Matthew Poole's Commentary
Moreover Josiah kept a passover unto the LORD in Jerusalem: and they killed the passover on the fourteenth day of the first month.Josiah keepeth a solemn passover, 2 Chronicles 35:1-19. He provoketh Pharaoh-necho, and is slain at Megiddo, 2 Chronicles 35:20-24. Lamentations for Josiah, 2 Chronicles 35:25-27.
No text from Poole on this verse.
And he set the priests in their charges, and encouraged them to the service of the house of the LORD,No text from Poole on this verse.
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,Which were holy; or, and which were holy.
In the house; in the temple; or in the holy of holies; whence, it may seem, it had been removed, either,
1. By some of the wicked and idolatrous kings of Judah, possibly by Josiah’s father Amon; which peradventure may be implied by that expression, 2 Chronicles 33:23, Amon trespassed more and more, i.e. more than he or his father Manasseh had done, which seems to point at some very enormous crime committed by him. Or,
2. By Josiah’s order, that the temple might be thoroughly repaired, both in the holy place, and in the most holy place, which some of the idolatrous kings of Judah, it may be, had defaced or defiled; and therefore it was to be searched in order to its reparation; and to that end it might seem fit to remove the ark: and upon this occasion Hilkiah might find the original book of the law, which was written by the hands of Moses, and by God’s command was laid beside the ark, and upon the removal of the ark was easily discovered.
It shall not be a burden upon your shoulders; or, that it might not be a burden, &c. So these words are to be joined with the former, as the reason why Solomon built this house, that the ark might have a constant and fixed habitation, and not need to be carried from place to place upon their shoulders, as it had been done whilst it was in the tabernacle. And withal, this is mentioned as an argument to quicken them to the more diligent service of God in their present work, because they were freed from that troublesome part of their office which lay upon their forefathers.
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.No text from Poole on this verse.
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 place, or, minister, as that word is frequently used, in the court of the priests, which is so called elsewhere, as hath been noted before.
After the division of the families of the Levites, i.e. according to the several families both of the people, whom he calls their brethren, lest they should despise them, or grudge to serve them, and of the Levites. For the passover was to be eaten by the several families according to their numbers, Exodus 12:3. And therefore he commands these persons, that when the paschal lambs were brought to them to be killed, as they were, 2 Chronicles 35:7-9, they might so order the matter, that they might be distributed to the several families, whether of the Levitical or other tribes.
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.Prepare your brethren, by purifying them, and quickening them to fit themselves for so great and solemn a work.
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.Lambs and kids, for either of these might be used for the paschal-offering, Exodus 12:5.
Three thousand bullocks, which were to be offered after the lambs, upon the several days of the feast of unleavened bread.
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.His princes; not the political, but ecclesiastical princes, or the chief of the priests and Levites, whose names here follow.
To the priests and to the Levites, for the use of any of the families of any of them, as need should be; for they supposed the 30,000 which the king had given were not sufficient for all the families. Or, the king gave his cattle to the people only, or principally, for they only are mentioned for that gift, 2 Chronicles 35:7. And therefore these persons here named give their cattle not only to the people, but also to the priests and to the Levites, as it is here expressed. And the Levites being not yet sufficiently provided for, some of their brethren, named 2 Chronicles 35:9, gave 5000 more peculiarly unto the Levites, as is there said.
Rulers of the house of God; for so they were; Hilkiah being the high priest, and the other the two chief priests, of the two lines of Eleazar and Ithamar, who many times were to officiate in the high priest’s stead, and were in power and dignity next to him, and were in some sort joint commissioners with him in ruling the affairs of the temple.
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.No text from Poole on this verse.
So the service was prepared, and the priests stood in their place, and the Levites in their courses, according to the king's commandment.No text from Poole on this verse.
And they killed the passover, and the priests sprinkled the blood from their hands, and the Levites flayed them.Which they did, though properly it belonged to the priests, because the priests, who were sanctified, were not sufficient for that work, there being so many thousands of the cattle; and they were fully employed in the killing of the sacrifices and the sprinkling of the blood, which was more properly the priests’ work than the other.
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.They removed the burnt-offerings, i.e. those cattle which were to be offered for burnt-offerings, to wit, some of the lesser cattle; for these also might be offered as burnt-offerings, Leviticus 1:10. And hence it may seem that all these small cattle were not given to the people to be eaten by them for their paschal lambs, but that some of them were to be offered as burnt-offerings for the people. And these they put apart by themselves, partly lest they should be confounded with them which were for another use; and partly that they might not be hindered from that which was their present and more immediate work, as it follows,
that they might give, to wit, the paschal lambs or kids.
