Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Kings 23:2

The king went up to 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 hearing all the words of the book of the covenant which was found in the house of the Lord .
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Church;   Israel, Prophecies Concerning;   Prophecy;   Word of God;   Worship;   Thompson Chain Reference - Bible, the;   Book;   Law;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Jeremiah;   Josiah;   Zephaniah;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Elder;   Gods and Goddesses, Pagan;   Kings, First and Second, Theology of;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Jeremiah;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Hilkiah;   Pentateuch;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Ezekiel;   Government;   Kings, 1 and 2;   Library;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Canon of the Old Testament;   Covenant;   Hexateuch;   Hilkiah;   Idolatry;   King;   Temple;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Israel, Israelite;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Josiah ;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Raca;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Scripture;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Kingdom of Judah;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Bible, the;   Josiah;   Zephaniah, Book of;   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Bible;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Bible Canon;   New Testament;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

The king went up into the house of the Lord - Here is another very singular circumstance. The high priest, scribes, priest, and prophets, are gathered together, with all the elders of the people, and the king himself reads the book of the covenant which had been lately found! It is strange that either the high priest, Jeremiah, Zephaniah, or some other of the prophets, who were certainly there present, did not read the sacred book! It is likely that the king considered himself a mediator between God and them, and therefore read and made the covenant.

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Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 2 Kings 23:2". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/2-kings-23.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

The prophets - The suggestion to regard this word an error of the pen for “Levites,” which occurs in Chronicles (marginal reference), is unnecessary. For though Zephaniah, Urijah, and Jeremiah are all that we can name as belonging to the order at the time, there is no reason to doubt that Judaea contained others whom we cannot name. “Schools of the prophets” were as common in Judah as in Israel.

He read - The present passage is strong evidence that the Jewish kings could read. The solemn reading of the Law - a practice commanded in the Law itself once in seven years Deuteronomy 31:10-13 - had been intermitted, at least for the last 75 years, from the date of the accession of Manasseh.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 2 Kings 23:2". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/2-kings-23.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

2 Kings 23:2

And the King went up into the house of the Lord.

Spiritual idolatry

Why should there be such a gathering as this? why should all the mighty, all the good, and all the wise, all the great with all the small, make such a point of going into the house of the Lord on this occasion? Why should they make such a public display about an ordinary duty, such as assembling in the house of the Lord? For two reasons.

1. Because that duty had become an extraordinary one, through the long neglect of it.

2. And the other reason was, because they were desirous to hear the Word of the Lord. These were indeed two good reasons for this solemn assembly of all the people in the Lord’s house. But what a terrible lesson does it read to us! We read of a wonderful deliverance of His people by Almighty God out of the hands of their enemies, when to the eye of man their situation was utterly hopeless. We should expect that this would have awakened them, especially as God had performed it on their turning back, under the pious Hezekiah, from their false gods to the true and living God; yet here, in the third generation from that time, we find the altars and temples of the false gods up again, and the Word of God lost, not only out of the hearts, but of the very sight and ears of the people. Once again, however, and, alas! for the last, time, both the temple and that Word were restored under the care of the pious Josiah; and the people of God once again, and for the last time, showed themselves as the people of God. Such is the example before us; the example of a people, too, in whose place we are standing, being grafted in as a wild olive, in place of the branches which had been broken off because of unbelief. And their example is our example, as we have been told by St. Paul. Let us review, then, some of the plainest applications of this example.

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Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "2 Kings 23:2". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/2-kings-23.html. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And the king went up into the house of the Lord,.... To the temple, from his palace:

and all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem with him: they met him there:

and the priests, and the prophets; the prophets Jeremiah, Zephaniah, and Uriah, who, though they might not be at Jerusalem when the book of the law was found, yet, upon this message of the king's, might come up thither from the countries where they were; the Targum interprets the word "scribes": and some take them to be the sons of the prophets, their disciples; in 2 Chronicles 34:30 they are called Levites:

and all the people, both small and great; a very numerous assembly:

and he read in their ears all the words of the book of the covenant which was found in the house of the Lord: that is, he caused it to be read by others, and perhaps by more than one, the congregation being so large.

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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 23:2". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/2-kings-23.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

he read in their ears — that is, “caused to be read.”

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Kings 23:2". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/2-kings-23.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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.

