Melachim 2/Kings 2-Chapter 22: The reign of Yoshiyahu

1.      The reign of Yoshiyahu:

  • His age at the time of his reign: Yoshiyahu was eight years old when he became king.
  • The years of his reign: Yoshiyahu reigned in Jerusalem for thirty-one years.
  • The name of his mother: His mother’s name was Yedidah the daughter of Adayah from the city of Botzkas.
  • His deeds: Yoshiyahu did was righteous in the eyes of Hashem, and he followed in the ways of his ancestor David, and he did not sway away from his deeds either to the right or to the left.

2.      Giving over the temple treasury to the managers to renovate the temple:

  • In the eighteenth year of King Yoshiyahu, the king sent Shafan the son of Atzaliah the son of Meshullam the scribe, to the temple with a message to relay to the high priest Chilkiyah. The king instructed him to relay as follows to the high priest: “Gather all of the silver that was brought to the temple from the visitors and hand the money to the managers who are in charge of all of the repairs of the temple, who in turn will use the money to pay the workers needed to repair the temple. The money shall be used to pay carpenters, and to the builders of the walls, and to purchase wood and quarried stones, to strengthen the Temple. Do not require them to give you a reckoning of all of the expenses and what the money was used for, as they are to be trusted in their work.”

3.      A hidden scroll is found with a frightening message:

  • A hidden Torah scroll is found: Chilkiyah the high priest informed Shafan the scribe that he had found a Torah scroll buried in the temple [having been buried there by the priests in the times of Achaz, as the priests were afraid that Achaz would burn it as he had already burnt a different Torah scroll[1]]. [Some say that this was the Torah scroll that was found next to the Aron, which was written by Moshe.[2]] Chilkiyah gave the scroll to Shafan, and he read it.
  • The scroll is read before the king, and he is stricken with fright: Shafan the scribe came to the king and told him that the monies of the treasury of the temple were turned into silver coins and given over to the managers for them to use to renovate the temple. Shafan then also informed the king that Chilkiyah the priest had given him a Torah scroll and Shafan read the Torah scroll before the king. When the king heard the words of the Torah scroll, he tore his garments [as the scroll was found to be open to the area of curses in which Scripture states that the king and his nation be exiled[3]].
  • The Kings instructs his high priest and scribes to pray on their behalf before G-d: The king instructed Chilkiyah the priest, and Achikam the son of Shafan, and Achbor the son of Michayah, and Shafan the scribe, and Asayah the king’s servant, to go inquire and pray in front of God on his behalf and on behalf of all of the Jewish people and on behalf of the people of Yehuda, as the words that were read from the Torah scroll show that God’s wrath is very great being that we did not follow his instructions in His Torah.

4.      Chuldah the prophetess and her prophecy of doom:

  • The servants go to Chuldah the prophetess to consult with her: Chilkiyah the priest and Achikam and Achbor and Shafan and Asayah went to Chuldah the prophetess to consult with her about the above message of God. [The reason that they did not go to Yeremiah to consult with him but rather went to Chuldah is because a woman is more compassionate than a man. Alternatively, the reason is because Yeremiah was not in the area as he had gone to return the ten tribes from their exile.[4]]
  • Who was Chuldah? Chuldah was the wife of Shallum the son of Tikvah, who was the son of Charchas, who was in charge of the clothing of the king.
  • Chuldah gives a prophecy of doom: Chuldah was sitting in Jerusalem in the study-hall, when the messengers came and spoke to her. She said to them [in reply after hearing the information] that they should return and tell the king the following prophecy from God; “Hashem has said that He will bring destruction to Jerusalem and upon its inhabitants, exactly as written in the Torah scroll that was read in front of the king of Yehuda. This will be done being that the Jewish people have left me and have brought incense offerings to idols in order to anger me with their deeds and so I will spill My wrath against this place, and it shall not be extinguished. Now, concerning the king of Yehuda who sent you here to inquire from Me, you shall tell him, that since he has succumbed himself before me by tearing his garments and crying before Me, therefore I have heard his prayers, and the above will not occur in his days and he will die peacefully.” They brought back the message of the prophetess before the king.

[1] Rashi 22:8

[2] Metzudos Dovid 22:8

[3] Radak 22:11; Rashi 22:13

[4] Rashi 22:14; Megillah 14b

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