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Sunday, August 26 2012
"I have found the Book of the Law in the House of the LORD"
"22:1 Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned thirty and one years in Jerusalem [see Israel In History and Prophecy: Kingdom Of Judah]. And his mother's name was Jedidah, the daughter of Adaiah of Boscath. 22:2 And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in all the way of David his father [i.e. ancestor], and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left." (2 Kings 22:1-2 KJV)
Scribes were people who could read and write (i.e. the English word inscribe means to write) at a time when most people, very-often including kings, and high officials in their governments, were illiterate. Their abilities with the written word empowered the scribes to hold various important positions in the country, including the writing of law (i.e. as such, Moses was a scribe). Hence also the reason that scribes became known as "lawyers."
The Temple of the LORD had been allowed to fall into disrepair by idol-worshiping kings of Judah. Josiah was a conservative; he sought to restore what was given to the nation by its founders, so he ordered the nation "to repair the breaches of the house." Josiah sent Shaphan to prepare an official written accounting of the work.
"22:3 And it came to pass in the eighteenth year of king Josiah, that the king sent Shaphan the son of Azaliah, the son of Meshullam, the scribe, to the house of the LORD [see Who Is The LORD? and Israel In History and Prophecy: The Temple], saying, 22:4 Go up to Hilkiah the high priest, that he may sum the silver which is brought into the house of the LORD, which the keepers of the door have gathered of the people: 22:5 And let them deliver it into the hand of the doers of the work, that have the oversight of the house of the LORD: and let them give it to the doers of the work which is in the house of the LORD, to repair the breaches of the house, 22:6 Unto carpenters, and builders, and masons, and to buy timber and hewn stone to repair the house. 22:7 Howbeit there was no reckoning made with them of the money that was delivered into their hand, because they dealt faithfully." (2 Kings 22:3-7 KJV)
While preparing his report to the king, Hilkiah, the high priest at that time, "found the book of the law" in the Temple - an astonishing testimony of how grossly negligent the high priest had become. He should not only have, at the very least, known that it was there, and where, but should have been living by it and teaching it. The pathetic "high priest" didn't even know what to do with the Book of the Law when he did find it; he instead gave it to the scribe Shaphan.
"22:8 And Hilkiah the high priest said unto Shaphan the scribe, I have found the book of the law [see Israel In History and Prophecy: Law Of The LORD] in the house of the LORD. And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, and he read it. 22:9 And Shaphan the scribe came to the king, and brought the king word again, and said, Thy servants have gathered the money that was found in the house, and have delivered it into the hand of them that do the work, that have the oversight of the house of the LORD. 22:10 And Shaphan the scribe showed the king, saying, Hilkiah the priest hath delivered me a book. And Shaphan read it before the king." (2 Kings 22:8-10 KJV)
When Josiah was shown the Sacred Writing, "he rent his clothes" and proclaimed "for great is the wrath of the LORD that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not hearkened unto the words of this book."
"22:11 And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the book of the law, that he rent his clothes. 22:12 And the king commanded Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Achbor the son of Michaiah, and Shaphan the scribe, and Asahiah a servant of the king's, saying, 22:13 Go ye, inquire of the LORD for me, and for the people, and for all Judah [see Israel In History and Prophecy: Israel and Judah and Israel In History and Prophecy: Kingdom Of Judah], concerning the words of this book that is found: for great is the wrath of the LORD that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not hearkened unto the words of this book, to do according unto all that which is written concerning us." (2 Kings 22:11-13 KJV)
The matter was then taken to "Huldah the prophetess" who delivered the Word of the LORD to Hilkiah the priest, Shaphan the scribe, and others, who then delivered the message to Josiah.
"22:14 So Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam, and Achbor, and Shaphan, and Asahiah, went unto Huldah the prophetess [see Israel In History and Prophecy: The Prophets], the wife of Shallum the son of Tikvah, the son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe; (now she dwelt in Jerusalem in the college;) and they communed with her.
Josiah wasted no time. He immediately made the discovery known to the entire nation - who had become so ignorant of their founding constitution that they didn't even know that it existed.
"23:1 And the king sent, and they gathered unto him all the elders of Judah and of Jerusalem [see also What Did The Elders Of Israel Do?]. 23:2 And the king went up into the house of the LORD, and all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem with him, and the priests, and the prophets, and all the people, both small and great: and he read in their ears all the words of the book of the covenant which was found in the house of the LORD. 23:3 And the king stood by a pillar, and made a covenant before the LORD, to walk after the LORD, and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all their heart and all their soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people stood to the covenant." (2 Kings 23:1-3 KJV)
Josiah began a purge of the idolatry, beginning with "the idolatrous priests, whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense in the high places in the cities of Judah, and in the places round about Jerusalem."
