King Josiah

INTRODUCTION: Jeroboam was the first king of the northern tribes when the separation took place after King Solomon died and his son Rehoboam became king in Jerusalem. Jeroboam didn't follow the direction by a prophet from the LORD to honor God; instead he set up golden calves for the ten tribes to worship at Bethel and Dan, and appointed priests who were not Levites. He followed his own reasoning with the concern that if the people returned to Jerusalem to worship they might kill him and serve King Rehoboam. Not long afterward, a prophet from Judah brought Jeroboam another message from the LORD about a future king in Judah, Josiah by name, who would desecrate the alter Jeroboam had established. There was no time frame set in that prophecy, and it was not fulfilled until some time after the northern kingdom had already fallen into captivity. I have varied my choice of study passages between Kings and Chronicles due to some of the different details I wanted to consider, without using all of the passages from both sources.

NOTE: Bible verses are from the American King James Version (AKJV).

A - JEROBOAM BECAME KING IN ISRAEL, AND was given A PROPHECY ABOUT KING JOSIAH IN JUDAH

1 Kings 11 "29 And it came to pass at that time when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, that the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite found him in the way; and he had clad himself with a new garment; and they two were alone in the field: 30 And Ahijah caught the new garment that was on him, and rent it in twelve pieces: 31 And he said to Jeroboam, Take you ten pieces: for thus said the LORD, the God of Israel, Behold, I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to you: 32 (But he shall have one tribe for my servant David's sake, and for Jerusalem's sake, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel:) 33 Because that they have forsaken me, and have worshipped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Milcom the god of the children of Ammon, and have not walked in my ways, to do that which is right in my eyes, and to keep my statutes and my judgments, as did David his father. 34 However, I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand: but I will make him prince all the days of his life for David my servant's sake, whom I chose, because he kept my commandments and my statutes: 35 But I will take the kingdom out of his son's hand, and will give it to you, even ten tribes. 36 And to his son will I give one tribe, that David my servant may have a light always before me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen me to put my name there. 37 And I will take you, and you shall reign according to all that your soul desires, and shall be king over Israel. 38 And it shall be, if you will listen to all that I command you, and will walk in my ways, and do that is right in my sight, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did; that I will be with you, and build you a sure house, as I built for David, and will give Israel to you. 39 And I will for this afflict the seed of David, but not for ever. 40 Solomon sought therefore to kill Jeroboam. And Jeroboam arose, and fled into Egypt, to Shishak king of Egypt, and was in Egypt until the death of Solomon."

1 Kings 12 "25 Then Jeroboam built Shechem in mount Ephraim, and dwelled therein; and went out from there, and built Penuel. 26 And Jeroboam said in his heart, Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David: 27 If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again to their lord, even to Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah. 28 Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said to them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold your gods, O Israel, which brought you up out of the land of Egypt. 29 And he set the one in Bethel, and the other put he in Dan. 30 And this thing became a sin: for the people went to worship before the one, even to Dan. 31 And he made an house of high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi. 32 And Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like to the feast that is in Judah, and he offered on the altar. So did he in Bethel, sacrificing to the calves that he had made: and he placed in Bethel the priests of the high places which he had made. 33 So he offered on the altar which he had made in Bethel the fifteenth day of the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised of his own heart; and ordained a feast to the children of Israel: and he offered on the altar, and burnt incense."

1 Kings 13 "1 And, behold, there came a man of God out of Judah by the word of the LORD to Bethel: and Jeroboam stood by the altar to burn incense. 2 And he cried against the altar in the word of the LORD, and said, O altar, altar, thus said the LORD; Behold, a child shall be born to the house of David, Josiah by name; and on you shall he offer the priests of the high places that burn incense on you, and men's bones shall be burnt on you. 3 And he gave a sign the same day, saying, This is the sign which the LORD has spoken; Behold, the altar shall be rent, and the ashes that are on it shall be poured out. 4 And it came to pass, when king Jeroboam heard the saying of the man of God, which had cried against the altar in Bethel, that he put forth his hand from the altar, saying, Lay hold on him. And his hand, which he put forth against him, dried up, so that he could not pull it in again to him. 5 The altar also was rent, and the ashes poured out from the altar, according to the sign which the man of God had given by the word of the LORD. 6 And the king answered and said to the man of God, Entreat now the face of the LORD your God, and pray for me, that my hand may be restored me again. And the man of God sought the LORD, and the king's hand was restored him again, and became as it was before."

