But in the eighteenth year of the rule of King Josiah this very Passover was celebrated to God in Jerusalem.
Josiah scrubbed the place clean and trashed spirit-mediums, sorcerers, domestic gods, and carved figures - all the vast accumulation of foul and obscene relics and images on display everywhere you looked in Judah and Jerusalem. Josiah did this in obedience to the words of God's Revelation written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in The Temple of God.
There was no king to compare with Josiah - neither before nor after - a king who turned in total and repentant obedience to God, heart and mind and strength, following the instructions revealed to and written by Moses. The world would never again see a king like Josiah.
But despite Josiah, God's hot anger did not cool; the raging anger ignited by Manasseh burned unchecked.
And God, not swerving in his judgment, gave sentence: "I'll remove Judah from my presence in the same way I removed Israel. I'll turn my back on this city, Jerusalem, that I chose, and even from this Temple of which I said, 'My Name lives here.'"
The rest of the life and times of Josiah is written in The Chronicles of the Kings of Judah.
Josiah's death came about when Pharaoh Neco king of Egypt marched out to join forces with the king of Assyria at the Euphrates River. When King Josiah intercepted him at the Plain of Megiddo, Neco killed him.
Josiah's servants took his body in a chariot, returned him to Jerusalem, and buried him in his own tomb. By popular choice Jehoahaz son of Josiah was anointed and succeeded his father as king.
Jehoahaz was twenty-three years old when he began to rule. He was king in Jerusalem for a mere three months. His mother's name was Hamutal daughter of Jeremiah. She came from Libnah.
In God's opinion, he was an evil king, reverting to the evil ways of his ancestors.
Pharaoh Neco captured Jehoahaz at Riblah in the country of Hamath and put him in chains, preventing him from ruling in Jerusalem. He demanded that Judah pay tribute of nearly four tons of silver and seventy-five pounds of gold.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)