2 Kings 22:13
Go you, inquire of the LORD for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that is found: for great is the wrath of the LORD that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not listened to the words of this book, to do according to all that which is written concerning us.
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(13) Enquire of the Lord.—Or, seek ye Jehovah. Josiah wished to know whether any hope remained for himself and his people, or whether the vengeance must fall speedily.

For the people.—Of Jerusalem.

Written concerning us.—Thenius conjectures written therein, a slight change in the Hebrew. But Josiah identifies the people and their fathers as one nation. (Comp. also Exodus 20:5.) However Chronicles has “in this book,” and the Arabic here “in it.”

22:11-20 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remaineth for the people of God.Enquire of the Lord - As inquiry by Urim and Thummim had ceased - apparently because superseded by prophecy - this order was equivalent to an injunction to seek the presence of a prophet (compare 2 Kings 3:11; 1 Kings 22:5).

Because our fathers have not hearkened - Josiah, it will be observed, assumes that preceding generations had had full opportunity of hearing and knowing the Law. He thus regards the loss as comparatively recent (compare 2 Kings 22:8 note).

12-15. the king commanded … Go, inquire of the Lord for me, &c.—The agitated feelings of the king prompted him to ask immediate counsel how to avert those curses under which his kingdom lay; and forthwith a deputation of his principal officers was sent to one endowed with the prophetic spirit.

Ahikam—a friend of Jeremiah (Jer 26:24).

Inquire of the Lord; either what he intends to do with us, or what we shall do to him, to appease his wrath.

Concerning the words of this book; whether the curses here threatened must come upon us without remedy, or whether there be hope in Israel concerning the prevention of them. Go ye, inquire of the Lord,.... Of some of his prophets, as Jeremiah, who began to prophesy in the thirteenth year of Josiah's reign, and had been a prophet five years, Jeremiah 1:1,

for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that is found; for he observed that this book threatened and foretold not only the captivity of the ten tribes, but of Judah, and of their king; and Jarchi thinks, he had a particular respect to that passage:

the Lord shall bring thee and thy king, &c. Deuteronomy 28:36 and therefore was desirous of knowing what he and his people must do to avert those judgments:

for great is the wrath of the Lord that is kindled against us; which he concluded from the threatenings denounced:

because that our fathers have not hearkened unto the words of this book, to do according to all which is written concerning us: he clearly saw that his ancestors more remote and immediate had been very deficient in observing the laws, commands, and ordinances enjoined them in that book; and therefore feared that what was threatened would fall upon him and his people, who, he was sensible, came short of doing their duty.

Go ye, {f} enquire of the LORD for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that is found: for great is the wrath of the LORD that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not hearkened unto the words of this book, to do according unto all that which is written concerning us.

(f) Meaning, to some prophet to whom God reveals the knowledge of things, as in Jer 21:8, though at other times they enquired the Lord by Urim and Thummim.

