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Josiah, an 8 year old king

Josiah

2 Kings 22 & 2 Chron. 34



2 Kings 22 –   

1 Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem.

2 he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD and walked in all the way of David his father, and he did not turn aside to the right or to the left  

vv. 3-7 Josiah repairs the Temple



vv. 8-10 the book of the Law was found – (this was the Law of Moses)   



8 And Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the secretary, "I have found the Book of the Law in the house of the LORD." And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, and he read it.

9 And Shaphan the secretary came to the king, and reported to the king, "Your servants have emptied out the money that was found in the house and have delivered it into the hand of the workmen who have the oversight of the house of the LORD."

10 Then Shaphan the secretary told the king, "Hilkiah the priest has given me a book." And Shaphan read it before the king.  



vv. 11-13 - Josiah’s reaction

11 When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes.

12 And the king commanded Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Achbor the son of Micaiah, and Shaphan the secretary, and Asaiah the king's servant, saying,

13 "Go, inquire of the LORD for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, {2 Chron, 34:21 shows that this referred to “...those who are left in Israel and in Judah.”,.} concerning the words of this book that has been found. For great is the wrath of the LORD that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not obeyed the words of this book, to do according to all that is written concerning us."  



vv. 14-20 - REACTION BY OTHERS IN JOSIAH’S KINGDOM:  

14 So Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam, and Achbor, and Shaphan, and Asaiah went to Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tikvah, son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe (now she lived in Jerusalem in the Second Quarter), and they talked with her.  

15 And she said to them, "Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: 'Tell the man who sent you to me,

16 Thus says the LORD, behold, I will bring disaster upon this place and upon its inhabitants, all the words of the book that the king of Judah has read.  

17 Because they have forsaken me and have made offerings to other gods, that they might provoke me to anger with all the work of their hands, therefore my wrath will be kindled against this place, and it will not be quenched.

18 But to the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the LORD, thus shall you say to him, Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Regarding the words that you have heard,

19 because your heart was penitent, and you humbled yourself before the LORD, when you heard how I spoke against this place and against its inhabitants, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and you have torn your clothes and wept before me, I also have heard you, declares the LORD.

20 Therefore, behold, I will gather you to your fathers, and you shall be gathered to your grave in peace, and your eyes shall not see all the disaster that I will bring upon this place’.” And they brought back word to the king.  



{2 Chron. 34:26-28 reads:

26 But to the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the LORD, thus shall you say to him, Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Regarding the words that you have heard,

27 because your heart was tender and you humbled yourself before God when you heard his words against this place and its inhabitants, and you have humbled yourself before me and have torn your clothes and wept before me, I also have heard you, declares the LORD.

28 Behold, I will gather you to your fathers, and you shall be gathered to your grave in peace, and your eyes shall not see all the disaster that I will bring upon this place and its inhabitants’." And they brought back word to the king.}    



We find further in 2 Chron. 34, that his efforts extended into the territory of the northern kingdom of Israel.



3 For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet a boy, he began to seek the God of David his father, and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of the high places, the Asherim, and the carved and the metal images.

4 And they chopped down the altars of the Baals in his presence, and he cut down the incense altars that stood above them. And he broke in pieces the Asherim and the carved and the metal images, and he made dust of them and scattered it over the graves of those who had sacrificed to them.

5 He also burned the bones of the priests on their altars and cleansed Judah and Jerusalem.

6 And in the cities of Manasseh, Ephraim, and Simeon, and as far as Naphtali, in their ruins all around,

7 he broke down the altars and beat the Asherim and the images into powder and cut down all the incense altars throughout all the land of Israel. Then he returned to Jerusalem.  



29 Then the king sent and gathered together all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem.  

30 And the king went up to the house of the LORD, with all the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and the priests and the Levites, all the people both great and small. And he read in their hearing all the words of the Book of the Covenant that had been found in the house of the LORD.

31 And the king stood in his place 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 his heart and all his soul, to perform the words of the covenant that were written in this book.

32 Then he made all who were present in Jerusalem and in Benjamin stand to it. And the inhabitants of Jerusalem did according to the covenant of God, the God of their fathers.

33 And Josiah took away all the abominations from all the territory that belonged to the people of Israel and made all who were present in Israel serve the LORD their God. All his days they did not turn away from following the LORD, the God of their fathers.  



2 Kings 23 & 2 Chron. 35: Josiah's Reforms

2 Kings 23:3 - And the king stood by the 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 his heart and all his soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people joined in the covenant.



Josiah commanded to be brought out of the temple of the LORD “…all the vessels made for Baal, for Asherah, and for all the host of heaven…to be burned…and he deposed the priests whom the kings of Judah had ordained to make offerings in the high places at the cities of Judah and around Jerusalem; those also who burned incense to Baal...  



Further, we read of Josiah:

6 And he brought out the Asherah from the house of the LORD, outside Jerusalem, to the brook Kidron, and burned it at the brook Kidron and beat it to dust and cast the dust of it upon the graves of the common people.

7 And he broke down the houses of the male cult prostitutes who were in the house of the LORD, where the women wove hangings for the Asherah.

8 And he brought all the priests out of the cities of Judah, and defiled the high places where the priests had made offerings, from Geba to Beersheba. And he broke down the high places of the gates that were at the entrance of the gate of Joshua the governor of the city, which were on one's left at the gate of the city.

9 However, the priests of the high places did not come up to the altar of the LORD in Jerusalem, but they ate unleavened bread among their brothers.

10 And he defiled Topheth, which is in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, that no one might burn his son or his daughter as an offering to Molech.

11 And he removed the horses that the kings of Judah had dedicated to the sun, at the entrance to the house of the LORD, by the chamber of Nathan-melech the chamberlain, which was in the precincts. And he burned the chariots of the sun with fire.

