Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary, 1859 edition.

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4 KINGS - Chapter 17

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4 Kings xvii.

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 1. Twelfth. Houbigant would substitute 14th, to make the dates agree, p. 113. See chap. xv. 30. (Haydock) --- Till this time, Osee had been tributary to the Assyrian monarch. (Grotius) --- Hebrew may be, "in the 12th year....Osee....had reigned....nine years; which is true. (Calmet) --- He reigned so long afterwards, ver. 6. (Haydock)

Ver. 2. Him. The Jews say, that he did not hinder his subjects from going to Jerusalem to adore. One of the golden calves had been sent away by Manahem, Osee x. 5. (Calmet) --- Yet under this less wicked king the nation is destroyed, as their crimes were come to the height; and Osee had not sufficient virtue to suspend the stroke of divine justice any longer. (Haydock)

Ver. 3. Salmanasar, who is called Salman, or Salomo; (Osee x. 14.) and Enemassar, in the Greek of Toby[Tobias]. The Tyrians relate that he took many of their towns, but that Tyre sustained a siege of five years. (Josephus, [Antiquities?] ix. 14.)

Ver. 4. Sua; probably Sabachon, king of Ethiopia, who made himself master of Egypt, and burnt king Bocchoris alive. Herodotus (ii. 137.) calls him Abacus. Jocquelot thinks that Sethon is meant, and that he was invaded by Sennacherib on account of this league with Osee. (Calmet) --- Prison, after he had taken the city, (Haydock) which held out three years. This great city was then reduced to a heap of ruins, and so continued till after the captivity of the Jews, (1 Esdras iv. 17.) when it began to be peopled again. The inhabitants revolted against Alexander the Great, who placed Macedonians in their city, and gave the territory to the Jews. It was afterwards seized by the kings of Egypt and of Syria. But Hyrcan retook it, and levelled it with the ground. Gabinius built another town here, which bore his name till Herod greatly enlarged it, and called it Sebaste. (Calmet) --- The prophets describe the distress of Samaria, Osee x. 4., and xiv. 1., Micheas i. 6., and Jeremias xxxi. 5.)

Ver. 6. Medes. See chap. xvi. 9. The great maxim and policy of these nations, was to transport the conquered nations to a distant country, in order to prevent any revolts. (Calmet)

Ver. 9. Offended. Hebrew, "They concealed (or spoke secretly; Haydock) words, which were not right before the Lord:" (Calmet) being guilty of hypocrisy or of blasphemy. (Haydock) --- Watchmen: the meanest huts. (Tirinus) --- All was contaminated. (Calmet) --- Towers were erected to guard the flocks from thieves, 2 Paralipomenon xxvi. 10. (Menochius)

Ver. 10. Groves. Hebrew Asherim, Astarte or Venus, to whom "the groves" were consecrated, chap. xxi. 7., and xxiii. 4. (Calmet)

Ver. 11. Removed by the sword, (Menochius) or by flight. (Haydock)

Ver. 12. Abominations. Hebrew gillulim, "idols of dung." --- Thing. Literally, "word."

Ver. 13. Seers. See 1 Kings ix. 9. (Menochius) --- God never ceased to admonish the rebels. (Haydock) --- Jeremias xxv. 5. (Menochius)

Ver. 15. Testimonies. The ceremonial law was in memory of some great transactions, as the sabbath was of the creation; and the whole law was given with great solemnity, in presence of witnesses. (Calmet)

Ver. 16. Heaven: sun and moon; and the stars, which were like the soldiers of the two former. This expression is very common in Scripture.

Ver. 17. Fire. See chap. xvi. 3. --- Delivered. Hebrew, "sold," 3 Kings xxi. 20., and 1 Machabees i. 16. (Calmet) --- To provoke. This was the consequence of their wickedness. (Worthington)

Ver. 18. Sight, as objects of horror, cast away from the temple, and from the promised land. --- Tribe, or kingdom. See 3 Kings xii. 20. Israel began to be rejected by God, when the schism took place. (Haydock) --- It was entirely lost, when Salmanasar took the people into captivity. Some few were left; and these formed a part of the kingdom of Josias, on their returning to the service of the true God, (2 Paralipomenon xxxiv. 6.) while others fled into Egypt, Osee viii. 13., and ix. 3. (Calmet)

Ver. 23. Day. If Esdras was the author of this book, as it is very probable, this observation would tend to show how much more favourably the Jews were treated than the kingdom of Israel, which was still, for the most part, in captivity. (Calmet)

Ver. 24. King, Assaraddon, who led away the remnants of Israel, and fulfilled the prediction, Isaias vii. 8. (Du Hamel) --- Babylon, or the territory. These people had been lately conquered from the Babylonian empire, from Syria, &c. --- Cutha: the greatest part were from this city; so that the Samaritans were afterwards called Cutheans. --- Emath, on the Orontes. --- Sepharvaim; or the Saspires, near Media. (Calmet) --- We find several other places mentioned, 1 Esdras iv. 9. (Haydock)

Ver. 25. Lions. The Samaritan Chronicle says the fruits, though beautiful to the eye, were of a poisonous quality; and Josephus, as usual, ([Antiquities?] ix. 14.) alters the text, saying that the people were afflicted with pestilence, and the oracle being consulted, told them to worship the High God; on which account, they desired the king to send them a priest. (Calmet) --- These nations had not been accustomed to fear the Lord in their own country; but God was more offended when they exercised their idolatrous worship in that land, which he had chosen in a particular manner for himself. (Menochius) --- He suffers wickedness and infidelity to prevail to a certain point; but when his patience is exhausted, (Calmet) all nature fights for him against the wicked. (Haydock)

Ver. 26. King; Assar-adon, 1 Esdras iv. 2. They did not send as soon as they came into the country. --- Land. They reason according to their false notions, as if a plurality of gods were not incompatible: and all would go on well, if each were served according to his will. On the same principle, they united the worship of the true God with that of idols, (Calmet) as had been done before by the Israelites. (Menochius) --- Yet God having shewn that he could have forced them to comply, (Tostat) was pleased to remove the scourge; as if he preferred that imperfect worship rather than to suffer pure idolatry to reign. (Genebrard)

Ver. 27. Let him. Hebrew, Chaldean, Septuagint, "them go." Probably more went; but one was of superior dignity. He might have been priest of the golden calves, as none of the priests of Jerusalem had yet been taken. Hence he taught the Cutheans to join the worship of God with that of idols. Some think that no part of the Scripture was used among them, till the building of the temple by Sanballat, on Mount Garizim: (Le Quien, Antiquit. v. 13.) but this is extremely improbable. How should he pretend to teach the law without the books of Moses? (Haydock) --- The Samaritans have retained the Pentateuch in the Phœnician character, while the Jews have insensibly adopted the Chaldee, during their captivity. On some occasions, these people have boasted of their descent from the patriarchs, John iv. 12., and 20. But in times of danger, they have confessed their true origin. (Josephus, [Antiquities?] ix. fin., and xii. 5.

Ver. 28. Bethel. Garizim was not then honoured with the temple, as the Samaritans would pretend. (Chronicles) They wished to join in building that at Jerusalem, under Esdras. (Calmet) --- Lord. Collins would make us believe, that the Samaritans continued "for a long time" without the Pentateuch, and all "heathens for many ages." But the first supposition "is to me incredible," says Kennicott; and Hottinger himself allows, that the priests did bring back a copy of the law "exactly corresponding with the autograph of Moses." (Exert. p. 8.) And as for the Samaritans being heathens, Prideaux, whom this infidel writer quotes, (Haydock) says, "consistently with his Bible, that they continued in that gross idolatry of worshipping other gods in conjunction with the True; which last words are very unfairly omitted." (Kennicott, Diss. ii. p. 115.) --- This was the true origin and state of this mixture of nations, who were sent to cultivate the lands of Samaria. (Haydock)

Ver. 29. Dwelt. This impure service did not deserve a mitigation of the late chastisement. But God often punishes in this world (Haydock) to manifest his glory, (John ix. 3.) and spares to display his power (Calmet) and goodness. (Haydock) --- He had sufficiently convinced these nations of his dominion over all.

Ver. 30. Socoth-benoth, "the tents of young women," who prostituted themselves once in their lives at Babylon, in honour of Mylitta. (Herodotus ii. 199.) --- Nergel, "light." (Calmet) --- The Pyreia (Haydock) of the Persians are famous in history. (Strabo xv.) (Selden, Synt. ii. 8.) --- Asima, like an ape, goat, &c. (Calmet)

Ver. 31. Hevites, who came from Ava. --- Nebahaz. "Nebo the seeing, or living and possessing." Nebo was a famous idol of Babylon. --- Tharthac; perhaps Sar, (prince) Sak, or Sesac, (Jeremias xxv. 26., and li. 41.) the sun, &c. --- Adramelech, "the magnificent king," and Anamelech, "the king of clemency," may denote the sun and moon; as these were the divinities commonly adored in the East, under various names. The same victims were offered to these as to Moloc and Saturn; whence we may infer, that they were the same idols. St. Jerome translates the work of Eusebius on the Hebrews, (Calmet) and places without any disapprobation of his opinion, that Socoth-benoth, &c., were the names of towns, which the people built in Samaria. (Haydock)

Ver. 32. Worshipped, or appeared to worship: for true religion admits of no false god. (Worthington) --- Lowest. This expression sometimes means the most noble. (Haydock) --- But the priests were chosen from the midst of the people, without examination. They employed the priest, whom the king had sent for the worship of the true God, whilst others were appointed to serve the idols. (Calmet)

Ver. 34. His ceremonies. Hebrew, "they fear not the Lord, neither do they after their statutes." (Protestants) (Haydock) --- This involves a sort of contradiction, unless we explain it of the Israelites; though they had not been mentioned before. There is a confusion in the original text; and ver. 41 seems to require that we should understand it iin this manner, as the Cutheans could hardly be blamed for neglecting a thing of which they had before no knowledge. The Israelites are justly blamed for obstinately continuing in their prevarication, even in the midst of their captivity. The Syriac and Arabic translate, "The Israelites have been forced to leave their country, because they have abandoned the Lord; and they have not obeyed his laws, his precepts, and his ordinances, which he gave to," &c. Many adopt this explanation. (Junius; Vatable, &c.) (Calmet) --- Septuagint make these people unite the true and the false worship, as ver. 41. "They did according to their judgment. These fear, and do according to their justifications (dikaiomata) and decision; and according to the law," &c. (Haydock)


Bible Text & Cross-references:

The reign of Osee. The Israelites, for their sins, are carried into captivity: other inhabitants are sent to Samaria, who make a mixture of religions.

1 In the twelfth year of* Achaz, king of Juda, Osee, the son of Ela, reigned in Samaria, over Israel, nine years.

2 And he did evil before the Lord: but not as the kings of Israel that had been before him.

3 *Against him came up Salmanasar, king of the Assyrians; and Osee became his servant, and paid him tribute.

4 And when the king of the Assyrians found that Osee, endeavouring to rebel, had sent messengers to Sua, the king of Egypt, that he might not pay tribute to the king of the Assyrians, as he had done every year, he besieged him, bound him, and cast him into prison.

5 And he went through all the land: and going up to Samaria, he besieged it three years.

6 *And in the ninth year of Osee, the king of the Assyrians took Samaria, and carried Israel away to Assyria: and he placed them in Hala, and Habor, by the river of Gozan, in the cities of the Medes.

7 For so it was that the children of Israel had sinned against the Lord, their God, who brought them out of the land of Egypt, from under the hand of Pharao, king of Egypt; and they worshipped strange gods.

8 And they walked according to the way of the nations which the Lord had destroyed in the sight of the children of Israel, and of the kings of Israel: because they had done in like manner.

9 And the children of Israel offended the Lord, their God, with things that were not right: and built them high places in all their cities, from the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city.

10 And they made them statues and groves on every high hill, and under every shady tree:

11 And they burnt incense there upon altars, after the manner of the nations which the Lord had removed from their face: and they did wicked things, provoking the Lord.

12 And they worshipped abominations, concerning which the Lord had commanded them that they should not do this thing.

13 And the Lord testified to them in Israel, and in Juda, by the hand of all the prophets and seers, saying: *Return from your wicked ways, and keep my precepts, and ceremonies, according to all the law which I commanded your fathers: and as I have sent to you in the hand of my servants the prophets.

