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2Ch 35:1 Josiah kept a Passover to Yahweh in Jerusalem: and they killed the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month-
Josiah urged the people to keep this (2 Kings 23:21) despite having been told in 2 Chron. 34:25 that the people would indeed to judged for their sons. He had sought to change this by appealing for all the people to enter covenant with Yahweh from their hearts (2 Chron. 34:30). And he seeks to confirm this by holding a huge Passover, where he provided the people with the sacrifices.

2Ch 35:2 He set the priests in their offices, and encouraged them to the service of the house of Yahweh-
This encouragement may have been necessary because they themselves were not so enthusiastic; for as noted on :3, it was their servants the Levites who were teaching Israel, when the priests ought to have been doing so.

2Ch 35:3 He said to the Levites who taught all Israel, who were holy to Yahweh, Put the holy ark in the house which Solomon the son of David king of Israel built. There shall no more be a burden on your shoulders. Now serve Yahweh your God and His people Israel-
The Levites here are distinguished from the priests (:2). But it was the duty of the priests to teach (2 Chron. 15:3; Mal. 2:7), but we sense the priesthood was not solidly behind the reforms; although their servants the Levites were. This is similar to how the situation was at the time of Hezekiah's reforms (2 Chron. 29:34), and it explains why all these reforms were so quickly undone; for the priesthood and people were always still hankering after idols.

We note that the ark had been carried around on their shoulders for some time, and the temple was therefore devoid of the supreme symbol of God's presence. The religion of Judah had therefore been hollow for quite some time. Perhaps the ark had been removed from the temple by Manasseh, or by faithful priests who feared he would destroy it or abuse it.

2Ch 35:4 Prepare yourselves after your fathers’ houses by your divisions, according to the writing of David king of Israel, and according to the writing of Solomon his son-
These writings had been preserved for some centuries, and had presumably been copied out by the scribes. But they had to be urged all the time by Josiah to act in a way which ought to have been natural for them if they from their hearts were really obedient and eager for reformation (see on :3).

2Ch 35:5 Stand in the holy place according to the divisions of the fathers’ houses of your brothers the children of the people, and let there be for each a portion of a father’s house of the Levites-
"The children of the people" is s.w. "the common people" (2 Kings 23:6). The idea is that each father's house of the common people was assigned a group of Levites to help them in the preparation of the Passover sacrifices. And we noted in :3 that the Levites had at this time replaced the priests as the teachers, so they presumably also taught them what the law of Moses said about the Passover. 

2Ch 35:6 Kill the Passover and sanctify yourselves, and prepare for your brothers, to do according to the word of Yahweh by Moses-
The Levites were to perceive the common people of Israel as their "brothers" (:5) which is the most effective way of teaching (:3) and spiritually helping people, rather than assuming a position of high authority over them.

2Ch 35:7 Josiah gave to the children of the people of the flock, lambs and young goats, all of them for the Passover offerings, to all who were present, to the number of thirty thousand, and three thousand bulls. These were of the king’s substance-
The people were intended to bring their own Passover lambs, but they hadn't. And Josiah was hoping that he could bring the hearts of the people back to Yahweh (see on 2 Chron. 34:30) so that the threatened judgment upon them would be revoked. We recall that Josiah himself had been assured of his personal acceptability with God, and that he would not see judgment come in his days. Unlike Hezekiah, he didn't shrug at the fate of his people. He of his own substance gave them huge numbers of animals in order that they would each have something personal to offer, in accordance with the law (:6). But again, this was a case of a reformer seeking to impose his vision upon the masses, and it ultimately didn't work. For they soon returned to idolatry and were judged for that. Hezekiah likewise had given the people the offerings they themselves ought to have brought (2 Chron. 30:24) and that too didn't ultimately work out.   

2Ch 35:8 His princes gave for a freewill offering to the people, to the priests, and to the Levites. Hilkiah and Zechariah and Jehiel, the rulers of God’s house, gave to the priests for the Passover offerings two thousand and six hundred small livestock, and three hundred head of cattle-
Hilkiah is well attested as the one who found the lost book of the law (2 Kings 22:8), helped in Josiah's reforms (2 Kings 22:14-20) and arranged the great Passover observance of 2 Chron. 35:1-19. But Hilkiah did all this despite being the son of a High Priest called Shallum (1 Chron. 6:12,13), whose name can mean 'bribe' (s.w. Mic. 7:3 about the corruption of the priesthood). Perhaps this was what he was known for. But his son / descendant rose above that bad background, as we can. "For a freewill offering" may be better as AV "freely", that is these offerings were given willingly and freely.

2Ch 35:9 Conaniah also, and Shemaiah and Nethanel, his brothers, and Hashabiah and Jeiel and Jozabad, the chiefs of the Levites, gave to the Levites for the Passover offerings five thousand small livestock, and five hundred head of cattle-
This was a major act of generosity, reflecting Hezekiah's desire to as it were make the people acceptable to God by each having something to offer. But sacrifice is ultimately a very personal thing and cannot be forced, nor done using other people as a proxy.

