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Of the 19 kings of Judah, Josiah was the last of the good kings and one of the four (with Asa, Jehoshaphat, and Hezekiah) who were of the caliber of David. The young king ascended the throne at 8 years of age, but he decided to do right, and he was consistent, II Chronicles 34:1, 2. His reign is marked by notable events much of when he was young. The Bible clearly marks the years of his reign when these events happened. Eighth Year: II Chronicles 34:3a He began to seek the God of his father David. He was 16 years of age. Twelfth Year: II Chronicles 34:3b-7 He began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of high places, all images and altars to cleanse and purge Judah and Jerusalem, as well as cities in the far reaches of Israel. He was 20 years old. Eighteenth Year: II Chronicles 34:8-35:19 At age 26, several great events happened. First, he directed the repair of the house of the Lord. This led to the finding by Hilkiah the priest the ‘Book of the Law,’ which is probably Deuteronomy 27-30, which contains the exact title. It was read to the king who tore his clothes in response to it. This led to Josiah to inquire of the Lord about the wrath of the Lord. The officials went to the prophetess Huldah who confirmed the Lord was going to bring calamity, but Josiah would not see it because his heart was tender, and he had humbled himself before God. This in turn led to the reading of the book before all the people who made a covenant before the Lord to keep His commandments. The abominations from the whole country were removed and the people did not depart from following the Lord all his days. This then led to the observance of the Passover which was unlike any Passover since the days of Samuel. Thirty-first Year: II Chronicles 35:20-24 At the age of 39, Josiah, known for his consistency, was sidetracked when Necho, pharaoh of Egypt was passing through Israel to fight against Carchemish on the Euphrates. Necho warned him to “refrain from meddling with God” who was with him lest God destroy him. Josiah did not heed and even disguised himself to fight. Disguises never helped a king as Ahab found out, I Kings 22:30-37. Josiah was wounded and taken to Jerusalem where he died. He was the only king of Judah to die in battle. An old saying goes, “Don’t interfere with something that ain’t bothering you none.” Proverbs 26:17 also comments on meddling. Josiah was needlessly reckless and succumbed to pride which led to disobedience. Some wonder if he mistook the promise of God to be gathered to the grave in peace to act the way he did. However, God was promising him he would not see the wrath God intended for the land. How tragically young he was when he died, all because after an exemplary life, he disobeyed the Lord.
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