The work in the Temple (2 Chr 34:8-34:13)

“In the eighteenth year of his reign, when he had purged the land and the house, he sent Shaphan son of Azaliah, and Maaseiah the governor of the city, and Joah son of Joahaz, the recorder, to repair the house of Yahweh his God. They came to the high priest Hilkiah and delivered the money that had been brought into the house of God, which the Levites, the keepers of the threshold, had collected. They had collected money from Manasseh, Ephraim, and from the whole remnant of Israel as well as from all Judah, Benjamin, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. They delivered it to the workers who had the oversight of the house of Yahweh. These workers, who were working in the house of Yahweh, got it for repairing and restoring the house. They gave it to the carpenters and the builders to buy quarried stone, timber for binders, and beams for the buildings that the kings of Judah had let go to ruin. The people did the work faithfully. Over them were appointed the Levites Jahath and Obadiah of the sons of Merari, and Zechariah and Meshullam, of the sons of the Kohathites, to have oversight. Other Levites, all skilful with instruments of music, were over the burden bearers and directed all who did work in every kind of service. Some of the Levites were scribes, officials, and gatekeepers.”

This section is based on 2 Kings, chapter 22. All this happens in the 18th year of King Josiah, which would put him at age 26. I wonder why he took so long to try to repair the Temple. Shaphan, the secretary of King Josiah plays a major role here in 2 Kings. Instead of a military leader or a religious leader, it is this secretary who carries out the orders of King Josiah. There are 7 biblical figures with the name of Hilkiah, but this is the high priest who is responsible for many of the religious reforms under King Josiah. Instead of the money collected only from those who went into the Temple as in 2 Kings, here the money has been collected from all over Israel. This money, in turn, was to be given to the workers at the Temple, the house of Yahweh. Thus the carpenters and builders were to get timber and stones to repair the house of Yahweh. There is no mention about loose accounting as in 2 Kings. Instead there is mention of the various Levite groups in the Temple and their oversight responsibilities.

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