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25 And he set the Levites in the house of the 32 And the number of the burnt-offerings, which LORD with cymbals, with psalteries, and with harps, the congregation brought, was threescore and ten according to the commandment of David, and of bullocks, an hundred rams, and two hundred lambs; Gad the king's seer, and Nathan the prophet; for all these were for a burnt-offering to the Lord. *80 was the commandment of the LORD *by his pro 33 And the consecrated things were six hunphets.

dred oxen, and three thousand sheep. 26 And the Levites stood with the instruments 34 But the priests were too few, so that they "of David, and the priests with the trumpets. could not flay all the burnt-offerings : wherefore

27 And Hezekiah commanded to offer the burnt- their brethren the Levites **did help them till the offering upon the altar. And when the burnt-offer- work was ended, and until the other priests had ing began, the song of the LORD began also with sanctified themselves; for the Levites were more the trumpets, and with the instruments ordained upright in heart to sanctify themselves than the by David king of Israel.

priests. 28 And all the congregation worshipped, and 35 And also the burnt-offerings were in abunthe $singers sang, and the trumpeters sounded : dance, with the fat 'of the peace-offerings, and the and all this continued until the burnt-offering drink-offerings "for every burnt-offering. So the was finished.

service of the house of the LORD was set in order. 29 And when they had made an end of offering, the 36 And "Hezekiah rejoiced, and all the people, king and all that were present 'with him bowed that God had prepared the people: for the thing themselves, and worshipped.

was done suddenly. 30 Moreover, Hezekiah the king, and the princes,

CHAPTER XXX. commanded the Levites to sing praise unto the In this chapter, we have an account of the solemn Passover which Hezekiah kept in LORD with the words of David, and of Asaph the the first year of his reign. J. The consultation about it, and the resolution he

and hia people came to for the observance of it, v. 2-5. 11. The invitation he seer : and they sang praises with gladness, and

sent to Judah and Israel to come and keep it, v. 1, 6–12. III. The joyful celethey bowed (their heads and worshipped.

bration of it, v. 13-27. By this, the reformation, set on foot in the foregoing 31 Then Hezekiah answered and said, Now ye

chapter, was greatly advanced, and established, and that nail in God's holy have #consecrated yourselves unto the Lord, come

A near, and bring sacrifices and thank-offerings into wrote letters also to Ephraim and Manasseh, the house of the LORD. And the congregation that they should come to the house of the Lord at brought in sacrifices and thank-offerings; and as Jerusalem, to keep the passover unto the LORD God many as were of a free heart, burnt-offerings. of Israel.

place, clenched.

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(v. 21,) because the sins of the congregation had been very one hundred rams, and two hundred lambs, v. 32. (2.) Others great, and long continued in. Seven is a number of perfection : brought peace-offerings and thank-offerings, the fat of which our great Sin-offering is but one, yel that one perfecls for ever was burned upon the altar, and the flesh divided between the them thal are sanctified.

priests and the offerers, (v.35;) of this sort there were six hun3. The king and the congregation (that is, the representa- | dred oxen and three thousand sheep, v. 33. Perhaps the rememtives of the congregation) laid their hands on the heads of the brance of their sin, in sacrificing on the high places, made them goats that were for the sin-offering, (v. 23,) thereby owning more willing to bring their sacrifices now to God's altar. themselves guilty before God, and expressing their desire that 2. That the priests were few, too few for the service, v. 34. the guilt of the sinner might be transferred upon the sacrifice. Many of them, it is likely, were suspended and laid aside as By faith we lay our hands on the Lord Jesus, and so receive polluted and uncanonical, for having sacrificed to idols in the the atonement, Rom. 5. 11.

last reign, and the rest had not the zeal that one might have 4. Burnt-offerings were offered with the sin-offerings, seven expected upon such an occasion; they thought that The king bullocks, seven rams, and seven lambs. The intention of the needed not to be so forward, that there was no such necessity burnt-offerings was to give glory to the God of Israel, whom for haste in opening the doors of the temple, and therefore they they own as the only true God, which it was proper to do at took no care to sanctify themselves, and, being unsanctified, the same time that they were by the sin-offering making atone- and so unqualified, they made that their excuse for being absent ment for their offences. The blood of those, as well as of the from the service; as if their offence would be their defence. It sin-offering, was sprinkled upon the altar, (v. 22,). 10 inake is recorded here, to the perpetual shame of the priests, that reconciliation for all Israel, (v. 24,) and not for Judah only; though they were so well provided for out of the offerings of Christ is a Propitiation not for the sins of Israel only, but of the Lord made by fire, yet they did not mind their business; the whole world, 1 John 2. 1, 2.


was work to do, and there wanted proper hands to do it. 5. While the offerings were burning upon the altar, the Le 3. That the Levites were forward. They had been more vites sang the song of the Lord, (v. 27,) the psalms composed upright in heart to sanctify themselves than the priests, (v. 34,) by David and Asaph, (v. 30,) with the musical instruments were better affected to the work, and better prepared and quawhich God by his prophets had commanded the use of, (v. 25,) lified for it; this was their praise, and, in recompense for it, and which had been long neglected. Even sorrow for sin must they had the honour to be employed in that which was the not put us out of tune for praising God. By faith we must priests' work; they helped them to flay the offerings. This rejoice in Christ Jesus as our righteousness; and our prayers was not according to the law, (Lev. 1.5, 6,) but the irreguand praises must ascend with his offering, to be accepted only larity was dispensed with in cases of necessity, and thus in the virtue of it.

