Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary, 1859 edition.

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4 KINGS - Chapter 16

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4 Kings xvi.

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 2. When he, Joatham, "had begun," cœpisset. (Haydock) --- Thus Junius evades the following difficulty. (Du Hamel) --- Sixteen, consequently he died when he was 36 years old. As Ezechias was 25 when he came to the throne, Achab must have been a father at 11 (Calmet) or 12 years of age. (Bochart, Dissert. xxiii.) --- St. Jerome asserts the same of Solomon, and observes, that "many things which seem incredible in Scripture, are nevertheless true." (ep. ad Vital.) He, with some others, has recourse to a miracle. Others suppose that Ezechias was an adopted son, or kinsman, or that the numbers are incorrect, &c. But we are assured by respectable authors, (Haydock) that people have children very soon in the hotter climates. Busbeque (Ep. 3.) says, in Colchis many are mothers at ten years of age; and to convince the incredulous, produce their infants "not much bigger than a large frog." Albert the Great says he knew one who had a child at 10, and Navarre (following Sanchez, Matthew vii. 2, 5. disp. 104.) was credibly informed that a similar fact was seen at Naples. Mandesle observes that this is common in India. He says one had lately a child at six years of age, which was there thought remarkable. St. Jerome mentions a boy who became a father at 10, and Sanchez relates that the same happened in Spain. A boy under 12 had a child by a girl of 10, in Provence. (Scaliger Elenc.) The Romans laws fix upon the age of 14 for males, and 12 for females' lawfully marrying; (Haydock) though many examples of people having children before that age are produced by Tiraqueau, 6. conn. 36. Yet physicians require 13 in males, and 14 years complete in females before they are capable of this effect. (Genebrard) St. Augustine (City of God xv. 11., and xvi. c. ult. and in psalm civ.) maintains that a person of 10 years of age is unfit for generation. (Calmet) --- Malitia supplet Štatem. Achaz was a monster of wickedness. (Haydock) --- In the first year of his reign, and in the fifth Olympiad, the Ephori were appointed at Sparta under Theopompus, nephew of Lycurgus. (Salien, the year before Christ 59.)

Ver. 3. Fire, to purify him (or them, Paralipomenon filios, all were treated thus. Haydock) according to the superstitions of the pagans: omnia purgat edax ignis. (Ovid, Fast.) (Theodoret, q. 16.) (Menochius) --- Others believe that the child was burnt to death in honour of Moloch, and in imitation of the Chanaanites, Psalm cv. 37., and Deuteronomy xviii. 10. The Carthaginians were required by Gelon, king of Syracuse, to lay aside this most barbarous custom. (Phil. apoph.) Yet, "infants were publicly immolated to Saturn, in Africa, till the proconsulate of Tiberius, who ordered the priests to be exposed on those same trees which shaded their crimes, as on votive crosses. This the soldiers, my countrymen, who executed the proconsul's orders, can testify; and still the sacred crime is perpetrated in secret." (Tertullian, Apol. viii.) --- How tenacious are people of old errors! (Haydock)

Ver. 5. Then. In punishment of such enormous crimes, God first delivered Achaz into the hands of Rasin, (2 Paralipomenon xxviii.; St. Jerome, in Isaias vii.) and afterwards Phacee destroyed 120,000 in one battle, and took 200,000 prisoners, whom the prophet Oded persuaded him to release, 2 Paralipomenon xxviii. 8, 11. Salien (the year before Christ 759.) observes that the two kings then joined their forces, and besieged Jerusalem the following year, but to no purpose. (Haydock) --- Isaias was sent before the siege to encourage Achaz, and to promise the miraculous birth of the Messias, as a sign that he should be delivered: and to convince him of it the more, he foretold that the two kings should be destroyed before his own son should be able to say father, Isaias vii. 8., &c. Yet as Achaz did not still amend his life, God sent the same kings the following year (the year of the world 3263.) to lay waste the country. (Calmet)

Ver. 6. Juda. Literally, "Jews," JudŠos, (Haydock) which is the first time we find this appellation. (Du Hamel) --- Aila, or Elath, which had been taken by Ozias, chap. xiv. 22. (Menochius) --- It seems never to have belonged to Syria, as it was too far from Damascus. Instead of Aram, we should therefore probably read Edom, which words in Hebrew are extremely similar, and have been often mistaken, (Judges xi. 17.; Calmet) particularly as we find that the Edomites took possession of the city. This latter word is indeed Syrians in Hebrew, &c. (Haydock) --- Josephus and others maintain that the Syrians seized and kept the place. But they were most likely only invited by the Idumeans to come to their assistance. (Calmet)

Ver. 7. Son, vassal, or under thy protection. (Calmet) --- Save me. Achaz sinned by this placing his confidence in man, after the prophet had given him such assurance from the Lord. (Menochius) --- He has soon reason to repent of having brought this proud ally into his dominions, as he proved a great scourge; (2 Paralipomenon xxviii. 20.) no less than the Saxons did to the ancient Britons.

