The Pulpit Commentary

2 Chronicles 28:1-27 (2 Chronicles 28:1-27)

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2 Chronicles 28:15 (2 Chronicles 28:15)

The men which were expressed by name ; Revised Version, which have been expressed by name. This is the probable, yet hardly certain, meaning of the clause. My name should be "by names." And the meaning may be that "the men who were now specified by names for the work rose up," etc. Under any aspect, it was likely enough these would embrace the four who had already spoken so piously and seasonably ( 2 Chronicles 31:19 ; 1 Chronicles 12:31 ; 1 Chronicles 16:41 ). The captives ; Hebrew, שִׁבְיָה ; literally, the captivity; i.e. of course, the body of captives ( Deuteronomy 21:11 ; Deuteronomy 32:42 ). Clothed … arrayed. These two renderings are both the same verb ( לָבַשׁ ), and even the same (hiph.) conjugation. The undisguised, apparent repetition in the Hebrew text, veiled and disguised in both the Authorized and Revised Versions, may perhaps be owing to the intentness of the narrative on saying, first, that all who were literally naked were clothed from their own captive spoil; and then, secondly, that all whosoever (dusty, dirty, tired, footsore) were clothed, in the sense of being fresh dressed. The eleven particulars of this verso are uncommonly graphic in the Hebrew text brevity of description. The verse may read thus: And the men appointed by their names rose up, and took the captives by the hand, and all of the naked of them they dressed from the very spoil, and dressed them ( all ) , and shod them, and fed them, and gave them drink, and anointed them, and carried upon asses all the feeble ones, and brought them to Jericho, city of palms, to the very side of their brethren, and returned to Samaria. These made their own so far the blessedness of them of Matthew 25:34-36 . Jericho; i.e. well within their own land, to a fertile and shaded spot of it, with plenty of water, and whence probably all might most easily wend their ways to their own district and town, Jericho lay on the border of Benjamin. See Stanley's most interesting account.

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2 Chronicles 28:1-27 (2 Chronicles 28:1-27)

This King Ahaz: the progress of a king literally devoid of religion.

In such words, the significance of which no one can mistake, is the royal person who is the chief subject of this chapter pointed to ( 2 Chronicles 28:22 ). Ahaz is the bad son of a good father. He is a type of those who begin badly, who are untaught by experience, who grow worse by suffering and adversity, and who end by maddening themselves, to their own destruction! The career of his father Jotham is written, apparently, without a fault, and without a reflection to be cast on him; the career of this son is written, apparently, without one redeeming feature to be put to his account. The contents of this chapter look like a series of pictures, marking a royal progress in wrongness, and which, in the issue, led to a very insanity of irreligion! In this progress notice how the king—

I. FORSOOK THE RIGHT MODEL . To be not "like his father David" was at once to want the stamp of a true royalty. To be "like the kings of Israel," the schismatic line, was to be stamped with the stamp of a base and ungenuine royalty. This description ( 2 Chronicles 28:2 ) of "the ways" in which Judah's king "walked" was, indeed, on the other hand, a fearful characterization for that same schismatic line of Israel. For Ahaz, however, thus to be, and be described, as at the beginning of his reign, when he was already arrived at the twenty-fifth year of his age, was an evil, anyway, of that worst calamity, viz. hope for an altered future almost hopelessly shut out! The augury proved too true. Ahaz counts for nothing Moses, as well as "his father David." He systematically "framed mischief by" his own "law," and the law of heathendom. He flagrantly breaks, and teaches the breaking of, the first two of the ever-venerable ten commandments—that vital Heaven-graven foundation-code of legislation of his kingdom. Sacrilege, idolatry, and each most heathenish practice and rite of un- "natural religion" he honours and follows. He gets as far as it is possible to get from "fearing" and "loving" and "serving" the Lord God of his fathers "with all the heart, and mind, and soul, and strength." For a young man, for any man to forsake the right model, the one Example, is to leave himself to pick among many, uncertain in every direction, except in the one certainty of all being wrong! One only safe right rule is ours to follow; "If the Lord be God, follow him" ( 1 Kings 18:21 ). Examples abound, but absolute safety and rightness can be found in one only.

