Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

Zidonians, and for Chemosh the abomination of the Moabites, and for Milcom the abomination of the children of Ammon, did the king defile.

14 And he brake in pieces the images, and cut down the groves, and filled their places with the bones of men.

15 Moreover, the altar that was at Beth-el, and the high place which Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, had made, both that altar and high place he brake down, and burnt the high place, and stamped it small to powder, and burnt the grove.

12 And the altars that were on the top of the upper chamber of Ahaz, which the kings of Judah had made, and the altars which Manasseh had made in the two courts of the house of the LORD, did the 16 And as Josiah turned himself, he spied the king beat down, and brake them down from thence, the sepulchres that were there in the mount, and and cast the dust of them into the brook Kidron. sent, and took the bones out of the sepulchres, and 13 And the high places that were before Jerusa- burnt them upon the altar, and polluted it, accordlem, which were on the right hand of the mounting to the word 'of the LORD, which the man of God of Corruption, which Solomon the king of Israel proclaimed, who proclaimed these words. had builded for Ashtoreth the abomination of the

17 Then he said, What title is that that I see? from thence. i.e the mount of Olives. g 1 Kings 11. 7. r Ex. 23. 24. Num. 33. 52. Deut. 7. 5, 25. Mic. 1. 7. statues. * 1 Kings 12. 28, 33, 1 Kings 13. 2.

10 And he defiled Topheth,' which is in the valley "of the children of Hinnom, "that no man might make his son or his daughter to pass through the fire to Molech.

11 And he took away the horses that the kings of Judah had given to the sun, at the entering in of the house of the LORD, by the chamber of Nathanmelech the chamberlain, which was in the suburbs, and burnt the chariots of the sun with fire.

Is. 30. 33. Jer. 7. 31. m Josh. 15.8. n Lev. 18. 21. Deut. 18. 10. Ez. 23. 37, 39. * or, eunuch, or, officer. o Jer. 19. 13. Zeph. 1. 5. p c. 21.5. tor, ran to relate!) a brothel, in an impudent defiance of the holiness of God and his temple; well might the apostle call them abominable idolatries.

4. There were many idolatrous altars found, (v. 12,) some in the palace, on the top of the upper chamber of Ahaz; the roofs of their houses being flat, they made them their high places, and set up altars upon them, (Jer. 19. 13. Zeph. 1. 5,) domestic altars; the kings of Judah did so: and though Josiah never used them, yet to this time they remained there. Manasseh had built altars for his idols in the house of the Lord; when he repented, he removed them, and cast them out of the city, (2 Chr. 33. 15,) but, not destroying them, his son Amon, it seems, had brought them again into the courts of the temple, there Josiah found them, and thence he brake them down, v. 12. 5. There was Tophet, in the valley of the son of Hinnom, very near Jerusalem, where the image of Molech (that god of unnatural cruelty, as others were of unnatural uncleanness) was kept, to which some sacrificed their children, burning them in the fire, others dedicated them, making them to pass through the fire, (v. 10,) labouring in the very fire, Hab. 2. 13. It is supposed to have been called Tophet, from toph, a drum, because they beat drums at the burning of the children, that their shrieks might not be heard.

6. There were high places before Jerusalem, which Solomon had built, v. 13. The altars and images on those high places, we may suppose, had been taken away by some of the preceding godly kings, or, perhaps, Solomon himself had removed them when he became a penitent, but the buildings, or some parts of them, remained, with other high places, till Josiah's time. They that introduce corruptions into religion, know not how far they will reach, nor how long they will last; antiquity is no certain proof of verity: there were also high places all the kingdom over, from Geba to Beersheba, (v. 8,) and high places of the gates, in the entering in of the gate of the governor. In those high places, Bishop Patrick thinks, they burned incense to those tutelar gods, to whom their idolatrous kings had committed the protection of their city; and, probably, the governor of the city had a private altar for his penates-his household gods. 7. There were idolatrous priests, that officiated at all those idolatrous altars, (v. 5;) Chemarim, black men, or that wore black; see Zeph. 1. 4. They that sacrificed to Osiris, or that wept for Tammuz, (Ez. 8. 14,) or that worshipped the infernal deities, put on black garments as mourners. Those idolatrous priests, the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense in the high places; they were, it should seem, priests of the house of Aaron, who thus profaned their dignity, and there were others also who had no right at all to the priesthood, who burned incense to Baal.

8. There were conjurers and wizards, and such as dealt with familiar spirits, v. 24. When they worshipped the devil as their god, no marvel that they consulted him as their oracle. II. What a full destruction good Josiah made of all those relics of idolatry; such is his zeal for the Lord of hosts, and his holy indignation against all that is displeasing to him, that nothing shall stand before him; the law was, that the monuments of the Canaanites' idolatry must be all destroyed, (Deut. 7. 5,) much more of the idolatry of the Israelites, in whom it was much more impious, profane, and perfidious.

1. He orders Hilkiah, and the other priests, to clear the temple, that was their province, v. 4. Away with all the vessels that were made for Baal. They must never be employed in the service of God, no, nor reserved for any common use, they must all be burned, and the ashes of them carried to Bethel; that place had been the common source of idolatry, for there was set up one of the calves, and that lying next to Judah, thence the infection had spread into that kingdom, and therefore now he makes it the laystall of idolatry, the dunghill to which he carries the filth and offscouring of all things, that, if possible, it might be made loathsome to those that had been fond of it.