encouragement was given to the faithful zealous Levites, and a 6. The king and all the congregation testified their consent just disgrace put upon the careless priests. What the Levites to, and concurrence in, all that was done, by bowing their heads wanted in the ceremonial advantages of their birth and conseand worshipping ; expressing an awful veneration of the Divine cration, was abundantly made up in their eminent qualifications Majesty, by postures of adoration. This is taken notice of, of skill and will to do the work. 0.28–30. It is not enough for us to be where God is worship 4. That all were pleased. The king and all the people ped, if we do not ourselves worship him, and that, not with rejoiced in this blessed turn of affairs, and the new face of relibodily exercise only, which profits little, but with the heart. gion which the kingdom had put on, v. 36. Two things in this

II. The solemnities of this day did likewise look forward : matter pleased them; (1.) That it was soon brought about; the temple service was to be set up again, that it might be con- the thing was done suddenly, in a little time, with a great deal tinually kept up; and this Hezekiah calls them to, v. 31. "Now of ease, and without any opposition. Those that go about the that ye have consecrated yourselves to the Lord, have both made work of God in faith and with resolution, will find that there is an atonement and made a covenant by sacrifice, are solemnly not that difficulty in it, which they sometimes imagine, but it reconciled, and engaged to him; now come near, and bring will be a pleasing surprise to them to see how soon it is done. sacrifices." Note, Our covenant with God must be pursued (2.) That the hand of God was plainly in it; God had preand improved in communion with him. Having consecrated pared the people by the secret influences of his grace, so that ourselves, in the first place, to the Lord, we must bring the many of those who had in the last reign doted on the idolatrous sacrifices of prayer, and praise, and alms, to his house. Now, allars, were now as much in love with God's altar. This in this work, it was found,

change which God wrought on their minds, did very much 1. That the people were free. Being called to it by the expedite and facilitate the work. Let magistrates and minisking, they brought in their offerings, though not in such abun- ters do their part toward the reforming of a land, and then let dance as in the glorious days of Solomon, (for Judah was now them trust God to do his, and ascribe to him the glory of what diminished, impoverished, and brought low) but according to is done, especially when it is done suddenly, and is a pleasing what they had, and as much as one could expect, consider- surprise. This is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous. ing their poverty and the great decay of piety among them. (1.) Some were so generous as to bring burnt-offerings, which were wholly consumed to the honour of God, apd of which the V.1-12. Here is, offerer had no part; of this sort there were seventy bullocks, I. A passover resolved upon. That annual feast was insti


2 For the king had taken counsel, and his 7 And be pot ye like your fathers, and like your princes, and all the congregation in Jerusalem, to brethren, which trespassed against the LORD God keep the passover in the second amonth.

of their fathers, who, therefore, gave them up to 3' For they could not keep it at that time, be- desolation, as ye see. cause the priests had not "sanctified themselves suf 8 Now :be ye not stiffnecked,' as your fathers ficiently, neither had the people gathered themselves were, but syield "yourselves unto the LORD, and entogether to Jerusalem.

ter into his sanctuary, which he hath sanctified för 4 And the thing *pleased the king and all the ever; and serve the LORD your God, that the fiercecongregation.

ness of his wrath may turn away from you. 5 So they established a decree, to make procla 9 For if ye turn again unto the LORD, your mation throughout all Israel, from Beer-sheba even brethren and your children shall find compassion to Dan, that they should come to keep the passover before them mihat lead them captive, so that they unto the Lord God of Israel at Jerusalem ; for they shall come again into this land : for the LORD your had not done it of a long time in such sort as it was God is gracious "and merciful, and will not turn written.

away his face from you, if ye return "unto him. 6 So the posts went with the letters from the 10 So the posts passed from city to city, through king and his princes throughout all Israel and the country of Ephraim and Manasseh, even unto Judah, and according to the commandment of the Zebulun: Pbut they laughed them to scorn, and king, saying, Ye children of Israel, turn again unto mocked them. the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, and 11 Nevertheless divers sof Asher and Manasseh he will return to the remnant of you that are and of Zebulun humbled themselves, and came to escaped out of the hand of the kings of Assyria. Jerusalem.

a Num. 9. 10, 11. 6 Ex. 12. 6, 18. c c. 29. 34. teas right in the eyes of. d Deut. 12. 32. I Cor. 11. 2. from the hand of. e Jer. 1.1. Lain. 5. 21. Joel 2. 13, 14. f 18. 6. 13. & E., 20. 13, &c. Heb. 3. 7-11. A c. 29. 8. harden no! your necke.

i Deut. 10. 16. Roma. 10. 21. $ give the hand, I Chr. 23. 24. Ezra 10. 19. k Rom. 6. 13-19. I c. 29. 10. * PN. 106. 46, * Ex. 34.6. Neh. 9. 17, 31. Po. 111. 4. Jon. 4.2. o Prov. 2. 13. Is. 55. 7. p c. 36. 16. 9 c. 11. 16. ver. 18. 21.

v. 3.

