2 Chronicles 34-36
The Kings of Judah, cont’d. 2 Chronicles 10:1-36:21
2 Chronicles 34:1-35:27…Josiah becomes King of Judah (640-609)
2 Chronicles 34:1-33-Josiah was 8-years-old when he became king and he reigned for 31 years. He did right in the sight of the LORD..."For in the eighth year of his reign while he was still a youth, he began to seek the God of his father David" (:3)…he was 16-years-old at the time. He went throughout the entire land purging it of pagan places of worship (:3-7). In the 18th year of his reign he began to repair the Temple (:8). Hilkiah (the Priest) found the "book of the law of the Lord given by Moses" (:14) and had Shaphan (a scribe) bring it to the king. When he read the book to him the king tore his clothes...and the king told Shaphan and others to pray to the LORD for them because His wrath against them was great. They sought the counsel of Hudah the prophetess...she told them that God was going to punish Israel, but that the king would be spared because of his sorrow over their sin. Josiah made a covenant to follow the LORD with his entire life…and, he made those who were present at the ceremony to agree to do so also. He led the nation of Judah to serve the LORD as long as he was alive.
2 Chronicles 35:1-19-Josiah commands that they celebrate the Passover (18th year of his reign). He also has the ark returned to the Temple.
35:3 The Ark apparently had been removed (probably during the reign of Manasseh) to keep it from being profaned (33:7).
The Ryrie Study Bible, footnote on 2 Chronicles 35:3, p. 689
2 Chronicles 35:20-27-Neco king of Egypt comes to Israel...his intent was not to make war against it, but for his army to move through it so that he could make war at Carchemish. However, Josiah did not believe this. Verse 22 says, "...he did not listen to the words of Neco from the mouth of God." Josiah was killed in battle...and Jeremiah chanted a lament for him (:25).
- Necho king of Egypt came up to fight against Carchemish: This was part of the geopolitical struggle between the declining Assyrian Empire and the emerging Babylonian Empire. The Assyrians made an alliance with the Egyptians to protect against the growing power of the Babylonians.
- King Josiah went against him: Sadly, Josiah disregarded what was actually good counsel from Necho when he said What have I to do with you, king of Judah? I have not come against you this day. Josiah stubbornly refused to hear this warning (which was actually from God).
- Josiah was in sin because his attack against Egypt was in support of the Assyrian Empire, and he had no business supporting the Assyrian Empire. "The only reason for doing so must have been some supposed political advantage. Against that kind of action the prophets were constantly warning the kings. A word claiming to be from God, forbidding what was already forbidden, had a weight of moral appeal almost amounting to certainty." (Morgan)
- Interestingly, Necho himself said, "for God has commanded me to make haste. Refrain from meddling with God, who is with me, lest He destroy you." It is unlikely that Necho understood and meant that he was in fact an agent of the God of Israel; he probably said and understood this in terms of his own gods and his own incorrect understanding of God. Nevertheless, it was an unknowing divine prophecy, much as the words of Caiaphas regarding the death of Jesus (John 11:49-52).
David Guzik :: Study Guide for 2 Chronicles 35,
2 Chronicles 36:1-4…Joahaz becomes King of Judah (609)
2 Chronicles 36:1-4-The people of the land made Joahaz king (son of Josiah)...he was 23 years old and reigned for 3 months.
2 Chronicles 36:5-8…Jehoiakim becomes King of Judah (609-597)
Neco king of Egypt deposed Joahaz (and took him to Egypt) and made his brother Eliakim king. He changed his name to Jehoiakim...he was 25 years old and reigned for 11 years...and did evil in the sight of the LORD.
2 Chronicles 36:5-8-Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon attacked Judah (his first invasion in 605 B.C.), captured Jehoiakim, and took him to Babylon. His son Jehoiachin became king.
2 Chronicles 36:9-10…Jehoiachin becomes King of Judah (597)
2 Chronicles 36:9-10-Jehoiachin was 8 years old when he became king and he reigned for 3 months and 10 days...and he did evil in the sight of the LORD. Nebuchadnezzar took him to Babylon and made his relative Zedekiah king.
2 Chronicles 36:11-21…Zedekiah becomes King of Judah (597-586)
2 Chronicles 36:11-21-Zedekiah was 21 years old when he became king and he reigned for 11 years...and he did evil in the sight of the LORD..."he did not humble himself before Jeremiah the prophet who spoke for the LORD" (:12). The king and people continually rebelled against God...even though He sent word through the prophets because of His compassion for them (:15). This continued "until the wrath of the LORD arose against His people, until there was no remedy" (:16). Finally, God brought the king of the Chaldeans (Babylon) against them in punishment. He took the rest of the items from the Temple (:7,18), burned down the Temple, tore down the city walls and deported the people to Babylon.
36:14-21 Two reasons are given here for the Babylonian captivity: continued idolatry, and failure to give the land 70 sabbatical years of rest (see note on Lev. 25:2-7). For the completion of the 70 years of captivity see note on Ezra 3:8.
The Ryrie Study Bible, footnote on 2 Chronicles 36:14-21, p. 691
2 Chronicles 36:22-23-When Cyrus of Persia conquered Babylon he allowed the people to return to Jerusalem in order to rebuild the Temple. This was in 538 B.C. Notice that verses 22-23, are identical to Ezra 1:1-2. This is to lead the reader in a direct continuous history from one book to the next.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, Josiah was a great king. From the days of his youth he followed You and he led Judah to do the same. I pray for the youth of our day. Help the church to raise them up in such a way that they will follow You with their entire lives. I pray that You will give us young men and women who have a passionate love for You that will guide and direct their lives in such a manner that they will have an impact on our nation, and on the entire world.