Josiah celebrates a passover, 1; regulates the courses of the priests; assigns them, the Levites, and the people, their portions; and completes the greatest passover ever celebrated since the days of Solomon, 2-19. Pharaoh Necho passes with his army through Judea, 20. Josiah meets and fights with him at Megiddo, and is mortally wounded, 21-23. He is carried to Jerusalem, where he dies, 24. Jeremiah laments for him, 25. Of his acts and deeds, and where recorded, 26,27.
Notes on Chapter 35
Put the holy ark in the house
It is likely that the priests had secured this when they found that the idolatrous kings were determined to destroy every thing that might lead the people to the worship of the true God. And now, as all appears to be well established, the ark is ordered to be put into its own place.
For an ample account of this passover and the reformation that was then made, see on 2 Kings 23:1, margin.
They killed the passover
The people themselves might slay their own paschal lambs, and then present the blood to the priests, that they might sprinkle it before the altar; and the Levites flayed them, and made them ready for dressing.
There was no passover like to that
"That which distinguished this passover from all the former was," says Calmet, "the great liberality of Josiah, who distributed to his people a greater number of victims than either David or Solomon had done."
Necho king of Egypt
Pharaoh the lame, says the Targum.
God commanded me to make haste
The Targum gives a curious turn to this and the following verse: "My idol commanded me to make haste; refrain therefore from me and my idol which is with me, that he betray thee not. When he heard him mention his idol, he would not go back; and he hearkened not unto the words of Necho, which he spake concerning his idol." Here is the rabbinical excuse for the conduct of Josiah.
The second chariot
Perhaps this means no more than that they took Josiah out of his own chariot and put him into another, either for secrecy, or because his own had been disabled. The chariot into which he was put might have been that of the officer or aid-de-camp who attended his master to the war. See Clarke on 2 Kings 22:20.
Behold, they are written in the lamentations.
The Hebrews had poetical compositions for all great and important events, military songs, songs of triumph, epithalamia or marriage odes, funeral elegies, different parts of the historical books of Scripture, and these were generally made by prophets or inspired men. That composed on the tragical end of this good king by Jeremiah is now lost. The Targum says, "Jeremiah bewailed Josiah with a great lamentation; and all the chiefs and matrons sing these lamentations concerning Josiah to the present day, and it was a statute in Israel annually to bewail Josiah. Behold, these are written in the book of Lamentations, which Baruch wrote down from the mouth of Jeremiah."
And his deeds, first and last
"The former things which he did in his childhood, and the latter things which he did in his youth; and all the judgments which he pronounced from his eighth year, when he came to the kingdom, to his eighteenth, when he was grown up, and began to repair the sanctuary of the LORD; and all that he brought of his substance to the hand of judgment, purging both the house of Israel and Judah from all uncleanness; behold, they are written in the book of the Kings of the house of Israel, and of the house of Judah."-Targum. These general histories are lost; but in the books of Kings and Chronicles we have the leading facts.