We have recently moved, and in the process I lost a piece of paper that was taped to the wall of my close… er, office.
A couple months ago a friend had written a short synopsis of King Josiah that I was so taken by, I copied and pasted it to the wall above my computer. Since, I’ve wanted to study him a little further… Being ‘down in the back,’ I found time this afternoon to just read and highlite both accounts of his life. Here are links to each account: 2 Kings 22:1-23:27 and 2 Chronicles 34:1-35:27. I highly recommend taking the time to consider this incredibly passionate and strong youngman!
I understood that Israel had gone astray… even, radically so. Judah was also well off the tracks as Ezekiel 23 eloquently portrays. Harlots. Both. Detestable!!
Until I reread the recounting of the life of King Josiah from a Hebraic perspective, I did not realize how radically far gone Judah and Jerusalem were.
While the story of Josiah (Yoshiyah: Founded of Yah or Whom Yahweh heals) seems to begin in 2 Kings 22:1; several hundred years before his birth, he was prophesied by name to come to power. Even as Jeroboam was setting up false worship in Bethel, an unnamed prophet came and prophesied,
“O altar, altar, thus says the Lord, ‘Behold, a son shall be born to the house of David, Josiah by name; and on you he shall sacrifice the priests of the high places who burn incense on you, and human bones shall be burned on you.’”
Why would such a zealous one be necessary and how would he come to be? Glad you asked.
Israel had already been carried off into captivity by the Assyrians because of their harlotry and idolatry. Judah, as Ezekiel 23 parables, is not any better. The nation and much of its priesthood is deeply involved in asherah, molech and ba’al worship. They had idols IN the Temple, on every high hill and had cult prostitutes in abundance. As we see in 2 Kings 17:32-41, they even called on the name of Yahweh (‘the Lord’) while worshiping in these detestable false manners.
Josiah was born to Amon and was eight years old when his 24 year old father was put to death by the servants of his own house. At just eight years of age he was made king of Judah!! Imagine!
How easily an eight year old can be turned, trained or misguided, yet Yahweh had a special plan for this young man. Scripture tells us very little of the court around him apart from the fact that the servants who killed his father seemed to have done it because of the ‘evil he did in the sight of Yahweh.’ Apart from speculation, we can only know that Yahweh had a plan and purpose.
Both the 2 Kings and the 2 Chronicles accounting state, “He did right in the sight of Yahweh and walked in the ways of his father David and did not turn aside to the right or to the left.”
We are told that at the age of 16 “he began to seek the God of his father David; and in the twelfth year (of his reign, about 20 years of age) he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of the high places, the asherim, the carved images and the molten images.”
Granted, he had been on the throne for 12 years, but consider how brassy for a 20 year old to begin tearing down and burning the asherah poles. Destroying the high places. Some of the places he destroyed had been built by Solomon!! Bet that went over really well!!
Besides simply destroying the altars, he had the stones ground to dust and then the places defiled with the bones of the dead. He even went so far as to slaughter some of the high priests of the high places on the altars and then burn them with human bones!
He removed the horses and chariots from the entrance of the temple that previous kings had given to the sun!! He burned the chariots of the sun with fire! (Sun worship?)
He even went into Bethel and the former kingdom of Israel to destroy their high places, and in doing so, fulfilled the prophecy of 1 Kings 13:2!!
He was zealous. Interestingly, he was not entirely aware of what he was zealous about!!
In the eighteenth year of his reign, AFTER ‘he had purged the land and the house,’ he set about ‘to repair the house of Yahweh his God.’ Hilkiah, the high priest ‘found the book of the law of Yahweh given by Moses’!!! Did you get that?? Shocker!
The priesthood DID NOT HAVE the TORAH!! They had LOST IT! No wonder they were in such disrepair!! Any wonder there was such great apostasy?? (Sound vaguely familiar?)
King Josiah’s response, upon hearing the words for the first time, was to tear his clothes. He was broken and tender of heart!
