2 Kings 23

1 The king sent, and they gathered to him all the Zakenim of Yehudah and of Yerushalayim.
2 The king went up to the house of the LORD, and all the men of Yehudah and all the inhabitants of Yerushalayim with him, and the Kohanim, and the prophets, and all the people, both small and great: and he read in their ears all the words of the book of the covenant which was found in the house of the LORD.
3 The king stood by the pillar, and made a covenant before the LORD, to walk after the LORD, and to keep his mitzvot, and his testimonies, and his statutes, with all [his] heart, and all [his] soul, to confirm the words of this covenant that were written in this book: and all the people stood to the covenant.
4 The king commanded Hilkiyah the Kohen Gadol, and the Kohanim of the second order, and the keepers of the threshold, to bring forth out of the temple of the LORD all the vessels that were made for Ba`al, and for the Asherah, and for all the host of the sky, and he burned them outside of Yerushalayim in the fields of the Kidron, and carried the ashes of them to Beit-El
5 He put down the idolatrous Kohanim, whom the kings of Yehudah had ordained to burn incense in the high places in the cities of Yehudah, and in the places round about Yerushalayim; those also who burned incense to Ba`al, to the sun, and to the moon, and to the planets, and to all the host of the sky.
6 He brought out the Asherah from the house of the LORD, outside of Yerushalayim, to the brook Kidron, and burned it at the brook Kidron, and beat it to dust, and cast the dust of it on the graves of the common people.
7 He broke down the houses of the sodomites, that were in the house of the LORD, where the women wove hangings for the Asherah.
8 He brought all the Kohanim out of the cities of Yehudah, and defiled the high places where the Kohanim had burned incense, from Geva to Be'er-Sheva; and he broke down the high places of the gates that were at the entrance of the gate of Yehoshua the governor of the city, which were on a man's left hand at the gate of the city.
9 Nevertheless the Kohanim of the high places didn't come up to the altar of the LORD in Yerushalayim, but they ate matzah among their brothers.
10 He defiled Tofet, 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 Molekh.
11 He took away the horses that the kings of Yehudah had given to the sun, at the entrance of the house of the LORD, by the chamber of Netan-Melekh the chamberlain, which was in the precincts; and he burned the chariots of the sun with fire.
12 The altars that were on the roof of the upper chamber of Achaz, which the kings of Yehudah had made, and the altars which Menashsheh had made in the two courts of the house of the LORD, did the king break down, and beat [them] down from there, and cast the dust of them into the brook Kidron.
13 The high places that were before Yerushalayim, which were on the right hand of the mountain of corruption, which Shlomo the king of Yisra'el had built for `Ashoret the abomination of the Tzidonim, and for Kemosh the abomination of Mo'av, and for Milkom the abomination of the children of `Ammon, did the king defile.
14 He broke in pieces the pillars, and cut down the Asherim, and filled their places with the bones of men
15 Moreover the altar that was at Beit-El, and the high place which Yarov`am the son of Nevat, who made Yisra'el to sin, had made, even that altar and the high place he broke down; and he burned the high place and beat it to dust, and burned the Asherah.
16 As Yoshiyahu turned himself, he spied the tombs that were there in the mountain; and he sent, and took the bones out of the tombs, and burned them on the altar, and defiled it, according to the word of the LORD which the man of God proclaimed, who proclaimed these things.
17 Then he said, What monument is that which I see? The men of the city told him, It is the tomb of the man of God, who came from Yehudah, and proclaimed these things that you have done against the altar of Beit-El.
18 He said, Let him be; let no man move his bones. So they let his bones alone, with the bones of the prophet who came out of Shomron.
19 All the houses also of the high places that were in the cities of Shomron, which the kings of Yisra'el had made to provoke [the LORD] to anger, Yoshiyahu took away, and did to them according to all the acts that he had done in Beit-El
20 He killed all the Kohanim of the high places that were there, on the altars, and burned men's bones on them; and he returned to Yerushalayim.
21 The king commanded all the people, saying, Keep the Pesach to the LORD your God, as it is written in this book of the covenant
22 Surely there was not kept such a Pesach from the days of the judges who judged Yisra'el, nor in all the days of the kings of Yisra'el, nor of the kings of Yehudah;
23 but in the eighteenth year of king Yoshiyahu was this Pesach kept to the LORD in Yerushalayim.
24 Moreover those who had familiar spirits, and the wizards, and the terafim, and the idols, and all the abominations that were seen in the land of Yehudah and in Yerushalayim, did Yoshiyahu put away, that he might confirm the words of the law which were written in the book that Hilkiyah the Kohen found in the house of the LORD.
25 Like him was there no king before him, who turned to the LORD with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the law of Moshe; neither after him arose there any like him.
26 Notwithstanding, the LORD didn't turn from the fierceness of his great wrath, with which his anger was kindled against Yehudah, because of all the provocation with which Menashsheh had provoked him.
27 The LORD said, I will remove Yehudah also out of my sight, as I have removed Yisra'el, and I will cast off this city which I have chosen, even Yerushalayim, and the house of which I said, My name shall be there.
28 Now the rest of the acts of Yoshiyahu, and all that he did, aren't they written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Yehudah?
29 In his days Par`oh-Nekho king of Mitzrayim went up against the king of Ashshur to the river Perat: and king Yoshiyahu went against him; and [Par`oh-Nekho] killed him at Megiddo, when he had seen him.
30 His servants carried him in a chariot dead from Megiddo, and brought him to Yerushalayim, and buried him in his own tomb. The people of the land took Yeho'achaz the son of Yoshiyahu, and anointed him, and made him king in his father's place.
31 Yeho'achaz was twenty-three years old when he began to reign; and he reigned three months in Yerushalayim: and his mother's name was Hamutal the daughter of Yirmeyahu of Livna.
32 He did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his fathers had done.
33 Par`oh-Nekho put him in bonds at Rivlah in the land of Hamat, that he might not reign in Yerushalayim; and put the land to a tribute of one hundred talents of silver, and a talent of gold.
34 Par`oh-Nekho made Elyakim the son of Yoshiyahu king in the room of Yoshiyahu his father, and changed his name to Yehoiakim: but he took Yeho'achaz away; and he came to Mitzrayim, and died there.
35 Yehoiakim gave the silver and the gold to Par`oh; but he taxed the land to give the money according to the mitzvah of Par`oh: he exacted the silver and the gold of the people of the land, of everyone according to his taxation, to give it to Par`oh-Nekho.
36 Yehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he began to reign; and he reigned eleven years in Yerushalayim: and his mother's name was Zevudah the daughter of Pedayahu of Rumah
37 He did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his fathers had done.

