Keil and Delitzsch OT Commentary
The solemnization of the passover. - To ratify the renewal of the covenant, and to confirm the people in the communion with the Lord into which it had entered by the making of the covenant, Josiah, immediately after the finding of the book of the law and the renewal of the covenant, appointed a solemn passover to be held at the legal time, which is only briefly mentioned in 2 Kings 23:21-23, but in the Chronicle is minutely described.
Moreover Josiah kept a passover unto the LORD in Jerusalem: and they killed the passover on the fourteenth day of the first month.2 Chronicles 35:1 contains the superscription-like statement, that Josiah held a passover to the Lord; and they held the passover in the 14th day of the first month, consequently at the time fixed in the law. It happened otherwise under Hezekiah (2 Chronicles 30:2, 2 Chronicles 30:13, and 2 Chronicles 30:15). With 2 Chronicles 35:2 commences the description of the festival: and first we have the preparations, the appointment of the priests and Levites to perform the various services connected with the festival (2 Chronicles 35:2-6), and the procuring of the necessary beasts for sacrifice (2 Chronicles 35:10-15); then the offering of the sacrifices and the preparation of the meals (2 Chronicles 35:10-15); and finally the characterization of the whole festival (2 Chronicles 35:16-19).
And he set the priests in their charges, and encouraged them to the service of the house of the LORD,He appointed the priests according to their guards or posts, i.e., according to the service incumbent upon each division, and "he strengthened them for the service of the house of Jahve," namely, by encouraging speech, and by teaching as to the duties devolving upon them, according to the provisions of the law. Cf. the summons of Hezekiah, 2 Chronicles 29:5.; and as to the יחזּק, Nehemiah 2:18.
And said unto the Levites that taught all Israel, which were holy unto the LORD, Put the holy ark in the house which Solomon the son of David king of Israel did build; it shall not be a burden upon your shoulders: serve now the LORD your God, and his people Israel,The Levites are designated "those teaching all Israel, those holy to the Lord," in reference to what is commanded them in the succeeding verses. The Keth. מבונים does not elsewhere occur, and must be regarded as a substantive: the teachers; but it is probably only an orthographical error for מבינים (Nehemiah 8:7), as the Keri demands here also. As to the fact, cf. 2 Chronicles 17:8. The Levites had to teach the people in the law. Josiah said to them, "Set the ark in the house which Solomon did build; not is to you to bear upon the shoulder;" i.e., ye have not any longer to bear it on your shoulders, as formerly on the journey through the wilderness, and indeed till the building of the temple, when the ark and the tabernacle had not yet any fixed resting-place (1 Chronicles 17:5). The summons וגו את־ערון וּ תּן is variously interpreted. Several Rabbins regard it as a command to remove the ark from its place in the most holy place into some subterranean chamber of the temple, so as to secure its safety in the event of the threatened destruction of the temple taking place. But this hypothesis needs no refutation, since it in no way corresponds to the words used. Most ancient and modern commentators, on the other hand, suppose that the holy ark had, during the reigns of the godless Manasseh and Amon, either been removed by them from its place, or taken away from the most holy place, from a desire to protect it from profanation, and hidden somewhere; and that Josiah calls upon the Levites to bring it back again to its place. Certainly this idea is favoured by the circumstance that, just as the book of the law, which should have been preserved in the ark of the covenant, had been lost, and was only recovered when the temple was being repaired, so the ark also may have been removed from its place. But even in that case the sacred ark would have been brought back to its place, according to the law, at the completion of the purification of the temple, before the king and people made the covenant with Jahve, after the law had been read to them in the temple, and could not have remained in its hiding-place until the passover. Still less probable is Bertheau's conjecture, "that the Levites bore the just reconsecrated ark upon their shoulders at the celebration of the passover, under the idea that they were bound by the law to do so; but Josiah taught them that the temple built by Solomon