Bible Commentaries
2 Kings 22

Sermon Bible CommentarySermon Bible Commentary

Verse 8

2 Kings 22:8

(with 2 Chronicles 34:15 )

There is an apparent discrepancy between the recorded facts of the reign of Josiah and the indications of his inward temperament and disposition which are given to us. The facts of his reign, if we could come to their study independently, would lead us to characterize him as an ardent, sanguine, energetic man. All seems consistent with this view: his zeal for religion, his labour in the restoration of the Temple and the reformation of the kingdom, and the warlike spirit which forced a collision with the power of Egypt and cost him his life at Megiddo. Activity, forwardness, and enterprise seem to mark the man, quite as distinctly as the deep religious principle which hallowed his doings.

Such would be the conclusion from the data of a human historian. But here the superhuman element comes in to represent his real character in a very different light. Huldah the prophetess is appropriately introduced to speak of him as tender, sensitive, and feminine in character, and to promise as his best reward that he should be taken away early from the evil to come.

I. During the restoration of the Temple a sensation was produced by the discovery of the original roll of the Law, which had been put into the ark eight centuries before. The reading of the book produced panic and dismay because of its contents, its threatenings, the evil denounced in it against the sins of the house of Judah. King and people alike seem to have been ignorant of the very existence of their Bible, as a book containing the revelation of God's wrath against sinners.

II. This story touches not only the nation or the Church; it touches every one of us. Are there not many of us who have lost the book of life lost it how much more wilfully, how much more guiltily, because in so many senses we have it? If we acquire the habit of studying the Bible merely or chiefly with scientific or literary views, of prying into it, dissecting it, criticising the word because it is man's, as if it were not also God's, can we help fearing that we may be losing the word of life?

III. Notice the result of the discovery of the book of the Law. The king rent his clothes, and sent to inquire of the Lord for himself and his people concerning the words of the book that was found. Let us also seek for deep and living repentance for the sin which our ignorance has been.

R. Scott, University Sermons, p. 325.

References: 2 Kings 22:11 . S. Wilberforce, Sermons before the University of Oxford, p. 175. 2 Kings 22:12 , 2 Kings 22:13 . Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xii., No. 704.

Verses 19-20

2 Kings 22:19-20

I. The discovery of Moses' law in the Temple is a very important occurrence in the history, because it shows us that Holy Scripture had been for a long while neglected and to all practical purposes lost. Josiah had been brought up among wicked men, in a corrupt court, after an apostasy of more than half a century, far from God's prophets and in the midst of idols.

II. Still Josiah had knowledge enough to be religious. He had that which all men have, heathen as well as Christians, till they pervert or blunt it: a natural sense of right and wrong; and he did not blunt it. He acknowledged a constraining force in the Divine voice within him; he heard and obeyed. At sixteen he began to seek after the God of his fathers. At twenty he commenced his reformation with a resolute faith and true-hearted devotion. He found the book of the Law in the course of his reformation. He was seeking God in the way of His commandments, and God met him there.

III. Observe his conduct when the Law was read to him. "He rent his clothes." He thought far more of what he had not done than of what he had done. He bade the priests inquire of God for him what he ought to do to avert His anger. When he received the message of Huldah, he assembled all Judah to Jerusalem, and publicly read the words of the Law. Then he made them renew the covenant with the God of their fathers, and after that he held his celebrated passover. His greater knowledge was followed by greater obedience.

IV. Observe in what Josiah's chief excellence lay. His great virtue was his faith or conscientiousness. These virtues are in substance one and the same; they belong to one habit of mind: dutifulness; they show themselves in obedience, in the careful, anxious observance of God's will, however we learn it. Let us, like Josiah, improve our gifts, and trade and make merchandise with them, so that when He cometh to reckon with us we may be accepted in His sight.

J. H. Newman, Parochial and Plain Sermon's, vol. viii., p. 91.

References: 2 Kings 22:0 J. Vaughan, Children's Sermons, 5th series, p. 48; Parker, vol. viii., p. 300.

Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on 2 Kings 22". "Sermon Bible Commentary".