2 Kings 21 … Consider His Scrupulous Standard of Judgment

“I will stretch over Jerusalem the measuring line used on Samaria and the mason’s level used on the house of Ahab…” (21:13 HCSB).

In outlining His coming judgment, the LORD incorporates two construction terms to describe His impending verdict.

“I will stretch over Jerusalem the line of Samaria and the plummet of the house of Ahab, and I will wipe Jerusalem as one wipes a dish, wiping it and turning it upside down,” (21:13).
“I will stretch out over Jerusalem the measuring line used against Samaria and the plumb line used against the house of Ahab,” (21:13 NIV).
“I will stretch over Jerusalem the measuring line used on Samaria and the mason’s level used on the house of Ahab, and I will wipe Jerusalem clean as one wipes a bowl—wiping it and turning it upside down,” (21:13 HCSB).

From Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, we learn about these tools used for construction:

Line: “6957. קַו qaw,  קָו qāw: A masculine noun indicating a line, a measuring line. It refers to an actual cord used in construction work as a measuring line (1 Kgs. 7:23). Figuratively, it indicates a measuring standard of justice to be applied to Jerusalem (2 Kgs. 21:13)… It refers to an instructive utterance of prophetic and legal speech from God (Isa. 28:10, 13). It indicates God’s judgments and His sovereign distribution of His power (Isa. 34:11, 17).”

Plummet: 4949. מִשְׁקֶלֶת mišqeleṯ, מִשְׁקֹלֶת mišqōleṯ: A feminine noun referring to a plumb line, a leveling instrument. It indicates a tool able to determine if something is level, horizontal. Righteousness was God’s “level” to evaluate His people (Isa. 28:17); the skewed plumb line of the house of Ahab was placed over a wicked Jerusalem to judge her (2 Kgs. 21:13).

Consider His Scrupulous Standard of Judgment

Scrupulous: “1): having scruples, or moral or ethical standards; having or showing a strict regard for what one considers right. 2): principled; punctiliously or minutely careful, precise, or exact.”

Standard: “1): something considered by an authority or by general consent as basis of comparison. 2): a rule or principle that is used as a basis for judgment.”

Construction requires careful and meticulous attention to detail, a Scrupulous Standard of measurement in order to successfully bring to fruition the architectural plans.

King Manasseh is busy with his own construction plans, the re-building of the pagan altars his father had torn down.

For he rebuilt the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed; and he erected altars for Baal and made an Asherah, as Ahab king of Israel had done, and worshiped all the host of heaven and served them. He built altars in the house of the Lord, of which the Lord had said, “In Jerusalem I will put My name.” For he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the Lord, (21: 3-5).

And while Manasseh is consumed with his rebuilding, it is fitting that Holy God would reveal His own architectural plans; utilizing the construction worker’s tools to measure out His Judgment, His Scrupulous Standard that will turn Manasseh’s kingdom upside down.

“Because Manasseh king of Judah has done these abominations, having done wickedly more than all the Amorites did who were before him, and has also made Judah sin with his idols; 12 therefore thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Behold, I am bringing such calamity on Jerusalem and Judah, that whoever hears of it, both his ears will tingle. 13 I will stretch over Jerusalem the line of Samaria and the plummet of the house of Ahab, and I will wipe Jerusalem as one wipes a dish, wiping it and turning it upside down. (21:3-5).

“I will stretch over Jerusalem the measuring line used on Samaria and the mason’s level used on the house of Ahab, and I will wipe Jerusalem clean as one wipes a bowl—wiping it and turning it upside down,” (21:13 HCSB).
I will judge Jerusalem by the same standard I used for Samaria and the same measure I used for the family of Ahab. I will wipe away the people of Jerusalem as one wipes a dish and turns it upside down, (21:13 NLT).

An image emerges of One Who lines and levels out with precise and thorough dimensions to attain His Scrupulous Standard. There is nothing arbitrary or left to chance; rather it is the comprehensive work of One Who implements exact and minute details of His blueprint.

And here, a Standard is used that has been used before. He is the Scrupulous builder and He is impartial; He is both the Scrupulous builder and judge.

And because Manasseh refused to listen, so hell-bent in his pursuit of his personal building project, he unequivocally exceeds the evil of the surrounding pagan nations in his disdain for the temple of Holy God and in his seduction of God’s people to sin.

He made his son pass through the fire, practiced witchcraft and used divination, and dealt with mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the sight of the Lord provoking Him to anger. Then he set the carved image of Asherah that he had made, in the house of which the Lord said to David and to his son Solomon, “In this house and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen from all the tribes of Israel, I will put My name forever,” (21:6-7).

It is Manasseh’s stiff-necked behavior and hatred for all things pertaining to the LORD that provokes God’s anger and pronouncement that He now intends to use His Scrupulous Standard of Judgment; a Standard reserved for those who adamantly and wholeheartedly rebel and reject His Righteous Standard.

And this Judgment would bring disaster to the kingdom and overwhelming fear to everyone who hears.

 Now the Lord spoke through His servants the prophets, saying, 11 “Because Manasseh king of Judah has done these abominations, having done wickedly more than all the Amorites did who were before him, and has also made Judah sin with his idols; 12 therefore thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Behold, I am bringing such calamity on Jerusalem and Judah, that whoever hears of it, both his ears will tingle. 13 I will stretch over Jerusalem the line of Samaria and the plummet of the house of Ahab, and I will wipe Jerusalem as one wipes a dish, wiping it and turning it upside down. 14 I will abandon the remnant of My inheritance and deliver them into the hand of their enemies, and they will become as plunder and spoil to all their enemies; 15 because they have done evil in My sight, and have been provoking Me to anger since the day their fathers came from Egypt, even to this day,’(21:10-15).

How do we respond to His Scrupulous Standard of Judgment?

How about fear? Shouldn’t we be afraid of His Scrupulous Standard of Judgment? Yes we should!

It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God, (Hebrews 10:31).

But, thankfully, He has extended to us another way, His Scrupulous Standard of Grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin. 21 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; (Romans 3:20-24).

And in Jesus Christ, His New Scrupulous Standard is revealed:

1): having scruples, or moral or ethical standards; having or showing a strict regard for what one considers right.

So Jesus said, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me. 29 And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him,” (John 8:29).

You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin, (1 John 3:5)

2): principled; punctiliously or minutely careful, precise, or exact.

God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, (Hebrews 1:1-3).

Jesus, Who never wavered from what is right and exactly upholds every minute detail of the Father’s plan, has made the way for our salvation through His shed blood on the cross in taking the punishment and judgment we deserve in order that we be spared His Scrupulous Standard of Judgment.

How can we ignore so great a salvation, reject such an amazing gift?

Today, if you would hear His voice, respond in faith. His heart has always been to bring people to Himself to live in fellowship and the blessing of His Presence.

“Today if you hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts, as when they provoked Me,”
(Hebrews 3:15).

What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life— and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us— what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ, (1 John 1:1-3).

And today, if we have come into relationship with Him through faith in Jesus, let us be committed to daily demonstrate our thankfulness through lives offered in gratitude and faithful cooperation with His spiritual building project through Jesus Christ, our Savior.

And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ, (1 Peter 2:4-5).

Let’s Grow Together!

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