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2 Kings 23

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2 Kings 23

To use a modern slang term, Josiah was now ‘all fired up’. He knew what he had to do and went ahead with it, regardless of what the nation or the priests really thought. The king feared God rather than men. Do YOU fear God? If you do, you will know that God gives us very clear commands – do you follow them? If you do not, then you could very well draw God’s wrath upon yourself. This is what Josiah hoped to avoid... but, while God gave him, and only him, freedom from His wrath, God determined that His anger would indeed come upon Judah, and so the beginning of the end was nigh and reflected in Judah’s dying throes.

Those Christians who reject or fool around with God and His word should beware; His wrath WILL be poured upon all who think they can get away with it. You might think you have escaped to now – but God acts swiftly and decisively. Today, you are comfortable and enjoy your life. But, in the next few moments, your life could come crashing down, everything you ever worked for destroyed, and what you thought was a rosy future is dashed to the dirt. I know this to be personally true, and this is why I warn readers of a doom that WILL befall all believers who do not live holy lives.

Verses 1-3

  1. And the king sent, and they gathered unto him all the elders of Judah and of Jerusalem.

  2. And the king went up into the house of the LORD, and all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem with him, and the priests, and the prophets, and all the people, both small and great: and he read in their ears all the words of the book of the covenant which was found in the house of the LORD.

  3. And the king stood by a pillar, and made a covenant before the LORD, to walk after the LORD, and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all their heart and all their soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people stood to the covenant.

Josiah wanted to put things right, at least as far as he could. He called for the elders of the city and of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, to gather together in Jerusalem. The king walked from his palace to the Temple next door, in readiness; this was to be the start of days of momentous decisions, promises and actions, that would rock the entire kingdom.

The king stood by a pillar (symbolic in those days of speaking with authority on a weighty subject) and read to those assembled from the book of Moses, the Torah. The king then made a solemn promise to God, to keep and practice His word, as found in the Torah. This was a corporate promise on behalf of the nation of Judah and Benjamin. “And all the people stood to the covenant”. That is, they ‘took their stand’ alongside their king.

In the UK such a promise should be forthcoming from all God’s people, as the EU tries to seduce the people into staying chained to its fascist desires. Will Christians stand with God, or with the EU? We must also stand against supposed Islamic ‘refugees’, whose aims are to get rid of Christ and us. Will Christians make a stand against such tyranny and paganism that clearly harms them?

Verses 4-6

  1. And the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest, and the priests of the second order, and the keepers of the door, to bring forth out of the temple of the LORD all the vessels that were made for Baal, and for the grove, and for all the host of heaven: and he burned them without Jerusalem in the fields of Kidron, and carried the ashes of them unto Bethel.

  2. And he put down the idolatrous priests, whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense in the high places in the cities of Judah, and in the places round about Jerusalem; them also that burned incense unto Baal, to the sun, and to the moon, and to the planets, and to all the host of heaven.

  3. And he brought out the grove from the house of the LORD, without Jerusalem, unto the brook Kidron, and burned it at the brook Kidron, and stamped it small to powder, and cast the powder thereof upon the graves of the children of the people.

The king then ordered the high priest, his subordinate priests, and the guards who guarded the coffers at the door, to bring out every object made for the worship of Baal, including the grove erected in the Temple dedicated to created objects – sun, moon, stars. They were all taken to the valley alongside the river Kidron, just outside the city, where they were burnt to ashes. The ashes were then transported to Bethel, well away from the Temple, to the place of one of two golden calves.

The idolatrous priests of Baal and other gods were thrown out of the Temple, and out of all their usual worship places in the realm, for their presence was obnoxious. Their chief grove (Ashtaroth/Astarte, supposed wife of Baal) was taken from the Temple to Kidron, where it, too, was burnt. Groves tended to be natural trees, but in the Temple they were represented by poles set up near the altar. When fire had taken its toll, the ashes and materials left over were stamped down into powder, which was then shaken over the graves of people who had worshipped Baal. So, even though dead, their names were brought to naught. Christians today who do not live godly lives will be treated similarly, even if only after they die, so that their shame will never be forgotten.