To offer unto the Lord: these words may belong either,
1. To the more remote words, the burnt-offerings, the other words being to be put within a parenthesis, or there being a trajection in the words, which is frequent in Scripture, and which is here observed by some learned interpreters. Or,
2. To the last words, and to the paschal lambs, which they were first to offer to the Lord, by killing them and sprinkling the blood, as was noted before, and then to be given to the people; though the giving be here mentioned before the offering, such transpositions being usual in Scripture and other authors. So did they with the oxen, to wit, as they did with the lesser cattle, of which see the first note on this verse. They removed those oxen which were to be offered as burnt-offerings, from those which were to be offered as peace-offerings.
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 other holy offerings; those from which the burnt offerings were removed, 2 Chronicles 35:12, to wit, the peace-offerings, part of which fell to the share of the offerer, who was Josiah, and by his gift to the people.
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.Afterward they made ready, to wit, the paschal lambs, and their part of the peace-offerings.
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.No text from Poole on this verse.
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.No text from Poole on this verse.
And the children of Israel that were present kept the passover at that time, and the feast of unleavened bread seven days.No text from Poole on this verse.
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.No text from Poole on this verse.
In the eighteenth year of the reign of Josiah was this passover kept.No text from Poole on this verse.
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.When Josiah had prepared the temple; when he and his people hoped that God was reconciled, and the foundation of a solid and lasting happiness was laid, their hopes were quickly blasted. So much are men oft mistaken in their judgments about the designs of God’s counsel and providence.
Charchemish; which the Assyrian had lately taken from the king of Egypt; of which he boasts, Isaiah 10:9.
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.Against the house wherewith I have war, Heb. against the house or family of my war, i.e. against the house of the king of Assyria, between whom and me there is war.
God commanded me; either his false god by their lying priests; or the true God, either,
1. By some prophet; for God’s prophets used sometimes to deliver or send commands from God to heathen kings. Though it is not probable either that Pharaoh would regard the command of the true God; or that a prophet of the Lord would not acquaint Josiah with this message; or that Josiah would oppose Pharaoh in a war undertaken by God’s command. Or rather,
2. By a dream, as God spoke to another heathen king, Abimelech, Genesis 20:3. Though it is not impossible that he pretended this for his own advantage, that Josiah might not assist his enemies.
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.Josiah would not turn his face from him; being peradventure encouraged to do so by a misinterpretation of that promise made to him, 2 Chronicles 34:28,
Thou shalt be gathered to thy grave in peace: thus God overrules the errors and miscarriages of men to the accomplishment of his own counsels.
Disguised himself; changed his habit, that he might not give his enemies the advantage of aiming at his person, which he wisely thought they would do, that being a likely course to end their trouble, as indeed it proved.
Unto the words of Necho from the mouth of God; either,
1. Which Pharaoh sent to him in the name of God, or as coming from God’s month. Or rather,
2. Which Pharaoh received from the month of God, who was pleased some way or other to impart his mind to him; and which Pharaoh acquainted him with by the command of God. And therefore Josiah is here blamed for not hearkening to this message. Although, if he sinned herein, it was only a sin of ignorance, for he did not know that God had spoken this to Pharaoh, and was not bound to believe his testimony, which he had good reason to suspect in this matter. Yet, methinks, he ought so far to have regarded it, as to have inquired the mind of God about it; which he neglected to do, and therefore he cannot be wholly excused, and is here taxed for it.
And the archers shot at king Josiah; and the king said to his servants, Have me away; for I am sore wounded.No text from Poole on this verse.
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.No text from Poole on this verse.
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.In their lamentations to this day; in all their succeeding lamentations for their public calamities, and for the ruin of their city, and temple, and state, and church they remembered Josiah’s death as their first and most fatal blow, and as that which opened the flood-gates to all their following miseries, and it was ordained that they should do so, as the next words intimate.
In the lamentations; either in that canonical book of Jeremiah’s Lamentations, or in some other volume of mournful ditties, made by divers persons upon occasion of their following calamities, which is since lost.
Now the rest of the acts of Josiah, and his goodness, according to that which was written in the law of the LORD,His goodness; either,
1. His piety towards God and his house. Or,
2. His benignity, clemency, and kindness towards all his subjects, being of a most tender disposition and carriage both towards God, 2 Chronicles 34:27, and towards men. But the former seems principally intended, because it best agrees both with the history of Josiah, which is wholly taken up with the former, and speaks little or nothing of the latter, and with the following words; and it doth not disagree with the Hebrew word hesed, which though it doth most frequently express kindness to men, yet sometimes it notes a man’s piety to God and his house, as is manifest from Nehemiah 13:14.
And his deeds, first and last, behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah.No text from Poole on this verse.