XXII The general character of Josiah, ver. 1, 2. He repairs the temple, ver. 3-7. The high-priest brings him the original book of the law, ver. 8-10. He sends to consult Huldah the prophetess, ver. 11-14. The destruction of Jerusalem foretold, ver. 15-20.
Verse 8. The book - That original book of the law of the Lord, given or written by the hand of Moses, as it is expressed, 2 Chron. xxxiv, 14, which by God's command was put beside the ark, Deut. xxxi, 26, and probably taken from thence and hid, by the care of some godly priest, when some of the idolatrous kings of Judah persecuted the true religion, and defaced the temple, and (which the Jewish writers affirm) burnt all the copies of God's law which they could find. It was now found among the rubbish, or in some secret place.
Verse 11. The words - The dreadful comminations against them for the sins still reigning among the people. If Josiah had seen and read it before, which seems more probable, yet the great reverence which he justly bare to the original book, and the strange, and remarkable, and seasonable finding of it, had awakened and quickened him to a more serious and diligent consideration of all the passages contained in it. And what a providence was this, that it was still preserved! Yea, what a providence, that the whole book of God is preserved to us. If the holy scriptures had not been of God, they had not been in being at this day. God's care of the bible, is a plain proof of his interest in it. It was a great instance of God's favour, that the book of the law was thus seasonably brought to light, to direct and quicken that blessed reformation, which Joash had begun. And it is observable, they were about a good work, repairing the temple, when it was found. They that do their duty according to their knowledge, shall have their knowledge increased.
Verse 13. Inquire - What we shall do to appease his wrath, and whether the curses here threatened must come upon us without remedy, or whether there be hope in Israel concerning the prevention of them.
Verse 14. Huldah - The king's earnest affection required great haste; and she was in Jerusalem, which is therefore noted in the following part of the verse, when Jeremiah might at this time be at Anathoth, or in some more remote part of the kingdom; and the like may be said of Zephaniah, who also might not be a prophet at this time, though he was afterward, in the days of Josiah. College - Where the sons of the prophets, or others, who devoted themselves to the study of God's word, used to meet and discourse of the things of God, and receive the instructions of their teachers.
Verse 15. The man - She uses no compliments. Tell the man that sent you - Even kings, though gods to us, are men to God, and shall be so dealt with: for with him there is no respect of persons.
Verse 17. The works - Gods made with hands.
Verse 19. Tender - He trembled at God's word. He was grieved for the dishonour done to God by the sins of his people. He was afraid of the judgments of God, which he saw coming on Jerusalem. This is tenderness of heart.
Verse 20. In peace - That is, in a time of public peace: for otherwise he died in battle. Besides, he died in peace with God, and was by death translated to everlasting peace.