Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Kings 23:25

Before him there was no king like him who 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; nor did any like him arise after him.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Decision;   Israel, Prophecies Concerning;   Josiah;   Obedience;   Thompson Chain Reference - Consecration;   Entire Consecration;   Surrendered Life, Characteristics of;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Law of Moses, the;   Zeal;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Jeremiah;   Josiah;   Judah, tribe and kingdom;   Manasseh, king of judah;   Zephaniah;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Gods and Goddesses, Pagan;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Jeremiah;   Josiah;   Law of Moses;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Achan;   Jeremiah;   Josiah;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Ezekiel;   Josiah;   Kings, 1 and 2;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Canon of the Old Testament;   Hexateuch;   Idolatry;   Jeremiah;   Kings, Books of;   Mizpah, Mizpeh;   Temple;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Josiah ;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Raca;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Bethel;   Bible, the;   Great;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Aquila (Β;   Torah;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Like unto him was there no king - Perhaps not one from the time of David; and, morally considered, including David himself, none ever sat on the Jewish throne, so truly exemplary in his own conduct, and so thoroughly zealous in the work of God. David was a greater but not a better man than Josiah.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 2 Kings 23:25". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/2-kings-23.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

And like unto him … - See 2 Kings 18:5 note. We must not press the letter of either passage, but regard both kings as placed among the very best of the kings of Judah.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 2 Kings 23:25". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/2-kings-23.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And like unto him was there no king before him,.... The same is said of Hezekiah, 2 Kings 18:5, Hezekiah might excel him in some things, as Josiah might excel Hezekiah in others:

that turned to the Lord with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might; with such sincerity, heartiness, zeal, and constancy:

according to all the law of Moses; having respect to every commandment, especially relative to worship, with the greatest precision and exactness:

neither after him arose there any like him; for all to the captivity were wicked princes.

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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 23:25". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/2-kings-23.html. 1999.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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.

No king — For his diligent study in God's law, and his exact care, and unwearied industry, and fervent zeal, in rooting out idolators, and all kinds and appearances of idolatry, not only in Judah, but in Israel also; and in the establishment of the true religion in all his dominions, and in the conforming of his own life, and his peoples too, (as far as he could) to the holy law of God: though Hezekiah might excel him in some particulars.

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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.
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Wesley, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 23:25". "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 23:25 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.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 23:25". 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 23:25. Like unto him was there no king before him, &c.— As it is mentioned to the particular praise of Hezekiah, chap. 2 Kings 18:5., that there was no king like him, who trusted in the Lord God of Israel; so the preference given to Josiah is here limited to his turning to the Lord with all his heart, &c. by which is partly meant that he made a more thorough and complete reformation than any of his predecessors. But however sincere he was in this reformation, omitting nothing to restore the purity of God's worship wherever his power extended, yet a great part at least of the people still had a hankering after the corruption of the former part of Manasseh's reign. They complied indeed with the present reformation, but this was only through fear of incurring the king's displeasure, or of feeling the severity of his justice. Their hearts were not right towards God, as appears fully from the writings of the prophets of those times; and therefore, seeing no sign of their repentance, God had no reason to reverse his decree, nor to turn from the fierceness of his great wrath; 2 Kings 23:26.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 2 Kings 23:25". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/2-kings-23.html. 1801-1803.

Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae

DISCOURSE: 382

THE CHARACTER OF JOSIAH

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.

THIS is the character given of King Josiah. A similar eulogium had been passed on his progenitor, Hezekiah; of whom it is said, “He trusted in the Lord God of Israel; so that after him was none like him of all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him [Note: 2 Kings 18:5.].” But there is nothing contrary in the two accounts: each of these persons had his peculiar excellencies, in which he surpassed all others: Hezekiah was distinguished (as the words cited intimate,) for his confidence in God; and Josiah, as our text informs us, for his zeal and piety. No person, merely human, was ever perfect, since the introduction of sin into the world. There have indeed been bright characters, who have reflected with great lustre and fidelity some rays of “the Sun of righteousness;” but of Christ alone can it be said, that “He is light, and in him is no darkness at all.”

The character here given of Josiah is as exalted as any that was ever ascribed to fallen man: and for the purpose of illustrating it, we propose to mark some of the chief features of which it was composed.

I. He began to serve God at a very early period of life—

[At eight years old he began to reign: and no sooner did he arrive at years of discretion, than he began seriously and devoutly to serve the Lord [Note: 2. Chron. 34:3.]. At sixteen years of age, when it might have been expected that he should be studious only of pleasure, he turned from earthly vanities to seek his happiness in God: and at twenty years of age, when it is probable he began to exercise without control his regal office, he set himself to reform the whole nation. Not fearing the face of man, he stemmed the torrent of iniquity which had overwhelmed the land; and devoted to the service of his God all the powers with which he was invested.

