2 Kings 23:6
And he brought out the grove from the house of the LORD, without Jerusalem, to the brook Kidron, and burned it at the brook Kidron, and stamped it small to powder, and cast the powder thereof on the graves of the children of the people.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(6) And he brought out the grove . . .—The Asherah set up by Manasseh (2Kings 21:3; 2Kings 21:7), and removed by him on his repentance (2Chronicles 33:15), but restored (probably) by Amon (2Kings 21:21).

Unto the brook . . . at the brook.Unto the ravine . . . in the ravine, or wady.

The graves of the children (sons) of the peoplei.e., the common graves (Jeremiah 26:23); a mark of utter contempt: 2Chronicles 34:4 paraphrases, “the graves of them that sacrificed unto them.”

2 Kings 23:6. And cast the powder thereof upon the graves — By the law, a ceremonial uncleanness was contracted by the touch of a grave, so that by casting these ashes here, he declared them most impure, and that none could touch them without making themselves unclean thereby. The Chaldee renders it, He cast it into the graves, to signify that he would have all idolatry buried out of his sight, as a loathsome thing. Of the children of the people — The common people, whose graves were made together in some common place, which was generally accounted very impure and contemptible, and therefore a fit place for this filth to be thrown into. But the Hebrew here is more properly rendered, Of that people; that is, those idolatrous people, as it is expressed 2 Chronicles 34:4.23:4-14 What abundance of wickedness in Judah and Jerusalem! One would not have believed it possible, that in Judah, where God was known, in Israel, where his name was great, in Salem, in Zion, where his dwelling-place was, such abominations should be found. Josiah had reigned eighteen years, and had himself set the people a good example, and kept up religion according to the Divine law; yet, when he came to search for idolatry, the depth and extent were very great. Both common history, and the records of God's word, teach, that all the real godliness or goodness ever found on earth, is derived from the new-creating Spirit of Jesus Christ.The ashes, being polluted and polluting, were thrown upon graves, because there no one could come into contact with them, since graves were avoided as unclean places.6. brought out the grove—that is, Asherah, the mystic tree, placed by Manasseh in the temple [2Ki 21:5; 2Ch 33:5], removed by him after his conversion [2Ch 33:15], but replaced in the sanctuary by his wicked son Amon [2Ki 21:20, 21]. Josiah had it taken to Kidron, burnt the wood, ground the metal about it to powder, and strewed the ashes "on the graves of the children of the people." The poor were buried in a common on part of the valley of Kidron. But reference is here made to the graves "of those that had sacrificed" (2Ch 34:4). The grove: See Poole "2 Kings 23:4". Of the children of the people, i.e. of the common people, whose graves were made together in some common place, which was generally accounted very impure and contemptible, and therefore a fit place for this filth to be thrown into. Or, of bastards, who are oft called

the children of the people; who as they had this brand of infamy laid upon them, that they might not enter into the congregation of the Lord, Deu 23:2; so possibly they were exposed to this further ignominy, to be buried in a peculiar, and in the most infamous place. Or rather, as it is in the Hebrew, of that people, i.e. those idolatrous people, as it is explained, 2 Chronicles 34:4, and here sufficiently implied in this and the foregoing verse. And he brought out the grove from the house of the Lord,.... Not a real grove of trees, but a carved one, as some think; or rather the image of the grove, 2 Kings 21:7 that is, the idol Ashtoreth, or Astarte, which was set up there; so Theodoret says; some interpreters call it Astoreth, the name of Venus, whom they call Astarte: this Josiah ordered to be brought

without Jerusalem, unto the brook Kidron, and burnt it at the brook Kidron; the black brook, where the filth of the sacrifices was carried:

and stamped it small to powder; as Moses did the golden calf:

and cast the powder thereof upon the graves of the children of the people; the common people, see Jeremiah 26:23 or rather on the graves of the worshippers of idols, as it seems from 2 Chronicles 34:4 the Targum is,"on the graves of the children of Galia,''which, Kimchi says, is the name of an idol; this was done partly in contempt of the idol, groves being, according to law, impure; and partly to the reproach of the deceased, and the memory of them, for their idolatry, and to deter from it those that survived them.

And he brought out the {g} grove from the house of the LORD, without Jerusalem, unto the brook Kidron, and burned it at the brook Kidron, and stamped it small to powder, and cast the powder thereof upon the {h} graves of the children of the people.

(g) He removed the grove which idolaters for devotion had planted near the temple, contrary to the commandment of the Lord, De 16:21, or as some read, the similitude of a grove which was hung in the temple.

(h) Both in contempt of the idols and reproach of them who had worshipped them in their lives.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
6. without Jerusalem, unto the brook Kidron] So that nothing of the polluting idol might remain, even in its destruction, within the holy city. On the brook Kidron, and its connexion with the destruction of other idols, see note on 1 Kings 15:13.

upon the graves of the children of the people] R.V. of the common people. The A.V. renders the same words thus in Jeremiah 26:23. Those who could not afford to have graves cut out of the rocks and made secure by a stone at the entrance, were laid in the ground at some distance from the city. The reason for desiring a grave in the rock was lest the prowling wild beasts, which were not uncommon in the land, might disturb the dead bodies. The Chronicler (2 Chronicles 34:4) says the dust was strewn ‘on the graves of them that had sacrificed’ unto the idols. This would imply that a special burying-place had been made for those who had adopted the idolatries that had been introduced; a thing which is very improbable.Verse 6. - And he brought out the grove from the house of the Lord. The Asherah set up by Manasseh (2 Kings 21:3 and 7), and if removed (2 Chronicles 33:15), then replaced by Amon (2 Chronicles 33:22), is intended. (On its probable form, see the comment upon 2 Kings 21:7.) Without Jerusalem, unto the brook Kidron (see the comment on ver. 4), and burned it at the brook Kidron. After the example of Asa, who had treated in the same way the idol of the queen-mother Maachah (1 Kings 15:13). Asa followed the example of Moses (Exodus 32:20), when he destroyed the golden calf. And stamped it small to powder. Metals may be calcined by intense heat, and reduced into a state in which a very small application of force will crush them into a fine powder. It is clear from the present passage, that Manasseh's Asherah was made of metal, at any rate in part. And cast the powder thereof upon the graves of the children of the people; i.e. "upon the graves of the common people" (comp. Jeremiah 26:23, where the expression used in the Hebrew is the same). The common people were not buried, like the better sort, in rock-hewn sepulchers, but in graves of the ordinary description. Burial-places were regarded as unclean, and were thus fit receptacles for any kind of impurity. To gather to his fathers means merely to let him die, and is generally applied to a peaceful death upon a sick-bed, like the synonymous phrase, to lie with one's fathers; but it is also applied to a violent death by being slain in battle (1 Kings 22:40 and 1 Kings 22:34), so that there is no difficulty in reconciling this comforting assurance with the slaying of Josiah in battle (2 Kings 23:29). בּשׁלום, in peace, i.e., without living to witness the devastation of Jerusalem, as is evident from the words, "thine eyes will not see," etc.
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