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2 Chronicles 35


(LXX versing)
The Passover Observed Again Josiah Keeps the Passover Josiah's Great Passover Josiah Celebrates the Passover Preparations for the Passover
35:1-9 35:1-9 35:1-6 35:1-6 35:1
35:7-9 35:7-9 35:7-9
The Celebration of the Passover
35:10-15 35:10-19 35:10-15 35:10-19 35:10-13
35:16-19 35:16-19 35:16-18
Death of Josiah
Josiah Dies in Battle Josiah Dies in Battle Josiah's Tragic Mistake and Consequent Death The End of Josiah's Reign 35:19
35:20-27 35:20-25 35:20-27 35:20-22 35:20-25
35:26-27 35:26-27 35:26-27

READING CYCLE THREE (see "Bible Interpretation Seminar")


This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects. Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

  1. First paragraph
  2. Second paragraph
  3. Etc.


1Then Josiah celebrated the Passover to the Lord in Jerusalem, and they slaughtered the Passover animals on the fourteenth day of the first month. 2He set the priests in their offices and encouraged them in the service of the house of the Lord. 3He also said to the Levites who taught all Israel and who were holy to the Lord, "Put the holy ark in the house which Solomon the son of David king of Israel built; it will be a burden on your shoulders no longer. Now serve the Lord your God and His people Israel. 4Prepare yourselves by your fathers' households in your divisions, according to the writing of David king of Israel and according to the writing of his son Solomon. 5Moreover, stand in the holy place according to the sections of the fathers' households of your brethren the lay people, and according to the Levites, by division of a father's household. 6Now slaughter the Passover animals, sanctify yourselves and prepare for your brethren to do according to the word of the Lord by Moses." 7Josiah contributed to the lay people, to all who were present, flocks of lambs and young goats, all for the Passover offerings, numbering 30,000 plus 3,000 bulls; these were from the king's possessions. 8His officers also contributed a freewill offering to the people, the priests and the Levites. Hilkiah and Zechariah and Jehiel, the officials of the house of God, gave to the priests for the Passover offerings 2,600 from the flocks and 300 bulls. 9Conaniah also, and Shemaiah and Nethanel, his brothers, and Hashabiah and Jeiel and Jozabad, the officers of the Levites, contributed to the Levites for the Passover offerings 5,000 from the flocks and 500 bulls.

35:1-19 The Chronicler greatly expands his account of the Passover when compared to 2 Kgs. 23:21-23. The Chronicler is much more interested in the temple and its function and personnel than the writer of Kings.

35:1 "the Passover" The Passover was the major miracle of YHWH's promised deliverance of Israel (cf. Gen. 15:12-21). This was the last plague on Egypt (cf. Exodus 11). It became an annual feast of remembrance (cf. Exodus 12).

In the closing period of Judah's history as a nation, two godly kings tried to restore Judah to the Mosaic covenant.

  1. Hezekiah ‒ 2 Chronicles 30
  2. Josiah ‒ 2 Chronicles 35

In Ezra's day they also wanted to reestablish the Mosaic covenant and used the observance of the Passover as a means (cf. Ezra 6).


"they slaughtered" Usually the offerer killed the sacrifice (i.e., Lev. 1:2-7). Passover was a family affair in Exodus but became a national feast day. There were so many animals killed at the same time that the Levites took over the slaughter and then gave the collected blood to the priests (cf. 2 Chr. 35:6,11).

"on the fourteenth day of the first month" This was the normal date for its observance. Hezekiah had to postpone it one month because there were not enough consecrated priests/Levites (cf. 2 Chr. 29:34; 30:2-3).

35:3 "the Levites who taught all Israel" See NIDOTTE, vol. 2, pp. 772-777. Originally the Levites were

  1. to carry the portable tabernacle
  2. to help the priests in the sacrificial system
  3. later when the house of YHWH was in a permanent place, they were able to take on more tasks
  4. they became the local teachers and interpreters of the law. In time, this position would turn into "the scribes" (cf. 2 Chr. 17:7-9; Neh. 8:7).



"Put the holy ark in the house" There are two ways to view this verse.

  1. It is referring to 1 Kings 8.
  2. Somehow, there was an annual reenactment where the ark was brought in (Oxford Study Bible, p. 470).
  3. NASB Study Bible, p. 629, suggests it had been taken from the temple and hidden during the evil days of Ahaz (i.e., 2 Chr. 28:24), Manasseh (i.e., 2 Chr. 33:7), and Amon (i.e., 2 Chr. 33:22).


35:4-5 David organized the priests and Levites into divisions and task-oriented groups (cf. 1 Chronicles 9; 24) as did Solomon (2 Chr. 8:14).

35:4 The first VERB in the MT is "be established" (BDB 465, KB 464, Niphal IMPERATIVE) but the Masoretic scholars changed this (Qere) to "prepare yourselves" (BDB 465, KB 464, Hiphil IMPERATIVE); same root, different stems.

