|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
23:31-37 After Josiah was laid in his grave, one trouble came on another, till, in twenty-two years, Jerusalem was destroyed. The wicked perished in great numbers, the remnant were purified, and Josiah's reformation had raised up some to join the few who were the precious seed of their future church and nation. A little time, and slender abilities, often suffice to undo the good which pious men have, for a course of years, been labouring to effect. But, blessed be God, the good work which he begins by his regenerating Spirit, cannot be done away, but withstands all changes and temptations.
Verse 37. - And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his fathers had done. Jeremiah says of Jehoiakim, "Woe unto him that buildeth his house by unrighteousness, and his chambers by wrong; that useth his neighbor's service without wages, and giveth him not for his work; that saith, I will build me a large house and wide chambers, and cutteth him out windows; and it is coiled with cedar, and painted with vermilion. Shalt thou reign, because thou closest thyself in cedar? did not thy father eat and drink, and do judgment and justice, and then it was well with him? He judged the cause of the poor and needy; then it was well with him: was not this to know me? saith the Lord. But thine eyes and thine heart are not but for thy covetousness, and for to shed innocent blood, and for oppression, and for violence, to do it" (Jeremiah 22:13-17). Josephus calls him "an unjust man and an evil-doer, neither pious in his relations towards God nor equitable in his dealings with his fellow men" ('Ant. Jud.,' 10:5. § 2). His execution of Urijah, the son of Shemalah, for prophesying the destruction of Jerusalem (Jeremiah 26:20-23), was an act at once of cruelty and impiety. It is suspected (Ewald, 'History of Israel,' vol. 4. p. 252) that, besides reintroducing into Judah all the foreign rites extirpated by his father, he added Egyptian rites to their number. The tyranny which he practiced was likewise of an Egyptian cast, including, as it did, the exaction of forced labor from his subjects (Jeremiah 22:13), an old custom of the Pharaohs, and it is quite possible that his "passion for building splendid and costly houses" (Ewald) was awakened by his knowledge of the magnificence which characterized the monarchs of the Saitic dynasty, who revived in Egypt the architectural glories of the Ramessides (see Herod., 2:153, 175, 176).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his fathers had done. Amon and Manasseh; see 2 Kings 23:32.
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