From 2 Chronicles 35-36
King Josiah is famous for finding the book of the law (2 Chr 34.8-21). Because he had it read to him he soon realises the trouble Judah is in. They have abandoned the LORD (again) and the wrath of the LORD was imminent. However, because Josiah humbled himself the day of the LORD will be delayed (2 Chr 34.22-33). In addition to finding the book of the covenant and embarking on another cleansing of the nation there is something else Josiah is famous for. This is what today’s passage is about.
This post is part of my bible in a year series.
Passage and Comments
The passage starts off with a summary statement for what follows.
Josiah is also famous for conducting an amazing Passover.
The Passover you may remember is an event where Israel remembers the LORD’s act of deliverance (Ex 12). Israel was in slavery in Egypt. The LORD told them to sacrifice a lamb and smear its blood over the lintels of their doorframes and eat the cooked sacrifices in haste. That night they would be delivered. During the evening an angel passed through Egypt and killed every firstborn in the city. Human and animal. Every house that was not protected by the blood experienced death. Old and young. Many people died that night. The Egyptians knew it was from the LORD and they finally agreed to let them go. The practice of the passover is repeated every year to remember and celebrate the LORD’s deliverance of Israel from slavery in Egypt.
This passover is big. Lots of people are involved.
2 He [Josiah] appointed the priests to their offices and encouraged them in the service of the house of the LORD. 3 And he said to the Levites who taught all Israel and who were holy to the LORD, “Put the holy ark in the house that Solomon the son of David, king of Israel, built. You need not carry it on your shoulders. Now serve the LORD your God and his people Israel. 4 Prepare yourselves according to your fathers’ houses by your divisions, as prescribed in the writing of David king of Israel and the document of Solomon his son. 5 And stand in the Holy Place according to the groupings of the fathers’ houses of your brothers the lay people, and according to the division of the Levites by fathers’ household. 6 And slaughter the Passover lamb, and consecrate yourselves, and prepare for your brothers, to do according to the word of the LORD by Moses.” (2 Ch 35:2-6)
Josiah brings the priests back to the house of the LORD. They are described as holy to the LORD. Set apart from the people for some special service. The role of the priests was to teach the people the law of Moses. This would have been hard to do when they didn’t have the book of the law. But now they have found it they can teach it. In addition to all this of course they were to offer sacrifices and facilitate the worship of the LORD.
Josiah assures them they don’t have to carry the ark anymore. They have to put it back. No one really knows what they were doing with the ark outside the temple. I’m guessing they did so because they didn’t want to leave it in the temple. They had been invaded several times and the temple looted. Perhaps some removed it from the temple for protection so it wouldn’t be stolen by invaders.
Josiah refers to David’s and Solomon’s instructions for proper worship. David prepared for the temple. Solomon built it and starting using it. Under the LORD’s guidance, both had input into how worship should be conducted in the temple.
Now for the moment they had been waiting for. Josiah gets them to slaughter the passover lamb and consecrate themselves for the event. However this is not a small passover. Many people are involved. People started giving.
7 Then Josiah contributed to the lay people, as Passover offerings for all who were present, lambs and young goats from the flock to the number of 30,000, and 3,000 bulls; these were from the king’s possessions. 8 And his officials contributed willingly to the people, to the priests, and to the Levites. Hilkiah, Zechariah, and Jehiel, the chief officers of the house of God, gave to the priests for the Passover offerings 2,600 Passover lambs and 300 bulls. 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 5,000 lambs and young goats and 500 bulls. (2 Ch 35:7-9)
There are a large amount of contributions. Thousands give towards the passover. These were offered as sacrifices to commemorate the Exodus.
Having been taught by the book of the law they remembered what the LORD had done for them.
Consequently they gave lambs, young goats, and bulls for the event. The Passover is observed.
10 When the service had been prepared for, the priests stood in their place, and the Levites in their divisions according to the king’s command.
11 And they slaughtered the Passover lamb, and the priests threw the blood that they received from them while the Levites flayed the sacrifices.
