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2 Kings 23:15-18

Context

23:15 He also tore down the altar in Bethel 1  at the high place made by Jeroboam son of Nebat, who encouraged Israel to sin. 2  He burned all the combustible items at that high place and crushed them to dust; including the Asherah pole. 3  23:16 When Josiah turned around, he saw the tombs there on the hill. So he ordered the bones from the tombs to be brought; 4  he burned them on the altar and defiled it. This fulfilled the Lord’s announcement made by the prophet while Jeroboam stood by the altar during a festival. King Josiah 5  turned and saw the grave of the prophet who had foretold this. 6  23:17 He asked, “What is this grave marker I see?” The men from the city replied, “It’s the grave of the prophet 7  who came from Judah and foretold these very things you have done to the altar of Bethel.” 23:18 The king 8  said, “Leave it alone! No one must touch his bones.” So they left his bones undisturbed, as well as the bones of the Israelite prophet buried beside him. 9 

1 map For location see Map4 G4; Map5 C1; Map6 E3; Map7 D1; Map8 G3.

2 tn Heb “And also the altar that is in Bethel, the high place that Jeroboam son of Nebat who encouraged Israel to sin, also that altar and the high place he tore down.” The more repetitive Hebrew text is emphatic.

3 tn Heb “he burned the high place, crushing to dust, and he burned the Asherah pole.” High places per se are never referred to as being burned elsewhere. בָּמָה (bamah) here stands by metonymy for the combustible items located on the high place. See M. Cogan and H. Tadmor, II Kings (AB), 289.

4 tn Heb “and he sent and took the bones from the tombs.”

5 tn Heb “the king”; this has been specified as “King Josiah” in the translation for clarity (cf. TEV, CEV, NLT).

6 tc The MT is much shorter than this. It reads, “according to the word of the Lord which the man of God proclaimed, who proclaimed these words.” The LXX has a much longer text at this point. It reads: “[which was proclaimed by the man of God] while Jeroboam stood by the altar at a celebration. Then he turned and saw the grave of the man of God [who proclaimed these words].” The extra material attested in the LXX was probably accidentally omitted in the Hebrew tradition when a scribe’s eye jumped from the first occurrence of the phrase “man of God” (which appears right before the extra material) and the second occurrence of the phrase (which appears at the end of the extra material).

sn This recalls the prophecy recorded in 1 Kgs 13:2.

7 tn Heb “man of God.”

8 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the king) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

9 tn Heb “and they left undisturbed his bones, the bones of the prophet who came from Samaria.” If the phrase “the bones of the prophet” were appositional to “his bones,” one would expect the sentence to end “from Judah” (see v. 17). Apparently the “prophet” referred to in the second half of the verse is the old prophet from Bethel who buried the man of God from Judah in his own tomb and instructed his sons to bury his bones there as well (1 Kgs 13:30-31). One expects the text to read “from Bethel,” but “Samaria” (which was not even built at the time of the incident recorded in 1 Kgs 13) is probably an anachronistic reference to the northern kingdom in general. See the note at 1 Kgs 13:32 and the discussion in M. Cogan and H. Tadmor, II Kings (AB), 290.



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