2 Kings 23

Book of the covenant read ; Josiah renews covenant 1
Pagan articles and priests removed from the temple 4
High places defiled 15
Bones of "man of God" not to be disturbed 17
Shrines and priests of Samaria dealt with 19
Passover required 21
Spirit mediums put away 24
Wrath of God is still due to Judah 26
Josiah dies in battle 28
Reign and captivity of Jehohaz 31
Reign of Jehoiakim in Judah 35
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Text
Explanation
.1 ¶ And the king sent, and they gathered unto him all the elders of Judah and of Jerusalem.
 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.
 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.
  1 - King ... gathered This was an effort to avoid or reduce the damages of the threatened calamity. Josiah was acting with wisdom. 
  3 - Pillar This was probably one of the large bronze pillars. See 1ki0715 and 21.
  3 - Made a covenant Renewal of the one made at Sinai ex1905ff, ex2403ff. They would walk in the way of the Lord ex1905-8, ex2403-8.
  3 - People stood They joined in pledging their loyalty.
.4 ¶ And the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest, and the priests of the second order, and the keepers of the door, to bring forth out of the temple of the LORD all the vessels that were made for Baal, and for the grove, and for all the host of heaven: and he burned them without Jerusalem in the fields of Kidron, and carried the ashes of them unto Bethel.
 5  And he put down the idolatrous priests, whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense in the high places in the cities of Judah, and in the places round about Jerusalem; them also that burned incense unto Baal, to the sun, and to the moon, and to the planets, and to all the host of heaven.
  4 - Priests of the second order 2ki2518.
  4 - Commanded ... out of the temple Apparently the reforms of Josiah were only partial. Or that people brought back their evil.
  5 - Idolatrous priests ... kings These were not necessarily godly men and weren't of the tribe of Levi. 1ki1231.
  5 - Unto Baal The Gods were likely listed in order of veneration. Baal was the god of storms 1ki1631.
.6  And he brought out the grove from the house of the LORD, without Jerusalem, unto the brook Kidron, and burned it at the brook Kidron, and stamped it small to powder, and cast the powder thereof upon the graves of the children of the people.
.7  And he brake down the houses of the sodomites, that were by the house of the LORD, where the women wove hangings for the grove.
 7 And he had the houses pulled down of those who were used for sex purposes in the house of the Lord, where women were making robes for the Asherah. (BBE).
.8  And he brought all the priests out of the cities of Judah, and defiled the high places where the priests had burned incense, from Geba to Beersheba, and brake down the high places of the gates that were in the entering in of the gate of Joshua the governor of the city, which were on a man's left hand at the gate of the city.
  6 - Grove Probably the wood Asherah made by Manasseh 2ki2103, 7. It likely had a metal plating.
  6 - Powder ... graves Following the example of Moses after the apostasy of the golden calf ex3220.
  6 - Brook Kidron "A winter torrent, and the valley in which it flowed, east of Jerusalem.  This valley begins a little northwest of the city, passes some two hundred rods north of the present wall, and turns to the south. Here it is wide and open; but as it runs south between the city and mount Olivet, it becomes narrow and deep.  Opposite mount Moriah, it is a mere torrent's bed, one hundred and fifty feet below the city wall.  It sinks still deeper as it passes Siloam, the valley of Hinnom, and the well of Nehemiah, and then winds southeast, in a narrow and precipitous gorge, through the horrid wilderness of St. Saba, to the Dead Sea." (ATS Dict.)
  7 - Brake ... houses "Not solid houses, but tents, called elsewhere [2Ki 17:30] Succoth-benoth, "the booths of the young women," who were devoted to the service of Asherah, for which they made embroidered hangings, and in which they gave themselves to unbridled revelry and lust.
  7 - Sodomites There were apparently male and female prostitutes. Their being "by the place of the Lord" means that their prostitution was associated with the temple.
  7 - Hangings Or the hangings might be for Asherah itself, as it is a popular superstition in the East to hang pieces of cloth on trees" (JFB). See temple below.