12 And the altars on the roof of the upper chamber of Ahaz, which the kings of Judah had made, and the altars that Manasseh had made in the two courts of the house of the LORD, he pulled down and broke in pieces[c] and cast the dust of them into the brook Kidron.   

13 And the king defiled the high places that were east of Jerusalem, to the south of the mount of corruption, which Solomon the king of Israel had built for Ashtoreth the abomination of the Sidonians, and for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, and for Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites.

14 And he broke in pieces the pillars and cut down the Asherim and filled their places with the bones of men. The efforts of Jeroboam link back to the days of Jeroboam & his golden calves:

15 Moreover, the altar at Bethel, the high place erected by Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, that altar with the high place he pulled down and burned, reducing it to dust. He also burned the Asherah. 16 And as Josiah turned, he saw the tombs there on the mount. And he sent and took the bones out of the tombs and burned them on the altar and defiled it, according to the word of the LORD that the man of God proclaimed, who had predicted these things.

17 Then he said, "What is that monument that I see?" And the men of the city told him, "It is the tomb of the man of God who came from Judah and predicted these things** that you have done against the altar at Bethel." 18 And he said, "Let him be; let no man move his bones." So they let his bones alone, with the bones of the prophet who came out of Samaria.

19 And Josiah removed all the shrines also of the high places that were in the cities of Samaria, which kings of Israel had made, provoking the LORD to anger. He did to them according to all that he had done at Bethel.

20 And he sacrificed all the priests of the high places who were there, on the altars, and burned human bones on them. Then he returned to Jerusalem.**   

**In doing this, Josiah fulfilled a prophecy made of him even before he had been born: 1 Kings 13:1-2, “And behold, a man of God came out of Judah by the word of the Lord to Bethel.  Jeroboam was standing by the altar to make offerings.  And the man cried against the altar by the word of the Lord and said, ‘O altar, altar, thus says the Lord: behold, a son shall be born to the house of David, Josiah by name, and he shall sacrifice on you the priests of the high places who make offerings on you, and human bones shall be burned on you’.”   



Josiah Restores the Passover

 21 And the king commanded all the people, "Keep the Passover to the LORD your God, as it is written in this Book of the Covenant."

22 For no such Passover had been kept since the days of the judges who judged Israel, or during all the days of the kings of Israel or of the kings of Judah.

23 But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah this Passover was kept to the LORD in Jerusalem.   {2 Chron. 35:18—No Passover like it had been kept in Israel since the days of Samuel the prophet. None of the kings of Israel had kept such a Passover as was kept by Josiah, and the priests and the Levites, and all Judah and Israel who were present, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 19In the eighteenth year of the reign of Josiah this Passover was kept.}  



In closing, we read:

24 Moreover, Josiah put away the mediums and the necromancers and the household gods and the idols and all the abominations that were seen in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, that he might establish the words of the law that were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the house of the LORD.

25 Before him there was no king like him, who 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, nor did any like him arise after him.   



CONSEQUENCES (PUNISHMENT) WERE NOT AVERTED:

26 Still the LORD did not turn from the burning of his great wrath, by which his anger was kindled against Judah, because of all the provocations with which Manasseh had provoked him.

27 And the LORD said, "I will remove Judah also out of my sight, as I have removed Israel, and I will cast off this city that I have chosen, Jerusalem, and the house of which I said, My name shall be there."   





Josiah's Death in Battle

28 Now the rest of the acts of Josiah and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah?

29 In his days Pharaoh Neco king of Egypt went up to the king of Assyria to the river Euphrates. King Josiah went to meet him, and Pharaoh Neco killed him at Megiddo, as soon as he saw him.

30 And his servants carried him dead in a chariot from Megiddo and brought him to Jerusalem and buried him in his own tomb.   





Lessons:  

We find that Josiah’s efforts to return the people were motivated by his “setting his heart to serve God fully or faithfully."



2 Chron. 34:3 – “…while he was yet a boy, he began to seek the God of David his father…”.  



He was diligent. 



2 Kings 22:2, “…and he did not turn aside to the right or to the left…”  

When he found that their worship was not as it ought to be, he faced and made a tough decision.  He recognized that anything less than a return to the commanded pattern would be futile. There were religious errors that existed in his day.  He took action against them…the proper action: GO BACK AND FOLLOW JUST THE BIBLE!   



2 Chron. 34:31-33 –

31 “And the king stood in his place 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 his heart and all his soul, to perform the words of the covenant that were written in this book.

32 Then he made all who were present in Jerusalem and in Benjamin stand to it. And the inhabitants of Jerusalem did according to the covenant of God, the God of their fathers.

33 And Josiah took away all the abominations from all the territory that belonged to the people of Israel and made all who were present in Israel serve the LORD their God. All his days they did not turn away from following the LORD, the God of their fathers.”  

{2 Kings 18:4, even things like the brazen serpent made by Moses had become an idol to which offerings were made}  



Josiah recognized in 2 Kings 22:13, that his parents and ancestors had been wrong religiously

“…our fathers have not obeyed the words of this book, to do according to all that is written concerning us."
 





He had the courage to follow God in spite of the condemnation it meant regarding his relatives.*



*This alone is more than most are willing to do today.  What of your relatives…what if they are wrong, even though religious.  What do you need to do?



You will not change God’s will in removing the punishment for sin.  However, you can do something about the sin. 

In doing something about the sin, you can avoid the punishment. 

You can save others, by your decision also. 

God said so. 

Do you believe God? 

Do you care for your relatives? 

If you truly cared for them and for yourself, you would do as Josiah did.



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