Series: Thru the Bible
Message – King Josiah – Deeds of Faithful Love
King Josiah – Deeds of Faithful Love
Thru the Bible: 2Kings 21:19-23:30; 2Chron. 33:2-35:27
Amon Reigns & Death in Judah
“(19) Amon was 22 years old when he became king; he reigned two years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Meshullemeth daughter of Haruz; she was from Jotbah. (20) He did what was evil in the LORD’s sight as his father Manasseh had done. (21) He walked in all the ways his father had walked; he served the idols his father had served, and he worshiped them. (22) He abandoned the LORD God of his ancestors and did not walk in the way of the LORD. (23) Amon’s servants conspired against the king and killed him in his own house. (24) Then the common people executed all those who had conspired against King Amon and made his son Josiah king in his place. (25) The rest of the events of Amon’s reign, along with his accomplishments, are written about in the Historical Record of Judah’s Kings. (26) He was buried in his tomb in the garden of Uzza, and his son Josiah became king in his place.”
“(21) Amon was 22 years old when he became king; he reigned two years in Jerusalem. (22) He did what was evil in the LORD’s sight just as his father Manasseh had done. Amon sacrificed to all the carved images that his father Manasseh had made, and he served them. (23) But he did not humble himself before the LORD like his father Manasseh humbled himself; instead, Amon increased his guilt. (24) So his servants conspired against him and put him to death in his own house. (25) Then the common people executed all those who conspired against King Amon and made his son Josiah king in his place.”
Josiah Reigns in Judah
“(1) Josiah was eight years old when he became king; he reigned 31 years in Jerusalem. (2) He did what was right in the LORD’s sight and walked in the ways of his ancestor David; he did not turn aside to the right or the left.
(3) In the eighth year of his reign, while he was still a youth, Josiah began to seek the God of his ancestor David, and in the twelfth year he began to cleanse Judah and Jerusalem of the high places, the Asherah poles, the carved images, and the cast images.
(4) Then in his presence the altars of the Baals were torn down, and the incense altars that were above them he chopped down. The Asherah poles, the carved images, and the cast images he shattered, crushed to dust, and scattered over the graves of those who had sacrificed to them. (5) He burned the bones of the priests on their altars. So he cleansed Judah and Jerusalem. (6) He did the same in the cities of Manasseh, Ephraim, and Simeon, and as far as Naphtali and on their surrounding mountain shrines. (7) He tore down the altars, and he smashed the Asherah poles and the carved images to powder. He chopped down all the incense altars throughout the land of Israel and returned to Jerusalem.”
“(1) Josiah was eight years old when he became king; he reigned 31 years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jedidah the daughter of Adaiah; she was from Bozkath. (2) He did what was right in the LORD’s sight and walked in all the ways of his ancestor David; he did not turn to the right or the left.”
Josiah Repairs temple and the Book of the Law is found
“(3) In the eighteenth year of King Josiah, the king sent the court secretary Shaphan son of Azaliah, son of Meshullam, to the LORD’s temple, saying, (4) “Go up to Hilkiah the high priest so that he may total up the money brought into the LORD’s temple–the money the doorkeepers have collected from the people.
(5) It is to be put into the hands of those doing the work–those who oversee the LORD’s temple.
They in turn are to give it to the workmen in the LORD’s temple to repair the damage. (6) They are to give it to the carpenters, builders, and masons to buy timber and quarried stone to repair the temple. (7) But no accounting is to be required from them for the money put into their hands since they work with integrity.
(8) Hilkiah the high priest told Shaphan the court secretary, “I have found the book of the law in the LORD’s temple,” and he gave the book to Shaphan, who read it. (9) Then Shaphan the court secretary went to the king and reported, “Your servants have emptied out the money that was found in the temple and have put it into the hand of those doing the work–those who oversee the LORD’s temple.”
