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This chapter treats of Josiah’s reading the book of the law, and of him and the people renewing the covenant with God, ( 2 Kings 23:1-3), and of his removing idols and idolatry in every shape, and witchcraft, out of the land, which he did in the sincerity of his heart, ( 2 Kings 23:4-25), yet the wrath of God was still determined upon the land, ( 2 Kings 23:26-28) and Josiah was taken away by an untimely death, ( 2 Kings 23:29,30) and was succeeded by two sons of his, one after another, whose reigns were wicked, ( 2 Kings 23:31-37).
Ver. 2 . And the king went up into the house of the Lord , etc.] To the temple, from his palace: and all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem with him : they met him there: and the priests, and the prophets ; the prophets Jeremiah, Zephaniah, and Uriah, who, though they might not be at Jerusalem when the book of the law was found, yet, upon this message of the king’s, might come up thither from the countries where they were; the Targum interprets the word “scribes”: and some take them to be the sons of the prophets, their disciples; in ( 2 Chronicles 34:30) they are called Levites: and all the people, both small and great ; a very numerous assembly: and he read in their ears all the words of the book of the covenant which was found in the house of the Lord : that is, he caused it to be read by others, and perhaps by more than one, the congregation being so large.
Ver. 3 . And the king stood by a pillar , etc.] As the manner of kings was, ( 2 Kings 11:14) and is thought to be the brasen scaffold erected by Solomon, on which he stood at the dedication of the temple, and now Josiah at the reading of the law, ( 2 Chronicles 6:13), it is said to be his place, ( 2 Chronicles 34:31), (see Gill on “ 2 Kings 11:14”) and made a covenant before the Lord : agreed and promised in the presence of God, both he and his people: to walk after the Lord : the worship of the Lord, as the Targum; closely to attend to that: and to keep his commandments, and his testimonies, and his statutes : all the laws of God, moral, civil, and ceremonial: with all their heart, and all their soul : cordially and sincerely: to perform the words of the covenant that were written in this book : lately found, and now read unto them: and all the people stood to the covenant : agreed to it, and promised to keep it; so the Targum, “all the people took upon them the covenant,” engaged to observe it.
Ver. 4 . And the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest, and the priests of the second order , etc.] Or the second course of the priests; the course of Jedaiah, ( 1 Chronicles 24:7) as some think; or rather, the two chief priests next to the high priest, who were of the line both of Eleazar and Ithamar; though the Targum interprets it of the Sagan of the priests, a deputy of the high priest, such as in later times the high priest had always appointed for him on the day of atonement f261 : and the keepers of the door : the porters at the door and gates of the temple; or rather the treasurers, as the Targum; such as were appointed over the vessels of the sanctuary, as the Jewish writers generally interpret it, and which best agrees with what follows: to bring forth out of the temple of the Lord all the vessels that were made for Baal : used in burning incense, or offering sacrifices to him: and for the grove : the idol of the grove, or Asherah, that is, Ashtoreth, or Astarte, the same with Venus, or the moon, as Baal was the sun, the one the husband, and the other the wife, according to the Jews f262 : and for all the host of heaven : the stars: and he burnt them without Jerusalem in the fields of Kidron ; or plain of Kidron, as the Targum; through which the brook Kidron ran: and carried the ashes of them unto Bethel ; where one of Jeroboam’s calves was set, and was the source of idolatry; and this he did in contempt of that place; and, to show his detestation of the idolatry there, he made it a dunghill of ashes of things used in idolatrous service; this he could do, that place being in the hands of the kings of Judah from the times of Ahijah, ( 2 Chronicles 13:19).
