Moreover Josiah kept a passover unto the LORD in Jerusalem: and they killed the passover on the fourteenth day of the first month.
The whole solemnity was performed with great exactness according to the law, and upon that account there was none like it since Samuel's time; for even in Hezekiah's passover there were several irregularities. Bp. Patrick observes, that in this also it exceeded the other passovers which preceding things had kept, that though Josiah was by no means so rich as David, or Solomon, or Jehoshaphat, yet he furnished the congregation with beasts for sacrifice, both paschal and eucharistical, at his own proper cost and charge, which was more than any king ever did before.
Exodus 12:6 Numbers 9:3 Deuteronomy 16:1-8 Ezra 6:19 Ezekiel 45:21 Josiah's solemnization of the passover, which is merely alluded to at ; 2 Kings 23:21, but the passover was the chief. It was the first which was solemnized in the night wherein Israel came out of Egypt, and ushered in those which were afterwards instituted: and it was the last great feast which was held in the night wherein Christ was betrayed, before the vail of the temple was rent in twain. Be means of this feast, both Josiah and Hezekiah revived religion in their day.
And he set the priests in their charges, and encouraged them to the service of the house of the LORD,
And said unto the Levites that taught all Israel, which were holy unto the LORD, Put the holy ark in the house which Solomon the son of David king of Israel did build; it shall not be a burden upon your shoulders: serve now the LORD your God, and his people Israel,
in the house
And prepare yourselves by the houses of your fathers, after your courses, according to the writing of David king of Israel, and according to the writing of Solomon his son.
after your courses
The regulations formed by David, and established by Solomon, concerning the courses of the priests and Levites, were committed to writing, and preserved, for them to refer to continually. Josiah, as well as Hezekiah, required the priests and Levites to attend to their several duties, and encouraged them therein, but he neither added, altered, not retrenched anything: he merely enforced what had been established in the law, and in the regulations made by David and the contemporary prophets: "the commandment of the king....was by the word of the Lord."
And stand in the holy place according to the divisions of the families of the fathers of your brethren the people, and after the division of the families of the Levites.
families of the fathers
Heb. house of the fathers. people. Heb. sons of the people.
So kill the passover, and sanctify yourselves, and prepare your brethren, that they may do according to the word of the LORD by the hand of Moses.
And Josiah gave to the people, of the flock, lambs and kids, all for the passover offerings, for all that were present, to the number of thirty thousand, and three thousand bullocks: these were of the king's substance.
According to the calculation, that not fewer than ten, nor more than twenty persons, were to join for one kid or lamb, the numbers given on this occasion would suffice for above 400,000 persons.
the king's substance
And his princes gave willingly unto the people, to the priests, and to the Levites: Hilkiah and Zechariah and Jehiel, rulers of the house of God, gave unto the priests for the passover offerings two thousand and six hundred small cattle, and three hundred oxen.
Heb. offered. willingly.
Conaniah also, and Shemaiah and Nethaneel, his brethren, and Hashabiah and Jeiel and Jozabad, chief of the Levites, gave unto the Levites for passover offerings five thousand small cattle, and five hundred oxen.
So the service was prepared, and the priests stood in their place, and the Levites in their courses, according to the king's commandment.
And they killed the passover, and the priests sprinkled the blood from their hands, and the Levites flayed them.
And they removed the burnt offerings, that they might give according to the divisions of the families of the people, to offer unto the LORD, as it is written in the book of Moses. And so did they with the oxen.
as it is written
And they roasted the passover with fire according to the ordinance: but the other holy offerings sod they in pots, and in caldrons, and in pans, and divided them speedily among all the people.
divided them speedily
Heb. made them run.
And afterward they made ready for themselves, and for the priests: because the priests the sons of Aaron were busied in offering of burnt offerings and the fat until night; therefore the Levites prepared for themselves, and for the priests the sons of Aaron.
because the priests
And the singers the sons of Asaph were in their place, according to the commandment of David, and Asaph, and Heman, and Jeduthun the king's seer; and the porters waited at every gate; they might not depart from their service; for their brethren the Levites prepared for them.
Heb. station. according.
And the children of Israel that were present kept the passover at that time, and the feast of unleavened bread seven days.
Heb. found. the feast.
And there was no passover like to that kept in Israel from the days of Samuel the prophet; neither did all the kings of Israel keep such a passover as Josiah kept, and the priests, and the Levites, and all Judah and Israel that were present, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
there was no passover
Not one on purer principles, more heartily joined in by the people present, more literally or exactly consecrated, according to the law, or more religiously observed. The words do not refer to the number present, but to the manner and spirit.
After all this, when Josiah had prepared the temple, Necho king of Egypt came up to fight against Carchemish by Euphrates: and Josiah went out against him.
A. M. 3394. B.C. 610. temple. Heb. house. Necho. Pharaoh, the lame, says the Targumist
But he sent ambassadors to him, saying, What have I to do with thee, thou king of Judah? I come not against thee this day, but against the house wherewith I have war: for God commanded me to make haste: forbear thee from meddling with God, who is with me, that he destroy thee not.
house wherewith I have war
Heb. house of my war. God.
Nevertheless Josiah would not turn his face from him, but disguised himself, that he might fight with him, and hearkened not unto the words of Necho from the mouth of God, and came to fight in the valley of Megiddo.
Josiah's conduct in this affair has been treated with great severity; and he has been charged with engaging rashly in an unjust war, and disregarding the express command of God. But Scripture no where condemns him; and Pharaoh, in marching through Josiah's territories, against his will, certainly committed an act of hostility. It is evident that Josiah was in possession of the whole land of Israel (ch. 26:6); and probably he held the northern parts of it as a grant from the king of Babylon; and was not only in alliance with him, but bound to guard his frontiers against hostile invaders. He may, therefore, be fairly justified from the charge of unjustly meddling in a war that did not belong him. It is true the ambassadors assured Josiah, that "God had commanded Pharaoh to make haste;" and he is therefore said not to have "hearkened to the words of Necho, from the mouth of God." But Necho produced no proof that he was a prophet of Jehovah; and the word he employed, elohim, may denote gods or idols; and critics have noticed that the expression, "from the mouth of God," is not used when the true God is meant.
And the archers shot at king Josiah; and the king said to his servants, Have me away; for I am sore wounded.
Heb. made sick.
His servants therefore took him out of that chariot, and put him in the second chariot that he had; and they brought him to Jerusalem, and he died, and was buried in one of the sepulchres of his fathers. And all Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah.
in one of the
or, among the.
And Jeremiah lamented for Josiah: and all the singing men and the singing women spake of Josiah in their lamentations to this day, and made them an ordinance in Israel: and, behold, they are written in the lamentations.
all the singing
and made them
Now the rest of the acts of Josiah, and his goodness, according to that which was written in the law of the LORD,
And his deeds, first and last, behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah.