Josiah reads all the words of the Book of the Covenant to all the people, small and great, and renews the covenant of the Lord with the people. Then Josiah destroys all false gods and bans all false worship.
During the purge, Josiah inquires of a certain tombstone. The men of the city told him, “It is the tomb of the man of God who came from Judah and proclaimed these things which you have done against the altar of Bethel”.
Remember on June 9th when we read about this man of God? The Lord sent him from Judah to give Jeroboam, the first king of Israel, a word from the Lord. The man of God stood before Jeroboam – “Then he cried out against the altar by the word of the Lord, and said, “O altar, altar! Thus says the Lord: ‘Behold, a child, Josiah by name, shall be born to the house of David; and on you he shall sacrifice the priests of the high places who burn incense on you, and men’s bones shall be burned on you’” (1 Kings 13:2). And since God already called it, that’s what happens.
Josiah brings back the Passover and “There had been no Passover kept in Israel like that since the days of Samuel the prophet; and none of the kings of Israel had kept such a Passover as Josiah kept, with the priests and the Levites, all Judah and Israel who were present, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.” There was no king like Josiah “who turned to the Lord with all of his heart, with all of his soul, and with all his might, according to all the Law of Moses; nor after him did any arise like him”.
Next we meet the prophet Nahum who begins his ministry before the fall of Assyria in 612 B.C. Nahum describes the sovereignty and goodness of the Lord but says He will not tolerate wickedness.
Nahum proclaims judgment against Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, and in contrast he proclaims mercy toward Judah.
Not long ago we read about Jonah unwillingly visiting Nineveh and the people repenting. “This repentance, however, did not last beyond 745 B.C. when Tiglath-pileser made his people the leading military power in the Near East. The vast Assyrian Empire was established by bloodshed and massacre, cruelty and torture, destruction, plundering, and exiling such as has seldom been seen in history.” (ESV Study Bible)
As mentioned before, the Assyrians are the ones that brought an end to Northern Israel. So Nahum tells Nineveh that the Lord is against them and that He is going to send an enemy to shame them before all the nations. And when Nineveh falls, “All who hear news of you will clap their hands over you, for upon whom has not your wickedness passed continually?” The Assyrian empire will soon be destroyed and Babylon will rise to be the dominate nation.
Tomorrow we meet the prophets Habakkuk and Zephaniah so keep reading.
(2 Kings 23:1-20, 2 Chronicles 34:29-33, 2 Kings 23:21-28, 2 Chronicles 35:1-19, Nahum 1:1-3:19)