tuted as a memorial of the bringing of the children of Israel out the bone with us: this must be conquered; and the will that of Egypt: it happened that the reviving of the temple service had in it a spirit of contradiction, must be melted into the will fell within the appointed days of that feast, the seventeenth day of God; and to his yoke the neck that was an iron sinew of the first month; this brought that forgotten solemnity to must be bowed and fitted. In pursuance of this resignation to mind; "What shall we do,” says Hezekiah," about the pass-God, he presses them to enter into his sanctuary, that is, to over? It is a very comfortable ordinance, and has been long attend upon him in that place which he had chosen to put his neglected; how shall we revive that? The time is lapsed, for name there, and serve him in the ordinances which he had this year; we cannot go about it immediately, the congregation appointed. “The doors of the sanctuary are now opened, and is thin, the people have not notice, the priests are not prepared, you have liberty to enter; the temple service is now revived,

Must we defer it till another year ?"! Many, it is likely, and you are welcome to join in it." The king says, Come; the were for deferring it: but Hezekiah considered that by that princes and priests say, Come, whoever will, let him come. This time twelvemonth, the good affections of the people would he calls, (v. 6,) turning to the Lord God; for they had forsaken cool, and it would be too long to want the benefit of the ordi- him, and worshipped other gods; Repent now, and be converted. nance; and therefore, finding a proviso in the law of Moses, Thus they who through grace have turned to God themselves, that particular persons who were unclean in the first month, should do all they can to bring others back to him. might keep the passover the fourteenth day of the second month, [2.) What arguments he uses to persuade them to do this. and be accepted, (Num. 9. 11,) he doubted not but that it First, “You are children of Israel, and therefore stand related, might be extended to the congregation. Whereupon, they stand obliged, to the God of Israel, from whom you are revolta resolved to keep the passover in the second month." Let the ed." Secondly, " The God you are called to return to, is the circumstance give way to the substance, and let not the thing God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, a God in covenant with itself be lost upon a nicety about the time. It is good striking your first fathers, who served him and yielded themselves to while the iron is hot, and taking people when they are in a him; and it was their honour and happiness." Thirdly, good mind. Delays are dangerous.

“Your late fathers, that forsook him and trespassed against II. A proclamation issued out to give notice of this passover, him, have been given up to desolation; their" apostacy and and to summon the people to it.

idolatry have been their ruin, as you see, (v. 7 ;) let their 1. An invitation was sent to the ten revolted tribes to stir harms be your warnings." Fourthly, You yourselves are but a them up to come, and attend this solemnity. Letters were remnant narrowly escaped out of the hands of the kings of Aswritten to Ephraim and Manasseh to invite them to Jerusalem syria, (v. 6,) and therefore are concerned to put yourselves to keep this passover, (v. 1,) not with any politic design to under the protection of the God of your fathers, that you be not bring them back to the house of David, but with a pious design quite swallowed up.” Fifthly," This is the only way of turne to bring them back to the Lord God of Israel; “Lot them take ing away the fierceness of God's anger from you, (v. 8,) which whom they will for their king," says Hezekiah, so they will will certainly consume you, if you continue stiffnecked." but take him for their God." The matters in difference be- Lastly," If you return to God in a way of duty, he will return tween Judah and Israel, either upon a civil or sacred account, to you in a way of mercy.” This he begins with, (v. 6,) and shall not hinder, but that if the people of Israel will sincerely concludes with, v. 9. In general, “ You will find him gracious return to the Lord their God, Hezekiah will bid them as wel- and merciful, and one that will not turn away his face from you, come to the passover as any of his own subjects. Expresses if you seek, him, notwithstanding the prorocations you have are sent post throughout all the tribes of Israel, with memorials, given him.” Particularly, “You may hope that he will turn earnestly pressing the people to take this opportunity of return again the captivity of your brethren that are carried away, and ing to the God from whom they had revolted. Now here we bring them back to their own land." Could any thing be exhave,

pressed more pathetically, more movingly ? Could there be a (1.) The contents of the circular lotters that were despatched better cause, and better pleaded? away upon this occasion, in which Hezekiah discovers a great (2.) The entertainment which Hezekiah's messengers and concern both for the honour of God, and for the welfare of the message met with. It does not appear that Hoshea, who was neighbouring kingdom, the prosperity of which he seems pas now king of Israel, look any umbrage from, or gave any opposionately desirous of, though he not only received no toll, tribute, sition 10, the dispersing of these proclamations through his or eustom, from it, but it had often, and not long since, been kingdom, nor that he forbade his subjects to accept the invitavexations to his kingdom. This is rendering good for evil. lion; he seems to have left them entirely to their liberty, they

Observe, (1.) What it is, which he presses them to ; (v. 8.) might go to Jerusalem to worship if they pleased; for though “Yield yourselves unto the Lord. Before you can come into he did evil

