King Josiah’s Early Reforms (2 Chronicles 34:1 – 7)

Scripture Text:

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2 Chronicles 34:1 – 7

Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years. He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and followed the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left.

In the eighth year of his reign, while he was still young, he began to seek the God of his father David. In his twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of high places, Asherah poles and idols. Under his direction the altars of the Baals were torn down; he cut to pieces the incense altars that were above them, and smashed the Asherah poles and the idols. These he broke to pieces and scattered over the graves of those who had sacrificed to them. He burned the bones of the priests on their altars, and so he purged Judah and Jerusalem. In the towns of Manasseh, Ephraim and Simeon, as far as Naphtali, and in the ruins around them, he tore down the altars and the Asherah poles and crushed the idols to powder and cut to pieces all the incense altars throughout Israel. Then he went back to Jerusalem.

(New International Version)

The extent to which the people of Judah are persuaded by Zephaniah’s preaching is not known, but already Zephaniah’s influence may have touched the young king. Within just a few years (at the age of 16) Josiah begins to bring about sweeping reforms against idolatry and other pagan practices.

1. How did you celebrate your 16th birthday? What song was popular at the time?

2. What were the reforms Josiah accomplished? What suggests that there was resistance, use of force and even violence in Josiah’s clean-up program? Why did Josiah risk extending his program so far north of Jerusalem (verse 6)?

3. What clean-up programs have been top priority with you? Physical? Spiritual? Psychological? Environmental? What people and other resources helped a lot?

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