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read to him. He listened with astonishment and terror to the
punishment denounced against idolatry. He saw that he and
his people were acting contrary to the law as given in this book.
How should they escape ? He consulted the prophets and
priests, and immediately set to work to extirpate idolatry. He
undid all that his grandfather Manasseh had done ; he made a
clean sweep of idol-temples and images from Solomon's down.
Read the graphic account in 2 Kings xxiii. It was very nearly
the destruction of idolatry in Judah ; after this we hear little of
it. And the book that was read to Josiah was substantially the
book of Deuteronomy.


1. On the history: the " Bible for Learners;" the histories
of Kuenen, Wellhausen, and others above mentioned; J. H.
Allen, " Hebrew Men and Times," Boston, 1879.

2. On Deuteronomy: Introduction of Bleek- Wellhausen ;
W. R. Smith's " Old Testament in the Jewish Church."


1. What had Hezekiah tried to do ? What was the effect of this ?
Were the people attached to the old shrines V Whj^ was it easier at this
time to turn the worship to Jerusalem ? Was Hezekiah's reform spiritual ?
What did it do V Was it thorough even in this respect?

2. Was the whole nation concerned in this movement of Hezekiah ?
What happened when he died V What did Manasseh do V Who opposed


liim ■? How did he treat them ? Was he also a worshipper of Yahwe V
What does the book of Chronicles say of hiin ? Is this probable V

3. Had Manasseh destroj'ed the party that favored the sole worship of
Yahwe V What had Hezekiah begun to doV What did pious men now
see V Had the prophets hitherto condemned the local shrines devoted to
Yahwe? What change took place in their views during and after Hezekiah's
time V

4. What book was written about this time '? What rule did it lay
down? To what ancient prophet was it ascribed? Can you turn to this
book and point out its divisions ? Wh}' is it interesting to us ? Where is it
quoted in the New Testament? What is the date of its composition?
[Probably not far from u.c. G22.]

5. What king succeeded Manasseh and Anion ? How old was he when
he came to the throne? How long did things go on in the old way?
What roused him ? How did this happen? What did Josiahdo? What
was the book that was found in the temple ?



1. The Capture of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans. — We

must now briefly relate the events that led to the destruction of
Jerusalem, and the temporary breaking up of the nation of
Judah ; they are described in the books of Kings and Chronicles,
and of the last years there is a vivid picture in the book of
Jeremiah. After the death of Hezekiah the land had

rest for many years. It was subject to Assyria, but the Assyri-
ans, occupied elsewhere, made no new invasion. The surround-
ing petty nations, the Moabites, Ammonites, and Philistines,
gave, as it seems, no serious trouble, though there were, per-
haps, incursions by the Arabs. Manasseh, Anion, and Josiah
devoted themselves wholly to internal affairs. But great
changes in the history of the world were impending, in which
the little kingdom of Judah was to be involved. About B.C.
606 (the date is uncertain) the Assyrian empire fell before the
combined attack of the Medes and Babylonians, and in the
partition of territory that followed, Judah, with the rest of


Canaan, was assigned to Babylon. The end came soon. About
B.C. 609 the king of Egypt liad made an expedition against the
Assyrians; Josiali, king of Judah, opposed his advance, and
was defeated and slain at Megiddo (2 Kings xxiii. 29, 30). The
king of Egypt deposed Josiah's son, Jehoahaz, who had suc-
ceeded his father, and set up in his place another son of Josiah,
Jehoiakim, as his vassal-king. But the power of the Egyptian
empire was speedily broken. In B.C. 605 King Neclio was
defeated at Karkemish by Nebuchadnezzar, the young king of
Babylon, and after this the king of Egypt was shut up in his
own land (2 Kings xxiv. 7). Jehoiakim submitted to Nebuchad-
nezzar, and, though he rebelled, remained the vassal of Baby-
lon. After reigning eleven years he died and was succeeded
by his son Jehoiachin, who at the end of three months was
carried, together with many of his subjects, to Babylon by the
Chaldeans (that is, the Babylonians); here he remained a pris'
oner thirty-seven years, and was then released by Nebuchadnez-
zar's son and successor, Avilmarduk (2 Kings xxv. 27-30). In
his stead the Chaldeans placed on the throne of Jerusalem
Zedekiah (b.c. 598), a weak j^rince, who angered Nebuchadnez-
zar by various attempts at rebellion. Finally, about B.C. 587,
the latter came up to Jerusalem, besieged and captured it,
destroyed the temple, and carried off the greater part of the
people to Babylon. This was the end of the Davidic kingdom
of Judah, which had existed (from Rehoboam's accession)
nearly four hundred years. Presently we shall see a new com-
munity established in Judah, and then another kingdom (the
Hasmoneau), and then will come Christianity. All through
these years God is preparing the Jews for the coming of the
Christ. Though the nation was broken up and held in subjec-
tion by foreigners, it continued to learn new truths of religion.
For a description of the last days of the Judah kingdom, see
Jer. xxxvii.-xliii.

2. Nahum, Zephaniah, and Habakkuk. — The prophets
who flourished in the seventh century B.C. are Nahum, Zepha-
niah, Habakkuk, and Jeremiah. To the three first of these we
need give only a word. Nahum (perhaps about B.C. 630) directs


his piophecy against the Assyrian empire (Nineveh), of whicli
he describes tiie oppression and predicts the downfall; the Assyr-
ians had been cruel to Judah, and Yahwe would destroy them.
The prophecy was probably uttered about the time when the
Assyrian power began to wane and enemies gathered around
Nineveh. Zephaniah's prophecy falls not far from

Nahum's, but its exact date is not determined. His view em-
braces almost all the surrounding nations, — Assyria, Etliiopia,
the Philistines, Moab, and Ammon. He speaks of an approach-
ing "day of Yahwe" (i. 14), when idolatry should be rooted
out, Judah"s enemies destroyed, and Judah itself dwell in safety ;
and he rebukes those who thought that Yahwe sat with folded
hands, and had nothing to do with the affairs of the nati

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Online LibraryCrawford Howell ToyThe history of the religion of Israel : an Old Testament primer .. → online text (page 8 of 15)