and their voice was heard; meaning not by the people, though undoubtedly it was, but by the Lord; the Targum is,"their prayer was heard or received;''for the blessing was delivered in a petitionary way, Numbers 6:24, and was no other than a request that God would bless them, which he did:
and their prayer came up to his holy dwellingplace, even unto heaven; see Psalm 3:4 by what means it was known their prayer was heard and accepted cannot be said; there might be some visible token of it, as the people were dismissed, and departed.
INTRODUCTION TO 2 Chronicles 31
This chapter begins with the destruction of idolatrous worship, the appointment of the courses of the priests and Levites, and the royal bounty for sacrifices, 2 Chronicles 31:1, next follows the order Hezekiah gave, that the people at Jerusalem, and throughout the land, should make the proper provision for the priests and Levites, as the law directed; and which was cheerfully complied with, and the firstfruits and tithes were brought in, in great abundance, insomuch that there was enough, and plenty left, 2 Chronicles 31:4, wherefore chambers were prepared in the temple to lay it up in, and persons appointed to be the overseers of it, and to distribute it faithfully to their brethren and their families, to small and great, 2 Chronicles 31:11, and the chapter is closed in praise of the works of Hezekiah, and the success that attended him, 2 Chronicles 31:20.
all Israel that were present went out to the cities of Judah, and brake the images in pieces, and cut down the groves, and threw down the high places and the altars out of all Judah and Benjamin; which had been erected by Ahaz, 2 Chronicles 28:2 at or about this time also the brasen serpent was broke to pieces, 2 Kings 18:4,
in Ephraim also and Manasseh, until they had utterly destroyed them all; which must be understood of such cities in those tribes that had been taken in former times by the kings of Judah from the kings of Israel; or such as were now in the hands of the Assyrians, who might not concern themselves in matters of religion; or this might be done at the connivance of Hoshea king of Israel, who had no regard to any other idolatry than the worship of the calves; and besides, having met with trouble from the Assyrians, and fearing more, might be willing to have his kingdom cleared of idolatry, in hope the divine displeasure would be removed:
then all the children of Israel returned every man to his possession into their own cities; and not till then, when all monuments of idolatry were removed.
every man according to his service, the priests and Levites for burnt offerings, and for peace offerings, to minister and to give thanks, and to praise in the gates of the tents of the Lord; or camp of the Lord, where they were posted, and lay as an host encamped, to keep the watch of the house of the Lord; the priests, they were appointed to offer the sacrifices of every sort; the Levites to minister to them in what they needed and required of them, and others of them to be singers in time of service, and others to be porters at the gate.
for the burnt offerings, to wit, for the morning and evening burnt offerings; the daily sacrifice offered morning and evening, which had been neglected, but now revived:
and the burnt offerings for the sabbaths, and for the new moons, and for the set feasts; when beside the daily sacrifice there were additional ones: as it is written in the law of the Lord; in Numbers 28:9.
that they might be encouraged in the law of the Lord; in the study of it; that they might gain greater knowledge of it themselves, and be better able to instruct the people, which of late had been much neglected; and that they might be more at leisure for such service, and be free from all worldly business, care, and distraction of mind, was the design of this edict.
the children of Israel brought in abundance the firstfruits of corn, wine, and oil, and honey; the three first of these are expressed in the law, Deuteronomy 18:4 but not honey; wherefore the Targum here, and the Jewish writers in general, interpret it of the "dubsa" of the palm tree, as they call it, the fruit and liquor of that, which is of a sweet taste, and which the Scenite Arabs called "dabusa", as Pliny (w) from Juba relates; for so it should be read, and not "dabulan" or "dablan", as in some copies: but though honey was forbid to be used in sacrifice, it was not forbidden to be eaten; and as the land of Judea abounded with honey, properly so called, the priests might have the firstfruits of that as of other liquors; See Gill on Deuteronomy 8:8,
and of all the increase of the field; of the trees of it, vines, fig trees, pomegranates, &c. as Kimchi:
and the tithe of all things; even of herbs, as the same writer, and so the Talmud (x), which were free from tithes by the law, see Matthew 23:23,
brought they in abundantly; even of all that their vineyards, oliveyards, and fields produced.
