2 KINGS 22

[Melachim Bais 22 Orthodox Jewish Bible (OJB)]

1 Josiah [Yoshiyah] was 8 years old when he began to reign, and he reigned 31 years in Jerusalem [shanah in Yerushalayim]. And his mother's name was Jedidah, the daughter of Adaiah of Boscath [shem immo was Yedidah Bat Adayah of Botzkat].

JOSIAH was one of the best kings of Judah. He ranks with David and Hezekiah as the three outstanding kings that ruled God's kingdom in the past....JOSIAH was one of the best kings of Judah. He ranks with David and Hezekiah as the three outstanding kings that ruled God's kingdom in the past. Nothing adverse is recorded against him, except it may be the strange incident which led to his death. *

...Josiah was the last good king of Judah. After him events rapidly closed in for the final destruction. Three of his sons, and one grandson, all evil, reigned after him. Here, unhappily, is an indication of weakness, for the promise was-

"Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it."

Josiah was the grandson of the wicked king Manasseh and came to the throne at the death of Amon, around 640 BC - about 35 years before Nebuchadnezzar first came against Jerusalem, and about 55 years before the final destruction of the city.

Jeremiah was born about the same time as Josiah and began to prophesy in the 13th year of Josiah's reign. Besides Jeremiah, Zephaniah also prophesied in the reign of Josiah.

Josiah's father was Amon, who was wicked like his father Manasseh, and who reigned but 2 years before being assassinated by his own servants.

Josiah was 8 years old when his father was killed and the people of Judah made him king. At 8 years old he would necessarily be under the guidance of someone in the conduct of the kingdom, but we are not told who it was. We are told that his mother's name was Jedidah, and doubtless she would be a great influence in shaping his character. It would be providential that the wicked influence of his father would be removed. Perhaps, as in the case of Joash, the High Priest guided the affairs of the kingdom until Josiah grew up. *

2 And he did that which was right in the sight [yashar in the eyes] of Yahweh, and walked in all the way of David his father [kol derech Dovid Aviv], and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left [ yamin or smol].

Judah experienced some of its worse years under the control of Hezekiah's son, Manasseh and his son Amon, over a period of nearly sixty years. Then came some relief from those days of darkness. Josiah's reign brought a measure of happiness to the faithful remnant who saw the shadows of Manasseh's and Amon's wicked rulership. 

The young king, only eight years old when he came to the throne, instigated the Law of Yahweh, and required his people to respond to his instructions. Obviously he was surrounded by a circle of people who wisely guided the young child-king. These doubtless included Shaphan, Hilkiah, Huldah, etc., and this was under the Good Hand of Providence. GEM


Preparations to restore the temple

3 And it came to pass in the 18th year of king [Melech Yoshiyah], that the king sent Shaphan the son of Azaliah, the son of Meshullam, the scribe, [HaMelech sent Shaphan Ben Atzalyahu Ben Meshullam, the Sofer] to the house of Yahweh, saying,

The term "scribe" in this case would indicate the chief personal officer and representative of the king.

4 Go up to Hilkiah the high priest [Chilkiyahu the Kohen HaGadol], that he may sum the silver [kesef ] which is brought into the house [Beis ] of Yahweh, which the keepers of the door [Shomrei HaSaf ] have gathered of the people:

He (Shaphan the scribe) was sent to convey to Hilkiah all the money the Levites had gathered from all Israel-not only Judah, but in all the territory of the former kingdom of Israel. This would be a further indication that the cleansing of the whole land-both Judah and Israel (though recorded later in Kings) had already been done.

Shaphan the scribe was to instruct Hilkiah to use the money to cleanse and repair the Temple of God. *

7 Howbeit there was no reckoning [accounting] made with them of the money [kesef] that was delivered into their hand [entrusted into their yad], because they dealt faithfully [ be'emunah].

This was a very good and pleasing state of affairs. It is like the early days after Pentecost, when no one said the things he possessed were his own. All worked together in mutual trust and faithfulness. Each man's earnest concern was to make sure he GAVE as much as he could, rather than being anxious, like the animal world, to GET all they could.

This is in Josiah's 18th year-the year of the greatest Passover ever held, and it is a pleasing indication that at this time, at least, the service of the people was of the heart. They were stirred up to faithfulness and righteousness, even though all collapsed and the power of wickedness and of the flesh all flooded back in again when Josiah died, 13 years later. *

8 And Hilkiah the high priest [Chilkiyahu the Kohen HaGadol] said unto Shaphan the scribe [Sofer], I have found the book of the law [Sefer HaTorah] in the house [Beis] of Yahweh. And [Chilkiyahu gave the Sefer to Shaphan], and he read it.

