Study Notes

2Kings 22:1-23:37


In the history of the kingdom of Judah, there were few kings greater than Hezekiah. But his grandson Josiah would definitely qualify. As we open up to chapters 22 and 23 of the book of 2Kings, we get an in-depth look at the reign of this man of God.

22:1-2 Josiah

At the age which most children are entering third grade, Josiah was given the throne of the kingdom of Judah. His mother was Yed-ee-DAW, daughter of Ad-aw-YAW of Bots-CATH. He had a heart for God like David did, never straying from the Lord. The writer of the Chronicles tells us that his walk with the Lord began when he was 16 years old.

2Chr. 34:3 For in the eighth year of his reign while he was still a youth, he began to seek the God of his father David; and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of the high places

22:3-7 Repairing The Damages

The temple had suffered much in the generations before Josiah. Although his grandfather Hezekiah had repaired the doors (2Chron. 29:3), he had afterward cut off the gold from the doors to appease the king of Assyria (2Kings 18:16).

When Josiah was 26, he sent his scribe Shaw-FAWN (the son of Ats-al-YAW, the son of Mesh-ool-LAWM) to the temple. He was to tell the high priest Khil-kee-YAW to take the financial offerings of the people and use it to pay for repairs.

Like the contractors during the days of Yeh-ho-AWSH, they were reputable men who dealt faithfully with the money they were given (2Kings 12:15). Therefore, no accounting was necessary.

22:8-10 The Word Is Found

The high priest Khil-kee-YAW found this book of the Law during the gathering of the offerings. Whether it was the entire Pentateuch, the book of Deuteronomy, or just a portion of it, we do not know. But we do know that it was written by Moses, for the chronicler tells us,

2Chr. 34:14 When they were bringing out the money which had been brought into the house of the LORD, Hilkiah the priest found the book of the law of the LORD {given} by Moses.

It is horrible to think, but at this time in Judah's history, the Word of God had been neglected - forsaken for so long a time that it had nearly been lost for good.

I think of the church today, where the Word has been neglected in so many places. It saddens me to think what a novelty teaching through the Bible is, and to hear people calling from other cities that say, "there's no one teaching the Bible here." I pray that this book will soon be found again.

22:11 Josiah's Reaction

When Josiah heard what the book said, he knew that the nation was in trouble. The Scriptures contained both the promises of blessing and the warnings of cursing, depending on the Jews' observance of God's commandments. In chapters 28 through 31, God goes into great detail about this.

Deut. 28:1 "Now it shall be, if you will diligently obey the LORD your God, being careful to do all His commandments which I command you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth.

Deut. 28:15 "But it shall come about, if you will not obey the LORD your God, to observe to do all His commandments and His statutes with which I charge you today, that all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you.

Josiah knew that in spite of his heart for the Lord, the nation was guilty and that God would judge.

22:12-13 Inquire Of The Lord

Josiah told the high priest, his scribe Shaw-FAWN and son Akh-ee-KAWM, Ak-BORE, the son of Me-kaw-YAW, and his servant Aw-saw-YAW to discern from a prophet what the Lord would say to him and the nation.

22:14-20 The Words Of The Prophetess

Khool-DAW was a prophetess. She lived in Jerusalem, which made her far more accessible than the prophet Jeremiah, who also prophesied during these days. She was the wife of Shal-LOOM, who was the grandson of Khar-KHAS, the man who was in charge of the king's wardrobe.

When the men came to her, she let them know that the Lord was in fact going to judge the nation for their apostasy. But the Lord also knew that Josiah's heart was right before Him, so this judgment would happen after his death.

23:1-3 Reading The Word

Josiah knew what an impact the Word of God had on him. So he had the people of the nation gather together to hear him read the Word.

This is a great summation of why I entered the ministry. When the Word of God was revealed to me, it made a huge impact on my life. I thought that if others could just hear what I was hearing, their lives would change for the better as well. Many of you are living testimonies to that fact. Not as a result of my teaching ability, but of the power of the Word of God.

Hebr. 4:12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword...

Isa. 55:11 So shall My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.

It was the simple reading of the word that brought about the revival which took place. King Josiah and the people made a covenant with the Lord, that they would follow His Word.

I know that when you come here for church, you hear the Word of God read. But have you committed to following the Word of God? James wrote,

James 1:22 But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.

Have you made that covenant with the Lord that says,

Exod. 19:8 ..."All that the LORD has spoken we will do!"...

23:4 Cleansing The Temple

Although physical repairs had been made to the temple of God, there was still a spiritual refurbishing which had to take place. The place had been used to worship not only the Lord, but also BAH-al and Asherah, and the practice of astrology. Everything that was related to false worship was taken outside of the city, to the fields of Kid-RONE and burned. Then their ashes were carried away to Bayth-ALE.

