Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible

2 Kings Ch.22 / 25 Ch.s


* Josiah's good reign, His care for repairing the temple, The
book of the law found. (1-10) Josiah consults Huldah the
prophetess. (11-20)

#1-10 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
every one that believeth.

#11-20 The book of the law is read before the king. Those best
honour their Bibles, who study them; daily feed on that bread,
and walk by that light. Convictions of sin and wrath should put
us upon this inquiry, What shall we do to be saved? Also, what
we may expect, and must provide for. Those who are truly
apprehensive of the weight of God's wrath, cannot but be very
anxious how they may be saved. Huldah let Josiah know what
judgments God had in store for Judah and Jerusalem. The
generality of the people were hardened, and their hearts
unhumbled, but Josiah's heart was tender. This is tenderness of
heart, and thus he humbled himself before the Lord. Those who
most fear God's wrath, are least likely to feel it. Though
Josiah was mortally wounded in battle, yet he died in peace with
God, and went to glory. Whatever such persons suffer or witness,
they are gathered to the grave in peace, and shall enter into
the rest which remaineth for the people of God.