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King of Judah
Josiah listening to the reading of the law by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld
Born c. 648 BC
Birthplace probably Jerusalem
Died Tammuz (June/July) 609 BC
Place of death Jerusalem
Predecessor Amon
Successor Jehoahaz
Consort Zebidah, Hamutal
Offspring Johanan, Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Zedekiah
Royal House House of David
Father Amon
Mother Jedidah

Josiah or Yoshiyahu (Hebrew: יֹאשִׁיָּהוּ, Modern Yošiyyáhu Tiberian Yôšiyyāhû, "supported of Yahweh (YHWH)"; Greek: Ιωσιας; Latin: Josias; in English pronounced /dʒɵˈzaɪ.ə/[1]) (c. 649–609 BC) was a king of Judah (641–609 BC) who instituted major reforms. Josiah is credited by some historians with having established or discovered important Jewish scriptures during the Deuteronomic reform that occurred during his rule.

Josiah became king of Judah at the age of eight, after the assassination of his father, King Amon, and reigned for thirty-one years,[2] from 641/640 to 610/609 BC.[3]

He is also one of the kings mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew.



Kings of Judah


Josiah was the son of King Amon and Jedidah, the daughter of Adaiah of Bozkath. His grandfather Manasseh was one of the kings blamed for turning away from the worship of YHWH. Manasseh adapted the Temple for idolatrous worship. Josiah's great-grandfather was King Hezekiah who was a noted reformer.

Josiah had four sons: Johanan, Eliakim (born c. 634 BC) by Zebidah the daughter of Pedaiah of Rumah, Mattanyahu (c. 618 BC) and Shallum (633/632 BC) both by Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah. [4]

Shallum succeeded Josiah as king of Judah, under the name Jehoahaz.[5] Shallum was succeeded by Eliakim, under the name Jehoiakim [6], who was succeeded by his own son Jeconiah [7]; then Jeconiah was succeeded to the throne by Mattanyahu, under the name Zedekiah. [8] Zedekiah was the last king of Judah before the kingdom was conquered by Babylon and the people exiled.

Religious reforms

Closer view of the inner court and House of the Temple of Solomon (house of the Lord) as depicted in a 3-D computer model.
A sketch of the Temple of Solomon (house of the Lord) based on descriptions in the Tanakh.
View of the Temple of Solomon (house of the Lord) with ceiling removed as depicted in a 3-D computer model.

In the eighteenth year of his rule, Josiah ordered the High Priest Hilkiah to use the tax money which had been collected over the years to renovate the temple. It was during this time that Hilkiah discovered the Book of the Law. While Hilkiah was clearing the treasure room of the Temple [9] he found a scroll described as "the book of the Law" [10] or as "the book of the law of YHVH by the hand of Moses" [9]. The phrase "the book of the Torah" (ספר התורה) in 2 Kings 22:8 is identical to the phrase used in Joshua 1:8 and 8:34 to describe the sacred writings that Joshua had received from Moses. The book is not identified in the text as the Torah and many scholars believe this was either a copy of the Book of Deuteronomy or a text that became a part of Deuteronomy as we have it per De Wette's suggestion in 1805.

Hilkiah brought this scroll to Josiah's attention, and the king ordered it read to a crowd in Jerusalem. He is praised for this piety by the prophetess Huldah, who made the prophecy that all involved would die without having to see God's judgment on Judah for the sins they had committed in prior generations. [11] ; [12]

Josiah encouraged the exclusive worship of Yahweh and outlawed all other forms of worship.2 Kings 23 Josiah destroyed the living quarters for male cult prostitutes which were in the Temple,[13] and also destroyed pagan objects related to the worship of Baal, Asherah), "and all the hosts of the heavens". Josiah had living pagan priests executed and even had the bones of the dead priests of Bethel exhumed from their graves and burned on their altars, which was viewed as an extreme act of desecration. Josiah also reinstituted the Passover celebrations. (2 Kings 23:4-15)

According to 1 Kings 13:1-3 an unnamed "man of God" had prophesied to King Jeroboam of Israel, approximately three hundred years earlier, that "a son named Josiah will be born to the house of David" and that he would destroy the altar at Bethel. And the only exception to this destruction was for the grave of an unnamed prophet he found in Bethel (2 Kings 23:15-19), who had foretold that these religious sites Jeroboam erected would one day be destroyed (see 1 Kings 13).

