Monthly Archives: July 2017


Josiah (meaning, “healed by Jehovah”) was born six years before the end of his grandfather’s fifty-five year reign. Manasseh, his grandfather, did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, “after the abominations of the heathen” and even much worse before he later humbled himself (II Kings 21:1, 9). His son, Josiah’s father, Amon, was king in Jerusalem for two years before he was slain by his own servants (II Kings 21:23). He was also an evil king (II Kings 21:20). Given these two major male influences and the corrupt condition of Judah at the time, it is surprising to find that Josiah, very early in his life, turned to the Lord (II Chron. 34:8).

It would be nice to think that the greater influence in his life was his mother, just as Timothy in the New Testament was influenced by his mother and grand mother, the guiding women in his life (II Tim. 1:5; 3:15; Acts 16:1). But there is no way to know this. Perhaps it was the influence of the prophet Zephaniah who initially helped to mold the character of Josiah (Zeph. 1:1). Jeremiah seems a little late, since Josiah began to seek after the Lord in his eighth year and Jeremiah began prophesying in his thirteenth year of his reign, while he was yet young (Jer. 1:1,6). But it is still possible the two were then acquainted. Perhaps Huldah had some influence (II Kings 22:14).

Whoever else may be responsible for Josiah’s faith, Josiah himself must also be given credit. The Lord gives him this credit for He says of Josiah, “Because thine heart was tender, and thou hast humbled thyself before the Lord, when thou heardest what I spake against this place…” (II Kings 22:19). To his great credit, Josiah started seeking after God “while he was yet young” (II Chron. 34:3). What is more, he “declined neither to the right hand, nor to the left” (II Chron. 34:2). He is such a great example of faith that there was no king before him or after him that turned to the Lord with all his heart and soul and might (II Kings 32:25).

Not only did Josiah exhibit great personal fidelity to the Law of Moses and to God, but it was also manifested itself in the way he ruled. Josiah began a purge of the filth of paganism that had been allowed a place in Judah. The sources of paganism among God’s people ranged from Solomon even to his own father and grandfather but Josiah purged them all (II Kings 23:12,13).

The picture given of Judah at this time was ugly. God’s people had descended so far from Him and His Law that Judah more resembled the pagan nations they had displaced than the Covenant God had given them and under which they were bound. Judah was worse than the ten northern, backsliding tribes because Judah saw God’s wrath against sinners and did not repent of her sins (Jer. 3:1-9). Judah was a degenerate plant, playing the harlot under every green tree and upon every high hill (Jer. 2:20,21). There was seemingly a god for every city (Jer. 2:28). Even the sodomites had a place near the temple (II Kings 23:7). Josiah exhibited great courage in carrying out these restorations of the law in such a climate.

During the repairing of the Temple, Hilkiah the high priest found the book of the law of Moses (II Kings 22:8). It is a strange and sad situation that worship had so deteriorated in Judah that the word of God was not even available to the priests who served (though some say this was just the full copy of the law in the side of the ark that had been hidden during the reigns of Ahaz or Manasseh – Deut. 31:26). Some seventy-five years earlier, king Hezekiah had apparently had copies of scripture made and possibly distributed, but now those copies had disappeared (e.g., Prov. 25:1).

We must stand it awe of God’s providential preservation of His word (Psalm 12:7). But how many of God’s people today have no access to the word of God because they are using a bad translation or because they do not seek a “thus saith the Lord” for their actions (I Pet. 4:11)? How many preachers preach something other than His word? But the Lord continues to preserve His word even today (Matt. 24:35). When the law was found and read, Josiah feared and trembled (II Kings 22:11). He caused it to be read to all the people and heeded (II Kings 23:1-3). The people committed to once again following the law, as we should.

Josiah was the greatest of Judah’s kings. He purged Judah of her idols and of its sinners. He restored the Law to it’s rightful place of authority. He reinstituted scriptural worship in the observance of the Passover that had been neglected (II Chron. 35:1). And yet for all of that, God still was to execute His wrath upon His people for their sins. All that Josiah had done, as much as it was, was too little, too late for the sins which they had committed. This should frighten everyone who thinks they are faithful.

