Haftarah: Second Day Pesach: A Renewed Covenant
Kings II 23:1-9 – 21-25: Since the early years of the Northern Kingdom of Yeravam ben Nevat, the people have known that, “A son will be born to the House of David, Josiah, will be
his name – and he will slaughter upon you (the altar of Yeravam) the priests of the high places, who burn sacrifices upon you; human bones will be burnt upon you.” (Kings I 13:2) It was a very old promise that was forgotten in the turmoil of kings who did not serve God, just as the promise of redemption of the Children of Israel was forgotten in the suffering of slavery.
Josiah did not first appear as the king who would cleanse Israel of its sins and burn the bones. But he was moved by the discovery of the Book of the Covenant – the Torah written by Moshe, to repent.
His greatness was that he understood that the Torah was a Book of Covenant, just as Moshe first presented it to Israel at Sinai. Josiah did not see a book of laws, but of relationship. This Haftarah is the story of a young king who renews the covenant with God and uses Pesach just as it was first used many years earlier in Egypt.
Josiah used Pesach to reconnect the Children of Israel to their great history – their story with God and succeeded in inspiring the people, as long as he was alive, to again live in that covenant.
Josiah understood that in order to reconnect with the Book of the Covenant he would have to cleanse Israel of all that soiled their relationship with God, just as we clean our homes before Pesach. He saw Pesach as it should be; the opportunity to repair and renew the covenant with God.