, yet not like the kings of Israel that were before him, communion with him, you must come into covenant with him." 2 Kings 17.2. He saw ruin coming upon his kingdom, and if Give the hand to the Lord; so the word is ; that is, “Consent any of his subjects would try this expedient to prevent it, they to take him for your God:” a bargain is confirmed by giving had his full permission. But, for the people, the hand; “Strike this bargain. Join yourselves to him in an (1.) The generality of them slighted the call, and turned a everlasting covenant. Subscribe with the hand to be his, Is. 44. deaf ear to it. The messengers went from city to city, some to 5. Give him your hand, in token of giving him your heart; lay one, and some to another, and used pressing entrealjes with the your hand to his plough ; devote yourselves to his service, to people to come up 10 Jerusalem to keep the passover; but they work for him. Yield to him," that is, “Come up to his terms; were so far from complying with the message, that they abused come under his government; stand it not out any longer against them that brought it, luughed them to scorn, and mocked them, him. Yield to him, to be absolutely and universally at his com- (v. 10, not only refused, but refused with disdain. Tell them mand, at his disposal; to be, and do, and have, and suffer, of the God of Abraham, they knew him not, they had other gods whatever he pleases. In order to this, be not stiffnecked as to serve, Baal and Ashtaroth; tell them of the sanctuary, their your fathers were ; let not your corrupt and wicked wills rise up high places were as good; of God's mercy and wrath, they in rebellion against the will of God. Say not that you will do neither dreaded the one, nor desired the other. No marvel what you please, but resolve to do what he pleases." We per- that the king's messengers were thus despitefully used by this ceive in the carnal mind a stiffness and obstinacy, an unaptness apostate race, when God's messengers were so, bis servants to comply with God; we have it from our fathers, it is bred in the prophels, who produced credentials from him. The destruc

s c. 29. 25.

Ps. 84. 7.

c. 28. 24.

to ver. 11.

Jer. 24. 7. Ez. 36. 26. Phil. 2. 13. u c. 29. 34.

12 Also in Judah, the hand of God was to give that were not sanctified; therefore the Levites had them one heart to do the commandment of the king the charge of the killing of the passovers for every and of the princes, by the word of the LORD. one that was not clean, to sanctify them unto the

13 And there assembled at Jerusalem much LORD. people to keep the feast of unleavened bread in the 18 For wa multitude of the people, even many of second month, a very great congregation.

Ephraim and Manasseh, Issachar and Zebulun, had 14 And they arose, and took away the altars 'that not cleansed "themselves, yet did they eat the passwere in Jerusalem, and all the altars for incense over otherwise than it was written: but Hezekiah took they away, and cast them into the brook prayed for them, saying, The good LORD pardon Kidron.

every one 15 Then they killed the passover on the four 19 That prepareth yhis heart to seek God, the teen th day of the second month: and the priests Lord God of his fathers, though he be not cleansed "and the Levites were ashamed, and sanctified according to the purification of the sanctuary. themselves, and brought in the burnt-offerings into 20 And the LORD hearkened to Hezekiah, and the house of the LORD.

healed the people. 16 And they stood in their *place after their 21 And the children of Israel that were present manner, according to the law of Moses the man of at Jerusalem, kept the feast of unleavened bread God: the priests sprinkled the blood, which they seven days with great gladness : and the Levites received of the hand of the Levites :

and the priests praised the LORD day by day, sing17 For there were many in the congregation ing with +loud instruments unto the Lord.

2 Num. 9. 10,&c. y c. 19. 3. / Jam. 5. 15. found. I instru. • standing.

ments of strength. tion of the kingdom of the ten tribes was now at hand; it was IV. Hezekiah's prayer to God for the forgiveness of this but iwo or three years after this, that the king of Assyria laid irregularity. It was his zeal that had called them together in siege to Samaria, which ended in the captivity of those tribes: such haste, and he would not that any should fare the worse for just before this, they had not only a king of their own that per- being straitened of time in their preparation : he therefore mitted them to return to God's sanctuary, but a king of Judah thought himself concerned to be an intercessor for those that that earnestly invited them to do it; had they generally accepted ate the passover otherwise than it was written, that there might this invitation, it might have prevented their ruin; but their not be wrath upon them from the Lord. His prayer was, contempt of it hastened and aggravated it, and left them inex 1. A short prayer, but to the purpose.

The good Lord parcusable,

don every one in the congregation that has fixed, engaged, or [2.] Yet there were some sew that accepted the invitation. prepared, his heart to those services, though the ceremonial The message, though to some it was a savour of death unto preparation be wanting. Note, (1.) The great thing required death, was to others a savour of life unto life, v. 11. In the in our attendance upon God in solemn ordinances, is, that we worst of times, God has had a remnant; so he had here, divers prepare our hearts to seek him; that we be sincere and upright of Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun, (here is no mention of any in all we do, that the inward man be engaged and employed in out of Ephraim,*) humbled themselves, and came to Jerusalem, it, and that we make heart work of it; it is all nothing without that is, were sorry for their sins, and submitted to God. Pride this. Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward part. Hezekiah keeps men from yielding themselves to the Lord; when that does not pray that this might be dispensed with, nor that the is brought down, the work is done.

want of other things might be pardoned where there was not 2. A command was given to the men of Judah to attend this this; for this is the one thing needful, that we seek God, his solemnity; and they universally obeyed it, v. 12. They did it favour, his honour, and that we set our hearts to do it. (2.) with one heart, were all of a mind in it, and the hand of God Where this sincerity and fixedness of heart are, yet there may gave them that one heart; for it is in the day of power that be many defects and infirmities, both the frame of the spirit, Christ's subjects are made willing. It is God that works both and the performance of the service, short of the purification of to will and to do. When people, at any time, discover an un- the sanctuary. Corruptions may not be so fully conquered, expected forwardness to that which is good, we must acknow-thoughts not so closely fixed, affections not so lively, faith not ledge the hand of God in it.

