2 Kings 23)
1 And the king sent, and they gathered to him all the elders of Judah and of Jerusalem.
2 And the king went up into the house of the Lord, and all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem with him, and the priests, and the prophets (some codices read "Levites", as in 2 Chron. 34:30), and all the People, both small and great:
and he read (either himself;or, by Heb. idiom, "caused to be read") in their ears (cp. Neh. 8:1-4, &c. the king did not keep it to himself. God's Word is for all) all the words of the book of the covenant which was found in the house of the Lord.
3 And the king stood by a pillar (or, on the pillar, or, platform. Cp. 11:14), and made a covenant before the Lord, to walk after the Lord, and to keep His commandments and His testimonies and His statutes with all [their] heart and all [their] soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the People stood to the covenant (but not for long. See Jer. 11:2-20).
4 And the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest, and the priests of the second order (or degree, i.e. ordinary priests), and the keepers of the door, to bring forth out of the temple of the Lord all the vessels that were made for Baal, and for the ‘asherah, and for all the host of heaven (cp. 21:3): and he burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of Kidron (as prescribed in Deut. 7:25), and carried the ashes of them to Beth-el (to defile the altar there, according to the prophecy in 1 Kings 13:2).
5 And he put down the idolatrous priests (= black-robed; not kohen, as appointed by God, but kemarim, as appointed by man. Cp. Hos. 10:5; Zeph. 1:4), whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense in the high places in the cities of Judah, and in the places round about Jerusalem; them also that burned incense to Baal, to the sun, and to the moon, and to the planets (= stations: i.e. the 12 signs of the Zodiac. Heb. mazzălőth. Spelt Mazzărőth in Job 38:32 = stations. The Babylonian name for the divisions of the zodiac. Called in the Assyrian inscriptions "Mauzalti". [See Western Asiatic Inscriptions]), and to all the host of heaven. (Yes, God placed the heavens for signs. Be careful. There are many false religions based on the heavens. Unfortunately, we have seen recent examples of what these religions are capable of doing. The "he" is Hilkiah the priest.)
6 And he brought out the grove (‘asherah) from the house of the Lord (What was this grove in the house of the Lord? When I think of a grove, I think of a strand of trees. Not so in this case.), outside Jerusalem, to the brook Kidron, and burned it at the brook Kidron, and stamped [it] small to powder, and cast the powder thereof upon the graves (Heb. keber. See 21:26) of the sons of the people (= of the common people in Jer. 26:23. In 2 Chron. 35:5 it = the laity as distinguished from Levites).
7 And he broke down the houses of the sodomites (= male prostitutes. Suppression directed in Deut. 23:17,18. See 1 Kings 14:23,24. The grove that was in the house of God is from the Hebrew word "asherah" (ash-ay-raw'). This word is masculine. It is also from the prime word meaning straight, or erect. Stay with me here, you must know. The Sodomites built a phallic symbol and placed it in the house of God to worship. Instead of worshiping the Creator, they worshiped a symbol of reproduction of life. You see now why God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah? They were an abomination.), that [were] by the house of the Lord, where the women wove hangings for the ásherah (Heb. houses. Probably veils to cover the ásherah, as it is covered in Romish processions today).
8 And he brought all the priests out of the cities of Judah, and defiled the high places where the priests had burned incense (seemingly [from v.5] some were used for the worship of Yahaveh. See 1 Kings 18:29; 19:10:14), from Geba (now Jeba [Josh. 18:24]) to Beer-sheba (southern boundary [Gen. 21:31. Judg. 20:1]. Cp. Amos 5:5; 8:14), and broke down the high places of the gates that [were] in the entering in of the gate of Joshua the governor of the city, which [were] on a man's left hand at the gate of the city.
9 Nevertheless the priests of the high places (not idolatrous priests. See v.8) came not up to the altar of the Lord in Jerusalem, but they did eat of the unleavened bread among their brethren.
