2 Kings 23:21
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.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(21) Keep the passover.Hold a passover (2Kings 23:22). (Comp. 2Chronicles 35:1-19 for a more detailed account of this unique celebration.) Josiah had the precedent of Hezekiah for signalising his religious revolution by a solemn passover (2Chronicles 30:1).

In the book of this covenant.—Rather, in this book of the covenant (2Kings 23:2). The book was that which Hilkiah had found in the Temple, and which gave the impulse to the whole reforming movement. (The LXX. and Vulg. read, in the book of this covenant—a mere mistake.)

2 Kings 23:21. The king commanded, saying, Keep the passover, &c. — Having abolished false worship, he now endeavours to set up the true worship of the true God. Thus he differed greatly from Jehu, who, when he had destroyed the worship of Baal, took no heed to walk in the commandments and ordinances of God. Josiah considered that we must not only cease to do evil, but also learn to do well, and that the way to keep out all abominable customs is to keep up all instituted ordinances. He therefore commanded all the people to keep the passover, which was not only a memorial of their deliverance out of Egypt, but a token of their being dedicated to him who brought them out, and of their communion with him. As it is written in this book of the covenant — This book which he had found, wherein is contained the covenant made between God and Israel, and the terms of it.

23:15-24 Josiah's zeal extended to the cities of Israel within his reach. He carefully preserved the sepulchre of that man of God, who came from Judah to foretell the throwing down of Jeroboam's altar. When they had cleared the country of the old leaven of idolatry, then they applied themselves to the keeping of the feast. There was not holden such a passover in any of the foregoing reigns. The revival of a long-neglected ordinance, filled them with holy joy; and God recompensed their zeal in destroying idolatry with uncommon tokens of his presence and favour. We have reason to think that during the remainder of Josiah's reign, religion flourished.See 2 Kings 23:4 note. With this verse the author returns to the narrative of what was done in Josiah's 18th year. The need of the injunction, "as it was written in the book of this covenant," was owing to the fact - not that Josiah had as yet held no Passover - but that the reading of the book had shown him differences between the existing practice and the letter of the Law - differences consequent upon negligence, or upon the fact that tradition had been allowed in various points to override the Law. 21-23. the king commanded all the people, saying, Keep the passover unto the Lord your God, &c.—It was observed with great solemnity and was attended not only by his own subjects, but by the remnant people from Israel (see on [355]2Ch 35:1-19). Many of the Israelites who were at Jerusalem might have heard of, if they did not hear, the law read by Josiah. It is probable that they might even have procured a copy of the law, stimulated as they were to the better observance of Jehovah's worship by the unusual and solemn transactions at Jerusalem. Keep the passover: having abolished false worship, he now endeavours to set up the true worship of the true God.

In this book of the covenant; in this book which I have found; wherein is contained the covenant made between God and Israel, and the terms of it.

And the king commanded all the people,.... Not at Jerusalem only, but throughout the whole kingdom: saying:

keep the passover unto the Lord your God, as it is written in this book of the covenant; which had been lately found and read, and they had agreed to observe, and in which this ordinance was strictly enjoined, and was a commemoration of their deliverance out of Egypt, and a direction of their faith to the Messiah, the antitype of the passover.

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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
21–30. He puts down superstitious rites and worship. He is slain at Megiddo when he goes against the king of Egypt (2 Chronicles 35:1-27; 2 Chronicles 36:1)

21. Keep the passover] The Chronicler gives elaborate details concerning the way in which this feast was kept to shew that all the arrangements commanded by the Law were most exactly observed. On the fourteenth day of the first month, the Levites had special injunctions given to them about the purification of themselves, and the doing of all things according to the word of the Lord by the hand of Moses. The king himself gave the victims, lambs and kids, for the passover offering, from his own substance, and the liberality of priests and Levites was also large. The passover was killed, roasted, divided speedily and eaten according to the prescribed rules. The whole aim of the record is to shew that whatever may have been left undone in times past, everything was now brought into harmony with the primitive ordinance. The Chronicler also mentions by name the rulers of the house of God and the chief of the Levites, as though copying from a contemporary record to which others might refer as well as himself.

in the book of this covenant] R.V. in this book of the covenant. The king desires that whatever may have come to be the manner of celebration from long usage, and the neglect which had been introduced through the sins of the kings, there should now be a precise observance of everything which the authoritative book, recently brought to light, required. It is clear from such a passage as 2 Kings 16:15 that the regular observance of the sacrificial ordinances had fallen into disuse.

Verse 21. - And the king commanded all the people, saying, Keep the Passover. The account given of Josiah's Passover is much more full in Chronicles than in Kings. In Chronicles it occupies nineteen verses of 2 Chronicles 35. We learn from Chronicles that all the rites prescribed by the Law, whether in Exodus, Leviticus, or Deuteronomy, were duly observed, and that the festival was attended, not only by the Judaeans, but by many Israelites from among the ten tribes, who still remained intermixed with the Assyrian colonists in the Samaritan country (see 2 Chronicles 35:17, 18). Unto the Lord your God, as it is written in the book of this covenant. The ordinances for the due observance of the Passover feast are contained chiefly in Exodus (Exodus 12:3-20; Exodus 13:5-10). They are repeated, but with much less fullness, in Deuteronomy 16:1-8. The "book of the covenant" found by Hilkiah must, therefore, certainly have contained Exodus (see below, ver. 25). 2 Kings 23:21The passover is very briefly noticed in our account, and is described as such an one as had not taken place since the days of the Judges 2 Kings Judges 23:21 simply mentions the appointment of this festival on the part of the king, and the execution of the king's command has to be supplied. 2 Kings 23:22 contains a remark concerning the character of the passover. In 2 Chronicles 35:1-19 we have a very elaborate description of it. What distinguished this passover above every other was, (1) that "all the nation," not merely Judah and Benjamin, but also the remnant of the ten tribes, took part in it, or, as it is expressed in 2 Chronicles 35:18, "all Judah and Israel;" (2) that it was kept in strict accordance with the precepts of the Mosaic book of the law, whereas in the passover instituted by Hezekiah there were necessarily many points of deviation from the precepts of the law, more especially in the fact that the feast had to be transferred from the first month, which was the legal time, to the second month, because the priests had not yet purified themselves in sufficient numbers and the people had not yet gathered together at Jerusalem, and also that even then a number of the people had inevitably been allowed to eat the passover without the previous purification required by the law (2 Chronicles 30:2-3, 2 Chronicles 30:17-20). This is implied in the words, "for there was not holden such a passover since the days of the judges and all the kings of Israel and Judah." That this remark does not preclude the holding of earlier passovers, as Thenius follows De Wette in supposing, without taking any notice of the refutations of this opinion, was correctly maintained by the earlier commentators. Thus Clericus observes: "I should have supposed that what the sacred writer meant to say was, that during the times of the kings no passover had ever been kept so strictly by every one, according to all the Mosaic laws. Before this, even under the pious kings, they seem to have followed custom rather than the very words of the law; and since this was the case, many things were necessarily changed and neglected." Instead of "since the days of the judges who judged Israel," we find in 2 Chronicles 35:18, "since the days of Samuel the prophet," who is well known to have closed the period of the judges.
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