In 2 Chr. 35:3, there is a series of seven imperatives.

  1. put, v. 3 ‒ BDB 678, KB 733, Qal
  2. serve, v. 3 ‒ BDB 712, KB 773, Qal
  3. prepare, v. 4 ‒ Hiphil
  4. stand, v. 5 ‒ BDB 763, KB 840, Qal
  5. slaughter, v. 6 ‒ BDB 1006, KB 1458, Qal
  6. sanctify, v. 6 ‒ BDB 872, KB 1073, Hithpael
  7. prepare, v. 6 ‒ same as #3

35:5 There are three roots that refer to subsections of a larger tribal/clan unit. Two of them appear only in this chapter.

  1. "the sections," v. 5, פלגה ‒ BDB 811, KB 929
  2. "the sections," v. 12, מפלגה ‒ BDB 811, KB 618
  3. "the divisions, Jdgs. 5:15,16, פלגה ‒ BDB 811, KB 929

Numbers 1 and 3 differ only in vowels. The exact meaning of these terms is uncertain. In determining the meaning of rare words, one must look at

  1. synonymous roots
  2. cognate languages
  3. ancient versions
  4. but the most important is context, context, context

35:6 "sanctify yourselves" See note at 2 Chr. 29:5.

"to do according to the word of the Lord by Moses" This is the key thought of spiritual renewal.

  1. obedience
  2. to YHWH's revealed word
  3. through His spokesperson

This is how the covenant blessings came and the curses were avoided (cf. Leviticus 26; Deuteronomy 28; 30:1-19; Psalm 1).

35:7-9 Josiah was obligated as the king to give sacrifices on behalf of the people.

  1. Hezekiah ‒ 2 Chr. 30:24-25
  2. end-time prince ‒ Ezek. 45:17

The Expositor's Bible Commentary, vol. 4, p. 553, suggests:

"While the flocks of sheep and goats provided for the paschal lambs, the cattle must have served for peace offerings, for feasting throughout the days of Unleavened Bread that followed the Passover (cf. on v. 17, on 30:24, and on 1 Chron 29:21)."

10So the service was prepared, and the priests stood at their stations and the Levites by their divisions according to the king's command. 11They slaughtered the Passover animals, and while the priests sprinkled the blood received from their hand, the Levites skinned them. 12Then they removed the burnt offerings that they might give them to the sections of the fathers' households of the lay people to present to the Lord, as it is written in the book of Moses. They did this also with the bulls. 13So they roasted the Passover animals on the fire according to the ordinance, and they boiled the holy things in pots, in kettles, in pans, and carried them speedily to all the lay people. 14Afterwards they prepared for themselves and for the priests, because the priests, the sons of Aaron, were offering the burnt offerings and the fat until night; therefore the Levites prepared for themselves and for the priests, the sons of Aaron. 15The singers, the sons of Asaph, were also at their stations according to the command of David, Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun the king's seer; and the gatekeepers at each gate did not have to depart from their service, because the Levites their brethren prepared for them.

35:11 Note the divisions of labor at the altar (note 2 Chr. 29:34).

  1. Levites killed the animal and caught the blood (LXX addition)
  2. Priests sprinkled the blood on the altar (cf. Lev. 1:5,11; 3:2,8,13; 7:2,14; 17:6)
  3. the Levites skinned the animal (BDB 832, KB 980, Hiphil ACTIVE PARTICIPLE, cf. Lev. 1:6; 2 Chr. 29:34)

35:12 "to the sections" This word (BDB 811) occurs only here and apparently means a subdivision of non-Levitical families (cf. NIDOTTE, vol. 2, pp. 1055-1056). A similar root (BDB 324) is found in 1 Chr. 23:6, where it does refer to Levites.

"as it is written in the book of Moses" See note at 2 Chr. 34:14.


"they boiled the holy things in pots, in kettles, in pans and carried them speedily to all the lay people" This is surprising. Originally Passover was a family event involving only sheep or goats (i.e., Exod. 12:3-5). Here, parts of the Passover sacrifices are shared with the people (i.e., like a peace offering). This may be the meaning of Deut. 12:7; 16:2,7 (which allowed cattle, and the meat must be boiled, while Exodus 12 requires roasting). It seems the Chronicler is referring to

  1. the Passover kid or lamb, roasted with fire
  2. other peace offerings were boiled and shared with all (i.e., notice all the types of cooking containers used)

There are many Hebrew terms for different sizes of pots, pans, kettles, bowls, etc. used at home, in the temple, and for divination. For the long list, see NIDOTTE, vol.2, pp. 655-656.