10 And he defiled the Topheth (= place of burning. By fig., put for anything abhorrent), which [is] in the valley of the sons of Hinnom (the junction of the three valleys uniting south of Jerusalem. The continual fires burning there gave the Greekb name Gehenna [from the Heg. Ge Hinnom = the valley of Hinnom), that no man might make his son or his daughter to pass through the fire to Molech (cp. Jer. 7:31,32; 19:2-6. Prohibited Deut. 18:10. Cp. 1 Kings 11:7).
11 And he took away the horses that the kings of Judah had given to the sun (presumably Manasseh and Amon. See 21:3-5), at the entering in from the house of the Lord, to the chamber of Nathan-melech the eunuch (or officer), which [was] in the suburbs (or outskirts), and burned the chariots of the sun with fire.
12 And the altars that [were] on the roof of the upper chamber of Ahaz, which the kings of Judah had made, and the altars which Manasseh had made in the two courts of the house of , did the king beat down, and broke [them] down from that place (the margin of A.V. seems preferable here: "hurried away with them from that place), and cast the dust of them into the brook Kidron.
13 And the high places that [were] before Jerusalem (i.e. the east side. See Zech.16:4), which [were] on the right hand of the mount of corruption (i.e. the Mount of Olives. Thus called on account of the idolatries connected with it), which Solomon the king of Israel had built for Ashtoreth (= a star) the abomination of the Zidonians, and for Chemosh the abomination of the Moabites (= subduer. Cp. 1 Kings 11:5,6), and for Milcom (= great king) the abomination of the sons of Ammon, did the king defile.
14 And he broke in pieces the pillars (or statues), and cut down the ‘asherah, and filled their places with the bones of men (Heb. ’ădăm. Used collectively).
15 Moreover the altar that [was] at Beth-el (cp. 1 King 12:32,33), [and] the high place which Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin (see 1 Kings 14:16), had made, both that altar and the high place he broke down, and burned the high place, [and] stamped [it] small to powder, and burned the ‘asherah.
16 And as Josiah turned himself, he spied the sepulchers (Heb. pl. of keber. See 21:26) that [were] there in the mount, and sent, and took the bones out of the sepulchers, and burned [them] upon the altar, and polluted it, according to the word of Yehovah (see 1 kings 13:2) which the man of Elohim proclaimed (supply Ellipsis thus: "proclaimed [when Jeroboam stood by the altar at the feast], who proclaimed these words" 369 years before. See 1 Kings 13:1,2), who proclaimed these words.
17 Then he said, “What monument [is] that that I see?” And the men of the city told him, “[It is] the sepulchre of the man of God, which came from Judah, and proclaimed these things that you have done against the altar of Bethel.”
18 And he said, “Let him alone; let no man move his bones.” So they let his bones alone, with the bones of the prophet that came out of Samaria.
19 And all the houses also of the high places that [were] in the cities of Samaria, which the kings of Israel had made to provoke [the Lord] to anger, Josiah took away, and did to them according to all the acts that he had done in Beth-el.
20 And he sacrificed all the priests of the high places that [were] there upon the altars, and burned men's bones upon them, and returned to Jerusalem.
21 And the king commanded all the people, saying, “Keep the passover to the Lord your God, as [it is] written in the book of the covenant (see Ex.12:18).
22 Surely there was not held such a passover from the days of the judges that judged Israel, nor in all the days of the kings of Israel, nor of the kings of Judah (cp. Hezekiah's Passover, of which the same is said [2 Chron. 30:26]. Both statements true. Hezekiah's greater than any before it. Josiah's greater than Hezekiah's. See the details [2 Chron.35:1-19]. There were larger numbers, and the law was more exactly followed. Hezekiah's Passover kept just before the dispersion of Israel. Josiah's Passover kept just before the captivity of Judah);
23 But in the eighteenth year of king Josiah, [wherein] this Passover was held to the Lord in Jerusalem.
24 Moreover the [workers with] familiar spirits (see Lev.19:31), and the wizards, and the teraphim (= household gods), and the manufactured gods, and all the abominations that were spied in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, did Josiah cut away, that he might perform the words of the law which were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the house of the Lord (see 22:8, &c.).