This was doubtless most pleasing to God, who required by the law that the first-fruits of man and beast should be his, and who has given a peculiar promise to those who seek him in early life; “They that seek me early shall find me.” Happy would it be if all of us began at the early age of sixteen to serve the Lord; and if from that period every talent committed to our care were improved for God! How much better this, than to be wasting our youthful days in sin and vanity! True, we have not all the same authority as he; but all in our respective spheres should exert ourselves to the utmost of our ability; remembering, that if youth labours under some disadvantages in point of influence, it has a tendency to put to shame the indolence of more advanced years, and to impress more forcibly the minds of those who are yet young and tender. Whilst then we say to all, “Remember your Creator in the days of your youth,” we would exhort all, from the first moment that they feel the value of their own souls, to exert themselves with all diligence to benefit the souls of others — — —]

II. He proceeded in his career with extraordinary zeal and diligence—

[It seems almost incredible that this young monarch should effect so much as he did in so short a time. He first began to root out idolatry from those tribes which were under his own dominion; and then set himself (by the connivance or permission of the Assyrian monarch) to effect the same changes among the remnant of the ten tribes. Not choosing to devolve these labours on others, he proceeded himself “throughout all the land of Israel,” that he might see his orders carried into execution. The means he used to produce a reformation were of the most extraordinary kind; breaking in pieces all the images that he could find, strewing the dust of them on the graves of those who had sacrificed unto them; and burning on the altars the bones of the priests who had placed their offerings upon them [Note: See 2 Chronicles 34:3-7.].

Here we see how justly he deserved the character given him in our text: he entered into his work “with all his heart, and all his soul, and all his might.” And this is the spirit which we also should manifest in all our services for God. We should not indulge a lukewarm spirit, but “be zealously affected always in a good cause.” “Whatever our hand findeth to do, we should do with all our might” — — —]

III. He was as zealous in promoting piety as in suppressing vice—

[When he had put down the reigning abominations, he endeavoured to establish the worship of the true God: he repaired the temple, which had fallen into decay; he convened all his subjects, “the priests and Levites, and all the people both small and great,” and himself read to them the word of God, and made a covenant with the Lord both for himself and them to serve the Lord God with their whole hearts; and “he caused all the people to stand to the covenant.” After this he kept a passover, such as had not been kept even from the time of Samuel to that hour: and toward the expenses of it he himself very largely contributed.

Now here was real piety: here was a manifest regard for the honour of God and the good of men. This it is that most exalts a character. Many there are who will be extremely zealous against open profaneness, who yet have no real concern, for God’s honour and glory. But we must combine “godliness with honesty.” We must labour, each in his sphere, to promote the Knowledge and the worship of God: and having given up ourselves to him in a perpetual covenant, we must endeavour to engage others also to a like surrender of themselves to him. In a peculiar manner we should ourselves respect, and to the utmost of our power cause others also to regard, the wonders of redeeming love. Since “Christ our passover is sacrificed for us, we should keep the feast” — — — Here is scope for the best energies of our souls. In reference to these things it is not possible to be too earnest, provided we are alike attentive to every duty, and careful “that God in all things may be glorified through Christ Jesus” — — —]

IV. In all he did he adhered strictly to the word of God—

[From the first moment that the Scriptures were found and read to him, he determined to make them the one rule of his conduct. He “humbled himself deeply before God” for the utter disregard of them which had obtained throughout the whole kingdom: and he himself read them in the ears of his people, and required a conformity to them in every particular. In celebrating the passover, he was especially mindful of every direction given by Moses relative to that divine ordinance; and indeed in the whole of his conduct he laboured to secure a perfect compliance with God’s revealed will. This is the thing noticed, both in the text and in many other places; and it forms a very essential part of that goodness, for which he is applauded in the sacred records [Note: 2 Chronicles 35:26.].

It often, happens, that men are zealous for their own party and their own opinions; and men in such a state will sometimes “compass sea and land to make one proselyte:” but unless we build according to “the model given us in the mount,” we lose all our labour. To please our God, we must have a strict regard to his revealed will: and for this end we must study the Holy Scriptures, and “turn from them neither to the right hand nor the left.”]

Address—

[Here we may rejoice, that we all have the Scriptures in our hands. They are not hid, as in the days of Josiah; but are so freely and universally dispersed, that every man in the kingdom who desires to study them, may obtain them. How signally blessed are we in this respect! Nay, we not only have access to the Scriptures, but have them read and expounded to us from Sabbath to Sabbath. Let us then learn to tremble at the word. Let us remember that every jot and tittle of it will be fulfilled in its season. Let us bear in mind, that our wilful deviations from it will be visited with the divine displeasure: and that, if we study to fulfil it “with all our heart, and soul, and might,” God, who knoweth our hearts, will bear testimony to us in the day of judgment, as here he has done to King Josiah; and will say to us before the assembled universe, “Well done, good and faithful servants, enter ye into the joy of your Lord.”]