had caused an alteration in that respect. They were no longer bearers of the ark; they might set it in its place, and undertake other duties." For the idea that the Levites bore the ark at the celebration of the passover is utterly inconsistent with the context, since 2 Chronicles 35:3-6 do not treat of what was done at the passover, but merely of that which was to be done. But even if we were to alter "they bare" into "they wished to bear," yet there is no historic ground for the idea attributed by Bertheau to the Levites, that at the celebration of the passover the ark was to be brought forth from the most holy place, and carried in procession in the temple courts or elsewhere. Finally, the reasons stated for the call, וגו תּנוּ, cannot be made to harmonize with the two views above mentioned. If it was only the bringing back of the ark to its ancient place in the most holy place which is here spoken of, why are the words "which Solomon built" added after בּבּית; and why is the command based upon the statement, "Ye have not to carry it any more upon your shoulders, but are to serve the Lord your God and His people in another way"? Both the additional clause and these reasons for the command show clearly that Josiah, in the words וגו תּנוּ, did not command something which they were to do at the approaching passover, but merely introduces therewith the summons: "Serve now the Lord," etc. R. Sal. saw this, and has given the sense of the verse thus: quum non occupemini amplius ullo labore vasa sacra portandi, Deo servite et populo ejus mactando et excoriando agnos paschales v. 4ff. It therefore only remains to ascertain how this signification is consistent with the words בּבּית הק את־ארון תּנוּ. The exhortation, "Set the ark in the house," must certainly not be understood to mean, "Leave it in the place where it has hitherto stood," nor, "Bring the sacred ark back into the house;" for נתן with בּ does not mean to bring back, but only to place anywhere, set; and is here used not of material placing, but of mental. "Set the ark in the house" is equivalent to, "Overlook, leave it in the temple; you have not any longer, since Solomon built a house for it, to bear it upon your shoulders;" i.e., Think not on that which formerly, before the building of the temple, belonged to your service, but serve the Lord and His people now in the manner described in 2 Chronicles 35:4. The interpretation of the words as denoting a material setting or removing of the ark, is completely excluded by the facts, (1) that in the description of what the Levites did at the passover, "according to the command of the king," which follows (2 Chronicles 35:10-15), not a word is said of the ark; and (2) that the bearing of the ark into the most holy place was not the duty of the Levites, but of the priests. The duty of the Levites was merely to bear the ark when it had to be transported for great distances, after the priests had previously wrapped it up in the prescribed manner. In 2 Chronicles 35:4-6 the matters in which they are to serve the Lord in the preparation of the passover are more fully stated. The Keth. הכונו is imper. Niphal, הכּונוּ, Make yourselves ready according to your fathers'-houses, in your divisions, according to the writing of David. בּ in בּכתב, as in בּמצות, 2 Chronicles 29:25; but כּתב does not equals מצות, but is to be understood of writings, in which the arrangements made by David and Solomon in reference to the service of the Levites were recorded.
And prepare yourselves by the houses of your fathers, after your courses, according to the writing of David king of Israel, and according to the writing of Solomon his son.
And stand in the holy place according to the divisions of the families of the fathers of your brethren the people, and after the division of the families of the Levites."Stand in the sanctuary for the divisions of the fathers'-houses of your brethren, the people of the nation, and indeed a part of a father's-house of the Levites;" i.e., Serve your brethren the laymen, according to their fathers'-houses, in the court of the temple, in such fashion that a division of the Levites shall fall to each father's-house of the laymen; cf. 2 Chronicles 35:12. So Bertheau correctly; but he would erase the ו before הלקּת without sufficient reason. Older commentators have supplied the preposition ל before הלקּת: Stand, according to the divisions of the fathers'-houses, and according to the division of a father's-house of the Levites; which gives the same sense, but can hardly be justified grammatically.