Ver. 5 . And he put down the idolatrous priests , etc.] The Cemarim, so called, because they wore black clothes, as Kimchi and others, whereas the priests of the Lord were clothed in white linen, (see Gill on “ Zephaniah 1:4”). 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 ; for though those high places were destroyed by Hezekiah, they were rebuilt by Manasseh his son, and priests put in them to officiate there, whom Josiah now deposed, ( 2 Kings 21:3), them also that burnt incense unto Baal ; in the same high places; these were the priests, and the others in the preceding clause are thought to be ministers unto them: to the sun, and to the moon, and to the planets ; the five planets besides the sun and moon, as Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Mercury, and Venus; or to the twelve celestial signs in the firmament, as some f263 ; though Theodoret takes it to be a single star, the evening star: and to all the host of heaven ; or even to the host of heaven, all the stars thereof: this part of worship, burning incense , which was peculiar to the most high God, yet was frequently made by idolaters to their deities; and from the word by which it is here and elsewhere expressed may “nectar” be derived, so much spoken of by the Heathen poets as of a sweet smell f265 , and as delicious to their gods; and so Porphyry represents the gods as living on smoke, vapours, and perfumes; and frankincense is said, by Diodorus Siculus f267 , to be most grateful to them, and beloved by them; this therefore is a much better derivation of the word “nectar” than what Suidas gives, that is, as if it was “nectar”, because it makes those young that drink it; or than the account Athenaeus gives of it, that it is a wine in Babylon so called.
Ver. 6 . And he brought out the grove from the house of the Lord , etc.] Not a real grove of trees, but a carved one, as some think; or rather the image of the grove, ( 2 Kings 21:7) that is, the idol Ashtoreth, or Astarte, which was set up there; so Theodoret says; some interpreters call it Astoreth, the name of Venus, whom they call Astarte: this Josiah ordered to be brought without Jerusalem, unto the brook Kidron, and burnt it at the brook Kidron ; the black brook, where the filth of the sacrifices was carried: and stamped it small to powder ; as Moses did the golden calf: and cast the powder thereof upon the graves of the children of the people ; the common people, (see Jeremiah 26:23) or rather on the graves of the worshippers of idols, as it seems from ( 2 Chronicles 34:4) the Targum is, ``on the graves of the children of Galia,” which, Kimchi says, is the name of an idol; this was done partly in contempt of the idol, groves being, according to law, impure; and partly to the reproach of the deceased, and the memory of them, for their idolatry, and to deter from it those that survived them.
Ver. 7 . And he brake down the houses of the Sodomites that were by the house of the Lord , etc.] Near the temple were apartments, in which men, the worshippers of idols, prostituted their bodies to each other; committing that unnatural sin with one another, which has its name from Sodom, and from which those are so called, and which sin they committed in honour of the idols they worshipped; to such vile affections were they, in a judicial manner, delivered up, because of their idolatry; (see Romans 1:27,28) the word signifies “Holy Ones”, they being called so by an antiphrasis; though Abarbinel thinks these were the idolatrous priests, whom the worshippers of idols reckoned “holy”, and so built houses for them near the temple to lodge in; the Targum is, “and broke down the houses of things consecrated to idols,” where they were put; and Theodoret on the place observes, that by an homonymy, they called the demons or idols themselves “Holy Ones”; and it is not likely, indeed, that the Sodomites should be where the women wove hangings for the grove ; that is, for Astarte, as the same writer observes: or “curtains”, as the Jewish writers generally interpret it, in which either the idol was enclosed, or these made apartments for the idolaters to commit their abominable wickedness privately; though the Syriac and Arabic versions are, “they wove garments for the idols that were there;” and so the Septuagint version, of the Complutensian edition; that is, they wove garments for the goddess Astarte, which they dressed her with: the word signifies “houses”, and may mean the shrines of the idol made of woven work.
Ver. 8 . And he brought all the priests out of the cities of Judah , etc.] Who were of the sons of Aaron, and had served in the high places there: and defiled the high places where the priests had burnt incense ; by casting dead carcasses, or the bones of dead men, or dung, or anything that was unclean, into them, by way of contempt: from Geba to Beersheba ; which were the northern and southern boundaries of the land of Judah: and brake down the high places of the gates : of the cities where some think tutelar gods were placed to be worshipped by persons as they went in or out of them: and particularly that which 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 ; of the city of Jerusalem, where this Joshua was chief magistrate under the king; at whose door stood an high place, which, Kimchi thinks, might he greater than the rest, and therefore mentioned alone, yet was not spared on account of its greatness, or of the person to whom it belonged.