Prophets — Either Jeremiah, Zephaniah, Urijah: or, the sons of the prophets. It seems he read it himself. Josiah did not think it beneath him, to be a reader, any more than Solomon did to be a preacher, and David to be even a door keeper in the house of God. All people are concerned to know the scripture, and all in authority, to spread the knowledge of it.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 23:2". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/2-kings-23.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

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.

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

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

2 Kings 23:2. The priests and the prophets The priests and the Levites. Houbigant. 2 Chronicles 34:30.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 2 Kings 23:2". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/2-kings-23.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

The prophets; either Jeremiah, Zephaniah, Urijah; or the sons or disciples of the prophets.

He read; He caused to be read.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Kings 23:2". 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

2.Priests’ prophets’ people — All classes were thus represented.

Small and great — All ranks as well as classes were present. No one was too great, no one too small, to be interested in the law of Jehovah.

He read — Or caused to be read. The public reading was probably done by the Levites, priests, and prophets, and was done in various parts of the temple and its courts at the same time.

All the words of the book — The entire law was read, and probably occupied several days.

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Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Kings 23:2". "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 23:2. The king went up into the house of the Lord — For as this great meeting was called for a religious purpose, it was to be conducted in a religious manner; and whatever was done in it was to be done as in the presence of God. And all the men of Judah — A very great number of them; for it cannot be supposed that the court of the Lord’s house could contain all the inhabitants of the land at once. And the prophets — Either Jeremiah, Zephaniah, Urijah, Huldah, or the sons of the prophets. The people, both small and great — High and low, rich and poor, young and old: for persons of all ranks, conditions, and ages, were present. And he read in their ears, &c. — Josiah himself, for he did not think it beneath him to be a reader, any more than Solomon did to be a preacher, and David even a door-keeper, in the house of God. All people are concerned to know the Scriptures, and all in authority to spread the knowledge of them.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Kings 23:2". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/2-kings-23.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Prophets. Chaldean, "scribes." But there were many prophets at this time, who were ordered to come and renew the covenant with God. --- He read, in person, acting as a mediator, in imitation of Moses, Josue, Samuel, Joiada, and Ezechias. (Calmet)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 2 Kings 23:2". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/2-kings-23.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

the LORD. Hebrew. Jehovah. App-4.

prophets. Some codices read "Levites", as in 2 Chronicles 34:30.

read. Either himself; or, by Hebrew idiom, "caused to be read".

in their ears. Compare Nehemiah 8:1-4, &c. The king did not keep it to himself. God"s word is for all.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 2 Kings 23:2". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/2-kings-23.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

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.

He read in their ears - i:e caused to be read.

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Kings 23:2". "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

(2) And the prophets.—That is, the numerous members of the prophetic order, who at this time formed a distinct class, repeatedly mentioned in the writings of Jeremiah (e.g., Jeremiah 2:8; Jeremiah 5:31; Jeremiah 6:13), as well as of older prophets. The Targum has the scribes, the γραμματεύς of the New Testament, a class which hardly existed so early. Chron. and some MSS. reads the Levites. (See Note on 2 Chronicles 34:30.)

All the men of Judah . . . inhabitants of Jerusalem . . . the people.—A natural hyperbole, Of course the Temple court would not contain the entire population.

And he read.—Perhaps the king himself; but not necessarily. (Comp., e.g., 2 Kings 22:10; 2 Kings 22:16.) Qui facit per alium facit per se. The priests were charged to read the Law to the people (Deuteronomy 31:9, seq.) at the end of every seven years.

Small and great—i.e., high and low. (Comp. Psalms 49:2.)

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

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

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.
both small and great
Heb. from small even unto great.
Genesis 19:11; 1 Samuel 5:9; 30:2; 2 Chronicles 15:13; Esther 1:5; Job 3:19; Psalms 115:13; Acts 26:22; Revelation 20:12
he read
Deuteronomy 31:10-13; 2 Chronicles 17:9; Nehemiah 8:1-8; 9:3; 13:1
the book
22:8; Deuteronomy 31:26; 1 Kings 8:9
Reciprocal: Deuteronomy 31:11 - shalt read;  2 Chronicles 31:1 - all Israel;  2 Chronicles 34:30 - the book;  Nehemiah 5:12 - I called;  Jeremiah 11:2 - GeneralJeremiah 34:8 - had

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Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Kings 23:2". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/2-kings-23.html.