Click to donate today!
Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary
New American Standard Version
Bible Study Resources
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;
Verse 2 Kings 22:8. 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 (Deuteronomy 28:0, Deuteronomy 29:0, Deuteronomy 30:0, and Deuteronomy 31:0), 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 endeavoured 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.
These files are public domain.
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 2 Kings 22:8". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/2-kings-22.html. 1832.
Josiah repairs the temple (22:1-20)
Included in Josiah’s reformation was a project for extensive repairs to the temple, which had been damaged during the reigns of Manasseh and Amon (22:1-7). By this time Assyrian power had weakened considerably, which enabled Josiah to carry out his reformation program without interference from outside. He even extended his power into the conquered territory of the former northern kingdom (see 23:15,19; 2 Chronicles 34:6-7).
During the fifty-seven years when Manasseh and Amon reigned, a new generation had grown up in Judah who knew nothing of the law of God as given to Israel by Moses. When workers on the temple found some scrolls of this long-forgotten law, Josiah, on reading the scrolls, was shocked to learn how far Judah had turned away from God (8-13). He sent messengers to ask a prophet what to do, and received the reply that, despite his personal faith, Judah was doomed. But he could continue his reforming work, so that the judgment might be postponed to the reign of some future king (14-20).
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on 2 Kings 22:8". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bbc/2-kings-22.html. 2005.
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." 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)." 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." 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." 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.
Coffman's Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on 2 Kings 22:8". "Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/2-kings-22.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.
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.
These files are public domain.
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.
And Josiah was only eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned for thirty-one years in Jerusalem. And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD ( 2 Kings 22:1-2 ).
Now at this point you need to read the prophecy of Jeremiah, because here is where Jeremiah began his prophecies. And Josiah was a good king as far as spiritual reforms went. However, at this point, the people have been so corrupted as the result of Manasseh that with the people, the born again movement became a popular movement because the king said he was born again. And so it became a popularized movement among the media, but it wasn't a genuine movement within their hearts. It wasn't a true experience.
And so the temple was all of a sudden full of people again. Everybody, it was the popular vogue thing to do, to go to the temple. And so God said to Jeremiah, "Go down to the temple, the gate of the temple and as the people are passing through it in the temple, cry out, 'Trust not in lying vanities saying, The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord are these. The lies, emptiness.' They're not really serving God." And of course, Jeremiah got into all kinds of trouble, because of the things God told him to tell these kings. Thrown in dungeons. Thrown in the prison. Ran into a lot of difficulty, but this is when Jeremiah began his prophecy, and now to the end of the kingdom unto the four kings. Jeremiah prophesies under Josiah here, and then unto Jehoahaz and Jehoiakim and Jehoiachin and Zedekiah, actually. But Jeremiah doesn't mention Jehoiachin because his reign was so short.
So this is the period in which Jeremiah is prophesying, and so when you read Jeremiah, you got to bring your mind back to this point in history so that you'll understand better the...you know, as you go through the Bible more and more, as you start to put it together, it helps in understanding. You'll understand Jeremiah better if you can put it with this portion of history and you'll understand this portion of history better if you'll read the commentary on it by Jeremiah. So that's where the Bible starts to come in together and the cumulative knowledge of the Bible begins to really develop. And you really begin to understand the thing a lot better as you take these pieces of the puzzle and you start fitting them together. You begin to get the whole picture. You know, as long as you're just looking at one little piece of the puzzle, you're saying, "I don't know where that goes. How does that fit? It's a weird shape and those are weird colors." And you study it and you can study for a long time and still not understand it very well.
But when you start putting and linking the pieces together and the faces and everything begins to take shape, it's, "Oh yeah; see that, alright," you know. And it begins, but you've got to start putting up the pieces together. So when you get to Jeremiah, put it back to here or jump ahead. It won't hurt you to read Isaiah and Jeremiah this week. If you take the time that you're going to spend this week reading the daily newspaper, you can probably read both books.
Now what you're going to gain from reading the daily newspaper is deep depression and discouragement and despair as you see what a mess the world is in. But if you read Jeremiah and Isaiah, you'll get all kinds of hope. You'll see that even in the darkness God is there; God is working and God is promising a light at the end of the dark tunnel.
