Melachim Bais 23

1 3 And HaMelech sent, and they gathered unto him kol Ziknei Yehudah and of Yerushalayim.
2 And HaMelech went up into the Beis Hashem, and kol ish Yehudah and all the inhabitants of Yerushalayim with him, and the Kohanim, and the Nevi’im, and kol HaAm, both katon and gadol; and he read in their ears all the Divrei Sefer HaBrit which was found in the Beis Hashem.
3 And HaMelech stood by HaAmmud, and cut HaBrit before Hashem, to walk after Hashem, and to be shomer mitzvot over His commandments and His edot and His chukkot with all their lev and all their nefesh, to carry out these Divrei HaBrit that were written in this Sefer. And kol HaAm stood [under oath] to HaBrit.
4 And HaMelech commanded Chilkiyahu HaKohen HaGadol, and the Kohanei HaMishneh, and the Shomrei HaSaf, to bring forth out of the Heikhal Hashem all the kelim that were made for Ba’al, and for Asherah, and for all the Tzeva HaShomayim; and he burned them outside Yerushalayim in the fields of the Kidron, and carried the ashes of them unto Beit-El.
5 And he did away with hakemarim (the idol priests), whom the Melachim of Yehudah had ordained to burn ketoret in the high places in the towns of Yehudah, and in the places around Yerushalayim; them also that burned ketoret unto Ba’al, to the shemesh, and to the yarei’ach, and to the mazalot (constellations) and to all the Tzeva HaShomayim.
6 And he took out the Asherah from the Beis Hashem, outside Yerushalayim, unto the Kidron Valley, and burned it in the Kidron Valley, and ground it to powder, and cast its aphar upon the keverim of the Bnei HaAm [i.e., them that sacrificed unto them].
7 And he tore down the batim (houses) of hakedeshim (the male and female cult prostitutes) that were in the Beis Hashem, where the nashim were weaving hangings for Asherah.
8 And he brought all the Kohanim out of the towns of Yehudah, and made tameh the high places where the kohanim had burned ketoret, from Geva to Beer Sheva, and broke down the high places at the she’arim (gates) that were at the entrance of the Sha’ar Yehoshua sar Ir, which were on one’s left at the Sha’ar HaIr.
9 Nevertheless the kohanim of the high places came not up to the Mizbe’ach Hashem in Yerushalayim, only they did eat of the matzot among their achim.
10 And he made tameh Tophet, which is in the Gey of the ben Hinnom, that no ish might make his ben or his bat to pass through the eish to Molech.
11 And he took away the susim that the Melachim of Yehudah had dedicated to the shemesh, at the entrance of the Beis Hashem, by the chamber of Natan-Melech the saris, which was in the colonnades, and set eish to merkevot hashemesh.
12 And the mizbechot that were on the roof of the upper chamber of Achaz, which the Melachim of Yehudah had made, and the mizbechot which Menasheh had made in the two khatzerot of the Beis Hashem, did HaMelech pull down, and remove them from there, and cast the aphar of them into the Kidron Valley.
13 And the high places that were before Yerushalayim, which were on the right of the Har HaMashchit, which Sh’lomo Melech Yisroel had built for Ashtoret shikkutz Tzidonim, and for Kemosh shikkutz Mo’av, and for Milcom to’avat Bnei Ammon, did HaMelech make tameh.
14 And he broke in pieces the matzevot, and cut down the Asherim, and filled their makom with the atzmot adam.
15 Moreover the mizbe’ach that was at Beit-El, and the high place which Yarov‘am ben Nevat, who caused Yisroel to sin, had made, both that mizbe’ach and the high place did he break down, burn the high place, did grind it to powder, did burn the Asherah.
16 And as Yoshiyah turned, he saw the keverim that were there in the har, and sent, and took the atzmot out of the keverim, and burned them upon the mizbe’ach, and made it tameh, according to the Devar Hashem which the Ish HaElohim preached, who proclaimed these words [See 1Kgs 13:1-2].