Eric L. Padgett


The seed of wickedness may lie dormant for a long time, but that does not mean it is dead. The devil is patient. With only a little coaxing, that seed of wickedness may germinate into a noxious, poisonous, parasitic weed. Some people need the influence of good men and women in their lives to keep evil in check and to keep them in line. That kind of influence always helps. However, when that person is separated from the good influence in their lives, they quickly succumb to the incessant, enticing whispers of satan in their ear. That is a description of many people in the world. It is a description of Joash.

This Joash was the eighth king of Judah and is not to be confused with the twelth king of Israel. His name is shortened from Jehoash, meaning “God has bestowed.” He came from a troubled background, but then, almost all people from that era lived in troubled times. However, in this instance, his grandmother tried to kill him and did succeed in killing all others of the “seed royal” of the house of Judah (II Chron. 22:10). She was a very wicked woman, just as her son, who ruled but for only one year, was also very wicked man (II Chron. 22:4).

The wickedness of his parents and grandparents stemmed from their close association and alliance with the house of Ahab. Athaliah, Joash’s grandmother was the daughter of Omri, the wicked king of Israel who did worse than all the kings before him (II Chron. 22:2; I Kings 16:25). Joash’s father “also walked in the ways of the house of Ahab: for his mother was his counsellor to do wickedly” (II Chronicles 22:3). We should never underestimate the influence of one wicked person which is why the Lord sternly warns us against alliances and associations with evil (Deut. 7:1-6; Rom. 16:17; I Cor. 5:9-11, 10:20-21; II Cor. 6:14-18; II Thess. 3:6, 14; I Tim. 6:5; etc).

We should never underestimate the influence of one good man, either. If it were not for the influence of one good man, Joash might not have been saved. Jehoiada was the priest. It was his wife, Jehoshabeath, who happened to be Ahaziah’s sister, who secreted Joash away to safety from among the king’s sons that were slain. For six years, she and Jehoiada hid Joash from Athaliah in the house of God (II Chron. 22:12). If you want to keep something secret from some brethren, hide it in their Bibles or in the church building. They will never find it!

For six years Athaliah had brasenly usurped the throne. But when the time was right, Jehoiada revealed Joash, placed a crown on his head, anointed him, gave him the Testimony and had him proclaimed king (II Kings 11:12). There was great joy and universal shouts of “God save the king!” (II Chron. 23:11,20). When Athalaih saw it, she cried “Treason! Treason!” but they led her away and silenced her voice with a lethal blow (II Kings 11:16).

While Jehoiada was priest and instructed Joash, Joash prospered as king of Judah. He did that which was right in the sight of the Lord when Jahoiada’s influence was felt (II Kings 12:2). Under Jehoiada’s guidance, Joash was able to get the funds for the repair of the temple, which had been abused under Athaliah (II Chron. 24:7). It is also a testament to the people that they responded so well that there was a surplus of funds (II Chron. 24:14).

But when Jehoiada’s influence fell silent through death, the princes of Judah came to seduce Joash with flattery and succeeded in getting him to worship idols. This not only afflicted Joash, but the people, as well, who followed suit. When the Lord sent prophets to warn them, they ignored them (II Chron. 24:19). When Jehoiada’s son, Zechariah, spoke out against the sins of Joash, they conspired against him and stoned him (Chron. 24:21). Jesus mentions Zechariah’s blood being shed (Matt. 23:35).

So the nation had fallen from having a surplus of funds to repair the temple to killing the prophets God sent to them. Joash had fallen from doing that which was right in the sight of God to rejecting Him. The Lord sent the Syrians against him, which left him in a very weak and sickly condition and his own servants conspired to kill him on his own sick bed. But he was not buried in the sepulcher of the kings (II Chron. 24:25). Don’t listen to the devil!