So kill the passover, and sanctify yourselves, and prepare your brethren, that they may do according to the word of the LORD by the hand of Moses.Kill the passover, and sanctify yourselves, and prepare it (the passover) for your brethren (the laymen), doing according to the word of the Lord by Moses (i.e., according to the law of Moses). The sanctification mentioned between the killing and the preparation of the passover probably consisted only in this, that the Levites, after they had slain the lamb, had to wash themselves before they gave the blood to the priest to sprinkle upon the altar (cf. 2 Chronicles 35:11 and 2 Chronicles 30:16). As to the slaying of the lamb by the Levites, cf. the remarks on 2 Chronicles 30:16.
And Josiah gave to the people, of the flock, lambs and kids, all for the passover offerings, for all that were present, to the number of thirty thousand, and three thousand bullocks: these were of the king's substance.The bestowal of beasts for sacrifice on the part of the king and his princes. - 2 Chronicles 35:7. The king gave (ירם as in 2 Chronicles 30:24) to the sons of the people small cattle, viz., lambs and young goats, all for the passover-offerings, for all that were present, to the number of 30,000 (head), and 3000 bullocks from the possession of the king (cf. 2 Chronicles 31:3; 2 Chronicles 32:29). כּל־הנּמצא is all the people who were present, who had come to the feast from Jerusalem and the rest of Judah without having brought lambs for sacrifice.
And his princes gave willingly unto the people, to the priests, and to the Levites: Hilkiah and Zechariah and Jehiel, rulers of the house of God, gave unto the priests for the passover offerings two thousand and six hundred small cattle, and three hundred oxen.And his princes (the king's princes, i.e., the princes of the kingdom) presented for a free-will offering to the people, the priests, and the Levites. לנדבה is not to be taken adverbially, as Berth. thinks: according to goodwill, but corresponds to the לפּסחים, i.e., for free-will offerings, Leviticus 7:16. The number of these gifts is not stated. From the princes of the king we must distinguish the prefects of the house of God and the princes of the Levites, who are mentioned by name in 2 Chronicles 35:8, 2 Chronicles 35:9. Of these the first presented sheep and cattle for passover-sacrifices to the priests, the latter to the Levites. Of the three נגידים of the house of God named in 2 Chronicles 35:8, Hilkiah is the high priest (2 Chronicles 34:9), Zechariah perhaps the next to him (משׁנה כּהן, 2 Kings 25:18; Jeremiah 52:24), and Jehiel is probably, as Berth. conjectures, the chief of the line of Ithamar, which continued to exist even after the exile (Ezra 8:2). Of the Levite princes (2 Chronicles 35:9) six names are mentioned, three of which, Conaniah, Shemaiah, and Jozabad, are met with under Hezekiah in 2 Chronicles 31:12-15, since in the priestly and Levitic families the same names recur in different generations. The Conaniah in Hezekiah's time was chief overseer of the temple revenues; the two others were under overseers. Besides the פּסהים for which the king and the princes of the priests and of the Levites gave צאן, i.e., lambs and young goats, בּקר, oxen, in considerable numbers, are mentioned as presents; 3000 from the king, 300 from the princes of the priests, and 500 from the princes of the Levites. Nothing is said as to the purpose of these, but from 2 Chronicles 35:13 we learn that the flesh of them was cooked in pots and caldrons, and consequently that they were intended for the sacrificial meals during the seven days of the Mazzoth-feast; see on 2 Chronicles 35:12 and 2 Chronicles 35:13.
Conaniah also, and Shemaiah and Nethaneel, his brethren, and Hashabiah and Jeiel and Jozabad, chief of the Levites, gave unto the Levites for passover offerings five thousand small cattle, and five hundred oxen.
So the service was prepared, and the priests stood in their place, and the Levites in their courses, according to the king's commandment.The preparation of the paschal sacrifice and the paschal meals. - 2 Chronicles 35:10 leads on to the carrying out of the arrangements. "So the service was prepared;" the preparation for the festival mentioned in 2 Chronicles 35:3-9 was carried out. The priests stood at their posts (cf. 2 Chronicles 30:16), and the Levites according to their courses, according to the command of the king (in 2 Chronicles 35:4 and 2 Chronicles 35:5).
