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II. CHRONICLES.

Sennacherib's Invasion.

house of their fathers, and the Levites from "twenty AFTER these things, and the establishment
years old and upward, in their charges by their thereof,
of Assyria came, and
fenced cities, and thought to win them for himself.
entered into Judah, and encamped against the
come, and that the was purposed to fight against
2 And when Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib was
Jerusalem,

courses;

18 And to the genealogy of all their little ones, their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, through all the congregation: for in their "set office they sanctified themselves in holiness:

19 Also of the sons of Aaron the priests, which were in the fields of the suburbs of their cities, in every several city, the men that were expressed by name to give portions to all the males among the priests, and to all that were reckoned by genealogies among the Levites.

20 And thus did Hezekiah throughout all Judah, and wrought that which was good and right and truth, before the LORD his God.

21 And in every work that he began in the service of the house of God, and in the law," and in the commandments, to seek his God, he did it with all his heart, and prospered."

6 And he set captains of war over the people, and gathered them together to him in the street of

CHAPTER XXXII.

This chapter continues and concludes the history of the reign of Hezekiah. 1. The the gate of the city, and spake "comfortably to them,

descent which Sennacherib made upon him, the care he took to fortify him-
self, his city, and the minds of his people against that enemy, v. 1-8. II. The
insolent blasphemous letters and messages which Sennacherib sent him, v. 9-19.

III. The real answer God gave to Sennacherib's blasphemies, and to Hezekiah's
prayers, in the total root Assyrian army, to the of Sennacherib,
and the honour of Hezekiah, v. 20-23. IV. Hezekiah's sickness, and his reco-
very from that; his sin, and his recovery from that; with the honours that
attended him living and dead, v. 24-33.

1 Chr. 23, 24, 27. ⚫or, trust.

8 ver. 12-15.

2 Kings 20. 3. John 1. 47. Acts 24. 16. 1 Thes. 2. 10. 3 Jobn 5. r Lev. 25. 34. Num. 35. 2. c. 26. 5. Josh. 1. 7, 8. Matt. 6. 33. 7. 24-27. u Pa. 1. 2, 3. a 2 Kings 18. 13, &c. Is. 36. Out of the offerings of the Lord distribution was made, (1.) To the priests in the cities, (v. 15,) who stayed at home while their brethren went to Jerusalem, and did good there in teaching the good knowledge of the Lord; the preaching priests were maintained as well as the sacrificing priests, and they that abode by the stuff, as they that warred the warfare. (2.) To those that entered into the house of the Lord, all the males from three years old and upward; for the male children, even at that tender age, it seems, were allowed to come into the temple with their parents, and shared with them in this distribution, v. 16. (3.) Even the Levites from twenty years old and upward had their share, v. 17. (4.) The wives and children of the priests and Levites had a comfortable maintenance out of those offerings, v. 18. In maintaining ministers, regard must be had to their families, that not they only, but theirs, may have food convenient. have their salary paid them by the state, an addition is made In some countries where ministers to it upon the birth of a child. (5.) The priests in the country, that lived in the fields of the suburbs, were not overlooked in this ministration, v. 19. They also had their share, who were inhabitants of the villages, though they might be supposed to live at a less expense.

II. A general character of Hezekiah's services for the support of religion, v. 20, 21. 1. His pious zeal reached to all the parts of his kingdom, thus he did throughout all Judah; every part of the country, and not those only that lay next him, shared in the good fruits of his government. 2. He sincerely designed to please God, and approved himself to him in all he did he wrought that which was good before the Lord his God; all his care was to do that which should be accepted of God, which was right, (that is, agreeable to natural equity,) and truth, (that is, agreeable to divine revelation, and his covenant with God,) before the Lord; to do according to that law which is holy, just, and good. 3. What he began, he went through with, prosecuted it with vigour, and did it with all his heart. 4. All his good intentions were brought to a good issue; whatever he did in the service of the house of God, and in the government of his kingdom, he prospered in it. What is undertaken with a sincere regard to the glory of God, will succeed to our own honour and comfort at last.

NOTES TO CHAPTER XXXII. V. 1-8. Here is,

I. The formidable design of Sennacherib against Hezekiah's kingdom, and the vigorous attempt he made upon it. Sennacherib was now, as Nebuchadnezzar was afterward, the This terror and scourge and great oppressor of that part of the world, that aimed to raise a boundless monarchy for himself upon the ruins of all his neighbours; his predecessor Shalmaneser had lately made himself master of the kingdom of Israel, and carried the ten tribes captive: Sennacherib thought, in like manner, to win Judah for himself. Pride and ambition put men upon grasping at universal dominion; and it is observable that, just about this time, Rome was built by Romulus, a city which afterward came to reign more than any other had done over the kings of the earth. Sennacherib invaded Judah immediately after the reformation of it, and the re-establishment of religion in it; after these things, he entered into Judah, v. 1.

mighty men to stop the waters of the fountains 3 He took counsel with his princes and his which were without the city: and they did help him.

