« PreviousContinue »
i Deut. 18. 10. 2 Sam. 7. 13.
m 2 Sam. 7. 10.
e c. 19. 4. 34.
n Prov. 29.
NOTES TO CH
whom the LORD cast out before the children of Is 7 And he set a graven image of the grove that he rael.
had made in the house of which the LORD said to 3 For he built up again the high places which David,' and to Solomon his son, In this house, and “Hezekiah his father had destroyed; and he reared in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all tribes up altars for Baal, and made a grove, as ddid Ahab of Israel, will I put my name for ever: king of Israel; and worshipped all the host of hea 8 Neither" will I make the feet of Israel move any ven, and served them.
more out of the land which I gave their fathers; 4' And he built altars in the house fof the LORD, only if they will observe to do according to all that of which the LORD ssaid, In Jerusalem will I put I have commanded them, and according to all the my name.
law that my servant Moses commanded them. 5 And he built altars for all the host of heaven 9 But they hearkened not: and "Manasseh sein the two courts of the house of the Lord.
duced them to do more evil than did the nations 6 And he made his son “pass through the fire, and whom the Lord destroyed before the children of observed times,' and used enchantments, and dealt Israel. with familiar spirits and wizards: he wrought much 10 And the LORD spake by his servants the prowickedness in the sight of the LORD, to provoke phets, saying, him to anger.
11 Because •Manasseh king of Judah hath done d 1 Kings 16.32. e Deut. 4. 19. c. 17. 16. Job 31. 26.
7 1 Kinga 9. 3. g I King 8. 29. A c. 16. 3. 17. 17. Mic. 6. 7.
o c. 23. 26. 27. 24. 3, 4. Jer. 15. 4.
(v. 6,) like Saul. Conjurers and fortune-tellers, who pretendV.1-9. How delightful were our meditations on the last ed, by the stars or the clouds, lucky and unlucky days, good reign! How many pleasing views had we of Zion in its glory, and bad omens, the flight of birds, or the entrails of beasts, to that is, in its purity and in its triumphs, of the king in his beauty! fortel things to come, were great men with him, his intimates, For the reference (Is. 33. 17) is to Hezekiah, and as it follows his confidants; their arts pleased his fancy, and gained his ihere, v. 20, Jerusalem was a quiet habitation, because a city of belief, and his councils were under their direction. (5.) We righteousness, Is. 1. 26. But now we have melancholy work find afterward, (v. 16,) that he shed innocent blood very much upon our hands, unpleasant ground to travel, and cannot but in gratification of his own passion and revenge ; some, perhaps, drive heavily. How is the gold become dim, and the most fine were secretly murdered, others taken off by colour of law. Progold changed! The beauty of Jerusalem is stained, and all her bably, much of the blood he ghed was theirs that opposed idolglory, all her joy, sunk and gone. These verses give such an atry, and witnessed against it, that would not bow the knee to account of this reign, as make it, in all respects, the reverse of Baal. The blood of the prophets is, in a particular manner, the last, and, in a manner, the ruin of it.
charged upon Jerusalem, and it is probable that he put to death I. Manasseh began young. He was but 12 years old when many of them. The tradition of the Jews is, that he caused he began to reign, (v. 1,) born when his father was about 42 the prophet Isaiah to be sawn asunder; and many think the years old, three years after his sickness. If he had sons before, apostle refers to that, Heb. 11. 37, where he speaks of those either they were dead, or set by as unpromising. As yet, they that had so suffered. knew of nothing bad in him, and they hoped he would prove Three things are here mentioned as aggravations of Manas. good; but he proved very bad, and perhaps his coming to the seh's idolatry. [1.] That he set up bis images and altars in crown so young might help to make it so, which yet will by no the house of the Lord, (v. 4,) in the two courts of the temple, means excuse him, for his grandson Josiah came to it younger (v. 5,) in the very house of which God had said to Solomon, than he, and yet acted well. But being young, 1. He was Here will I put my name, v. 7. Thus he defied God to his face, puffed up with his honour, and proud of it; and, thinking him- and impudently affronted him with his rivals immodiately uns self very wise, because he was very great, valued himself upon der his eye, as one that was neither afraid of God's wrath, nor his undoing what his father had done. It is too common for ashamed of his own folly and wickedness. Thus he desecrated novices to be lifted up with pride, and so to fall into the con what had been consecrated to God, and did, in effect, turn God demnation of the devil. 2. He was easily wrought upon and out of his own house, and put the rebels in possession of it. drawn aside by seducers, that lay in wait to deceive. They Thus, when the faithful worshippers of God came to the place that were enemies to Hezekiah's reformation, and retained an he had appointed for the performance of their duty to him, they affection for the old idolatries, fattered him, and so gained his found, to their great grief and terror, other gods ready to receive ear, and used his power at their pleasure. Many have been their offerings. God had said that here he would record bis undone by coming too soon to their honours and estates. name, here he would put it for ever, and here it was, accord
II. He reigned long, longest of any of the kings of Judah, 55 ingly, preserved, while the idolatrous altars were kept at a disyears. This was the only very bad reign that was a long one; tance: but Manasseh, by bringing them into God's house, did Joram's was but 8 years, and Ahaz's 16; as for Manasseh's, what he could to alter the property, and to make the name of we hope that in the beginning of his reign, for some time, affairs the God of Israel to be no more in remembrance. [2.] That continued to move in the course that his father left them in; and hereby he put a great slight upon the word of God, and his that in the latter end of his reign, after his repentance, religion covenant with Israel. Observe the favour he had showed 10 got head again; and, no doubt, when things were at the worst, that people, in putting his name among them- the kindness he God had his remnant that kept their integrity. Though he intended them, never to make them move out of that good landreigned long, yet, some of this time, he was a prisoner in Baby- and the reasonableness of his expectations from them, only if lon, which may well be looked upon as a drawback from these they will observe to do according to all that I have commanded years, though they are reckoned in the number, because then them, v.7, 8. Upon these good terms did Israel stand with God, he repented, and began to reform.
