Lange Commentary on the Holy Scriptures
p. JOSIAH: THE PROPHETESS HULDAH.—Ch. 34, 35
α. Josiah’s Beginnings; the Extirpation of Idolatry: 2 Chronicles 34:1–7
2 Chronicles 34:1.Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem. 2And he did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, and walked in the ways of David his father, and declined not to 3the right hand nor to the left. And in the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet a youth, he began to seek after the God of David his father; and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of the high places, 4and the asherim, and the carved images, and the molten images. And they pulled down before him the altars of Baalim; and the sun-statues which were above them he hewed down; and the asherim, and the carved images, and the molten images, he broke and pounded, and strewed upon the 5graves of them that had sacrificed to them. And the bones of the priests he 6burned upon their altars,1 and he purged Judah and Jerusalem. And in the cities of Manasseh, and Ephraim, and Simeon, even unto Naphtali, in their 7ruins2 around. And he pulled down the altars and the asherim, and he cut down the carved images to pound them, and hewed down all the sun-statues in all the land of Israel; and he returned to Jerusalem.
β. The Purging of the Temple and the Recovery of the Book of the Law: 2 Chronicles 34:8–21
8And in the eighteenth year of his reign, when he purged the land and the house, he sent Shaphan son of Azaliah, and Maaseiah the governor of the city, and Joah son of Joahaz the chancellor, to repair the house of the LORD 9his God. And they came to Hilkiah the high priest, and delivered the money that was brought into the house of God, which the Levites that kept the thresholds had gathered from the hand of Manasseh and Ephraim, and from all the remnant of Israel, and from all Judah and Benjamin, and the inhabitants3 of Jerusalem. 10And they put it into the hand of the work-masters who were appointed over the house of the LORD; and the work-masters who worked in the house of the LORD gave it to restore and repair the house. 11And they gave it to the carpenters and masons, to buy hewn stones and timber for girders and for joists of the houses, which the kings of Judah had destroyed. 12And the men wrought faithfully at the work, and over them were appointed Jahath and Obadiah the Levites of the sons of Merari, and Zechariah and Meshullam of the sons of the Kohathites, to oversee; and the 13Levites, all that had skill in instruments of song. And over the carriers, and overseeing all that were doing the work in any manner of service. 14And when they took out the money that was brought into the house of the LORD, Hilkiah the priest found the book of the law of the LORD by Moses. 15And Hilkiah answered and said to Shaphan the scribe, I have found the book of the law in the house of the LORD: and Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan. 16And Shaphan brought the book to the king, and returned to the king a report, saying, All that was committed to thy servants, they do. 17And they have poured out the money that was found in the house of the LORD, and 18given it into the hands of the overseers and of the workmen. And Shaphan the scribe told the king, saying, Hilkiah the priest hath given me a book: 19and Shaphan read in it before the king. And when the king heard the words of the law, then he rent his clothes. 20And the king commanded Hilkiah, and Ahikam son of Shaphan, and Abdon4 son of Micah, and Shaphan 21the scribe, and Asaiah the servant of the king, saying: Go, inquire of the LORD for me, and for them that are left in Israel and in Judah, concerning the words of the book that is found; for great is the wrath of the LORD that is poured out upon us, because our fathers have not kept the word of the LORD, to do after all that is written in this book.
γ. Consultation of Huldah the Prophetess, and Solemn Reading of the Law in the Temple: 2 Chronicles 34:22–33
22And Hilkiah and those who were appointed5 by the king went to Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum son of Tokehath, son of Hasrah, keeper of the wardrobe; and she dwelt in Jerusalem in the second (quarter); and 23they spake to her to this effect. And she said to them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Say ye to the man who sent you to me, 24Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, and upon its inhabitants, all the curses that are written in the book which they have read before the king of Judah: 25Because they have forsaken me, and have made burnings6 to other gods, to provoke me to anger with all the works of their hands; and my 26wrath is poured out on this place, and will not be quenched. And to the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the LORD, thus shall ye say: Thus saith the LORD God of Israel of the words which thou hast heard. 27Because thy heart was tender, and thou didst bow down before God, when thou heardest His words against this place and its inhabitants, and thou didst bow down before me and didst rend thy garments and weep before me, so have I also heard thee, saith the LORD. 28Behold, I will gather thee to thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered to thy grave in peace, and thine eyes shall not see all the evil that I will bring upon this place and upon its inhabitants: 29and they brought the king word again. And the king sent and gathered all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. 30And the king went up into the house of the LORD, and all the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and the priests and the Levites, and all the people, great and small; and one read in their ears all the words of the book of the covenant that was found in the house of the LORD. 31And the king stood in his place, and made the covenant before the LORD, to walk after the LORD, and to keep His commandments and testimonies and statutes with all his heart and with all his soul, to perform the words of the covenant which are written in this book. 32And he caused all that were found in Jerusalem and Benjamin to stand to it; and the inhabitants of Jerusalem did according to the covenant of God, the God of their fathers. 33And Josiah took away all the abominations out of all the countries of the sons of Israel, and bound all that were found in Israel to serve the LORD their God: all his days they departed not from the LORD God of their fathers.
δ. The Passover: 2 Chronicles 35:1–19
2 Chronicles 35:1.And Josiah kept a passover unto the LORD in Jerusalem; and they killed the passover on the fourteenth of the first month. 2And he set the priests in their charges, and strengthened them for the service of the LORD. 3And he said unto the Levites, who taught all Israel,7 who were consecrated to the LORD, Put the holy ark into the house which Solomon son of David, the king of Israel, built; it shall not be a burden on your shoulders: now 4serve ye the LORD your God, and His people Israel. And make you ready8 in your father-houses by your courses, after the writing of David king of 5Israel, and after the description of Solomon his son. And stand ye in the sanctuary after the divisions of the father-houses of your brethren, the sons 6of the people, and a part of a father-house of the Levites [ for each]. And kill the passover, and sanctify you, and prepare your brethren, to do according to 7the word of the LORD by Moses. And Josiah dealt to the sons of the people sheep, lambs, and kids, all for paschal offerings, for all that were found, to the number of thirty thousand, and three thousand bullocks: these were of the property of the king. 8And his princes presented a free gift to 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 9and six hundred [ sheep], and three hundred oxen. And Conaniah, and Shemaiah, and Nethaneel, his brethren, and Hashabiah, and Jeiel, and Jozabad, chiefs of the Levites, presented to the Levites for passover-offerings five thousand [ sheep], 10and oxen five hundred. And the service was prepared, and the priests stood in their place, and the Levites in their courses, at the command of the king. 11And they killed the passover, and the priests sprinkled [ the wood] from their hand, and the Levites flayed. 12And they removed the burnt-offering to give them to the divisions of the father-houses of the sons of the people, to offer unto the LORD, as it is written in the book of Moses; and so with the oxen. 13And they roasted the passover with fire, according to the ordinance; and the holy things they sod in pots and kettles and pans, and brought them quickly 14to all the sons of the people. And afterwards they made ready for themselves and for the priests: because the priests the sons of Aaron were engaged in offering the burnt-offering and the fat until night; and the Levites prepared for themselves and for the priests the sons of Aaron. 15And the singers the sons of Asaph were in their place, according to the command of David, and Asaph, and Heman, and Jeduthun the king’s seer; and the porters were at every gate: it was not necessary for them to depart from their service, 16for their brethren the Levites prepared for them. And all the service of the LORD was prepared that day, to keep the passover, and to offer burnt-offerings 17on the altar of the LORD, at the command of King Josiah. And the sons of Israel that were present kept the passover at that time, and the feast of unleavened bread seven days. 18And there was no passover like that kept in Israel from the days of Samuel the prophet; nor 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. 19In the eighteenth year of the reign of Josiah was this passover kept.
ε. Josiah’s Battle with Necho of Egypt, and End: 2 Chronicles 35:20–27
20After all this, when Josiah had prepared the house, Necho king of Egypt came up to fight at Carchemish, on the Euphrates; and Josiah went out against 21him. And he sent ambassadors to him, saying, What have I to do with thee, O king of Judah? I am not against thee this day, but against the house of my war;9 and God hath commanded me to make haste: withdraw thee from 22God, who is with me, that He destroy thee not. And Josiah turned not his face from him, but disguised himself,10 to fight with him, and hearkened not unto the words of Necho from the mouth of God, and he came to fight in the valley of Megiddo. 23And the archers shot at King Josiah: and the king said 24to his servants, Remove me, for I am sorely wounded. And his servants removed him from the chariot, and put him on his second chariot; and brought him to Jerusalem, and he died, and was buried in the sepulchres of his fathers: and all Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah. 25And Jeremiah lamented for Josiah; and all the songsters and songstresses spake of Josiah in their laments unto this day, and they made them an ordinance for Israel: and, behold, they are written in the Lamentations.