II. NEGLECTED WARNING . The warning which Ahaz neglected, with a long succession, to say nothing of all those who may have gone before, was not merely warning written, preached loudly and earnestly and with prophet ' s voice proclaimed, but it was that practical warning, the ultimatum of all, the warning of consequences. Defeat, and the captivity of many of his people at the hand of the King of Syria; defeat, and the captivity of many of his people at the hand of the King of Israel; the slaying of his son, of the governor of his house, and of the man that was "the second to him in the kingdom;"—all these judgments, offering to bring closer and closer home to him and to his conscience the facts of the case, of his own sins, and of the consequences of those sins, he is blind to, or, not blind, he nevertheless disregards them to the very point of infatuation. But, again, not only are the practical warnings of "wrath" thus set at nought. Providences of mercy compete with those of "wrath" In one of the most remarkable and pathetic passages of all history, startling us by its lifelike and more than dramatic reality—a very monograph of pathos—seven verses (9-15) here record this providence. They tell us how, by the side of Judah's king, who refuses to give ear, to repent, or to learn, "certain of the heads of the children of Ephraim in Samaria," listen attentively to the remonstrance and teaching of the Prophet Oded, are open to the impression of the justness of what he says, see in a moment the truth of things for themselves, and reason without delay with the people, producing salutary convictions in them; and then, even with the atoning addition of all tenderest ministrations ( 2 Chronicles 28:15 ), lead back their captives of Judah to Jericho, to the shade of that "city of palm trees," and to the yet kinder shelter of "their brethren." What a practical message that was for a hardened heart like that of Ahaz! What an appeal and suggestion for the better feelings, if any, of Judah's king! But this too, this species of warning was in vain!

III. IMPROVED ADVERSITY TO THE GREATER INIQUITY , AND TO THE REAPING OF GREATER PUNISHMENT AND DEEPER DEGRADATION FOR HIMSELF AND NATION , The Edomites have successfully "smitten" him; the harrying incursions of the Philistines are ever on him; they take village after village, and also so take them, that they are safe in taking up their abode in them, for they dwelt there ( 2 Chronicles 28:18 ), Ahaz does not repent, and does not for a moment "seek to the Lord." The strickennees of sin is on him; the persistence in evil is his disease; the fatal aggravation of folly and infatuation of obstinacy cloud his brain, eclipse his reason, "make gross" his heart. He seeks to the King of Assyria, and bribes him with the sacred things of the house of the Lord, with the precious things of his own palace, with the robbed things of his princes. And that king takes all, but gives no help—"he helped him not" ( 2 Chronicles 28:21 ); mocks his defencelessness; makes sport of his supplications to him! To one deeper depth, in his deafened despair, he descends. Ahaz vows for his own the gods of those who "smote him" ( 2 Chronicles 28:23 ). His logic is that the house too of "the gods of the kings of Syria" may possibly prove a house divided against itself! It was a last, cruel, hapless resort! The refuge was the refuge of ruin—"the ruin of him, and of all Israel" ( 2 Chronicles 28:23 ), He ends all by entreating for his memory loathing unqualified. He hacks to pieces the collected "vessels of the house of God;" but shuts up (by just so much too late) "the doors of the house" itself; rears every wild altar; profanes with "high places every several city of Judah" to burn there the "incense of abomination;" excludes his own bones from the sepulchres of the best of his ancestors; and leaves us one more fearful lesson, that none and nothing make so sure a mock as sin itself makes of the "fool, who makes a mock" at it!

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2 Chronicles 28:9-15 (2 Chronicles 28:9-15)

Divine and human pity.

