Dave Burnette's Commentary

2 Kings Chapter 23

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Jeremiah
Date Penned: (586 BC)
Overview: A History of the Kings of Israel and Judah (c 1-25)
Theme: The Surviving Kingdom (c 18-25)
Message: Josiah Destroys Idol Worship (v 1-37)

2 Kings 23 Commentary 

(23:1-8) Josiah Exercises Faith - When Josiah realized the terrible state of Judah's religious life, he did something about it. It is not enough to say we believe what is right; we must respond with action, doing what faith requires. This is what James was emphasizing when he wrote that "Faith without works is dead" (James 2:20). This means acting differently wherever you are. Simply talking about obedience is not enough.

(23:6) The Grove - The "grove" was a wooden image of the goddess Asherah (Ashtoreth), which had been set up in God's temple by the evil King Manasseh (21:7). Asherah is most often identified as a sea goddess and the mistress of Baal. She was a chief goddess of the Canaanites. Her worship glorified sex and war and was accompanied by male prostitution.

(23:3) Pagan Altars - The Mount of Olives is here called the mount of corruption because it had become a favorite spot to build pagan shrines. Solomon built a pagan shrine there for one of his wives, and other kings built places of idol worship there too. But God-fearing kings such as Hezekiah and Josiah destroyed these pagan worship centers. In New Testament times, Jesus often sat on the Mount of Olives and taught his disciples about serving only God (Matthew 24:3-51). (For more background on Ashtoreth, Chemosh, and Milcom, see the note on 1 Kings 11:5-8.)

(23:21-23) Josiah Reinstates the Passover - When Josiah rediscovered the Passover in the book of the covenant, he ordered everyone to observe the ceremonies exactly as prescribed. This Passover celebration was to have been a yearly holiday celebrated in remembrance of God's deliverance of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt (Exodus 12), but it had not been kept for many years. As a result, "there was not holden 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." A common misconception states that God is against celebration, wanting to take all the fun out of life. In reality, God wants to give us life in its fullness (John

10:10), and those who love him have the most to celebrate.

(23:25) Josiah is Remembered - Josiah is remembered as Judah's most obedient king. His obedience followed this pattern: (1) He recognized sin; (2) he eliminated sinful practices; and (3) he attacked the causes of sin. This approach for dealing with sin works. We must not only remove sinful actions but also eliminate causes for sin--those situations, relationships, routines, and patterns of life that lead us to the door of temptation.

(23:25) Two Great Examples - Josiah and Hezekiah (18:5) are praised for their reverence toward God. Hezekiah was said to be greatest in trusting God (faith), while Josiah is said to be greatest in following the law of God (obedience). May we follow their examples through our trust in God and our obedient actions.

(23:29) Josiah is Killed - Pharaoh-nechoh of Egypt was marching through Judah to Assyria. Egypt and Assyria had formed an alliance to battle Babylon, which was threatening to become the dominant world power. Josiah may have thought that both nations would turn on him after the battle with Babylon, so he tried to stop Egypt's army from marching through his land. But Josiah was killed, his army was defeated, and the nation of Judah became a vassal state of Egypt (609 BC). A more detailed account of this story is found in 2 Chronicles 35:20-25.

(23:31-34) Jehoahaz is Exiled - The people appointed Jehoahaz, one of Josiah's sons, to be Judah's next king. But Pharaoh-nechoh was not happy with their choice, and he exiled Jehoahaz to Egypt, where he died. Nechoh then installed Eliakim, another of Josiah's sons, as king of Judah, changing his name to Jehoiakim. Jehoiakim was little more than a puppet ruler. In 605 BC, Egypt was defeated by Babylon. Judah then became a vassal state of Babylon (24:1).

(23:36-37) Johoiakim Does Evil in the Site of the Lord - Josiah followed God, but Jehoiakim, his son, was evil. He killed the prophet Urijah (Jeremiah 26:20-23) and was dishonest, greedy, and unjust with the people (Jeremiah 22:13-19). Jehoiakim also rebelled against Babylon, switching his allegiance to Egypt. This proved to be a crucial mistake. Nebuchadnezzar crushed Jehoiakim's rebellion and took him prisoner to Babylon (2 Chronicles 36:6), but he was eventually allowed to return to Jerusalem, where he died. The Bible does not record the cause of Jehoiakim's death.

(23:37) Teach Your Children - Many good kings had children who did not turn out to follow God. Perhaps this happened because of neglect or preoccupation with political and military affairs or because these kings had delegated the religious education to others. No doubt many of the children simply rebelled against the way they were raised. Being a strong believer as a parent doesn't guarantee that your children will pick up your beliefs. Children must be taught about faith, and parents should not leave that task to others alone. Parents should actively participate in discipling their children by practicing, explaining, and teaching what they believe.



