2 Kings 23:3
And the king stood by a pillar, and made a covenant before the LORD, to walk after the LORD, and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all their heart and all their soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people stood to the covenant.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(3) By a pillar.On the stand or dais (2Kings 11:14).

A covenant.The covenant, which had so often been broken. Josiah pledged himself “to walk after the Lord,” and imposed a similar pledge on the people.

Stood to the covenanti.e., entered it; took the same pledge as the king. (Comp. 2Kings 18:28.)

2 Kings 23:3. The king stood by a pillar — Of which see on chap. 2 Kings 11:14. And made a covenant before the Lord — The king himself was the first and principal covenanter, who publicly and solemnly declared his consent to this covenant, to set the elders, priests, and people an example, and to assure them not only of his protection, but of all the furtherance his power could give them in their obedience. And all the people stood to the covenant — They declared their consent to it, and their concurrence with the king in that act, which possibly they did by standing up, as the king himself stood when ha took it. It is of good use, with all possible solemnity, to oblige ourselves to our duty: and he that bears an honest heart, does not startle at assurances.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.By a pillar - Rather, "upon the pillar" (see 2 Kings 11:14, note).

Made a covenant - "The covenant." Josiah renewed the old covenant made between God and His people in Horeb Deuteronomy 5:2, so far at least as such renewal was possible by the mere act of an individual. He bound himself by a solemn promise to the faithful performance of the entire Law.

With all their heart - "Their" rather than "his," because the king was considered as pledging the whole nation to obedience with himself. He and they "stood to it," i. e., "accepted it, came into the covenant."

3. all the people stood to the covenant—that is, they agreed to the proposals made; they assented to what was required of them. By the pillar; of which See Poole "2 Kings 11:14"; See Poole "2 Chronicles 34:31".

To the covenant, to wit, as to the taking of it; they declared their consent to it, and their concurrence with the king in that act, which possibly they did by standing upright, as the king himself stood when he took it. And the king stood by a pillar,.... As the manner of kings was, 2 Kings 11:14 and is thought to be the brasen scaffold erected by Solomon, on which he stood at the dedication of the temple, and now Josiah at the reading of the law, 2 Chronicles 6:13, it is said to be his place, 2 Chronicles 34:31; see Gill on 2 Kings 11:14.

and made a covenant before the Lord: agreed and promised in the presence of God, both he and his people:

to walk after the Lord: the worship of the Lord, as the Targum; closely to attend to that:

and to keep his commandments, and his testimonies, and his statutes: all the laws of God, moral, civil, and ceremonial:

with all their heart, and all their soul: cordially and sincerely:

to perform the words of the covenant that were written in this book: lately found, and now read unto them:

and all the people stood to the covenant: agreed to it, and promised to keep it; so the Targum,"all the people took upon them the covenant,''engaged to observe it.

And the king stood by {b} a pillar, and made a {c} covenant before the LORD, to walk after the LORD, and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all their heart and all their soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people stood to the covenant.

(b) Where the king had his place, 2Ki 11:14.

(c) As Joshua did, Jos 24:22,25.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
3. And the king stood by a [R.V. the] pillar] See 2 Kings 11:14 and the notes there.

to walk after the Lord &c.] The words of the covenant are dictated by Deuteronomy 13:4.

all their [R.V. his] heart and all their [R.V. his] soul] This was the king’s own solemn pledge.

to perform [R.V. confirm] the words of this covenant] ‘Confirm’ is the rendering of this verb in A.V. in a very similar passage (Deuteronomy 27:26) ‘Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them’.Verse 3. - And the king stood by a pillar - עַל חָעַמּוד is not "by the pillar," but (as in 2 Kings 11:14) "on the platform" (see the comment on that place) - and made a covenant before the Lord; literally, made the covenant (as in 2 Kings 11:17); i.e. made, or renewed, the old covenant with God (Exodus 24:5-8), which had been broken by the complete neglect of the Law, and the manifold idolatries of Manasseh and Amon. He renewed this covenant "before the Lord," i.e. from his platform in the court, directly opposite the entrance to the temple, through which he could, perhaps, see the veil hanging in front of the holy of holies-at any rate being, and feeling himself to be, in the immediate presence of God. To walk after the Lord - i.e. to be his true follower and servant - and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes. (On the multiplication of such terms, see the comment upon 1 Kings 2:3.) They are intended to express "the totality of the Law," all its requirements without exception. With all their heart and all their soul - obedience was worthless, unless paid from the heart and soul (see Deuteronomy 4:29; Deuteronomy 30:2; Joel 2:12, 13) - to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people stood to the covenant. The representatives of the people, one and all, were parties to the premise made on their behalf by the king, and signified their consent, probably as they had done in Horeb, when "Moses took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people; and they said, All that the Lord has said will we do, and be obedient" (see Deuteronomy 24:7). The reply of Huldah the prophetess. - Huldah confirmed the fear expressed by Josiah, that the wrath of the Lord was kindled against Jerusalem and its inhabitants on account of their idolatry, and proclaimed first of all (2 Kings 22:16, 2 Kings 22:17), that the Lord would bring upon Jerusalem and its inhabitants all the punishments with which the rebellious and idolaters are threatened in the book of the law; and secondly (2 Kings 22:18-20), to the king himself, that on account of his sincere repentance and humiliation in the sight of God, he would not live to see the predicted calamities, but would be gathered to his fathers in peace. The first part of her announcement applies "to the man who has sent you to me" (2 Kings 22:15), the second "to the king of Judah, who has sent to inquire of the Lord" (2 Kings 22:18). "The man" who had sent to her was indeed also the king; but Huldah intentionally made use of the general expression "the man," etc., to indicate that the word announced to him applied not merely to the king, but to every one who would hearken to the word, whereas the second portion of her reply had reference to the king alone. הזּה המּקום, in 2 Kings 22:16, 2 Kings 22:19, and 2 Kings 22:20, is Jerusalem as the capital of the kingdom. In 2 Kings 22:16, הסּפר כּל־דּברי is an explanatory apposition to רעה. 2 Kings 22:17. "With all the work of their hands," i.e., with the idols which they have made for themselves (cf. 1 Kings 16:7). The last clause in 2 Kings 22:18, "the words which thou hast heard," is not to be connected with the preceding one, "thus saith the Lord," and על or ל to be supplied; but it belongs to the following sentence, and is placed at the head absolutely: as for the words, which thou hast heart - because thy heart has become soft, i.e., in despair at the punishment with which the sinners are threatened (cf. Deuteronomy 20:3; Isaiah 7:4), and thou hast humbled thyself, when thou didst hear, etc.; therefore, behold, I will gather thee to thy fathers, etc. לשׁמּה להיות, "that they (the city and inhabitants) may become a desolation and curse." These words, which are often used by the prophets, but which are not found connected like this except in Jeremiah 44:22, rest upon Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28, and show that these passages had been read to the king out of the book of the law.
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