God’s Law: Lost and Found

In about 623 BC, right before the Israelite’s exile to Babylon, God’s holy temple was a mess  after many years of evil kings and idol worship.  When a 26-year-old king decides that its time to repair the temple, God’s Book of Law is found.

Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years. He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and followed completely the ways of his ancestor King David, not turning aside to the right or to the left.

In the eighteenth year of his reign, King Josiah sent the secretary, Shaphan, to the temple of the Lord. He said: “Go up to Hilkiah the high priest and have him get ready the money that has been brought into the temple of the Lord, which the doorkeepers have collected from the people. Have them entrust it to the men appointed to supervise the work on the temple. And have these men pay the workers who repair the temple of the Lord—the carpenters, the builders and the masons. Also have them purchase timber and dressed stone to repair the temple. But they need not account for the money entrusted to them, because they are honest in their dealings.”

JosiahHilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the secretary, “I have found the Book of the Law in the temple of the Lord.” He gave it to Shaphan, who read it. Then Shaphan the secretary went to King Josiah and reported to him: “Hilkiah the priest has given me a book.” And Shaphan read from it in the presence of the king.

When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his robes in distress. He gave these orders: “Go ask of the Lord for me and for the people and for all Judah about what is written in this book that has been found.

A prophetess named Huldah lived in Jerusalem. She said, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says concerning the words you heard: I am going to bring disaster on this place and its people, according to everything written in the book the king of Judah has read, because they have forsaken me and burned incense to other gods and aroused my anger by all the idols their hands have made.  But because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard, and because you tore your robes and wept in my presence, your eyes will not see all the disaster I am going to bring on this place, it will happen after you have died.’”

Then the king called together all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. He went up to the temple of the Lord with the people of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the priests and the prophets—all the people from the least to the greatest. He read in their hearing all the words of the Book of the Covenant, which had been found in the temple of the Lord. The king stood by the pillar and renewed the covenant in the presence of the Lord—to follow the Lord and keep his commands, laws, and rules with all his heart and all his soul, thus confirming the words of the covenant written in this book. Then all the people pledged themselves to the covenant.

The king ordered Hilkiah the high priest, the priests next in rank, and the doorkeepers to remove from the temple of the Lord all the articles made for idols and false gods. He burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of the Kidron Valley.

The king gave this order to all the people: “Celebrate the Passover to the Lord your God, as it is written in this Book of the Covenant.”  Neither in the days of the judges who led Israel nor in the days of the kings of Israel and the kings of Judah had any such Passover been observed. But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah’s reign, this Passover was celebrated to the Lord in Jerusalem.

Furthermore, Josiah got rid of the mediums and spiritists, the household gods, the idols and all the other detestable things seen in Judah and Jerusalem. This he did to fulfill the requirements of the law written in the book that Hilkiah the priest had discovered in the temple of the Lord. Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the Lord as he did—with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance with all the Law of Moses.

Excerpts and edited verses taken from 2 Kings 22 & 23

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