So Josiah began to reign. He began in reforms, the rebuilding of the temple. The temple, of course, under Manasseh have been you put all these altars in the courts and in the temple itself, and they tore all these things out. They started cleaning up the temple. They took the money that was brought into the temple and they used it to begin to repair the breaches that were in the house of the Lord. And as they were repairing the temple, they came across the copy of the law of the Lord. Now the law have been lost for a long time. They didn't even know the law of the Lord. And some guy came across a copy of the law of the Lord. And so the priest began to read the law of the Lord, and as they began to read, they realized, "Oh, how we have disobeyed the law of God!"
Came to pass, when the king heard the words of the book of the law, that he tore his clothes. He said, Go, inquire of the LORD for me, and for the people, for all of Judah, concerning the words of this book that you found: for great is the wrath of the LORD that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not hearkened to the words of this book, to do according unto all that which is written concerning us ( 2Ki 22:11 , 2 Kings 22:13 ).
So they came to Huldah the prophetess who was there with the college of prophets.
And she said unto them, Thus saith the LORD the God of Israel, Tell the man that sent you to me, Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, upon the inhabitants, even all the words of the book which the king of Judah hath read: Because they have forsaken me, and they've burned incense unto other gods, that they might provoke me to anger and all the works of their hands; therefore my wrath shall be kindled against this place, and not be quenched. But to the king of Judah which sent you to inquire of the LORD, thus shall ye say to him, Thus saith the LORD the God of Israel, As touching the words which you have heard; Because your heart was tender, and you have humbled yourself before the LORD, when you heard what I spake against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, that they should become a desolation, a curse, and you have torn your clothes, and wept before me; I also have heard thee, saith the LORD. Behold therefore, I will gather thee unto thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered into thy grave in peace; and thine eyes shall not see all the evil that I'm going to bring upon this place. And so they brought the king the word of the Lord ( 2 Kings 22:15-20 ).
So Josiah, he heard the law and he tore his clothes; he wept before God. Real repentance. "Oh God, you know, what have we done. What have our fathers done?" And so inquiring of the Lord through Huldah the prophetess, he received this message that the nation was going to fall. However, not in the time of his reign. So he ordered that the people be gathered together and that they read the law of the Lord to all of the people. "
Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on 2 Kings 22:8". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/csc/2-kings-22.html. 2014.
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.
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
Gill, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 22:8". "Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/2-kings-22.html. 1999.
|Josiah's Pious Reign; the Book of the Law Read.||B. C. 623.|
1 Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned thirty and one years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Jedidah, the daughter of Adaiah of Boscath. 2 And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in all the way of David his father, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left. 3 And it came to pass in the eighteenth year of king Josiah, that the king sent Shaphan the son of Azaliah, the son of Meshullam, the scribe, to the house of the LORD, saying, 4 Go up to Hilkiah the high priest, that he may sum the silver which is brought into the house of the LORD, which the keepers of the door have gathered of the people: 5 And let them deliver it into the hand of the doers of the work, that have the oversight of the house of the LORD: and let them give it to the doers of the work which is in the house of the LORD, to repair the breaches of the house, 6 Unto carpenters, and builders, and masons, and to buy timber and hewn stone to repair the house. 7 Howbeit there was no reckoning made with them of the money that was delivered into their hand, because they dealt faithfully. 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. 9 And Shaphan the scribe came to the king, and brought the king word again, and said, Thy servants have gathered the money that was found in the house, and have delivered it into the hand of them that do the work, that have the oversight of the house of the LORD. 10 And Shaphan the scribe showed the king, saying, Hilkiah the priest hath delivered me a book. And Shaphan read it before the king.
Concerning Josiah we are here told,
I. That he was very young when he began to reign (2 Kings 22:1; 2 Kings 22:1), only eight years old. Solomon says, Woe unto thee, O land! when thy king is a child; but happy art thou, O land! when thy king is such a child. Our English Israel had once a king that was such a child, Edward VI. Josiah, being young, had not received any bad impressions from the example of his father and grandfather, but soon saw their errors, and God gave his grace to take warning by them. See Ezekiel 18:14-22, c.
II. That he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord,2 Kings 22:2; 2 Kings 22:2. See the sovereignty of divine grace--the father passed by and left to perish in his sin, the son a chosen vessel. See the triumphs of that grace--Josiah born of a wicked father, no good education nor good example given him, but many about him who no doubt advised him to tread in his father's steps and few that gave him any good counsel, and yet the grace of God made him an eminent saint, cut him off from the wild olive and grafted him into the good olive,Romans 11:24. Nothing is too hard for that grace to do. He walked in a good way, and turned not aside (as some of his predecessors had done who began well) to the right hand nor to the left. There are errors on both hands, but God kept him in the right way; he fell neither into superstition nor profaneness.
