2 Kings 22:1-20 NIV
The Book of the Law Found
1Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years. His mother’s name was Jedidah daughter of Adaiah; she was from Bozkath. 2He did what was right in the Eyes of the Lord and followed completely the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left.
3In the eighteenth year of his reign, King Josiah sent the secretary, Shaphan son of Azaliah, the son of Meshullam, to the Temple of the Lord. He said: 4“Go up to Hilkiah the high priest and have him get ready the money that has been brought into the Temple of the Lord, which the doorkeepers have collected from the people. 5Have them entrust it to the men appointed to supervise the work on the Temple. And have these men pay the workers who repair the Temple of the Lord— 6the carpenters, the builders and the masons. Also have them purchase timber and dressed stone to repair the Temple. 7But they need not account for the money entrusted to them, because they are honest in their dealings.”
8Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the secretary, “I have found the Book of the Law in the Temple of the Lord.” He gave it to Shaphan, who read it. 9Then Shaphan the secretary went to the king and reported to him: “Your officials have paid out the money that was in the Temple of the Lord and have entrusted it to the workers and supervisors at the Temple.” 10Then Shaphan the secretary informed the king, “Hilkiah the priest has given me a book.” And Shaphan read from it in the presence of the king.
11When the king heard the Words of the Book of the Law, he tore his robes.
12He gave these orders to Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Akbor son of Micaiah, Shaphan the secretary and Asaiah the king’s attendant: 13“Go and inquire of the Lord for me and for the people and for all Judah about what is written in this book that has been found. Great is the Lord’s Anger that burns against us because those who have gone before us have not obeyed the Words of this book; they have not acted in accordance with all that is written there concerning us.”
14Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Akbor, Shaphan and Asaiah went to speak to the prophet Huldah, who was the wife of Shallum son of Tikvah, the son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe. She lived in Jerusalem, in the New Quarter.
15She said to them, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Tell the man who sent you to Me,16‘This is what the Lord says: I am going to bring disaster on this place and its people, according to everything written in the book the king of Judah has read. 17Because they have forsaken Me and burned incense to other gods and aroused My Anger by all the idols their hands have made,a My Anger will burn against this place and will not be quenched.’ 18Tell the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the Lord, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says concerning the Words you heard: 19Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I have spoken against this place and its people—that they would become a curseb and be laid waste—and because you tore your robes and wept in My Presence, I also have heard you, declares the Lord. 20Therefore I will gather you to your ancestors, and you will be buried in peace. Your eyes will not see all the disaster I am going to bring on this place.’ ”
So they took her answer back to the king.
The Reformation of Josiah
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 everyone who believes.