THE REIGN OF JOSIAH
(1) Josiah.—The name seems to mean “Jah healeth.” (Comp. Exodus 15:26; Isaiah 30:26.)
Eight years old.—The queen-mother was probably paramount in the government during the first years of the reign.
Boscath.—In the lowland of Judah (Joshua 15:39).
He reigned thirty and one years.—And somewhat over. (Comp. Jeremiah 1:2; Jeremiah 25:1; Jeremiah 25:3; according to which passages it was twenty-three years from the thirteenth of Josiah to the fourth of Jehoiakim.)
The king sent Shaphan . . . the scribe.—Chronicles mentions beside Maaseiah, the governor of the city, and Joah the recorder. Thenius pronounces these personages fictitious, because (1) only the scribe is mentioned in 2 Kings 12:10 (?); (2) Joshua was the then governor of the city (but this is not quite clear: the Joshua of 2 Kings 23:8 may have been a former governor; or, as Maaseiah and Joshua are very much alike in Hebrew, one name may be a corruption of the other); (3) Maaseiah seems to have been manufactured out of the Asahiah of 2 Kings 22:12 (but Asahiah is mentioned as a distinct person in 2 Chronicles 34:20); and (4) Joah the recorder seems to have been borrowed from 2 Kings 18:18 (as if anything could be inferred from a recurrence of the same name; and that probably in the same family !). Upon such a basis of mere conjecture, the inference is raised that the chronicler invented these names, in order “to give a colour of genuine history to his narrative.” It is obvious to reply that Shaphan only is mentioned here, as the chief man in the business. (Comp, also 2 Kings 18:17; 2 Kings 19:8).
Go up to Hilkiah the priest.—The account of the repair of the Temple under Josiah naturally resembles that of the same proceeding under Joash (2 Kings 12:10, seq.) More than 200 years had since elapsed, so that the fabric might well stand in need of repair, apart from the defacements which it had undergone at the hands of heathenish princes (2 Chronicles 34:2). The text does not say that the repair of the Temple had been “longtemps négligée par l’incurie des prêtres” (Reuss),
Hilkiah.—See 1 Chronicles 6:13 for this high priest. He is a different person from Hilkiah, the father of Jeremiah, who was a priest, but not high priest (Jeremiah 1:1).
That he may sum—i.e., make up, ascertain the amount of . . . The LXX. reads, seal up (σφράγισον), which implies a Hebrew verb, of which that in the present Hebrew text might be a corruption.
Which the keepers of the door.—See the Notes on 2 Kings 12:9; 2 Kings 12:11-12, as to the contents of this and the next verse.
That was delivered . . . they dealt.—That is given . . . they deal. In 2 Kings 12:14; 2 Kings 12:16 the same construction is used in a different sense. (See the Notes there.)
And he read it.—Thenius thinks that this indicates that the book was of no great size, as Shaphan made his report to the king immediately after the execution of his commission (2 Kings 22:9). But neither does 2 Kings 22:9 say immediately, nor does this phrase necessarily mean that Shaphan read the book through.
Have gathered.—Rather, have poured out—i.e., from the alms-chest into the bags.
In the house.—In the wider sense of the word, as including the outer court (2 Kings 12:9). Chronicles reads “in the house of the Lord,” which is probably right. So LXX., Vulg., Arabic here.
As to Ahikam see Jeremiah 26:24; Jeremiah 40:5; and for Achbor, Jeremiah 26:22; Jeremiah 36:12.
Asahiah a servant of the king’s.—Probably the same officer as “the knight” or aide-de-camp who attended on the king (2 Kings 7:2; 2 Kings 9:25.)
For the people.—Of Jerusalem.
Written concerning us.—Thenius conjectures written therein, a slight change in the Hebrew. But Josiah identifies the people and their fathers as one nation. (Comp. also Exodus 20:5.) However Chronicles has “in this book,” and the Arabic here “in it.”
Keeper of the wardrobe.—Either the royal wardrobe or that of the priests in the Temple. (Comp. 2 Kings 10:22.) In either case Shallum was a person of consideration, as is further shown by the careful specification of his descent.
In the college.—This is the rendering of the Targum, as if mishneh (“second”) were equivalent to the later Mishna. The word really means the second part of the city—i.e., the lower city. (See Nehemiah 11:9; Zephaniah 1:10.)
Which the king of Judah hath read.—The book had been read to him as the chronicler explains. The freedom of expression here warns us against pressing the words of 2 Kings 22:8; 2 Kings 22:10 (“he read it”).
Shall not be quenched.—Comp. Jeremiah 4:4; Amos 5:6; Isaiah 1:31.
Hast humbled thyself.—Comp. the behaviour of Ahab (1 Kings 21:27 seq.).
Become a desolation and a curse.—See Jeremiah 44:22. “A curse” is not so much an instance of causa pro effectu (Thenius), as a specification of the type such as would be made in blessing and cursing. (Comp. Jeremiah 29:22; Genesis 48:20; Ruth 4:11-12.)
In peace.—These words are limited by those which follow: “thine eyes shall not see all the evil,” &c. Josiah was slain in battle, as the next chapter relates (2 Kings 23:29); but he was spared the greater calamity of witnessing the ruin of his people.