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Bible Commentaries

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible
2 Kings 23

 

 

Verses 1-37


Religious Reform. Josiah's Death

2. The prophets] Jeremiah, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah lived about this time. Read in their ears] cp. the similar proceeding related in Nehemiah 8:4.;

3. By a pillar] or, 'upon a platform': cp. Nehemiah 11:14

4. The priests of the second order] probably to be corrected into 'the second priest' (as in 2 Kings 25:18), i.e. the high priest's deputy. Grove] see on 2 Kings 21:7.

5. The planets] or, 'the signs of the zodiac' The word is said to mean 'mansions,' the stars being the abodes of gods.

6. Of the children of the people] RV 'of the common people': cp. Jeremiah 26:23. The graves of the poorer classes were probably made in the ground, whereas the tombs of the wealthy were constructed in the rocks, and were not so available for the purpose here described—viz. the defilement of the idolatrous emblems: cp. 2 Kings 23:14.

7. Sodomites] The suppression of such is directed in Deuteronomy 23:17, Deuteronomy 23:18. Hangings] lit. 'houses,' i.e. tents which sheltered the Asherah (or emblem of Ashtoreth).

8. Defiled the high places] That some of these were dedicated to the worship of the Lord appears from the following v., which implies that the priests who served them were priests of the Lord. The destruction of these sanctuaries thus resulted in confining the public rites of worship to the Temple at Jerusalem (according to the law of Deuteronomy 12:5-14), and the removal of the priests who had previously ministered at them. From Geba to Beer-sheba] the northern and southern borders of the kingdom. Of the gates] Probably an error for 'of the satyrs' or 'he-goats,' which were objects of worship and called 'devils' in Leviticus 17:7; 2 Chronicles 11:15. The Heb. words closely resemble one another.

9. Did eat.. bread] It is not clear whether they were maintained by the offerings of their kinsfolk in their several localities or whether they shared the offerings made to the priests at Jerusalem, but were debarred from ministering in the Temple (as was the case with priests who were otherwise disqualified, Leviticus 21:21-23): cp. Deuteronomy 18:6-8. By unleavened bread is probably meant the priestly dues generally.

10. Topheth] The name literally means 'spittle' or 'spitting,' and so designates the locality as a place of abhorrence. The valley.. Hinnom] usually identified with the valley that flanks the modern city of Jerusalem on the W.; but if the ancient city occupied only the eastern of the two hills upon which the present city stands, the valley here mentioned may have been the depression between them (subsequently called the 'Tyropaeon'). Topheth, however, was in any case situated in the broad space formed by the junction of the three valleys immediately S. of the city. It was from the sacrificial fires lighted there for human sacrifices, as well as from those that were afterwards kindled in the same place to destroy the refuse of the city deposited in it that the Heb. name Ge Hinnom in the form Gehenna came to be used to denote the place of punishment for the unrepentant after death. Molech] see 1 Kings 11:7; The rite here referred to is prohibited in Deuteronomy 18:10.

11. The horses] A chariot was similarly dedicated to the sun at Sippar in Babylonia; and it is probable that it was connected in idea with the sun's course through the sky. The kings of Judah] presumably Manasseh and Amon: see 2 Kings 21:3, 2 Kings 21:5. Of the house.. by the chamber] better, 'from the house.. to the chamber,' marking the extent of the stables.

12. On the top of the upper chamber] These altars were probably connected with the worship of the host of heaven: see on 2 Kings 21:3.

13. Before Jerusalem] i.e. E. of the city. It is surprising that these, dating from the time of Solomon (see 1 Kings 11:1-8), had not been destroyed by Hezekiah; but see on 2 Kings 18:4.

Mount of corruption] i.e. the Mt. of Olives, the later 'mount of offence.'

14. The bones of men] i.e. to desecrate them, since dead bodies communicated uncleanness: cp. Numbers 19:16.

15. The altar that was at Beth-el] see 1 Kings 12:32, 1 Kings 12:33. Burned the high place] probably the shrine erected upon it, which elsewhere is styled a 'house of high places.'

16. In the mount] presumably some adjoining elevation. According to the word of the Lord] see 1 Kings 13:2.

17. Title] RV 'monument': marking the place of burial.

18. Samaria] here used of the country rather than the city, since the prophet alluded to belonged to Bethel.

21. The passover] Of this passover details are given in 2 Chronicles 35:1-19.

22. There was not holden, etc.] On this occasion not only were the injunctions of the Law more strictly followed than had been the case previously, but exceptionally large numbers took part in the festival.

24. Images] RV 'teraphim,' which were probably models of the human figure representing household deities and used in divination: see Genesis 31:19; 1 Samuel 19:13; Ezekiel 21:21.

29. Pharaoh-nechoh] i.e. Nechoh II, a king of the 26th dynasty (610-595 b.c.), whose father Psammetichus, at one time a tributary of the Assyrians, had secured independence for Egypt in 664 b.c.

The king of Assyria] i.e. the king of Babylon. Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, fell in 607 before the united forces of the Median Cyaxares and the Babylonian Nabopolassar; and it was to dispute the spoils of the fallen empire with Nabopolassar that Nechoh advanced northward through Palestine. The king of Babylon is here called by the name of Assyria, the country he had conquered (cp. Ezra 6:22, where a Persian king is likewise styled 'king of Assyria,' the Persians having subdued and dispossessed the Babylonians).

Josiah went against him] Josiah's motives can only be conjectured, but it is probable that in the downfall of Assyria's power he hoped to extend his authority over what had once been the northern kingdom, and feared that his designs would be foiled by the Egyptian advance. At Megiddo] see on 2 Kings 9:27. Josiah took up his position here to dispute the passage across Carmel. The Greek historian Herodotus probably alludes to this battle when he states that Nechoh defeated the Syrians at Magdolus. When he had seen him] i.e. when he encountered him in battle: cp. 2 Kings 14:8. For the sorrow occasioned by Josiah's death see 2 Chronicles 35:25; Sirach 49:2, Sirach 49:8.

30. Jehoahaz] also called Shallum (Jeremiah 22:11; 1 Chronicles 3:15). He was the younger brother of Jehoiakim who succeeded him (2 Kings 23:36).

33. Riblah] on the Orontes, between Damascus and Hamath. Nechoh, after his success at Megiddo, had marched northward to meet the Babylonians, who eventually defeated him at Carchemish (Jeremiah 46:2).

34. Made Eliakim.. king] Jehoahaz had been chosen by the people without the sanction of Nechoh, who therefore asserted his authority by deposing him, and substituting his brother. In the room of Josiah] Nechoh did not recognise Jehoahaz. Turned his name to Jehoiakim] The bestowal of a new name by Nechoh upon Eliakim indicated that the latter was a subject or vassal prince of the Egyptian king. For a similar change cp. 2 Kings 24:17, and see Genesis 41:45; Daniel 1:7 (where, however, the new names are foreign, not, as here, Hebrew).

 


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Bibliography Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 23:4". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcb/2-kings-23.html. 1909.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, June 27th, 2019
the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12
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