"carried them speedily" Part of the Passover was to prepare the meal and eat it quickly. But here, it seems to refer to providing the food (both the Passover sheep/goat and fellowship beef) to

  1. the people, 2 Chr. 35:13; also note vv. 5-6
  2. the priests, v. 14
  3. the Levites, v. 15

35:14 "the burnt offerings and the fat" These items were completely burned on the altar of sacrifice.

  1. burnt offerings ‒ Leviticus 1
  2. fat (cf. Lev. 3:3-4,9-10,16-17; 4:8-9,19,26,30,35; 6:12; 7:3-4,23-25,30-31,33; 8:16,25; 9:10,19-20,24)

35:15 "The singers. . .at their stations according to the command of David" See notes at 1 Chronicles 25.

"the king's seer" See SPECIAL TOPIC: PROPHECY (OT), I. B.

16So all the service of the Lord was prepared on that day to celebrate the Passover, and to offer burnt offerings on the altar of the Lord according to the command of King Josiah. 17Thus the sons of Israel who were present celebrated the Passover at that time, and the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days. 18There had not been celebrated a Passover like it in Israel since the days of Samuel the prophet; nor had any of the kings of Israel celebrated such a Passover as Josiah did with the priests, the Levites, all Judah and Israel who were present, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 19In the eighteenth year of Josiah's reign this Passover was celebrated.

35:18 The Jerusalem Bible (reference edition, p. 567) suggests that this verse does not mean there were no other Passovers, but that some of the procedures had been changed.

It is possible that v. 18 refers to the inclusion of the Feast of Unleavened Bread with the Passover. The seven-day feast of Unleavened Bread goes back to Exod. 12:15-20; 34:18-20. It is not mentioned in the brief parallel in 2 Kgs. 23:21-23.

Some scholars assert the new feature of this Passover was the central location (i.e., at the temple in Jerusalem). Originally the Passover was a family event, not a national annual feast (IVP Bible Background Commentary, p. 458).

It is also possible that the new feature was a return to the head of each family killing the animal (2 Chr. 35:5-6; from Jerome Biblical Commentary, p. 425).

The mentioning of Samuel was a literary way of referring to the United Monarchy (i.e., Saul, David, Solomon). 2 Kings 23:22 says, "the days of the judges," not Samuel. But they follow one another.

35:19 "the eighteenth year" This is the same year that Josiah

  1. purged the land of idolatry
  2. began repairs on the temple and "the book of the law of the Lord given by Moses" was found (cf. 2 Chr. 34:8)

The LXX inserts a quote from 2 Kgs. 23:24-27 here but it is not present in any Hebrew MSS of 2 Chronicles.

20After all this, when Josiah had set the temple in order, Neco king of Egypt came up to make war at Carchemish on the Euphrates, and Josiah went out to engage him. 21But Neco sent messengers to him, saying, "What have we to do with each other, O King of Judah? I am not coming against you today but against the house with which I am at war, and God has ordered me to hurry. Stop for your own sake from interfering with God who is with me, so that He will not destroy you." 22However, Josiah would not turn away from him, but disguised himself in order to make war with him; nor did he listen to the words of Neco from the mouth of God, but came to make war on the plain of Megiddo. 23The archers shot King Josiah, and the king said to his servants, "Take me away, for I am badly wounded." 24So his servants took him out of the chariot and carried him in the second chariot which he had, and brought him to Jerusalem where he died and was buried in the tombs of his fathers. All Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah. 25Then Jeremiah chanted a lament for Josiah. And all the male and female singers speak about Josiah in their lamentations to this day. And they made them an ordinance in Israel; behold, they are also written in the Lamentations. 26Now the rest of the acts of Josiah and his deeds of devotion as written in the law of the Lord, 27and his acts, first to last, behold, they are written in the Book of the Kings of Israel and Judah.

35:20 The "after all this" of v. 20 marks the end of the Chronicler's discussion of Josiah's godly reign. There is about a ten to thirteen year gap between vv. 1-19 and vv. 20-24. There is a drastic change of literary mood between the great Passover and the invasion of Neco II.

The battle of Carchemish (Assyria's last capital, established in 610 b.c.) is one of the secular events/dates that is used to corroborate the history of Israel.

In 609 b.c. the Egyptian army under Pharaoh Neco II tried to move rapidly north along the Canaan coast to support the remnants of the Assyrian army under Ashur-uballit, who was besieged at Carchemish by the Neo-Babylonian army under General Nebuchadnezzar II (who was Nabopolassar's son, cf. 2 Kgs. 23:29; Jer. 46:2). Egypt did not want the growing power of the ANE, Babylon, to threaten them. They wanted a weak Assyria as a buffer state (cf. Jer. 46:3-12,13-24,25-26). The Egyptians and Assyrians were defeated at Carchemish in 605 b.c.

