Following the discovery of the Book of the Law, Josiah publicly reads it out loud and renews the people’s covenant with God. He also carries out a series of religious reforms, including uprooting all forms of idolatry from the Temple and city. He removes all instruments for idol worship from the sanctuary and casts them into the fire. He moreover forbids all high places for idol worship across Judah, sentences the idolatrous priests of Israel to death, and renders Jerusalem the only permissible place for worship, as prescribed in Deuteronomy (12:15). Josiah arranges a lavish Passover celebration, the first in many generations. His devotion sets into motion a popular movement of repentance and considerably expands God’s light and blessings on earth.
Pharaoh Necho sets out to fight the Babylonians, the new empire threatening the world order that was established by Assyria. Josiah tries to stop the Pharaoh’s advancement, presumably because he wants to form an alliance with the Babylonians, but is killed in battle in Megiddo. Josiah’s son, Jehoahaz, rises to the throne. When Pharaoh Necho returns from the east, he imprisons Jehoahaz, exacts heavy taxes, and appoints Jehoiakim king.
“Surely there was not holden such a passover from the days of the judges that judged Israel, nor in all the days of the kings of Israel, nor of the kings of Judah” (2 Kings 23:22)
“And like unto him was there no king before him, that turned to the LORD with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; neither after him arose there any like him” (2 Kings 23:25)
Enthusiasm is excitement over the prospect of fulfillment through spiritual work and sharing.