When man finds the Word, the Word finds man and reveals to him his true condition. If heartily received, it will lead to cleansing, consecration and continuance in the ways of God.
II Chronicles 34
1 Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem one and thirty years.
2 And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the ways of David his father, and declined neither to the right hand, nor to the left.
3 ¶ For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet young, he began to seek after the God of David his father: and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem from the high places, and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images.
4 And they brake down the altars of Baalim in his presence; and the images, that were on high above them, he cut down; and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images, he brake in pieces, and made dust of them, and strowed it upon the graves of them that had sacrificed unto them.
5 And he burnt the bones of the priests upon their altars, and cleansed Judah and Jerusalem.
6 And so did he in the cities of Manasseh, and Ephraim, and Simeon, even unto Naphtali, with their mattocks round about.
7 And when he had broken down the altars and the groves, and had beaten the graven images into powder, and cut down all the idols throughout all the land of Israel, he returned to Jerusalem.
8 ¶ Now in the eighteenth year of his reign, when he had purged the land, and the house, he sent Shaphan the son of Azaliah, and Maaseiah the governor of the city, and Joah the son of Joahaz the recorder, to repair the house of the LORD his God.
9 And when they came to Hilkiah the high priest, they delivered the money that was brought into the house of God, which the Levites that kept the doors had gathered of the hand of Manasseh and Ephraim, and of all the remnant of Israel, and of all Judah and Benjamin; and they returned to Jerusalem.
10 And they put it in the hand of the workmen that had the oversight of the house of the LORD, and they gave it to the workmen that wrought in the house of the LORD, to repair and amend the house:
11 Even to the artificers and builders gave they it, to buy hewn stone, and timber for couplings, and to floor the houses which the kings of Judah had destroyed.
12 And the men did the work faithfully: and the overseers of them were Jahath and Obadiah, the Levites, of the sons of Merari; and Zechariah and Meshullam, of the sons of the Kohathites, to set it forward; and other of the Levites, all that could skill of instruments of musick.
13 Also they were over the bearers of burdens, and were overseers of all that wrought the work in any manner of service: and of the Levites there were scribes, and officers, and porters.
14 ¶ And when they brought out the money that was brought into the house of the LORD, Hilkiah the priest found a book of the law of the LORD given by Moses.
15 And Hilkiah answered and said to Shaphan the scribe, I have found the book of the law in the house of the LORD. And Hilkiah delivered the book to Shaphan.
16 And Shaphan carried the book to the king, and brought the king word back again, saying, All that was committed to thy servants, they do it.
17 And they have gathered together the money that was found in the house of the LORD, and have delivered it into the hand of the overseers, and to the hand of the workmen.
18 Then Shaphan the scribe told the king, saying, Hilkiah the priest hath given me a book. And Shaphan read it before the king.
19 And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the law, that he rent his clothes.
20 And the king commanded Hilkiah, and Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Abdon the son of Micah, and Shaphan the scribe, and Asaiah a servant of the king’s, saying,
21 Go, enquire of the LORD for me, and for them that are left in Israel and in Judah, concerning the words of the book that is found: for great is the wrath of the LORD that is poured out upon us, because our fathers have not kept the word of the LORD, to do after all that is written in this book.
22 And Hilkiah, and they that the king had appointed, went to Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tikvath, the son of Hasrah, keeper of the wardrobe; (now she dwelt in Jerusalem in the college:) and they spake to her to that effect.
23 ¶ And she answered them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Tell ye the man that sent you to me,
24 Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, and upon the inhabitants thereof, even all the curses that are written in the book which they have read before the king of Judah:
25 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 poured out upon this place, and shall not be quenched.
26 And as for the king of Judah, who sent you to enquire of the LORD, so shall ye say unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel concerning the words which thou hast heard;
27 Because thine heart was tender, and thou didst humble thyself before God, when thou heardest his words against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, and humbledst thyself before me, and didst rend thy clothes, and weep before me; I have even heard thee also, saith the LORD.
28 Behold, I will gather thee to thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered to thy grave in peace, neither shall thine eyes see all the evil that I will bring upon this place, and upon the inhabitants of the same. So they brought the king word again.
29 ¶ Then the king sent and gathered together all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem.
30 And the king went up into the house of the LORD, and all the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and the priests, and the Levites, and all the people, great and small: and he read in their ears all the words of the book of the covenant that was found in the house of the LORD.
31 And the king stood in his place, and made a covenant before the LORD, to walk after the LORD, and to keep his commandments, and his testimonies, and his statutes, with all his heart, and with all his soul, to perform the words of the covenant which are written in this book.
32 And he caused all that were present in Jerusalem and Benjamin to stand to it. And the inhabitants of Jerusalem did according to the covenant of God, the God of their fathers.
33 And Josiah took away all the abominations out of all the countries that pertained to the children of Israel, and made all that were present in Israel to serve, even to serve the LORD their God. And all his days they departed not from following the LORD, the God of their fathers.