so operative, as they should be; here is a defect in sanctuary V. 13—20. The time appointed for the passover is now purification. There is nothing perfect under the sun, nor a just come, and a very great congregation came together upon this man that doeth good, and sinneth not. (3.) These defects need occasion, v. 13. Now here we have,

pardoning, healing grace; for omissions in duty are sins, as I. The preparation they made for the passover; it was good well as omissions of duty. If God should deal with us in strict preparation : they took away all the idolatrous altars that were justice, according to the best of our performances, we were found, not only in the temple, but in Jerusalem, v. 14. Before undone. (4.) The way to obtain pardon for our deficiencies in they kept the feast, they cast out this old leaven. The best duty, and all the iniquities of our holy things, is to seek it of preparation we can make for the Gospel passover, is, to cast God by prayer; it is not so a pardon of course, but that it must away our iniquities, our spiritual idolatries.

be obtained by petition through the blood of Christ. (5.) In II. Their celebration of the passover; in this the people were this prayer, we must take encouragement from the goodness of so forward and zealous, that the priests and Levites blushed to God. The good Lord pardon ; for when he proclaimed his see themselves outdone by the comrnonally, to see them more goodness, he insisted most upon this branch of it, forgiving ready to bring sacrifices, than they were to offer them. This iniquity, transgression, and sin. (6.) It is the duty of those put them upon sanctifying themselves, (v. 15,) that the work that have the charge of others, not only to look to themselves, might not stand still for want of hands to carry it on. The no- but to those also that are under their charge, to see wherein tice we take of the zeal of others, should make us ashamed of they are wanting, and to pray for them; as Hezekiah here. our own coldness, and quicken us not only to do our duty, but See Job 1, 5. to do it well, and to sanctify ourselves to it. They did accord 2. A successful prayer. The Lord hearkened to Hezekiah, ing to the duty of their place, (v. 16,) sprinkling the blood upon was well pleased with his pious concern for the congregation, the allar, which was a type of Christ our Passover sacrificed and, in answer to his prayer, healed the people, (v. 20;) not

only did not lay their sin to their charge, but graciously acceptIII. The irregularities they were guilty of in this solemnity. ed their services notwithstanding; for healing denotes not only The substance was well managed, and with a great deal of de- forgiveness, (Is. 6. 10. Ps. 103. 3,) but comfort and peace, votion ; but beside being a month out of time, 1. The Levites Is.

57. 18. Mal. 4.2. killed the passover, which should have been done by the priests V. 21–27. After the passover followed the feast of unlea. only, v. 17. They also assisted, more than the law ordinarily vened bread, which continued seven days. How that was oballowed, in offering the other sacrifices, particularly those that served we are here told, and every thing in this account looks were for the purifying of the unclean, many of which there was pleasant and lively. now occasion for. Some think that it was the offerers' work, 1. Abundance of sacrifices were offered to God in peace not the priests', that the Levites had here the charge of. Or- offerings, by which they both acknowledged and implored the dinarily, every man killed his lamb, but now for those that were

favour of God, and on part of which the offerers feasted with under any ceremonial pollution the Levites did it. 2. Many their friends during these seven days, (v. 22,) in token of their were permitted to eat the passover, who were not purified ac, communion with God, and the comfort they took in his favour, cording to the strictness of the law, v. 18. This was the second and their reconciliation to him. To keep up this part of the month, and there was no warrant to put them off further to the service, that God's altar might be abundantly regaled with the third month, as, if it had been the first month, the law had per: fat and blood, and his priests and people with the flesh of the mitted them to eat it the second. And they were loath to forbid peace-offerings, Hezekiah gave out of his own stock one thouthem communicating at all, lest they should discourage new sand bullocks and seven thousand sheep; and the princes, exconverts, and send them away complaining, whom they desired cited by his pious example, gave the same number of bullocks, to send away rejoicing. Grotius observes from this, that ritual and a greater number of sheep, and all for peace-offerings, v. 24. institutions must give way, not only to a public necessity, but By this God was honoured, the joy of the festival was kept up, to a public benefit and advantage.

and the strangers were encouraged to come again to Jerusalem. It was generously done of the king and the princes, thus plen

tifully to entertain the whole congregation : but what is a great • But see the eighteenth verge.--ED.

estate good for, but that it puts men into a capacity of doing so

for us.

111. Care was


a Deut. 33. 10.


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22 And Hezekiah spake comfortably unto all

CHAPTER XXXI. the Levites that ataught the good knowledge of the We bave here a further account of that blessed reformation of which Hezekiah wat LORD: and they did eat throughout the feast seven a glorious instrument, and of the happy advance he made in it. I. All the red

nants of idolatry were destroyed and abolished, v. I. II. The priesta sud days, oflering peace-offerings, and making con Levites were set to work again, every man in bis place, v. 2

taken for their maintenance. 1. T'he royal county to the clergy, and for the fession to the Lord God of their fathers.

support of the temple service, was duly paid, v. 3. 2. Orders were given for 23 And the whole assembly took counsel to keep the raising of the people's quota, v. 4. 3. The people thereupou brought is their

dues abundantly, v. 5-10. 4. Comuniesioners were appointed for the due dis other seven days : and they kept other seven days tribution of what was brought in, v, 11-19. Lastly, Here is the general praise with gladness.

of Hezekiah's wincerity in all his undertaking, , 20, 21,

OW when all this was finished, all Israel that congregation a thousand bullocks and seven thou were present went out to the cities of Judah, sand sheep; and the princes gave to the congre- and brake the timages in pieces,a and cut down the gation a thousand bullocks and ten thousand sheep: groves, and threw down the high places and the and a great number of priests sanctified themselves. altars out of all Judah and Benjamin, in Ephraim

25 And all the congregation of Judah, with the also and Manasseh ; until they had utterly depriests and the Levites, and all the congregation stroyed them all. Then all the children of Israel that came out of Israel, and the strangers that came returned, every man to his possession, into their out of the land of Israel, and that dwelt in Judah, own cities. rejoiced.

