PROGRESS OF THE RELIGIOUS REFORMATION.
Now when all this was finished.—And when they had finished all this—that is, the business of the Passover.
All Israel that were present went out.—Their iconoclastic zeal had been thoroughly roused by the festival in which they had just taken part.
The images.—Maççebôth, “pillars.” (See Hosea 3:4, and 2 Chronicles 14:2.)
The groves.—The Ashērîm. The sacred trunks, emblematic of physical fertility. (Comp. Hosea 4:13.)
In Ephraim also and Manasseh.—That is, in the territory of the northern kingdom, which was at this time in the last stage of political weakness, and rapidly drifting towards final ruin. The band of Jewish and Israelite zealots would not, therefore, be likely to encounter any serious opposition.
Until they had utterly destroyed.—‘Adlĕkallēh (2 Chronicles 24:10). Literally, so far as to finishing.
Every man according to his service.—See the same phrase in Numbers 7:5; Numbers 7:7. Literally, after the mouth (i.e., rule, prescription) of his service.
The priests and Levites.—Literally, to the priests and Levites. The words depend upon those which immediately precede. LXX., καὶ τὰς ἐφημερίας ἑκάστου κατὰ τὴν ἑαυτοῦ λειτουργίαν τοῖς ἱερεῦσιν καὶ τοῖς Λευίταις.
To minister . . . praise.—The chronicler’s usual definition of the Levitical functions.
In the gates . . . Lord.—Literally, in the gates of the camps of Jehovah. Comp. 1 Chronicles 9:18-19, where the phrase is explained.
The portion of the priests and the Levites.—The firstfruits and tithes, ordained in Exodus 23:19; Leviticus 27:30-33; Numbers 18:12; Numbers 18:20-24; Deufc. 26
That they might be encouraged in the law.—Rather, that they might stick fast unto the law. For this use of chādzaq, comp. 2 Samuel 18:9, “his head stuck fast in the terebinth.” The meaning is, that they might be enabled to devote themselves wholly and solely to their religious duties, without being distracted by any secular anxieties. (See Nehemiah 13:10, “And I perceived that the portions of the Levites had not been given, for the Levites and the singers that did the work were fled every one to his field.”)
The children of Israel.—Here the people of Jerusalem, who in the chronicler’s day had a preeminent right to the name. (See on next verse.) The firstfruits were for the priests (Numbers 18:12, seq., where the oil, wine, and wheat are specified).
And the tithe . . . abundantly.—For the Levites (Numbers 18:21-24).
The children of Israel and Judah, that dwelt in the cities of Judah.—Contrasted with “the children of Israel” who dwelt in Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 31:5). “The children of Israel that dwelt in the cities of Judah” are evidently those who had left the northern kingdom to settle in the south. (Comp. 2 Chronicles 10:17; 2 Chronicles 11:16; 2 Chronicles 30:25.)
The tithe of holy things.—This expression is assumed to be equivalent to “the heave offerings of the holy things” (Numbers 18:19), which denotes such portions of the sacrificial gifts as were not consumed upon the altar. Taken literally, “tithe of things consecrated” would be a very surprising, as it is a wholly isolated, expression.
The present text of the LXX. appears to contain, not a trace of a different reading, but simply an old error of transcription, suggested probably by the words immediately preceding; for its rendering is, “and tithes of goats” (αἰγῶν for ἀγίων). The Syriac paraphrases freely, but the Vulgate follows the Hebrew (décimas sanctorum). (See also Note on 2 Chronicles 31:10; 2 Chronicles 31:12.) There is probably a lacuna in the text.
And laid them by heaps.—Literally, and made heaps heaps—i.e., many heaps. (Comp.Vulg., “fecerunt acervos plurimos.”)
To lay the foundation.—To found, or lay. Heb., lîsôd, a curious form only met with here. (Comp. lîsôd, Isaiah 51:16.)
In the seventh month.—Tisri (September to October), in which was held the great Feast of Tabernacles, after all the fruits had been gathered in, and the vintage was over.