and had as fair a prospect of being happy as any people could III. He reigned very ill. 1. He did that which was evil in have: but they hearkened not, v.9. They would not be kept the sight of the Lord; and which, having been well educated, close to God, either by his precepts or by his promises, both he could not but know was so; (v. 2,) He wrought much wicked- were cast behind their back. [3.] That hereby he seduced ness in the sight of the Lord, as if on purpose to provoke him to the people of God, debauched them, and drew them into idolaanger, v. 6.
2. He did after the abominalions of the heathen, try, (v. 9;) he made Judah to sin, (v. 11,) as Jeroboam had (v. 2,) and as did Ahab, (v. 3,) not taking warning by the made Israel to sin. His very example was enough to corrupt destruction both of the nations of Canaan, and the house of the generality of unthinking people, who would do as their king Ahab, for their idolatry; nay, (v. 9,) he did more evil than did did, right or wrong. All that aimed at preferment, would do as the nations whom the Lord destroyed. When the holy seed the court did; and others thought it safest to comply, for fear degenerate, they are commonly worse than the worst of the of making their king their enemy. Thus, one way or other, profane.
the holy city became a harlot, and Manasseh made her so. More particularly, (1.) He rebuilt the high places which his | Those will have a great deal to answer for, that not only are father had destroyed, v. 3. Thus did he trample upon the dust, wicked themselves, but help to inake others so and affront the memory, of his worthy father, though he knew V. 10–18. Here is the doom of Judah and Jerusalem read, how much he was favoured of God, and honoured of men. He and it is a heavy doom. The prophets were sent, in the first concurred, it is probable, with Rab-shakeh's sentiments, (ch. 18. place to teach them the knowledge of God, to remind them of 22,) that Hezekiah had done ill in destroying those high places, their duty, and direct them in it: if they succeeded not in that, and pretended the honour of God, and the edification and con their next work was to reprove them for their sins, and to set venience of the people, in rebuilding them. This he began them in view before them, that they might repent and reform, with, but proceeded to that which was much worse: for, (2.) and return to their duty: if in this ihey prevailed not, but sinHe set up other gods, Baal and Ashtaroth, (which we translate ners went on frowardly, their next work was to foretel the judga grove,) and all the host of heaven, the sun and moon, the other ments of God, that the terror of them might awaken those to planets, and the constellations; these he worshipped and served, repentance, who would not be made sensible of the obligations (v. 3,) gave their names to the images he made, and then did of his love, or else that the execution of them, in their season, homage to them, and prayed for help from them. To these he might be a demonstration of the divine mission of the prophets built altars, (v. 5,) and offered sacrifices, no doubt, on these that foretold them. The prophets were deputed judges to those altars. (3.) He made his son pass through the fire, by which that would not hear and receive them as teachers. We have he dedicated him a votary to Moloch, in contempi of the seal of here circumcision by which he had been dedicated to God. (4.) He I. A recital of the crime: the indictment is read, upon which made the devil his oracle, and, in contempt both of Urim and the judgment is grounded, v. 11. Manasseh has done wickedly prophecy, he used enchaniments and dealt with familiar spirits, I himself, though he knew' better things, has even justified tho
the honour to preveut
these abominations, and hath done wickedly above began to reign; and he reigned two years in Jeruall that the Amorites? did, which were before him, salem. And his mother's name was Meshullemeth, and hath made Judah also to sin with his idols : the daughter of Haruz of Jotbah.
12 Therefore thus saith the Lord God of Israel, 20 And he did that which was evil in the sight of Behold, I am bringing such evil upon Jerusalem the LORD, as his father Manasseh did. and Judah, that whosoever heareth of it, both his 21 And he walked in all the ways that his father ears shall tingle.
walked in, and served the idols that his father served, 13 And I will stretch over Jerusalem the liner of and worshipped them: Samaria, and the plummet of the house of Ahab: 22 And he forsook "the LORD God of his fathers, and I will wipe Jerusalem as 'a man wipeth a dish, and walked not in the way of the LORD. * wiping it, and turning it upside down.
23 And the servants of Amon conspired against 14 And'I will forsake the remnant of mine inhe- him, and slew the king in his own house. ritance, and deliver them into the hand of their 24 And the people of the land slew all them that enemies;" and they shall become a prey and a spoil had conspired against king Amon; and the people to all their enemies;
of the land made Josiah his son king in his stead. 15 Because they have done that which was evil 25 Now the rest of the acts of Amon which he in my sight, and have provoked me to anger, since did, are they not written in the book of the chrothe day their fathers came forth out of Egypt, even nicles of the kings of Judah? unto this day.
26 And he was buried in bis sepulchre, in the 16 Moreover, Manasseh shed innocent blood very garden of Uzza : and Josiah “his son reigned in his much, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to stead. another; beside his sin wherewith "he made Judah
CHAPTER XXII. to sin, in doing that which was evil in the sight of the Lord.
This chapter begins the story of the reign of good king Josiah, whose goodness
shine, the brighter, because it came just after so much wickedness, which he bad 17 Now the rest of the acts of Manasseh, and the honour to reform; and just before so great a destruction, which he had not
Here, after his general character, v. 1, 3 we have a all that he did, and his sin that he sinned, are they particular account of the respect he paid, 1. To God's house, which he repaired, not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings
1.3-7. 11. To Gol's book, which he was much affected with the reading of, v.