25 And like unto him was there no king before him, that turned to the Lord with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; neither after him arose there [any] like him.
26 Notwithstanding the Lord turned not from the fierceness of His great wrath, wherewith His anger was kindled against Judah, because of all the provocations that Manasseh had provoked Him withal.
27 And the Lord said, “I will remove Judah also out of My sight, according as I have removed Israel, and will cast off this city Jerusalem which I have chosen (= I once, or before-while, chose), and the house of which I said, ‘My name shall be there.’ ”
28 Now the rest of the acts of Josiah, and all that he did, [are] they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?
29 In his days Pharaoh-nechoh king of Egypt (Nechoh = lame. Nechoh II, the 6th king of the 26th dynasty. His father was a tributary to Assyria, but had secured independence from Egypt) went up against the king of Assyria (i.e. the king of Babylon, who had just conquered Ninevah, the rival capital) to the river Euphrates: and king Josiah went against him (his motive not known); and he (the king of Egypt) slew him (Josiah) at Megiddo (= place of crowds. Southern margin of the plain of Esdraelon, celebrated for Syria's defeat by Barak [Judg.5:19]), when he had seen him (Fig., to emphasize he did much more that "see" him. Cp. 14:8 and 2 Chron. 35:21,22).
30 And his servants carried him in a chariot dead from Megiddo, and brought him to Jerusalem, and buried him in his own sepulchre (for the sorrow attending this, see 2 Chron. 35:25). And the People of the land took Jehoahaz the son of Josiah, and anointed him, and made him king in his father's stead.
R5 H 31. Appointment by People (v.30). I 32. Personal character. H 33-35. Appointment by Pharaoh-nechoh.31 Jehoahaz (= whom the Lord substains. Also called Johanan [Jer.22:11. 1 Chron.3:15]. He was the youngest brother of Jehoiakim [v.23]) [was] twenty and three years old when he began to reign; and he reigned three months in Jerusalem. And his mother's name [was] Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah.
32 And he did [that which was] evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his fathers had done.
33 And Pharaoh-nechoh put him in bands at Riblah in the land of Hamath (after his defeat by Nebuchadnezzar at Carchemish. Riblah was a center from which place roads branched to the Euphrates and Nineveh, or by Palmyra to Babylon. The southern roads led to Palestine, Lebanon, and Egypt. Riblah still bears this name, and is about 25 miles south-south-west of Emesa), that he might not reign in Jerusalem (Heb. text reads "when he reigned". A.V. follows some codices); and put the land to a tribute of a hundred talents of silver (approx. 1,000 lbs), and a talent of gold (200 lbs).
34 And Pharaoh-nechoh made Eliakim (= raised up by God) the son of Josiah king in the room of Josiah his father (name changed, to assert Pharaoh-nechoh's authority. Refusing to recognize the People's appointment of v.30), and turned his name to Jehoiakim (= whom Yahaveh sets ups), and took Jehoahaz away: and he came to Egypt, and died there (as Jeremiah foretold [22:11,12]).
35 And Jehoiakim gave the silver and the gold to Pharaoh; but he assessed the land to give the money according to the commandment of Pharaoh: he exacted the silver and the gold of the people of the land, of every one according to his assessment, to give [it] to Pharaoh-nechoh.
R6 v 23:36. Introduction. w xą 23:37. Events. Personal. x˛ 24:1-4. Events. Political. v 24:5,6. Conclusion. w xł 24:7-. Event. Non-invasion from Egypt. x4 24:-7. Event. Reason
500 to 489 B.C.
36 Jehoiakim [was] twenty-five years old when he began to reign; and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name [was] Zebudah, the daughter of Pedaiah of Rumah.
37 And he did [that which was] evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his fathers had done. (See 2 Chron. 36:5-8. Jer.22:17; 24:8; 26:22,23; N.B. Jer. 13-20, and probably 22:;26; 35; 36; belong to this period.)