According to the later account in 2 Chronicles, Josiah even destroyed altars and images of pagan deities in cities of the tribes of Manasseh, Ephraim, "and Simeon, as far as Naphtali" (2 Chronicles 34:6-7), which were outside of his kingdom, Judah, and returned the Ark of the Covenant to the Temple.[14] (see List of Artifacts Significant to the Bible).

Foreign relations

Pharaoh Necho II

When Josiah became king of Judah in about 641/640 BC, the international situation was in flux. To the east, the Assyrian Empire was beginning to disintegrate, the Babylonian Empire had not yet risen to replace it, and Egypt to the west was still recovering from Assyrian rule. In this power vacuum, Jerusalem was able to govern itself for the time being without foreign intervention.

In the spring of 609 BC, Pharaoh Necho II personally led a sizable army up to the Euphrates River to aid the Assyrians.[1][2] Taking the coast route Via Maris into Syria at the head of a large army, consisting mainly of his mercenaries, and supported by his Mediterranean fleet along the shore, Necho passed the low tracts of Philistia and Sharon. However, the passage over the ridge of hills which shuts in on the south of the great Jezreel Valley was blocked by the Judean army led by Josiah, who may have considered that the Assyrians and Egyptians were weakened by the death of the pharaoh Psamtik I only a year earlier (610 BC), who had been appointed and confirmed by Assyrian kings Esarhaddon and Assurbanipal.[3] Josiah attempted to block the advance at Megiddo, where the fierce battle was fought and where Josiah was killed. (2 Kings 23:29, 2 Chronicles 35:20-24) Necho then joined forces with the Assyrian Ashur-uballit II and together they crossed the Euphrates and lay siege to Harran. The combined forces failed to capture the city, and Necho retreated back to northern Syria.


There are two accounts of Josiah's death in the Bible. The Book of Kings merely states that Necho II met Josiah at Megiddo and killed him. (2 Kings 23:29) The Book of 2 Chronicles 35:20-27 gives a lengthier account and states that Josiah was fatally wounded by Egyptian archers and was brought back to Jerusalem to die. His death was a result of "not listen[ing] to what Necho had said at God's command..." when Necho stated:

"What quarrel is there between you and me, O king of Judah? It is not you I am attacking at this time, but the house with which I am at war. God has told me to hurry; so stop opposing God, who is with me, or he will destroy you." (NIV)

Josiah did not heed this warning and by both accounts his death was caused by meeting Necho at Megiddo. According to 2 Chronicles 35:25, Jeremiah wrote a lament for Josiah's passing.

After the setback in Harran, Necho left a sizable force behind, and returned to Egypt. On his return march, Necho found that Jehoahaz had been selected to succeed his father, Josiah. (2 Kings 23:31) Necho deposed Jehoahaz, who had been king for only three months, and replaced him with his older brother, Jehoiakim. Necho imposed on Judah a levy of a hundred talents of silver (about 3 3/4 tons or about 3.4 metric tons) and a talent of gold (about 75 pounds or about 34 kilograms). Necho then took Jehoahaz back to Egypt as his prisoner, (2 Chronicles 36:1-4) never to return.

Necho had left Egypt in 609 BC for two reasons: one was to relieve the Babylonian siege of Harran, and the other was to help the king of Assyria, who was defeated by the Babylonians at Carchemish. Josiah's actions suggest that he was aiding the Babylonians by engaging the Egyptian army.

The Book of the Law

The Biblical text states that the priest Hilkiah found a scroll called "the Book of the Torah" in the temple during the early stages of Josiah's temple renovation, possibly in a type of Genizah. Among biblical scholars this has been generally accepted to be the Book of Deuteronomy. Most recent biblical scholarship, nevertheless, sees it as largely legendary narrative about one of the earliest stages of creation of deuteronomistic work. According to this legend Hilkiah gave the scroll to his secretary Shaphan who took it to king Josiah. Historical-critical biblical scholarship generally accept that this scroll - an early predecessor of the Torah was written by the priests driven by ideological interest to centralize power under Josiah in Jerusalem Temple, and that the core narrative from Joshua to 2 Kings up to Josiah's reign comprise a "Deuteronomistic History" (DtrH) written during Josiah's reign [15]. On the other hand more recent European biblical scholarship posits that most of the Torah and Deuteronomistic History was composed and its form finalized during Persian period several centuries later.[16] [17]


The chief sources of information for Josiah's reign are 2 Kings 22-23 and 2 Chronicles 34-35. Considerable archaeological evidence exists, including a number of "scroll-style" stamps which date to his reign.