(w) Nat. Hist. l. 13. c. 4. (x) T. Bab. Nedarim, fol. 55. 1.
they also brought in the tithes of oxen, and sheep; according to the law in Leviticus 27:32.
and the tithe of holy things, which were consecrated unto the Lord their God; which Jarchi understands of the second tithe the Levites were to give to the priests; but Kimchi of things consecrated to sacred uses, and no longer for their own, and which were even free from tithing:
and laid them by heaps: heaps upon heaps, such large quantities were brought in.
and finished them in the seventh month; the month Tisri, as the Targum, in which was the feast of tabernacles, sometimes called the feast of ingathering, of the fruits of the earth, the wine, oil, &c. and so a proper time for bringing the tithes of all.
they blessed the Lord; for the great increase of the fruits of the earth, and for making the people so willing to bring in the dues to the priests and Levites:
and his people Israel; wished all happiness and prosperity to them, being found in the way of their duty.
and said, since the people began to bring the offerings into the house of the Lord we have had enough to eat, and have left plenty; which were now four mouths since; and the priests and Levites, and their families, had partaken of them, and eat to satiety, and yet there was great plenty remaining:
for the Lord hath blessed his people: the Targum is,"the Word of the Lord has blessed them,''given them large crops this year, and a ready willing mind to bring in what is due for the service of the temple:
and that which is left is this great store; the heaps the king and princes saw, and inquired about; or what is left is for the great multitude of the priests and Levites, and their families, both at Jerusalem, and in the cities in the country; so Kimchi interprets it.
and they prepared them; got them ready to lay up the stores in.
over which Cononiah the Levite was ruler, and Shimei his brother was the next; these two had the charge and care of the whole, the one as deputy to the other.
at the commandment of Hezekiah the king, and Azariah the ruler of the house of God; these were fixed in their post under the other two by the king and the high priest, to whom also the other two were accountable.
was over the freewill offerings of God, to distribute the oblations of the Lord; to the priests and Levites, for whose use they were; or to deliver out the fine flour, oil, and wine, and frankincense, for the meat and drink offerings:
and the most holy things; which belonged to the priests only to eat of, as the remainder of the meat offerings, the sin and trespass offerings, and the shewbread.
in the cities of the priests; in the several parts of the country:
in their set office; or faithfully:
to give to their brethren by courses, as well to the great as to the small; to communicate of the stores under their hands, according to their several courses, both priests and Levites, and to all in their families, small and great.
even unto everyone that entereth into the house of the Lord; of the said age, and in the genealogy and register of the priests:
his daily portion for their service in their charges, according to their courses; food for every day, in consideration of their service in their several wards, according to their courses in turn.
from twenty years old and upward, in their charges, by their courses; for though originally they were not admitted into the tabernacle till twenty five years of age, nor to officiate till thirty, but in David's time they were allowed at twenty years of age and upwards, 1 Chronicles 23:24.
for in their set office they sanctified themselves in holiness; which is to be understood either of the overseers, who, in their set office, faithfully distributed the holy things to the persons before described; or else to the priests, and Levites, to whom, and to whose families, the distribution was made, because they wholly devoted themselves to the holy service of God.
the men that were expressed by name; before mentioned, 2 Chronicles 31:13, though some understand it of such as were nominated and appointed by them, and to act under them in the country:
to give portions to all the males among the priests, and to all that were reckoned by genealogies among the Levites: as before declared.
and wrought that which was good and right and truth before the Lord his God: or did that which was truly right and good, according to the law and will of God, in the sincerity and uprightness of his soul, and as in the presence of the omniscient God, he approving and accepting it for Christ's sake.