Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Kings 22:8

Then Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the scribe, "I have found the book of the law in the house of the Lord ." And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan who read it.
New American Standard

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Hilkiah;   Josiah;   Law;   Scribe (S);   Secretary (Recordist);   Shaphan;   Thompson Chain Reference - Book;   Law;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Holy of Holies;   Kings;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Josiah;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Canon;   Josiah;   Scribes;   Zephaniah;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Deuteronomy, Theology of;   Kings, First and Second, Theology of;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Hilkiah;   Josiah;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Canon of Scripture;   Gemariah;   Hezekiah;   Hilkiah;   Jeremiah;   Kings, the Books of;   Pentateuch;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Ahikam;   Book(s);   High Priest;   House of the Rolls;   Jeremiah;   Josiah;   Kings, 1 and 2;   Masons;   Torah;   Zephaniah, Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Canon of the Old Testament;   Deuteronomy;   Gedaliah;   Hexateuch;   Hilkiah;   Huldah;   Idolatry;   Israel;   Jeremiah;   Jerusalem;   Josiah;   Shaphan;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Hilkiah ;   Josiah ;   Shaphan ;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Josiah;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Moses, the Man of God;   Kingdom of Judah;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Bible, the;   Canon of the Old Testament;   Deuteronomy;   Ezekiel;   Helkias;   Hilkiah;   Judah, Kingdom of;   Law in the Old Testament;   Libraries;   Teach;   Zephaniah, Book of;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Amon, King of Judah;  
Devotionals:
Every Day Light - Devotion for February 22;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

I have found the book of the law - Was this the autograph of Moses? It is very probable that it was, for in the parallel place; 2 Chronicles 34:14, it is said to be the book of the law of the Lord by Moses. It is supposed to be that part of Deuteronomy (28, 29, 30, and 31), which contains the renewing of the covenant in the plains of Moab, and which contains the most terrible invectives against the corrupters of God's word and worship.

The rabbins say that Ahaz, Manasseh, and Amon endeavored to destroy all the copies of the law, and this only was saved by having been buried under a paving-stone. It is scarcely reasonable to suppose that this was the only copy of the law that was found in Judea; for even if we grant that Ahaz, Manasseh, and Amon had endeavored to destroy all the books of the law, yet they could not have succeeded so as to destroy the whole. Besides, Manasseh endeavored after his conversion to restore every part of the Divine worship, and in this he could have done nothing without the Pentateuch; and the succeeding reign of Amon was too short to give him opportunity to undo every thing that his penitent father had reformed. Add to all these considerations, that in the time of Jehoshaphat teaching from the law was universal in the land, for he set on foot an itinerant ministry, in order to instruct the people fully: for "he sent to his princes to teach in the cities of Judah; and with them he sent Levites and priests; and they went about through all the cities of Judah, and taught the people, having the book of the Lord with them;" see 2 Chronicles 17:7-9. And if there be any thing wanting to show the improbability of the thing, it must be this, that the transactions mentioned here took place in the eighteenth year of the reign of Josiah, who had, from the time he came to the throne, employed himself in the restoration of the pure worship of God; and it is not likely that during these eighteen years he was without a copy of the Pentateuch. The simple fact seems to be this, that this was the original of the covenant renewed by Moses with the people in the plains of Moab, and which he ordered to be laid up beside the ark; ( Deuteronomy 31:26;); and now being unexpectedly found, its antiquity, the occasion of its being made, the present circumstances of the people, the imperfect state in which the reformation was as yet, after all that had been done, would all concur to produce the effect here mentioned on the mind of the pious Josiah.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 2 Kings 22:8". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/2-kings-22.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Some have concluded from this discovery, either that no “book of the law” had ever existed before, the work now said to have been “found” having been forged for the occasion by Hilkiah; or that all knowledge of the old “book” had been lost, and that a work of unknown date and authorship having been at this time found was accepted as the Law of Moses on account of its contents, and has thus come down to us under his name. But this is to see in the narrative far more than it naturally implies. If Hilkiah had been bold enough and wicked enough to forge, or if he had been foolish enough to accept hastily as the real “book of the law” a composition of which he really knew nothing, there were four means of detecting his error or his fraud:

(1) The Jewish Liturgies, which embodied large portions of the Law;

(2) The memory of living men, which in many instances may have extended to the entire five books, as it does now with the modern Samaritans;

(3) Other copies, entire or fragmentary, existing among the more learned Jews, or in the Schools of the prophets; and

(4) Quotations from the Law in other works, especially in the Psalmists and prophets, who refer to it on almost every page.

The copy of the Book of the Law found by Hilkiah was no doubt that deposited, in accordance with the command of God, by Moses, by the side of the ark of the covenant, and kept ordinarily in the holy of holies (marginal reference). It had been lost, or secreted, during the desecration of the temple by Manasseh, but had not been removed out of the temple building.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 2 Kings 22:8". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/2-kings-22.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

2 Kings 22:8

I have found the book of the law in the house of the Lord.

The finding of the book

Following two of the most notoriously wicked rulers, Josiah, the boy king of Judah, was a remarkable instance of independence of character and the differentiating influence of the grace of God. His individuality made a deep and lasting impress upon the history of the nation. One of the chief tasks he set himself was the repair of the temple--not done since the time of Joash, two hundred and fifty years before. It was during the progress of this work that the Book of the Law was discovered, a circumstance which was so powerfully to affect the action of the king and the future of his people.