III. That he took care for the repair of the temple. This he did in the eighteenth year of his reign, 2 Kings 22:3; 2 Kings 22:3. Compare 2 Chronicles 34:8. He began much sooner to seek the Lord (as appears, 2 Chronicles 34:3), but it is to be feared the work of reformation went slowly on and met with much opposition, so that he could not effect what he desired and designed, till his power was thoroughly confirmed. The consideration of the time we unavoidably lost in our minority should quicken us, when we have come to years, to act with so much the more vigour in the service of God. Having begun late we have need work hard. He sent Shaphan, the secretary of state, to Hilkiah the high priest, to take an account of the money that was collected for this use by the door-keepers (2 Kings 22:4; 2 Kings 22:4); for, it seems, they took much the same way of raising the money that Joash took, 2 Kings 12:9; 2 Kings 12:9. When people gave by a little at a time the burden was insensible, and, the contribution being voluntary, it was not complained of. This money, so collected, he ordered him to lay out for the repair of the temple, 2 Kings 22:5; 2 Kings 22:6. And now, it seems, the workmen (as in the days of Joash) acquitted themselves so well that there was no reckoning made with them (2 Kings 22:7; 2 Kings 22:7), which is certainly mentioned to the praise of the workmen, that they gained such a reputation for honesty, but whether to the praise of those that employed them I know not; a man should count money (we say) after his own father; it would not have been amiss to have reckoned with the workmen, that others also might be satisfied of their honesty.
IV. That, in repairing the temple, the book of the law was happily found and brought to the king, 2 Kings 22:8; 2 Kings 22:10. Some think this book was the autograph, or original manuscript, of the five books of Moses, under his own hand; others think it was only an ancient and authentic copy. Most likely it was that which, by the command of Moses, was laid up in the most holy place, Deuteronomy 21:24-26, c. 1. It seems, this book of the law was lost or missing. Perhaps it was carelessly mislaid and neglected, thrown by into a corner (as some throw their Bibles), by those that knew not the value of it, and forgotten there or it was maliciously concealed by some of the idolatrous kings, or their agents, who were restrained by the providence of God or their own consciences from burning and destroying it, but buried it, in hopes it would never see the light again; or, as some think, it was carefully laid up by some of its friends, lest it should fall into the hands of its enemies. Whoever were the instruments of its preservation, we ought to acknowledge the hand of God in it. If this was the only authentic copy of the Pentateuch then in being, which had (as I may say) so narrow a turn for its life and was so near perishing, I wonder the hearts of all good people did not tremble for that sacred treasure, as Eli's for the ark, and I am sure we now have reason to thank God, upon our knees, for that happy providence by which Hilkiah found this book at this time, found it when he sought it not,Isaiah 65:1. 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 indication of his interest in it. 2. Whether this was the only authentic copy in being or no, it seems the things contained in it were new both to the king himself and to the high priest; for the king, upon the reading of it, rent his clothes. We have reason to think that neither the command for the king's writing a copy of the law, nor that for the public reading of the law every seventh year (Deuteronomy 17:18; Deuteronomy 31:10; Deuteronomy 31:11), had been observed for a long time; and when the instituted means of keeping up religion are neglected religion itself will soon go to decay. Yet, on the other hand, if the book of the law was lost, it seems difficult to determine what rule Josiah went by in doing that which was right in the sight of the Lord, and how the priests and people kept up the rites of their religion. I am apt to think that the people generally took up with abstracts of the law, like our abridgements of the statutes, which the priests, to save themselves the trouble of writing and the people of reading the book at large, had furnished them with--a sort of ritual, directing them in the observances of their religion, but leaving out what they thought fit, and particularly the promises and threatenings (Leviticus 26:1-14; Deuteronomy 28:1-68, c.), for I observe that these were the portions of the law which Josiah was so much affected with (2 Kings 22:13; 2 Kings 22:13), for these were new to him. No summaries, extracts, or collections, out of the Bible (though they may have their use) can be effectual to convey and preserve the knowledge of God and his will like the Bible itself. It was no marvel that the people were so corrupt when the book of the law was such a scarce thing among them; where that vision is not the people perish. Those that endeavoured to debauch them no doubt used all the arts they could to get that book out of their hands. The church of Rome could not keep up the use of images but by forbidding the use of the scripture. 3. 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 that God has mercy in store for a people when he magnifies his law among them and makes that honourable, and furnishes them with means for the increase of scripture-knowledge. The translating of the scriptures into vulgar tongues was the glory, strength, and joy of the Reformation from Popery. It is observable that they were about a good work, repairing the temple, when they found the book of the law. Those 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 recompence for all their care and cost about the repair of the temple. 4. Hilkiah the priest was exceedingly well pleased with the discovery. "O," says he to Shaphan, "rejoice with me, for I have found the book of the law, eureka, eureka,--I have found, I have found, that jewel of inestimable value. Here, carry it to the king; it is the richest jewel of his crown. Read it before him. He walks in the way of David his father, and, if he be like him, he will love the book of the law and bid that welcome; that will be his delight and his counsellor."
