Pride & Prejudice
King of Pop's introspective musings
by Firpo Carr
September 9, 2010
"I'm starting with the man in the mirror. I'm asking him to change
his ways." Michael Joseph Jackson sang these profound words in Man in the Mirror. (1988) King Josiah should
have scrutinized himself too. Here's what happened:
The Story: After his father
was assassinated, Josiah became king at age eight. Commendably, when he was 15, he desired to learn more about Jehovah. (2
Ch 34:3) At 19, he ordered the destruction of false religious altars, sacred poles, graven images, and molten statues. (2
Ch 34:3-8) He had high regard for Jehovah's faithful prophets who denounced idolatry.--Jer 1:1, 2; 3:6-10; Zep 1:1-6.
While God's neglected temple was being repaired, High Priest Hilkiah discovered the Israelite
Bible. Upon hearing a reading from it Josiah's reaction was rather animated. Since this Bible condemned idolatry, Josiah sought
advice from Prophetess Huldah on behalf of himself and the people, who had engaged in idol worship.
would pay for such unfaithfulness, but since Josiah had humbled himself the foretold calamity would not happen in his lifetime.
(2 Ki 22:3-20; 2 Ch 34:8-28) Appreciatively, Josiah gathered the Judeans and personally read to them from the Bible. Thereupon
they vowed to do God's will, after which an even more extensive campaign against idolatry was launched. (1 Ki 13:1, 2;
2 Ki 23:4-20; 2 Ch 34:33) But something stained Josiah's soul.
the end of his eventful reign, King Josiah committed a prideful act. "Some time later, after Josiah's reformation of
The Temple, Neco [alternatively, Necho] king of Egypt marched out toward Carchemish on the Euphrates River on his way to war.
Josiah went out to fight him. Neco sent messengers to Josiah saying, ‘What do we have against each other, O King of
Judah? I haven't come to fight against you but against the country with whom I'm at war. God commanded me to hurry, so don't
get in my way; you'll only interfere with God, who is on my side in this, and he'll destroy you.' But Josiah was spoiling
for a fight and wouldn't listen to a thing Neco said (in actuality it was God who said it). Though King Josiah disguised
himself when they met on the plain of Megiddo, archers shot him anyway."--2 Ch 35:20-23, The Message.
When truthfully told that "in actuality it was God" who instructed Pharaoh Neco, King Josiah insisted on
fighting Neco anyway, and in the process became a fighter "actually against God." (Acts 5:39, NWT) But
why would the king do such a thing?
Prejudice?: Pharaoh Neco was obviously
African. Could it be that good King Josiah didn't particularly care for "Neco the Negro"? While it would be speculative
to answer in the affirmative, this possibility does exist. The book "All Scripture Is Inspired," published
by Jehovah's Witnesses, states: "After a 31-year reign, Josiah meets his death in a vain attempt to prevent the Egyptian
hosts from passing through the land on their way to the Euphrates." Is it possible that King Josiah didn't want Black
people rolling through the neighborhood?
Granted, given the history of hot and cold wars between
Egypt and Israel, and the ebb and flow of animosity as the nationalistic pendulum swung between enemy and ally, nationalism
instead of racism could have been at the root of Josiah's wayward actions. Either way, racial or national "pride is before
a crash."--Pr 16:18; 18:12.
Jealousy?: Again, though the account neither
mentions racial prejudice nor ethnic pride, the context strongly suggests that these components may have been factors in Josiah's
wayward reasoning. Closely related to pride is jealousy. It's quite plausible that good King Josiah was jealous of the fact
that Jehovah used Neco the Negro instead of him.
Arrogantly, Jealous Josiah neither inquired
of High Priest Hilkiah nor Prophetess Huldah regarding the validity of Neco's claim of divine direction. Blinded by pride,
prejudice, and/or jealousy, the otherwise good King destined himself to a date with a premature death.--2 Ch 35:23-27.
Conclusion: The negative consequences of shameless pride, audacious prejudice, and blind jealousy
are inescapable. Nurturing such feelings clearly casts a bad reflection on oneself, irrespective of one's prior commendable
record of faithful kingdom service to God. So, don't be "a victim of, a selfish kind of love." Remember Josiah.
"No message could have been any clearer. If you wanna make the world a better place take a look at yourself and then
make that change." Peace and blessings to you all. Amen.