XXXV Josiah keeps a solemn passover, ver. 1-19. He goes against Pharaoh-necho, and is slain, ver, 20-24. He is bitterly lamented, ver. 25-27.
Verse 3. The house - In the holy of holies. Whence, it may seem, it had been removed, by some of the wicked kings of Judah, possibly by Josiah's father Amon. A burden - Or, that it might not be a burden, 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 while it was in the tabernacle. Ministers must look upon themselves as servants both to Christ, and to the people, for his sake. They must take care and take pains, and lay themselves out to the utmost, both for the honour and glory of God, and for the benefit of his people, not as having dominion over their faith, but as helpers of their holiness and joy.
Verse 5. Stand - Or, minister, (as that word is frequently used) in the court of the priests. According - 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, and therefore he commands these persons, that when the paschal lambs were brought to them to be killed, they might so order the matter, that they might be distributed to the several families whether of the Levitical or other tribes.
Verse 8. Princes - Not the political, but ecclesiastical princes, or the chief of the priests and Levites, whose names here follow. Levites - For the use of any of the families of them, as need should be. For they supposed the thirty thousand which the king had given were not sufficient for all the families.
Verse 12. Removed - Some of the lesser cattle; for these also might be offered as burnt-offerings, Lev. i, 10, and hence it may seem that all these small cattle were not given for paschal-lambs, but were to be offered as burnt-offerings for the people. And these they put apart lest they should be confounded with them which were for another use; and, that they might not be hindered from that which was their present work, that they might give, the paschal-lambs or kids. To offer - These words may belong 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, and then to give to the people; though the giving be here mentioned before the offering, such transpositions being usual in scripture. Oxen - As they did with the lesser cattle; they removed those oxen which were to be offered as burnt-offerings, from those which were to be offered as peace-offerings.
Verse 18. Like to that - The whole solemnity was performed exactly according to the law, whereas in Hezekiah's passover there were several irregularities: likewise Josiah furnished the whole congregation with beasts for sacrifice at his own charge, which no king ever did before him.
Verse 20. After all - When he and his people hoped that God was reconciled, and the foundation of a lasting happiness laid, their hopes were quickly blasted. So much are men often mistaken in their judgments about the designs of God's providence.
Verse 21. The house - Against the house of the king of Assyria, between whom and me there is war. It is at thy peril, if thou engage against one who has both a better army, and a better cause and God on his side.
Verse 22. Hearkened not - How can we think to prosper in our ways, if we do not acknowledge God in them!
Verse 25. To this day - In all their succeeding Lamentations for their publick calamities, they remembered Josiah's death as their first and fatal blow, which opened the flood-gates to all their following miseries.