2. The idolatrous priests were all put down; those of them that were not of the house of Aaron, or had sacrificed to Baal,

or other false gods, he put to death, according to the law; (v. 20,) he slew them upon their own altars, the most acceptable sacrifice that ever had been offered upon them, a sacrifice to the justice of God: those that were descendants from Aaron, and yet had burned incense in the high places, but to the true God only, he forbade ever to approach the altar of the Lord, they had forfeited that honour; (v. 9,) he brought them out of the cities of Judah, (v. 8,) that they might not do mischief in the country by secretly keeping up their old idolatrous usages; but he allowed them to eat of the unleavened bread, (the bread of the meat-offering, Lev. 2. 4, 5,) among their brethren, with whom they were to reside, that being under their eye, they might be kept from doing hurt, and taught to do well; that bread, that unleavened bread, (heavy and unpleasant as it was,) was better than they deserved, and that would serve to keep them alive; but whether they were permitted to eat of all the sacrifices, as blemished priests were, (Lev. 21. 22,) which is called, in general, the bread of their God, may be justly questioned.

3. All the images were broken to pieces, and burned; the image of the grove, (v. 6,) some goddess or other, was reduced to ashes, and the ashes cast upon the graves of the common people, (v. 6,) the common burying-place of the city. By the law, a ceremonial uncleanness was contracted by the touch of a grave, so that in casting them here, he declared them most impure, and none could touch them without making themselves unclean by it: he cast it into the graves, so the Chaldee, intimating that he would have all idolatry buried out of his sight, as a loathsome thing, and forgotten, as dead men are out of mind; (v. 14,) he filled the places of the groves with the bones of men; as he carried the ashes of the images to the graves, to mingle them with dead men's bones, so he carried dead men's bones to the places where the images had been, and put them in the room of them, that, both ways, idolatry might be rendered loathsome, and the people kept both from the dust of the images, and from the ruins of the places where they had been worshipped; dead men, and dead gods, were much alike, and fittest to go together.

4. All the wicked houses were suppressed; those nests of impiety that harboured idolaters, the houses of the sodomites, v. 7, (down with them, down with them, raze them to the foundations;) the high places were, in like manner, broken down and levelled with the ground, (v. 8,) even that which belonged to the governor of the city, for no man's greatness or power may protect him in idolatry or profaneness; let governors be obliged, in the first place, to reform, and then the governed will be the sooner influenced: he defiled the high places, (v. 8, and again, v. 13:) did all he could to render them abominable, and put the people out of conceit with them, as Jehu did when he made the house of Baal a draught house, 2 Kings 10. 27. Tophet, which, contrary to other places of idolatry, was in a valley, whereas they were on hills or high places, was likewise defiled, (v. 10,) was made the buryingplace of the city; concerning this we have a whole sermon, Jer. 19. 1, 2, &c. where it is said, They shall bury in Tophet; and the whole city is threatened to be made like Tophet.

5. The horses that had been given to the sun, were taken away, and put to common use, and so were delivered from the vanity to which they were made subject; and the chariots of the sun (what pity was it that those horses and chariots should be kept as the chariots and horsemen of Israel!) he burned with fire; and if the sun be a flame, they never resembled him so as they did when they were chariots of fire.

6. The workers with familiar spirits, and the wizards, were put away, v. 24. Those of them that were convicted of witchcraft, it is likely, he put to death, and so deterred others from those diabolical practices; in all this, he had a sincere regard to the words of the law which were written in the book lately found, (v. 24;) he made that his rule, and kept that in his eye throughout this reformation.

III. How his zeal extended itself to the cities of Israel that were within his reach. The ten tribes were carried captive; the Assyrian colonies did not fully people the country, so that,

And the men of the city told him, It is the sepulchre | wherein this passover was holden to the LORD in of the man of "God which came from Judah, and Jerusalem. proclaimed these things that thou hast done against the altar of Beth-el.

18 And he said, Let him alone; let no man move his bones. So they let his bones alone, with the bones of the prophet that came out of Samaria. 19 And all the houses also of the high places that were in the cities of Samaria, which the kings of Israel had made to provoke the LORD to anger, Josiah took away, and did to them according to all

the acts that he had done in Beth-el.

[blocks in formation]

it is likely, many cities had put themselves under the protec-
tion of the kings of Judah, 2 Chr. 30. 1.-34. 6. These he
here visits, to carry on his reformation; as far as our influence
goes, our endeavours should go to do good, and bring the
ness of the wicked to an end.

24 Moreover, the workers with familiar spirits, and the wizards, and the images, and the idols, and all the abominations that were spied in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, did Josiah put away, that he might perform the words of the law which were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the house of the LORD.

25 And like unto him was there no king before him, that turned to the LORD with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; neither after him arose there any like him.

26 Notwithstanding the LORD turned not from the fierceness of his great wrath, wherewith his anger was kindled against Judah, because of all the provocations that Manasseh had provoked him withal.