And they killed the passover, and the priests sprinkled the blood from their hands, and the Levites flayed them.And they (the Levites, cf. 2 Chronicles 35:6) slew the passover (the lambs and young goats presented for the passover meal), and the priests sprinkled (the blood of the paschal lambs) from their hand (i.e., which the Levites gave them), while the Levites flayed them; as also under Hezekiah, 2 Chronicles 30:17.
And they removed the burnt offerings, that they might give according to the divisions of the families of the people, to offer unto the LORD, as it is written in the book of Moses. And so did they with the oxen."And they took away the burnt-offerings, to give them to the divisions of the fathers'-houses of the sons of the people, to offer unto the Lord, as it is written in the book of Moses; and so also in regard to the oxen." הסיר signifies the taking off or separating of the pieces intended to be burnt upon the altar from the beasts slain for sacrifice, as in Leviticus 3:9., Leviticus 4:31. העלה, in this connection, can only signify the parts of the paschal lamb which were to be burnt upon the altar, viz., the same parts which were separated from sheep and goats when they were brought as thank-offerings and burnt upon the altar (Leviticus 3:6-16). These pieces are here called העלה, because they not only were wholly burnt like the burnt-offering, but also were burnt upon the flesh of the evening burnt-offering to God, for a savour of good pleasure; cf. Leviticus 3:11, Leviticus 3:16, with Leviticus 1:13. They cannot have been special burnt-offerings, which were burnt along with or at the same time with the fat of the paschal lambs; for there were no special festal burnt-offerings, besides the daily evening sacrifice, prescribed for the passover on the evening of the 14th Nisan; and the oxen given by the king and the princes for the passover are specially mentioned in the concluding clause of the verse, לבּקר וכן, so that they cannot have been included in העלה. The suffix in לתתּם might be referred to הפּסח: to give the paschal lambs, after the עלה had been separated from them, to the divisions of the people. But the following ליהוה להקריב does not harmonize with that interpretation; and the statement in 2 Chronicles 35:13, that the Levites gave the roasted and boiled flesh to the sons of the people, is still more inconsistent with it. We must consequently refer לתתּם to the immediately preceding noun, העלה: to give the parts separated from the paschal lambs to be burnt upon the altar to the divisions of the people, that they might offer them to the Lord. This can only mean that each division of the fathers'-houses of the people approached the altar in turn to give the portions set apart from the עלה to the priests, who then offered them on the fire of the altar to the Lord. On בס כּכּתוּב Gusset. has already rightly remarked: Lex Mosis hic allegatur non quasi omnia illa quae praecedunt, exprimerentur in ipsa, sed respective seu respectu eorum quae mandata erant; quibus salvis adjungi potuerunt quidam modi agendi innocui et commodi ad legis jussa exsequenda. לבּקר וכן, and so was it done also with the oxen, which consequently were not offered as burnt-offerings, but as thank-offerings, only the fat being burnt upon the altar, and the flesh being used for sacrificial meals.
