Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Kings 23:21

Then the king commanded all the people saying, "Celebrate the Passover to the Lord your God as it is written in this book of the covenant."
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Israel, Prophecies Concerning;   Josiah;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Zeal;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Jeremiah;   Zephaniah;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Gods and Goddesses, Pagan;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Jeremiah;   Josiah;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Kings, the Books of;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Book(s);   Ezekiel;   Festivals;   Kings, 1 and 2;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Canon of the Old Testament;   Deuteronomy;   Hexateuch;   Hilkiah;   Idolatry;   Josiah;   Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread;   Temple;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Israel, Israelite;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Josiah ;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Book;   Raca;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Josiah;   Passover;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Aquila (Β;   Bible Canon;   Triennial Cycle;  

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

See 2 Kings 23:4 note. With this verse the author returns to the narrative of what was done in Josiah‘s 18th year. The need of the injunction, “as it was written in the book of this covenant,” was owing to the fact - not that Josiah had as yet held no Passover - but that the reading of the book had shown him differences between the existing practice and the letter of the Law - differences consequent upon negligence, or upon the fact that tradition had been allowed in various points to override the Law.

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Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 2 Kings 23:21". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/2-kings-23.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

THE CELEBRATION OF THAT WONDERFUL PASSOVER

"And the king commanded all the people, saying, Keep the passover unto Jehovah your God, as it is written in the book of the covenant. Surely there was not kept such a passover from the days of the judges that judged Israel, nor in all the days of the kings of Israel; but in the eighteenth year of king Josiah was this passover kept to Jehovah in Jerusalem."

The Passover as a home festival is unduly stressed by critics, vainly seeking to establish their "Deuteronomic Code," as the origin of the passover. The Passover was never a home festival, except in the case of the first one, which was necessarily so in the absence of any other possibility. But Moses, writing in Deuteronomy 16:1-8, instructed the children of Israel to observe the Passover in the place that "Jehovah should choose, for his name to dwell there." (Deuteronomy 16:2). The Book of Deuteronomy is ABSOLUTELY Mosaic, there being no evidence of any kind whatever of any other author having ever touched it. The instructions which the king ordered to be followed in the observance of this passover were not in that alleged "D" document, but in "this book of the covenant," namely, the Torah, or Pentateuch.

It is also a gross mistake to suppose that no Passover had ever been observed throughout the long history from the Judges to the times of Josiah. The text states that there had not been throughout that long period "such a passover" as this one. This merely means that there were marked differences in this one. Keil noted that, "What distinguished this passover was: (1) that all the Jews of all the tribes were invited to participate in it; and (2) that it was kept in strict accordance with the precepts of the Mosaic book of the law. In the reign of Hezekiah a great passover had been observed, but there were many violations of the Mosaic precepts, especially in the fact that it had to be delayed for a whole month to give the priests time to purify themselves."[21] It is important to notice that the Divine regulations for the Passover were known by Josiah's grandfather Hezekiah, and that there was nothing new about the regulations observed by the people of Josiah's Passover.

The Word of God that required a central sanctuary for the great festivals of Israel was known and observed even in the times of the Judges. The text here virtually says that.

The short account of this passover in Kings is supplemented by a much fuller record of it in some nineteen verses of 2 Chronicles 35. "In those verses we learn that this Passover duly observed all the rites prescribed in the Pentateuch, whether written in Exodus, Leviticus or Deuteronomy."[22]

The false theory regarding that "discovery" alleges that this Passover was the FIRST one celebrated at a central sanctuary, but the fact of Hezekiah's passover being also celebrated in Jerusalem contradicts the theory. Therefore, the die-hard critics assert that, " 2 Kings 23:22 here denies that Hezekiah kept a similar feast."[23] This is a good illustration of what must be recognized as "dishonesty" in the advocates of the false theory. Note:

2 Chronicles 30 says that Hezekiah kept a Passover in Jerusalem.

2 Kings 23:22 here says prior to Josiah's passover for a long while, "There was not kept such a Passover."

Does this deny what is said in Chronicles? Certainly not! What is stated is merely that Josiah's Passover was uniquely different in some ways from previous Passovers reaching back for generations. And how was that? All of the twelve tribes attended it! In no sense whatever does this DENY that Hezekiah kept the Passover, only that this one was different.

