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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary
2 Kings 23

 

 

Verse 1

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

Ver. 1. And the king sent.] This he did, that he might the better insure the promise made to himself; and avert, if possible, the judgments threatened against the people by Huldah the prophetess.


Verse 2

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.

Ver. 2. And the king went up … and all the men of Judah.] Solemnly to renew their covenant with God; a course ever found to be of singular avail in case of any common calamity felt or feared.


Verse 3

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.

Ver. 3. And the king stood by a pillar.] See 2 Kings 11:14.

To walk after the Lord.] To be in communion with him, and in conformity unto him. This is elsewhere called walking with God, and walking before God.

And all the people stood to the covenant.] They pretended and professed so to do; but the most of them dissembled and dealt deceitfully, not turning to God with their whole hearts, as good Jeremiah complaineth, [Jeremiah 3:1-25] and therefore calleth upon them [Jeremiah 4:3; Jeremiah 4:14] to "break up their fallow ground, to circumcise themselves unto the Lord, and to wash their hearts from wickedness, that they might be saved."


Verse 4

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.

Ver. 4. And the priests of the second order.] Ithamar’s race.

And carried the ashes of them unto Bethel.] Called also Bethaven, because there had stood one of Jeroboam’s golden calves: hither therefore this good king sent the ashes of those burnt idols and their trinkets to disgrace it, and that such wicked dust might not remain in Judah, that holy land, saith Cajetan.


Verse 5

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.

Ver. 5. And he put down the idolatrous priests.] Heb., Chemarims, Baal’s chimney-chaplains, {see Zephaniah 1:14, with the note there} black sooty fellows, like those greasy mass priests, or abbey lubbers, amongst the Papists.

And to the planets.] Or, Influences: a radice Nazal fluxit.


Verse 6

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.

Ver. 6. And he brought out the grove.] See on 2 Kings 21:7.

Upon the graves of the children of the people.] The vulgar sort, the rascality, who are usually most irrational, and so most idolatrous. "Thou knowest the people, that they are set on mischief," said Aaron of those that said unto him, "Make us gods," &c. [Exodus 32:22-23]


Verse 7

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.

Ver. 7. The houses of the sodomites.] Abominable brothel houses.

Where the women wove hangings.] Heb., Houses, aedicula, sacella textilia, as Acts 19:24. There were at Ephesus that made templa portabilia, small portable temples, resembling that greater temple.


Verse 8

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 Beersheba, 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.

Ver. 8. The high places of the gates.] Where, in imitation of the heathens, they had set their tutelar and guardian gods, and had their fans profana.

Of Joshua the governor of the city.] A great man, but none of the best. He had a good name; but Josiah might have said to him, as Alexander did to a soldier of his own name, but a coward, Either change thy name, or put on more courage; so, more piety.


Verse 9

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.

Ver. 9. But they did eat of the unleavened bread.] Care was taken for their maintenance: (1.) As Levites; (2.) As penitents; though, for service at the altar, they were laid aside. Penitency and punishment are words of one derivation, and are near of kin.


Verse 10

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.

Ver. 10. And he defiled Tophet.] A pleasant valley near to Jerusalem, but, for the abominable abuse of it, taken afterwards for hell, [Isaiah 30:33 Matthew 5:22] a place of torments, without end, and past imagination.


Verse 11

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 Nathanmelech the chamberlain, which [was] in the suburbs, and burned the chariots of the sun with fire.

Ver. 11. And he took away the horses.] Not statues of horses and chariots dedicated to the sun, as some interpret it; sed equos veros et vivos, living and light horses dedicated to the sun, after the Persian mode, ωσπερ το ταχιστον τω ταχοτατω θεω, as the swiftest creature to the swiftest god. (a) These Josiah caused to be killed. Macrobius telleth us that the Syrians called God Adad (Achad, he should have said); that is, One, quia unus est sol - sic dictus quasi Solus - aeque ac Deus in mundo: because, as there is but one sun in the world, so but one God. But how many gods they worshipped, see learned Mr Selden, De diis Syris.

