2 Kings 22

1 Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign; and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem; and his mother's name was Jedidah, daughter of Adaiah of Bozcath.
2 And he did what was right in the sight of Jehovah, and walked in all the way of David his father, and turned not aside to the right hand nor to the left.
3 And it came to pass in the eighteenth year of king Josiah, [that] the king sent Shaphan the son of Azaliah, son of Meshullam, the scribe, to the house of Jehovah, saying,
4 Go up to Hilkijah the high priest, that he may sum up the money which is brought into the house of Jehovah, which the doorkeepers have gathered of the people,
5 and let them give it into the hand of them that do the work, that have the oversight of the house of Jehovah; and let them give it to those that do the work in the house of Jehovah, to repair the breaches of the house,
6 to the carpenters and the builders and the masons, and to buy timber and hewn stone to repair the house.
7 But no reckoning was made with them of the money that was given into their hand, because they dealt faithfully.
8 And Hilkijah the high priest said to Shaphan the scribe, I have found the book of the law in the house of Jehovah. And Hilkijah gave the book to Shaphan, and he read it.
9 And Shaphan the scribe came to the king, and brought the king word again and said, Thy servants have emptied out 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 Jehovah.
10 And Shaphan the scribe informed the king saying, Hilkijah the priest has given me a book. And Shaphan read it before the king.
11 And it came to pass when the king heard the words of the book of the law, that he rent his garments.
12 And the king commanded Hilkijah the priest, and Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Achbor the son of Micaiah, and Shaphan the scribe, and Asaiah a servant of the king, saying,
13 Go, inquire of Jehovah for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book which is found; for great is the wrath of Jehovah that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not hearkened to the words of this book, to do according to all that is written [there] for us.
14 And Hilkijah the priest, and Ahikam, and Achbor, and Shaphan, and Asaiah, went to Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tikvah, son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe: now she dwelt in Jerusalem in the second quarter [of the town]; and they spoke with her.
15 And she said to them, Thus saith Jehovah the God of Israel: Tell the man that sent you to me,
16 Thus saith Jehovah: Behold, I will bring evil upon this place and upon the inhabitants thereof, all the words of the book that the king of Judah hath read.
17 Because they have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, that they might provoke me to anger with all the work of their hands, therefore my fury is kindled against this place, and shall not be quenched.
18 But to the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of Jehovah, thus shall ye say to him: Thus saith Jehovah the God of Israel touching the words which thou hast heard:
19 Because thy heart was tender, and thou didst humble thyself before Jehovah, when thou heardest what I spoke against this place and against the inhabitants thereof, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and didst rend thy garments and weep before me, I also have heard [thee], saith Jehovah.
20 Therefore, behold, I will gather thee unto thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered to thy grave in peace; and thine eyes shall not see all the evil that I will bring upon this place. And they brought the king word again.

2 Kings 22 Commentary

Chapter 22

Josiah's good reign, His care for repairing the temple, The book of the law found. (1-10) Josiah consults Huldah the prophetess. (11-20)

Verses 1-10 The different event of Josiah's early succession from that of Manasseh, must be ascribed to the distinguishing grace of God; yet probably the persons that trained him up were instruments in producing this difference. His character was most excellent. Had the people joined in the reformation as heartily as he persevered in it, blessed effects would have followed. But they were wicked, and had become fools in idolatry. We do not obtain full knowledge of the state of Judah from the historical records, unless we refer to the writings of the prophets who lived at the time. In repairing the temple, the book of the law was found, and brought to the king. It seems, this book of the law was lost and missing; carelessly mislaid and neglected, as some throw their Bibles into corners, or maliciously concealed by some of the idolaters. God's care of the Bible plainly shows his interest in it. Whether this was the only copy in being or not, the things contained in it were new, both to the king and to the high priest. No summaries, extracts, or collections out of the Bible, can convey and preserve the knowledge of God and his will, like the Bible itself. It was no marvel that the people were so corrupt, when the book of the law was so scarce; they that corrupted them, no doubt, used arts to get that book out of their hands. The abundance of Bibles we possess aggravates our national sins; for what greater contempt of God can we show, than to refuse to read his word when put into our hands, or, reading it, not to believe and obey it? By the holy law is the knowledge of sin, and by the blessed gospel is the knowledge of salvation. When the former is understood in its strictness and excellence, the sinner begins to inquire, What must I do to be saved? And the ministers of the gospel point out to him Jesus Christ, as the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.

Verses 11-20 The book of the law is read before the king. Those best honour their Bibles, who study them; daily feed on that bread, and walk by that light. Convictions of sin and wrath should put us upon this inquiry, What shall we do to be saved? Also, what we may expect, and must provide for. Those who are truly apprehensive of the weight of God's wrath, cannot but be very anxious how they may be saved. Huldah let Josiah know what judgments God had in store for Judah and Jerusalem. The generality of the people were hardened, and their hearts unhumbled, but Josiah's heart was tender. This is tenderness of heart, and thus he humbled himself before the Lord. Those who most fear God's wrath, are least likely to feel it. Though Josiah was mortally wounded in battle, yet he died in peace with God, and went to glory. Whatever such persons suffer or witness, they are gathered to the grave in peace, and shall enter into the rest which remaineth for the people of God.

Footnotes 3

  • [a]. Lit. 'in truth.'
  • [b]. See Note e, Judg. 17.4, meaning, 'Who is like Jah.'
  • [c]. As Gen. 22.16.

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO 2 KINGS 22

This chapter begins with the age and character of Josiah king of Judah, 2Ki 22:1-2, relates his orders for repairing the temple, 2Ki 22:3-7, his attention to the book of the law, which was found, and read to him, and the effect it had upon him, 2Ki 22:8-11, the command he gave to certain persons to inquire of the Lord about it, who applied to Huldah the prophetess, 2Ki 22:12-14, who returned an answer by them to the king, foretelling the destruction of Jerusalem, and giving the reason of it, and at the same time assuring the king it should not be in his days, 2Ki 22:15-20.

2 Kings 22 Commentaries