BIBLE: II Kings Chapter 23 – Headline “Out! Out! Bloody Spot!” [The Stain of Judah]

Words in italic type have been added for clarity. They are not found in the original Hebrew or Aramaic.

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  • Comment on the Headline: The Hebrew word for red blood is “dam”. Therefore; the Headline would read “Out! Out! Dam Spot”, a line spoken by Lady Macbeth in Shakespeare’s play, Macbeth. For this chapter, King Josiah is removing the stain of idolatry in Judah.

II Kings 23

Josiah Restores True Worship

II Kings 23:1 Now the king sent them to gather all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem to him.
II Kings 23:The king went up to the house of the Lord (Yᵊhōvâ) with all the men of Judah, and with him all the inhabitants of Jerusalem—the priests and the prophets and all the people, both small and great. And he read in their hearing all the words of the Book of the Covenant which had been found in the house of the Lord (Yᵊhōvâ).
II Kings 23:Then the king stood by a pillar and made a covenant before the Lord, (Yᵊhōvâ) to follow the Lord (Yᵊhōvâ) and to keep His commandments and His testimonies and His statutes, with all his heart and all his soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people took a stand for the covenant.
  • The timing is 622 BC.
  • See Timeline BC and scroll down to 622 BC to put surrounding events in context.
 II Kings 23:And the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest, the priests of the second order, and the doorkeepers, to bring out of the temple of the Lord (Yᵊhōvâ) all the articles that were made for Baal, for Asherah (A Canaanite goddess), and for all the host of heaven (The gods of the Assyrians); and he burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of Kidron, and carried their ashes to Bethel.
  • Hilkiah is attested in extra-biblical sources by the clay bulla naming a Hilkiah as the father of an Azariah, and by the seal reading “Hanan son of Hilkiah the priest”.
  • The worship of Baal is an abomination to God.
  • The worship of Asherah is an abomination to God.
  • the worship of Astrology is an abomination to God.
II Kings 23:Then he removed the idolatrous priests whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense on the high places in the cities of Judah and in the places all around Jerusalem, and those who burned incense to Baal, to the sun, to the moon, to the constellations (Of the Zodiac), and to all the host of heaven.
II Kings 23:And he brought out the wooden image (Heb. Asherah, a Canaanite goddess) from the house of the Lord (Yᵊhōvâ), to the Brook Kidron outside Jerusalem, burned it at the Brook Kidron and ground it to ashes, and threw its ashes on the graves of the common people.
II Kings 23:Then he tore down the ritual booths (Lit. houses) of the perverted persons (Heb. qedeshim, those practicing sodomy and prostitution in religious rituals) that were in the house of the Lord (Yᵊhōvâ), where the women wove hangings for the wooden image.
  • Sodomy and Prostitution are an abomination to God.
  • Using Sodomy and Prostitution for worship to idols is a double abomination.
II Kings 23:And he brought all the priests from the cities of Judah, and defiled the high places where the priests had burned incense, from Geba to Beersheba; also he broke down the high places at the gates which were at the entrance of the Gate of Joshua the governor of the city, which were to the left of the city gate.
II Kings 23:Nevertheless the priests of the high places did not come up to the altar of the Lord (Yᵊhōvâ) in Jerusalem, but they ate unleavened bread among their brethren.
2 Kings 23:10 And he defiled (desecrated) Topheth (“the burner”), which is in the Valley of the Son (Ben) of Hinnom, that no man might make his son or his daughter pass through the fire (be sacrificed) to Molech.
  • Another translation: He (Josiah) desecrated Topheth (“the burner”), 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. –
  • “To Sacrifice” is the Hebrew phrase “to pass through”. Those who cause their children “to pass through” the fire to Molech. It is the Hebrew word ʿāḇar (h5674 ↑) translated “Pass Over”.
  • “The burner” is the moral equivalence of abortion. The difference is that the screams of the children could be heard in the Valley of Hinnom whereas the screams of aborted babies are silent. Drums were beat during the sacrifices so that the screams could be muffled. Valley of Hinnom means the Valley of Sheol or Valley of Hell.
  • Jeremiah 7:31 (ESV) — And they have built the high places of Topheth, which is in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire, which I did not command, nor did it come into my mind.
II Kings 23:11 Then he removed the horses that the kings of Judah had dedicated (given) to the sun, at the entrance to the house of the Lord, by the chamber of Nathan-Melech, the officer who was in the court; and he burned the chariots of the sun with fire.
  • The worship of the sun is condemned by God.
  • Nathan-melech is described as one of Josiah‘s officials in 2 Kings 23:11 of the Hebrew Bible. He lived near the entrance to the temple, close to the courtyard where King Solomon had kept chariot-horses used to worship the Moabite sun-god Chemosh. Josiah eventually disposed of the horses and chariots.
  • In March 2019, a clay bulla dated to the middle of the seventh or beginning of the sixth century BC was found in the Givati Parking Lot dig excavation in the City of David area of Jerusalem bearing the inscription, “(belonging) to Nathan-melech, servant of the king”. The wording on the seal was deciphered by Anat Mendel-Geberovich of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Center for the Study of Ancient Jerusalem.
II Kings 23:12 The altars that were on the roof, the upper chamber of Ahaz, which the kings of Judah had made, and the altars which Manasseh had made in the two courts of the house of the Lord (Yᵊhōvâ), the king broke down and pulverized there, and threw their dust into the Brook Kidron.
II Kings 23:13 Then the king defiled the high places (Places for pagan worship) that were east of Jerusalem, which were on the south of (Lit. right of) the Mount of Corruption (The Mount of Olives), which Solomon king of Israel had built for Ashtoreth the abomination of the Sidonians, for Chemosh the abomination of the Moabites, and for Milcom the abomination of the people of Ammon.
  • The Mount of Corruption: The Mount of Olives on which were built idols of pagan worship.
  • The worship of Ashtoreth is an abomination to God. Below:
  • The worship of Chemosh is an abomination to God. 
  • Below: The worship of Milcom is an abomination to God.
II Kings 23:14 And he broke in pieces the sacred pillars and cut down the wooden images, and filled their places with the bones of men.
II Kings 23:15 Moreover the altar that was at Bethel, and the high place (A place for pagan worship) which Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel sin, had made, both that altar and the high place he broke down; and he burned the high place and crushed it to powder, and burned the wooden image.
  • History
    • Two altars of a golden calf were built by Jeroboam when the kingdom split into Israel and Judah for the purpose to keep the people in Israel from going to Jerusalem to worship. One was built in Dan and one in Bethel. Approximately ten tribes had rebelled against Solomon’s son Rehoboam at Solomon’s death, thus supporting Jeroboam and creating the separate kingdom of Israel.
    • The two calves were an abomination to God.

