2 Kings 15

CHAPTER XV

Azariah begins to reign over Judah, and acts well, but does not

remove the high places, 1-4.

He becomes leprous, and dies, after having reigned fifty-two

years; and Jotham, his son, reigns in his stead, 5-7.

Zachariah reigns over Israel, and acts wickedly; and Shallum

conspires against him and slays him, after he had reigned six

months, 8-12.

Shallum reigns one month, and is slain by Menahem, 13-15.

Menahem's wicked and oppressive reign; he subsidizes the king

of Assyria, and dies, after having reigned ten years, 16-22.

Pekahiah, his son, reigns in his stead; does wickedly; Pekah,

one of his captains, conspires against and kills him, after he

had reigned two years, 23-26.

Pekah reigns in his stead, and acts wickedly, 27-28.

Tiglath-pileser, king of Assyria, carries into captivity the

inhabitants of many cities, 29.

Hoshea conspires against and slays Pekah, after he had reigned

twenty years; and reigns in his stead, 30, 31.

Jotham beans to reign over Judah; he reigns well; dies after a

reign of sixteen years, and is succeeded by his son Ahaz,

32-38.

NOTES ON CHAP. XV

Verse 1. In the twenty and seventh year of Jeroboam] Dr.

Kennicott complains loudly here, because of "the corruption in the

name of this king of Judah, who is expressed by four different

names in this chapter: Ozriah, Oziah, Ozrihu, and Ozihu. Our

oldest Hebrew MS. relieves us here by reading truly, in

2Ki 15:1, 6, 7,

Uzziah, where the printed text is differently corrupted.

This reading is called true, 1. Because it is supported by the

Syriac and Arabic versions in these three verses. 2. Because the

printed text itself has it so in 2Ki 15:32, 34 of this very

chapter. 3. Because it is so expressed in the parallel place in

Chronicles; and, 4. Because it is not αζαριας, Azariah, but

οζιας, Oziah, (Uzziah,) in St. Matthew's genealogy." There are

insuperable difficulties in the chronology of this place. The

marginal note says, "This is the twenty-seventh year of Jeroboam's

partnership in the kingdom with his father, who made him consort

at his going to the Syrian wars. It is the sixteenth year of

Jeroboam's monarchy." Dr. Lightfoot endeavours to reconcile this

place with 2Ki 14:16, 17, thus: "At the death of Amaziah, his son

and heir Uzziah was but four years old, for he was about sixteen

in Jeroboam's twenty-seventh year; therefore, the throne must have

been empty eleven years, and the government administered by

protectors while Uzziah was in his minority." Learned men are not

agreed concerning the mode of reconciling these differences; there

is probably some mistake in the numbers. I must say to all the

contending chronologers:-

Non nostrum inter vos tantas componere lites.

When such men disagree, I can't decide.

Verse 3. He did that which was right] It is said, 2Ch 26:5,

that he sought the Lord in the days of Zechariah the prophet, and

God made him to prosper; that he fought against the Philistines;

broke down the walls of Gath, Jabneh, and Ashdod; prevailed over

the Arabians and Mehunims; and that the Ammonites paid him

tribute; and his dominion extended abroad, even to the entering in

of Egypt; that he built towers in Jerusalem, at the corner gate,

valley gate, and turning of the wall; and built towers also in

the desert, and digged many wells; that he had a very strong and

well-regulated military force, which he provided with a

well-stocked arsenal; and constructed many military engines to

shoot arrows and project great stones; and that his fame was

universally spread abroad.

Verse 5. The Lord smote the king, so that he was a leper] The

reason of this plague is well told in the above quoted chapter,

2Ch 26:16. That his heart being elated, he went into the temple

to burn incense upon the altar, assuming to himself the functions

of the high priest; that Azariah the priest, with fourscore

others, went in after him, to prevent him; and that while they

were remonstrating against his conduct, the Lord struck him with

the leprosy, which immediately appeared on his forehead; that they

thrust him out as an unclean person; and that he himself hurried

to get out, feeling that the Lord had smitten him; that he was

obliged to dwell in a house by himself, being leprous, to the day

of his death; and that during this time the affairs of the kingdom

were administered by his son Jotham. A poet, ridiculing the

conduct of those who, without an episcopal ordination, think they

have authority from God to dispense all the ordinances of the

Church, expresses himself thus:-

But now the warm enthusiast cries,

The office to myself I take;

Offering the Christian sacrifice,

Myself a lawful priest I make:

To me this honour appertains,

No need of man when GOD ordains.

[Some go into the contrary extreme, and in affect say, no need

of GOD when MAN ordains.]

Though kings may not so far presume,

"Tis no presumption in a clown,

And, lo, without a call from Rome,

My flail or hammer I lay down;

And if my order's name ye seek,

Come, see a new Melchisedek!

Ye upstart (men-made) priests, your sentence know,

The marks you can no longer hide;

Your daring deeds too plainly show

The loathsome leprosy of pride;

And if ye still your crime deny,

Who lepers live shall lepers die.

CHARLES WESLEY.

This is very severe, but applies to every man who, through

pride, presumption, or the desire of gain, enters into the

priest's office, though he have the utmost authority that the

highest ecclesiastical officer can confer.