Verses 7-9

  1. And he brake down the houses of the sodomites, that were by the house of the LORD, where the women wove hangings for the grove.

  2. And he brought all the priests out of the cities of Judah, and defiled the high places where the priests had burned incense, from Geba to Beersheba, and brake down the high places of the gates that were in the entering in of the gate of Joshua the governor of the city, which were on a man's left hand at the gate of the city.

  3. Nevertheless the priests of the high places came not up to the altar of the LORD in Jerusalem, but they did eat of the unleavened bread among their brethren.

Next to the temple were houses of filth and sexual degradation owned by sodomites/homosexuals. The sodomites, qadesh, were male temple prostitutes. Today, some, wanting to elevate homosexuality, say this proves the term ‘sodomite’ only applied to temple prostitutes. But, this is farcical… if these were temple prostitutes, WHO do you think used them? Yes – males from the general population who wanted to indulge in homosexual sex! These would have also visited other homosexuals in the community. Therefore, to limit the term to just a few temple prostitutes is rather ludicrous. The king had these houses dedicated to sexual perversity pulled down. They had also been used by women who made wall hangings for the main grove and others around the kingdom; in reality they were dedicated to death and Sheol. This is appropriate, for homosexuality is itself a death cult, its practitioners destined to hell by God.

Every city had groves built into tall towers inside the entrance gates. These were pulled down and destroyed, as was the main ‘high place’ inside the gates to Jerusalem, named after Josiah’s governor of Jerusalem. We are even told that this high place was to the left of the gate as you entered the city; this adds to the authenticity of the account. The pagan priests were thrown out of the cities, and made a point of not eating the Passover in Jerusalem; they stayed amongst their own home-town people. Thus, they did not make promises as did those who were called by Josiah to the Temple. It is probable that many of them were put to death for witchcraft and other occult practices. Josiah also destroyed high places built in former Israel, which now had no king.

Verses 10-15

  1. And he defiled Topheth, which is in the valley of the children of Hinnom, that no man might make his son or his daughter to pass through the fire to Molech.

  2. And he took away the horses that the kings of Judah had given to the sun, at the entering in of the house of the LORD, by the chamber of Nathanmelech the chamberlain, which was in the suburbs, and burned the chariots of the sun with fire.

  3. And the altars that were on the top of the upper chamber of Ahaz, which the kings of Judah had made, and the altars which Manasseh had made in the two courts of the house of the LORD, did the king beat down, and brake them down from thence, and cast the dust of them into the brook Kidron.

  4. And the high places that were before Jerusalem, which were on the right hand of the mount of corruption, which Solomon the king of Israel had builded for Ashtoreth the abomination of the Zidonians, and for Chemosh the abomination of the Moabites, and for Milcom the abomination of the children of Ammon, did the king defile.

  5. And he brake in pieces the images, and cut down the groves, and filled their places with the bones of men.

  6. Moreover the altar that was at Bethel, and the high place which Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, had made, both that altar and the high place he brake down, and burned the high place, and stamped it small to powder, and burned the grove.

Josiah was very busy in his task of removing godless groves and high places. He destroyed the place known as Topheth (‘place of fire’), just south of Jerusalem, in the valley of Hinnom. (‘a place to be spit upon’). This was infamous for burning children as sacrifices to Molech and was even known in the time of Jesus. So, Josiah made sure that others could not go there to make such evil sacrifices. It then became a place of burial, symbolic of death. We should not wonder that so many wicked parents today kill their own children; it is in the hearts of all who are wicked, for they follow Satan. This is why so many Muslims have little or no regard for their offspring.

Though it is absurd, previous kings of Judah had given fine horses to the false god of the sun! These were stabled close to the entrance to the outer Temple courtyard, next to the lord chamberlain’s office or large room, where he conducted business of state. The chariots pulled by the horses were destroyed by fire.

