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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible


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JOSIAH. 1. King of Judah, who succeeded his father Amon when only eight years old ( 2 Kings 22:1 ). The religious condition of the people, which was bad under Amon, continued without essential improvement, so far as we know, until the eighteenth year of Josiah. The sudden change then made resulted from the finding of the Book of Instruction in the Temple ( 2 Kings 22:8 ff.); but it is possible that the minds of king and people were prepared for it by the Scythian invasion. The demand of the book for a thorough reformation powerfully affected the king and his officers. The book was read publicly, and king and people entered into a solemn covenant to act according to its injunctions. Its central demand was the removal of all altars in the country except the one at Jerusalem. This was henceforth to be the only sanctuary in Judah. The carrying out of this programme is related in detail, and we learn that the conclusion of the work was marked by the celebration of the Passover in a new manner and with unusual solemnity ( 2 Kings 23:21 ff.).

Josiah’s reign was characterized by justice, as we learn from Jeremiah, but we know no more of it until the end of the king’s life. The Assyrian empire was tottering to its fall, and Pharaoh-necho thought to seize the provinces nearest him and attach them to Egypt. He therefore invaded Palestine with an army. Josiah was ill-advised enough to attempt resistance. In the battle which ensued he was slain (2 Kings 23:29 ). His motive in undertaking this expedition has been much discussed. Probably he hoped to restore the real independence of Judah. That he was beloved by his people is indicated by their deep and long-continued mourning.

2. Son of Zephaniah ( Zechariah 6:10 ).

H. P. Smith.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Josiah'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. 1909.

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