4 So there was gathered much people together, through the midst of the land, saying, Why should who stopped all the fountains, and the brook that ran the kings of Assyria come, and find much water?

the wall that was broken, and raised it up to the 5 Also he strengthened himself, and built up all towers, and another wall without, and repaired Millo in the city of David, and made $darts and shields in abundance.

From 2 Kings 18. 13, we learn that it was in the fourteenth year of Hezekiah's reign.-ED.

( 1032 )

saying,

dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the 7 Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor multitude that is with him: for there be more with us than with him.

1, &c. break them up. † his face was to war.
c c. 25. 23. d 2 Sam. 5. 9. 1 Kings 9. 24.
bla. 22. 9, 11. I overflowed,
heart, c. 30. 22. e Deut. 31. 6. fc. 20. 15. g 2 Kinge 6. 16.
or, swords or weapons. to their

1. It was well ordered by the Divine Providence, that he did not give them this disturbance before the reformation was finished and established, which might have put a stop to it. 2. Perhaps he intended to chastise Hezekiah for destroying that idolatry to which he himself was devoted; he looked upon Hezekiah as profane in what he had done, and that he had thrown himself out of the divine protection, and might therefore be easily made a prey of. 3. God ordered it at this time, that he might have an opportunity of showing himself strong on the behalf of this returning reforming people. He brought this trouble upon them, that he might have the honour, and might put on them the honour, of their deliverance. After these things, and the establishment thereof, one would expect to hear of nothing but perfect peace, and that none durst meddle with a people thus qualified for the divine favour; yet the next news we hear, is ready to lay all waste. is, that a threatening destroying army enters the country, and and yet meet with trouble and danger; God orders it for the trial of our confidence in him, and the manifestation of his care We may be in the way of our duty, concerning us. The little opposition which Sennacherib met with in entering Judah, possessed his mind with the conceit (v. 1,) and purposed to fight against Jerusalem, v. 2. See that all was his own. He thought to win all the fenced cities, 2 Kings 18. 7, 13.

this storm that threatened him. He took counsel with his princes II. The preparation which Hezekiah prudently made against what he should do, what measures he should take; with their advice, he provided, 1. That the country should give him a cold reception, for he took care that he should find no water in it, (and then his army must perish for thirst,) or, at least, that there should be a scarcity of water, by which his army would be weakened, and unfitted for service. A powerful army, if it want water but a few days, will be but a heap of dry dust. All hands were set immediately to work, to stop up the fountains, and the brook that ran through the midst of that land, turning that (it is probable) into the city by pipes under ground. Such as this is the policy commonly practised now-a-days of destroying the forage before an invading army. 2. That the city should give him a warm reception: in order to this, he repaired the wall, raised towers, and made darts, or, as it is in the margin, swords or weapons, and shields, in abundance, (v. 5,) and aptempt him, and do not trust him. God will provide, but so must pointed captains, v. 6. Note, Those that trust God with their safety, must yet use proper means for their safety, else they we also.

pend upon God in this distress. He gathered them together in
a broad open street, and spake comfortably to them, v. 6. He
III. The encouragement which he gave to his people to de-
had a good heart on it himself, and was confident it would issue
well; he was not like his father, who had much guilt to terrify
him, and no faith to encourage him; so that, in a time of public
danger, his heart was moved, as the trees of the wood are moved
with the wind, and then no marvel that the heart of his people
was so too, Is. 7. 2.
people, his captains especially, and spake to their heart, as the
word is. 1. He endeavours to keep down their fears. “Be
With what he said, he put life into his
strong and courageous, do not think of surrendering the city or
capitulating, but resolve to hold it out to the last man: do not
there is no danger. Let the soldiers be bold and brave, make
think of losing the city, or of falling into the enemy's hand;
good their posts, stand to their arms, and fight manfully, and

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k Prov. 12. 25.
m Dan. 3. 15.

the hand of my fathers: how much less shall your God deliver you out of mine hand?

16 And his servants spake yet more against the LORD God, and against his servant Hezekiah.

17 He wrote also letters "to rail on the LORD God of Israel, and to speak against him, saying, As the gods of the nations of other lands have not delivered their people out of mine hand, so shall not the God of Hezekiah deliver his people out of mine hand.

18 Then they cried with a loud voice, in the Jews' speech, unto the people of Jerusalem that were on the wall, to affright them, and to trouble them, that they might take the city.

19 And they spake against the God of Jerusalem as against the gods of the people of the earth, which were the work of the hands of man.

I. The impiety and malice of the church's enemies. nacherib has his hands full in besieging Lachish, (v. 9,) but hears that Hezekiah is fortifying Jerusalem, and encouraging his people to stand it out; and therefore, before he came in person to besiege it, he sends messengers to make speeches, and he himself wri'es letters to frighten Hezekiah and his people into a surrender of the city. See, 1. His great malice against the king of Judah, in endeavouring to withdraw his subjects from their allegiance to him. He does not treat with Hezekiah as a man of honour would have done, nor propose fair terms to him, but uses mean and base artifices, unbecoming a crowned head, to terrify the common people, and persuade them to desert him. He represents Hezekiah as one who designed to deceive his subjects into their ruin, and betray them to famine and thirst, (v. 11;) as one who had done them great wrong, and exposed them already to the divine displeasure by taking away the high places and altars, (v. 12;) and who, against the common interest of his people, held out against a force that would certainly be their ruin, v. 15. 2. His great impiety against the God of Israel; the God of Jerusalem he is called, (v. 19,) because that was the place he had chosen to put his name there, and because that was the place which was now threatened by the enemy, and which the Divine Providence had under its special protection. This proud blasphemer compares the great Jehovah, the Maker of heaven and earth, with the dunghill gods of the nations, the work of men's hands, and VOL. I.-130

20 And for this cause Hezekiah the king, and the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz, prayed rand cried to heaven.

