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the sons of the Koathites, to set it forward; and other of the Levites, all that could skill of instruments of music.
Also they were over the bearers of burdens, and were overseers of all that wrought the work in any manner of service: and of the Levites there were scribes, and officers, and porters.
And when they brought out the money that was brought into the house of the Lord, Hilkiah the priest found a book of the law of the Lord, given by Moses.
And Hilkiah said to Shaphan the scribe, I have found the book of the Law in the house of the Lord. And Hilkiah delivered the book to Shaphan.
And Shaphan carried the book to the king, and brought the king word back again, saying, All that was committed to thy servants, they do it.
And they have gathered together the money that was found in the house of the Lord, and have delivered it into the hand of the overseers, and to the hand of the workmen.
Then Shaphan the scribe told the king, saying, Hilkiah the priest hath given me a book. And Shaphan read it before the king.
And it came to pass when the king had heard the words of the law, that he rent his clothes.
And the king commanded Hilkiah, and Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Abdon the son of Micah, and Shaphan the scribe, and Asaiah a servant of the king's saying, Go, enquire of the Lord for me, and for them that are left in Israel and in Judah, concerning the words of the book that is found: for great is the wrath of the Lord that is poured out upon us, because our fathers have not kept the word of the Loud, to do after all that is written in this book. . And Hilkiah, and they that the king had appointed
went to Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tikvath, the son of Hasrah, keeper of the wardrobe. Now she dwelt in Jerusalem in the college. And they spake to her to that effect.
And she answered them, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Tell ye the man that sent you to me.
Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will bring evil upon 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 Judah:
Because they have forsaken me, and have burned incense to 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 the Lord, so shall ye say unto him, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel concerning the words which thou hast heard:
Because thine heart was tender, and thou didst hum. ble 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: 1 have even heard thee also, saith the Lord.
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.
'1 hen the king sent and gathered together all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem.
And the king went up into the house of the Lord, and all the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and the priests, and the Levites, and all the c 5 people* people, great and small: and he read in their ears all the words of the book of the covenant that was found in the house of the Lord.
And the king stood in his place, and made a covenant before the LoiiD, to walk after the Lord, and to keep his commandments, and his testimonies, and his statutes, with all his heart, and with all his soul, to perform the words of the covenant which are written in this book.
And he caused all that were present in Jerusalem and Benjamin to stand to it. And the inhabitants of Jerusalem did according to the covenant of God, the God of their fathers.
And Josiah took away all the abominations out of all the countries that pertained to the children of Israel, and made all that were present in Israel to serve, even to serve the Lord their God. And all his days they departed not from following the Lord, the God of their fathers.
And the king commanded all the people, saying, Keep the Passover unto the Lord your God, as it is written in the book of this covenant.
And in the eighteenth year of king Josiah this Passover was holden to the Lord in Jerusalem.
Surely there was not holden such a Passover, from the days of the Judges that judged Israel, nor in all the days of the kings of Israel, nor of the kings of Judah.
ANNOTATIONS And REFLECTIONS. After destroying all that belonged to idol worship and cleansing and beautifying the Temple, the good Josiah was deiirous of restoring the service of the Lord's house, and the divine ordinances. How wonderful it is to read, that no sooner did he set about this design, than the original law, of which the kingdom
had been deprived while it was addicted to idolatry, was unexpectedly brought to light!
The * copy found by Hilkiah is thought to have been that written by Moses, and by him commanded to be deposited with the Ark, in the Most Holy Place; but which some pious priest had thus caused to be hidden in the reign of Ahaz or Manasseh, to prevent its being destroyed. We can hardly suppose that all the copies of the law, which were very numerous in the days of Hezekiah, were destroyed: but Josiah certainly had never, as the Lord f required, transcribed it with his . own hand, because the only authentic copy was not to be found. The high priest, therefore, had great reason to rejoice when the original came to light, and Josiah's attention was particularly awakened to a more serious consideration of the undoubted original book of Moses, SO'as to observe passages which might before have escaped his observation. It seems to have been by the direction of Divine Providence, that Shaphan opened the book at that part of it which contained the curses denounced against the people of Israel, and the king in particular, for a neglect of the Law. Josiah now re- • solved to leave nothing undone, that was in his power,. to complete the reformation of his kingdom; and solemnly and publicly declared his own resolution to ob- . serve the conditions of the Covenant in the strictest: manner; and required his subjects to do the same. .
In order that the people of Israel and Judah might . afterwards have no excuse for their wickedness, they, were warned before they had arrived to the highest degree of guilt, by the prophet Jeremiah, who continued: to declare unto them the dreadful judgments which < they would provoke the Lord to send upon them..
» Universal History. t Deut. x»ii. 18.
PAIIT OF THE PROPHECY OF JEREMIAH.
From Chap. iv.
Thus saith the Lord to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns.
Correct your hearts, ye men of Judah, and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.
Declare ye in Judah, and publish in Jerusalem, and say, Blow ye the trumpet in the land: cry, gather together, and say, Assemble yourselves, and let us go into the defenced cities.
Set up the standard towards Zion: retire, stay not, for I will bring evil from the north, and a great destruction.
The lion is come up from his thicket, and the destroyer of the Gentiles is on his way; he is gone forth from his place to make thy land desolate, and thy city shall be laid waste, without an inhabitant.
For this gird you with sackcloth, lament and howl: for the fierce anger of the Lord is not turned back from us.
And it shall come to pass at that day, saith the Lord, that the heart of the king shall perish, and the heart of the princes: and the priests shall be astonished, and the prophets shall wonder.
Then said I, Ah Lord God, surely thou hast greatly deceived this people, and Jerusalem, saying, Ye shall have peace; whereas the sword reacheth unto the soul.
At that time shall it be said to this people, and to