Josiah Succeeds Amon in Judah
1Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned for thirty-one years in Jerusalem. 2 He did what was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the ways of David his father (forefather) and did not turn aside either to the right or to the left. 3 For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was still young (sixteen), he began to seek after and inquire of the God of his father David; and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of the high places, the Asherim, and the carved and cast images. 4 They tore down the altars of the Baals in his presence; he cut to pieces the incense altars that were high above them; he also smashed the Asherim and the carved images and the cast images to pieces, and ground them to dust and scattered it on the graves of those who had sacrificed to them. 5 Then Josiah burned the bones of the [pagan] priests on their altars and purged and cleansed Judah and Jerusalem. 6 In the cities of Manasseh, Ephraim, Simeon, and as far as Naphtali, in their surrounding ruins, 7 he tore down the altars and beat and crushed the Asherim and the carved images into powder, and cut to pieces all the incense altars throughout the land of Israel. Then he returned to Jerusalem.
Josiah Repairs the Temple
8 In the eighteenth year of Josiah’s reign, when he had purged the land and the [Lord’s] house, he sent Shaphan the son of Azaliah, and Maaseiah the governor of the city, and Joah the son of Joahaz the recorder (secretary), to repair the house of the Lord his God. 9 When they came to Hilkiah the high priest, they delivered the money that had been brought into the house of God, which the Levites, who guarded the doors, had collected from Manasseh and Ephraim, and from all the remnant of Israel, and from all Judah and Benjamin, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 10 Then they gave it to the workmen who were appointed over the house of the Lord, and the workmen who were working in the house of the Lord gave it [to others] to repair and restore the house (temple). 11 They in turn gave it to the carpenters and builders to buy quarried stone and timber for couplings (trusses, braces) and to make beams for the houses which the kings of Judah had let go to ruin. 12 The men did the work faithfully with foremen over them to supervise and inspect [their work]: Jahath and Obadiah, the Levites of the sons of Merari, and Zechariah and Meshullam of the sons of the Kohathites, and the Levites, all who were skillful with musical instruments. 13 They were also in charge of the burden bearers [who carried heavy loads], and supervised all the workmen in any kind of service; and some of the Levites were scribes and officials and gatekeepers.
Hilkiah Discovers Lost Book of the Law
14 When they were bringing out the money which had been brought into the house of the Lord, Hilkiah the priest found the Book of the Law of the Lord given by Moses. 15 Hilkiah told Shaphan the scribe, “I have found the Book of the Law in the house of the Lord.” And he gave the book to Shaphan. 16 Shaphan brought the book to the king, but [first] reported further to him, “Your servants are doing everything that was entrusted to them. 17 They have emptied out the money that was found in the house of the Lord, and have delivered it into the hands of the overseers and the workmen.” 18 Then Shaphan the scribe told the king, “Hilkiah the priest has given me a book.” And Shaphan read from it in the presence of the king.
19 When the king heard the words of the Law, he tore his clothes. 20 Then the king commanded Hilkiah, Ahikam the son of Shaphan, Abdon the son of Micah, Shaphan the scribe, and Asaiah a servant of the king, saying, 21 “Go, inquire of the Lord for me and for those who are left in Israel and in Judah in regard to the words of the book which has been found; for great is the wrath of the Lord which has been poured out on us because our fathers have not kept and obeyed the word of the Lord, to act in accordance with everything that is written in this book.”
Huldah, the Prophetess, Speaks
22 So Hilkiah and those whom the king had told went to Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tokhath, the son of Hasrah, keeper of the wardrobe (now she lived in Jerusalem, in the Second Quarter); and they spoke to her about this. 23 And she answered them, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: ‘Tell the man who sent you to me, 24 thus says the Lord: “Behold, I am bringing evil on this place and on its inhabitants, all the curses that are written in the book which they have read in the presence of the king of Judah. 25 Because they have abandoned (rejected) Me and have burned incense to other gods, in order to provoke Me to anger with all the works of their hands, [a]My wrath will be poured out on this place and it will not be extinguished.”’ 26 But you shall say the following to King Josiah of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the Lord: ‘Thus says the Lord God of Israel, concerning the words which you have heard, 27 “Because your heart was gentle and penitent and you humbled yourself before God when you heard His words against this place and its inhabitants, and humbled yourself before Me, and tore your clothes and wept before Me, I also have heard you,” declares the Lord. 28 “Behold, I will gather you to your fathers [in death], and you shall be gathered to your grave in peace, and your eyes shall not see all the evil which I am going to bring on this place and on its inhabitants.”’” So they brought back word to the king.
29 Then the king sent word and gathered all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. 30 And the king went up to the house of the Lord with all the men of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the priests, the Levites, and all the people, from the greatest to the least; and he read aloud so they could hear all the words of the Book of the Covenant which was found in the house of the Lord.
Josiah’s Good Reign
31 Then the king stood in his place and made a covenant before the Lord—to walk after (obey) the Lord, and to keep His commandments, His testimonies, and His statutes with all his heart and with all his soul, to perform the words of the covenant written in this book. 32 Further, he made all who were present in Jerusalem and Benjamin stand [with him, in confirmation of it]. So the inhabitants of Jerusalem acted in accordance with the covenant of God, the God of their fathers. 33 Josiah removed all the [pagan] repulsive things from all the lands belonging to the sons (descendants) of Israel, and made all who were present in Israel serve the Lord their God. Throughout his lifetime they did not turn from following the Lord God of their fathers.