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Bible Commentaries
2 Chronicles 35

Whedon's Commentary on the BibleWhedon's Commentary


THE SOLEMN PASSOVER, 2 Chronicles 34:1-19.

In accordance with his manner of dwelling more fully on what is religious and ritualistic, the chronicler gives the greater part of this chapter to a description of Josiah’s passover, while the writer of Kings despatches it in three verses. 2 Kings 23:21-23. It was a most solemn and imposing service, and in the strict adherence to the law in which it was observed, the peculiar interest attending it, and perhaps also in the numbers that were present, it was distinguished above all other passovers held since the days of the Judges. It made Josiah’s eighteenth year a most memorable epoch, 2 Chronicles 35:19.

Verse 1

1. Fourteenth day of the first month The time prescribed in the law, (Exodus 13:6; Leviticus 23:5,) and thus unlike the passover of Hezekiah. 2 Chronicles 30:2.

Verse 2

2. Set the priests in their charges Arranged them according to their several divisions, or classes, and indicated the duties for which each class would be held responsible.

Verse 3

3. The Levites that taught all Israel Certain Levites were especially intrusted with the work of teaching the people the law of God. 2 Chronicles 17:9.

Which were holy unto the Lord None but holy and consecrated ones could properly approach to or bear the ark.

Put the holy ark in the house When and how the ark had been removed from its proper place in the temple is not recorded. Keil’s explanation, that the words do not mean a material moving of the ark, but are to be understood in the sense of “Overlook, leave it in the temple, for you are no longer to carry it on your shoulders,” is far from satisfactory, and amounts to no more than “Leave it in the place where it has hitherto stood;” a sense which he himself admits the words cannot bear. Equally untenable is the rabbinical opinion, that the words are a command to remove the ark to some subterranean chamber of the temple, where it might be safe in case the temple were destroyed. The words clearly imply that the ark had, for some reason, been removed from its proper place in the oracle, or holy of holies, which Solomon the son of David king of Israel did build; and most interpreters suppose that this had taken place during the godless reign of Amon, or, perhaps, of Manasseh, when it was removed either by them to make room for idolatrous statues, or by some pious priests and Levites in order to protect it from profanation and destruction. The latter supposition is the more probable, for as the book of the law, whose proper place was in the ark, had been removed and hidden in a secret place of the temple, so the ark itself may also have been concealed.

It shall not be a burden upon your shoulders The Levites, perhaps, had the impression that it would be appropriate, and in keeping with most ancient usage, to bear the ark about the temple and its courts at the passover; but Josiah reminded them that since Solomon had built a settled place for the ark to abide in, it was no longer to be borne about.

Verse 4

4. According to the writing of David… and… of Solomon A written arrangement of the families and courses of the Levites which had been made by David and Solomon. Comp. 2 Chronicles 8:14.

Verse 7

7. Josiah gave… lambs and kids… and three thousand bullocks The lambs and kids were for the paschal feast, (comp. Exodus 12:5,) and the bullocks for an additional freewill offering, and for sacrificial meals during the seven days of the feast.

Verse 8

8. His princes gave willingly That is, as appears in the sequel, the priestly and Levitical princes; the former giving to the priests, the latter to the Levites. As the king contributed of the flock all the lambs and kids for the passover offerings, (2 Chronicles 35:7,) the gifts of the princes must have been, like the king’s offering of bullocks, for the freewill offerings and various sacrificial meals. Compare the account of Hezekiah’s passover, 2 Chronicles 30:13-26.

Verse 12

12. They removed the burnt offerings That is, removed from the slain animals such portions as were to be offered on the altar. “The burnt offerings here,” says Bertheau, “can only mean such portions of the paschal lamb as were to be burned upon the altar of burnt offerings; no doubt the same parts as were cut off and burned in the case of sheep and goats when they were offered as thank offerings. Leviticus 2:6-16. As those portions were burned in precisely the same manner as the burnt offerings, (Leviticus 1:9; Leviticus 1:17; Leviticus 3:11; Leviticus 3:16,) they might very well be called העלה , the burnt offering, so that this word is used here in the sense of אשׁה , offering, or sacrifice in general. This explanation is confirmed by the words at the end of the verse, and so did they with the oxen. The oxen themselves, therefore, were not offered as burnt offerings, but the parts appointed were cut off and burned, the rest of the flesh being cooked and eaten.” 2 Chronicles 35:13.

Verse 18

18. No passover like to that Many passovers had been held in Israel since the days of Samuel, but none so memorable as this one. There was such a solemnity attending it, and such a careful adherence to the directions of the law, and so many representatives of the priests, and the Levites, and all Judah and Israel… and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and withal, it was so preceded and followed by a dark record of national apostasy and sin, that it was remembered in Israelitish history as a most bright and blessed ray of light that had streamed through the thick darkness of the deepening night of Judah’s decline and fall.

The account of Josiah’s death (2 Chronicles 35:20-27) is somewhat more fully given here than in Kings, but the principal differences have been sufficiently noted at 2 Kings 23:26-30.

Verse 21

21. God commanded me to make haste This message of Necho to Josiah is preserved only by the chronicler, and is specially interesting as coming from a heathen king. Some have thought that Necho here referred to some prophecy of Jeremiah, (compare 1Es 1:28 ,) or of some other prophet. But the words are appropriate in the mouth of a monotheistic sovereign, who regarded himself as a favourite of heaven. In an inscription of an Egyptian king of about this period occur the following words, as translated by the Revelation Canon Cook: “Didst thou not know that the Divine shade was over me? I have not acted without his knowledge; he commanded my acts.”

Verse 25

25. The lamentations See Introduction.

Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 35". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/whe/2-chronicles-35.html. 1874-1909.
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