This temple, used by several oriental religions, is about 1800 years old. The king of that time won a sea battle with ships on the Yangtsee River which is on the other side of the building. Just before taking this picture, I took one of a tree with many red ribbons attached to its branches. These were "prayers." The tradition may have come from the same pagan source as in verse 7 above. Unfortunately I do not have the picture of the tree with the ribbons. The area was very clean. The temple location is Hu-bei Province, China. Because of its remote location, it is rarely visited even by the Chinese tw
  8, 9 Many of the Levitical order, finding in the reigns of Manasseh and Amon the temple worship abolished and the tithes and other offerings alienated, had been betrayed into the folly of officiating on high places, and presenting such sacrifices as were brought to them. These irregularities, even though the object of that worship was the true God, were prohibited in the law (De 12:11). Those who had been guilty of this sin, Josiah brought to Jerusalem. Regarding them as defiled, he debarred them from the service of the temple, but gave them an allowance out of the temple revenues, like the lame and disabled members of the priesthood (Le 21:21,22). (JFB)
 9  Nevertheless the priests of the high places came not up to the altar of the LORD in Jerusalem, but they did eat of the unleavened bread among their brethren.
.10  And he defiled Topheth, which is in the valley of the children of Hinnom, that no man might make his son or his daughter to pass through the fire to Molech.
.11  And he took away the horses that the kings of Judah had given to the sun, at the entering in of the house of the LORD, by the chamber of Nathanmelech the chamberlain, which was in the suburbs, and burned the chariots of the sun with fire.
  9 - Priests of the high places Apparently allowed to do some simple jobs. Compare ez4410ff.
  9 - Unleavened bread The status of these high-place priests was similar to the one described in le2117-23.
  10 - Defiled Topeth An important step in reform. Human sacrifices had been offered here is3033, je0731, je1906, je3235. The sons of Ahaz and Madaddeh could have been offered here 2ki1603, 2ki2106, 2ch2803, 2ch3306.
  11 - Took away ... horses "Among the people who anciently worshipped the sun, horses were usually dedicated to that divinity, from the supposed idea that the sun himself was drawn in a chariot by horses. In some cases these horses were sacrificed; but more commonly they were employed either in the sacred processions to carry the images of the sun, or for the worshippers to ride in every morning to welcome his rise. It seems that the idolatrous kings, Ahaz, Manasseh, and Amon, or their great officers, proceeded on these horses early on each day from the east gate of the temple to salute and worship the sun at his appearing above the horizon." (JFB).
.12  And the altars that were on the top of the upper chamber of Ahaz, which the kings of Judah had made, and the altars which Manasseh had made in the two courts of the house of the LORD, did the king beat down, and brake them down from thence, and cast the dust of them into the brook Kidron.
.13  And the high places that were before Jerusalem, which were on the right hand of the mount of corruption, which Solomon the king of Israel had builded for Ashtoreth the abomination of the Zidonians, and for Chemosh the abomination of the Moabites, and for Milcom the abomination of the children of Ammon, did the king defile.
 14  And he brake in pieces the images, and cut down the groves, and filled their places with the bones of men.
  12 - Upper chamber "This probably refers to an upper chamber constructed by Ahaz over some structure in the Temple court, since the writer is here dealing with defilement. The altars may have been for star worship, which was especially carried on from housetops" (see Jer. 19:13; 32:29; Zeph. 1:5). (SDA Bible Commentary).
  13 - High places ... before Jerusalem Directions were described with reference to the east. So the left hand would point north. The East would be "before Jerusalem." Solomon build high places for foreign gods as recorded in 1ki1105-8. The good kings such as Hezekiah who "removed the high places" destroying them completely. Other good kings probably did not permit worship in these places. See 2ki1804, 2ch3101.
15  Moreover the altar that was at Bethel, and the high place which Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, had made, both that altar and the high place he brake down, and burned the high place, and stamped it small to powder, and burned the grove.
