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2 CHRONICLES 29
THE BEGINNING OF THE REIGN OF HEZEKIAH
XII. HEZEKIAH (715-687 B.C.)
HEZEKIAH'S MOVE TO RESTORE THE TRUE WORSHIP
Practically all of this chapter is without parallel in Kings. It supplements the record of Hezekiah's extensive reforms that are mentioned there. We see here that his work was not merely negative, in such things as destroying the high places and cutting down the Asherim. He also did many positive things toward pointing Israel back to the true worship of God.
Carry forth the filthiness out of the holy place
(2 Chronicles 29:5). This was the accumulated dirt from years of neglect.F1
They have not burned incense nor offered burnt-offerings in the holy place unto the God of Israel
(2 Chronicles 29:7). But does not 2 Kings 16:14-16 state that Ahaz himself made offerings on that special altar? Yes, indeed; but there is no contradiction here. The Chronicler is merely telling us (and those Levites) that those sacrifices that Ahaz offered on an Assyrian altar, were, in no sense, offered unto the God of Israel, but were actually sacrifices to Assyrian gods.F2 Note the underlined words in this paragraph.
Jehovah hath chosen you (the Levites) to stand before him
(2 Chr. 11). Here again we find an acute consciousness of the Law of God through Moses in the Pentateuch, especially in Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers, where the choice of the Levites and the sons of Aaron was first revealed. It is the proliferation of dozens of such references as these in Chronicles that sends the radical critics into frantic screams of Midrash!
This single chapter is a complete contradiction of the critical denials of it with abundant proof of the existence of the whole Pentateuch in the reign of Hezekiah, generations prior to Josiah and that fairy tale about the P Code.
It is the conviction of this writer that the author of whatever source was quoted by the Chronicler here (see our introduction for a list of these) had a complete copy of the Law of Moses (the whole Pentateuch) before him when he wrote down the events related in this chapter.
UNDENIABLE REFLECTIONS OF THE PENTATEUCH IN THIS CHAPTER
(1) The wrath of Jehovah was upon Judah
(2 Chronicles 29:8). This word (wrath) is used in Deut. 28:25,F3 where Moses had predicted this very disaster that befell Judah.
(2) For Jehovah hath chosen you
(2 Chronicles 29:11). This is stated in Num. 3:6, 8:6, and in Deut. 10:8.
(3) They brought seven bullocks, and seven rams, and seven lambs, and seven he-goats for a sin-offering for the kingdom
(2 Chronicles 29:21). The use of these animals for that purpose was authorized in Lev. 1:3f; 14:20; and 16:24. Seven victims were offered because seven was a sacred number.F4
(4) The use of seven victims instead of one in certain sacrifices was authorized in Num. 28:11ff.
(5) The priests received the blood and sprinkled it upon the altar
(2 Chronicles 29:22). The ritual for this action is found in the law of Moses in Exo. 29:16, and in Lev. 1:5,11.
(6) The king and the assembly laid their hands upon them (the sacrifices)
(2 Chronicles 29:23). This ceremony is described in Lev. 1:4.
(7) And they made a sin-offering with their blood upon the altar
(2 Chronicles 29:24) In Lev. 4:25,34 is found the description of exactly how this was done.
(8) Come near,. and bring thank-offerings into the house of Jehovah
(2 Chronicles 29:31) The thanksgiving here was for the joy over the renewal of the worship of Jehovah.F5 Instructions for the offerings and ceremonies for such an occasion are found in Lev. 7:12ff.
(9) The burnt-offerings. with the fat of the peace-offerings, and with the drink-offerings for every burnt-offering ... so the service for the house of Jehovah was set in order
(2 Chronicles 29:35). The drink offerings were of wine and probably poured like the blood at the base of the altar.F6 Very complete and detailed instructions for these sacrifices, including the drink-offerings, are found in Num. 15:1-15.
Note here that Hezekiah followed instructions for the services of the house of Jehovah, instructions that are detailed in the Mosaic writings of the Pentateuch.
Before leaving this analysis, we must ask, "How do the critics attempt to get rid of such proof as this? Curtis has this succinct statement of their only answer.
It must be remembered that the writer was drawing largely upon his imagination, and evidently cared little about accuracy of detail.F7
To such so-called scholarship as this, we wish to say NO! It is the evil radical critics, seeking to destroy faith in the Word of God, who are drawing upon their imagination. The real Biblical Midrash is that imaginary P Code, that alleged discovery in the reign of Josiah, the Jehovist, the Elohist, the Deuteronomist, and the Second, Third, or Twentieth ISAIAH, and all the rest of those fraudulent, imaginary, ephemeral and constantly changing "documents" invented by evil men and imposed upon believers under the guise of their being scholarly. And may it be said again that until all of those alleged documents (or any single one of them, for that matter) can be produced and scientifically evaluated, the truly intelligent person may safely reject them.
WITHIN SIXTEEN DAYS THE LEVITES CLEANSE THE TEMPLE
SIN-OFFERINGS WERE MADE FOR ALL ISRAEL
See our discussion above regarding the many reflections of the Pentateuch in this chapter, especially in this paragraph.
MUSICAL ACCOMPANIMENT OF THESE IMPRESSIVE CEREMONIES
For the commandment was of Jehovah by his prophets
(2 Chronicles 29:25). This is the passage in the O.T. which is supposed to justify the use of mechanical instruments of music in the ancient worship of the Jews; but it should be observed that the commandment which is here said to have come from God is not specifically identified in this key sentence; and the Syriac and Arabic versions in this place do not support what is written here. Both those versions make the commandment which came of God through his prophets applicable exclusively to the order that the Levites should praise God; And the Hebrew text certainly supports such a rendition.F8 Note that there is a distinction made in this very passage between the instruments of David (2 Chronicles 29:26) and the song of Jehovah (2 Chronicles 29:27).
The importance of this is emphasized by the apparent contradiction which the ASV and other current versions make in this passage with the prophet Amos. The passage has no bearing whatever upon the question of the use of such instruments in Christian worship; but an investigation of it is important because the Word of God does not contradict itself; and if this passage stands as it appears here, what about the passages in Amos? This writer holds the passages in Amos to be correct, and this one to be mistranslated here. (See our Excursus on this subject at the end of Psalms II.)
The position which we have taken on this is very strongly supported by the fact that the Orthodox Hebrew religion has never allowed instruments of music in their worship; and, presumably, they know the Hebrew a lot better than modern critics.
In the words of David, and of Asaph the seer
(2 Chronicles 29:30). This indicates that what we know as The Psalms were sung as hymns on this occasion.
ALL ISRAEL BRINGS ABUNDANT THANK-OFFERINGS TO JEHOVAH
The Levites were more upright. than the priests
(2 Chronicles 29:34). That this opinion of the Levites might be, A reflection of the Chronicler's personal bias,F9 is unacceptable. The truth of what he said had already been demonstrated before all Israel in the subservience of the priest Urijah to king Ahaz (2 Kings 16:16).
For the thing was done suddenly
(2 Chronicles 29:36). This change from apostasy to loyalty to Jehovah took place almost immediately upon Hezekiah's accession to the throne. It was the result of a common impulse both of the king and of the people, apparently without any preparation (or delay).F10
James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.