27 And the LORD said, I will remove Judah also out of my sight, as I have removed "Israel, and will cast off this city Jerusalem which I have chosen, and the house of which I said, My name shall be there.

ordinances of God, but Josiah considered that we must learn to do well, and not only cease to do evil, and that the way to keep out all abominable customs, is to keep up all instituted ordiwicked-nances, (see Lev. 18. 30;) and therefore he commanded all the people to keep the passover, which was not only a memorial of their deliverance out of Egypt, but a token of their dedication to him that brought them out, and their communion with him: this he found written in the book of the law, here called the book of the covenant; for though the divine authority may deal with us in a way of absolute command, divine grace condescends to federal transactions, and therefore he observed it. We have not such a particular account of this passover as of that in Hezekiah's time, (2 Chr. 30.) but, in general, that there was not holden such a passover in any of the foregoing reigns, no not from the days of the judges, (v. 22;) which, by the way, intimates that though the account which the book of Judges gives of the state of Israel under that dynasty, looks but melancholy, yet there were then some golden days. This passover, it seems, was extraordinary for the number and devotion of the communicants, their sacrifices and offerings, and their exact observance of the laws of the feast; and it was not now, as in Hezekiah's passover, when many communicated, that were not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary, and the Levites were permitted to do the priests' work. We have reason to think that during all the remainder of Josiah's reign, reflourished, and the feasts of the Lord were very carefully observed; but in this passover, the satisfaction they took in the covenant lately renewed, the reformation in pursuance of it, and the revival of an ordinance which they had lately found the divine original of in the book of the law, and which had long been neglected or carelessly kept, put them into transports of

Lastly, We are here told what a solemn passover Josiah and his people kep', after all this. When they had cleared the country of the old leaven, then they applied themselves to the keeping of the feast; when Jehu had destroyed the worship of Baal, yet he took no heed to walk in the commandments and

tor, teraphim, Gen. 31. 19. b Lev. 19. 31. 20. 27. Deut. 18. 11. e c. 18. 5. d 1 Kings 8. 48. Jer. 29. 13. e Neh. 10. 29. fc. 21, 11, 12. 24. 3, 4. Jer. 15. 4. angers. g c. 21. 13. A c. 17. 18, 20. 18. 11. i 1 Kings 9. 3.

1. He defiled and demolished Jeroboam's altar at Bethel, with the high place and the grove that belonged to it, v. 15, 16. The golden calf, it should seem, was gone, (Thy calf, O Samaria, has cast thee off,) but the altar was there, which those that were wedded to their old idolatries, made use of still; this was, (1.) Defiled, v. 16. Josiah, in his pious zeal, was ransacking the old seats of idolatry, and spied the sepulchres in the mount, in which, probably, the idolatrous priests were buried, not far from the altar at which they had officiated, and which they were so fond of, that they were desirous to lay their bones by it; these he opened, took out the bones, and burned them upon the altar, to show that thus he would have done by the priests themselves, if they had been alive, as he did by those whom he found alive, (v. 20,) thus he polluted the altar, desecrated it, and made it odious. It is threatened against idolaters, Jer. 8. 1, 2, that their bones shall be spread before the sun; that which is there threatened, and this which is here executed, (bespeaking their iniquity to be upon their bones, Ez. 32. 27,) are an intimation of a punishment after death, reserved for those that live and die impenitent in that or any other sin; the burning of the bones, if that were all, is a small matter;ligion but if it signify the torment of the soul in a worse flame, (Luke 16. 24,) it is very dreadful. This, as it was Josiah's act, seems to be the result of a very sudden resolve; he had not done it, but that he happened to turn himself, and spy the sepulchres, and yet it was foretold above 350 years before, when this altar was first built by Jeroboam, 1 Kings 13. 2. God always fore-holy sees, and has sometimes foretold as certain, that which yet to us seems most contingent; the king's heart is in the hand of the Lord; king Josiah's was so, and he turned it (or ever he himself was aware, Cant. 6. 12,) to do this; no word of God shall fall to the ground. (2.) It was demolished; he brake down the altar and all its appurtenances, v. 15, burned what was combustible, and, since an idol is nothing in the world, he went as far toward the annihilating of it as he could, for he stamped it small to powder, and made it as dust before the wind.

I. It is here owned that Josiah was one of the best kings that ever sat upon the throne of David, v. 25. As Hezekiah was a 2. He destroyed all the houses of the high places, all those nonsuch for faith and dependence upon God in straits, (ch. 18. synagogues of Satan that were in the cities of Samaria, v. 19.5,) so Josiah was a nonsuch for sincerity and zeal in carrying These the kings of Israel built, and God raised up this king of on a work of reformation. For this, there was none like him. Judah to pull them down, for the honour of the ancient house 1. That he turned to the Lord from whom his fathers had reof David, from which the ten tribes had revolted; the priests volted. It is true religion to turn to God, as one we have he justly made sacrifices upon their own altars, v. 20. chosen, and love. He did what he could to turn his kingdom also to the Lord. 2. That he did this with his heart and soul; his affections and aims were right in what he did. Those make nothing of their religion, that do not make heart work of it. 3. That he did it with all his heart, and all his soul, and all his might; with vigour, and courage, and resolution; he could not otherwise have broken through the difficulties he had to grapple with. What great things may we bring to pass in the service of God, if we be but lively and hearty in it! 4. That he did this, according to all the law of Moses; in an exact observance of that law, and with an actual regard to it. His zeal did not transport him into any irregularities, but, in all he did, he walked by rule.

