Josias of Judah - King of Judah, 641–610 B.C. (see 2 Kgs. 22–24; 2 Chr. 34–35). While still young, he made, under the guidance of Hilkiah, a thorough religious reformation, which extended to the northern tribes. He restored the temple, destroyed idolatrous images and the high places, put down the idolatrous priests, and celebrated a great Passover (2 Kgs. 23:21–23).

During this reformation a book of the law was found by Hilkiah (2 Kgs. 22:8–9; 2 Chr. 34:15–16). It made at once a great impression and led to the centralizing of all sacrificial worship at Jerusalem and the abolition of local idolatrous sanctuaries or high places.

Josiah became involved in the war between Assyria and Egypt, and, though Pharaoh Necho disclaimed enmity, Josiah met him in battle at Megiddo and was defeated and slain (2 Chr. 35:20–25; see also 2 Kgs. 23:29–30; Jer. 22:10–12, 18; Zech. 12:11).

Josiah (/dʒoʊˈsaɪ.ə/ or /dʒəˈzaɪ.ə/) or Yoshiyahu was a seventh-century BCE king of Judah (c. 649–609) who, according to the Hebrew Bible, instituted major religious reforms. Josiah is credited by most biblical scholars with having established or compiled important Hebrew Scriptures during the "Deuteronomic reform" which probably occurred during his rule.

Josiah became king of Judah at the age of eight, after the assassination of his father, King Amon, and reigned for thirty-one years, from 641/640 to 610/609 BCE.[3] Josiah is known only from biblical texts; no reference to him exists in surviving texts of the period from Egypt or Babylon, and no clear archaeological evidence, such as inscriptions bearing his name, has ever been found.[4] Nevertheless, most scholars believe he existed and that the absence of documents is due to few documents of any sort surviving from this very early period, and to Jerusalem having been occupied, conquered, and rebuilt for thousands of years.

The Bible describes him as a very righteous king, a king who "walked in all the way of David his father, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left" (2 Kings 22:2). He is also one of the kings mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew's gospel, one of the two divergent genealogies of Jesus in the New Testament.

Battle of Megiddo

After all this, when Josiah had prepared the temple, Necho king of Egypt came up to fight against Carchemish by Euphrates: and Josiah went out against him. But he sent ambassadors to him, saying, What have I to do with thee, thou king of Judah? I come not against thee this day, but against the house wherewith I have war: for God commanded me to make haste: forbear thee from meddling with God, who is with me, that he destroy thee not. Nevertheless Josiah would not turn his face from him, but disguised himself, that he might fight with him, and hearkened not unto the words of Necho from the mouth of God, and came to fight in the valley of Megiddo. And the archers shot at king Josiah; and the king said to his servants, Have me away; for I am sore wounded. His servants therefore took him out of that chariot, and put him in the second chariot that he had; and they brought him to Jerusalem, and he died, and was buried in one of the sepulchres of his fathers. And all Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah. And Jeremiah lamented for Josiah: and all the singing men and the singing women spake of Josiah in their lamentations to this day, and made them an ordinance in Israel: and, behold, they are written in the lamentations. (2nd Book of Chronicles 35:20-25)

Marriage and Family

According to the Hebrew Bible, Josiah was the son of King Amon and Jedidah, the daughter of Adaiah of Bozkath. His grandfather Manasseh was one of the kings blamed for turning away from the worship of Yahweh. Manasseh adapted the Temple for idolatrous worship. Josiah's great-grandfather was King Hezekiah, a noted reformer.

Josiah had four sons: Johanan, and Eliakim (born c. 634 BCE), whose mother was Zebudah the daughter of Pedaiah of Rumah; and Mattanyahu (c. 618 BCE) and Shallum (633/632 BCE), whose mother was Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah. Eliakim had his name changed by Pharaoh Necho of Egypt to Jehoiakim.

His son Shallum succeeded Josiah as king of Judah, under the name Jehoahaz.[10] Shallum was succeeded by Eliakim, under the name Jehoiakim,[11] who was succeeded by his own son Jeconiah;[12] then, Jeconiah was succeeded to the throne by Mattanyahu, under the name Zedekiah.[13] Zedekiah was the last king of Judah before the kingdom was conquered by Babylon and the people exiled.


Offspring of Josiah and Zebudah, daughter of Pedaiah of Rumah
Name Birth Death Joined with
Jehoiakim (c634 BC-) 634 Jerusalem, Land of Canaan 598 Jerusalem, Land of Canaan Nehushta, daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem
Johanan ben Judah 9999 Land of Canaan

Offspring of Josiah and Hamutal, daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah
Name Birth Death Joined with
Jehoahaz of Judah (632 BC-) 632 Land of Canaan 9999 Egypt
Zedekiah (c618 BC-) 618 Israel 9999 Babylon, Iraq


#g1: Offspring of Amon of Judah (c664 BC-c641 BC) and Jedidah, daughter of Adaiah of Bozkath
Name Birth Death Joined with
Josiah (c648 BC-609 BC) 648, 609, Jerusalem, Land of Canaan Zebudah, daughter of Pedaiah of Rumah + Hamutal, daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah

Regnal titles
Preceded by
15th King of Judah
Sole reign: 640 – 609 BC
Succeeded by


Footnotes (including sources)

Some information in this article or section has not been verified and may not be reliable.
Please check for any inaccuracies, and modify and cite sources as needed.