And they roasted the passover with fire according to the ordinance: but the other holy offerings sod they in pots, and in caldrons, and in pans, and divided them speedily among all the people.The passover, i.e., the flesh of the paschal lamb, they roasted (בּאשׁ בּשּׁל, to make ready upon the fire, i.e., roast; see on Exodus 12:9), according to the ordinance (as the law appointed); and "the sanctified (as they called the slaughtered oxen, cf. 2 Chronicles 29:33) they sod (שּׁלוּ, sc. במּים, cf. Exodus 12:9) in pots, caldrons, and pans, and brought it speedily to the sons of the people," i.e., the laymen. From this Bertheau draws the conclusion, "that with the paschal lambs the oxen were also offered as thank-offerings; and the sacrificial meal consisted not merely of the paschal lamb, but also of the flesh of the thank-offerings: for these must have been consumed on the same day as they were offered, though the eating of them on the following day was not strictly forbidden, Leviticus 7:15-18." But this conclusion is shown to be incorrect even by this fact, that there is no word to hint that the roasting of the paschal lambs and the cooking of the flesh of the oxen which were offered as thank-offerings took place simultaneously on the evening of the 14th Nisan. This is implied neither in the לבּקר וכן, nor in the statement in 2 Chronicles 35:14, that the priests were busied until night in offering the עלה and the חלבים. According to 2 Chronicles 35:17, the Israelites held on that day, not only the passover, but also the Mazzoth-feast, seven days. The description of the offering and preparation of the sacrifices, partly for the altar and partly for the meal, 2 Chronicles 35:13-15, refers, therefore, not only to the passover in its more restricted sense, but also to the seven days' Mazzoth festival, without its being expressly stated; because both from the law and from the practice it was sufficiently well known that at the פּסח meal only צאן (lambs or goats) were roasted and eaten; while on the seven following days of the Mazzoth, besides the daily burnt-offering, thank-offerings were brought and sacrificial meals were held; see on Deuteronomy 16:1-8. The connecting, or rather the mingling, of the sacrificial meal prepared from the roasted lambs with the eating of the sodden flesh of oxen, would have been too great an offence against the legal prescriptions for the paschal meal, to be attributed either to King Josiah, to the priesthood, or to the author of the Chronicle, since the latter expressly remarks that the celebration was carried out according to the prescription of the law of Moses, and according to the "right."
And afterward they made ready for themselves, and for the priests: because the priests the sons of Aaron were busied in offering of burnt offerings and the fat until night; therefore the Levites prepared for themselves, and for the priests the sons of Aaron.And afterwards (אחר, postea, after the passover had been prepared for the laymen in the way described) the Levites prepared it for themselves and for the priests; for the latter, however, only because they were busied with the offering of the עלה and the חלבים till night. Most expositors understand by עלה the fat of the paschal lambs, which was burnt upon the altar, as in 2 Chronicles 35:12; and חלבים, the fat of oxen, which was likewise burnt upon the altar, "but was not, as it seems, designated by the expression העלה" (Berth.). This interpretation certainly at first sight seems likely; only one cannot see why only the fat of the oxen, and not that of the paschal lambs also, should be called חלבים, since in the law the parts of all thank-offerings (oxen, sheep, and goats) which were burnt upon the altar are called חלבים. We will therefore be more correct if we take והחלבים to be a more exact definition of העלה: the burnt-offering, viz., the fat which was offered as a burnt-offering; or we may take העלה here to denote the evening burnt-offering, and החלבים the fat of the paschal lambs. But even if the first-mentioned interpretation were the only correct one, yet it could not thence be concluded that on the passover evening (the 14th Nisan) the fat not only of the 37,600 lambs and goats, but also of the 3800 oxen, were offered upon the altar; the words, that the priests were busied until night with the offering of the עלה and the חלבים, are rather used of the sacrificing generally during the whole of the seven days' festival. For the compressed character of the description appears in 2 Chronicles 35:15, where it is remarked that neither the singers nor the porters needed to leave their posts, because their brethren the Levites prepared (the meal) for them. With the words, "according to the command of David," etc., cf. 1 Chronicles 25:1 and 1 Chronicles 25:6.
And the singers the sons of Asaph were in their place, according to the commandment of David, and Asaph, and Heman, and Jeduthun the king's seer; and the porters waited at every gate; they might not depart from their service; for their brethren the Levites prepared for them.
So all the service of the LORD was prepared the same day, to keep the passover, and to offer burnt offerings upon the altar of the LORD, according to the commandment of king Josiah.The character of the passover and Mazzoth festivals. - 2 Chronicles 35:16.
