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Bible Commentaries
2 Chronicles 34

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary

Introduction

Second Chronicles Chapter 34

2 Chronicles 34:1 "Josiah [was] eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem one and thirty years."

Josiah was a good king. He was very young when he began, but his reign would be similar to Hezekiah. He wanted to please the LORD in everything he did. We remember from 2 Kings, that his mother was Jedidah.

2 Chronicles 34:2 "And he did [that which was] right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the ways of David his father, and declined [neither] to the right hand, nor to the left."

We discussed in an earlier lesson, how the good kings were compared to king David, because his heart was stayed upon God. The Lord Jesus {in the flesh} would be descended from David. God had promised that David’s seed would sit on the throne forever. This, of course, is fulfilled in Jesus. In some ways, Josiah was even more pleasing to the LORD than Hezekiah.

2 Chronicles 34:3 "For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet 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."

The eighth year of his reign would have made him 16 years old. He sought God early on in his life, then. He began the cleansing of the land, when he was twenty years old. Jeremiah was the prophet at this time.

2 Chronicles 34:4 "And they brake down 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."

This is telling of the type of false worship that Josiah destroyed in the land. He had made a decision to live for the LORD, himself, and then to lead the nation back to the LORD. He not only sent people out to destroy the images and idols, but he went, as well, and made sure they were destroyed. He had them to destroy them in his presence, so he would know it was actually done. The strowing the ashes on the graves was for the children that had been sacrificed to these false gods.

2 Chronicles 34:5 "And he burnt the bones of the priests upon their altars, and cleansed Judah and Jerusalem."

These were not priests of Jehovah. They were priests of Baal worship and of Ashteroth. These false priests had led the people into this false worship. They must be destroyed to stop them from leading the people astray.

2 Chronicles 34:6 "And [so did he] in the cities of Manasseh, and Ephraim, and Simeon, even unto Naphtali, with their mattocks round about."

He did not stop with Jerusalem, but cleansed all of the surrounding cities that he could enter. These out-lying cities did not belong to Judah. They were cities of Israel. Israel had already fallen to Assyria at this time, so these cities were available to Josiah.

2 Chronicles 34:7 "And when he had 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."

He tore down the things that had caused their captivity. These were an affront to the LORD, and Josiah destroyed them. Judah’s worship of these evil false gods had first come to Israel, and then creeped into Judah. Perhaps, one of the reasons he went into Israel to do this, was so that Judah could not get a start from them, again.

2 Chronicles 34:8 "Now in the eighteenth year of his reign, when he had purged the land, and the house, he sent Shaphan the son of Azaliah, and Maaseiah the governor of the city, and Joah the son of Joahaz the recorder, to repair the house of the LORD his God."

Josiah was, now, 26 years old. He had cleansed the land of the false gods. He, now, wants to repair the temple, so they could worship their LORD there, again. Shaphan is the scribe. They were sent to oversee the repairing of the temple.

2 Chronicles 34:9 "And when they came to Hilkiah the high priest, they delivered the money that was brought into the house of God, which the Levites that kept the doors had gathered of the hand of Manasseh and Ephraim, and of all the remnant of Israel, and of all Judah and Benjamin; and they returned to Jerusalem."

There had been a collection from among the people for the money to repair the temple. The high priest had turned this over to those that Josiah had sent to take care of the funds for the rebuilding. The money was for the materials needed, and the skilled laborers to do the job.

2 Chronicles 34:10 "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:"

Each workman was paid according to what he had needed for the job. The workmen, possibly also, rounded up the material to be bought. This particular money was to be used just for the temple.

2 Chronicles 34:11 "Even to the artificers and builders gave they [it], to buy hewn stone, and timber for couplings, and to floor the houses which the kings of Judah had destroyed."

Now, we see some of the details of what the workers were to do, and where the hewn stone, timber, and the other needed materials had been acquired.

2 Chronicles 34:12 "And the men did the work 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 music."

This is just explaining that much of the work was done by members of the Levitical tribe. If they did work fine enough to carve instruments of music, they could certainly do the beautiful handwork for the temple.

2 Chronicles 34:13 "Also [they were] over the bearers of burdens, and [were] overseers of all that wrought the work in any manner of service: and of the Levites [there were] scribes, and officers, and porters."

It appears, from this, that the Levites were actually overseeing the job to see that it was done correctly. The porters were the keepers of the door.

