2 Kings 23:22
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;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(22) Surely there was not holden . . .For there was not holden (a passover) like this passover. This and the next verse constitute a parenthetic remark, in which the historian emphasises the phrase, “As it is written in this book of the covenant.” No passover, from the time of the Judges onward had been celebrated in such strict conformity to the prescriptions of the Law. The LXX. omits the particle of comparison: ὅτι οὐκ ἐγενήθη τὸ πασχα τοῦτο. On the ground of this difference, and the one mentioned in the Note on 2Kings 23:21, Thenius thinks it not improbable that the text of Kings has been altered to bring into harmony with the account in Chronicles about the restoration of the feast of the passover by Hezekiah—a weighty inference from such slight data. The chronicler repeats this very verse at the close of his narrative of Josiah’s passover (2Chronicles 35:18).

2 Kings 23:22. Surely there was not holden such a passover, &c. — Celebrated with such solemn care, and great preparation, and numerous sacrifices, and universal joy of all good men; which was much the greater, because of their remembrance of the former wicked and miserable times under Manasseh and Amon; and the good hopes they now had of the happy establishment of their nation, and the true religion; and of the prevention of God’s judgments denounced against them. From the days of the judges — Or, of Samuel, the last of the judges; as it is expressed 2 Chronicles 35:18. None of the kings had taken such care to prepare themselves, the priests, and people, and so accurately to observe all the rites, and diligently to purge out all uncleanness, and to renew their covenant with God. And undoubtedly God was pleased to recompense their zeal in destroying idolatry, with uncommon tokens of his presence and favour. All this concurred to make it such a passover as had not been even in the days of Hezekiah. For in his passover many communicated who were not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary, and the Levites were permitted to do the work of the priests.

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.The details of the Passover are given by the author of Chronicles (the marginal reference). Its superiority to other Passovers seems to have consisted:

(1) in the multitudes that attended it; and

(2) in the completeness with which all the directions of the Law were observed in the celebration. Compare Nehemiah 8:17.

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. Such a passover, i.e. celebrated with such solemn care, and great preparation, and numerous sacrifices. 2 Chronicles 35:7-9, and universal joy of all good men; which was much the greater, because of their remembrance of the former wicked and miserable times under Manasseh and Amon; and the good hopes they now had of the happy establishment of their nation, and the true religion; and of the prevention of God’s judgments denounced against them.

From the days of the judges, or, from the days of Samuel, the last of the judges, as it is expressed, 2 Chronicles 35:8. None of the kings had taken such care to prepare themselves, the priests, and people, and accurately to observe all the rites, and diligently to purge out all uncleanness, and to renew their covenant with God, so solemnly as Josiah now did.

Surely there was not holden such a passover from the days of the judges that judged Israel,.... As the king commanded; the people obeyed and kept the passover, according to the law of the Lord; the manner of its being kept is not here recorded, but is at large in 2 Chronicles 35:1 where it is observed there had not been such an one from the days of Samuel, the last of the judges; so that the days of the judges here mean the last days of them:

nor in all the days of the kings of Israel, nor of the kings of Judah; since the division of the kingdoms; for as for the kings of Israel, they kept it not; and though it was observed in the times of Hezekiah king of Judah, yet not universally, and by some in their uncleanness; for it is a mistake of Clemens of Alexandria (w), that it was not kept in the times between Samuel and Josiah; in the days of David and Solomon it might be kept by greater numbers, but not with such purity, and with such cheerfulness and joy of heart, or with so many other sacrifices attending it, or so exactly agreeable to the law of God, and with such munificence and liberality; the king, and the chief of the priests and Levites, providing out of their own substance for the people and their brethren.

(w) Stromat. l. 1. p. 328.

Surely there was not holden {q} 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;

(q) For the multitude and zeal of the people with the great preparation.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
22. Surely there was not holden [R.V. kept] such a passover] The same change is also required in the next verse. The king had said ‘Keep the passover’.

This verse cannot be tortured into the meaning which some have put upon it, that the passover had been wholly neglected since the days of the Judges, or as the Chronicler puts it, ‘the days of Samuel the prophet’, and through all the reigns of the previous kings of Judah, with the exception of the one recorded passover of Hezekiah. That the passovers are not mentioned comes about because they were a part of the life of the nation, which went on its natural round as a matter of course. That there was a relaxation in portions of the observance we can have no doubt, but that passovers ceased is as little to be accepted as that there was no observance of the great day of atonement because we do not read of it in the books of Samuel or Kings. It is not possible to believe that provision should have been regularly made for placing the ark of the covenant in a separate room, and that Solomon should have made the elaborate arrangements which he did for the Most holy place, and yet that there should have been no regard paid to the one solemn service for which alone the ark and the Holy of Holies were provided. Both the passover and the day of atonement were observed, though there were times when insufficient regard was paid to the required ceremonial. The passover of Josiah however went back to the complete form ordained in this book of the covenant, and in that respect was remarkable above all those which had been held since the days of Joshua and the elders that outlived Joshua, after which days (Jdg 2:10) ‘there arose another generation’ and the people fell away, and the ceremonial law was but partially observed, and never so strictly through all that period as in this great passover of king Josiah.

Verse 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. Such a Passover, one so numerously attended (2 Chronicles 35:18). and so exactly kept according to every ordinance of the Law of Moses (2 Chronicles 35:6), had not been celebrated during all the period of the judges, from Joshua to Samuel, nor under the kings of all Israel, Saul, David, and Solomon, nor under those of the separated kingdom of Judah, from Rehoboam to this year (the eighteenth) of Josiah. It is an extraordinary perversity which concludes (as do De Wette and Thenius), from this comparison of the present with former Passovers under the judges and the kings, that there had been no such former Passovers at all! Two, at any rate, are recorded (Joshua 5:10, 11; 2 Chronicles 30:13-26). Ewald has the good sense to express his dissent from this view, and to declare the meaning of the writer to be simply that "since the time of the judges there had never been such a celebration of the Passover, in such strict accordance, that is, with the prescriptions of a sacred book as that which now took place" (see his 'History of Israel,' vol. 4. p. 239, Eng. trans.). 2 Kings 23:22The 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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