Verses 1, 2 – It is not enough to say we believe what is right, we must respond with action. James 2:20 says, “faith without works (deeds) is dead (useless).” Simply talking about obedience is not enough.
Verse 4 – Evidently, little by little idols had been brought into “Gods” temple. Josiah cleaned it out of anything that was not of God and destroyed it.
Verses 5-7 – Josiah disbanded all the (false) priests who were in the temple, rather than slaughtering them. The Asherah pole had been set up in God’s temple by the evil King Manasseh (21:7). Asherah was the Sea goddess and the mistress of Baal. She was chief goddess of the Canaanites. Her worship glorified sex and war and was accompanied by male prostitution.
Verses 10, 11 – He destroyed the high places stopped the sacrifices of children to the pagan god Molech. These horses and chariots were used in processions honoring the sun.
Verse 13 – The Hill of Corruption is the name that the Mount of Olives is called here. It had become the favorite spot to build pagan shrines. Solomon built pagan shrines just as other kings built idol-worship there. But the God-fearing kings such as Hezekiah and Josiah destroyed these centers. In the New Testament times, Jesus often sat on the Mount of Olives and taught His disciples (Matthew 24:3).
Verses 21-23 – The Passover celebration was to have been a yearly holiday celebrated in remembrance of the entire nations deliverance from slavery in Egypt (Exodus 12), but it had not been kept since the days of judges, nor throughout the days of the kings of Israel and the king of Judah.
Verse 25 – Did you catch that? The scripture says, “neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the Lord with all his heart, soul, and strength!” Have you ever heard a preacher use Josiah in their sermon? I haven’t.
Verse 29 – Pharaoh Neco of Egypt was marching through Judah to Assyria. Egypt and Assyria had formed an alliance to battle Babylon. Josiah may have thought that both nations would turn on him after the battle with Babylon, so he tried to stop Egypt’s army, but Josiah was killed and his army was defeated.
Verses 31-34 – The people (not God) appointed Jehoahaz, one of Josiah’s sons, to be the next king over Judah. But Neco was not happy with their choice, so he had him exiled to Egypt where he died. Then Neco appointed Eliakim, changing his name to Jehoiakim to be his puppet king.
Verses 36, 37 – Jehoiakim, Josiah’s son, was evil and killed the prophet Uriah (Jeremiah 26:20-23).