges according to their courses;16. beside their genealogy of males] R.V. beside them that were reckoned by genealogy of males.
even unto every one that entereth] R.V. even every one that entered.
his daily portion] R.V. as the duty of every day required.
Both to the genealogy of the priests by the house of their fathers, and the Levites from twenty years old and upward, in their charges by their courses;17. both to the genealogy of the priests by the house of their fathers] R.V. and them that were reckoned by genealogy of the priests by their fathers’ houses.
And to the genealogy of all their little ones, their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, through all the congregation: for in their set office they sanctified themselves in holiness:18. and to the genealogy of all their little ones] Render with R.V. mg. even to give to them that were reckoned by genealogy of all their little ones.
The connexion of 2 Chronicles 31:15-18 is difficult to trace and the text is perhaps faulty. Assuming however the general correctness of the text, we may regard 2 Chronicles 31:16-17 as a parenthesis stating that the ministration of Eden and his colleagues did not extend to those priests and Levites and male children of the priests who presented themselves in person at the Temple.
in their set office] R.V. mg. in their trust.
they sanctified themselves in holiness] Or, they busied themselves with the distribution of the sanctified things.
Also of the sons of Aaron the priests, which were in the fields of the suburbs of their cities, in every several city, the men that were expressed by name, to give portions to all the males among the priests, and to all that were reckoned by genealogies among the Levites.19. also of the sons] R.V. also for the sons. The Chronicler now passes to a third class of priests, viz. those in the country; cp. 2 Chronicles 31:15 (note).
the suburbs] Cp. 1 Chronicles 5:16 (R.V. mg. “pasture-lands”); 1 Chronicles 6:55; 1 Chronicles 6:57 [40, 42, Heb.].
the men] R.V. there were men.
by genealogies] R.V. by genealogy.
And thus did Hezekiah throughout all Judah, and wrought that which was good and right and truth before the LORD his God.20. and truth] R.V. and faithful.
And in every work that he began in the service of the house of God, and in the law, and in the commandments, to seek his God, he did it with all his heart, and prospered.