2 Kings 23

What reforms were initiated as a result of the covenant into which Josiah and the people entered?
Josiah intensified the reforms he began in the twelfth year of his reign.

[A] He ordered Hilkiah the priest to remove and destroy anything in the house of the Lord that had been “made for Baal, for Asherah, and for all the host of heaven” (2 Kings 23:4 and 6).

[B] He did away with the priests who served in any idolatrous capacity (2 Kings 23:5 and 8).

[C] He dealt with the male cult prostitutes (2 Kings 23:7).

[D] He defiled the place where children were made to pass through the fire (2 Kings 23:10).

[E] He destroyed everything related to idolatrous practices (2 Kings 23:11-14).

[F] His reforms even extended to the former Northern Kingdom (2 Kings 23:15 and 19-20). He also burned the bones of the priests (2 Kings 23:16-18) who had served and worshiped at the altar that was at Bethel in fulfillment of the word spoken by the man of God to Jeroboam in 1 Kings 13:1-2.

[G] He “removed the mediums and the spiritists and the teraphim [small idols] and the idols and all the abominations that were seen in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem” (2 Kings 23:24).

Practical Consideration: God’s Word defines what is pleasing and displeasing to God.
Josiah began his reforms before the lost book of the law was found. He did a commendable job of removing and destroying that that was displeasing to God. After he heard the words of the book found in the house of the Lord, Josiah had an even clearer understanding of what God required of His people and intensified his reforms. The more we study God’s Word the more we understand about what pleases and displeases God.

What feast did Josiah reinstitute?
Josiah reinstituted the Passover feast as Hezekiah had done (see 2 Chronicles 30). The celebration was so great (see 2 Chronicles 35:1-18 for details) that “such a Passover had not been celebrated from the days of the judges who judged Israel, nor in all the days of the kings of Israel and of the kings of Judah” (2 Kings 23:22).

What impact did Josiah’s life and reforms have on the timing of God’s judgment?
God’s judgment was delayed because of Josiah’s tender heart and humble spirit and faithfulness to the Lord (2 Kings 22:18-20 and 23:26-27). God’s judgment however, would still come.

How did Josiah die?
The archers of Pharaoh Neco king of Egypt killed Josiah in battle (2 Kings 23:29-30). Read 2 Chronicles 35:20-25 for more information. Jehoahaz, his son, succeeded him (2 Kings 23:30).

Who was Jehoahaz?
Jehoahaz was the son of Josiah. The people of Judah anointed him king after his father was killed in battle (2 Kings 23:30 and 2 Chronicles 36:1). The twenty-three year old monarch reigned a total of three months in Jerusalem (2 Kings 23:31 and 2 Chronicles 36:2). Unlike his father, “he did evil in the sight of the Lord” (2 Kings 23:32). He was captured and taken to Egypt by Pharaoh Neco where he later died (2 Kings 23:33-34). Pharaoh Neco imposed a tribute upon Judah during Jehoahaz’s brief reign (2 Kings 33:34 and 2 Chronicles 36:3).

Practical Consideration: We should be concerned about how we will be remembered.
Jehoahaz was the son of a godly father. He was the beneficiary of a good parental example. He witnessed the favor of God upon his father’s reign. Yet, in the three short months that he occupied the throne, “he did evil in the sight of the Lord.” He did enough wrong in three months to mark his reign as evil. He is not remembered for anything good, only that he did that which was displeasing in the sight of God. We should be concerned about how we will be remembered. If someone were to add up the influence of our lives, would we be remembered for evil or good?

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