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II Kings 22 narrates the discovery of a Torah scroll during Josiah's reign, his distress at the harrowing threats therein, and his emissary to the prophetess Hulda about their credibility in his day, given Judah's sinfulness.

Hulda tells him that, Judah's sinfulness not withstanding, Josiah's contrition will spare him the sight of God's now impending wrath and end his life in peace. In verse 20 specifically, Hulda predicts

לכן הנני אספך אל עמך ונאספת אל קברתיך בשלום ולא תראינה עיניך בכל הרעה אשר אני מביא על המקום הזה וישיבו את המלך דבר

Therefore I will gather you unto your people and you shall be gathered unto your grave in peace and your eyes shall not see the evil that I am bringing on this place. And the brought this matter to the king.

II Chronicles 34:25 repeats this prediction for Josiah almost verbatim.

After a fruitful reign, Josiah was killed by Egyptian archers after refusing to allow Pharaoh Necho to pass through his land to do battle at Carchemish on the Euphrates, as detailed in II Kings 23 and II Chronicles 35.

Necho's invasion essentially spelled the end of Judean independence. The heir apparent was taken to Egypt and imprisoned and Josiah's other son was installed on the throne as an Egyptian tributary. Egypt's dominance over Judah segued into Babylon's which ended in the temple's destruction.

Josiah was buried with his fathers, but his battle with Necho was the beginning of the end for his people, and he dies of battle wounds. These events seem to contradict Hulda's prophecy for Josiah's peaceful death and him not seeing his country's ruin.

Is Hulda's prophecy for Josiah considered not fulfilled, or are there interpretations that find it realized?

  • His non-peaceful end would seem to be in how he died. What followed seems irrelevant. – msh210 Apr 21 '17 at 4:35
  • @msh210, she also told him he wouldn't see God's wrath against Judah, but it seems to be realized through Necho's subversion, after which Judah never regains independence. – Baby Seal Apr 21 '17 at 13:03
  • @msh210 I have edited to clarify. – Baby Seal Apr 21 '17 at 13:12
  • (re your first comment) He didn't see what happened after he died. Your entire paragraph "Necho's invasion…" is afaict irrelevant (though interesting). (I did upvote the question, in case you're wondering.) – msh210 Apr 21 '17 at 15:26
  • @msh210, are you saying that because we don't know when exactly Josiah was removed from the conflict, he may not have seen the defeat of his army, or the tide turning against them? – Baby Seal Apr 21 '17 at 15:32
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There is relative uniformity across commentators as to my question. Rashi, Metzudat David, Radak, and Malbim, (II Kings 23:20, Rashi and MD repeated in II Chron. 34:28) all state that Josiah enjoyed the fulfillment of Hulda's prophecy through his being spared the sight of the Temple's destruction. Most state that being spared this horrible sight was his peace.

Malbim asserts that the prophecy predicts that he will be buried in peace, which does happen in II Kings 24:30 and II Chron. 35:24 where he is brought to Jerusalem, but it does not specify the manner of his death. He interprets the second phrase of the prophecy as being spared the sight of the destruction. Other commentators pick up on this as well. I think the diction of the prophecy is important. Josiah would be spared the sight of all of the tragedy that awaits his country, that is the destruction of the Temple and exile of his people, but he would witness the beginnings through Pharaoh's aggression.

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He died before the jews were exiled from their land, and the galut only happened after he died and so I would say that is a fulfillment of Your eyes will not see the evil that I am bringing on this place.

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    What about "you shall be gathered unto your grave in peace"? – msh210 Apr 21 '17 at 15:27

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