Haydock Catholic Bible Commentary
When he, Joatham, "had begun," cœpisset. (Haydock) --- Thus Junius evades the following difficulty. (Du Hamel) --- Sixteen, consequently he died when he was 36 years old. As Ezechias was 25 when he came to the throne, Achab must have been a father at 11 (Calmet) or 12 year of age. (Bochart, Dissert. xxiii.) --- St. Jerome asserts the same of Solomon, and observes, that "many things which seem incredible in Scripture, are nevertheless true." (ep. ad Vital.) He, with some others, has recourse to a miracle. Others suppose that Ezechias was an adopted son, or kinsman, or that the numbers are incorrect, &c. But we are assured by respectable authors, (Haydock) that people have children very soon in the hotter climates. Busbeque (Ep. 3.) says, in Colchis many are mothers at ten years of age; and to convince the incredulous, produce their infants "not much bigger than a large frog." Albert the Great says he knew one who had a child at 10, and Navarre (following Sanchez, Matthew vii. 2, 5. disp. 104.) was credibly informed that a similar fact was seen at Naples. Mandesle observes that this is common in India. He says one had lately a child at six year of age, which was there thought remarkable. St. Jerome mentions a boy who became a father at 10, and Sanchez relates that the same happened in Spain. A boy under 12 had a child by a girl of 10, in Provence. (Scaliger Elenc.) The Romans laws fix upon the age of 14 for males, and 12 for females' lawfully marrying; (Haydock) though many examples of people having children before that age are produced by Tiraqueau, 6. conn. 36. Yet physicians require 13 in males, and 14 years complete in females before they are capable of this effect. (Genebrard) St. Augustine (City of God xv. 11., and xvi. c. ultra[last chap.] and in psalm civ.) maintains that a person of 10 years of age is unfit for generation. (Calmet) --- Malitia supplet ætatem. Achaz was a monster of wickedness. (Haydock) --- In the first year of his reign, and in the fifth Olympiad, the Ephori were appointed at Sparta under Theopompus, nephew of Lycurgus. (Salien, the year before Christ 59.)
Fire, to purify him (or them, Paralipomenon filios, all were treated thus. Haydock) according to the superstitions of the pagans: omnia purgat edax ignis. (Ovid, Fast.) (Theodoret, q. 16.) (Menochius) --- Others believe that the child was burnt to death in honour of Moloch, and in imitation of the Chanaanites, Psalm cv. 37., and Deuteronomy xviii. 10. The Carthaginians were required by Gelon, king of Syracuse, to lay aside this most barbarous custom. (Phil. apoph.) Yet, "infants were publicly immolated to Saturn, in Africa, till the proconsulate of Tiberius, who ordered the priests to be exposed on those same trees which shaded their crimes, as on votive crosses. This the soldiers, my countrymen, who executed the proconsul's orders, can testify; and still the sacred crime is perpetrated in secret." (Tertullian, Apol. viii.) --- How tenacious are people of old errors! (Haydock)
Then. In punishment of such enormous crimes, God first delivered Achaz into the hands of Rasin, (2 Paralipomenon xxviii.; St. Jerome, in Isaias vii.) and afterwards Phacee destroyed 120,000 in one battle, and took 200,000 prisoners, whom the prophet Oded persuaded him to release, 2 Paralipomenon xxviii. 8, 11. Salien (the year before Christ 759.) observes that the two kings then joined their forces , and besieged Jerusalem the following year, but to no purpose. (Haydock) --- Isaias was sent before the siege to encourage Achaz, and to promise the miraculous birth of the Messias, as a sign that he should be delivered: and to convince him of it the more, he foretold that the two kings should be destroyed before his own son should be able to say father, Isaias vii. 8., &c. Yet as Achaz did not still amend his life, God sent the same kings the following year (the year of the world 3263.) to lay waste the country. (Calmet)
Juda. Literally, "Jews," Judæos, (Haydock) which is the first time we find this appellation. (Du Hamel) --- Aila, or Elath, which had been taken by Ozias, chap. xiv. 22. (Menochius) --- It seems never to have belonged to Syria, as it was too far from Damascus. Instead of Aram, we should therefore probably read Edom, which words in Hebrew are extremely similar, and have been often mistaken, (Judges xi. 17.; Calmet) particularly as we find that the Edomites took possession of the city. This latter word is indeed Syrians in Hebrew, &c. (Haydock) --- Josephus and others maintain that the Syrians seized and kept the place. But they were most likely only invited by the Idumeans to come to their assistance. (Calmet)
Son, vassal, or under thy protection. (Calmet) --- Save me. Achaz sinned by this placing his confidence in man, after the prophet had given him such assurance from the Lord. (Menochius) --- He has soon reason to repent of having brought this proud ally into his dominions, as he proved a great scourge; (2 Paralipomenon xxviii. 20.) no less than the Saxons did to the ancient Britons.
