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THE DEATH OF KING JOSIAH

 

Scripture citations are to the NIV-UK

 

One in an occasional series, Can We Trust the Bible?

 

Q 2 Kings 22: 20 states that God promised King Josiah of Judah he would ‘be buried in peace’. However, in v. 29 of the following chapter we are told he was killed in battle.

 

Does the Bible here contradict itself?

 

A By the time of Josiah’s reign, the once unified nation of Israel had been split into two: the kingdom of Israel, the larger, and the kingdom of Judah. Both Israel and Judah were prone to mimic the idolatrous practices of the pagan peoples on their borders and would wander from the worship of Jehovah. Young King Josiah proved to be a capable administrator, and a reformer, faithful to the laws of God. Accounts of his success in ridding Judah of its idols and the reinstatement of the true  worship of Jehovah can be found in References below.

 

For his reformatory efforts the LORD blessed Josiah, telling him he would have a dignified death and ‘be buried in peace’, adding

 

‘Your eyes will not see all the disaster I am going to bring on this place.’

– 2 Kings 22: 20

 

So far the promise. How, then, to understand this narrative in the following chapter, 2 Kings 23: 29 (emphasis added)?

 

While Josiah was king, Pharaoh Necho king of Egypt went up to the Euphrates River to help the king of Assyria. King Josiah marched out to meet him in battle, but Necho faced him and killed him at Megiddo.

 

The Battle of Megiddo

When the Egyptian pharaoh, Necho, sallied to the aid of his ally, Assyria, against the invading Babylonians, Josiah interposed his own armies against Necho, fearing a secondary invasion of Jerusalem. Despite Necho’s oaths of peace, Josiah persisted, and was mortally wounded at the battle of Megiddo (609 BC). He was taken home by chariot to die and buried in honour ‘in the tombs of his ancestors’ (2 Chron. 35: 24).

 

As promised, King Josiah did, indeed, die in peace and did not live to witness the break-up of the nation and its enslavement under the empire of Babylon.

 

References

2 Kings, chaps. 22-23

2 Chron., chaps. 34-36

 

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