COMMENTS: Because King Solomon had turned his heart away from the LORD, the LORD told him that ten tribes would be separated into a northern kingdom, but not until after his son became king. Solomon heard about the prophet's message to Jeroboam, and tried to kill him, but Jeroboam fled to Egypt and stayed there until Solomon had died. Jeroboam did become king over ten tribes of Israel, but he did not follow the LORD and therefore the prophet from Judah went to Bethel and gave the message and the sign contained in 1 Kings chapter 13. There is no parallel passage anywhere else with that prophecy. The prophet did not give any time line for it to be fulfilled, and the king named Josiah did not reign in Judah until over three centuries later.


B - A BRIEF REVIEW OF THE CHRONOLOGY MAINLY FOR THE KINGS IN JERUSALEM

1 Kings 14 "21 And Rehoboam the son of Solomon reigned in Judah. Rehoboam was forty and one years old when he began to reign, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city which the LORD did choose out of all the tribes of Israel, to put his name there. And his mother's name was Naamah an Ammonitess."
1 Kings 15 "1 Now in the eighteenth year of king Jeroboam the son of Nebat reigned Abijam over Judah. 2 Three years reigned he in Jerusalem. and his mother's name was Maachah, the daughter of Abishalom."
1 Kings 15 "9 And in the twentieth year of Jeroboam king of Israel reigned Asa over Judah. 10 And forty and one years reigned he in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Maachah, the daughter of Abishalom."
1 Kings 22 "42 Jehoshaphat was thirty and five years old when he began to reign; and he reigned twenty and five years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Azubah the daughter of Shilhi."
2 Chronicles 21 "5 Jehoram was thirty and two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem."
2 Kings 8 "26 Two and twenty years old was Ahaziah when he began to reign; and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Athaliah, the daughter of Omri king of Israel."
2 Kings 11 "1 And when Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the seed royal. 2 But Jehosheba, the daughter of king Joram, sister of Ahaziah, took Joash the son of Ahaziah, and stole him from among the king's sons which were slain; and they hid him, even him and his nurse, in the bedchamber from Athaliah, so that he was not slain. 3 And he was with her hid in the house of the LORD six years. And Athaliah did reign over the land. 4 And the seventh year Jehoiada sent and fetched the rulers over hundreds, with the captains and the guard, and brought them to him into the house of the LORD, and made a covenant with them, and took an oath of them in the house of the LORD, and showed them the king's son."
2 Kings 11 "12 And he brought forth the king's son, and put the crown on him, and gave him the testimony; and they made him king, and anointed him; and they clapped their hands, and said, God save the king."
2 Kings 11 "16 And they laid hands on her; and she went by the way by the which the horses came into the king's house: and there was she slain."
2 Chronicles 24 "1 Joash was seven years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years in Jerusalem. His mother's name also was Zibiah of Beersheba."
2 Kings 14 "1 In the second year of Joash son of Jehoahaz king of Israel reigned Amaziah the son of Joash king of Judah. 2 He was twenty and five years old when he began to reign, and reigned twenty and nine years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Jehoaddan of Jerusalem."
2 Chronicles 26 "3 Sixteen years old was Uzziah when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty and two years in Jerusalem. His mother's name also was Jecoliah of Jerusalem."
2 Kings 15 "32 In the second year of Pekah the son of Remaliah king of Israel began Jotham the son of Uzziah king of Judah to reign. 33 Five and twenty years old was he when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Jerusha, the daughter of Zadok."
2 Chronicles 28 "1 Ahaz was twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem: but he did not that which was right in the sight of the LORD, like David his father:"
2 Chronicles 29 "1 Hezekiah began to reign when he was five and twenty years old, and he reigned nine and twenty years in Jserusalem. And his mother's name was Abijah, the daughter of Zechariah."
[The next passage is inserted to show the fall of the northern kingdom, while kings still reigned in Judah.]
2 Kings 18 "9 And it came to pass in the fourth year of king Hezekiah, which was the seventh year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, that Shalmaneser king of Assyria came up against Samaria, and besieged it. 10 And at the end of three years they took it: even in the sixth year of Hezekiah, that is in the ninth year of Hoshea king of Israel, Samaria was taken. 11 And the king of Assyria did carry away Israel to Assyria, and put them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes: 12 Because they obeyed not the voice of the LORD their God, but transgressed his covenant, and all that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded, and would not hear them, nor do them."
[No more reference is needed for the northern kingdom as the chronology of kings in Judah continues.]
2 Kings 21 "1 Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Hephzibah."
2 Kings 21 "19 Amon was twenty and two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned two years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Meshullemeth, the daughter of Haruz of Jotbah."