His first reaction was to command Hilkiah the High Priest to ‘go, inquire of Yahweh for me and all the people of Judah concerning the words of this book that has been found, for great is the wrath of Yahweh that burns against us…’
Just to prove how far Judah had fallen, the High Priest and other leaders had to go find Huldah, a prophetess to make inquiry!! One would think the High Priest was on terms with the Father, but apparently not….
[As an aside, without opening too big a can of worms… 😉 To the best of my knowledge, most every time a woman is called into service as a prophetess or judge, it is because the men are not doing what they are supposed to be doing as spiritual leaders… Generally, it is a form of judgment. I understand we have equality before Yahweh spiritually, but at least in the first testament, every case of a woman prophet or judge is itself an indicator of spiritual trouble among the men.]
Huldah says a few things I find interesting. First, neither she, nor Yahweh ever address Josiah by name, but refers to him as ‘the man who sent you’ and ‘the king of Judah’ even when mentioning the tenderness of his heart and the personal protection from the evil that is coming.
Secondly, Yahweh’s word, by the mouth of Huldah in 2 Kings 22:17 says that He will not back off His judgment.
Because they have forsaken Me and have burned incense to other gods that they might provoke Me to anger with all the work of their hands, therefore My wrath burns against this place, and it shall not be quenched.
More on this one in just a second!
Josiah, with tender heart and utter repentance, leads the people to return to Yahweh by doing several things!
He read the Torah in the hearing of all the people.
He covenanted with Yahweh to walk after Him and keep His commandments, testimonies and statutes with all his heart and soul. And all the people covenanted with him.
The temple was further cleansed of all implements and vessels used in the worship of ba’al and asherah.
He did away with the idolatrous priests and generally reformed the priesthood according to the rules and divisions set in place by David and Solomon.
Then, the best part: they celebrated Passover!! In fact, Scripture says,
There had not been celebrated a Passover like it in Israel since the days of Samuel the prophet; nor had any of the kings of Israel celebrated such a Passover as Josiah did with the priests, the Levites, all Judah and Israel who were present, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
WOW!! Even King David or the wealthy/great Solomon had not celebrated a Passover like this!! That, brothers and sisters, is EXCITING! From an eight year old thrust upon the throne to rivaling his fathers, Dawid and Shlomo!
But, what is the lesson for us? And what about that paper on my closet wall?
The paper, as best I can recall, said something about US being as King Josiah. Finding the Torah lost in the ruins, tearing down the false idols and apostate worship and seeking to return to glory that which was lost as we call those around us into account.
See? The church has lost the Book of Moses. The ‘priests’ do not know it or even where to find it. It is in the ruins.
Abba Yahweh is calling people to awaken and recognize the apostasy through out churchianity… If you are like me, you may have begun to awaken when you recognized the syncretism of pagan gods when holidays like christmas, lent and easter are celebrated. Every single one of those holidays have pagan roots and the ‘priesthood’ in many cases, even knows this, but chooses to ignore it. (Can you say, “they … provoke Me to anger with all the work of their hands..“)
As we are awakened by the Father, though we be the younger ones, new kids on the block, the small voices, we are called to be zealous for righteousness and truth in worship. As we do, He reveals more to us and we find the Book of the Law and the fact that is was NEVER done away with!! And, the judgments it calls for are looming, lest we repent and lead others to repentance.
We find the amazing gifts of the feasts!! Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot as the majors, but all are listed and detailed in Leviticus 23.
We learn what our God and King finds detestable, including, even what we eat!!
The parallels between Josiah and the small but growing movement back to doing Bible things in Bible ways are remarkable.
If you are on this journey, be encouraged! Even if you feel like an eight year old, rejoice and learn and grow. In short order you will be pressed into service to take a stand.
If you stumbled in here and the latter part of this post took you by surprise, time to start studying!! I recommend our Resources page as a good beginning point, though cruising more of this blog is not a bad place either.
In either case, I pray you are challenged to dig in and see what Yahweh has for YOU! How will He use YOU??