In the courtyards were altars built to the gods. These, too, were smashed up and crushed into dust, which was then thrown into the river Kidron. In my own life, when I have counselled people who have had occult dealings, I have insisted on the person utterly destroying everything used in his or her worship. Yet, how many Christians think it alright to have Buddha statues in their homes as ‘ornaments’? These are like magnets to demons, who will use them as ‘contact points’ of influence to reach into the souls of Christians, bringing them down.

On the right side of the “mount of corruption” built by Solomon in his latter days, were more high places for idol worship of several pagan gods. These, too, were torn down without ceremony and destroyed, along with all statues and objects of worship. The trees of the groves were cut down, and the area filled with bones of dead men. This is apt, because these gods were and are dead, just as Allah is dead (though, strictly speaking, they were never alive in the first place!). The altar built by Jeroboam to the false gods at Bethel was also destroyed. It seems that one of the golden calves had already gone, possibly given to victorious enemies to appease them.

Josiah pulled down, crushed, and destroyed with fire, all that was used in the worship of false gods. This should be our attitude today! But, Christians are so feeble they allow this kind of evil trade to be practiced in their presence. God knows! He has already judged.

Verses 16-19

  1. And as Josiah turned himself, he spied the sepulchres that were there in the mount, and sent, and took the bones out of the sepulchres, and burned them upon the altar, and polluted it, according to the word of the LORD which the man of God proclaimed, who proclaimed these words.

  2. Then he said, What title is that that I see? And the men of the city told him, It is the sepulchre of the man of God, which came from Judah, and proclaimed these things that thou hast done against the altar of Bethel.

  3. And he said, Let him alone; let no man move his bones. So they let his bones alone, with the bones of the prophet that came out of Samaria.

  4. And all the houses also of the high places that were in the cities of Samaria, which the kings of Israel had made to provoke the LORD to anger, Josiah took away, and did to them according to all the acts that he had done in Bethel.

All these activities took time to conduct, but it appears that Josiah was not just an onlooker. During a time of such destruction he looked around and saw graves in the mount. It is my guess that he was looking at the place where the Mount of Olives later stood, which, in part, to one side, was used to bury the dead. Josiah ordered that the bones of the dead, belonging to Jews who had worshipped idols in their lifetimes, be brought to Jerusalem to be burned on the altar.

The ‘man of God’ referred to, whose grave Josiah left intact, was the one who prophesied against the groves and was later killed by a lion. Josiah, then, removed all the high places, groves and temples in Samaria (old Israel) and Judah. This is the mark of a godly man. Do we have any today who will be just as strong?

Verses 20-23

  1. And he slew all the priests of the high places that were there upon the altars, and burned men's bones upon them, and returned to Jerusalem.

  2. And the king commanded all the people, saying, Keep the passover unto the LORD your God, as it is written in the book of this covenant.

  3. Surely there was not holden such a passover from the days of the judges that judged Israel, nor in all the days of the kings of Israel, nor of the kings of Judah;

  4. But in the eighteenth year of king Josiah, wherein this passover was holden to the LORD in Jerusalem.

The pagan priests in Samaria who thought they had escaped judgment were caught and put to death by Josiah, and their bodies were mingled with the bones of dead men, signifying the worthlessness of all they stood for. Josiah then returned to Jerusalem. There are times when God’s people are led to destroy and even kill wicked men, so that God’s name is not tainted by their presence.

We can see from verse 21 that the annual passover had not been kept for a very long time. Hence his reference to the book and the passover ceremonies it described. Josiah thus began again the passover, this first one bigger and more potent than any that had been kept before, to mark its new beginning. All these things occurred in the 18th year of Josiah’s reign – momentous days, swift in action, returning Judah to God.

Verses 24-28

  1. Moreover the workers with familiar spirits, and the wizards, and the images, and the idols, and all the abominations that were spied in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, did Josiah put away, that he might perform the words of the law which were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the house of the LORD.

  2. And like unto him was there no king before him, that turned to the LORD with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; neither after him arose there any like him.

  3. Notwithstanding the LORD turned not from the fierceness of his great wrath, wherewith his anger was kindled against Judah, because of all the provocations that Manasseh had provoked him withal.

