Bible Topics
in the Christian Library
Personalities Of The Old Testament
HILKIAH – Restoring The Lost Law
2 Kings 22:8

 1. Our lesson focuses upon one of the great heroes of the Old Testament. Hilkiah was a High Priest who served during the reign of King Josiah. His history is one that offers Christians some of the greatest encouragement they will ever find in the Bible. He is the man who discovered the lost Book of God!

 2. ASK – What kind of society would exist if the Bible vanished? (Cf 2 Ki 21:3-9, 16, 19-22).  Have you ever talked with some one who knew about the Bible, had heard about its teachings, and had known of its existence, but they had never actually seen a Bible? How would such react?

 3. The spiritual situation in Judah was deplorable when Josiah became King (2 Ki 22:1). He ascended the throne after two of the most evil Kings of the Southern Kingdom had led Judah very far away from God’s will. King Josiah was Judah’s last hope of being saved from exile. Assuming the throne when he was only eight years old meant that he would be tutored by the High Priest until he reached a mature age. This godly mentoring would bring great benefits for the Southern Kingdom. The King surrounded himself with godly advisors who would support Josiah’s efforts to bring Judah back to God’s will.

 The courage of Josiah is not really appreciated by modern men. He faced a nation who had given themselves totally to idolatry. The Temple was filled with images of pagan gods. There remained only a “memory” of God’s Word because the written Word had been lost. Josiah faced an enormous tasks. He had to have been discouraged. However he surrounded himself with godly advisors and began the effort. 

 Among those upon whom Josiah leaned for counsel and support was the High Priest Hilkiah.

4. The History of Hilkiah
 There are a number of men identified by this name in the Old Testament. The one in our lesson is first mentioned in 2 Kings 22. He was serving as the High Priest under King Josiah. Hilkiah’s name meant “Jehovah is my spirit.” He is either the father or grand-father of Seriah who was the last High Priest before the Babylonian Exile. Hilkiah was an ancestor of Ezra (Ez 7:1) (Edersheim, Old Testament History, Bk 7, 560).

 The biblical record of Hilkiah is found in 2 Kings 22-23; 2 Chronicles 34; 35:8. From a study of these texts we are able to construct a portrait of this mighty man. Look at the following points:

  a. He is forever known as the man in the Old Testament who gave people God’s Book! (2 Ki 22:10). At this time in history, the Book of God had vanished. People knew about its teachings but they had never seen it or read from it.

  b. He was trusted to find the proper understanding of God’s will (2 Ki 22:13).  When King Josiah needed to know what God’s will was, he selected a committee of respected men to go to the prophetess Huldah. The King trusted each of these men to tell him God’s will.

  c. He was the leader in cleansing the Temple (2 Ki 23:4). Josiah wanted the pagan articles purged from the Temple. The King appointed Hilkiah to do this. Evidently the High Priest was known as one who would do this important task and his leadership would compel others to do it as well. He was thus known for devotion and zeal and commitment to Jehovah God.

  d. He is forever associated with God’s Book (2 Ki 23:24). Whenever the God’s Book was discussed, Hilkiah’s name was quickly associated! What a wonderful thing for one to have recorded about his/her life – an immediate association with God’s Book! How complimentary for one to remark, “There’s the Bible; that book that so-&-so follows ....”

  e. He recognized the value of God’s Book and the urgency to get its information out to the people (2 Chron 34:14-15). Hilkiah knew the value of The Book of the Law. He knew that Judah desperately needed this information. 2 Kings 22:8 – “The Hebrew sentence is more dramatic. It literally says, ‘The Book of the Law I have found.’ Apparently the Scripture scroll had lain lost and forgotten for seventy-five years ...” (Russell H. Dilday, 1, 2 Kings, 470).

  f. He is listed among the spiritual leaders of Israel who freely donated items for the restored Passover celebration (2 Chr 35:8). This indicates his unselfishness and his loyalty to God.

  g. He had a fantastic influence in getting Judah to restore Scriptural worship to God (2 Chr 35:18). Read the text and observe what Hilkiah’s influence led God’s people to do – they abolished pagan practices, destroyed alters to Baal, remove vessels dedicated to idols, remove the images dedicated to the sun, moon, and stars, abruptly stopped the child sacrifices, crushed to pieces the alters erected by Manasseh in the Temple’s courts, they even razed the high places scattered throughout Israel. The alter set up by Jeroboam in Bethel was burned. Throughout the entire region, reformation was the order of the day. There was “zero tolerance” for anything/any one connected with idolatry. All of this happened because of the influence of Hilkiah!

  h. He brought the Word of God out of hiding! The Scripture became public because Hilkiah brought it to the King’s attention. This one aspect of Hilkiah’s life is probably the best remembered. 

  1) ASK – Why had the Law of the Lord been lost?

   “It would seem that the written law of God had passed from human knowledge, lost in the haze of heathenism, which so long had enveloped the land ... yet the narrative clearly indicates that king and people were strangers to its contents ... The natural meaning is that the written law had been lost, its substance meanwhile only existing in memory, or as a tradition” (Preacher’s Homiletic Commentary, Vol 8, 626-627).

