Respecting those who have gone before us

2 Kings Bible Background

05.19.2016 Old Testament: 2Ki 23.15–18

To read the Bible in a year, read Second Kings 23–25 on May 19, In the year of our Lord 2016

By Don Ruhl

Centuries earlier, a prophet had spoken of what King Josiah of Judah would do to the idols and such of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. As Josiah destroyed those things, he came across a particular grave,

Moreover the altar that was at Bethel, and the high place which Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel sin, had made, both that altar and the high place he broke down; and he burned the high place and crushed it to powder, and burned the wooden image. As Josiah turned, he saw the tombs that were there on the mountain. And he sent and took the bones out of the tombs and burned them on the altar, and defiled it according to the word of the LORD which the man of God proclaimed, who proclaimed these words. Then he said, “What gravestone is this that I see?”  So the men of the city told him, “It is the tomb of the man of God who came from Judah and proclaimed these things which you have done against the altar of Bethel.” And he said, “Let him alone; let no one move his bones.” So they let his bones alone, with the bones of the prophet who came from Samaria (2 Kings 23.15–18).

Josiah did not want the grave of the prophet, nor his body, desecrated, but Josiah also did not make a shrine out of the tomb. Honor those who have gone before us, but let us remember that they were men just as we are.


  • Do you remember those who have gone before us in the church?
  • How familiar are you with church history?

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