Two Kings Twenty Two

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

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2 Kings 22:1 Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned thirty and one years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Jedidah, the daughter of Adaiah of Boscath.

Josiah. The last godly king of Judah before the Babylonian captivity was prophetically named about three hundred years before he was born (1 Kings 13:1-2).

2 Kings 22:2 And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in all the way of David his father, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left.

that which was right. Josiah's grandfather, Manasseh, was the most wicked of all Judah's king, and his father Amon (who only reigned two years) was no better. However, Manasseh did experience a change of heart while a prisoner in Assyria in his old age (2 Chronicles 33:11-19), and it is possible that he took a special interest in the spiritual instruction of his young grandson during those years. Perhaps it was the instruction of faithful priests. Somehow, little Josiah was led to the Lord as a child, and it impacted his entire life.

2 Kings 22:3 And it came to pass in the eighteenth year of king Josiah, that the king sent Shaphan the son of Azaliah, the son of Meshullam, the scribe, to the house of the LORD, saying,

2 Kings 22:4 Go up to Hilkiah the high priest, that he may sum the silver which is brought into the house of the LORD, which the keepers of the door have gathered of the people:

2 Kings 22:5 And let them deliver it into the hand of the doers of the work, that have the oversight of the house of the LORD: and let them give it to the doers of the work which is in the house of the LORD, to repair the breaches of the house,

2 Kings 22:6 Unto carpenters, and builders, and masons, and to buy timber and hewn stone to repair the house.

2 Kings 22:7 Howbeit there was no reckoning made with them of the money that was delivered into their hand, because they dealt faithfully.

2 Kings 22:8 And Hilkiah the high priest said unto Shaphan the scribe, I have found the book of the law in the house of the LORD. And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, and he read it.

Hilkiah the high priest. A seal in a ring containing the name of this same Hilkiah was found in Palestine.

found the book of the law. The Pentateuch had probably been placed by Moses in the Ark of the Covenant (Deuteronomy 10:5) along with the two tables of the law, and possibly the record of Joshua as well. In any case, one copy of the Pentateuch had apparently been hidden somewhere in the temple by a faithful priest during the time when Manasseh was attempting to destroy the religion of his forefathers. Evidently the sacred writings, still in the ark, had been transferred from the tabernacle to the temple when it was built, and had been kept safe there from the times of Solomon onward to Josiah. Also see note on 2 Chronicles 34:14.

2 Kings 22:9 And Shaphan the scribe came to the king, and brought the king word again, and said, Thy servants have gathered the money that was found in the house, and have delivered it into the hand of them that do the work, that have the oversight of the house of the LORD.

2 Kings 22:10 And Shaphan the scribe showed the king, saying, Hilkiah the priest hath delivered me a book. And Shaphan read it before the king.

2 Kings 22:11 And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the book of the law, that he rent his clothes.

heard the words of the book. For the fifty-five years of Manasseh's evil reign, the Scriptures had been ignored and all but forgotten. Nevertheless, “the Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword” (Hebrews 4:12). When it is read or heard with a sincere heart, it will change the life, for “by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20).

rent his clothes. Evidently Josiah had not previously read the inspired words of Moses before this lost copy of the Pentateuch was found hidden in the temple. His wicked grandfather, King Manasseh, had done all he could to stamp out the worship of Jehovah in Israel, no doubt trying to destroy as many copies of the Scriptures as he could find. God has always preserved His Word, however, and some faithful scribe or priest had hidden this particular copy somewhere in the temple where it could be preserved until it was finally rediscovered by Hilkiah the high priest when the temple was being renovated at Josiah's orders. Even though Josiah had not previously seen the Scriptures himself, he had evidently been instructed therein to some degree by faithful priests, so that he had desired while still young to restore the temple and its worship. Undoubtedly other copies of the Scriptures had also been preserved at various locations in Judah. When Josiah saw the book himself, however, and realized that God had kept it safe in the temple all those years, he was profoundly moved, and the great revival under his leadership was the result.

2 Kings 22:12 And the king commanded Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Achbor the son of Michaiah, and Shaphan the scribe, and Asahiah a servant of the king's, saying,

2 Kings 22:13 Go ye, inquire of the LORD for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that is found: for great is the wrath of the LORD that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not hearkened unto the words of this book, to do according unto all that which is written concerning us.

2 Kings 22:14 So Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam, and Achbor, and Shaphan, and Asahiah, went unto Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tikvah, the son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe; (now she dwelt in Jerusalem in the college;) and they communed with her.

Huldah the prophetess. Both Jeremiah and Zephaniah began their prophetic ministries during the reign of King Josiah. At this time, however, early in his reign, the only true prophet available in Jerusalem was actually a prophetess. She did, however, have an authentic word for Josiah from the Lord.

2 Kings 22:15 And she said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Tell the man that sent you to me,

2 Kings 22:16 Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, and upon the inhabitants thereof, even all the words of the book which the king of Judah hath read:

2 Kings 22:17 Because they have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, that they might provoke me to anger with all the works of their hands; therefore my wrath shall be kindled against this place, and shall not be quenched.

2 Kings 22:18 But to the king of Judah which sent you to inquire of the LORD, thus shall ye say to him, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, As touching the words which thou hast heard;

2 Kings 22:19 Because thine heart was tender, and thou hast humbled thyself before the LORD, when thou heardest what I spake against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and hast rent thy clothes, and wept before me; I also have heard thee, saith the LORD.

2 Kings 22:20 Behold therefore, I will gather thee unto thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered into thy grave in peace; and thine eyes shall not see all the evil which I will bring upon this place. And they brought the king word again.

thy grave in peace. Huldah was referring to peace of soul, not political peace. Josiah actually died in battle (2 Kings 23:29).