The Agora
Bible Commentary
2 Kings

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2 Kings 23

2Ki 23:3

THE KING STOOD BY THE PILLAR: It seems that it was traditional for the king to stand by a pillar -- perhaps as a security measure against attack: 2Ki 11:14.

ALL HIS HEART AND ALL HIS SOUL: "We shall not be judged, at the judgment seat of Christ, for how much we know, or how much we have done. But we shall be judged for how much effort and interest and desire we have put into knowing, and how faithfully and wholeheartedly we have tried to do. The widow's mite is equal to the rich man's abundance. The mite's value lay in the fact that it was her all. So it must be with us. Anything less than our all is a mockery and a dishonouring of God, Who freely and lovingly promises us all. But how few really respond with all their heart! They are His jewels among the common clay; today unknown, tomorrow, resplendent forever" (GVG).

2Ki 23:4

ASHERAH: See Lesson, Asherah.

2Ki 23:14

ASHERAH: See Lesson, Asherah.

2Ki 23:25

"Most apparent contradictions are easily resolved by a careful reading of the passages in question in their contexts, and by clearly defining what is, and what is not, said. For example, it is written of both Hezekiah and Josiah that 'after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him' (2Ki 18:5; 23:25). As these statements read, they appear contradictory until it is noted in what respect 'after him was none like him... nor any that were before him.' It will be seen that Hezekiah was commended because he trusted, and Josiah because he turned to the LORD. Since mutually exclusive statements are not made, the two statements are not contradictory. The problem is resolved by merely noting precisely what the records do say" (WS 238). (2) Or, none like Josiah, except for David, the standard by which all other kings were judged: ie 1Ki 11:33,38; 14:8.

2Ki 23:29

TO HELP THE KING OF ASSYRIA: Not "against the king of Assyria" (as in KJV), unless by this is meant the king of Babylon, who had recently begun the conquest of Assyria (see Lesson, Babylon = Assyria).

"Josiah's death at Megiddo can be attributed to his part in the complex international events of the last quarter of the seventh century BC. With the death of Ashurbanipal in 626, the already decaying Neo-Assyrian Empire began to crumble quickly away. By 625 the Chaldean king Nabopolassar had been able to achieve independence for Babylon. From that point onward throughout the course of the next two decades, the Assyrian territory was systematically reduced, esp as Nabopolassar found common cause against Assyria, first with the Medes (616) and later with the Scythians. In 614 the time-honored capital of Assyria, Asshur, fell to the Medes. In 612 Nineveh itself fell to the coalition of Chaldeans, Medes, and Scythians, the surviving Assyrian forces under Ashuruballit fleeing to Haran.

"In those critical times concerned with the rising power of the new Mesopotamian coalition, Egypt's Twenty-Sixth Dynasty Pharaoh, Neco, honored the previous diplomatic ties with Assyria. As Neco's predecessor, Psammetik I, had come to the aid of Assyria in 616 BC, so Neco moved to join the surviving Assyrian forces under Ashuruballit. It was to prevent this movement of Egyptian aid that Josiah deployed his forces in the Valley of Megiddo in 609. That action cost Josiah his life, though it did delay the Egyptian forces from linking with their Assyrian allies before Haran fell to the Chaldeans and Medes. A subsequent attempt to retake Haran failed completely; and the best Egypt could give the doomed Assyrians was a four-year standoff, the opposing armies facing each other at Carchemish, on the western Euphrates.

"The Chronicler (2Ch 35:20-25) reports that Josiah had refused Neco's attempts to avoid the affair at Megiddo and rather, having disguised himself, had personally fought against the Egyptians until he was mortally wounded. At that point Josiah was rushed back to Jerusalem where he was buried in his own tomb. Quite understandably he was lamented by all the people, including the prophet Jeremiah. Thus passed one of God's choicest saints and one of Judah's finest kings. Josiah's determined action had brought about his tragic death, but he was thereby spared the greater tragedy of seeing the ultimate death of his nation a scant twenty-three years later" (EBC).

2Ki 23:30

"The righteous perish, and no one ponders it in his heart; devout men are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil" (Isa 57:1).

2Ki 23:31

2Ki 23:31--25:30: Josiah's successors: (1) Jehoahaz (608 BC), son of Josiah, reigned 3 months, taken to Egypt, called "Shallum" in Jer 22:11. (2) Jehoiakim (608-597 BC), son of Josiah, reigned 11 years, "burial of an ass", also called Eliakim. (3) Jehoiachin (597), son of Jehoiakim, grandson of Josiah, reigned 8 months, taken to Babylon, where treated well; also called "Jeconiah" and "Coniah". (4) Zedekiah (597-586 BC), son of Josiah, 11 years 5 months, taken to Babylon; called "Mattaniah".
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