Josiah became king of Judah, at the age of 8, when his father Amon was assasinated. The Assyrian Empire was weak during this period, and when he was old enough to take control in reality Josiah was able to undertake a program of expansion and reform, which made him one of the most approved kings by the biblical authors.
2 Kgs 23 tells a dramatic story of how this reform was sparked by the discovery of a book of Adonai's Law in the temple during repairs, and of Josiah's efforts to stamp out sacrificial worship at Bethel (2 Kgs 23:15ff.).
Josiah not only seemed to regain control of (some at least) of what had been the Northern Kingdom (till then an Assyrian province) but also seems to have made efforts to restore the Davidic Empire in other directions too, as the finding of a Hebrew letter from his time in a Judean fort in Philistia at Yavneh Yam.
At Megiddo, in 609, Josiah sought to stop Pharaoh Neco II from aiding the Assyrians against the newly powerful Babylon (2 Kgs 23:29). In this attempt he died.
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