26And the rest of the acts of Josiah, and his kindness, as it is written in the law of the LORD, 27And his deeds, first and last, behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah.
q. JEHOAHAZ, JEHOIAKIM, JEHOIACHIN, ZEDEKIAH: CLOSE.—CH. 36
α. Jehoahaz: 2 Chronicles 36:1–4
2 Chronicles 36:1.And the people of the land took Jehoahaz the son of Josiah, and made him king instead of his father in Jerusalem. 2Jehoahaz was twenty and three years old when he became king; and he reigned three months in Jerusalem. 3And the king of Egypt put him down11 in Jerusalem, and fined the land a hundred talents of silver and a talent of gold. 4And the king of Egypt made Eliakim his brother king over Judah and Jerusalem, and turned his name to Jehoiakim: and Necho took Jehoahaz his brother and carried him to Egypt.
β. Jehoiakim: 2 Chronicles 36:5–8
5Jehoiakim was twenty and five years old when he became king; and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem; and he did that which was evil in the eyes of the LORD God. 6Against him came up Nebuchadnezzar king of Babel, 7and bound him in fetters, to carry him to Babel.12 And Nebuchadnezzar brought of the vessels of the house of the LORD to Babel, and put them in 8his palace at Babel. And the rest of the acts of Jehoiakim, and his abominations which he did, and that which was found against him, behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah: and Jehoiachin his son reigned in his stead.
γ. Jehoiachin: 2 Chronicles 36:9, 10
9Jehoiachin was eight years13 old when he became king; and he reigned three months and ten days in Jerusalem: and he did hat which was evil in 10the eyes of the LORD. And at the turn of the year, King Nebuchadnezzar sent and brought him to Babel, with the goodly vessels of the house of the LORD; and he made Zedekiah his brother king over Judah and Jerusalem.
δ. Zedekiah: 2 Chronicles 36:11–21
11Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. 12And he did that which was evil in the eyes of the LORD his God; he humbled himself not before Jeremiah the prophet, from the mouth of the LORD. 13And he also rebelled against King Nebuchadnezzar, who made him swear by God: and he stiffened his neck, and hardened his 14heart from turning unto the LORD God of Israel. Also all the chiefs of the priests and the people transgressed very much, after all the abominations of the heathen; and polluted the house of the LORD, which He had hallowed in 15Jerusalem. And the LORD God of their fathers sent to them by His messengers, rising early, and sending; because He had compassion on His people and His 16dwelling-place. And they mocked the messengers of God, and despised His words, and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the LORD rose against 17His people, till there was no healing. And He brought up against them the king of the Chaldees, and slew their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and He spared neither young man nor maiden, the old nor the grey-headed; the whole He gave into his hand. 18And all the vessels of the house of God, great and small, and the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king and his princes; the whole he brought to Babel. 19And they burned the house of God, and pulled down the wall of Jerusalem, and burned all its palaces with fire, and destroyed all its goodly vessels. 20And he carried away those that remained from the sword to Babel; and they became servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia: 21To fulfil the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths: all the days of the desolation she rested to fulfil seventy years.
ε. Close: the Return from Captivity under Cyrus: 2 Chronicles 36:22, 23
22And in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD, by the mouth of Jeremiah, might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, and he made proclamation in all his kingdom, and also in writing, saying, 23Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth hath the LORD God of heaven given me; and He hath charged me to build Him a house at Jerusalem: whoso is among you of all His people? The LORD14 his God be with him, and let him go up.
PRELIMINARY REMARK.—Whereas in 2 Kings 22 and 23 the several moments of the reforming action of Josiah are so combined that they appear all conditioned and determined by the repair of the temple, and the discovery in it of the book of the law, the Chronist separates the several acts or steps of his reforming activity more exactly, and indeed chronologically, as he makes the work of the king begin with the eighth year of his reign, the commencement of his more energetic proceedings to fall in the twelfth, and its end in the eighteenth (comp. on 34:3). In other respects the two accounts agree substantially, though the Chronist has related the cleansing of Judah and Jerusalem from idolatry (34:3–7) with great brevity, and, on the contrary, the great passover (35:1–19) so much the more fully; whereas the author of 2 Kings, in accordance with his It less careful attention to the history of the Levitical worship, has reversed this method, and treated of the passover quite briefly. Both historians relate the closing catastrophe of the history of Josiah at nearly the same length and in much the same manner, though the Chronist gives vent to the pragmatic reflective connection of this tragic end with the previous transactions of his reign (2 Kings 23:25 f.). He proceeds, lastly, quite in the form of an epitome in his statements concerning the four last reigns, in 2 Chronicles 36, to which the author of the books of Kings devotes a great deal of space.
1. Josiah’s Beginnings; the Eradication of Idolatry: 2 Chronicles 34:1–7.
2 Chronicles 34:1, 2 agree with 2 Kings 22:1, 2, especially with regard to the eulogy applied to Josiah (alone of all kings), that he “declined not to the right hand nor to the left”; only the mention of his mother (Jedidah, daughter of Adaiah) is wanting in our passage.
2 Chronicles 34:3. And in the eighth year of his reign, when he was sixteen years old. The “seeking after God,” as 22:19 and elsewhere. On the relation of the present chronological statements, especially that referring to the twelfth year of Josiah’s reign as the date of the beginning of the abolition of idolatry, in 2 Kings 22:3 ff, and 2 Chronicles 34:33 of our chapter, see Bähr’s full discussion (Bibelw. vii. 453 ff.). This agrees with the conclusion of almost all recent expositors in this, that neither the Chronist nor the author of 2 Kings proceeds exactly in chronological order, in so far as the latter compresses the whole measures of the purification of worship and extirpation of idolatry into the eighteenth year of his reign; but the former (according to 2 Chronicles 34:4–7, which are to be taken partly as proleptic) attaches to that which was put in operation in the twelfth year part of that which was only carried into effect in the eighteenth year, as he himself indicates at the close of the chapter (2 Chronicles 34:33).
2 Chronicles 34:4. And they pulled down before him the altars of Baalim, and the sun-statues . . . he hewed down; comp. 33:3, 31:1; and for the sun-statues especially, 14:4; and for that which follows, 15:16.—And strewed (the dust of the ground images) upon the graves of them that had sacrificed to them, literally, “upon the graves that sacrificed to them.” In 2 Kings 23:6, perhaps more exactly the ashes of the great asherim merely are designated as strewn upon the graves of the idolaters.
2 Chronicles 34:5. And the bones of the priests he burned; for the particulars, see 2 Kings 23:13, 14, 16–20.
2 Chronicles 34:6. And in the cities of Manasseh, and Ephraim, and Simeon, and unto Naphtali, that is, in all the land, from the most southern to the most northern part of the tribes. That the regions belonging to the northern kingdom (among which here, as in 15:9, Simeon also is named as a tribe addicted to idolatry) were at that time wasted by the invasion of Shalmaneser and Sargon, is indicated by the addition: “in their ruins around.” For the exclusive admissibility of this reading (בְּחָרְבֹתֵיהֶם), see Crit. Note. Moreover, the present account (with the parallel statement in 2 Kings 23:19–20 f.), according to which the kingdom of Josiah included again in some measure all the twelve tribes, is certainly to be estimated in the same way as the statement in 30:18, according to which, even in the beginning of Hezekiah’s reign, before the northern kingdom had fallen, a partial annexation of its inhabitants to the southern kingdom in respect of worship had taken place. Here also it is only the introduction of the remnant of the inhabitants of the north into the work of the purification of worship that is spoken of, not the exercise of a formal sovereignty over their country. What Neteler says, p. 261, of a supposed “reunion of the country of Israel with the kingdom of Judah” under Manasseh, and of an inheritance of this collective Israelitish kingdom, restored to its original compass, on the part of Josiah son of Manasseh, is devoid of all definite hold in the text as well of the books of Kings as of Chronicles.
2 Chronicles 34:7. Pulled down the altars; here first is the chief sentence to the (in the form of an absolute sentence, 2 Chronicles 34:6) premised determination of the scene of the king’s action.—And the asherim; לְהֵדַק is a perfect-like (retaining the vowel of the perfect) infinitive with לְ, on which see Ewald, § 238, d.—And he returned to Jerusalem, from his campaign against the idols, which had carried him into the former region of Ephraim and Simeon. In 2 Kings 23:20 also is this notice found, but there certainly in reference to the eighteenth year of Josiah. A chronological contradiction of the two accounts, however, can scarcely be found in this circumstance; comp. Bähr on the passage.