8-11. III. To Gorl's messengers, whom he, thereupon, consulted, v. 12-14. of Judah?
And by whom he received from Goi, an answer, threatening Jerusalem's de18 And Manasseh slept with his fathers, and was
struction, y. 15–17, but promiaing favour to him, v. 18-20. Upon which he
set about that glorious work of refurmation, wbich we have an account of in the buried in the garden of his own house, in the garden next chapter. of Uzza : and Amon his son reigned in his stead. OSIAH awas eight years old when he began to
19 Amon ywas twenty and two years old when he reign; and he reigned thirty and one years in P 1 Kings 21. 26. ver. 9. q 1 Sam. 3.11. Jer, 19. 3. Am. 3. 2. Is. 10. 22. 34. 2. 34. 19. 4. † from moush to mouth. 1 Kings 14. 16. 12 Chr. 33. 1-20. 11. Lam. 24 S. Am. 7. 7, 8. * 1 Kings 14. 10. • he wipeth and turneth it upon y 2 Chr. 33. 21, &c. ver. 2, &c. al Kings 11.33. c. 22. 17. • Matt. I. 10, the fuce thereof (Ps. 89.39, &c. Jer. 12. 7. Am. 5. 2.
called Josias. c 1 Kings 13. 2. 2 Chr. 34. 1, c. Amorites, whose copy he wrote after, by outdoing them in im- his repentance, (for so we are willing to take it,) that he was pieties, and debauched the people of God, whom he has taught buried, it is likely by his own order, in the garden of his own to sin, and forced to sin; and beside that, (though that was bad house, (v. 18,) for, being truly humbled for his sins, he judged enough,) he has filled Jerusalem with innocent blood, (v. 16,) himself no more worthy to be called a son, a son of David, and has multiplied his inurders in every corner of the city, and filled therefore not worthy to have even his dead body buried in the the measure of Jerusalem's blood-guiltiness (Matt. 23. 32) up sepulchres of his fathers. True penitents take shame to themto the brim, and all this, against the crown and dignity of the selves, not honour ; yet, having lost the credit of an innocent, King of kings, the peace of his kingdom, and the statutes in the credit of a penitent was the next best he was capable of; these cases made and provided.
and better it is, and more honourable, for a sinner to die repentII. A prediction of the judgment God would bring upon them ing, and be buried in a garden, than to die impenitent, and be for this. "They huve done that which was evil, and therefore I buried in the abbey. am bringing evil upon them, (v. 12;) it will come, and it is not V. 19—26. Here is a short account of the short and inglofar off. The judgment should be, 1. Very terrible and amazing, rious reign of Amon, the son of Manasseh. Whether Manasthe very report of it should make men's ears to tingle, (v. 12,) seh, in his blind and brutish zeal for his idols, had sacrificed his that is, their hearts to tremble. It should make a great noise other sons; or whether, having been dedicated to his idols, they in the world, and occasion many speculations. 2. It should be were refused by the people, so it was, that his successor was a son copied out (as the sins of Jerusalem had been) from Samaria, not born till he was 45 years old. And of him we are here told, and the house of Ahab, v, 13. When God lays righteousness 1. That his reign was very wicked. He forsook the God of to the line, it shall be the line of Samaria, measuring out to his fathers, (v.22,) disobeyed the commands given to his fathers, Jerusalem that which had been the lot of Samaria ; when he and disclaimed the covenant made with his fathers, and walked lays judgment to the plummet, it shall be the plummet of the not in the way of the Lord, but in all the way which his fother house of Ahab, marking out for the same ruin to which that walked in, v.20,21. He trod in the steps of his father's idolatry, wretched family was devoted. See Is. 28. 17. Note, Those and revived that which he, in the latter end of his days, had put who resemble and imitale others in their sins, must expect to down. Note, Those who set bad examples, though they may fare as they fared. 3. That it should be an utter destruction: repent themselves, yet cannot be sure that those whom they I will wipe it as a man wipes a dish. This intimates, (1.) That have drawn into sin by their example, will repent; it is often every thing should be put into disorder, and their state sub- otherwise. verted; they should be turned upside down, and all their foun 2. That his end was very tragical. He having rebelled against dations put out of course. (2.) That the city should be emptied God, his own servants conspired against him, and slew him; of its inhabitants, which had been the filth of it, as a dish is probably, upon some personal disgust, when he had reigned but emptied when it is wiped: they shall all be carried captive, the two years, v, 23. His servants, who should have guarded bim, land shall enjoy her subbaths, and be laid by as a dish when it murdered him; his own house, that should have been his castle is wiped. See the comparison of the boiled pot, not much un- of defence, was the place of his execution. He had profaned like this, Ez. 24.1–14. (3.) That yet this should be in order God's house with his idols, and now God suffered his own to the purifying, not the destroying, of Jerusalem. The dish house to be polluted with his blood.