A Jer. 17. 5. i c. 13. 12. Rom. 8. 31. 1 John 4.4. leaned.

14. 73. 8-11, 139, 19, 20.

9 I. 37. 1. &c. r Ps. 50. 15. 91. 14, 15. & Is. 10.

† dominion. 1 or, strong hold. Ia. 10. 14. Dan. 5. 19.

u Ps. 37. 39, 40. Hoa. 1. 7.

Ps. 48. 14. 71. 20, 21.

16-18. 42. 8. 2 Sam. 24. 16. Ps. 18. 50. Dan. 3. 28. 6. 22. § made him fall. 2 Kings 19. 9, &c. o Neh. 6. 9. p 1 Sam. 17. 36. Job 15, 25, 25. Ps. 10. 13, precious things. let the citizens encourage them to do so. Be not afraid nor thinks him no more able to deliver his worshippers, than they dismayed for the king of Assyria." The prophet had thus were to deliver theirs, v. 19. As if an infinite and eternal Spirit encouraged them from God, (Is. 10. 24,) Be not afraid of the had no more wisdom and power than a stone or the stock of a tree. Assyrians; and here the king from him. Now it was that the He boasts of his triumphs over the gods of the nations, that they sinners in Zion were afraid, (Is. 33. 14,) but the righteous could none of them protect their people, (v. 13-15,) and thence dwelt on high, (v. 15, 16,) and meditated terror so as to conquer infers not only How shall your God deliver you? (v. 14,) but, it, (v. 18,) which refers to what is recorded here. 2. He en- as if he were inferior to them all, How much less shall your deavours to keep up their faith, in order to the silencing and God deliver you? As if he were less able to help than any of suppressing of their fears. "He has a multitude with him, and them. Thus did he rail; rail in writing, (which, being more yet there be more with us than with him: for we have God with deliberate, is so much the worse,) on the Lord God of Israel, us, and how many do you reckon for him? With him is an as if he were a cipher and an empty name, like all the rest, arm of flesh, which he trusts to; but with us is the Lord, whose v. 17. Sennacherib, in the instructions he gave, said more power is irresistible; our God, whose promise is inviolable; a than enough; but, as if his blasphemies had been too little, his God in covenant with us, to help us, and to fight our battles, not servants, who learned insolence from their master, spake yet only to help us to fight them, but to fight them for us, if he mere than he bade them against the Lord God and his servant pleases" and so he did here. Note, A believing confidence Hezekiah, v. 16. And God resents, and will reckon for, what in God will raise us above the prevailing fear of man. He that is said against his servants, as well as what is said against feareth the fury of the oppressor, forgetteth the Lord his Maker, himself. All this was intended to frighten the people from Is. 51. 12, 13. It is probable that Hezekiah said more to this their hope in God; which David's enemies sought to take him purport, and that the people rested themselves upon what he off from, (Ps. 11. 1.-42. 10,) saying, There is no help for him said, not merely upon his word, but on the things he said con- in God, Ps. 3. 2.-71. 11. Thus they hoped to take the city cerning the presence of God with them and his power to relieve by weakening the hands of those that should defend it. Satan, them. The belief of this made them easy. Let the good sub-in his temptations, aims to destroy our faith in God's all-suffijects and soldiers of Jesus Christ rest themselves thus upon his ciency; knowing that he gains his point, if he can do that; as word, and boldly say, Since God is for us, who can be against us? we keep our ground, if our faith fail not, Luke 22. 32. V. 9-23. This story of the rage and blasphemy of Sennacherib, Hezekiah's prayer, and the deliverance of Jerusalem by the destruction of the Assyrian army, we had more at large in the book of Kings, 2 Kings 18. 19. It is contracted here, yet large enough to show these three things:

II. The duty and interest of the church's friends: and that is, in the day of distress to pray and cry to Heaven. So Hezekiah did, and the prophet Isaiah, v. 20. It was a happy time, when the king and the prophet joined thus in prayer. Is any troubled? Is any terrified? Let them pray. So we engage Sen-God for us, so we encourage ourselves in him. Praying to God is here called crying to Heaven, because we are, in prayer, to eye him as our Father in heaven, whence he beholds the children of men, and where he has prepared his throne.

