New Defender's Study Bible Notes
34:2 did that which was right. The parallel account of Josiah’s career (II Kings 22:1–23:30) mentions Josiah’s mother Jedidah (II Kings 22:1). It seems possible that she had been influenced toward God by the belated reforms of Manasseh and, even though these had little influence on his father, young Amon, they had encouraged her in teaching little Josiah about the Lord.
34:3 he was yet young. Josiah was only eight years old when his wicked father Amon was slain. Amon had spent very little time with Josiah; in fact Amon himself was only sixteen years old when Josiah was born. After ruling only two years, Amon was slain at the age of twenty-four years. Fortunately, Josiah had evidently been more influenced by the later reforms of his grandfather Manasseh than by his own immature and rebellious father. Josiah’s training had perhaps been delegated to some faithful priest, but not even the latter would have had access to the Scriptures, which were accidentally recovered in the temple when Josiah was twenty-six years old, in the eighteenth year of his reign (II Chronicles 34:8,15). Nevertheless, he began his great reforms when he was only sixteen years old, illustrating God’s faithful ability to raise up His servants and to keep His Word even under the most unlikely of human circumstances.
34:6 even unto Naphtali. Josiah’s revivals extended far beyond his own nation (Judah, Benjamin, Levi) deep into the territories of the other tribes. See notes on II Chronicles 15:9; 30:11-12. In fact only the tribes of Reuben, Gad and Dan are not specifically mentioned in II Chronicles as having come in some degree under the influence of Judah and Jerusalem and the true worship of God during the period of the divided kingdom.
34:9 delivered the money. As in the days of Hezekiah (II Chronicles 30:10-12), Josiah sent messengers to all the tribes raising money to repair the temple. Whether the people gave willingly or not is a question, but they had certainly been impressed by Josiah’s zeal in purging the land of its practitioners of paganism and its altars and images.
34:14 book of the law. Some critics have popularized the fanciful and entirely unwarranted notion that this was the time that the book of the law (especially the “Deuteronomic” document in the JEDP documentary hypothesis) was first written, and then made to look old. The “discovery” of the law was alleged to be feigned by the priests, supposedly to gain influence over the king. This theory is best refuted merely by an open-minded reading of the Pentateuch, with its innumerable marks of authenticity, internal consistency, and archaeological confirmation.
34:18 read it before the king. See notes on II Kings 22:8 and 22:11.
34:22 Huldah the prophetess. See note on II Kings 22:14. Most of the prophets called and used by God were men, but there were important exceptions (Exodus 15:20; Judges 5; Nehemiah 6:14; Isaiah 8:3; Luke 2:36; Acts 21:9). Huldah was the wife of Shallum and thus the aunt of the prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 32:7), whose prophetic ministry had begun in Josiah’s thirteenth year as king (Jeremiah 1:2), just five years previous to these events (II Chronicles 34:8).
34:24 Thus saith the LORD. This assertion indicates that Huldah was transmitting a directly inspired message from God, not just quoting from the newly rediscovered Scriptures. However, the Lord, through Huldah, then immediately reminded them of the authority of “the things written in the book” which they were reading.
34:33 all his days. As He had done for Hezekiah (II Chronicles 32:26), so God deferred the impending judgment upon Judah for Josiah’s sake (II Chronicles 34:26-28). Nevertheless the revivals under both Hezekiah and Josiah were somewhat superficial, with even their sons reverting back to idolatry after their deaths. The apostasy of Judah had gone so far and so deep that judgment, though deferred for a while, eventually had to fall.