"So all the service of the Lord was prepared the same day, in regard to the preparing of the passover, and the offering of the burnt-offerings upon the altar, according to the command of the king." This statement, like that in 2 Chronicles 35:10, summarizes all that precedes, and forms the transition to the concluding remarks on the whole festival. ההוּא בּיּום is not to be limited to the one afternoon and evening of the fourteenth day of the month, but refers to the whole time of the festival, just as יום in Genesis 2:4 embraces the seven days of creation. "עלות are the עלה and the חלבים (2 Chronicles 35:14)" (Berth.); but it by no means follows from that, that "at the passover, besides the regular burnt-offering (Numbers 28:4), no burnt-offering would seem to have been offered," but rather that the words have a more general signification, and denote the sacrifices at the passover and Mazzoth festivals.
And the children of Israel that were present kept the passover at that time, and the feast of unleavened bread seven days.The duration of the festival. The Israelites who had come kept the passover "at that time (that is, according to 2 Chronicles 35:1, on the fourteenth day of the first month), and the Mazzoth seven days," i.e., from the 15th to the 21st of the same month.
And there was no passover like to that kept in Israel from the days of Samuel the prophet; neither did all the kings of Israel keep such a passover as Josiah kept, and the priests, and the Levites, and all Judah and Israel that were present, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.2 Chronicles 35:18 contains the remark that the Israelites had not held such a passover since the days of the prophet Samuel and all the kings; cf. 2 Kings 23:22, where, instead of the days of Samuel, the days of the judges are mentioned. On the points which distinguished this passover above others, see the remarks on 2 Kings 23:22. In the concluding clause we have a rhetorical enumeration of those who participated in the festival, beginning with the king and ending with the inhabitants of Jerusalem. הנּמצא ישׂראל are the remnant of the kingdom of the ten tribes who had come to the festival; cf. 2 Chronicles 34:33. - In 2 Chronicles 35:19 the year of this passover is mentioned in conclusion. The statement, "in the eighteenth year of the reign of Josiah," refers back to the same date at the beginning of the account of the cultus reform (2 Chronicles 34:8 and 2 Kings 22:3), and indicates that Josiah's cultus reform culminated in this passover. Now since the passover fell in the middle of the first month of the year, and, according to 2 Chronicles 34 and 2 Kings 22, the book of the law was also found in the eighteenth year of Josiah's reign, many commentators have imagined that the eighteenth year of the king is dated from the autumn; so that all that is narrated in 2 Chronicles, from 34:8-35:19, happened within a period of six months and a half. This might possibly be the case; since the purification and repair of the temple may have been near their completion when the book of the law was found, so that they might hold the passover six months afterwards. But our passage does not require that the years of the king's reign should be dated from the autumn, and there are not sufficient grounds for believing that such was the case. Neither in our narrative, nor in 2 Kings 22 and 23, is it said that the passover was resolved upon or arrange din consequence of the finding of the book of the law. Josiah may therefore have thought of closing and ratifying the restoration of the Jahve-worship by a solemn passover festival, even before the finding of the book; and the two events need not be widely separated from each other. But from the way in which the account in 2 Kings 22 and 23 is arranged, it is not improbable that the finding of the book of the law may have occurred before the beginning of the eighteenth year of Josiah's reign, and that date may have been placed at the beginning and end of the narrative, because the cultus reform was completed with the celebration of the passover in his eighteenth year.
(Note: The addition of the lxx to 2 Kings 22:3, "in the eighth month," to which Thenius and Berth. attach some weight, as a proof that the years of Josiah's reign are dated from autumn, is utterly useless for that purpose. For even were that addition more than a worthless gloss, it would only prove the contrary, since the eighth month of the civil year, which is reckoned from autumn, corresponds to the second month of the ecclesiastical year, and would consequently carry us beyond the time of the passover.)
In the eighteenth year of the reign of Josiah was this passover kept.