II Kings 23:16 As Josiah turned, he saw the tombs that were there on the mountain. And he sent and took the bones out of the tombs and burned them on the altar, and defiled it according to the word of the Lord (Yᵊhōvâ) which the man of God proclaimed, who proclaimed these words.
  • History:
    • The proclamation made while Jeroboam was worshiping at the altar in Bethel is as following.
      • I Kings 13:1: And behold, a man of God went from Judah to Bethel by the word of the Lord (at the Lord’s command), and Jeroboam stood by the altar to burn incense. Then he cried out against the altar by the word of the Lord (at the Lord’s command), and said, “O altar, altar! Thus says the Lord: ‘Behold, a child, Josiah by name, shall be born to the house of David; and on you he shall sacrifice the priests of the high places who burn incense on you, and men’s bones shall be burned on you.’ ”
        • The prophecy took place close to the beginning of Jeroboam’s reign probably 929 BC.
        • The fulfillment of the prophecy by Josiah took place in 622 BC – 302 years after the prophecy was given.
        • Josiah is one of only two people miraculously called out in prophecy by name (Cyrus is the other). Josiah:
          • Was of of the unbroken line (house) of David.
          • His name is called out and identified.
          • He performed all those things the prophet proclaimed.

Josiah is notable in many ways: He fulfilled the miraculous prophecy in I Kings chapter 13. He was called out by name hundreds of years before he was conceived. He was an amazing king in following God in all his ways. And yet…he was followed by four sons, none of which listened to God.

II Kings 23:17 Then he (Josiah) said, “What gravestone is this that I see?”
So the men of the city told him, “It is the tomb of the man of God (‘ĕlōhîm) who came from Judah and proclaimed these things which you have done against (in opposition to) the altar of Bethel.”
  • Believed to be the prophet Iddo/Eddo.
  • Read the notes on Iddo in I Kings 13.
  • “Now the rest of the acts of Solomon, first and last, are they not written in the book of Nathan the prophet, and in the prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite, and in the visions of Iddo the seer against Jeroboam the son of Nebat?” II Chronicles 9:29
  • The prophet Zechariah was the son of Iddo the prophet. Nehemiah 12:16 – Zechariah 1:1