COMMENTS: There was an interruption of the succession of kings in Jerusalem for six years when Athaliah's son King Ahaziah died at the hands of Jehu while in Jezreel. Athaliah, the daughter of Omri in the northern kingdom, in anger over her sons death, killed all but one of the royal heirs to the throne in Judah. Joash had been safely hidden for six years without Athaliah's knowledge, and when he was just seven years old, Jehoiada the priest made careful arrangement to safely anoint the young boy as the next king. Subsequently Athaliah was slain. Counting all the years recorded after Solomon's son Rehoboam began to reign, the total had been about 340 years when Josiah became king. It had been about 80 years since Shalmaneser king of Assyria had come against Samaria, and carried many people of Israel away to Assyria, and the northern tribes were under foreign domination from that time forward.


C - JOSIAH BECAME KING AFTER HIS FATHER AMON

2 Chronicles 33 "21 Amon was two and twenty years old when he began to reign, and reigned two years in Jerusalem. 22 But he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, as did Manasseh his father: for Amon sacrificed to all the carved images which Manasseh his father had made, and served them; 23 And humbled not himself before the LORD, as Manasseh his father had humbled himself; but Amon trespassed more and more. 24 And his servants conspired against him, and slew him in his own house. 25 But the people of the land slew all them that had conspired against king Amon; and the people of the land made Josiah his son king in his stead."

2 Chronicles 34 "1 Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem one and thirty years. 2 And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the ways of David his father, and declined neither to the right hand, nor to the left. 3 For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet young, he began to seek after the God of David his father: and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem from the high places, and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images. 4 And they broke down the altars of Baalim in his presence; and the images, that were on high above them, he cut down; and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images, he broke in pieces, and made dust of them, and strewed it on the graves of them that had sacrificed to them. 5 And he burnt the bones of the priests on their altars, and cleansed Judah and Jerusalem. 6 And so did he in the cities of Manasseh, and Ephraim, and Simeon, even to Naphtali, with their mattocks round about. 7 And when he had broken down the altars and the groves, and had beaten the graven images into powder, and cut down all the idols throughout all the land of Israel, he returned to Jerusalem. 8 Now in the eighteenth year of his reign, when he had purged the land, and the house, he sent Shaphan the son of Azaliah, and Maaseiah the governor of the city, and Joah the son of Joahaz the recorder, to repair the house of the LORD his God. 9 And when they came to Hilkiah the high priest, they delivered the money that was brought into the house of God, which the Levites that kept the doors had gathered of the hand of Manasseh and Ephraim, and of all the remnant of Israel, and of all Judah and Benjamin; and they returned to Jerusalem. 10 And they put it in the hand of the workmen that had the oversight of the house of the LORD, and they gave it to the workmen that worked in the house of the LORD, to repair and amend the house: 11 Even to the artificers and builders gave they it, to buy hewn stone, and timber for couplings, and to floor the houses which the kings of Judah had destroyed. 12 And the men did the work faithfully: and the overseers of them were Jahath and Obadiah, the Levites, of the sons of Merari; and Zechariah and Meshullam, of the sons of the Kohathites, to set it forward; and other of the Levites, all that could skill of instruments of music. 13 Also they were over the bearers of burdens, and were overseers of all that worked the work in any manner of service: and of the Levites there were scribes, and officers, and porters."

