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Bible Commentaries
2 Chronicles 34

Dr. Constable's Expository NotesConstable's Expository Notes

Verses 1-27

P. Josiah chs. 34-35

Like Amon’s death (2 Chronicles 33:24), Josiah’s was unnecessarily premature. However, unlike Amon, Josiah was one of Judah’s reformers.

"Josiah instituted the most thorough of all the OT reforms . . ." [Note: Idem, "1, 2 Chronicles," p. 549.]

"Despite this, however, Josiah is not so significant a monarch overall for the Chronicler as he is for the earlier historian [i.e., the writer of Kings]. Much that he records is now to be understood as recapitulation of Hezekiah’s work, who stands out as the real innovator in Chronicles." [Note: Williamson, 1 and 2 . . ., p. 396.]

Verses 1-33

1. Josiah’s reforms ch. 34

The godly in Judah may have regarded Josiah as the most likely candidate to fulfill the promises God had given to David. His early life and reign were spiritually exemplary (2 Chronicles 34:2-3). He sought to purge idolatry from the whole territory of Israel as well as Judah (2 Chronicles 34:4-7). Many of the Simeonites (2 Chronicles 34:6) had allied themselves with Israel religiously (cf. 2 Chronicles 15:9). [Note: Keil, p. 431.]

In Jerusalem, Josiah embarked on a renovation of the temple because Manasseh and Amon had abused it (2 Chronicles 34:8-13). The "book of the law" that Hilkiah found (2 Chronicles 34:14) may have been the Book of Deuteronomy, [Note: See Dillard, 2 Chronicles, p. 280, for seven supporting reasons.] another portion of the Pentateuch, or the whole Pentateuch. [Note: Payne, "Second Chronicles," p. 418.] Most scholars believe the book found was Deuteronomy.

It may be hard for us to understand how the people could have lost the Law of Moses and how they could have forgotten it in just two generations. However, written copies were scarce. Moreover, parents and the Levites conducted most instruction orally (2 Chronicles 17:9). Only one generation separated the people from ignorance of God’s will (cf. Deuteronomy 6:6-7; Deuteronomy 17:18). This has been true throughout history. Josiah’s response to the reading of Torah (the Law) shows his heart to please God (2 Chronicles 34:19; 2 Chronicles 34:27).

Huldah announced that God had decreed captivity for Judah (2 Chronicles 34:25). Nevertheless, Josiah would experience mercy because of his tender heart and humility (2 Chronicles 34:27). He would die before Judah went into captivity (2 Chronicles 34:28). Another view of the prediction that he would die in peace is that it refers to what would have happened if Josiah had not violated the will of God by engaging Neco in battle. [Note: See McConville, p. 264.]

The announcement of God’s coming judgment led the king and the nation to commit anew to follow God’s Word (2 Chronicles 34:29-33). Perhaps He would postpone captivity.

The temple had been the protector of the Law (2 Chronicles 34:14), as it had earlier protected David’s heir, Joash (2 Chronicles 22:10-12). It had preserved the two foundational elements in Israel’s life: God’s Word and God’s vice-regent. As mentioned before, the temple represented God. The preservation of these two essential elements was an act of Israel’s faithful God. Concern for the things of God resulted in the discovery of God’s will (cf. 2 Chronicles 7:14).

Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 34". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcc/2-chronicles-34.html. 2012.
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