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Thursday, June 13th, 2024
the Week of Proper 5 / Ordinary 10
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Bible Commentaries
2 Kings 23

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary


Second Kings Chapter 23

2 Kings 23:1 "And the king sent, and they gathered unto him all the elders of Judah and of Jerusalem."

We find that king Josiah believed the message which had come from Huldah, that this is truly the law of God. He wastes no time in gathering the elders from all over Judah, so they could represent their group in hearing the law.

2 Kings 23:2 "And the king went up into the house of the LORD, and all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem with him, and the priests, and the prophets, and all the people, both small and great: and he read in their ears all the words of the book of the covenant which was found in the house of the LORD."

Josiah had great respect for the LORD, and for His temple. This law of God was to be read aloud, so that all of the people could hear. The prophets, priests, and people must hear this Word of the law. They will be without excuse, if they sin again. They will know the comnmandments of God. Josiah renews the covenant with God on this day. He is saying, "This is the law of God, and will be the law of this land, while I am king". There was no separation of classes that came to hear the law. All were represented in one way, or another. The king did not leave this for others to do, he did it himself.

2 Kings 23:3 "And the king stood by a pillar, and made a covenant before the LORD, to walk after the LORD, and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all [their] heart and all [their] soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people stood to the covenant."

This is a renewal of the old covenant. The people had totally neglected the law of God. The king declares, that from this day forward, he will keep covenant with his LORD, and he will expect everyone in the land to do the same. He had gone to this place to renew the covenant with God, because in some way the presence of the LORD was in the temple. This standing to the covenant means the people agreed. They were saying in essence, "All that the LORD says, we will do".

2 Kings 23:4 "And 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 the vessels that were made for Baal, and for the grove, and for all the host of heaven: and he burned them without Jerusalem in the fields of Kidron, and carried the ashes of them unto Bethel."

King Josiah meant business. He immediately had all the vessels in the temple, that were not dedicatd to the LORD, to be brought out and burned. Hilkiah was a high priest of Jehovah. He and his subordinate priests were ordered to bring all the vessels of the false gods out. I would like for everyone in our generation to see that Josiah, the king, burned all of the things pertaining to astrology. These keepers of the door were Levites, who watched the entering of the temple.

2 Kings 23:5 "And he put down the idolatrous priests, whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense in the high places in the cities of Judah, and in the places round about Jerusalem; them also that burned incense unto Baal, to the sun, and to the moon, and to the planets, and to all the host of heaven."

We see that all of the priests in the land, who were not priests of Jehovah, were put down by king Josiah. The kings of Judah, before Josiah, had been idolaters themselves. Manasseh and Amon had done the most wicked things of all of the kings. The worship of the sun, moon, and the planets had to do with the twelve astrological signs. This is why the studying of the horoscope is so deadly in our society today. The heavens, and everything in it, are part of God’s creation. They are not God, and do not represent Him.

2 Kings 23:6 "And he brought out the grove from the house of the LORD, without Jerusalem, unto the brook Kidron, and burned it at the brook Kidron, and stamped [it] small to powder, and cast the powder thereof upon the graves of the children of the people."

This is speaking of Asherah, The ashes, of this idol burned, were poured over the graves of the children, who had been sacrificed.

2 Kings 23:7 “And he brake down the houses of the sodomites, that [were] by the house of the LORD, where the women wove hangings for the grove.”

The male prostitutes were part of the worship of Astarte. Some of these male prostitutes wore women’s clothing. This is speaking of homosexual activity, but it is, also, speaking of them mutilating their bodies and becoming transvestites. The women were no better. They were involved in every evil act of prostitution available to them. Many of them were lesbians.

2 Kings 23:8 "And he brought all the priests out of the cities of Judah, and defiled the high places where the priests had burned incense, from Geba to Beer-sheba, and brake down the high places of the gates that [were] in the entering in of the gate of Joshua the governor of the city, which [were] on a man’s left hand at the gate of the city."

We see, in this, that all of the Levitical priests, who had been conducting services in the high places were brought back into Jerusalem, and Josiah destroyed all of the high places throughout the land.

2 Kings 23:9 "Nevertheless the priests of the high places came not up to the altar of the LORD in Jerusalem, but they did eat of the unleavened bread among their brethren."