I. The finding of the book constituted in itself a literary resurrection of the most remarkable description. There has been no lack of dogmatic opinions as to what the book was which was thus found. In the passages referred to above it is simply styled “a book” and “the book of the Law of the Lord given by Moses”; language perfectly consistent with the theory that it was the survivor of several, it may be many, previously existing copies but one doughty champion of the Reformation does not hesitate to identify it with the copy of the law that was preserved in the Ark of the Covenant, and others, as, for instance, the Fathers, and Wellhausen and his Scottish disciple, Robertson Smith, hold that it was none other than the Book of Deuteronomy. How significant the circumstances of this discovery! Are we to pronounce it a “happy accident”? or to refer it to some “Intelligent Cause”? We can recall similar incidents in the history of non-religious or (so-called) profane literature. The Nicomachean Ethics are said to have lain in the cellars of Scepsis, the king of Pergamos, for nearly two centuries after Aristotle had ceased to teach, when, rediscovered by men who loved philosophy, they were conveyed to Athens and then to Rome in the days of Cicero. Their publication stirred afresh the dormant spirit of the schools, and broke like a new morning upon the intellectual life of Europe. I have read, too, an even more romantic tale concerning a book of modern poetry familiar to most of us. Its author had occasionally quoted stanzas in the hearing of his friends, which he said belonged to poems he once had written, but never intended to publish. At last they prevailed upon him to divulge their secret. Years before he had lost the wife of-his youth, in whose praise they had been written, and he had vowed that they should be buried with her. Searching in her coffin they found the MS. pillowing her head, the golden tresses of which were so intertwined with its leaves that it was with the greatest difficulty they were separated and restored to a condition that admitted of their being printed. Instances of a similar character might be multiplied, and it may be asserted that the problem is essentially the same in any case; that the intrinsic character of the writings can have no bearing upon the interpretation to be put upon their rescue from oblivion. But surely the respective circumstances must be taken into account, and the relation of the writings to the spiritual life of mankind? The loss of the “Ethics” would have been a great loss, in some respects an irretrievable one; and had Rosetti’s House of Life still lain beneath the cerements of the tomb, English literature to-day would have been distinctly poorer, and the development of our poetry less perfect than it has been. But who will say that such works as these are essential to the higher life, the spiritual progress of humanity? Apart from its own solemn claim to immortality, the Word of the Lord is too closely and causatively associated with the future of the race, and it has outlived too many antagonistic influences, too many ages of unbelief and indifference, for us to conclude hastily that its presence amongst us now is but a lucky survival, to be accounted for by a theory of chances.

II. The discovery was connected with a great awakening of religious life. The story of its reception by the young king and his subjects, simply as it is told, thrills us as we read it. The great high-priestly penitence of the one for the general sin and the heroic resolution of the others as they “stood by the covenant” have in them not a little of the “moral sublime.” But we must not fail to lay to heart the enduring lessons it teaches us.

1. Look at the light which it throws upon the question of a “book-religion.” The history of that age illustrated the difference there is between being with a Bible and being without one. Of course it is allowed that the sense the expression “book-religion” often bears is false and mischievous enough. When Chillingworth shouted that “the Bible, and the Bible alone, was the religion of Protestants,” he probably attached a very different signification to “religion” than the term generally conveys; if he did not his error was not much less than that which he sought to overturn. Religion is of the heart--an inward and spiritual influence--a communion with God. But it is not independent of external standards, nor does it spring into existence unprovoked or unassisted. This, at any rate, is the teaching of history and of individual experience. Without the authoritative medium of Scripture Judah failed to advance upon the religion of the Fathers, in fact, fell further and further behind it. The beliefs of the people wanted fixity; their pious emotions were without definiteness or moral force; and they became a prey to the plausible falsehoods of heathenism. With the reappearance of the Book of the Law the religious spirit of the nation recovered itself, and the forward movement towards the great fulfilment was resumed. But it would be a mistake to suppose that a truth, even an important truth, is as such immortal. As John Stuart Mill has remarked, there are too many instances to the contrary for us to entertain such a comfortable belief. Not once only, but many times, have great religious or moral movements perished untimely for lack of a Scripture that could give their principles authoritative expression and permanence. On the other hand, the “book-religions” of the world have been the only persistent or widely influential ones, as witness the faiths of China, India, Persia, or Palestine. Once fixed in literary form, the creed of a people is open to general reference, becomes a public standard of opinion and of conduct, and in conjunction with the spiritual experience to which it is related, it of necessity advances and refines upon itself. In Fetichism alone have we a religion (if religion it can be called) without a book, which at the same time continues and reproduces itself! Proteus, like it springs up, a rank but stunted growth of diseased imaginations, wild vagaries, and sexual excesses. Yes, in the superstition that haunts the dark places of the earth, that either opposes morality or lies wholly outside of it, and that brands with such unmistakable inferiority its devotees, we have, par excellence, the religion without a book!

2. How independent Divine revelation is of the moral and intellectual conditions amidst which it appears. It is impossible for any candid inquirer to suppose that the dust-covered MS. so seasonably brought forth from its age-long rest was the product of forgery. Apart from the transparent self-contradiction of such a conception, there was no man of that day who could have achieved such a tour de force in literature or morals. How is the problem to be explained, that in an epoch of decadence and apostasy, there should have appeared at once so marvellous a transformation in public and private conduct? Evolution, however it may be manipulated, cannot solve the difficulty. Revelation, that glorious “anticipation of reason,” as Lessing conceived it to be, was in that instance, at any rate, no child of the Zeit-geist. The truth that could so regenerate a people must have had its origin in the supernatural and Divine.

3. Vital contact with Holy Scripture is essential to the enjoyment of its advantages. So commonplace are our notions of God’s ways that we are startled at the thought of His permitting such an utter and appalling ignorance of Divine things. It is a great mystery; yet we can see certain disciplinary reasons for it. To have a Bible is of little use if we do not read it; to read it, if it be not laid to heart. Of how many might it still be said, “The word of hearing did not profit them, because they were not united by faith with them that heard.” Only when in penitence and faith we “read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest” the teachings of the Bible, can it become a means of grace, a source of spiritual life and power. (A. F. Muir, M. A.)

The book that finds me

The striking fact in the incident is the reversal of the statement, is the deeper truth: the book found them. This stamped it as Divine. This is always the great fact concerning the Bible--it finds me.

I. In my deepest thought--to know God. The questions of sin and destiny and immortality, &c. The greatest minds have here found the answer. The ordinary man can know for himself. Every man can know for himself whether the Bible is the revelation of God. Give it his best thought.

