who by your Holy Spirit gave Henry Martyn
a longing to tell the good news of Christ
and skill to translate the Scriptures:
by the same Spirit give us grace to offer you our gifts,
wherever you may lead, at whatever the cost;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Henry Martyn, Translator of the Scriptures, Missionary in India and Persia, 1812
2 Kings 22.1-23.3
Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem for thirty-one years. His mother’s name was Jedidah daughter of Adaiah; she was from Bozkath. He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and followed completely the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left.
In the eighteenth year of his reign, King Josiah sent the secretary, Shaphan son of Azaliah, the son of Meshullam, to the temple of the Lord. He said: ‘Go up to Hilkiah the high priest and make him get ready the money that has been brought into the temple of the Lord, which the doorkeepers have collected from the people. Make them entrust it to the men appointed to supervise the work on the temple. And make these men pay the workers who repair the temple of the Lord – the carpenters, the builders and the masons. Also make 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.’
Hilkiah 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 the king and reported to him: ‘Your officials have paid out the money that was in the temple of the Lord and have entrusted it to the workers and supervisors at the temple.’ Then Shaphan the secretary informed the king, ‘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. He gave these orders to Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Akbor son of Micaiah, Shaphan the secretary and Asaiah the king’s attendant: ‘Go and enquire of the Lord for me and for the people and for all Judah about what is written in this book that has been found. Great is the Lord’s anger that burns against us because those who have gone before us have not obeyed the words of this book; they have not acted in accordance with all that is written there concerning us.’
Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Akbor, Shaphan and Asaiah went to speak to the prophet Huldah, who was the wife of Shallum son of Tikvah, the son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe. She lived in Jerusalem, in the New Quarter.
She said to them, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: tell the man who sent you to me, “This is what the Lord says: 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,[a] my anger will burn against this place and will not be quenched.” Tell the king of Judah, who sent you to enquire of the Lord, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says concerning the words you heard: because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I have spoken against this place and its people – that they would become a curse[b] and be laid waste – and because you tore your robes and wept in my presence, I also have heard you, declares the Lord. Therefore I will gather you to your ancestors, and you will be buried in peace. Your eyes will not see all the disaster I am going to bring on this place.”’
So they took her answer back to the king.
Josiah renews the covenant
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, statutes and decrees 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.
Behold how good and pleasant it is
to dwell together in unity.
It is like the precious oil upon the head,
running down upon the beard,
Even on Aaron’s beard,
running down upon the collar of his clothing.
It is like the dew of Hermon
running down upon the hills of Zion.
For there the Lord has promised his blessing:
even life for evermore.