(10) Then Shaphan the court secretary told the king, “Hilkiah the priest has given me a book,” and Shaphan read it in the presence of the king. (11) When the king heard the words of the book of the law, he tore his clothes. (12) Then he commanded Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Achbor son of Micaiah, Shaphan the court secretary, and the king’s servant Asaiah:
(13) “Go and inquire of the LORD for me, the people, and all Judah about the instruction in this book that has been found. For great is the LORD’s wrath that is kindled against us because our ancestors have not obeyed the words of this book in order to do everything written about us.”
(14) So Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Achbor, Shaphan, and Asaiah went to the prophetess Huldah, wife of Shallum son of Tikvah, son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe. She lived in Jerusalem in the Second District. They spoke with her. (15) She said to them,
“This is what the LORD God of Israel says, ‘Say to the man who sent you to Me: (16) This is what the LORD says: I am about to bring disaster on this place and on its inhabitants, fulfilling all the words of the book that the king of Judah has read, (17) because they have abandoned Me and burned incense to other gods in order to provoke Me with all the work of their hands. My wrath will be kindled against this place, and it will not be quenched.
(18) Say this to the king of Judah who sent you to inquire of the LORD: This is what the LORD God of Israel says: As for the words that you heard, (19) because your heart was tender and you humbled yourself before the LORD when you heard what I spoke against this place and against its inhabitants, that they would become a desolation and a curse, and because you have torn your clothes and wept before Me, I Myself have heard you–declares the LORD. (20) Therefore, I will indeed gather you to your fathers, and you will be gathered to your grave in peace. Your eyes will not see all the disaster that I am bringing on this place.'” Then they reported to the king.”
“(1) So the king sent messengers, and they gathered to him all the elders of Jerusalem and Judah. (2) Then the king went to the LORD’s temple with all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, as well as the priests and the prophets–all the people from the youngest to the oldest. As they listened,
he read all the words of the book of the covenant that had been found in the LORD’s temple.
(3) Next, the king stood by the pillar and made a covenant in the presence of the LORD to follow the LORD and to keep His commandments, His decrees, and His statutes with all his mind and with all his heart, and to carry out the words of this covenant that were written in this book; all the people agreed to the covenant.
(4) Then the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest and the priests of the second rank and the doorkeepers to bring out of the LORD’s temple all the articles made for Baal, Asherah, and the whole heavenly host. He burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of the Kidron and carried their ashes to Bethel. (5) Then he did away with the idolatrous priests the kings of Judah had appointed to burn incense at the high places in the cities of Judah and in the areas surrounding Jerusalem. They had burned incense to Baal, and to the sun, moon, constellations, and the whole heavenly host. (6) He brought out the Asherah pole from the LORD’s temple to the Kidron Valley outside Jerusalem. He burned it at the Kidron Valley, beat it to dust, and threw its dust on the graves of the common people.”
It is important to know what the customs and thoughts of a people are regarding things before we assume we understand the meaning of their actions.
I am reminded of the time when Teri and I went to the Wycliffe Bible Translator museum in Orlando, Florida. It is called the Wycliffe Discovery Center. It is well worth the time it takes to travel there and to go through the museum. In it there are manakins with appropriate clothing which represent each area in which a translation has been made OR in which one is in process. Throughout the museum there are small placards with a little button you can press to hear a verse (I believe is it John 3:16) read in their native tongue. We discovered that from time to time they had to take a pragmatic approach to translating a passage – choosing to represent the MEANING rather than the precise wording. One such case, that for whatever reason has stuck with me, was of a particular culture where an idiom had developed which stated that a person with clean hands is lazy. This is not too hard to understand because we have a similar idiom we use to describe someone who works as someone willing to get their hands dirty. However, this is so much a part of their culture that when scripture speaks of “clean hands” as a virtue, they had no was of grasping it. So the verse found in Psalm 24:4 which states that the person who can ascend to the hill of the Lord must have clean hands and a pure heart was hard for them to wrestle with. So the translators changed the words to reflect their meaning – something like, “He who works no evil and has a pure heart”.