2. The Purging of the Temple and Recovery of the Book of the Law: 2 Chronicles 34:8–21. Comp. 2 Kings 22:3–13, and Bähr on the passage.—In the eighteenth year . . . when he purged. לְטַהֵר is neither “after the purging, after he had purged” (Luther, de Wette, etc.), nor “in order to purge” (Berth., Kamph.), but a note of time and circumstance “in the purging” (Keil, Net.); comp. Jer. 46:13. In the naming of Shaphan, his designation as scribe or royal secretary (2 Kings 22:3) has perhaps fallen out of the text of our account by a mere oversight, for the two other officers named by the Chronist (reporting more exactly than 2 Kings) are introduced by the addition of their titles. For “repair (literally, ‘strengthen’) the house of the Lord,” see on 24:5, and also on 2 Chronicles 34:9 of the present report concerning the repair of the temple under Joash (24:11–13); see, moreover, the Crit. Note on 2 Chronicles 34:9.
2 Chronicles 34:10. Put it into the hand of the work-masters, etc. וַיִּתְּנוּ is a resuming of the same verb in the foregoing verse, but connected with עַל־יַד, “into the hand,” by which the sense of “handing” is reached. For the plur. עשֵֹׁה הַמְּלָאכָה (for עשֵֹׁי ה׳), comp. 1 Chron. 23:24.—The work-masters . . . gave it, etc.; so according to the received text; but if, as 2 Kings 22:5 seems to show, a לְ has fallen out before עשֵֹׁי, it should be rendered: “they gave it to the work-masters” (or labourers). The latter reading appears the more suitable, though it cannot be affirmed that it is the original one.
2 Chronicles 34:11. And timber for girders and for joists of the houses, literally, “to joist the houses”; comp. Neh. 3:3, 6. This means, naturally, not any houses of the city, but the buildings of the temple.—Which the kings of Judah had destroyed, let go to ruin; a like exaggeration of phrase as in the case of Athaliah, 24:7.
2 Chronicles 34:12. And the men wrought faithfully at the work, literally, “were working.” For באמונה, “truly, conscientiously,” see on 31:12.—To oversee the building; comp. לְנַצֵּח in essentially the same meaning, Ezra 3:8.—And the Levites, all that had skill in instruments of song; comp. 1 Chron. 15:16, 25:7; Dan. 1:17. These closing words of 2 Chronicles 34:12 are to be connected with 2 Chronicles 34:13a, so that the repeated וְ is = “as well as.” This is simpler and less violent than the proposal of Bertheau, accepted by Kamph., to erase the first וְ of 2 Chronicles 34:13, and annex the words “over the carriers” to 2 Chronicles 34:12. On 2 Chronicles 34:14, comp. 2 Kings 22:8.—The book of the law of the Lord by Moses, that is, the Mosaic law (comp. for the phrase, 33:8). The whole Torah at all events is meant, not merely Deuteronomy, as the modern critical school (last of all, Hitzig, Gesch p. 236) think; and not merely the groups of laws contained in the three middle cooks of the Pentateuch (according to Bertheau’s hypothesis, Beiträge zur israelit. Gesch. p. 375). Decisive grounds against these modern hypotheses, especially so far as they endeavour to connect the assertion of an origin from Manasseh or even Josiah with our passage, see in Kleinert, Das Deuteronomium und der Deuteronomiker, 1871, and in Klostermann, “Das Lied Mosis und das Deuteronomium,” Theol. Stud. und Krit. 1871, ii.;1872, ii. and iii. Comp. also Stähelin, Einleit. ins A. T. (1862) p. 242 ff.; J. Fürst, Gesch. der bibl. Literat. i. 351 ff.; and Bähr on 2 Kings 22:7.
2 Chronicles 34:16. And Shaphan brought the book to the king. Somewhat different in the parallel 2 Kings 22:9, where at first it is only related: “and Shaphan the scribe came to the king,” and where, therefore, no עוֹד, “yet,” stands in the following: “and brought the king word.” The structure of the words in the Chronist appears in every respect the younger, although none of its deviations is of any essential importance; comp. Keil on this passage.
2 Chronicles 34:17. Given it into the hands; comp. on 2 Chronicles 34:10 at the beginning.
2 Chronicles 34:20. And Ahikam son of Shaphan, the father of Gedaliah and protector of Jeremiah; see Jer. 26:24, 40:5. For the probable originality of the reading “Achbor” for “Abdon,” see the Crit. Note. The Achbor of this passage appears the same who is so named Jer. 26:22, 36:12.
Ver 21. And for them that are left in Israel, literally, “for that which is left”; a significant phrase, like the parallel 2 Kings 22:13: “for the people and for all Judah.” The expression “that is poured out” (נִתְּכָה) stands for the essentially synonymous “that is kindled” (נִצְּתָה) of the parallel.
3. Consultation of Huldah, and Solemn Reading of the Law in the Temple: 2 Chronicles 34:22–33. Comp. 2 Kings 22:14–20, 23:1–3, and Bähr on this passage.—Went to Huldah . . . the wife of Shallum. The forefathers of this husband of Huldah are called in 2 Kings, not Tokehath and Hasrah, but Tikvah and Harhas.15 Which of these (nowhere else occurring) names are original cannot now be decided. For “the second” quarter or district of the lower city, see Bähr.—And they spake to her to this effect, namely, as Josiah had said to them; this כָּזֹאת, which reminds us of 32:15, is wanting in 2 Kings.
2 Chronicles 34:24. All the curses, etc.; in 2 Kings less strong: “all the words.”
2 Chronicles 34:25. And my wrath is poured out on this place. As in 2 Chronicles 34:21, here again stands the verb נתךְ instead of נצת, the one usual in the parallel (2 Kings 22:17), which latter, moreover, the Sept. expresses also in our passage, perhaps because it appears to suit better the following words: “and will not be quenched.”
2 Chronicles 34:27. Because thy heart was tender . . . when thou heardest his words. In the original text the construction is somewhat different, namely, “the words which thou hast heard” (2 Chronicles 34:26 for example), “because thereby thy heart was made tender, and thou didst bow down before God, when thou heardest,” etc. The words הַדְּבָרִים אֲשֶׁר שָׁמַעְתָּ, absolutely prefixed, can scarcely be translated. In 2 Kings 22:19, moreover, the words “against this place” are rendered still more distinct by the addition wanting here: “that they should become a desolation and a curse.”
2 Chronicles 34:28. And they brought the king word again; comp. 2 Chronicles 34:16.
2 Chronicles 34:32. Caused all . . . to stand to it, namely, to the covenant. In 2 Kings 23:3, instead of וַיַּעֲֽמֵד stands rather the Kalוַיַּעֲֽמֹד, joined with בַּבְּרִית, “and all the people stood to the covenant.”
2 Chronicles 34:33. And Josiah took away all the abominations. For the relation of this statement, that reverts to 2 Chronicles 34:3–7 in the way of recapitulation, to 2 Kings 23:4–20, see above, Preliminary Remark, and on 2 Chronicles 34:3, By “all the countries of the sons of Israel” are here meant the territories of the former kingdom of the ten tribes, as distinguished from Jerusalem and Benjamin, 2 Chronicles 34:32 (that is, Jerusalem, Judah, and Benjamin). Comp. above, 2 Chronicles 34:6, also 2 Kings 23:15, 19, where in particular Bethel and the cities of Samaria are mentioned as places of the former Israel that were subjected to the great purging process of Josiah.—And bound all … to serve (וַיַּֽעֲבֵד לַֽעֲבֹד), “caused to serve,” bound to the service of the Lord.—All his days they departed not from the Lord. This theocratic behaviour of the people during the whole reign of Josiah can, at all events, have only been external, without true conversion of heart, and therefore without real constancy; see Evangelical and Ethical Reflections, No. 1.
4. The Passover: 2 Chronicles 35:1–19. Comp. 2 Kings 23:21, 23; as also the tolerably close Greek version of our section in 1 Esdras 1:1–21 (in Tischendorf’s edit. of the Sept. the first book of Esdras).—And they killed the passover on the fourteenth day of the first month; thus, though Hitzig (Gesch. p. 235) doubts it without any ground, at the time prescribed by law, otherwise than in the passover of Hezekiah, 30:2 ff. The year of this solemnity is (2 Chronicles 35:9; see on this verse) the eighteenth of Josiah’s reign, and therefore 623 (or 622) B.C.
2 Chronicles 35:2. And he set the priests in their charges (watches; comp. 7:6, 8:14), in their functions; comp. 1 Chron. 23:32.—And strengthened them for the service of the Lord, by comforting, encouraging exhortation, as also by instructions in their legal functions; comp. Neh. 2:18, where חִזֵּק stands in the same sense, and 29:5.
2 Chronicles 35:3. Who taught all Israel. Comp. הֵבִין in Neh. 8:7, 9, also the synonymous למד above, 17:8, 9. For the following designation of the Levites as “consecrated to the Lord,” that is, alone entitled to enter His sanctuary and conduct His holy service, comp. 23:6.—Put the holy ark into the house. These words are somewhat surprising, and admit of various interpretations, as a parallel yielding a more definite explanation is wanting. But although not הָשִׁיבוּ, “bring back,” but תְּנוּ, “give place,” is the verb used, yet the assumption of a previous removal of the ark from its place in the holy of holies appears to present itself with constraining necessity, even if we think (with many ancients, as well as Berth. and Kamph.) of Manasseh or Amon as the author of this temporary transference of the ark; in which case, however, it would be very surprising that nothing should be expressly stated in the reign of these godless kings concerning so profane a violation; or if (with Starke and others) we consider Josiah’s repair of the temple to be the occasion of the temporary removal of the ark from its place, which is undoubtedly the simplest and best supposition. Quite arbitrary is the hypothesis of some ancients, that the ark was, in the days of the idolatrous kings, sometimes carried round the country as a means of strengthening the faith of the people, and Josiah now forbids this custom in the present words (see v. Mosheim in Calmet’s Bibl. Untersuchungen, vi. 226 ff.); and equally so the Rabbinical conceit, that Josiah here gives orders to remove the ark from its place in the holy of holies to a subterranean chamber, to place it in safety from the impending destruction of the temple. But even the rendering: “Leave the holy ark in the house, leave it in the temple, to which it properly belongs” (Keil, after the ancients), is arbitrary; and so is Neteler’s attempted emendation, which, against the grammar, would change the imperat. תְּנוּ into the perf. תַּנּוּ (from נתן = תנן, “give”), and translate accordingly: “And he said to the Levites, Those who taught all Israel, who were consecrated to the Lord, have put the ark of the sanctuary into the house,” etc. Were such an explanation of the passage possible, how surprising that it is first discovered in the 19th century !—It shall not be a burden on your shoulders; comp. Num. 4:15, 7:9. The sense of these words can only be: ye have to minister to the ark of the Lord not as a moveable sanctuary, to be carried laboriously on the shoulders, through the wilderness or from city to city, but as the throne of God standing in the centre of the temple; the times of the toilsome and perilous (comp. 1 Chron. 13:9) transport of the ark are over; an easier ministry before this sanctuary, but not the less conscientiously to be discharged, now lies upon you. If we take the words thus (with Keil, Kamph., etc.), there seems to be no necessity for Bertheau’s assumption that the Levites at the pass-over had carried round the ark on their shoulders in an inconsiderate way, and Josiah therefore instructed them that this function of carrying was no longer binding on them with regard to the ark of the covenant.
2 Chronicles 35:4. And make you ready (see Crit. Note) . . . after the writing of David, properly, “in the writing,” etc. (בְּ, as in 29:25). There were then writings or notes (מִבְתָּב, as in 26:22, 1 Chron. 28:19) of David and Solomon, in which these kings had established as law their prescriptions for the ministry of priests and Levites in the sanctuary, from which also our author had directly or indirectly drawn his former communications on this subject (1 Chron. 23–26); comp. Introd. § 5, for example, and the preliminary remark in explanation of 1 Chron. 23–26
2 Chronicles 35:5. And a part of a father-house of the Levites (for each); so that to every division (פְּלֻגָּה, as Ezra 6:18) of the non-Levitical father-houses may correspond a part of a Levitical father-house (comp. 1 Chron. 24:6). In this way it is not necessary to erase וְ before חֲלֻקַּת in the sense of “and indeed,” or “namely” (against Berth.).
2 Chronicles 35:6. Kill the passover and sanctify you, namely, by washing, before ye hand to the priests the blood to sprinkle on the altar; comp. 30:16 f.
2 Chronicles 35:7–9. The King and his Princes bestow Victims.—And Josiah dealt to the sons of the people; הֵרִים, bestow as a heave-offering, as in 30:24, Ezra 8:25.—To the number of 30,000 head of small cattle, and 3000 bullocks,—the latter, as appears from 2 Chronicles 35:13, for slaying and consuming as peace-offerings. All this was from the king’s domains; comp. 31:3, 32:29.
2 Chronicles 35:8. And his princes presented a free gift; so is לִנְדָבָה to be taken here (comp. the corresponding לַפְּסָחִים for passover-offerings in the verse before), not as an adverb, “willingly,” as Berth. thinks. How many the princes gave as free gifts is not here mentioned (it is otherwise in 30:24); for the three “rulers of the house of God” named in b as in 2 Chronicles 35:9, and six chiefs of the Levites, are certainly as different from “the princes of the king” as the spiritual office-bearers in any kingdom are from the temporal. Moreover, of the three princes of the house of God, Zechariah, named next after the high priest Hilkiah, appears to be his nearest subordinate or deputy (כֹּהֵן מִשְׁנֶה, 2 Kings 25:18); but the third, Jehiel, seems to be the head of the line of Ithamar (comp. Ezra 8:2, and Berth, on this passage). Of the six chiefs of the Levites named in 2 Chronicles 35:9, three—Conaniah, Shemaiah, and Jozabad—have the same names with those named in 31:12–15 on the occasion of the reform of Hezekiah, but are scarcely the same persons.
2 Chronicles 35:10 ff. depicts the preparation of the passover and the sacrificial feast connected with it.—And the service was prepared (or arranged, Luther), comp. 2 Chronicles 35:16, 29:35; for the following, also 30:16 f.
2 Chronicles 35:12. And they removed the burnt-offering; הֵסִיר is here to separate the parts of the victim that were to be burned on the altar; comp. Lev. 3:9 f., 4:31. These parts are here called הָעוֹלָה, because, as the law of the peace-offering, Lev. 3:6–16 (especially 2 Chronicles 35:11 and 16), directs, they were wholly burned as the burnt-offering, and, moreover, on the flesh of the evening sacrifice. A special burnt-offering is not to be thought of, because such were not prescribed on the evening of the 14th Nisan for the pass-over; the only offerings to be presented thereon were the paschal lambs.—To give them to the divisions; “them,” namely, the separated pieces, to be burned as burnt-offerings.—And so with the oxen; they also (those special gifts in oxen mentioned 2 Chronicles 35:7–9, 3800 head in all) were presented not as burnt-offerings or holocausts to be wholly burned, but as peace-offerings, to be eaten as a joyful festival in part, that is, after taking away the fat that was to be burned.
2 Chronicles 35:13. And they roasted the passover with fire, according to the ordinance; see Ex. 12:8, 9. The “holy things” (הַקֳּדָשִׁים) are the slain oxen (see 29:33). If it is further said of these, that their flesh, after being sodden in pots, etc., is to be brought “quickly” to the sons of the people, that is, the non-Levitical partakers in the feast, it does not follow that this was done on the first evening of the feast, the 14th Nisan, and thus that all that was provided, passover lambs and peace-offerings, was consumed on the very first evening (as Berth. and apparently also Kamph. think). On the contrary, Keil justly remarks: “Such a junction or rather mingling of the feast prepared of the roasted lambs with the eating of the boiled beef would have been so rude an offence against the legal prescriptions concerning the passover, that we shall not ascribe it either to King Josiah and the priests, or even to the author of Chronicles, as the latter expressly remarks that they proceeded in the festival according to the prescription of the law of Moses, and according to the ordinance.” Accordingly, that which is here and in the two following verses recorded concerning the preparation of the offering and the feast refers not merely to the opening evening, but to the whole seven days of unleavened bread.
2 Chronicles 35:14. And afterwards, when the laity were provided for.—Because the priests . . . (were engaged) in offering the burnt-offering and the fat until night, and thus could not cook and prepare for themselves, the Levites must do this for them. Burnt-offering and fat appear to denote one and the same thing, and so to form a hendiadyoin; or also the conjunctive ו between the two phrases appears to be explicative (Keil).
