BibleAsk Team

How was King Josiah different than his predecessors?

Josiah and his predecessors

King Josiah reigned from 640–609 b.c. After more than a half century of moral and spiritual decline under Manasseh (2 Kings 21:1–18; 2 Chron. 33:1–20) and Amon (2 Kings 21:19–25; 2 Chron. 33:21–25), Judah had once again a king famous for his faithfulness and godly zeal.

Josiah was only eight years old when he began to rule (2 Kings 22:1). When he was only about 20 years of age, he made several reforms, eliminating first the high places of idol worship. “For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was still young, he began to seek the God of his father David; and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of the high places, the wooden images, the carved images, and the molded images” (2 Chron. 34:3).

The reforms

The prophet Jeremiah, who was called to public ministry in the king’s 13th year, supported the king. And with his help, Josiah purposed to cleanse the land of idolatry and to re-establish the worship of God (2 Chron. 34). And it happened to pass that when the king’s servants were working to restore the Temple in the 18th year of Josiah’s reign, they discovered a copy of “the book of the law” (2 Kings 22:3–20).

This discovery led to a strengthening of Josiah’s reform plan throughout the land. The king’s reform was even stretched to the territory of the northern kingdom (2 Kings 23:15–20; 2 Chron. 34:6, 7). The deterioration of the Assyrian Empire allowed for this extension.

His death

King Josiah faced early death as a result of his arrogant interference with Necho II of Egypt at Megiddo, 609 b.c. For “In his days Pharaoh Necho king of Egypt went to the aid of the king of Assyria, to the River Euphrates; and King Josiah went against him. And Pharaoh Necho killed him at Megiddo when he confronted him.  Then his servants moved his body in a chariot from Megiddo, brought him to Jerusalem, and buried him in his own tomb…” (2 Kings 23:29, 30; 2 Chron. 35:20–24).

King Josiah’s death was a great loss to the nation and he was deeply lamented by the people of Judah (2 Chron. 35:24- 25). According to 2 Kings 23:25, there was no king like him “that turned to the Lord with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses.” In contrast with the great mourning at the death of Josiah, the fate of his wicked sons was to be entirely unwept (Jeremiah 22:10, 18).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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