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JOSIAS was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned one and thirty years in Jerusalem.

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2 And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the ways of David his father: he declined not, neither to the right hand, nor to the left. 3 And in the eighth year of his reign, when he was yet a boy, he began to seek the God of his father David: and in the twelfth year after he began to reign, he cleansed Juda and Jerusalem from the high places, and the groves, and the idols, and the graven things.

Ver. 3.  Boy; 16 years old.  D.

 

--- The kings of Juda were in their minority, till they had completed their 13th year.  Grotius.

 

--- Cleansed.  Heb. and Sept. "in the twelfth year he began to  purify," &c.  H.

 

--- The work was not brought to perfection till six years afterwards, v. 8.  C.  T.




4 And they broke down before him the altars of Baalim, and demolished the idols that had been set upon them: and be cut down the groves and the graven things, and broke them in pieces: and strewed the fragments upon the graves of them that had sacrificed to them.

Ver. 4.  Idols.  Heb. chammanim, (H.) "statues of the sun."  The term often denotes those open enclosures, where sacred fire was kept in honour of the sun.  C.

 

--- Sept. "the heights above them."  Syr. "he destroyed the altars, idols, tigers, and temples, (5) the bracelets, little bells, and all the trees which had been consecrated to idols."  Arab. "the altars, idols, and leopards."


5 And he burnt the bones of the priests on the altars of the idols, and he cleansed Juda and Jerusalem.

Ver. 5.  Priests, whom he slew upon the altars, 4 K. xxiii.




6 And in the cities of Manasses, and of Ephraim, and of Simeon, even to Nephtali he demolished all.

Ver. 6.  He.  Heb. "with their swords, (C.  Prot. mattocks) round about;" (H.) or, "and in their deserts," the inhabitants being removed.  Sept. "in their places around."  Syr. and Arab. "in their public places."  All the interpreters have read differently from what we find in Heb. at present.   Some may wonder that Josias should act thus, out of his own dominions.  But the few Israelites who were left, had placed themselves under his protection; and as he made no ravages, and the Cuthites did not adopt the former superstitious practices of the country, they were not concerned to see the altars destroyed; nor were the kings of Assyria informed of, or interested to stop, these proceedings.  C.

 

--- Josias followed the directions of the priests and prophets; (M.) and many believe that the Assyrian monarch had given these territories to him, to hold, as his vassal; (T.) or God restored them to the lawful king, (v. 9) having promised all those countries to the family of David, for the express purpose of keeping up his own worship among his chosen people, and for exterminating idolatry.  H.




7 And when he had destroyed the altars, and the groves, and had broken the idols in pieces, and had demolished all profane temples throughout all the land of Israel, he returned to Jerusalem.


8 Now in the eighteenth year of his reign, when he had cleansed the land, and the temple of the Lord, he sent Saphan the son of Eselias, and Maasias the governor of the city, Joha the son of Joachaz the recorder, to repair the house of the Lord his God.

Ver. 8.  Eselias, or Assia.  This man is alone mentioned, 4 K. xxii. 3.  C.


9 And they came to Helcias the high priest: and received of him the money which had been brought into the house of the Lord, and which the Levites and porters had gathered together from Manasses, and Ephraim, and all the remnant of Israel, and from all Juda, and Benjamin, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem,


10 Which they delivered into the hands of them that were over the workmen in the house of the Lord, to repair the temple, and mend all that was weak. 11 But they gave it to the artificers, and to the masons, to buy stones out of the quarries, and timber for the couplings of the building, and to rafter the houses, which the kings of Juda had destroyed.

Ver. 11.  Houses, or apartments of the temple, which were gone to decay.  H.




12 And they did all faithfully. Now the overseers of the workmen were Jahath and Abdias of the sons of Merari, Zacharias and Mosollam of the sons of Caath, who hastened the work: all Levites skilful to play on instruments.

Ver. 12.  Of music is expressed in Heb. and Sept.  H.

 

--- These Levites were chosen, because they were not so constantly employed in the temple, (C.) and they were not hired barely to inspect the works, and hence the expense was diminished.


13 But over them that carried burdens for divers uses, were scribes, and masters of the number of the Levites, and porters.