COMMENTS: When the "people made Josiah king," it is very likely that priests were involved in the process, though there is no detail of an anointing or of a public gathering to present him as king. Since Josiah was only eight years old when he began to reign, priests may have been his counselors in his duties to rule. In the eighth year of his reign he would have been sixteen, and there is no detail of just how he began to seek the LORD as the Scripture records for him. When he was about 20 years old he began to purge Jerusalem and Judah of those things which were part of pagan worship. He had the altars of Baalim destroyed in his presence; and the images he had cut down; and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images were all broken into pieces and made into dust and spread on the graves of those who had sacrificed to them. He had the bones of the priests of the false gods burned on their altars to cleanse Judah and Jerusalem. . He did the same things in the cities of Manasseh, Ephraim, Simeon, even all the way to Naphtali. And when he had purged all Israel of the idols of the pagan gods he returned to Jerusalem. He had not just sent men out to do these things, but he was with them to witness what he had commanded to be done, and the process took about six years. When Josiah was back in Jerusalem in his eighteenth year as king, he assigned the project of repairing the temple of God, and many Levites had important roles in the work being performed by the skilled workers.


D - JOSIAH WAS VERY THOROUGH IN EFFORTS TO REMOVE IDOL WORSHIP THROUGHOUT ISRAEL

2 Kings 23 "4 And the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest, and the priests of the second order, and the keepers of the door, to bring forth out of the temple of the LORD all the vessels that were made for Baal, and for the grove, and for all the host of heaven: and he burned them without Jerusalem in the fields of Kidron, and carried the ashes of them to Bethel. 5 And he put down the idolatrous priests, whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense in the high places in the cities of Judah, and in the places round about Jerusalem; them also that burned incense to Baal, to the sun, and to the moon, and to the planets, and to all the host of heaven. 6 And he brought out the grove from the house of the LORD, without Jerusalem, to the brook Kidron, and burned it at the brook Kidron, and stamped it small to powder, and cast the powder thereof on the graves of the children of the people. 7 And he broke down the houses of the sodomites, that were by the house of the LORD, where the women wove hangings for the grove. 8 And he brought all the priests out of the cities of Judah, and defiled the high places where the priests had burned incense, from Geba to Beersheba, and broke down the high places of the gates that were in the entering in of the gate of Joshua the governor of the city, which were on a man's left hand at the gate of the city. 9 Nevertheless the priests of the high places came not up to the altar of the LORD in Jerusalem, but they did eat of the unleavened bread among their brothers. 10 And he defiled Topheth, which is in the valley of the children of Hinnom, that no man might make his son or his daughter to pass through the fire to Molech. 11 And he took away the horses that the kings of Judah had given to the sun, at the entering in of the house of the LORD, by the chamber of Nathanmelech the chamberlain, which was in the suburbs, and burned the chariots of the sun with fire. 12 And the altars that were on the top of the upper chamber of Ahaz, which the kings of Judah had made, and the altars which Manasseh had made in the two courts of the house of the LORD, did the king beat down, and broke them down from there, and cast the dust of them into the brook Kidron. 13 And the high places that were before Jerusalem, which were on the right hand of the mount of corruption, which Solomon the king of Israel had built for Ashtoreth the abomination of the Zidonians, and for Chemosh the abomination of the Moabites, and for Milcom the abomination of the children of Ammon, did the king defile. 14 And he broke in pieces the images, and cut down the groves, and filled their places with the bones of men. 15 Moreover the altar that was at Bethel, and the high place which Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, had made, both that altar and the high place he broke down, and burned the high place, and stamped it small to powder, and burned the grove. 16 And as Josiah turned himself, he spied the sepulchers that were there in the mount, and sent, and took the bones out of the sepulchers, and burned them on the altar, and polluted it, according to the word of the LORD which the man of God proclaimed, who proclaimed these words."

COMMENTS: The many details in the above passage are complete enough that they need no further delineation in an attempt to better summarize all that King Josiah had done in a zealous desire to remove those abominations that had been such an affront to the LORD God by the children of Israel. There is no indication in the text as King Josiah broke down and destroyed the altar and high place at Bethel that Jeroboam had set up, that he knew about the prophet's words recorded in 1 Kings 13. When he turned he saw the tombs in the mount, and he had the bones brought out and burned them on the altar and polluted it, according to the word of the LORD which the man of God had proclaimed to Jeroboam centuries earlier.


E - THE PEOPLE KNEW ABOUT THE PROPHET WHO HAD SPOKEN TO JEROBOAM

2 Kings 23 "17 Then he said, What title is that that I see? And the men of the city told him, It is the sepulcher of the man of God, which came from Judah, and proclaimed these things that you have done against the altar of Bethel. 18 And he said, Let him alone; let no man move his bones. So they let his bones alone, with the bones of the prophet that came out of Samaria. 19 And all the houses also of the high places that were in the cities of Samaria, which the kings of Israel had made to provoke the Lord to anger, Josiah took away, and did to them according to all the acts that he had done in Bethel. 20 And he slew all the priests of the high places that were there on the altars, and burned men's bones on them, and returned to Jerusalem."

COMMENTS: King Josiah asked the men of the city about a title he saw on one of the tombs, and they knew about the prophet from Judah who had given the message from the LORD to Jeroboam. They told King Josiah the very things he had done were in that early prophecy. He directed them to leave the tomb alone, and not to let anyone move that man's bones. Before he left Samaria he had all the priests of the high places killed and their bones were burned on the alters.


F - THE BOOK OF THE LAW WAS FOUND DURING REPAIRS TO THE TEMPLE

2 Kings 22 "8 And Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the scribe, 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 scribe came to the king, and brought the king word again, and said, Your servants have gathered the money that was found in the house, and have delivered it into the hand of them that do the work, that have the oversight of the house of the LORD. 10 And Shaphan the scribe showed the king, saying, Hilkiah the priest has delivered me a book. And Shaphan read it before the king. 11 And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the book of the law, that he rent his clothes. 12 And the king commanded Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Achbor the son of Michaiah, and Shaphan the scribe, and Asahiah a servant of the king's, saying, 13 Go you, inquire of the LORD for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that is found: for great is the wrath of the LORD that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not listened to the words of this book, to do according to all that which is written concerning us. 14 So Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam, and Achbor, and Shaphan, and Asahiah, went to Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tikvah, the son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe; (now she dwelled in Jerusalem in the college;) and they communed with her. 15 And she said to them, Thus said the LORD God of Israel, Tell the man that sent you to me, 16 Thus said the LORD, Behold, I will bring evil on this place, and on the inhabitants thereof, even all the words of the book which the king of Judah has read: 17 Because they have forsaken me, and have burned incense to other gods, that they might provoke me to anger with all the works of their hands; therefore my wrath shall be kindled against this place, and shall not be quenched. 18 But to the king of Judah which sent you to inquire of the LORD, thus shall you say to him, Thus said the LORD God of Israel, As touching the words which you have heard; 19 Because your heart was tender, and you have humbled yourself before the LORD, when you heard what I spoke against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and have rent your clothes, and wept before me; I also have heard you, said the LORD. 20 Behold therefore, I will gather you to your fathers, and you shall be gathered into your grave in peace; and your eyes shall not see all the evil which I will bring on this place. And they brought the king word again."

COMMENTS: Hilkiah the high priest found the book of the law in the house of the LORD and he gave it to Shaphan the scribe, who read it before he went to the king to give a progress report on work at the temple. After he gave the good report that money had been given to those who had oversight of repairs to the house of the LORD; Shaphan then showed the king the book given to him by the high priest, and he proceeded to read it before King Josiah. The king was so moved by what he heard that he tore his clothing and commanded Hilkiah the priest and five other men to go to inquire of the LORD for him, for the people, and for all Judah concerning the words of this book that was found. Josiah discerned that the wrath of the LORD would be great against them because the previous generations had not kept the words of the law. The five representatives of the king went to a prophetess and she said that the LORD would bring evil as described in the book upon all the inhabitants of that place because they had forsaken him and burned incense to other gods. But her message from the LORD for King Josiah was that he would die in peace before the great wrath of the LORD was released because he had humbled himself, wept, and tore his clothing.