3. He carefully preserved the sepulchre of that man of God, who came from Judah to foretel this, which now a king who came from Judah, executed; this was that good prophet who proclaimed these things against the altar of Bethel, and yet was himself slain by a lion for disobeying the word of the Lord; but to show that God's displeasure against him went no further than his death, but ended there, God so ordered it, that when all the graves about his were disturbed, his was safe, (v. 17, 18,) and no man moved his bones: he was entered into peace, and therefore shall rest in his bed, Is. 57. 2. The old lying prophet, who desired to be buried as near him as might be, it should seem, knew what he did, for his dust also being mingled with that of the good prophet, was preserved for his sake; see Num. 23. 10.

joy; and God was pleased to recompense their zeal in destroying idolatry with uncommon tokens of his presence and favour; all this concurred to make it a distinguished passover. V. 25-30. Upon the reading of these verses, we must say, Lord, though thy righteousness be as the great mountains, evident, conspicuous, and past dispute, yet thy judgments are a great deep, unfathomable, and past finding out, Ps. 36.6. What shall we say to this?

II. Notwithstanding this, he was cut off by a violent death, in the midst of his days, and his kingdom was ruined within a few years after. Consequent upon such a reformation as this, one would have expected nothing but the prosperity and glory both of king and kingdom; but, quite contrary, we find both under a cloud.

1. Even the reformed kingdom continues marked for ruin.

[blocks in formation]

31 Jehoahaz was twenty and three years old when he began to reign; and he reigned three months in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was "Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah.

32 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his fathers had done.

33 And Pharaoh-nechoh put him in bands at Riblah, in the land of Hamath, that he might not reign in Jerusalem; and put the land to a tribute

Josiah king in the room of Josiah his father, and turned his name to Jehoiakim, and took Jehoahaz away: and he came to Egypt, and died there.

35 And Jehoiakim gave the silver and the gold to Pharaoh; but he taxed the land to give the money according to the commandment of Pharaoh : he exacted the silver and the gold of the people of the land, of every one according to his taxation, to give it unto Pharaoh-nechoh.

k 2 Chr. 35. 20, &c. Zech. 12. 11. m 2 Chr. 36. 1, &c. called Shallum, 1 Chr. 3. 15. Jer. 22. 11. n c. 24. 18. o c. 25. 6. Jer. 52. 27. ↑ or, because For all this, (v. 26,) The Lord turned not from the fierceness of his great wrath. That is certainly true, which God spake by the prophet, Jer. 18. 7, 8, That if a nation, doomed to destruction, turn from the evil of sin, God will repent of the evil of punishment; and therefore we must conclude that Josiah's people, though they submitted to Josiah's power, did not heartily imbibe Josiah's principles. They were turned by force, they did not voluntarily turn from their evil way, but still continued their affection for their idols; and therefore he that knows men's hearts, would not recall the sentence, which was, That Judah should be removed, as Israel had been, and Jerusalem itself cast off, v. 27. Yet even this destruction was intended to be their effectual reformation; so that we must say, not only that the criminals had filled their measure, and were ripe for ruin, but also that the disease was come to a crisis, and was ready for a cure; and this shall be all the fruit, even the taking away

of sin.

36 Jehoiakim was twenty and five years old when he began to reign; and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem: and his mother's name was Zebudah, the daughter of Pedaiah of Rumah.

37 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his fathers had done. CHAPTER XXIV.

Things are here ripening for, and hastening toward, the utter destruction of Jerusalem. We left Jehoiakim on the throne, placed there by the king of Egypt: now here we have, I. The troubles of his reign, how he was brought into subJection by the king of Babylon, and severely chastised for attempting to shake off the yoke, v. 1-6, and how Egypt also was conquered by Nebuchiduezzar, v. 7. II. The desolations of his son's reign, which continued but three months: and then he, and all his great men, being forced to surrender at discretion, were carried captives to Babylon, v. 8-16. III. The preparatives of the next reign, (which was the last of all,) for the utter ruin of Jerusalem, which the next chapter will give us an account of, v. 17—20.

of an hundred talents of silver, and a talent of gold: came up, and Jehoiakim became his servant

N his days Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon

34 And Pharaoh-nechoh made Eliakim the son of

[blocks in formation]

fared the better for his piety; but deviating from them, they fared the worse for his rashness.

I. Jehoahaz, a younger son, was first made king by the people of the land; probably, because he was observed to be of a more active warlike genius than his elder brother, and likely to make head against the king of Egypt, and to avenge his father's death, which perhaps the people were more solicitous about, in point of honour, than the keeping up and carrying on his father's reformation; and the issue was accordingly. 1. He did ill, v. 32. Though he had a good education, and a good example, given him, and many a good prayer, we may suppose, put up for him, yet he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, and, it is to be feared, began to do so in his father's lifetime, for his reign was so short, that he could not, in that, show much of his character. He did according to all that his wicked fathers had done. Though he had not time to do much, yet he had chosen his patterns, and showed whom he intended to follow, and whose steps he resolved to tread in; and having · done this, he is here reckoned to have done according to all the evil which they did, whom he proposed to imitate. The choice of persons whom the young take for their example, is of serious consequence; an error in this choice is fatal, Phil. 3. 17, 18.