Nathanmelech the chamberlain.] Qui fuit imberbis, qualis est sol, saith Villapandus; (b) a beardless officer for a beardless god. The Persians called the sun Mithras and Apollo. This Nathanmelech, though a courtier, thought it an honour to be groom of the sun’s stable.

And burnt the chariots of the sun with fire.] Chrysostom saith that Peter, for his zeal, was like a man made all of fire walking among stubble. Josiah was surely so. Angelomus saith, that herein he represented Christ, who, by the fire of the last day, shall destroy all impiety, and not suffer any defiled one to enter into his kingdom.


Verse 12

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.

Ver. 12. And the altars that were on the top.] See Jeremiah 19:13, Zephaniah 1:5. Ahaz was ειδωλομανης.

And the altars which Manasseh had made.] These, after his repentance, he cast out of the city, [2 Chronicles 33:15] but not so thoroughly abolished; hence they became snares to his successors.

And brake them down from thence.] Or, Ran from thence; quam citissime potuit discedens illinc, (a) he got out of those loathsome places as soon as he could.

Into the brook Kidron,] i.e., The town ditch.


Verse 13

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.

Ver. 13. And the high places that were before Jerusalem.] There they had boldly set up their abominable idols in mount Olivet, even in the sight of the Lord; so that he never looked out of the sanctuary but he saw that vile hill, which, therefore, he here calleth not Har Hammisha, (a) the mount of annointing, but Har Hammaschith, (b) the mount of corruption. Est tacita paranomasia; item allusio, item detorsio.

Of the mount of corruption.] So called, because the people had there corrupted themselves, as Deuteronomy 32:5; and yet afterwards it became our Saviour’s oratory, or usual place of prayer, This showeth, that places which have been abused to idolatry, may yet afterwards be used for God’s service. As for that which we read, Deuteronomy 12:2-3, "Ye shall utterly destroy all the places," &c., divines answer, that that was a temporary ordinance, and a part of Moses’s polity, now abrogated.

Which Solomon had builded.] But, after his repentance, had demolished, likely; though, by the idolatrous princes that came after him, they were rebuilded, and called still by his name.


Verse 14

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.

Ver. 14. And he brake in pieces the images.] He made no spare of any of those idols and monuments of idolatry, though there wanted not some about him, doubtless, that could have wished it otherwise, and moved him to spare those goodly horses and chariots of the sun, &c. But he was resolved to make a hand with them all. We may give peace to buy truth, but we may not give truth to buy peace.


Verse 15

2 Kings 23:15 Moreover the altar that [was] at Bethel, [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.

Ver. 15. Moreover the altar that was at Bethel.] It is probable that the king of Babylon, when he sent home Manasseh, gave him also dominion of the greatest part of the country of Samaria, indenting with him to defend the same against the Egyptian. Howsoever, good Josiah faileth not to root out idolatry in all those parts also, [2 Kings 23:19] it being an abandoned country, which, in a manner, had no lord at all.


Verse 16

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.

Ver. 16. He sent and took the bones.] That had been foreseen and foretold three hundred years at least before. [1 Kings 13:2] Intervention ofttimes breaks no square in the divine decrees. Our blind eyes see nothing but that which toucheth their lids: the quick sight of God’s prescience sees that as present which is a world afar off.


Verse 17

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 Bethel.

Ver. 17. What title is that that I see?] This was not the name Jehovah, or the sign of the cross, as some have doted; but either some pillar, orelse gravestone, with a superscription showing who lay there buried: such as was that on Scaliger’s tomb, Scaligeri quod reliquum est, &c.

And the men of the citytold him.] Historiae fidae monitrices: monumenta quasi mentem monentia. But the greatest wonder is, saith one, that these Bethelites, so well knowing what they here do relate to Josiah, were not moved to relinquish their idolatrous worship. But most probably they believed not till they saw it fulfilled.


Verse 19

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 Bethel.

