both their children, and their children's children; that is, the children and children's children of the Samaritans:
as did their fathers, so do they unto this day; to the writing of this book, which some ascribe to Jeremiah, to whose times, and even longer, they continued this mixed and mongrel worship, for the space of three hundred years, to the times of Alexander the great, of whom Sanballat, governor of Samaria, got leave to build a temple, on Gerizim, for his son-in-law Manasseh, of which he became priest; and the Samaritans were prevailed upon to relinquish their idolatry, and to worship only the God of Israel; and yet it seems but ignorantly, and not without superstition, to the times of Christ, John 4:22.
INTRODUCTION TO 2 Kings 18
This chapter begins with the good reign of Hezekiah king of Judah, the reformation he made in the kingdom, and the prosperity that attended him when Israel was carried captive, 2 Kings 18:1 and gives an account of the siege of Jerusalem by the king of Assyria, and of the distress Hezekiah was in, and the hard measures he was obliged to submit unto, 2 Kings 18:13 and of the reviling and blasphemous speech of Rabshakeh, one of the generals of the king of Assyria, urging the Jews to a revolt from their king, 2 Kings 18:19.
that Hezekiah the son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign; having finished the account of the kingdom of Israel, and the captivity of the people, the historian returns to the kingdom of Judah, and the things of it.
and he reigned twenty and nine years in Jerusalem; so that he reigned twenty three years or more after the captivity of the ten tribes:
his mother's name also was Abi the daughter of Zachariah; perhaps the daughter of the same that was taken by Isaiah for a witness, Isaiah 8:3 who very probably was a very good woman, and took care to give her son a religious education, though he had so wicked a father.
(f) Ep. Carbonell. tom. 1. oper. p. 920. (g) Vid. Hieronymi Opera, tam. 3. Ep. Vital. fol. 25. C. (h) T. Bab. Avodah Zarah, fol. 44. 1.((i) Usser. Annal. p. 86, 87. (k) Vid. Breithaupt. Not. in Hist. Gorion. Heb. l. 5. c. 1.
and broke the images, and cut down the groves; the idols his father set up and served, 2 Kings 16:4, groves and idols in them, were early instances of idolatry; See Gill on Judges 3:7, and their use for temples are still continued, not only among some Indian nations (l), but among some Christians in the northern parts of Europe (m):
and brake in pieces the brazen serpent that Moses had made; which he made in the wilderness, and which was brought by the children of Israel with them into the land of Canaan, and was kept as a memorial of the miracle wrought by looking to it, being laid up in some proper place where it had been preserved to this day:
for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it not from the time it was brought into Canaan, nor even in later times, in the days of Asa and Jehoshaphat, who would never have suffered it; very probably this piece of idolatry began in the times of Ahaz, who encouraged everything of that kind: for this serpent they had a great veneration, being made by Moses, and a means in his time of healing the Israelites; and they imagined it might be of some service to them, in a way of mediation to God; and worthy of worship, having some degree of divinity, as Kimchi and Ben Gersom; but Laniado (n) excuses them from all show of idolatry, and supposes what they did was for the honour of God only; hence sprung the heresy of the Ophites, according to Theodoret:
and he called it Nehushtan; perceiving they were ensnared by it, and drawn into idolatry to it, by way of contempt he called it by this name, which signifies "brass"; suggesting that it was only a mere piece of brass, had no divinity in it, and could be of no service to them in divine things; and, that it might no longer be a snare to them, he broke it into pieces; and, as the Jews (o) say, ground it to powder, and scattered it to every wind, that there might be no remains of it.
(l) See Dampier's Voyage, vol. 1. p. 411. (m) Vid. Fabritii Bibliograph. Antiqu. c. 9. sect. 11. (n) Cli Yaker, fol. 538. 2.((o) T. Bab. Avodah Zarah, fol. 44. 1.
so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah: for though Josiah was like him in some things, yet not in all:
nor any that were before him; from the times of the division of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah; and Ben Gersom and Abarbinel think that David and Solomon are not to be excepted; David sinning in the case of Uriah, and Solomon falling into idolatry, crimes that Hezekiah was not guilty of.
and departed not from following him; from his worship, as the same paraphrase:
but kept his commandments, which the Lord commanded Moses; both moral, ceremonial, and judicial.
and he prospered whithersoever he went forth; that is, to war:
and he rebelled against the king of Assyria: which is explained in the next clause:
and served him not; he refused to be his servant, as his father Ahaz had been, 2 Kings 16:7, to which he was not obliged by any agreement of his; and, if it was in his power, might lawfully shake off his yoke, which is all that is meant by rebelling against him; he refused to be tributary to him.
from the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city; that is, places both great and small, cities, towns, and villages; of this phrase, see 2 Kings 17:9.
which was the seventh year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel: the beginning of his seventh:
that Shalmaneser king of Assyria came up against Samaria, and besieged it; see 2 Kings 17:5.
but transgressed his covenant, and all that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded; which evils are at large insisted on in the preceding chapter as the cause of their captivity:
and would not hear them, nor do them; contrary to the agreement of their fathers at Sinai, who promised to do both, Exodus 24:3.
did Sennacherib king of Assyria come up against all the fenced cities of Judah, and took them; many of them, the frontier towns, and proceeded as far as Lachish; ambitious of enlarging his dominions, his father having subdued the kingdom of Israel, and being also provoked by Hezekiah's refusing to pay him tribute. Mention is made of this king by name, by Herodotus and other Heathen writers, see the note on Isaiah 36:1 in the Apocryha:"Now when Enemessar was dead, Sennacherib his son reigned in his stead; whose estate was troubled, that I could not go into Media.'' (Tobit 1:15)he is called Sennacherib, and is said to be son of Enemassat, that is, Shalmaneser; however, he succeeded him in his kingdom; though some (o) take him to be the same with Shalmaneser: he is said by Metasthenes (p) to reign seven years, and was succeeded by Assaradon, who, according to him, reigned ten years.
(o) Lud. Vives in Aug. de Civ. Dei, l. 18. c. 24. (p) De Judicio Temp. fol. 221. 2.
saying, I have offended; not the Lord, but the king of Assyria by rebelling against him, or refusing to pay the yearly tribute to him; he owned he had acted imprudently, and had given him, just occasion to invade his land:
return from me; from his land, from proceeding to Jerusalem, which he seemed to have a design upon, and go back to his own country with his army, and make no further conquests:
that which thou puttest on me I will bear; what mulct or fine he should lay upon him, or tribute he should impose upon him, or whatever he should demand of him, he would submit to:
and the king of Assyria appointed unto Hezekiah king of Judah three hundred talents of silver, and thirty talents of gold; to be paid to him directly; which, according to Brerewood (r), amounted to 247,500 pounds.
(q) Bunting's Travels, &c. p. 99. (r) De Ponder. & Pret. Vet. Num. c. 5.
and from the pillars which Hezekiah king of Judah had overlaid: or the posts, as the Targum, the lintel or side posts of the doors of the temple; which though covered in Solomon's time, the gold was worn off, or had been taken off by Ahaz, but was renewed by Hezekiah; and who, in this time of distress, thought he might take it off again, no doubt with a full purpose to replace it, when he should be able. This is one of the three things the Talmudic writers (s) disapprove of in Hezekiah:
and gave it to the king of Assyria; to make up the thirty talents of gold he demanded.
(s) T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 10. 2.