We see that Josiah did not allow the priests to go back into the temple to serve, because they conducted services in the high places. The Levites lived of the offerings made to the LORD. They were still allowed a living, even if they could no longer serve in the temple.

2 Kings 23:10 "And he defiled Topheth, which [is] in the valley of the children of Hinnom, that no man might make his son or his daughter to pass through the fire to Molech."

Topheth was the place where they had sacrificed their children, by making them walk through the fire. This was one of the most evil false worship, they had participated in.

2 Kings 23:11 "And he took away the horses that the kings of Judah had given to the sun, at the entering in of the house of the LORD, by the chamber of Nathan-melech the chamberlain, which [was] in the suburbs, and burned the chariots of the sun with fire."

They had become so bad, that they dedicated horses and chariots to the sun god. They were even placed at the entrance to the temple. Josiah burned the chariots, and removed the horses. Everything that would burn, that was used in false worship, was burned. The people and animals that were used in false worship, Josiah removed from any authority at all.

2 Kings 23:12 "And the altars that [were] on the top of the upper chamber of Ahaz, which the kings of Judah had made, and the altars which Manasseh had made in the two courts of the house of the LORD, did the king beat down, and brake [them] down from thence, and cast the dust of them into the brook Kidron."

We spoke of these altars in an earlier lesson. They were used for sacrifice in the temple, as well as in the chambers of the king. They were an abomination to God. The altar that was on the rooftop was connected in the worship of the sun, moon, and planets. Josiah destroyed all of them, and put the remains in the brook Kidron, so they would wash away any evidence.

2 Kings 23:13 "And the high places that [were] before Jerusalem, which [were] on the right hand of the mount of corruption, which Solomon the king of Israel had builded for Ashtoreth the abomination of the Zidonians, and for Chemosh the abomination of the Moabites, and for Milcom the abomination of the children of Ammon, did the king defile."

These places of worship for false gods, had been erected by Solomon for his heathen wives. Ashtoreth is the male counterpart of Astarte. These two false gods were worshipped in all of the Phoenecian cities, but especially in Zidon. Chemosh is mentioned on many of the Moabite stones, and seemed to be their national false god. Milcom was the same as Moloch and Malcam. It was connected with the sacrifice of children, by forcing them to walk through fire. They were all abominations.

2 Kings 23:14 "And he brake in pieces the images, and cut down the groves, and filled their places with the bones of men."

This is an explanation of what he did to them.

2 Kings 23:15 "Moreover the altar that [was] at Beth-el, [and] the high place which Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, had made, both that altar and the high place he brake down, and burned the high place, [and] stamped [it] small to powder, and burned the grove."

This is jumping into Israel. They had worshipped the golden calf at Beth-el. All of the things connected with the worship of false gods was destroyed by Josiah. Jeroboam had been the king, that caused the golden calves to be made and worshipped.

2 Kings 23:16 "And as Josiah turned himself, he spied the sepulchres that [were] there in the mount, and sent, and took the bones out of the sepulchres, and burned [them] upon the altar, and polluted it, according to the word of the LORD which the man of God proclaimed, who proclaimed these words."

Josiah was not aware of the prophecy, that had been given at this place so many years ago. He fulfilled the prophecy, without even knowing there had been a prophecy. The following is the prophecy. 1 Kings 13:1 "And, behold, there came a man of God out of Judah by the word of the LORD unto Beth-el: and Jeroboam stood by the altar to burn incense." 1 Kings 13:2 "And he cried against the altar in the word of the LORD, and said, O altar, altar, thus saith the LORD; Behold, a child shall be born unto the house of David, Josiah by name; and upon thee shall he offer the priests of the high places that burn incense upon thee, and men’s bones shall be burnt upon thee." 2 Kings 23:17 "Then he said, What title [is] that that I see? And the men of the city told him, [It is] the sepulchre of the man of God, which came from Judah, and proclaimed these things that thou hast done against the altar of Beth-el."

2 Kings 23:18 "And he said, Let him alone; let no man move his bones. So they let his bones alone, with the bones of the prophet that came out of Samaria."

Josiah showed honor to the the true man of God, and did not let them disturb his bones.

2 Kings 23:19 "And all the houses also of the high places that [were] in the cities of Samaria, which the kings of Israel had made to provoke [the LORD] to anger, Josiah took away, and did to them according to all the acts that he had done in Beth-el."