   Depending upon calculations, God’s Book had been absent from Israeli life for 75-80 years. This would include the horrible years in which Manasseh and Ammon reigned and also the early years of Josiah’s reign until he gained enough power to initiate the reforms. During these years the people had become steeped in idolatry, temple worship had been neglected, and most copies of the Law had been destroyed.

   Contemplate this tragedy of the lost Bible. Is such a calamity possible today? How could such happen? Is the Bible really “lost” in our society? Is it possible for God’s Book to be “lost” in the church today?

5. The Actions of Hilkiah
 Hilkiah’s actions as a High Priest can be categorized under these three headings. Look at each and observe what amazing things this High Priest did.

  a. A Great spiritual reformation in Judah (2 Ki 22:4-7; 23:1-20; 2 Chr 34:3b-13, 29-33).

  b. A Great observance of the Passover (2 Ki 23:21-23; 2 Chr 35:1-19).

  c. A Great discovery of the lost Law of God (2 Ki 22:8-20; 2 Chr 34:14-28).

 The Motivation of Hilkiah – he did all he did because of his reverence & respect for Jehovah God!

6. Lessons on restoration from Hilkiah’s life

 a. Restoration principles from Hilkiah.

   1) Restoration IS possible IF we are loyal to God’s Word and courageous to teach it to others!

   2) Restoration IS possible if we are surrounded by those who hold a reverence and awe for the reveled Word of God (the Bible) and if they are willing to allow the Bible to guide their religious practices.

   3) Restoration IS possible if we follow the Bible and do what it says. Let us not add or subtract!

 b. Restoration principles about the Word of God.
  In order for the Book of God to be restored in Judah, what was necessary? If the Book of God has become “lost” in our society, what is necessary if it is to be “found”? From the history of Hilkiah we discover these critical points:

   1) The Word of God can exist for centuries, be accessible to many, but become lost through carelessness and little use. 

   2) Whenever we disregard spiritual values, they are lost from society. However they can be restored whenever God’s Word is used for revival!

   3) God has providentially preserved the Bible through the centuries. In some instances this preservation is just as miraculous as its inspiration. Through this divine providence, the divine will has been preserved and is available to all today.

   4) The Bible possesses its own credentials and power. The Word of God does not need defending – it needs to be obeyed, studied, preached, and taught. The Bible can withstand all attacks!

   5) There is no excuse for biblical ignorance (2 Chr 34:21). Even though God’s Book had been lost for a long time, the people were still responsible for obeying God! 

  c. Restoration principles about the Covenant man has with God.
  The account of Hilkiah’s High Priesthood stresses three simple facts about our Covenant relationship with God.

   1) The Covenant is established by and regulated with a firm respect for God’s Word (2 Chr 34:25). This revelation by God sets the limits and offers the restrictions for our beliefs.

   2) The Covenant is directed by God’s revealed will (2 Chr 34:21, 26). Huldah’s counsel was sought so Josiah could follow God’s will.

   3) The Covenant is continued by our humility before God (2 Chr 34:27). We must bow in reverence and respect.

 d. Restoration principles about our mission from God.

   1) Just as Hilkiah revived Judah’s spiritual dearth with the Word of God, so modern society can discover revival only if it studies and sincerely obeys God’s commands!

   2) The church’s mission today is to take the Word of God and apply it to every day living. Josiah would have never understood unless someone accurately explained God’s Word to him. Only by an accurate exegesis of God’s Word today can people find the joy of restoration! If we neglect this mission then we will “lose” God’s Word!

   3) Our duty to modern civilization is to take the Book of God and do what Hilkiah did with it in his day. When we do these things, we will then restore God’s will.

    a) Use the Scriptures to remind of duties – We should eagerly teach “everything that was entrusted to your servants ... to do according to all that is written in this book” (2 Chr 34:16, 21). When a right sense of duty is created by reading the Scriptures, a revival of religious faith will follow.

    b) Use the Scriptures to compel obedience – “our fathers have not observed” (2 Chr 34:21).

    c) Use the Scriptures to gain insight into God’s service – “inquire of the Lord” (2 Chr 34:21).

    d) Use the Scriptures to stimulate activity for God – Josiah was resolved to restore the biblical worship; Huldah’s stern message did not deter Josiah.

   4) The mission of all who seek to follow God will be a restoration of New Testament Christianity in worship and practice. In fulfilling this mission we will imitate Josiah/Hilkiah in these ways (cf 2 Ki 23:1ff):

    a) We will have a clear understanding of the Divine Truth (vs. 1).
    The revealed Word of God directed their every move. The effect of God’s Word upon these is evident – they did not question or amend. They simply obeyed what was commanded!

    b) We will seek the cooperation of every one to join in a solemn covenant with God Almighty (vs. 1,2). The task needs every one to participate. All should join together and follow the simple Scriptures!

    c) We will strive to destroy that which hinders the unity God desires (v. 4-20, 24). Idolatry was attacked because it encouraged selfishness. Today denominational affiliations should be attacked because they encourage division. Attack with promptness, zeal, and enthusiasm any one or any teaching that threatens God’s church.

    d) We will restore the purity of worship (vs. 21-23). We must not mistake the elaborate ritual or ceremony for true worship – such often identifies idolatry! Acceptable worship must be intelligent, sincere, and spiritual.

Copyright 1999 by John L. Kachelman, Jr. may be reproducted for non-commercial purposes at no cost to others.

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