“Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jedidah the daughter of Adaiah of Bozkath.” 2 Kings 22:1
So what’s Your story behind this woman named Jedidah, Lord? I only noticed her because I typed in the wrong son who became king. But here is this other woman, this other wife, this other mother. So we have this little boy named Josiah. And we have this father who is king Of Jerusalem at 22 years old, the son of Manasseh. And we have this mother named Jedidah, the daughter of Adaiah of Bozkath. So what difference could she make in someone’s life?
Well, let’s take a little look at some background here. We’ll start with Josiah’s grandfather Manasseh, who was the son of Hezekiah, a not perfect king, but a Godly king, who suffered some pride issues near the end of his reign. So Hezekiah dies and Amon his son is given the reign. Annointed to reign at age 22, he follows not in his dad’s footsteps, but in the footsteps of his grandfather. He did that which was evil in God’s sight, just like his grandfather Manasseh, sacrificing to all the carved images and serving them. He refused to humble himself before God. Even Manasseh had come to a point of humbling. But not Amon. He just kept piling more and more guilt upon himself and Jerusalem. It was so bad that his servants conspired against him after only reigning two years and killed him in his own house. Then the people of the land killed those who had conspired against him and made his son Josiah king.
How does an eight year old boy reign a kingdom? The eight year old boy is trained up in the way that he should go. The problem is, who is doing the training? In this case, Josiah was surrounded by men of God like Shaphan and Hilkiah. And what of his mother? Wouldn’t Jedidah have had an immensely strong influence on her own son? Because I’m also thinking that while he was being trained in the ways of being king, that Jedidah was reigning until that time as Queen. What would be the example that she set before him? Was she listening to wise council? Who was she following? I would think that if she were entrusting her son’s learning to Godly men, that she agreed with that Godly learning herself and encouraged it.
So here again, I see a woman, who was also a wife and a mother, whose husband did everything against God, yet somehow she remained faithful to God. Here she is, with no one rising against her to slay her, so obviously her views were different from that of Amon’s, yet she continued to honor God silently in her life andupbringing of her son. I wonder if she consulted all along with these men of God and longed for the day when God would be openly worshipped again and the idols and false worship destroyed? I wonder if her desires for God and the desires of those she spent time with, influenced her son? I wonder why he leaned in to God and not into Amon’s ways?
Something influenced Josiah. It influenced Josiah so much that “he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the ways of David his father, and declined neither to the right hand, nor to the left.” (2 Chronicles 34:2) So, it seems that this little boy who started learning how to be king at eight years old, eight years later, at the age of 16, and still young, decided for himself to “seek after the God of David his father.” Four years later he was actively purging Judah and Jerusalem from idol worship, and from their false priests. He was busy undoing the evil that Manasseh and Amon had done. At age 26 he undertook the repair of the temple and the “book of the law” was found. What?
Now I may be wrong here. But this is something. Every king, in order to become king, was supposed to do this special thing. What was it? They were each supposed to read the book of the law and write it for themselves so they knew it and lived it out. Had Josiah been without that book? Were these other influences in his life so well versed in the law and ways of God that they had passed it sufficiently down to Josiah? Was their version enough for him? What happened when the book was read?
Upon hearing the words of the law of God, Josiah tore his clothes. He had been doing good things that ought to have been being done for the Lord. But now he heard the depths of sin and the consequences thereof. And he knew that not a single good work he could do would cover up those sins that had been committed nor erase them. Hearing from men or women is one thing, but hearing straight from God is another. Josiah didn’t just want to hear from Godly men or his Godly mother. He wanted to inquire of God himself. So his advisors sought the prophetess. And the word of God came.
Israel would pay the price for her many sins one day. But because of this king of Judah named Josiah, because his heart was tender, and he humbled himself before God when he heard His words, to the point of rending his clothes and weeping, God heard him, and would honor his humility before him by a peaceful reign. Then you know what he did?
King Josiah went up to the house of the Lord and gathered all the people, great and small- everyone. And he read out loud so they could hear for themselves, in their own ears, “all the words of the book of the covenant that was found in the house of the Lord.” And then He stood and “made a covenant before the Lord, to walk after the Lord, and to keep his commandments, and his testimonies, and His statutes, with all his heart, and with all his soul, to perform the words of the covenant which are witten in this book.” And then Josiah led the people to commit to God with all their heart and soul also. Do you know what, “all his days they did not depart from following the Lord, the God of their fathers.”
So what’s my point? I don’t have to hear much about Jedidah to understand her faithfulness in raising her son. It doesn’t take a loud voice to draw someone to the Lord, but it does take love and perseverance and longsuffering and surrounding yourself with other people who love the Lord. I know I haven’t talked much about Jedidah, but I think she had a beautiful quiet influence that makes me think about what Peter shares in 1 Peter3. Starting back in chapter 2, we as men and women are reminded to do good and endure suffering because Christ also suffered for us, leaving His example for us to follow. So here she was, I’m sure suffering under the atrocities toward God under her husband’s reign. But here she also found a way to subject herself under his authority. She did not become bitter even though he didn’t obey God, and she never won him over to God. But I believe her influence had an effect on someone else named Josiah. She wasn’t concerned with her outward adornment but with “the hidden person of the heart” and maybe, just maybe she had that “imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.” Sarah wasn’t the only holy woman who hoped in God this way. And God is still raising us up to be women like this, women and men who are not controlled by our circumstances or the people in authority over us but are controlled by our Heavenly Father who set the example for us in Jesus Christ, His own flesh and blood, His own Spirit, so that we could know how God responds as man.
So what will my response be? Will my response be determined by the responses of the people around me or by my circumstances. Or will I respond to the voice of God Himself? Lord, I want to respond to Your voice and I want to be sensitive to Your Word. I want to take my eyes off the things around me and keep them on You. I want You to so influence me with a gentle and quiet spirit that I learn from You that it influences others. And I want You to keep adding to my life others who will come along side me and influence others for You.