Josiah: A Witness to Jesus

TODAY’S READING: 2 KINGS 22-23

Josiah was perhaps one of the best kings of Judah. 2 Kings 22:2 says, “And he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and walked in all the way of David his father, and he did not turn aside to the right or to the left.” And, in many, many ways, what was recorded about Josiah is a witness to Jesus.

Let’s look at some of the details of Josiah’s life and see how the picture Jesus.

THE WITNESS OF THE NAMES

The name Josiah has a number of potential meanings. The ending of the name is short for Yahweh.

The first part of his name could be from the Hebrew word for despair. If so, then Josiah would mean the despair of Yahweh. A synonym for despair is sorrow. Isaiah 53:3 prophesied of Jesus that he was “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” When Jesus was in Gethsemane the night before he died, he said, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” (Matthew 26:35) This seems to be the most likely meaning to me

But, the name Josiah could also mean Yahweh supports. Interestingly, 2 Kings 23:3 says, “And the king stood by the pillar and made a covenant before the Lord.” A pillar supports, and this could be symbolic of Josiah being supported by God as he made his covenant. In Matthew 4:4, Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Jesus relied on God, was strengthened by God, and was supported by God in everything he did.

His mother’s name was Jedidah and most likely means beloved.

Her father was Adaiah. This name most likely means Yahweh has adorned, ornament of the Lord, or Yahweh has decked himself.

Taken together, these names give a witness to Jesus. Jesus was the adornment, the ornament, of the Father, the beloved son, who was a man of sorrow. Jesus was the adornment of the Father because he had glorified the Father. In John 17:4, Jesus said, “I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.” And, Matthew 3:17, 17:5; Mark 1:11, 9:7; and Luke 3:22 the Father calls Jesus his “beloved son.”

THE WITNESS OF THE YEARS

Josiah was eight years old when he became king. That’s pretty young, but it is a witness to Jesus and when he became king.

All four gospels reveal that it was the on the first day of the week, the day after the Sabbath, eight days after Jesus was selected as the Passover lamb, that Jesus was resurrected. On this day, he had a new, glorified body and a became a life-giving spirit. It was as if, in the resurrection, the old body Jesus had was circumcised. This was the day that Jesus had put all his enemies under his feet. Therefore, this was the day that Jesus truly became king of kings.

Josiah’s reign lasted 31 years. That’s the only time the number 31 is used in the Bible. So, it doesn’t tell us much. However, the most common name for God is El. Hebrew letters are also numbers. The two letters that make up the name God, El, are lamed (the number 30) and aleph (the number 1). Add the letters in God’s name together and you get 31.

The events recorded in 2 Kings 22 and 3 took place in the 18th year of Josiah’s reign.

Why do the events happen in the 18th year?

The first mention of eighteen is in Judges 3:14, which says, “And the people of Israel served Eglon the king of Moab eighteen years.”

The next mention of eighteen is in Judges 10:8, which says, “For eighteen years they [the Philistines and the Ammonites] oppressed all the people of Israel.”

2 Chronicles 36:9 says, “Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he became king, and he reigned three months and ten days in Jerusalem. He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord.”

All of these uses of 18 refer to oppression. Even the pillars in the temple that were 18 cubits were made of bronze, symbolizing the judgment or oppression of Satan.

Luke 13 uses the number 18 three separate times. The first is in reference to the people killed by the tower of Siloam.

The second is in Luke 13:11, which says, “And behold, there was a woman who had had a disabling spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not full straighten herself.” In other words, she was oppressed.

In the third use, Jesus references this woman, saying, “And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?” So, Jesus links the number 18 with the oppression of Satan that he comes to loose us from.

In each of the three events in Luke 13 – the blood of the Galileans mingled with the blood of their sacrifices, the tower of Siloam falling on people, the woman who had a disabling spirit – the oppression that people were under was linked to the number 18.

It was Josiah’s 18th year on the throne that he ended the oppression the false gods, idols, etc. that Judah was suffering under.

THE WITNESS OF JOSIAH’S ACTIONS

In 2 Kings 23, Josiah did many things after the book of the law was found in the house of the Lord. Here’s a list of what he did:

  1. burned all the vessels for Baal, Asherah and the host of heaven brought out from the temple
  2. deposed the priests ordained to make offerings in the high places
  3. deposed those who burned incense to Baal, the sun, moon, and stars, and the host of heaven
  4. burned the Asherah brought out from the house of the Lord
  5. broke down the houses of the male cult prostitutes who were in the house of the Lord
  6. defiled the high places where the priests of the cities of Judah made offerings
  7. broke down the high places of the gates of the city
  8. defiled Topheth in the valley of the son of Hinnom
  9. removed the horses the kings of Judah dedicated to the sun
  10. burned the chariots of the sun with fire
  11. pulled down and broke in pieces the altars on the roof of the upper chamber of Ahaz and the altars of Manasseh in the two courts of the house of the Lord
  12. defiled the high places east of Jerusalem to the south of the mount of corruption
  13. broke in pieces the pillars and cut down the Asherim
  14. pulled down and burned the altar at Bethel
  15. burned the bones of the tombs on the mount
  16. removed all the shrines of the high places in the cities of Samaria
  17. sacrificed all the priests of the high places
  18. put away the mediums, necromancers, household gods, idols, and all the abominations seen in the land of Judah

Maybe you would list them differently, but I tried to list according to ideas scripture was presenting. Sure enough, Josiah performed 18 major actions to eliminate the oppression of the false gods, idols, etc. that Judah was under.

There are many other way that Josiah is a witness to Jesus, including how he prioritized the word and God’s commandments, pictured by the book of the law, over money. But, we will leave it here for now.

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