Josiah Repents

1 Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned for thirty-one years in Jerusalem.1 His mother2 was Jedidah, daughter of Adaiah, from Bozkath. 2 He did what the Lord approved3 and followed in his ancestor David’s footsteps;4 he did not deviate to the right or the left.

3 In the eighteenth year of King Josiah’s reign, the king sent the scribe Shaphan son of Azaliah, son of Meshullam, to the Lord’s temple with these orders:5 4 Go up to Hilkiah the high priest and have him melt down6 the silver that has been brought by the people to the Lord’s temple and has been collected by the guards at the door. 5 Have them hand it over to the construction foremen7 assigned to the Lord’s temple. They in turn should pay the temple workers to repair it,8 6 including craftsmen, builders, and masons, and should buy wood and chiseled stone for the repair work.9 7 Do not audit the foremen who disburse the silver, for they are honest.”10

8 Hilkiah the high priest informed Shaphan the scribe, “I found the law scroll in the Lord’s temple.” Hilkiah gave the scroll to Shaphan and he read it. 9 Shaphan the scribe went to the king and reported,11Your servants melted down the silver in the temple12 and handed it over to the construction foremen assigned to the Lord’s temple.” 10 Then Shaphan the scribe told the king, “Hilkiah the priest has given me a scroll.” Shaphan read it out loud before the king. 11 When the king heard the words of the law scroll, he tore his clothes. 12 The king ordered Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Acbor son of Micaiah, Shaphan the scribe, and Asaiah the king’s servant, 13 Go, seek an oracle from13 the Lord for me and the people – for all Judah. Find out about14 the words of this scroll that has been discovered. For the Lord’s fury has been ignited against us,15 because our ancestors have not obeyed the words of this scroll by doing all that it instructs us to do.”16

14 So Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Acbor, Shaphan, and Asaiah went to Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shullam son of Tikvah, the son of Harhas, the supervisor of the wardrobe.17 (She lived in Jerusalem in the Mishneh18 district.) They stated their business,19 15 and she said to them: “This is what the Lord God of Israel says: ‘Say this to the man who sent you to me: 16 This is what the Lord says: ‘I am about to bring disaster on this place and its residents, the details of which are recorded in the scroll which the king of Judah has read.20 17 This will happen because they have abandoned me and offered sacrifices21 to other gods, angering me with all the idols they have made.22 My anger will ignite against this place and will not be extinguished!’ 18 Say this to the king of Judah, who sent you to seek an oracle from the Lord: “This is what the Lord God of Israel says concerning the words you have heard: 19 You displayed a sensitive spirit23 and humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard how I intended to make this place and its residents into an appalling example of an accursed people.24 You tore your clothes and wept before me, and I have heard you,’ says the Lord. 20 Therefore I will allow you to die and be buried in peace.25 You will not have to witness26 all the disaster I will bring on this place.’”’” Then they reported back to the king.

122:1map For location see Map5-B1; Map6-F3; Map7-E2; Map8-F2; Map10-B3; JP1-F4; JP2-F4; JP3-F4; JP4-F4. 222:1tn Heb “the name of his mother.” 322:2tn Heb “he did what was proper in the eyes of the Lord.” 422:2tn Heb “and walked in all the way of David his father.” 522:3tn Heb “with these orders, saying.” 622:4tc The MT has וְיַתֵּם (vÿyattem), “and let them add up” (Hiphil of תָּמָם [tammam], “be complete”), but the appearance of הִתִּיכוּ (hitikhu), “they melted down” (Hiphil of נָתַךְ [natakh], “pour out”) in v. 9 suggests that the verb form should be emended to וְיַתֵּךְ (vÿyattekh), “and let him melt down” (a Hiphil of נָתַךְ [natakh]). For a discussion of this and other options see M. Cogan and H. Tadmor, II Kings (AB), 281. 722:5tn Heb “doers of the work.” 822:5tn Heb “and let them give it to the doers of the work who are in the house of the Lord to repair the damages to the house.” 922:6tn Heb “and to buy wood and chiseled stone to repair the house.” 1022:7tn Heb “only the silver that is given into their hand should not be reckoned with them, for in faithfulness they are acting.” 1122:9tn Heb “returned the king a word and said.” 1222:9tn Heb “that was found in the house.” 1322:13tn Or “inquire of.” 1422:13tn Heb “concerning.” 1522:13tn Heb “for great is the anger of the Lord which has been ignited against us.” 1622:13tn Heb “by doing all that is written concerning us.” Perhaps עָלֵינוּ (’alenu), “concerning us,” should be altered to עָלָיו (’alav), “upon it,” in which case one could translate, “by doing all that is written in it.” 1722:14tn Heb “the keeper of the clothes.” 1822:14tn Or “second.” For a discussion of the possible location of this district, see M. Cogan and H. Tadmor, II Kings (AB), 283. 1922:14tn Heb “and they spoke to her.” 2022:16tn Heb “all the words of the scroll which the king of Judah has read.” 2122:17tn Or “burned incense.” 2222:17tn Heb “angering me with all the work of their hands.” The translation assumes that this refers to idols they have manufactured (note the preceding reference to “other gods,” as well as 19:18). However, it is possible that this is a general reference to their sinful practices, in which case one might translate, “angering me by all the things they do.” 2322:19tn Heb “Because your heart was tender.” 2422:19tn Heb “how I said concerning this place and its residents to become [an object of] horror and [an example of] a curse.” The final phrase (“horror and a curse”) refers to Judah becoming a prime example of an accursed people. In curse formulations they would be held up as a prime example of divine judgment. For an example of such a curse, see Jer 29:22. 2522:20tn Heb “Therefore, look, I am gathering you to your fathers, and you will be gathered to your tomb in peace.” 2622:20tn Heb “your eyes will not see.”