Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Kings 23:1

Then the king sent, and they gathered to him all the elders of Judah and of Jerusalem.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Government;   Israel, Prophecies Concerning;   Prophecy;   Worship;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Jeremiah;   Josiah;   Ruler;   Zephaniah;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Elder;   Gods and Goddesses, Pagan;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Jeremiah;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Pentateuch;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Book(s);   Canaan, History and Religion of;   Ezekiel;   Government;   History;   Kings, 1 and 2;   Lord;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Canon of the Old Testament;   Elder;   Government;   Hexateuch;   Hilkiah;   Idolatry;   King;   Temple;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Sanhedrin;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Josiah ;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Raca;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Tyre;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Kingdom of Judah;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Judge;  

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

THE REIGNS OF THE LAST THREE KINGS OF GOD'S PEOPLE;

ZEDEKIAH WAS A PUPPET OF BABYLON;

THE CONCLUSION OF JOSIAH'S REFORMATION (2 Kings 23:1-30)

"And the king sent, and they gathered unto him all the elders of Judah and of Jerusalem. And the king went up to the house of Jehovah, 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 Jehovah. And the king stood by the pillar, and made a covenant before Jehovah, to walk after Jehovah, and to keep his commandments, and his testimonies, and his statutes, with all his heart, and all his soul, to confirm the words of this covenant that were written in this book: and all the people stood to the covenant."

"And the king stood by the pillar" (2 Kings 23:3). "This refers to one of the two great pillars set up in front of the temple by Solomon, either the Jachin or the Boaz."[1]

"All the people stood to the covenant" (2 Kings 23:3). This seems to be a reference to the ancient custom in the making or renewing of covenants, in which the parties to it passed between the portions of the sacrifice that accompanied such ceremonies, as in the instance of Abraham's covenant (Genesis 15:17). In no sense was this the making of a new covenant, but the renewed promise of the people to perform their part of the one already in existence. The people's standing to it may refer to their position between the portions of the sacrifice probably offered on that occasion.

"The effect of this was to give the Deuteronomic Code the force of statute law."[2] This common error popular among the radical critics is rejected out of hand, because Huldah had already confirmed the Holy Books of Moses (which were really "the book" discovered) as being absolutely true and certain and that God would "Bring upon Jerusalem all the words of this book" (2 Kings 22:16). Nothing that either Josiah or his whole nation could do would have made "a new covenant." Furthermore, nothing that any of them could do, not even the extensive reformations, would change the fact that the Real Covenant had already been so hopelessly broken by Judah that their destruction and removal out of God's sight was already a foregone certainty.

The nation had already broken the only covenant that mattered, and they had done so in such an offensive fashion that the doom of all Israel was already sealed and settled. Every word of that was reiterated by Huldah. The critical community have never erred more fundamentally than in their invention of that silly so-called "Deuteronomic Code." The purpose of the ceremony mentioned here was neither that of cutting a new covenant, nor of confirming the old one. The old and true covenant did not NEED confirming. Yes, our text reads, "to confirm the words of this covenant," (2 Kings 23:3), but that is a mistranslation, corrected in the RSV to read, "perform the words of this covenant." indicating that no change in the covenant was needed, but that the standard of Judah's performance was what should have been changed. And it was already too late for that to do much good!

Josiah's extensive reformations were carried out in Jerusalem, Judea and in Samaria, but our Biblical account mixes the report of these reforms in the record that is given here. The Bible does not follow the classical lines of organization that are popular among modern writers.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on 2 Kings 23:1". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/2-kings-23.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And the king sent, and they gathered unto him all the elders of Judah and of Jerusalem. Josiah sent messengers throughout the land, and convened all the principal men in it at Jerusalem.

Copyright Statement
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 23:1". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/2-kings-23.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And the king a sent, and they gathered unto him all the elders of Judah and of Jerusalem.