G - JOSIAH CALLED THE PEOPLE TOGETHER TO HEAR THE LAW AND MAKE IT A COVENANT FOR THEM

2 Chronicles 34 "29 Then the king sent and gathered together all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. 30 And the king went up into the house of the LORD, and all the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and the priests, and the Levites, and all the people, great and small: and he read in their ears all the words of the book of the covenant that was 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 with all his soul, to perform the words of the covenant which are written in this book. 32 And he caused all that were present in Jerusalem and Benjamin to 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 out of all the countries that pertained to the children of Israel, and made all that were present in Israel to serve, even to serve the LORD their God. And all his days they departed not from following the LORD, the God of their fathers."

COMMENTS: Josiah first gathered the elders of Jerusalem and Judah to be with him, and he went to the house of the LORD with the priests: then all the people were assembled to hear the reading of the book of the covenant. Josiah stood before the people and made a personal covenant to follow all that was set forth in the book: then he called all the people present in Judah and Benjamin to return to all that was written in the book, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem followed the covenant of the God of their fathers. King Josiah removed all of the abominations dedicated to idol worship out of all the territories of Israel even outside of Judah and Benjamin; and he established the book of the covenant as the standard for the people in Israel to serve the LORD their God. All the days King Josiah reigned they did not stray from following the ways of the LORD, the God of their fathers.


H - JOSIAH KEPT A PASSOVER WHICH SURPASSED ALL SINCE THE TIME OF SAMUEL THE PROPHET

2 Chronicles 35 "1 Moreover Josiah kept a passover to the LORD in Jerusalem: and they killed the passover on the fourteenth day of the first month. 2 And he set the priests in their charges, and encouraged them to the service of the house of the LORD, 3 And said to the Levites that taught all Israel, which were holy to the LORD, Put the holy ark in the house which Solomon the son of David king of Israel did build; it shall not be a burden on your shoulders: serve now the LORD your God, and his people Israel, 4 And prepare yourselves by the houses of your fathers, after your courses, according to the writing of David king of Israel, and according to the writing of Solomon his son. 5 And stand in the holy place according to the divisions of the families of the fathers of your brothers the people, and after the division of the families of the Levites. 6 So kill the passover, and sanctify yourselves, and prepare your brothers, that they may do according to the word of the LORD by the hand of Moses. 7 And Josiah gave to the people, of the flock, lambs and kids, all for the passover offerings, for all that were present, to the number of thirty thousand, and three thousand bullocks: these were of the king's substance. 8 And his princes gave willingly to the people, to the priests, and to the Levites: Hilkiah and Zechariah and Jehiel, rulers of the house of God, gave to the priests for the passover offerings two thousand and six hundred small cattle and three hundred oxen. 9 Conaniah also, and Shemaiah and Nethaneel, his brothers, and Hashabiah and Jeiel and Jozabad, chief of the Levites, gave to the Levites for passover offerings five thousand small cattle, and five hundred oxen. 10 So the service was prepared, and the priests stood in their place, and the Levites in their courses, according to the king's commandment. 11 And they killed the passover, and the priests sprinkled the blood from their hands, and the Levites flayed them. 12 And they removed the burnt offerings, that they might give according to the divisions of the families of the people, to offer to the LORD, as it is written in the book of Moses. And so did they with the oxen. 13 And they roasted the passover with fire according to the ordinance: but the other holy offerings sod they in pots, and in caldrons, and in pans, and divided them speedily among all the people. 14 And afterward they made ready for themselves, and for the priests: because the priests the sons of Aaron were busied in offering of burnt offerings and the fat until night; therefore the Levites prepared for themselves, and for the priests the sons of Aaron. 15 And the singers the sons of Asaph were in their place, according to the commandment of David, and Asaph, and Heman, and Jeduthun the king's seer; and the porters waited at every gate; they might not depart from their service; for their brothers the Levites prepared for them. 16 So all the service of the LORD was prepared the same day, to keep the passover, and to offer burnt offerings on the altar of the LORD, according to the commandment of king Josiah. 17 And the children of Israel that were present kept the passover at that time, and the feast of unleavened bread seven days. 18 And there was no passover like to that kept in Israel from the days of Samuel the prophet; neither did all the kings of Israel keep such a passover as Josiah kept, and the priests, and the Levites, and all Judah and Israel that were present, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 19 In the eighteenth year of the reign of Josiah was this passover kept."

