|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
23:1-3 Josiah had received a message from God, that there was no preventing the ruin of Jerusalem, but that he should only deliver his own soul; yet he does his duty, and leaves the event to God. He engaged the people in the most solemn manner to abolish idolatry, and to serve God in righteousness and true holiness. Though most were formal or hypocritical herein, yet much outward wickedness would be prevented, and they were accountable to God for their own conduct.
Verse 1. - And the king sent, and they gathered unto him all the elders of Judah and of Jerusalem; i.e. all the elders of Jerusalem and of the rest of Judah. (On the important position held by "the elders" in the undivided kingdom, see 1 Kings 8:1, and the comment ad loc.; and on their position in the divided kingdoms of Israel and Judah, see 1 Kings 20:7, 8; 1 Kings 21:8, 11; 2 Kings 10:1, etc.)
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And the king sent, and they gathered unto him all the elders of Judah and of Jerusalem. Josiah sent messengers throughout the land, and convened all the principal men in it at Jerusalem.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
2Ki 23:1-3. Josiah Causes the Law to Be Read.
1-3. the king sent, and they gathered unto him all the elders—This pious and patriotic king, not content with the promise of his own security, felt, after Huldah's response, an increased desire to avert the threatened calamities from his kingdom and people. Knowing the richness of the divine clemency and grace to the penitent, he convened the elders of the people, and placing himself at their head, accompanied by the collective body of the inhabitants, went in solemn procession to the temple, where he ordered the book of the law to be read to the assembled audience, and covenanted, with the unanimous concurrence of his subjects, to adhere steadfastly to all the commandments of the Lord. It was an occasion of solemn interest, closely connected with a great national crisis, and the beautiful example of piety in the highest quarter would exert a salutary influence over all classes of the people in animating their devotions and encouraging their return to the faith of their fathers.
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