17 Then he said, What tziyyun (monument, tombtone) is that that I see? And the anshei HaIr told him, It is the kever of the Ish HaElohim, which came from Yehudah, and proclaimed these things that thou hast done against the mizbe’ach of Beit-El [see 1Kgs 13:1-3].
18 And he said, Let him alone; let no ish disturb his atzmot. So they left his atzmot undisturbed, with the atzmot of the navi that came out of Shomron [see 1Kgs 13:11,31].
19 And all the batim (houses, shrines) also of the high places that were in the towns of Shomron, which the Melachim of Yisroel had made to provoke Hashem to anger, Yoshiyah removed, and did to them according to all the ma’asim that he had done in Beit-El.
20 And he slaughtered all the kohanim of the high places that were there upon the mizbechot, and burned atzmot adam upon them, and returned to Yerushalayim.
21 And HaMelech commanded kol HaAm, saying, Make Pesach unto Hashem Eloheichem, as it is written in the Sefer HaBrit HaZeh.
22 Surely there was not kept such a Pesach from the days of the Shofetim that judged Yisroel, nor in all the days of the Melachim of Yisroel, nor of the Melachim of Yehudah;
23 But in the eighteenth year of Melech Yoshiyah, wherein this Pesach was kept to Hashem in Yerushalayim.
24 Moreover the mediums with familiar spirits, and the yidonim (spiritists), and the terafim, and the gillulim (idols), and all the shikkutzim that were seen in Eretz Yehudah and in Yerushalayim, did Yoshiyah put away, that he might confirm the Divrei HaTorah which were written in the Sefer that Chilkiyah HaKohen found in the Beis Hashem.
25 And like him was there no Melech before him, that turned to Hashem with all his lev, and with all his nefesh, and with all his me’od (strength), according to all the Torat Moshe; neither after him arose there any like him.
26 Notwithstanding Hashem turned not from the fierceness of His af hagadol (great wrath), wherewith His anger was kindled against Yehudah, because of all the provocations with which Menasheh had provoked him.
27 And Hashem said, I will remove Yehudah also out of My presence, as I have removed Yisroel, and will cast off this ir Yerushalayim which I have chosen, and the Beis of which I said, Shmi sham.
28 Now the rest of the acts of Yoshiyah, and all that he did, are they not written in the Sefer Divrei HaYamim of the Melachim of Yehudah?
29 In his days Pharaoh Nekhoh Melech Mitzrayim went up against Melech Ashur to the river Euphrates; and Melech Yoshiyah went out against him; and he slaughtered him at Megiddo, when he saw him.
30 And his avadim carried him in a merkavah dead from Megiddo, and brought him to Yerushalayim, and buried him in his own kever. And the Am HaAretz took Yehoachaz Ben Yoshiyah, and anointed him, and made him Melech in place of Aviv.
31 Yehoachaz was twenty and three years old when he began to reign; and he reigned shloshah chodashim in Yerushalayim. And shem immo was Chamutal Bat Yirmeyahu of Livnah.
32 And he did that which was rah in the eyes of Hashem, according to all that his Avot had done.
33 And Pharaoh Nekhoh put him in chains at Rivlah in Eretz Chamat, that he might not reign in Yerushalayim; and put HaAretz to an ogesh (tribute, fine) of 100 talents of kesef, and a talent of zahav.
34 And Pharaoh Nekhoh made Elyakim Ben Yoshiyah Melech in the place of Yoshiyah Aviv, and changed shmo to Y’hoyakim, and took Yehoachaz away; and he went to Mitzrayim, and died there.
35 And Y’hoyakim gave the kesef and the zahav to Pharaoh; but he taxed HaAretz to give the kesef according to the order of Pharaoh; he exacted the kesef and the zahav of the Am HaAretz of every one according to his tax assessment, to give it unto Pharaoh Nekhoh.
36 Y’hoyakim was 25 years old when he began to reign; and he reigned 11 shanah in Yerushalayim. And shem immo was Zevudah Bat Pedayah of Rumah.
37 And he did that which was rah in the eyes of Hashem, according to all that his Avot had done.

Melachim Bais 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.

Melachim Bais 23 Commentaries

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