2 Chronicles 35:15. And the singers . . . were in their place (comp. 1 Chron. 23:28, 25:1, 6). What is here recorded concerning the co-operation of the singers and the porters in the solemnity clearly refers, as the comprehensive character of the scene shows, not merely to one, but to all the seven days of the feast. The phrase “that day,” at the beginning of 2 Chronicles 35:16, does not oppose this view, but reverts to the 14th Nisan as the fundamental day of the festival; comp. the sing. יוֹם in Gen. 2:4 and in 2 Chronicles 35:17, which shows most directly and clearly the correctness of our interpretation.
2 Chronicles 35:18. And there was no passover like that kept. . . from the days of Samuel. This does not contradict 30:26, for there the point of comparison is the magnificence and numerous participation in the solemnity; here, on the contrary, its theocratic purity and legitimacy. Comp. above on that passage, as well as Bähr on the parallel 2 Kings 23:22. On “all Judah and Israel that were present,” that is, so far as they were present, comp. 34:33.
2 Chronicles 35:19. In the eighteenth year of the reign of Josiah was this passover kept; thus in the same year in which, according to 34:8, the full execution and conclusion of Josiah’s reform of worship took place (comp. on 2 Chronicles 35:1). There is no proper chronological difficulty in this date, which is also found in 2 Kings 23:23; for the 18th year which is here spoken of is a reign and calendar year (Bähr), and if dated from the autumn, from that time till the legal term of the paschal feast, about the middle of Nisan (in the spring of the following calendar year), all that is related in 34:8–33 may take place. And all the more because not a little that referred to the cleansing and repair of the temple might have been already prepared in the previous years of Josiah’s reign (from the 12th, 34:3).
5. Josiah’s Battle with Necho of Egypt, and End: 2 Chronicles 35:20–27. Comp. 2 Kings 23:25–30.—After all this . . . Necho, king of Egypt, came up; not the Necho I. (Ni-ik-ku-u sar Mi’-im-im-piu S’a-ai, “king of Memphis and Sais,” on an inscription of Asurbanipal) mentioned 33:11, who had reigned before 664, but the successor of Psammetichus, Necho II., who reigned till about 605. The Assyrian (or rather Babylonian) king who is attacked by Necho in the present campaign is probably Asur-idil-ili, the Sarak of Abydenus and Syncellus (see Schrader, p. 231 ff.), or even, if Nineveh was already fallen, Nabo-polassar (see Then., Berth., Bähr, etc.), but by no means Sardanapalus (5. Gumpach, Zeitrechnung der Babyl. und Assyr. p. 146), who was much earlier. For Carchemish = Circesium, on the Euphrates, comp. the expositors on Isa. 10:9; Jer. 46:2.16
2 Chronicles 35:21. What have I to do with thee? properly, “what is there to me and thee?” comp. Judg. 11:12; 2 Sam. 10:9; John 2:4.—I am not against thee this day, “I am come up” (עָלִיתִי), my attack is not on thee; after עָלֶיךָ the suffix of the second pers. is rendered emphatic by an added אַתָּה, which would be expressed in English by “even thee.”—But against the house of my war. ַThese words must, if original, be interpreted like the phrase: “man of wars of Tou,” 1 Chron. 18:10, or the similar form in 2 Sam. 8:10, and would thus denote the hereditary foe of the Egyptian king. But it seems more natural to amend, as in 1 Esdras 1, according to the Crit. Note.—And God hath commanded me to make haste. By this God, to whose command he was obedient, Necho means not any Egyptian deity, as the Targ. as well as some recent expositors (appealing to Herodotus, 2:158) think, but, according to 2 Chronicles 35:22, the true supreme God, the acknowledgment of whom in the mouth of Necho cannot surprise us more than 36:23 in the edict of Cyrus. The older expositors assume a special divine command (sive per somnium, sive per prophetam aliquem ad ipsum a Judœa missum) without sufficient necessity; what Necho had recognised as agreeable to the will of his Egyptian deity, that he transfers at once to a supposed indication of the will of Jehovah.
2 Chronicles 35:22. But disguised himself to fight with him; he gave up his true character, the part of the peaceful, which he was bound to play, and engaged against the will of God in combat with Necho. Perhaps, however (with Berth., Kamph.), the reading of the Sept.: “but made himself strong for battle” (comp. 25:11), is to be preferred. A literal disguise, such as that of Ahab, 18:29, should in no case be thought of (against Starke and other ancients, also Neteler). For the well-founded opinion of our author, that the battle of Josiah with Necho was a contravention of the divine will, see Evangelical and Ethical Reflections, No. 1. For the valley of Megiddo, see on 2 Kings 23:29 f.
2 Chronicles 35:24. And his servants . . . put him in his second chariot, perhaps a more commodious one, which he had with him besides the war chariot. Not so exact 2 Kings 23:30.
2 Chronicles 35:25. And Jeremiah lamented for Josiah. This lamentation of Jeremiah was certainly included in the collection of lamentations (קִינוֹת) on Josiah mentioned immediately after at the end of the verse, but is no longer found in the present Lamentations of Jeremiah, which must be regarded as a later collection than that here named. Perhaps the passages in Jer. 22:10, 18, and Zech. 12:11 contain allusions to the older laments in memory of Josiah that are here intended; comp. Nägelsbach on Jeremiah, and Köhler on Zechariah.
2 Chronicles 35:26. And his kindness; חֲסָדִים, as in 32:32 of Hezekiah, but more exactly defined in our passage by the addition: “as it is written in the law of the Lord,” corresponding to the characteristic peculiarity of Josiah, as a prince living and reigning in the strictest sense according to law.
6. Jehoahaz: 2 Chronicles 36:1–4. Comp. 2 Kings 23:30–35.—And the people of the land took Jehoahaz; the same mode of elevation to the throne as in Josiah, 33:25, and Uzziah, 26:1. In the present case, the will of the people took effect in a usurping way, as the younger brother (Jehoahaz, or properly Shallum; see 1 Chron. 3:15, and comp. remarks on this passage) was preferred to the older Jehoiakim, perhaps because they had learned to fear the latter on account of the tyrannical spirit early manifested by him (comp. on 2 Chronicles 36:8).
2 Chronicles 36:3. Put him down. For the here probably necessary supplement of מִמְּלֹךְ after וַיְסִירֵהוּ, see Crit. Note. On the terms 100 talents of silver and a talent of gold, which are also found in 2 Kings 23, see Bähr on this passage.
7. Jehoiakim: 2 Chronicles 36:5–8. Comp. 2 Kings 23:36–24:7.—Jehoiakim was twenty and five years old when he became king, and so two years older than his brother Shallum-Jehoahaz.—Against him came up Nebuchadnezzar; according to the Assyrio-Babylonian monuments, Nabiuv-kudurriusur (comp. the Hebrew form נְבוּכַדְרֶאצוֹר, Jer. 49:28 and Ezra 2:1, Kethib; likewise Ναβοκοδρόσορος in Alex. Polyhistor, Megasthenes, and Abydenus). The name (according to Schrader, p. 235) is compounded of the idol name Nabiuv or Nabu, the subst. Kudur, “crown” (κίδαρις), and the imperat. usur or nasar, “protect,” and means: “Nebo, guard the crown” (not Nebo guards the crown, as Keil states our passage and at Dan. 1:1).—And bound him in fetters, as befell Manasseh, and as the Assyrio-Babylonish sovereigns were wont to do to all captive princes; comp. on 33:11.—To carry him to Babel. That this carrying to Babel was only intended, not executed, almost all recent expositors justly assume; comp. besides Movers (Chron. p. 333), Bertheau, Keil, Neteler on our passage, also Bahr on 2 Kings 24:1 ff., Nägelsbach on Jer. 22:17 ff., as well as my remarks on Dan. 1:2. If the Sept., which presents a text often deviating from the Masoretic text, and amplified with many additions, makes out of “to carry him” (לְהוֹלִיכוֹ) an actual “and carried him” (καὶ ἀνήγαγεν αὐτὸν εἰς Βαβυλῶνα), and also 1 Esdras and the Vulg. translate accordingly (et vinctum catenis duxit Babylonem), this has its ground in the erroneous assumption derived mainly from a onesided view of Dan. 1:2, as if already the misfortune of being carried to Babel had befallen Jehoiakim, which, according to the sequel, first overtook his son Jehoiachin, whereas he himself, according to the express statement of 2 Chronicles 36:5, reigned eleven years at Jerusalem (the last of these eleven years, naturally, as the vassal of Nebuchadnezzar). On the date of this first invasion of Nebuchadnezzar, according to Dan. 1:1 “in the third year of Jehoiakim,” about 606 or 605 B.C., comp. our remarks in the Introd. to the book of Daniel, § 8 (Bibelw. xvii. 28, 30 ff.). On 2 Chronicles 36:7, comp. Dan. 1:2; Ezra 1:7.
