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Bible Commentaries

Dr. Constable's Expository Notes

2 Chronicles 35

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 1-19

2. Josiah’s Passover 35:1-19

As Hezekiah had done, Josiah led his people in observing the Passover, that greatest feast of Israel that commemorated her redemption from Egyptian slavery. Josiah’s Passover was even greater than Hezekiah’s, which Hezekiah had put together quickly (2 Chronicles 35:18; cf. 2 Chronicles 29:36). Josiah offered almost twice as many sacrifices as Hezekiah did (2 Chronicles 30:24), but far fewer than Solomon did at the temple dedication (2 Chronicles 7:5). The writer’s attention to detail reflects his intense interest in Josiah’s concern that the people worship Yahweh properly. [Note: See Lyle Eslinger, "Josiah and the Torah Book: Comparison of 2 Kings 22:1-23:28 and 2 Chronicles 34:1-35:19," Hebrew Annual Review 10 (1986):37-62.] All that the writer recorded between 2 Chronicles 34:8 and 2 Chronicles 35:19 happened when Josiah was 26 years old. The phrase "in the eighteenth year of his reign" forms an inclusio for the section.

Verses 20-27

3. Josiah’s death 35:20-27

Josiah died at Megiddo, in 609 B.C., when he interrupted Pharaoh Neco’s military advance against the Babylonians.

"Fearing the advance of the Babylonians, Pharaoh Neco and the Egyptian army were on their way to assist the Assyrians. Josiah, who apparently was an ally of the Babylonians (or at least an opponent of the Assyrians), attempted to impede the march of Neco." [Note: Thompson, p. 385.]

This is similar to what Ahab had done years earlier, when he and Jehoshaphat had opposed the Arameans at Ramoth-gilead (cf. ch. 18). Quite clearly Pharaoh’s word to Josiah to turn back was from the Lord (2 Chronicles 35:22). Probably the writer included this event in his narrative because Josiah came closer to the Davidic ideal than any other king since Solomon. Yet he, too, was disobedient to God. Thus David’s greatest Son was yet to come. When He comes back to the earth He will win the battle that will be raging at the very place where Josiah died: the Plain of Megiddo (i.e., Armageddon, lit. the mountain of Megiddo). [Note: See H. G. M. Williamson, "The Death of Josiah and the Continuing Development of the Deuteronomic History," Vetus Testamentum 32:2 (April 1982):242-48.]

"He [Josiah] was a shepherd whose flock never really accepted or understood him, though his concern was for its own welfare . . ." [Note: Wilcock, p. 270.]

Josiah’s death is another example of immediate retribution for sin, of which we have seen many in Chronicles. He is one more king who began well but ended up doing something wrong (cf. Asa, Jehoshaphat, Joash, Amaziah, Uzziah). He was not the only king to hear a warning before his tragic military error (cf. 2 Chronicles 11:1-4; 2 Chronicles 18:16-22; 1 Samuel 28:19). Like the other reforming kings (Asa, Jehoshaphat, and Hezekiah), he sensed a military threat by an external enemy after enacting his religious reforms. [Note: Christopher T. Begg, "The Death of Josiah in Chronicles: Another View," Vetus Testamentum 37:1 (Januray 1987):1-3.]

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Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 35". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcc/2-chronicles-35.html. 2012.