Scriptures

2 Kings 22

Introduction

‘Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years. His mother’s name was Jedidah daughter of Adaiah; she was from Bozkath. He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD and followed completely the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left. In the eighteenth year of his reign, King Josiah sent the secretary, Shaphan son of Azaliah, the son of Meshullam, to the temple of the LORD. He said: ‘Go up to Hilkiah the high priest and have him get ready the money that has been brought into the temple of the LORD, which the doorkeepers have collected from the people. Have them entrust it to the men appointed to supervise the work on the temple. And have these men pay the workers who repair the temple of the LORD—the carpenters, the builders and the masons. Also have them purchase timber and dressed stone to repair the temple. But they need not account for the money entrusted to them, because they are honest in their dealings.’ 2 Kings 22:1-7

Josiah is now king of the Southern Kingdom of Judah and he reigned for thirty-one years, 640 B.C. to 609 B.C.

Shaphan was the father of Jeremiah’s friend Ahikam, Jeremiah 26:24, and the grandfather of Gedaliah, who was made governor of Judea by the Babylonians after the fall of Jerusalem, 2 Kings 25:22. Shaphan and Nathan-Melek’s, 2 Kings 23:11, names also appear on ancient records of those who lived during these times.

Hilkiah was the father, or grandfather of Seriah, Nehemiah 11:11, who was high priest at the time of the captivity, and an ancestor of Ezra the scribe. Hilkiah appears on the seal of Azariah who was a priest, and the grandfather of Ezra, 1 Chronicles 6:13-14 / 1 Chronicles 9:11 / Ezra 7:1. Hilkiah’s name appears also on a seal of another son named Hanan.

Josiah did what was right in God’s eyes and loved and obeyed God as David did, Acts 13:22. He wanted some repair work done on the temple, and so he set about raising the funds needed for the repairs, similar to the way Jehoash did many years ago, 2 Kings 12:9-15.

The Book Of The Law Found

‘Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the secretary, ‘I have found the Book of the Law in the temple of the LORD.’ He gave it to Shaphan, who read it. Then Shaphan the secretary went to the king and reported to him: ‘Your officials have paid out the money that was in the temple of the LORD and have entrusted it to the workers and supervisors at the temple.’ Then Shaphan the secretary informed the king, ‘Hilkiah the priest has given me a book.’ And Shaphan read from it in the presence of the king.’ 2 Kings 22:8-10

Hilkiah discovers ‘the Book of the Law’, 2 Chronicles 34:1-28 tells us that Josiah’s reforms had already been going forward for a number of years.

He began the purging of the temple and of Jerusalem in his twelfth year, six full years before the events in 2 Kings 22:8, and the repairs on the temple mentioned in 2 Kings 22:9 were probably commenced at the same time.

Although each king was supposed to have a copy of the Book of the Law, Deuteronomy 17:18-20 / Deuteronomy 31:9-13, we have no idea how long they have been without the Law of Moses, that is the first five books of the Old Testament, but because only those portions that referred to the responsibilities of the king were immediately read before Josiah.

‘When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his robes. He gave these orders to Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Akbor son of Micaiah, Shaphan the secretary and Asaiah the king’s attendant: ‘Go and inquire of the LORD for me and for the people and for all Judah about what is written in this book that has been found. Great is the LORD’s anger that burns against us because those who have gone before us have not obeyed the words of this book; they have not acted in accordance with all that is written there concerning us.’ 2 Kings 22:11-13

Remember nobody had seen the Book of the Law for years and so when Josiah heard the word of the Book of the Law, he tore his robes. In others words, God’s Word moved him to repentance, and as a result of his repentance, the whole of Israel was deeply moved towards God again.

The good news is that Josiah didn’t just go out of his way to get Israel to worship and obey God how they were supposed to in the first place, he actually went on to destroy anything which involved idolatry and the worshipping of false gods.

‘Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Akbor, Shaphan and Asaiah went to speak to the prophet Huldah, who was the wife of Shallum son of Tikvah, the son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe. She lived in Jerusalem, in the New Quarter. She said to them, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: Tell the man who sent you to me, ‘This is what the LORD says: I am going to bring disaster on this place and its people, according to everything written in the book the king of Judah has read. Because they have forsaken me and burned incense to other gods and aroused my anger by all the idols their hands have made, my anger will burn against this place and will not be quenched.’ Tell the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the LORD, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says concerning the words you heard: Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before the LORD when you heard what I have spoken against this place and its people—that they would become a curse and be laid waste—and because you tore your robes and wept in my presence, I also have heard you, declares the LORD. Therefore I will gather you to your ancestors, and you will be buried in peace. Your eyes will not see all the disaster I am going to bring on this place.’ So they took her answer back to the king.’ 2 Kings 22:14-20

Hilkiah the priest and others went to speak to the prophet Huldah, who was Shallum’s wife. It should be noted that other prophets were now on the scene at this time, prophets like Zephaniah, Zephaniah 1:1, and Jeremiah, Jeremiah 22:15-16, who were both warning God’s people about their upcoming exile into Babylon.

It’s possible that they went to Huldah because she was closest to them, but they go to inquire of the Lord. It’s interesting because we don’t know what they asked but we do know didn’t enquire about the newly discovered Book of Law.

The Lord tells them that He will bring disaster upon the Southern Kingdom of Judah because of their apostasy but the disaster wouldn’t come anytime during the reign of Josiah. God delayed judgment on Josiah, like he did with Ahab, who responded to a word of warning with a kind of repentance, 1 Kings 21:25-29.

Josiah has now received news about this upcoming disaster twice, once from God’s Word and now from God’s prophet. Although Josiah had religiously cleaned up Judah by the standards of God’s Word, sadly his descendants went back to idolatry and undone everything he had achieved.

Go To 2 Kings 23

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Romans 6:23

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