We read about the last days and acts of the life of Josiah. We begin the chapter with Josiah gathering all of the people of Israel together in Jerusalem in order to read the book of the law which had been found in the temple. There at the reading the king and all the people promised to followed God’s laws as long as they were living. We use this Scripture often when we are reminded of our own covenant that we have made with God on the first Sunday of January. When we celebrate our covenant renewal service we rededicate our lives to God remembering our baptism and remembering that we too have made vows to follow the Lord.
From there Josiah does a number on all of the religious artifacts that are left over from previous kings, even those that were left over from Solomon which no one had the heart, or the courage, to tear down. He did so, he tore everything and anything down which did not contribute to the worship of Almighty God. The list of those places are many and he did quite a number on all of them in order to purge the foreign gods from withing the midst of the people of God.
They then celebrate Passover together in a way that had not been done since the Judges. So keep in mind normally rulers are lifted up as doing right in the eyes of God in the fashion that King David had done. But here Josiah’s actions go even further back to a righteousness that had not been seen since the time of the judges. That really is saying something as to how Josiah sought after the will of God which apparently was something that was new to his generation because no one had really seen the law before.
The death of Josiah is mentioned and it is actually quite matter of fact. He went to meet the king of Egypt and when they met he killed him. His body was carried back and he was buried in Jerusalem. His son takes over but the king of Egypt doesn’t let him reign in Jerusalem and so he puts another of his sons in place. They were both not good and they both did evil in the sight of the Lord. We now expect bad things to happen, like it might be the people of Judah’s turn to be taken away into exile.