23:1 And the king a sent, and they gathered unto him all the elders of Judah and of Jerusalem.
(a) Because he saw the great plagues of God that were threatened, he knew no more speedy way to avoid them, than to turn to God by repentance which cannot come but from faith, and faith by hearing the word of God. 23:3 And the king stood by b a pillar, and made a c covenant before the LORD, to walk after the LORD, and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all [their] heart and all [their] soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people stood to the covenant.
(b) Where the king had his place, ( 2 Kings 11:14 ). 23:4 And the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest, and the d priests of the second order, and the keepers of the door, to bring forth out of the temple of the LORD all the vessels that were made for Baal, and for the grove, and for all the host of heaven: and he burned them without Jerusalem in the fields of Kidron, and carried e the ashes of them unto Bethel.
(c) As Joshua did, ( Joshua 24:22 Joshua 24:25 ).
(d) Meaning, they who were next in dignity to the high priest. 23:5 And he put down the f idolatrous priests, 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; them also that burned incense unto Baal, to the sun, and to the moon, and to the planets, and to all the host of heaven.
(e) In contempt of the altar Jeroboam had built there to sacrifice to his calves.
(f) Or Chemarims, meaning the priests of Baal who were called Chemarims either because they wore black garments or else were smoked with burning incense to idols. 23:6 And he brought out the g grove from the house of the LORD, without Jerusalem, unto the brook Kidron, and burned it at the brook Kidron, and stamped [it] small to powder, and cast the powder thereof upon the h graves of the children of the people.
(g) He removed the grove which idolaters for devotion had planted near the temple, contrary to the commandment of the Lord, ( Deuteronomy 16:21 ), or as some read, the similitude of a grove which was hung in the temple. 23:9 Nevertheless the priests of the high places i came not up to the altar of the LORD in Jerusalem, but they did eat of the unleavened bread among their brethren.
(h) Both in contempt of the idols and reproach of them who had worshipped them in their lives.
(i) Because they who had forsaken the Lord to serve idols, were not fit to minister in the service of the Lord for the instruction of others. 23:10 And he defiled k Topheth, which [is] in the valley of the children of Hinnom, that no man might make his son or his daughter to pass through the fire to Molech.
(k) Which was a valley near to Jerusalem, and signifies a tabret because they smote on the tabret while their children were burning, that their cry should not be heard, ( Leviticus 18:21 ), after which Josiah commanded trash to be cast in contempt of it. 23:11 And he took away the l horses that the kings of Judah had given to the sun, at the entering in of the house of the LORD, by the chamber of Nathanmelech the chamberlain, which [was] in the suburbs, and burned the chariots of the sun with fire.
(l) The idolatrous kings had dedicated horses and chariots to the sun, either to carry about the image of it as the heathen did, or else to sacrifice them as a most agreeable sacrifice. 23:13 And the high places that [were] before Jerusalem, which [were] on the right hand of the m mount of corruption, which Solomon the 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, did the king defile.
(m) That was the mount of olives, so called because it was full of idols. 23:15 Moreover n the altar that [was] at Bethel, [and] the high place which Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, had made, both that altar and the high place he brake down, and burned the high place, [and] stamped [it] small to powder, and burned the grove.
(n) Which Jeroboam had built in Israel, ( 1 Kings 12:28 1 Kings 12:29 ). 23:16 And as Josiah turned himself, he spied the sepulchres that [were] there in the mount, and sent, and took the bones out of the sepulchres, and burned [them] upon the altar, and polluted it, according to the word of the LORD which the o man of God proclaimed, who proclaimed these words.
(o) According to the prophecy of Iddo, ( 1 Kings 13:2 ). 23:18 And he said, Let him alone; let no man move his bones. So they let his bones alone, with the bones of the p prophet that came out of Samaria.
(p) Meaning, the prophet who came after him, and caused him to eat contrary to the command of the Lord, who were both buried in the same grave, ( 1 Kings 13:31 ). 23:22 Surely there was not holden q such a passover from the days of the judges that judged Israel, nor in all the days of the kings of Israel, nor of the kings of Judah;
(q) For the multitude and zeal of the people with the great preparation. 23:26 Notwithstanding the LORD turned not from the r fierceness of his great wrath, wherewith his anger was kindled against Judah, because of all the provocations that Manasseh had provoked him withal.
(r) Because of the wicked heart of the people, who would not turn to him by repentance. 23:29 In his days Pharaohnechoh king of Egypt went up against the king of Assyria to the river Euphrates: and king Josiah s went against him; and he slew him at Megiddo, when he had seen him.
(s) Because Pharaoh passed through his country, he was afraid Pharaoh would have done him harm and would have stopped him, yet he did not consult the Lord, and therefore was slain. 23:32 And he did [that which was] evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his t fathers had done.
(t) Meaning, the wicked kings before. 23:33 And Pharaohnechoh put him in bands u at Riblah in the land of Hamath, that he might not reign in Jerusalem; and put the land to a tribute of an hundred talents of silver, and a talent of gold.
(u) Which was Antiochia in Syria, also called Hamath.