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Wednesday, June 19th, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
2 Kings 23

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-37

Chapter 23

And the king stood by the pillar, and he made a covenant before the LORD, to walk after the LORD, and to keep his commandments and the testimonies and the statutes with their heart and with their soul, and to perform the covenant that was written in the book. And all the people stood to the covenant ( 2 Kings 23:3 ).

So the king stood there and in his heart he said, "Okay, God, I'm going to obey You. I'm going to follow You. I'm going to serve You." And made his commitment unto God. Very beautiful, beautiful scene. And the people again standing with that covenant with the king.

And so the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest, and the priests of the second order, and the keepers of the door, to bring forth out of the temple of the LORD all of the vessels that were made for Baal, and for the host of heaven: and he burned them there in the valley of Kidron in the fields, and he took the ashes on up to Bethel [and buried them there] ( 2 Kings 23:4 ).

They burned... they began to tear down all of the high places, the places of worship and so forth for the pagan gods. And they came on up to Bethel and they broke down the altar that was there in the city of Bethel that Jeroboam had built to worship in the northern kingdom. And they beat down the altar and they took the graves and they took the bones out of the graves and they burned the bones which was a desecration of the altar.

Now this goes back several hundred years for when Jeroboam first became the king over the northern Israel. He built this altar in Bethel, and as he was worshipping at the altar, you remember the story of the young prophet that came out of Judah and cried against the altar? "O altar, O altar, men's bones will be burned on you." Jeroboam stretched forth his hand, he said, "Arrest that young man!" And his hand withered. Jeroboam said to him, "Pray for me that God will heal me." And the young prophet prayed for Jeroboam and his hand was healed. And you remember that he said, Jeroboam said, "Come and eat at my house and I'll give you a reward." And he said, "You know, if you gave me the whole kingdom I can't stay. For the Lord who sent me here to cry against the altar told me not to eat any bread, drink any water in this place, not even to go home by the way I came." And so he took off.

And a couple of boys were there whose dad was a prophet. They went home and said, "Dad, there was a prophet came out of Judah, young kid. Man, he cried against the king and the king reached out his hand and told them to arrest him and his hand withered. And he prayed, the hand was healed." Dad said, "Which way did he go?" "He went down the road that way." He said, "Get my donkey." And he saddled his donkey and took off after the young man and he caught up with him. And he was sitting there under a tree. And he said, "Who are you? Are you the young prophet?" He said, "Yes, I am." He said, "Why don't you come back to my house and eat some bread, drink water." He said, "No, the Lord who sent me told me not to drink any water in this place, any bread in this place, but get on home without even going back the same way." He said, "Well, I also am a prophet and the Lord spoke to me and said come and get you and invite you to come to my house." So the young prophet listened to the old man. Had respect for his age and so forth. He listened to him and he came back. And while he was eating bread in the old man's house, the Spirit of the Lord came on the old man and he cursed him. He said, "Because you've done this and all, you're not going to get home. You're going to die in the way."

And so as the young prophet left, a lion attacked him and killed him. And so news came back to the old prophet that the young man had been killed. And they said, "This is the word of the Lord, you know, that he wouldn't get home safely." And so he came out and the lion was standing there, had not eaten him or torn him, but just left his body there. And the donkey was just sort of roaming around that the kid was riding on. And he picked up the young prophet and brought him back and buried him. You remember the story. So here's the young prophet that cried out against the altar.

So as Josiah is up there now tearing down the altar to desecrate it, he burns. They see these graves; they take the bones out of them and burn them. It's a way of just really utter disrespect and desecration of an altar. Thus, the prophecy was fulfilled.

And then they saw another grave and they said, "What's that tombstone say?" They said, "Well, that's the young prophet who came up and cried up against the altar." He said, "Don't take his bones. Just leave his bones lie." And so it ties back into the prophecy and so forth of this young prophet, and here we come with it again. Back in First Kings, chapter thirteen, you'll find the story of that young prophet.

Moreover [verse fifteen] the altar that was at Bethel, the high place which Jeroboam the son of Nebat, he made Israel to sin, had made, that altar, the high place he broke down, he burned the high place, stamped it small to powder, burned the grove that was by it. And as Josiah turned himself, he spied the sepulchres that were there in the mount, and he sent, and he took the bones out of the sepulchres, burned them on the altar, polluted it, according to the word of the LORD which the man of God proclaimed, who had proclaimed these words ( 2 Kings 23:15-16 ).

Now Josiah commanded that they keep the Passover. Of course, they had not been keeping the holy days, the feast days, and Passover was coming. And so they had this huge Passover, and in Second Chronicles we'll actually get into further details of this huge Passover feast that was instituted by Josiah. The death of Josiah is recorded for us in the beginning of verse twenty-eight, how that the king of Egypt had come up against the king of Assyria, and how that Josiah went up to battle and he got into the battle at Megiddo. And there he was killed at Megiddo, and he was brought in his chariot back to Jerusalem and buried.

Now Jehoahaz his son was twenty-three years old when he began to reign; he reigned for three months. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD ( 2 Kings 23:31-32 ),

And Pharaoh put him in bands and he took... he actually took him out and put tribute upon the land, and the Pharoah then made a vassal king Jehoiakim. And Jehoiakim was just a vassal king to the Pharaoh, and he paid the Pharaoh, of course, the tribute that the Pharaoh had demanded. He was twenty-five years old. He reigned for eleven years. And during this time, Jeremiah is really crying out against the sins of the people. "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on 2 Kings 23". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/2-kings-23.html. 2014.
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