2 Kings 17-25 is full of stories of how rulers can lead their people to righteousness or wickedness.
In these passages, two righteous kings stand out, King Hezekiah and King Josiah.
2 Kings 17 describes the state of affairs of the 10 northern tribes.
This is the time when the wicked leadership of the Northern Kingdoms, or the Kingdom of Israel, leads to the destruction of the kingdom and the dispersal of the northern 10 tribes of Israel.
The Assyrian armies from the north conquer and carry away most of the inhabitants of the land, and those who remain intermarry with the peoples brought to inhabit the land by the Assyrians.
Fresh from their conquest of the north, the Assyrians have their eyes set on conquering the kingdom of Judah.
In 2nd Kings 18 we are introduced to Hezekiah who began his reign when he was 25 years old and :
And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that David his father did.2 Kings 18:3
Hezekiah goes about to rid Judah of all of its idolatry, going as far as breaking apart the brass serpent that Moses had made which sadly had become an object of worship instead of the intended reminder to look to the Lord and live.
When confronted by the imminent invasion of the Assyrian army and loud mouth enemies trying to stoke fear and distrust in his people, he turns to the Lord and takes counsel from Isaiah.
The Lord comes to his aid, and sends an angel to slay 185,000 Assyrians which caused the Assyrian king to flee, only to be killed while worshiping his god.
Although incredible, God destroying the Assyrian army wasn’t the only miracle to occur during the reign of Hezekiah.
When he was ill, Isaiah informed him to get things in order because he was about to die.
However, Hezekiah prayed and the Lord blessed him, saying that in 3 days he would be healed, and would be granted 15 more years of life and that he would be delivered from the Assyrians.
As a sign of his promise, the Lord actually reversed time (2 Kings 20:11).
Hezekiah was truly an inspired leader, however he made one big mistake.
The son of the king of Babylon heard that Hezekiah had been sick, and sent him some letters and some presents.
As a gesture of friendship, he showed the Babylonians all of the treasure that his kingdom had.
When Isaiah found out, he had this message from the Lord:
“Behold, the days come, that all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store unto this day, shall be carried into Babylon: nothing shall be left, saith the Lord…And of thy sons that shall issue from thee, which thou shalt beget, shall they take away; and they shall be euncuhs in the palace of the king of Babylon.”2 Kings 20:17-18
The bible says that there was no king that could match Hezekiah.
After Hezekiah passes away, his son Manasseh becomes king at 12 years old.
Sadly, the twelve year old king turned the people back towards idolatry during his 55 year reign.
His son Amon was just as bad, however his reign only lasted two years owing to the fact that his servants conspired against him and killed him.
Leaving his son, Josiah, king of Judah.
Josiah became king when he was 8 years old, and reigned for 31 years.
He did what was right in the sight of the Lord, and did his best to turn the people back to the Lord.
Josiah noticed that the temple was in dire need of repair and commissioned the high priest, Hilkiah, to gather the money to start the repairs.
The Book of the Law
While Hilkiah was doing his job, he ran across the book of the law.
When the king read it he rent his clothes because he realized how wicked his kingdom was despite his best efforts to rid the land of idolatry, the people didn’t want to give up their idolatry.
The priests consult Huldah, the prophetess about what they should do, and she prophesies of the destruction of Jerusalem, but blesses Josiah because of his efforts to follow the Lord and to bring his people to Him.
However, Josiah doesn’t give up.
He calls the people to the temple and reads to them the words of the book of the covenant and makes a covenant himself to always keep the commandments, and the people did the same.
Josiah then goes and rids the kingdom of idolatry, just as Hezekiah, his great-grandfather had done before.
However, as happened upon the death of Hezekiah, when Josiah gets killed his son embraces idolatry and the people as well and shortly thereafter Jerusalem falls to the Babylonians.
King Josiah Coloring Page
I chose King Josiah, because he was the last righteous king of Judah.
Despite being so young, he was able to try to lead his people in righteousness, and did his best to follow the Lord.