Josiah gets caught in the middle of trying to break up Assyria and Egypt. Pharaoh kills him on sight for his efforts.
I had to go searching in my bible helps to find out what was going on here. Our text doesn’t make it very clear. I didn’t know if Josiah was killed as an accident or part of war. I didn’t know the reason behind the meeting of these two nations. And I had no idea of the political relationship between the three. Although I seriously doubted that Judah was aligned with either of the two other nations. Thank goodness that someone else knows history and they solved this question for me.
According to my bible helps, Josiah was trying to come between Egypt and Assyria. Pharaoh had joined forces with Assyria in standing against Babylon. They wouldn’t succeed. Ultimately both nations would fall to Babylon.
Josiah knew that Assyria alone was a lot to deal with. If they joined forces with Egypt things would get worse for Judah. Josiah thought he could put a stop to this alliance. But this was God’s doing. Judah would be removed from the land just as Israel was, and for the same reason; grievous sin. But God had promised Josiah that he wouldn’t see that punishment. So Josiah’s life had to come to an end before God allowed the pressure to be turned up.
Pharaoh Neco killed Josiah as soon as he saw him. If Josiah cane to talk, it never happened. We aren’t even told if Josiah came ready for war. All we see are his servants who carried his body away in a chariot and brought him back to Jerusalem for burial.
I really wish I had more information on this encounter. Did Josiah come to meet talk one on one with Pharaoh Neco or did he come to meet him in battle? How many med did he bring with him? How did he plan to break up this alliance? Did he seek God before going? So many unanswered questions that won’t be answered this side of Heaven.
With Josiah’s death Judah will go right back to the way it was before. He is the last godly king in Judah. There will probably still be some people who worship the Lord but most won’t because they don’t have a strong leader insisting that they follow the Lord. God knew they would fall back in sin. That is probably why He told Josiah He wasn’t going to relent on His punishment. That and keeping His word, of course.
Father God, Your timing is always perfect. Your mercies are generous. You have protected me from more things than I even know simply because You love me. Josiah’s death may have looked like You failed to protect him to some people but You protected him beyond measure instead. He would not have to see his nation fall because of their sin. His faith alone couldn’t hold back the tide. Even his own children turned again to the sins of idolatry. Your ways are ALWAYS best.
Keep me walking in Your ways, in Your plan for my life. Turn me when I run up against the boundaries You have put in place. I want to be in the place You prepared for me. A place where danger is much lower and I can hear Your heart much clearer. I know there will be troubles I have to face but I also know I will never face them alone. And I WILL grow from them.