2 Chronicles 34:14 "And when they brought out the money that was brought into the house of the LORD, Hilkiah the priest found a book of the law of the LORD [given] by Moses."

It is interesting, to me, that the high priest had not known it was there all along. This book of the law was in the temple, so the high priest could see that the people knew the wishes of the LORD contained in His law. This would have contained the book of Leviticus, where the law was spelled out.

2 Chronicles 34:15 "And Hilkiah answered and said to Shaphan the scribe, I have found the book of the law in the house of the LORD. And Hilkiah delivered the book to Shaphan."

This book had been kept with the ark of the covenant. Shaphan would be reporting back to king Josiah. The high priest sent it back with Shaphan. This is not just any book. It was the book Moses had written.

2 Chronicles 34:16 "And Shaphan carried the book to the king, and brought the king word back again, saying, All that was committed to thy servants, they do [it]."

It seemed, the temple had been in disarray. The first 5 books of the Bible are spoken of as the law. This would have been in Moses’ own handwriting. The servants had carried out the errand Josiah had sent them on, but now, they had brought the law with them as well.

2 Chronicles 34:17 "And they have gathered together the money that was found in the house of the LORD, and have delivered it into the hand of the overseers, and to the hand of the workmen."

This is speaking of them giving an accounting unto the king of where the money was being spent.

2 Chronicles 34:18 "Then Shaphan the scribe told the king, saying, Hilkiah the priest hath given me a book. And Shaphan read it before the king."

We may safely assume this is speaking of him reading the laws in Leviticus to the king.

2 Chronicles 34:19 "And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the law, that he rent his clothes."

The reading of the law showed Josiah just how far away from the LORD that Judah had strayed. He rent his clothes in mourning for his own sins, and the sins of the people.

2 Chronicles 34:20 "And the king commanded Hilkiah, and Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Abdon the son of Micah, and Shaphan the scribe, and Asaiah a servant of the king’s, saying,"

2 Chronicles 34:21 "Go, inquire 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 fathers have not kept the word of the LORD, to do after all that is written in this book."

Hilkiah was the high priest at this time. Josiah was suddenly aware of why Israel was in captivity. He, also, was aware that Judah had not followed in the ways of the LORD. Josiah wanted to hear what the fate of Judah and himself was to be. The wrath of the LORD was apparent from reading the law.

2 Chronicles 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 wardrobe; (now she dwelt in Jerusalem in the college:) and they spake to her to that [effect]."

Jeremiah was the prophet in the time that this happened. Whether he was unavailable at this time or not, we are not told. Huldah was a prophetess. Her husband was not a prophet. He was a keeper of the wardrobe. We may safely assume she was teaching in the college of the prophets, because she dwelt in Jerusalem in the college. The only known college was the school of the prophets. This shows that God uses women in the ministry the same as He does men. God does not look on the outward appearance, but on the heart. This Huldah was a prophetess after the heart of God. Notice, also, the heads of the religious and the civil government came to her to find out what God’s Word to them would be.

2 Chronicles 34:23 "And she answered them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Tell ye the man that sent you to me,"

"Thus saith the LORD", lets us know that she spoke as an oracle of God. The message was not her’s. The message was God’s.

2 Chronicles 34:24 "Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, and upon the inhabitants thereof, [even] all the curses that are written in the book which they have read before the king of Judah:"

2 Chronicles 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 hands; therefore my wrath shall be poured out upon this place, and shall not be quenched."

She verified their worst fears. God’s Word was true. His Word said they would be destroyed for the evil they had done, and they would. It was their choice to be blessed of God by keeping His commandments. They had chosen to disregard His Word and His commandments and they had worshipped false gods. They deserved the punishment God was sending to them.

2 Chronicles 34:26 "And as for the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the LORD, so shall ye say unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel [concerning] the words which thou hast heard;"

God would not punish an individual who was doing right in His sight along with the sinners. Notice, there was a separate message for Josiah. God saves individual in the masses.

2 Chronicles 34:27 "Because thine heart was 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."

2 Chronicles 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 place, and upon the inhabitants of the same. So they brought the king word again."

God knew the heart of Josiah. God liked the heart of Josiah. He had humbled himself before the LORD. He had inquired of the wishes of the LORD in His law. He not only would be spared the terrible punishment of the masses, but God would not let it happen during his reign. God would take him, before all of these terrible times began.