We are not sure how Josiah had this much influence in the area of Samaria. We know that it had already been taken over by the Assyrians. We must accept this Scripture just as it says. It is not our job to figure out how he had permission to do this. We know that he did, because the Scripture says he did. It seems, he destroyed all of these houses dedicated to false gods.

2 Kings 23:20 "And he slew all the priests of the high places that [were] there upon the altars, and burned men’s bones upon them, and returned to Jerusalem."

The priests of Samaria were involved in worship of false gods. They were false prophets.

2 Kings 23:21 "And the king commanded all the people, saying, Keep the passover unto the LORD your God, as [it is] written in the book of this covenant."

In chapter 35 of 2 Chronicles, there are many more details about keeping the passover. Josiah saw to it that every little detail was carried out, just as it was written in the books of the law.

2 Kings 23:22 "Surely there was not holden such a passover from the days of the judges that judged Israel, nor in all the days of the kings of Israel, nor of the kings of Judah;"

2 Kings 23:23 "But in the eighteenth year of king Josiah, [wherein] this passover was holden to the LORD in Jerusalem."

In the days of the kings, they had wandered away from God, and they had not kept the passover. That particular service was to be remembered every year. It was the remembrance of death passing over the Hebrew homes, where the blood of the lamb was over the door. If any of the feasts were kept, it should have been this one. There had been passovers observed from time to time, but none of them in the manner prescribed in the law. This was the first one, that had been kept in every aspect.

2 Kings 23:24 "Moreover the [workers with] familiar spirits, and the wizards, and the images, and the idols, and all the abominations that were spied in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, did Josiah put away, that he might perform the words of the law which were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the house of the LORD."

All of these mentioned had done very evil things in the sight of the LORD. In the days of Manasseh and Amon, they had been thought of highly. Josiah changed all of that. He took all ability to do these things away from these people. He did just as the law of God said.

2 Kings 23:25 "And like unto him was there no king before him, that turned to the LORD with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; neither after him arose there [any] like him."

The thing that made Josiah so different, even from Hezekiah was the fact that he kept the law in every detail. Hezekiah loved the LORD with all his heart, but, possibly, did not know the law, as well as Josiah. Hezekiah trustd God completely. He just did not enforce the law as fully as Josiah. The kings after Josiah certainly did not keep God’s law.

2 Kings 23:26 "Notwithstanding the LORD turned not from the fierceness of his great wrath, wherewith his anger was kindled against Judah, because of all the provocations that Manasseh had provoked him withal."

The land of Judah was sentenced to destruction. The destruction had been delayed, until the death of Josiah. Josiah had found favor in the sight of the LORD. The land of Judah had been accustomed to the sin of unfaithfulness to God. They had never truly repented in their hearts.

2 Kings 23:27 "And the LORD said, I will remove Judah also out of my sight, as I have removed Israel, and will cast off this city Jerusalem which I have chosen, and the house of which I said, My name shall be there."

God had already determined to destroy Judah and Jerusalem. He had already destroyed Israel for the same sins. Judah had been spared longer, because it had a few kings that found favor with the LORD. God had chosen Jerusalem to be his city, but the people had wandered far away from God. He had said that he would put His name there, but there was a condition, which had not been kept. They had not kept God’s commandments.

2 Kings 23:28 "Now the rest of the acts of Josiah, and all that he did, [are] they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?"

There is a great deal written about Josiah in the book of Chronicles in the Bible. The record book of the kings of Judah contained a record of his actions, as well.

2 Kings 23:29 "In his days Pharaoh-nechoh king of Egypt went up against the king of Assyria to the river Euphrates: and king Josiah went against him; and he slew him at Megiddo, when he had seen him."

It appears, that Josiah disguised himself and went out to this battle. While he was there, a random shot of an arrow hit him and killed him. This happened at Megiddo. In a sense, the king killed him, but he did not kill him, himself.

2 Kings 23:30 "And his servants carried him in a chariot dead from Megiddo, and brought him to Jerusalem, and buried him in his own sepulchre. And the people of the land took Jehoahaz the son of Josiah, and anointed him, and made him king in his father’s stead."