COMMENTS: This is another passage that has abundant detail about the many elements in this very special Passover celebration. The destruction of so many vestiges of idol worship in Israel over several years was a wonderful preparation beforehand. Everything then was done in an orderly and joyful manner as conducted by the appointed Levites in a manner such that there was no Passover like it in Israel from the days of Samuel the prophet; nor was their any king in Israel who kept such a Passover as King Josiah with all the priests, and the Levites, and all Judah and Israel that were present, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. This Passover was kept in the eighteenth year of Josiah when he would have been about twenty-six years old.


I - JOSIAH DIED IN A BATTLE THAT WAS NOT FOR HIM, AND HIS SON JEHOAHAZ BECAME KING

2 Chronicles 35 "20 After all this, when Josiah had prepared the temple, Necho king of Egypt came up to fight against Charchemish by Euphrates: and Josiah went out against him. 21 But he sent ambassadors to him, saying, What have I to do with you, you king of Judah? I come not against you this day, but against the house with which I have war: for God commanded me to make haste: forbear you from meddling with God, who is with me, that he destroy you not. 22 Nevertheless Josiah would not turn his face from him, but disguised himself, that he might fight with him, and listened not to the words of Necho from the mouth of God, and came to fight in the valley of Megiddo. 23 And the archers shot at king Josiah; and the king said to his servants, Have me away; for I am sore wounded. 24 His servants therefore took him out of that chariot, and put him in the second chariot that he had; and they brought him to Jerusalem, and he died, and was buried in one of the sepulchers of his fathers. And all Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah. 25 And Jeremiah lamented for Josiah: and all the singing men and the singing women spoke of Josiah in their lamentations to this day, and made them an ordinance in Israel: and, behold, they are written in the lamentations. 26 Now the rest of the acts of Josiah, and his goodness, according to that which was written in the law of the LORD, 27 And his deeds, first and last, behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah."

2 Kings 23 "25 And like to him was there no king before 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; neither after him arose there any like him. 26 Notwithstanding the LORD turned not from the fierceness of his great wrath, with which his anger was kindled against Judah, because of all the provocations that Manasseh had provoked him with. 27 And the LORD said, I will remove Judah also out of my sight, as I have removed Israel, and will cast off this city Jerusalem which I have chosen, and the house of which I said, My name shall be there. 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 Pharaohnechoh king of Egypt went up against the king of Assyria to the river Euphrates: and king Josiah went against him; and he slew him at Megiddo, when he had seen him. 30 And his servants carried him in a chariot dead from Megiddo, and brought him to Jerusalem, and buried him in his own sepulcher. And the people of the land took Jehoahaz the son of Josiah, and anointed him, and made him king in his father's stead. 31 Jehoahaz was twenty and three years old when he began to reign; and he reigned three months in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah. 32 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his fathers had done. 33 And Pharaohnechoh put him in bands at Riblah in the land of Hamath, that he might not reign in Jerusalem; and put the land to a tribute of an hundred talents of silver, and a talent of gold. 34 And Pharaohnechoh made Eliakim the son of Josiah king in the room of Josiah his father, and turned his name to Jehoiakim, and took Jehoahaz away: and he came to Egypt, and died there."