Eric L. Padgett


For the miracles they commanded, the history of Elijah and Elisha is like no other in the Bible, except for New Testament times, when miracles were given to confirm the word of the apostles and other inspired men. The miracles performed for Moses and Joshua were also impressive, but were in many ways detached from the persons, themselves. The crossing of the Jordan by Elijah and Elisha was, no doubt, to remind us that these men were possessed of divine authority, as well. Many of their other miracles also pointed to the power of the coming Christ.

While in a cave in Horeb, Elijah was commanded by God to anoint one Elisha, the son of Shaphat, to take upon him the mantle of prophet in Elijah’s stead (I Kings 19:19). This is the first we hear of Elisha in the Bible. We do not know if Elijah had known Elisha before this command or not but it is nearly certain that Elisha, along with most others of the northern kingdom, knew of Elijah, for he understands the meaning and seriousness of being called by this great prophet.

Elijah then travels some 150 miles from Horeb to Abelmeholah to find Elisha, the man that God would have replace him, plowing a field with twelve yoke of oxen (I Kings 19:19). Many commentators have remarked that this shows that Elisha must have been a man of wealth to have at least twelve yoke of oxen, and to be able to have that many hired servants to work them. Others have said that this does not necessarily indicate wealth, for often those in the east work together. However, the Text tells us that Elisha “left the oxen,” showing that those mentioned were the ones he left (I Kings 19:20). Furthermore, he was able to take a yoke of oxen and kill them for a feast for the people. That would have been an expensive proposition for a poor man. It must have been equally expensive for him to walk away from it all to follow his God.

And while there is no indication that Elisha had been previously enrolled in any school of the prophets, the Lord chose him undoubtedly because he possessed the qualities needed to fulfill God’s purposes. Elijah had been a man who lived away from civilization, comfortable in caves and deserts, and only made his appearance when there was need to confront the sinner. Kings trembled at his strong and fearless revelations from God. But Elisha was a man with culture who embraced the city. He had a home and previously, at least, had a business. He seems to have had influence with the king and captain of the host (II Kings 4:13).

Despite their external differences, Elisha seems to have had a very close relationship with the prophet Elijah subsequent to his calling by the latter. Before following Elijah, Elisha only bade farewell to his family and friends with a great feast, but then left to follow Elijah, just as the apostles would later forsake all and follow Christ (Matt. 10:28). Commentators have suggested that the casting of the mantle by Elijah on Elisha’s shoulders, not only identified him as Elijah’s successor, but also identified him as his adopted son, a view somewhat supported by Elisha’s own words at Elijah’s translation (II Kings 2:12). When we leave all and follow Him, we, too, are adopted into the family of God (Gal. 4:1-8).

Not much is mentioned of their time together. We know that Elisha “ministered” unto Elijah (I Kings 19:21). The sons of the prophets refer to Elijah as Elisha’s “master” (II Kings 2:3). The servants of the king of Judah knew Elisha as the man which “poured water on the hands of Elijah” (II Kings 3:11). When it was known that Elijah would be leaving, Elisha personally vowed to stay with Elijah till the end. “As thy soul liveth,” he said, “I will not leave thee” (II Kings 2:2).

Before Elijah was taken up, he asked Elisha if there was anything he could do for him (II Kings 2:9). Elisha’s request was a hard one: “Let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me” (II Kings 2:9). Elijah could not guarantee that request would be granted for only God could do it, but Elijah promised that if God was going to grant it, he would know it for he would see him taken away (II Kings 2:10). The request for a double portion of the spirit of Elijah was not a selfish request at all but a recognition of the greatness of Elijah. Elisha felt he would need a double portion in order to measure up to the work set before him.

The Inspired Record provides more accounts of the miracles of Elisha than of Elijah. Elisha had asked for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit. By most accounts, the Bible records eight miracles for Elijah and sixteen for Elisha. Though all of them are important, only one miracle of Elisha is mentioned in the New Testament and that by our Lord (Luke 4:27). It was a reference to the cleansing of Naaman by washing in the Jordan. That washing typified the washing of regeneration under the New Covenant, namely baptism (Tit. 3:5; Rom. 6:4).