III. The power and goodness of the church's God. He is able both to control his enemies, be they never so high, and to relieve his friends, be they never so low. As the blasphemies of his enemies engage him against them, (Deut. 32. 27,) so the prayers of his people engage him for them; they did so here: 1. The army of the Assyrians was cut off by the sword of an angel, which triumphed particularly in the slaughter of the mighty men of valour, and the leaders and captains, who defied the sword of any man. God delights to abase the proud and secure. The Targum says, The Word of the Lord, (the Eternal Word,) sent Gabriel to do this execution, and that it was done with lightning, and in the passover night; that was the night in which the angel destroyed the first-born of Egypt. But that was not all; 2. The king of the Assyrians, having received this disgrace, was cut off by the sword of his own sons. They that came forth of his own bowels, slew him, v. 21. Thus was he mortified first, and then murdered; shamed first, and then slain. Evil pursues sinners; and when they escape one mischief, they run upon another unseen.

Now, by this work of wonder, (1.) God was glorified, as the Protector of his people. Thus he saved Jerusalem, not only from the hand of Sennacherib, but from the hand of all other; ( 1033 )

21 And the LORD sent an angel,' which cut off all the mighty men of valour, and the leaders and captains, in the camp of the king of Assyria: so he returned with shame of face to his own land. And when he was come into the house of his god, they that came forth of his own bowels slew him there with the sword.

22 Thus "the LORD saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib the king of Assyria, and from the hand of all other, and 'guided them on every side.

23 And many brought gifts unto the LORD to Jerusalem, and presents to Hezekiah king of

down to the west side of the city of David. Hezekiah prospered in all his works.

Judah so that he was magnified in the sight of all nations from thenceforth.

24 In "those days Hezekiah was sick to the death, and prayed unto the LORD: and he spake unto him, and he gave him a sign.

25 But Hezekiah rendered not again according to the benefit done unto him, for his heart was lifted up therefore there was wrath upon him, and upon Judah and Jerusalem.

26 Notwithstanding, Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart, (both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem,) so that the wrath of the LORD came not upon them in the days of Hezekiah. 27 And Hezekiah had exceeding much riches and honour: and he made himself treasuries for silver, and for gold, and for precious stones, and for spices, and for shields, and for all manner of pleasant jewels;

28 Storehouses also for the increase of corn, and wine, and oil; and stalls for all manner of beasts, and cotes for flocks.

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for such a deliverance as this was an earnest of much mercy in store; and he guided them, that is, he guarded them, on every side. God defends his people by directing them, shows them what they should do, and so saves them from what is designed or done against them. For this, many brought gifts unto the Lord, when they saw the great power of God in the defence of his people. Strangers were thereby induced to supplicate his favour, and enemies to deprecate his wrath, and both brought gifts to his temple, in token of their care and desire. (2.) Hezekiah was magnified as the favourite and particular care of Heaven; many brought presents to him, (v. 22, 23,) in token of the honour they had for him, and to make an interest in him. By the favour of God, enemies are lost, and friends gained. V. 24-33. Here we conclude the story of Hezekiah, with an account of three things concerning him:

I. His sickness, and his recovery from it, v. 24. It is but briefly mentioned here; we had a large narrative of it, 2 Kings 20. His disease seemed likely to be mortal. In the extremity of it, he prayed, God answered him, and gave him a sign that he should recover; the going back of the sun ten degrees.

II. His sin, and his repentance for that; this was also more largely related, 2 Kings 20. 12, &c. yet several things are here observed concerned it, which we had not there.

1. The occasion of it was the king of Babylon's sending an honourable embassy to him, to congratulate him on his recovery. But here it is added that they came to inquire of the wonder that was done in the land, (v. 31,) either the destruction of the Assyrian army, or the going back of the sun. The Assyrians were their enemies, they came to inquire concerning their fall, that they might triumph in it. The sun was their god, they came to inquire concerning the favour he had shown to Hezekiah, that they might honour him whom their god honoured, v. 31. These miracles were wrought to alarm and awaken a stupid careless world, and turn them from dumb and lame idols to the living God; and men were startled by them, but not converted till a greater wonder was done in that land, in the appearing of Jesus Christ, Matt. 2. 1, 2.

2. God left him to himself in it, to try him, v. 31. God, by the power of his almighty grace, could have prevented the sin; but he permitted it for wise and holy ends, that, by this trial and his weakness in it, he might know, that is, it might be known, (an usual Hebraism,) what was in his heart; that he was not so perfect in grace as he thought he was, but had his follies and infirmities as other men. God left him to himself, to be proud of his wealth, to keep him from being proud of his holiness. It is good for us to know ourselves, and our own weakness and sinfulness, that we may not be conceited, or self-confident, but may always think meanly of ourselves, and live in a dependence upon divine grace. We know not the corruption of our own hearts, nor what we shall do if God leave us to ourselves. Lord, lead us not into temptation.

3. His sin was, that his heart was lifted up, v. 25. He was proud of the honour God had put upon him in so many instances; the honour his neighbours did him in bringing him presents; and now that the king of Babylon should send an embassy to him to caress and court him, this exalted him above measure. When Hezekiah had destroyed other idolatries, he began to idolize himself. O what need have great men, and good men, and useful men, to study their own infirmities and follies, and their obligations to free grace, that they may never think highly of themselves, and to beg earnestly of God, that he will hide pride from them, and always keep them humble!