Ver. 19. And did to them according.] See on 2 Kings 23:15.


Verse 20

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.

Ver. 20. And burnt men’s bones.] Hence Papists would prove the lawfulness of unburying dead heretics, as they call us, and burning their bones; as they dealt here by Grosthead, bishop of Lincoln, Paulus Phagius, Bucer’s wife, &c. But Josiah’s act is justified by the prophecy, whereby he was appointed so to do; and the Lord would have it so done, to show the abomination wherein he had idolaters, and for a demonstration of their damnation in hell.


Verse 21

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.

Ver. 21. Keep the passover.] 2 Chronicles 35:1. If the passover had been neglected, the law, the sacrifices had been in vain. No true Israelite might want whether this monument of their deliverance past, or this type of the Messiah to come. Rather than fail, Josiah’s bounty shall supply to Judah lambs for their paschal devotion. No alms is so acceptable as that whereby the soul is furthered. (a)


Verse 22

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;

Ver. 22. Surely there was not holden such a passover,] viz., For concourse of people, and solemnity of the service. Tremellius rendereth it thus: Although there was not holden such a passover as this, viz., with such preparation, devotion, and reformation of religion; yet, [2 Kings 23:26] "God turned not away from his wrath," &c., as being implacably bent and unchangeably resolved upon their utter ruin.


Verse 23

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

Ver. 23. But in the eighteenth year,] viz., Of his reign, but in the twenty-sixth of his age.


Verse 24

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.

Ver. 24. Moreover the workers with familiar spirits,] q.d., Josiah did all that might be done to prevent that utter devastation of his country foretold by the prophets; but the decree was even "ready to bring forth," and there was no reversing or impeding it. [Zephaniah 2:2] See 2 Kings 21:10-15.

And the images.] Heb., Teraphim; these were properly their household gods, saith Vatablus.

That were spied in the land of Judah and Jerusalem.] Here he narrowly spied out everything that was amiss, to reform it, as being his own proper dominion, and his chief charge. Latini videndum dicunt,

Aedibus in propriis quae recta aut prava gerantur.


Verse 25

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.

Ver. 25. And like unto him was there no king, &c.] He was a matchless man, a peerless prince, the world’s paragon,

Hic regum decus et iuvenum flos, spesque bonorum.

Deliciae saecli et gloria gentis erat. ”

As Cardan singeth of our Edward VI, a second Josiah, as all good men acknowledged. See 2 Kings 18:5.

And with all his might.] Heb., With his utmost vehemency, strength, and diligence; he did all that he could do.


Verse 26

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.

Ver. 26. Notwithstanding the Lord, &c.] See on 2 Kings 23:22.

Because of all the provocations that Manasseh had provoked him withal.] His sin was pardoned upon his repentance, but his reproach was not altogether wiped away, as Proverbs 6:33. The stain of it was like iron mould, which nothing can fetch out. His posterity also, yea, and the generality of the people, persisting in Manasseh’s sins, were justly punishable for the same. The Corinthians were accessory to the sin of the incestuous person, because they bewailed it not; [1 Corinthians 5:2] and shall not we of this age smart for those bloody Marian days, if we lament not, and so disclaim them?


Verse 27

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.

Ver. 27. I will remove Judah also out of my sight.] Who was now grown worse than Israel, [Jeremiah 3:11] and was therefore worse, because she should have been better warned by the others’ harms.


Verse 28

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?

Ver. 28. Now the rest of the acts, &c.] See 1 Kings 15:23.


Verse 29

2 Kings 23:29 In his days Pharaohnechoh 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.

Ver. 29. In his days Pharaohnechoh,] i.e., Claudus Pharaoh, the club-foot, so called for distinction. Tamerlane was likewise lame of one foot.

Went up against the king of Assyria.] Nabopolassar, king of Babylon, who had subdued the Assyrians, and gloried in that noble title, king of Assyria. See 2 Kings 20:12.

To the river Euphrates,] i.e., To the city Carchemish bordering thereupon.

