The love of Israel to their God, YHWH, was so much like a yo-yo. Up and down. Just a few chapters back, in 2 Chronicles 23, we see the Passover Festival commences after a long silence. Then it stops again. Why? What was happening? And how long was this span between Passover celebrations from Joash to Josiah?
Something like eight generations fill the gap covering around 200 years. From the beginning of Joash’s reign, he destroyed the Baals and the altars. He restored the Temple and made a covenant with Jehoiada the priest, whom had placed him on the throne; he also made a covenant for the people of Israel with the Lord.
There is never a mention of the Torah, though, and the keeping of the book of the law. It makes no appearance until we see Josiah. Not even Hezekiah mentions the book of the law. Like Joash, Hezekiah restored the damage done to the house of the Lord and he also made a covenant with YHWH to follow Him. The people consecrated themselves, purged the sin from the nation, and worshipped YHWH again.
We see the Passover celebration was re-established, here, too, like in the time of Josiah some generations later. Such a time was had during the Passover that they tacked on another seven days to continue with the celebrations.
What had happened to the Passover celebration then between Hezekiah and Josiah? And why did the temple have to keep being restored and new covenants made?
The people stiffened their necks. They were full of idolatry and following the ways of the heathen nations. They were in love with the traditions of God, but not God.
As previously mentioned, the young kings Joash and Josiah, along with Hezekiah, were considered kings that did right in the eyes of the Lord. Between the three of them they humbled themselves and followed after God. They repaired and restored the Temple and re-initiated the Passover celebration.
All of them also stumbled in their later years, becoming proud or indifferent to their Lord. The Bible never tries to cover or white-wash their accounts. In fact, there is such a distressing record about Joash in 2 Chronicles 24, of how he murders the son of the priest, Jehoiada. Jehioada was the one, who, during Joash’s infancy, hid him, saving his life. He was the one who placed Joash on the throne. It is shocking to read that Joash murders his son. In turn Joash is conspired against by his own servants and murdered on his bed. Even though he was considered a righteous king, he did not get a burial in the city of David in the tombs of the kings like Jehoiada, who wasn’t even a king!
Watch this space for Part 3
Written by Jori Sams