4. The aggravation of his sin, was, that he made so bad a

And

31 Howbeit, in the business of the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon, who sent funto him to inquire of the wonder that was done in the land, God left him, to try him, that he might know all that was in his heart.

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CHAPTER XXXIII.

In this chapter, we have the history of the reign, I. Of Manasseh, who reigned long. 1. His wretched apostacy from God, and revolt to udolatry, and all wickedness, v. 1-10. 2. His happy return to God in his affliction; his repentance, v. 11-13, his reformation, v. 15-17, and prosperity, v. 14, with the conclusion of his reign, v. 18-20. 11. Of Amen, who reigned very wickedly, v. 21-23 and soon ended his days unhappily, v. 24, 25.

ANASSEH was twelve years old when he began to reign: and he reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem:

ΜΑ

d Job 1. 3, 9. 42. 11. e Is. 22. 9, II. 5 interpreters. f 2 Kings 20. 12, &c. Is. 39. 1, &c. g Deut. 8. 2, 16. Jam. 1. 13. #kindnesses. Ts. 86.-39. * Prov, 10, 7. G 2 Kings 21. I,

i 2 Kings 18.-20.

or, highest.

&c.

return to God for his favours to him, making even those favours the food and fuel of his pride, v. 25, He rendered not again according to the benefit done unto him. Note, It is justly expected that they who have received mercy from God, should study to make some suitable returns for the mercies they have received; and if they do not, their ingratitude will certainly be charged upon them, Though we cannot render an equivalent, or the payment of a debt, we must render the acknowledgment of a favour; What shall I render, that may be so accepted?

Ps. 116. 12.

5. The divine displeasure he was under for this sin; though it was but a heart sin, and the overt act seemed not only innocent, but civil, (the showing of his treasures to a friend,) yet wrath came upon him and his kingdom for it, v. 25. Note, Pride is a sin that God hates as much as any other, and particularly in his own people. They that exalt themselves, must expect to be abased, and put under humbling providences. Wrath came on David for his pride in numbering the people.

6. His repentance for this sin. He humbled himself for the pride of his heart. Note, (1.) Though God may, for wise and holy ends, suffer his people to fall into sin, yet he will not suffer them to lie still in it; they shall not be utterly cast down. (2.) Heart sins are to be repented of, though they go no further. (3.) Self-humiliation is a necessary branch of repentance. (4.) Pride of heart, by which we have lifted up ourselves, is a sin, for which we ought, in a special manner, to humble ourselves. (5.) People ought to mourn for the sins of their rulers. The inhabitants of Jerusalem humbled themselves with Hezekiah; either because they knew they also had been guilty of the same sin, or at least, feared they might share in the punishment. When David, in his pride, numbered the people, they all smarted for it.

7. The reprieve granted thereupon. The wrath came not in his days; while he lived, there were peace and truth; so much does repentance avail to put by, or, at least, to put off, the tokens of God's anger.

III. Here is the honour done to Hezekiah: 1. By the providence of God while he lived. He had exceeding much riches and honour, (v. 27,) replenished his stores, victualled his camps, fortified his city, and did all he wished to do; for God had given him substance very much, v. 29. Among his great performances, his turning the water course of Gihon is mentioned, (v. 30,) which was done upon occasion of Sennacherib's invasion, v. 3,4. The water had come into that which is called the old pool, (Is. 22. 11,) and the upper pool, (Is. 7. 3,) but he gathered the waters into a new place, for the greater convenience of the city, called the lower pool, Is. 22. 9. And, in general, he prospered in all his works, for they were good works. 2. By the respect paid to his memory when he was dead. (1.) The prophet Isaiah wrote his life and reign, (v. 32,) his acts, and his goodness, or piety, part of the honour of which is to be recorded and remembered, for example to others. (2.) The people did him honour at his death, (v. 33,) buried him in the chiefest of the sepulchres, made as great burning for him as for Asa; or, which is a much greater honour, made great lamentation for him, as for Josiah. See how the honour of serious godliness is manifested in the consciences of men. Though it is to be feared that the generality of the people did not heartily comply with the reforming kings, yet they could not but praise their endeavours for reformation, and the memory of those kings was blessed among them. It is a debt we owe to those who have been eminently useful in their day, to do them honour at their death, when they are out of the reach of flattery, and we have seen

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2 But did that which was evil in the sight of the | all that I have commanded them, according to the LORD, like unto the abominations of the heathen, whole law and the statutes and the ordinances by whom the LORD had cast out before the children of the hand of Moses. Israel.

3 For he built again the high places which Hezekiah his father had broken down, and he reared up altars for Baalim, and made groves, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them. 4 Also he built altars in the house of the LORD, whereof the LORD had said, In Jerusalem shall my name be for ever.

5 And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD.

6 And he caused his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom: also he observed times, and used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and dealt with a familiar spirit, and with wizards: he wrought much evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.

7 And he set a carved image, the idol which he had made, in the house of God, of which God had said to David, and to Solomon his son, In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen before all the tribes of Israel, will I put my name for

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NOTES TO CHAPTER XXXIII.

