Josiah was one of the kings of Judah (the Southern Kingdom). The kings of Israel (the Northern Kingdom) were pretty much universally evil kings and we will learn about how God judged them because of their sin.
Josiah's father (Amon) and grandfather (Manasseh) were kings before him and were generally evil kings, leading Judah astray, having them worship false gods and other evil things. His father, Amon, was assassinated by his own officials and they set up Josiah to become king when he was only 8 years old!
As Josiah grew, he began to lead Judah back to the Lord, driving out evil people from the temple and removing the items they were using to worship other gods.
When he was 26 (18 years into his reign), he took money that had been collected at the temple to pay skilled workers to repair and renovated it. When they were working, they came across the Scroll of the Law. We don't know exactly what part of the law this was, but it was probably the book of Deuteronomy or part of it.
Josiah asked a prophetess what it meant. She said that God was going to judge Judah for all the wickedness they had done, but because Josiah had repented and led Judah to come back to the Lord, he would not see the destruction God had planned for Judah as a consequence of their sin.
So, Josiah brought together everyone in Judah, priests, prophets, and everyone who lived in Jerusalem for a special service. Josiah read out loud what was writing the Scroll of the Law and publicly recommitted Judah to following God's law.
He also had them celebrated Passover for the first time in a long time. He finished removing all the items from the temple they used to worship false gods.
Josiah was a very important king in Judah because of how he brought them back to the Lord. He was even listed in Jesus' genealogy in Matthew 1:10.
(Note: the story of Josiah actually occurs chronologically much later in Old Testament history, but is presented here as part of the unit on Kings)
What do you want to be when you grow up? What if you could already be that by the time you were 8 years old?
Today, we're going to learn about a boy who became king of Judah when he was only 8 years old.
Consider using the "Child Teacher" reinforcement activity before you teach the lesson.
Read story from a Children's storybook Bible for younger children.
For older children, read story from an age-appropriate Children's storybook Bible or tell the story yourself.
Scripture for Kids to Read Aloud 2 Kings 22:1-11; 23:1-3; 23:21-25
First, ask the children if they have any questions about the story. What to do if you don't know the answer?
Sing to the tune of teddy bear, teddy bear, turn around.
Judah, Judah, turn around.
Judah, Judah, don't fall down.
Judah, Judah, read the scroll,
Judah, Judah, do what you're told.
Judah, Judah, eat the feast.
Judah, Judah, don't use yeast!
Judah, Judah, do what's right.
Love The Lord with all your might!