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2Ch 35:1-19. JOSIAH KEEPS A SOLEMN PASSOVER.
1-3. Moreover Josiah kept a passover--(See on 2Ki 23:21). The first nine verses give an account of the preparations made for the celebration of the solemn feast [2Ch 35:1-9]. The day appointed by the law was kept on this occasion (compare 2Ch 30:2, 13). The priests were ranged in their courses and exhorted to be ready for their duties in the manner that legal purity required (compare 2Ch 29:5). The Levites, the ministers or instructors of the people in all matters pertaining to the divine worship, were commanded (2Ch 35:3) to "put the holy ark in the house which Solomon did build." Their duty was to transport the ark from place to place according to circumstances. Some think that it had been ignominiously put away from the sanctuary by order of some idolatrous king, probably Manasseh, who set a carved image in the house of God (2Ch 33:7), or Amon; while others are of opinion that it had been temporarily removed by Josiah himself into some adjoining chamber, during the repairs on the temple. In replacing it, the Levites had evidently carried it upon their shoulders, deeming that still to be the duty which the law imposed on them. But Josiah reminded them of the change of circumstances. As the service of God was now performed in a fixed and permanent temple, they were not required to be bearers of the ark any longer; and, being released from the service, they should address themselves with the greater alacrity to the discharge of other functions.
4. prepare yourselves by the houses of your fathers, after your
courses--Each course or division was to be composed of those who
belonged to the same fathers' house.
5. stand in the holy place--in the court of the priests, the place where the victims were killed. The people were admitted according to their families in groups or companies of several households at a time. When the first company entered the court (which consisted commonly of as many as it could well hold), the gates were shut and the offering was made. The Levites stood in rows from the slaughtering places to the altar, and handed the blood and fat from one to another of the officiating priests (2Ch 30:16-18).
6. So kill the passover, &c.--The design of the minute directions given here was to facilitate the distribution of the paschal lambs. These were to be eaten by the respective families according to their numbers (Ex 12:3). But multitudes of the people, especially those from Israel, having been reduced to poverty through the Assyrian devastations, were to be provided with the means of commemorating the passover. Therefore, the king enjoined the Levites that when the paschal lambs were brought to them to be killed (2Ch 35:7-9) they should take care to have everything put in so orderly a train, that the lambs, after due presentation, might be easily delivered to the various families to be roasted and eaten by themselves apart.
7. Josiah gave to the people . . . lambs and kids--These were in all
probability destined for the poor; a lamb or a kid might be used at
8, 9. his princes--These gave to the priests and Levites; as those of Hezekiah's princes (2Ch 30:24). They were ecclesiastical princes; namely, Hilkiah the high priest (2Ch 34:9). Zechariah, probably the second priest of the Eleazar (2Ki 16:18), and Jehiel, of the Ithamar line. And as the Levitical tribes were not yet sufficiently provided (2Ch 35:9), some of their eminent brethren who had been distinguished in Hezekiah's time (2Ch 31:12-15), gave a large additional contribution for the use of the Levites exclusively.
10, 11. So the service was prepared, &c.--All the necessary preparations having been completed, and the appointed time having arrived for the passover, the solemnity was celebrated. One remarkable feature in the account is the prominent part that was taken by the Levites in the preparation of the sacrifices; namely, the killing and stripping of the skins, which were properly the peculiar duties of the priests; but as those functionaries were not able to overtake the extraordinary amount of work and the Levites had been duly sanctified for the service, they were enlisted for the time in this priestly employment. At the passover in Hezekiah's time, the Levites officiated in the same departments of duty, the reason assigned for that deviation from the established rule being the unprepared state of many of the people (2Ch 30:17). But on this occasion the whole people had been duly sanctified, and therefore the exceptional enlistment of the Levites' services must have been rendered unavoidably necessary from the multitudes engaged in celebrating the passover.
12. they removed the burnt offerings--Some of the small cattle being designed for burnt offerings were put apart by themselves, that they might not be intermingled with the paschal lambs, which were carefully selected according to certain rules, and intended to be sacramentally eaten; and the manner in which those burnt offerings were presented seems to have been the following: "All the subdivisions of the different fathers' houses came one after another to the altar in solemn procession to bring to the priests the portions which had been cut off, and the priests laid these pieces upon the fire of the altar of burnt offering."
