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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
2 Chronicles 35

 

 

Verse 1

Moreover Josiah kept a passover unto the LORD in Jerusalem: and they killed the passover on the fourteenth day of the first month.

Moreover Josiah kept a Passover - (see the notes at 2 Kings 23:21-23) The first 9 verses give an account of the preparations made for the celebration of the solemn feast. The day appointed by the law was kept on this occasion (cf. 2 Chronicles 30:2; 2 Chronicles 30:13). The priests were ranged in their courses, and exhorted to be ready for their duties in the manner that legal purity required (cf. 2 Chronicles 29:5; 2 Chronicles 30:16).


Verse 2

And he set the priests in their charges, and encouraged them to the service of the house of the LORD,

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 3

And said unto the Levites that taught all Israel, which were holy unto the LORD, Put the holy ark in the house which Solomon the son of David king of Israel did build; it shall not be a burden upon your shoulders: serve now the LORD your God, and his people Israel,

Put the holy ark in the house which Solomon ... did build. The ark was placed in the temple by Solomon (1 Kings 8:1-66), where it remained until the idolatrous kings of Israel profaned the temple, when it was carried by the priests, in their pious zeal, from place to place, to be preserved from pollution. King Josiah caused it to be replaced in the temple. The Levites, the ministers or instructors of the people in all matters pertaining to the divine worship, were commanded (2 Chronicles 35:3) to 'put the holy ark in the houses which Solomon did build.' Their duty was to transport the ark from place to place, according to circumstances.

Some think that it had been ignominiously put away from the sanctuary by order of some idolatrous king, probably Manasseh, who set a carved image in the house of God (2 Chronicles 33:7), or Amon; while others are of opinion that it had been temporarily removed by Josiah himself into some adjoining chamber, during the repairs on the temple.

In replacing it, the Levites had evidently carried it upon their shoulders, deeming that still to be the duty which the law imposed on them. But Josiah reminded them of the change of circumstances-when, as the service of God was now performed in a fixed and permanent temple, they were not required to be bearers of the ark any longer, and, being released from the service, they should address themselves with the greater alacrity to the discharge of other functions. [What became of the ark afterward is not known, as this is the latest notice of it that is found in the sacred history. It is said (2 Maccabees 2:4) that it occupied its ordinary place until the period of the Chaldean invasion, and was lost during the disorders attending the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar. No credit, of course, can be attached to an apocryphal legend. But the ark was certainly wanting in the second temple. And in another book of the Apocrypha (Ezra 10:22) the Jews are represented as lamenting that it had been taken away by the Chaldeans. All the Jewish Talmudists agree that it was never seen in Jerusalem. But the Jews themselves confidently expect its miraculous restoration at some future period (see Jeremiah 3:16).]


Verse 4

And prepare yourselves by the houses of your fathers, after your courses, according to the writing of David king of Israel, and according to the writing of Solomon his son.

Prepare yourselves by the houses of your fathers, after your courses - i:e., each course or division was to be composed of those who belonged to the same father's house.

According to the writing of David ... and ... Solomon. Their injunctions are recorded, 2 Chronicles 8:14; 1 Chronicles 23:1; 1 Chronicles 24:1-31; 1 Chronicles 25:1-31; 1 Chronicles 26:1-32.


Verse 5

And stand in the holy place according to the divisions of the families of the fathers of your brethren the people, and after the division of the families of the Levites.

Stand in the holy place - in the court of the priests, the place where the victims were killed. The people were admitted according to their families, in groups or companies of several households at a time. When the first company entered the court (which consisted commonly of as many as it could well hold) the gates were shut, and the offering was made. The Levites stood in rows from the slaughtering places to the altar, and handed the blood and fat from one to another of the officiating priests (2 Chronicles 30:16-18).


Verse 6

So kill the passover, and sanctify yourselves, and prepare your brethren, that they may do according to the word of the LORD by the hand of Moses.

So kill the Passover ... The design of the minute directions given here was to facilitate the distribution of the paschal lambs. These were to be eaten by the respective families according to their numbers (Exodus 12:3). But multitudes of the people, especially those from Israel, having been reduced to poverty through the Assyrian devastations, were to be provided with the means of commemorating the Passover; and, therefore, the king enjoined the Levites, that when the paschal lambs were brought to them to be killed (2 Chronicles 35:7-9), they should take care to have everything put in so orderly a train, that the lambs, after due presentation, might be easily delivered to the various families to be roasted and eaten by themselves apart.


Verse 7

And Josiah gave to the people, of the flock, lambs and kids, all for the passover offerings, for all that were present, to the number of thirty thousand, and three thousand bullocks: these were of the king's substance.