2. As an evidence of this, even the reforming king is cut off in the midst of his usefulness, in mercy to him, that he might not see the evil which was coming upon his kingdom; but in wrath to his people, for his death was an inlet to their desolations. The king of Egypt waged war, it seems, with the king of Assyria, (so the king of Babylon is now called,) Josiah's kingdom lay between them; he therefore thought himself concerned to oppose the king of Egypt, and check the growing, threatening, greatness of his power; for though, at this time, he protested that he had no design against Josiah, yet if he should prevail to unite the river of Egypt and the river Euphrates, the land of Judah would soon be overflowed between them; there fore Josiah went against him, and was killed in the first engagement, p. 29, 30. Here, (1.) We cannot justify Josiah's conduct; he had no clear call to engage in this war, nor do we find that he asked counsel of God by Urim, or prophets, concerning it. What had he to do, to appear and act as a friend and ally to the king of Assyria? Should he help the ungodly, and love II. Eliakim, another son of Josiah, was made king by the them that hate the Lord? If the kings of Egypt and Assyria king of Egypt; it is not said in the room of Jehoahaz, (his reign quarrelled, he had reason to think God would bring good out of was so short, that it was scarcely worth taking notice of,) but it to him and his people, and make them instrumental to weaken in the room of Josiah. The crown of Judah had, hitherto, one another. Some understand the promise made to him, always descended from a father to a son, and never, till now, (That he should come to his grave in peace,) in a sense in which from one brother to another; once, the succession had so hap it was not performed, because, by his miscarriage in this mat-pened in the house of Ahab, but never, till now, in the house of ter, he forfeited the benefit of it. God has promised to keep us David. The king of Egypt, having used his power in making in all our ways; but if we go out of our way, we throw ourselves him king, further showed it in changing his name, he called him out of his protection. I understand the promise so, as that I Jehoiakim, a name that has reference to Jehovah, for he had no believe it was fulfilled, for he died in peace with God and his design to make him renounce or forget the religion of his counown conscience, and saw not, nor had any immediate prospect try; all people will walk in the name of their God, and let him of, the destruction of Judah and Jerusalem by the Chaldeans; do so. The king of Babylon did not do so by those whose yet I understand the providence to be a rebuke to him for his names he changed, Dan. 1. 7. rashness. (2.) We must adore God's righteousness, in taking away such a jewel from an unthankful people that knew not how to value it. They greatly lamented his death, (2 Chr. 35, 25,) urged to it by Jeremiah, who told them the meaning of it, and what a threateninng omen it was; but they had not made a due improvement of the mercies they enjoyed by his life, of which God taught them the worth by the want.

V. 31-37. Jerusalem saw not a good day after Josiah was laid in his grave, but one trouble come after another, till, within 22 years, it was quite destroyed. Of the reign of two of his sons here is a short account; the former we find here a prisoner, and the latter a tributary, to the king of Egypt, and both so in the very beginning of their reign. This king of Egypt having slain Josiah, though he had not had any design upon Judah, yet, being provoked by the opposition which Josiah gave him, now, it should seem, he bent all his force against his family and kingdom. If Josiah's sons had trodden in his steps, they would have

2. Doing ill, no wonder that he fared ill. He was but three months a prince, and was then made a prisoner, and lived and died so. The king of Egypt seized him, and put him in bands, (v. 33,) fearing lest he should give him disturbance, and carried him to Egypt, where he died soon after, v. 34. This Jehoahaz is that young lion whom Ezekiel speaks of in his lamentation for the princes of Israel, that learned to catch the prey and devour men, (that was the evil which he did in the sight of the Lord,) but the nations heard of him, he was taken in their pit, and they brought him with chains into the land of Egypt, Éz. 19. 1-4. See Jer. 22. 10-12.

Of this Jehoiakim we are here told, 1. That the king of Egypt made him poor, exacted from him a vast tribute of one hundred talents of silver, and a talent of gold, (v. 33,) which, with much difficulty, he squeezed out of his subjects, and gave to Pharaoh, v. 35. Formerly, the Israelites had spoiled the Egyptians, now, the Egyptians spoil Israel: see what woful changes sin makes. 2. That which made him poor, yet did not make him good; notwithstanding the rebukes of Providence he was under, by which he should have been convinced, humbled, and reformed, he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, (v. 37,) and so prepared against himself greater judgments; for such God will send, if lesser do not do the work for which they are sent.

NOTES TO CHAPTER XXIV. V. 1-7. We have here the first mention of a name which makes a great figure both in the histories, and in the prophecies,

three years: then he turned and rebelled against him.

2 And the LORD sent against him bands of the Chaldees, and bands of the Syrians, and bands of the Moabites, and bands of the children of Ammon, and sent them against Judah to destroy it, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by his servants the prophets.

3 Surely at the commandment of the LORD came this upon Judah, to remove them out of his sight, for the sins of Manasseh, according to all that he did;

4 And also for the innocent blood that he shed, (for the filled Jerusalem with innocent blood,) which the LORD would not pardon

5 Now the rest of the acts of Jehoiakim, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?

reign.

13 And he carried out thence all the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king's house, and cut in pieces all the vessels of gold which Solomon king of Israel had made in the temple of the LORD, as the LORD had said.

6 So Jehoiakim slept with his fathers: and Jehoiachin his son reigned in his stead.

7 And the king of Egypt came not again any 14 And he carried away all Jerusalem, and all more out of his land: for the king of Babylon had the princes, and all the mighty men of valour, even taken, from the river of Egypt unto the river ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and Euphrates, all that pertained to the king of Egypt.smiths: none remained, save the poorest sort of the people of the land.

8 Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign: and he reigned in Jerusalem three

15 And he carried away Jehoiachin to Babylon,

b Jer. 25. 9. 32. 28. Ez. 19. 8. • by the hand of. c Ex. 20, 5. c. 23. 26. d Deut. 19. 10. c. 21. 16. Jer. 2. 34. 19. 4. e Ps. 106. 38. f Ez. 33. 25. g Jer. 22. 18, 19. A Jer. 37. 5, 7. i Jer. 46. 2.

months. And his mother's name was Nehushta, the daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem.