2 And Hezekiah appointed the courses of the 26 So there was great joy in Jerusalem: for priests and the Levites after their courses, every since the time of Solomon the son of David king of man according to his service, the priests and LeIsrael, there was not the like in Jerusalem.

vites dfor burnt-offerings and for peace-offerings, to 27 Then the priests the Levites arose and blessed minister, and to give thanks, and to praise in the the people : and their voice was heard, and their gates of the tents of the Lord. prayer came up to this holy dwelling-place, even 3 He appointed also the king's portion of his unto heaven.

substance for the burnt-offerings, to wit, for the * to the heart of all, Is. 40. 2. 6 Ez. 10. 11. † lified up, or,

a 2 Kings 18. 4. b. 30. 14. I to make an end. ofered. I the habitation of Ais holiness, Ps. 68. 5.

ci Chr. 23. 6. 24. 1, &c. di Cbr. 23. 30. much the more good? Christ feasted those that followed him. and God's mouth to the people, by way of promise ; for their I believe neither Hezekiah nor his princes were the poorer at blessing included both. In it they testified both their desire of the year's end for this their pious liberalily.

the people's welfare, and their dependence upon God and that II. Many good prayers were put up to God with the peace- word of his grace to which they commended them. What a offerings, v. 22. They made confession to the Lord God of comfort is it to a congregation to be sent home thus crowned! their fathers, in which the intent and meaning of the peace- 2. God said Amen to it. The voice of the priests, when they offerings were directed and explained. When the priests blessed the people, was heard in heaven, and came up to the sprinkled the blood and burned the fat, they made confession, so habitation of God's holiness. When they pronounced the blessdid the people when they feasted on their part. They made a ing, God commanded it, and perhaps gave some sensible token religious consession of their relation to God and dependence of the ratification of it. The prayer that comes up lo heaven upon him; a penitent confession of their sins and infirmities; in a cloud of incense, will come down again to this earth in a thankful confession of God's mercies to them; and a suppli- showers of blessings. catory confession of their wants and desires; and, in all these, they had an eye to God as the God of their fathers, a God in covenant with them.

V.1–10. We have here an account of what was done afier III. There was an abundance of good preaching. The Le-the passover: what was wanting in the solemnities of prepara. vites (whose office it was, Deut. 33. 10) Laught the people the tion for it before, was made up in that which is better, a due good knowledge of the Lord, read and opened the scriptures, improvement of it after. When the religious exercises of a and instructed the congregation concerning God, and their duty Lord's day or a communion are finished, we must not think to him; there was great need of it, after so long a famine of the that then the work is done. No, then the hardest part of our word as had been in the last reign. Hezekiah did not himself work begins, which is to exemplify the impressions of the ordipreach, but he spake comfortably to the Levites that did, atiend nance upon our minds in all the instances of a holy conversaed their preaching, commended their diligence, and assured tion. So it was here; when all this was finished, there was them of his protection and countenance; hereby he encouraged more to be done. them to study hard and take pains, and put a reputation upon I. They applied themselves with vigour to destroy all the them, that the people might respect and regard them the more. monuments of idolatry. The king had done what he could of Princes and magistrates, by owning and encouraging faithful this kind, (2 Kings 18. 4,) but the people could discover those and laborious preachers, greatly serve the interest of God's profane relics which escaped the eye of the king's officers, and kingdom among men.

iherefore they went out to see what they could do, v. 1. 'This IV. They sang psalms every day, v. 21, The Levites and was done immediately after the passover. Note, The comfort priests praised the Lord day by day, both with songs and mu of communion with God should kindle in us a holy zeal and insical instruments ; thus expressing their own, and exciting one dignation against sin, against every thing that is offensive to another's, joy in God, and thankfulness to him. Praising God God. If our hearts have been made to burn within us at an should be much of our work in our religious assemblies. ordinance, that spirit of burning will consume the dross of cor

V. Having kept the seven days of the feast in this religious ruption: What have I now to do any more with idds? Their manner, they had so much comfort in it, that they kept other seven zeal here in destroying the images and groves, the high places days, v. 23. They did not institute any new modes of worship, and altars, appeared, 1. In that they did this, not only in the but repeated and continued the old. The case was extraordi- cities of Judah and Benjamin, but in those of Ephraim and nary, they had been long without the ordinance, guilt had been Manasseh ; some think that those cities are meant, which were contracted by the neglect of it. They had now got a very great come under the protection and the jurisdiction of the kings of congregation together, and were in a devout, serious frame; Judah; others think that Hoshea king of Israel not forbidding they knew not when they might have such another opportunity, it, their zeal carried them out to the destruction of idolatry, and therefore could not now find in their hearts to part till they even in many parts of his kingdom. At least, those that came had doubled the time. Many of them were a great way from out of Ephraim and Manasseh to keep the passover, (as many home, and had business in the country to look after, for, this did, ch. 30. 18,) destroyed all their own images and groves, and being the second month, they were in the midst of their har- did the like for as many more as they had influence upon, or vest; yet they were in no haste to return, the zeal of God's could make interest in for leave to do it: we should not only house made them forget themselves and their secular affairs. reform ourselves, but do all we can to reform others too. How unlike those that snuffed at God's service, and said, 2. They destroyed all