"23:4 And the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest, and the priests of the second order [see The Origin Of The Levite Priesthood and How Did The Messiah's Levite Priesthood Change?], and the keepers of the door, to bring forth out of the temple of the LORD all the vessels that were made for Baal, and for the grove, and for all the host of heaven: and he burned them without Jerusalem in the fields of Kidron, and carried the ashes of them unto Bethel. 23:5 And he put down the idolatrous priests, whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense in the high places in the cities of Judah, and in the places round about Jerusalem; them also that burned incense unto Baal, to the sun [see Why Observe The True Sabbath?], and to the moon, and to the planets, and to all the host of heaven. 23:6 And he brought out the grove from the house of the LORD, without Jerusalem, unto the brook Kidron, and burned it at the brook Kidron, and stamped it small to powder, and cast the powder thereof upon the graves of the children of the people. 23:7 And he brake down the houses of the sodomites, that were by the house of the LORD, where the women wove hangings for the grove." (2 Kings 23:4-7 KJV)
Josiah then restored the upper hand to the Levites who had not become idol worshippers.
"23:8 And he brought all the priests out of the cities of Judah [see No Levites In The Lost Ten Tribes?], and defiled the high places where the priests had burned incense, from Geba to Beersheba, and brake down the high places of the gates that were in the entering in of the gate of Joshua the governor of the city, which were on a man's left hand at the gate of the city. 23:9 Nevertheless the priests of the high places came not up to the altar of the LORD in Jerusalem, but they did eat of the unleavened bread among their brethren." (2 Kings 23:8-9 KJV)
Josiah then completed the cleansing of the land that visually reeked with idols.
"23:10 And he defiled Topheth, which is in the valley of the children of Hinnom [see The Son Of Hinnom], that no man might make his son or his daughter to pass through the fire to Molech. 23:11 And he took away the horses that the kings of Judah had given to the sun, at the entering in of the house of the LORD, by the chamber of Nathanmelech the chamberlain, which was in the suburbs, and burned the chariots of the sun with fire.
Fact Finder: Despite King Josiah's effort to turn Judah back to the LORD, rather than their backs to the LORD (e.g. "8:16 And he brought me into the inner court of the LORD's house, and, behold, at the door of the temple of the LORD, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of the LORD, and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east" Isaiah 8:16 KJV), the kingdom soon returned to their idolatry - which resulted in the LORD permitting Babylon to conquer and exile them for seventy years. Just before Judah's fall to Babylon, did King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon appoint Shaphan's grandson Gedaliah as his puppet governor of Judea?
This Day In History, August 26
55 BC: Roman forces under Julius Caesar invaded Britain ("Britain" originated from the Latin/Roman word Britannia, as did London, from the Latin/Roman word Londinium). The Roman Empire occupied Britain at the same time that it occupied Judea (from about 40 BC to 400 AD), including when the Messiah was crucified (see Does Rome Have Christ's Birth Certificate? and Israel In History and Prophecy: Roman Judea; see also Legions Of Men And Angels).
1071: Seljuk Turks defeated the Byzantines at the Battle of Manzikert.
1278: Rudolf I (a Hapsburg) defeated Ottocar II, king of Bohemia, at the Battle of Marchfeld Plain, north of Vienna. The victory was a turning point in the history of Central Europe in that it established the Hapsburgs as rulers in the region, from 1278 to 1918, 640 years.
1346: An outnumbered English army of 10,000 under Edward III defeated Philip VI's French forces in the battle of Crecy. It was one of the first major "missile" battles - English longbows verses French crossbows, with the English having the advantage of greater range.
1541: Suleiman I of Turkey captured Buda and annexed Hungary after his dispute with Archduke Ferdinand over claims to the kingdom.
1768: English explorer James Cook sets sail from England on the HMS Endeavour.
1824: Karl Marx, at age 6, was baptized to "Christianity" in Trier, Prussia (not to be confused with Russia; Prussia is in Germany). He came from long line of rabbis and Jewish scholars, but without his "conversion" he would not have had the political freedom to publish his communist manifesto.
1883: An extremely powerful eruption of a volcano on the island of Krakatoa in the Sundra Strait between Java and Sumatra began. The two-day eruption and associated tidal waves killed some 36,000 people and destroyed two-thirds of the island.
1901: The New Testament of the ASV (American Standard Version) Bible was first published. That U.S. edition of the 1881 English Revised Version (ERV) comprised the first major U.S. Bible translation. The Revised Standard Version (RSV) of 1952 is an update of the American Standard Version of 1901.
1920: The 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution permitted U.S. women to vote.
1936: The Anglo-Egyptian Treaty established Egypt as a sovereign state after 50 years of British administration (listen to our Sermon The Balfour Declaration).
1978: Cardinal Albino Luciani of Venice was elected as Pope John Paul I. He served only 33 days before dying of an apparent heart attack on September 28.
2008: Russia recognized the independence of the former U.S.S.R. republics Abkhazia and South Ossetia.