David and Solomon ruled over a united kingdom, the core of which was the land of Palestine. The kingdom split in 933 BC following the reign of Solomon. The northern kingdom took the name Israel and the southern kingdom, the name Judah. Superpower Assyria conquered the northern kingdom of Israel by capturing its capital city of Samaria in 722 BC.
Josiah came to the throne of Judah about 640 BC. The temple had been sadly neglected by his two predecessors, Amon and Manasseh. Manasseh's acts were more wicked than all the kings who preceded or succeeded him for he committed that one, unimaginable sin; he placed an idol in the Holy of Holies. He also filled Jerusalem with innocent blood. The prophet Isaiah was sawed in two during the reign of Manasseh.
Josiah was determined to return his subjects to the worship of the Lord their God. In 623 BC, he hired workmen to repair the damage to the temple. Previously, the Levites had removed the Ark of the Covenant from the desecrated and dilapidated house of God. After the repairs were completed, Josiah commanded the priests to return the Ark to Solomon’s temple.
At that time, a Chaldean governor by the name of Nabopolassar defeated the Assyrian forces at Babylon. The victory resulted in an independent Babylon and gave Nabopolassar the notoriety of becoming the first king of the Neo-Babylonian (Chaldean) empire. In 612 BC, the new king joined forces with the Medes to defeat the Assyrians at Nineveh, their capital city. The Assyrians then retreated westward to the city of Haran.
Josiah, king of Judah, was pro-Babylonian. When Necho II, pharaoh of Egypt and friend of the Assyrians, sought to join his allies at Haran in their last desperate attempt against the Chaldean and Median forces, he was intercepted by Josiah at the strategic Megiddo Pass. In 609 BC, Josiah was mortally wounded trying to block Necho's passage through the Valley of Megiddon, also known as the apocalyptic Armageddon.
Despite Egypt’s efforts, Assyria was crushed and Babylon began its reign as the most powerful kingdom on earth. And Josiah, the last of Judah’s godly kings, was taken by chariot to Jerusalem and buried in his own tomb where he slept with his fathers.