Asherah. See note 1 Kin. 14:15.
the host of heaven. See notes 17:16 and 21:4.
ashes to Bethel. Bethel was one of the two original places where Jeroboam I used golden calves in a rival cult (1 Kin. 12:26–33). By depositing ashes at Bethel, Josiah desecrates Jeroboam’s religious center (cf. vv. 15–20).