V. 1-10. We have here an account of the great wickedness of Manasseh; it is the same almost word for word with that which we had, 2 Kings 21. 1-9, and took a melancholy view of; it is no such pleasing subject, that we should delight to dwell upon it again. This foolish young prince, in contradiction to the good example and good education his father gave him, abandoned himself to all impiety; transcribed the abominations of the heathen, (v. 2,) ruined the established religion, and unravelled his father's glorious reformation, (v. 3,) profaned the house of God with his idolatry, (v. 4, 5,) dedicated his children to Moloch, and made the devil's lying oracles his guides and his counsellors, . 6. In contempt of the choice God had made of Zion to be his rest for ever, and Israel to be his covenant people, (v. 8,) and the fair terms he stood upon with him, he embraced other gods, profaned God's chosen temple, and debauched his chosen people; he made them to err, and do worse than the heathen, (v. 9,) for if the unclean spirit return, he brings with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself. That which aggravated the sin of Manasseh, was, that God spake to him and his people, by the prophets, but they would not hearken, v. 10. We may here admire the grace of God in speaking to them, and their obstinacy in turning a deaf ear to him; that either their badness did not quite turn away his goodness, but still he waited to be gracious, or that his goodness did not turn them from their badness, but still they hated to be reformed.

Now from this let us learn, 1. That it is no new thing, but a very sad thing, for the children of godly parents to turn aside from that good way of God in which they have been trained up. Parents may give many good things to their children, but they cannot give them grace. 2. Corruptions in worship are such diseases of the church, as even then, when they seem to be cured, it is very apt to relapse into again. 3. The god of this world has strangely blinded men's minds, and has a wonderful power over those that are led captive by him; else he could not draw them from God their best Friend, to depend upon their

9 So Manasseh made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to err, and to do worse than the heathen, whom the LORD had destroyed before the children of Israel.

sworn enemy.

V. 11-20. We have seen Manasseh by his wickedness undoing the good that his father had done; here we have him by repentance undoing the evil that he himself had done. It is strange that this was not so much as mentioned in the book of Kings, nor does any thing appear there to the contrary, but that he persisted and perished in his sin. But, perhaps, the reason was, because the design of that history was to show the wickedness of the nation which brought destruction upon them; and this repentance of Manasseh, and the benefit of it, being personal only, and not national, it is overlooked there; yet here it is fully related, and a memorable instance it is of the riches of God's pardoning mercy, and the power of his renewing grace. Here is, I. The occasion of Manasseh's repentance; and that was his afflictions. In his distress, he did not (like that king Ahaz) trespass yet more against God, but humbled himself, and returned to God. Sanctified afflictions often prove happy means of conversion. What his distress was, we are here told, v. 11. God brought a foreign enemy upon him; the king of Babylon, that courted his father who faithfully served God, invaded him now that he was treacherously departed from God. He is here

10 And the LORD spake to Manasseh, and to his people: but they would not hearken.

11 Wherefore the LORD brought upon them the captains of the host of the king of Assyria, which took Manasseh among the thorns," and bound him with fetters, and carried him to Babylon.

12 And when he was in affliction, he besought the LORD his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers,

13 And prayed unto him: and 'he was entreated of him, and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then "Manasseh knew that the LORD he was God.

14 Now after this he built a wall without the city of David, on the west side of Gihon, in the valley, even to the entering in at the fish-gate, and compassed about Ophel, and raised it up a very great height, and put captains of war in all the fenced cities of Judah.

15 And he took away the strange "gods, and the idol out of the house of the LORD, and all the

h Lam. 3. 7. Ezra 8.23. 5,7.

the end of their conversation. The due payment of this debt called king of Assyria, because he had made himself master of will be an encouragement to others to do likewise.

i Ps. 107. 10-14. tor, chains. k c. 32. 26. 11 Chr. 5. 20. m Ps. 9. 16. Dan. 4. 34, 36. Sor, the tower, c. 27. 3. n ver. 3,

Assyria, which he would the more easily do, for the defeat of Sennacherib's army, and its destruction before Jerusalem. He aimed at the treasures which the ambassadors had seen, and all those precious things; but God sent him to chastise a sinful people, and reduce a straying prince. The captains took Manasseh among the thorns, in some bush or other, perhaps in his garden, where he had hid himself. Or, it is spoken figuratively; he was perplexed in his counsels, and embarrassed in his affairs. He was, as we say, in the briers, and knew not which way to extricate himself, and so became an easy prey to the Assyrian captains; who, no doubt, plundered his house, and took away what they pleased, as Isaiah had foretold, 2 Kings 20. 17, 18. What was Hezekiah's pride, was their prey. They bound Manasseh, who had been held before with the cords of his own iniquity, and carried him prisoner to Babylon. About what time of his reign this was, we are not told; the Jews say it was in his twenty-second year.

