2 CHRONICLES 35
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1 Moreover Josiah kept a passover unto Yahweh in Jerusalem: and they killed the passover on the fourteenth day of the first month.
As a result of finding the book of the law, Josiah kept a great passover in Jerusalem-the greatest and most solemn passover since the days of Samuel.
Did the people, who flocked joyfully to that celebration, realize that this was the end? They had received and taken for granted God's forbearance and mercy for so long. But this passover was terribly ominous in its seeming peacefulness and sense of endless blessing.
God had always been there to welcome and to forgive, whenever Israel tired of sin and its consequences. But this passover was different, as time was soon to prove. It was the final burst of divine glory and witness before the long Gentile night closed down upon them. They partook of this feast all unheeding that they were on the brink of the chasm into which they were soon to be cast.
The providential finding of the book of the law, the provision of a righteous king and a faithful prophet, and this great passover-all these combined to make God's last manifestation of mercy to them before their impending national destruction. But all this had no permanent effect.
They seemed very enthusiastic and sincere while Josiah lived, but it was all on the surface. He did not reach to the transforming of their hearts. They were still just ordinary human people, like the countless millions that have come and gone. Though there was a great show of piety, they failed completely to make contact with the spirit of life.
Bro Growcott - Jeremiah, prophet of judgement
25 And Jeremiah lamented for Josiah: and all the singing men and the singing women spake of Josiah in their lamentations to this day, and made them an ordinance in Israel: and, behold, they are written in the lamentations.
What caused Josiah to go out against the host of Egypt? And to persist in joining battle with Pharaoh, even when the latter warned him away and assured him he had no quarrel with him? It is very hard to fathom.
The record strongly gives the impression that God was warning Josiah through Pharaoh. This too is very strange, but perhaps in keeping with the circumstances.
We wonder why such a man as Josiah would not seek counsel of God before setting out to defeat a great empire. But there are other cases of very good men neglecting to follow divine guidance in matters of great importance, and while well meaning, bringing themselves and others much trouble. The incident seems to come under the heading of a tragic mistake, rather than a sin.
Pharaoh had entered God's land, though just to pass through, and Josiah, strong in faith, went out to oppose the invader. But God did not desire him at that time to set out to conquer his mighty neighbor. The defeat of Egypt by Judah did not fit into God's purpose. So apparently the time had come for Josiah to be removed, so that the determined course of history could proceed. The evil was not to come in his day.
It is recorded that Jeremiah lamented for Josiah. Well he might, for he above all would realize that with Josiah's death the last curtain fell on the happiness and well being of Judah. The nation now had 23 appointed years of existence left, and they were to be a terrible 23 years.
The most prominent part of Jeremiah's ministry would now begin. We know little of his life up to this time. But now he finds himself at increasing variance with his nation and its rulers, as they plunged down the path of destruction.
All Josiah's reforms and arrangements were soon swept away.
Bro Growcott - Jeremiah, Prophet of judgement