2 Chronicles 35


Josiah’s Passover Observance

        • ESV Study Bible writes, “See 2 Kings 23:21-23. Just as Josiah encouraged and instructed the priests and Levites ‘in the service of the house of the Lord,’ the detailed account of his Passover serves as an encouragement and a model to the Chronicler’s own generation in their use of the temple for worship and spiritual renewal. The Passover was the most significant pilgrimage festival in the postexilic community for reaffirming their identity and vocation as Yahweh’s people (see Ezra 6:19-22…”

      • Josiah observed a Passover to Yahweh in Jerusalem. They slaughtered the Passover lamb on the 14th day of the first month. He appointed the priests to their duties and encouraged them in their service to Yahweh’s house. He told the Levites, who taught all of Israel and who had been consecrated to Yahweh, “Put the holy ark in the house built by David’s son, Solomon, king of Israel. You need not carry it around on your shoulders any longer. Now serve Yahweh your God and His people Israel. Prepare yourselves by your ancestral families in your divisions, according to the instructions written by Israel’s King David and his son Solomon. Stand in the Holy Place and, together with the Levites, represent the ancestral divisions of your fellow Israelites. Slaughter the Passover lambs, consecrate yourselves, and make preparations for your fellow Israelites to carry out the word of Yahweh which came through Moses.”

        • HCSB notes, “There is no record of the ark having been removed from the temple. It could have happened during Ahaz’s reign with the introduction of idols into the temple area… or it might have occurred during Manasseh’s reign.”

        • Other sources, Pulpit Commentary for example, offer an additional possibility that the ark may have, “been temporarily removed during Josiah’s own restorations…”

        • On Josiah’s statement that they would no longer have to carry the ark on their shoulders, Benson Commentary remarks, “That is, hereafter. For they were to carry it to a settled place, there to remain: and then they would be obliged to bear it no further on their shoulders, as they had done before it was fixed in the temple.”

        • NLT Illustrated Study Bible writes, “The assignments of the priests and Levites mirrored the directions of David and Solomon (8:14-15; 1 Chr 24-26). The Passover animal was typically slaughtered by the offerer (Deut 16:5-6). However…Josiah continued the practice Hezekiah had begun of having the Levites slaughter the Passover animals (see 2 Chr 30:13-20). In Josiah’s time, the large number of participants also might have caused logistical problems.”

      • Josiah supplied the people with 30,000 lambs and young goats as well as 3,000 cattle from his own personal possessions for the Passover offerings. His officials also voluntarily contributed to the people, the priests, and the Levites. The officials in charge of the house of God- Hilkiah, Zechariah, and Jehiel, gave the priests 2,600 Passover lambs and 300 cattle. Konaniah and his brothers Shemaiah and Nethanel, along with the Levite officials Hashabiah, Jeiel, and Jozabad, provided 5,000 Passover offerings and 500 cattle.

        • NLT Illustrated Study Bible says, “The Passover sacrifice required lambs and young goats (Exod 12:21). The cattle were an additional offering. The totals Josiah provided along with the contributions of others were nearly double the offerings in Hezekiah’s time (see 2 Chr 30:24), yet less than the offerings at the dedication of the Temple (see 7:5).”

      • When the preparations for the service had been made, the priests stood in their places and the Levites in their divisions as the king had ordered. They slaughtered the Passover lambs and the priests splashed the blood that was handed to them against the altar, while the Levites skinned the animals. They reserved the burnt offerings and the cattle for the divisions of the people’s ancestral families to offer to Yahweh in accordance with what is written in the Book of Moses. They roasted the Passover lambs over the fire as prescribed, and cooked the consecrated offerings in pots, kettles, and pans. They served them to the people quickly. Afterwards they made preparations for themselves and for the priests, because the priests, Aaron’s descendants, were busy offering the burnt offerings and the fat portions until nightfall. So the Levites made preparations for themselves and for the priests, Aaron’s descendants. The musicians, Asaph’s descendants, were stationed at their posts, in accordance with the command of David, Asaph, Heman, and the king’s seer Jeduthun. The gatekeepers at each gate didn’t need to leave their posts because their fellow Levites made the preparations for them.

      • So all the preparations for Yahweh’s service were made that day, as the Passover was observed and the burnt offerings were offered on the altar of Yahweh, in accordance with King Josiah’s command. The people of Israel who were present observed the Passover at that time, as well as the Festival of Unleavened Bread for 7 days. A Passover like this had not been observed in Israel since the days of the prophet Samuel. None of the kings of Israel had ever observed a Passover like the one observed by Josiah, the priests, the Levites, all the people of Judah and Israel who were there, and the residents of Jerusalem. This Passover was observed in the 18th year of Josiah’s reign.

Josiah’s Death

      • After all this, when Josiah had set the house in order, Egypt’s King Necho marched up to do battle at Carchemish on the Euphrates River. Josiah marched out to oppose him. Necho sent messengers to him saying, “What quarrel is there between you and me, O king of Judah? I am not coming against you today, but the kingdom with which I am at war. God has commanded me to hurry. Stop opposing God, who is with me, or else He will destroy you.” But Josiah didn’t listen to Necho, to whom God had indeed spoken, and he wouldn’t turn back. Instead, he disguised himself for battle and went to fight him on the Plain of Megiddo. Archers shot King Josiah and he told his servants, “Take me away because I’m severely wounded.” So they took him out of his chariot, put him in his second chariot, and took him back to Jerusalem, where he died. They buried him in the tombs of his ancestors and all of Judah and Jerusalem mourned Josiah. Jeremiah composed laments for Josiah, and to this day male and female singers commemorate Josiah in the laments. It has become tradition in Israel to sing these and they are recorded in the Book of Laments.

        • NLT Illustrated Study Bible writes, “The narrative jumps from Josiah’s eighteenth year (622 BC) to the year of his death (609 BC). The decline of the Assyrian empire brought Egypt and Babylon, two great powers that had long been subject to Assyria, into conflict with each other. King Neco of Egypt, who had allied with Assyria to resist Babylonian expansion, asked Josiah to allow free passage of his army. Josiah’s interception might have been the result of a coalition with Babylon, or it might have been his own attempt to establish independence from Egypt. Josiah’s death was caused by his disobedience to a divine oracle delivered by a Gentile king. Jeremiah held Josiah in high esteem (see Jer 22:15-16; cp Jer 22:10). The Book of Laments was lost; it is not related to the Book of Lamentations.”

        • Guzik adds, “Zechariah 12:11 tells us a bit of this great mourning, using it as a comparison to the great mourning that will come upon the Jewish people when they turn to their once-rejected Messiah: In that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning at Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo.”

      • The rest of the events of Josiah’s reign, including his faithful acts in accordance with what is written in the Law of Yahweh, and his accomplishments from beginning to end, are recorded in the “Book of the Kings of Israel and Judah.”

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