34:2 And he did [that which was] right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the ways of a David his father, and declined [neither] to the right hand, nor to the left.
(a) He followed David in all points that he followed the Lord. 34:3 For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet b young, he began to seek after the God of David his father: and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem from the high places, and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images.
(b) When he was but sixteen years old he showed himself zealous of Gods glory, and at twenty years old he abolished idolatry and restored the true religion. 34:4 And they brake down c the altars of Baalim in his presence; and the images, that [were] on high above them, he cut down; and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images, he brake in pieces, and made dust [of them], and strowed [it] upon the graves of them that had sacrificed unto them.
(c) Which shows that he would see the reformation with his own eyes. 34:5 And he burnt the d bones of the priests upon their altars, and cleansed Judah and Jerusalem.
(d) Read ( 2 Kings 23:16 ). 34:7 And when he had d broken down the altars and the groves, and had beaten the graven images into powder, and cut down all the idols throughout all the land of Israel, he returned to Jerusalem.
(d) This great zeal of this godly king the Holy Spirit sets forth as an example and pattern to other kings and rulers, to teach them what God requires of them. 34:10 e And they put [it] in the hand of the workmen that had the oversight of the house of the LORD, and they gave it to the workmen that wrought in the house of the LORD, to repair and amend the house:
(e) Meaning Shaphan, etc. 34:11 Even to the artificers and builders gave they [it], to buy hewn stone, and timber for couplings, and to floor the f houses which the kings of Judah had destroyed.
(f) For there were many portions and pieces annexed to the temple. 34:12 And the men did the work g faithfully: and the overseers of them [were] Jahath and Obadiah, the Levites, of the sons of Merari; and Zechariah and Meshullam, of the sons of the Kohathites, to set [it] forward; and [other of] the Levites, all that could skill of instruments of musick.
(g) Meaning that they were in such credit for their fidelity that they made no accounts of that which they received, ( 2 Kings 22:7 2 Kings 22:9 ). 34:14 And when they brought out the money that was brought into the house of the LORD, Hilkiah the priest found a h book of the law of the LORD [given] by Moses.
(h) Read ( 2 Kings 22:8 ). 34:16 And Shaphan carried the book to i the king, and brought the king word back again, saying, All that was committed to thy servants, they do [it].
(i) For the king was commanded to continually have a copy of this book and to read in it day and night, ( Deuteronomy 17:18 ). 34:19 And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the law, that he k rent his clothes.
(k) For sorrow that the word of God had been so long suppressed and the people kept in ignorance, considering also the curses contained in it against the transgressors. 34:21 Go, enquire of the LORD for me, and for them that are left in Israel and in Judah, concerning the words of the book that is found: for great [is] the wrath of the LORD that is poured out upon us, because our l fathers have not kept the word of the LORD, to do after all that is written in this book.
(l) Thus the godly not only lament their own sins, but also that their fathers and predecessors have offended God. 34:22 And Hilkiah, and [they] that the king [had appointed], went to Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tikvath, the son of Hasrah, keeper of the m wardrobe; (now she dwelt in Jerusalem in the n college:) and they spake to her to that [effect].
(m) Meaning, either of the priests apparel or the kings. 34:23 And she answered them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Tell ye o the man that sent you to me,
(n) Read ( 2 Kings 22:15 ).
(o) That is, to the king. 34:25 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 p hands; therefore my wrath shall be poured out upon this place, and shall not be quenched.
(p) This she speaks in contempt of the idolaters, who contrary to reason and nature call a god that which they have made and framed with their own hands. 34:27 Because thine heart was q tender, and thou didst humble thyself before God, when thou heardest his words against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, and humbledst thyself before me, and didst rend thy clothes, and weep before me; I have even heard [thee] also, saith the LORD.
(q) This declares the end of Gods threatenings, to call his to repentance, and to assure the unrepentant of their destruction. 34:28 Behold, I will gather thee to thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered to thy grave in peace, neither shall thine eyes see all the evil that I will bring upon this r place, and upon the inhabitants of the same. So they brought the king word again.
(r) It may appear that very few were touched with true repentance, seeing that God spared them for a time only for the kings sake. 34:30 And the king went up into the house of the LORD, and all the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and the priests, and the Levites, and all the people, great and s small: and he read in their ears all the words of the book of the covenant that was found in the house of the LORD.
(s) Though neither young nor old could be exempted from the curses contained in it, if they did transgress, he knew it pertained to all and was his duty to see it read to all sorts, that everyone might learn to avoid those punishments by serving God correctly. 34:33 And Josiah took away all the abominations out of all the countries that [pertained] to the children of Israel, and made all t that were present in Israel to serve, [even] to serve the LORD their God. [And] all his days they departed not from following the LORD, the God of their fathers.
(t) Because he had charge over all, and must answer for everyone that perished: he thought it his duty to see that all should make profession to receive the word of God.