A very striking and a most unusual incident is here related; it has very few parallels in the page of ancient history. The hand that struck down the enemy very rarely failed to strike him when he was down. Here we have a refreshing picture of human relenting; of men who had just presented the cup of woe putting to the lips of the suffering a cup of mercy. But first we have a picture of—

I. DIVINE PITY IN THE MIDST OF DIVINE PENALTY . It is clear that the people of Judah owed their defeat entirely to the fact that they had grievously sinned against the Lord (see 2 Chronicles 28:9 ). But there was a point beyond which justice did not demand that penalty should go. And at that point Divine pity might appear. There it did appear, and it arrested the hand of the cruel smiter. God sends judgment, but in wrath he "remembers mercy" ( Habakkuk 3:2 ). He sends the serious sickness which brings pain and weakness, but at a certain point he sends the remedy and restoration. He brings down upon the guilty the strong indignation of their kind, but he raises up the compassionate and the considerate who visit the prisoner or the lonely with words of friendly sympathy and cheer. He brings the strong but rebellious kingdom to defeat and humiliation, but he causes it to grow up again to competence and power. He bruises, but he does not shatter; he lays low, but he raises up.

II. OFFICIAL FAITHFULNESS . Oded had a difficult and dangerous part to play on this occasion, but he bore himself right nobly ( 2 Chronicles 28:9-11 ). He did not flinch from words of energetic condemnation ( 2 Chronicles 28:9 , 2 Chronicles 28:10 ), or from words of unpalatable advice ( 2 Chronicles 28:11 ). If God puts us into any responsible position, whether in the family, or in the Church, or in the city, or in the councils of the nation, we are most sacredly bound to play our part courageously. No man is fitted to occupy a post of trust and honour unless he is prepared, at times, to say and do that which is likely to be resented. Though we may not be called upon to face a triumphant army with words of remonstrance and command, as Oded did now, yet we are sure to be under obligation to say that which is unacceptable and to confront the dislike and disapproval of men. If we are not prepared to do that, we had better stand down at once, and take a lower place. Certainly we are not qualified to speak for God.

III. HUMAN INFLUENCE . We have two instances of human influence being exercised with remarkable success. The outspoken prophet persuades the princes, and they in their turn persuade the soldiers to release the captives and to abandon the spoil which they had taken. This was a truly remarkable success. To induce men who are flushed with victory to forego the advantages they have won with the sword is to accomplish a great feat. It shows what man can do with man; what influence a strong voice can exert upon the human heart.

1 . It is always well worth while to interpose between men and the wrong they are meditating; we may save them from great guilt and others from great suffering.

2 . We must be in downright earnest, and speak with entire fearlessness and frankness, as both prophet and princes did now, or we shall not succeed. We must speak as those who are perfectly convinced, as those who know what is right, and have no hesitation at all as to the course which should be taken.

IV. HUMAN PITY . Instead of slaughtering their prisoners, which in that age might have been done without pity or remorse, we have these soldiers of Israel showing all possible kindness to them ( 2 Chronicles 28:15 ). It is a common thing now for men to show a magnanimous kindness to their fallen enemy even on the battle-field. But the teaching of the Lord of love has done its work to some considerable extent, and has mercifully modified the cruelties of war. The scene of the text was something of an anticipation of the injunction, "If thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink . " It is for us to illustrate the spirit then shown, on every opportunity. We should spare those who are in our power; it may be in the domain of business; it may be in the social circle; it may be round the domestic table; it may be in something so simple as a debate, so common as an ordinary argument. But wherever or whatever it be, to spare our opponent when he is down, to save him from the miseries Of defeat, to put him in the way of return to self-respect and honour, to "take back our captives to Jericho , " is to do no more than these Israelites did on this particular occasion; it is to do no less than our Master requires of us at all times and under every circumstance ( Matthew 5:43-48 ).—C.

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2 Chronicles 28:1-27 (2 Chronicles 28:1-27)

This is that King Ahaz.

