2 Kings 23:1-30 Comments by Stephen Ricker
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The Covenant Renewed
Comments for Study 15

2 Kings 23:1-30
Memory Verse: 43

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I. A Pledge to Keep the Book of the Covenant (23:1-3)

>1. Why did King Josiah call all the elders together? (1; 22:8-10)

* 2 Kings 23:1 "Then the king called together all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem."

* Jeremiah, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, and perhaps Nahum were prophets during Josiah's reign. There was also an unnamed prophetess in the previous chapter.

* 2 Kings 22:8-10 Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the secretary, "I have found the Book of the Law in the temple of the LORD." He gave it to Shaphan, who read it. Then Shaphan the secretary went to the king and reported to him: "Your officials have paid out the money that was in the temple of the LORD and have entrusted it to the workers and supervisors at the temple." Then Shaphan the secretary informed the king, "Hilkiah the priest has given me a book." And Shaphan read from it in the presence of the king."

* 2 Chronicles 34:1-33 also record the reforms and finding the Book of the Law.

* Jeremiah, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, and perhaps Nahum were prophets during Josiah's reign. There was also the prophetess Huldah in 22:13.

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Josiah with the Book of the Law

* See a painting of Josiah with the Book of the Law to the right.

>What did he do? (2)

* 2 Kings 23:2 "He went up to the temple of the LORD with the men of Judah, the people of Jerusalem, the priests and the prophets--all the people from the least to the greatest. He read in their hearing all the words of the Book of the Covenant, which had been found in the temple of the LORD."

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>Why is Bible study so important? (Joshua 1:8; Isaiah 59:21; John 1:1-2, 14, 6:63)

* Joshua 1:8 "Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful."

* Isaiah 59:21 ""As for me, this is my covenant with them," says the LORD. "My Spirit, who is on you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will not depart from your mouth, or from the mouths of your children, or from the mouths of their descendants from this time on and forever," says the LORD."

* John 1:1-2, 14 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning... The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."

* John 6:63 "The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life."

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>2. After reading the word of God what did the king do? (3)

* 2 Kings 23:3 "The king stood by the pillar and renewed the covenant in the presence of the LORD--to follow the LORD and keep his commands, regulations and decrees with all his heart and all his soul, thus confirming the words of the covenant written in this book. Then all the people pledged themselves to the covenant."

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>Why is doing the word as important and a part of hearing the word? (John 14:23-24; and 1 Peter 1:17-19)

* John 14:23-24 "Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me."

* 1 Peter 1:17-19 "Since you call on a Father who judges each man's work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear. For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect."

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II. Judah Cleansed (23:4-25)

>3. After renewing the covenant what did they do with the temple? (4)

* 2 Kings 23:4 "The king ordered Hilkiah the high priest, the priests next in rank and the doorkeepers to remove from the temple of the LORD all the articles made for Baal and Asherah and all the starry hosts. He burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of the Kidron Valley and took the ashes to Bethel."

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>What did he remove throughout Judah? (5-7)

* 2 Kings 23:5-7 "He did away with the pagan priests appointed by the kings of Judah to burn incense on the high places of the towns of Judah and on those around Jerusalem--those who burned incense to Baal, to the sun and moon, to the constellations and to all the starry hosts. 6 He took the Asherah pole from the temple of the LORD to the Kidron Valley outside Jerusalem and burned it there. He ground it to powder and scattered the dust over the graves of the common people. 7 He also tore down the quarters of the male shrine prostitutes, which were in the temple of the LORD and where women did weaving for Asherah."

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>How can this be applied in our lives? (1 Cor. 6:12-17)

* 1 Corinthians 6:12-17 ""Everything is permissible for me"--but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible for me"--but I will not be mastered by anything. "Food for the stomach and the stomach for food"--but God will destroy them both. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, "The two will become one flesh." But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit."

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>4. What did Josiah stop the priests from doing? (8-9)

* 2 Kings 23:8-9 "Josiah brought all the priests from the towns of Judah and desecrated the high places, from Geba to Beersheba, where the priests had burned incense. He broke down the shrines at the gates--at the entrance to the Gate of Joshua, the city governor, which is on the left of the city gate. 9 Although the priests of the high places did not serve at the altar of the LORD in Jerusalem, they ate unleavened bread with their fellow priests."

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>What evil religious practices did Josiah stop? (10-11)

* 2 Kings 23:10-11 "He desecrated Topheth, which was in the Valley of Ben Hinnom, so no one could use it to sacrifice his son or daughter in the fire to Molech. 11 He removed from the entrance to the temple of the LORD the horses that the kings of Judah had dedicated to the sun. They were in the court near the room of an official named Nathan-Melech. Josiah then burned the chariots dedicated to the sun."