II Kings 23:18 And he (Josiah) said, “Let him alone; let no one move his bones.” So they let his bones alone, with the bones of the prophet who came from Samaria.
  • Samaria: I Kings 13:29 And the prophet took up the corpse of the man of God, laid it on the donkey, and brought it back. So the old prophet came to the city to mourn, and to bury him. 30 Then he laid the corpse in his own tomb; and they mourned over him, saying, “Alas, my brother!” 31 So it was, after he had buried him, that he spoke to his sons, saying, “When I am dead, then bury me in the tomb where the man of God is buried; lay my bones beside his bones. 32 For the saying (Lit: word) which he cried out by the word of the Lord against the altar in Bethel, and against all the shrines (Lit. houses) on the high places which are in the cities of Samaria, will surely come to pass.
  • Leaving the bones to rest were a sign of respect by Josiah.
II Kings 23:19 Now Josiah also took away all the shrines (Lit. houses) of the high places (A place for pagan worship) that were in the cities of Samaria, which the kings of Israel had made to provoke the Lord to anger; and he did to them according to all the deeds he had done in Bethel.
II Kings 23:20 He executed all the priests of the high places (Places for pagan worship) who were there, on the altars, and burned men’s bones on them; and he returned to Jerusalem.
II Kings 23:21 Then the king commanded all the people, saying, “Keep the Passover to the Lord your God (Yᵊhōvâ ‘ĕlōhîm), as it is written in this Book of the Covenant.”
II Kings 23:22 Such a Passover surely had never been held since the days of the judges who judged Israel, nor in all the days of the kings of Israel and the kings of Judah.
II Kings 23:23 But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah this Passover was held before the Lord (Yᵊhōvâ) in Jerusalem.
II Kings 23:24 Moreover Josiah put away those who consulted mediums and spiritists, the household gods and idols, all the abominations that were seen in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, that he might perform the words of the law which were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the house of the Lord (Yᵊhōvâ).
  • Mediums and Spiritists are condemned by God.
II Kings 23:25 Now before him there was no king like him, who turned to the Lord (Yᵊhōvâ) with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the Law of Moses; nor after him did any arise like him.

Impending Judgment on Judah

II Kings 23:26 Nevertheless the Lord (Yᵊhōvâ) did not turn from the fierceness of His great wrath, with which His anger was aroused against Judah, because of all the provocations with which Manasseh had provoked Him.
II Kings 23:27 And the Lord (Yᵊhōvâ) said, “I will also remove Judah from My sight, as I have removed Israel, and will cast off this city Jerusalem which I have chosen, and the house of which I said, ‘My name shall be there.’ ”

Josiah Dies in Battle

II Kings 23:28 Now the rest of the acts of Josiah, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?
II Kings 23:29 In his days Pharaoh Necho king of Egypt went to the aid of the king of Assyria, to the River Euphrates; and King Josiah went against him. And Pharaoh Necho killed him (Josiah) at Megiddo when he confronted him.
II Kings 23:30 Then his servants moved his body in a chariot from Megiddo, brought him to Jerusalem, and buried him in his own tomb. And the people of the land took Jehoahaz the son of Josiah, anointed him, and made him king in his father’s place.
  • Below: Assyria is fighting Babylon in Carchemish. Necco/Necho is taking his army to Carchemish to fight for Assyria against Babylon. Necco is intercepted by Josiah. Necco warns Josiah that this is a thing of God and that Josiah needs to back out. Josiah ignores Necco, disguises himself and continues the fight as a warrior. Josiah is wounded and then dies. Necco rules over Jerusalem until Babylon weakens Egypt, then Babylon takes Judah.

The Reign and Captivity of Jehoahaz

II Kings 23:31 Jehoahaz was twenty-three years old when he became king, and he reigned three months in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Hamutal the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah.
  • Jehoahaz is Josiah’s son.
II Kings 23:32 And he did evil in the sight of the Lord (Yᵊhōvâ), according to all that his fathers (ancestors, not his specific father) had done.
II Kings 23:33 Now Pharaoh Necho (aka Necco) put him in prison at Riblah in the land of Hamath, that he might not reign in Jerusalem; and he imposed on the land a tribute of one hundred talents of silver and a talent of gold.
  • (Note: When Judah falls completely Zedekiah will also be put in prison at Riblah)
II Kings 23:34 Then Pharaoh Necho made Eliakim the son of Josiah king in place of his father Josiah, and changed his name to Jehoiakim. And Pharaoh took Jehoahaz and went to Egypt, and he died there.
  • Jehoahaz is removed and taken captive to Egypt.
  • Jehoahaz is replaced by his brother, Eliakim.
  • Eliakim/jehoiakim is also Josiah’s son.

Jehoiakim Reigns in Judah

II Kings 23:35 So Jehoiakim gave the silver and gold to Pharaoh; but he taxed the land to give money according to the command of Pharaoh; he exacted the silver and gold from the people of the land, from every one according to his assessment, to give it to Pharaoh Necho.
II Kings 23:36 Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned eleven years (until he was thirty-six) in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Zebudah the daughter of Pedaiah of Rumah.
II Kings 23:37 And he did evil in the sight of the Lord (Yᵊhōvâ), according to all that his fathers had done.
  • The “evil” these kings did was to resist the instruction given by God to submit to Nebuchadnezzar for 70 years. They had no intention of doing so.

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