I. A DEGENERATE SON . Aliaz, "Grasper" or "Possessor." In the Tigiath-Plleser inscriptions, which probably confounded him with the son of Jehoram ( 2 Chronicles 21:17 ), he is called Jehoahaz, "Whom Jehovah grasps," though the Scripture writers may have dropped the prefix "Jeho-" on account of his wickedness.

1 . He possessed his father ' s nature. Of necessity, as his father's son ( Genesis 5:3 ). Yet he improved not upon that nature, but rather deteriorated and corrupted it. Heredity in him took a downward direction. Some knowledge of who his mother was might shed important light upon the question of how he came by his peculiarities of character and disposition,

2 . He enjoyed his father ' s example. Jotham "prepared his ways before the Lord his God" ( 2 Chronicles 27:6 ), yet his pious conduct seemingly exerted no beneficial influence upon his son. Ahaz followed not his father's footsteps, but carved out a path of his own. Example, especially when good, may be potent, but is not omnipotent.

3 . He obtained his father ' s throne. Yet he rather tarnished it than added to its lustre. New dignities do not give new hearts or new powers. At the age of twenty—five years younger than his father ( 2 Chronicles 27:1 ), and only four years older than his grandfather ( 2 Chronicles 26:1 )—he assumed the crown of Judah. If the reading "twenty-five "years (Vatican text of the LXX ; Arabic, Syriac) be preferred (Ewald, Thenius, Bertheau, Keil, Bahr), on the ground that otherwise he must have married in his tenth or eleventh year, in order, after sixteen years, to be succeeded by a son as old as Hezekiah, who was twenty-five on ascending the throne ( 2 Chronicles 29:1 ), he was still but a youth when crowned, which may suggest that early promotion is not the same thing as early conversion.

4 . He lacked , i.e. did not possess, his father ' s goodness. Grace runs not in the blood ( John 1:13 ), though corruption does ( Job 14:4 ; Psalms 51:5 ). A man may communicate to his son wealth, learning, fame, power; be cannot, certainly, impart either grace or goodness.

5 . He attained not to his father ' s grave. When he died his people buried him in Jerusalem, but not in the sepulchres of the kings of Israel. He who in his lifetime had been no true Israelite, though he wore a crown, must not in his death be laid among the sovereigns who were Israelites indeed. Death, which destroys all time's distinctions between man and man, nevertheless effectually distinguishes between the righteous and the wicked ( Proverbs 14:32 ; Luke 16:22 ; Revelation 14:13 ).

II. AN APOSTATE KING . Immediately he reached the crown, Ahaz discovered what manner of spirit he was of. With a perfect passion for idolatry—"a mania for foreign religious practices" (Stanley)—he soon outstripped his people, if not the heathen themselves, in his misdevotion, becoming their Coryphaeus in superstitious rites, showing himself to be the idolater par excellence in Judah, and by his regal example leading his subjects down into unknown depths of infamy ( 2 Chronicles 28:19 ).

1 . He renounced the true religion of Jehovah. Not merely as it had been practised by David ( 2 Chronicles 28:1 ), Asa ( 2 Chronicles 15:17 ), and Jehoshaphat ( 2 Chronicles 17:3 ), but as it had been observed by his immediate predecessors, Jotham, Uzziah, and Amaziah. If not discontinued at once as to outward form, it was kept up for a season merely as a form; it was from the first abandoned in heart. He began his reign by practising the arts of a hypocrite.

2 . He adopted the false worship of Baal, which had long held sway in the northern kingdom ( 2 Chronicles 28:2 ). Whether he introduced the calf-worship of Jeroboam (Keil), or restricted himself to the manufacture of images of Baal (Bahr), in either case he followed in the way of the Israelitish kings ( 1 Kings 12:28 ; 1 Kings 16:32 ; 2 Kings 3:2 ). "It is hard not to be infected by a contagious neighbourhood: whoever read that the kingdom of Israel was seasoned with the vicinity of the true religion of Judah?" (Bishop Hall).