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on 2 Kings 22:8". "Henry's Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mhm/2-kings-22.html. 1706.
Well, then, in the next portion of our book (2 Kings 21:1-26) we see how truly a pious father may be followed by an impious son. Manasseh, young as he was, did not only begin to reign, but "did that which was evil in the sight of Jehovah after the abominations of the heathen, whom Jehovah cast out before the children of Israel. For he built up again the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed; and he reared up altars for Baal, and made a grove, as did Ahab king of Israel; and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them. And he built altars in the house of Jehovah, which Jehovah said, In Jerusalem will I put my name. And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of Jehovah. And he made his son pass through the fire." Burnt them to Moloch. Cruel king! "And observed times, and used enchantments, and dealt with familiar spirits and wizards: he wrought much wickedness in the sight of Jehovah to provoke him to anger. And he set a graven image of the grove that he had made in the house, of which Jehovah said to David, and to Solomon his son, In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all tribes of Israel, will I put my name for ever: neither will I make the feet of Israel move any more out of the land which I gave their fathers; only if they will observe to do according to all that I have commanded them, and according to all the law that my servant Moses commanded them. But they hearkened not."
The consequence was that Manasseh not only did evil, but "seduced them to do more evil than did the nations whom Jehovah destroyed." How was it possible then for Judah to abide in the land of Jehovah? It became a moral impossibility. Hence therefore the message which Jehovah sends by His servants the prophets. After Manasseh, reigned Amon; and Amon follows in the steps of his wicked father, not of his pious grandfather. "He walked in all the way that his father walked in, and served the idols that his father served, and worshipped them, and he forsook the Jehovah God of his fathers, and walked not in the way of Jehovah."
But after him comes a truly godly prince Josiah younger, too, than either (2 Kings 22:1-20). He was not too young to serve the Lord. "He was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned thirty and one years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Jedidah, the daughter of Adaiah of Boscath. And he did that which was right in the sight of Jehovah, and walked in all the way of David his father, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left. And it came to pass in the eighteenth year of king Josiah, that the king sent Shaphan the son of Azaliah, the son of Meshullam, the scribe, to the house of Jehovah, saying, Go up to Hilkiah the high priest, that he may sum the silver which is brought into the house of Jehovah, which the keepers of the door have gathered of the people: and let them deliver it into the hand of the doers of the work, that have the oversight of the house of Jehovah: and let them give it to the doers of the work;" and so on. But when we are in the path of duty we are in the place of blessing. And Hilkiah gives the glad message to Shaphan, "I have found the book of the law in the house of Jehovah." How strange! found the book of the law of Jehovah. So it was, and people wonder how that in Christendom men have so long departed, and so long forgotten the word of God.
According to the analogy of Israel, we ought rather to expect it. Here was a people still more bound by letter than we, still more dependent therefore upon a law, if possible, than we could be upon any outward observances. For the law was essentially outward, and the law was a thing that was not so dependent upon inner life and the Spirit of God as outward statutes and observances and ordinances of every kind. Yet even here the law had been lost all this time, and it was a great discovery to find it. God was faithful, and he that had a heart to observe the word of Jehovah found the law through His servant Hilkiah, the high priest. "And it came to pass when the king had heard the words, of the book of the law, he rent his clothes." He had a tender conscience. There is nothing more important in its place; for what is the good of knowledge if there is not a conscience? It appears to me that to grow in knowledge of the truth, if there be not simplicity in following it out, turns the knowledge into a curse, not a blessing. The one value of the truth of God of the word of God being better known is that we may be more faithful towards the Lord, and also in our relationships one with another in doing His will in this poor world. But the moment that you divorce the truth from conscience, it appears to me that the state of the soul is even worse. Far better to be simple in using aright the little that we know than to grow in knowledge where there is no corresponding fidelity. The king, however, was very different. When he heard the words, he rent his clothes, and the consequence was that there was a mighty work of real revival, in the true sense of the word; because I need not tell you that it is a great misapplication of the term "revival" to use it for the conversion of souls. Revival is rather a process of raising up the people of God to a better state or condition, so as most truly to follow what the Lord looks for among them where they have slipped into a lower, slumbering, condition. This is the true sense of it, and this is exactly the meaning of it here, So the king gave an impulse to the people and they gathered to him, as we are told in the next chapter.
