Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Kings 23:3

The king stood by the 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 his heart and all his soul, to carry out the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people entered into the covenant.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Jeremiah;   Josiah;   Zephaniah;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Elder;   Gods and Goddesses, Pagan;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Jeremiah;   Temple, Solomon's;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Hilkiah;   Josiah;   Kings, the Books of;   Pentateuch;   Pillars;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Covenant;   Ezekiel;   Government;   Kings, 1 and 2;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Canon of the Old Testament;   Covenant;   Hexateuch;   Hilkiah;   Idolatry;   King;   Satyr;   Temple;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Josiah ;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Raca;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Kingdom of Judah;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Covenant, in the Old Testament;   King;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Host of Heaven;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Stood by a pillar - He stood, העמוד על al haammud, "upon the stairs or pulpit." This is what is called the brazen scaffold or pulpit which Solomon made, and on which the kings were accustomed to stand when they addressed the people. See 2 Chronicles 6:13, and the parallel places.

Made a covenant - This was expressed,

  1. In general. To walk after Jehovah; to have no gods besides him.
  • To take his law for the regulation of their conduct.
  • In particular. To bend their whole heart and soul to the observance of it, so that, they might not only have religion without, but, piety within.
  • To this all the people stood up, thus giving their consent, and binding themselves to obedience.

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    Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 2 Kings 23:3". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/2-kings-23.html. 1832.

    Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

    By a pillar - Rather, “upon the pillar” (see 2 Kings 11:14, note).

    Made a covenant - “The covenant.” Josiah renewed the old covenant made between God and His people in Horeb Deuteronomy 5:2, so far at least as such renewal was possible by the mere act of an individual. He bound himself by a solemn promise to the faithful performance of the entire Law.

    With all their heart - “Their” rather than “his,” because the king was considered as pledging the whole nation to obedience with himself. He and they “stood to it,” i. e., “accepted it, came into the covenant.”

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    Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 2 Kings 23:3". "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 the king stood by a pillar,.... As the manner of kings was, 2 Kings 11:14 and is thought to be the brasen scaffold erected by Solomon, on which he stood at the dedication of the temple, and now Josiah at the reading of the law, 2 Chronicles 6:13, it is said to be his place, 2 Chronicles 34:31; see Gill on 2 Kings 11:14.

    and made a covenant before the Lord: agreed and promised in the presence of God, both he and his people:

    to walk after the Lord: the worship of the Lord, as the Targum; closely to attend to that:

    and to keep his commandments, and his testimonies, and his statutes: all the laws of God, moral, civil, and ceremonial:

    with all their heart, and all their soul: cordially and sincerely:

    to perform the words of the covenant that were written in this book: lately found, and now read unto them:

    and all the people stood to the covenant: agreed to it, and promised to keep it; so the Targum,"all the people took upon them the covenant,'engaged to observe it.

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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.
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    Bibliographical Information
    Gill, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 23:3". "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 stood by b a pillar, and made a c 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.

    (b) Where the king had his place, (2 Kings 11:14).

    (c) As Joshua did, (Joshua 24:22), (Joshua 24:25).

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    Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 2 Kings 23:3". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/2-kings-23.html. 1599-1645.

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

    all the people stood to the covenant — that is, they agreed to the proposals made; they assented to what was required of them.

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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 23:3". "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 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.

    Stood — They declared their consent to it, and their concurrence with the king in that act, which possibly they did by standing up, as the king himself stood when he took it. It is of good use, with all possible solemnity, to oblige ourselves to our duty. And he that bears an honest heart, does not startle at assurances.

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    Bibliographical Information
    Wesley, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 23:3". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/2-kings-23.html. 1765.

    Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

    The covenant here spoken of means the renewal of that gracious one the Lord had vouchsafed in times past, when he formed Israel into a church; in which God graciously said, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Implying the people's hearty and joyful consent to have God for their God in a covenant way, as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Exodus 19:5-6.

