2 Kings 22: King Josiah of Judah.
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Brit-Am Commentary (BAC).

1. Finding the Torah Scroll of Moses!
2. Prophecy, Women Prophets, Did Jeremiah Bring the Ten Tribes Back?
3. The Message of Huldah.


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2 Kings 22: King Josiah of Judah.

Finding the Torah Scroll of Moses.

[2-Kings 22:1] Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Jedidah the daughter of Adaiah of Bozkath.

The name Josiah in Hebrew is pronounced as "Yoshiah" [YoAeShYaH]. It is uncertain what the name means. Meanings suggested include "Man of God", "Strength of God".
A Midrash (Pirkei d'Rabbi Eliezer) explains his name to mean "A Handsome Gift for the Almighty" ("Ya-ay-Shi-Yah").
The father of his mother has an interesting name "Adaiah" which is explained to mean "Witness of God" or "God is My Witness" similar to the name "Adiel" (1-Chronicles 4:36).

[2-Kings 22:2]  And he did what was right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in all the ways of his father David; he did not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.

King Josiah went in the pathway of his ancestor King David.
Daat Mikra points out that David did the right thing not only in straightforward religious matters but also in social ones.
 [1-Chronicles 18:14] So David reigned over all Israel, and administered judgment and justice to all his people.

[2-Kings 22:3]  Now it came to pass, in the eighteenth year of King Josiah, that the king sent Shaphan the scribe, the son of Azaliah, the son of Meshullam, to the house of the LORD, saying:

[2-Kings 22:4]  'Go up to
Hilkiah the high priest, that he may count the money which has been brought into the house of the LORD, which the doorkeepers have gathered from the people.

Hikiah was the High Priest ("Cohen HaGadol" in Hebrew) and his son was named Azariah. The name of Azariah son of Hilkiah has been found on a seal.
"Azariah son of Hilkiah the Cohen (Priest)"  
Historical Evidence for King Josiah
King Josiah ... ordered that the temple of the LORD be repaired. In order to pay for the work, he sent Shaphan, the son of Azaliah, son of Meshullam, his scribe to instruct Hilkiah the high priest to collect money from the temple to pay for the repairs.(2 Kings 22:3-5)
    A seal has been uncovered by archaeologists bearing the name of one of
Hilkiah's sons. 
The seal reads: "
Azariah son of Hilkiah."  
He is mentioned in 1Chronicles 6:13 & 9:11:

[1-Chronicles 6:13] Shallum begot Hilkiah, and Hilkiah begot Azariah...
[1-Chronicles 9:10-11] 10 Of the priests:
Jedaiah, Jehoiarib, and Jachin; 11 Azariah the son of Hilkiah, the son of Meshullam, the son of Zadok, the son of Meraioth, the son of Ahitub, the officer over the house of God...

[2-Kings 22:5]  And let them deliver it into the hand of those doing the work, who are the overseers in the house of the LORD; let them give it to those who are in the house of the LORD doing the work, to repair the damages of the house.'

[2-Kings 22:6]  to carpenters and builders and masons, and to buy timber and hewn stone to repair the house.

[2-Kings 22:7] However there need be no accounting made with them of the money delivered into their hand, because they deal faithfully.

[2-Kings 22:8]  Then
Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the scribe, 'I have found the Book of the Law in the house of the LORD.' And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, and he read it.

We are told in the Book of Chronicles that this was one of the Torah Scrolls that Moses had written.

[2-Chronicles 34:14] Now when they brought out the money that was brought into the house of the LORD, Hilkiah the priest found the Book of the Law of the LORD given by Moses.

The Talmud (Sanhedrin 103) quotes a tradition that King Ahaz, the great-grandfather of Josiah, had publicly burnt a Torah Scroll. The ashes of this scroll had been buried in a container. Someone had managed to hide the Torah Scroll of Moses under the container, probably in order to protect it. It was this scroll of Moses that the workmen had discovered.

We should not be surprised that such a valuable item had been lost and then found again. The Temple Mount had all kinds of store-rooms and small cells within it; it also had numerous subterranean tunnels and adjuncts. There had been long periods of time in which the Priests had not been allowed to function and the Temple Precinct had been given over to others. Some things had been forgotten and perhaps deliberately so. Even today within the Temple Mount and underneath there is much to be found. The Arabs are excavating in the area, putting up new buildings and deliberately destroying anything and everything they find. Jewish archaeologists and volunteers are reduced to sifting through the refuse from this building activity hoping to find something. And they do often find objects of archaeological and historical value.

The Arabs now deny that the Temple Mount ever belonged to the Jews. The Arabs do not care about history or objective fact. Their idea of the truth is what they decide it to be.