2 Chronicles 36:8. And his abominations which he did; not certainly a mere designation of the idolatry of Jehoiakim (as Berth. thinks, who understands עָשָׂה תוֹעֲבוֹת of the making of idols), but also of his other evil deeds—for example, his shedding of innocent blood, 2 Kings 24:4. The next phrase: “and that which was found against him,” is a still more general and comprehensive expression for these evil deeds; comp. 19:3.
8. Jehoiachin: 2 Chronicles 36:9, 10. Comp. the fuller account, 2 Kings 24:8–17.—Jehoiachin was eight years old. That the number eight here is, at all events, a miswriting for eighteen, see in Crit. Note. Not merely in 2 Kings 24:8 is Jehoiachin designated as a youth of eighteen years at his accession, but Ezek. 19:5–9 makes him appear at least as old, since he is depicted as a young lion, who practised man-stealing, oppressed widows, and laid waste cities, abominations which a boy of eight years could not have committed. Against Bertheau’s opinion, that it follows from 2 Kings 24:12, 15, Jer. 22:26, where Jehoiachin’s mother is mentioned along with him, that he was still in his minority, and thus the present statement of the Chronist that he is only eight years old is correct, is the joint mention of the queen-mother in the account of the accession of a new king which is usual in the books of Kings, and occurs, for example, also in Jehoahaz (2 Kings 23:31), Jehoiakim (23:36), and Zedekiah (24:18). For the name Jehoiachin, and its relation to the kindred form Jechoniah or Coniah, comp. on 1 Chron. 3:16.
2 Chronicles 36:10. And at the turn of the year, in the spring, when men are wont to open the campaign (comp. 2 Sam. 11:1; 1 Kings 20:22).—And brought him to Babel (“caused him to come”) with the goodly vessels, etc. In the mention of these “goodly vessels” (as in 32:27) there is an advance in comparison with “some of the vessels,” as in 2 Chronicles 36:7. The spoliation under Jechoniah (598 B.C.) was more thorough than under Jehoiakim.—And he made Zedekiah his brother king over Judah and Jerusalem. That this designation of Zedekiah, the last king before the exile, as the brother of Jehoiachin is inexact, and, according to 2 Kings 24:17, to be explained by father’s brother (uncle,דּוֹר), or even directly changed into this term, is shown by the full list of Josiah’s four sons already communicated by the Chronist, 1 Chron. 3:15 f. Comp. on this passage, especially on 1 Chron. 3:16, where also mention is made of Mattaniah, the name borne by Zedekiah before he ascended the throne.
9. Zedekiah: 2 Chronicles 36:11–21. Comp. 2 Kings 24:18–25:21, also Jer. 52. and 1 Esdras 1:44–55.—Zedekiah was twenty-one years old. The younger Zedekiah, brother of Jehoiachin, and nephew of Mattaniah Zedekiah (see 1 Chron. 3:16), could not have been so old at the time when Jehoiachin, being eighteen years old, was deposed. The eleven years of Zedekiah’s reign extend from 598 to 587.
2 Chronicles 36:12. Humbled himself not before Jeremiah the prophet from the mouth of the Lord, who spoke from the mouth of God; comp. 35:22; Jer. 23:16. Of these prophetic warnings and threatenings addressed by Jeremiah to Zedekiah, Jer. 21:4 ff. especially comes into account; comp. also Jer. 37:2 ff.
2 Chronicles 36:13. And he also rebelled against king Nebuchadnezzar. This revolt is also censured by the prophet Ezekiel (Ezek. 17:13 ff.) as a grievous transgression.—And he stiffened his neck (showed himself stiff-necked; comp. 2 Kings 17:14; Jer. 19:15, etc.) and hardened his heart, “made his heart firm.” Comp. Deut. 2:30, where God is said to harden and make stiffnecked; which does not, however, warrant the conclusion that he must also here be the subject of וַיֶּקֶשׁ, as Bertheau thinks; comp., on the contrary, Deut. 15:7.
2 Chronicles 36:14. Also all the chiefs of the priests and the people transgressed very much; comp. Ezek. 8:6 ff., where priests and people are described as sunk in base idolatry under the last kings, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah, while prominence is expressly given to the “elders of the people” (2 Chronicles 36:11) and the priests (2 Chronicles 36:16) as the chief participators in these abominations. Neither there nor here would a reference of the accusation concerning idolatrous abominations to an earlier time than that of the last kings, namely, to that of Manasseh and Amon, be justified (against Berth.). From the circumstance that in the prophetic discourses of Jeremiah such complaints of idolatry are less vehement under Zedekiah, no inference can be drawn against this view. The phrase: “chiefs of the priests,” denotes here, as in Ezra 10:5, the presidents of the twenty-four classes, together with the high priests, and therefore the same whom Ezekiel has in view in the twenty-five men in the temple; comp. Hitzig, Gesch. p. 238.
2 Chronicles 36:15. Sent to them by his messengers, rising early and sending, constantly and earnestly; הַשְׁכֵּם וְשָׁלוֹחַ, as in Jer. 26:5, 29:19, 35:14 f.—Because He had compassion on His people, exercised forbearance toward them, did not wish to deliver them over instantly to condign punishment.
2 Chronicles 36:16. And they mocked, literally, “were mocking.” מַלְעִיבִים (also occurring in Syriac in the sense of subsannantes) is ἅπ. λεγ., of like import with מַלְעִיגִים30:10. Also the following מִתַּעְתְּעִים (Hithp. of תעע), “ape, befool,” occurs only here; the equivalent pilel, see in Gen. 27:12. On the contents of the present accusation, comp. especially Ezek. 33:22. If, then, at first only Ezekiel, the prophet of the exiles, is named as mocked by the people, yet it cannot be doubted that mocking and reproach were often cast upon the other prophets, especially Jeremiah, whose bold exhortations to repentance had to encounter so much opposition on the part of the ungodly population under the last kings before the exile. There is, therefore, in the plural “messengers of God” and “prophets” no exaggeration, though there may be some rhetorical generalization In the expression.—Till there was no healing, till the threatening judgment could no longer be averted. Comp. on the phrase, 21:18, 30:20; Prov. 6:15.
2 Chronicles 36:17. And slew their young men with the sword. To וַיַּֽהֲרֹנ, “slew,” or “caused to slay,” also is God the subject, as to the foregoing and following verbs. To bring in Nebuchadnezzar here as the subject is to import an unnecessary harshness of construction (against Keil, Neteler). The temple, where the young men were slain, is designated the “house of the sanctuary,” because they had profaned it by their idolatry; comp. 2 Chronicles 36:14b. The Sept. (τοῦ ἁγιάσματος αὐτοῦ) unnecessarily changes בֵּית מִקְדָּשָׁם into ב׳ מִקְדָּשׁוֹ (7:20).—The whole He gave into his hand; comp. Jer. 27:6, 32:3, 4. The neutral הַכֹּל, notwithstanding that persons only are previously named, is used, in view of the vessels and treasures about to be mentioned in the following verse; yet it may be rendered “them all.”
2 Chronicles 36:19. And they burned; comp. Jer. 39:8; 2 Kings 25:9.—And destroyed all its goodly vessels (comp. Isa. 64:10, also 2 Chronicles 36:10), literally, “to destroy”; comp. לְהַשְׁחִית in 12:12.
2 Chronicles 36:20. And he carried away those that remained from the sword, literally, “the remnant from the sword.” The following words: “and they became servants to him and his sons,” coincide with the prophecy, Jer. 27:7.
2 Chronicles 36:21. To fulfil; לְמַלֹּאת, as in 1 Chron. 29:5; Dan. 9:2. The oracle here quoted stands in Jer. 25:11 f. (comp. Jer. 29:10), where, however, only the seventy years’ duration of the Babylonish bondage is predicted; but nothing is said of a representation of these seventy years as an expiation or requital for the neglect of the sabbath years. This symbolizing of the seventy years’ duration of the exile predicted by Jeremiah, contained in the words: “until the land enjoyed her sabbaths,” is taken from the passage Lev. 26:34, where such an expiation of neglected sabbath-year solemnities by an equally long time of desolation was announced to the people; and the added remark: “all the days of the desolation she rested” (kept a sabbath), is taken word for word from this passage of Leviticus. That there were exactly seventy neglected sabbath-years, and therefore a period of 490 years on account of which the seventy years of exile (with the beginning of the Persian monarchy as terminus ad quem, see 2 Chronicles 36:20) were decreed, our author scarcely assumes. The terminus a quo of his reckoning of the neglected sabbath-years need not be sought exactly 490 years before the beginning of the exile (606 or 605), in the time of the last judges, Eli and Samuel; and we can scarcely suppose the whole period of the kingdom down to the exile to have been marked by the neglect of the sabbath-years, since under such theocratic sovereigns as David, Solomon, and Hezekiah, the observation of the precept in question was scarcely omitted. The whole statement is only approximate (like that in 35:18 regarding the passover of Josiah, and its relation to the preceding one); it is in no way fitted to be the basis of any calculations, whether of the number of sabbath-years neglected till the exile, or of the point from which these acts of neglect date.
