Notes on the Bible, by Albert Barnes, , at sacred-texts.com
2 Chronicles 34:1
Compare the parallel history of 2 Kings 22 notes; 23:1-30 notes; the writer here being more full on the celebration of the Passover. The only approach to a discrepancy between the two narratives is with respect to the time of the religions reformation, which the writer of Chronicles distinctly places before, the author of Kings after, the repair of the temple. The best explanation seems to be, that the author of Kings has departed from the chronological order, to which he makes no profession of adhering.
2 Chronicles 34:3
He began to purge Judah - Jeremiah's first prophecies Jer. 2-3 appear to have been coincident with Josiah's earlier efforts to uproot idolatry, and must have greatly strengthened his hands.
2 Chronicles 34:4
The images - Margin, sun-images. See Lev 26:30 note.
2 Chronicles 34:6
The power of Assyria being now (629-624 B.C.) greatly weakened, if not completely broken, Josiah aimed not merely at a religious reformation, but at a restoration of the kingdom to its ancient limits (see the Kg2 23:19 note).
With their mattocks ... - Or "in their desolate places" (compare Psa 109:10). Another reading gives the sense, "he proved their house round about."
2 Chronicles 34:11
The "houses" intended are either the "chambers" which surrounded the temple on three sides Kg1 6:5, or out-buildings attached to the courts. The "kings of Judah" intended are, no doubt, Manasseh and Amon.
2 Chronicles 34:13
Of the Levites there were scribes - Hereto the word "scribe" has never been used to designate a class (compare Kg1 4:3). But here an order of scribes, forming a distinct division of the Levitical body, has been instituted. The class itself probably originated in the reign of Hezekiah (compare Pro 25:1); and it is probably to the rise of this class that we are indebted for the preservation of so many prophecies belonging to Hezekiah's time, while the works of almost all previous prophets - Ahijah, Iddo, Shemaiah, Jehu, the son of Hanani, and probably many others - have perished.
2 Chronicles 34:21
For them, that are left in Israel and in Judah - Compare the words in Kings Kg2 22:13. in both records the intention is to show that the king regarded the ten tribes as being under his care, no less than the two.
2 Chronicles 34:30
The writer has characteristically substituted "Levites" for the "prophets" of Kg2 23:2. No doubt Josiah was accompanied by priests, prophets, and Levites, but the writer of Kings thought it enough to mention the two former, and merged the Levites in the mass of the people. The writer of Chronicles, on the other hand, thinks the presence of Levites too important to he omitted, and as the prophets could be but few in number, passes them over.
2 Chronicles 34:32
And Benjamin - It is scarcely possible that the text here can be sound. "Benjamin" is never put in contrast with "Jerusalem," but always with Judah. The reading may be corrected from the parallel passage Kg2 23:3; "And he caused all those that were present in Jerusalem to stand to the covenant."
2 Chronicles 34:33
All his days they departed not - This must be understood in the letter rather than in the spirit. There was no open idolatry in the reign of Josiah, but the reformation was seeming rather than real, superficial rather than searching and complete (compare the marginal reference).