How unrighteous soever shall not be dropped, not broken to pieces, or melted down, but they were that did it, God was righteous who suffered it to be only wiped. This shall be the fruit, the taking away of the done. sinners first, and then of the sin. 4. That therefore they should Two things the people of the land did, by their representbe destroyed, because they should be deserted; (v. 14,) I will atives, hereupon. (1.) They did justice on the traitors that forsake the remnant of mine inheritance. Justly are those that had slain the king, and put them to death ; for though he was a forsake God, forsaken of him; nor does be ever leave any, till bad king, he was their king, and it was a part of their allegiance they have first left him: but when God has forsaken a people, to him, to avenge his death. Thus they cleared themselves their defence is departed, and they become a prey, an easy from having any hand in the crime, and did what was incumprey, to all their enemies. Sin is spoken of here as the alphabent on them to deter others from the like villanous practices. and omega of their miseries. (1.) Old guilt came in remem- (2.) They did a kindness to themselves, in making Josiah kis brance, as that which began to fill the measure; (v. 15,) They son king in his stead, whom, probably, the conspirators had have provoked me to anger from their conception and birth as a design to put by: but the people stood by him, and settled him people, since the day their fathers came out of Egypt. The men in the throne ; encouraged, it may be, by the indications he of this generation, treading in their fathers' steps, are justly gave, even in his early days, of a good disposition. Now they reckoned with for their fathers' sins. (2.) The guilt of blood made a happy change from one of the worst, to one of the best was it that filled the measure, v. 16. Nothing has a louder cry, of all the kings of Judah. “Once more," says God, “they nor brings a sorer vengeance, than that.
shall be tried with a reformation; and if that succeed, well; if This is all we have here of Manasseh; he stands convicted not, then after that I will cut them down." Amon was buried and condemned; but we hope in the book of Chronicles to hear in the same garden where his father was, v. 26. If his fainer of his repentance, and acceptance with God. Mean time, we put himself under that humiliation, the people will put him must be content, in this place, to have only one intimation of under it.
Josh. 15. 39.
c Deut. 5. 32.
Deut. 31. 24. 2 Chr. 31. 14, &c.
NOTES TO CHAPTER XXII.
Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Jedidah, 6 Unto carpenters, and builders, and masons, and the daughter of Adaiah of Boscath.
to buy timber, and hewn stone, to repair the house. 2 And he did that which was right in the sight of 7 Howbeit there was no reckoning made with the Lord, and walked in all the way of David his them of the money that was delivered into their father, and turned not aside to the right hand or to hand, because they dealt faithfully. the left.
8 And Hilkiah the high priest said unto Shaphan 3 And it came to pass, in the eighteenth year of the scribe, I have found the book of the law in the king Josiah, that the king sent Shaphan the son of house of the Lord. And Hilkiah gave the book to Azaliah, the son of Meshullam the scribe to the Shaphan, and he read it. house of the Lord, saying,
9 And Shaphan the scribe came to the king, and 4 Go up to Hilkiah the high priest, that he may brought the king word again, and said, Thy servants sum the silver dwhich is brought into the house of have gathered the money that was found in the the Lord, which the keepers of the door have house, and have delivered it into the hand of them gathered of the people :
that do the work, that have the oversight of the 5 And let them deliver it into the hand of the house of the Lord. doers of the work, that have the oversight of the 10 And Shaphan the scribe showed the king, house of the LORD: and let them give it to the saying, Hilkiah the priest hath delivered me a book. doers of the work which is in the house of the LORD, And Shaphan read 'it before the king. to repair the breaches of the house,
11 And it came to pass, when the king had heard dc. 12. 4, &c. € Ps. 84. 10. • threshold.
& Neh. 8. 3, 18, Jer. 36.6, 15.
that happy providence by which Hilkiah had found this book V. 1-10. Concerning Josiah we are here told,
at this time, found it when he sought it not, Is. 65. 1. If the I. That he was very young, when he began to reign, (v. 1,9 holy scriptures had not been of God, they had not been in being but eight years old. Solonwn says, Wo unto thee, O land, at this day; God's care of the bible, is a plain indication of when thy king is a child; but happy art thou, O land, when thy his interest in it. king is such a child. Our English Israel had once a king that 2. Whether this was the only authentic copy in being or no, was such a child, Edward VI. Josiah, being young, had not it seems, the things contained in it were new, both to the king received any bad impressions from the example of his father bimself and to the high priest, for the king, upon the reading of and grandfather, but soon saw their errors, and God gave him it, rent his clothes. We have reason to think the command for grace to take warning by them. See Ez. 18. 14, &c.
the king's writing a copy of the law, and that for the public II. That he dil that which was right in the sight of the Lord, reading of the law every seventh year, (Deut. 17. 18.–31. 10, v. 2. See the sovereignty of divine grace; the father passed 11,) had neither of them been observed of a long time, and when by, and left to perish in his sin; the son a chosen vessel. See the instituted means of keeping up religion are neglected, relithe triumphs of that grace; Josiah born of a wicked father, no gion itself will soon go to decay.' Yet, on the other hand, if good education nor good exainple given him, but many about the book of the law was lost, it seems difficult to determine him, who, no doubt, advised him to tread in his father's steps, what rule Josiah went by in doing that which was right in the and few that gave him any good counsel ; and yet the grace of sight of the Lord, and how the priests and people kept up the God makes him an eminent saint, cuts him off from the wild rites of their religion: I am apt to think that the people geneolive, and graffs him into the good olive, Rom. II. 24. Nothing rally took up with abstracts of the law, like our abridgments is too hard for that grace to do. He walked in a good way, and of the statutes, which the priests, to save themselves the trouble turned not aside (as some of his predecessors had done who of writing, and the people of reading, the book at large, had began well) to the right hund or to the left: there are errors on furnished them with; a sort of ritual, directing them in the both hands, but God kept him in the right way, he fell not observances of their religion, but leaving out what they thought either into superstition or profaneness.