The date of Josiah's death can fairly well be established. The Babylonian Chronicle dates the battle at Harran between the Assyrians and their Egyptian allies against the Babylonians from Tammuz (July-August) to Elul (August-September) 609 BC. On that basis, Josiah was killed in the month of Tammuz (July-August) 609 BC, when the Egyptians were on their way to Harran.[18]

See also

Preceded by
King of Judah
641-610 BC
(died Tammuz=Jul-Aug, 609 BC)
Succeeded by


  1. ^ Wells, John C. (1990). Longman pronunciation dictionary. Harlow, England: Longman. p. 386. ISBN 0582053838.  entry "Josiah"
  2. ^ 2 Kings 22:1, 21:23-26, 21:26
  3. ^ Edwin Thiele, The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings, (1st ed.; New York: Macmillan, 1951; 2d ed.; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1965; 3rd ed.; Grand Rapids: Zondervan/Kregel, 1983). ISBN 082543825X, 9780825438257, 217.
  4. ^ 1 Chronicles 3:15, 2 Kings 23:36, 24:18, 23:31
  5. ^ 1 Chronicles 3:15, Jeremiah 22:11
  6. ^ 2 Chronicles 36:4
  7. ^ 2 Chronicles 36:8
  8. ^ 24:17&verse=NIV&src=! 2 Kings 24:17 NIV
  9. ^ a b (2 Chronicles 34:14)
  10. ^ (2 Kings 22:8)
  11. ^ (2 Kings 22:14-20
  12. ^ 2 Chronicles 34:22-28)
  13. ^ 2 Kings 22:1, 21:23-26, 23:7
  14. ^ 2 Chronicles 35:1-4)
  15. ^ Friedman 1987, Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman: The Bible Unearthed; Archeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of its Sacred Texts, Touchstone, New York, 2002
  16. ^ Peter Frei and Klaus Koch: Reichsidee und Reichsorganisation im Perserreich, Freibourg/Göttingen 1984
  17. ^ Konrad Schmid, The Persian Imperial Authorization as a Historical Problem and as a Biblical Construct,in G.N.Knoppers and B.M.Levison(eds.): The Pentateuch as Torah, New Models for Understanding its Promulgation and Acceptance, Eisenbrauns 2007
  18. ^ Thiele, Mysterious Numbers 182, 184-185.

External links

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

JOSIAH (Heb. yo' shiyyahu, perhaps "Yah [well] supports"), in the Bible, the grandson of Manasseh, and king of Judah. He came to the throne at the age of eight, after the murder of his predecessor Amon. The circumstances of his minority are not recorded, nor is anything related of the Scythian inroads which occurred in the latter half of the 7th century B.C., although some passages in the books of Jeremiah and Zephaniah are supposed to refer to the events. The storm which shook the external states was favourable to the peace of Judah; the Assyrian power was practically broken, and that of the Chaldeans had scarcely developed into an aggressive form. Samaria thus lay within the grasp of Josiah, who may have entertained hopes of forming an independent power of his own. Otherwise, it is not clear why we find him opposing himself to the Egyptian king Necho, since the assumption that he fought as an Assyrian vassal scarcely agrees with the profound reforming policy ascribed to him. At all events, at the battle of Megiddo he lost both his kingdom and his life (608 B.C.), and for a few years Judah was in the hands of Egypt (2 Kings xxiii. 29 seq.). The chronicler gives a rather different account of the battle, and his allusion to the dirge uttered by Jeremiah over his death (2 Chron. xxxv. 20-25; I Esd. i. 32) represents the tradition which makes this prophet the author of the book of Lamentations.

The reign of Josiah is important for the biblical account of the great religious reforms which began in his eighteenth year, when he manifested interest in the repair of the Temple at Jerusalem. In the course of this work the high priest Hilkiah discovered a "law-book" which gave rise to the liveliest concern. The reasons for believing that this roll was substantially identical with the book of Deuteronomy were already appreciated by Jerome, Chrysostom, Theodoret and others,' and a careful examination shows that the character of the reformation which followed agrees in all its essential features with the prescriptions and exhortations of that book. (See DEUTERONOMY.) But the detailed records in 2 Kings xxii. seq. are evidently written under the influence of the reforms themselves, and are not contemporary (see KINGS, BOOK OF). They are further :expanded, to agree with still later ideals, in 2 Chron. xxxiv. seq. The original roll was short enough to be read at least twice in a day (xxii. 8, io), and hence only some portions of Deuteronomy (or of an allied production) may be intended. Although the character of the reforms throws remarkable light upon the condition of religion in Judah in the time of Josiah, it is to be observed that the writings of the contemporary prophets (Jeremiah, Ezekiel) make it very questionable whether the narratives are thoroughly trustworthy for the history of the king's measures. (See further JEWS, § 16.) (S. A. C.)

