Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
1-7. In the twenty and seventh year of Jeroboam--It is thought that
the throne of Judah continued vacant eleven or twelve years, between
the death of Amaziah and the inauguration of his son Azariah. Being a
child only four years old when his father was murdered, a regency was
appointed during Azariah's minority.
began Azariah . . . to reign--The character of his reign is described
by the brief formula employed by the inspired historian, in recording
the religious policy of the later kings. But his reign was a very
active as well as eventful one, and is fully related
Elated by the possession of great power, and presumptuously arrogating
to himself, as did the heathen kings, the functions both of the real
and sacerdotal offices, he was punished with leprosy, which, as the
offense was capital
was equivalent to death, for this disease excluded him from all
society. While Jotham, his son, as his viceroy, administered the
affairs of the kingdom--being about fifteen years of age (compare
--he had to dwell in a place apart by himself (see on
After a long reign he died, and was buried in the royal burying-field,
though not in the royal cemetery of "the city of David"
8-10. In the thirty and eighth year of Azariah king of Judah did
Zechariah the son of Jeroboam reign over Israel--There was an
interregnum from some unknown cause between the reign of Jeroboam and
the accession of his son, which lasted, according to some, for ten or
twelve years, according to others, for twenty-two years, or more. This
prince pursued the religious policy of the calf-worship, and his reign
was short, being abruptly terminated by the hand of violence. In his
fate was fulfilled the prophecy addressed to Jehu
that his family would possess the throne of Israel for four
generations; and accordingly Jehoahaz, Joash, Jehoram, and Zechariah
were his successors--but there his dynasty terminated; and perhaps it
was the public knowledge of this prediction that prompted the murderous
design of Shallum.
13-17. Shallum . . . reigned a full month--He was opposed and slain
by Menahem, who, according to JOSEPHUS,
was commander of the forces,
which, on the report of the king's murder, were besieging Tirzah, a
town twelve miles east of Samaria, and formerly a seat of the kings of
Israel. Raising the siege, he marched directly against the usurper,
slew him, and reigned in his stead.
16. Menahem . . . smote Tiphsah--Thapsacus, on the Euphrates, the
border city of Solomon's kingdom
The inhabitants refusing to open their gates to him, Menahem took it by
storm. Then having spoiled it, he committed the most barbarous
excesses, without regard either to age or sex.
17. reigned ten years in Samaria--His government was conducted on the
religious policy of his predecessors.
19. Pul the king of Assyria--This is the first Assyrian king after
Nimrod who is mentioned in biblical history. His name has been recently
identified with that of Phalluka on the monuments of Nineveh, and that
of Menahem discovered also.
came against the land--Elsewhere it is said "Ephraim [Israel] went to
The two statements may be reconciled thus: "Pul, of his own motion,
induced, perhaps, by the expedition of Menahem against Thapsacus,
advanced against the kingdom of Israel; then Menahem sent him a
thousand talents in order not only to divert him from his plans of
conquest, but at the same time to purchase his friendship and aid for
the establishment of his own precarious sovereignty. So Menahem did not
properly invite the Assyrian into the land, but only changed the enemy
when marching against the country, by this tribute, into a confederate
for the security of his usurped dominion. This the prophet Hosea, less
concerned about the historical fact than the disposition betrayed
therein, might very well censure as a going of Ephraim to the Assyrians
(Ho 5:13; 7:1; 8:9),
and a covenant-making with Asshur"
a thousand talents of silver--Equal to £262,200. This
tribute, which Menahem raised by a tax on the grandees of Israel,
bribed Pul to return to his own country (see on
23. Pekahiah . . . son of Menahem began to reign--On comparing the
date given with Azariah's reign, it seems that several months had
intervened between the death of Menahem and the accession of Pekahiah,
probably owing to a contest about the throne.
25. with Argob and Arieh, &c.--Many commentators view these as the
captain's accomplices. But it is more probable that they were
influential friends of the king, who were murdered along with him.
29. in the days of Pekah king of Israel came Tiglath-pileser--This
monarch, who succeeded Pul on the throne of Assyria, is the only one of
all the kings who does not give his genealogy, and is therefore
supposed to have been an usurper. His annals have been discovered in
the Nimroud mound, describing this expedition into Syria. The places
taken are here mentioned as they occurred and were conquered in the
progress of an invasion.
30. Hoshea the son of Elah made a conspiracy . . . and slew him--He
did not, however, obtain possession of the kingdom till about nine or
ten years after the perpetration of this crime [HALES].
in the twentieth year of Jotham--Jotham's reign lasted only sixteen
years, but the meaning is that the reign of Hoshea began in the
twentieth after the beginning of Jotham's reign. The sacred historian,
having not yet introduced the name of Ahaz, reckoned the date by
Jotham, whom he had already mentioned (see
33. Five and twenty years was he when he began to reign--that is,
alone--for he had ruled as his father's viceroy
35. the higher gate of the house of the Lord--not the temple itself,
but one of its courts; probably that which led into the palace
37. the Lord began to send against Judah Rezin the king of Syria,
&c.--This is the first intimation of the hostile feelings of the kings
of Israel and Syria, to Judah, which led them to form an alliance and
make joint preparations for war.
However, war was not actually waged till the reign of Ahaz.