August 2 – Josiah’s Sweeping Reforms


  • 2 Kings 22:3-7; 2 Chron. 34:8-13
  • 2 Kings 22:8; 2 Chron. 34:14-15
  • 2 Chron. 34:16-32
  • 2 Kings 23:4-14, 24; 2 Chron. 34:33
  • 2 Kings 23:15-20
  • 2 Chron. 35:1-19, 26-27


King Josiah is fully committed to the LORD. In the 18th year of his reign he repaired the temple, during which some workers found a copy of the Law of Moses. Josiah’s secretary read him the Law and, upon hearing it, Josiah tore his robes because the Israelites had broken all of what GOD had said. Josiah read the punishments which would come upon the people for disobeying GOD and he knew that those things had been occurring. He was afraid, so he sent messengers to see a prophetess, Huldah, to inquire of GOD.

GOD told Josiah that He was going to destroy the people of Judah and fulfill His word because of all the sin they had committed, however, because of Josiah’s humility and desire to obey GOD, He would not destroy Jerusalem in Josiah’s lifetime. Josiah then called all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem together along with all the people, and he had the Law read to them. He then had the people pledge to obey the Law, which they did.

Afterward, Josiah went around and thoroughly cleansed all the land of idols. He removed the pagan priests, tore down the shrines, got rid of the spiritists and mediums, household idols, and everything else that was detestable throughout the land. Josiah even went to Bethel in Samaria and destroyed the altars setup by Jeroboam, the first king of the northern tribes of Israel. He dug up the tombs of those who had been buried upon the hillside there and burned them upon the altar to defile it.

After these things, Josiah called all the people together to observe the Passover as the Law prescribed. He followed the Law’s instructions completely regarding the Passover. In fact, GOD says:

18 There had been no Passover kept in Israel like that since the days of Samuel the prophet; and none of the kings of Israel had kept such a Passover as Josiah kept, with the priests and the Levites, all Judah and Israel who were present, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
(2 Chron. 35:18 NKJV)

Josiah did all of these things within one year—during the 18th year of his reign! He was devoted and busy carrying out the necessary changes within the land. This must truly have pleased GOD. Despite all of these changes for good, GOD remained set upon destroying Jerusalem to purge His people of the evil that had been done, and would be done again shortly, after Josiah’s death. This is a reminder to us that sometimes sin sets in motion consequences which cannot (or will not) be undone despite a return to GOD. Yet even in this, GOD remains merciful to those who humble themselves before him as Josiah did, and repent of wickedness as Manasseh had done.


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