Scripture Texts:(click to open in a new window or tab)
1. What leader’s death had the greatest impact on your life?
2. If pious kings succeed in battle, and evil kings do not, why does Josiah get himself shot?
3. Josiah dies trying to stop an Egypt-Assyria alliance. What choices face Jehoahaz (2 Kings 23:31 – 33)?
4. What do you make of the taxation without representation? What seems ironic and redundant about this (see 2 Kings 15:19, 20 and 2 Kings 18:14
5. For what earlier leaders have the Israelites mourned so greatly? Why all the fuss?
6. Your death can come unexpectedly, just as Josiah’s did. Are you ready to die?
7. Jeremiah the prophet and King Josiah were roughly the same age when of Josiah’s death. How did Jeremiah honor the death of his friend and king?
8. What is significant about the reign (and dethronement) of King Jehoahaz?
9. What was the king of Egypt trying to accomplish by changing Eliakim’s name to Jehoiakim? And by taxing the people of Judah?
Note #1: Some historians estimate that the valley of Megiddo has seen more fighting and bloodshed than any other spot on earth. Setting astride the chief north-south route in Canaan, it has great strategic significance. The book of Revelation records that the last battle of the age, Armageddon, will take place here (Revelation 16:16).
Note #2: Conditions are changing quickly:
King Josiah is killed in battle
his successor (Jehoahaz) is dethroned by Egypt after a short three-month reign
another son (Jehoiakim) is made a puppet king
Outside of Israel/Judah, as Jeremiah was beginning his ministry (626 BC), Nabopolassar rebelled against Assyria and established the Babylonian Empire. Now (14 years later) the prophecies of Nahum and others regarding Nineveh’s fall were being fulfilled. In the background of today’s reading, the Babylonian Empire turns its attention to Egypt (and what’s left of Assyria).