9 And Shaphan the scribe [Sofer] came to the king [HaMelech], and brought the king [HaMelech] word again, and said, Thy servants [avadim] have gathered the money [kesef] that was found in the house [HaBeis], and have delivered it into the hand of them that do the work [entrusted it into the yad osei hamelachah], that have the oversight [mufkadim] of the house [Beis] of Yahweh.

10 And Shaphan the scribe shewed the king [Sofer showed HaMelech], saying, Hilkiah the priest [Chilkiyah the Kohen] hath delivered me a [Sefer (Scroll)]. And Shaphan read it before the king [HaMelech].

11 And it came to pass, when the king [HaMelech] had heard the words of the book [Divrei Sefer HaTorah] of the law, that he rent his clothes.

The truth in the present day is like the book of the law in the time of Josiah-hidden away and lost sight of.

‭ ‬Certain ones have lighted upon this priceless treasure.‭ ‬The truth has revealed to such that there has been a wholesale departure from the way of God,‭ ‬that the world around is uttlerly sunk in iniquity,‭ ‬and,‭ ‬that,‭ ‬as in the case of Josiah's contemporaries,‭ ‬the wrath of God is impending.‭

Let those who in these days have found‭ "‬the book of the law‭" ‬diligently follow Josiah's example,‭ ‬by making themselves acquainted with its contents,‭ ‬by humbling themselves before God,‭ ‬and by actively and persistently endeavouring to enlighten their neighbours.‭

Josiah's character is that exhibited by all the faithful,‭ ‬viz.,‭ ‬1st,‭ ‬a supreme regard for God and His word,‭ ‬and,‭ ‬2ndly,‭ ‬a practical love for others.

‭ "‬To this man will I look,‭ ‬even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit,‭ ‬and trembleth at my word.‭"

‭The Christadelphian, Feb 1887. p64

13 Go ye, enquire of Yahweh for me, and for the people [ HaAm], and for all Judah [kol Yehudah], concerning the words of this book [Divrei HaSefer] that is found: for great is the wrath [gedolah is chamat] of Yahweh that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not hearkened [Avoteinu have not paid heed] unto the words of this book [Divrei HaSefer Hazeh], to do according unto all that which is written concerning us.

It was during this cleansing and repairing of the Temple that the High Priest Hilkiah found the Book of the Law. It is not likely that this was the original copy that Moses made at the dictation of God, for when Solomon put the Ark in the Temple there was nothing in it but the two tables of stone. The Book of the Testimony and the Pot of Manna and the Rod of God that budded had been lost or destroyed in the confusion and apostasy of the previous centuries.

The fact that the king was so greatly agitated when Shaphan the scribe read him this Book of the Law would seem to indicate that its message and warning were completely new to them, and that they had no other copies.

There is a Jewish tradition, and it is very much in harmony with the probabilities, that Manasseh and Amon had both endeavored to destroy all the existing copies of the Law. We remember Jehoiakim's reaction to Jeremiah's message from God-he slashed it with a knife and threw it in the fire.

We may wonder, if Josiah had no copies of the Law at all, how and why he did so much toward reestablishing the worship of God from his 8th to 18th year?

But when we look closer into the record we find no reference to any details of the Law or form of worship until after this book is found. It was not until the 18th year of his reign that he set out to cleanse the Temple. And apparently the Passover-the most basic ordinance of the Law, was not kept until the finding of this book. How completely the knowledge of God's revealed Way seems to have been lost!

If it was in his 8th year that he began to seek after the God of David, why was it 10 years before he became acquainted with the Law of Moses? These and other questions naturally present themselves to us.

Josiah, in his seeking, would go to the High Priest, and to the prophets. We know there was Huldah, the prophetess, and Zephaniah. And Jeremiah began his ministry in Josiah's 13th year after Josiah dedicated himself, at 16, to seek the service of God. From these he would receive guidance and instruction as God gradually developed him for his work.

Hilkiah the High Priest seems to have been a good man and worked with Josiah, but the fact that Josiah had to send him to Huldah the prophetess to enquire of the Lord shows that the normal method of enquiring of God through the High Priest by Urim and Thummim was not at that time known.

This Book of the Law that was found when they repaired the Temple was doubtless well hidden for safety, sometime during the dark reigns of wickedness of the two previous kings, just as the infant Joash was typically hidden in the Temple of God 6 years during the wicked reign of Athaliah-and just as the Word himself is at present hidden in the Tabernacle of God, waiting to be brought forth for both guidance and judgment at the end of man's six millenniums of misrule.

As we wonder and meditate about the long period in Josiah's reign before the book of the Word of God was manifested, we begin to see a beautiful fitness in it, both natural and spiritual.

