Wesley's Notes on the Bible
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.
31:1 Manasseh - By the special impulse and direction of God's spirit. And he knew 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 the images of Baal, and the things belonging to them.
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.
31:2 The tents - Within the gates of the house of the Lord: which is here called tents, because the host of the Lord, the priests and Levites, encamped there. And perhaps to intimate, that it was shortly to be removed.
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.
31:3 Of his substance - Which had hitherto been taken out of the treasures of the temple, but that he might ease the people in their present poverty, which his predecessor had brought upon them, and engage them to a more chearful 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.
31:4 Encouraged - Freed them from worldly cares and distractions, and enabled to give up themselves entirely to the serious study of God's law, and to the instruction, and direction, and quickening of the people.
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.
31:5 Came abroad - As Soon as the king extended that command to all the parts of his kingdom, which, ver.4, was confined to them that dwelt in Jerusalem. Honey - Or, dates, as the Hebrew writers generally, understand this word, which were 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.
31:6 By heaps - What the priests and the Levites had occasion for, they made use of, and the overplus was laid in heaps.
In the third month they began to lay the foundation of the heaps, and finished them in the seventh month.
31:7 Third month - Of the sacred year, in which their harvest began. Seventh - In which their harvest ended and the feast of tabernacles was kept.
And when Hezekiah and the princes came and saw the heaps, they blessed the LORD, and his people Israel.
31:8 Blessed the Lord - Both for giving such plentiful provisions to his land and for giving his people such liberal hearts. And they praised the people for their forwardness and faithfulness in it.
Then Hezekiah questioned with the priests and the Levites concerning the heaps.
31:9 Questioned - 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.
Then Hezekiah commanded to prepare chambers in the house of the LORD; and they prepared them,
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.
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.
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.
31:14 Most holy things - The remainders of the freewill - offering, the sin - offering, and trespass - offering, and the shew - bread; to see that all had a competent maintenance for themselves and their families.
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:
31:15 And next, and c. - These were intrusted with receiving and distributing 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;
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;
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:
31:18 For, and c. - 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.
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.
And thus did Hezekiah throughout all Judah, and wrought that which was good and right and truth before the LORD his God.
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.