Since the people began to bring the offerings.—Since they began to bring the Tĕrûmāh: a word which the Authorised Version usually renders “heave offering.” (See Note on 2 Chronicles 31:6.)
To bring.—In the Hebrew a contracted form, recurring in Jeremiah 39:7.
We have had enough to eat, and have left plenty.—Literally, Eating and being satisfied, and leaving over, even unto abundance (exclamatory infinitives). (Comp. Hosea 4:2 for this construction.)
The Lord hath blessed his people.—So that they were able to give liberally.
That which is left.—After the maintenance o£ the priests has been subtracted.
This great store.—In the Hebrew these words are in the accusative case. Probably, therefore, the right reading is, “and there is left this great store” (omitting the article, and reading wĕ-nôthār, with Kamp-hausen).
Chambers.—Cells; lĕshākôth. (See Notes on 1 Chronicles 9:26; 1 Chronicles 23:28.) The preparation intended is probably nothing but the clearance and cleansing of some of these cells for the reception of the stores.
Faithfully.—With faithfulness, or honesty (2 Chronicles 19:9).
Over which.—And over them—i.e., the stores.
Shimei.—2 Chronicles 29:14.
The next.—Second in charge (mishnèh). The name Cononiah is, in the Hebrew text, Kānanyāhû; in the margin, Kûnanyāhû. The former is correct (Iahu hath established).
Under the hand of Cononiah.—Or, at the side of . . . (miyyad . . .) The phrase means “under Cononiah’s orders.”
At the commandment of Hezekiah.—An unusual meaning of miphqäd, which in 1 Chronicles 21:5 denotes census. LXX., καθὼς προσέταξεν Εζεκιας.
Ruler (nagîd) of the house of God.—Comp. 1 Chronicles 9:11. Azariah was named in 2 Chronicles 31:10, supra.
To distribute the oblations.—To give the Terûmah of Jehovah—i.e., the portion of the offerings which, though consecrated to Jehovah, was transferred by Him to the priests (Leviticus 7:14; Leviticus 7:32; Leviticus 10:14-15).
And the most holy things—i.e., that part of the sin and trespass offerings (Leviticus 6:10; Leviticus 6:22; Leviticus 7:6) and of the meat offerings (Leviticus 2:3; Leviticus 2:10) which were to be eaten by the priests in the sanctuary.
The six Levites here named as under the direction of Korê had the duty of distributing a proper share of the firstfruits, tithes, and dedicated things to their brethren residing in the sacerdotal cities, where they themselves were stationed.
In their set office.—It seems better to connect the phrase so rendered with the following verb: “honestly to give” (comp. 2 Chronicles 31:12). So Vulg.: “ut fideliter distribuèrent fratribus suis partes,” &c. Others render be’emûnah, “in trust.”
Their brethren by courses.—Rather, their brethren in the courses—i.e., those members of the Levitical classes who, not being on duty at the Temple, were dwelling in their towns; and those who were past service, and young children.
Great . . . small.—Older . . . younger.
Through all the congregation.—Or, to a whole assembly—scil., of wives and children of the priests and Levites.
In their set office.—Or trust, or faithfulness (emûnah). (See Note on 1 Chronicles 9:22.)
They sanctified themselves.—They used to show themselves holy (i.e., behave conscientiously) in regard to the holy (i.e., the hallowed gifts, which they had to distribute). Perhaps, however, the Authorised Version is here substantially correct, the sense being that the Levites fulfilled their trust with perfect good faith.
Fields of the suburbs.—See Leviticus 25:34; Numbers 35:5.
Expressed by name.—See 1 Chronicles 12:31; 2 Chronicles 28:15.
To all that were reckoned by genealogies.—Registered. The relative is omitted before the verb hiththyahēsh, which is here the perfect as in 2 Chronicles 31:18, not the infinitive as in 2 Chronicles 31:16.
(20) Truth (ha’ĕmeth).—Faithfulness, or sincerity.
To seek his God.—In order to seek, or by way of seeking.
He did it with all his heart.—Comp. the frequent phrase, “with a perfect heart” (1 Chronicles 28:9, and elsewhere); also “and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart,” &c. (Deuteronomy 6:5).