Verses 11–21

Here we have,

I. Two particular instances of the care of Hezekiah concerning church matters, having put them into good order, to keep them so. The tithes and other holy things being brought in, he provided, 1. That they should be carefully laid up, and not left exposed in loose heaps, liable to be wasted and embezzled. He ordered chambers to be made ready in some of the courts of the temple for store-chambers (2 Chron. 31:11), and into them the offerings were brought and there kept under lock and key, 2 Chron. 31:12, 13. Treasures or store-keepers were appointed, who had the oversight of them, to see that moth and rust did not corrupt them nor thieves break through to steal. This wisdom of laying up the surplus in days of plenty we may learn from the ant, who provideth meat in summer. The laying up in store what was brought in was an encouragement to people to pay in their contributions. That will be given cheerfully by the public which appears to be well husbanded. 2. That they should be faithfully laid out, according to the uses they were intended for. Church treasures are not to be hoarded any longer than till there is occasion for them, lest even the rust should be a witness against those who hoard them. Officers were appointed, men (no doubt) of approved wisdom and faithfulness, to distribute the oblations of the Lord and the most holy things among the priests (2 Chron. 31:14), and to see that they all had a competent maintenance for themselves and their families. The law provided sufficient for them all, and therefore, if some had too little, it must be because others had too much; to prevent such inequality these officers were to go by some certain rule of proportion in the disposal of the incomes of the temple. It is said of the priests here (2 Chron. 31:18) that in their set office they sanctified themselves; in faith they sanctified themselves (so the word is), that is, as bishop Patrick explains it, they attended their ministry at the house of God, not doubting but they should be provided with all things necessary. Now, because they served God in that confidence, care was taken that they should not be made ashamed of their hope. Note, Those that sanctify themselves to God and his service in faith, believing that he will see them want for nothing that is good for them, shall certainly be fed. Out of the offerings of the Lord distribution was made, (1.) To the priests in the cities (2 Chron. 31:15), who staid at home while their brethren went to Jerusalem, and did good there in teaching the good knowledge of the Lord. The preaching priests were maintained as well as the sacrificing priests, and those that abode by the stuff as well as those that warred the warfare. (2.) To those that entered into the house of the Lord, all the males from three years old and upwards; for the male children even at that tender age, it seems, were allowed to come into the temple with their parents, and shared with them in this distribution, 2 Chron. 31:16. (3.) Even the Levites from twenty years old and upwards had their share, 2 Chron. 31:17. (4.) The wives and children of the priests and Levites had a comfortable maintenance out of those offerings, 2 Chron. 31:18. In maintaining ministers, regard must be had to their families, that not they only, but theirs, may have food convenient. In some countries where ministers have their salary paid them by the state an addition is made to it upon the birth of a child. (5.) The priests in the country, that lived in the fields of the suburbs, were not overlooked in this ministration, 2 Chron. 31:19. Those also had their share who were inhabitants of the villages, though they might be supposed to live at a less expense.

II. A general character of Hezekiah’s services for the support of religion, 2 Chron. 31:20, 21. 1. His pious zeal reached to all the parts of his kingdom: Thus he did throughout all Judah; every part of the country, and not those only that lay next him, shared in the good fruits of his government. 2. He sincerely designed to please God, and approved himself to him in all he did: He wrought that which was good before the Lord his God; all his care was to do that which should be accepted of God, which was right (that is, agreeable to natural equity), and truth (that is, agreeable to divine revelation and his covenant with God), before the Lord; to do according to that law which is holy, just, and good. 3. What he began he went through with, prosecuted it with vigour, and did it with all his heart. 4. All his good intentions were brought to a good issue; whatever he did in the service of the house of God, and in the government of his kingdom, he prospered in it. Note, What is undertaken with a sincere regard to the glory of God will succeed to our own honour and comfort at last.