II. In my deepest desire--to serve God, to do His will. “If any man wills to do my will he shall know truth”--must be lived to be realised. It costs something to live it. Obedience is the pathway to knowledge.

III. In my deepest need--to have God--my God--my Father. His love and mercy and care. Experience is the great teacher. Sorrows test. So personal--every line for each man. Reality of promises. (C. Meyers, D. D.)

Preservation of the Word of God

Wondrously has the Spirit of God watched over and preserved the Scriptures. The original copy of Magna Charta, on which hung all the greatest liberties of the British people, was once nearly destroyed. Sir Richard Cotton was in a tailor’s shop, and the great scissors were opened to cut it in pieces. The man into whose hands it had fallen knew nothing either of its nature or value. But it was rescued and remains to-day in the nation’s keeping as the priceless charter of its liberty. The Bible is the charter of the soul’s freedom, and many and many a time its enemies have sought to exterminate it, but God has watched over it, preserved it by many a miracle, and to-day it is declaring liberty to spiritual captives all over the world. (H. O. Mackey.)

The reviving word

John Stuart Mill tells how that at one time he had lost all interest in life, every blossom of joy and hope withered, but the charm and thrill of life were restored to him by the reading of Wordsworth’s poems. The gifted singer revived the weary, despondent philosopher. How much more shall the words of God which are “spirit and life” revive and gladden our souls! (Helps for Speakers.)

Discovery of truth

To take an old diamond out of the casket in which it has lain forgotten, is as good as to find a new diamond. So with truth. To strike men’s eyes with an old maxim, is as good as to think out a fresh one--nay, better; for the best truths are old. (Charles Buxton.)

Preservation of the Book

Just as Dr. Judson had finished translating the New Testament into Burmese he was cast into prison. His wife took the precious manuscript and buried it in the ground. But if left there it would soon decay, while to reveal its existence to its foes would surely lead to its destruction. So it was arranged that she should put it within a roll of cotton and bring it to him in the form of a pillow, so hard and poor that even the keeper of the prison did not discover it. After seven months this pillow, so uninviting externally, so precious to him, was taken away, and then his wife redeemed it by giving a better one in exchange. Some time after that he was hurried off to another prison, leaving everything behind him, and his old pillow was thrown into the prison yard, to be trodden underfoot as worthless cotton; but after a few hours one of the native Christians discovered the roll and took it home as a relic of the prisoner, and there, long afterwards, the manuscript was found within the cotton, complete and uninjured. Surely the hand of the Lord was interposed to save from destruction the fruit of years of toil, so important for those who were to read the Burmese Bible.

Chance literature

Many of the greatest discoveries in the era of the revival of learning were characterised by the merest chance. Cicero’s important treatise, De Republica, was discovered concealed beneath some monastic writing. Part of Livy was found between the leaves of a Bible, and a missing page in a battledore. Quintilian was picked out of an old coffer full of rubbish. The one copy of Tacitus which survived the general destruction of Roman libraries was found in a Westphalian monastery. An original Magna Charts, with all its seals and signatures was found by Cotton about to be cut up by a tailor into measures. Thurloe’s State papers fell out of a ceiling in Lincoln’s Inn. Many of Lady Montague’s letters were discovered by Disraeli in the office of an attorney, where they might have remained till this day but for the chance visit of the great bibliophile. And undoubtedly many hundreds of rare books and manuscripts and papers lie hidden away in the presses and cupboards of old manor houses, whence gradually they may be dragged into the light of day, to be destroyed, or to awaken universal interest.

Finding the Sinaitic manuscript

Dr. Tischendorf describes as follows the finding of the remarkable manuscript on Mount Sinai: “On the afternoon of the 4th February 1859, I was taking a walk with the steward of the convent in the neighbourhood, and as we returned, towards sunset, he begged me to take some refreshment with him in his cell. Scarcely had we entered the room, when he said: ‘And I, too, have read a Septuagint’--that is, a copy of the Greek translation made by the Seventy. And so saying, he took down from the corner of the room a bulky kind of volume, wrapped up in red cloth, and laid it before me. I unrolled the cover, and discovered, to my great surprise, not only those very fragments which fifteen years before I had taken out of the basket, but also other parts of the Old Testament, the New Testament complete, and, in addition, the Epistle of Barnabas, and a part of the Pastor of Hermas. Full of joy which this time I had the self-command to conceal from the steward, I asked, as if in a careless way, for permission to taker the manuscript into my sleeping-chamber, to look over it more at leisure. There by myself I could give way to the transport of joy which I felt. I knew that I held in my hand the most precious Biblical treasure in existence, a document whose age and importance exceeded that of all the manuscripts which I had ever examined during twenty years’ study of the subject. I cannot now, I confess, recall all the emotions which I felt in that exciting moment with such a diamond in my possession. Though my lamp was dim, and the night was cold, I sat down at once to transcribe the Epistle of Barnabas.”

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "2 Kings 22:8". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/2-kings-22.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

THE DISCOVERY OF THE BOOK AND THE MISSION TO HULDAH

"And Hilkiah the High Priest said unto Shaphan the scribe, I have found the book of the law in the house of Jehovah. And Hilkiah delivered the book to Shaphan, and he read it. 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 the workmen that have the oversight of the house of Jehovah. And Shaphan the scribe told the king, saying, Hilkiah the priest delivered me a book. And Shaphan read it before the king. And it came to pass when the king heard the words of the book of the law, that he rent his clothes. And the king commanded Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Achbor the son of Micaiah, and Shaphan the scribe, and Asaph the king's servant, saying, Go ye, inquire of Jehovah for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of the book that is found; for great is the wrath of Jehovah that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not hearkened unto the words of this book, to do according to do all that which is written concerning us."

