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Chinese2/10/2006English
經文:歷代志下卅四至卅五章
鑰節:「祭司希勒家偶然得到了摩西所傳耶和華的律法書。」(34:14下)
提要

        亞們(惡王)的兒子約西亞,是大衛王之後最敬虔的君主。他也是猶大國最後的一位好王。他得到了最高的評估:「他做了主眼中看為正的事,效法他祖大衛所行的,不偏左右」(34:2)。因為當他登基為王之時,年方八歲。他勢必有一些聰明而敬虔的參謀(很可能是大祭司,如當年約阿施一樣24:1~2),他們指引他,走在主的道路上。相近的記載可在列王紀下廿二與廿三章找到。該處對約西亞的改革作了更詳細的說明;歷代志則著重在他守逾越節的事上。

        約西亞在年僅十六歲之時,「就開始尋求他祖大衛的上帝」(34:3)。此時他一定已經把跟隨上帝和學習律法,當作他個人的目標,以求不致得罪上帝。尋求上帝四年之後,他開始他清除耶路撒冷和猶太國的偶像;他不僅丟棄偶像,而且粉碎它們,使其永遠不能再被敬拜。他熱望恢復在聖殿中對上帝的正常敬拜,使他在廿六歲時開始了一個大規模的重建計畫。北王國有信心的餘民,還有猶大國的百姓(包含便雅憫族的人),貢獻了他們的十分之一,奉獻為重建的基金。獻身的利未人遊行全國,收集獻金和什一;而有信心的工人,在利未人的監督下,建造製作每一樣東西,都十分美好。

        就在清除殿中的碎物時,「祭司希勒家偶然得了摩西所傳上主的律法書」(34:14;欲知詳情,看王下22章之註釋)。它可能是摩西所傳的原始版本,本來應該保存在約櫃的旁邊(申31:25~26),但是由於約櫃移動的次數太多,歷代許多國王也未曾好好照顧上帝的居所,以致被擱在角落中好幾世代。約西亞聽到神聖記載中的話語時,非常難過,因為他了解到他們對律法的虧欠有多麼大,又因為上帝所說,一旦他們犯罪不悔改,祂將帶給他們多麼慘重的懲罰。

        約西亞又從先知戶勒大那裡知道,因猶大人的頑梗不信,這審判會真的降臨(特別是瑪拿西王在位時,王下23:26),可是由於他對主的忠誠,他在有生之年不會目睹悲劇的發生。律法中的話大大感動了約西亞。他號召百姓重新立約,以更加倍的熱心,繼續潔淨域內的罪和偶像崇拜。

        聖殿既已重新潔淨並恢復,約西亞便倡導舉行一次大規模的逾越節慶典,是自從撒母耳(35:18)以來,從未有過的(35:18)。這次的節慶活動就在規定的日子舉行(35:1),不像希西家的逾越節慶曾經拖延了一個月。同時,這回祭司和利未人全部預備好了,並在節期之前,先潔淨自己。現在殿宇既已潔淨,又再度向主分別為聖,約西亞下令,要把約櫃放在它適當的位置。在亞哈斯、瑪拿西、或亞們王黑暗統治的時期,一些忠信的利未人很可能移走了約櫃,並把它藏起來,目的是保護它,免於污染和毀壞。如今在約西亞強力公義的領導下,約櫃十分安全,並且再度光榮地被放在它正確的位置上。逾越節的祭牲非常眾多,而約西亞自己也為人民獻了很大的數量。

        這民需要學習不斷地依賴上主,才有安全。而且,捲入埃及、巴比倫、和亞述間的權利鬥爭,並不是主的旨意。在這時候,亞述國的都城尼尼微已被巴比倫人佔領。因為埃及曾是亞述的同盟,埃及王尼哥和他的軍兵就沿著海岸線向北移動,經過猶大國,去幫助亞述人。約西亞認為這是打敗埃及人的良機,這麼一來,埃及就不致對猶大國形成威脅。主甚至藉著外邦君王說話,警告約西亞不要去和他作對,但是約西亞仍違背上帝的旨意,改裝上陣(參代下18:29)。由於他這次缺乏信心,結果付上了生命的代價,但是上帝出於憐憫,在他重創之後,仍給他一段短短的生存時間。在這時刻中,他必然悔悟,並從上帝得到安息。

