Matthew Poole's Commentary
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.The people forward in destroying idolatry: Hezekiah ordereth the courses of the priests and Levites; and provideth for their work and maintenance, 2 Chronicles 31:1-4. The people forward in offerings and tithes, 2 Chronicles 31:5-10. Hezekiah appointeth officers to dispose of the tithes, 2 Chronicles 31:11-19; his sincerity, 2 Chronicles 31:20,21.
In Ephraim also and Manasseh; either,
1. In those cities belonging to Ephraim and Manasseh, which the kings of Judah had formerly taken from the kings of Israel. Or,
2. In the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh. For although these were a part of Hoshea’s kingdom, yet Hezekiah presumed to do this, partly, by virtue of the law of God, to which both Israel and Judah owed subjection, which commanded the extirpation of these things out of the whole land of Canaan; partly, by the special impulse and direction of God’s Spirit, which sometimes did put persons upon heroical and extraordinary actions, not to be drawn into imitation; and partly, because he knew that Hoshea contented himself with the worship of the calves, and did not practise that great idolatry which his predecessors had used, and therefore would patiently suffer the breaking of these images of Baal, and the things belonging to them; which is all that was done at this time.
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.i.e. Within the gates of the house of the Lord; which is here called
tents, partly because all houses are oft so called, as Judges 19:9 20:8 Psalm 69:25; and partly because the host of the Lord, to wit, the priests and Levites, frequently so called, encamped there, and kept their stations and orders there by course.
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.For the burnt-offerings; which had hitherto been, and were to be, taken out of the treasures of the temple which were collected from the people, 1 Chronicles 26:20 Nehemiah 10:32,33; but that he might ease them in their present poverty, which his predecessor had brought upon them, and engage them to a more cheerful attendance upon God’s service, he took the burden upon himself.
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.i.e. Freed from worldly cares and distractions, and enabled to give up themselves entirely to the serious study of God’s law, in which many of them were ignorant, and to the instruction, and direction, and quickening of the people in their several duties.
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.As soon as the commandment came abroad; either,
1. As soon as the report of this command of the king, 2 Chronicles 31:4, was got abroad into other parts. Or,
2. As soon as the king enlarged and extended that command to all the parts of his kingdom, which, 2 Chronicles 31:4, was confined to them that dwell in Jerusalem. Honey, or, dates, as the Hebrew writers generally, and many other learned Hebricians, understand this word, which is given to them because of the sweetness of their taste, in some sort resembling honey. For the law requires no tithes but of the fruits of trees, or of the earth, or of beasts.
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.Also the tithe of oxen and sheep; they brought in not only the same tithes which the dwellers in Jerusalem did, to wit, of corn, and wine, and oil, &c., which they had in their own storehouses in that city; but also oxen and sheep, which were more proper to the country; for under the cities of Judah are comprehended the suburbs and territories adjacent and belonging to them, as is evident from the nature of the thing, and the law of God.
And the tithe of holy things: this may be taken either,
1. By way of explication, even the tithe of holy things, &c. Or rather,
2. By way of addition,
the tithe of all holy things which were consecrated unto the Lord, whether by vow, or voluntary promise, or otherwise; as the tithes of gains by merchandise, or spoils of war, &c.; of which see Genesis 14:20 28:22 Numbers 31:28,30.
In the third month they began to lay the foundation of the heaps, and finished them in the seventh month.In the third month, to wit, of the sacred year, Exodus 12:2 in which their harvest began.
In the seventh month; in which their harvest ended and the feast of tabernacles was kept, Exodus 23:16 Leviticus 23:34.
And when Hezekiah and the princes came and saw the heaps, they blessed the LORD, and his people Israel.They blessed the Lord; both for giving such plentiful provisions to his land in this year, and for giving his people such liberal and pious hearts towards this good work.
And his people Israel; they praised them for their forwardness and faithfulness in it.
Then Hezekiah questioned with the priests and the Levites concerning the heaps.How it came to pass that no more of their provision was spent, and that there yet remained such great heaps of it.
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.The chief priest of the house of Zadok; either,
1. The high priest, called also Zadok, 1 Chronicles 6:12, because he was of his line and family. Or,
2. The chief priest, or the head of that family of Zadok, or of Eleazar; as there was another chief priest of the family of Abiathar, or of Ithamar; see 2 Samuel 8:17 1 Chronicles 24:3; but both subject to the high priest.
Since the people began to bring the offerings; which they did from the beginning of the harvest, according to the manner.
The Lord hath blessed his people in an extraordinary degree.
Then Hezekiah commanded to prepare chambers in the house of the LORD; and they prepared them,In the house of the Lord; largely so called, to wit, in the courts, or in the chambers adjoining to the house.
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.No text from Poole on this verse.
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.Overseers under the hand of Cononiah and Shimei his brother, i.e. to dispose of those provisions by their direction, and to be accountable to them therein.
The ruler of the house of God; either the supreme ruler, to wit, the high priest; or the chief ruler under him, and in his stead, being appointed by him to inspect this work. See above, 2 Chronicles 31:10 1 Chronicles 9:11 Jeremiah 20:1.
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.Toward the east; at the east gate of the Lord’s house; of which See Poole "2 Chronicles 23:5".
To distribute to the priests and Levites, to whom they were appropriated by God.
The most holy things, to wit, the remainders of the free-will-offering, Leviticus 2:3,10, the sin-offering and trespass-offering, Leviticus 6:18,22 Le 7:1, and the shew-bread, Leviticus 24:9.
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:These were intrusted with the receiving and distributing of the several portions belonging to the priests who abode in their several cities, whilst their brethren came up to Jerusalem.
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;From three years old and upward; to whom a portion of these things was allotted, as is here implied.
Unto every one that entereth into the house of the Lord; that were capable of entering thither and doing service there, which they were at twenty years old, as is expressed here, 2 Chronicles 31:17, and 1 Chronicles 23:24, through the whole company of the priests and Levites.
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;No text from Poole on this verse.
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:This is alleged as a reason why their wives and children were provided for out of the holy things, because they sequestered themselves from worldly affairs, by which they might otherwise have provided for their families, and entirely devoted themselves to holy administrations.
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.The priests, which were in the fields; who are opposed to those that lived in or resorted to the great city Jerusalem.
And thus did Hezekiah throughout all Judah, and wrought that which was good and right and truth before the LORD his God.No text from Poole on this verse.
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.No text from Poole on this verse.