I think it's interesting that when people begin to get right with the Lord, they often hear, "Now, don't get carried away with all of this religious stuff." But what they don't understand is that it's not you who is being carried away - it's all of the junk in your life that is getting carried away!

23:5 Doing Away With Idolatrous Priests

In addition to the objects of idolatry, those who facilitated it were also done away with. This was the right way to deal with the situation. So often, we justify keeping those who are bad influences in our lives. "Well, I don't want to lose her friendship. I'm sure I can be a witness to him." But in reality, those relationships that have proven to result in your sin must be cut off. As Paul said,

1Cor. 15:33 Do not be deceived: "Bad company corrupts good morals."

Is there a person or a group in your life that keeps causing you to stumble? That relationship needs to be done away with.

23:6 Dust Of The Asherah

When the Asherah was burned and ground to dust, it was thrown on the graves of the common people. What kind of statement was Josiah making here?

These people may have been their ancestors, but their sin was acknowledged and condemned. Have you ever noticed how we tend to romanticize our ancestors? "Grandpa fought in the war. He wasn't a Christian, but he was certainly brave." "My great-grandmother came over to America from the old country. She was a fortune-teller with the gypsies, but I really respected her." We make such exceptions for those who came before us - exceptions that we would never make if the person was alive today! Let's call sin, "sin," even if it means throwing dust on the memories of our ancestors.

23:7 The Male Cult Prostitutes

The worship of Asherah involved despicable sexual practices, too immoral to expound upon. Under Josiah's reign, their gathering places for sin were not tolerated, they were torn down. If only we could see that kind of reform take place in the pornography and prostitution industries.

23:8-10 Defiling The High Places

You have seen recently in the news how policies are changed from one presidential administration to the next. The reforms which take place only seem to last as long as the term of the man in the White House.

Under the kings of Judah, it was no different. After one king tore down the high places, the next king oversaw their rebuilding. Something needed to happen that would rid the nation of them permanently. So, even after Josiah had torn them down (2Chron. 34:3), he attempted to keep them from ever being built again by defiling the areas. From GHEH-bah to Be-AYR SHEH-bah, Josiah defiled all of the high places where priests burned incense to the false gods. He did the same to TO-feth, "the place of fire," where people sacrificed their babies to Molech.

23:11-15 The Horses Of The Sun

Near the temple official Neth-AN MEH-lek's house were kept the horses and chariots which were part of the processionals for the worship of the sun god (the people thought that the god of the sun rode a chariot across the sky each day). Josiah had these destroyed, along with other places of idolatry that existed in Jerusalem.

23:16-20 The Prophet From Judah

You may recall the man from 1Kings 13 who came to Bayth-ALE after Jeroboam set up the two golden calves to keep people from worshipping in Jerusalem.

1Kgs. 13:1-2 Now behold, there came a man of God from Judah to Bethel by the word of the LORD, while Jeroboam was standing by the altar to burn incense. And he cried against the altar by the word of the LORD, and said, "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.'"

Now, Josiah is fulfilling this prophecy, unaware until he is told after the fact.

23:21-23 Celebrate The Passover

At first reading, it sounds like Passover hadn't been celebrated at all since the days of the judges. However, we do know that it was observed at least once since then, since 2Chronicles tells us that it was observed during the days of Hezekiah (2Chron. 30:13-27).

However, when that happened, it was not observed properly, for many of the people had not purified themselves. So, when the writer of Kings tells us that "such a Passover had not been celebrated from the days of the judges," we should understand that it means, "a Passover where everything was done in strict obedience to the Law."

23:24-25 Josiah's Greatness

These verses are a testimony to the greatness of Josiah. There was no one like him previously, and unfortunately, no one like him afterwards either.

23:26-27 The Lord Did Not Turn From Wrath

Although Josiah brought about many reforms, it was merely a spiritual hiccup in history. The people had been wicked during the days of King Manasseh his father, and would return to their evil ways after Josiah died. So the Lord did not turn from the judgment that was coming upon the nation.

23:28-30 The Death Of Josiah

Josiah died in battle against Egypt in the valley of Megiddo, and his son Yeh-ho-aw-KHAWZ became king in his place.

23:31-37 Jehoahaz

Josiah's wife Kham-oo-TAL was the mother of Yeh-ho-aw-KHAWZ. In spite of godly parental influence, he turned out to be a bad man.

He was imprisoned by Egypt's Pharaoh at Rib-LAW in Kham-AWTH, and ultimately put to death.

Pharaoh put Josiah's other son, El-yaw-KEEM, on the throne in his place and changed his name to Yeh-ho-yaw-KEEM. Unfortunately, he too was wicked, as were so many of the kings before him.

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