- The idolatry of Ahaz, verse 1-4.
- He hires the king of Assyria to invade Syria and Israel, verse 5-9.
- He erects a new altar in the temple, verse 10-16.
- Spoils the temple, verse 17-18.
- Dies, verse 19, 20.
Pass - By way of oblation, so as to be consumed for a burnt-offering, which was the practice of Heathens, and of some Israelites, in imitation of them.
Could not overcome - Because God of his own mere grace, undertook his protection, and disappointed the hopes of his enemies.
Sent messengers, &c. - But was it because there was no God in Israel, that he sent to the Assyrian for help? The sin itself was its own punishment; for tho' it served his present turn, yet he made but an ill bargain, seeing he not only impoverished himself, but enslaved both himself and his people.
Offered - A sacrifice, and that not to God, but to the Syrian idols, to whom that altar was appropriated.
Peace-offerings - For the Heathens; and Ahaz, in imitation of them, offered the same sorts of offerings to their false gods, which the Israelites did to the true.
Brazen attar - Of burnt-offerings, made by Solomon, and placed there by God's appointment. From between, &c. - His new altar was at first set below the brazen altar, and at a farther distance from the temple. This he took for a disparagement to his altar; and therefore impiously takes that away, and puts his in its place. And put, &c. - So he put God's altar out of its place and use! A bolder stroke than the very worst of kings had hitherto given to religion.
Great altar - This new altar; which was greater than Solomon's. Sacrifice - Whatsoever is offered to the true God, either in my name (for possibly he did not yet utterly forsake God, but worshipped idols with him) or on the behalf of the people, shall be offered on this new altar. Enquire by - That shall be reserved for my proper use, to enquire by; at which I may seek God, or enquire of his will, by sacrifices joined with prayer, when I shall see fit. Having thrust it out from the use for which it was instituted, which was to sanctify the gifts offered upon it, he pretends to advance it above its institution, which it is common for superstitious people to do. But to overdo is to underdo. Our wisdom is, to do just what God has commanded.
The covert - The form and use whereof is now unknown. It is generally understood of some building, either that where the priests after their weekly course was ended, abode until the next course came; which was done upon the sabbath-day: or that in which the guard of the temple kept their station; or that under which the king used to sit to hear God's word, and see the sacrifices; which is called, the covert of the sabbath, because the chief times in which the king used it for those ends, was the weekly sabbath, and other solemn days of feasting, or fasting (which all come under the name of sabbaths in the Old Testament) upon which the king used more solemnly, to present himself before the Lord, than at other times. The entry - By which the king used to go from his palace to the temple.