Saturday, Nov 25th

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2 Kings 22

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The original book of the law, the law of Moses, was kept in the Temple at Jerusalem. But, wickedly, it was hidden away and the kings of Judah and Israel did not enquire of it nor knew its location. This is like ridding the world of our Bibles and not knowing what they said from God.

The ‘lost’ book or Torah was then found in the reign of king Josiah, to the complete surprise of the chief priest, Hilkiah. He immediately took it to the king and read portions of it to him. The king, too, was completely taken aback. But, he realised just how awful this discovery was – that God would punish the nation for shutting the book away, not to be read or obeyed.

Of course, like Israel, Judah was aware that Moses had written such a book or scrolls. They knew its history and its purpose. Yet, they deliberately ignored it and finally shut it away in a cupboard or niche.

Modern day Christians rarely read their Bibles. They do not give it the place given to it by the Lord. They do not read it to find God’s word to them in our day, nor are they particularly interested in obeying what it says. And most Christians are arrogant enough to think they can apply their personal ‘interpretation’ to it. We KNOW this because of the awful state of the churches, and of most Christians. God WILL judge us for this laxity. Indeed, He has already started to show His wrath – by way of homosexuals, environmentalists, charismatics, atheists, false religionists, and Islamists. Why do you think the world is as it is? Why do you think true Christians are now cornered in a ghetto? And why do you think many Christians ignore God’s word and display the same marks of evil found in the world at large? God will protect those who humble themselves before Him... but the rest will suffer far more.

Verses 1&2

  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.

Josiah (‘whom Jehovah heals’) became king at age 8 and died when he was 39. During his short life he led the people back to Jehovah. As a person and king, he was very like his “father” David, which was a wonderful accolade to be given by God. He did not move away from God and godliness in even the smallest degree. I often hear believers say they cannot be like David or any other person of holy note. They are wrong. EVERY Christian, no matter how old, MUST live a life obedient to God, displaying holiness in everything.

Verses 3-7

  1. 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,

  2. 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:

  3. 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,

  4. Unto carpenters, and builders, and masons, and to buy timber and hewn stone to repair the house.

  5. Howbeit there was no reckoning made with them of the money that was delivered into their hand, because they dealt faithfully.

When Josiah was 26, he sent Shaphan his secretary with a message to the high priest, Hilkiah (‘my portion is Jehovah’), who was in the Temple. The same request was made by another king – to total the silver in the Temple treasury, collected from visitors at the Temple gate. Then, give this silver to the artisans who will carry out work on the Temple. Solomon began to repair the breaks in the walls, floors and roof; Jehoash commanded repairs but the priests did not bother until reminded years later; now, 200 years later, repairs were again needed... anyone with a house knows that it needs constant care and work!

So, the craftsmen were assembled to do the work: carpenters, builders, masons, and materials bought; timber, stone. It is of interest that these men were so honest and faithful to the work, that they were trusted, and were not expected to hand in a reckoning of their work hours and wages. Every Christian must be an honest and faithful workman before the Lord, and not just openly faithful on a Sunday. ‘Money’, keceph, in this era refers to coins of silver, possibly shekels.

Verses 8-11

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. And Shaphan the scribe shewed the king, saying, Hilkiah the priest hath delivered me a book. And Shaphan read it before the king.

  4. And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the book of the law, that he rent his clothes.

We now have a very interesting historical note. The high priest told the king’s secretary that he had “found the book of the law” in the Temple. This was about 658 BC. Where was it kept for the previous years, if not centuries? It was probably hidden away so as not to hamper the worship of idols. It was an old book/scroll or several scrolls, possibly even the original copy of the towrah (Torah) containing the Decalogue and Mosaic laws and codes. How many modern Christians have Bibles, carefully placed on a shelf but rarely read? Or, kept in a drawer for high days, holidays, and to carry on Sundays? Or, taken out when things go wrong?

The Torah was a symbol of God’s requirements, and of obedience to them. Judaism was replete with many symbols to remind the people of their allegiance to Jehovah. In our day we do not have symbols, but Christians should still be careful in how they live, dress, eat, speak, think, etc. Everything we say and do must comply with the Lord’s commands, or we lose our spiritual ‘edge’ and the world cannot tell who we are. We must literally stand out like a beacon.