Josiah gave to the people ... lambs and kids - these were in all probability destined for the poor. A lamb or a kid might be used at convenience (Exodus 12:5).

And ... bullocks - which were offered after the lambs on each of the successive days of the feast (see the note at 2 Chronicles 35:13).


Verse 8

And his princes gave willingly unto the people, to the priests, and to the Levites: Hilkiah and Zechariah and Jehiel, rulers of the house of God, gave unto the priests for the passover offerings two thousand and six hundred small cattle, and three hundred oxen.

His princes. They gave to the priests and Levites; as those of Hezekiah's princes (2 Chronicles 30:24). They were ecclesiastical princes-namely, Hilkiah the high priest (2 Chronicles 34:9), Zechariah, probably the second priest of the Eleazar (2 Kings 16:18), and Jehiel, of the Ithamar line. And since the Levitical tribes were not yet sufficiently provided (2 Chronicles 35:9), some of their eminent brethren who had been distinguished in Hezekiah's time (2 Chronicles 31:12-15), gave a large additional contribution for the use of the Levites exclusively.


Verse 9

Conaniah also, and Shemaiah and Nethaneel, his brethren, and Hashabiah and Jeiel and Jozabad, chief of the Levites, gave unto the Levites for passover offerings five thousand small cattle, and five hundred oxen.

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 10

So the service was prepared, and the priests stood in their place, and the Levites in their courses, according to the king's commandment.

So the service was prepared ... All the necessary preparations having been completed, and the appointed time arrived for the Passover, the solemnity was celebrated. One remarkable feature in the account is the prominent part that was taken by the Levites in the preparation of the sacrifices-namely, the killing and stripping of the skins, which were properly the special duties of the priests; but as those functionaries were not able to overtake the extraordinary amount of work, and the Levites had been duly sanctified for the service, they were enlisted for the time in this priestly employment. At the Passover in Hezekiah's time, the Levites officiated in the same departments of duty, the reason assigned for that deviation from the established rule being the unprepared state of many of the people (2 Chronicles 30:17). But on this occasion the whole people had been duly sanctified, and therefore the exceptional enlistment of the Levites' service must have been rendered unavoidably necessary from the multitudes engaged in celebrating the Passover.


Verse 11

And they killed the passover and the priests sprinkled the blood from their hands and the Levites flayed And they killed the passover, and the priests sprinkled the blood from their hands, and the Levites flayed them.

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 12

And they removed the burnt offerings, that they might give according to the divisions of the families of the people, to offer unto the LORD, as it is written in the book of Moses. And so did they with the oxen.

They removed the burnt offerings. Some of the small cattle, being designed for burnt offerings, were put apart by themselves, that they might not be intermingled with the paschal lambs, which were carefully selected to certain rules, and intended to be sacramentally eaten; and the manner in which those burnt offerings were presented seems to have been the following: 'All the subdivisions of the different fathers' houses came one after another to the altar in solemn procession, to bring the priests the portions which had been cut off, and the priests laid these pieces upon the fire of the altar of burnt offering.'


Verse 13

And they roasted the passover with fire according to the ordinance: but the other holy offerings sod they in pots, and in caldrons, and in pans, and divided them speedily among all the people.

They roasted the Passover - (see Exodus 12:7-9.) This mode of preparation was prescribed by the law exclusively for the paschal lamb; the other offerings and thank offerings were cooked in pots, kettles, and pans (1 Samuel 2:14).

Divided them speedily among all the people. The haste was either owing to the multiplicity of the priests' business, or because the best and flavour of the viands would have been otherwise diminished. Hence, it appears that the meal consisted not of the paschal lambs alone, but of the meat of the thank offerings-for part of the flesh fell to the portion of the offerer, who, being in this instance the king and the princes, were by them made over to the people, who were recommended to eat them the same day that they were offered, though not absolutely forbidden to do so on the next day ( Leviticus 7:15-18).


Verse 14

And afterward they made ready for themselves, and for the priests: because the priests the sons of Aaron were busied in offering of burnt offerings and the fat until night; therefore the Levites prepared for themselves, and for the priests the sons of Aaron.

Afterward they made ready for themselves, and for the priests. The Levites rendered this aid to the priests solely from their being so engrossed the entire day, that they had no leisure to provide any refreshments for themselves.


Verse 15

And the singers the sons of Asaph were in their place, according to the commandment of David, and Asaph, and Heman, and Jeduthun the king's seer; and the porters waited at every gate; they might not depart from their service; for their brethren the Levites prepared for them.

