Under new management, Your Majesty: Thine. John Berryman I “And the king went up to the house of the Lord, and all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem with him, and the priests, and the prophets, and all the people, both small and great; and he read in their ears all the words of the book of the covenant which was found in the house of the Lord. And the king stood by a pillar, and made a covenant before the Lord, to walk after the Lord, and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all their heart and all their soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people stood to the covenant.” A great awakening took place in the kingdom of Judah in the seventh century BCE, or so the king intended it to be. Josiah was the sixteenth king of the kingdom of Judah, which included Jerusalem, the rump state that remained in the wake of the secession of the ten tribes after the death of Solomon. He ruled for thirty-one years, from 640 to 609. Three centuries earlier, not long after the disintegration of the Davidic kingdom, his birth had been foretold by a strange unnamed prophet, who predicted (“O altar! O altar!”) that Josiah would be a great reformer. The Bible records — there are two accounts, in 2Kings and 2Chronicles — that he came to the throne at the tender age of eight, and eight years later, “when he was still a lad,” the young monarch began to “seek after the God of his forefather David.” It appears that there followed four years of intense spiritual work, because it is reported that Josiah began the religious reform

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