Josiah Biography

Imperfect people don’t disturb me too much.  In fact, it can be somewhat comforting to be reminded that others share my fallibility.  A tender heart, however, is vital in this life.  Because if our hearts are cold and callous, we won’t care to correct our imperfections and we will tend to caustically focus on the faults of others.

Josiah discovered the scriptures in the Temple

Josiah discovered the scriptures in the Temple

Josiah was characterized always by a tender heart.  After inheriting the throne of Judah at age eight, as a young teen, King Josiah made the courageous decision to be God’s man no matter what the consequences.  This decision is miraculous for several reasons.  First, he followed no righteous role models—both the boy’s father and grandfather were blatantly evil kings.  Second, in the midst of a predominantly godless court, the young boy king somehow ended up with God-fearing advisors.  Third, he began his religious reforms with absolutely no knowledge of the written Law of God.  He knew only the truth he’d gleaned from the few holy priests still alive.  Fourth, while some righteous Judean kings left scattered idolatrous shrines, Josiah wiped out every known shrine in the land.

Thus it was that all idol groves, shrines and high places were obliterated when Josiah was only twenty.  By age twenty-six he’d commanded that the crumbling Temple be rebuilt and worship be restored.  While the Temple rubble was being cleared, the scrolls of God’s Law were unburied.  When the Law was read to Josiah, he broke into tears and tore his robe in despair and penitence.  Though the impassive priests respected the new found Law, perhaps they viewed it simply as the statutes of Moses.  It seems as if Josiah, however, realized it was God Himself pleading through the book of the Law.

Josiah enthusiastically gathered all the people of Judah and had the Law read to them also.  Then he led them in obedient commitment to God’s commandments.  At about this time, Pharaoh Neco, of Egypt sent an army to assist the Assyrians against Babylon. For some reason, Josiah attacked him militarily, though Neco warned him to stay out of it. He was struck dead needlessly at only thirty-nine years of age, but while he lived there was no king of Judah or Israel who ever rivaled his tenderhearted devotion to God and to those things that please Him.

What can we learn from Josiah?

Whatever our imperfections, like Josiah, we should nurture a tender heart toward God and others.  Whatever God says we should humbly do, and whenever we become aware of an offense, we must be willing to make it right.  A broken and contrite heart God will never despise.

Bible Verses about Josiah

1 Kings 13:2; 2 Kings chaps. 21-23; 2 Chron. chaps. 34-35; Jer. 1:2

What questions does this help to answer?

  • Who was King Josiah in the Bible?
  • What is King Josiah famous for?
  • How did King Josiah please God?
  • How do I have a soft heart for God?

Author Info

Steve Fortosis served for six years as youth minister in several parishes.  Meanwhile he was also working toward his masters, then his doctorate in religious education.  Through the years he has enjoyed teaching on the college and seminary levels and writing professionally.  He has published a number of books including story and prayer compilations, missionary biography, Biblical character biography, devotional lit, children’s lit, and even stories of Bible translation. Presently he resides in Florida with his wife, Debra, where he teaches part-time and writes on a free-lance basis.

Steve Fortosis