fit, and particularly the promises and threatenings, (Lev.26. and III. That he took care for the repair of the temple. This he | Deut. 28. &c.) for I observe, that those were the portions of did in the 18th year of his reign, v. 3. Compare 2 Chr. 34. 8. the law which Josiah was so much affected with, (v. 13,) for He began much sooner to seek the Lord, (as appears, 2 Chr. those were new to him; no summaries, extracts, or collections, 34. 3,) but, it is to be feared, the work of reformation went out of the bible, (though they may have their use,) can be slowly on, and met with much opposition, so that he could not effectual to convey and preserve the knowledge of God and his effect what he desired and designed, till his power was thoroughly will, like the bible itself; it was no marvel that the people were confirmed. The consideration of the time we unavoidably lost so corrupt, when the book of the law was such a scarce thing in our minority, should quicken us, when we come to years, 10 among them; where that vision is not, the people perish; they act with so much the more vigour in the service of God. that endeavoured to debauch them, no doubt, used all the arts Having begun late, we had need work hard; he sent Shaphan they could to get that book out of their hands; the church of the secretary of state, to Hilkiah the high priest, to take an Rome could not keep up the use of images, but by forbidding account of the money that was collected for this use by the the use of the scripture. doorkeepers, (v. 4,) for, it seems, they took much the same 3. It was a great instance of God's favour, and a token for way of raising the money that Joash took, ch. 12. 9. When good to Josiah and his people, that the book of the law was thus people gave by a little at a time, the burden was insensible, and seasonably brought to light, to direct and quicken that blessed the contribution being voluntary, it was not complained of. reformation which Josiah had begun. It is a sign that God has This money, so collected, he ordered him to lay out for the mercy in store for a people, when he magnifies his law among repair of the temple, v. 5, 6. And now, it seems, the workmen them, and makes that honourable, and furnishes them with (as in the days of Joash) acquitted themselves so well, that means for the increase of scripture knowledge : the translating there was no reckoning male with them, (v.7,) which is certainly of the scriptures into vulgar tongues, was the glory, strength, mentioned to the praise of the workmen, that they gained such and joy, of the Reformation from Popery. It is observable, a reputation for honesty ; but whether to the praise of those that that they were about a good work, repairing the temple, when employed them I know not; a man should count money, (we they found the book of the law: they that do their duty, according say,) after his own father; it had not been amiss to have to their knowledge, shall have their knowledge increased; to reckoned with the workmen, that others also might be satisfied him that has, shall be given: the book of the law was an abunof their honesty.
dant recompense for all their care and cost about the repair of IV. That in the repairing of the temple, the book of the law
the temple. was happily found and brought to the king, v. 8, 10. Some 4. Hilkiah, the priest, was exceedingly pleased with the disthink it was the autograph, or original manuscript, of the five covery; “0," says he to Shaphan, "rejoice with me, for I books of Moses, under bis own hand ; others think it was only have found the book of the law, cŰonka, ebonka-I have found, I an ancient and authentic copy; nmst likely it was that which, have found, that jewel of inestimable value; here, carry it to by the command of Moses, was laid up in the most holy place, the king, it is the richest jewel of his crown, read it before him; Deut. 31. 24, &c.
he walks in the way of David his father, and if he be like him, 1. It seems, this book of the law was lost and missing, either he will love the book of the law, and bid that welcome; that it was carelessly mislaid and neglected, thrown by into a corner, will be his delight and his counsellor." (as some throw their bibles,) by those that knew not the value V. 11-20. We hear no more of the repairing of the temple; of it, and forgotten there; or, it was maliciously concealed by no doubt, that good work went on well, but the book of the law some of the idolatrous kings, or their agents, who were re that was found in it, occupies us now, and well it may: it is not strained by the providence of God, or their own consciences, laid up in the king's cabinet as a piece of antiquity, a rarity to from burning and destroying it, but buried it, in hopes it would be admired, but it is read before the king. Those put the truest never see the light again; or, (as some think,) it was carefully honour upon their bibles, that study them, and converse with laid up by some of its friends, lest it should fall into the hands them, daily, feed on that bread, and walk hy that light : men of of its enemies: whoever were the instruments of its preserva- honour and business must look upon an acquaintance with tion, we ought to acknowledge the hand of God in it; if this God's word to be their best business and honour. was the only authentic copy of the Pentateuch then in being, Now here we have, which had (as I may say) so narrow a turn for its life, and was I. The impressions which the reading of the law made upon so near perishing, I wonder the hearts of all good people did not Josiah ; he rent his clothes, as one ashamed of the sin of his tremble for that sacred treasure, as Eli's for the ark; and I am people, and afraid of the wrath of God; he had long thought sure we now have reason to thank God, upon our knees, for the case of his kingdom bad, by reason of the idolatries and Vol. I.-117
( 929 )
Nah. 1. 6. Rev. 6. 17.
17 Deut. 29. 27,
ki Chr. 10. 14. I Ps. 76. 7. n Jer. 1. 22-25.
p Deut. 29
25, &c. Neh. 9. 26, 27. Dan. 9. 11-14. 1 Thes. 2. 16. Ps. 51. 17. 18. 57.