After all this, when Josiah had prepared the temple, Necho king of Egypt came up to fight against Carchemish by Euphrates: and Josiah went out against him.The end of Josiah's reign; his death in battle against Pharaoh Necho. Cf. 2 Kings 23:25-30. - The catastrophe in which the pious king found his death is in 2 Kings troduced by the remark, that although Josiah returned unto the Lord with all his heart and all his soul and all his strength, and walked altogether according to the law, so that there was no king before him, and none arose after him, who was like him, yet the Lord did not turn away from the fierceness of His great wrath against Judah, and resolved to remove Judah also out of His sight, because of the sins of Manasseh. This didactic connecting of the tragical end of the pious king with the task of his reign, which he followed out so zealously, viz., to lead his people back to the Lord, and so turn away the threatened destruction, is not found in the Chronicle. Here the war with Necho, in which Josiah fell, is introduced by the simple formula: After all this, that Josiah had prepared the house, i.e., had restored and ordered the temple worship, Necho the king of Egypt came up to fight at Carchemish on the Euphrates, and Josiah went out against him. For further information as to Necho and his campaign, see on 2 Kings 23:29.
But he sent ambassadors to him, saying, What have I to do with thee, thou king of Judah? I come not against thee this day, but against the house wherewith I have war: for God commanded me to make haste: forbear thee from meddling with God, who is with me, that he destroy thee not.Then he (Pharaoh Necho) sent messengers to him, saying, "What have I to do with thee, thou king of Judah? Not against thee, thee, (do I come) to-day (now), but against my hereditary enemy; and God has said that I must make haste: cease from God, who is with me, that I destroy thee not." ולך מה־לּי, see Judges 11:12; 2 Samuel 16:10. אתּה is an emphatic repetition of the pronominal suffix; cf. Gesen. Gr. 121. 3. היּום, this day, that is, at present. מלחמתּי בּית does not signify, my warlike house, but, the house of my war, i.e., the family with which I wage war, equivalent to "my natural enemy in war, my hereditary enemy." This signification is clear from 1 Chronicles 18:10 and 2 Samuel 8:10, where "man of the war of Tou" denotes, the man who waged war with Tou.
(Note: When Bertheau, on the contrary, denies this signification, referring to 1 Chronicles 18:10 for support, he would seem not to have looked narrowly at the passage cited; and the conjecture, based upon 3 Esr. 1:25, which he, following O. F. Fritzsche, brings forward, מלחמתּי לא־פּרת, "on the Euphrates is my war," gains no support from the passage quoted. For the author of this apocryphal book, which was written on the model of the lxx, has not translated the text he uses, but only paraphrased it: οὐχὶ πρὸς σὲ ἐξαπέσταλμαι, ὑπὸ κυρίου τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐπὶ γὰρ τοῦ Εὐφράτου ὁ πόλεμος μού ἐστι, καὶ κύριος μετ ̓ ἐμοῦ ἐπισπεύδων ἐστίν. Neither the lxx nor Vulg. have read and translated פּרת in their original text; for they run as follows: οὐκ ἐπὶ σὲ ἥκω (taking אתּה for אהת) σήμερον πόλεμον ποιῆσαι, καὶ ὁ Θεὸς εἶπεν κατασπεῦσαι με. Vulg.: Non adversus te hodie venio, sed contra aliam pugno domum, ad quam me Deus festinato ire praecepit.)
The God who had commanded Pharaoh to make haste, and whom Josiah was not to go against, is not an Egyptian god, as the Targ. and many commentators think, referring to Herod. ii. 158, but the true God, as is clear from 2 Chronicles 35:22. Yet we need not suppose, with the older commentators, that God had sive per somnium sive per prophetam aliquem ad ipsum e Judaea missum spoken to Pharaoh, and commanded him to advance quickly to the Euphrates. For even had Pharaoh said so in so many words, we could not here think of a divine message made known to him by a prophet, because God is neither called יהוה nor האלהים, but merely אלהים, and so it is only the Godhead in general which is spoken of; and Pharaoh only characterizes his resolution as coming from God, or only says: It was God's will that Josiah should not hinder him, and strive against him. This Pharaoh might say without having received any special divine revelation, and after the warning had been confirmed by the unfortunate result for Josiah of his war against Necho; the biblical historian also might represent Necho's words as come from God, or "from the mouth of God."