Much of this paragraph was discussed in the excursus above, but two or three things should be emphasized. It is especially important to note that before the scribe read that book to the king, he first read the whole book himself (see the comment by Josephus above), enabling him to read only selected, special portions of it to the king. That this is true appears from Josiah's response and from his message to the prophetess. This effectively refutes the conclusion of radical critics who make what they call the brief time indicated for the reading the book the false basis of their judging the size of it to be very, very small. "Shaphan read only portions of the book to the king."[24] This conclusion is mandatory, "Because, where the author intended to say that the whole book was read, he used a different set of words altogether: `The king read in their ears all the words of the book of the covenant (2 Kings 23:2)."[25] Such was not said here.

"Go ye, inquire of Jehovah for me" (2 Kings 22:13). "From the times of Moses to David, inquiring of the Lord was by means of the Urim and Thummin; but after David's time, such inquiries were always made by the consultation of a prophet."[26] Jeremiah and other prophets were contemporary with Josiah, and it seems strange that Huldah, the prophetess hitherto unknown, was the person through whom the inquiry was made. As Dentan said, "This is a useful reminder of the truth that posterity often has a more accurate judgment of a man's importance than do his contemporaries."[27] A more likely explanation, however, is that Huldah lived in Jerusalem (which is here stated), whereas Jeremiah lived in Anathoth.

It should be noted especially that Josiah's inquiry had nothing whatever to do with whether or not "the book" was authentic; there could have been no doubt whatever in any person's mind about that. The question in Josiah's mind regarded whether or not the great curses and penalties foretold by the prophet Moses as the consequence of Israel's apostasy were due for an immediate fulfillment. Huldah's answer indicated that she understood exactly that as the king's question.

Copyright Statement
Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on 2 Kings 22:8". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/2-kings-22.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And Hilkiah the high priest said unto Shaphan the scribe,.... Not at the first time of his message to him, but afterwards that he attended on him upon the same business; after the high priest had examined the temple to know what repairs it wanted, and where:

I have found the book of the law in the house of the Lord; some think this was only the book of Deuteronomy, and some only some part of that; rather the whole Pentateuch, and that not a copy of it, but the very autograph of Moses, written with his own hand, as it seems from 2 Chronicles 34:14. Some say he found it in the holy of holies, on the side of the ark; there it was put originally; but, indeed, had it been there, he might have found it before, and must have seen it, since, as high priest, he entered there once every year; more probably some pious predecessor of his had taken it from thence in a time of general corruption, as in the reign of Manasseh, and hid it in some private place, under a lay of stones, as Jarchi, in some hole in the wall, which upon search about repairs was found there:

and Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, and he read it; and though there might be some copies of it in private hands, yet scarce; and perhaps Shaphan had never seen one, at least a perfect one, or however had never read it through, as now he did.

Copyright Statement
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 22:8". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/2-kings-22.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

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

(e) This was the copy that Moses left them, as it appears in (2 Chronicles 34:14), which either by the negligence of the priests had been lost, or else by the wickedness of idolatrous kings had been abolished.
Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 2 Kings 22:8". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/2-kings-22.html. 1599-1645.

Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary

Hilkiah the high priest (cf. 2 Chronicles 34:15) said, “I have found the book of the law in the house of Jehovah.” התּורה ספר, the book of the law (not a law-book or a roll of laws), cannot mean anything else, either grammatically or historically, than the Mosaic book of the law (the Pentateuch), which is so designated, as is generally admitted, in the Chronicles, and the books of Ezra and Nehemiah.

(Note: Thenius has correctly observed, that “ the expression shows very clearly, that the allusion is to something already known, not to anything that had come to light for the first time; ” but is he greatly mistaken when, notwithstanding this, he supposes that what we are to understand by this is merely a collection of the commandments and ordinances of Moses, which had been worked up in the Pentateuch, and more especially in Deuteronomy. For there is not the smallest proof whatever that any such collection of commandments and ordinances of Moses, or, as Bertheau supposes, the collection of Mosaic law contained in the three middle books of the Pentateuch, or Deuteronomy 1-28 (according to Vaihinger, Reuss, and others), was ever called התורה ספר, or that any such portions had had an independent existence, and had been deposited in the temple. These hypotheses are simply bound up with the attacks made upon the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch, and ought to be given up, since De Wette, the great leader of the attack upon the genuineness of the Pentateuch, in §162 a of the later editions of his Introduction to the Old Testament, admits that the account before us contains the first certain trace of the existence of our present Pentateuch. The only loophole left to modern criticism, therefore, is that Hilkiah forged the book of the law discovered by him under the name of Moses, - a conclusion which can only be arrived at by distorting the words of the text in the most arbitrary manner, turning “ find ” into “ forge, ” but which is obliged either to ignore or forcibly to set aside all the historical evident of the previous existence of the whole of the Pentateuch, including Deuteronomy.)

The finding of the book of the law in the temple presupposes that the copy deposited there had come to light. But it by no means follows from this, that before its discovery there were no copies in the hands of the priests and prophets. The book of the law that was found was simply the temple copy,

(Note: Whether the original written by Moses ' own hand, as Grotius inferred from the משה ביד of the Chronicles, or a later copy of this, is a very superfluous question; for, as Hävernick says, “ even in the latter case it was to be regarded just in the same light as the autograph, having just the same claims, since the temple repaired by Josiah was the temple of Solomon still. ” )

deposited, according to Deuteronomy 31:26, by the side of the ark of the covenant, which had been lost under the idolatrous kings Manasseh and Amon, and came to light again now that the temple was being repaired. We cannot learn, either from the account before us, or from the words of the Chronicles (2 Chronicles 34:14), “when they were taking out the money brought into the house of Jehovah, Hilkiah found the book of the law of the Lord,” in what part of the temple it had hitherto lain; and this is of no importance so far as the principal object of the history is concerned. Even the words of the Chronicles simply point out the occasion on which the book was discovered, and do not affirm that it had been lying in one of the treasure-chambers of the temple, as Josephus says. The expression ויּקראהוּ does not imply that Shaphan read the whole book through immediately.

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The Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary is a derivative of a public domain electronic edition.
Bibliographical Information
Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on 2 Kings 22:8". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/kdo/2-kings-22.html. 1854-1889.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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.