12 And they set aside the burnt offerings that they might distribute them according to the groupings of the fathers’ houses of the lay people, to offer to the LORD, as it is written in the Book of Moses. And so they did with the bulls. 13 And they roasted the Passover lamb with fire according to the rule; and they boiled the holy offerings in pots, in cauldrons, and in pans, and carried them quickly to all the lay people.
14 And afterward they prepared for themselves and for the priests, because the priests, the sons of Aaron, were offering the burnt offerings and the fat parts until night; so the Levites prepared for themselves and for the priests, the sons of Aaron. 15 The singers, the sons of Asaph, were in their place according to the command of David, and Asaph, and Heman, and Jeduthun the king’s seer; and the gatekeepers were at each gate. They did not need to depart from their service, for their brothers the Levites prepared for them. (2 Ch 35:10-15)
They slaughtered the lambs, threw the blood is designated places and flayed the sacrifices (removed the skin). They them roasted and boiled their offerings.
In the passover the people are meant to eat the sacrifices. It was a feast.
They distributed the burnt offerings and the cooked offerings to the people. There was so much and so many people they did all this into the night. People were singing and praising God. They were supporting one another in their work. No one had to leave. Quite encouraging don’t you think?
16 So all the service of the LORD was prepared that day, to keep the Passover and to offer burnt offerings on the altar of the LORD, according to the command of King Josiah. 17 And the people of Israel who were present kept the Passover at that time, and the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days. 18 No Passover like it had been kept in Israel since the days of Samuel the prophet. None of the kings of Israel had kept such a Passover as was kept by Josiah, and the priests and the Levites, and all Judah and Israel who were present, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 19 In the eighteenth year of the reign of Josiah this Passover was kept. (2 Ch 35:16–19)
The passage ends with a larger summary statement of the event. Like all passovers following the first it was followed by the feast of unleavened bread. A seven day festival.
Again more eating and celebration for the LORD’s goodness to them.
No Passover had been observed like this in a long long time. A sign of the sin and rebellion of Judah up to this point.
Story of Israel
The passover encouraged the people in their faith. They remembered what the LORD had done for them together. They supported one another in the practice. They gave thanks. They ate and celebrated together.
When Ezekiel had a great vision about a future temple. He also prophesied they would observe the passover.
21 “In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, you shall celebrate the Feast of the Passover, and for seven days unleavened bread shall be eaten. 22 On that day the prince shall provide for himself and all the people of the land a young bull for a sin offering. 23 And on the seven days of the festival he shall provide as a burnt offering to the LORD seven young bulls and seven rams without blemish, on each of the seven days; and a male goat daily for a sin offering. 24 And he shall provide as a grain offering an ephah for each bull, an ephah for each ram, and a hin of oil to each ephah. 25 In the seventh month, on the fifteenth day of the month and for the seven days of the feast, he shall make the same provision for sin offerings, burnt offerings, and grain offerings, and for the oil. (Eze 45:21–25)
And they did when some returned from exile (Ezra 6.19-20). But another passover was still to come.
Story of Jesus
The greatest passover commemorates the death of Jesus. In the gospel Jesus redefined the passover around himself and his upcoming death. I don’t think his disciples really understood the significance of what he was saying at the time.
7 Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. 8 So Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat it.” 9 They said to him, “Where will you have us prepare it?” 10 He said to them, “Behold, when you have entered the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him into the house that he enters 11 and tell the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says to you, Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ 12 And he will show you a large upper room furnished; prepare it there.” 13 And they went and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover.
14 And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him. 15 And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” 17 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves. 18 For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” 19 And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 20 And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. 21 But behold, the hand of him who betrays me is with me on the table. 22 For the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed!” 23 And they began to question one another, which of them it could be who was going to do this. (Lk 22:7–23)
Every month my church remembers Jesus sacrifice on the cross by celebrating this ceremony. In it we come together. We eat and drink remembering the Lord’s body and blood split for us. And we give thanks for all he has done.
Keep doing this in remembrance of what our Lord Jesus has done for us.
Copyright © Joshua Washington and thescripturesays, 2015. All Rights Reserved.