The book of Deuteronomy, in conjunction with the reformation of Josiah's reign (which synchronizes with the rapid decline of Assyria and the reviving prestige of Yahweh), appeared to mark the triumph of the great prophetic movement.
The assumption that the decay of Assyria awoke the national feeling of independence is perhaps justified by those events which made the greatest impression upon the compiler, and an account is given of Josiah's religious reforms, based upon a source apparently identical with that which described the work of Jehoash.
The account of Josiah's work, like that of Hezekiah, is written by one of the Deuteronomic school: that is to say, the writer describes the promulgation of the teaching under which he lives.
Accordingly, in handling Josiah's successors the writer no longer refers to the high places.
On the other hand, the book of Deuteronomy has a characteristic social-religious side; its humanity, philanthropy and charity are the distinctive features of its laws, and Josiah's reputation (Jer.
- In Josiah's reign a new era was beginning in the history of the world.
The book of Kings gives the standpoint of a later Judaean writer, but Josiah's authority over a much larger area than Judah alone is suggested by xxiii.
5 that Zedekiah would die in peace is not borne out by the history, nor does Josiah's fate agree with the promise in 2 Kings xxii.
The date would fall between Josiah's reformation (621) and his death (609).
The Canaanite influence on the later organization of the Temple is clearly seen in the association of Temple prophets with the Temple priests under the control of the chief priest, which is often referred to by Jeremiah; even the viler ministers of sensual worship, the male and female prostitutes of the Phoenician temples, had found a place on Mt Zion and were only removed by Josiah's reformation.'
5, 6, to the earlier part of Josiah's reign.
The immediate result of Josiah's reformation was the complete dissolution of anything that could be called a political party of prophetic ideas; the priests and the ordinary prophets were satisfied with what had been accomplished; the old abuses began again, but the nation had received a reformed constitution and there was nothing more to be said.
Rather, the contrary; for he implies that The Qinoth contained not only Jeremiah's single dirge on Josiah, but also the elegies of " all the singing men and singing women," from the time of Josiah's death (608) down to his own day (3rd century).
Its only result for the majority was a falling back on the earlier popular cultus of the Baals, and on the heathen customs introduced, or reintroduced, by Josiah's grandfather, Manasseh.