Scripture reading – 2 Chronicles 34; 2 Chronicles 35

Click on this link for translations of this Bible study.

Today’s Scripture reading will consider 2 Chronicles 34 and 35, a parallel account of 2 Kings 22-23.

The Chronicles are believed to have been written after the Babylonian captivity. They are a parallel historical account of God’s providences recorded in the Books of the Kings. The Chronicles are the historical record of the LORD’s dealings with Israel as a nation and then as a divided kingdom (consisting of Israel, reduced to ten tribes in the north, and Judah, the southern kingdom made up of two tribes, Judah and the tribe of Benjamin).

2 Chronicles 34

I will not belabor the content of our prior Bible study in 2 Kings 23, but I am reminded of God’s grace when I consider the life and reign of Josiah (2 Chronicles 34:1). Who was Josiah? He was the son of the wicked king Amon, whom his servants slew after he reigned for two years (2 Chronicles 33:21-25). Josiah succeeded his father to the throne when he was eight and reigned 31 years in Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 34:1).

A Teenage King, with a Passion for God (2 Chronicle 34:2-3)

Rather than following in the sinful footsteps of his father, Josiah determined to do “that which was right in the sight of the LORD” (2 Chronicles 34:2).  We read, “In the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet young, he began to seek after the God of David his father” (2 Chronicles 34:3). Josiah was 16 years old. We are not told what or who encouraged him to “seek after God” (2 Chronicles 34:3). I believe it may have been the influence of the prophet Jeremiah.

Comparing Scripture with Scripture, we know Jeremiah’s public ministry began “in the days of Josiah the son of Amon king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign” (Jeremiah 1:2). So, the spiritual reformation led by Josiah, when he was just 20 years old, began one year before Jeremiah received “the word of the LORD” (2 Chronicles 34:3; Jeremiah 1:2).

King Josiah’s Zeal for the LORD (2 Chronicle 34:4-13)

I have detailed the steps of revival that the king took and how he did not compromise his passion to rid Judah of the vestiges of its idolatry and wickedness. For Josiah, it was not enough to remove the idols and the places of idol worship (2 Chronicles 34:3b-7); the king went so far as even to burn the bones of the false priests that had led Israel astray (2 Chronicles 34:5). The balance of 2 Chronicles 34 reviewed the renovations the king directed regarding the Temple (2 Chronicles 34:8) and the wages that were due the laborers (2 Chronicles 34:9-13).


Renovation, Repentance, and Revival

Renovation, Repentance, and Revival (2 Chronicle 34:14-32)

The discovery of the “book of the law” stirred conviction and repentance in the king’s heart (2 Chronicles 34:14-19). Knowing the judgment of God was imminent (2 Chronicles 34:20-26), Josiah was promised his dedication to the LORD would spare him from witnessing the utter destruction that would befall Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 34:27-28).

Nevertheless, the king’s spirit was not at ease. Knowing the terror of God’s judgment, Josiah summoned the leaders and people to the Temple. There he “read in their ears all the words of the book of the covenant that was found in the house of the Lord” (2 Chronicles 34:30). The king called upon the people to renew their “covenant before the Lord, to walk after the Lord, and to keep his commandments, and his testimonies, and his statutes, with all his heart, and with all his soul, to perform the words of the covenant which are written in this book” (2 Chronicles 34:31).

To the day of his death, Josiah dedicated himself to encouraging Judah to keep covenant with the LORD, “to serve, even to serve the Lord their God” (2 Chronicles 34:32a). Gratefully, we read of Josiah’s efforts that “all his days they departed not from following the Lord, the God of their fathers” (2 Chronicles 34:32).


Closing thoughts for 2 Chronicles 34 –

What have we learned? We have seen how a young son or daughter with a tender heart can make spiritual decisions that chart the course of their lives. After all, Josiah was a teenager when “he began to seek after the God of David” (2 Chronicles 34:3).