10. Close; The Return from the Captivity under Cyrus: 2 Chronicles 36:22, 23. Comp. Ezra 1:1–3 (also 1 Esdras 2:1–5); and on the coincidence of the beginning of Ezra with the close of Chronicles, Introd. §§ 2 and 3.—And in the first year of Cyrus, in the first year of his sovereignty over the former Babylonian-Assyrian monarchy, immediately after the taking of Babylon. For the name Cyrus (כּוֹרֶשׁ. Pers. Quurus), see the expositions on Ezra 1:1 and Isa. 44:28.—That the word of the Lord … might be fulfilled;לִכְלוֹת (from כלהperfici, 29:34) thus = לְמַלְּאוֹת of the verse before, as the same prediction of Jeremiah is spoken of there as here.—And he made proclamation, literally, “let go a cry”; comp. 30:5.
2 Chronicles 36:23. All the kingdoms of the earth hath the Lord God of heaven given me. In the same way as Necho, 35:21, Cyrus knows and confesses himself the instrument or the “anointed” (Isa. 45:1) of the most high, living, and only true God, but designates Him not by the common name “God,” like the former, but at once as Jehovah, the name of the God of the Jews, whose existence and identity with his own supreme god he at once acknowledges, and therefore as the “God of heaven,” by the title which his supreme god, Ahuramazda, was wont to receive at the heads of all the royal edicts of the Persian sovereign. Comp. Evangelical and Ethical Reflections, No. 3.—Whoso is among you all of his people, the Lord his God (be) with him. That here probably יְהִי is to be read instead of יְהוָֹה, see in Crit. Note. On the abrupt termination of the narrative after these words of the royal edict, see Introd. as quoted above.
EVANGELICAL AND ETHICAL REFLECTIONS AND HOMILETIC HINTS ON 2 CHRONICLES 34–36
1. The last mighty outburst of the theocratic spirit under Josiah, which brought in at the same time the last flourishing epoch of the Jewish kingdom and people, is depicted by our author with comparative fulness in one respect, namely, as regards the great passover after the purging of the temple, which accords with his Levitical leanings, with much greater fulness than by the author of the books of Kings. If he not only celebrates the theocratic purity, exactitude, and legitimacy of this festival, as one the like of which had not been held during the whole period of the kings (from the days of Samuel the prophet, 35:18), but praises the pious deeds of Josiah as it is written in the law of the Lord, 35:26, designates the single case in which he renounced his character as a prince of peace, walking strictly according to law, as a disguising of himself, as being untrue to himself (35:22), and in the very opening of his description gives him a commendation which was given to no other king, namely, that he walked in the ways of David his father, and declined not to the right hand nor to the left (34:2), nothing of all this appears to be exaggerated; on the contrary, the whole extremely favourable picture of the prince is correctly conceived and faithfully rendered from the standpoint of our author. In the second book of Kings, while no specially Levitical leaning affects the pragmatism of the narrator, the praise of his walking in the footsteps of David, without declining to the right or left, is set forth with equal prominence; and a special aspect of his theocratic disposition and demeanour, his zeal in the extirpation of idolatry, is there described still more minutely and commended with more fulness (2 Kings 23:4–20) than in the account before us, which compresses that which is here referred to, as already sufficiently known, into a brief sketch of a few verses. But as there, so here, it is manifest, amid the glory of his theocratic success, that his strenuous efforts were unsatisfactory, and insufficient to effect a permanent recovery, a true regeneration of the people of God. That, notwithstanding the sincerity of his conversion, “the Lord turned not from the great hotness of His anger which was kindled against Judah because of the provocations of Manasseh,” but rather the divine sentence of extirpation against the kingdom of Judah remained unrevoked (2 Kings 23:26 f.),—this our author certainly does not say in the express words of the older parallel text; indeed he appears, according to 34:33, to add to the testimony for the sincerity of the king’s conversion the assurance of the reality of the conversion of the people, when he writes: “All his days they departed not from the Lord God of their fathers.” But even this “all his days” contains a fatal limitation of the praise here bestowed on the endeavours of Josiah; and the lamentable state of idolatrous degeneracy which betrayed itself immediately under his sons (36:5 ff.), and which was the fault no less of the maladministration of these last kings than of the apostasy of the chiefs of the priests and the people (36:14), sufficiently shows that the adherence of Judah to the law of the Lord during the period from the reform of Josiah to his death was by no means sincere or truly genuine, but rather the complaints uttered in the last days of the kingdom by Jeremiah, of the unfaithfulness, the inner apostasy, and immorality, uncleanness, corruption indeed, of the people (Jer. 11, 13, 25, etc.), were fully justified. The insufficiency of mere reforms of the theocratic worship, healing only the surface, not the deep seat of the wound, and accordingly, as all that could serve the king as the standard for his reforming action lay in the ordinances of worship, the inadequacy of the law to the production of true life, that ἀδύνατον τοῦ νόμου (Rom. 8:3), that impotence of the law to secure true freedom, true righteousness, and assured hope of the heavenly inheritance (Gal. 3:4; Rom. 7),—all this came out with astonishing clearness in the history of the reform of Josiah, which was pursued with so much zeal and sudden success, and yet yielded so transient a result. The king hears the words of the law discovered in the temple; the curses which it pronounces on the infidelity of the apostates pierce through his heart; he rends his garments, weeps, and bows down in deep, sincere sorrow before God. He succeeds also in inspiring the rulers of the people, if not with the same spirit of sincere repentance, yet with the fiery zeal that turns to the monuments and instruments of idolatry, and repeats the deeds of an Elijah. And what does he effect by all this? The stern message of Huldah announces this to him: for himself, and for the duration of his reign, he shall enjoy the blessings of walking with God; in peace he shall be gathered to his fathers’ sepulchres; his eyes shall not see air the misfortune which the Lord is determined to bring upon his kingdom and city; for His wrath is now once for all poured out on this place, and nothing is now able to quench it (34:23–28). It is impossible more thoroughly and powerfully to exemplify and exhibit what is the curse which the law works (Gal. 3:13) than by these words of Huldah, of which it can scarcely be said whether they are more an exhortation to repentance or a promise of mercy (comp. the in many ways similar address of Azariah ben Oded to King Asa, 15:1–7). And not even the salvation and blessing which they promise the king on account of his personal piety—that he shall depart in peace to his fathers—is fulfilled in a perfectly satisfactory way. Josiah departs before he has seen all the misfortune that the Lord has threatened to send, but as a brand plucked from the fire! Not in a painless way is he brought home to his fathers, but through conflict, war, and bloodshed, as he himself had willed. The only infidelity of which he made himself guilty in an otherwise irreproachable walk is avenged by a certainly only temporal (slaying only the body, not the soul), but yet terribly sharp and severe punishment; and even thereby is the series of judgments which bring on the end of the Jewish state and kingdom immediately introduced.
2. Josiah’s defeat and tragic decease is the beginning of the end. As a fair but rapidly-overspreading evening glow after a dull, rainy day indicates the approaching nightfall, so his reform of worship, as the last powerful movement of the theocratic spirit, almost immediately precedes the sinking of the people of God into the murky night of political annihilation and protracted subjugation. It goes rapidly down, after its better administration of the people and the kingdom had once risen to a certain height; and, like that better emperor of the house of Palæologus shortly before the fall of the Byzantine Empire, or like the reign of Louis XVI. as the forerunner of the terror of the French Revolution, had delayed for a short time the execution of the sentence of extirpation, already ripened into an inevitable decree under the last preceding kings. The Chronist indicates this rapid riding of the dead that came on after the decease of Josiah, this entrance of the galloping consumption into the long since internally rotten and putrid state of Judah, by the extreme brevity with which he despatches the last four reigns. In a way more summary still than the author of the books of Kings, who likewise does not dwell very long on them, he depicts the ungodly practice of the first three successors of Josiah, to none of whom he devotes more than four verses, and for none of whom he has any word of praise or acknowledgment—not even for Jehoahaz, with respect to whom he does not indeed employ the formula used of the following two, in harmony with 2 Kings, “and he did that which was evil before the Lord” (comp., on the contrary, 2 Kings 23:32), but simply on account of his epitomizing habit, as he hastens to the end, not because he cherished any better opinion of him. On Zedekiah he dwells somewhat longer; but not to report more fully the public acts of this unfortunate last of the Davidic kings, nor to depict the terrible catastrophe of wasting and destruction forming the close of his reign with the same fulness as in 2 Kings 25 or Jer. 52, but only to exhibit the ungodliness and perversity, carried out to the end, of the course of both king and people, in a pragmatic, reflective way, as the cause of the inevitable judgment (see vers. 13–16), and to display the contrast between this course and the incessant but always ineffectual cries of admonition and warning coming from the prophet Jeremiah (vers. 12, 21). His report of the fall of Jerusalem and the beginning of the Babylonish captivity (vers. 17–20) is, compared with the fuller accounts of the parallels, in fact, as compendious as possible, but by its very conciseness and brevity produces only the deeper and more powerful impression.