14 And they hearkened not, but hardened their necks like to the neck of their fathers, who would not obey the Lord, their God.

15 And they rejected his ordinances, and the covenant that he made with their fathers, and the testimonies which he testified against them: and they followed vanities, and acted vainly: and they followed the nations that were round about them, concerning which the Lord had commanded them that they should not do as they did.

16 And they forsook all the precepts of the Lord, their God: and made to themselves two molten calves, and groves, and adored all the host of heaven: and they served Baal,

17 And consecrated their sons, and their daughters, through fire: and they gave themselves to divinations, and soothsayings: and they delivered themselves up to do evil before the Lord, to provoke him.

18 And the Lord was very angry with Israel, and removed them from his sight, and there remained only the tribe of Juda.

19 But neither did Juda itself keep the commandments of the Lord, their God: but they walked in the errors of Israel, which they had wrought.

20 And the Lord cast off all the seed of Israel, and afflicted them, and delivered them into the hand of spoilers, till he cast them away from his face:

21 *Even from that time, when Israel was rent from the house of David, and made Jeroboam, son of Nabat, their king: for Jeroboam separated Israel from the Lord, and made them commit a great sin.

22 And the children of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam, which he had done: and they departed not from them,

23 *Till the Lord removed Israel from his face, as he had spoken in the hand of all his servants, the prophets: and Israel was carried away out of their land to Assyria, unto this day.

24 And the king of the Assyrians brought people from Babylon, and from Cutha, and from Avah, and from Emath, and from Sepharvaim: and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel: and they possessed Samaria, and dwelt in the cities thereof.

25 And when they began to dwell there, they feared not the Lord: and the Lord sent lions among them, which killed them.

26 And it was told the king of the Assyrians, and it was said: The nations which thou hast removed, and made to dwell in the cities of Samaria, know not the ordinances of the God of the land: and the Lord hath sent lions among them: and behold they kill them, because they know not the manner of the God of the land.

27 And the king of the Assyrians commanded, saying: Carry thither one of the priests whom you brought from thence captive, and let him go, and dwell with them: and let him teach them the ordinances of the God of the land.

28 So one of the priests, who had been carried away captive from Samaria, came and dwelt in Bethel, and taught them how they should worship the Lord.

29 And every nation made gods of their own, and put them in the temples of the high places, which the Samaritans had made, every nation in their cities where they dwelt.

30 For the men of Babylon made Sochothbenoth: and the Cuthites made Nergel: and the men of Emath made Asima.

31 And the Hevites made Nebahaz, and Tharthac. And they that were of Sepharvaim burnt their children in fire, to Adramelech and Anamelech, the gods of Sepharvaim.

32 And nevertheless they worshipped the Lord. And they made to themselves, of the lowest of the people, priests of the high places, and they placed them in the temples of the high places.

33 And when they worshipped the Lord, they served also their own gods, according to the custom of the nations out of which they were brought to Samaria:

34 Unto this day they follow the old manner: they fear not the Lord, neither do they keep his ceremonies, and judgments, and law, and the commandment, which the Lord commanded the children of Jacob, whom he surnamed Israel:*

35 With whom he made a covenant, and charged them, saying: You shall not fear strange gods, nor shall you adore them, nor worship them, nor sacrifice to them.

36 But the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, with great power, and a stretched-out arm, him shall you fear, and him shall you adore, and to him shall you sacrifice.

37 And the ceremonies, and judgments, and law, and the commandment, which he wrote for you, you shall observe to do them always: and you shall not fear strange gods.

38 And the covenant that he made with you, you shall not forget: neither shall ye worship strange gods,

39 But fear the Lord, your God, and he shall deliver you out of the hand of all your enemies.

40 But they did not hearken to this, but did according to their old custom.

41 So these nations feared the Lord, but nevertheless served also their idols: their children also, and grand-children, as their fathers did, so do they unto this day.

____________________

*

1: Year of the World 3274, Year before Christ 730.

3: 4 Kings xviii. 9.; Tobias i. 2.

6: Year of the World 3283.; 4 Kings xviii. 10.

13: Jeremias xxv. 5.

21: 3 Kings xii. 19.

23: Jeremias xxv. 9.

34: Genesis xxxii. 28.