“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”

(See 2 Kings 23:1–30.)

Dr. Ellis T. Rasmussen wrote:

“With administrative skill, King Josiah launched a great reform involving all the people and the leaders. He led out by teaching them about their covenants with God and renewing them. He caused all the idolatrous facilities to be destroyed, including the infamous altar at Beth-el set up by the first king of northern Israel—thus fulfilling a prophecy about it (2 Kgs. 23:15; 1 Kgs. 12:25–29; 13:1–2). Yet in burning the bones of former idolatrous priests of the place, he identified and honored the bones of a man of God (1 Kgs. 13:23–32). In that same eventful year the Passover was celebrated as it had not been celebrated for centuries (2 Kgs. 23:22–23). Finally, the spiritualists and their abominations were put away, and the land was cleansed for the first time in centuries. But the pendulum swinging from evil kings to good kings had not stopped. The Lord knew that Judah would revert to evil after Josiah’s death and be destroyed because of it (2 Kgs. 23:26-27).

“It is tragic that the zealous Josiah lost his life in a vain attempt at intervention in international affairs. Perhaps he feared the rise of Egypt more than he feared the decadent Assyria against whom the king of Egypt was going to fight. As it turned out, Assyria was overthrown and Nineveh conquered by Babylon three years after Josiah’s death [Bible Dictionary, “Chronology”].

“The death of young Josiah after thirty-one years of remarkable action must have been a bitter disappointment for the righteous people in Judah. It may well have hastened the resurgence of unrighteous forces that dominated the last two decades of that nation. Quite understandably, the prophet Jeremiah lamented the death of the righteous King Josiah (2 Kgs. 23:29–30; 2 Chr. 35:24–25).”

(A Latter-day Saint Commentary on the Old Testament [1993], 322–23.)

 

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