END OF VOL. III.

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Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on 2 Kings 23:25". Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/shh/2-kings-23.html. 1832.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Like unto him there was no king before him, to wit, for his diligent study in God’s law, and his exact care, and unwearied industry, and fervent zeal, in rooting out of idolaters, and all kinds and appearances of idolatry, not only in Judah, but in Israel also; and in the establishment of the true religion in all his dominions, and in the conforming of his own life, and his people’s too, (as far as he could,) to the holy law of God; though Hezekiah might excel him in some other particulars; of whom therefore the like is said above, 2 Kings 18:5.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Kings 23:25". 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

25.Like unto him was there no king before him — It is commonly held that Hezekiah equalled or surpassed him in trusting Jehovah, (2 Kings 18:5,) but that he excelled Hezekiah in his scrupulous adherence to all the law of Moses. But see note on 2 Kings 18:5.

Josiah was the last true theocratic king of Judah, and, from the great events belonging to his reign, as well as his profoundly earnest effort to extirpate idolatry from all Israel, his name and memory are highly panegyrized in the annals of his people. “The remembrance of Josiah,” says the son of Sirach, “is like the composition of the perfume that is made by the art of the apothecary; it is sweet as honey in all mouths, and as music at a banquet of wine. He behaved himself uprightly in the conversation of the people, and took away the abominations of iniquity. He directed his heart unto the Lord, and in the time of the ungodly he established the worship of God. Except David, Hezekiah, and Josiah, all were defective.” Sirach 49:1-4.

Josiah’s reformation is open to criticism, for its methods of violence were such as have ever characterized religious persecutions, and it failed, as the subsequent history shows, to effect any permanent change in the nation for the better. “Large as is the space occupied by it in the historical books,” says Stanley, “by the contemporary prophets it is never mentioned at all.”

It may therefore be held up as signal evidence and admonition that violent measures are useless to effect a genuine or permanent reformation. But we must not judge Josiah’s work by the standards of our Christian age. What other or milder measures could we rationally expect a Jewish king of that age to have thought of? “Judaism,” says Sumner, (in Schaff’s Lange, ) “had intolerance as one of its fundamental principles. Violence in support of Jehovah’s religion was a duty of a Jewish king. In attempting to account for and understand the conduct of Josiah, it would be as senseless to expect him to see and practice toleration as to expect him to use firearms against Necho. We can never carry back modern principles into ancient times and judge men by the standards of to-day.”

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Kings 23:25". "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 23:25. Like unto him was there no king before him — For his diligent study in God’s law, and his exact care, and unwearied industry, and fervent zeal, in rooting out idolaters, and all kinds and appearances of idolatry, not only in Judah, but in Israel also; and in the establishment of the true religion in all his dominions, and in the conforming of his own life, and his people’s too, (as far as he could,) to the holy law of God: though Hezekiah might excel him in some particulars.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Kings 23:25". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/2-kings-23.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Like him. Every person has some peculiarity, which distinguishes him from every other. (Haydock) --- Thus we say of many saints: There was none found like unto him, Ecclesiasticus xliv. 20. (Tirinus)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 2 Kings 23:25". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/2-kings-23.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

like unto. Note the Figure of speech Epanadiplosis, by which (for emphasis) the statement begins and ends with the same words.

soul. Hebrew. nephesh. App-13.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 2 Kings 23:25". "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 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.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Kings 23:25". "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

(25) And. like unto him was there no king before him.—Comp. 2 Kings 18:5-6, where a similar eulogy is passed upon Hezekiah. It is not, perhaps, necessary to insist upon any formal contradiction which may appear to result from a comparison of the two passages. A writer would not be careful to measure his words by the rule of strict proportion in such cases. Still, as the preceding account indicates, the Mosaic law does not appear to have been so rigorously carried out by any preceding king as by Josiah. (See Note on 2 Chronicles 30:26.)

With all his heart . . .—An echo of Deuteronomy 6:5. That Josiah’s merits did not merely consist in a strict observance of the legitimate worship and ritual, is evident from Jeremiah 22:15-16, where he is praised for his righteousness as a judge.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 23:25". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/2-kings-23.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

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.
A. M. 3363-3394. B.C. 641-610. unto him
18:5
that turned
3; Deuteronomy 4:29; 6:5; 1 Kings 2:4; 8:48; 15:5; Jeremiah 29:13
according
Nehemiah 10:29; Malachi 4:4; John 1:17; 7:19
Reciprocal: 1 Kings 21:25 - But there;  Job 1:8 - none;  Jeremiah 22:15 - thy;  Hebrews 11:38 - whom

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Kings 23:25". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/2-kings-23.html.