Ver. 9 . Nevertheless, the priests of the high places came not up to the altar of the Lord at Jerusalem , etc.] To sacrifice there, as the Targum; though they were removed from the high places, they were not admitted to officiate at the altar of the Lord, having offered in forbidden places: but they did eat of the unleavened bread with their brethren ; the priests that were pure, as the sons of Zadok; though they might not offer sacrifices, they were allowed to partake of the holy things with the priests, as the meat offerings made of flour unleavened, ( Leviticus 2:4,5) which are here meant, and put for all the rest on which the priests lived, (see Ezekiel 44:10-15).
Ver. 10 . And he defiled Topheth , etc.] A place so called, as is generally thought, from the beating of drums or timbrels in it, that the shrieks of the infants sacrificed here to Molech might not be heard by their parents, and they repent of delivering them to him, and take them away. So the Indians in India now, at the burning of wives with their deceased husbands, attend them with drums and trumpets; and at such time as the fire is put to the wood, the drums and trumpets make a terrible noise for fear their cries should be heard f270 ; (see Gill on “ Isaiah 30:33”) (see Gill on “ Jeremiah 7:31”) this he defiled by casting any sort of filth or unclean thing into it, in contempt of the idolatry there committed, and to alienate the minds of men from it: which is the valley of the children of Hinnom ; a valley that belonged to the posterity of a man of this name, near to Jerusalem, (see Joshua 15:8), hence the Greek word “geenna” for hell, in the New Testament: that no man might make his son or his daughter pass through the fire to Molech ; which piece of idolatry used to be committed in this place.
Ver. 11 . And he took away the horses that the kings of Judah had given to the sun , etc.] Consecrated to it; these were not images of horses, as some have thought, but real living ones; and the kings that gave them for the service of the sun, and for sacrifice to it, very probably were Manasseh and Amon: that horses were sacred to the sun with many Heathen nations, as the Massagetae, a people in Scythia, and the Persians, and Babylonians, and Ethiopians, is affirmed by various writers f271 : and from them the Jews received this notion. According to the Jewish commentators, these were horses provided for the worshippers of the sun to ride upon, and meet the sun in the morning at its rising, and pay their homage to it; but certain it is that the Heathen nations before mentioned slew the horses, and sacrificed them as burnt offerings to the sun, as is asserted by Herodotus f272 , Xenophon f273 , Strabo f274 , Pausanias f275 , Philostratus f276 , and other writers f277 ; and so the Indians of India sacrificed them to Apollo, the same with the sun; these being the swiftest of creatures, they offered them to the swiftest of their gods, as Herodotus and Heliodorus observe, in the places before referred to. The stables in which these horses were kept were at the entering of the house of the Lord, by the chamber of Nathanmelech the chamberlain, which was in the suburbs ; so that they reached from the temple to the suburbs of Jerusalem, to that part of them where this officer had a chamber, or lodgings, being in some place of power and authority there; though, according to L’Empereur f279 , it is the same with Parbar, ( 1 Chronicles 26:18) and should not be rendered “suburbs”, it being between the compass or wall of the temple, and the court: and burnt the chariots of the sun with fire ; these were either chariots, in which the king and his nobles rode, when they went to meet and worship the rising sun; or rather such as were sacred to the sun, as well as the horses, or Josiah would not have burnt them; they seem to be such in which the images of the sun were carried. Herodotus makes mention as of sacred horses, so of a sacred chariot. Xenophon speaks of the chariot of the sun as being of a white colour, and drawn in procession at the worship of the sun; as does also Pausanias of a chariot, in which were the sun, Jupiter, and Juno, and near them other deities; which notion of sacred chariots the Heathens might take from the chariot of the cherubim Jehovah sat and rode in, ( 1 Chronicles 28:18).