Cyrene, not in Egypt, where he had no power, but near the river Cyrus, (Calmet) in higher Media. (Josephus) --- Hebrew, "and took it and carried the inhabitants captives to Kir," (Haydock) whence the Syrians had come originally, Amos ix. 7. Arbaces, who had dismembered Media from the Assyrians empire, was now dead, and the king of Nineve had retaken several cities, occupying Rages, &c., (Tobias i. 16., &c.) before Dejoces mounted the throne, and extended the empire of the Medes. (Usher) --- The people of Sepharvaim lived also on the borders of Media, chap. xviii. 11.
To meet, and congratulate the king on his victory, and perhaps to divert him from proceeding any father. (Calmet) --- But it was too late, ver. 7. (Haydock) --- The same year Phacee hastened to defend his dominions, but was slain by Osee. (Salien, the year before Christ 757.)
Priest, or pontiff, as no other would have dared to make this innovation. (Salien) --- He was guilty of a great weakness; as the altar of Solomon had been so solemnly consecrated by God's presence. All changes in religion are dangerous. The Machabees behaved with far greater respect, with regard to the altar which had been profaned, 1 Machabees iv. 45. (Calmet) --- Isaias (viii. 2.) calls this priest a faithful, or competent witness, (Haydock) on account of his dignity, not approving his conduct. (Salien) --- But he had not erected this altar when the prophet spoke thus to him. (Du Hamel)
And worshipped. Hebrew simply, "and the king approached to the altar, and offered on it (13) his holocaust and his meat (or flour) offering, and poured hid drink-offering, and the blood of his peace-offerings, upon the altar." (Haydock) --- He dedicated it with all sorts of sacrifices, forbidding any other to be used in the temple. But shortly after he shut up the temple entirely, 2 Paralipomenon xxviii. 24., and xxix. 3. He offered sacrifice to idols upon this altar, (Abulensis) while the priests made use of the same altar to sacrifice the true God, (ver. 15.; Menochius) unlawfully.
And from. Hebrew, "from between the new altar and the house of," &c. (Haydock) --- Achaz had placed his altar before that of Solomon: but he afterwards removed the latter from the right-hand of the sanctuary, to a corner of the court, on the north side. (Calmet) --- In the midst of his distress, he despised God; sacrificed to the gods of the Syrians, as more powerful and victorious than the Lord; pillaged the temple, which he shut up during the remainder of his reign, (Haydock) and erected altars for himself in all the corners of Jerusalem, 2 Paralipomenon xxviii. 24.
Morning, as prescribed in the law, Exodus xxix. 38. --- King's ordained for sin: (Leviticus iv. 22.) or instituted by Solomon, who left a fund. (Haydock) (2 Paralipomenon viii. 12.) (Menochius) --- The law says nothing about the king's daily holocaust and sacrifice of flour. (Haydock) --- But it probably was offered after the morning and evening sacrifices. This Achaz calls his own, (ver. 12.; Calmet) as he had not yet laid aside the practice. --- Pleasure. Hebrew, "to inquire about." (Haydock) --- I shall do what I think proper with it. (Menochius)
Stone, all out of avarice, (Haydock) and contempt of the Lord, who chastized him. (Menochius) --- He took away the plates of brass, c., from the doors, (Calmet) which Ezechias was forced to replace, (Haydock) afterwards to take down for the Assyrians, chap. xviii. 16. (Calmet)
Musach. The covert, or pavilion, or tribune for the king. (Challoner) --- Achaz would not have his ally to be in the court, but placed his throne in the temple. (Du Hamel) --- Septuagint, "and the foundation of the chair he built in the house of the Lord." (Haydock) --- Hebrew, "and the (musac) covert, or tribune of the sabbath, which they had built in the temple, and the king's entry without, the turned (Haydock) round (Menochius) from the temple, for the king of Assur." He despoiled these rich ornaments, to gratify the Assyrian. (Haydock) --- Solomon had built a most magnificent tribune, 2 Paralipomenon vi. 13. See chap. xi. 6. The musach of Juda, was the pulpit; from which the law was read, Isaias xxii. 8. The king's tribune was near the eastern gate, which was only opened on the sabbath, Ezechiel xlvi. 1. Some believe that the musach was a large curtain, suspended over the court, to keep off the sun's beams. Eupolemus speaks of some very magnificent ones, (Eusebius, præp. ix. 34.) as does also Josephus; such as those which covered the Roman theatres. Others think it was a tent for the priests to take a little rest, or for the door-keepers, or a chest designed to receive the contributions for the repairs of the temple, or for the king to distribute his alms, or a covered throne for him to sit down on. (Calmet)
Book. Hebrew, "in the chronicles;" or, "in the book of the annals." (Haydock)
With them; but not in the same sepulchre, on account of his impiety, 2 Paralipomenon xxviii. 27. (Calmet) --- In the 5th year of his reign, the Idumeans harassed the country, and in the 6th, the Philistines took several towns; (Salien) so that he fell a prey to enemies on all sides, and was memorable for nothing but impiety and disasters. (Haydock) --- Rome was built, and Numa born, on the 21st of April, in the 9th year of Achaz, and the first of the 7th Olympiad. (Salien, the year before Christ 751.)