2 Chronicles 34:29 "Then the king sent and gathered together all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem."

2 Chronicles 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 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."

One of the main reasons that I have written these Bible studies, is to encourage people today to get back into the study of God’s Word. We must all strive to do the will of God. We cannot do the will of God, unless we know what that will is. Josiah saw that they heard the law of God. Josiah wanted them to know what they had done wrong. What they did with the knowledge of the law he had read them, was up to them. He would feel as if he had done all he could.

2 Chronicles 34:31 "And the king stood in his place, and made a covenant before the LORD, to walk after the LORD, and to keep his commandments, and his testimonies, and his statutes, with all his heart, and with all his soul, to perform the words of the covenant which are written in this book."

These people were his witnesses that he determined in his heart to keep God’s commandments. He would not do this from obligation either, but because it was the desire of his heart to please God.

2 Chronicles 34:32 "And he caused all that were present in Jerusalem and Benjamin to stand [to it]. And the inhabitants of Jerusalem did according to the covenant of God, the God of their fathers."

This just means he commanded his people to keep God’s law, as well. He had them to stand and agree to keep the commandments of God.

2 Chronicles 34:33 "And Josiah took away all the abominations out of all the countries that [pertained] to the children of Israel, and made all 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."

Josiah did just as he had covenanted with God to do. He continued to cleanse the land of all things that displeased God. Notice, he even insisted on the remnant of Israel doing the same things as he had covenanted with God to cause Judah and Jerusalem to do. Josiah was, indeed, a man after God’s own heart.

2 Chronicles 34 Questions

1. How old was Josiah, when he began to reign?

2. Whose reign would his be like?

3. Who was he compared to in 2 Chronicles 34:2?

4. When did Josiah begin to seek after the God of David?

5. When did he begin to purge Judah and Jerusalem of the high places?

6. In 2 Chronicles 34:4, we read that they brake down the altars of __________ in his presence.

7. What were the ashes strewn on the graves for?

8. He burned the bones of what priests?

9. What was unusual about the cleansing of the places, mentioned in 2 Chronicles 34:6?

10. When did he return to Jerusalem?

11. In what year of his reign did Josiah decide to repair the temple?

12. Who was high priest at this time?

13. What was the money used for?

14. Who were the overseers of the work?

15. What had Hilkiah found in the temple?

16. Where did he send the law?

17. Who read the law to the king?

18. What did the king do, when he heard the law read?

19. What did the king command Hilkiah to do?

20. Who was the prophet in the land at this time?

21. Who did Hilkiah go to for Josiah’s answer from the LORD?

22. What was her husband’s ministry?

23. Where did she live?

24. How did she begin her message to them?

25. What was God’s message to these evil people?

26. What separate message did God send to Josiah?

27. Who did Josiah call together to read the law to?

28. Josiah made a __________ with God before all of these people.

29. What did he cause the others present to do?

30. Quote 2 Chronicles 34:33.

Verses 1-7

2Ch 34:1-7

Introduction

THE DISCOVERY OF THE BOOK OF MOSES IN THE TEMPLE

JOSIAH (640-609 B.C.)

With the exception of 2 Chronicles 34:3-7,2 Chronicles 36:22-23, all of the events in these three concluding chapters of Second Chronicles we have already discussed in the parallel accounts in 2 Kings 22:1 to 2 Kings 25:12, where we have devoted pages to our comments. We shall be content here, in the principal part, to refer the reader to our Commentary on Second Kings. There are variations, to be sure; but there are no irreconcilable differences.

2 Chronicles 34:1-7

THE REFORMS OF JOSIAH

"Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign; and he reigned thirty one years in Jerusalem. And he did that which was right in the eyes of Jehovah, and walked in the ways of David his father, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left. For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet young, he began to seek after the God of David his father; and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of the high places, and the Asherim, and the graven images, and the molten images. And they brake down the altars of the Baalim in his presence; and the sun-images that were on high above them he hewed down; and the Asherim, and the graven images, and the molten images, he brake in pieces, and made dust of them, and strewed it upon the graves of them that had sacrificed unto them. And he burnt the bones of the priests upon their altars, and purged Judah and Jerusalem. And so did he in the cities of Manasseh and Ephraim and Simeon, even unto Naphtali, in their ruins round about. And he brake down the altars, and beat the Asherim and the graven images into powder, and hewed down all the sun-images throughout all the land of Israel, and returned to Jerusalem."

