And he took away the horses that the kings of Judah had
given to the sun
Consecrated to it; these were not images of horses, as some have thought, but real living ones; and the kings that gave them for the service of the sun, and for sacrifice to it, very probably were Manasseh and Amon: that horses were sacred to the sun with many Heathen nations, as the Massagetae, a people in Scythia, and the Persians, and Babylonians, and Ethiopians, is affirmed by various writers F3: and from them the Jews received this notion. According to the Jewish commentators, these were horses provided for the worshippers of the sun to ride upon, and meet the sun in the morning at its rising, and pay their homage to it; but certain it is that the Heathen nations before mentioned slew the horses, and sacrificed them as burnt offerings to the sun, as is asserted by Herodotus F4, Xenophon F5, Strabo F6, Pausanias F7, Philostratus F8, and other writers F9; and so the Indians of India
at the entering of the house of the Lord, by the chamber of
Nathanmelech the chamberlain, which was in the suburbs;
so that they reached from the temple to the suburbs of Jerusalem, to that part of them where this officer had a chamber, or lodgings, being in some place of power and authority there; though, according to L'Empereur F12, it is the same with Parbar, ( 1 Chronicles 26:18 ) and should not be rendered "suburbs", it being between the compass or wall of the temple, and the court:
and burnt the chariots of the sun with fire;
these were either chariots, in which the king and his nobles rode, when they went to meet and worship the rising sun; or rather such as were sacred to the sun, as well as the horses, or Josiah would not have burnt them; they seem to be such in which the images of the sun were carried. Herodotus F13 makes mention as of sacred horses, so of a sacred chariot. Xenophon F14 speaks of the chariot of the sun as being of a white colour, and drawn in procession at the worship of the sun; as does also Pausanias F15 of a chariot, in which were the sun, Jupiter, and Juno, and near them other deities; which notion of sacred chariots the Heathens might take from the chariot of the cherubim Jehovah sat and rode in, ( 1 Chronicles 28:18 ) .
F3 Justin e Trogo, l. 1. c. 10. Curt. Hist. l. 3. c. 3. Ovid. Fast. l. 1. Alex. ab Alex. Genial. Dier. l. 6. c. 26. Heliodor. Ethiop. l. 10. c. 6. 28.
F4 Clio, sive, l. 1. c. 216.
F5 Cyropaed. l. 8. c. 23, 24.
F6 Geograph. l. 11. p. 353.
F7 Laconica, sive, l. 3. p. 201.
F8 Vit. Apollon. l. 1. c. 20.
F9 Vid. Lactant. de fals. Relig. l. 1. c. 21.
F11 Laon. Chalcondyl. de Rebus Turc. l. 3. p. 108.
F12 Not. in Misn. Middot, c. 2. sect. 3. No. 3. So Boehart. Hierozoic. par. 1. l. 2. c. 10. col. 177.
F13 Polymnia, sive, l. 7. c. 55.
F14 Ut supra, (Cyropaed. l. 8.) c. 23.
F15 Eliac. 1. sive, l. 5. p, 307.