3 . He utilized all the idol-sanctuaries already existing in the land. "He sacrificed and burnt incense in the high places, and on the hills, and under every green tree" ( 2 Chronicles 28:4 ). In so doing he copied bad masters, reproducing the slate of matters which had existed in Judah under Rehoboam ( 1 Kings 14:23 ), and at the moment flourished in Samaria under Hoshea ( 2 Kings 17:10 )—a state of matters which from the first had prevailed among the heathen inhabitants of the land ( Deuteronomy 12:2 ), but which they had been commanded ruthlessly to destroy. On the nature of this worship consult the Exposition.

4 . He introduced the worship of Moloch, "the savage god of the Ammonites'' (Stanley), as Solomon had done before him ( 1 Kings 11:7 ), in open defiance of Divine Law (Le 2 Chronicles 18:21 ; Deuteronomy 18:10 ), setting up an image of that idol—a human figure with a bull's head and outstretched arms—in the valley of Hinnom, a "narrow waterless ravine bounding the site of Jerusalem, and commencing on the west as a shallow dell", and even sacrificing to it one ( 2 Kings 16:3 ) or more ( 2 Chronicles 28:3 ) of his own sons, as Manasseh afterwards did ( 2 Chronicles 33:6 ). "The image of metal was made hot by a fire kindled within it, and the children, laid in its arms, rolled from thence into the fiery lap below. Voluntary offering on the part of the parents was essential to the success of the sacrifice. Even the firstborn, nay, the only child of the family, was given up. The parents stopped the cries of their children by fondling and kissing them, for the victim ought not to weep, and the sound of complaint was drowned in the din of flutes and kettledrums". That the children were not merely passed through the fire as an act of purgation, but actually burned, seems indisputable; it is not certain that the children were thrown alive into the idol's glowing arms, the opinion that they were first slain (Keil, Bahr, Schurer) appearing to be warranted by certain passages in Scripture ( Ezekiel 16:20 , Ezekiel 16:21 ; Ezekiel 23:39 ; Isaiah 57:5 ; Jeremiah 7:31 ; Jeremiah 19:5 ; cf. 2 Kings 3:27 ).

5 . He sacrificed to the gods of Damascus.

6 . He shut up the doors of the house of the Lord. (Verse 24.) It was high time. The man who could displace the brazen altar made by Solomon after patterns furnished by Jehovah ( Exodus 25:40 ; Exodus 26:30 ; Exodus 27:1 ; 1 Chronicles 28:19 ), to make room for a new shrine, no matter of what costly material, copied from a heathen temple at Damascus, and fashioned by a servile priest in Jerusalem; the monster who could erect an image of Moloch in his capital and sacrifice to it his own child; the devotee who was so mad upon foreign gods, that the very sight of a heathen temple, altar, or idol caused him to fall a-worshipping;—had obviously no excuse for longer affecting to be a worshipper of Jehovah. Accordingly, he smashed up the vessels and closed the doors of the temple. There should be no more worshipping of Jehovah, if he could help it. It was horrible sacrilege, but it was at least honest.

7 . He did his utmost to provoke Jehovah to anger. Building altars in every corner of Jerusalem, till, like Athens in the days of Paul, it was wholly given to idolatry, literally stuffed full of idols ( Acts 17:16 ), and erecting besides in every city of Judah high places to burn incense unto other gods (verses 24, 25); he did his best to pour contempt upon the God of his fathers; in his outrageous, fanatical, and senseless idolatry eclipsing all his predecessors, leaving behind him in the race to perdition experts in heathen worship like Rehoboam and Jehoram in Judah, like Jeroboam and Ahab in Israel. It was no wonder that Jehovah at length bestirred himself to take vengeance on this nonpareil idolater.

III. AN UNSUCCESSFUL WARNING . For the wickedness of himself and people, he and they were "brought low," diminished in numbers, weakened in power, humbled in spirit, by Jehovah, who raised up against them three foreign foes.

1 . The Syrians and Israelites. (Verses 5-7.)

