(e.g. john 8 32)

Zechariah 7:2  (Revised Standard Version)

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Zechariah 7:2

When they held sent unto the house of God - Rather, "And Bethel sent;" that is, the inhabitants of Bethel sent. "The house of God" is nowhere in Holy Scripture called Bethel. Bethel is always the name of the place. . The "house of God" is designated by historians, Psalmists, prophets, by the name, "Beth-elohim," more commonly "Beth-Ha-elohim, the God;" or "of the Lord," YHVH. Zechariah and Haggai use these names. It is not likely that the name, Beth-el, should have first been given to the house of God, when it had been desecrated by the idolatries of Jeroboam. Bethel also is, in the Hebrew order of the words, naturally the subject . Nor is there any reason why they should have sent to Bethel, since they sought an answer from God. For it would be forced to say that they sent to Bethel, in order that those at Bethel should send to Jerusalem; which is not said.

It were unnatural also that the name of the sender should not have been mentioned, when the names of persons inferior, because sent, are recorded . Bethel, in Nehemiah' s time Nehemiah 11:31, was one of the chief places of Benjamin. "Two hundred twenty and three of the men of Bethel and Ai" Ezra 2:28 had returned with Zerubbabel. The answer being to "the people" of the land, such were doubtless the enquirers, not those still in Babylon. The answer shows that the question was not religious, though put as matter of religion. It is remarkable that, whereas in the case of those who brought presents from Babylon, the names express some relation to God, these names are singularly, the one of a parricide son of Sennacherib Isaiah 37:38; II Kings 19:37, and of one, chief among the King of Babylon' s princes ; the other probably a secular name, "the king' s friend" .

Osorius: "I do not see why under the name of Bethel, the city so called is not understood. For since Jerusalem was not yet fortified, the Jews chose them sites in various places, where they should be less harassed. All hatred was concentrated on that city, which the neighbors wished not to be restored to its former greatness. Other cities they did not so molest. Bethel then, that is, the assembly of the city, sent messengers to Jerusalem to offer sacrifices to God and consult the wise there."

To entreat the face of the Lord - They wished, it seems, (so to speak) to ingratiate themselves with God with an account of their past self-humiliation, on the day when the house of God was burned by Nebuchadnezzar. In regard to God, the word is always used of entreating Him by earnest prayer .

Other Barnes' Notes entries containing Zechariah 7:2:

Isaiah 3:19


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