And the king sent, and they gathered unto him all the elders of Judah and of Jerusalem.
2 Kings 23:3-4, 2 Kings 23:25-26
The lesson we learn from this chapter is that we may repent and yet be punished.
I. People do not like to believe that; it is much more convenient to fancy that when a man repents and, as he says, turns over a new leaf, he need trouble himself no more about his past sins. But it is a mistake; he may not choose to trouble himself about his past sins, but he will find that his past sins trouble him, whether he chooses or not.
II. After the forgiveness of sin must come the cure of sin. And that cure, like most cures, is a long and painful process. Heavy, and bitter, and shameful is the burden which many a man has to bear after he has turned from self to God, from sin to holiness. He is haunted, as it were, by the ghosts of his own follies. The good that he would do he does not do, and the evil that he would not do he does.
III. Christ, the great Healer, the great Physician, can deliver us, and will deliver us, from the remains of our old sins, the consequences of our own follies. Not, indeed, at once, or by miracle, but by slow education in new and nobler motives, in purer and more unselfish habits. And better for us perhaps that He should not cure us at once, lest we should fancy that sin was a light thing, which we could throw off whenever we chose, not what it is: an inward disease, corroding and corrupting, the wages whereof are death. Provided we attain at last to the truly heroic and Divine life, which is the life of virtue, it will matter little to us by what wild and weary ways or by what painful and humiliating processes we have arrived thither.
C. Kingsley, All Saints' Day, and Other Sermons, p. 292.
References: 2 Kings 23:1, 2 Kings 23:2.—G. Moberly, Plain Sermons, p. 157. 2 Kings 23:6.—Preacher's Monthly, vol. iv., p. 249. 2 Kings 23:17.—Homiletic Quarterly, vol. iv., p. 248. 2 Kings 23:22.—R. W. Evans, Parochial Sermons, p. 276. 2 Kings 23:25.—Clergyman's Magazine, vol. xi., p. 81. 2 Kings 23:25, 2 Kings 23:26.—Bishop Temple, Rugby Sermons, 2nd series, p. 305.
2 Kings 23:29-30I. The striking feature of this story is the picture it gives us of the quiet manner in which God's servants are sometimes allowed to pass away when they have finished their work. The history of the death of Josiah, as compared with that of his life, puts things in their right order: his life active, hard-working, zealous; his death quiet, unexciting, what we should call inglorious. The history seems fitted to check that tendency which exists in men's minds to lay too much stress upon the circumstances of a man's death, to be fond of exciting deathbed scenes, to delight in religious books which describe very vividly the last moments of departing souls. He who will stand least reprovable at the last day will be he who has worked here the most earnestly and vigorously in the cause of holiness and of Christ when all the temptations of the world and the strength of Satan have been opposed to him.
II. The moral we may draw from the text is that he who does his work in the proper time, who does not put off till old age the work of youth, nor to the hour of death the labour of life, may be quiet and unconcerned for the way in which God may be pleased to call him. If he is called by some sudden providence when engaged in his work or summoned by some speedy sickness, he may be of good cheer and of a quiet mind, knowing that God will do all things well.
Bishop Harvey Goodwin, Parish Sermons, 3rd series, p. 93.
References: 2Ki 23—Parker, vol. viii., p. 302. 2Ki 24—Ibid., p. 305. 2 Kings 25:30.—Spurgeon, Morning by Morning, p. 45.
And the king went up into the house of the LORD, and all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem with him, and the priests, and the prophets, and all the people, both small and great: and he read in their ears all the words of the book of the covenant which was found in the house of the LORD.
And the king stood by a pillar, and made a covenant before the LORD, to walk after the LORD, and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all their heart and all their soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people stood to the covenant.
And the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest, and the priests of the second order, and the keepers of the door, to bring forth out of the temple of the LORD all the vessels that were made for Baal, and for the grove, and for all the host of heaven: and he burned them without Jerusalem in the fields of Kidron, and carried the ashes of them unto Bethel.
And he put down the idolatrous priests, whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense in the high places in the cities of Judah, and in the places round about Jerusalem; them also that burned incense unto Baal, to the sun, and to the moon, and to the planets, and to all the host of heaven.
And he brought out the grove from the house of the LORD, without Jerusalem, unto the brook Kidron, and burned it at the brook Kidron, and stamped it small to powder, and cast the powder thereof upon the graves of the children of the people.
And he brake down the houses of the sodomites, that were by the house of the LORD, where the women wove hangings for the grove.