Ver. 12 . And the altars that were on the top of the upper chamber of Ahaz, which the kings of Judah had made , etc.] Which were on the roof of the royal palace; the roofs of houses in Judah being flat, ( Deuteronomy 21:8) altars might be built upon them; so, in Arabia, altars were built on the tops of houses to offer incense thereon daily to the sun f283 ; as here by Manasseh and Amon very probably, which might be chosen because nearer the heavens; for which reason the Heathens made use of high places to worship in, (see Jeremiah 19:13 32:29 Zephaniah 1:5) and the altars which Manasseh had made in the two courts of the house of the Lord ; ( 2 Kings 21:5) did the king beat down ; ordered to be demolished: and brake them down from thence, and cast the dust of them into the brook Kidron ; that there might be no remains of them to be put to any superstitious use.
Ver. 13 . And the high places that were before Jerusalem , etc.] Not only that were within the city, and at the gates of it, but what were without it: which were on the right hand of the mount of corruption : the mount of Olives, so called from the idolatry and corrupt worship performed in it, by way of reproach, with a small alteration of the letters of the word ty jç m for h jç m ; at the right hand, or south of this mountain, as the Targum; though others say f284 , on the north side of the mount of Olives, four furlongs or half a mile from Jerusalem, were high places: which Solomon 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 ; of which (See Gill on “ 1 Kings 11:5”) (See Gill on “ 1 Kings 11:7”) did the king defile ; by casting unclean things into them. Rauwolff says, “before Mount Zion toward the south, at the other side of the rivulet Kidron, lies the mount of transgression, called Mashith, ( 2 Kings 23:13), this is higher and steeper than any hereabout; there you still see some old walls of habitations, wherein the concubines of Solomon did live;” and Mr. Maundrell observes, that below the hill stands now a village called Siloe, where it is said he kept them.
Ver. 14 . And he brake in pieces the images , etc.] Of Ashtoreth, Chemosh, and Milcom, in the above high places; which as these high places had been rebuilt by Manasseh or Amon, so new images of these deities were placed there: and cut down the groves ; in which they were set: and filled their places with the bones of men ; of idolatrous priests and worshippers, buried in parts adjacent; these he dug up and scattered in the high places and groves to defile them, bones of the dead being by law unclean, ( Numbers 19:15).
Ver. 15 . Moreover, the altar that was at Bethel, and the high place which Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, had made .] For the worship of the calf there: both that altar, and the high place, he brake down ; according to an ancient prophecy of the man of God, ( 1 Kings 13:3) and of Amos in later times, ( Amos 9:1) and burnt the high place, and stamped it small to powder ; that there might be no remains of it: and burnt the grove ; either the grove of trees on it, or the idol that was in it.
Ver. 16 . And as Josiah turned himself , etc.] From the high place, and the altar at Bethel; for he not only gave orders for the destroying of idolatrous places and idols, but he saw them executed himself: he spied the sepulchres that were there in the mount ; the graves of idolatrous priests and worshippers, who chose to be buried near those places of idolatry; nor was it unusual for persons to be buried on hills and mountains, (see Joshua 24:30,33) and this was a custom in other nations formerly f287 , particularly among the Indians now, who in many things agree with the Jews: and sent and took the bones out of the sepulchres, and burnt them upon the altar ; where they had sacrificed to idols: and polluted it ; with their bones, which, according to the law, were defiling, and which was done in contempt of their idolatrous worship there: according to the word of the Lord which the man of God proclaimed, who proclaimed these words ; or things; foretold that such a king by name would arise, and burn men’s bones upon the altar, and which had been foretold more than three hundred and fifty years before this time.
Ver. 17 . Then he said, what title is that that I see ? etc.] A high and large monument over a grave, with an inscription on it, more remarkable than any of the rest, which made Josiah take notice of it; and the Jews have a tradition, as Kimchi observes, that on one side of the grave grew nettles and thistles, and on the other side odoriferous herbs; which is not to be depended on; but what he further observes may be right, that the old prophet, as he gave orders to his sons to lay his body in the same grave with the man of God, believing his words would be fulfilled, so he likewise gave orders to have a distinguished monument or pillar erected over the grave; and which people in later times took care to support, in memory of the man of God, that thereby it might be known; by which means not only the bones of the man of God were preserved from being burnt, but those of the old prophet also, buried with him: 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 ; (see 1 Kings 13:1-3).