II Chronicles 34 Intro – J. Vernon McGee
II Chronicles 34:1-7 – J. Vernon McGee
II Chronicles 34:8-21 – J. Vernon McGee
II Chronicles 34:22-33 – J. Vernon McGee
2 Chronicles 34:1-11 – A Toting King’s Noble Leadership
Josiah was as much better than his father Amon, as Manasseh had been worse than Hezekiah. How strange to find such a pure young soul in the heart of Amon’s court! What led the boy to such moral and religious attainments? Perhaps his grandfather, Manasseh, unable to change his son, focused his prayers and influence on his grandson. It is probable, also, that considerable influence for good resulted from the discovery that he had been the subject of prophecy. See I Kings 13:2. He felt encouraged to apprehend that for which he had been apprehended years before. Though no prophet’s voice has predicted the program and attainments of our lives, they are well known in heaven, and we are summoned to realize God’s great ideals for us.
The call of Jeremiah, also so nearly coincides with the commencement of Josiah’s reforms that we can scarcely regard the two facts as unconnected. At any rate the king’s earlier efforts seem to have been coincident with the first appearance of the prophet-statesman in the king’s court at Jerusalem. —Through the Bible Day by Day
2 Chronicles 34:12-21 – A Disturbing Discovery
The finding of the roll of the Law was a very significant incident. That it should have become so rare—apparently this was the only copy extant—was doubtless due to the destructive and desecrating efforts of Manasseh and other kings. Some pious hand had concealed it from the search of the inquisitors, and the secret had never been divulged. It is small wonder that the king’s heart misgave him when he compared the divine ideal with the actual condition of things in Judah and Jerusalem. Here is an illustration of the way in which conscience may awake to the demands of God, which have long been buried amid the drift and rubbish of our lives, ignored and disobeyed. One day this neglect is brought suddenly and sadly home to us, and we cry out in an agony of conviction.
Let us read God’s Word carefully and reverently, until we come on something which accuses us, and then stop to listen. We must submit ourselves to its scrutiny. We must allow it to divide between soul and spirit. We must enthrottle it, at whatever cost, as the critic of our lives. We must follow its leadings wherever it points the way. —Through the Bible Day by Day
2 Chronicles 34:12 – You cannot set the world right, or the times, but you can do something for the truth; and all you can do will certainly tell if the work you do is for the Master, Who gives you your share, and so the burden of responsibility is lifted off. This assurance makes peace, satisfaction, and repose possible even in the partial work done upon earth. Go to the man who is carving a stone for a building; ask him where is that stone going, to what part of the temple, and how is he going to get it into place, and what does he do? He points you to the builder’s plans. This is only one stone of many. So, when men shall ask where and how is your little achievement going into God’s plan, point them to your Master, Who keeps the plans, and then go on doing your little service as faithfully as if the whole temple were yours to build. (Phillips Brooks)
II Chronicles 34:15, 18—I have found the book of the law in the house of the LORD.
It is supposed that this was the Book of Deuteronomy; though we have no sympathy whatever with a modern notion with respect to its discovery. In our judgment that book is rightly ascribed to Moses. Apparently, however, it had long been missing, and the young king was filled with horror when he heard the list of evils that were associated with apostasy. “He rent his clothes” (2 Chronicles 34:19).
We should read the Bible with a particular application to the days in which we live. It is well enough to accept its statements as being generally true and credible; but it is better to realize their pertinence to ourselves and our circumstances. The book of the law had been sadly neglected in the years preceding Josiah’s accession; and through the neglect of God’s Word the people had become indifferent to His commands, and deaf to the appeals of His prophets. Josiah turned the lantern on the evils of His time, and saw how God was feeling with respect to them.
The Bible is a book for all time. What it said, it says. What it was, it is. You tell me it was written so many centuries ago; but I reply the ink is still wet on its immortal pages. They have been read and pondered by generations; but the light of its eye is not dim, nor its natural force abated. Sin is the same, man the same, God the same, in all ages. And the Bible’s claim to be God’s Word is substantiated by the fact that it is possessed of living power, and of the same perennial freshness as the sun, or the spring, or the ocean, or the faces of the little children. Would that we might daily read it as we read the newspaper, damp from the press, realizing that it is our Father’s great message for the life of every day! —Our Daily Homily
2 Chronicles 34:22-33 – Renewing the Covenant
The tender heart is a humble one, II Chronicles 34:27. To admit that God is right and we are wrong, and to take home his rebuke, is an admirable position. The penitential tear is like the baptism of dew on foliage parched by the scorching heat. But the tender heart does not confine itself to emotion, it acts. The king gathered all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem, went up to the house of the Lord, and caused all the people to stand to the covenant he proposed. He made all that were found, even in Israel, though they were outside his jurisdiction, to serve the Lord their God. Evidently Josiah was one of those men who have a compelling force because they appeal to the conscience in the heart of all men, and are themselves in close touch with God. Why not surrender yourself wholly to God! There are temples which need repairing, priests and people who require direction and leadership, nations which must be brought back to the God of their fathers. Only be tender, humble, and trustful. The world has yet to learn what God can do by those wholly devoted to Him. —Through the Bible Day by Day