2 Kings 23 Commentary

Chapter 23

Josiah reads the law, and renews the covenant. (1-3) He destroys idolatry. (4-14) The reformation extended to Israel, A passover kept. (15-24) Josiah slain by Pharaoh-nechoh. (25-30) Wicked reigns of Jehoahaz and Jehoiakim. (31-37)

Verses 1-3 Josiah had received a message from God, that there was no preventing the ruin of Jerusalem, but that he should only deliver his own soul; yet he does his duty, and leaves the event to God. He engaged the people in the most solemn manner to abolish idolatry, and to serve God in righteousness and true holiness. Though most were formal or hypocritical herein, yet much outward wickedness would be prevented, and they were accountable to God for their own conduct.

Verses 4-14 What abundance of wickedness in Judah and Jerusalem! One would not have believed it possible, that in Judah, where God was known, in Israel, where his name was great, in Salem, in Zion, where his dwelling-place was, such abominations should be found. Josiah had reigned eighteen years, and had himself set the people a good example, and kept up religion according to the Divine law; yet, when he came to search for idolatry, the depth and extent were very great. Both common history, and the records of God's word, teach, that all the real godliness or goodness ever found on earth, is derived from the new-creating Spirit of Jesus Christ.

Verses 15-24 Josiah's zeal extended to the cities of Israel within his reach. He carefully preserved the sepulchre of that man of God, who came from Judah to foretell the throwing down of Jeroboam's altar. When they had cleared the country of the old leaven of idolatry, then they applied themselves to the keeping of the feast. There was not holden such a passover in any of the foregoing reigns. The revival of a long-neglected ordinance, filled them with holy joy; and God recompensed their zeal in destroying idolatry with uncommon tokens of his presence and favour. We have reason to think that during the remainder of Josiah's reign, religion flourished.

Verses 25-30 Upon reading these verses, we must say, Lord, though thy righteousness be as the great mountains, evident, plainly to be seen, and past dispute; yet thy judgments are a great deep, unfathomable, and past finding out. The reforming king is cut off in the midst of his usefulness, in mercy to him, that he might not see the evil coming upon his kingdom: but in wrath to his people, for his death was an inlet to their desolations.

Verses 31-37 After Josiah was laid in his grave, one trouble came on another, till, in twenty-two years, Jerusalem was destroyed. The wicked perished in great numbers, the remnant were purified, and Josiah's reformation had raised up some to join the few who were the precious seed of their future church and nation. A little time, and slender abilities, often suffice to undo the good which pious men have, for a course of years, been labouring to effect. But, blessed be God, the good work which he begins by his regenerating Spirit, cannot be done away, but withstands all changes and temptations.

Chapter Summary


This chapter treats of Josiah's reading the book of the law, and of him and the people renewing the covenant with God, 2Ki 23:1-3, and of his removing idols and idolatry in every shape, and witchcraft, out of the land, which he did in the sincerity of his heart, 2Ki 23:4-25, yet the wrath of God was still determined upon the land, 2Ki 23:26-28 and Josiah was taken away by an untimely death, 2Ki 23:29,30 and was succeeded by two sons of his, one after another, whose reigns were wicked, 2Ki 23:31-37.

2 Kings 23 Commentaries

The Hebrew Names Version is in the public domain.