For some reason Josiah did not want to let the Egyptian army pass through to Carchemish. Neco II tried to reason with him and assure him that he had no interest in Judah (cf. 2 Chr. 35:21). Neco even asserts it is God's will that he confront Babylon quickly. 2 Chronicles 25:22 calls his words "from the mouth of God" (see Josephus, Antiq. 10.5.1.).


35:21-22 The Tyndale Commentary on 2 Chronicles, by Martin J. Selman, has a good word about Neco speaking as YHWH's spokesperson.

"Like other biblical writers, the Chronicler never limits God's ways of speaking. For example, the expression by the mouth of God is used as naturally of Neco as it is of Jeremiah (cf. 36:12, 21,22), and God regularly employs foreigners as his spokespersons (e.g. 2 Ch. 2:11-12; 9:8; 36:22-23). Though Neco is surprisingly blunt in claiming that God has told me to hurry (v. 21), his language is no more shocking than that of other non-Israelites (e.g. Gn. 20:3-7; Mt. 27:19)."

35:21 Pharaoh Neco II's warning message to Josiah was

  1. "stop for your own sake" ‒ BDB 292, KB 292, Qal IMPERATIVE, SINGULAR
  2. "that He may not destroy you" ‒ BDB 1007, KB 1469, Hiphil IMPERFECT used in a JUSSIVE sense

Neco felt he was doing God's will in attacking the Babylonian army so as to preserve a buffer state (i.e., remnants of the Assyrian army) between himself and Babylon.

35:22 Josiah disguised himself (BDB 344, KB 341, Hithpael PERFECT, cf. 1 Sam. 28:8; 1 Kgs. 22:30; 2 Chr. 18:29), probably so as not to be targeted. But a random arrow found its mark (2 Chr. 35:23-24).

Was Josiah's death a result of

  1. disobedience to God's word (v. 23; Targum comment on v. 23 ‒ "Josiah died because he did not seek instruction from the Lord")
  2. a random act (v. 23)
  3. a reversal of the promise of God in 2 Chr. 34:28
  4. Josiah's attempt to help the Babylonians?

Although Josiah was a true faithful follower, the people of Judah were not truly changed. YHWH's predicted judgment (cf. 2 Chr. 34:22-28) will come (2 Chronicles 36).

NASB, NKJV, NRSV  "disguised himself"
TEV  —omited—
NJB, REV, JPSOA, Targums  "determined to fight he donned [his armour]"
LXX  "he was strengthened"
Peshitta  "for he had gone to fight with him"
NAB  "for he had sought a pretext for fighting with him"

Although other kings had "disguised" themselves, this does not fit Josiah.

"the plain of Megiddo" This was the site of several battles.

  1. Joshua and the king of Megiddo ‒ Josh. 7:21; 12:21
  2. Manasseh and the Canaanites ‒ Josh. 17:11-13; Jdgs. 1:27
  3. Pharaoh Shishak and Judah ‒ 1 Kgs. 14:25-28; 1 Chr. 12:2
  4. Tiglath-pileser of Assyria and Israel ‒ 2 Kgs. 15:29-30
  5. Pharaoh Neco II and Josiah ‒ 2 Kgs. 23:29-30

35:25 "Jeremiah chanted a lament for Josiah" The Jewish tradition of Jeremiah's authorship of Lamentations (Baba Bathra 15a) may be the source of the LXX and Vulgate's attributing authorship to Jeremiah. All of the speculation may have come from this verse. Modern scholars do not know what part, or if any part, of Scripture this refers to.

"all the male and female singers"

"in the Lamentations"

35:26 "his deeds of devotion" This NOUN (BDB 338) is the powerful covenant term hesed, usually used of YHWH; here, used of the actions and motives of this godly king.


"written in the Law of the Lord" See note at 2 Chr. 34:14.

35:27 "written in the Book of the Kings of Israel and Judah" See notes at Introduction to Chronicles, IV., F., #2.

Edwin R. Thiele, The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings, p. 204, suggests:

"When the chronicler did his work toward the end of the fifth century, the combined volume of the Kings of Israel and Judah was in existence. This is known from the fact that the sources there cited are no longer the separate journals of days of the kings of Israel or those of Judah as cited in Kings, but a combined "book of kings of Judah and Israel" (2 Chron 16:11; 25:26; 27:7; 28:26; 32:32; 35:27; 36:8)."


This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought-provoking, not definitive.

  1. How does one view 2 Chr. 35:3: as past act, a yearly act, an act of desperation?
  2. Why are the writings of Moses mentioned so often?
  3. How does one explain some animals being roasted and some boiled?
  4. How does 2 Chr. 35:18 relate to 2 Chronicles 30?
  5. Why did Neco want to pass through Judah and Israel?
  6. Why did Josiah want to stop him?
  7. How does 2 Chr. 35:23 fit with 2 Chr. 34:28?
  8. Do we have Jeremiah's laments?

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