Josiah causes the book to be read in a solemn assembly, 1, 2. He renews the covenant of the Lord, 3. He destroys idolatry, 4-14. He burns dead men's bones upon the altar of Beth-el, as was before prophesied, 15-20. He keeps a most solemn passover, 21-23. He puts away witches and all abomination, 24, 25. God's final wrath against Judah, 26-28. Josiah, provoking Pharaoh-nechoh, is slain at Megiddo, 29, 30. Jehoahaz, succeeding him, is imprisoned by Pharaoh-nechoh, who makes Jehoiakim king, 31-35. Jehoiakim's wicked reign, 36, 37.
1 And the king sent, and they gathered to him all the elders of Judah and of Jerusalem. 2 And the king went up into the house of the LORD, and all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem with him, the priests, 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 And the king stood by a pillar and made a covenant before the LORD to walk after the LORD, to keep his commandments, 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.
4 And the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest, 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, for the grove, and for all the host of heaven. And he burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of Kidron and carried their ashes to Beth-el. 5 And 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 around Jerusalem, those who burned incense to Baal, to the sun, to the moon, to the planets, and to all the host of heaven. 6 And he brought out the grove from the house of the LORD, outside Jerusalem, to the brook Kidron, and burned it at the brook Kidron, stamped it to powder, and cast its powder upon the graves of the children of the people. 7 And he broke down the houses of the temple prostitutes that were by the house of the LORD, where the women wove hangings for the grove. 8 And 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 Beer-sheba, and broke down the high places of the gates that were in the entrance of the gate of Joshua the governor of the city, which were on a man's left hand at the gate of the city. 9 Nevertheless, the priests of the high places did not come up to the altar of the LORD in Jerusalem, but they ate of the unleavened bread among their brothers. 10 And he defiled Topheth, which is in the valley of the children of Hinnom, so that no man might make his son or his daughter to pass through the fire to Molech. 11 And he took away the horses that the kings of Judah had given to the sun at the entrance of the house of the LORD, by the chamber of Nathan-melech the chamberlain which was in the suburbs, and burned the chariots of the sun with fire. 12 And 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, the king beat down and broke them down from there and cast their dust into the brook Kidron. 13 And the high places that were before Jerusalem, which were on the right hand of the mountain of corruption, which Solomon the king of Israel had built for Ashtoreth the abomination of the Zidonians, for Chemosh the abomination of the Moabites, and for Milcom the abomination of the children of Ammon, the king defiled. 14 And he broke the images in pieces, cut down the groves, and filled their places with the bones of men.
15 Moreover, the altar that was at Beth-el 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 broke down and burned the high place and stamped it to powder and burned the grove. 16 And as Josiah turned himself, he espied the sepulchers that were there in the mountain, and sent, and took the bones out of the sepulchers 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. 17 Then he said, "What title is that which I see?" And the men of the city told him, "It is the sepulcher of the man of God who came from Judah and proclaimed these things that you have done against the altar of Beth-el." 18 And he said, "Leave him alone. Let no man move his bones." So they left his bones alone with the bones of the prophet who came out of Samaria. 19 And all the houses 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 Beth-el. 20 And he slew all the priests of the high places who were there upon the altars, burnt men's bones upon them, and returned to Jerusalem.
21 And the king commanded all the people, saying, "Keep the passover to the LORD your God, as it is written in the book of this covenant." 22 Surely there was not held such a passover from the days of the judges who judged Israel, nor in all the days of the kings of Israel, nor of the kings of Judah. 23 But in the eighteenth year of king Josiah, this passover was held to the LORD in Jerusalem.
24 Moreover, the workers with familiar spirits, the wizards, the images, the idols, and all the abominations that were seen in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, Josiah put away so 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. 25 And there was no king like him before him who turned to the LORD with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses, neither after him did there arise any like him.
26 But, the LORD did not turn from the fierceness of his great wrath with which his anger was kindled against Judah, because of all the provocations by which Manasseh had provoked him. 27 And the LORD said, "I will remove Judah also out of my sight, as I have removed Israel, and will reject this city Jerusalem which I have chosen and the house of which I said, 'My name shall be there.'"
28 Now 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? 29 In his days Pharaoh-nechoh king of Egypt went up against the king of Assyria to the Euphrates River. And king Josiah went against him, and Pharaoh-nechoh slew him at Megiddo when he had seen him. 30 And his servants carried him in a chariot dead from Megiddo, brought him to Jerusalem, and buried him in his own sepulcher. And the people of the land took Jehoahaz the son of Josiah and anointed him and made him king in his father's stead.
31 Jehoahaz was twenty-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. 32 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his fathers had done. 33 And Pharaoh-nechoh put him in bonds at Riblah in the land of Hamath so that he might not reign in Jerusalem, and subjected the land to a tribute of one hundred talents of silver and a talent of gold.
34 And Pharaoh-nechoh made Eliakim the son of Josiah king in place of Josiah his father and turned his name to Jehoiakim, and he took Jehoahaz away. And he came to Egypt and died there. 35 And 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 from the people of the land, from each according to his taxation, to give it to Pharaoh-nechoh.
36 Jehoiakim was twenty-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. 37 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his fathers had done.
Matthew Henry Commentary - 2nd Kings, Chapter 23[➚]
[v.15-16] - Reference, 1st Kings 13:2.