"The king went up into the house of Jehovah, and all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem with him, and the priests, and the prophets, and all the people, both small and great and he read in their ears all the words of the book of the covenant which was found in the house of Jehovah. And the king stood by a pillar, and made a covenant before Jehovah, to walk after Jehovah, and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all their heart and all their soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people stood to the covenant" (2 Kings 23:1-37). And we find, accordingly, the practical fruits at once, public and private, national and personal, for at this time you must remember it was not the church: it was a nation, and it is the greatest confusion of things that differ to confound an elect nation with the church of God. The church is a gathering out of all nations. The congregation of Israel was merely an assemblage of that nation. To talk, therefore, about the Jewish church is really nonsense. It is a common phrase, but there is no truth in it. It is only allowing ourselves phraseology that is altogether foreign to the word of God.
The account then of the great reformation that was wrought is fully gone into in the rest of the chapter, but I shall only add that although the king had been thus faithful, he slips out of the path of the Lord in opposing Pharaoh-nechoh. God had not called him to it, and if the Lord always blesses fidelity, and loves to bless wherever He can, on the other hand the Lord is righteous in His government; and if therefore the righteous man slips out of the path of fidelity he bears the consequences. What we sow to the flesh, we must reap in corruption. It matters not who. Converted or unconverted, it is always true. So with Josiah. There might be grace on the Lord's part to take him away from the evil to come, but I do not doubt it was a chastening upon his eagerness of spirit in opposing the king of Egypt without a word from the Lord.
However, the king of Egypt put Jehoahaz in bands. The people had made him king in Jerusalem in the stead of Josiah, and he made Eliakim his brother king, changing his name to Jehoiakim. And Jehoiakim, we are told, was twenty and five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. But all this was only one sorrowful event after another.
In the next chapter (2 Kings 24:1-20) we have the mighty king of Babylon, who first comes before us Nebuchadnezzar, the destined beginner of the great imperial system with which we have not done yet; for the world is yet to see the last phase of the imperial power that began at this very time, or shortly after. This gives deep interest to what we are now looking at. I am aware that men are not expecting it. This does not at all hinder its truth as the word of God, and His word alone can decide such questions. The first then who acquires the empire of the world Nebuchadnezzar comes up, and Jehoiakim, became his servant three years. Afterwards he rebels. The Lord puts him down, and Jehoiachin his son reigns in his stead, and the king of Egypt came not again any more out of his land, because he was put down by Nebuchadnezzar. These are the steps by which he arrives at the throne of the world, according to the sovereign gift of Jehovah. And Jehoiachin does evil; and at that time the servants of Nebuchadnezzar came up when he rebelled, and Nebuchadnezzar himself too besieges the city and carries away the treasures of the house as well as the princes and mighty men. Not only the king, but as we know also a man afterwards most distinguished, and of such deep interest to us Daniel, the prophet. Then follows another sorrowful state. Zedekiah having been made king provisionally in the land over a small remnant, he too is guilty of breaking the oath of Jehovah, and Nebuchadnezzar comes against him. Here we find the last phase of Jerusalem's sorrowful history of the last batch of the Jews that was carried down into captivity. And this is pursued to the end of the twenty-fifth chapter, and this closes the book.
Thus we have completed these two Books of the Kings cursorily, I admit, but still I trust so as to give at any rate a general picture of this wonderful history of the Old Testament; the end being the great imperial power under which will take place the return of a little remnant of the Jews to find themselves in Jerusalem once more to set up a king who will be Satan's great instrument for deceiving men under the shelter of the last holder of the power that began with Babylon. But I enter no farther. This would take me out of history into prophecy.
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Kelly, William. "Commentary on 2 Kings 22:8". Kelly Commentary on Books of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wkc/2-kings-22.html. 1860-1890.
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34