+ ser, 11. to Neh. 1. 4. Ps. 37. 37. Is. 57. 1, 2. Jer, 22. 10. 2 Chr. 34. 29, &c.
the words of the book of the law, that he rent "his therefore my wrath shall be kindled against this clothes.
place, and shall not be quenched. 12 And the king commanded Hilkiah the priest, 18 But to the king of Judah, which sent you to and Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Achbor 'the inquire of the Lord, thus shall ye say to him, Thus son of *Michaiah, and Shaphan the scribe, and saith the LORD God of Israel, As touching the words Asahiah a servant of the king's, saying,
which thou hast heard ; 13 Go ye, inquire kof the Lord for me, and for 19 Because thine heart was tender, and thou the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words hast humbled "thyself before the Lord, when thou of this book that is found; for great 'is the wrath of heardest what I spake against this place, and against the Lord that is kindled against us, because our the inhabitants thereof, that they should become a mtathers have not hearkened unto the words of this desolation 'and a curse," and hast rent *thy clothes, book, to do "according unto all that which is written and wept "before me; I also have heard thee, saith concerning us.
the Lord. 14 So Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam, and Ach 20 Behold, therefore, I will gather thee unto thy bor, and Shaphan, and Asahiah, went unto Huldah fathers, and thou shalt be gathered into thy grave in the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of peace; and thine eyes shall not see all the evil whieh Tikvah, the son of Harhas, keeper of the ward will bring upon this place. And they brought the robe ; (now she dwelt in Jerusalem sin the college;) king word again. and they communed with her. 15 And she said unto them, Thus saith the
CHAPPER XXIII. Lord God of Israel, Tell the man that sent you to
We have here, I. The happy continuance of the goodness of Josiah's reign, and the me,
progress of the reformation he began; reading the law, 1.1, 2, renewing the co
venabt, v. 3, cleansing the temple, v. 4, and rooting out idols and idolatry, with 16 Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will bring evil all the relics thereof, in all places, as far as his power reached, 1,5—2); keeplag
a solemn passover, v. 21-23, and clearing the iountry of viiches, v. 24, sod, in upon this place, and upon the inhabitants thereof,
ali this, acting with extraordinary vigour, v. 25. 11. The unbapps cueclusion even all the words of the book which the king of of it in his vutimely death, as a tokeu of the coutinuance of God's wrot against Sudah hath read:
Jerusalein, , 26-30. II. The more unhappy consequences of his death, to the
bad reigns of his two sons Jehoabaz and Jehoiakirn, ibat came after him, , 17 Because they have forsaken me, and have burnt incense unto other gods, that they might provoke me to anger with all the works of iheir hands; all the elders of Judah and of Jerusalem. A ver. 19. i 2 Chr. 34. 20, Abdo, or, Mican.
2 Chr. 34. 22, & I Kinga 21. 29.
32. Tiktah. † or, Hasrah. 1 garments. or, in the second part. impieties that had been found among them, but he never thought is the message I have for him from the God of Israel;" but in it so bad as he perceived it to be, by the book of the law now the dialect of a prophetess speaking from Him before whom all read to him; the rending of his clothes signified the rending of stand upon the saine level, Tell the man that sent you to me, his heart for the dishonour done to God, and the ruin he saw v. 15. Even kings, though gods to us, are men to God, and coming upon his people.
shall so be dealt with, for with him there is no respect of persons. II. The application he made to God, hereupon; Go, inquire 1. She lets him know what judgments God had in store for of the Lord for me, v. 13. Inquire, í. “What we shall do; Judah and Jerusalemn; (v. 16, 17,) My wrath shall be kindled what course we shall take to turn away God's wrath, and pre- against this place; and what is hell itself, but the fire of God's vent the judgments which our sins have deserved.” Convictions wrath kindled against sinners?. Observe the degree and duraof sin and wrath should put us upon this inquiry, What shall tion of it; it is so kindled, that it shall not be quenched, the dewe do to be saved? Wherewithal shall we come before the Lord? cree is gone forth, it is too late now to think of preventing it, If ye will thus inquire, inquire quickly, before it be too late. the iniquity of Jerusalem shall not be purged with sacrifice or 2. What we may expect, and must provide for.” He acknow- offering. Hell is unguenchable fire. It has reference, (1.) TO ledges, Our fathers have not hearkened to the words of this book; their sins; "They have committed them, as it were, with deif this be the rule of right, certainly our fathers have been much sign, and on purpose to provoke me to anger, it is a fire of their in the wrong
Now that the commandment came, sin revived, own kindling; they would provoke me, and, at length, I am and appeared sin ; in the glass of the law, he saw the sins of his provoked.” (2.) To God's threatenings; " The evil I bring, is people more numerous and more heinous than he had before according to the words of the book which the king of Judah has seen them, and more exceeding sinful. He infers hence cer- read, the scripture is fulfilled in it; they that would not be bound tainly, “Great is the wrath that is kindleil against us; if this be by the precept, shall be bound by the penalty.". God will be the word of God, as, no doubt, it is, and he will be irue to his found no less terrible to impenitent sinners, than his word makes word, as, no doubt, he will be, we are all undone ; I never thought him to be. the threatenings of the law so severe, and the curses of the 2. She lets him know what mercy God has in store for him. covenant so terrible, as now I find them to be ; it is time to look (1.) Notice is taken of his great tenderness and concern for the about us, if these be in force against us." Note, Those who glory of God, and the welfare of his kingdom; (v. 19,) Thinc are truly apprehensive of the weight of God's wrath, cannot heart was tender. Note, God will distinguish those that disbut be very solicitous to obtain his favour, and inquisitive how tinguish themselves. The generality of the people were hardenthey may make their peace with him; magistrates should in- ed, and their hearts uphumbled, so were the wicked kings his quire for their people, and study how to prevent the judgments predecessors; but Josiah's heart was tender, he received the of God that they see hanging over them.
