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Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem one and thirty years.
Josiah was eight years old - (see the notes at 2 Kings 22:1-2.) The testimony borne to the undeviating stedfastness of his adherence to the cause of true religion, places his character and reign in honourable contrast with those of many of his royal predecessors.
And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the ways of David his father, and declined neither to the right hand, nor to the left.
No JFB commentary on this verse.
For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet young, he began to seek after the God of David his father: and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem from the high places, and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images.
In the eighth year of his reign. This was the 16th year of his age; and as the kings of Judah were considered minors until they had completed their 13th year, it was three years after he had attained majority. He had very early manifested the piety and excellent dispositions of his character. In the 12th year of his reign, but the 20th year of his age, he began to take a lively interest in the purgation of his kingdom from all the monuments of idolatry which, in his father's short reign, had been erected. [All the different forms of idol-worship are grouped together in this passage; for with habª`aaliym, the Baalim, and hachamaaniym (H2553), images of the sun, which stood upon their altars, are associated haa-'Asheeriym (H842), statues of Astarte, hapªciliym (H6456), the hewn or carved stones, and hamaceekowt (H4541), molten images.]
At a later period, his increasing zeal for securing the purity of divine worship led him to superintend the work of demolition in various parts of his dominions. The course of the narrative in this passage is somewhat different from that followed in the Book of Kings; for the historian, having made allusion to the early manifestation of Josiah's zeal, goes on with a full detail of all the measures this good king adopted for the extirpation of idolatry; whereas the author of the Book of Kings sets out with the cleansing of the temple, immediately previous to the celebration of the Passover, and embraces that occasion to give a general description of Josiah's policy for freeing the land from idolatrous pollution.
The exact chronological order is not followed either in Kings or Chronicles. But it is clearly recorded in both that the abolition of idolatry began in the twelfth and was completed in the eighteenth year of Josiah's reign. Notwithstanding Josiah's undoubted sincerity and zeal, and the people's apparent compliance with the king's orders, he could not extinguish a strongly-rooted attachment to idolatries introduced in the early part of Manasseh's reign. This latent predilection appears unmistakably developed in the subsequent reigns, and the divine decree for the removal of Judah, as well as Israel, into captivity, was irrevocably passed.
And they brake down the altars of Baalim in his presence; and the images, that were on high above them, he cut down; and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images, he brake in pieces, and made dust of them, and strowed it upon the graves of them that had sacrificed unto them.
The graves of them that had sacrificed unto them. He treated the graves themselves as guilty of the crimes of those who were lying in them (Bertheau).
And he burnt the bones of the priests upon their altars, and cleansed Judah and Jerusalem.
He burnt the bones of the priests upon their altars - a greater brand of infamy could not have been put on idolatrous priests than the disinterment of their bones; and a greater defilement could not have been done to the altars of idolatry than the burning upon them the bones of these who had there officiated in their lifetime.
And so did he in the cities of Manasseh, and Ephraim, and Simeon, even unto Naphtali, with their mattocks round about.
With their mattocks - or, 'in their deserts,' so that the verse will stand thus: 'And so did (namely, break the altars, and burn the bones of priests) he in the cities of Manasseh, and Ephraim, and Simeon, even unto Naphtali, in their deserted heights around.' The reader is apt to be surprised on finding that Josiah, whose hereditary possessions were confined to the kingdom of Judah, exercised as much authority among the tribes of Ephraim, Manasseh, Simeon, and others, as far as Naphtali, as he did within his own dominions; and therefore it is necessary to observe, that after the destruction of Samaria by Shalmanezer, the remnant that continued on the mountains of Israel maintained a close contact with Judah, and looked to the sovereigns of that kingdom as their natural protectors. Those kings acquired great influence over them, which Josiah exercised in removing every vestige of idolatry from the land. He could not have done this without the acquiescence of the people in the propriety of his proceeding, conscious that it was conformable to their ancient laws and institutions. The Assyrian kings, who were now masters of the country, might have been displeased at the liberties Josiah took beyond his own territories. But either they were not informed of his doings, or they did not trouble themselves about his religious proceedings, relating, as they would think, to the god of the land, especially as he did not attempt to seize upon any place, or to disturb the allegiance of the people.
And when he had broken down the altars and the groves, and had beaten the graven images into powder, and cut down all the idols throughout all the land of Israel, he returned to Jerusalem.
No JFB commentary on this verse.
Now in the eighteenth year of his reign, when he had purged the land, and the house, he sent Shaphan the son of Azaliah, and Maaseiah the governor of the city, and Joah the son of Joahaz the recorder, to repair the house of the LORD his God.
In the eighteenth year of his reign ... he sent Shaphan - (see the notes at 2 Kings 22:3-9.)
And when they came to Hilkiah the high priest, they delivered the money that was brought into the house of God, which the Levites that kept the doors had gathered of the hand of Manasseh and Ephraim, and of all the remnant of Israel, and of all Judah and Benjamin; and they returned to Jerusalem.
No JFB commentary on these verses.
And when they brought out the money that was brought into the house of the LORD, Hilkiah the priest found a book of the law of the LORD given by Moses.
Hilkiah the priest found a book of the law of the Lord given by Moses, [ bªyad (H3027) Mosheh (H4872)] - by the hand of Moses, which Kennicott ('Dissertations,' 2:, p. 300) interprets, 'in the handwriting of Moses' - i:e., the original autograph.
And Hilkiah answered and said to Shaphan the scribe, I have found the book of the law in the house of the LORD. And Hilkiah delivered the book to Shaphan. No JFB commentary on these verses.
And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the law, that he rent his clothes.
When the king has heard the words of the law ... (see the notes at 2 Kings 22:11-20; 2 Kings 23:1-3.)
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 34". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 14 / Ordinary 19