13. our fathers have not hearkened] The two reigns of Manasseh and Amon had led the whole people away to idolatry. Of the former of these kings it is said (2 Kings 12:11) ‘He hath made Judah also to sin with his idols’. For two generations at the least the retrospect of king Josiah was a very dark one.Verse 13. - Go ye, inquire of the Lord for me. Inquiry of the Lord, which from the time of Moses to that of David was ordinarily "by Urim and Thummim," was after David's time always made by the consultation of a prophet (see 1 Kings 22:5-8; 2 Kings 3:11; 2 Kings 8:8; Jeremiah 21:2; Jeremiah 37:7; Ezekiel 14:7; Ezekiel 20:1, etc.). The officers, therefore, understood the king to mean that they were to seek out a prophet (see ver. 14), and so make the inquiry. And for the people, and for all Judah - the threats read in the king's ears were probably those of Deuteronomy 28:15-68 or Leviticus 26:16-39, which extended to the whole people - concerning the words of this book that is found. Not "whether they are authentic, whether they are really the words of Moses" (Duneker), for of that Josiah appears to have had no doubt; but whether they are words that are to have an immediate fulfillment, "whether," as Yon Gerlach says, "the measure of sin is already full, or whether there is yet hope of grace?" (compare Huldah's answer in vers. 16-20, which shows what she understood the king's inquiry to be). For great is the wrath of the Lord that is kindled against us. Josiah recognized that Judah had done, and was still doing, exactly those things against which the threatenings of the Law were directed - bad forsaken Jehovah and gone after other gods, and made to themselves high places, and set up images, and done after the customs of the nations whom the Lord had cast out before them. He could not, therefore, doubt but that the wrath of the Lord "was kindled;" but would it blaze forth at once? Because our fathers have not hearkened unto the words of this book, to do according unto all that which is written concerning us. Josiah assumes that their fathers have had the book, and might have known its words, either because he conceives that it had not been very long lost, or because he regards them as having possessed other copies. Repairing of the temple, and discovery of the book of the law (cf. 2 Chronicles 34:8-18). - When Josiah sent Shaphan the secretary of state (סופר, see at 2 Samuel 8:17) into the temple, in the eighteenth year of his reign, with instructions to Hilkiah the high priest to pay to the builders the money which had been collected from the people for repairing the temple by the Levites who kept the door, Hilkiah said to Shaphan, "I have found the book of the law." 2 Kings 22:3-8 form a long period. The apodosis to וגו ויהי, "it came to pass in the eighteenth year of king Josiah-the king had sent Shaphan," etc., does not follow till 2 Kings 22:8 : "that Hilkiah said," etc. The principal fact which the historian wished to relate, was the discovery of the book of the law; and the repairing of the temple is simply mentioned because it was when Shaphan was sent to Hilkiah about the payment of the money to the builders that the high priest informed the king's secretary of state of the discovery of the book of the law in the temple, and handed it over to him to take to the king. המּלך שׁלח, in 2 Kings 22:3, forms the commencement to the minor clauses inserted within the principal clause, and subordinate to it: "the king had sent Shaphan," etc. According to 2 Chronicles 34:8, the king had deputed not only Shaphan the state-secretary, but also Maaseiah the governor of the city and Joach the chancellor, because the repairing of the temple was not a private affair of the king and the high priest, but concerned the city generally, and indeed the whole kingdom. In 2 Kings 22:4, 2 Kings 22:5 there follows the charge given by the king to Shaphan: "Go up to Hilkiah the high priest, that he may make up the money, ... and hand it over to the workmen appointed over the house of Jehovah," etc. יתּם, from תּמם, Hiphil, signifies to finish or set right, i.e., not pay out (Ges., Dietr.), but make it up for the purpose of paying out, namely, collect it from the door-keepers, count it, and bind it up in bags (see 2 Kings 12:11). יתּם is therefore quite appropriate here, and there is no alteration of the text required. The door-keepers had probably put the money in a chest placed at the entrance, as was the case at the repairing of the temple in the time of Joash (2 Kings 12:10). In 2 Kings 22:5 the Keri יתנהוּ is a bad alteration of the Chethb יתנה, "and give (it) into the hand," which is perfectly correct. המּלאכה עשׁי might denote both the masters and the workmen (builders), and is therefore defined more precisely first of all by יי בּבית המּפקדים, "who had the oversight at the house of Jehovah," i.e., the masters or inspectors of the building, and secondly by יי בּבית אשׁר, who were (occupied) at the house of Jehovah, whilst in the Chronicles it is explained by י עשׂים ב אשׁר. The Keri יי בּית is an alteration after 2 Kings 22:9, whereas the combination בּבית מפקדים is justified by the construction of הפקיד c. acc. pers. and בּ rei in Jeremiah 40:5. The masters are the subject to ויתּנוּ; they were to pay the money as it was wanted, either to the workmen, or for the purchase of materials for repairing the dilapidations, as is more precisely defined in 2 Kings 22:6. Compare 2 Kings 12:12-13; and for 2 Kings 22:7 compare 2 Kings 12:16. The names of the masters or inspectors are given in 2 Chronicles 34:12. - The execution of the king's command is not specially mentioned, that the parenthesis may not be spun out any further.
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