COMMENTS: Verse 19 in 2 Chronicles chapter 35 closes the description of the Passover in the eighteenth year of King Josiah after he had renewed the covenant of the LORD with the people. Then verse 20 begins with "After all this, when Josiah had prepared the temple" there is the account of how Josiah died to end his reign of 31 years as king. Over the span from the eighteenth to the thirty-first year of Josiah's reign there is no detail of other activity. There is no explanation of why Josiah went out to fight against Necho the Pharaoh of Egypt. Necho sent ambassadors to him, but Josiah ignored the message and stayed in the battle, with the result that he was mortally wounded, and then buried in Jerusalem. Much earlier, In 2 Kings 22 The prophetess had sent the message from the LORD back to King Josiah that he would die in peace before the great wrath of the LORD was released because he had humbled himself, wept, and tore his clothing. Josiah died from his wounds after he went up against Necho king of Egypt, and then he was respectfully buried in Jerusalem. Just three months after his son became king, Judah and Jerusalem fell under the control of Necho, never again to have their own king.

The summary statements about King Josiah provided in 2 Kings chapter 23, verses 25 and following are sufficient from the Word of God to describe the last king in Judah who served the LORD from his heart. But When his son became king in his place he was far from the LORD, and the Word of the LORD was fulfilled as Pharaoh-Nechoh the king of Egypt removed him after only three months, and no part of Israel ever again had an independent sovereign king. They had despised the LORD to the point that even though Josiah had done much as king to bring the people back to the LORD, the LORD did not turn from the fierceness of his great wrath, with which his anger was kindled against Judah, because of all the provocations that Manasseh had done. There was no remedy left for Israel to have an earthly king.

The period of the kings for Israel had started in the last days of Samuel when they had rejected the LORD as their only real King. 1 Samuel 8 "4 Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel to Ramah, 5 And said to him, Behold, you are old, and your sons walk not in your ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations. 6 But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed to the LORD. 7 And the LORD said to Samuel, Listen to the voice of the people in all that they say to you: for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. 8 According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, with which they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also to you. 9 Now therefore listen to their voice: however, yet protest solemnly to them, and show them the manner of the king that shall reign over them. 10 And Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people that asked of him a king."

When the true king over the everlasting kingdom came into the world he was rejected by "his own;" but who those who received him by faith, he freely gives the power to become the sons of God. John 19 "10 Then said Pilate to him, Speak you not to me? know you not that I have power to crucify you, and have power to release you? 11 Jesus answered, You could have no power at all against me, except it were given you from above: therefore he that delivered me to you has the greater sin. 12 And from thereafter Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If you let this man go, you are not Caesar's friend: whoever makes himself a king speaks against Caesar. 13 When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha. 14 And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he said to the Jews, Behold your King! 15 But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate said to them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar. 16 Then delivered he him therefore to them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away." After that, the Passover was held with the prescribed procedures; but the true Lamb of God had already been sacrificed on the cross of Calvary!

--- REFLECTIONS IN PRAYER ---

I thank you LORD for the record of King Josiah who began to reign in Judah when he was only eight years old after his father, King Amon, had been killed. By the time Josiah was sixteen, he began to seek after God such that he was likened to King David, and not at all like his own father or grandfather when they reigned. I give you the praise LORD, for moving in him so that he was directly involved in removing so much of the idol worship in Judah and in other parts of Israel from his twelfth year, to his eighteenth year as king. When he returned to Jerusalem he directed extensive repairs to be made to the temple of the LORD, which had been neglected as much attention had gone to worship of false gods. When the book of the covenant was found and read before Josiah, he was genuinely moved in his heart as he realize how far the people had gone as they had abandoned the God of their fathers. As the ruler of his people, he was determined to publicly declare his personal dedication to follow the covenant of the LORD. He called the assembled people of Judah and Benjamin for them to also make that dedication as the people of the LORD. The Passover held in the eighteenth year of his reign was like none other before or after him, and I praise you my King and Savior, for the reign of King Josiah and all that you did through him. Afterward, the time had come for you to remove Judah and Jerusalem from your sight as you had done with Israel because of all the provocations that brought your righteous anger. When Jehoahaz was made king, he reigned only three months and did evil in your sight, not at all like his father Josiah. Many of the kings in the line of David, beginning with King Solomon, had allowed the worship of false gods. From generation to generation, LORD, the evidence of the fallen nature of mankind is evident around the world. But those who have faith in the salvation you provide, become by your grace, part of your eternal Kingdom. Help me LORD, to keep away from any worship of false gods, that I may worship only the true and living God. Hallelujah, Amen.

Published 28 January 2019