Shaphan took the precious book and showed it to the king and after telling the king that his instructions had been carried out, he read portions of it. It is apparent that the king and everyone else had not seen this book in their lifetimes. It is even possible they had no idea the book still existed, given the 200 years or so that it was kept hidden. This is why we must obtain a good Bible; the 1611 KJAV is the ONLY Bible available to portray the truth accurately. We must reflect what the Bible says in our day of darkness, so that it will shine as the sun before the world. I can assure readers that this version is the best that has ever been published; the rest are not true translations and are simply the ideas of men, if not erroneous paraphrases of the truth.... which is, really, a defiance against God and His true word.

Verses 12&13

  1. And the king commanded Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Achbor the son of Michaiah, and Shaphan the scribe, and Asahiah a servant of the king’s, saying,

  2. Go ye, enquire 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 wrath of the LORD that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not hearkened unto the words of this book, to do according unto all that which is written concerning us.

The king gathered together a small group of people: the high priest, Hilkiah; the royal secretary’s son, Ahikam (‘my brother has risen/arisen’), who was an officer of the court, with his father, Shaphan; Achbor (‘mouse’) son of one of the king’s friends, Michaiah (‘who is like God’); and Asahiah (‘made by Jehovah’), a high-ranking servant. They all knew the mind of the king.

It was their task to talk with the people of Judah, while the high priest communed with God: the people had to know that they now had a great and grave burden to obey the words of the book, and the priest had to pray to the Lord for mercy. The king knew that God’s book was supreme, and that God would bring down His wrath upon the people for ignoring such a priceless and all-powerful book of God’s commands.

Now, everyone, from highest to the least, was to obey God and do whatever was written in the book. Rightly, the king saw this as an imperative, a vital signal to the Lord that Judah had returned to worship of Jehovah alone. God did not forget the existence of the book and His judgment had already been pronounced; though Josiah was faithful, he could not stop the inevitable punishment from God for two hundred years (or so) of evil. God can forgive those who repent, but He cannot turn a blind eye to sin – and the sins of the bad kings were so enormous, God had to penalise the nation at some point... and that point would arrive soon.

God is good; He is also just and a God of wrath. Turn to Him while you can, for when He brings down his hammer no man will escape.

Verses 14-20

  1. So Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam, and Achbor, and Shaphan, and Asahiah, went unto Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tikvah, the son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe; (now she dwelt in Jerusalem in the college;) and they communed with her.

  2. And she said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Tell the man that sent you to me,

  3. Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, and upon the inhabitants thereof, even all the words of the book which the king of Judah hath read:

  4. Because they have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, that they might provoke me to anger with all the works of their hands; therefore my wrath shall be kindled against this place, and shall not be quenched.

  5. But to the king of Judah which sent you to enquire of the LORD, thus shall ye say to him, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, As touching the words which thou hast heard;

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

  7. 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 which I will bring upon this place. And they brought the king word again.

It seems that Isaiah was now dead, though Jeremiah and Zephaniah lived. We are not told why, but the messengers from the king instead went to see the prophetess, Huldah (her name is not flattering; it means ‘weasel’), to ask her what she thought of the newly found book. She was the wife of, Shallum; his father was Tikvah, and her grandfather, Harhas, was the keeper of the king’s clothes. She lived in the mishnah of Jerusalem, the ‘college’, a medium-status section of the city.

After hearing what they had to say, Huldah replied, “Thus saith the Lord”. The messengers were to return to the king and tell him that God would exact a price for the sins of Judah, exactly as was written in the book. You might argue that the king had no idea that the book existed, so why penalise him? The answer is that God’s word never changes and ignorance of it does not excuse compliance to it. Even in our own time, ignorance of a law is not an excuse before the judge. This is why ALL Christians MUST read and understand scripture... ALL of it. And, we must practice what it says, before God sweeps us away as worthless vessels.

Huldah continued, saying that because the people worshipped false gods and burned incense to them, they provoked God to anger; He saw everything they did as evil. So, His wrath was now alight and would not be removed. Beware, all Christians! The churches are filled with sinful disputations and interpretations, and honouring of what is wicked. (Note how God is called the “Lord God of Israel”).

Huldah then gave a special note to the king – that because his heart and mind was ‘tender’ (fearful and penitent) and he humbled himself before the Lord, though His judgments would fall on the people, the king would be remembered. God promised that the calamities to befall Judah would happen after the king died in peace; he would not witness this awful penalty. And so the messengers told the king all that the prophetess said.

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Published on www.christiandoctrine.com

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