So it is with this issue of spreading the dust of the idol upon the graves. To most people this would seem to be an action taken against the dead – to spread the ashes of a pagan god over their graves. In Israel however, bones are considered defiling and so this action was about defiling the idol, not the other way about.
If we keep that in mind as we go forward, it may help make some sense of other instances where bones are mentioned.
“(7) He also tore down the houses of the male shrine prostitutes that were in the LORD’s temple, in which the women were weaving tapestries for Asherah.
(8) Then Josiah brought all the priests from the cities of Judah, and he defiled the high places from Geba to Beer-sheba, where the priests had burned incense. He tore down the high places of the gates at the entrance of the gate of Joshua the governor of the city (on the left at the city gate). (9) The priests of the high places, however, did not come up to the altar of the LORD in Jerusalem; instead, they ate unleavened bread with their fellow priests.
(10) He defiled Topheth, which is in the Valley of Hinnom, so that no one could make his son or his daughter pass through the fire to Molech.”
Now we’ve encountered this before and I almost mentioned it there, but as good as these passages are, there is less to draw out in terms of lessons so this was a good place to mention it. You may remember that the New Testament mentions the term Gehenna which is a compound word which comes from the phrase valley of Hinnom.The worship of Molech, required people to offer a child over a pit of fire in the valley of Hinnom. By the time Jerusalem was part of Roman territory, this valley later served as the city dump and, because there was continual burning of refuse there, it became a graphic symbol of the place of punishment for the wicked. It was named the “Valley of Hinnom,” which translated into Greek became Gehenna. This is where all manner of trash, refuse and even the bodies of dead animals and criminals who were denied proper burial were consumed in flames. As such it was incorporated into the language of the Jews as the place where the worthless souls of those who reject God and His commands were placed. This word has traditionally been translated as Hell.
“(11) He did away with the horses that the kings of Judah had dedicated to the sun. They had been at the entrance of the LORD’s temple in the precincts by the chamber of Nathan-melech the court official, and he burned up the chariots of the sun.
(12) The king tore down the altars that were on the roof–Ahaz’s upper chamber that the kings of Judah had made–and the altars that Manasseh had made in the two courtyards of the LORD’s temple. Then he smashed them there and threw their dust into the Kidron Valley.
(13) The king also defiled the high places that were across from Jerusalem, to the south of the Mount of Destruction, which Solomon king of Israel had built for Ashtoreth, the detestable idol of the Sidonians; for Chemosh, the detestable idol of Moab; and for Milcom, the abomination of the Ammonites. (14) He broke the sacred pillars into pieces, cut down the Asherah poles, then filled their places with human bones.
(15) He even tore down the altar at Bethel and the high place that Jeroboam son of Nebat, who caused Israel to sin, had made. Then he burned the high place, crushed it to dust, and burned the Asherah.
(16) As Josiah turned, he saw the tombs there on the mountain. He sent someone to take the bones out of the tombs, and he burned them on the altar. He defiled it according to the word of the LORD proclaimed by the man of God who proclaimed these things.
“(17) Then he said, “What is this monument I see?” The men of the city told him, “It is the tomb of the man of God who came from Judah and proclaimed these things that you have done to the altar at Bethel.”
“The altar at Bethel, which Josiah’s reform also reached, had been established by Jeroboam at Solomon’s death; but in the course of time a purely Canaanites worship had apparently replaced the earlier worship of the golden calf.”
“(18) So he said, “Let him rest. Don’t let anyone disturb his bones.” So they left his bones undisturbed with the bones of the prophet who came from Samaria. (19) Josiah also removed all the shrines of the high places that were in the cities of Samaria, which the kings of Israel had made to provoke the LORD. Josiah did the same things to them that he had done at Bethel. (20) He slaughtered on the altars all the priests of the high places who were there, and he burned human bones on the altars. Then he returned to Jerusalem.”
You may remember that some time ago we read a prophecy about a king named Josiah, who would sacrifice pagan priests and burn their remains on an altar. Well this is that Josiah. It is in fulfillment to that prophecy written in 1 Kings 13:1-2, which was made hundreds of years before his birth.
