Lectionary Calendar
Friday, July 19th, 2024
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
2 Chronicles 34

Whedon's Commentary on the BibleWhedon's Commentary


The reign of the good Josiah, as recorded in this chapter and the following, agrees in the main with 2 Kings 22:1 to 2 Kings 23:30, but as in a number of other cases, one writer largely supplements the other. The present narrative is chronologically more exact than that of Kings, for by omitting any mention of Josiah’s earlier reforms, the writer of Kings connects all his work of reformation with the discovery of the book of the law in the eighteenth year of Josiah’s reign, and so falls into the inaccuracy of seeming to place all Josiah’s reforms after the discovery of the law.

2 Chronicles 34:1-2 correspond with 2 Kings 22:1-2, where see notes. 2 Chronicles 34:3-7 describe Josiah’s early piety, and the reforms which took place in the twelfth year of his reign, when he was twenty years old. The remark in 2 Chronicles 34:3, that in the twelfth year of his reign he began to purge idolatry from Judah and Jerusalem, sufficiently indicates, in connexion with what is elsewhere written, that all his reforms were not completed in these earlier years of his reign. Among the things he mentions here may be some things that occurred later, just as in 2 Kings 23:4-14 there are mentioned events that occurred before the discovery of the book of the law.

Verse 6

6. Cities of Manasseh, and Ephraim, and Simeon, even unto Naphtali The northern kingdom having been long since broken up, and the new colonists from the East having no power or special care to hinder him, Josiah probably met with no great opposition in overthrowing “all the idols throughout all the land of Israel.” 2 Chronicles 34:7.

With their mattocks Margin, with their mauls; others, with their swords. Furst connects the phrase with “burnt the bones” in the preceding verse, and then renders the phrase “in their palatial resting-places,” that is, their princely graves or mausoleums. Gesenius adopts the Kethib, and renders “he proved their houses,” that is, examined the houses of the idolaters. But we incline to the view of Bertheau, who adopts the Keri, and points it thus בהרבתיהם : the meaning then is, as the same word is translated in Psalms 109:10, in their desolate places, or, in their ruins. Josiah overthrew idolatry in the cities named, which were many of them in ruins, and all of them, perhaps, might have been spoken of as desolate places. But notwithstanding their ruin, many signs of their old idolatry remained.

The remainder of the chapter (2 Chronicles 34:8-33) is substantially identical with 2 Kings 22:3-20; 2 Kings 23:1-3, where see notes.

Verse 11

11. To floor Margin, to rafter. Gesenius, to furnish with beams. Furst, to build up. Our version, to floor, probably expresses the sense as nearly as any. The houses which the kings of Judah (Amon and Manasseh) had destroyed are to be understood of the houses and chambers of the priests in the temple and its courts.

Verse 12

12. All that could skill of instruments The word skill in the sense here intended is obsolete; we should render, all that were skilled in instruments of music.

Verse 13

13. Of the Levites… scribes On the ancient office of the scribe, see note on 2 Samuel 8:17. “Here,” says Rawlinson, “we have come to a new state of things an order of scribes, forming a distinct division of the Levitical body, has been instituted. It has been well observed, that though the class-term is first found in this passage, the class itself probably originated in the reign of Hezekiah. When that monarch employed men to copy out the uncollected proverbs of Solomon, (Proverbs 25:1,) a class of scribes must have been instituted. It is probably to the rise of this class that we are indebted for the preservation of so many prophecies belonging to Hezekiah’s time, while the works of almost all previous prophets Ahijah, Iddo, Shemaiah, Jehu the son of Hanani, and probably many others have perished.”

Verse 33

33. All his days they departed not from… the Lord He succeeded in keeping down all open idolatry, but he did not root its evil leaven out of the hearts of all the people. See the note at 2 Kings 23:25.

Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 34". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/whe/2-chronicles-34.html. 1874-1909.
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