This paragraph, of course, contains material not mentioned in the parallel accounts; but all that is stated here is fully in keeping with the character and purpose of this zealous young king who was intent on turning Israel back to their true worship. All of those images, pillars, high places, Asherim, etc., were specifically condemned, not only in the Decalogue, but in the commandment of God through Moses that all such things were to be destroyed by the Israelites when they came into the land of Canaan. The shame of all Israel was that they not only disobeyed God’s commandments in these particulars, but they adopted the licentious pagan worship of their predecessors in Canaan; and even sinned worse than the people whom God had driven out before Israel (2 Chronicles 33:9).

E.M. Zerr:

2 Chronicles 34:1. In stating the length of a reign, all of the years are counted from the time the king became the legal occupant of the throne until he quit it, either by death or otherwise. But in case he is too young to act in person, the high priest who is in service acts for him until such time that he can take upon himself the duties of a ruler. There was such a case in the reign of Joash or Jehoash. (2 Kings 12:2; 2 Chronicles 24:2.) That is what was done in the case of Josiah, for he was but 8 years old when he became king, and his entire reign continued 31 years.

2 Chronicles 34:2. These commendations of Josiah apply to his reign after he became ready to take active part in the affairs of the kingdom, and hence after he was old enough to be held accountable for his conduct; this will appear evident in the next verse.

2 Chronicles 34:3. The eighth year of his reign would be when he was 16 years of age, and when he would be considered responsible. It was at that time that he began to seek after the God of David. But he still was not very forward in the affairs of the kingdom. Like a judicious person, he spent 4 years in seeking after God, in which time he grew in years and knowledge. Such a preparation would qualify a king to act wisely. Accordingly, after 12 years of preparation, and in the 20th year of his life, he began to take action. He started a work that was destined to develop into one of the greatest reformations in the history of that nation. He began by purging out the high places that had been devoted to idolatrous sacrifices, and destroying the groves that had been used to shelter the images of the false gods. Not only did he destroy all of the actual trees and groves of trees that were so used, but he destroyed all of the images of those trees that had been made in imitation of such plants. He also destroyed the statues that had been erected to the heathen gods, whether they had been made by casting or chiseling.

Verse 4. In his presence. Josiah ordered his men to destroy the altars of Baalim while he looked on, making sure thereby that the work was done. The images or statues had been erected over the altars, as if the gods were present and beholding the service rendered to them; all of such were destroyed. Made dust is said of the groves in the same sense as it is said of the images, thereby implying that they were made of metal. It will be well to quote from Smith’s Bible Dictionary on this subject. "Grove. A word used in the Authorized Version, with two exceptions, to translate the mysterious term ASHERAH, which is not a grove, but probably an idol or image of some kind. It is also probable that there was a connection between this symbol or image, whatever it was, and the sacred public tree, the representation of which occurs so frequently on the Assyrian sculptures." There was nothing strange about the making of such metal images for worship. If the heathen nations worshiped certain trees, it would be consistent to make images of them. As a result of that practice, we will read of instances where the groves were cut down and destroyed, when it means these metallic images of the trees. They were first burnt so as to have them in a corroded condition, then ground into dust and strewn on the graves of the ones who had been worshipers of them. That was done in contempt of such gods, to demonstrate their utter helplessness. Those gods not only were unable to save their followers from death, but could not defend themselves from being crushed and consigned to the last resting place of their deluded devotees.

2 Chronicles 34:5. This is a very brief account of the subject concerning the burning of these bones. Read the prophecy about it, with the fulfillment, in 1 Kings 13:1-2, and 2 Kings 23:16-17. This treatment of the bones of the priests would be for the same purpose as that done to the dust of the grove, recorded in the preceding verse.

2 Chronicles 34:6. The cities named were in the former possessions of the 10 tribes. Those tribes had been in Assyrian captivity for almost a century, but many of the traces of their great corruption were left in the land, and Josiah extended his purging reformation into that territory. It was fitting that he do so, for the nation of the 10 tribes was then toiling in slavery among the heathen, and it was in punishment for the worship of these false gods. How appropriate, then, for him to destroy the images.

2 Chronicles 34:7. Having completed his tour of reformation through the communities of the places named, Josiah returned to his own capital. Land of Israel sometimes applied to the whole of Palestine, but in this instance refers to the territory of the 10 tribes, of which Samaria was the capital.