The book — That original book of the law of the Lord, given or written by the hand of Moses, as it is expressed, 2 Chronicles 34:14, which by God's command was put beside the ark, Deuteronomy 31:26, and probably taken from thence and hid, by the care of some godly priest, when some of the idolatrous kings of Judah persecuted the true religion, and defaced the temple, and (which the Jewish writers affirm) burnt all the copies of God's law which they could find. It was now found among the rubbish, or in some secret place.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 22:8". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/2-kings-22.html. 1765.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

THE BIBLE—LOST OR FOUND?

‘And Hilkiah the priest said unto Shaphan the scribe, I have found the book of the law in the house of the Lord.’

2 Kings 22:8

There is an apparent discrepancy between the recorded facts of the reign of Josiah and the indications of his inward temperament and disposition which are given to us. The facts of his reign, if we could come to their study independently, would lead us to characterise him as an ardent, sanguine, energetic man. All seems consistent with this view; his zeal for religion, his labour in the restoration of the Temple and the reformation of the kingdom, and the warlike spirit which forced a collision with the power of Egypt and cost him his life at Megiddo. Activity, forwardness, and enterprise seem to mark the man, quite as distinctly as the deep religious principle which hallowed his doings.

Such would be the conclusion from the data of a human historian. But here the superhuman element comes in to represent his real character in a very different light. Huldah the prophetess is appropriately introduced to speak of him as tender, sensitive, and feminine in character, and to promise as his best reward that he should be taken away early from the evil to come.

I. During the restoration of the Temple a sensation was produced by the discovery of the original roll of the Law, which had been put into the ark eight centuries before.—The reading of the book produced panic and dismay because of its contents, its threatenings, the evil denounced in it against the sins of the house of Judah. King and people alike seem to have been ignorant of the very existence of their Bible, as a book containing the revelation of God’s wrath against sinners.

II. This story touches not only the nation or the Church; it touches every one of us.—Are there not many of us who have lost the book of life—lost it how much more wilfully, how much more guiltily, because in so many senses we have it? If we acquire the habit of studying the Bible merely or chiefly with scientific or literary views, of prying into it, dissecting it, criticising the word because it is man’s, as if it were not also God’s, can we help fearing that we may be losing the word of life?

III. Notice the result of the discovery of the Book of the Law.—The king rent his clothes, and sent to inquire of the Lord for himself and his people concerning the words of the book that was found. Let us also seek for deep and living repentance for the sin which our ignorance has been.

—Dean Scott.

Illustration

‘The book had been lost. Strange to say, too, it had been lost in the Lord’s House. The way it came was this—the people had given up the worship of God, and naturally they gave up God’s book. When they were worshipping idols they had no inclination for the holy law. When the book was used no longer, it easily got lost. The Bible is often lost in modern life. One may have a very nice copy of the Bible bound in morocco, and may even prize it as a handsome book, perhaps as a present, and keep it carefully, and yet really have no Bible. The Bible we do not read, take into our heart, and obey, is a lost Bible to us.

There are many persons who once loved the Bible and used it, but who have now lost it. They never open it. They pay no heed to its commands. Their hearts have become filled with other things; there is no room for God’s Word. Sometimes the book is entirely given up and sneered at. There are homes where the Bible was once a living book, highly prized, but where it is now lost. There is no more family worship. There have been times in the history of the world when even in the Church the Bible was a lost book.’

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Nisbet, James. "Commentary on 2 Kings 22:8". Church Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/2-kings-22.html. 1876.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

This is a most interesting verse. It should seem very plain that during the long period that idolatry had prevailed in the land, not only the temple had been suffered to fall into ruins; but the very word of God had been so disregarded, that not a copy of it was among the people. It was God's command by Moses, that every king should himself write out a copy of it: Deuteronomy 17:18. And there was a further command, beside that which concerned the person of the king in studying the law of God himself; it was to be publicly read every seventh year: Deuteronomy 31:10-13. Reader! to what a deplorable state was the children of Israel reduced at this time, when so far from reading in the word of God; the very sacred book itself they had lost. Oh! ye that disregard your bibles, that pass by the reverence ye owe to the holy word of God. Behold here the dreadful effects of it. My soul! doth God's sacred word contain the words of eternal life, even Jesus and his great salvation? And is this precious treasure disregarded, slighted, overlooked by me? Do I suffer that holy word which is able to make me wise unto salvation; do I suffer if from Sabbath to sabbath to lie by on the shelf, until my sentence of everlasting condemnation might be, written upon the dust of it which lies upon the cover! Reader! I pray, God that this may never be your case nor mine. But what a mercy was it in God, to cause this copy which Hilkiah found to be secured during the whole reign of idolatry. Whose blessed hand was it that was thus commissioned of the Lord to put it in so secure a place in the temple? Let his memory be ever blessed. Some have thought that it was Moses, because we read that he commanded Joshua after he had finally read to the people the book of the law, to put it in the side of the ark as a witness for after ages, Deuteronomy 31:24-27. But Reader! let it have been whom it may, have you thought of the mercy you and I have derived from it? Certain it is, that had this copy not been found, the hand that now writes; and the eye that reads those observations upon it, would never have known the one nor the other. Oh! blessed God! how evident from hence is it, even if there were no other testimonies, how evident from hence is it, that thou hast given us those scriptures of truth, from thy graciously watching over it! Oh! Lord, how gracious art thou, that so long a period of idolatry did not wear out thy long-suffering and patience! Oh! Lord, grant that I may esteem thy precious word more than my necessary food, and that it may be my study all the day. And let mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I may be occupied in thy word, I cannot help detaining the Reader with one observation more on this interesting verse, just to remark the distinguishing mercy of the Lord towards Hilkiah, that he should be the highly favored one to discover this hidden treasure. Reader! is not that minister of Jesus peculiarly blessed, whom the Lord honors with his secrets, and whom our Jesus commissions to bring out of his treasury things new and old for his household's use? Think, Reader! what joy the discovery of this blessed book must have given to Hilkiah, when he cried out in holy transport, 'I have found the book of the law in the house of the Lord'. And let that soul describe his joy, for no language of another can express it, when from the word of God he can say, I have found Him of whom Moses and the prophets did write, Jesus of Nazareth! John 1:45, Reader! where was this book found? Was it not in the temple? Where shall you and I find Jesus, but in his ordinances, his word, his house of prayer!

