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(2 Chronicles Xxxv. 25.)
Josiah was the son of Amon, a prince who had revived the idolatries of Judah, which had been suppressed during the latter period of the reign of Manasseh. When he ascended the throne, Josiah was only eight years of age, and therefore little good might have been expected from his rule, especially as he was surrounded with allurements to vice, and with evil examples. "While he was yet young," however, according to the sacred narrative, " he began to seek after the God of David his father." He may be presented to the reader, therefore, as an illustrious instance of youthful piety.
During the minority of Josiah, the affairs of the government were administered by the high priest Joachim, and a council of elders at Jerusalem. As might be expected, the regent turned his thoughts to the reformation of the state. He made some advances towards such a consummation; but still idolatry prevailed. At the end of about eight years, however, Josiah assumed the government, and he commenced the arduous task of effecting a complete reformation—of leading an idolatrous and backsliding people to the worship of Jehovah.
Josiah was employed in this hallowed work for several years, and his labours were eventually crowned with success. The altars, the images, and the groves, were destroyed, and the idolatrous priests who burned incense unto Baal, to the sun, the moon, and the planets, and all the host of heaven, were either branded with infamy or slain with the sword. Even the bones of the idolatrous priests, which had long been entombed, he caused to be disinterred and burned upon the altar of Bethel, thus fulfilling the Divine prediction, in which he was described by name, and by which this duty was assigned him nearly four centuries before. See 1 Kings xiii. 2.
All this reformation was effected under the immediate inspection of Josiah, which shows how ardent his zeal was for the cause. Nor did his labours end here. The true servant of God extends his zeal for the welfare of mankind beyond the limits of his own country. And so did Josiah. He enlarged his labours, and exercised a similar authority in all the cities of Israel which were