And king Josiah went against him.] This was rashly done. The soldier’s motto is, Nec temere nec timide. Josiah fearing more to be counted timorous than temerarious, rushed upon his own death; not so much as advising with that famous prophet Jeremiah, or Zephaniah, or Urijah, the prophets then living; besides a whole college of seers. Sometimes both grace and wit are asleep in the holiest and wariest breasts. Perhaps he feared lest the Egyptian, aliud agens, should seize upon his country; or lest it lying between these two mighty monarchs, should be made the field or seat of their war, and so should be ground to powder, as grain between two millstones. In this respect Abulenais excuseth Josiah from all blame; but that cannot be. See 2 Chronicles 35:22. God had a holy hand in it, howsoever, for the just punishment of that sinful nation, way being now made by the death of this good prince for God’s judgments to rush in upon them with full force.

And he slew him.] That is, He, by his archers, gave him his deathly wound at Megiddo, forty-four miles from Jerusalem, whither he was by his servants bright, but died by the way, and was greatly lamented. [2 Chronicles 35:24 Zechariah 12:11] So was that thrice noble king of Sweden slain in Germany, yet not without the victory; which made one say,

“Upon this place the great Gustavus died,

Whilst Victory lay bleeding by his side.”

When he had seen him,] i.e., At the first encounter, as 2 Kings 14:8, priusquam inter se acies concurrerent, saith Sulpitius; before the battle began. Whilst he was setting the battle in array, riding from one wing to another, and giving instructions, saith Josephus, an Egyptian archer slew him, and together with him all the felicity of that state, which was thenceforth known, as Thebes was after the death of Epaminondas, by their calamities only.


Verse 30

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.

Ver. 30. And his servants carried him in a chariot dead.] Mortuum, i.e., Moribundum, a dying man. See on 2 Kings 23:29.

And the people of the land took Jehoahaz.] Lest Pharaoh at his return finding no king, should seize upon the kingdom; but this greatly provoked the conqueror, to whom they should rather have sought for peace and liberty to make them a new king.


Verse 31

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.

Ver. 31. Jehoahaz was twenty and three years old.] He was younger than his brother Jehoiakim, [2 Kings 23:36] got the kingdom from him by a popular faction, likely, and it proved accordingly. Some think him to have been called Shallum at first, [Jeremiah 22:11] and that the people changed his name Melioris ominis causa; because Shallum king of Israel had reigned but one month only ere he was slain by Menahem. [2 Kings 15:13]


Verse 32

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.

Ver. 32. And he did evil.] See Ezekiel 19:2-9.


Verse 33

2 Kings 23:33 And Pharaohnechoh 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.

Ver. 33. That he might not reign.] He deposed him; to show that he had now the disposal of the kingdom. Or, Because he reigned, sc., without his good leave and liking.


Verse 34

2 Kings 23:34 And Pharaohnechoh 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.

Ver. 34. Made Eliakim.] That is, God shall arise: so his good father Josiah named him, but he proved a degenerate plant; his father trembled and humbled himself at the hearing of the law, but he cut in pieces the prophecy of Jeremiah, and sought for him and Baruch to the shambles; but the Lord hid them.

And turned his name.] Memoriae causa, saith one interpreter; to show his sovereignty, saith another. (a)

And died there.] According to the prophecy of Jeremiah, [Jeremiah 22:11-12] who taxeth him there for covetousneas, ambition, and other vices, hastening the consummation or consumption of all, according to the signification of his other name, Shallum.


Verse 35

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 Pharaohnechoh.

Ver. 35. He exacted.] Though he received, likely, from his subjects no less sums of curses than of coin.


Verse 36

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.

Ver. 36. Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old.] See on 2 Kings 23:31.


Verse 37

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.

Ver. 37. And he did that which was evil.] To all his former evils he added this, that he slew Urijah the prophet. [Jeremiah 26:20; Jeremiah 26:23]

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 23:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/2-kings-23.html. 1865-1868.

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Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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