THE KING STOOD BY THE PILLAR: It seems that it was
traditional for the king to stand by a pillar -- perhaps as a security measure
against attack: 2Ki 11:14.
ALL HIS HEART AND ALL HIS SOUL: "We shall not be
judged, at the judgment seat of Christ, for how much we know, or how much we
have done. But we shall be judged for how much effort and interest and desire we
have put into knowing, and how faithfully and wholeheartedly we have tried to
do. The widow's mite is equal to the rich man's abundance. The mite's value lay
in the fact that it was her all. So it must be with us. Anything less than our
all is a mockery and a dishonouring of God, Who freely and lovingly promises us
all. But how few really respond with all their heart! They are His jewels among
the common clay; today unknown, tomorrow, resplendent forever" (GVG).
"Most apparent contradictions are easily resolved by a careful
reading of the passages in question in their contexts, and by clearly defining
what is, and what is not, said. For example, it is written of both Hezekiah and
Josiah that 'after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any
that were before him' (2Ki 18:5; 23:25). As these statements read, they appear
contradictory until it is noted in what respect 'after him was none like him...
nor any that were before him.' It will be seen that Hezekiah was commended
because he trusted, and Josiah because he turned to the LORD. Since mutually
exclusive statements are not made, the two statements are not contradictory. The
problem is resolved by merely noting precisely what the records do say" (WS
238). (2) Or, none like Josiah, except for David, the standard by which all
other kings were judged: ie 1Ki 11:33,38; 14:8.
TO HELP THE KING OF ASSYRIA: Not "against the king of
Assyria" (as in KJV), unless by this is meant the king of Babylon, who had
recently begun the conquest of Assyria (see Lesson, Babylon = Assyria).
"Josiah's death at Megiddo can be attributed to his part in
the complex international events of the last quarter of the seventh century BC.
With the death of Ashurbanipal in 626, the already decaying Neo-Assyrian Empire
began to crumble quickly away. By 625 the Chaldean king Nabopolassar had been
able to achieve independence for Babylon. From that point onward throughout the
course of the next two decades, the Assyrian territory was systematically
reduced, esp as Nabopolassar found common cause against Assyria, first with the
Medes (616) and later with the Scythians. In 614 the time-honored capital of
Assyria, Asshur, fell to the Medes. In 612 Nineveh itself fell to the coalition
of Chaldeans, Medes, and Scythians, the surviving Assyrian forces under
Ashuruballit fleeing to Haran.
"In those critical times concerned with the rising power of
the new Mesopotamian coalition, Egypt's Twenty-Sixth Dynasty Pharaoh, Neco,
honored the previous diplomatic ties with Assyria. As Neco's predecessor,
Psammetik I, had come to the aid of Assyria in 616 BC, so Neco moved to join the
surviving Assyrian forces under Ashuruballit. It was to prevent this movement of
Egyptian aid that Josiah deployed his forces in the Valley of Megiddo in 609.
That action cost Josiah his life, though it did delay the Egyptian forces from
linking with their Assyrian allies before Haran fell to the Chaldeans and Medes.
A subsequent attempt to retake Haran failed completely; and the best Egypt could
give the doomed Assyrians was a four-year standoff, the opposing armies facing
each other at Carchemish, on the western Euphrates.
"The Chronicler (2Ch 35:20-25) reports that Josiah had refused
Neco's attempts to avoid the affair at Megiddo and rather, having disguised
himself, had personally fought against the Egyptians until he was mortally
wounded. At that point Josiah was rushed back to Jerusalem where he was buried
in his own tomb. Quite understandably he was lamented by all the people,
including the prophet Jeremiah. Thus passed one of God's choicest saints and one
of Judah's finest kings. Josiah's determined action had brought about his tragic
death, but he was thereby spared the greater tragedy of seeing the ultimate
death of his nation a scant twenty-three years later" (EBC).
"The righteous perish, and no one ponders it in his heart;
devout men are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken
away to be spared from evil" (Isa 57:1).
2Ki 23:31--25:30: Josiah's successors: (1) Jehoahaz (608 BC),
son of Josiah, reigned 3 months, taken to Egypt, called "Shallum" in Jer 22:11.
(2) Jehoiakim (608-597 BC), son of Josiah, reigned 11 years, "burial of an ass",
also called Eliakim. (3) Jehoiachin (597), son of Jehoiakim, grandson of Josiah,
reigned 8 months, taken to Babylon, where treated well; also called "Jeconiah"
and "Coniah". (4) Zedekiah (597-586 BC), son of Josiah, 11 years 5 months, taken
to Babylon; called "Mattaniah".