2 kings 22
Josiah becomes king of Judah at the age of eight. He is the ideal king—ranking with his great-grandfather Hezekiah as a fitting descendant of King David.
Assyria’s power is fading, which leaves Josiah free to make religious reforms. He organizes some repair work on the temple. It is while this work is being carried out that the old Book of the Law is found.
We don’t know what the Book of the Law contains. It seems likely to be at least a large part of the book of Deuteronomy (22:8–13).
Deuteronomy contains Moses’ farewell speech to the Israelites, when they are about to enter the Promised Land of Canaan. It lists the blessings that will come with obeying God’s law and the curses that will result when it is broken (Deuteronomy 28:1–68). The final curse is that Israel will be uprooted from her land and her people scattered as slaves in exile (Deuteronomy 28:63–64).
When King Josiah hears this he tears his clothes in dismay. Judah has fallen so far from God’s standard and committed so many of the sins that are forbidden. A prophetess called Huldah confirms that God is going to punish Judah—but not in Josiah’s time, because of his humility and repentance.
Andrew Knowles, The Bible Guide, 1st Augsburg books ed. (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg, 2001), 166–167.
As you read through the Scripture, choose from the following questions to guide discussion in your group. Don’t feel that you need to talk about all of them.
Read 2 Kings 22
Dig Into the Text
- What does Josiah have going for him as he begins his reign (vv. 1-3)? What top priority does he share with another boy king (vv. 4-7; see 2 Kings 12:1-16)?
- Why are these kings always hiring tradesmen to refurbish the temple?
- What serendipity happens to this good king (v. 8)? This book is probably Deuteronomy – in whole or in part. Do you suppose it was really lost or simply hidden? How could Josiah “do what is right in the eyes of the Lord” (v. 2) his whole life without knowing of this book?
- Who makes up the king’s advisory board for this Bible study project (vv. 11-14)? Without consulting learned advisors, what does Josiah evidently know about the book?
- What does Huldah, as the senior biblical consultant, contribute to this project (vv. 15-20)? What really makes God angry? How does she turn grim news into good news? What then is the state of true worship in Judah? Should Josiah sew up his robes after her report?
Apply the Text
- What book, apart from the Bible, has most profoundly changed you? How so? How does that book’s effect compare with the Bible’s effect on your life?
- How many times have you vowed to rediscover the Scriptures every morning? Will you keep trying or give up?
- Has the ultimate bad news of God’s judgment been postponed for you? Under what conditions? What does that give you time to do?
- How well do you know church history? Who are the “Josiahs” that have rediscovered biblical truth in recent centuries? Which Josiah is your church in debted to?