Daily Devotions

The war-death and burial of the godly Josiah

Second Chronicles 35:22-25

‘The archers shot at King Josiah. Then the king said to his servants: “Take me away; for I have been wounded sorely!” His servants therefore took him out of that chariot, and put him in the second chariot that he had…. They brought him to Jerusalem, and he died…. He was buried in one of the tombs of his fathers. And all Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah. And Jeremiah lamented for Josiah…. All the singing-men and the singing-women spake of Josiah in their lamentations to this day, and made them an ordinance in Israel. And behold, they are written in the lamentations!’ Second Chronicles 35:23-25.

This describes the catastrophe in which the pious King Josiah found his death. Second Kings 23:25 says: ‘Like him, there was no king before him that turned to the Lord with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might according to all the Law…. Neither after him did any arise like him!’

The pious king was dedicated to the tasks of his reign. These he followed out so zealously, in order to lead his people back to the Lord.

Pharoah Necho sent messengers to Josiah, saying: ‘What have I to do with you, king of Judah? Not against you (do I come) today!… (But) God has said that I must make haste!’ Second Chronicles 35:21.

Pharoah came up to fight against Carchemish of the Babylonians by the Euphrates. And Josiah went out against him. Yet it was God’s will that Josiah, as a probable ally of the Babylonians, should not thus hinder Pharaoh and strive against him.

However, his opponents’ archers then shot at Josiah — and mortally wounded him with their arrows. So his servants took him from his war-chariot, and placed him in a second chariot which belonged to him and which was probably more comfortable for a wounded man. They then brought him to Jerusalem, where he died.

The death of this pious king was deeply lamented by his people. The prophet Jeremiah composed a lamentation for Josiah. ‘And all the singing-men and singing-women spoke in their lamentations of Josiah,’ from then onward.

In their lamentations which they were wont to sing on certain fixed days, they sung also the lamentation for Josiah. ‘And they made these lamentations an ordinance or a standing custom in Israel. They are written in the lamentations.’ That is, in a collection of lamentations in which among others also that composed by Jeremiah on the death of Josiah was contained.

During his whole reign, Josiah had endeavoured to carry out the will of God. The pious king was then taken away before the judgment fell — at the destruction of his kingdom of Judah So occurred the war-death and burial of godly Josiah, who then went straight to Heaven! Shall you?