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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on 2 Kings 22:8". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/2-kings-22.html. 1828.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

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.

Ver. 8. I have found the book of the law.] Authenticum Mosis autographum; Deuteronomy; or perhaps the whole law in Moses’s own handwriting: and by him caused to be put by the side of the ark, as a κειμηλιον. [Deuteronomy 31:26] This was not venerandae rubiginis, as some books are, sed summae authoritatis monumentum. The Turks themselves do so reverence Moses, that if they find but a paper wherein any part of the pentateuch is written, they presently take it up, and kiss it. This precious piece might in the confusions of Manasseh and Amon be hidden or mislaid; and now it is brought to the king as a rare jewel, and a good reward of his zeal in repairing the temple. R. Solomon saith that wicked Manasseh sought to abolish the law, as point-blank against his idolatry and cruelty. Therefore some good priests had hid this original copy, which now came to light and sight. For it is not credible that this good king had never read the law till now. But that he had not so thoroughly read and considered the comminations of the law as now he did, is evident. But what a shame is it, that Bibles, now so common, are so little set by amongst us: when our devout forefathers would have purchased some few chapters at a great rate! It is a sad complaint that Moulin maketh (a) of the French Protestants: whilst they burnt us, saith he, for reading the Scriptures, we burnt with zeal to be reading them. Now with our liberty is bred also negligence and disesteem of God’s word.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 22:8". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/2-kings-22.html. 1865-1868.

Sermon Bible Commentary

2 Kings 22:8

(with 2 Chronicles 34:15)

There is an apparent discrepancy between the recorded facts of the reign of Josiah and the indications of his inward temperament and disposition which are given to us. The facts of his reign, if we could come to their study independently, would lead us to characterize him as an ardent, sanguine, energetic man. All seems consistent with this view: his zeal for religion, his labour in the restoration of the Temple and the reformation of the kingdom, and the warlike spirit which forced a collision with the power of Egypt and cost him his life at Megiddo. Activity, forwardness, and enterprise seem to mark the man, quite as distinctly as the deep religious principle which hallowed his doings.

Such would be the conclusion from the data of a human historian. But here the superhuman element comes in to represent his real character in a very different light. Huldah the prophetess is appropriately introduced to speak of him as tender, sensitive, and feminine in character, and to promise as his best reward that he should be taken away early from the evil to come.

I. During the restoration of the Temple a sensation was produced by the discovery of the original roll of the Law, which had been put into the ark eight centuries before. The reading of the book produced panic and dismay because of its contents, its threatenings, the evil denounced in it against the sins of the house of Judah. King and people alike seem to have been ignorant of the very existence of their Bible, as a book containing the revelation of God's wrath against sinners.

II. This story touches not only the nation or the Church; it touches every one of us. Are there not many of us who have lost the book of life—lost it how much more wilfully, how much more guiltily, because in so many senses we have it? If we acquire the habit of studying the Bible merely or chiefly with scientific or literary views, of prying into it, dissecting it, criticising the word because it is man's, as if it were not also God's, can we help fearing that we may be losing the word of life?

III. Notice the result of the discovery of the book of the Law. The king rent his clothes, and sent to inquire of the Lord for himself and his people concerning the words of the book that was found. Let us also seek for deep and living repentance for the sin which our ignorance has been.

R. Scott, University Sermons, p. 325.


References: 2 Kings 22:11.—S. Wilberforce, Sermons before the University of Oxford, p. 175. 2 Kings 22:12, 2 Kings 22:13.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xii., No. 704.

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Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on 2 Kings 22:8". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sbc/2-kings-22.html.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

2 Kings 22:8. I have found the book of the law This is generally agreed to have been the archetype written by Moses, and by him ordered to be deposited with the ark, in the most holy place, but which some pious high-priest had caused to be thus hid in the reign of Ahaz or Manasseh, to prevent its being destroyed with all the other copies of it; for it plainly appears by the tenour of the history, that this was the only perfect one left. But it is much disputed, whether it was the whole Pentateuch, emphatically called התורה hattorah, the law, or only Deuteronomy, or even barely the 28th, 29th, 30th, and 31st chapters of it. Josephus, by calling it "the sacred books of Moses," seems to declare entirely for the former; others have declared for the latter, because the book of Deuteronomy is a kind of repetition or epitome of the Mosaic law. Calmet, among some others, holds the last of these three opinions, and thinks that nothing more is meant here than that short luminary which is found in the above-mentioned chapters of that book, in which are contained all the blessings and curses that so alarmed the pious monarch. But if either this short epitome, or even the whole Deuteronomy, was all that the high-priest found hid in the temple, when was the rest of the Pentateuch recovered? If it be said, that there might be some copies of this last still extant, then this luminary must have been in it; and it would be surprising that some one or more should not have been brought to so good a king, after he had given such signal proofs of his piety and zeal; and if any such had been presented to him, he must be supposed to have neglected the reading of it, or he could never have been under such surprize and fear at the reading of that which the high-priest sent to him. We therefore think, with the far greater number of Jews and Christians, that it was the whole Pentateuch; and that there might be still several imperfect and mutilated copies dispersed here and there, which might be now rectified by this prototype, after it was thus brought to light. If it be asked, how the king could run over those five books so quickly as to come presently to the blessings and curses; it may be answered, that as their manner was to write upon volumes of a considerable length, which were rolled up round one or two sticks, it might so happen, that these last chapters were on the outside; and that the king, impatient to know the contents of it, might have curiosity to read in it, before he had unfolded a round or two. We are, however, very far from rejecting the notion of the Jews, who believe that Providence directed him to that very part. Something like this we find happened under the Gospel, Luke 4:17. Acts 8:28; Acts 8:40. What appears most surprising is, that all the copies of the Scripture, which the good king Hezekiah seems to have caused to be written and dispersed about the kingdom, (see Proverbs 25:1.) should have so soon vanished, that neither Josiah, nor the high-priest, had ever seen any of them till this one was brought to light. All that can be said in this case is, that Manasseh, during the former part of his reign, had made such havock of them, that if there were any left, they were only in a few private hands, who preserved them with the utmost caution and secrecy. See the Universal History.

