2Chronicles 35:1 ¶ Moreover Josiah kept a passover unto the LORD in Jerusalem: and they killed the passover on the fourteenth day of the first month.

 

King Josiah next determined to keep Passover, and they killed the Passover sacrifice on the 14th day of the first month in accordance with the law.

 

Leviticus 23:4–6 “These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons. In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD’S passover. And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread.”

 

2Chronicles 35:2 And he set the priests in their charges, and encouraged them to the service of the house of the LORD,

2Chronicles 35:3 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,

2Chronicles 35:4 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.

2Chronicles 35:5 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.

2Chronicles 35:6 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.

 

The king appointed the priests to their positions and encouraged them to get to work serving in the temple.  He commanded them to put the ark back in its place in the temple, noting that they would no longer need to carry it around on their shoulders; that would give them more time to serve in other areas as needed.  The king also commanded the Levites to prepare themselves and get organized in their courses as instructed in the writings of Kings David and Solomon.  They were then to take up their positions to sacrifice the Passover lambs as commanded by the law of Moses.

 

He commanded them all to purify themselves and be ready to kill the Passover sacrifice in accordance with God’s law.

 

2Chronicles 35:7 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.

2Chronicles 35:8 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.

2Chronicles 35:9 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.

 

Josiah made provision for the people to celebrate the Passover sacrifice and the feast of unleavened bread by donating 33,000 lambs and kids and 3,000 bulls.  His officials also willingly made donations of 2600 lambs and kids and 300 oxen.  The leaders of the Levites also donated 5000 lambs and kids and 500 oxen to provide for the other Levites.

 

2Chronicles 35:10 So the service was prepared, and the priests stood in their place, and the Levites in their courses, according to the king’s commandment.

2Chronicles 35:11 And they killed the passover, and the priests sprinkled the blood from their hands, and the Levites flayed them.

2Chronicles 35:12 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.

 

After all the preparations had been made in accordance with the king’s command, they killed the Passover lambs; the priests sprinkled the blood from their hands and the Levites skinned the animals.  The burnt offerings were given to the people by family divisions so that they might observe the Passover meal.  They served the meat from the sacrificed oxen in the same way.

 

2Chronicles 35:13 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.

2Chronicles 35:14 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 until night; therefore the Levites prepared for themselves, and for the priests the sons of Aaron.

2Chronicles 35:15 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.

 

They roasted the Passover lambs over fire as instructed in the law; the other offerings were boiled in pots.  All was distributed as quickly as possible among the people.

 

The priests then proceeded to ready their own sacrifices.  They had so much to do that they were busy until night.  The singers took up their positions, as did the gatekeepers, and continued to perform their responsibilities until their meals were prepared.

 

Easton’s Dictionary provides this information:  “Praise, the name given to the group of Psalms 113-118, which are preeminently psalms of praise. It is called "The Egyptian Hallel," because it was chanted in the temple whilst the Passover lambs were being slain. It was chanted also on other festival occasions, as at Pentecost, the feast of Tabernacles, and the feast of Dedication. The Levites, standing before the altar, chanted it verse by verse, the people responding by repeating the verses or by intoned hallelujahs. It was also chanted in private families at the feast of Passover.”

 

2Chronicles 35:16 So all the service of the LORD was prepared the same day, to keep the passover, and to offer burnt offerings upon the altar of the LORD, according to the commandment of king Josiah.

2Chronicles 35:17 And the children of Israel that were present kept the passover at that time, and the feast of unleavened bread seven days.

2Chronicles 35:18 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.

2Chronicles 35:19 In the eighteenth year of the reign of Josiah was this passover kept.

 

They were able to complete the Passover in one day; then those present kept the feast of unleavened bread for the next seven days.  The Chronicler notes that there had been no Passover to equal this one (kept in such strict adherence to the law) since the days of Samuel the prophet.   None of the kings of Israel had ever kept such a Passover as that kept during the 18th year of Josiah’s reign. 

 

2Chronicles 35:20 ¶ 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.

2Chronicles 35:21 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.

2Chronicles 35:22 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.

 

At what proved to be the end of Josiah’s reign, Necho, the king of Egypt, went up to fight at Carchemish by the Euphrates River; and Josiah went out to meet him in battle.  Necho sent ambassadors to Josiah that basically said, “I have not quarrel with you.  I am at war with another nation.”  He then declared that God had told him to hurry and asked Josiah to stop opposing God with his interference because God was with him.  Josiah, however, refused to listen and disguised himself as he joined the fight in the valley of Megiddo. 

 

I tend to agree with the comment by Knapp as quoted by Guzik:  “’It was not of faith, else why ‘disguise’ himself? There is no record of any prayer before the battle, as in the case of so many of his godly ancestors; and this rash act of Josiah seems unaccountable.’”

 

The NIV Commentary adds this insight:  “The cause lay in a military advance by ‘Neco King of Egypt,’ a leading Pharaoh of the Twenty-Sixth Dynasty, as he made an active bid to succeed to the rule of the Assyrian Empire in the west. Nineveh had fallen three years before, in 612; and the Egyptians opposed the rival claims of Babylon by going up the Euphrates River “on behalf of” the king of Assyria (2Ki 23:29). Neco’s immediate objective was to cross the river and retake the city of Haran. This town lay east of Carchemish, which constituted in its turn a key center on the westernmost bend of the Euphrates.  The Pharaoh addressed Josiah: ‘It is not you I am attacking’; for Neco desired, without further delay, to march along the Palestinian coast and so meet ‘the house with which I am at war,’ namely, the Babylonian army under the capable crown prince Nebuchadrezzar.” 

 

This would have happened 13 years after the great Passover that had taken place in the 18th year of his 31-year-reign.

 

2Chronicles 35:23 And the archers shot at king Josiah; and the king said to his servants, Have me away; for I am sore wounded.

2Chronicles 35:24 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.

2Chronicles 35:25 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.

 

Enemy archers hit King Josiah, so he told his servants to get him out of there because he was badly wounded.  His servants removed him to another chariot and took him back to Jerusalem.  Josiah died and was buried with his ancestors.  All of Jerusalem and Judah mourned the death of the king.  Special note is made that Jeremiah lamented (in song) the death of Josiah and that his death was also commemorated in song as recorded in the book of Laments (not the book of Lamentations in the bible).

 

2Chronicles 35:26 Now the rest of the acts of Josiah, and his goodness, according to that which was written in the law of the LORD,

2Chronicles 35:27 And his deeds, first and last, behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah.

 

The historian notes that more can be read about Josiah and his goodness in obedience to God’s law in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah.

 

The writer of Kings makes one further observation.  There was no king before or since like Josiah that obeyed the law of the LORD with all his heart, soul and mind.

 

2 Kings 23:25 “And 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.”