2 Kings 24:14 MEANING

2 Kings 24:14
(14) All Jerusalem.--Limited by what follows, and meaning the most important part of the population.

The princes--i.e., the nobles, e.g., the grandees of the court, some of the priests (Ezekiel 1:1), and the heads of the clans.

The mighty men of valour.--This is probably right. Thenius and Bahr prefer to understand the men of property and the artisans, as in 2 Kings 15:20.

All the craftsmen and smiths.--The former were workers in wood, stone, and metal, i.e., carpenters, masons, and smiths. (Comp. Genesis 4:22.) The "smiths" (properly, "they who shut") answer to what we should call locksmiths. They were makers of bolts and bars for doors and gates (Jeremiah 24:1; Jeremiah 29:2). It is obvious that by deporting "the craftsmen and smiths" the king of Babylon made further outbreaks impossible (comp. 1 Samuel 13:19.) Kimchi's explanation of "smiths" is a curiosity of exegesis. He makes of them "learned persons, who shut other people's mouths, and propose riddles which nobody else can guess." Hitzig and Thenius derive the word (masg?r) from mas, "levy," and g?r, "alien," so that it would originally mean "statute labourers," "Canaanites compelled to work for the king;" and afterwards, as here, "manual labourers" in general. But such a compound term in Hebrew would be very surprising.

The poorest sort.--Those who had neither property nor handicraft. (Comp. Jeremiah 39:10.)

Verse 14. - And he carried away all Jerusalem. The expression has to be limited by what follows. "All Jerusalem" means all that was important in the population of Jerusalem all the upper classes, the "princes" and "nobles," all the men trained to the use of arms, and all the skilled craftsmen and artisans of the city. The poor and weak and unskilled were left. The number deported, according to our author, was either ten or eleven thousand. The whole population of the ancient city has been calculated from its area at fifteen thousand. The largest estimate of the population of the modern city is seventeen thousand. And all the princes. The sarim, or "princes," are not males of the blood royal, but the nobles, or upper classes of Jerusalem (comp. Jeremiah 25:18; Jeremiah 26:10-16, etc.). And all the mighty men of valor - i.e. "all the trained troops" (Ewald); not "all the men of wealth," as Bahr renders - even ten thousand captives. As the soldiers are reckoned below (ver. 16) at seven thousand, and the craftsmen at one thousand, the upper-class captives would seem to have been two thousand; unless, indeed, the "craftsmen" are additional to the ten thousand, in which Case the upper-class captives would have numbered three thousand, and the prisoners have amounted altogether to eleven thousand. And all the craftsmen and smiths. Ewald understands "the military workmen and siege engineers" to be intended ('History of Israel,' vol. 4. p. 263, note 9); but the term חָרָשׁin Hebrew includes all workers in stone, metal, or wood (Genesis 4:22; Isaiah 44:12; 1 Kings 7:14), and there is nothing to limit it here to military craftsmen. It was an Oriental practice to weaken a state by the deportation of all the stronger elements of its population. None remained, save the poorest sort of the people of the land. These words must be taken with some latitude. There are still "princes" in Jerusalem under Zedekiah (Jeremiah 38:4, 25, 27), and courtiers of rank (Jeremiah 38:7), and "captains of forces" (Jeremiah 40:7), and "men of war" (Jeremiah 52:7). But the bulk of the inhabitants now left behind in Jerusalem were poor and of small account.

24:8-20 Jehoiachin reigned but three months, yet long enough to show that he justly smarted for his fathers' sins, for he trod in their steps. His uncle was intrusted with the government. This Zedekiah was the last of the kings of Judah. Though the judgments of God upon the three kings before him might have warned him, he did that which was evil, like them. When those intrusted with the counsels of a nation act unwisely, and against their true interest, we ought to notice the displeasure of God in it. It is for the sins of a people that God hides from them the things that belong to the public peace. And in fulfilling the secret purposes of his justice, the Lord needs only leave men to the blindness of their own minds, or to the lusts of their own hearts. The gradual approach of Divine judgments affords sinners space for repentance, and believers leisure to prepare for meeting the calamity, while it shows the obstinacy of those who will not forsake their sins.And he carried away all Jerusalem,.... The inhabitants of it; not every individual of them, but the chief of them, the more honourable, rich, and useful; for the poorer sort were left, as afterwards expressed:

and all the princes, and all the mighty men of valour, even ten thousand captives; which was the number of them in the whole; the particulars are after delivered:

and all the craftsmen and smiths; besides the nobles and the soldiers, he took all the artificers that exercised any handicraft trade or business; carpenters and blacksmiths, as some interpret these two words; so that there were none left to make arms for them; the last word may be rendered "enclosers", and are by some interpreted of enclosers of jewels in metals, as gold and silver:

none remained, save the poorest sort of the people of the land; who were left to till it, and to dress the vines; see 2 Kings 25:12.

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