It appears he received his fatal wound on the battlefield and was carried back to Jerusalem and died. He was buried in a place prepared in advance to bury the king. This was, probably, with his father, as it says in Chronicles. There was a great lamentation for this great king. The LORD, possibly, shortened his life, so he would not see the destruction of Jerusalem and Judah. Jehoahaz would be an evil king. Another name for Jehoahaz was Shallum. "Jehoahaz" means whom Jehovah holds fast. This is what his father, Josiah, had wanted for him, not what he was. Eliakim was an older son. We do not know immediately why Jehoahaz was anointed king. Perhaps, Eliakim was not available.

2 Kings 23:31 "Jehoahaz [was] twenty and three years old when he began to reign; and he reigned three months in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name [was] Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah."

He was the younger brother of Eliakim, who was twenty-five. This Jeremiah is not the same one as the prophet. He reigned three months, until Pharaoh-nechoh came back from his battle.

2 Kings 23:32 "And he did [that which was] evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his fathers had done."

His father had not done evil. This was speaking of the evil of Manasseh and Amon. It appears, he re-instated the false gods.

2 Kings 23:33 "And Pharaoh-nechoh put him in bands at Riblah in the land of Hamath, that he might not reign in Jerusalem; and put the land to a tribute of an hundred talents of silver, and a talent of gold."

It appears, that Pharaoh-nechoh was coming back from battle, and stopped at Riblah, and required Jehoahaz to come out and meet him. He captured him and took him back to Egypt with him, where he later died. He demanded a hundred talents of silver, and one talent of gold for tribute. This would be 125 pounds of gold and 12,500 pounds of silver.

2 Kings 23:34 "And Pharaoh-nechoh made Eliakim the son of Josiah king in the room of Josiah his father, and turned his name to Jehoiakim, and took Jehoahaz away: and he came to Egypt, and died there."

He did not want the land of Judah, he just wanted tribute money. He set Eliakim up as king {who would have been the next in line from Josiah} and then changed his name to Jehoiakim. His new name proved him to be subject of Egypt.

2 Kings 23:35 "And Jehoiakim gave the silver and the gold to Pharaoh; but he taxed the land to give the money according to the commandment of Pharaoh: he exacted the silver and the gold of the people of the land, of every one according to his taxation, to give [it] unto Pharaoh-nechoh."

This silver and gold was gathered up as a tax on the land. There was no wealth in the treasury, so this had to be done to pay Egypt.

2 Kings 23:36 "Jehoiakim [was] twenty and five years old when he began to reign; and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name [was] Zebudah, the daughter of Pedaiah of Rumah."

2 Kings 23:37 "And he did [that which was] evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his fathers had done."

We see that Jehoiakim and Jehoahaz were half-brothers. They had the same father and different mothers. He was evil, like his ancestors.

2 Kings 23 Questions

1. How did Josiah feel about the message he got from Huldah?

2. Who did he gather to Jerusalem?

3. Where did he meet with these people?

4. What did he read to them?

5. What does 2 Kings 23:3 say, that Josiah did before the Lord?

6. This is a renewal of the old _________.

7. What did Josiah have the high priest and the secondary priests to bring out of the temple?

8. What did Josiah do with those things?

9. What did he do with the idolatrous priests?

10. What had they burned incense to?

11. What children were the ashes, in 2 Kings 23:6, spread over?

12. The _________ __________ were part of the worship of Astarte.

13. What is sodomites speaking of?

14. Who had been conducting services in the high places?

15. What did Josiah do with them?

16. What was Topheth noted for?

17. What did he do with the chariots, that had been dedicated to false gods?

18. The altars on the roofs had been used in worshipping what?

19. What king had built buildings to false gods?

20. What is unusual about him going to Beth-el, to destroy the worship of false gods?

21. What did he do with the bones in the sepulchres he found there?

22. What prophecy had been given pertaining to this?

23. How did he show honor to the true man of God?

24. Who did he kill, mentioned in 2 Kings 23:20?

25. What feast did Josiah command they keep?

26. How long had it been, since this had been done properly?

27. Who were the evil ones mentioned in 2 Kings 23:24?

28. How did he differ from Hezekiah in his belief?

29. The land of Judah was sentenced to __________.

30. What happened to Josiah?

31. How did he get back to Jerusalem?

32. Who reigned in his stead?

33. How long did Jehoahaz reign?

34. Who reigned next?

35. What did the king of Egypt require of them?

Verse 1

2Ki 23:1

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on 2 Kings 23". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/2-kings-23.html.
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