Nevertheless Josiah would not turn his face from him, but disguised himself, that he might fight with him, and hearkened not unto the words of Necho from the mouth of God, and came to fight in the valley of Megiddo.But Josiah turned not his face from him, i.e., did not abandon his design, "but to make war against him he disguised himself." התהפּשׂ denotes elsewhere to disguise by clothing, to clothe oneself falsely (2 Chronicles 18:29; 1 Kings 20:38; 1 Kings 22:30), and to disfigure oneself (Job 30:18). This signification is suitable here also, where the word is transferred to the mental domain: to disfigure oneself, i.e., to undertake anything which contradicts one's character. During his whole reign, Josiah had endeavoured to carry out the will of God; while in his action against Pharaoh, on the contrary, he had acted in a different way, going into battle against the will of God.
(Note: Bertheau would alter התחפשׂ into התחזק, because the lxx, and probably also the Vulg., Syr., 3 Esr. 2 Chronicles 1:16, and perhaps also Josephus, have so read. But only the lxx have ἐκραταιώθη, Vulg. praeparavit, 3 Esr. ἐπεχείρει; so that for התחזק only the lxx remain, whose translation gives no sufficient ground for an alteration of the text. התחזק, to show oneself strong, or courageous, is not at all suitable; for the author of the Chronicle is not wont to regard enterprises undertaken against God's will, and unfortunate in their results, as proofs of physical or spiritual strength.)
As to the motive which induced Josiah, notwithstanding Necho's warning, to oppose him by force of arms, see the remark on 2 Kings 23:29. The author of the Chronicle judges the matter from the religious point of view, from which the undertaking is seen to have been against the will of God, and therefore to have ended in Josiah's destruction, and does not further reflect on the working of divine providence, exhibited in the fact that the pious king was taken away before the judgment, the destruction of the kingdom of Judah, broke over the sinful people. For further information as to the Valley of Megiddo, the place where the battle was fought, and on the death of Josiah, see 2 Kings 23:29. The העבירוּני, bring me forth (2 Chronicles 35:23), is explained in 2 Chronicles 35:24 : his servants took him, mortally wounded by an arrow, from the war-chariot, and placed him in a second chariot which belonged to him, and probably was more comfortable for a wounded man.
And the archers shot at king Josiah; and the king said to his servants, Have me away; for I am sore wounded.
His servants therefore took him out of that chariot, and put him in the second chariot that he had; and they brought him to Jerusalem, and he died, and was buried in one of the sepulchres of his fathers. And all Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah.
And Jeremiah lamented for Josiah: and all the singing men and the singing women spake of Josiah in their lamentations to this day, and made them an ordinance in Israel: and, behold, they are written in the lamentations.The death of the pious king was deeply lamented by his people. The prophet Jeremiah composed a lamentation for Josiah: "and all the singing-men and singing-women spake in their lamentations of Josiah unto this day;" i.e., in the lamentation which they were wont to sing on certain fixed days, they sung also the lamentation for Josiah. "And they made them (these lamentations) an ordinance (a standing custom) in Israel, and they are written in the lamentations," i.e., in a collection of lamentations, in which, among others, that composed by Jeremiah on the death of Josiah was contained. This collection is, however, not to be identified with the Lamentations of Jeremiah over the destruction of Jerusalem and the kingdom of Judah, contained in our canon. - On 2 Chronicles 35:26. cf. 2 Kings 23:28. הסדיו as in 2 Chronicles 32:32. בת כּכּתוּב, according to that which is written in the law of Moses, cf. 2 Chronicles 31:3. וּדבריו is the continuation of דּברי יתר (2 Chronicles 35:26).
Now the rest of the acts of Josiah, and his goodness, according to that which was written in the law of the LORD,
And his deeds, first and last, behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah.