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CHAPTER 34 Nov.5 
Josiah’s Good Reign
Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign; and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem. 2He did that which was right in the eyes of Yahweh, and walked in the ways of David his father, and didn’t turn aside to the right hand or to the left. 3For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet young, he began to seek after the God of David his father. In the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem from the high places, and the Asherim, and the engraved images, and the molten images. 4They broke down the altars of the Baals in his presence. He cut down the incense altars that were on high above them. He broke in pieces the Asherim, and the engraved images, and the molten images, and made dust of them, and strewed it on the graves of those who had sacrificed to them. 5He burnt the bones of the priests on their altars, and purged Judah and Jerusalem. 6He did this in the cities of Manasseh and Ephraim and Simeon, even to Naphtali, in their surrounding ruins. 7He broke down the altars, and beat the Asherim and the engraved images into powder, and cut down all the incense altars throughout all the land of Israel, and returned to Jerusalem. 8Now 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 Yahweh his God. 9They came to Hilkiah the high priest, and delivered the money that was brought into God’s house, which the Levites, the keepers of the threshold, had gathered of the hand of Manasseh and Ephraim, and of all the remnant of Israel, and of all Judah and Benjamin, and of the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 10They delivered it into the hand of the workmen who had the oversight of the house of Yahweh. The workmen who laboured in the house of Yahweh gave it to mend and repair the house; 11even to the carpenters and to the builders they gave it, to buy cut stone, and timber for couplings, and to make beams for the houses which the kings of Judah had destroyed. 12The men did the work faithfully; and their overseers 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 others of the Levites, all who were skilful with instruments of music. 13Also they were over the bearers of burdens, and set forward all who did the work in every kind of service. Of the Levites there were scribes, and officers, and porters. 
The Book of the Law Discovered
14When they brought out the money that was brought into the house of Yahweh, Hilkiah the priest found the book of the law of Yahweh given by Moses. 15Hilkiah answered Shaphan the scribe, I have found the book of the law in the house of Yahweh. Hilkiah delivered the book to Shaphan. 16Shaphan carried the book to the king, and moreover brought back word to the king, saying, All that was committed to your servants, they are doing. 17They have emptied out the money that was found in the house of Yahweh, and have delivered it into the hand of the overseers, and into the hand of the workmen. 18Shaphan the scribe told the king, saying, Hilkiah the priest has delivered me a book. Shaphan read therein before the king. 19It happened, when the king had heard the words of the law, that he tore his clothes. 20The king commanded Hilkiah, and Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Abdon the son of Micah, and Shaphan the scribe, and Asaiah the king’s servant saying, 21Go inquire of Yahweh for me, and for those who are left in Israel and in Judah, concerning the words of the book that is found. Great is the wrath of Yahweh that is poured out on us, because our fathers have not kept the word of Yahweh, to do according to all that is written in this book. 22So Hilkiah, and they whom the king had commanded, went to Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tokhath, the son of Hasrah, keeper of the wardrobe; (now she lived in Jerusalem in the second quarter), and they spoke to her to that effect. 23She said to them, Thus says Yahweh, the God of Israel: ‘Tell the man who sent you to me, 24Thus says Yahweh, Behold, I will bring evil on this place, and on its inhabitants, even all the curses that are written in the book which they have read before the king of Judah. 25Because they have forsaken Me, and have burned incense to other gods, that they might provoke Me to anger with all the works of their hands; therefore is My wrath poured out on this place, and it shall not be quenched’. 26But to the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of Yahweh, thus you shall tell him, Thus says Yahweh, the God of Israel: ‘As touching the words which you have heard, 27because your heart was tender, and you humbled yourself before God when you heard His words against this place, and against its inhabitants, and have humbled yourself before Me and have torn your clothes, and wept before Me; I also have heard you, says Yahweh. 28Behold, I will gather you to your fathers, and you shall be gathered to your grave in peace, neither shall your eyes see all the evil that I will bring on this place, and on its inhabitants’. They brought back word to the king. 29Then the king sent and gathered together all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. 30The king went up to the house of Yahweh, and all the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and the priests, and the Levites, and all the people, both 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 Yahweh. 31The king stood in his place, and made a covenant before Yahweh, to walk after Yahweh, and to keep His commandments, His testimonies and His statutes, with all his heart, and with all his soul, to perform the words of the covenant that were written in this book. 32He caused all who were found in Jerusalem and Benjamin to stand to it. The inhabitants of Jerusalem did according to the covenant of God, the God of their fathers. 33Josiah took away all the abominations out of all the countries that pertained to the children of Israel, and made all who were found in Israel to serve, even to serve Yahweh their God. All his days they didn’t depart from following Yahweh, the God of their fathers.


34:3 A 16 year old can significantly search after God; and a 20 year old isn’t too young to do major things for God or take a leadership role if there are no others willing to do so.
34:14 Hilkiah the priest found the book of the law of Yahweh given by Moses- Jeremiah (Jer. 15:16) says that when this book was found, it was to him the joy of his heart and he as it were ate it. Yet the part of the Law which was found listed the judgments for disobedience and the explanation of the terms of the covenant (:31). He didn’t regard these things as some might- the boring droning on of God about sin. Jeremiah perceived in it God’s requirements and the blessings for obedience, and rejoiced in it all, as only one who truly loves God can do. Note that in the generations that didn’t have access to this book of the Law, there were still people who pleased God greatly, including Josiah. And yet they did so in ignorance of all His word. We who have the completed word of God so conveniently accessible can come to think that therefore anyone without a complete knowledge of God’s word on every point cannot please Him or have a relationship with Him. But this is clearly not the case; for those at Josiah’s time and the generation before who were ignorant of parts of God’s word could still please Him. However we who have God’s completed word have a far higher level of responsibility before Him. It could also be argued that God revealed more of His word and requirements to Josiah in response to Josiah’s zeal to do the right thing before God so far as he knew, after the pattern of Cornelius in the New Testament. Those who truly seek after God will have His true word revealed to them.
34:19 He tore his clothes- He realized that sins of ignorance are still sins; hence the Law of Moses required offerings for sin once the sin was recognized. “Great wrath” was from God because of this disobedience, albeit performed in ignorance (:21). The fact sins of ignorance are still felt by God should lead us to search His word the more diligently to know what exactly He requires and hopes for from us. Spare a thought for God in this; He feels sin, all sin, committed by whoever, even in ignorance. His sensitivity to sin should lead us to vow the more passionately to live pleasingly before Him.
34:22 Huldah the prophetess- The Hebrew word translated ‘prophet’ doesn’t just refer to someone who predicts the future, but to one who spoke forth God’s inspired word. It’s significant that in such a male dominated society, God chose to relay His word at times through women.
34:31 Josiah didn’t just accept the threatened judgment to come as inevitable. He believed that by repentance it could possibly be averted by God’s grace, just as the people of Nineveh believed.