2Ch 35:10 So the service was prepared, and the priests stood in their place, and the Levites by their divisions, according to the king’s commandment-
This was all done according to the commandment of God through Moses (:6). Josiah was careful that his commandments exactly reflected God's. He was sincerely doing all he could to make the people acceptable to God through strict obedience. But it didn't ultimately work because their hearts were untouched and soon returned to idolatry.

2Ch 35:11 They killed the Passover, and the priests sprinkled the blood which they received of their hand, and the Levites flayed them-
As noted on :10,13 Josiah was being careful to follow the absolute letter of the law.

2Ch 35:12 They removed the burnt offerings, that they might give them according to the divisions of the fathers’ houses of the children of the people, to offer to Yahweh, as it is written in the book of Moses. So they did with the cattle-
As explained on :5, the animals were carefully given to the common people to offer. But those huge numbers of sacrifices, put into the hands of people to offer, was not the spirit of the law. God had made it clear that He didn't delight in huge numbers of offerings, but rather sought humble, contrite hearts. Just as David had been taught when faced with death over his sins with Bathsheba. But the hearts of the people were apparently unmoved at this time. It was all the externality of mere ritualism.

2Ch 35:13 They roasted the Passover with fire according to the ordinance. They boiled the holy offerings in pots, in caldrons and in pans, and carried them quickly to all the children of the people-
"According to the ordinance" reflects the continued stress on the fact they were doing all they could to be obedient to the letter of the law (see on :10). But as noted on :12, what was required was broken hearts, and not rivers of blood and mounds of slain animals. What was offered using pots was the boiled flesh of the peace offerings, offered on the days of unleavened bread (Lev. 23:4-8). We get the impression of hyper vigilance to obey the letter of the law; although their hearts were still far from God, and they had not even brought their own Passover sacrifices.   

2Ch 35:14 Afterward they prepared for themselves, and for the priests, because the priests the sons of Aaron were busy with offering the burnt offerings and the fat until night; therefore the Levites prepared for themselves, and for the priests the sons of Aaron-
The priests themselves kept the Passover, despite being so busy, although they needed the help of the Levites to do it. Again we have the impression of careful, all out effort to obey every letter of the law about the Passover. We may take the lesson that we are not to be so caught up with serving others that we neglect personal obedience. But the stronger lesson is that all this legalistic obedience didn't succeed, as Josiah hoped it would, in averting the judgment coming upon the people. Because their hearts were not changed.

2Ch 35:15 The singers the sons of Asaph were in their place, according to the commandment of David, and Asaph, and Heman, and Jeduthun the king’s prophet. The porters were at every gate: they didn’t need to depart from their service; for their brothers the Levites prepared for them-
Jeduthun is called Ethan in 1 Chron. 6:44. As with priests explained on :14, the singers also kept the Passover because the Levites prepared it for them. But we wonder whether this was not a departure from the letter of the law, for each family were to prepare their Passover lamb personally and not have others doing it for them. So in the intense effort to obey the letter of the law (see on :14), they still had to fall back upon keeping the spirit of it.

2Ch 35:16 So all the service of Yahweh was prepared the same day, to keep the Passover, and to offer burnt offerings on the altar of Yahweh, according to the commandment of king Josiah-
"So the service... was prepared / set in order" is a phrase used only of the time of Hezekiah's reformation (2 Chron. 29:35) and of that of Josiah (2 Chron. 35:10,15,16). I suggested on 2 Chron. 29:17 ,18 that this term was used in the context of Hezekiah keeping a kind of Passover. It seems Josiah was inspired by the record of Hezekiah's reformation, and sought to follow it. Just as we too in our own contexts are to be inspired by the spirit of these reformers.

2Ch 35:17 The children of Israel who were present kept the Passover at that time, and the feast of unleavened bread seven days-
The number of sacrificial lambs was huge. If each extended family numbered 13 people, there would have been over half a million people present. But that is unrealistic. More like, each head of family offered more than one Passover lamb, in a  attempt to cover families not present. It was Josiah's attempt at as it were impressing God by the number of animals offered, and to somehow cleanse all Israel. But he failed to appreciate that numbers of sacrifices were not impressive to God, and He instead was searching for broken hearts as David's was. And there is no mention of any appeal to the hearts of the people.

2Ch 35:18 There was no Passover like that kept in Israel from the days of Samuel the prophet; neither did any of the kings of Israel keep such a Passover as Josiah kept, and the priests, and the Levites, and all Judah and Israel who were present, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem-
This Passover was unique both in terms of numbers of offerings, and in the strict obedience to all the legislation about it. We note the repeated treatment of "the inhabitants of Jerusalem" as a separate group. And yet Jeremiah, who was the contemporary prophet, specifically criticizes this group above all as being so far from Yahweh in their hearts. And this was the critical dimension which was not addressed by all this ritualistic obedience.

