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down the altars of Baalin in his presence; and the images, that were on high above them, he cut down; and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images, he brake in pieces, and made dust of them, and strewed it upon the graves of them that had sacrificed unto them. And he burnt the bones of the priests upon their altars, and cleansed Judah and Jerusalem. And so did he in the cities of Manasseh, and Ephraim, and Simeon, even unto Naphtali, with their mattocks round about.* And when he had broken down the altars, and the groves, and had beaten the graven images into powder, and cut down all the idols throughout all the land of Israel, he returned to Jerusalem.t
In the eighteenth year of his reign, having determined to repair the house of Jehovah, he appointed three of his officers to superintend that work, viz.: Shaphan, Maaseiah, and Joah; and ordered Hilkiah, the high priest, to deliver to them the money, which the Levites had collected from all Judah, and all the remnant of Israel.
The pious Bogatzky8 is of opinion that, during many of the preceding reigns, the priests, probably to save themselves the trouble of writing, and the people of reading, the book at large, had furnished themselves with abstracts of the law, leaving out, or slightly mentioning some parts thereof, and particularly the threatenings. Whether this were so or not, it is perfectly clear, that so insensible had these people been to the law of Moses, their great legislator, that when Hilkiah, the priest, whilst emptying the coffers of the temple upon the above occasion, having found a copy of the book of the law of Jehovah, and delivered it to Shaphan, the scribe, it was evidently considered by both of them, a discovery of
• See Schind. 648. b. + 2 Chron. xxxiv. 3—7.
sufficient importance, to be immediately communicated to their sovereign.*
That the book found was that portion of the sacred canon, which is denominated the Pentateuch, and which the Jews call Chamisha Chomshi Torah, is clear;t and is by some imagined to have been the original autograph of Moses ;and probably the part of it which was read, was a portion of the book of Deuteronomy ;? for when Josiah heard the words of the book of the law, he rent his clothes, and commanded Hilkiah, the priest, Ahikam, Achbor, Shaphan, and Asahiah, to enquire of Jehovah, for their sovereign, for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of the book, which had been found; ailding, as it were, in the deepest anguish of soul, and the most intense anxiety, Fur great is the wrath of Jehovah, that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not hearkened unto the words of this buok, to do according unto all that which is written concerning us.
The individual to whom the bigh priest and his coadjutors had recourse, upon this important occasion, was Huldah, the prophetess, the wife of Shallum, the son of Tikvath, the son of Harbas, keeper of the wardrobe, and who then dwelt in the college at Jerusalem. Upon bearing the king's message, she answered, as already fully instructed by the Holy Spirit upon t'e su'jxt of their errand, Thus saith Jehovah, the God of Israel, Tell yethe man that sent you to me, thus saith Jehovah, Behol', I will bring evil open this place, and upon the inhabitants thereof, even all the curses that are written in the book which they have read before the king of
* 2 Kings, xxii. 8-10. 2 Chryn. xxxiv, 14, 15, 18.
+ 2 Chron. xxxi 14. # Abp. Usher, p. 81. apud Bp. Wilson, and S. Clarke. Compare Deut. xxviii. with 2 Kings, xxii, 16–18. and 2 Chron.
xxxiv. 24, 25. Prid. i. 47. 1 2 Kings, xxii. 8–13. 2 Chron. xxxiv. 18-21. Deut. xvii. 19.
Judah; because they have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, that they might provoke me to anger with all the works of their hands; therefore, my wrath shall be poured out upon this place, and shall not be quenched. And as for the king of Judah, who sent you to enquire of Jehovah, so shall ye say unto him ; Thus saith Jehovah, God of Israel, concerning the words which thou hast heard; because thine heart was tender, and thou didst humble thyself before God, when thou heardest his words against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, and humbledst thyself before me, and didst rend thy clothes, and weep before me; I have even heard thee also, saith Jebovah. Behold, I will gather thee to thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered to thy grave in peace; neither shall thine eyes see all the evil that . I will bring upon this place, and upon the inhabitants of the same. So they brought the king word again.*
Under the influence of the feelings produced by this awful, though merciful message, Josiah proceeded to celebrate a solemn renewal of the covenant with God, and a dedication of himself and the whole of the people to Jehovah. Por having gathered unto him all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem, he went up into the house of Jehovah, 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 Jehovah.
And the king stood by a pillar, and made a covenant before Jehovah, to walk after Jehovah, 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
• 2 Chron. xxxiv. 23–28. 2 Kings, xxii, 15–20.
the people stood to the covenant.* And the inhabitants of Jerusalem did accordingt to the covenant of God, the God of their fathers.
And the king commanded Hilkiah, the high priest, and the priests of the second order, and the keepers of the door, to bring forth out of the temple of Jehovah 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. 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, and to the moon, and to the planets, and to all the host of heaven. And he brought out the idol from the house of Jehovah, 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. And he brake down the houses of the sodomites, that were by the house of Jehovah, where the women wove hangings for the grove. And he brought all the priests out of the cities of Judah, and defiled the high places where the priests had burned incense, from Geba to Beersheha, 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. Nevertheless, the priests of the high places came not up to the altar of Jehovah in Jerusalem, but they did eat of the unleavened bread among their brethren. And he defiled Topheth, which is in the valley of the children of Hinnom, tliat no man might make his son or his daughter
* 2 Kings, xxiii. 1-4. 2 Chron. xxxiv. 29–32. + Eu seigneilly, and not with their whole hearis. Jer, iii. 10.
to pass through the fire to Moloch. And he took away the horses that the kings of Judah had given to the sun, at the entering in of the house of Jehovah, by the chamber of Nathan-melech, the chamberlain, which was in the suburbs, and burned the chariots of the sun with fire.* And the altars that were on the top of the upper chamber of Ahaz, which the kings of Judah had made, and the altars which Manasseh had made in the two courts of the house of Jehovah, did the king beat down, and brake them down from thence, and cast the dust of them into the brook Kidron. And the high places that were before Jerusalem, which were on the right hand of the mount of corruption,t which Solomon, the king of Israel, had builded, for Ashtoreth, the abomination of the Zidonians, and for Chemosh, the abomination of the Moabites, and for Milcom, the abomination of the children of Ammon, did the king defile. And he brake in pieces the images, and cut down the groves, and filled their places with the bones of men.
Moreover, the altar that was at Bethel, and the high place which Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, had made, both that altar and the high place he brake down, and burned the high place, and stamped it small to powder, and burned the grove. And as Josiah turned him
" To receive intimations of future events is the peculiar credulity of the country. For this purpose, a number of milk white steeds, unprophaned by mortal labour, is constantly maintained at the public expense; and placed to pasture in the religious groves. When occasion requires, they are harnessed to a sacred chariot (viz. of the sun); and the priest, accompanied by the king, or chief of the state, attends to watch the motions and neighings of the horses." Tac. Germ. ch. 10. and llerodotus, apud Burder, O. L. 609. who also gives a long note from Rosenmuller, Sir William Jones, &c. as to the pagan worship of the sun. See also S. Clarke. + Mount of Olives. S. Clarke. I See Fuller's Pisgah, pp. 118-123.
$ 2 Kings, xxiii. 4-15. 2 Chron. xxxiv. 33.