Categories: Old Testament Kings
- Josiah was 8 years old when he became king,
and he reigned for 31 years.
- His story is told in 2 Kings 22:1-23:30 and
2 Chronicles 34:1-35:27.
- Since he was only a boy, his mother, Jedidah,
and pious men helped him stay on the right track.
- "He did what was right in the eyes of
- He got serious about following the God of
David when he was 16.
- When he was 20, he attacked the idolatry of
Judah and purged the country of all the "high
places" - pagan altars.
- His successes in Judah led him into the areas
of Manasseh, Ephraim, as far north as Naphtali,
where he instituted the same reforms. (During
this period, the Ancient Near East was in a
time of chaos. A barbaric, nomadic invasion
by the Scythians occurred from the north (628-626BCE).
They didn't do much with Judah, but they virtually
wiped out the Assyrian threat that had dominated
the area for 50 years. These are the same Assyrians
who had conquered and destroyed the northern
territories in 722BCE. With Assyria weakened,
it opened the way for Josiah to reestablish
a united kingdom of Israel, much like David
had 300 years before. The western part of Assyria's
empire was pretty much on its own, and Josiah
took advantage of the situation.)
- When he was 26, he began repairs on the temple.
- Money came from both the north and the south
and was given to the priests and Levites to
complete the repairs.
- Hilkiah, the high priest, found "the
Book of the Law" (actually the Book of
Deuteronomy) that had been given through Moses
in the temple. (ca. 622BCE)
- Hilkiah gave the book to Josiah's secretary,
Shaphan, who read it to Josiah.
- Josiah tore his robes when he heard parts
of the book because he knew that despite his
reforms, the country was still far off the mark
in obeying God's commands.
- He was so concerned that he insisted on verification
that these truly were divine words.
- The high priest and others went to the prophetess,
Huldah, to verify the authenticity of the book
and to inquire of the Lord's intention.
- She told them that because Josiah had "humbled
himself" and tried his best, the calamities
foretold in the book would not happen during
- Then the king read the entire book to all
the elders of Judah and Jerusalem.
- He renewed the covenant and made everyone
pledge their faithfulness to it, acts that parallel
the reforms of Hezekiah.
- Josiah provided 30,000 sheep and 3,000 cattle
for the Passover.
- Many people from Israel were there to participate
- It was the first time the Passover had been
celebrated like that since the days of Samuel.
- Josiah changed the duties of the Levites.
They no longer were to carry the Ark (which
had its special place in the temple), but were
to serve in the liturgy of the temple.
- Just when everything was in order, Josiah
made a huge mistake that would cost him his
- The king of Egypt wanted passage through his
land on his way to help Assyria.
- Josiah refused and went out to meet him in
- The king told Josiah that he had no battle
with him, that God was with the king, and that
if he didn't cooperate, God would destroy Josiah.
- Josiah turned a deaf ear to the king's warning
and met him in battle.
- Josiah wore a disguise, thinking that would
keep him safe.
- He was wounded in battle and died soon thereafter.
- The moral of the Chronicler's story is that
if the word of God is rejected, prior righteousness
cannot keep one safe.
- Jeremiah, the prophet, composed laments for
- With Josiah's death, any hope for a reunited
Israel died as well.
- Josiah was the last king before the exile.
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Mills, Watson and Richard Wilson. Mercer Commentary on the Bible. Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 1995
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Payne, J. Barton. "1, 2 Chronicles." The Expositor's Bible Commentary. Gaebelein, Frank, ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishers, 1988.
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