Ver. 13.  Masters: literally, "master porters."  Prot. "officers and porters;" all Levites.  H.

 

--- Jahath, &c. directed them that carried burdens, (C.) as the Hebrew intimates; and in general, all the officers were chosen from the same tribe.  H.


14 Now when they carried out the money that had been brought into the temple of the Lord, Helcias the priest found the book of the law of the Lord, by the hand of Moses.

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15 And he said to Saphan the scribe: I have found the book of the law in the house of the Lord: and he delivered it to him. 16 But he carried the book to the king, and told him, saying: Lo, all that thou hast committed to thy servants, is accomplished. 17 They have gathered together the silver that was found in the house of the Lord: and it is given to the overseers of the artificers, and of the workmen, for divers works.

Ver. 17.  Together: lit. "melted down," as the Heb. and Sept. signify.  Coin was not yet used.  C.

 

--- But the pieces of money, of whatever description, were collected.  H.


18 Moreover Helcias the priest gave me this book. And he read it before the king. 19 And when he had heard the words of the law, he rent his garments: 20 And he commanded Helcias, and Ahicam the son of Saphan, and Abdon the son of Micha, and Saphan the scribe, and Asaa the king's servant, saying:

Abdon

(Josh 21:30, etc.): Khirbet Abdeh, N. of the Wâdy el-Karn.

21 Go, and pray to the Lord for me, and for the remnant of Israel, and Juda, concerning all the words of this book, which is found: for the great wrath of the Lord hath fallen upon us, because our fathers have not kept the words of the Lord, to do all things that are written in this book.


22 And Helcias and they that were sent with him by the king, went to Olda the prophetess, the wife of Sellum the son of Thecuath, the son of Hasra keeper of the wardrobe: who dwelt in Jerusalem in the Second part: and they spoke to her the words above mentioned.

Ver. 22.  Hasra.  Olda's husband's grandfather is styled Araas, 4 K. xxii.  H.

 

--- Second part of the city, near the temple, or near the second gate, or between the two walls.  D.




23 And she answered them: Thus saith the Lord the God of Israel: Tell the man that sent you to me: 24 Thus saith the Lord: Behold I will bring evils upon this place, and upon the inhabitants thereof, and all the curses that are written in this book which they read before the king of Juda.


25 Because they have forsaken me, and have sacrificed to strange gods, to provoke me to wrath with all the works of their hands, therefore my wrath shall fall upon this place, and shall not be quenched. 26 But as to the king of Juda that sent you to beseech the Lord, thus shall you say to him: Thus saith the Lord the God of Israel: Because thou hast heard the words of this book,


27 And thy heart was softened. and thou hast humbled thyself in the sight of God for the things that are spoken against this place, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and reverencing my face, hast rent thy garments, and wept before me: I also have heard thee, saith the Lord.


28 For now I will gather thee to thy fathers, and thou shalt be brought to thy tomb in peace: and thy eyes shall not see all the evil that I will bring upon this place, and the inhabitants thereof. They therefore reported to the king all that she had said.

Ver. 28.  Peace.  The country enjoyed peace, as Pharao was gone; (M.) and Josias did not witness the evils here denounced.  T.

 

--- This was a blessing.  W.



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29 And he called together all the ancients of Juda and Jerusalem.


30 And went up to the house of the Lord, and all the men of Juda, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the priests and the Levites, and all the people from the least to the greatest. And the king read in their hearing, in the house of the Lord, all the words of the book.


31 And standing up in his tribunal, he made a covenant before the Lord to walk after him, and keep his commandments, and testimonies, and justifications with all his heart, and with all his soul, and to do the things that were written in that book which he had read. 32 And he adjured all that were found in Jerusalem and Benjamin to do the same: and the inhabitants of Jerusalem did according to the covenant of the Lord the God of their fathers.


33 And Josias took away all the abominations out of all the countries of the children of Israel: and made all that were left in Israel, to serve the Lord their God. As long as he lived they departed not from the Lord the God of their fathers.

Ver. 33.  In Israel, who had fled into his dominions.  See v. 6.  C.

 

--- They.  Sept. "he," &c.  Josias worshipped God with all his heart: but all Israel paid him, at least, an external adoration.  H.

 


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