REFLECTIONS.—One merciful respite more is given to idolatrous Judah; another good king, to prove them, if yet they will bring forth fruit, before the axe is laid to the root of the tree.

1. Though Josiah was very young, but eight years of age, when he came to the crown, he gave very early symptoms of uncommon piety, and all his days the fruit answered the promising blossoms. Note; Early piety is peculiarly pleasing and promising.

2. As soon as he was fit to take the reins of government into his own hand, he began to reform the interrupted worship, and repair the decayed temple of God. Nearly the same method seems to be taken, as in the days of Joash, chap. 12: to collect the money, and the same integrity appears in the persons employed. Note; They who delight in the temple-service, may be trusted for their fidelity and honesty in the repairs of it.

3. In the repairs of the temple, the book of the law was happily found, generally supposed to be the very copy, Deuteronomy 31:26 that Moses laid up in the most holy place. Note; (1.) The preservation of the inspired writings through so many ages, and amidst so many enemies, is a standing witness to their divine authority. (2.) When God's word is thrust into a corner, unnoticed by, or cruelly withheld from the people, no marvel that iniquity abounds. (3.) They who have never read through all the book of God, know not how much it contains to make them tremble, or how much to comfort them: and yet how many christians, yea, protestants, are thus negligent, and never once in their lives read God's word entire!

4. Hilkiah, having first read the book himself to Shaphan, desires him to convey it to the king, and read it in his ears, as it contained matters so deeply and nearly affecting him. Note; (1.) Reading their Bibles, is among the best employments in which kings can be engaged. (2.) They are inexcusable, who have this sacred book in their hands, and continue wilfully ignorant of its contents.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 2 Kings 22:8". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/2-kings-22.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

The book of the law; that original

book of the law of the Lord, given or written by the hand of Moses, as it is expressed, 2 Chronicles 34:14, which by God’s command was put beside the ark, Deuteronomy 31:26, and probably taken from thence and hid, by the care of some godly priest, when some of the idolatrous kings of Judah persecuted the true religion, and defaced the temple, and (which the Jewish writers affirm) burnt all the copies of God’s law which they could find, and now found among the rubbish, or in some secret place.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Kings 22:8". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/2-kings-22.html. 1685.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

2 Kings 22:8. I have found the book of the law — This is generally agreed to have been the archetype written by Moses, and by him ordered to be deposited with the ark in the most holy place; but which some pious high- priest had caused to be thus hid in the reign of Ahaz or Manasseh, to prevent its being destroyed with the other copies of it; for it plainly appears, by the tenor of the history, that there were few, if any others, left. But it is much disputed, whether it was the whole Pentateuch, emphatically called ה תורה, he torah, the law, or only Deuteronomy, or even barely the 28th, 29th, 30th, and 31st chapters of that book. Josephus, by calling it the sacred books of Moses, seems to declare entirely for the former; as do far the greater number of Jews and Christians. If it be asked how Shaphan, reading to the king, could run over those five books so quickly as to come presently to the blessings and curses; it may be answered, that as their manner was to write upon volumes of a considerable length, which were rolled up round one or two sticks, it might so happen, that these last chapters proved to be on the outside, and that the king, impatient to know the contents of it, might desire to have them read before he had unfolded a round or two. Or we may suppose, with the Jews, that Providence directed him to that very part. Something like this we find happened under the gospel, Luke 4:17; Acts 18:28, &c. What appears most surprising is, that all the copies of the Scriptures, which the good King Hezekiah seems to have caused to be written and dispersed about the kingdom, (see Proverbs 25:1,) should be so soon vanished, that neither Josiah nor the high-priest had ever seen any of them till this one was brought to light. All that can be said in this case is, that Manasseh, during the former part of his reign, had made such a havoc of them, that if there were any left, they were only in a few private hands, who preserved them with the utmost caution and secrecy. See Dodd. and Univ. Hist. What a providence was this, that this book of the law was still preserved! And what a providence it is that the whole book of God is preserved to us! If the Holy Scriptures had not been of God, they would not have been in being at this day. God’s care of the Bible is a plain proof of his interest in it. We may observe further here, it was a great instance of God’s favour, and a token for good to Josiah and his people, that the book of the law was thus seasonably brought to light, to direct and quicken that blessed reformation which Josiah had begun. It is a sign God has mercy in store for a people, when he magnifies his law among them, and makes that honourable, and furnishes them with the means of increasing in Scripture knowledge. The translating of the Scriptures into the vulgar tongues was the glory, strength, and joy of the reformation from popery. And now, (in the year 1811,) the plans laid, and, in a great degree, carried into execution, by the British and Foreign Bible Society, to translate the Scriptures into the vernacular language of every nation upon earth, and to give them to every kindred, and tongue, and people, is at once the honour and the happiness of the present age, and will form one of the most glorious eras of the British empire. It is worthy of observation also, that Josiah and his people were engaged in a good work, namely, repairing the temple, when they found the book of the law. They that do their duty according to their knowledge, shall have their knowledge increased. To him that hath shall be given. The book of the law was an abundant recompense for all their care and cost in repairing the temple.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Kings 22:8". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/2-kings-22.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