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    Bibliographical Information
    Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on 2 Kings 23:3". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/2-kings-23.html. 1828.

    John Trapp Complete Commentary

    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."

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    Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 23:3". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/2-kings-23.html. 1865-1868.

    Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae

    DISCOURSE: 381

    COVENANTING WITH GOD

    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.

    LITTLE do men in general consider the benefit they receive from the sacred oracles, and the stated ordinances of divine worship. Without these, the remembrance of God would soon vanish: whereas by these we are constantly reminded of the obligations we are under to love and serve him. In the days of King Josiah the inspired volume was altogether lost, and the Temple of Jehovah had been suffered to fall into decay. The pious monarch having ordered the temple to be repaired, the book of God was found. Immediately the contents of it were read to him: and, when he saw what judgments it denounced against his nation, he sought to avert them by turning to the Lord his God. He summoned all the priests, and prophets, and people of Jerusalem, and engaged them to make a solemn covenant with God, that they would henceforth serve him with their whole heart.

    This instructive record shews us, that,

    I. Persons in authority should use their influence to promote religion—

    [Many of the Jewish kings were patrons of real piety: but among them all there was not one who equalled Josiah in integrity of heart and devotedness of soul [Note: ver. 25.]. The use which he made of his authority is sufficiently declared in the history before us. But we must not imagine that such exertions belong only to rulers and governors: whether our influence extend over a kingdom, or only to a parish, or a single family, it should be improved for God. Ministers should labour by all possible means to bring their people to God: and every parent, or master of a family, should study to advance the eternal interest of those, who, by the providence of God, are committed to his care. Nor should any be deterred by the degeneracy of the times: for the state of religion cannot well be reduced to a lower ebb than it was in the days of Josiah: and, if it were, that would only be a reason for our more earnest exertions in the cause of God. Nor can we easily conceive how much good might be done by the labours of au individual. The effects of Josiah’s reformation continued throughout all his reign [Note: 2 Chronicles 34:32-33.]: and, though persons in inferior stations cannot hope to produce the sudden and extensive change that he did, yet their labours may convey incalculable benefit to the latest generations: the good impressions that are made on a few will stimulate them to impart the same benefits to their neighbours, and to seek the welfare of those who are within the sphere of their influence: those again will adopt the same line of conduct towards others; and thus the benefit will be perpetually transmitted from age to age. What might not be hoped for, if magistrates and ministers, parents and masters, would combine in this good work?]

    To this we may be encouraged by the consideration that,

    II. Such exertions will be acceptable to those who feel their need of mercy—

    [They who are wholly unconcerned about their souls will probably regard such efforts as officious, ostentatious, hypocritical. But if once they become, like the Jews on this occasion, sensible of their guilt and danger, they will no longer consider a reformer as an enemy to the happiness of mankind, but as a blessing to the world. How often is it seen that they who once despised and persecuted a minister for his piety, will send for him in a time of sickness, and be exceeding thankful for his instructions and his prayers! and many who once joined in condemning him for his zeal, will afterwards go statedly many miles to attend his ministry. Such is the effect even among strangers and aliens: how much more therefore may we hope to find this acquiescence, when our counsels are enforced with the endearments of affection, or the weight of legitimate authority! Indeed, such interference is expected of us: and we lower ourselves in the estimation even of the ungodly, in proportion as we decline, whether through indolence or fear, these offices of Christian love.]