9 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father had done.

10 At that time the servants of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up against Jerusalem, and the city was besieged.

11 And Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came against the city, and his servants did besiege it.

12 And Jehoiachin the king of Judah went out to the king of Babylon, he, and his mother, and his servants, and his princes, and his officers: and the king of Babylon took him in the eighth year of his

of the Old Testament; it is that of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, (v. 1) that head of gold. A potent prince, and one that was the terror of the mighty in the land of the living and yet his name had not been known in sacred writ, if it had not been employed in the destruction of Jerusalem and the captivity of the Jews.

I. He made Jehoiakim his tributary, and kept him in subjection three years, v. 1. Nebuchadnezzar began his reign in the fourth year of Jehoiakim; in his eighth year he made him his prisoner, but restored him, upon his promise of faithfulness to him; that promise he kept about three years, but then rebelled, probably, in hopes of assistance from the king of Egypt. If Jehoiakim had served his God as he should have done, he had not been servant to the king of Babylon; but God would thus make him know the difference between his service and the service of the kings of the countries, 2 Chr. 12. 8. If he had been content with his servitude, and true to his word, his condition had been no worse; but, rebelling against the king of Babylon, he plunged himself into more trouble.

II. When he rebelled, he sent his forces against him to destroy his country, bands of Chaldeans, Syrians, Moabites, Ammonites, who were all now in the service and pay of the king of Babylon, (v. 2,) and withal retained, and now showed, their ancient enmity to the Israel of God. Yet no mention is here made of their commission from the king of Babylon, but only of that from the King of kings. The Lord sent against him all these bands. And again, (v. 3,) Surely at the commandment of the Lord, came this upon Judah, else the commandment of Nebuchadnezzar could not have brought it. Many are serving God's purposes, who are not aware of it. Two things God intended in suffering Judah to be thus harassed. 1. The punishment of the sins of Manasseh, which God now visited upon the third and fourth generation. So long he waited before he visited them, to see if the nation would repent; but they continued impenitent, notwithstanding Josiah's endeavours to reform them, and ready to relapse, upon the first turn, into their former idolatries; now that the old bond was put in suit, they were called up, upon the former judgment; that was revived, which God had laid up in store, and sealed among his treasures, (Deut. 32. 34. Job 14. 17,) and, in remembrance of that, he removed Judah out of his sight, and let the world know that time will not wear out the guilt of sin, and that reprieves are not pardons. All that Manasseh did, was called to mind, but especially the innocent blood that he shed, much of which, we may suppose, was the blood of God's witnesses and worshippers, which the Lord would not pardon. Is there then any unpardonable sin but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost? This is meant of the remitting of the temporal punishment: though Manasseh repented, and we have reason to think that even the persecutions and murders he was guilty of, were pardoned, so that he was delivered from the wrath to come; yet, as they were national sins, they lay still charged upon the land, crying for national judgments. Perhaps, some were now living who were aiding and abetting; and the present king was guilty of innocent blood, as appears, Jer. 22. 17. See what a provoking sin murder is, how loud it cries, and how long! See what need nations have to lament the sins of their fathers, lest they smart for them. 2. God intended hereby the accomplishment of the prophecies; it was according to the word of the Lord, which he spake by his servants the prophets. Rather shall Judah be removed out of his sight, nay rather shall heaven and earth pass away, than any word of God fall to the ground. Threatenings will be fulfilled as certainly as promises, if the sinner's repentance provent not.

† called Jeconigh, 1 Chr. 3. 16. Jer. 24. 1; and Coniah, Jer. 22. 24, 28. * Dan. 1.1.2. 1 came into neige. 1 Jer. 29. 1, 2. Sor, eunuchs. m ver. 20. 17. n Jer. 24. 1. o c. 25. 12.

III. The king of Egypt was likewise subdued by the king of Babylon, and a great part of his country taken from him, v. 7. It was but lately that he had oppressed Israel, (ch. 23. 33,) now he is himself brought down, and disabled to attempt any thing for the recovery of his losses, or the assistance of his allies; he dares not come any more out of his land. Afterward, he attempted to give Zedekiah some relief, but he was obliged to retire, Jer. 37.7.

IV. Jehoiakim, seeing his country laid waste, and himself ready to fall into the enemy's hand, as it should seem, died of a broken heart, in the midst of his days, v. 6. So Jehoiakim slept with his fathers; but it is not said that he was buried with them; for, no doubt, the prophecy of Jeremiah was fulfilled, that he should not be lamented, as his father was, but buried with the burial of an ass, (Jer. 22. 18, 19,) and his dead body cast out, Jer. 36. 30.

V. 8-20. This should have been the history of king Jehoi achin's reign, but, alas, it is only the history of king Jehoiachin's captivity, as it is called, Ez. 1. 2. He came to the crown, not to have the honour of wearing it, but the shame of losing it; Ideo tantum venerat, ut exiret-He came in, only to go out.

1. His reign was short and inconsiderable; he reigned but three months, and then was removed and carried captive to Babylon, as his father, it is likely, would have been, if he had lived but so much longer. What an unhappy young prince was this, that was thrust into a falling house, a sinking throne! What an unnatural father had he, who begat him to suffer for him; and by his own sin and folly had left himself nothing to bequeath to his son but his own miseries! Yet this young prince reigned long enough to show that he justly smarted for his fathers' sins, for he trod in their steps, v. 9. He did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, as they had done; he did nothing to cut off the entail of the curse, to discharge the encumbrances of his crown, and therefore (Transit cum onereThe encumbrance descends with the crown) with his own iniquity that of his fathers shall come into the account.