禱告

        親愛的主,謝謝您,因您的話不能被埋沒,且可以改變一個國家。求主在我們的時代再如此行。奉耶穌基督的名禱告,阿們。

English

Scriptures:Read 2 Chronicles 34&35
Key Verse:"Hilkiah the priest found the Book of the Law of the Lord given by Moses."(2 Chronicles 34:14b)
Overview

        Josiah, the son of Amon (a wicked king) was the most godly king since King David. He was also the last good king of Judah. He received the highest assessment: "he did what was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the ways of his father David; he did not turn aside to the right hand or to the left" (34:2). Since he was only eight years old when he became king, he must have had some wise and godly counsellors (likely the high priest, as had young Joash, 24:1-2) who instructed him in the ways of the Lord. The parallel account of these chapters is found in 2 Kings 22 and 23. That account gives more details about Josiah's reforms, but the Chronicles account expands upon his observance of the Passover.

        When only sixteen, Josiah "began to seek the God of his father David" (34:3). At this point, he must have made it his own personal goal to follow the Lord and study the Law, that he might not sin against God. After four years of seeking the Lord, he began his campaign to purge Jerusalem and all Judah of idolatry. He did not just discard the idols, but pulverized them so they could never be worshipped again. His desire to revive the proper worship of God at the Temple led him to begin a major restoration project when he was twenty-six years old. The faithful remnant from the Northern Kingdom, as well as the people of Judah (including the tribe of Benjamin), contributed with their tithes and offerings to the rebuilding fund. Trusted Levites travelled throughout the land, gathering the donations and tithes, and faithful workers built and crafted everything well, under the oversight of the Levites.

        While cleaning out the debris in the Temple, "Hilkiah the priest found the Book of the Law of the Lord given by Moses" (34:14; for further details, see commentary on 2 Kings 22). It may have been an original scroll of Moses that had been kept beside the Ark (Deuteronomy 31:25-26), but had been somehow, misplaced, probably because of the many times the Ark had been moved and the many kings who did not care for God's House. After hearing the words of the holy writings, Josiah was very sorrowful, because he realized how far short they had fallen from keeping the Law and because of the severe punishments God said He would bring upon them for the very transgressions of which they were guilty.

        From the prophetess Huldah, Josiah learned that the judgments would indeed come about because of Judah's faithlessness (especially under the reign of Manasseh, 2 Kings 23:26); yet because of his own faithfulness, he would not see them during his lifetime. The words of the Law greatly affected Josiah. He called for a renewal of the covenant, and with all the more fervency, he continued to purge the land of sin and idolatry.

        At the newly cleansed and restored Temple, Josiah called for a great Passover celebration, the likes of which had not been seen since the days of Samuel (35:18). It took place on the prescribed day (35:1), unlike Hezekiah's Passover feast which had been delayed by one month. Also, this time the priests and Levites were all prepared and had sanctified themselves ahead of time. Now that the Temple had been cleansed and reconsecrated to the Lord, Josiah ordered that the Ark be put back into its proper place. During the dark periods under the reigns of Ahaz, Manasseh, or Amon, some pious Levites had likely removed the Ark and hidden it in order to protect it from defilement and destruction. Now, however, under the strong and righteous leadership of Josiah, the Ark was safe and once again in its rightful place of honour. The Passover offerings were very numerous, and Josiah himself sacrificed a great number on behalf of the people.

        These people were to learn constant dependence upon the Lord for their safety, and it was not His will for them to be involved in the power struggles of Egypt, Babylon, and Assyria. At this time, the Assyrian capital of Nineveh had been captured by the Babylonians. Since Egypt had become an ally of Assyria, Necho king of Egypt and his army were travelling north along the coastal route, through the territory of Judah, to help the Assyrians. Josiah saw it as an opportunity to defeat Egypt, and thus they would pose no threat to Judah's new independence. The Lord even spoke through the heathen king to warn Josiah not to go against him, but Josiah disguised himself (cf. Ahab, 18:29) and went to battle against the will of God. He paid with his life for this lack of trust in God, but God graciously gave him a few hours of life after his mortal injury. During those hours, he must have repented and died at peace with God.

Prayer

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        Dear Lord, thank You that Your Word cannot be destroyed and that it can transform a nation. Do it again in our time Lord.


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