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2 Kings 23:22 ~ Neither in the days of the judges who led Israel nor in the days of the kings of Israel and the kings of Judah had any such Passover been observed.

What is the significance of the Passover in 2 Kings 23:22?

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There were two things that appear to have characterized this Passover recorded in 2 Kings 23 -

  • It was observed with greater care and solemnity than any before it
  • It was observed by more people that any before it

These can be judged by the extensive and thorough preparations made in order to celebrate this Passover including:

  • The great Israelite covenant was restored and renewed (V1-3)
  • the temple was clean up and the re-consecrated (V4)
  • unworthy, unsuitable priests were banished from the temple (V5)
  • idols, Asherah poles, and all pagan influences were removed from the city (V6)
  • prostitution in the temple was banished (V7)
  • Even pagan places of worship, high places, etc, were desecrated both inside and outside of Judah (V8-16) as far away as Samaria (V19, 20)
  • mediums and spiritists were removed from all the land (V24)

The dedication of the ceremony can also be gauged by the following:

  • The king encourage all to participate (V21)
  • The king turned to the LORD with "with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength" [Compare Deut 6:5 - And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.]

Note the comments from the Pulpit commentary:

Verse 22. - Surely there was not holden such a Passover from the days of the judges that judged Israel, nor in all the days of the kings of Israel, nor of the kings of Judah. Such a Passover, one so numerously attended (2 Chronicles 35:18). and so exactly kept according to every ordinance of the Law of Moses (2 Chronicles 35:6), had not been celebrated during all the period of the judges, from Joshua to Samuel, nor under the kings of all Israel, Saul, David, and Solomon, nor under those of the separated kingdom of Judah, from Rehoboam to this year (the eighteenth) of Josiah.

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Short answer:

The significance here is not focused on Passover but focused on King Josiah's obedience to God's commandments.


Long answer:

If you read from verse 1, you can see what Josiah did. He tried to restore the true obedience that is pleasing to God.

1 Now the king sent them to gather all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem to him. 2 The king went up to the house of the Lord with all the men of Judah, and with him all the inhabitants of Jerusalem—the priests and the prophets and all the people, both small and great. And he read in their hearing all the words of the Book of the Covenant which had been found in the house of the Lord.

And from verse 4 to verse 20 he did a lot of work to get rid of the corrupted worship system, got rid of the idols etc.

From verse 21 onwards he's trying to restore the true obedience to the Covenant:

21 Then the king commanded all the people, saying, “Keep the Passover to the Lord your God, as it is written in this Book of the Covenant.” 22 Such a Passover surely had never been held since the days of the judges who judged Israel, nor in all the days of the kings of Israel and the kings of Judah. 23 But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah this Passover was held before the Lord in Jerusalem. 24 Moreover Josiah put away those who consulted mediums and spiritists, the household gods and idols, all the abominations that were seen in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, that he might perform the words of the law which were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the house of the Lord. 25 Now before him there was no king like him, who turned to the Lord with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the Law of Moses; nor after him did any arise like him.


Hope that helps.

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  1. This was a Passover that both Judah and Israel celebrated together in Jerusalem.
  2. Remember that the kingdom had been divided in two since Jeroboam
  3. Israel (10 tribes) had gone into idolatry and only Judah was loyal to G-d.
  4. Jeremiah brought Israel (10 tribes) back and this was significant as all the 12 tribes celebrated the Passover together in Jerusalem.

Hope this helps.

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2 Chronicles 35:18 The Passover had not been observed like this in Israel since the days of the prophet Samuel; and none of the kings of Israel had ever celebrated such a Passover as did Josiah, with the priests, the Levites and all Judah and Israel who were there with the people of Jerusalem.

It was special because all Judan and Israel participated.

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