2 Kings 23 – “Josiah’s Reform; Pharaoh Neco and the Reigns of Jehoahaz and Jehoiakim”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
Josiah forges a new covenant and uproots all forms of idolatry in the land. He and his successor Jehoahaz are killed by Pharaoh Neco. Jehoiakim becomes the next king and pays a hefty tribute to Pharaoh Neco.

II. Photo
Josiah disinters the idolaters’ bones: “Josiah turned and saw the graves that were there on the hill; and he had the bones taken out of the graves and burned on the altar.” (v. 16a)

III. Important Verses
1-3: At the king’s summons, all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem assembled before him. The king went up to the House of the LORD, together with all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and the priests and prophets — all the people, young and old. And he read to them the entire text of the covenant scroll which had been found in the House of the LORD. The king stood by the pillar and solemnized the covenant before the LORD: that they would follow the LORD and observe His commandments, His injunctions, and His laws with all their heart and soul; that they would fulfill all the terms of this covenant as inscribed upon the scroll. And all the people entered into the covenant.
6-7: He brought out the [image of] Asherah from the House of the LORD to the Kidron Valley outside Jerusalem, and burned it in the Kidron Valley; he beat it to dust and scattered its dust over the burial ground of the common people. He tore down the cubicles of the male prostitutes in the House of the LORD, at the place where the women wove coverings for Asherah.
10: He also defiled Topheth, which is in the Valley of Ben-hinnom, so that no one might consign his son or daughter to the fire of Molech.
13: The king also defiled the shrines facing Jerusalem, to the south of the Mount of the Destroyer, which King Solomon of Israel had built for Ashtoreth, the abomination of the Sidonians, for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, and for Milcom, the detestable thing of the Ammonites.
16: Josiah turned and saw the graves that were there on the hill; and he had the bones taken out of the graves and burned on the altar. Thus he defiled it, in fulfillment of the word of the LORD foretold by the man of God who foretold these happenings.

IV. Outline

1-3. Josiah’s covenant
    1-2a. Josiah assembles the people
    2b. Josiah reads the scroll
    3. Josiah seals a new covenant with the people
4-20. Uprooting Idolatry
    4. Removing idols from the temple
    5. Removing the idolatrous priests
    6. Removing the Asherah from the temple
    7. Removing the locations of the male prostitutes
    8-9. Removing the priests from Judah
    10. Removing the site of Molech-worship
    11. Removing the horses and chariots for Shemesh
    12. Removing the altars of the kings of Judah
    13-14. Removing Solomon’s shrines
    15. Removing Jeroboam’s altar
    16. Removing the bones on the hill
    17-18. Keeping the prophet’s bones
    19-20. Removing the shrines in Samaria
21-29. Other events in Josiah’s reign
    21-23. The people keep Passover in a new fashion
    24a. Removing the necromancers and mediums
    24b-25. Praise for Josiah
    26-27. God’s wrath because of Menasseh
    28. Summary statement: Josiah king of Judah
    28-29. Josiah is killed by Pharaoh Neco
    30. Josiah is buried; Jehoahaz becomes king
31-34. Jehoahaz king of Judah
    31. Introductory statement
    32. Jehoahaz’s evil ways
    33-34a. Pharaoh Neco captures Jehoahaz and installs Jehoiakim as king
    34b. Jehoahaz dies in Egypt
35-37. Jehoiakim king of Judah
    35. Jehoiakim pays tribute to Pharaoh Neco
    36. Introductory statement
    37. Jehoiakim’s evil ways

V. Comment
No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Cogan, Mordechai and Hayim Tadmor. “II Kings” The Anchor Bible v. 11 (USA: Doubleday, 1988).
Collins, John J. “Introduction to the Hebrew Bible,” (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004).
Hobbs, T.R. “2 Kings” Word Biblical Commentary vol. 13 (Waco, Texas: Wordbooks, 1985).
Photo taken from http://ecostreet.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2007/05/digging.jpg