And he brought all the priests out of the cities of Judah, and defiled the high places where the priests had burned incense, from Geba to Beersheba, and brake down the high places of the gates that were in the entering in of the gate of Joshua the governor of the city, which were on a man's left hand at the gate of the city.
Nevertheless the priests of the high places came not up to the altar of the LORD in Jerusalem, but they did eat of the unleavened bread among their brethren.
And he defiled Topheth, which is in the valley of the children of Hinnom, that no man might make his son or his daughter to pass through the fire to Molech.
And he took away the horses that the kings of Judah had given to the sun, at the entering in of the house of the LORD, by the chamber of Nathanmelech the chamberlain, which was in the suburbs, and burned the chariots of the sun with fire.
And the altars that were on the top of the upper chamber of Ahaz, which the kings of Judah had made, and the altars which Manasseh had made in the two courts of the house of the LORD, did the king beat down, and brake them down from thence, and cast the dust of them into the brook Kidron.
And the high places that were before Jerusalem, which were on the right hand of the mount of corruption, which Solomon the king of Israel had builded for Ashtoreth the abomination of the Zidonians, and for Chemosh the abomination of the Moabites, and for Milcom the abomination of the children of Ammon, did the king defile.
And he brake in pieces the images, and cut down the groves, and filled their places with the bones of men.
Moreover the altar that was at Bethel, and the high place which Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, had made, both that altar and the high place he brake down, and burned the high place, and stamped it small to powder, and burned the grove.
And as Josiah turned himself, he spied the sepulchres that were there in the mount, and sent, and took the bones out of the sepulchres, and burned them upon the altar, and polluted it, according to the word of the LORD which the man of God proclaimed, who proclaimed these words.
Then he said, What title is that that I see? And the men of the city told him, It is the sepulchre of the man of God, which came from Judah, and proclaimed these things that thou hast done against the altar of Bethel.
And he said, Let him alone; let no man move his bones. So they let his bones alone, with the bones of the prophet that came out of Samaria.
And all the houses also of the high places that were in the cities of Samaria, which the kings of Israel had made to provoke the LORD to anger, Josiah took away, and did to them according to all the acts that he had done in Bethel.
And he slew all the priests of the high places that were there upon the altars, and burned men's bones upon them, and returned to Jerusalem.
And the king commanded all the people, saying, Keep the passover unto the LORD your God, as it is written in the book of this covenant.
Surely there was not holden such a passover from the days of the judges that judged Israel, nor in all the days of the kings of Israel, nor of the kings of Judah;
But in the eighteenth year of king Josiah, wherein this passover was holden to the LORD in Jerusalem.
Moreover the workers with familiar spirits, and the wizards, and the images, and the idols, and all the abominations that were spied in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, did Josiah put away, that he might perform the words of the law which were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the house of the LORD.
And like unto him was there no king before him, that turned to the LORD with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; neither after him arose there any like him.
Notwithstanding the LORD turned not from the fierceness of his great wrath, wherewith his anger was kindled against Judah, because of all the provocations that Manasseh had provoked him withal.
And the LORD said, I will remove Judah also out of my sight, as I have removed Israel, and will cast off this city Jerusalem which I have chosen, and the house of which I said, My name shall be there.
Now the rest of the acts of Josiah, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?
In his days Pharaohnechoh king of Egypt went up against the king of Assyria to the river Euphrates: and king Josiah went against him; and he slew him at Megiddo, when he had seen him.
And his servants carried him in a chariot dead from Megiddo, and brought him to Jerusalem, and buried him in his own sepulchre. And the people of the land took Jehoahaz the son of Josiah, and anointed him, and made him king in his father's stead.
Jehoahaz was twenty and three years old when he began to reign; and he reigned three months in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah.
And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his fathers had done.
And Pharaohnechoh put him in bands at Riblah in the land of Hamath, that he might not reign in Jerusalem; and put the land to a tribute of an hundred talents of silver, and a talent of gold.
And Pharaohnechoh made Eliakim the son of Josiah king in the room of Josiah his father, and turned his name to Jehoiakim, and took Jehoahaz away: and he came to Egypt, and died there.
And Jehoiakim gave the silver and the gold to Pharaoh; but he taxed the land to give the money according to the commandment of Pharaoh: he exacted the silver and the gold of the people of the land, of every one according to his taxation, to give it unto Pharaohnechoh.
Jehoiakim was twenty and five years old when he began to reign; and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Zebudah, the daughter of Pedaiah of Rumah.
And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his fathers had done.