The book of the law, (that is, Deuteronomy.; Challoner.; St. Chrysostom, hom. 9. in Matthew) or the Pentateuch. (Josephus) --- Achaz, Manasses, and Amon, had burnt (R. Solomon) as many copies as they could, (Haydock) but some zealous priests had concealed this copy, in a box, in the wall of the temple, (Lyranus) or in the treasury adjoining it. The very hand writing of Moses, containing the record of the covenant, (or the 28, 29, 30, and 31st chapters of Deuteronomy) which was placed in (Calmet) or beside the ark, was now happily discovered. (Haydock) --- It seems it had been misplaced, as the ark itself had been removed, 2 Paralipomenon xxiv. 14., and xxxv. 3. This venerable monument, and the dreadful menaces which it denounced, made the deepest impression upon all, as we should read the autographs of St. Matthew, &c., with far greater respect and emotion than we do the printed copies. It is not at all probably that all the books of Scripture had been destroyed, as there were always some religious souls in both kingdoms; and if some kings had already made the impious attempt, (Haydock) of which, however, they are never accused in Scripture, they would not have been able to carry their malicious designs into effect. Josias had, before his 18th year, made many excellent regulations, conformably to the law, which was well understood, and carefully preserved by the priests and prophets, (Calmet) 2 Paralipomenon xvii. 9. --- Read it. Scribes were generally chosen from among the Levites. (Calmet)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 2 Kings 22:8". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/2-kings-22.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

the book of the law. i.e. the original copy of the Pentateuch, laid up by the side of the Ark (Deuteronomy 31:24-26). Probably secreted during the reigns of Manasseh (2 Kings 21:16) and Amon (2 Kings 21:21). See App-47.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 2 Kings 22:8". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/2-kings-22.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

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 ... said ... I have found the book of the law ... - i:e., the law of Moses-the Pentateuch. It was the temple copy, which having been laid (Deuteronomy 31:25-26 beside the ark in the most holy place and during the ungodily reins of Manasseh and Amon-perhaps under Ahaz, when the temple itself had been profaned by idols, and the ark also (2 Chronicles 35:3) removed from its site-was somehow lost, and was now found again during the repair of the temple (Keil, in loco). The Gemara says that it had been probably deposited in a secret recess of the house of God, by some faithful priest, in those times of abounding iniquity, when its publicity might have endangered the very existence of that best treasure of the sanctuary. Delivered by Hilkiah, the discoverer to Shaphan, the scribe, it was by the latter shown and read to the king. It is thought, with great probability, that the passage read to the king, and by which the royal mind was so greatly excited, was a portion of Deuteronomy-the 28th, 29th, and 30th chapters-in which is recorded a renewal of the national covenant, and an enumeration of the terrible threats and curses denounced against all who violated the law, whether prince or people.

The impressions of grief and terror which the reading produced on the mind of Josiah have seemed to many unaccountable. And as it is certain, from the extensive and familiar knowledge displayed by the prophets, that there were numbers of other copies in popular circulation, the king must have known its sacred contents in some degree. But he might have been a stranger to the passage read to him; or the reading of it might, in the special circumstances, have found a way to his heart in a manner that he never felt before. His strong faith in the Divine Word, and his painful consciousness that the woeful and long-continued apostasies of the people had exposed them to the infliction of the judgment denounced, must have come with overwhelming force on the heart of so pious a prince.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Kings 22:8". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/2-kings-22.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(8) I have found.—Literally, the book of the Torah have I found. The definite form of the expression proves that what the high priest found was something already known; it was not a book, but the book of the Law. How little the critics are agreed as to the precise character and contents of the book in question is well shown by Thenius: “Neither the entire then existing Scripture (Sebastian Schmidt), nor the Pentateuch (Josephus, Clericus, Von Lengerke, Keil, Bähr,) nor the ordered collection of Mosaic laws contained in Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers (Bertheau), nor the book of Exodus (Gramberg), nor the book of Deuteronomy (Reuss, Ewald, Hitzig) is to be understood by this expression. All these must have been brought into their present shape at a later time. What is meant is a collection of the statutes and ordinances of Moses, which has been worked up (verarbeitet) in the Pentateuch, and especially in Deuteronomy. This work is referred to by Jeremiah (Jeremiah 11:1-17),and was called “The Book of the Covenant” (2 Kings 23:2). According to 2 Chronicles 17:9 it already existed in the time of Jehoshaphat (comp. 2 Kings 11:12, “the Testimony”); was probably preserved in the Ark (Deuteronomy 31:26), along with which in the reign of Manasseh it was put on one side. When after half a century of disuse it was found again by the high priest in going through the chambers of the Temple with a view to the intended repairs, in the Ark which, though cast aside, was still kept in the Temple, it appeared like something new, because it had been wholly forgotten (for a time), so that Shaphan could say: ‘Hilkiah has given me a book’ (2 Kings 22:10).” (See also the Notes on 2 Chronicles 34:14.)

And he read it.—Thenius thinks that this indicates that the book was of no great size, as Shaphan made his report to the king immediately after the execution of his commission (2 Kings 22:9). But neither does 2 Kings 22:9 say immediately, nor does this phrase necessarily mean that Shaphan read the book through.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 22:8". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/2-kings-22.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

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.
I have found
This certainly was a genuine copy of the divine law, and probably the autograph of Moses, as it is said, in the parallel place of Chronicles, to be the book of the law of the Lord by Moses. It is not probable that this was the only copy of the law in the land, or that Josiah had never before seen the book of Moses; but the fact seems to be, that this was the original of the covenant renewed by Moses in the plains of Moab, and now being unexpectedly found, its antiquity, the occasion of its being made, the present circumstances of the people, the imperfect state in which the reformation was as yet, after all that had been done, would all concur to produce the effect here mentioned on the mind of the pious Josiah.
Deuteronomy 31:24-26; 2 Chronicles 34:14,15-28
Reciprocal: Deuteronomy 17:18 - out of that which;  Deuteronomy 31:26 - in the side;  Joshua 8:31 - as it is;  2 Kings 23:2 - the book;  2 Kings 23:24 - the book;  Ezra 7:1 - Hilkiah;  Jeremiah 29:3 - Shaphan;  Ezekiel 8:11 - Shaphan

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Kings 22:8". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/2-kings-22.html.