And the singers ... were in their place. While the priests and people were so much engaged, the choir were not idle. They had to sing certain Psalms-namely, Psalms 113:1-9 to Psalms 118:1-29 inclusive-once, twice, and even a third time, during the continuance of each company of offerers. Since they could not leave their posts, therefore-for the singing was resumed as every fresh company entered-the Levites prepared for them also; because the various bands relieved each other in turns, and while the general choir were doing duty, a portion of the tuneful brethren, relieved for a time, partook of the viands that were brought them.


Verse 16

So all the service of the LORD was prepared the same day, to keep the passover, and to offer burnt offerings upon the altar of the LORD, according to the commandment of king Josiah.

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 17

And the children of Israel that were present kept the passover at that time, and the feast of unleavened bread seven days.

The children of Israel ... kept the Passover ... and the feast of unleavened bread seven days - [ Pecach (Hebrew #6453), a passing over]. At first the paschal lamb, and the paschal meal, came, from its intimate connection with the days of unleavened bread, to stand, especially in the usage of the later Hebrews, for the entire festival of seven days (cf. Matthew 26:2; Mark 14:1; Luke 2:41-43; Luke 22:1; John 2:13; Acts 12:4).


Verse 18

And there was no passover like to that kept in Israel from the days of Samuel the prophet; neither did all the kings of Israel keep such a passover as Josiah kept, and the priests, and the Levites, and all Judah and Israel that were present, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

There was no Passover like to that kept in Israel, from the days of Samuel. One feature by which this Passover was distinguished was the liberality of Josiah. But what distinguished it above all preceding solemnities was not the imposing grandeur of the ceremonies, nor the immensity of the assembled concourse of worshippers-for these, with the exception of a few from the kingdom of Israel, were confined to two tribes; but it was the ardent devotion of the king and people, the disregard of purely traditional customs, and the unusually strict adherence, even in the smallest minutiae, to the forms of observance prescribed in the book of the law, the discovery of an original copy of which had produced so great a sensation. Instead of "from the days of Samuel," the author of the Book of Kings says, "from the days of the judges that judged Israel." The meaning is the same in both passages, because Samuel concluded the era of the judges.

All ... Israel that were present. The great majority of the people of the northern kingdom was in exile; but some of the remaining inhabitants performed the journey to Jerusalem on this occasion 37,600 paschal lambs and kids were used, which, at 10 to a company, would make 376,000 persons attending the feast.


Verse 19

In the eighteenth year of the reign of Josiah was this passover kept.

In the eighteenth year of the reign of Josiah was this Passover kept. 'It is said (2 Kings 22:3) that Josiah sent Shaphan to Hilkiah in the eighth month of that year.' If this statement rests upon a historical basis, all the events narrated here (from 2 Chronicles 34:8 to 2 Chronicles 35:19) must have happened in about the space of five months and a half. We should then have a proof that the eighteenth year of Josiah's reign was reckoned from the autumn (cf. 2 Chronicles 29:3). 'The eighth month' of the sacred year, in the eighteenth year of his reign, would be the second month of his eighteenth year; and the first month of the new year would be the seventh month (Bertheau).


Verse 20

After all this when Josiah had prepared the temple Necho king of Egypt came up to fight against After all this, when Josiah had prepared the temple, Necho king of Egypt came up to fight against Carchemish by Euphrates: and Josiah went out against him.

After all this, when Josiah had prepared the temple. He most probably calculated that the restoration of the divine worship, with the revival of vital religion in the land, would lead, according to God's promise, and the uniform experience of the Hebrew people, to a period of settled peace and increased prosperity. His hopes were disappointed. The bright interval of tranquillity that followed his re-establishment of the true religion was brief. But it must be observed that this interruption did not proceed from any unfaithfulness in the divine promise, but from the state into which the kingdom of Judah had brought itself by the national apostasy, which was drawing down upon it the long-threatened, but long-deferred judgments of God.

Necho king of Egypt came up to fight against Carchemish by Euphrates. Necho, son of Psammeticus, succeeded to the throne of Egypt in the 20th year of Josiah. He was a bold and enterprising king, who entered with all his heart into the struggle which the two great powers of Egypt and Assyria had long carried on for the political ascendancy. Each, jealous of the aggressive movements of its rival, was desirous to maintain Palestine as a frontier barrier.