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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 23:21". "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 commanded all the people,.... Not at Jerusalem only, but throughout the whole kingdom: saying:

keep the passover unto the Lord your God, as it is written in this book of the covenant; which had been lately found and read, and they had agreed to observe, and in which this ordinance was strictly enjoined, and was a commemoration of their deliverance out of Egypt, and a direction of their faith to the Messiah, the antitype of the passover.

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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 23:21". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/2-kings-23.html. 1999.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

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)

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 23:21". 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

Keep the passover: having abolished false worship, he now endeavours to set up the true worship of the true God.

In this book of the covenant; in this book which I have found; wherein is contained the covenant made between God and Israel, and the terms of it.

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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Kings 23:21". 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

21.Keep the passover — It seemed to the king appropriate to conclude his great work of reform by a proper observance of this most important religious festival.

As it is written in the book of this covenant — Rather, in this book of the covenant. It seems this feast had not been held according to the letter of the law, and Josiah’s wish was, that this one should be observed as it was written.

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Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Kings 23:21". "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 23:21. The king commanded, saying, Keep the passover, &c. — Having abolished false worship, he now endeavours to set up the true worship of the true God. Thus he differed greatly from Jehu, who, when he had destroyed the worship of Baal, took no heed to walk in the commandments and ordinances of God. Josiah considered that we must not only cease to do evil, but also learn to do well, and that the way to keep out all abominable customs is to keep up all instituted ordinances. He therefore commanded all the people to keep the passover, which was not only a memorial of their deliverance out of Egypt, but a token of their being dedicated to him who brought them out, and of their communion with him. As it is written in this book of the covenant — This book which he had found, wherein is contained the covenant made between God and Israel, and the terms of it.

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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 23:21". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/2-kings-23.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Covenant, in Deuteronomy, chap. xxii. 8. (Menochius)

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Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 2 Kings 23:21". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/2-kings-23.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Keep the passover. See note on Exodus 12:28.

the book of this covenant = this covenant-book. Authorized Version 1611, reads "this book of the covenant".

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Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 2 Kings 23:21". "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 commanded all the people, saying, Keep the passover unto the LORD your God, as it is written in the book of this covenant.

The king commanded ... Keep the Passover ... It was observed with great solemnity, and was attended not only by his own subjects, but by the remnant people from Israel (see the notes at 2 Chronicles 35:1-19). Many of the Israelites who were at Jerusalem might have heard of, if they did not hear, the law read by Josiah. It is probable that they might even have gotten a copy of the law, stimulated as they were to the better observance of Yahweh's worship by the unusual sad solemn transactions at Jerusalem.

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Kings 23:21". "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

(21) Keep the passover.—Hold a passover (2 Kings 23:22). (Comp. 2 Chronicles 35:1-19 for a more detailed account of this unique celebration.) Josiah had the precedent of Hezekiah for signalising his religious revolution by a solemn passover (2 Chronicles 30:1).

In the book of this covenant.—Rather, in this book of the covenant (2 Kings 23:2). The book was that which Hilkiah had found in the Temple, and which gave the impulse to the whole reforming movement. (The LXX. and Vulg. read, in the book of this covenant—a mere mistake.)

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 23:21". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/2-kings-23.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

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.
Keep
2 Chronicles 35:1-19
as it is written
Exodus 12:3-20; Leviticus 23:5-8; Numbers 9:2-5; 28:16-25; Deuteronomy 16:1-8
Reciprocal: Exodus 12:14 - by an ordinance;  Exodus 12:21 - and take;  Exodus 23:15 - the feast;  2 Chronicles 34:30 - the book;  2 Chronicles 35:18 - there was no passover

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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 23:21". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/2-kings-23.html.