| Back to Home Page | Back to Book Index |


2 Chronicles Chapter Thirty-five


2 Chronicles 35

Chapter Contents

The passover kept by Josiah. (1-19) Josiah slain in battle. (20-27)

Commentary on 2 Chronicles 35:1-19

(Read 2 Chronicles 35:1-19)

The destruction Josiah made of idolatry, was more largely related in the book of Kings. His solemnizing the passover is related here. The Lord's supper resembles the passover more than any other of the Jewish festivals; and the due observance of that ordinance, is a proof of growing piety and devotion. God alone can truly make our hearts holy, and prepare them for his holy services; but there are duties belonging to us, in doing which we obtain this blessing from the Lord.

Commentary on 2 Chronicles 35:20-27

(Read 2 Chronicles 35:20-27)

The Scripture does not condemn Josiah's conduct in opposing Pharaoh. Yet Josiah seems to deserve blame for not inquiring of the Lord after he was warned; his death might be a rebuke for his rashness, but it was a judgment on a hypocritical and wicked people. He that lives a life of repentance, faith, and obedience, cannot be affected by the sudden manner in which he is removed. The people lamented him. Many mourn over sufferings, who will not forsake the sins that caused God to send them. Yet this alone can turn away judgments. If we blame Josiah's conduct, we should be watchful, lest we be cut down in a way dishonourable to our profession.

── Matthew HenryConcise Commentary on 2 Chronicles


2 Chronicles 35

Verse 3

[3] And said unto the Levites that taught all Israel, which were holy unto the LORD, Put the holy ark in the house which Solomon the son of David king of Israel did build; it shall not be a burden upon your shoulders: serve now the LORD your God, and his people Israel,

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

[5] And stand in the holy place according to the divisions of the families of the fathers of your brethren the people, and after the division of the families of the Levites.

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

[8] And his princes gave willingly unto the people, to the priests, and to the Levites: Hilkiah and Zechariah and Jehiel, rulers of the house of God, gave unto the priests for the passover offerings two thousand and six hundred small cattle, and three hundred oxen.

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

[12] And they removed the burnt offerings, that they might give according to the divisions of the families of the people, to offer unto the LORD, as it is written in the book of Moses. And so did they with the oxen.

Removed — Some of the lesser cattle; for these also might be offered as burnt-offerings, Leviticus 1:10, 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

[18] And there was no passover like to that kept in Israel from the days of Samuel the prophet; neither did all the kings of Israel keep such a passover as Josiah kept, and the priests, and the Levites, and all Judah and Israel that were present, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

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

[20] After all this, when Josiah had prepared the temple, Necho king of Egypt came up to fight against Carchemish by Euphrates: and Josiah went out against him.

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

[21] But he sent ambassadors to him, saying, What have I to do with thee, thou king of Judah? I come not against thee this day, but against the house wherewith I have war: for God commanded me to make haste: forbear thee from meddling with God, who is with me, that he destroy thee not.

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

[22] Nevertheless Josiah would not turn his face from him, but disguised himself, that he might fight with him, and hearkened not unto the words of Necho from the mouth of God, and came to fight in the valley of Megiddo.

Hearkened not — How can we think to prosper in our ways, if we do not acknowledge God in them!

Verse 25

[25] And Jeremiah lamented for Josiah: and all the singing men and the singing women spake of Josiah in their lamentations to this day, and made them an ordinance in Israel: and, behold, they are written in the lamentations.

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.

── John WesleyExplanatory Notes on 2 Chronicles


35 Chapter 35


Verses 1-27

Verse 2

2 Chronicles 35:2

And encouraged them.

Cheer up, my comrades

The first thing is to get every man into his proper place; the next thing is for every man to have a good spirit in his present place so as to occupy it worthily. At this time it shall not be my business to arrange you, but assuming that it is well for you to keep where you are, my object shall be to encourage you to do your work for the Lord without’ being cast down. I will speak--

I. To those who think they can do nothing.

II. To workers who are laid aside.

III. To those who are much discouraged because they have but small talent.

IV. To workers who are under great difficulties.

V. To those who are not appreciated.

VI. To those who are discouraged because they have had so little success. (C. H. Spurgeon.)


“I never should have reached success,” Lord Beaconsfield once wrote, “had it not been for one woman who, in the darkest hour, believed I could win, and cheered me on.”

Verse 21

2 Chronicles 35:21

For God commanded me to make haste.

Spiritual haste

Haste is not hurry. Hurry implies confusion and disorder. It is not the same with speed.

I. What it refers to. We should not err were we to apply it to the duties of relative and secular life. It applies particularly--

1. To the salvation of the soul.

2. To a course of godliness.

3. To labour for the welfare of others (Proverbs 3:27-28).

II. On what it is founded.

1. The importance of the thing itself.

2. The limitation of our opportunities.

3. This only season is short. (W. Jay.)

Verse 24-25

2 Chronicles 35:24-25

His servants therefore took him out of that chariot.

The lamentation for Josiah

I. The nature and quality of the lamentation.

1. Extensively. All Judah and Jerusalem.

2. Intensively. Bitter lamentation.

3. Protensively. Of long duration, “an ordinance in Israel.”

II. The cause and ground of it. The loss of a good leader whose life had been useful.

III. Doctrine. That faithful, active, and public-spirited men in the Church of God should not be laid in their graves without great lamentations. In replication I will show--

1. Negatively. On what account the death of good men is not to be lamented.

2. Positively. The true grounds and causes of such lamentation.

(a) In a declining state of religion.

(b) When the numbers of the godly are thinned and lessened.

(c) When the spring and succession of good men is obstructed.

Application. This reproves--

1. The worst of men, such as secretly rejoice at the removal of such men.

2. The insensibleness of good men, who are apt too slightly to pass over such tremendous strokes of. God (Isaiah 57:1).

3. The very best of men, who though they do bewail and lament the loss of such men, yet they do not lament it in the due manner. (John Flavel.)

The death and burial of Josiah

1. That the best of men may err in judgment and in act.

2. The danger of undertaking any work without asking counsel of the Lord.

3. How universal is the reign of death.

4. That we should be cautious how we attribute sudden and violent death to the vengeance of the Most High.

5. That it is not wrong to mourn for the dead. (J. S. Wilkins, B.A.)

The death of Josiah

I. What the people of God did upon the death of Josiah.

1. There was a general mourning for him.

2. The prophet Jeremiah made a particular office for it.

3. This office was used among others upon the day of lamentation.

4. This use was established by a law upon Israel, which was observed till the end of the Babylonian Captivity.

II. The reasons of their doing it.

1. Because it was caused by their sins.

2. Because it was a punishment for their sins. (Bishop W. Lloyd.)

A nation’s tears

Why does the Jewish nation now weep over Josiah? The reasons are:

I. The great national loss which the event involved. Josiah was a prince--

1. Of a reflective nature. His mind was in the quest of the highest truth.

2. Of a tender spirit.

3. Of reformative disposition.

II. The sad memory of the moral cause of the calamity.

III. The terribly distressing mystery associated with the dispensation. Josiah was the most useful man of his age; yet he dies at thirty-nine. Mystery though it be, it teaches us--

1. That Heaven’s government is no respecter of persons.

2. The irresistibility of death.

3. That there is nothing on this fleeting earth on which we should set our hearts.

4. That there must be an after life. (Homilist.)

──The Biblical Illustrator