II. The expressions of his repentance; (v. 12, 13,) when he was in affliction, he had time to bethink himself, and reason enough too. He saw what he had brought himself to by his sin; he found the gods he had served, unable to help him. He knew that repentance was the only way of restoring his affairs, and therefore to him he returned, from whom he had revolted. 1. He was convinced that Jehovah is the one only living and true God. Then he knew, that is, he believed and considered, that the Lord he was God; he might have known it at a less expense, if he would have given due attendance and credit to the word written and preached: but it was better to pay thus dear for the knowledge of God, than to perish in ignorance and unbelief. Had he been a prince in the palace of Babylon, it is probable he had been confirmed in his idolatry; but, being a captive in the prisons of Babylon, he was convinced of it, and reclaimed from it. 2. He applied himself to him as his God now, renouncing all others, and resolving to cleave to him only; the God of his fathers, and a God in covenant with him. 3. He humbled himself greatly before him; was truly sorry for his sins, ashamed of them, and afraid of the wrath of God. It becomes sinners to humble themselves before the face of that God whom they have offended. It becomes sufferers to humble themselves under the hand of that God who corrects them, and to accept the punishment of their iniquity. Our hearts should be humbled under humbling providences; then we accommodate ourselves to them, and answer God's end in them. 4. He prayed to him for the pardon of sin, and the return of his favour. Prayer is the relief of penitents, the relief of the afflicted. That is a good prayer, and very pertinent in this case, which we find among the apocryphal books, entitled, The prayer of Manasses, king of Judah, when he was holden captive in Babylon; whether it was his or no, is uncertain; if it was, in it he gives glory to God, as the God of their fathers and their righteous seed: as the Creator of the world, a God whose anger is insupportable, and yet his merciful promise unmeasurable. He pleads that God has promised repentance and forgiveness to them that have sinned, and has appointed repentance unto sinners, that they may be saved; not unto the just, as to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but to me, (says he,) that am a sinner; for I have sinned above the number of the sands of the sea: so he confesses his sin largely, and aggravates it. Forgive me, O Lord, forgive me, and destroy me not; he pleads, Thou art the God of them that repent, &c. and concludes, Therefore I will praise thee for ever, &c.

altars that he had built in the mount of the house of the LORD, and in Jerusalem, and cast them out of the city:

16 And he repaired the altar of the LORD, and sacrificed thereon peace-offerings, and thank-offerings, and commanded Judah to serve the LORD God of Israel.

17 Nevertheless," the people did sacrifice still in the high places, yet unto the LORD their God only. 18 Now the rest of the acts of Manasseh, and his prayer unto his God, and the words of the seers that spake to him in the name of the LORD God of Israel, behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Israel:

19 His prayer also, and how God was entreated of him, and all his sins, and his trespass, and the places wherein he built high places, and set up groves and graven images, before he was humbled, behold, they are written among the sayings of "the

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III. God's gracious acceptance of his repentance. God was entreated of him, and heard his supplication. Though affliction drives us to God, he will not therefore reject us, if in sincerity we seek him, for afflictions are sent on purpose to bring us to him. As a token of God's favour to him, he made a way for his escape; afflictions are continued no longer than till they have done their work; when Manasseh is brought back to his God and to his duty, he shall soon be brought back to his kingdom. See how ready God is to accept and welcome returning sinners, and how swift to show mercy. Let not great sinners despair, when Manasseh himself, upon his repentance, found favour with God; in him God showed forth a pattern of long-suffering, as 1 Tim.

1. 16. Is. 1. 18.

IV. The fruits meet for repentance which he brought forth after his return to his own land, v. 15, 16. 1. He turned from his sins. He took away the strange gods, the images of them, and that idol (whatever it was) which he had set up with so much solemnity in the house of the Lord, as if it had been master of that house; he cast out all the idolatrous altars that were in the mount of the house and in Jerusalem, as detestable things; now (we hope) he loathed them as much as ever he had loved them, and said to them, Get ye hence, Is. 30. 22. "What have I to do any more with idols? I have had enough of them." 2. He returned to his duty; for he repaired the altar of the Lord, which had either been abused and broken down by some of the idolatrous priests, or, at least, neglected and gone out of repair. He sacrificed thereon peace-offerings to implore God's favour, and thank-offerings to praise him for his deliverance. Nay, he now used his power to reform his people, as before he had abused it to corrupt them, He commanded Judah to serve the Lord God of Israel. Note, Those that truly repent of their sins, will not only return to God themselves, but will do all they can to reduce those that have by their example been seduced and drawn away from God; else they do not thoroughly (as they ought) undo what they have done amiss, nor make the plaster as wide as the wound. We find that he prevailed to bring them off from their false gods, but not from their high places, v. 17. They still sacrificed in them, yet to the Lord their God only; Manasseh could not carry the reformation so far as he had carried the corruption. It is an easy thing to debauch men's manners, but not so easy to reform them again.

V. His prosperity, in some measure, after his repentance. He might plainly see it was sin that ruined him; for when he returned to God in a way of duty, God returned to him in a way of mercy and then he built a wall about the city of David, (v. 14,) for by sin he had unwalled it, and exposed it to the enemy. He also put captains of war in the fenced cities, for the security of his country. Josephus says, that all the rest of his time, he was so changed for the better, that he was looked upon as a very happy man.