  4. And the LORD said, I will remove Judah also out of my sight, as I have removed Israel, and will cast off this city Jerusalem which I have chosen, and the house of which I said, My name shall be there.

  5. Now the rest of the acts of Josiah, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?

Josiah did not rest. He gathered together all the witches, those with familiar spirits (demons that accompany humans, telling them what to do each day), wizards (necromancers who had familiar spirits and spoke to the dead), and everyone who practiced such evils, were “put away”. We can be assured that as Josiah had read the book he knew that such people must be put to death. No accusation can be made against Josiah, for he was doing what God demanded in the Torah. Though not exactly like David, he was loved by God for his faithfulness.

Josiah was spared from seeing the end of Judah, but the people of Judah were NOT spared, though they had now turned back to worship of the true and only God, Jehovah (at least outwardly). God said He would remove Judah just as He had removed Israel. He also warned that He would no longer protect the Temple. (See Chronicles for more). Modern believers should never presume that God will just ‘let sins go’, especially if the people harbour evil within their hearts, and only worship God superficially. Do not wonder at the rising persecution of Christians today!

Verses 29&30

  1. In his days Pharaohnechoh king of Egypt went up against the king of Assyria to the river Euphrates: and king Josiah went against him; and he slew him at Megiddo, when he had seen him.

  2. And his servants carried him in a chariot dead from Megiddo, and brought him to Jerusalem, and buried him in his own sepulchre. And the people of the land took Jehoahaz the son of Josiah, and anointed him, and made him king in his father's stead.

After all this, Pharaoh decided to attack the king of Babylon (here called the king of Assyria). The problem for Josiah was that his kingdom was on a direct path from Egypt to Babylon. So, he took his army to stop Pharaoh. Sadly, Josiah was killed in battle at Megiddo, and he was carried back to Jerusalem on his war chariot and buried. His son, Jehoahaz (‘Jehovah has seized’), was then made king, unfortunately for the nation, for he returned it to evil. This is a stark reminder that godliness and God’s favour are only on those who are presently holy, and cannot be assumed by others who follow later. Thus, a church is only as holy as its present members!

Verses 31-37

  1. Jehoahaz was twenty and three years old when he began to reign; and he reigned three months in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah.

  2. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his fathers had done.

  3. And Pharaohnechoh put him in bands at Riblah in the land of Hamath, that he might not reign in Jerusalem; and put the land to a tribute of an hundred talents of silver, and a talent of gold.

  4. And Pharaohnechoh made Eliakim the son of Josiah king in the room of Josiah his father, and turned his name to Jehoiakim, and took Jehoahaz away: and he came to Egypt, and died there.

  5. And Jehoiakim gave the silver and the gold to Pharaoh; but he taxed the land to give the money according to the commandment of Pharaoh: he exacted the silver and the gold of the people of the land, of every one according to his taxation, to give it unto Pharaohnechoh.

  6. Jehoiakim was twenty and five years old when he began to reign; and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Zebudah, the daughter of Pedaiah of Rumah.

  7. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his fathers had done.

Josiah’s 23 year old son only reigned for three months, returning the nation back to evil. He was taken captive by Pharaoh and kept in prison at Riblah. This was a town on the far east of old Israel’s border, on the trade route between ‘Palestine’ and Babylon. Pharaoh also demanded a tribute of 100 talents of silver and a talent of gold - literally a king’s ransom.

Jehoahaz was then replaced as king by his brother, Eliakim (‘God raises [up]’), and Pharaoh changed his name to Jehoiakim, who became a vassal king under Nebuchadnezzar for eleven years before being killed brutally. He began his reign at age 25, when his brother, Jehoahaz was taken to Egypt before dying there. It is as if God was showing his impatience with Judah before finishing it off for good.

The new puppet king gave Pharaoh the silver and gold and applied a heavy tax to Judah to replace it. Thus, the king did not lose any treasures at all.

This abysmal way of treating his subjects like dirt is not surprising, for he “did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord”, following in the wicked footsteps of many other kings of his lineage.

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Published on www.christiandoctrine.com

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