Ver. 9. Cyrene, not in Egypt, where he had no power, but near the river Cyrus, (Calmet) in higher Media. (Josephus) --- Hebrew, "and took it and carried the inhabitants captives to Kir," (Haydock) whence the Syrians had come originally, Amos ix. 7. Arbaces, who had dismembered Media from the Assyrians empire, was now dead, and the king of Nineve had retaken several cities, occupying Rages, &c., (Tobias i. 16., &c.) before Dejoces mounted the throne, and extended the empire of the Medes. (Usher) --- The people of Sepharvaim lived also on the borders of Media, chap. xviii. 11.

Ver. 10. To meet, and congratulate the king on his victory, and perhaps to divert him from proceeding any father. (Calmet) --- But it was too late, ver. 7. (Haydock) --- The same year Phacee hastened to defend his dominions, but was slain by Osee. (Salien, the year before Christ 757.)

Ver. 11. Priest, or pontiff, as no other would have dared to make this innovation. (Salien) --- He was guilty of a great weakness; as the altar of Solomon had been so solemnly consecrated by God's presence. All changes in religion are dangerous. The Machabees behaved with far greater respect, with regard to the altar which had been profaned, 1 Machabees iv. 45. (Calmet) --- Isaias (viii. 2.) calls this priest a faithful, or competent, witness, (Haydock) on account of his dignity, not approving his conduct. (Salien) --- But he had not erected this altar when the prophet spoke thus to him. (Du Hamel)

Ver. 12. And worshipped. Hebrew simply, "and the king approached to the altar, and offered on it (13) his holocaust and his meat (or flour) offering, and poured his drink-offering, and the blood of his peace-offerings, upon the altar." (Haydock) --- He dedicated it with all sorts of sacrifices, forbidding any other to be used in the temple. But shortly after he shut up the temple entirely, 2 Paralipomenon xxviii. 24., and xxix. 3. He offered sacrifice to the true God, (ver. 15.; Menochius) unlawfully.

Ver. 14. And from. Hebrew, "from between the new altar and the house of," &c. (Haydock) --- Achaz had placed his altar before that of Solomon: but he afterwards removed the latter from the right-hand of the sanctuary, to a corner of the court, on the north side. (Calmet) --- In the midst of his distress, he despised God; sacrificed to the gods of the Syrians, as more powerful and victorious than the Lord; pillaged the temple, which he shut up during the remainder of his reign, (Haydock) and erected altars for himself in all the corners of Jerusalem, 2 Paralipomenon xxviii. 24.

Ver. 15. Morning, as prescribed in the law, Exodus xxix. 38. --- King's ordained for sin: (Leviticus iv. 22.) or instituted by Solomon, who left a fund. (Haydock) (2 Paralipomenon viii. 12.) (Menochius) --- The law says nothing about the king's daily holocaust and sacrifice of flour. (Haydock) --- But it probably was offered after the morning and evening sacrifices. This Achaz calls his own, (ver. 12.; Calmet) as he had not yet laid aside the practice. --- Pleasure. Hebrew, "to inquire about." (Haydock) --- I shall do what I think proper with it. (Menochius)

Ver. 17. Stone, all out of avarice, (Haydock) and contempt of the Lord, who chastized him. (Menochius) --- He took away the plates of brass, c., from the doors, (Calmet) which Ezechias was forced to replace, (Haydock) afterwards to take down for the Assyrian, chap. xviii. 16. (Calmet)

Ver. 18. Musach. The covert, or pavilion, or tribune for the king. (Challoner) --- Achaz would not have his ally to be in the court, but placed his throne in the temple. (Du Hamel) --- Septuagint, "and the foundation of the chair he built in the house of the Lord." (Haydock) --- Hebrew, "and the (musac) covert, or tribune of the sabbath, which they had built in the temple, and the king's entry without, the turned (Haydock) round (Menochius) from the temple, for the king of Assur." He despoiled these rich ornaments, to gratify the Assyrian. (Haydock) --- Solomon had built a most magnificent tribune, 2 Paralipomenon vi. 13. See chap. xi. 6. The musach of Juda, was the pulpit; from which the law was read, Isaias xxii. 8. The king's tribune was near the eastern gate, which was only opened on the sabbath, Ezechiel xlvi. 1. Some believe that the musach was a large curtain, suspended over the court, to keep off the sun's beams. Eupolemus speaks of some very magnificent ones, (Eusebius, prŠp. ix. 34.) as does also Josephus; such as those which covered the Roman theatres. Others think it was a tent for the priests to take a little rest, or for the door-keepers, or a chest designed to receive the contributions for the repairs of the temple, or for the king to distribute his alms, or a covered throne for him to sit down on. (Calmet)

