22:1 – Josiah – son of Amon. He reigned for 31 years (640-609BC) over Judah doing what was right in the sight of the LORD as David had done – he was the ideal king (Deut.17:20) and fulfilled the prophecy given by the unnamed prophet of Judah (1 Ki.13:2). He became king while only 8 years old. The Babylonians with the Medes found freedom from Assyria at the death of Ashurbanipal in 626BC. They conquered the Assyrian capital of Ninevah in 612 and finally destroyed the Assyrians in 609. When Josiah turned 16 (in 632BC) he began to make certain religious reforms in Judah (2 Chron.34:3). In his 12th year as king (at age 20 – or 628BC), he began removing idolatry from Judah (2 Chron.34:3). His 18th year as king of Judah (age 26 and year 622) led to the repairs and restoration of the Temple of the LORD (2 Ki.22:3; 2 Chron.34:8). Hilkiah the High Priest oversaw the repairs of the Temple and “found” the “Book of the Law” (2 Ki.22:8; apparently it had been removed from beside the Ark of the Covenant – Deut.31:26) which after being read was then read in the presence of King Josiah (2 Ki.22:10). When Josiah heard the “Book of the Law” he tore his robes in repentance and sent his administration to Huldah the prophetess to inquire of the LORD concerning the Law. In response to the message of impending judgment given by Huldah, Josiah initiated full-fledged reform in Judah and even Israel. He called all the people, the priests, and the prophets (this last one is not found in 2 Chron.34:30) together to hear the reading of the Book of the Covenant (and thereby renew the Covenant – Deut.31:9-13), and to cleanse the land and the Temple, and to celebrate the Passover in an unprecedented scale (2 Ki.23:21). In his reforms, he had the aid of the writing prophets: Jeremiah, Nahum, Habakkuk and Zephaniah. In 609BC, Pharaoh Neco of Egypt on his way to the Euphrates to engage the Babylonians (as ally or enemy?), Josiah challenged him to fight at Megiddo. Neco declared that God had sent him and that Josiah should not fight, but Josiah attempted to disguise himself and was shot with an arrow. He was returned to Jerusalem where he died and was buried.
22:8 – What “Book of the Law (22:8) / Covenant (23:2)” was “found”? Many believe it was at least a portion of Deuteronomy if not the whole book or even possibly the whole Torah. How is it possible that it should be “found”?
22:14 – Huldah the Prophetess? She appears to have been a relative (his aunt?) of Jeremiah (Jer.32:7). Huldah was not the only prophetess known to Israel/Judah – see Miriam in Exodus 15:20; and Deborah in Judges 4:4). The prophet Joel (2:23) would later declare by the word of the LORD that the Spirit would be poured out on all persons irregardless of gender, age, or status; and Peter on the Day of Pentecost would declare that the prophecy of Joel was fulfilled in the Baptism in the Spirit (Acts 2:14-21). What do we make of the contents of Huldah’s prophecy (see Deut.28:15-68).
22:20 – How could he be “buried in peace” in light of his violent end in 1 Ki.23:29?
23:3 – The pledge of the covenant is comprehensive. It involves heart and soul to all of the commandments, regulations and decrees and involves everyone (much as the renewal in Josh.24:1-27).
23:4-25 – Josiah’s Reforms: removed and destroyed all the utensils in the Temple of the LORD used to worship other gods; removed the pagan priests from the Temple; burned the Asherah pole Manasseh had put in the Temple; destroyed the quarters used by the male shrine prostitutes and the women who made clothes for Ashtoreth; desecrated all the high places in all of Judah; broke down the shrines at the gates of Jerusalem; desecrated Topheth where children had been offered to Molech; removed the horses dedicated to the sun and destroyed the accompanying chariots; removed the altars for astral deities installed by Manasseh and Ahaz; destroyed and desecrated the high places Solomon had built for his many foreign wives (see 1 Ki.11:7); destroyed and desecrated the high places and altars in Israel set up by Jeroboam in Bethel (see 1 Ki.12:25-13:5); removed the spiritists and mediums in Judah (see Lev.19:31; 20:27; Deut.18:11); removed the idols and tools for divination; and slaughtered the priests in Israel (see Ex.22:20; Deut.13:6-11; 18:20). He also commanded Judah (and Israel) to “celebrate the Passover” (see Ex.12:1-11; Deut.16:1-8).
23:13 – The “mount of corruption” (har hammashith;) is a Hebrew play on words with the name of the “mount of anointing (‘olives’)” (har hammisha) – (Konkel NIVAC 637).
23:22 – What made this Passover celebration so utterly unique? What would be the difference between the Passover celebrated by Hezekiah (2 Chron.30:1-27) and this one (2 Chron.35:18)? According to 1 Esdras (1:1-20) and Josephus (Ant.10.70-72) it was the sheer volume of sacrifices and the scope of uniting Israel and Judah in this celebration.
23:25 – What does it mean for Josiah to turn to the LORD with his whole “heart”, “soul”, and “strength”? (see Deut.6:4-5) Why should this be followed by a “nevertheless” concerning the judgment of the LORD (2 Ki.23:26)? Also, why would the LORD reject the place he has chosen and what is the significance of removing His Name from there (23:27)?
23:29-30 – Why did Josiah go to fight Neco of Egypt given the message to do otherwise by God (compare 2 Chron.35:20-25)? Also, why did he wear a disguise (compare Ahab in 1 Ki.22:30)? This was considered such a national tragedy that Jeremiah is reputed to have penned a lasting lament to be sung annually in memoriam (2 Chron.35:25). According to 1 Esdras 1:28, Jeremiah had warned Josiah not to fight against Neco, and according to Josephus (Ant.10.76) “fate” drove him that Judah might be judged by the LORD.