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>How can this be applied in our lives? (Rom. 12:1-2; and 1 Peter 2:5)

* Romans 12:1-2 "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will."

* 1 Peter 2:5 "you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ."

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>5. What were some of the false gods Judah had worshiped? (12-14)

* 2 Kings 23:12-14 "He pulled down the altars the kings of Judah had erected on the roof near the upper room of Ahaz, and the altars Manasseh had built in the two courts of the temple of the LORD. He removed them from there, smashed them to pieces and threw the rubble into the Kidron Valley. 13 The king also desecrated the high places that were east of Jerusalem on the south of the Hill of Corruption--the ones Solomon king of Israel had built for Ashtoreth the vile goddess of the Sidonians, for Chemosh the vile god of Moab, and for Molech the detestable god of the people of Ammon. 14 Josiah smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles and covered the sites with human bones."

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>Where else besides Judah did Josiah remove false places of worship? (15)

* 2 Kings 23:15 "Even the altar at Bethel, the high place made by Jeroboam son of Nebat, who had caused Israel to sin--even that altar and high place he demolished. He burned the high place and ground it to powder, and burned the Asherah pole also."

* 1 Kings 12:28-30 "After seeking advice, the king made two golden calves. He said to the people, "It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt." One he set up in Bethel, and the other in Dan. And this thing became a sin; the people went even as far as Dan to worship the one there."

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>How did he ensure no one would worship there again? (16)

* 2 Kings 23:16 "Then Josiah looked around, and when he saw the tombs that were there on the hillside, he had the bones removed from them and burned on the altar to defile it, in accordance with the word of the LORD proclaimed by the man of God who foretold these things."

* 1 Kings 13:1-3 "By the word of the LORD a man of God came from Judah to Bethel, as Jeroboam was standing by the altar to make an offering. He cried out against the altar by the word of the LORD: "O altar, altar! This is what the LORD says: 'A son named Josiah will be born to the house of David. On you he will sacrifice the priests of the high places who now make offerings here, and human bones will be burned on you.'" That same day the man of God gave a sign: "This is the sign the LORD has declared: The altar will be split apart and the ashes on it will be poured out."

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>6. Who was buried by the false altar in Israel, in Bethel? (17)

* 2 Kings 23:17 "The king asked, "What is that tombstone I see?" The men of the city said, "It marks the tomb of the man of God who came from Judah and pronounced against the altar of Bethel the very things you have done to it."

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>Why was it important for Josiah to keep the Lord's prophet's tomb undisturbed? (18)

* 2 Kings 23:18 ""Leave it alone," he said. "Don't let anyone disturb his bones." So they spared his bones and those of the prophet who had come from Samaria."

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>Why is it important to remember others who walked a life of faith before us? (1 Thess. 2:8-9; Heb. 13:7-8)

* 1 Thessalonians 2:8-9 "We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us. Surely you remember, brothers, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you."

* Hebrews 13:7-8 "Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever."

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>7. After removing all the false places of worship and priests what did all Judah do? (19-23)

* 2 Kings 23:19-23 "Just as he had done at Bethel, Josiah removed and defiled all the shrines at the high places that the kings of Israel had built in the towns of Samaria that had provoked the LORD to anger. 20 Josiah slaughtered all the priests of those high places on the altars and burned human bones on them. Then he went back to Jerusalem. 21 The king gave this order to all the people: "Celebrate the Passover to the LORD your God, as it is written in this Book of the Covenant." 22 Not since the days of the judges who led Israel, nor throughout the days of the kings of Israel and the kings of Judah, had any such Passover been observed. 23 But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah, this Passover was celebrated to the LORD in Jerusalem."

* 2 Chronicles 35:1-19 also record this.

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>What is Passover to the Israelites? (1; Exodus 12:26-27; Num. 9:1-3, 28:16-17, 33:3; Deut. 16:1)

* Leviticus 23:4-5 "'These are the LORD's appointed feasts, the sacred assemblies you are to proclaim at their appointed times: The LORD's Passover begins at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month."

* Exodus 12:26-27 "And when your children ask you, 'What does this ceremony mean to you?' then tell them, 'It is the Passover sacrifice to the LORD, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians.'" Then the people bowed down and worshiped."

* Numbers 9:1-3 "The LORD spoke to Moses in the Desert of Sinai in the first month of the second year after they came out of Egypt. He said, "Have the Israelites celebrate the Passover at the appointed time. Celebrate it at the appointed time, at twilight on the fourteenth day of this month, in accordance with all its rules and regulations."

