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Hezekiah's exhortation to the priests and Levites, ver. 1 - 11.
The care of the Levites to cleanse the temple and put things into
order, ver. 12 - 19.
A solemn revival of God's ordinances, ver. 20 - 36.
4: And he brought in, &c - He found Judah low and naked, yet did
not make it his first business to revive the civil interests of his
kingdom, but to restore religion to a good posture. Those that begin with
God, begin at the right end of their work; and it will prosper accordingly.
5: Filthiness - That filthy altar, which Ahaz had put in the
place of God's altar, (2Ki 16:11), and the idols, or other
abominable things which were there.
6: Turned, &c. - They have wilfully and obstinately forsaken God and
his worship; that posture being a signification of contempt.
7: They - He saith not, my father, because it became him as a
son, to be as tender as might be of his father's name: and because
his father would not have done all this, if their fathers had not
neglected their duty.
8: Hissing - To such calamities as all that see and hear of, shall
be astonished at, and hiss at those, who by their own sin and folly
have brought such miseries upon themselves. When we are under the
rebukes of God's providence, it is good for us to enquire, Whether
we have not neglected God's ordinances, and whether that be not the
controversy he has with us?
9: Captivity - Tho' they were presently released,(2Ch 28:5,14,15).
11: Sons - So he calls them, though many of them were elder than
himself, because he was by his tender love and affection, as he was
by his office obliged to be, a nursing father to them. Negligent - In
sanctifying yourselves and the temple, ver.(5), and in quickening and
preparing yourselves and the people for God's service.
15: To cleanse - From the dirt it had contracted, while it was so
long shut up; from dust, cobwebs, and the rust of the vessels. Much
more from the idols, and idolatrous altars which had been set up therein.
17: The first day - A happy beginning of the new year! Thus should
every year begin with the reformation of what is amiss, and the purging
away of all the defilements contracted the foregoing year.
19: Sanctified - Tho' the vessels of the sanctuary may be profaned
for a while, God will find a time and a way to sanctify them. Neither
his ordinances nor his obedient people, shall be suffered to fail forever.
21: Seven - The number seven is customary in sacred matters, and
is here used in regard of the vast numbers and various kinds of sins, the
guilt whereof yet lay upon the kingdom, which was now to be expiated.
Indeed, in case of one particular sin of ignorance done by the people,
there was but one bullock to be offered, but here the sins were many and
presumptuous. Kingdom - To make atonement for the sins of the king and
the royal family, and the court. Sanctuary - For all the idolatry and
uncleanness wherewith the temple had been polluted. They thought it not
enough to lament and forsake their sins, but they brought a sin - offering.
Even our repentance and reformation will not obtain pardon, but thro'
Christ, who was made sin, that is, a sin - offering for us.
23: They laid - The king and the elders of the congregation in the
name of the whole congregation.
27: The song - The psalms composed by David and Asaph.
Even sorrow for sin must not put us out of tune for praising God.
By faith we must even then rejoice in the Lord our righteousness,
and our prayers and praises must attend with his offering, to be
accepted only in the virtue of it.
31: Consecrated - Now that you have reconciled yourselves and the
house to God, and that he is willing and ready to accept your sacrifices.
Burnt - offerings - Wherein there was more generosity than in the other
sacrifices, because they were wholly burnt and offered to God.
33: Consecrated things - All the offerings consecrated to God,
besides the burnt - offerings already mentioned.
34: Too few - Such as were sanctified and fit for their work, as the
following words shew: for otherwise the number of the priests was more
than sufficient for this employment. Burnt - offerings - And much less all
the other sacrifices, which were more numerous; the slaying whereof was
the priests proper work. The Levites - Necessity excusing their deviation
from the rule.
36: Rejoiced - It was, as a very great, so a sudden change, that the
people, who but the other day were so ready to comply with wicked Ahaz
in his idolatrous presumptions, were now so free and forward in God's
service: whereby it plainly appeared to be the work of God, changing their
hearts by his Holy Spirit.