, they utterly destroyed all, they spared What a weariness is it! Or those who asked, When will the none for favour or affection either to the images or to their sabbath be gone? The servants of God should abound in his worshippers ; though ever so ancient, ever so costly, ever so work.

beautiful, and ever so well patronised, yet they must all be deVI. All this they did with gladness, (v. 23 ;) they all rejoiced, stroyed.' Those that sincerely set themselves against sin, will and particularly the strangers, v. 25. So there was great joy set themselves against all sin. 3. They would not return to in Jerusalem, v. 26. Never was the like since the dedication their houses, though they had been long absent, till this was of the temple in Solomon's time. Note, Holy duties should be done : they could not be easy nor think themselves safe in their performed with holy gladness; we should be forward to them, cities, as long as the images and groves, those betrayers and and take pleasure in them, relish the sweetness of communion destroyers of their country, were left standing. Perhaps the with God, and look upon it as matter of unspeakable joy and prophet Isaiah pointed to this, when, a little before, he spake comfort that we are thus favoured, and have such earnests of of a day in which men should cast away the very idols that everlasting joy.

themselves had made. So surprising was this blessed change, VII. The congregation was at length dismissed with a so Is. 2. 20.-31. 6, 7. lemn blessing, v. 27. 1. The priests pronounced it; for it was II. Hezekiah revived and restored the courses of the priests part of their office to bless the people, (Num. 6. 22, 23,) in which and Levites, which David had appointed, and which had of they were both the people's mouth to God, by way of prayer, I late been put out of course, 9. 2. The temple service was put

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morning and evening burnt-offerings, and the burnt- plenty; for the LORD hath blessed his people; and offerings for the sabbaths, and for the new moons, that which is left is this great store. and for the set feasts, as it is written in the law of 11 Then Hezekiah commanded to prepare Schamthe LORD.

bers in the house of the LORD; and they prepared 4 Moreover, he commanded the people that them, dwelt in Jerusalem to give the portion of the 12 And brought in the offerings, and the tithes, priests and the Levites, that they might be encou- and the dedicated things," faithfully: over which raged in the law of the LORD.

Cononiah the Levite was ruler, and Shimei his bro5 And as soon as the commandment came* abroad, ther was the next. the children of Israel brought in abundance the first 13 And Jehiel, and Azaziah, and Nahath, and fruits "of corn, wine, and oil, and thoney, and of all Asahel, and Jerimoth, and Jozabad, and Elies, and the increase of the field; and the tithe of all things Ismachiah, and Mahath, and Benaiah, were overbrought they in abundantly,

seers 'under the hand of Cononiah, and Shimei his 6 Ănd concerning the children of Israel and Judah brother, at the commandment of Hezekiah the king, that dwelt in the cities of Judah, they also brought and Azariah the ruler of the house of God. in the tithe of oxen and sheep, and the tithe 'of holy 14 And Kore the son of Imnah the Levite, the things which were consecrated unto the Lord their porter toward the east, was over the free-will offerGod, and laid them iby heaps.

ings of God, toodistribute the oblations of the LORD, 7 In the third "month they began to lay the foun- and the most holy things. dation of the heaps, and finished them in the seventh 15 And 'next him were Eden, and Miniamin, month.

and Jeshua, and Shemaiah, Amariah, and Sheca8 And when Hezekiah and the princes came niah, in the cities rof the priests, in their **set office, and saw the heaps, they blessed the 'LORD, and his to give to their brethren by courses, as well to the people Israel.

great as to the small: 9 Then Hezekiah questioned with the priests 16 Beside their genealogy of males from three and the Levites concerning the heaps.

years old and upward, even unto every one that 10 And Azariah the chief priest, of the house of entereth into the house of the Lord, his daily porZadok, answered him, and said, Since the people tion for their service in their charges, according to began to bring the offerings into the house of the their courses. LORD, we have had enough to eat, and have leftm 17 Both to the genealogy of the priests by the e Nom. 28. 29. Num. 18.8, &c. Neh. 13. 10–13. & Mal. 2. 7. 1 Cor. 9. 11 Chr. 29. 14. Ez. 7. 27. 2 Cor. 8. 16. Phil. 4. 19, 19. m Mal. 3. 10. $or, 9-11. Gal. 6. 6. brake forth. Ex. 22. 29. or, daies.

n2 Kings 12. 15. #al. o Neh. 13. 13. 1 at his hand. p Josh. Deut. 11. 28. heaps, henpa. * Lev. 23. 16, &c.