impressions of God's word, trembled at it, and yielded to it; he This inquiry Josiah sent, (1.) By some of his great men, was exceedingly grieved for the dishonour done to God by the who are named, v. 12, and again, v. 14. Thus he put an honour sins of his fathers, and of his people ; he was afraid of the upon the oracle, by employing those of the first rank to attend judgments of God, which he saw coming upon Jerusalem, and it. (2.) To Huldah the prophetess, v, 14. The spirit of pro- earnestly deprecated them: this is tenderness of heart, and thus phecy, that inestimable treasure, was sometimes put not only he humbled himself before the Lord, and expressed these pious into earthen vessels, but into the weaker vessels, that the ercel affections by rending his clothes, and weeping before God, prolency of the power might be of God. Miriamn had helped to lead bably, in his closet; but he that sees in secret, says it was Israel out of Egypt, Mic. 6.4. Deborah judged them, and now before him, and he heard it, and put every tear of tenderness Huldah instructed them in the mind of God: and her being a into his bottle. Note, Those that most fear God's wrath, are wife, was no prejudice at all to her being a prophetess, marriage least likely to feel it; it should seem that those words, (Lev. 26. is honourable in all. It was a mercy to Jerusalem, that when 32,) much affected Josiah, I will bring the Innd into desolation ; bibles were scarce, they had prophets, as that, afterward, when for when he heard of the elesolation and of the curse, that is, that prophecy ceased, they had more bibles; for God never leaves God would forsake them, and separate them to evil, (for till it himself without witness, because he will leave sinners without came to that they were neither desolate nor accursed.) then he excuse., Jeremiah and Zephaniah prophesied at this time, yet rent his clothes, that went to his heart. (2.) A reprieve is the king's messengers made Huldah their oracle, probably, be granted till after his death ; (v. 20,) I will gother thee to thy cause her husband having a place at court, (for he was keeper fathers. The saints then, no doubt, had a comfortable prospect of the wardrobe,) they had had more and longer acquaintance of happiness on the other side death, else, being, gathered to with her, and greater assurances of her commission than of their fathers, would not have been so often made ihe maller of any other; they had, it is likely, consulted her upon other oc a promise as we find it was, Josiah could not prevail to prevent casions, and had found that the word of God in her mouth was the judgment itself, but God promised him he should not live to truth; She was near, for she dwelt at Jerusalem, in a placo see it, which (especially considering that he died in the midst called Mishneh, the second rank of buildings from the royal of his days, before he was 40 years old) would have been but a palace. The Jews say that she prophesied among the women, small reward for his eminent piety, if there were not another the court ladies, being herself one of them, who, it is probable world in which he should be abundantly recompensed, Heb. had their apartments in that place. Happy the court that had | 11. 16. When the righteous is taken away from the evil to a prophetess within the verge of it, and knew how to value her. come, he enters into peace, Is. 57. 1, 2. This is promised to
III. The answer he received from God to his inquiry; Hul- Josiah here, Thou shalt go to thy grave in peace; which refers dah returned it not in the language of a courtier, "Pray give not to the manner of his death, for he was killed in a battle, but my humble service to his majesty, and lot him know that this to the time of it; it was a little before the captivity in Babylon,
from small eren unto great.
b c. 22. 8.
cc. 11. 14, 17.
2 And the king went up into the house of the incense in the high places in the cities of Judah, Lord, and all the men of Judah, and all the inha- and in the places round about Jerusalem ; them bitants of Jerusalem with him, and the priests, and also that burnt incense unto Baal, to the sun, and the prophets, and all the people, *buth small and to the moon, and to the splanets, and to all the great: and he read in their ears all the words of the host of heaven. book of the covenant which was found in the house 6. And he brought out the grove from the house of the LORD.
of the Lord, without Jerusalem, unto the brook 3 And the king stood by a pillar, and made a Kidron, and burnt it at the brook Kidron, and covenant before the LORD, to walk alter the Lord, stamped it small to powder, and cast the powder and to keep his commandments and his testimonies thereof upon the graves of the children of the people. and his statutes, with all their heart and all their 7 And he brake down the houses of the sodomsoul, w perform the words of this covenant that ites, that were by the house of the LORD, where the were written in this book: and all the people stood women #wove hangings for the grove. to the covenant.
8 And he brought all the priests out of the cities 4 And the king commanded Hilkiah the high of Judah, and defiled the high places where the priest, and the priests of the second order, and the priests had burnt incense, from Geba "to Beer-sheba, keepers of the door, to bring forth out of the temple and brake down the high places of the gates that of the Lord all the vessels that were made for Baal, were in the entering in of the gate of Joshua the and for the grove," and for all the host of heaven; governor of the city, which were on a man's left and he burni them without Jerusalem in the fields hand at the gate of the city. of Kidron, and carried the ashes of them unto 9 Nevertheless the priests of the high places Beth-el.
came not up to the altar of the Lord in Jerusalem, 5 And he put down the idolatrous priests, but they did eat of the unleavened bread kamong whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn their brethren.
signs, or, constellations ? Chr. 31. 4. f 1 Kings 14. 24. 15. 12. Ez. 8. 14. t caused to cease. chamaria, Hos. 10.5. Foretold, Zeph. 1.4. or, twelve
St. . 66 that great trouble, in comparison with which the rest were as that which is good: he that bears an honest mind, does not nothing, so that he might be truly said to die in peace that did shrink from positive engagements; fast bind, fast find. not live to share in that; he died in the love and favour of God, V.4-24. We have here an account of such a reformation as which secure such a peace as no circumstances of dying, no, we have not met with in all the history of the kings of Judah, such not dying in the field of war, could alter the nature of, or break thorough riddance made of all the abominable things, and such in upon.
foundations laid of a glorious good work; and here I cannot
but wonder at two things; 1. That so many wicked things NOTES TO CHAPTER XXIII.
should be got in, and kept standing so long, as we find here V. 1-3. Josiah had received a message from God, that removed. 2. That notwithstanding the removal of these wicked there was no preventing the ruin of Jerusalem, but that he only things, and the hopeful prospects here given of a happy settleshould deliver his own soul; yet he does not therefore sit down ment, yet, within a few years, Jerusalem was uiterly destroyed, in despair, and resolve to do nothing for his country, because he and even this did not save it, for the generality of the people, cannot do all he would ; no, he will do his duty, and then leave after all, hated to be reformed. The founder melteth in vain, the event to God; a public reformation is the thing resolved on, and therefore, reprobate silver shall men call them, Jer. 6. if any thing prevent the threatened ruin, it must be that, and 29, 30. here we have the preparations for that reformation.