(a) Rezin of Damascus, besides recovering Eloth ( 2 Kings 16:6 ), defeated Ahaz m a pitched battle, and carried away a multitude of his subjects captive to Damascus.

(b) Pekah also routed him with great slaughter in one day's fight, slaying a hundred and twenty thousand of his veteran troops. In particular, Zichri, an Ephraimite hero, struck down three warriors closely related to Ahaz—Maaseiah the king's son, i.e. cousin or uncle, as in 2 Chronicles 18:25 and 2 Chronicles 22:11 , since Ahaz could hardly at the commencement of his reign have had a son capable of bearing arms; Azrikam, the ruler of the house, not of the temple ( 2 Chronicles 31:13 ; 1 Chronicles 9:11 ), but of the palace, hence a high official in the royal household; and Elkanah, that was next or second to the king, i.e. his prime minister. In addition, two hundred thousand women, sons and daughters, with much spoil, were carried captive to Samaria. The great number of the slain and of the captives may be accounted for by remembering that it was practically a war for the existence of the southern kingdom, which would require Ahaz to call out all his able- bodied population; that the Israelites were accustomed to act with great cruelty in war ( 2 Kings 15:16 ), and probably did so on this occasion ( 2 Chronicles 22:9 ); and that Jehovah had delivered Ahaz and his people into the hands of their enemies on account of their apostasy, as by the lips of Moses (Le 2 Chronicles 26:17 , 37) he had threatened he would in such cases do.

2 . The Edomites. These, whom Uzziah had reduced to subjection ( 2 Chronicles 26:2 ), were probably emboldened by Rezin's successful attack upon Eloth ( 2 Kings 16:6 ) to throw off the yoke of Judah, and even attempt reprisals in the shape of an invasion of Judaean territory. This they executed with such military skill, that they carried off, as the Syrians and Israelites had done, a number of prisoners.

3 . The Philistines. During the previous reign these also had been conquered, and their country occupied by garrisons of Judaean soldiers ( 2 Chronicles 26:6 ); but, embracing the opportunity afforded by the simultaneous attacks directed upon their ancient enemy and present suzerain, they asserted their independence, made an irruption into the low land and south country of Judah, captured and occupied a number of cities, with their dependent villages: Beth-shemesh (see on 2 Chronicles 25:21 ); Ajalon, the modem Jalo ( 2 Chronicles 11:10 ); Gederoth, in the hill country of Judah ( Joshua 15:36 ); "the Gedor of the 'Onomasticon,' ten miles from Eleutheropolis, on the road to Diospolis, now the ruin Jedireh "; Shocho ( 2 Chronicles 11:7 ), the Shuweike of to-day; Timnah, the present Tibneh, on the frontier of Judah three quarters of an hour from Ain-shems; Gimzo, now Jimsu, a large village between Lydda and Jerusalem.

LESSONS .

1 . The degeneracy of human nature—a good Jotham begets a wicked Ahaz.

2 . The madness of idolatry, exemplified in the career of Ahaz.

3 . The certainty of retribution, illustrated by the "bringing low" of Judah.—W.

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2 Chronicles 28:8-15 (2 Chronicles 28:8-15)

The sending back of the captives-an incident of the Israelitish war.

I. THE WARRIORS OF ISRAEL AND THE CAPTIVES OF JUDAH . ( 2 Chronicles 28:8 .)

1 . The number of the captives. Two hundred thousand persons.

2 . The persons of the captives.

3 . The destination of the captives. Samaria, in the Assyrian monuments Sa-mir-i-na , the capital of the northern kingdom, built by Omri ( 1 Kings 16:24 ).

II. THE WARRIORS OF ISRAEL AND THE PROPHET OF JEHOVAH . ( 2 Chronicles 28:9-11 .)

1 . The prophet ' s name. Oded, "Setting up." The name of the father of Azariah who went out to meet Asa ( 2 Chronicles 15:2 ).