2Ch 35:19 In the eighteenth year of the reign of Josiah was this Passover kept-
We have no record of what Josiah did in the last 13 years of his reign (2 Chron. 34:1), apart from the note we will now have about how he died in disobedience to God's word. Perhaps this was the end point of a spiritual slip in that period. Tragically, so many of the kings started well and slipped at the end; truly a warning to us. We would rather hope to read that Judah continued to keep Passovers after this one, but there is no record of that. See on :20.

2Ch 35:20 After all this, when Josiah had prepared the temple, Neco king of Egypt went up to fight against Carchemish by the Euphrates; and Josiah went out against him-
"After all this" may suggest that despite all this external obedience, 13 years later, Josiah came to his end in unfaithfulness to God's word, despite all his zeal to so carefully obey every part of the rituals commanded by Moses.

2Ch 35:21 But he sent ambassadors to him saying, What have I to do with you, you king of Judah? I come not against you this day, but against the house with which I have war. God has commanded me to make haste. Beware and know that it is God who is with me, that he not destroy you-
God does use Gentiles to perform His purpose, and even they often get a sense of this, without themselves believing.

2Ch 35:22 Nevertheless Josiah would not turn his face from him, but disguised himself, that he might fight with him, and didn’t listen to the words of Neco from the mouth of God, and came to fight in the valley of Megiddo-
Going into battle disguised is exactly what Ahab did (2 Chron. 18:29), and was slain doing it- having also defied God's prophetic word to do so. See on :23. Josiah totally failed to hear God's word at this point, both from the historical precedents and the explicit prophecy given to him. The valley of Megiddo, and mourning in it (:24), will have an equivalent in the latter days (Zech. 12:10). Josiah therefore seems to represent a disobedient Israel, who will be finally saved by grace.  

2Ch 35:23 The archers shot at king Josiah; and the king said to his servants, Take me away, because I am seriously wounded!-
Josiah must have seen the similarities with the death of Ahab, also slain by archers in his chariot (2 Chron. 18:33). He died in the same way as Ahab because he too had refused to accept God's prophetic word, despite previously having been so sensitive to it. We naturally wonder whether Josiah will be saved, despite dying in sin, or at best, at a very low point spiritually. The overall spirit of his life was perhaps acceptable with God (2 Chron. 34:2), despite this failure at the end. This may help us more positively hope for those who are weak at the end of their lives, such as those believers who take their own lives.

2Ch 35:24 So his servants took him out of the chariot, and put him in the second chariot that he had, and brought him to Jerusalem; and he died, and was buried in the tombs of his fathers. All Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah-
Josiah died in battle, not in peace (2 Chron. 35:22-24). Yet he had been promised to be gathered to his grave in peace (2 Chron. 34:28). Here we have an example of God making a statement about the future which is conditional upon human behaviour. Thus He stated that Nineveh would be destroyed in 40 days; but it wasn't, because they repented. There is a gap between the pronouncement and its fulfilment, and in that gap our behaviour can change the outcome. We too must waste so many potential futures. 

2Ch 35:25 Jeremiah lamented for Josiah. All the singing men and singing women spoke of Josiah in their lamentations to this day; and they made them an ordinance in Israel. These are written in the lamentations-
The timing of Josiah's reformation (2 Chron. 34:3) coincides with the prophecies of Jer. 2,3; he heard them, and responded. Hence Jeremiah wept when Josiah died, remembering how as a teenager, Josiah had heard his prophecies and immediately responded to them.

2Ch 35:26 Now the rest of the acts of Josiah, and his good deeds, according to that which is written in the law of Yahweh-
Josiah died in spiritual weakness and at a point of disobedience to God's word (2 Chron. 35:20-24). The rubric 'He did what was right...' used about him (2 Chron. 34:2) is found even of kings who clearly departed from Yahweh. The truly righteous ones such as Jehoshaphat have a clause added to their summary, saying that they had followed Yahweh in their hearts. But this is lacking in the case of Josiah. We note too that he raised evil sons. And so we wonder whether the record is acknowledging the good works which he did at some points in his life, and it here concludes with this too. But there is a notable absence of any statement to the intent that he was judged as having a heart right with God. And the state of the heart was and is the critical indicator in God's final judgment of men. 

2Ch 35:27 and his acts, first and last, behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah
As discussed on :26, this puts huge emphasis upon his works rather than the state of his heart. As discussed on 2 Chron. 33:18, the "book of the kings" apparently included Manasseh's prayer, which is not found in our books of Kings; and so the book referred to here may not be that which we have in our Bibles.