Josiah becomes king of Judah. Hilkiah finds the scroll of the Torah. Josiah consults Huldah the prophetess. Josiah reforms the nation.
VERSE 1. Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem.
Because Josiah was only eight years old when he began to reign, he is sometimes referred to as “the boy king.”
VERSE 2. He did that which was right in the LORD’s eyes, and walked in the ways of David his father, and didn’t turn away to the right hand or to the left.
He did that which was right. Among the kings, Josiah is a complete outlier. He is morally righteous.
VERSE 3. For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet young, he began to seek after the God of David his father; and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem from the high places, the Asherah poles, the engraved images, and the molten images.
he began to seek after the God. King Josiah seeks the LORD God.
Seeking the kingdom of God is to be our number one priority. Yet for many of us, our use of time and money show that it is a low priority. Read more »
he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem. Josiah begins to purge the nation of idolatry.
At the point, his actions are those of an authoritarian. He sends his men to destroy stuff.
But at this point, he is not explaining why he is doing these destructive things. He is not teaching his people a better way.
VERSE 4. They broke down the altars of the Baals in his presence; and he cut down the incense altars that were on high above them. He broke the Asherah poles, the engraved images, and the molten images in pieces, made dust of them, and scattered it on the graves of those who had sacrificed to them.
burned the bones of the priests. Presumably this means he had them executed.
VERSE 6. He did this in the cities of Manasseh, Ephraim, and Simeon, even to Naphtali, around in their ruins.
VERSE 7. He broke down the altars, beat the Asherah poles and the engraved images into powder, and cut down all the incense altars throughout all Eretz-Israel, then returned to Jerusalem.
VERSE 8. Now in the eighteenth year of his reign, when he had purged the land and the house, he sent Shaphan the son of Azaliah, Maaseiah the governor of the city, and Joah the son of Joahaz the recorder to repair the house of the LORD his God.
to repair the house of the LORD. Josiah will rebuild the temple.
VERSE 9. They came to Hilkiah the high priest and delivered the money that was brought into God’s house, which the Levites, the keepers of the threshold, had gathered from the hands of Manasseh, Ephraim, of all the remnant of Israel, of all Judah and Benjamin, and of the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
VERSE 10. They delivered it into the hands of the workmen who had the oversight of the LORD’s house; and the workmen who labored in the LORD’s house gave it to mend and repair the house.
VERSE 11. They gave it to the carpenters and to the builders to buy cut stone and timber for couplings, and to make beams for the houses which the kings of Judah had destroyed.
the kings of Judah had destroyed. The workmen are restoring what the earlier kings of Judah had allowed to fall into ruin.
Degradation and rebuilding is the story of spiritual people. Many of us alternate between those two.
VERSE 12. The men did the work faithfully. Their overseers were Jahath and Obadiah the Levites, of the sons of Merari; and Zechariah and Meshullam, of the sons of the Kohathites, to give direction; and others of the Levites, who were all skillful with musical instruments.
did the work faithfully. The workmen were trustworthy faithful stewards.
VERSE 13. Also they were over the bearers of burdens, and directed all who did the work in every kind of service. Of the Levites, there were scribes, officials, and gatekeepers.
VERSE 14. When they brought out the money that was brought into the LORD’s house, Hilkiah the priest found the book of the LORD’s law given by Moses.
Hilkiah the priest found the book of the LORD’s law given by Moses. This might be one of the most important discoveries in the history of the world.
VERSE 15. Hilkiah answered Shaphan the scribe, “I have found the scroll of the Torah in the LORD’s house.” So Hilkiah delivered the book to Shaphan.
I have found the scroll of the Torah. These might be some of the most important words that a human ever uttered.
This scroll could easily have been the final extant copy of the Bible on earth.
VERSE 16. Shaphan carried the book to the king, and moreover brought back word to the king, saying, “All that was committed to your servants, they are doing.
VERSE 17. They have emptied out the money that was found in the LORD’s house, and have delivered it into the hand of the overseers and into the hand of the workmen.”
VERSE 18. Shaphan the scribe told the king, saying, “Hilkiah the priest has delivered me a book.” Shaphan read from it to the king.
Hilkiah the priest has delivered me a book. These news first went from Hilkiah to Shaphan. Now Shaphan relays these words to the king.
he tore his clothes. This is a sign of repentance.
VERSE 20. The king commanded Hilkiah, Ahikam the son of Shaphan, Abdon the son of Micah, Shaphan the scribe, and Asaiah the king’s servant, saying,
VERSE 21. “Go inquire of the LORD for me, and for those who are left in Israel and in Judah, concerning the words of the book that is found; for great is the LORD’s wrath that is poured out on us, because our fathers have not kept the LORD’s word, to do according to all that is written in this book.”
Go inquire of the LORD for me. Having heard the words of the Bible, Josiah immediately seeks the will of the LORD God.
VERSE 22. So Hilkiah and those whom the king had commanded went to Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tokhath, the son of Hasrah, keeper of the wardrobe (now she lived in Jerusalem in the second quarter), and they spoke to her to that effect.
went to Huldah the prophetess. Huldah is yet another authentic female prophet of the LORD God.
Through her, God speaks with definitive authority for the destiny of the nation. In those days, no man thought it strange to submit to a woman’s prophecy.
The Bible and the Jewish tradition are very open to female prophets. How strange that we Christians are not. Read more »
VERSE 23. She said to them, “The LORD, the God of Israel says: ‘Tell the man who sent you to me,
VERSE 24. “The LORD says, ‘Behold, I will bring evil on this place and on its inhabitants, even all the curses that are written in the book which they have read before the king of Judah.
VERSE 25. Because they have forsaken me, and have burned incense to other gods, that they might provoke me to anger with all the works of their hands, therefore my wrath is poured out on this place, and it will not be quenched.’ ” ’
VERSE 26. But to the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the LORD, you shall tell him this, ‘The LORD, the God of Israel says: “About the words which you have heard,
VERSE 27. because your heart was tender, and you humbled yourself before God when you heard his words against this place and against its inhabitants, and have humbled yourself before me, and have torn your clothes and wept before me, I also have heard you,” says the LORD.
your heart was tender. Unlike the other kings, Josiah is sincere.
VERSE 28. “Behold, I will gather you to your fathers, and you will be gathered to your grave in peace. Your eyes won’t see all the evil that I will bring on this place and on its inhabitants.” ’ ” They brought back this message to the king.
VERSE 29. Then the king sent and gathered together all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem.
VERSE 30. The king went up to the LORD’s house with all the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem—the priests, the Levites, and all the people, both great and small—and he read in their hearing all the words of the book of the covenant that was found in the LORD’s house.
he read in their hearing all the words of the book. King Josiah reads the entire Bible to his nation.
VERSE 31. The king stood in his place and made a covenant before the LORD, to walk after the LORD, and to keep his commandments, his testimonies, and his statutes with all his heart and with all his soul, to perform the words of the covenant that were written in this book.
VERSE 32. He caused all who were found in Jerusalem and Benjamin to stand. The inhabitants of Jerusalem did according to the covenant of God, the God of their fathers.
VERSE 33. Josiah took away all the abominations out of all the countries that belonged to the children of Israel, and made all who were found in Israel to serve, even to serve the LORD their God. All his days they didn’t depart from following the LORD, the God of their fathers.
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.