Lastly, Here is the conclusion of his history. The heads of those things for a full narrative of which we are referred to the other writings that were then extant, are more than of any of the kings, v. 18, 19. A particular account, it seems, was kept, 1. Of all his sin, and his trespass, the high places he built, the groves and images he set up, before he was humbled. Probably, this was taken from his own confession which he made of his sin, when God gave him repentance, and which he left upon record, and was inserted in a book, entitled, The words of the seers. To those seers that spake to him, (v. 18,) to reprove him for his sin, he sent his confession when he repented, to be inserted in their memoirs, as a token of his gratitude to them for their kindness in reproving him. Thus it becomes penitents to take shame to themselves, to give thanks to their reprovers,

22 But he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, as did Manasseh his father; for Amon sacrificed unto all the carved "images which Manasseh his father had made, and served them; 23 And humbled not himself before the LORD, as Manasseh his father had humbled himself: but Amon trespassed more and more.

24 And his servants conspired against him, and slew him in his own house.

25 But the people of the land slew all them that had conspired against king Amon: and the people of the land made Josiah his son king in his stead.

CHAPTER XXXIV.

Before we see Judah and Jerusalem ruined, we shall yet see some glorious years,

while good Josiah sits at the helm. By his pious endeavours for reformation, God tried them yet once more; if they had known in this their day, the day of their visitation, the things that belonged to their peace, and improved them, their ruin, might have been prevented. But, after this reign, they were bid from their eyes, and the next reigns brought an utter desolation upon them. In this chapter, we have, 1. A general account of Josiah's character, v. 1, 2. 13. His zeal to root out idolatry, v. 3-7. III. His care to repair the temple, v. 813. IV. The finding of the book of the law, and the good use made of it, v. 1428. V. The poblic reading of the law to the people, and their renewing their covenant with God thereupon, v. 29-33. Much of this we had, 2 Kings 22.

OSIAH was eight years old when he began to reign and he reigned in Jerusalem one and thirty years.

JOS!

:

2 And he did that which was right in the sight

u Is. 44. 13, c. t multiplied trespass. Jer. 7, 26. Gen. 9. 6. Num. 35. 31, 33. a 2 Kings 22. 1, &c.

and warning to others. 2. Of the words of the seers that spake to him in the name of the Lord, (v. 10,) the reproofs they gave him for his sin, and their exhortations to repentance. Note, Sinners ought to consider that how little notice soever they take of them, an account is kept of the words of the seers that speak to them from God, to admonish them of their sins, warn them of their danger, and call them to their duty, which will be produced against them in the great day. 3. Of his prayer to God, (that is twice mentioned, as a remarkable thing,) and how God was entreated of him. This was written for the generations to come, that the people that should be created, might praise the Lord, for his readiness to receive returning prodigals.

Notice is taken of the place of his burial, not in the sepulchres of the kings, but in his own house; he was buried privately, and nothing of that honour was done him at his death, that was done to his father. Penitents may recover their comfort sooner than their credit.

V. 21-25. We have little recorded concerning Amon, but enough, unless it were better. Here is, 1. His great wickedness. He did as Manasseh had done in the days of his apostacy, v. 22. They who think this an evidence that Manasseh did not truly repent, forget how many good kings had wicked sons. Only, it should seem that Manasseh was in this defective, that when he cast out the images, he did not utterly deface and destroy them, according to the law which required them to burn the images with fire, Deut. 7. 5. How necessary that law was, this instance shows; for the carved images being only thrown by, and not burned, Amon knew where to find them, soon set them up, and sacrificed to them. It is added, to represent him exceeding sinful, and to justify God in cutting him off so soon, (1.) That he outdid his father in sinning; he trespassed more and more, v. 23. His father did ill, but he did worse. They that were joined to idols, grew more and more mad upon them. (2.) That he came short of his father in repenting; he humbled not himself before the Lord, as his father had humbled himself. He fell like him, but did not get up again like him. It is not so much sin, as impenitence in sin, that ruins men; not so much that they offend, as that they do not humble themselves for their offences; not the disease, but the neglect of the remedy.

2. His speedy destruction. He reigned but two years, and then his servants conspired against him and slew him, v. 24. Perhaps when Amon sinned, as his father did, in the beginning of his days, he promised himself that he should repent, as his father did, in the latter end of his days. But his case shows what a madness it is to presume upon that; if he hoped to repent when he was old, he was wretchedly disappointed; for he was cut off when he was young. He rebelled against God, and his own servants rebelled against him. Herein God was righteous, but they were wicked, and justly did the people of the land put them to death as traitors. The lives of kings are particularly under the protection of Providence, and the laws both of God and man.

NOTES TO CHAPTER XXXIV. V. 1-7. Concerning Josiah we are told,

1. That he came to the crown when he was very young, but eight years old; yet his infancy did not debar him from his right, and he reigned thirty-one years, (v. 1,) a considerable time. I fear, however, that in the beginning of his reign, things went much as they had done in his father's time, because, being a child, he must have left the management of them to others; so that it was not till his 12th year, which goes far in the number of his years, that the reformation began, v. 3. Ho could not, as Hezekiah did, fall about it immediately.

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