13. they roasted the passover with fire according to the
This mode of preparation was prescribed by the law exclusively for the
paschal lamb; the other offerings and thank offerings were cooked in
pots, kettles, and pans
14. afterwards they made ready for themselves, and for the priests--The Levites rendered this aid to the priests solely because they were so engrossed the entire day that they had no leisure to provide any refreshments for themselves.
15. And the singers . . ., were in their place--While the priests and people were so much engaged, the choir was not idle. They had to sing certain Psalms, namely, the hundred thirteenth to the hundred eighteenth inclusive, once, twice, and even a third time, during the continuance of each company of offerers. As they could not leave their posts, for the singing was resumed as every fresh company entered, the Levites prepared for them also; for the various bands relieved each other in turn, and while the general choir was doing duty, a portion of the tuneful brethren, relieved for a time, partook of the viands that were brought them.
18. there was no passover like to that kept in Israel from the days of
Samuel--One feature by which this passover was distinguished was the
liberality of Josiah. But what distinguished it above all preceding
solemnities was, not the imposing grandeur of the ceremonies, nor the
immensity of the assembled concourse of worshippers; for these, with
the exception of a few from the kingdom of Israel, were confined to two
tribes; but it was the ardent devotion of the king and people, the
disregard of purely traditional customs, and the unusually strict
adherence, even in the smallest minutiæ, to the forms of observance
prescribed in the book of the law, the discovery of an original copy of
which had produced so great a sensation. Instead of "from the days of
Samuel," the author of the Book of Kings says, "from the days of the
judges who judged Israel"
The meaning is the same in both passages, for Samuel concluded the era
of the judges.
19. In the eighteenth year of the reign Josiah was this passover kept--"It is said (2Ki 22:3) that Josiah sent Shaphan to Hilkiah in the eighth month of that year." If this statement rests upon an historical basis, all the events narrated here (at 2Ch 34:8-35:19) must have happened in about the space of five months and a half. We should then have a proof that the eighteenth year of Josiah's reign was reckoned from the autumn (compare 2Ch 29:3). "The eighth month" of the sacred year in the eighteenth year of his reign would be the second month of his eighteenth year, and the first month of the new year would be the seventh month [BERTHEAU].
2Ch 35:20-27. HIS DEATH.
20. After all this, when Josiah had prepared the temple--He most
probably calculated that the restoration of the divine worship, with
the revival of vital religion in the land, would lead, according to
God's promise and the uniform experience of the Hebrew people, to a
period of settled peace and increased prosperity. His hopes were
disappointed. The bright interval of tranquillity that followed his
re-establishment of the true religion was brief. But it must be
observed that this interruption did not proceed from any unfaithfulness
in the divine promise, but from the state into which the kingdom of
Judah had brought itself by the national apostasy, which was drawing
down upon it the long threatened but long deferred judgments of God.
21, 22. But he sent ambassadors . . . What have I to do with thee, thou king of Judah?--Not wishing to spend time, or strength in vain, Necho informed the king of Judah that he had no intention of molesting the Jews; that his expedition was directed solely against his old Assyrian enemy; and that he had undertaken it by an express commission from God. Commentators are not agreed whether it was really a divine commission given him through Jeremiah, or whether he merely used the name of God as an authority that Josiah would not refuse to obey. As he could not know the truth of Necho's declaration, Josiah did not sin in opposing him; or, if he sinned at all, it was a sin of ignorance. The engagement took place. Josiah was mortally wounded [2Ch 35:23].
24. took him out of that chariot, and put him in the second chariot--the carriage he had for ordinary use, and which would be more comfortable for the royal sufferer than the war chariot. The death of this good king was the subject of universal and lasting regret.
25. Jeremiah lamented for Josiah, &c.--The elegy of the prophet has not reached us; but it seems to have been long preserved among his countrymen and chanted on certain public occasions by the professional singers, who probably got the dirges they sang from a collection of funeral odes composed on the death of good and great men of the nation. The spot in the valley of Megiddo where the GOTO NEXT CHAPTER - D. J-F-B INDEX & SEARCH