Second Chronicles 35 Commentary
Yesterday we heard how the LORD promised Josiah a peaceful death. But being wounded in battle and consequently dying from the same wounds doesn’t represent the wish of the LORD for Josiah. This sad incident is representative of man’s fate. Our poor decisions are responsible for much pain and suffering in the world today. Mortals are masters of scattering the good plans and intentions of the LORD.
Chapter 35 makes the point that Josiah disregarded the word of the LORD concerning the battle against Necho, king of Egypt. This is interesting because the LORD decided to speak to Josiah through Necho. The word of the LORD can be said to be the voice of reason to Josiah. Why is Josiah fighting a battle that shouldn’t concern him? The New Testament would command him to mind his own business.
The LORD may speak to his people through the voice of reason. At times this voice may come through unexpected means. The LORD may even speak through a TV news item! The problem may be the absence of the listening ear and not the absence of the word of the LORD.
We read about the laments that the prophet Jeremiah wrote when Josiah died. These laments do not form part of the current Book of Lamentations. You get the impression that there was definitely a lot of material that the Chronicler was looking at when he was writing this book. He carefully selected what to include in order to achieve his objective. This chapter picks out Josiah’s Passover celebration because of its centrality to the storyline of the Bible.
Could this Passover event be another turning point for the nation? Will there be a Passover for Israel? Will the angel of death overlook Israelite homes as he executes judgment on sin? Will the blood of the many slaughtered lambs be enough to keep the angel of death at bay?
In hindsight, we know this kind of blood didn’t work. Again, Chronicles is fast moving to a point of saying that these rituals really didn’t perform. Israel would soon go down. Only the real blood, the blood of the real Lamb of God brings about the real Passover. Then the saint can escape the eternal sword.
From the Book of Jeremiah, we know that the community of God’s peoples had slipped further into idolatry. The laments for Josiah would not be the last that the great prophet Jeremiah would right. The Book of Lamentations, probably written by Jeremiah, recounts the fulfillment of God’s judgment on the errant nation. And it was a full package. But the main story of this chapter remains the Passover. The chapter is inviting us to reflect on the need to seek the Passover. Let the angel of death bypass you. It means the difference between life and death. For the New Testament reader, it means the difference between eternal death and eternal life.
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