2 Kings 23:13 MEANING

2 Kings 23:13
(13) The high places that were before the city . . .--See 1 Kings 11:5-8. "Before" means "to the east of," because, to determine the cardinal points, one faced the sunrise. The right hand was then the south, the left hand the north, and the back the west.

The mount of corruption.--The southern summit of the Mount of Olives was so-called, because of the idolatry there practised. It still bears the name of the "Hill of Offence," derived from the Vulg. "mons offensionis." (The word rendered "corruption," mashhith, may originally have meant "anointing," from m?shah "to anoint," and have simply referred to the olive oil there produced. The name would thus be equivalent to the German Oelberg. In later times the term was so modified as to express detestation of idol-worship.)

Did the king defile.--As it is not said that they were pulled down, these high places may have been merely sacred sites on the mountain, consisting of a levelled surface of rock, with holes scooped in them for receiving libations, &c. Such sites have been found in Palestine; and it is hardly conceivable that chapels erected by Solomon for the worship of Ashtoreth, Chemosh, and Milcom, would have been spared by such a king as Hezekiah, who even did away with the high places dedicated to Jehovah (2 Kings 18:3).

Verse 13. - And the high places that were before Jerusalem. The high places which Solomon established in the neighborhood of Jerusalem for the use of his wives, and in the worship at which he became himself entangled in his old age, appear to have been situated on the ridge of the mountain which lies over against Jerusalem to the east, a part of which is Olivet. The southern summit, the traditional roans offensionis, was probably the high place of Moloch (Milcom), while the most northern summit (now called Karem-es-Seyad) has some claim to be regarded as the high place of Chemosh. (So Broeardus in A.D. .) The site of the high place of Ashtoreth is doubtful. Which were on the right hand of the mount of corruption. The name "mount of corruption" seems to have been given after Solomon's time to the entire ridge of hills which lies over against Jerusalem to the east, on account of the rites which he had allowed to be established on it. The "right hand" of the mountain would, according to Jewish notions, be the more southern part. Which Solomon the King of Israel - rather, King of Israel, since there is no article - had builded for Ashtoreth the abomination of the Zidonians (see 1 Kings 11:7). Though Ashtoreth, or Astarte, or Ishtar, or the Dea Syra, was worshipped generally throughout Phoenicia, and perhaps even more widely, yet she was in a peculiar way "the abomination of the Zidonians," being the deity to whom the city of Sidon was especially dedicated (see the inscription on the tomb of Eshmunazar, published in the 'Records of the Past,' vol. 9. pp. 113, 114). And for Chemosh the abomination of the Moabites. Chemosh appears as the special god of the Moabites on the famous Moabite Stone in eleven places. The stone itself was dedicated to Chemosh (line 3). The Moabites are spoken of as "the people of Chemosh" (lines 5, 6). Success in war comes from him, and defeat is the result of his anger. One of his designations is "Ashtar-Chemosh" (line 17), or "Chemosh, who is also Ashtar," Ashtar being the male principle corresponding to the female Astarte or Ashtoreth. And for Milcom. Moloch was called by the Jews "Milcom," or "Malcam" - "their king" i.e. the king of the Ammonite people, since he was the sole god whom they acknowledged (see 1 Kings 11:5; Jeremiah 49:3 compared with Jeremiah 48:7; Amos 1:15; Zephaniah 1:5). The abomination of the children of Ammon (see 1 Kings 11:5, 7; and compare the comment on 1 Kings in the 'Pulpit Commentary,' p. 222). Did the king defile. The manner of the defilement is stated in the next verse.

23:4-14 What abundance of wickedness in Judah and Jerusalem! One would not have believed it possible, that in Judah, where God was known, in Israel, where his name was great, in Salem, in Zion, where his dwelling-place was, such abominations should be found. Josiah had reigned eighteen years, and had himself set the people a good example, and kept up religion according to the Divine law; yet, when he came to search for idolatry, the depth and extent were very great. Both common history, and the records of God's word, teach, that all the real godliness or goodness ever found on earth, is derived from the new-creating Spirit of Jesus Christ.And the high places that were before Jerusalem,.... Not only that were within the city, and at the gates of it, but what were without it:

which were on the right hand of the mount of corruption: the mount of Olives, so called from the idolatry and corrupt worship performed in it, by way of reproach, with a small alteration of the letters of the word for at the right hand, or south of this mountain, as the Targum; though others say (q), on the north side of the mount of Olives, four furlongs or half a mile from Jerusalem, were high places:

which Solomon king of Israel had builded for Ashtoreth the abomination of the Zidonians, and for Chemosh the abomination of the Moabites, and for Milcom the abomination of the children of Ammon; of which See Gill on 1 Kings 11:5, 1 Kings 11:7.

did the king defile; by casting unclean things into them. Rauwolff (r) says,"before Mount Zion toward the south, at the other side of the rivulet Kidron, lies the mount of transgression, called Mashith, 2 Kings 23:13, this is higher and steeper than any hereabout; there you still see some old walls of habitations, wherein the concubines of Solomon did live;''and Mr. Maundrell (s) observes, that below the hill stands now a village called Siloe, where it is said he kept them.

(q) Vid Adrichom. Theatrum T. S. p. 171. (r) Travels, par. 3. c. 4. p. 233. (s) Journey from Aleppo, &c. p. 102.

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