Josiah’s Reforms and the Discovery of the Book of the Torah (34:1–33)

From: 2 Chronicles

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489 1/ Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he ruled thirty-one years in Jerusalem. 2/ He did what was right in the eyes of Yahweh and walked in the ways of David his ancestor; he did not turn aside to the right or to the left. 3/ In the eighth year1 of his reign, while he was still a youth, he began to seek the God of David his ancestor, and in the twelfth year of his reign he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of high places, sacred poles, and carved and cast images. 4/ They tore down in his presence the altars of the Baals, and he demolished the chapels that stood above them. He shattered the sacred poles and the carved and cast images; he made dust of them and scattered it over the graves where were buried those who had sacrificed2 to them. 5/ He also burned the bones of the priests on their altars3 and purged Judah and Jerusalem . 6/ And in the cities of Manasseh, Ephraim, and Simeon, and as far as Naphtali , he removed their temples4 all around, 7/ he broke down the altars, beat the sacred poles and the images into powder,5 and demolished all the chapels in all the land of Israel. Then he returned to Jerusalem . 8/ In the eighteenth year of his reign, after purging the land and the temple,6 he sent Shaphan son of Azaliah, Maaseiah the governor of the city, and Joah son of Jehoahaz, the recorder, to repair the house of Yahweh his God. 9/ They came to Hilkiah the high priest and gave him7 the money that was brought to the house of God, which the Levites, the keepers of the threshold, had collected from Manasseh and Ephraim and from all the rest of Israel and from all Judah and Benjamin and from the inhabitants8 of Jerusalem. 10/ They delivered it to the workers9 who had oversight in the house of Yahweh, and the workers,10 who were working in the house of Yahweh, gave it for repairing and restoring the house. 11/ They gave it to the carpenters and the builders to buy quarried stone and timbers for binders, and for constructing the beams of the buildings that the kings of Judah had allowed to go to ruin. 12/ The people did the work honestly. Over them were appointed the Levites Jahath and Obadiah , of the sons of Merari, along with Zechariah and Meshullam, of the sons of the Kohathites, to have oversight. Other Levites, all skilled with instruments of music, 13/ were over11 the burden bearers and directed all12 who were doing13 the work in every kind of service, and some of the Levites were scribes, and 34:1-33 Josiah’s Reforms and the Discovery of the Book of the Torah Translation 1 !ynv. The abnormal plural is the result of assimilation to the phrase !ynv hnwmv @b “eight years old” in v. 1. Jonker (Reflections of King Josiah, 18) notes that this is the only place in the Old Testament where this construction occurs. In a reading discussed in n. 36, Chronicles presupposes a reading in Kings other than Kings MT. 2 !yjbzh !yrIbuq] rva !yrbqh, with BHS and Rudolph, 381; MT !yjbzh !yrbqh. The words !yrbq rva were lost by homoioteleuton. Barrick (King and the Cemeteries , 21–22) translates: “he scattered before the graves [the remains of] those who had sacrificed to them.” 3 !twjbzm, with Q LXXL Tg; K !ytwjbzm “altars”= scribal error. Note the double plural. 4 !hytb r[b. This conjectural reading has been endorsed by I. Seeligman, “Indications of Editorial Alteration,” VT 11 (1961) 202; Japhet, 1016; and­ Dillard, 275. NEB: “he burnt down their houses.” Leningradensis !hytb rhb; KMSS !hytb rjb “he chose/inspected their temples (?).” Q !h,yteBor“j'B] “with their swords.” Another proposal !h,yteBor“j;B] “in their ruins.” BHS suggests !hytwbwjrb “in their squares” (cf. Syr Arab). None of these alternate readings is appropriate in this context. For the interchange of rysh and r[b, see 2 Chr 17:6 “he removed (rysh) the high places” and 19:3 “you destroyed (tr[b) the sacred poles.” 5 qd"hew“ hiphil perfect third masculine singular or qdEh;l] hiphil infinitive construct from qqd (see BHS; Rudolph, 320; and Curtis and Madsen, 505). MT qd"hel], which is anomalous. 6 tybhw $rah rhfl twlkk. Cf. LXXANal o{te sunetevle­ sen th;n gh'n kai...