2 . The prophet ' s designation. A prophet of Jehovah, not of the false Jehovah worshipped in Samaria under the image of a calf ( Hosea 8:5 , Hosea 8:6 ), but of the true Jehovah, which shows that, apostate as the northern kingdom had become, it was not entirely destitute of true religion-even there Jehovah having at least prophets who witnessed for him, like Hosea ( Hosea 1:1 ) and Oded, if not also adherents who worshipped him.

3 . The prophet ' s courage. He went out to meet the hosts of Israel as they returned from their successful campaign, and warned them of the wickedness of which they had been guilty; as Jehu, the son of Hanani, had met Jehoshaphat returning from Ramoth-Gilead ( 2 Chronicles 19:2 ), and a prophet of Jehovah had confronted Amaziah coming from the slaughter of the Edomites ( 2 Chronicles 25:15 ).

4 . The prophet ' s address.

III. THE WARRIORS OF ISRAEL AND THE PRINCES OF EPHRAIM , (Verses 12-14.)

1 . The names of the princes. Azariah ( 2 Chronicles 15:2 ; 2 Chronicles 22:6 ), the son of Johanan, "Jehovah is gracious;" Berechiah, "Whom Jehovah hath blessed" ( 1 Chronicles 6:39 ), son of Meshillemoth, "Retribution;" Jehizkiah, the same as Hezekiah, "The might of Jehovah," son of Shallum, "Retribution" ( 2 Kings 15:10 ); and Amasa, "Burden," the name of one of Absalom's captains ( 2 Samuel 17:25 ), the son of Hadlai, "Rest." These princes were obviously at the head of the Israelitish congregation (verse 14).

2 . The action of the princes. They joined the Prophet Oded in resisting the introduction by the soldiers of the captives into the city. That people is fortunate whose leaders are courageous to oppose them in evil-doing, and to point out to them the path of duty.

3 . The speech of the princes.

4 . The success of the princes. "The armed men left the captives and the spoil before the princes and all the congregation" (verse 14). Happy is that community in which the wise and good counsels of its leaders prevail.

IV. THE PRINCES OF ISRAEL AND THE CAPTIVES OF JUDAH . (Verse 15.)

1 . The kindness of the princes. The above-named (verse 12), with other famous and distinguished leaders, to whom a similar designation was customarily applied ( 1 Chronicles 12:31 ; 1 Chronicles 16:41 ; 2 Chronicles 31:19 ), rose up from their seats of honour in the midst of the assembly, stood forth as the representatives of the people and received at the hands of the soldiers the crowd of captives; out of the spoil, which, as usual, consisted in garments, flocks, and herds, with other articles of value ( 2 Chronicles 15:14 , 2 Chronicles 15:15 ; 2 Chronicles 20:25 ), clothed and shod all amongst them who were naked, giving them to eat and drink ( 2 Kings 6:22 , 2 Kings 6:23 ); anointed with oil such of them as had wounds ( Luke 10:34 ); set the feeble upon asses, of which animals there was a plentiful supply ( 1 Chronicles 27:30 ; Ezra 2:67 )—a lively picture of the pity and compassion which should ever be shown towards the unfortunate, suffering, and miserable, especially by the people of God ( Isaiah 58:6 , Isaiah 58:7 ; Job 30:25 ; Luke 10:37 ; Luke 14:12 ; 1 Timothy 5:10 ; 1 John 3:17 ).

2 . The return of the captives. Thus generously treated by the princes, they were sent back, those able to travel by themselves, those requiring to ride accompanied by conductors, who journeyed with them as far as Jericho, the city of palm trees ( 3:13 ), distant from Jerusalem about five and a half hours walk, situated in the tribe of Benjamin, and belonging to the kingdom of Judah. Arrived thither, they were handed over to their brethren, after which their conductors returned to Samaria.

LESSONS .

1 . The sin of slavery.

2 . The function of prophecy.

3 . The beauty of charity.—W.

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