The prophecy runs like this,
“(1) A man of God came from Judah to Bethel by a revelation from the LORD while Jeroboam was standing beside the altar to burn incense. (2) The man of God cried out against the altar by a revelation from the LORD: “Altar, altar, this is what the LORD says, ‘A son will be born to the house of David, named Josiah, and he will sacrifice on you the priests of the high places who are burning incense on you. Human bones will be burned on you.'”
“(8) In the eighteenth year of his reign, in order to cleanse the land and the temple, Josiah sent Shaphan son of Azaliah, along with Maaseiah the governor of the city and the recorder Joah son of Joahaz, to repair the temple of the LORD his God.
(9) So they went to Hilkiah the high priest, and gave him the money brought into God’s temple. The Levites and the doorkeepers had collected money from Manasseh, Ephraim, and from the entire remnant of Israel, and from all Judah, Benjamin, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
(10) They put it into the hands of those doing the work–those who oversaw the LORD’s temple. They in turn gave it to the workmen who were working in the LORD’s temple, to repair and restore the temple; (11) they gave it to the carpenters and builders and also used it to buy quarried stone and timbers–for joining and to make beams–for the buildings that Judah’s Kings had destroyed.
(12) The men were doing the work with integrity. Their overseers were Jahath and Obadiah the Levites from the Merarites, and Zechariah and Meshullam from the Kohathites as supervisors. The Levites were all skilled on musical instruments. (13) They were also over the porters and were supervising all those doing the work task by task. Some of the Levites were secretaries, officers, and gatekeepers.”
“(14) When they brought out the money that had been deposited in the LORD’s temple, Hilkiah the priest found the book of the law of the LORD written by the hand of Moses. (15) Consequently, Hilkiah told Shaphan the court secretary, “I have found the book of the law in the LORD’s temple,” and he gave the book to Shaphan.
(16) Shaphan took the book to the king, and also reported, “Your servants are doing all that was placed in their hands. (17) They have emptied out the money that was found in the LORD’s temple and have put it into the hand of the overseers and the hand of those doing the work.”
(18) Then Shaphan the court secretary told the king, “Hilkiah the priest gave me a book,” and Shaphan read it in the presence of the king.
(19) When the king heard the words of the law, he tore his clothes. (20) Then he commanded Hilkiah, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Abdon son of Micah, Shaphan the court secretary, and the king’s servant Asaiah,
(21) “Go. Inquire of the LORD for me and for those remaining in Israel and Judah, concerning the words of the book that was found. For great is the LORD’s wrath that is poured out on us because our fathers have not kept the word of the LORD in order to do everything written in this book.”
Huldah Prophesies Disaster
“(22) So Hilkiah and those the king had designated went to the prophetess Huldah, the wife of Shallum son of Tokhath, son of Hasrah, keeper of the wardrobe. She lived in Jerusalem in the Second District. They spoke with her about this.
(23) She said to them, “This is what the LORD God of Israel says: Say to the man who sent you to Me, (24) ‘This is what the LORD says: I am about to bring disaster on this place and on its inhabitants, fulfilling all the curses written in the book that they read in the presence of the king of Judah, (25) because they have abandoned Me and burned incense to other gods in order to provoke Me with all the works of their hands. My wrath will be poured out on this place, and it will not be quenched.’
(26) Say this to the king of Judah who sent you to inquire of the LORD: ‘This is what the LORD God of Israel says: As for the words that you heard, (27) because your heart was tender and you humbled yourself before God when you heard His words against this place and against its inhabitants, and because you humbled yourself before Me, and you tore your clothes and wept before Me, I Myself have heard’–this is the LORD speaking. (28) ‘I will indeed gather you to your fathers, and you will be gathered to your grave in peace. Your eyes will not see all the disaster that I am bringing on this place and on its inhabitants.'”
Then they reported to the king. (29) So the king sent messengers and gathered all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem.
