Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem one and thirty years.
2 Chronicles 34:1-3
I. The story of Josiah shows that a child may become a Christian very early in life. He was but fifteen years old when he is spoken of as "seeking the God of his father David."
That was the first that people knew of it. But probably he had been a prayerful boy long before that.
II. The narrative of this young king shows also that young persons may become Christians without the excitement of a revival. When Josiah began the reformation of his kingdom, he stood absolutely alone. He started the revival by being the first convert.
III. King Josiah's conversion shows that a young person may become a Christian just at the time when the pleasures of the world are most attractive.
IV. The story of Josiah shows that a child may be a Christian without being unmanly or unwomanly. Judah never had a more spirited and gallant prince. He put down the bad men of the realm right and left most valiantly. Not one of them dared to insult him.
V. The story of Josiah suggests also that one who becomes a Christian early in life is likely to become a better man than one who first lives through a career of sin.
VI. The story of Josiah suggests that the way for a young person to become a Christian is to make a business of doing right.
A. Phelps, The Old Testament a Living Book, p. 161.
Reference: 2 Chronicles 34:1-4.—Sermons for Boys and Girls, p. 338.
2 Chronicles 34:3Notice:—
I. When Josiah's religious life began. The text tells us it was "while he was yet young." As a mere boy, he evinced a beautiful character, and gave promise of a virtuous life. His religious life really began about his sixteenth year.
II. What was the complexion of Josiah's piety? There is something suggestive in the expression "He began to seek the God of David his father." (1) It is an unspeakable blessing to have been born in the line of a Christian parentage. (2) It is no dishonour to a young man to believe in the religion of his fathers. It is always a hopeful and promising sign of a young man's character that, without absolutely pinning himself down to the faith of his fathers, he treats that faith with the profoundest respect, and will not easily be persuaded to surrender it.
III. What was the practical outcome of Josiah's piety? His whole life was spent in setting things right throughout his kingdom. All his energy was devoted to promoting the happiness of his people and the glory of God.
J. Thain Davidson, Talks with Young Men, p. 203.
2 Chronicles 34:14, 2 Chronicles 34:20-21Consider what we should lose if we were to part with the Christian Scriptures and with all the institutions and blessings for which we are indebted to them.
I. In the loss of the Bible and its fruits, we should lose the knowledge of the true God. History proves this beyond reasonable dispute. God must speak, or man does not find Him. Mankind needs a book to keep alive in the earth the knowledge of a spiritual and personal God.
II. By the loss of the Scriptures and their results from the knowledge of mankind, we should lose sooner or later our institutions of benevolence. Benevolence on any large scale, and in the form of permanent institutions, and for all classes of mankind is a Biblical idea.
III. In the loss of the Bible and its fruits, we should sooner or later suffer the loss of our institutions for popular education. Culture has existed without a revelation from heaven. Schools are not the product of the Bible only. But it is beyond question that popular education is of Bible origin. Other than Christian religions build themselves on the ignorance of the masses.
IV. By the loss of the Scriptures and their creations, we should sooner or later part with our institutions of civil liberty. History shows that the great charter of freedom in the world is the word of God. The great free nations of the earth are the great Christian nations.
A. Phelps, The Old Testament a Living Book, p. 187.
References: 2 Chronicles 34:14-33.—Homiletic Magazine, vol. xiii., p. 295. 2 Chronicles 34:27.—I. Williams, Characters of the Old Testament, p. 244; Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xiii., No. 748. 2 Chronicles 35:2.—Ibid., vol. xxvi., No. 1513. 2 Chronicles 36:1-23.—Clergyman's Magazine, vol. v., p. 94. 2 Chronicles 36:12.—Preacher's Monthly, vol. ii., p. 265.
And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the ways of David his father, and declined neither to the right hand, nor to the left.
For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet young, he began to seek after the God of David his father: and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem from the high places, and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images.
And they brake down the altars of Baalim in his presence; and the images, that were on high above them, he cut down; and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images, he brake in pieces, and made dust of them, and strowed it upon the graves of them that had sacrificed unto them.