II. The calamities that came upon him, and his family, and people, in the very beginning of his reign, were very grievous. 1. Jerusalem was besieged by the king of Babylon, v. 10, 11, He had sent his forces to ravage the country, (v. 2,) now he came himself, and laid siege to the city. Now the word of God was fulfilled, (Deut. 28. 49, &c.) The Lord shall bring a nation against thee from far, of fierce countenance, that shall first eat the fruit of thy land, and then besiege thee in all thy gates. 2. Jehoiachin immediately surrendered at discretion. As soon as he heard the king of Babylon was come in person against the city, his name being, at this time, become very formidable, he beat a parley, and went out to him, v. 12. Had he made his peace with God, and taken the method that Hezekiah did in the like case, he needed not to have feared the king of Babylon, but might have held out with courage, honour, and success; (one should have chased a thousand :) but, wanting the faith and piety of an Israelite, he had not the resolution of a man, of a soldier, of a prince. He and his royal family, his mother and wives, his servants and princes, delivered themselves up prisoners of war; this was the consequence of their being servants of sin.

3. Nebuchadnezzar rifled the treasures both of the church and of the state, and carried away the silver and gold of both, v. 13. Now the word of God, by Isaiah, was fulfilled, (ch. 20. 17,) All that is in thine house, shall be carried to Babylon. Even the vessels of the temple which Solomon had made, and laid up in store to be used as the old ones were worn out, he cut off from the temple, and began to cut them in pieces, but, upon

and the king's mother, and the king's wives, and his officers, and the mighty of the land: those carried he into captivity from Jerusalem to Babylon.

16 And all the men of might, even seven thousand, and craftsmen and smiths a thousand; all that were strong and apt for war, even them the king of Babylon brought captive to Babylon.

17 And the king of Babylon made Mattaniah his father's brother king in his stead, and changed his name to Zedekiah.

18 Zedekiah was twenty and one years old when he began to reign; and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah.

19 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all that Jehoiakim had done.

20 For through the anger of the LORD it came to pass in Jerusalem and Judah, until he had cast them out from his presence, that Zedekiah rebelled "against the king of Babylon.

CHAPTER XXV.

Ever since David's time, Jerusalem had been a celebrated place; beautiful for situation and the joy of the whole earth; while the book of pealms laats, that

name will sound great. In the New Testament, we read much of it, when it was, as here, ripening again for its ruin. In the close of the bible, we read of a New Jerusalem; every thing therefore that concerus Jerusalem, is worthy our regard. In this chapter, we have, I. The utter destruction of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans; the city besieged and taken, v. 1-4, the houses burned, v. 8, 9, the wall broken down, v. 10, and the inhabitants carried away into captivity, v. 11, 12. The glory of Jerusalem was, 1. That it was the royal city, there were set ⚫or, eunuchs. p Jer. 37. 1. g Jer. 52. 1, &c. T c. 23. 31. 82 Chr. 36. 13. Ez. 17. 15.

second thoughts, reserved them for his own use, for we find Belshazzar drinking wine in them, Dan. 5. 2, 3.

4. He carried away a great part of Jerusalem into captivity, to weaken it, that he might effectually secure to himself the dominion of it, and prevent its revolt, and to enrich himself with the wealth or service of those he took away; there had been some carried away, eight years before this, in the first year of Nebuchadnezzar, and the third of Jehoiakim; among them were Daniel and his fellows. See Dan. 1. 1, 2. They had approved themselves so well, that this politic prince coveted more of them. Now he carried off, (1.) The young king himself, and his family, (v. 15;) and we find, (ch. 25. 27-29,) that for 37 years, he continued a close prisoner. (2.) All the great men, the princes and officers, whose riches were kept for the owners thereof to their hurt, (Ec. 5. 13,) tempting the enemies to make a prey of them first. (3.) All the military men, the mighty men of valour, (v. 14,) the mighty of the land, (v. 15,) the men of might, even all that were strong and apt for war, v. 16. These could not defend themselves, and the conqueror would not leave them to defend their country, but took them away, to be employed in his service. (4.) All the craftsmen and smiths who made weapons of war; in taking them, he did, in effect, disarm the city, according to the Philistines' policy, 1 Sam. 13. 19. In this captivity Ezekiel, the prophet was carried away, (Ez. 1. 1, 2,) and Mordecai, Esth. 2. 6. This Jehoiachin was also called Jeconiah, 1 Chr. 3. 16, and, in contempt, Coniah, Jer. 22. 24, where his captivity is foretold.

III. The successor whom the king of Babylon appointed in the room of Jehoiachin. God had written him childless, (Jer. 22. 30,) and therefore his uncle was intrusted with the government. The king of Babylon made Mattaniah king, the son of Josiah, and to remind him, and let all the world know, that he was his creature, he changed his name, and called him Zedekiah, v. 17. God had sometimes charged it upon his people, They have set up kings, but not by me, (Hos. 8. 4;) and now, to punish them for that, the king of Babylon shall have the setting up of their kings. Those are justly deprived of their liberty, that use it, and insist upon it, against God's authority. This Zedekiah was the last of the kings of Judah; the name which the king of Babylon gave him, signifies, The justice of the Lord, which was a presage of the glorifying of God's justice in his ruin.

