2 Chronicles 13:7 MEANING

2 Chronicles 13:7
(7) And there are gathered.--Omit are.

Vain men (r?qim, Judges 9:4; Judges 11:3).--Said of the followers of Abimelech and the freebooter Jephthah. Neither this nor the following phrase, "the children of Belial" (literally, sons of worthlessness, i.e., men of low character and estimation) occurs again in the Chronicles. (See Judges 19:22; Judges 20:13; 1 Kings 21:10; 1 Kings 21:13, for the latter.)

Have strengthened.--Omit have.

Young and tender-hearted.--Rather, a youth and soft of heart, faint-hearted. A similar phrase occurred 1 Chronicles 29:1. The expression is somewhat inexact, as Rehoboam was forty-one when he ascended the throne (2 Chronicles 12:13). But Abijah is naturally anxious to put the case as strongly as possible against Jeroboam, and to avoid all blame of his own father. In 2 Chronicles 10 Rehoboam appears as haughty and imperious, rather than timid and soft-hearted.

Could not withstand them.--Did not show himself strong or firm (2 Chronicles 12:13).

Against them.--Before them. (Comp. 1 Chronicles 12:17; a usage of the chronicler's.)

Verse 7. - Are gathered... have strengthened themselves. The aorist tense is needed for the rendering in both these cases; e.g. "And vain men gathered to him, and strengthened themselves against him." Vain men; Hebrew, רֵקִים. This word, and one very slightly different in form, and their adverb, occur in all forty-one times; rendered in the Authorized Version "empty" nineteen times, "vain" eighteen times, and "without cause," "to no purpose," and "void" the remaining four times. It is the word that is used of the "empty" pit of Joseph (Genesis 37:24); of the "empty ears" of corn (Genesis 41:27); of "empty" pitchers and other vessels (Judges 7:16; 2 Kings 4:3; Jeremiah 14:3; Jeremiah 51:34; Ezekiel 24:11). And in all the other cases expresses metaphorically the emptiness of head, of heart, or of reason, with the same simple force of language appropriate, it appears, then as now. Children of Belial; Hebrew, בְלִיַּעַל. This word is found twenty-seven times, and, including seven marginal options, is rendered in the Authorized Version "Belial" twenty-three times; the four exceptions being "wicked" three times, and "naughty" once. The derivation of it marks the one expressive meaning of "without profit." Young and tender-hearted. Hard as it is to put these objections to the credit of a man forty-one years of age (see our note, 2 Chronicles 10:8; 2 Chronicles 12:13) at all, yet, if so, they can only be explained as some do explain them, of a blamable ignorance, inexperience, and instability.

13:1-22 Abijah overcomes Jeroboam. - Jeroboam and his people, by apostacy and idolatry, merited the severe punishment Abijah was permitted to execute upon them. It appears from the character of Abijah, 1Ki 15:3, that he was not himself truly religious, yet he encouraged himself from the religion of his people. It is common for those that deny the power of godliness, to boast of the form of it. Many that have little religion themselves, value it in others. But it was true that there were numbers of pious worshippers in Judah, and that theirs was the more righteous cause. In their distress, when danger was on every side, which way should they look for deliverance unless upward? It is an unspeakable comfort, that our way thither is always open. They cried unto the Lord. Earnest prayer is crying. To the cry of prayer they added the shout of faith, and became more than conquerors. Jeroboam escaped the sword of Abijah, but God struck him; there is no escaping his sword.And there are gathered unto him vain men,.... Void of the fear of God, and all that is good:

the children of Belial: men unprofitable, good for nothing, or that had cast off the yoke of the law of God, were lawless and abandoned persons:

And have strengthened themselves against Rehoboam the son of Solomon: rejected his government of them; went into a strong opposition to him, and set up another king over them:

when Rehoboam was young and tender hearted, and could not withstand them; not that he was young in years, for he was forty one years of age when he began to reign; though Joshua is called a young man when he is supposed to be between fifty and sixty years of age Exodus 33:11, and though "adolescentia" and "juventus" are both used in Latin writers for "youth", yet Varro (q) distinguishes them, and makes the former to begin at the year fifteen, and continue to the year thirty, and the latter to begin at thirty, and end at forty five; so that, according to this, Rehoboam was then in his stage of youth; but perhaps the meaning here is, that he was young in the kingdom, scarcely settled on his throne, and the advantage of that was taken; not was he cowardly and fearful; and if Abijah meant that by "tender heartedness", he not only reproached but belied his father; for he would have fought with Israel in order to have reduced them to obedience, but was forbidden by the Lord; if by "tender hearted", he means that he had a tender regard to the command of God, it is true; but that seems not to be his sense, but the former.

(q) Apud Stockim in voce p. 688.

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