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary




Hebrew יאשׁיּהוּ from אשויה and יה "founded of Yahweh".

Proper noun




  1. (Biblical) A king of Judah.
  2. A male given name.


  • 1611, King James Version of the Bible (Authorized Version), 2 Chronicles 34:1-2:
    Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem one and thirty years. 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.
  • 1854 Charles Dickens, Hard Times, Book I, Chapter XV:
    "Whatever I am to call him, Mr. Gradgrind, when he is married to Louisa! I must call him something. - - - I cannot call him Josiah, for the name is insupportable to me. You yourself wouldn't hear of Joe, you very well know. Am I to call my son-in-law, Mister?

Related terms


Bible wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010
(Redirected to Josiah (King of Judah) article)

From BibleWiki

Kings of Judah

Meaning: healed by Jehovah, or Jehovah will support.

The son of Amon, and his successor as King of Judah (2Kg 22:1; 2Chr 34:1). His history is contained in 2 Kings 22, 23. He stands foremost among all the kings of the line of David for unswerving loyalty to Jehovah (2Kg 23:25). He "did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in all the way of David his father." He ascended the throne at the early age of eight years, and it appears that not till eight years afterwards did he begin "to seek after the God of David his father." At that age he devoted himself to God. He distinguished himself by beginning a war of extermination against the prevailing idolatry, which had practically been the state religion for some seventy years (2Chr 34:3; comp. Jer 25:3, Jer 25:11, Jer 25:29).

In the eighteenth year of his reign he proceeded to repair and beautify the temple, which by time and violence had become sorely dilapidated (2Kg 22:3ff; 2Kg 23:23; 2Chr 34:11). While this work was being carried on, Hilkiah, the high priest, discovered a roll, which was probably the original copy of the law, the entire Pentateuch.

When this book was read to him, the king was alarmed by the things it contained, and sent for Huldah, the "prophetess," for her counsel. She spoke to him words of encouragement, telling him that he would be gathered to his fathers in peace before the threatened days of judgment came. Josiah immediately gathered the people together, and engaged them in a renewal of their ancient national covenant with God. The Passover was then celebrated, as in the days of his great predecessor, Hezekiah, with unusual magnificence. Nevertheless, "the Lord turned not from the fierceness of his great wrath wherewith his anger was kindled against Judah" (2Kg 22:3ff; 2Kg 23:21ff; 2Chr 35:1ff). During the progress of this great religious revolution Jeremiah helped it on by his earnest exhortations.

Soon after this, Pharaoh-Necho II., king of Egypt, in an expedition against the king of Assyria, with the view of gaining possession of Carchemish, sought a passage through the territory of Judah for his army. This Josiah refused to permit. He had probably entered into some new alliance with the king of Assyria, and faithful to his word he sought to oppose the progress of Necho.

The army of Judah went out and encountered that of Egypt at Megiddo, on the verge of the plain of Esdraelon. Josiah went into the field in disguise, and was fatally wounded by a random arrow. His attendants conveyed him toward Jerusalem, but had only reached Hadadrimmon, a few miles south of Megiddo, when he died (2Kg 23:28ff; comp. 2Chr 35:20ff), after a reign of thirty-one years. He was buried with the greatest honours in fulfilment of Huldah's prophecy (2Kg 22:20; comp. Jer 34:5). Jeremiah composed a funeral elegy on this the best of the kings of Israel (Lam 4:20; 2Chr 35:25). The outburst of national grief on account of his death became proverbial (Zech 12:11; comp. Rev 16:16).

Ruled from 640/39 to 609.

This entry includes text from Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897.

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Simple English

Josiah was a child king of Judah. He was born around 648 BC. Josiah started his rule as king at the age of 8 when his father, Amon, died. Josiah was thought of as a good king. He following in the steps of his ancestor King David.

Josiah ruled for 31 years in Jerusalem and died in 609 BC. He was killed by King Necho of Egypt while Josiah was helping the king of Assyria fight off the attacks of the Egyptian. Josiah's son Jehoahaz became the new King of Judah.

Other websites

Josiah was the most bestest gooder person in the world, becauses he great and nice

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