(30) Then the king went up to the LORD’s temple with all the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, as well as the priests and the Levites–all the people from great to small. He read in their hearing all the words of the book of the covenant that had been found in the LORD’s temple.
(31) Next the king stood at his post and made a covenant in the LORD’s presence to follow the LORD and to keep His commandments, His decrees, and His statutes with all his heart and with all his soul in order to carry out the words of the covenant written in this book.
(32) Then he had all those present in Jerusalem and Benjamin enter the covenant. So all the inhabitants of Jerusalem carried out the covenant of God, the God of their ancestors.
(33) So Josiah removed everything that was detestable from all the lands belonging to the Israelites, and he required all who were present in Israel to serve the LORD their God. Throughout his reign they did not turn aside from following the LORD God of their ancestors.”
Josiah Keeps the Passover
“(1) Josiah observed the LORD’s Passover and slaughtered the Passover lambs on the fourteenth day of the first month.
(2) He appointed the priests to their responsibilities and encouraged them to serve in the LORD’s temple.
(3) He said to the Levites who taught all Israel the holy things of the LORD, “Put the holy ark in the temple built by Solomon son of David king of Israel. Since you do not have to carry it on your shoulders, now serve the LORD your God and His people Israel.
(4) “Organize your ancestral houses by your divisions according to the written instruction of David king of Israel and that of his son Solomon.
(5) Serve in the holy place by the divisions of the ancestral houses for your brothers, the lay people, and the distribution of the tribal household of the Levites.
(6) Slaughter the Passover lambs, consecrate yourselves, and make preparations for your brothers to carry out the word of the LORD through Moses.”
It is NO WONDER that Paul set up giving as a test and proof of the truthfulness of one’s confession of Christ as Lord [1Cor. 9:10-15] since historically, once God has a person’s heart – giving seems to be an evident fruit of that heart conversion.
“(7) Then Josiah donated 30,000 sheep, lambs, and kid goats, plus 3,000 bulls from his own possessions, for the Passover sacrifices for all the lay people who were present.
(8) His officials also donated willingly for the people, the priests, and the Levites. Hilkiah, Zechariah, and Jehiel, leaders of God’s temple, gave 2,600 Passover sacrifices and 300 bulls for the priests.
(9) Conaniah and his brothers Shemaiah and Nethanel, and Hashabiah, Jeiel, and Jozabad, officers of the Levites, donated 5,000 Passover sacrifices for the Levites, plus 500 bulls.
(10) So the service was established; the priests stood at their posts and the Levites in their divisions according to the king’s command.
(11) Then they slaughtered the Passover lambs, and while the Levites were skinning the animals, the priests sprinkled the blood they had been given.
(12) They removed the burnt offerings so that they might be given to the divisions of the ancestral houses of the lay people to offer to the LORD, according to what is written in the book of Moses; they did the same with the bulls.
(13) They roasted the Passover lambs with fire according to regulation. They boiled the holy sacrifices in pots, in kettles, and in bowls; and they quickly brought them to the lay people.
(14) Afterwards, they made preparations for themselves and for the priests, since the priests, the descendants of Aaron, were busy offering up burnt offerings and fat until night.
So the Levites made preparations for themselves and for the priests, the descendants of Aaron.
(15) The singers, the descendants of Asaph, were at their stations according to the command of David, Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun the king’s seer.
Also, the gatekeepers were at each gate. Because their Levite brothers had made preparations for them, none of them left their tasks. (16) So all the service of the LORD was established that day for observing the Passover and for offering burnt offerings on the altar of the LORD, according to the command of King Josiah.
(17) The Israelites who were present in Judah also observed the Passover at that time and the Festival of Unleavened Bread for seven days. (18) No Passover had been observed like it in Israel since the days of Samuel the prophet. None of the kings of Israel ever observed a Passover like the one that Josiah observed with the priests, the Levites, all Judah, the Israelites who were present in Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. (19) In the eighteenth year of Josiah’s reign, this Passover was observed.”