* Numbers 28:16-17 "On the fourteenth day of the first month the LORD's Passover is to be held. On the fifteenth day of this month there is to be a festival; for seven days eat bread made without yeast."

* Numbers 33:3 "The Israelites set out from Rameses on the fifteenth day of the first month, the day after the Passover. They marched out boldly in full view of all the Egyptians"

* Deuteronomy 16:1 "Observe the month of Abib and celebrate the Passover of the LORD your God, because in the month of Abib he brought you out of Egypt by night."

* "Abib" -Abib is the name of the first month in the Hebrew calendar which has a total of twelve months. Abib is taken from the ripening of barley to reach the stage of "abib" meaning the nearly ripened crop. The month of Abib is called Nisan by modern Jews. (From "The Believer's Future - Hope that Inspires" found on this web site.)

* "Passover" -Passover was the first Feast of the Lord in the Hebrew calendar. It is the first of a seven day event commemorating when the Lamb of Godís blood saved Israel from death and slavery in Egypt. It starts with Passover and ends with the seven days Feast of Unleavened Bread with the Day of Wave Sheaf in the mist of it. (Ex. 23:19, 2 Ki. 4:42) (From "The Believer's Future - Hope that Inspires" found on this web site.)

Escape from Egypt

* See a lithograph of Israel's escape from Egypt to the right.

>How did Jesus fulfill the Passover? (John 1:29, 1:35-36; and 1 Peter 1:18-20)

* John 1:29 "The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!"

* John 1:35-36 "The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, "Look, the Lamb of God!"

* 1 Peter 1:18-20 "For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake."

* Throughout history the Lord has established three ways to celebrate the Passover. The first could only have been observed once; the night before the Israelites were lead out of bondage to slavery by the Lord. The second was instituded at Mount Sinai and was to be celebrated in the promised land. The third institution was when Jesus celebrated what is called The Last Supper.

* The Passover lamb pointed to Jesus death for our sins. His blood cleanses us.

* See a chart showing what has come known as Jesus' Passion Week to the right.

Jesus' Passion Week Events

>8. How did Josiah even influence the people of Judah in their worship? (24)

* 2 Kings 23:24 "Furthermore, Josiah got rid of the mediums and spiritists, the household gods, the idols and all the other detestable things seen in Judah and Jerusalem. This he did to fulfill the requirements of the law written in the book that Hilkiah the priest had discovered in the temple of the LORD."

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>How was Josiah as a leader of the people? (25)

* 2 Kings 23:25 "Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the LORD as he did--with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance with all the Law of Moses."

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III. Yet The Lord's Anger Because of Manasseh Remained (23:26-30)

>9. Why wasn't all the righteous actions Josiah had done enough to turn the Lord away from his fierce anger? (26)

* 2 Kings 23:26 "Nevertheless, the LORD did not turn away from the heat of his fierce anger, which burned against Judah because of all that Manasseh had done to provoke him to anger."

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>What was going to happen to Judah? (27-28)

* 2 Kings 23:27-28 "So the LORD said, "I will remove Judah also from my presence as I removed Israel, and I will reject Jerusalem, the city I chose, and this temple, about which I said, 'There shall my Name be.' As for the other events of Josiah's reign, and all he did, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah? "

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>10. What happened to Josiah? (29-30)

* 2 Kings 23:29-30 "While Josiah was king, Pharaoh Neco king of Egypt went up to the Euphrates River to help the king of Assyria. King Josiah marched out to meet him in battle, but Neco faced him and killed him at Megiddo. Josiah's servants brought his body in a chariot from Megiddo to Jerusalem and buried him in his own tomb. And the people of the land took Jehoahaz son of Josiah and anointed him and made him king in place of his father."

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>Why might Josiah have marched out against Egypt? (2 Chron. 35:20-22)

* 2 Chronicles 35:20-22 "After all this, when Josiah had set the temple in order, Neco king of Egypt went up to fight at Carchemish on the Euphrates, and Josiah marched out to meet him in battle. But Neco sent messengers to him, saying, "What quarrel is there between you and me, O king of Judah? It is not you I am attacking at this time, but the house with which I am at war. God has told me to hurry; so stop opposing God, who is with me, or he will destroy you." Josiah, however, would not turn away from him, but disguised himself to engage him in battle. He would not listen to what Neco had said at God's command but went to fight him on the plain of Megiddo."

* Nowhere does it say that Josiah sought the Lord's direction in attacking Egypt.

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>What can we learn about the Lord from this?

* Deuteronomy 18:20 "But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded him to say, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, must be put to death."

* James 3:1-2 "Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check."

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