[2-Kings 22:9]  So Shaphan the scribe went to the king, bringing the king word, saying, 'Your servants have gathered the money that was found in the house, and have delivered it into the hand of those who do the work, who oversee the house of the LORD.'

[2-Kings 22:10]  Then
Shaphan the scribe showed the king, saying, 'Hilkiah the priest has given me a book.' And Shaphan read it before the king.

Shaphan was a scribe. This is not a simple profession. It requires expertise and exactitude.
Shaphan may well have had the expertise to recognize from the Calligraphy of the Scroll exactly what it was.

[2-Kings 22:11]  Now it happened, when the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, that he tore his clothes.

A Scroll is not like a book. When it is closed it is not usually put back to its beginning but rather wherever the reader has gotten up to.

The Scroll of Moses was open to the passage:

[Deuteronomy 28:36] 'The LORD will bring you and the king whom you set over you to a nation which neither you nor your fathers have known, and there you shall serve other gods, wood and stone.

King Josiah saw this as a Divine Portent and a warning that disaster was liable to come upon him and his kingdom.

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Prophecy, Women Prophets, Did Jeremiah Bring the Ten Tribes Back?

[2-Kings 22:12] Then the king commanded Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam the son of Shaphan, Achbor the son of Michaiah, Shaphan the scribe, and Asaiah a servant of the king, saying,

Achbor the son of Michaiah is referred to as Abdon the son of Micah in 2-Chronicles 34:20.
Micah and Micaiah are in effect the same name; Achbor and Abdon are different names but it is not infrequent in Scripture to find the same person referred to by more than one cognomen.

[2-Kings 22:13] Go, inquire of the LORD for me, for the people and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that has been found; for great is the wrath of the LORD that is aroused against us, because our fathers have not obeyed the words of this book, to do according to all that is written concerning us.

[2-Kings 22:14]  So Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Achbor, Shaphan, and Asaiah went to Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tikvah, the son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe. (She dwelt in Jerusalem in the Second Quarter.) And they spoke with her.

Throughout the ages there have been millions of Israelites who received the gift of Prophecy (Megilla 14a).
In our Era Prophecy has ceased but it will be renewed in the period leading up to the Messianic Age (Maimonides, "Iggeret le-Temen", cf. Joel 4:1). This could be in our time or close to it.
For someone who is interested in Rabbinical Sources on these matters we would recommend "A Handbook of Jewish Thought' by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan.

Only Prophets whose prophecies were needed for future generations had their prophecies mentioned in the Bible (Megilla 14a).
There were seven women Prophets out of a total of 48 mentioned by Scripture or 50 if Moses and Aaron are also included (Megilla 14a).
Nevertheless one source (Midrash Shir HaShirim 4:22) says that just as many women received prophecy as men.
The degree of prophecy achieved by women could be higher than that of men (Shemot Rabah 1:1).
Women have been given an extra level of intuitive insight (Rashi on Genesis 21:1).
The women Prophets mentioned in  the Bible were Sarah, Miriam, Deborah, Hannah, Abigail, Hulda, Esther.

The Talmud (Megilla14a [along with the Commentary of Menachem Zeev Stern, "Torah shel Baal Peh" on Melacim-b

and Brit-Am Explanations (check the color scheme) tells us:

# Israel had seven prophetesses. Who were they? Sarah, Miriam, Deborah, Hannah, Abigail, Hulda, Esther.
How do we know Hulda was a Prophetess?
It says, "So
Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Achbor, Shaphan, and Asaiah went to Huldah the prophetess..." [2-Kings 22:14].
 With Jeremiah available why did they need her?
[Jeremiah the Prophet had begun to prophesy in the 13 year of Josiah (Jeremiah 1:2) which was five years previously.]
Even though Hulda was a Prophetess it is obvious that Jeremiah must have been greater since his prophecies and actions are emphasized more by Scripture.]
Answered the School of
Rav in his name, "Hulda was a blood-relation to Jeremiah and therefore he would not have been offended".
[Both Hulda and Jeremiah were descended from Rahab the whore who later repented and married Joshua.]
Why however did King Joshua neglect Joshua and send instead to Hulda?
Shila answered, Women are naturally merciful.
[ Even though Prophecy comes from the Almighty it could be that the agency through which it is transmitted may influence the content.]
Rabbi Yochanan said, Jeremiah was not there. He had gone to bring the Ten Tribes back.
Indeed, Jeremiah did bring the Ten Tribes back and Josiah the son of
Amon ruled over them. #

Other sources supplement the one above.
They tell us that King Josiah sent to the Ten Tribes in an attempt to return them.
He reached a rapport with them in their places of exile.
They assisted Josiah in his kingdom, in his wars and conquests against neighboring nations, and in his colonizing efforts of subjected lands.
They were the Scythians or rather that portion of the Cimmerian-Scythian confederation who were Israelites.
After the death of King Josiah most of them returned to their places of exile.
The involvement of the Scythians in the kingdom of King Josiah is an additional proof that the Scythians were, at least in part, of Israelite descent.