After the overthrow of Israel the kingdom of Judah became in that respect doubly important; and although the king and people had a strong bias for alliance with Egypt, yet from the time of Manasseh it had become a vassal of Assyria; and although in the civil wars that were waged between Assyria and Babylon, Nineveh had fallen, and the Babylonian power was on the ascendant, Josiah, true to his political no less than his religions engagements, thought himself bound to support the interests of his northern liege-lord. Hence, when "Necho king of Egypt came up to fight against Carchemish ... Josiah went out against him."

Carchemish, on the eastern side of the Euphrates, was the key of Assyria on the west; and in going there the king of Egypt would transport his troops by sea along the coast of Palestine, northwards. Josiah, as a faithful vassal, resolved to oppose Necho's march across the northern parts of that country. They met in the "valley of Megiddo" - i:e., the valley or plain of Esdraelon. The Egyptian king had come either by water or through the plains of Philistia, keeping constantly along the coast round the northwest corner of Carmel, and so to the great plain of Megiddo. This was not only his direct way to the Euphrates, but the only route fit for his chariots, while thereby also he left Judah and Jerusalem quite to his right. In this valley, however, the Egyptian army had necessarily to strike across the country; and it was on that occasion that Josiah could most conveniently intercept his passage. To avoid the difficulty of passing the River Kishon, Necho kept to the south of it, and must therefore have come past Megiddo. Josiah, in following with his chariots and horsemen from Jerusalem, had to march northwards along the highway through Samaria by Kefr-kud (the ancient Caper-cotia) to Megiddo (Van de Velde).


Verse 21

But he sent ambassadors to him, saying, What have I to do with thee, thou king of Judah? I come not against thee this day, but against the house wherewith I have war: for God commanded me to make haste: forbear thee from meddling with God, who is with me, that he destroy thee not.

But he sent ambassadors ... What have I to do with thee, thou king of Judah? Not wishing to spend time or strength in vain, Necho informed the king of Judah that he had no intention of molesting the Jews, that his expedition was directed solely against his old Assyrian enemy, and that he had undertaken it by an express commission from God. Commentators are not agreed whether it was really a divine commission given him through Jeremiah, or whether he merely used the name of God as an authority that Josiah would not refuse to obey. Since he could not know the truth of Necho's declaration, Josiah did not sin in opposing him; or if he sinned at all, it was a sin of ignorance.


Verse 22

Nevertheless Josiah would not turn his face from him, but disguised himself, that he might fight with him, and hearkened not unto the words of Necho from the mouth of God, and came to fight in the valley of Megiddo.

Josiah would not turn his face from him, but disguised himself , [ hitchapees (Hebrew #2664), disguised himself (cf. 1 Samuel 28:8; 1 Kings 20:38; 1 Kings 22:30; Job 30:18). The Septuagint has: all' ee polemein auton ekrataioothee, but was rather strengthened, stimulated to fight; and in like manner other ancient versions render the words]. The engagement took place. Josiah was mortally wounded.


Verse 23

And the archers shot at king Josiah; and the king said to his servants, Have me away; for I am sore wounded.

The archers shot at king Josiah - the Egyptian archers, whose accountrements, array, and mode of shooting, are familiarly known from the representations on the monuments.


Verse 24

His servants therefore took him out of that chariot, and put him in the second chariot that he had; and they brought him to Jerusalem, and he died, and was buried in one of the sepulchres of his fathers. And all Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah.

Took him out of that chariot, and put him in the second chariot - the carriage he had for ordinary use, and which would be more comfortable for the royal sufferer than the war chariot. The death of this good king was the subject of universal and lasting regret.


Verse 25

And Jeremiah lamented for Josiah: and all the singing men and the singing women spake of Josiah in their lamentations to this day, and made them an ordinance in Israel: and, behold, they are written in the lamentations.

Jeremiah lamented for Josiah ... The elegy of the prophet has not reached us; but it seems to have been long preserved among his countrymen, and chaunted on certain public occasions by the professional singers, who probably got the dirges they sang from a collection of funeral odes, composed on the death of good and great men of the nation. The spot in the valley of Megiddo, where the battle was fought, was near the town of Hadad-rimmon, a name derived from that of a Syrian idol. Herodotus relates (b. 2:, 159) that the scene of Josiah's defeat was Magdolum - i:e., most probably the Migdol, or tower in Jezreel (Megiddo), on the northeast of that town (Josephus, 'Antiquities,' b. 10:, ch. 5:, sec. 1). Hence, the lamentation for the death of Josiah was called 'The lamentation of Hadad-rimmon in the valley of Megiddo,' which was so great and so long continued, that the lamentation off Hadad passed afterward into a proverbial phrase to express any great and extraordinary sorrow (Zechariah 12:11).

 


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Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 35:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/2-chronicles-35.html. 1871-8.

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Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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