The Death of King Josiah; Kings Jehoahaz and Jehoiakim (2 Kings 23:29 – 37; 2 Chronicles 35:20 – 36:4)

Scripture Texts:

(click to open in a new window or tab)

2 Kings 23:29 – 37

2 Chronicles 35:20 – 36:4

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?

Additional Note:

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).

.

Advertisements

King Josiah Renews the Covenant; the Passover Is Reinstituted (2 Kings 23:1 – 28; 2 Chronicles 35:1 – 19)

Scripture Texts:

(click to open in a new window or tab)

2 Kings 23:1 – 28

2 Chronicles 35:1 – 19

1. Are you a “clean freak” or a “slob”? If your best friend were to hire spring cleaners to help you organize your home, where would they start? What will you never throw out despite all their begging?

2. Are sawdust-trail revival meetings a part of your family history (past or present)? Any memories of powerful speakers? Closing hymns? Heat?

3. What yearly ritual do you always observe in some special way: the county fair? 4th of July? Thanksgiving? the Super Bowl? Other?

4. What holiday (or special day) have you stopped celebrating and why? Your birthday? Valentine’s Day? Other?

5. What does it mean to “renew the covenant”? What must Judah do? What will God do? How extensive is the revival here?

6. In what condition is the Temple? Are these repairs the kind that money and workers alone could fix? What more is necessary?

7. Why were the priests burning incense at the high places? Why does Josiah destroy these independent shrines (see Deuteronomy 12:2 – 7)? What do shrine prostitutes do that’s so vile (see Exodus 34:15, 16 and Deuteronomy 23:17, 18)?

8. What kings have been responsible for putting up and tearing down the ever-present Asherah poles (see 1 Kings 12:28 – 33; 2 Kings 18:4; 2 Kings 21:7; 2 Chronicles 33:11 – 15, 22)?

9. What could be the point in scattering Asherah dust over graves (see Numbers 19:16)? Who is the man of God who foretold these things and whose bones were left undisturbed (see 1 Kings 13:1, 2, 31, 32)?

10. With the regional shrines closed down, where do the priests look for work (2 Kings 23:8, 9)?

11. What message does burning tainted military hardware send to the people? Why are altars on rooftops (verse 12; see Jeremiah 19:3)? Which kings are responsible for these (2 Kings 16:1 – 4, 10 – 16; 2 Kings 21:1 – 3, 19 – 22)?

12. Why had even King Solomon built detestable high places (see 1 Kings 11:3 – 8)?

13. Where does the revival move from Judah (2 Kings 23:15, 19, 20)? Who’s living there now (see 2 Kings 17:27 – 34)? What does this indicate about the current state of Assyrian power?

14. On a scale of 1 to 10, how wholehearted is this revival? Who else has tried this before (2 Kings 18:4)? What had happened that Josiah’s reforms became necessary (2 Kings 21:3 – 7)?

15. Why is King Josiah so relentless? Does he get what he hoped for? Is all the trouble to no avail? Why doesn’t all his good outweigh King Manasseh’s evil? (Is God in the weights and measurements business, anyway?)

16. What would getting your life in line with God’s expectations require?

  • a little fine tuning?
  • a regular tune-up?
  • major repairs?
  • a complete overhaul?

17. Why do you want to obey God?

  • It’s the right thing to do.
  • I don’t want to hurt others.
  • I love God.
  • I fear God’s punishment.

18. What is the one “idol” that would be hardest for you to give up?

  • a relationship
  • my job
  • certain possessions
  • a habit
  • other: ________

19. What extremes have you gone to in your efforts to live a pure faith? In retrospect, would you do such actions again?

20. Do you know any buildings in your town or city that would come down quickly in a real revival? Would the building where your church meets survive?

21. Do you feel it’s time to renew your commitment to God? Once your faith is in order, what will you do in concert with others to spread revival? Or is revival dependent all and only on God?

22. If psychics, astrologers and channellers are doing the same things as “mediums and spiritists” were doing in Josiah’s day, should these people be wiped out today?

23. Concerning the Passover. One gets the impression that tons of preparation went in to the Passover celebration. What is the Passover and the Feast (Festival) of Unleavened Bread (see Exodus 12)?

24. What were King Josiah’s specific instructions for preparing for Passover? Who provided the sheep, goats and cattle for the offerings and main dish? What was the priests’ role?

25. Are rituals as important in your life as they were to the ancient Israelites? How attached are rituals to your faith and spiritual growth? What’s the good and bad of rituals?

.

The Book of the Law Is Found and Huldah, the Prophetess, Speaks (2 Kings 22; 2 Chronicles 34:14 – 33)

Scripture Texts:

(click to open in a new window or tab)

2 Kings 22

2 Chronicles 34:14 – 33

1. Which three people would you appoint to your personal “advisory board”? What qualifies them?

2. Ever uncover a library book you’d long forgotten to return? was the book’s fine greater than its purchase price?

3. Which would you prefer to find?

  • old newspaper clippings
  • old letters
  • old scrapbook
  • old maps
  • old books
  • antique clothes
  • antique jewelry
  • old coins

4. The book found is probably Deuteronomy (or a portion of it). How could King Josiah “do what is right in the eyes of the Lord” (2 Kings 22:2) his whole life without knowing of this book?

5. What is Josiah’s strange and intense reaction to the book? What role does Huldah play?

6. Who makes up the king’s advisory board for this Bible study project (2 Kings 22:11 – 14)? Without consulting learned advisors, what does Josiah evidently know about the book?

7. What does Huldah (as the senior biblical consultant) contribute to this project (2 Kings 22:15 – 20)? What really makes God angry? What is the grim news for the nation, but good news for the king?

8. What book, apart from the Bible, has most profoundly changed you? How so? How does that book’s effect compare with the Bible’s effect on your life?

9. How many times have you vowed to rediscover the Scriptures every morning? Will you keep trying or give up?

10. Similarly, how important are the words of the Bible in your daily life? How often do you read it? Do you often make concrete decisions or change your behavior based simply on what you read?

11. Which comes easier for you: obeying rigorously the laws of God or enjoying and taking pleasure in God? Which type of response to God would you like to experience more?

12. What leadership roles do women play in your church? Who serves the role of Huldah for you?

13. Has the ultimate bad news of God’s judgment been postponed for you? Under what conditions? What does that give you time to do?

14. How well do you know church history? Who are the “Josiahs” that have rediscovered biblical truth in recent centuries?

.