2 CHRONICLES CHAPTER 35
Events in the Last Part of Josiah's Reign.
THE CELEBRATION OF THE PASSOVER. — V. 1. Moreover, Josiah kept a Passover unto the Lord in Jerusalem. And they killed the passover on the fourteenth day of the first month, this being the proper date for its celebration. V. 2. And he, in preparing for this great festival, set the priests in their charges, and encouraged them to the service of the house of the Lord, serving in their courses, they were admonished to be ready for their duties in the manner prescribed in the Lord's precepts, v. 3. and said unto the Levites that taught all Israel, which were holy unto the Lord, set apart for His service, Put the holy ark in the house which Solomon, the son of David, king of Israel, did build; for it had evidently been removed temporarily while the floors were being repaired; it shall not be a burden upon your shoulders, this ancient task of the Levites was no longer necessary. Serve now the Lord, your God, and His people Israel, namely, in those other duties which pertained to their office. V. 4. And prepare yourselves by the houses of your fathers, after your courses, each division being composed of the members of one father-house, according to the writing of David, king of Israel, and according to the writing of Solomon, his son, these two having established the courses and noted down the divisions. 1 Chron. 23 to 26. V. 5. And stand in the Holy Place according to the divisions of the families of the fathers of your brethren, the people, after the divisions of the father-houses which had existed since ancient times, and after the division of the families of the Levites. It seems that to every division of a non-Levitical father-house there was a corresponding part of a Levitical father-house serving in the Temple. V. 6. So kill the passover, the lamb prescribed for that purpose. and sanctify yourselves, and prepare your brethren, that they may do according to the word of the Lord by the hand of Moses; they were to observe carefully the ceremony of washing before they handed the priests the blood to sprinkle against the altar. V. 7. And Josiah gave to the people, from his own possessions, of the flock, lambs and kids, the Law leaving the choice open, Ex. 12, 5, 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. V. 8. And his princes, following the example of the king, 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, these free gifts consisting also of lambs and kids, and three hundred oxen. V. 9. 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. V. 10. So the service was prepared, everybody being exactly familiar with the work which was expected of him. And the priests stood in their place and the Levites in their courses according to the king's commandment, everything being arranged so that the lambs, after their blood had been drained off, could quickly be delivered to the various housefathers, to be roasted and eaten as the Law required. V. 11. And they killed the passover, each house-father performing this task himself; and the priests sprinkled the blood from their hands, as it was handed to them in special basins after the slaughter, and the Levites flayed them. V. 12. And they removed the burnt offerings, set aside the parts of each sacrificial animal that was to be burned on the altar, that they might give according to the division of the families of the people, namely, these separated pieces, which were to be offered as burnt sacrifices, to offer unto the Lord as it is written in the book of Moses. And so did they with the oxen, preparing them as peace-offerings, to be eaten as a joyful festival in part, that is, after taking away the fat that was to be burned. V. 13. And they roasted the passover with fire according to the ordinance, Ex. 12, 8. 9; Deut. 16, 7; but the other holy offerings sod they in pots, and in caldrons, and in pans, and divided them speedily among all the people, this being done, of course, on all the days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, connected with the Passover proper. V. 14. 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, that of the peace-offerings, until night, having begun about two or three o'clock in the afternoon, therefore the Levites prepared for themselves and for the priests, the sons of Aaron. V. 15. And the singers, the sons of Asaph, were in their place, in the station appointed to them, where they chanted their psalms, according to the commandment of David, and Asaph, and Heman, and Jeduthun, the king's seer. And the porters waited at every gate, both the singers and the porters being on duty, of course, on every day of the feast; they might not depart from their service; for their brethren, the Levites, prepared for them, so they all could take part in the great sacrificial feast. V. 16. So all the service of the Lord was prepared the same day, all the other days being modeled after the first day of the festival, to keep the Passover, and to offer burnt offerings upon the altar of the Lord, according to the commandment of King Josiah. V. 17. And the children of Israel that were present kept the Passover at that time and the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days, the two being considered as one festival and the names later used as synonyms. V. 18. And there was no Passover like to that kept in Israel from the days of Samuel, the prophet, even the great celebration of Hezekiah, chap. 30, having been eclipsed in splendor and solemnity; 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. V. 19. In the eighteenth year of the reign of Josiah was this Passover kept. This great celebration was a last merciful visitation of the Lord upon Judah, who once more gave His people the purity and the splendor of the ancient worship, just as He in these last days of the world has once more given us the purity of the Gospel in all its splendid power.
JOSIAH SLAIN AT MEGIDDO. — V. 20. After all this, when Josiah had prepared the Temple, when his work of restoring the ancient worship had come to a close and an era of peace and prosperity might have been expected, Necho, king of Egypt, came up to fight against Charchemish by Euphrates, a great commercial city. And Josiah went out against him, either because he thought the neutrality of his country endangered, or because he felt that he must take the part of the Assyro-Babylonian king. V. 21. But he sent ambassadors to him, saying, What have I to do with thee, thou king of Judah? Pharaoh-Necho urged Josiah not to meddle in this affair, since he had no quarrel with him. 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. What Necho believed to be the will of the Egyptian god whom he served, that he transferred to Jehovah of Israel, in order to persuade Josiah the more easily. V. 22. Nevertheless, Josiah would not turn his face from him, but disguised himself, as Ahab of Israel had done in the battle against the Syrians, by wearing the armor and dress of a common soldier or officer, 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, in the Plain of Jezreel, Necho having either brought up his army by fleet to the neighborhood of Carmel or marched up along the Mediterranean Sea. V. 23. And the archers shot at King Josiah; and the king said to his servants, Have me away; for I am sore wounded, sick with the severity and with the pain of his wound. V. 24. His servants therefore took him out of that chariot and put him in the second chariot that he had, probably one larger and more comfortable than his war-chariot. And they brought him to Jerusalem; and he died and was buried in one of the sepulchers of his fathers, in the tombs of the kings. And all Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah. V. 25. And Jeremiah lamented for Josiah; and all the singing men and the singing women spake of Josiah in their lamentations to this day, probably taking one of the poems of Jeremiah for that purpose, and made them an ordinance in Israel; and, behold, they are written in the lamentations, a collection of poems chanted on certain public occasions by professional singers. V. 26. Now, the rest of the acts of Josiah and his goodness, all his acts of kindness, according to that which was written in the Law of the Lord, v. 27. and his deeds, first and last, behold, they are written in the Book of the Kings of Israel and Judah. He was one of the best-loved kings of the house of David, through whom God blessed His people, as He does through all faithful rulers.