Ver. 18 . And he said, let him alone, let no man move his bones , etc.] Not take them out of the grave, as they had done the rest: so they let his bones alone, with the bones of the prophet that came out of Samaria ; the old prophet, whereby his end was answered in being buried with him, ( 1 Kings 13:31,32).
Ver. 19 . And all the houses also of the high places , etc.] The temples of the idols there, and the houses for the priests to dwell in: that were in the cities of Samaria, which the kings of Israel had made to provoke the Lord to anger, Josiah took away ; particularly in the cities of Manasseh, Ephraim, and Simeon, unto Naphtali, ( 2 Chronicles 34:6) the Israelites that remained there acknowledging Josiah as their king; and perhaps, after the defeat of Sennacherib, many of the cities of Israel might put themselves under the protection of Hezekiah, and especially upon the destruction of the Assyrian empire; and Manasseh, with his liberty, might have his kingdom enlarged by the king of Babylon; and which being continued and increased in the times of Josiah, might be the reason of his opposing the king of Egypt in favour of the king of Babylon: and did to them according to all the acts that he had done in Bethel ; defiled them, and broke down the altars in them.
Ver. 20 . And he slew all the priests of the high places that were there , etc.] The idolatrous priests who sacrificed to Baal, and other Heathen deities; for as for others that burnt incense in high places, yet to the true God, those he spared, though they were not suffered to officiate at the altar of God: the others he slew upon the altars ; where they sacrificed: and burnt men’s bones upon them : the bones of the priests, and worshippers of idols, as he had done at Bethel: and returned to Jerusalem ; after he had gone through the land, both of Judah and Israel, and abolished idolatrous worship everywhere.
Ver. 21 . And the king commanded all the people , etc.] Not at Jerusalem only, but throughout the whole kingdom: saying, keep the passover unto the Lord your God, as it is written in this book of the covenant ; which had been lately found and read, and they had agreed to observe, and in which this ordinance was strictly enjoined, and was a commemoration of their deliverance out of Egypt, and a direction of their faith to the Messiah, the antitype of the passover.
Ver. 22 . Surely there was not holden such a passover from the days of the judges that judged Israel , etc.] As the king commanded; the people obeyed and kept the passover, according to the law of the Lord; the manner of its being kept is not here recorded, but is at large in ( 2 Chronicles 35:1-19) where it is observed there had not been such an one from the days of Samuel, the last of the judges; so that the days of the judges here mean the last days of them: nor in all the days of the kings of Israel, nor of the kings of Judah ; since the division of the kingdoms; for as for the kings of Israel, they kept it not; and though it was observed in the times of Hezekiah king of Judah, yet not universally, and by some in their uncleanness; for it is a mistake of Clemens of Alexandria f289 , that it was not kept in the times between Samuel and Josiah; in the days of David and Solomon it might be kept by greater numbers, but not with such purity, and with such cheerfulness and joy of heart, or with so many other sacrifices attending it, or so exactly agreeable to the law of God, and with such munificence and liberality; the king, and the chief of the priests and Levites, providing out of their own substance for the people and their brethren.
Ver. 23 . But in the eighteenth year of king Josiah, wherein this passover was holden to the Lord in Jerusalem .] This shows that Josiah must begin the reformation very early that year, since he did all that is before recorded in this and the preceding chapter by the fourteenth of Nisan, the day on which the passover was kept, which month answers to part of our March and part of April, (see 2 Kings 22:3) and was the same year the repairs of the temple were finished.
Ver. 24 . Moreover, the workers with familiar spirits, and the wizards , etc.] Who were not to be allowed among the Israelites, ( Deuteronomy 18:10,11) and the images; or teraphim: and the idols, and all the abominations ; which were worshipped by the Heathens, and introduced among the Jews, and forbidden by the word of God: that were spied in the land of Judah, and in Jerusalem, did Josiah put away ; for which, it seems, diligent search was made, and wherever they were discovered were removed: 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 ; both with respect to witchcraft and idolatry, (see Leviticus 20:27 Exodus 20:4,5 23:24).
Ver. 25 . And like unto him was there no king before him , etc.] The same is said of Hezekiah, ( 2 Kings 18:5), Hezekiah might excel him in some things, as Josiah might excel Hezekiah in others: that turned to the Lord with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might ; with such sincerity, heartiness, zeal, and constancy: according to all the law of Moses ; having respect to every commandment, especially relative to worship, with the greatest precision and exactness: neither after him arose there any like him ; for all to the captivity were wicked princes.
Ver. 26 . Notwithstanding, the Lord turned not from the fierceness of his great wrath, wherewith his anger was kindled against Judah , etc.] Notwithstanding the great reformation wrought among them; for though Josiah was a sincere reformer, and did what he did heartily, as to the Lord, according to his will, and for his glory; yet the people were not sincere in their compliance, they turned to the Lord not with their whole heart, but feignedly, ( Jeremiah 3:10) because of all the provocations that Manasseh had provoked him withal ; by shedding innocent blood and committing idolatry, which the people consented to and approved of, and even now privately committed idolatry, as the prophecies of Jeremiah and Zephaniah show; and it may easily be concluded that their hearts were after their idols, by their openly returning to them in the days of the sons of Josiah.
Ver. 27 . And the Lord said, I will remove Judah also out of my sight, as I have removed Israel .] Not from his all seeing eye, but from being the object of his special care and protection; the meaning is, that he would suffer them to he carried out of their land into captivity as Israel was; this he had said in his heart, was determined upon; the decree was gone forth, and it was irrevocable: and will cast off this city Jerusalem which I have chosen : for the place of his worship, the people having forsaken his worship there, and followed after idols: and the house of which I said, my name shall be there ; the temple, called after his name, and where his name was to be, and had been, called upon.
Ver. 28 . Now the rest of the acts of Josiah, and all that he did , etc.] For abolishing idolatry, and restoring the true worship of God: are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah ? and also of Israel, in which an account was kept of the transactions of their reign; many other of the acts of Josiah are recorded in the canonical book of Chronicles, ( 2 Chronicles 34:1-35:27).
Ver. 29 . In his days Pharaohnechoh king of Egypt , etc.] Who is called in the Targum Pharaoh the lame, because he was lame in his feet, perhaps gouty; Herodotus also calls him Necos the son of Psammiticus; now it was in the last days of Josiah this king reigned in Egypt, or however that the following event was: [that] he went up against the king of Assyria to the river Euphrates ; to Carchemish, a city situated upon it; (see 2 Chronicles 35:26 Jeremiah 46:2), the king he went against was the king of Babylon, who had conquered the Assyrian monarchy, and therefore called king of it; some take him to be Nabopolassar; according to Marsham f291 , he was Chyniladanus; and King Josiah went against him ; to stop him, that he might not pass through his country, and attack the king of Babylon, whose ally, perhaps, Josiah was; or, however, thought himself obliged to him by the privileges, power, and authority he allowed him to exercise in the land of Israel: and he slew him at Megiddo, when he had seen him ; as soon as they came face to face, and engaged in battle, (see 2 Kings 14:8,11) that is Pharaoh slew Josiah at the first onset. Megiddo was a city in the tribe of Manasseh, ( Joshua 17:11). Herodotus calls it Magdolus, which seems to be a city on the borders of Egypt, the same with Migdol, ( Jeremiah 44:1) where he says Pharoahnechoh conquered the Syrians; in Josephus it is called Mendes very wrongly. Josiah seems to have engaged in this action without consulting the Lord and his prophets.
Ver. 30 . And his servants carried him in a chariot dead from Megiddo , etc.] They took him out of the chariot in which he was wounded, and put him into another, where he died of his wounds by the way; being mortally wounded, he is said to be dead, or a dead man, (see 2 Chronicles 35:24) and brought him to Jerusalem ; which, according to Bunting f294 , was forty four miles from Megiddo: and buried him in his own sepulchre ; which either he had provided for himself in his lifetime, or which in common belonged to the kings of Judah, (see 2 Chronicles 35:24) and the people of the land took Jehoahaz the son of Josiah, and anointed him, and made him king in his father’s stead ; though he was not the eldest son, Jehoiakim, who was afterwards placed in his room, being two years older, as appears from ( 2 Kings 23:31,36) and this is the reason, as the Jewish commentators in general agree, that he was anointed; which they say was never done to the son of a king, unless there was a competitor, or some objection to, or dispute about, the succession, as in the case of Solomon and others.