(a) Because he saw the great plagues of God that were threatened, he knew no more speedy way to avoid them, than to turn to God by repentance which cannot come but from faith, and faith by hearing the word of God.
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Bibliographical Information
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 2 Kings 23:1". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/2-kings-23.html. 1599-1645.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

CONTENTS

Josiah conveneth all Judah to the hearing of the book of the law of God, which Hilkiah had found in the temple. This chapter relates the circumstances of this solemnity. The King reneweth the covenant of the Lord, and prosecuteth the destruction of idolatry.

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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on 2 Kings 23:1". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/2-kings-23.html. 1828.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

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.

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 23:1". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/2-kings-23.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

2 KINGS CHAPTER 23

Josiah causeth the law to be read in a solemn assembly; reneweth the covenant of the Lord; destroyeth idolatry, 2 Kings 23:1-14; breaketh down the altar at Beth-el, and burneth thereon dead men’s bones, 2 Kings 23:15-20; keepeth the passover: other evidences of his piety, 2 Kings 23:21-25. God’s final wrath against Judah. 2 Kings 23:26-28. Josiah, warring against Pharaoh-nechoh, is slain: Jehoahaz his son is king: he is imprisoned by Pharaoh-nechoh; who puts Jehoiakim, in his place; who reigneth ill, 2 Kings 23:29-37.

The chief governors both of church and state.

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Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Kings 23:1". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/2-kings-23.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

THE GREAT REFORMATION UNDER JOSIAH, 2 Kings 23:1-25.

1.The king sent — Instructed by the law and by the prophetess, the king does not rest in security, feeling that the evil will not come in his day, but takes immediate measures to instruct the people in the law, and to destroy idolatry throughout the land.

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Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Kings 23:1". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/2-kings-23.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

2 Kings 23:1. The king sent and gathered unto him all the elders — Although he had received a message from God, that there was no preventing the ruin of Jerusalem, and that he only should deliver his own soul; yet he does not therefore sit down in despair, and resolve to do nothing for his country, because he could not do all he would. But he will endeavour to do his duty, and then leave the event to God. He knew, if any thing could prevent, delay, or alleviate the threatened ruin, it must be a public reformation. He therefore makes preparations for this, by summoning a general assembly of the magistrates, or representatives of the people, with the priests and prophets, the ordinary and extraordinary ministers of God: that, these all joining in it, what was done might become a national act, and so be the more likely to prevent national judgments; and that so many principal persons advising and assisting in it, the whole business might be transacted with more solemnity, and such as were against it might be discouraged from making any opposition.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Kings 23:1". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/2-kings-23.html. 1857.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And the king sent, and they gathered unto him all the elders of Judah and of Jerusalem.

The king sent, and ... gathered ... all the elders. This pious and patriotic king, not content with the promise of his own security, felt, after Huldah's response, an increased desire to avert the threatened calamities from his kingdom and people. Knowing the richness of the divine clemency and grace to the penitent, he convened the elders of the people and placing himself at their head, accompanied by the collective body of the inhabitants, went in solemn precession to temple, where he ordered the book of the law to be read the assembled audience, and covenanted, with the unanimous concurrence of his subjects, to adhere stedfastly to all the commandments of the Lord. It was an occasion of solemn interest, closely connected with a great national crisis, and the beautiful example of piety in the highest quarter would exert a salutary influence over all classes of the people, in animating their devotions and encouraging their return to the faith of their fathers.

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Kings 23:1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/2-kings-23.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

XXIII.

JOSIAH RENEWS THE COVENANT, ROOTS OUT IDOLTARY, AND HOLDS A SOLEMEN PASSOVER.HIS END.

(1) They gathered.—The right reading is probably that of the Syriac and Vulg., there gathered. Chron., LXX., and Arabic have he gathered.

All the elders.—The representatives of the nation.

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Bibliographical Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 23:1". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/2-kings-23.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And the king sent, and they gathered unto him all the elders of Judah and of Jerusalem.
the king
Deuteronomy 31:28; 2 Samuel 6:1; 2 Chronicles 29:20; 30:2; 34:29,30-33
Reciprocal: 1 Chronicles 13:1 - consulted;  Matthew 1:10 - Josias

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Kings 23:1". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/2-kings-23.html.