2 Chronicles 29

CHAPTER XXIX

Hezekiah's good reign, 1, 2.

He opens and repairs the doors of the temple, 3.

He assembles and exhorts the priests and Levites, and proposes

to renew the covenant with the Lord, 4-11.

They all sanctify themselves and cleanse the temple, 12-17.

They inform the king of their progress, 18, 19.

He collects the rulers of the people: and they offer abundance

of sin-offerings, and burnt-offerings, and worship the Lord,

20-30.

Every part of the Divine service is arranged, and Hezekiah and

all the people rejoice, 31-36.

NOTES ON CHAP. XXIX

Verse 2. He did that which was right]

See Clarke on 2Ki 18:3.

Verse 8. He hath delivered them to trouble, to astonishment] He

probably refers here chiefly to that dreadful defeat by the

Israelites in which a hundred and twenty thousand were slain, and

two hundred thousand taken prisoners; see the preceding chapter,

2Ch 28:6, 8.

Verse 10. To make a covenant] To renew the covenant under which

the whole people were constantly considered, and of which

circumcision was the sign; and the spirit of which was, I will be

your God: Ye shall be my people.

Verse 16. And the priests went] The priests and Levites cleansed

first the courts both of the priests and of the people. On this

labour they spent eight days. Then they cleansed the interior of

the temple; but as the Levites had no right to enter the temple,

the priests carried all the dirt and rubbish to the porch, whence

they were collected by the Levites, carried away, and cast into

the brook Kidron; in this work eight days more were occupied, and

thus the temple was purified in sixteen days.

Verse 17. On the first day] "They began on the first day of the

first month Nisan."-Targum.

Verse 19. All the vessels, which King Ahaz] The Targum says,

"All the vessels which King Ahaz had polluted and rendered

abominable by strange idols, when he reigned in his transgression

against the WORD of the Lord, we have collected and hidden; and

others have we prepared to replace them; and they are now before

the Lord."

Verse 21. They brought seven bullocks, &c.] This was more than

the law required; see Le 4:13, &c. It ordered

one calf or ox for the sins of the people, and one he-goat

for the sins of the prince; but Hezekiah here offers many more.

And the reason appears sufficiently evident: the law speaks only

of sins of ignorance; but here were sins of every kind and every

die-idolatry, apostasy from the Divine worship, profanation of the

temple, &c., &c. The sin-offerings, we are informed, were offered,

first for the KINGDOM-for the transgressions of the king and his

family; secondly, for the SANCTUARY, which had been defiled and

polluted, and for the priests who had been profane, negligent, and

unholy; and, finally, for JUDAH-for the whole mass of the people,

who had been led away into every kind of abomination by the above

examples.

Verse 23. They laid their hands upon them] That is, they

confessed their sin; and as they had by their transgression

forfeited their lives, they now offer these animals to die as

vicarious offerings, their life being taken for the life of their

owners.

Verse 25. With cymbals, with psalteries] Moses had not appointed

any musical instruments to be used in the divine worship; there

was nothing of the kind under the first tabernacle. The trumpets

or horns then used were not for song nor for praise, but as we use

bells, i.e., to give notice to the congregation of what they were

called to perform, &c. But David did certainly introduce many

instruments of music into God's worship, for which we have

already seen he was solemnly reproved by the prophet Amos,

Am 6:1-6. Here, however, the author of this book states he had

the commandment of the prophet Nathan, and Gad the king's seer;

and this is stated to have been the commandment of the Lord by his

prophets: but the Syriac and Arabic give this a different

turn-"Hezekiah appointed the Levites in the house of the Lord,

with instruments of music, and the sound of harps, and with the

HYMNS of DAVID, and the HYMNS of GAD, the king's prophet, and of

NATHAN, the king's prophet: for David sang the praises of the Lord

his God, as from the mouth of the prophets." It was by the hand or

commandment of the Lord and his prophets that the Levites

should praise the Lord; for so the Hebrew text may be understood:

and it was by the order of David that so many instruments of music

should be introduced into the Divine service. But were it even

evident, which it is not, either from this or any other place in

the sacred writings, that instruments of music were prescribed by

Divine authority under the law, could this be adduced with any

semblance of reason, that they ought to be used in Christian

worship? No: the whole spirit, soul, and genius of the Christian

religion are against this: and those who know the Church of God

best, and what constitutes its genuine spiritual state, know that

these things have been introduced as a substitute for the life and

power of religion; and that where they prevail most, there is

least of the power of Christianity. Away with such portentous

baubles from the worship of that infinite Spirit who requires his

followers to worship him in spirit and in truth, for to no such

worship are those instruments friendly. See the texts in the

margin; also the use of the trumpets in the sanctuary, Nu 10:2,

&c., and the notes there.

Verse 34. They could not flay all the burnt-offerings]

Peace-offerings, and such like, the Levites might flay and dress;

but the whole burnt-offerings, that is, those which were entirely

consumed on the altar, could be touched only by the priests,

unless in a case of necessity, such as is mentioned here.

The Levites were more upright in heart] The priests seem to

have been very backward in this good work; the Levites were more

ready to help forward this glorious reformation. Why the former

should have been so backward is not easy to tell; but it appears

to have been the fact. Indeed, it often happens that the higher

orders of the priesthood are less concerned for the prosperity of

true religion than the lower. Why is this? They are generally too

busy about worldly things, or too much satisfied with secular

emoluments. A rich priesthood is not favourable either to the

spread or depth of religion. Earthly gratifications are often

put in the place of Divine influences: it is almost a miracle to

see a very rich man deeply interested in behalf either of his own

soul, or the souls of others.

Verse 36. And Hezekiah rejoiced] Both he and the people rejoiced

that God had prepared their hearts to bring about so great a

reformation in so short a time; for, it is added, the thing was

done suddenly. The king's example and influence were here, under

God, the grand spring of all those mighty and effectual movements.

What amazing power and influence has God lodged with kings! They

can sway a whole empire nearly as they please; and when they

declare themselves in behalf of religion, they have the people

uniformly on their side. Kings, on this very ground, are no

indifferent beings; they must be either a great curse or a great

blessing to the people whom they govern.

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