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Hilkiah (Hebrew: חלקיה, Khilqiyāh; "Name means::My portion is YHWH") (ca. 686/5–fl. 640June 18, 609 BC) was the twenty-sixth high priest of Israel. Flavius Josephus[1] and the Seder 'Olam Zuṭa[2] both call him by that same name. He is one of the most renowned high priests in history, for he, more than any other man, provided the inspiration and support for King Josiah of Judah.


father of::Azariah IV
grandfather of::Seraiah
ancestor of::Jehozadak

His date of birth is estimated from the careers of his predecessors, especially Azariah III.


The Bible does not state specifically when Hilkiah became high priest. But he probably succeeded to that office in the year that King Josiah began to reign, because Josiah's father Amon was killed in a palace coup, and perhaps Hilkiah's father Shallum died in the same incident.

In 3376 AM, King Josiah began a systematic campaign of reform throughout his kingdom. He was one of the few kings of Judah who removed the high places and Asherah poles throughout his land.

Six years later, Josiah ordered Hilkiah to begin a renovation of the Temple of Jerusalem, the second such renovation after the one by King Hezekiah and high priest Azariah III. He sent the royal secretary, the royal recorder, and the mayor of Jerusalem to carry this order to Hilkiah and to give Hilkiah the money, which had been collected at the Temple door, for this purpose. (2_Chronicles 34:7-13 , 2_Kings 22:3-7 )

The Book of the Law

In the course of clearing out a Temple storeroom, Hilkiah found a scroll.[3][4] (2_Kings 22:8 , 2_Chronicles 34:14-15 ) The Bible calls this "the book of the Law as given by Moses." Most scholars theorize that this was the book of Deuteronomy[5][6], but at least some hold that this book contained all five of the "Books of Moses"[7][6]. Still others state that even more books of the Old Testament were included in the find.[8]

Malick presents, and effectively refutes, the proposition that Hilkiah's finding was a "late edition" of Deuteronomy, mainly on the ground that Josiah must have had some education in the laws as stated in Deuteronomy during the first six years of his reform program. He therefore concludes that it was at least an early edition of Deuteronomy and might indeed have been the entirety of the Torah.[6] Wood[7] theorizes that Solomon left this book in the Temple when he laid its cornerstones, and that this is why it survived the destruction, presumably by Manasseh, of all other copies.

Hilkiah gave this scroll to the royal secretary, who read it all the way through. He in turn requested an audience of the king. The scribe began by giving Josiah a progress report on the renovation. He then said, simply, "Hilkiah has given me a book," and proceeded to read it. Josiah seems to have listened, rapt, at the reading. When the reading was concluded, Josiah tore his royal robes. Evidently Josiah had not realized, until then, just how far the people of his kingdom had strayed from God's law. (2_Kings 22:9-11 , 2_Chronicles 34:16-19 )

Josiah's first order was to inquire of a prophet as to the attitude of God toward his people. His scribe, the priest, and his other advisers found a prophetess named Huldah. She gave a dire warning: that God would indeed bring a dire judgment on the land, on account of the apostasy, the killing of earlier prophets, and all the other many provocations that the people had given God. But because Josiah had expressed such deep sorrow, God granted to him that he would not live to see this calamity.[4] (2_Kings 22:12-20 , 2_Chronicles 34:20-29 )

The Passover

Josiah continued his reforms, and Hilkiah necessarily participated in them. First he called an assembly of the people and read the Book of the Law aloud to all of them.[9] (2_Kings 23:1-3 , 2_Chronicles 34:30-32 ) Then he renewed his religious cleansing campaign. (2_Chronicles 34:33 ) At this time he fulfilled an earlier prophecy delivered to Jeroboam I concerning Jeroboam's golden-calf cult: that the bones of the priests who officiated at that altar would be burned upon it. He also found the bones of the prophet who had uttered that prophecy; those bones he left where they were.[10][5] (2_Kings 23:4-20,24-25 )

He then reinstituted the Passover, exactly as Hezekiah had done, except that Josiah was able to keep it in the appointed month.[10] (2_Kings 23:21-23 , 2_Chronicles 35:1-19 )


In the last days of the winter of 3395 AM, King Josiah was killed in action at the Battle of Megiddo, a battle that he should never have fought. Josiah's son Jehoahaz II took his place. In his three-month reign, Jehoahaz was as wicked as Josiah had been good. The Bible does not say that Jehoahaz had Hilkiah executed, but doubtless Josiah did not listen to Hilkiah, as Josiah had.

Then in {{#show:Jehoahaz II|?Died}}, Pharaoh Necho II invaded the kingdom. Necho definitely removed Jehoahaz and took him hostage to Egypt, where he died. He probably had Hilkiah executed at the same time.

Preceded by
Successor of::Shallum (high priest)
Member of::High priest
Flourit::Abib 3364 AMDied::25 Sivan 3395 AM
Succeeded by
Succeeded by::Azariah IV

See Also

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  1. Josephus, Antiquities,
  2. Hirsch EG, "High priest," The Jewish Encyclopedia, 1906. Accessed January 2, 2009.
  3. Emil G. Hirsch and J. F. McLaughlin, Josiah, Jewish Encyclopedia, 202. Retrieved April 9, 2007
  4. 4.0 4.1 David Holt Boshert, Jr., and David Ettinger, Josiah King of Judah, Christ-Centered Mall. Retrieved April 9, 2007
  5. 5.0 5.1 John L. Kachelman, Jr., Josiah: Serving God in Youth,, 1999. Retrieved April 9, 2007
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 David Malick, The Book of Josiah's Reform,, 2007. Retrieved April 9, 2007
  7. 7.0 7.1 Leon J. Wood, A Survey of Israel's History, rev. ed. David O'Brien, Grand Rapids, MI: Academie Books, 1986 (ISBN 031034770X), pp. 310-314
  8. Marvin A. Sweeney, King Josiah of Judah: the Lost Messiah of Israel, Oxford University Press, 2001. ISBN 978-0-19-513324-0 Online version retrieved April 9, 2007.
  9. Jennifer Rosania, Josiah: Founded in Faithfulness, Mighty in Spirit, In-touch Ministries, 2006. Retrieved April 9, 2007
  10. 10.0 10.1 Dennis Bratcher, The Rise of Babylon and Exile (640-538 BC), 2006. Retrieved April 9, 2007.