We have written on this in our works,


Lost Israelite Identity (Menasseh),

and in our forthcoming book, "Hosea: Ten Tribes Identified".

Additional material on these matters, confirming our conclusions, may now be available.

A separate book or booklet dedicated to this historical episode and the events accompanying it may well be in order some time in the future.

The Message of Huldah.

[2-Kings 22:14] So Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Achbor, Shaphan, and Asaiah went to Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tikvah, the son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe. (She dwelt in Jerusalem in the Second Quarter.) And they spoke with her.

Huldah was one of the eight prophets and prophetesses who were descended from Joshua son of Nun and Rahab of Jericho (Megilla 14).
These were Baruch ben Neriah, Sariah, Machasiah, Jeremiah, Chalkiah, Chanamel, Shalom, Hulda.

The descendants listed here include those from either the male or female sides.
Jeremiah was a Cohen, a descendant of Aaron, from the Tribe of Levi.
On the female side he evidently was also descended from Joshua and Rahab.
They say that Statistically over a period of time from  either the male or female sides there is a good chance that everybody is descended from nearly everybody else.

During the reign of King Josiah there were three major Prophets: Jeremiah. Zephaniah, Hulda.

Hulda means weasel. This is a strange name for a woman.

[2-Kings 22:15] Then she said to them, 'Thus says the LORD God of Israel, 'Tell the man who sent you to Me,

[2-Kings 22:16] 'Thus says the LORD: 'Behold, I will bring calamity on this place and on its inhabitants 'all the words of the book which the king of Judah has read'

[2-Kings 22:17] because they have forsaken Me and burned incense to other gods, that they might provoke Me to anger with all the works of their hands. Therefore My wrath shall be aroused against this place and shall not be quenched.'''

# that they might provoke Me to anger #. Hebrew "Ha-cis-ayni" i.e. anger me. When we do things it happens that our motivations are not always clear to ourselves. There is a type of wrongdoing that emanates from a  conscious or subconscious urge to get back at God, or the world, or our parents, or our spouse, etc, for situations we are not happy with.
We may hold ourselves back and then when temptation combined with opportunity comes along let ourselves go.
At the moment in  question we may justify ourselves as compensating for some other thing.
This is a form of deliberately angering God who created the world and determined matters as they should be.
The real intention behind this expression is probably a little more sophisticated than how we have presented it.
Nevertheless this is an attitude all of us have probably been guilty of at some time or other.
By facing up to what we are we may begin to get back on the right path if we have strayed from it.

[2-Kings 22:18] But as for the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the LORD, in this manner you shall speak to him, 'Thus says the LORD God of Israel: 'Concerning the words which you have heard'

[2-Kings 22:19] because your heart was tender, and you humbled yourself before the LORD when you heard what I spoke against this place and against its inhabitants, that they would become a desolation and a curse, and you tore your clothes and wept before Me, I also have heard you,' says the LORD.

Josiah was a righteous man. He had been so all his life. He was so concerned with the fate of his people that he wept and prayed and humbled himself to such a degree that the ALMIGHTY Himself moderated HIS decree.

[2-Kings 22:20] 'Surely, therefore, I will gather you to your fathers, and you shall be gathered to your grave in peace; and your eyes shall not see all the calamity which I will bring on this place.''' So they brought back word to the king.

We learn later that Josiah was shot in battle and died of his wounds.
2-Chronicles 33:
23 And the archers shot King Josiah; and the king said to his servants, 'Take me away, for I am severely wounded.' 24 His servants therefore took him out of that chariot and put him in the second chariot that he had, and they brought him to Jerusalem. So he died, and was buried in one of the tombs of his fathers. And all Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah.

Since he died as a result of violence why was he told that he  would be gathered to grave in peace?
The answer is that the temple would not be destroyed in his time (Moed Katan 28;b).
He would die knowing he had achieved something.
He had done good and it had had effect.
Even if the results were obviously not as perfect and long-lasting as he would have liked, they were worthwhile.


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After the Death of Solomon:
The Divided Kingdom

The Divided Kingdom
Source of Map:

2-Kings ch.21
2-Kings Contents
2-Kings ch.23