Josiah does what every soul does who in truth is convinced of his sins and therefore fears for judgment. Someone who really discovers that he is a sinner will turn to God to ask what to do. Every person who is touched by the Word of God and sees what he is in the eye of God has that question. The Word brings into in the arms of God.
Whoever lives through the Word also knows the value and especially the practice of prayer. Josiah wants to know from the LORD if there is still hope. He seeks that hope with Him Who also has to let the judgment come. There is no moderation at all with Josiah. He brings his need to the LORD by acknowledging that he and the people have earned the judgment. He leaves it to the LORD how He will answer.
Josiah sends reliable men to Hulda. It is not clear why he sends to a woman, the prophetess Huldah, and not to Jeremiah or Zephaniah, who acted as prophets in his days. Possibly they are still too young and unknown. He knows the prophetess Huldah. The fact that he goes to a prophetess at least marks the time of decay, as in the time of Deborah’s performance, when decay was also great (Jdg 4:1-91Then the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD, after Ehud died.2And the LORD sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor; and the commander of his army was Sisera, who lived in Harosheth-hagoyim.3The sons of Israel cried to the LORD; for he had nine hundred iron chariots, and he oppressed the sons of Israel severely for twenty years.4Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time.5She used to sit under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim; and the sons of Israel came up to her for judgment.6Now she sent and summoned Barak the son of Abinoam from Kedesh-naphtali, and said to him, “Behold, the LORD, the God of Israel, has commanded, ‘Go and march to Mount Tabor, and take with you ten thousand men from the sons of Naphtali and from the sons of Zebulun.7I will draw out to you Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his many [troops] to the river Kishon, and I will give him into your hand.’”8Then Barak said to her, “If you will go with me, then I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go.”9She said, “I will surely go with you; nevertheless, the honor shall not be yours on the journey that you are about to take, for the LORD will sell Sisera into the hands of a woman.” Then Deborah arose and went with Barak to Kedesh.).
The name of her husband is explicitly mentioned by also mentioning the name of his father and grandfather and also his profession, that he is keeper of the wardrobe, i.e. of the priestly clothes. Huldah’s husband takes care of the priests’ clothes. In the spiritual sense this means that he supervises the behavior of the believers, that this is in accordance with their confession.
Huldah knows God’s thoughts regarding the practice of the life of the people of God. A prophet or prophetess speaks utterances of God with a view to current situations. Such a person can apply the Word to it. Josiah also experiences this through the message she has for him.
Huldah must speak about Josiah on behalf of the LORD as “the man” and not as “the king”. For the LORD, all the dignity Josiah has as king is not important here as here it is about His judgment. Huldah is told by the LORD what He has to say to Josiah and what she has to pass on. It starts with a repetition of what Josiah has heard read aloud and what has brought him to dejection. For the third time we hear the announcement of the punishment of God over His people. What Hulda says is nothing but saying what God’s Word says.
Then follows a word for Josiah personally. That personal word is addressed to him as “the king of Judah”. It is a word of encouragement. The reason for this is his humiliation which the LORD has noted. The LORD sees this humbling in his heart and He has also observed the outer characteristics of the tearing of his clothes and tears.
Of Josiah’s father Amon we read that he did not humble himself before the LORD (2Chr 33:21-2321Amon [was] twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned two years in Jerusalem.22He did evil in the sight of the LORD as Manasseh his father had done, and Amon sacrificed to all the carved images which his father Manasseh had made, and he served them.23Moreover, he did not humble himself before the LORD as his father Manasseh had done, but Amon multiplied guilt.). His father Manasseh humbled himself, but is forced to do so because of his own sins. Josiah does not humble himself because of his own sins, but because of a common guilt. He humbles himself over the sins of the people and of his fathers. He makes himself one with it.
The encouragement is that the LORD will gather him to his fathers and that he will be gathered to his grave in peace. He will see nothing of the calamity that the LORD will bring on Jerusalem.
The men he has sent to Huldah report to him on what the LORD has told Huldah. We see the effect in the next chapter.