 16  And as Josiah turned himself, he spied the sepulchres that were there in the mount, and sent, and took the bones out of the sepulchres, and burned them upon the altar, and polluted it, according to the word of the LORD which the man of God proclaimed, who proclaimed these words.
  16 - Josiah ... bones ... burned The places were never again to be used as places of worship. The bones removed were those of priests who directed worship in the high places 2ch3405.
.17  Then he said, What title is that that I see? And the men of the city told him, It is the sepulchre of the man of God, which came from Judah, and proclaimed these things that thou hast done against the altar of Bethel.
 18  And he said, Let him alone; let no man move his bones. So they let his bones alone, with the bones of the prophet that came out of Samaria.
  17 - Title Or memorial stone. See ge3520.
  17 - Man of God 1ki1301f.
.19  And all the houses also of the high places that were in the cities of Samaria, which the kings of Israel had made to provoke the LORD to anger, Josiah took away, and did to them according to all the acts that he had done in Bethel.
 20  And he slew all the priests of the high places that were there upon the altars, and burned men's bones upon them, and returned to Jerusalem.
  20 - Slew all the priests Predicted by 1ki1302.
.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.
.22  Surely there was not holden such a passover from the days of the judges that judged Israel, nor in all the days of the kings of Israel, nor of the kings of Judah;
 23  But in the eighteenth year of king Josiah, wherein this passover was holden to the LORD in Jerusalem.
  21 - Book of the covenant That Hilkiah had found 2ki2208. Also ex1203ff, de1602ff.
  22 - Such a passover More information at 2ch3501ff.
.24  Moreover the workers with familiar spirits, and the wizards, and the images, and the idols, and all the abominations that were spied in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, did Josiah put away, that he might perform the words of the law which were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the house of the LORD.
 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.
  24 - Familiar spirits The Israelites had fallen into the occult following the unholy spirit.
  24 - Idols From teraphim, small charms that were kept in the houses. See ge3119, jg1705, jg1814-20, 1sa1913. We hear of good luck charms. I know that Satan has claimed authority over people who have had recordings of rock music. In Haiti, the "idols" may be the drums and ceremonies of the Voodoo dances (compatible with worship in the Catholic church).
.26  Notwithstanding the LORD turned not from the fierceness of his great wrath, wherewith his anger was kindled against Judah, because of all the provocations that Manasseh had provoked him withal.
 27  And the LORD said, I will remove Judah also out of my sight, as I have removed Israel, and will cast off this city Jerusalem which I have chosen, and the house of which I said, My name shall be there.
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.28  Now the rest of the acts of Josiah, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?
.29  In his days Pharaohnechoh king of Egypt went up against the king of Assyria to the river Euphrates: and king Josiah went against him; and he slew him at Megiddo, when he had seen him.
.30  And his servants carried him in a chariot dead from Megiddo, and brought him to Jerusalem, and buried him in his own sepulchre. And the people of the land took Jehoahaz the son of Josiah, and anointed him, and made him king in his father's stead.
  See more details of the battle beginning at 2ch3520.
.31 ¶ Jehoahaz was twenty and three years old when he began to reign; and he reigned three months in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah.
.32  And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his fathers had done.
.33  And Pharaohnechoh put him in bands at Riblah in the land of Hamath, that he might not reign in Jerusalem; and put the land to a tribute of an hundred talents of silver, and a talent of gold.
.34  And Pharaohnechoh made Eliakim the son of Josiah king in the room of Josiah his father, and turned his name to Jehoiakim, and took Jehoahaz away: and he came to Egypt, and died there.
  34 - Died there That is, Jehoahaz died in Egypt. This is recorded in je2210 where he is called Shallum. Confirmed in 2ch3604.
.35 And Jehoiakim gave the silver and the gold to Pharaoh; but he taxed the land to give the money according to the commandment of Pharaoh: he exacted the silver and the gold of the people of the land, of every one according to his taxation, to give it unto Pharaohnechoh.
 36  Jehoiakim was twenty and five years old when he began to reign; and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Zebudah, the daughter of Pedaiah of Rumah.
.37  And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his fathers had done.
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