Royalty and Ruin


The Long-lost Law Book Discovered

The prophets’ messages regarding the Babylonian captivity did much to prepare the way for a reformation in the eighteenth year of Josiah’s reign. This reform movement came about unexpectedly through the discovery of a portion of Holy Scripture that had been misplaced and lost for many years. RR 141.1

Nearly a century before, during Hezekiah’s first Passover celebration, provision had been made to read the book of the law publicly. Observing the statutes recorded in the book of the covenant (a part of Deuteronomy) had made Hezekiah’s reign prosperous. But during Manasseh’s reign the temple copy of the book had become lost. RR 141.2

Hilkiah, the high priest, found the long-lost manuscript in the temple while the building was undergoing repairs. He handed the precious volume to Shaphan, a learned scribe, who took it to the king with the story of its discovery. RR 141.3

Josiah was deeply stirred as he heard for the first time the warnings recorded in this ancient manuscript. Never before had he realized how Israel had been urged repeatedly to choose the way of life, that they might become a blessing to all nations. See Deuteronomy 31:6. The book held many assurances of God’s willingness to save those who would place their trust fully in Him. As He had worked in their deliverance from Egyptian slavery, so would He work mightily in placing them at the head of the nations of earth. RR 141.4

As the king heard the inspired words, in the picture set before him he recognized conditions similar to those existing in his kingdom. In these prophetic descriptions of departure from God, he was startled to find plain statements that the day of disaster would follow and that there would be no remedy. He could not mistake the meaning of the words. And at the close of the volume, in telling of future events, Moses had declared: RR 141.5

“[Israel] forsook God who made him,
And scornfully esteemed the Rock of his salvation. ...
They sacrificed to demons, not to God. ...
Of the Rock who begot you, you are unmindful,
And have forgotten the God who fathered you.
And when the Lord saw it, He spurned them, Because of the provocation of His sons and His daughters.
And He said: ‘I will hide My face from them,
I will see what their end will be,
For they are a perverse generation,
Children in whom is no faith.’”
“How could one chase a thousand,
And two put ten thousand to flight,
Unless their Rock had sold them,
And the Lord had surrendered them?”
“Vengeance is Mine, and recompense;
Their foot shall slip in due time;
For the day of their calamity is at hand,
And the things to come hasten upon them.” Deuteronomy 32:15-20, 30, 35
RR 141.6