Ver. 31 . Jehoahaz was twenty three years old when he began to reign , etc.] Who seems to be the same with Shallum, ( Jeremiah 22:11) and he reigned three months in Jerusalem ; a short reign, being deposed by the king of Egypt, as after related: and his mother’s name was Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah ; a city in the tribe of Judah, ( Joshua 10:29 15:42).
Ver. 32 . And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord , etc.] Committed idolatry: according to all that his fathers had done ; his grand father and great grandfather, Amon and Manasseh; so soon after Josiah’s death was the revolt to idolatry.
Ver. 33 . And Pharaohnechoh put him in bands at Riblah in the land of Hamath , etc.] Places in Syria; Hamath was formerly a kingdom in Syria, and Riblah is said by Jerom to be Antioch of Syria, near to which was the fountain of Daphne; and in the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem on ( Numbers 34:11). Daphne is put for Riblah; and Josephus says Antioch was by Daphne of Syria; and in the Apocrypha: “Which when Onias knew of a surety, he reproved him, and withdrew himself into a sanctuary at Daphne, that lieth by Antiochia.” (2 Maccabees 4:33) Daphne is said to be by Antioch; with which place Pompey was greatly delighted, because of the pleasantness of it, and the abundance of waters about it f297 : hither, it is probable, Jehoahaz went with an army to avenge his father’s death on the king of Egypt, or to assist the king of Babylon, or both; and here Pharaoh met with him, and took him, and bound him; he seems to be of a martial spirit, from ( Ezekiel 19:3) that he might not reign in Jerusalem ; whither afterwards the king of Egypt came, and took it; and so Herodotus says that after he had conquered the Syrians at Migdol, he took Cadytis, a great city of Syria, which seems to be Jerusalem, the holy city; and put the land to a tribute of one hundred talents of silver, and a talent of gold ; the land of Judah; and one hundred talents, according to Bunting f299 , amounted to 37,500 pounds of our money; and a talent of gold, according to Brerewood f300 , was 4,500 pounds; but Bishop Cumberland makes it 5,067 pounds, three shillings, and ten pence; a talent of gold could not be so large in Homer’s time, since he speaks of seven of them given at once in a way of hospitality f302 .
Ver. 34 . And Pharaohnechoh made Eliakim the son of Josiah king in the room of Josiah his father , etc.] Not in the room of Jehoahaz; for he did not allow him to be a king, and to have any lawful right to the throne; but, deposing him, set up his elder brother: and turned his name to Jehoiakim ; to show his subjection to him, and that he held his government by him: and took Jehoahaz away : with him, from Jerusalem, when he departed thence: and he came to Egypt, and died there : and never returned to Jerusalem, according to the prophecy of Jeremiah, ( Jeremiah 22:11).
Ver. 35 . And Jehoiakim gave the silver and gold to Pharaoh , etc.] The one hundred talents of silver and the talent of gold, which he imposed as a tribute upon the land: but he taxed the land to give the money according to the commandment of Pharaoh ; he did not take it out of his own treasures nor the treasures of the house of the Lord, which perhaps might be exhausted, but levied it of the people of the land: he exacted the silver and gold of the people of the land , required them to pay it in: of everyone according to his taxation, to give it unto Pharaohnechoh : everyone was taxed according to his abilities, in proportion to what he was worth, or to the estate he was possessed of.
Ver. 36 . Jehoiakim was twenty and five years old when he began to reign , etc.] And therefore must be two years older than his brother Jehoahaz, who was deposed: and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem; and therefore must die at the age of thirty and six : and his mother’s name was Zebudah, the daughter of Pedaiah of Rumah ; which Josephus calls Abuma; but he speaks of a village in Galilee called Ruma f304 ; but whether the same with this is not certain.
Ver. 37 . And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his fathers had done .] Amon and Manasseh; (see 2 Kings 23:32).