Verses 8-13

2Ch 34:8-13

2 Chronicles 34:8-13

JOSIAH ORDERS THE REPAIR OF THE TEMPLE

"Now in the eighteenth year of his reign, when he had purged the land and the house, he sent Shaphan the son of Azaliah, and Maaseiah the governor of the city, and Joah the son of Joahaz the recorder, to repair the house of Jehovah his God. And they came to Hilkiah the High Priest, and delivered the money that was brought into the house of God, which the Levites, the keepers of the threshold, had gathered of the hand of Manasseh and Ephraim, and of all the remnant of Israel, and of all Judah and Benjamin, and of the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And they delivered it into the hand of the workmen that had the oversight of the house of Jehovah; and the workmen that wrought in the house of Jehovah gave it to mend and repair the house: even to the carpenters and the builders gave they it, to buy stone, and couplings, and to make beams for the houses which the kings of Judah had destroyed. And the men did the work faithfully: and the overseers of them were Jahath and Obadiah, the Levites, of the sons of Merari; and Zechariah and Meshullum, of the sons of the Kohathites, to set it forward; and others of the Levites, all that were skillful with instruments of music. Also they were over the bearers of burdens, and set forward all that did the work in every manner of service: and of the Levites there were scribes, and officers, and porters."

E.M. Zerr:

2 Chronicles 34:8. All buildings without exception are subject to decay, and especially if neglected through interest in outside matters. Having completed his purge of the land, and taken the idolatrous images out of the temple, Josiah next turned his attention to repairing the temple. This was in the 18th year of his reign, which shows that he spent 6 years in the purging of the country. All of the men he called upon to see after the repair work were important ones. Shaphan was a scribe (2 Kings 22:3), Maaseiah was governor (about the same in rank as our mayors) of the city, and Joah was a recorder, a position about the same as a secretary.

2 Chronicles 34:9. The work that Josiah commanded to be done required money, so the men named in the preceding verse went to a lawful place for it. The Levites had been receiving money from various sources and out of various communities as they kept the entrances to the temple. Acting under orders from the king, these men went to the Levites and got the money, then went to the high priest, which was in order to make a proper accounting within their responsibility.

2 Chronicles 34:10. After they had made their proper report, and under the supervision of the high priest, the highest official over the temple, they put out the money to pay for the labor of the repair work. It was all done in a businesslike manner, contacting first those who were overseers or foremen, who in turn would expend it on the men who wrought or worked on the repairs.

2 Chronicles 34:11. An artificer was "a fabricator of any material" according to the definition in the lexicon. When used in connection with a building, it would refer to the man having general oversight of the formation of its structure. The builders were the men who actually did the bodily work according to the directions of the artificers. These two classes of men would know what kinds of material were needed for the repairs, so the money was supplied to them to go out and buy them. Couplings were braces or brackets, placed in the angles or corners of the building to support it. To floor is translated "to rafter" in the margin. The lexicon will admit the definition, but it also would retain the translation in the text. It is defined, "to impose timbers (for roof or floor)" So it means any heavy pieces of wood necessary to repair the building. Houses is in the plural because there were the temple and palace, and both had been neglected by the preceding kings and had fallen into disrepair.

2 Chronicles 34:12. This verse gets nearer to the working forces of the great project set in motion by Josiah. A former verse named the more superior men, this names the men actually doing the work. Did the work faithfully would include the fact that they obeyed their foremen as to how the work should be done, also that they worked and did not shirk. Not only was the building needing repairs, but the musical instruments that David had introduced had been somewhat tossed aside and had to be repaired or replaced. And since they were used in connection with the worship, and since that was always in the hands of the Levites, it was in order that the matter of those instruments be attended to by other of the Levites.

2 Chronicles 34:13. There were tasks in connection with the repair work that could properly be performed by persons from any of the tribes, but the major portion of them came from the tribe of Levi. That was especially true of such tasks as clerical services, and the responsibility for guarding the gates, which was done by the porters.

