2 Kings 22

1 Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jedidah the daughter of Adaiah of Bozkath. 2 He did that which was right in the LORD’s eyes, and walked in all the way of David his father, and didn’t turn aside to the right hand or to the left. 3 In the eighteenth year of king Josiah, the king sent Shaphan, the son of Azaliah the son of Meshullam, the scribe, to the LORD’s house, saying, 4 “Go up to Hilkiah the high priest, that he may count the money which is brought into the LORD’s house, which the keepers of the threshold have gathered of the people. 5 Let them deliver it into the hand of the workmen who have the oversight of the LORD’s house; and let them give it to the workmen who are in the LORD’s house, to repair the damage to the house, 6 to the carpenters, and to the builders, and to the masons, and for buying timber and cut stone to repair the house. 7 However there was no accounting made with them of the money that was delivered into their hand; for they dealt faithfully.” 8 Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the scribe, “I have found the book of the law in the LORD’s house.” Hilkiah delivered the book to Shaphan, and he read it. 9 Shaphan the scribe came to the king, and brought the king word again, and said, “Your servants have emptied out the money that was found in the house, and have delivered it into the hands of the workmen who have the oversight of the LORD’s house.” 10 Shaphan the scribe told the king, saying, “Hilkiah the priest has delivered a book to me.” Then Shaphan read it before the king. 11 When the king had heard the words of the book of the law, he tore his clothes. 12 The king commanded Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam the son of Shaphan, Achbor the son of Micaiah, Shaphan the scribe, and Asaiah the king’s servant, saying, 13 “Go inquire of the LORD for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that is found; for great is the LORD’s wrath that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not listened to the words of this book, to do according to all that which is written concerning us.” 14 So Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Achbor, Shaphan, and Asaiah, went to Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tikvah, the son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe (now she lived in Jerusalem in the second quarter); and they talked with her. 15 She said to them, “the LORD the God of Israel says, ‘Tell the man who sent you to me, 16 “the LORD says, ‘Behold, I will bring evil on this place, and on its inhabitants, even all the words of the book which the king of Judah has read. 17 Because they have forsaken me, and have burnt incense to other gods, that they might provoke me to anger with all the work of their hands, therefore my wrath shall be kindled against this place, and it will not be quenched.’” 18 But to the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the LORD, tell him, “the LORD the God of Israel says, ‘Concerning the words which you have heard, 19 because your heart was tender, and you humbled yourself before the LORD, when you heard what I spoke against this place, and against its inhabitants, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and have torn your clothes, and wept before me; I also have heard you,’ says the LORD. 20 ‘Therefore behold, I will gather you to your fathers, and you will be gathered to your grave in peace. Your eyes will not see all the evil which I will bring on this place.’” So they brought this message back to the king.

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1–10

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

Verses 11–20

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

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