What about you? Have you decided to turn from your sins and trust the LORD? Have you set your heart to obey His Word? If not, will you make that decision today?


2 Chronicles 35

How Will You Be Remembered?

After publicly reading the book of the law to “all the men of Judah” (2 Chronicles 34:29-30), Josiah and the people renewed Israel’s covenant with the LORD (2 Chronicles 34:29-33; 2 Kings 23). He then cleaned the Temple and purged the land of “all the abominations” (2 Chronicles 34:33). Finally, he renewed the keeping of the Passover in Judah (2 Chronicles 35:1).

The Revival of the Passover (2 Chronicle 35:1-19)

2 Chronicles 35 expanded on the instructions and preparations for the Passover that were recorded in 2 Kings 23:21-22. Commanding the priests to “their charges” (2 Chronicles 35:2), Josiah spoke to the Levites to follow the instructions that King David and Solomon, his son, had given (2 Chronicles 35:3-5).

The king provided 30,000 sheep and goats for the Passover offerings and 3,000 bullocks (cattle, 2 Chronicles 35:6-7). The leaders and priests followed the king’s example (2 Chronicles 35:8) and gave 2,600 sheep and goats for the Passover offerings and 300 cattle (2 Chronicles 35:8). The heads of the Levite families also gave 5,000 sheep and goats and 500 cattle (2 Chronicles 35:9).

The Passover was celebrated following the instructions for its observance as it was “written in the book of Moses” (2 Chronicles 35:12). Musicians contributed to the solemn tone of the Passover, even as the porters stood at the gates of the Temple Mount (2 Chronicles 35:15). Obeying the law, “the children of Israel that were present kept the Passover at that time, and the feast of unleavened bread seven days” (2 Chronicles 35:17). King Josiah’s observance of the Passover was unparalleled in the era of the kings in Israel (2 Chronicles 35:18-19).

The Death of King Josiah

The Death of King Josiah (2 Chronicles 35:20-27)

Tragically, our study of the life and reign of Josiah ends on a battlefield. Thirteen years after the great Passover, Josiah decided to battle with “Necho king of Egypt” (2 Chronicles 35:20). There is no evidence that the king consulted with the LORD. Instead, he set his face to go to war, even when the king of Egypt urged him to retreat, saying, “What have I to do with thee, thou king of Judah? I come not against thee this day…forbear thee from meddling with God, who is with me, that he destroy thee not” (2 Chronicles 35:21).

Josiah did not heed the warning and disguised himself so he would not be identified on the battlefield. However, Josiah’s plan was to no avail, for he “came to fight in the valley of Megiddo. 23 And the archers shot at king Josiah; and the king said to his servants, Have me away; for I am sore wounded” (2 Chronicles 35:23-24).


A Great Lamentation: The King is Dead (2 Chronicle 35:25-27)

The prophet Jeremiah recognized that Josiah’s death was a significant loss for Judah (2 Chronicles 35:25). Even a wicked nation will notice when a good man dies. In fact, a law was passed, and a lamentation was written that all would grieve the king’s death and remember “his goodness, according to that which was written in the law of the Lord (2 Chronicles 35:26).


Closing thoughts

I believe Josiah made a foolish decision to meddle in a battle that was not his to fight. In so doing, he violated a proverb that states, “He that passeth by, and meddleth with strife belonging not to him, Is like one that taketh a dog by the ears” (Proverbs 26:17). In other words, being a busybody in someone else’s disagreement is dangerous (in Josiah’s case, it was deadly).

Finally, I invite you to consider how Josiah was remembered, for “his goodness” and obedience to the “law of the LORD” was his lasting memorial. 

How will you be remembered?

Copyright © 2024 – Travis D. Smith 

* Please subscribe to the Heart of a Shepherd daily devotionals by entering your name and email address at the bottom of today’s devotion.

The Internal Revenue Service recognizes Heart of A Shepherd Inc as a 501c3 public charitable organization. Your donation is welcome and supports the worldwide ministry outreach of