2 Kings 23:25
Neither before nor after Josiah was there any king like him, who turned to the LORD with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, according to all the Law of Moses.
Good Aims and Bad MethodsD. Thomas 2 Kings 23:1-25
A Revival of ReligionC. Leach, D. D.2 Kings 23:1-28
Good Aims and Bad MethodsDavid Thomas, D. D.2 Kings 23:1-28
The Reformation Completed, Yet Israel's Sin not PardonedJ. Orr 2 Kings 23:21-28
Josiah's ReformationJ. W. Mills, M. A.2 Kings 23:25-37

We have in these verses -


1. A seal of the covenant. This great year of reformation began with a covenant, and ended with a Passover. The ceremonies of the occasion are fully described in 2 Chronicles 35. The Passover in the Old Testament was in some respects very much what the Lord's Supper is in the New, It took the people back to the origin of their history, revived vivid memories of the deliverance from Egypt, and ratified their engagement to be the Lord's. It reminded of the past, set a seal upon the present, and gave a pledge for the future. The Christian sacrament seals God's promises to the believer, and, at the same time, seals the believer's covenant with God. It establishes, nourishes, and strengthens the life received in the new birth.

2. An historic celebration. "Surely there was not holden such a Passover from the days of the judges that judged Israel," etc. A true religious awakening shows itself

(1) in increased interest in God's ordinances;

(2) in stricter fidelity in observing them; and

(3) in joyful alacrity in taking advantage of them.


1. Cleansing away the concomitants of idolatry. Together with the idols, Josiah cleansed out of the land the tribes of wizards, necromancers, soothsayers, etc., who found their profit in the ignorance and superstition of the people. Where Bible religion returns, Sanity returns. The hideous specters begotten of fear and superstition vanish. Josiah further carefully eradicated any remaining traces of idol-worship that could be "spied."

2. Pre-eminent fidelity. In these deeds, and by his whole course as a reformer, Josiah earned for himself the distinction of being the most faithful king that had yet reigned. He and Hezekiah stand out pre-eminent the one for trust in God (2 Kings 18:5), the other for fidelity to the Law of Moses. "Like unto him was there no king before him," etc. Like gems, each of which has its special beauty and excels in its own kind, these two kings shine above all the rest. Only one character exhibits all spiritual excellences in perfection.


1. God's unappeased anger. "Notwithstanding the Lord turned not from the fierceness of his great wrath," etc. The sole reason of this was that, notwithstanding the zealous Josiah's reforms, the people had not in heart turned from their great sins. The spirit of Manasseh still lived in them. They were unchanged in heart, and, with favoring circumstances, were as ready to break out into idolatry as ever. The outward face of things was improved as regards religion, but social injustice and private morals were as bad as ever. Hence the Lord could not, and would not, turn from his wrath. It is real, not lip, repentance that God requires to turn away his auger from us. We see:

(1) The posthumous influence of evil. "One sinner destroyeth much good" (Ecclesiastes 9:18). Manasseh's deeds lived after him. His repentance could not recall the mischief they had done to the nation. They went working on after his decease, propagating and multiplying their influence, till the nation was destroyed.

(2) The righteousness of individuals cannot save an unrighteous people. Not even though these righteous persons are high in rank, are deeply concerned for the revival of religion, and labor with all their hearts to stem the tide of corruption. Their piety and prayers may delay judgment, but if impenitence is persisted in, they cannot finally avert it (cf. Jeremiah 15:1, "Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, yet my mind could not be toward this people").

2. God's unshaken purpose. "I will remove Judah also out of my sight," etc. Terrible is the severity of God when his forbearance is exhausted. Moral laws are inexorable. If the spiritual conditions, by which only a change could be effected, are wanting, they work on till the sinner is utterly destroyed. - J.O.

And like unto him there was no king before him.
This and the previous chapter show us the influence of a godly sovereign. This prince at the age of twenty-six begins to repair the house of God. This leads to the discovery of the long-lost book of the law. At once Josiah obeys its teaching. He consults Huldah, and receives the Lord's message. Finding himself exempted from vengeance on account of his repentance, he endeavours to lead his people to obtain the same exemption, and for this purpose institutes a thorough national reformation. This, we read, consisted of

(1)purifying the temple of idolatrous vessels;

(2)putting down all idolatrous teachers;

(3)defiling all idol altars throughout the land;

(4)keeping the Passover in a solemn manner. From this we may learn —

I. THAT PERSONAL REFORMATION SPRINGS FROM A KNOWLEDGE OF GOD'S WORD APPLIED TO THE HEART BY FAITH. It was this that influenced Josiah (Psalm 119:130). "The entrance of Thy word giveth light" (Acts 17:11, 12). "Therefore many believed."


1. Undoing old associations, by —(1) Looking sin in the face, and comparing ourselves with our pattern, by the light of God's written Word (Philippians 2:5, etc.).(2) Cleansing the temple of God (2 Corinthians 6:16) of all that defiles.(3) Giving up all people, practices, and places which tempt to sin; e.g. cards, novels, balls, etc.: let each conscience decide for itself.

2. Doing, by —(1) Entering into a solemn covenant with God to obey Him, etc.; confirmation.(2) Publicly, as well as privately, keeping His commandments and wishes; Holy Communion.


1. Comfort and peace to those who carry it out. For thirty years Josiah's reign was a peaceful and happy one to himself. So soul-reformation brings peace to the believer.

2. A blessing, though it may be only a temporary one, to those who, even outwardly, take part in it. The punishment pronounced upon the land was deferred (2 Kings 22:20) till after Josiah's death, and a believer brings blessings on those around him.

3. The fulfilment of God's word (ver. 16 and Isaiah 5:11). The Christian rejoices in the fulfilment of Matthew 11:28-30. But notice two warnings:

1. No personal reformation can be effected without the guidance and grace of the Holy Spirit (John 16:8, etc.; Zechariah 4:6).

2. Personal piety cannot stop national punishment (of. Zechariah 3:2). Josiah has a grand epitaph written over him (ver. 25) by the finger of God. May much be ours!

(J. W. Mills, M. A.)12

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