“(21) The king commanded all the people, “Keep the Passover of the LORD your God as written in the book of the covenant.” (22) No such Passover had ever been kept from the time of the judges who judged Israel through the entire time of the kings of Israel and Judah.
(23) But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah, this Passover was observed to the LORD in Jerusalem.
(24) In addition, Josiah removed the mediums, the spiritists, household idols, images, and all the detestable things that were seen in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem. He did this in order to carry out the words of the law that were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the LORD’s temple.
(25) Before him there was no king like him who turned to the LORD with all his mind and with all his heart and with all his strength according to all the law of Moses, and no one like him arose after him.
(26) In spite of all that, the LORD did not turn from the fierceness of His great wrath and anger, which burned against Judah because of all the provocations Manasseh had provoked Him with.
(27) For the LORD had said, “I will also remove Judah from My sight just as I have removed Israel. I will reject this city Jerusalem, that I have chosen, and the temple about which I said, ‘My name will be there.'”
Josiah’s Death in Battle
“(28) The rest of the events of Josiah’s reign, along with all his accomplishments, are written about in the Historical Record of Judah’s Kings.
(29) During his reign, Pharaoh Neco king of Egypt [Probably Necho the 2nd] marched up to the king of Assyria at the Euphrates river. King Josiah went to confront him, and at Megiddo when Neco saw him he killed him.
(30) From Megiddo his servants carried his dead body in a chariot, brought him into Jerusalem, and buried him in his own tomb.
Then the common people took Jehoahaz son of Josiah, anointed him, and made him king in place of his father.”
“(20) After all this that Josiah had prepared for the temple, Neco king of Egypt marched up to fight at Carchemish by the Euphrates, and Josiah went out to confront him.
(21) But Neco sent messengers to him, saying, “What is the issue between you and me, king of Judah? I have not come against you today but to the dynasty I am fighting. God told me to hurry. Stop opposing God who is with me; don’t make Him destroy you!”
(22) But Josiah did not turn away from him; instead, in order to fight with him he disguised himself. He did not listen to Neco’s words from the mouth of God, but went to the Valley of Megiddo to fight.
(23) The archers shot King Josiah, and he said to his servants, “Take me away, for I am severely wounded!”
(24) So his servants took him out of the war chariot, carried him in his second chariot, and brought him to Jerusalem. Then he died, and they buried him in the tomb of his fathers. All Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah.
(25) Jeremiah chanted a dirge over Josiah, and all the singing men and singing women still speak of Josiah in their dirges to this very day.
God used the lamenting which Israel did and continued to observe for many years over Josiah, as an example of the mourning which will be in the hearts of repentant Israel over Messiah Jesus Who they missed during their time of visitation.
Zech. 12:10-14, “(10) Then I will pour out a spirit of grace and prayer on the house of David and the residents of Jerusalem, and they will look at Me whom they pierced. They will mourn for Him as one mourns for an only child and weep bitterly for Him as one weeps for a firstborn. (11) On that day the mourning in Jerusalem will be as great as the mourning of Hadad-rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. (12) The land will mourn, every family by itself: the family of David’s house by itself and their women by themselves; the family of Nathan’s house by itself and their women by themselves; (13) the family of Levi’s house by itself and their women by themselves; the family of Shimei by itself and their women by themselves; (14) all the remaining families, every family by itself, and their women by themselves.”
Also, I thought it was important to distinguish these lamentations from those written by Jeremiah in the BOOK of Lamentations which was about the fall of Jerusalem. Nor is it to be confused with the laments of Jeremiah over Josiah’s sons (Jer. 22:10; Jer. 22:20-30).
“They established them as a statute for Israel, and indeed they are written in the Dirges. (26) The rest of the events of Josiah’s reign, along with his deeds of faithful love according to what is written in the law of the LORD, (27) and his words, from beginning to end, are written about in the Book of the Kings of Israel and Judah.”
I hope this teaching will challenge you and encourage you to place your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
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