Verses 14-21

2Ch 34:14-21

2 Chronicles 34:14-21

THE DISCOVERY OF THE BOOK OF THE LAW OF JEHOVAH GIVEN BY MOSES

"And when they brought out the money that was brought into the house of Jehovah, Hilkiah the priest found the book of the law of Jehovah given by Moses. And Hilkiah answered and said to Shaphan the scribe, I have found the book of the law in the house of Jehovah. And Hilkiah delivered the book to Shaphan. And Shaphan carried the book to the king, and moreover brought back word to the king, saying, All that was committed to thy servants they are doing. And they have emptied out the money that was found in the house of Jehovah, and have delivered into the hands of the overseers, and into the hand of the workmen. And Shaphan the scribe told the king, saying, Hilkiah the priest hath delivered me a book. And Shaphan read therein before the king. And it came to pass when the king heard the words of the law, that he rent his clothes. And the king commanded Hilkiah, and Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Abdon the son of Micah, and Shaphan the scribe, and Asaiah the king’s servant, saying, Go ye, inquire of Jehovah 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 Jehovah that is poured out upon us, because our fathers have not kept the word of Jehovah, to do according to all that is written in this book."

Once for all, this paragraph settles the matter of what that book was which was found in the temple. The title we have given this paragraph is from the sacred text itself; and a million unbelievers shouting that it was anything else cannot nullify what is written here.

The account here is brief. The critical allegation that Shaphan read "the whole book" before the king is ridiculous. The text says "he read therein," that is, he read certain portions of it, indicating that he had previously studied the book and chose certain passages to read before the king.

Of course, right here is the reason that the inventors of that Priestly Document fairy tale, and those who have swallowed such a falsehood, find the incontrovertible denial of their false theory; and all, repeat, all the objections which radical critics bring against Second Chronicles are for the purpose of defending their ridiculous theory against Biblical truth.

E.M. Zerr:

2 Chronicles 34:14. Money that was brought means the money that had previously been deposited in the treasury of the temple. It had to be taken out in order to follow the instructions of the king for the repairs of the temple. Found a book. This has been the occasion for many fanciful speeches, intended to enlarge on the neglect of the Bible of which so many are guilty. In order to put emphasis on the instance, they even add their imagination by saying that the book was found amidst the rubbish that had been allowed to accumulate in the house of God. There is nothing said about such a subject. All that can justly be said is that no attention had been given the book previously, but that the program the king had put into action caused a closer inspection of all the surroundings. It is significant that the book was found when they were visiting the place where the money was deposited. That money was taken from the incomes of the people, and was added unto almost constantly. That fact would discount the idea that the book was "hidden in the rubbish." It was found at the same time these men were thinking about the repair work ready to be started in the building, and thus when the attention of all was more alert to the conditions. Many professed children of God today might "find" the Bible in the same sense that is applied to the case under Josiah. A Bible might be lying on a table or in a library shelf and be unnoticed for years, until some person called attention to the importance of reading it. And if it should then be done, many half-hearted Christians would be as surprised as Josiah was, when they discovered how far they had drifted from their path of duty.

2 Chronicles 34:15. Hilkiah was high priest and second to none in authority over matters pertaining to the religious activities. The scribes, however, had the special work of copying the law, and it would seem consistent with their role to handle what copies that were already written. So the high priest turned over the book to the scribe.

2 Chronicles 34:16. The wording of this verse might be a little confusing, as it sounds as if Shaphan made two trips to see the king. The thought is that he had to make a report to the king anyway, so while he was at it he just took the book along. No doubt that fact figured somewhat in the act of the high priest in putting the newly found book into his hands. He knew that he soon was going to see the king, and hence would be the first to have occasion to tell him about the book. But before bringing up that subject, he made his report on the conduct of the king’s servants, that all things were done according to the royal orders.

2 Chronicles 34:17. Shaphan did not stop with a general statement of the work of the servants. He gave the detail of gathering together the money that was available in the house of the Lord, and making proper distribution of it; it was placed in proper hands.

2 Chronicles 34:18. Having made his business report, the scribe then mentioned the subject of the book. He told the king who had found it and delivered it to him. The king did not take the book but had Shaphan to read it in his hearing.

2 Chronicles 34:19. Men as well as women wore certain loose clothing over their inner garments. There was a custom of tearing the skirt of the garment at times of great grief or anxiety. Where or when this practice started I do not know. When Josiah heard the reading of the book he rent his clothes. That was not in protest or disrespect for what the book said; he had great reverence for it; but he was shocked at the awful situation it indicated they were in, and determined to make further inquiry.

