2 Kings 23

* Josiah reads the law, and renews the covenant. (1-3) He

destroys idolatry. (4-14) The reformation extended to Israel, A

passover kept. (15-24) Josiah slain by Pharaoh-nechoh. (25-30)

Wicked reigns of Jehoahaz and Jehoiakim. (31-37)

1-3 Josiah had received a message from God, that there was no

preventing the ruin of Jerusalem, but that he should only

deliver his own soul; yet he does his duty, and leaves the event

to God. He engaged the people in the most solemn manner to

abolish idolatry, and to serve God in righteousness and true

holiness. Though most were formal or hypocritical herein, yet

much outward wickedness would be prevented, and they were

accountable to God for their own conduct.
4-14 What abundance of wickedness in Judah and Jerusalem! One

would not have believed it possible, that in Judah, where God

was known, in Israel, where his name was great, in Salem, in

Zion, where his dwelling-place was, such abominations should be

found. Josiah had reigned eighteen years, and had himself set

the people a good example, and kept up religion according to the

Divine law; yet, when he came to search for idolatry, the depth

and extent were very great. Both common history, and the records

of God's word, teach, that all the real godliness or goodness

ever found on earth, is derived from the new-creating Spirit of

Jesus Christ.
15-24 Josiah's zeal extended to the cities of Israel within his

reach. He carefully preserved the sepulchre of that man of God,

who came from Judah to foretell the throwing down of Jeroboam's

altar. When they had cleared the country of the old leaven of

idolatry, then they applied themselves to the keeping of the

feast. There was not holden such a passover in any of the

foregoing reigns. The revival of a long-neglected ordinance,

filled them with holy joy; and God recompensed their zeal in

destroying idolatry with uncommon tokens of his presence and

favour. We have reason to think that during the remainder of

Josiah's reign, religion flourished.
25-30 Upon reading these verses, we must say, Lord, though thy

righteousness be as the great mountains, evident, plainly to be

seen, and past dispute; yet thy judgments are a great deep,

unfathomable, and past finding out. The reforming king is cut

off in the midst of his usefulness, in mercy to him, that he

might not see the evil coming upon his kingdom: but in wrath to

his people, for his death was an inlet to their desolations.
31-37 After Josiah was laid in his grave, one trouble came on

another, till, in twenty-two years, Jerusalem was destroyed. The

wicked perished in great numbers, the remnant were purified, and

Josiah's reformation had raised up some to join the few who were

the precious seed of their future church and nation. A little

time, and slender abilities, often suffice to undo the good

which pious men have, for a course of years, been labouring to

effect. But, blessed be God, the good work which he begins by

his regenerating Spirit, cannot be done away, but withstands all

changes and temptations.

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