Eric L. Padgett


He wasn’t much to look at. He was described as a hairy man, either referring to his own hair or possibly the out turned coats of skins he wore. And he wore a leather girdle and a mantle of skins (II Kings 1:8). John the Baptists’ rough appearance is probably reminiscent of Elijah’s course appearance (Luke 1:17). This simple description was enough for identification to those who knew of him (I Kings 18:7). The Bible doesn’t tell us much about his background except that he was a Tishbite, about which very little is apparently known, except that it was in the rugged region of Gilead (I Kings 17:1).

Elijah’s appearance on the scene corresponded with the depravity perpetrated by wicked king Ahab. “Ahab, the son of Omri, did evil in the sight of the Lord above all that were before him” (I Kings 16:30). He married the infamous Jezebel. She was the daughter of Ethbaal, king of Sidon, who, according to some ancient historians, was also a priest of Astarte and possibly Baal. She followed in her father’s steps for four-hundred and fifty of the prophets of Baal and four hundred prophets of the grove ate at her table (I King 18:19). She not only supported these pagan prophets but she also actively opposed the prophets of God (I Kings 18:4).

Ahab’s greatest sin was in marrying her and in adopting her religion (I Kings 16:31). He built a house of worship for Baal in Samaria and a grove (I Kings 16:32). There was none like Ahab that sold himself to do evil (I Kings 21:25,26). In short, he did more to anger the Lord than all the other kings that went before him (I Kings 16:33). It is against this backdrop that Elijah appears on the scene of ancient Israel.

Elijah is all business. The first time we are abruptly introduced to this man of God, he boldly confronted Ahab head on and prophesied about a coming drought (I Kings 17:1), which lasted three and a half years (James 5:17). Because of this, Elijah had to flee for his life unto the brook Cherith, where God sent the ravens to feed him as he drank of the pure waters of the brook, which eventually dried up because of the drought (I Kings 17:2-7). A famine soon followed in the land (I Kings 18:2).

When the time came for the drought to end, God sent Elijah right back to Ahab, with the help of the reluctant and fearful Obadiah (I Kings 18:3-16). When Ahab saw Elijah, he asked “Art thou he that troubleth Israel?” (I Kings 18:17). Elijah corrected the wicked king by noting that Elijah had not “troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father’s house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the LORD, and thou hast followed Baalim” (I Kings 18:18). Those who correct error are not the troublemakers, but those that sin!

Elijah’s boldness as the man of God is demonstrated when he challenged Jezebel’s favored prophets to come to Mt Carmel and prove themselves. As was the nature of his rough character, the prophet Elijah bluntly asked all the people, “How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him” (I Kings 18:21). God’s people still need to be asked that question. When the prophets of Baal failed the test, Elijah slew them at the brook Kidron (I Kings 18:40).

When Jezebel heard the news how that her favored prophets were destroyed, she intensified her attacks on the divine religion by promising Elijah’s death (I Kings 19:2). Elijah fled once again for life and limb and became despondent, feeling that he was all alone in his defense of the divine religion. The children of Israel had forsaken God’s law, had thrown down His altars, killed the prophets and he was left all alone (I Kings 19:14). But God explained to him that He still had seven thousand that had not bowed the knee to Baal (I Kings 19:18).

Elijah was the unparalleled, ideal prophet of Israel! He was bold in proclaiming the truth of God and fearless in the condemnation of sin. He is the prophet who appeared to Jesus in the transfiguration to represent all the prophets, as Moses represented the law (Matt. 17:1-5). He was the prophet chosen to model the harbinger of the Christ (Mal. 3:1; 4:5; Is. 40:3-5; Matt. 11:7-15; Mark 9:12,13). May a little of the spirit of Elijah pass on us as we serve the Lord.

Eric L. Padgett