Ver. 19. Book. Hebrew, "in the chronicles;" or, "in the book of the annals." (Haydock)

Ver. 20. With them; but not in the same sepulchre, on account of his impiety, 2 Paralipomenon xxviii. 27. (Calmet) --- In the 5th year of his reign, the Idumeans harassed the country, and in the 6th, the Philistines took several towns; (Salien) so that he fell a prey to enemies on all sides, and was memorable for nothing but impiety and disasters. (Haydock) --- Rome was built, and Numa born, on the 21st of April, in the 9th year of Achaz, and the first of the 7th Olympiad. (Salien, the year before Christ 751.)

Bible Text & Cross-references:

The wicked reign of Achaz: the kings of Syria and Israel war against him: he hireth the king of the Assyrians to assist him: he causeth an altar to be made after the pattern of that of Damascus.

1 In the seventeenth year of Phacee, the son of Romelia, reigned Achaz, the son of Joatham, king of Juda.

2 *Achaz was twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years **in Jerusalem: he did not that which was pleasing in the sight of the Lord, his God, as David, his father.

3 But he walked in the way of the kings of Israel: moreover, he consecrated also his son, making him pass through the fire, according to the idols of the nations which the Lord destroyed before the children of Israel.

4 He sacrificed also, and burnt incense in the high places, and on the hills, and under every green tree.

5 *Then Rasin, king of Syria, and Phacee, son of Romelia, king of Israel, came up to Jerusalem to fight: and they besieged Achaz, but were not able to overcome him.

6 At that time Rasin, king of Syria, restored Aila to Syria, and drove the men of Juda out of Aila: *and the Edomites came into Aila, and dwelt there unto this day.

7 *And Achaz sent messengers to Theglathphalasar, king of the Assyrians, saying: I am thy servant, and thy son: come up, and save me out of the hand of the king of Syria, and out of the hand of the king of Israel, who are risen up together against me.

8 And when he had gathered together the silver and gold that could be found in the house of the Lord, and in the king's treasures, he sent it for a present to the king of the Assyrians.

9 And he agreed to his desire: for the king of the Assyrians went up against Damascus, and laid it waste: and he carried away the inhabitants thereof to Cyrene, but Rasin he slew.

10 And king Achaz went to Damascus to meet Theglathphalasar, king of the Assyrians, and when he had seen the altar of Damascus, king Achaz sent to Urias, the priest, a pattern of it, and its likeness, according to all the work thereof.

11 And Urias, the priest, built an altar according to all that king Achaz had commanded from Damascus, so did Urias, the priest, until king Achaz came from Damascus.

12 And when the king was come from Damascus, he saw the altar and worshipped it: and went up and offered holocausts, and his own sacrifice;

13 And he offered libations, and poured the blood of the peace-offerings, which he had offered, upon the altar.

14 But the altar of brass that was before the Lord, he removed from the face of the temple, and from the place of the altar, and from the place of the temple of the Lord: and he set it at the side of the altar towards the north.

15 And king Achaz commanded Urias, the priest, saying: Upon the great altar offer the morning holocaust, and the evening sacrifice, and the king's holocaust, and his sacrifice, and the holocaust of the whole people of the land, and their sacrifices, and their libations: and all the blood of the holocaust, and all the blood of the victim, thou shalt pour out upon it: but the altar of brass shall be ready at my pleasure.

16 So Urias, the priest, did according to all that king Achaz had commanded him.

17 And king Achaz took away the graven bases, and the laver that was upon them: and he took down the sea from the brazen oxen that held it up, and put it upon a pavement of stone.

18 The musach also for the sabbath, which he had built in the temple, and the king's entry from without, he turned into the temple of the Lord, because of the king of the Assyrians.

19 Now the rest of the acts of Achaz which he did, are they not written in the Book of the words of the days of the kings of Juda?

20 And Achaz slept with his fathers, and was buried with them in the city of David, *and Ezechias, his son, reigned in his stead.



2: 2 Paralipomenon xxviii. 1. --- ** Year of the World 3262, Year before Christ 742.

5: Isaias vii. 1.

6: Year of the World 3263.

7: Year of the World 3264.

20: 2 Paralipomenon xxviii. 27.