or, truet, I Chr. 9. 22, into method again, to run in the old channel. Every man was was left over and above, v. 10. They did not hoard these heaps made to know his work, his place, his time, and what was ex for covetousness, but to show what plentiful provision God by pected from him. Good order contributes much to the carrying bis law had made for them, if they could but have it collected on of a good work. The priests were appointed in their courses and brought in ; and that they, who conscientiously give God for burnt-offerings and peace-offerings, the Levites in their his dues out of their estates, bring a blessing upon all they have; courses were some to minister to the priests, others to give Since they began to bring in the offerings, the Lord has blessed thanks and praise. See 1 Chr. 23. 4, 5. And all this in the his people. See for this, Hag, 2. 19. *Try me," says God, gates or courts of the lents of the Lord. The temple is here “if you will not otherwise trust me, whether, upon your bringcalled a tent, because the temple privileges are moveable things, ing the tithes into the storehouse, you have not a blessing and this temple was shortly to be removed.

poured out upon you," Mal. 3. 10, il. Ez. 44. 30. 2. The * III. He appropriated a branch of the revenue of his crown acknowledgment which the king and princes made of it, v. 8. to the maintenance and support of the altar. Though the peo- They gave thanks to God for his good providence which gave ple were to be at the charge of the daily offerings, and those them something to bring, and his good grace which gave them on the sabbaths, new moons, and feasts, yet, rather than they hearts to bring it. And they also blessed the people, that is, should be burdened with the expense, he allowed out of his own commended them for their doing well now, without reproaching estate, or out of his exchequer, for all those offerings, v. 3. It them for their former neglects. It is observable, that after they was a generous act of piety, wherein he consulted both God's had tasted the sweetness of God's ordinance in the late comhonour and his people's ease, as a faithful servant to him, and fortable passover, they were thus free in maintaining the temple a tender father to them. Let princes and great men reckon that service. They that experience the benefit of a settled ministry, well bestowed, and set out to the best interest, which they give will not grudge the expense of it. for the support and encouragement of religion in their country. V. 11-21. Here we have,

IV. He issued out an order to the inhabitants of Jerusalem 1. Two particular instances of the care of Hezekiah concernfirst, v. 4, (that they who were nearest the temple, and both ing church matters; having put them into good order, to keep saved and gol by being so, might give a good example to others,) them so. The tithes and other holy things being brought in, but which was afterward extended to, or at least admitted by, he provided, the cities of Judah, that they should carefully pay in their dues, 1. That they should be carefully laid up, and not left exposed according to the law, to the priests and Levites. This had in loose heaps, liable to be wasted and embezzled; he ordered been long neglected, which made the work to be neglected: for chambers to be made ready in some of the courts of the temple a scandalous maintenance makes a scandalous ministry. But for store chambers, (v. 11,) and into them the offerings were Hezekiah, having himself been liberal, may with a good grace brought, and there kept under lock and key, v. 12, 13. Trearequire his subjects to be just to the temple service. And ob surers or storekeepers were appointed, who had the oversight serve the end he aims at in recovering and restoring to the of them, to see that moth and rust did not corrupt them, nor priests and Levites their portion, that they might be encouraged thieves break through to steal. This wisdom of laying up the in the law of the Lord, in the study of it, and in doing their duty surplus in days of plenty, we may learn from the ant, who proaccording to it. Observe here, 1. It is fit that ministers should videth meat in summer. The laying up in store what was be not only maintained but encouraged, that they should not only brought in, was an encouragement to people to pay in their be kept to do their work, but that they should also have where contributions. That will be given cheerfully by the public, with to live comfortably, that they may do it with cheerfulness. which appears to be well husbanded. 2. Yet they are to be maintained, not in idleness, pride, and 2. That they should be faithfully laid out, according to the luxury, but in the law of the Lord, in their observance of it them- uses they were intended for. Church treasures are not to be selves, and in teaching others the good knowledge of it. hoarded any longer than till there is occasion for them; even V. The people, thereupon, brought in their tithes very rea- the rust will be a witness against them that do.

Officers were dily; they wanted nothing but to be called upon; and therefore, appointed, men (no doubt) of approved wisdom and faithfulness, as soon as the commandment came abroad, the first-fruits and all to distribute the oblations of the Lord, and the most holy things, the holy things were duly brought in, v. 5, 6. What the priests among the priests, (v. 14,) and to see that they all had a comhad occasion for, for themselves and their families, they made petent maintenance for themselves and their families. The use of, and the overplus was laid in heaps, v. 6. All harvest law provided sufficient for them all, and therefore if some had time, they were increasing these heaps, as the fruits of the too little, it must be because others had too much ; to prevent earth were gathered in, for God was to have his dues out of such inequality, these officers were to go by some certain rule them all. Though a prescription may be pleaded for a modus of proportion in the disposal of the incomes of the temple. It decimandi-a tithing morlus; yet it cannot be pleaded pro non is said of the priests here, (v. 18,) that in their set office they decimando-for the omission of lithing. When harvest ended, sanctified themselves ; in faith they sanctified themselves, so the they finished their heaps, 9. 7. Now here we have, 1. The word is; that is, as Bishop Patrick explains it, they attended account given to Hezekiah concerning those heaps. He ques- their ministry at the house of God, not doubting but they should tioned with the priests and Levites concerning them, why they be provided with all things necessary; now because they served did not use what was paid in, but hoarded it up thus, v. 9. To God in that confidence, care was taken that they should not bo which it was answered, that they had made use of all they had made ashamed of their hope. They that sanctify themselves occasion for, for the maintenance of themselves and their fami- to God and his service in faith, believing that he will see them lies, and for their winter store, and that this was that which I want nothing that is good for them, shall verily be fed.

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