2 Kings 23* Josiah reads the law, and renews the covenant. (1-3) Hedestroys idolatry. (4-14) The reformation extended to Israel, Apassover kept. (15-24) Josiah slain by Pharaoh-nechoh. (25-30)Wicked reigns of Jehoahaz and Jehoiakim. (31-37)1-3 Josiah had received a message from God, that there was nopreventing the ruin of Jerusalem, but that he should onlydeliver his own soul; yet he does his duty, and leaves the eventto God. He engaged the people in the most solemn manner toabolish idolatry, and to serve God in righteousness and trueholiness. Though most were formal or hypocritical herein, yetmuch outward wickedness would be prevented, and they wereaccountable to God for their own conduct. 4-14 What abundance of wickedness in Judah and Jerusalem! Onewould not have believed it possible, that in Judah, where Godwas known, in Israel, where his name was great, in Salem, inZion, where his dwelling-place was, such abominations should befound. Josiah had reigned eighteen years, and had himself setthe people a good example, and kept up religion according to theDivine law; yet, when he came to search for idolatry, the depthand extent were very great. Both common history, and the recordsof God's word, teach, that all the real godliness or goodnessever found on earth, is derived from the new-creating Spirit ofJesus Christ. 15-24 Josiah's zeal extended to the cities of Israel within hisreach. He carefully preserved the sepulchre of that man of God,who came from Judah to foretell the throwing down of Jeroboam'saltar. When they had cleared the country of the old leaven ofidolatry, then they applied themselves to the keeping of thefeast. There was not holden such a passover in any of theforegoing reigns. The revival of a long-neglected ordinance,filled them with holy joy; and God recompensed their zeal indestroying idolatry with uncommon tokens of his presence andfavour. We have reason to think that during the remainder ofJosiah's reign, religion flourished. 25-30 Upon reading these verses, we must say, Lord, though thyrighteousness be as the great mountains, evident, plainly to beseen, and past dispute; yet thy judgments are a great deep,unfathomable, and past finding out. The reforming king is cutoff in the midst of his usefulness, in mercy to him, that hemight not see the evil coming upon his kingdom: but in wrath tohis people, for his death was an inlet to their desolations. 31-37 After Josiah was laid in his grave, one trouble came onanother, till, in twenty-two years, Jerusalem was destroyed. Thewicked perished in great numbers, the remnant were purified, andJosiah's reformation had raised up some to join the few who werethe precious seed of their future church and nation. A littletime, and slender abilities, often suffice to undo the goodwhich pious men have, for a course of years, been labouring toeffect. But, blessed be God, the good work which he begins byhis regenerating Spirit, cannot be done away, but withstands allchanges and temptations.
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