    Such exertions, I say, will be acceptable to many;

    III. Nor will the strictest commands of God’s covenant be deemed harsh by those who are in earnest about their souls—

    [Men regardless of their eternal state will scarcely hear of any restraint: they will plead for the utmost latitude of indulgence: and when forced by their convictions to concede somewhat of their fancied rights, they will yield only as Pharaoh did, when necessitated by a sense of present judgments, and the fear of more. He at first would not suffer the Hebrews to sacrifice to their God at all: then he would permit it in the land of Egypt: then it might be in the borders of the wilderness: then the men might go, but they must leave their little ones as a pledge of their return: then the women and children might go, but not the cattle: at last he was glad to get rid of all [Note: Exodus 8:25; Exodus 8:28; Exodus 10:11; Exodus 10:24; Exodus 12:31-33.]. Thus sinners will plead for this and that sin as long as they can entertain any hope of safety in the indulgence of it; but when they feel themselves utterly undone, they will cast out of the vessel the tackle and the wheat itself, rather than perish in the great abyss [Note: Acts 27:38.]. Yes, let them be really persuaded that the care of their souls is the one thing needful, and they will consent that God shall prescribe his own terms: they will say, with Saul, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do [Note: Acts 9:6.]?” The covenant which Josiah proposed was exceeding strict; they were to “keep God’s commandments, and testimonies, and statutes, yea, to keep them with all their heart, and with all their soul;” but they did not object to the terms; on the contrary, we are told “they stood to the covenant.” Thus it should be with us also: the most self-denying commandment should not appear grievous [Note: 1 John 5:3.], but “holy, and just, and good [Note: Romans 7:12.];” and we should cordially submit to it without any limitations or reserves.]

    We shall not dismiss this subject without adding a word,

    1. Of reproof—

    [How many instead of using all their influence for God, exert it in the service of the devil! We speak not merely of those who tempt others to drunkenness, lewdness, or any other gross iniquity; but of those who by their vain, worldly, or careless conduct lead others to think lightly of sin, and to live in a neglect of their souls. In this way every person, whatever be his station, exerts, however unintentionally, a very extensive influence, which by a different conduct might be turned to good account. Say not, like Cain, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” for all of you are accountable to God for the use which you make of your influence; and you will receive from God, not only according to the good or evil which you have done yourselves, but according to that which you have occasioned in others.]

    2. Of caution—

    [We are ready in a time of sickness, and under convictions of sin, to make covenants with God; like the Israelites who said, “All that the Lord hath said will we do, and be obedient [Note: Exodus 24:7.].” But when we make them in our own strength, we shall violate them exactly as they did. Let not any then be hasty in making vows, or think that they can execute them by any power of their own. To give up ourselves to God is certainly right; but in order to do it effectually, we must be strong, not in ourselves, but “in the Lord, and in the power of his might [Note: Ephesians 6:10.].”]

    3. Of consolation—

    [If we were to be saved by our own faithfulness, who amongst us would be able to stand before God? Alas! “our own goodness has often been as the morning dew, and as the early cloud that passeth away.” But, thanks be to God! there is a covenant made by our great Head and Surety [Note: Psalms 89:3; Psalms 89:28; Psalms 89:34-36.]; a covenant in which we all are interested; “a covenant ordered in all things and sure [Note: 2 Samuel 23:5 with Jeremiah 31:31-34; Jeremiah 32:38-41.].” Let this then be the real ground of our hope: let us lay hold on it, and cleave unto it. Let not, however, our affiance in this tempt us to violate our own engagements; for negligence in performing our vows to God will infallibly prove us to be strangers to the Gospel-covenant. Let us rather “give ourselves wholly to the Lord;” that while we trust in “the blood of the everlasting covenant,” we may approve ourselves to him as “good and faithful servants.”]

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    Bibliographical Information
    Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on 2 Kings 23:3". 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

    By the pillar; of which See Poole "2 Kings 11:14"; See Poole "2 Chronicles 34:31".

    To the covenant, to wit, as to the taking of it; they declared their consent to it, and their concurrence with the king in that act, which possibly they did by standing upright, as the king himself stood when he took it.

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    Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Kings 23:3". 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

    3.Stood by a pillar — Rather, by the pillar: the same pillar by which the youthful Joash stood when the high priest Jehoiada made a covenant between the king and the people. See note on 2 Kings 11:14.