2 Chronicles 34:20-21. Moses was the writer of the law of the Lord and he completed his work. If any new or specific information were needed, it had to be learned through the prophets or other inspired persons who would be given messages for the occasion. (Hebrews 1:1.) Josiah knew that the nation had departed from the law in many respects, but had not realized how far, until Shaphan had read it before him. Accordingly, he was concerned about getting direct instructions from the Lord, and commanded these persons to enquire of the Lord. His attention to the material improvements of the temple was now diverted and centered on a spiritual reformation, even more intense than what he had done in the beginning of his reign.

Verses 22-28

2Ch 34:22-28

2 Chronicles 34:22-28

HULDAH THE PROPHETESS OF GOD AFFIRMS THE DISCOVERY AS NOTHING LESS THAN THE LAW OF JEHOVAH GIVEN BY MOSES

"So Hilkiah, and those whom the king commanded, went to Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tokhath, the son of Hasrah, keeper of the wardrobe (now she dwelt in Jerusalem in the second quarter); and they spake to her to that effect. And she said unto them, Thus saith Jehovah, the God of Israel: Tell ye the man that sent you unto me, Thus saith Jehovah, Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, and upon the inhabitants thereof, even all the curses that are written in the book which they have read before the king of Judah. 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 is my wrath poured out upon this place, and it shall not be quenched. But unto the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of Jehovah thus shall ye say to him, Thus saith Jehovah, the God of Israel: As touching the words which thou hast heard, because thy heart was tender, and thou didst humble thyself before God, when thou heardest his words against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, and hast humbled thyself before me, and hast rent thy clothes, and wept before me; I also have heard thee, saith Jehovah. 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 place, and upon the inhabitants thereof."

E.M. Zerr:

2 Chronicles 34:22. Strong, in his lexicon, says a prophetess is an inspired woman. In all of the dispensations, God has occasionally used inspired women in his work. Miriam was a prophetess (Exodus 15:20), who was still under the Patriarchal Dispensation. Philip had four daughters who prophesied (Acts 21:9), and that was in the Christian Dispensation. Now we have Huldah as an inspired prophetess. But we must not forget that all such were temporary arrangements of God, and that when he finally got his Revelation to man complete, all miraculous methods of information were discontinued, and mankind was left solely to depend on the written Word which is perfect. (1 Corinthians 13:10; James 1:25.) The men appointed by the king went to this prophetess for information concerning the crisis that Josiah feared was at hand. The woman’s husband had the care of the sacred garments that were worn by the priests while in active service. She would very logically be dwelling nearby, so the text says it was in the college. The marginal reading is "second part," which agrees with the lexicon. It is from MISHNEH and the definition is, "a repetition, i. e. a duplicate (copy of a document), or a double (in amount) by implication a second (in order, rank, age, quality or location."--Strong. Moffatt’s translation gives it that she lived "in the second ward" of Jerusalem. It is thus clear: she was an inspired woman, yet occupied a secondary residence in the city where her husband had the important assignment of caring for the sacred garments.

2 Chronicles 34:23-24. Evil is a word with wide extent of meaning, including adversity and affliction. In this verse it has special reference to the things that had been warned about in the writings of Moses. Many of these are written in Deuteronomy 27, 28. Huldah did not give any new information as to the curses that were to come, only that the ones already written about were soon to be brought upon them.

2 Chronicles 34:25. All forms of service to false gods were displeasing to the true God, but the burning of incense seemed to be the highest indication of devotion, and was especially offensive to God. That was the reason that it was the special thing that distinguished the rights of the priests from all others. (2 Chronicles 26:18.) Shall not be quenched is a final decision, from which nothing can move the Lord. All of the reformative work of Josiah could not save the nation from the impending doom. But even in the midst of the conditions, and just as God was affirming that nothing could change his mind, he still admonished sinners to repent and seek the favor of God. It is natural to wonder if there were not some contradictions in the actions of the Lord. There were not, but we need to consider that God’s dealings with the nation as a whole was one thing, and those of individuals was another. For a more detailed discussion of this subject see my comments at 2 Kings 22:17.

2 Chronicles 34:26. This verse is for the personal benefit of the king. It will be an instance of the distinction referred to in the preceding verse. Let it be noted that Josiah was credited with seeking information of the Lord, even though he was applying to the prophetess. The thought is important; it signifies that the words of any of the persons who are inspired of God, are divine words, and he who disregards them is guilty of having disregarded the words of God and of disobeying them.