Dave Burnette's Life Application

Acting Upon God's Word


Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter, making application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Today we continue the book of 2 Kings with Chapter 23.  In our text,  we see Josiah destroys idol worship as he applies and acts on God's Word. Josiah loses his life in battle, and Jehoahaz, his son, turns back to evil. What catches my eye is how Josiah acted upon the application of the Bible. In making application in our own lives, we must act upon God's Word - through faith - in the black-and-white teachings of the Word of God, knowing we have God's will on the clear teachings of the Bible. It is not enough to read and understand the Bible; we must act upon its teachings. If it is a sin, it is a sin; we don't have to ask God if it is His Will because if it is in the Bible, it is God's Word. It reminds me of our teaching on Financial Stewardship in our online services this month. We don't have to ask God if it is His Will for us to tithe. Scripture clearly outlines Tithing, which tells us the Will of God for our life on this principle. The Bible is full of principles that we need to act upon in our life. How about you? Do you obey the clear teachings in Scripture? Let us learn from our text today and the life of Josiah, who not only read the Word of God, He applied its teachings, then acted upon the application which drove out the wickedness in the nation of Judah.


2 Kings 23

2 Kings 23

 1And the king sent, and they gathered unto him all the elders of Judah and of Jerusalem.

 2And the king went up into the house of the LORD, and all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem with him, and the priests, 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.

 3And the king stood by a pillar, and made a 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.

 4And the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest, and the 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 the ashes of them unto Bethel.

 5And he put down the 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.

 6And he brought out the 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 graves of the children of the people.

 7And he brake down the houses of the sodomites, that were by the house of the LORD, where the women wove hangings for the grove.

 8And he brought all the priests out of the cities of Judah, and defiled the high places where the priests had burned incense, from Geba to Beersheba, and brake down the high places of the gates that were in the entering in of the gate of Joshua the governor of the city, which were on a man's left hand at the gate of the city.

 9Nevertheless the priests of the high places came not up to the altar of the LORD in Jerusalem, but they did eat of the unleavened bread among their brethren.

 10And he defiled 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.

 11And he took away the 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.

 12And the altars that were on the top of the upper chamber of Ahaz, which the kings of Judah had made, and the altars which Manasseh had made in the two courts of the house of the LORD, did the king beat down, and brake them down from thence, and cast the dust of them into the brook Kidron.

 13And the high places that were before Jerusalem, which were on the right hand of the 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.

 14And he brake in pieces the images, and cut down the groves, and filled their places with the bones of men.

 15Moreover 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.

 16And 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 man of God proclaimed, who proclaimed these words.

 17Then he said, What title is that that I see? And the men of the city told him, It is the sepulchre of the man of God, which came from Judah, and proclaimed these things that thou hast done against the altar of Bethel.

 18And he said, Let him alone; let no man move his bones. So they let his bones alone, with the bones of the prophet that came out of Samaria.

 19And all the houses also of the high places that were in the cities of Samaria, which the kings of Israel had made to provoke the Lord to anger, Josiah took away, and did to them according to all the acts that he had done in Bethel.

 20And he slew all the priests of the high places that were there upon the altars, and burned men's bones upon them, and returned to Jerusalem.

 21And the king commanded all the people, saying, Keep the passover unto the LORD your God, as it is written in the book of this covenant.

 22Surely there was not holden 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;

 23But in the eighteenth year of king Josiah, wherein this passover was holden to the LORD in Jerusalem.

 24Moreover the workers with familiar spirits, and the wizards, and the images, and the idols, and all the abominations that were spied in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, did Josiah put away, that he might perform the words of the law which were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the house of the LORD.

 25And like unto him was there no king before him, that turned to the LORD with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; neither after him arose there any like him.

 26Notwithstanding the LORD turned not from the fierceness of his great wrath, wherewith his anger was kindled against Judah, because of all the provocations that Manasseh had provoked him withal.

 27And the LORD said, I will remove Judah also out of my sight, as I have removed Israel, and will cast off this city Jerusalem which I have chosen, and the house of which I said, My name shall be there.

 28Now the rest of the acts of Josiah, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?

 29In his days Pharaohnechoh king of Egypt went up against the king of Assyria to the river Euphrates: and king Josiah went against him; and he slew him at Megiddo, when he had seen him.

 30And his servants carried him in a chariot dead from Megiddo, and brought him to Jerusalem, and buried him in his own sepulchre. And the people of the land took Jehoahaz the son of Josiah, and anointed him, and made him king in his father's stead.

 31Jehoahaz was twenty and three years old when he began to reign; and he reigned three months in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah.

 32And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his fathers had done.

 33And Pharaohnechoh put him in bands 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.

 34And Pharaohnechoh made Eliakim the son of Josiah king in the room of Josiah his father, and turned his name to Jehoiakim, and took Jehoahaz away: and he came to Egypt, and died there.

 35And Jehoiakim gave the silver and the gold to Pharaoh; but he taxed the land to give the money according to the commandment of Pharaoh: he exacted the silver and the gold of the people of the land, of every one according to his taxation, to give it unto Pharaohnechoh.

 36Jehoiakim was twenty and five years old when he began to reign; and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Zebudah, the daughter of Pedaiah of Rumah.

 37And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his fathers had done.