It came at the proper time-the climax of his cleansing labors. The land was so steeped in ignorance and darkness, and so full of the corruption and confusion of idolatry, that it took 6 years of earnest effort by Josiah to destroy all the idolatrous practices and get the people's minds into a condition to receive a message from God.

It was like the ministry of John the Baptist, preparing the land for the revealing and manifesting of the Living Word.

This picture of the conditions in Judah at the time of the beginning of Jeremiah's prophecy adds much light and interest to the early chapters of Jeremiah's book: two godly but inexperienced young men, king and prophet, starting out together to turn Judah back to God. *

19 Because thine heart [lev] was tender, and thou hast humbled thyself before Yahweh, when thou heardest what I spake against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, that they should become a desolation and a curse [klalah], and hast rent thy clothes, and wept before Me; I also have heard thee, saith Yahweh.

He was told that the foretold curses and judgments upon the nation, which had so distressed him when the Law was read to him, would surely be poured out because of the long-accumulated wickedness of the nation, but he was told-like Hezekiah-because of his righteousness, it would not come in his day, but he should be gathered to his grave in peace.

This promise of peace in his day did not lessen Josiah's efforts to develop holiness in the nation, but rather the reverse.

He immediately (as we read at the beginning of ch. 23) assembled all the elders of the land to the House of God, and as many as possible of the people, small and great, and personally read to them the words of the Book that had been found, and he caused all the people to enter a solemn covenant to obey the words of the Book. *

*Bro Growcott - Prepare your brethren 

19 Because thine heart [lev] was tender, and thou hast humbled thyself before Yahweh, when thou heardest what I spake against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, that they should become a desolation and a curse [klalah], and hast rent thy clothes, and wept before Me; I also have heard thee, saith Yahweh.

20 Behold [Hineni] therefore, I will gather thee unto thy fathers [Avoteicha], and thou shalt be gathered into thy grave in peace [ kevarot in shalom]; and thine eyes shall not see all the evil [kol hara'ah] which I will bring upon this place. And they brought the king [HaMelech]word again.

The bearing of this on the ways of providence will be obvious: first, the evil that was coming upon Judah because of their insubjection to the law of Moses, was to be of divine bringing though the instruments of its infliction would not be aware of the fact; and secondly, Josiah's individual conformity to righteousness secured for him a personal immunity from the evils that were coming, -an immunity that was naturally brought about, but a divine arrangement, notwithstanding. Josiah fell in battle, which in a moment removed him from the scene years before the captivity of Judah began.

Ways of Providence Ch 20


The 31-year reign of Josiah was the final period of good and blessing before the destruction of the kingdom. It was an opportunity for all Judah to learn and experience the way of righteousness and truth. But this godly period died with Josiah himself. It was enforced from above, but was not deep in the hearts of the people.

The record of Josiah's reign is a little fuller in Chronicles than in Kings. There we are told that in the 8th year of his reign, while he was yet young, he began to seek after the God of David. This would be when he was 16.

The old sometimes turn to God through disappointment, or bitter experience, or disillusionment with the ways of the world, but it is very beautiful when the young turn spontaneously to God at the beginning of life's freshness and strength-

"Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them" (Eccl. 12:1).

There is not much love manifested in giving God the worn-out days toward life's end.

At 16 he dedicated himself to the service of God. At 20, in the 12th year of his reign, we read in Chronicles that he was ready to begin the great work of cleansing Judah and Jerusalem from all idolatry, and establishing the true worship of God throughout the land.

This was a tremendous undertaking. Seventy years had now passed since the death of Hezekiah. Manasseh had spent most of his long reign in filling the land with idolatrous images and practices-

"Manasseh made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to err, to do worse than the heathen whom the Lord had destroyed before the children of Israel."

At the end of his life, after being severely punished, Manasseh turned to God and endeavored to restore His worship in Judah, but all the symbols of idolatry were apparently permitted to remain, except in the city of Jerusalem.

At his death, his son Amon immediately restored all the evil customs, using the places and images his father had earlier made in his wickedness.

From Josiah's 12th to 18th years-6 to 7 years-was taken in cleansing the land. 2 Chr. 34:4 records that-

"They broke down the altars of Baalim in his presence."

Josiah personally supervised the cleansing work. He himself went systematically all over the land.

The record in Kings describes the finding of the Book of the Law, in the 18th year of Josiah, before recording the cleansing of the land and the destroying of the idols, but Chronicles, more in orderly detail, says he began the cleansing in his 12th year and found the book in his 18th, so the cleansing appears to have occurred principally in the 6 to 7 years preceding the discovery of the book, after which-still in his 18th year-they had the great Passover.

Bro Growcott - Prepare your brethren