Let us here observe, 1. He summoned a general assembly of the states, the elders, I. What abundance of wickedness there was, and had been, the magistrates, or representatives, of Judah and Jerusalem, 10 in Judah and Jerusalem; one would not have believed it possimeet him in the house of the Lord, with the priests and pro- ble that in Judah, where God was known, in Israel, where his phets, the ordinary and extraordinary ministers, that they all name was great, in Salem, in Zion, where his dwelling-place joining in it, it might become a national act, and so be the more was, such abominations should be found as here we have an likely to prevent national judgments; they were all called to account of. Josiah had now reigned 18 years, and had himself attend, (v. 1, 2,) that the business might be done with the more set the people a good example, and kept up religion according solemnity, that they might all advise and assist in it, and that to law; and yet, when he came to make inquisition for idolatry, those who were against it, might be discouraged from making the depth and extent of the dunghill he had to carry away, are any opposition; parliaments are no diminution at all to the almost incredible. honour and power of good princes, but a great support to it. 1. Even in the house of the Lord, that sacred temple which
2. Instead of making a speech to this convention, he ordered Solomon built, and dedicated to the honour, and for the worship the book of the law to be read to them; nay, it should seem he of the God of Israel, there were found vessels, all manner of read it himself, (v.2,) as one much affected with it, and desirous utensils, for the worship of Baal, and of the grove, (or Ashtothat they should be so too. Josiah thinks it not below him to reth,) and of all the host of heaven, v. 4. Though Josiah had be a reader, any more than Solomon did to be a preacher, nay, suppressed the worship of idols, yet the provisions made for and David himself to be a doorkeeper, in the house of God. that worship were all carefully preserved, even in the temple Beside the convention of the great men, he had a congregation itself, to be used again, whenever the present restraint should of the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to hear be taken off; nay, even in the grove itself, the image of it, was the law read: it is really the interest of princes to promote the yet standing in the temple, (v. 6;) some make it the image of knowledge of the scriptures in their dominions. If the people Venus, the same with Ashtoreth. bc but as steadfasily resolved to obey by law, as he is to govern 2. Just at the entering in of the house of the Lord was a stable by law, the kingdom will be happy; all people are concerned to for horses kept (would you think it?) for a religious use; they know the scripture, and all in authority to spread the knowledge were holy horses, given to the sun, (v. 11,) as if he needed them of it.
who rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race, (Ps. 19. 5;) or 3. Instead of proposing laws for the confirming of them in rather, they would thus represent to themselves the swiftness their duty, he proposed an association, by which they should of his motion, which they much admired, making their religion all jointly engage themselves to God, v. 3. The book of the to conform to the poetical fictions of the chariot of the sun, the law was the book of the covenant, that if they would be to God follies of which, even a little philosophy, without any divinity, a people, he would be to them a God; they bere engage them- would have exposed and made them ashamed of. Some say selves to do their par', not doubting but that then God would that those horses were to be led forth in pomp, every morning, do his. (1.) The covenant was, that they should walk after the to meet the rising sun; others, that the worshippers of the sun Lord, in compliance with his will, in his ordinances and pro- rode out upon them to adore the rising sun; it should seem vidences, should answer all his calls, and attend all his motions ; that they drew the chariots of the sun, which the people worthat they should make conscience of all his commandments, shipped; strange that ever men who had the written word of moral, ceremonial, and judicial, and should carefully observé thern with all their heart and all their soul, with all possible care
God among them, should be thus vain in their imaginations !
3. Hard by the house of the Lord there were houses of the and caution, sincerity, vigour, courage, and resolution, and so Sodomites, where all manner of lewdness and filthiness, even fulfil the conditions of this covenant, in dependence upon the that which was most unnatural, was practised, and, under prepromises of it. (2.) The covenanters were, the king himself tence of religion, in honour of their impure deities; corporal in the first place, who stood by his pillar, (ch.11.14,) and pub- and spiritual whoredom went together, and the vile affections licly declared his consent to this covenant, to set them an ex which they were given up to, were the punishment of their vain ample, and to assure them not only of his protection, but of his imaginations; they that dishonoured their God, were justly presidency, and all the furtherance his power could give them leli ihus to dishonour themselves, Rom. 1. 24, &c. There in their obedience; it is no abridgment of the liberty even of were women that wove hangings for the grove, (v. 7,) tents princes themselves to be in bonds to God : all the people likewise which encompassed the image of Venus, where the worshippers stood to the covenant, that is, they signified their consent to it, committed all manner of lewdness, and this in the house of the and promised to abide by it; it is of good use, with all possible Lord; they did ill, that made our Father's house a house of solemnity, to oblige ourselves to our duty, and it is especially merchandise, they did worse, that made it a den of thieves, but reasonable after notorious backslidings to sin, and decays in those did worst of all that made it (Horrendum dictu ! horrible