And he burnt the bones of the priests upon their altars, and cleansed Judah and Jerusalem.
And so did he in the cities of Manasseh, and Ephraim, and Simeon, even unto Naphtali, with their mattocks round about.
And when he had broken down the altars and the groves, and had beaten the graven images into powder, and cut down all the idols throughout all the land of Israel, he returned to Jerusalem.
Now in the eighteenth year of his reign, when he had purged the land, and the house, he sent Shaphan the son of Azaliah, and Maaseiah the governor of the city, and Joah the son of Joahaz the recorder, to repair the house of the LORD his God.
And when they came to Hilkiah the high priest, they delivered the money that was brought into the house of God, which the Levites that kept the doors had gathered of the hand of Manasseh and Ephraim, and of all the remnant of Israel, and of all Judah and Benjamin; and they returned to Jerusalem.
And they put it in the hand of the workmen that had the oversight of the house of the LORD, and they gave it to the workmen that wrought in the house of the LORD, to repair and amend the house:
Even to the artificers and builders gave they it, to buy hewn stone, and timber for couplings, and to floor the houses which the kings of Judah had destroyed.
And the men did the work faithfully: and the overseers of them were Jahath and Obadiah, the Levites, of the sons of Merari; and Zechariah and Meshullam, of the sons of the Kohathites, to set it forward; and other of the Levites, all that could skill of instruments of musick.
Also they were over the bearers of burdens, and were overseers of all that wrought the work in any manner of service: and of the Levites there were scribes, and officers, and porters.
And when they brought out the money that was brought into the house of the LORD, Hilkiah the priest found a book of the law of the LORD given by Moses.
And Hilkiah answered and said to Shaphan the scribe, I have found the book of the law in the house of the LORD. And Hilkiah delivered the book to Shaphan.
And Shaphan carried the book to the king, and brought the king word back again, saying, All that was committed to thy servants, they do it.
And they have gathered together the money that was found in the house of the LORD, and have delivered it into the hand of the overseers, and to the hand of the workmen.
Then Shaphan the scribe told the king, saying, Hilkiah the priest hath given me a book. And Shaphan read it before the king.
And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the law, that he rent his clothes.
And the king commanded Hilkiah, and Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Abdon the son of Micah, and Shaphan the scribe, and Asaiah a servant of the king's, saying,
Go, inquire of the LORD for me, and for them that are left in Israel and in Judah, concerning the words of the book that is found: for great is the wrath of the LORD that is poured out upon us, because our fathers have not kept the word of the LORD, to do after all that is written in this book.
And Hilkiah, and they that the king had appointed, went to Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tikvath, the son of Hasrah, keeper of the wardrobe; (now she dwelt in Jerusalem in the college:) and they spake to her to that effect.
And she answered them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Tell ye the man that sent you to me,
Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, and upon the inhabitants thereof, even all the curses that are written in the book which they have read before the king of Judah:
Because they have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, that they might provoke me to anger with all the works of their hands; therefore my wrath shall be poured out upon this place, and shall not be quenched.
And as for the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the LORD, so shall ye say unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel concerning the words which thou hast heard;
Because thine heart was tender, and thou didst humble thyself before God, when thou heardest his words against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, and humbledst thyself before me, and didst rend thy clothes, and weep before me; I have even heard thee also, saith the LORD.
Behold, I will gather thee to thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered to thy grave in peace, neither shall thine eyes see all the evil that I will bring upon this place, and upon the inhabitants of the same. So they brought the king word again.
Then the king sent and gathered together all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem.
And the king went up into the house of the LORD, and all the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and the priests, and the Levites, and all the people, great and small: and he read in their ears all the words of the book of the covenant that was found in the house of the LORD.
And the king stood in his place, 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 his heart, and with all his soul, to perform the words of the covenant which are written in this book.
And he caused all that were present in Jerusalem and Benjamin to stand to it. And the inhabitants of Jerusalem did according to the covenant of God, the God of their fathers.
And Josiah took away all the abominations out of all the countries that pertained to the children of Israel, and made all that were present in Israel to serve, even to serve the LORD their God. And all his days they departed not from following the LORD, the God of their fathers.