1. See how impious this Zedekiah was. Though the judgments of God upon his three immediate predecessors might have been a warning to him not to tread in their steps, yet he did that which was evil, like all the rest, v. 19.

2. See how impolitic he was. As his predecessor lost his courage, so he his conduct, with his religion, for he rebelled against the king of Babylon, (v. 20,) whose tributary he was, and so, provoked him whom he was utterly unable to contend with, and who, if he had continued true to him, would have protected him; which was the most foolish thing he could do, and hastened the ruin of his kingdom. This came to pass through the anger of the Lord, that he might cast them out from his presence. Note, When those that are intrusted with the counsels of a nation, act unwisely and against their true interest, we ought to take notice of the displeasure of God in it It is for the sins of a people, that God removes the speech of the trusty, and takes away the understanding of the aged, and hides

the thrones of the house of David; but that glory is here departed, for the prince is made a most miserable prisoner, the seed royal destroyed, v, 5-7, and the principal officers put to death, v. 18-21. 2. That it was the holy city, there was the testimony of Israel; but that glory is departed, for Solomon's temple is burned to the ground, v. 9, and the sacred vessels that remained, are carried away to Babylon, v. 13-17. Thus is Jerusalem become as a widow, Lam. 1.1. Ichabod, Where is the glory? 11. The destruction and dispersion of the remnant that was left in Judah under Gedaliah, v. 22-26. 11. The countenance which, after 37 years imprisonment, was given to Jehoiaehin the capuve king of Judah, v. 27-30.

A

ND it came to pass, in the ninth year of his

the month, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came, he, and all his host, against Jerusalem, and pitched against it; and they built forts against it round about.

2 And the city was besieged unto the eleventh year of king Zedekiah.

3 And on the ninth day of the fourth month the famine prevailed in the city, and there was no bread for the people of the land.

4 And the city was broken up, and all the men of war fled by night, by the way of the gate between two walls, which is by the king's garden: (now the Chaldees were against the city round about:) and the king went the way toward the plain.

5 And the army of the Chaldees pursued after the king, and overtook him in the plains of Jericho: and all his army were scattered from him.

6 So they took the king, and brought him up to the king of Babylon to Riblah; and they gave judgment upon him.

a 2 Chr. 36. 17, &c. Jer. 34. 2, &c. 39. 1, &c. 52. 4, &c. Ez. 24. 2, &c. b Ez. 12. 12. c c. 23. 83. spake judgment with him.

from their eyes the things that belong to the public peace. Whom God will destroy, he infatuates.

NOTES TO CHAPTER XXV.

V. 1-7. We left king Zedekiah in rebellion against the king of Babylon, (ch. 24. 20,) contriving and endeavouring to shake off his yoke, when he was no way able to do it, nor took the right method by making God his friend first. Now here we have an account of the fatal consequences of that attempt. I. The king of Babylon's army laid siege to Jerusalem, v. 1. What should hinder them, when the country was already in their possession? ch. 24. 2. They built forts against the city round about, whence, by such arts of war as they then had, they battered it; sent into it instruments of death, and kept out of it the necessary supports of life. Formerly, Jerusalem had been compassed with the favour of God as with a shield, but now their defence was departed from them, and their enemies surrounded them on every side. Those that by sin have provoked God to leave them, will find that innumerable evils will compass them about. Two years this siege lasted: at first, the army retired, for fear of the king of Egypt, (Jer. 37. 11 ;) but, finding him not so powerful as they thought, they soon returned, with a resolution not to quit the city till they had made themselves masters of it.

II. During this siege, the famine prevailed, (v. 3,) so that, for a long time, they ate their bread by weight, and with care, Ez. 4. 16. Thus they were punished for their gluttony and excess, their fulness of bread, and feeding themselves without fear; at length, there was no bread for the people of the land, that is, the common people, the soldiers, whereby they were weakened, and rendered unfit for service; now they ate their own children for want of food; see this foretold by one prophet, (Ez. 5. 10,) and bewailed by another, Lam. 4. 3, &c. Jeremiah earnestly persuaded the king to surrender, (Jer. 38. 17,) but his heart was hardened, to his destruction.

III. At length, the city was taken by storm, it was broken up, (v. 4,) the besiegers made a breach in the wall, at which they forced their way into it; the besieged, unable any longer to defend it, endeavoured to quit it, and make the best of their way; many, no doubt, were put to the sword, the victorious army being much exasperated by their obstinacy.

IV. The king, his family, and all his great men, made their escape in the night, by some secret passages which the besiegers either had not discovered, or did not keep their eye upon, v. 4. But those as much deceive themselves, who think to escape God's judgments, as those who think to brave them; the feet of him that flees from them, will as surely fail as the hands of him that fights against them; when God judges, he will overcome. Intelligence was given to the Chaldeans of the king's flight, and which way he was gone, so that they soon overtook him, v. 5. His guards were scattered from him, every man shifting for his own safety. Had he put himself under God's protection, that would not have failed him now he presently fell into the enemies' hands, and here we are told what they did with him.

1. He was brought to the king of Babylon, and tried by a council of war, for rebelling against him who set him up, and to whom he had sworn fidelity; God and man had a quarrel with him for this; see Ez. 17. 16, &c. The king of Babylon now lay at Riblah, (which lay between Judea and Babylon,) that

« PoprzedniaDalej »