2 Kings 23:23
But in the eighteenth year of king Josiah, wherein this passover was held to the LORD in Jerusalem.
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(23) Wherein.—Omit this word. As Ewald says, the meaning of these two verses is, that the passover was never so celebrated before, especially as regards (1) the offerings over and above the paschal lamb (Deuteronomy 16:2), and (2) the strict unity of the place of this festival (Deuteronomy 16:5). The assumption that no passover had ever been held before (De Wette), is obsolete, even among “advanced critics,” and does not merit serious discussion.

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. No text from Poole on this verse. But in the eighteenth year of king Josiah, wherein this passover was holden to the Lord in Jerusalem. This shows that Josiah must begin the reformation very early that year, since he did all that is before recorded in this and the preceding chapter by the fourteenth of Nisan, the day on which the passover was kept, which month answers to part of our March and part of April, see 2 Kings 22:3 and was the same year the repairs of the temple were finished. But in the eighteenth year of king Josiah, wherein this passover was holden to the LORD in Jerusalem.
23. in the eighteenth year of king Josiah, wherein [R.V. was] this passover was holden] R.V. this passover kept. There is no need for the italics of A.V. The writer wishes to say emphatically when this strict observance of the passover took place. The writer of the Kings has never mentioned the passover of Hezekiah, but it is noteworthy that the Chronicler, though he has given the account of Hezekiah’s feast, yet, equally with the compiler of this book, says that no such passover as Josiah’s had been held before since Samuel’s days. This shews clearly that his meaning was that no passover-feast had gone so strictly according to the book of the covenant.Verse 23. - But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah, wherein this Passover was holden to the Lord in Jerusalem (compare, on the date, 2 Kings 22:3 and 2 Chronicles 35:19). The eighteenth year of Josiah corresponded probably, in part to B.C. 622, in part to B.C. 621. In order to desecrate this idolatrous site for all time, Josiah had human bones taken out of the graves that were to be found upon the mountain, and burned upon the altar, whereby the prophecy uttered in the reign of Jeroboam by the prophet who came out of Judah concerning this idolatrous place of worship was fulfilled; but he spared the tomb of that prophet himself (cf. 1 Kings 13:26-32). The mountain upon which Josiah saw the graves was a mountain at Bethel, which was visible from the bamah destroyed. ציּוּן, a sepulchral monument, probably a stone erected upon the grave. וימלּטוּ: "so they rescued (from burning) his bones (the bones of the prophet who had come from Judah), together with the bones of the prophet who had come from Samaria," i.e., of the old prophet who sprang from the kingdom of the ten tribes and had come to Bethel (1 Kings 13:11). משּׁמרון בּא in antithesis to מיהוּדה ot sisehtit בּא denotes simply descent from the land of Samaria.

(Note: 2 Kings 23:16-18 are neither an interpolation of the editor, i.e., of the author of our books of Kings (Staehelin), nor an interpolation from a supplement to the account in 1 Kings 13:1-32 (Thenius). The correspondence between the וגם in 2 Kings 23:15 and the וגם in 2 Kings 23:18 does not require this assumption; and the pretended discrepancy, that after Josiah had already reduced the altar to ruins (2 Kings 23:15) he could not possibly defile it by burning human bones upon it (2 Kings 23:16), is removed by the very natural solution, that המזבח in 2 Kings 23:16 does not mean the altar itself, but the site of the altar that had been destroyed.)

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