3. The conclusion of his historical account, 36:22, 23, is also characteristic for the standpoint and method of our author. While the author of the books of Kings (2 Kings 25:27–30) closes with a notice of the release of the captive king Jehoiachin in the middle of the exile, by the grace of the Babylonian king Evilmerodach, and thus, in correspondence with his paramount interest in the personal fate of the king, reports a mere prelude of the final release of Judah from the exile, and not the very release itself, our work closes with a notice, though brief, of the cessation of servitude in a foreign land by the gracious edict of Cyrus. In this characteristic trait is exhibited the historian who bears on his priestly heart the fortune of the whole people, not merely of the royal house. As he had set forth immediately before the divinely decreed and prophetically attested necessity of a servitude of seventy years, to compensate for the past neglect of seventy sabbath-years, so he cannot but point, at the close of his work, to the final fulfilment of this prediction. The internal organic connection of this closing notice, by which the fair perspective opens into a new and more fruitful beginning of the history of the covenant people after the exile, with that which was recorded immediately before concerning the last kings before the exile and their downfall, is as clear as day, and precludes any such opinion as that the contents of 36:22, 23 stood originally only at the beginning of Ezra, and was afterwards Added at the close of our work by a later hand (comp. Introd. § 3, p. 7). But these closing Verses betray their originality and integral connection with the whole preceding work not only by the manifest reference to predictions of Jeremiah and Moses quoted in ver. 21, but also by this, that they add to that earlier testimony from the mouth of Necho to the fate of Israel-Judah as divinely decreed and carried on (35:21) by the counsels of the supreme living God, the God of heaven (36:22), a second such testimony on the part of a holder of the heathen world-power; as if it were intended to prove to superfluity that God’s judicially strict but also gracious rule over His deeply guilty and corrupt people might be known in its reality, and according to its salutary effect on the people, even on the part of the heathen executors of His judgments. Necho and Cyrus appearing as witnesses of the divine truth, as involuntary and more or less unconscious heathen prophetic announcers of the severity and the goodness of God in reference to the destiny of His people, as prophetic dispensers of blessing to Israel,—as Balaam formerly,—the one as a foe, but the other as a friend and protector, yea, as the type of its future Messiah (comp. Isa. 45:1);—in this light the close of our history presents the relations of the heathen world-powers to the people of God when entering the period of its development after the exile. His representation in this respect corresponds with the mode of thought of the prophets before the exile, especially Jeremiah, to whom the world-power external to Israel had ceased to appear as something absolutely opposed to God, so that they frequently warn their people against foolish opposition to it, and inculcate willing submission to its authority (comp. Bibelw. XV. p. X. ff., and especially E. Vilmar, “Der Prophet Jeremia,” in the monthly journal Bew, des Glaubens, Bd. v. 1869, p. 19 ff.); and on the other hand, with the view of the world taken by the prophetic men of God of and after the exile, as Daniel, Zechariah, etc., in accordance with which the dependence of the destiny of Israel on such of the world-powers as were occasional executors of the judicial and beneficent providence of God is presupposed as a thing understood of itself, a certain mission-call of Israel in reference to the heathen nations around is preached, and the continuance of this state to the entrance of the Messianic era is announced (comp. Bibelw. Bd. xvii. pp. 3 f., 37 f., 41; also Hengstenb. Gesch. des Reiches Gottes, ii. 2, p. 277 ff.). It is of no small consequence that the Old Testament Chronicles, the most comprehensive historical work of sacred literature, closes with such universalistic views of Israel’s call of salvation to all nations, and of the future union of all in faith in Jehovah as the one and only true God. Its end thus turns to its beginning. Setting out from the first Adam, the author concludes his work with the consoling expectation of the future and not far distant, but rather, in the reconstruction of the theocracy promoted by the edict of Cyrus, already guaranteed and necessarily involved restitution of the blessed kingdom of the second Adam, the Redeemer of the world.
 מִזְבְּחוֹתַיִם is probably an error of transcription for מִזְבְּחוֹתָם
Instead of the Keri בְּחַרְבֹתֵיהֶם, that appears formed after Ezek. 26:9, or Neh. 4:7, but yields not suitable sense, we should point בְּחָרְבֹתֵיהֶם, in ruinis eorum (comp. Ps. 109:10). The Kethib: בָּחַר בָּתֵּיהֶם, “he chose (examined, searched) their houses,” is scarcely warranted by the usage of speech.
The Kethib וְישְׁבֵי is undoubtedly to be preferred to the Keri ויָּשֻׁבוּ, “and they returned.”
For עַבְדּוֹן the Syr. presents עַכְבּוֹר, which seems to be the original reading according to 2 Kings 22:12.
For אֲשֶׁר הַמֶּלֶךְ is to be read, according to the Sept: וא׳ אמר המּ׳, “and whom the king had commanded.”,
 Kethib וַיַּקְטִרוּ, “have burned offerings”; Piel, as 2 Kings 22:17: “have burned incense.”
 Kethib המבונים, perhaps only a slip of the pen for הַמְּבִינִים (Keri), “the teaching, instructing”; some MSS. give this directly as the Kethib; some have המבינים, which is perhaps only another way of miswriting the original המבינים.
The Kethib הִבּוֹנוּ (imp. Niph. “make you ready”) is undoubtedly to be preferred to the Keri הָכִינוּ, “prepare ye” (comp. 2 Chronicles 35:6).
The difficult phrase אֶל־בֵּית מִלְחַמְתִּי is not translated by the Sept.; the Vulg. gives the very free rendering: sed contra aliam pugno domum. The original text is perhaps still to be discovered from 1 Esdras 1.25: ἐπὶ γὰρ τοῦ Εὐφράτω ὁ πόλεμός μού ἐστι, namely, אֶל־פְּרָת מִלְחַמְתִּי (comp. also Josephus, Antiq. x. 5, 1). So at least O. F. Fritzsche (on 1 Esdras), Berth., and Kamph.
Instead of הִתְחַפֵּשׂ, “disfigured, unrobed himself,” the Sept. read (ἐχραταιώθη) הִתְחַוֵּק (comp. 25:11); the Vulg. (præparavit) and 1 Esdras (ἐπεχείρει) appear only to have run into the indefinite.
Instead of וַיְסִירֵהוּ, “and removed, put him down,” the Sept. read (ἔδησεν) וַיַּאַסְרֵהוּ, agreeing with 2 Kings 23:33. But the Vulg., Syr., and 1 Esdras confirm the Masoretic reading The last (1 Esdras 1:33) seems to have read וַֽיְסִרֵהוּ מִמְּלֹךְ, with a supplement which Berth., Kamp., and others pronounce necessary before בירושלם.
The Sept., Vulg., and 1 Esdras change לְהוֹלִיבוֹ into the past וַיּוֹיבֵהוּ; comp. Exeg. Expl.
 שְׁמֹנֶה, though the Sept. and Vulg. give the number 8, is certainly an error of the pen for שׁמנה עשׂרה; comp 2 Kings 24:8, also some Hebr. manuscripts, the Syr. and Arab. in our passage.
For יְהוָֹה the parallels Ezra 1:3 and 1 Esdras 2:5 present יְהִי, which is perhaps the original form.
Not Harham, as Luther and after him also Bähr (changing the ם into ם) write
Recently G. Maspero (De Carchemis oppidi situ et historia antiquissima, Lut. Par. 1872) has attempted to identify Carchemish with the town Mabug = Βαμβύkη or Hierapolis, north-east of Aleppo, following the lead of Ephraem on 2 Kings 23:30.
Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem one and thirty years.