2 Chronicles 34:27. Heart was tender means it was penitent toward God. Had Josiah been resentful and inclined to justify himself and the nation, both he and the nation would have been punished. Instead, he performed the actions that were the accustomed signs of penitence in those days (the actions described in the body of this verse).

2 Chronicles 34:28. The doom of the nation was sealed, and all of the work of Josiah could not stop it. But on account of his personal righteousness, the Lord promised to delay the national calamity until after he was gone. Gather thee to thy fathers has the same meaning as "slept with his fathers," which is explained at 1 Kings 2:10. Gathered . . . in peace means that he will not die as a casualty of the great tribulation threatened upon the nation. It cannot mean that he would die "from natural causes," for 2 Chronicles 35:20-24 shows that he died by violence. The peace promised him consisted in the fact that his eyes would not see all the evil that was to be brought upon his beloved country.

Verses 29-33

2Ch 34:29-33

2 Chronicles 34:29-33

JOSIAH TURNS ISRAEL TO THE WORSHIP OF JEHOVAH

"Then the king sent and gathered together all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. And the king went up to the house of Jehovah, and all the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and the priests, and the Levites, and all the people, both great and small: and he read in their ears all the words of the book of the covenant that was found in the house of Jehovah. And the king stood in his place, and made a covenant before Jehovah, to walk after Jehovah, and to keep his commandments, and his testimonies, and his statutes, with all his heart, and with all his soul, to perform the words of the covenant that were written in this book. And he caused all that were found in Jerusalem and Benjamin to stand to it. And the inhabitants of Jerusalem did according to the covenant of God, the God of their fathers. And Josiah took away all the abominations out of all the countries that pertained to the children of Israel, and made all that were found in Israel to serve, even to serve Jehovah their God. All his days they departed not from following Jehovah, the God of their fathers."

The big thing here is the testimony of the prophetess Huldah. No believer in God and the inspiration of his holy prophets should allow any evil, unbelieving critic the privilege of imposing his godless opinion regarding what that book really was upon Christians in contradiction of the words of the prophetess Huldah. Of course, the evil critics make out the Chronicler in these chapters to have been an unqualified liar; but this writer insists that that allegation is itself the Big Lie and that it should be rejected by every thoughtful person.

Oh, but isn’t it "uncharitable" to suggest that any alleged scholar is a liar? To which we reply, "THEY ARE THE ONES WHO DECLARE THAT WE ARE HERE DEALING WITH A LIE, and this writer believes the liars are not the authors of the Bible but those who contradict it"! Our only difference with them is in identifying the liar!

E.M. Zerr:

2 Chronicles 34:29. Elders is not an official term, but refers to the older men among the people, and who would be expected to be leaders in judgment. Also, men who would be foremost in feeling the weight of responsibility for the actions of the nation. Josiah wished to have these leading citizens with him as he held a consultation with certain officers and the populace in general.

2 Chronicles 34:30. This was a solemn assembly. It was composed of all the men of Judah (that were present) and the local citizens of the city. The priests and Levites, which means that portion of the tribe that was of the priestly family, and the tribe as a whole. Great and small means old and young. There were many thousands of people in the land, so we know they could not all have gone up into the house of the Lord. The verse means, therefore, that all of the ranks or sections of the population that are named, were represented in the gathering. Josiah did not depend on his memory to present the case to the assemblage, but read the book in their ears.

2 Chronicles 34:31. stood in his place means he stood in a spot that had been prepared for him, to be in the sight and hearing of the crowd. The king personally made a covenant, signifying that he, for one, promised to walk after the Lord. Commandments refer to the law in general; testimonies are the words that had been attested and found to be correct; the statutes mean the fixed and formal enactments of the law. Heart and soul are practically the same, but the two words used together add emphasis to the declaration. To perform the words denotes that they not only heard the words read, but would proceed to put them into practice. It suggests the statement in James 1:22.

2 Chronicles 34:32. Josiah caused the audience to agree to the covenant he had made with God. They not only promised to do so, but the inspired writer states they did it.

2 Chronicles 34:33. This verse is a general statement of Josiah’s activities, including the work then in the future as well as that already done. The work of reformation that this righteous king performed was still in its infancy when this verse was composed, but the inspired writer gave a complete coverage of the work while on the subject. Note it says that all his days the people followed the Lord. We shall see them soon forget it after Josiah is gone.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on 2 Chronicles 34". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/2-chronicles-34.html.
 
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