    All the people stood to the covenant — They entered into the covenant like the king, by taking upon themselves solemn vows and oaths to keep the commandments. Stanley remarks that it was “one of those national vows or covenants which were in the monarchy what the vows of individuals had been in the earlier stages of the nation.”

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    Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Kings 23:3". "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 23:3. The king stood by a pillar — Of which see on chap. 2 Kings 11:14. And made a covenant before the Lord — The king himself was the first and principal covenanter, who publicly and solemnly declared his consent to this covenant, to set the elders, priests, and people an example, and to assure them not only of his protection, but of all the furtherance his power could give them in their obedience. And all the people stood to the covenant — They declared their consent to it, and their concurrence with the king in that act, which possibly they did by standing up, as the king himself stood when ha took it. It is of good use, with all possible solemnity, to oblige ourselves to our duty: and he that bears an honest heart, does not startle at assurances.

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    Bibliographical Information
    Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Kings 23:3". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/2-kings-23.html. 1857.

    George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

    The step. His tribune or tribunal, a more eminent place, from whence he might be seen and heard by the people. (Challoner) --- This brazen tribune is described [in] chap. xi. 14., and 2 Paralipomenon vi. 12. --- To the covenant, but with much less exactitude than the king. (Calmet)

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    Bibliographical Information
    Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 2 Kings 23:3". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/2-kings-23.html. 1859.

    E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

    by a pillar: or, on the pillar, or, platform. Compare 2 Kings 11:14.

    soul. Hebrew. nephesh. App-13.

    written. See App-47.

    stood. But not for long. See Jeremiah 11:2-20.

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    Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 2 Kings 23:3". "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 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.

    All the people stood to the covenant - i:e., they agreed to the proposals made; they assented to what was All the people stood to the covenant - i:e., they agreed to the proposals made; they assented to what was required of them.

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    Bibliographical Information
    Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Kings 23:3". "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

    (3) By a pillar.—On the stand or dais (2 Kings 11:14).

    A covenant.—The covenant, which had so often been broken. Josiah pledged himself “to walk after the Lord,” and imposed a similar pledge on the people.

    Stood to the covenant—i.e., entered it; took the same pledge as the king. (Comp. 2 Kings 18:28.)

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    Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 23:3". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/2-kings-23.html. 1905.

    Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

    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.
    stood
    11:14,17; 2 Chronicles 23:13; 34:31,32
    made a covenant
    Exodus 24:7,8; Deuteronomy 5:1-3; 29:1,10-15; Joshua 24:25; 2 Chronicles 15:12-14; 23:16; 2 Chronicles 29:10; Ezra 10:3; Nehemiah 9:38; 10:28-39; Jeremiah 50:5; Hebrews 8:8-13; 12:24; Hebrews 13:20
    to walk
    Deuteronomy 8:19
    his commandments
    Deuteronomy 4:45; 5:1; 6:1; Psalms 19:7-9
    with all their heart
    Deuteronomy 6:5; 10:12; 11:13; Matthew 22:36,37
    And all
    Exodus 24:3; Joshua 24:24; 2 Chronicles 34:32,33; Ecclesiastes 8:2; Jeremiah 4:2
    Reciprocal: Deuteronomy 4:29 - with all;  Deuteronomy 13:4 - walk;  1 Kings 2:4 - walk;  1 Kings 8:22 - stood before the altar;  2 Kings 11:4 - made a covenant;  2 Kings 23:25 - that turned;  2 Chronicles 6:12 - he stood;  Nehemiah 5:12 - I called;  Nehemiah 5:13 - the people;  Nehemiah 10:29 - to walk;  Psalm 119:106 - that I will;  Jeremiah 11:2 - GeneralJeremiah 29:13 - with;  Jeremiah 34:8 - had;  Jeremiah 34:15 - ye had;  Ezekiel 4:6 - forty days

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    Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Kings 23:3". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/2-kings-23.html.