Verse 10. Smote him before the people] In some public assembly:

he probably became very unpopular.

Verse 12. This was the word of the Lord-unto Jehu] God had

promised to Jehu that his sons should sit on the throne of Israel

to the fourth generation; and so it came to pass, for Jehoahaz,

Joash, Jeroboam, and Zachariah, succeeded Jehu, to whom this

promise was made. But because he executed the Divine purpose with

an uncommanded cruelty, therefore God cut his family short,

according to his word by Hosea, I will avenge the blood of Jezreel

upon the house of Jehu; and I will cause to cease the kingdom of

the house of Israel, Ho 1:4.

Verse 13. He reigned a full month] Menahem is supposed to have

been one of Zachariah's generals. Hearing of the death of his

master, when he was with the troops at Tirzah, he hastened to

Samaria, and slew the murderer, and had himself proclaimed in his

stead. But, as the people of Tiphsah did not open their gates to

him, he took the place by assault; and as the text tells us,

practised the most cruel barbarities, even ripping up the women

that were with child!

Verse 19. Pul, the king of Assyria] This is the first time we

hear of Assyria since the days of Nimrod, its founder, Ge 10:11.

Dean Prideaux supposes that this Pul was father of the famous

Sardanapalus, the son himself being called Sardan; to which, as

was frequent in those times, the father's name, Pul, was added,

making Sardanpul of which the Greeks and Latins made Sardanapalus;

and this Pul is supposed to be the same that reigned in Nineveh

when Jonah preached the terrors of the Lord to that city.

That his hand] That is, his power and influence, might be with

him: in this sense is the word hand frequently used in Scripture.

Verse 20. Each man fifty shekels of silver] Upwards of five

pounds sterling a man.

Verse 21. Are they not written in-the chronicles] There are no

chronicles extant, in which there is any thing farther relative to

this king.

Verse 25. Smote him in Samaria, in the palace of the king's

house, with Argob and Arieh] Who Argob and Arieh were we know not;

some make them men, some make them statues. Pekah had fifty

Gileadites in the conspiracy with him.

Verse 29. Came Tiglath-pileser] He is supposed to have been the

successor of Sardanapalus: Dean Prideaux makes him the same with

Arbaces, called by AElian Thilgamus, and by Usher Ninus junior;

who, together with Belesis, headed the conspiracy against

Sardanapalus, and fixed his seat at Nineveh, the ancient

residence of the Assyrian kings; as did Belesis, who is called, in

Isa 39:1,

Baladan, fix his at Babylon.

Took Ijon] These places belonged to Israel; and were taken by

Ben-hadad, king of Syria, when he was in league with Asa, king of

Judah. See 1Ki 15:20. They were regained by

Jeroboam the second; and now they are taken from Israel once

more by Tiglath-pileser. From 1Ch 5:26, we learn that

Pul and Tiglath-pileser, kings of Assyria, carried away into

captivity the two tribes of Reuben, and Gad, and the half tribe of

Manasseh; all that belonged to Israel, on the other side of

Jordan. These were never restored to Israel.

Verse 30. Hoshea the son of Elah-in the twentieth year of

Jotham] There are many difficulties in the chronology of this

place. To reconcile the whole, Calmet says: "Hoshea conspired

against Pekah, the twentieth year of the reign of this prince,

which was the eighteenth after the beginning of the reign of

Jotham, king of Judah. Two years after this, that is, the fourth

year of Ahaz, and the twentieth of Jotham, Hoshea made himself

master of a part of the kingdom, according to 2Ki 15:30. Finally,

the twelfth year of Ahaz, Hoshea had peaceable possession of the

whole kingdom, according to 2Ki 17:1."

Verse 36. Now the rest of the acts of Jotham] These acts are

distinctly stated in 2Ch 27:1-9. He built the high gate of the

house of the Lord, and he built much on the wall of Ophel. He

built cities in the mountains of Judah; and in the forests he

built castles and towers. He overthrew the Ammonites; and obliged

them to give him one hundred talents of silver, ten thousand

measures of wheat, and ten thousand of barley, for three

consecutive years. He was twenty-five years old when he began to

reign, and he reigned sixteen years. These are the particulars

which we learn from the place in Chronicles quoted above; few of

which are mentioned in this place. As to the higher gate of the

house of the Lord, commentators are not well agreed: some think it

was a gate which he then made, and which did not exist before, and

is the same that is called the new gate, Jer 26:10, which is very

likely.

Verse 37. In those days the Lord began to send] It was about

this time that the Assyrian wars, so ruinous to the Jews, began;

but it was in the following reigns that they arrived at their

highest pitch of disaster to those unfaithful and unfortunate

people. However much we may blame the Jews for their disobedience

and obstinacy, yet we cannot help feeling for them under their

severe afflictions. Grievously they have sinned, and grievously

have they suffered for it. And if they be still objects of God's

judgments, there is revelation to believe that they will yet be

objects of God's goodness. Many think the signs of the times are

favourable to this ingathering; but there is no evidence among the

people themselves that the day of their redemption is at hand.

They do not humble themselves; they do not seek the Lord.

Copyright information for Clarke