Then the king called together all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem.
He went up to the temple of the LORD with the men of Judah, the people of Jerusalem, the priests and the prophets--all the people from the least to the greatest. He read1 in their hearing all the words of the Book of the Covenant,2 which had been found in the temple of the LORD.
The king stood by the pillar3 and renewed the covenant4 in the presence of the LORD--to follow5 the LORD and keep his commands, regulations and decrees with all his heart and all his soul, thus confirming the words of the covenant written in this book. Then all the people pledged themselves to the covenant.
The king ordered Hilkiah the high priest, the priests next in rank and the doorkeepers6 to remove7 from the temple of the LORD all the articles made for Baal and Asherah and all the starry hosts. He burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of the Kidron Valley and took the ashes to Bethel
He did away with the pagan priests appointed by the kings of Judah to burn incense on the high places of the towns of Judah and on those around Jerusalem--those who burned incense8 to Baal, to the sun and moon, to the constellations and to all the starry hosts.9106
He took the Asherah pole from the temple of the LORD to the Kidron Valley11 outside Jerusalem and burned it there. He ground it to powder12 and scattered the dust over the graves13 of the common people.147
He also tore down the quarters of the male shrine prostitutes,15 which were in the temple of the LORD and where women did weaving for Asherah.
Josiah brought all the priests from the towns of Judah and desecrated the high places, from Geba16 to Beersheba, where the priests had burned incense. He broke down the shrinesa at the gates--at the entrance to the Gate of Joshua, the city governor, which is on the left of the city gate.
Although the priests of the high places did not serve17 at the altar of the LORD in Jerusalem, they ate unleavened bread with their fellow priests.
He desecrated Topheth,18 which was in the Valley of Ben Hinnom,19 so no one could use it to sacrifice his son20 or daughter inb the fire to Molech.
He removed from the entrance to the temple of the LORD the horses that the kings of Judah21 had dedicated to the sun. They were in the court near the room of an official named Nathan-Melech. Josiah then burned the chariots dedicated to the sun.2212
He pulled down23 the altars the kings of Judah had erected on the roof24 near the upper room of Ahaz, and the altars Manasseh had built in the two courts25 of the temple of the LORD. He removed them from there, smashed them to pieces and threw the rubble into the Kidron Valley.2613
The king also desecrated the high places that were east of Jerusalem on the south of the Hill of Corruption--the ones Solomon27 king of Israel had built for Ashtoreth the vile goddess of the Sidonians, for Chemosh the vile god of Moab, and for Molechc the detestable28 god of the people of Ammon.2914
Josiah smashed30 the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles and covered the sites with human bones.
Even the altar31 at Bethel, the high place made by Jeroboam32 son of Nebat, who had caused Israel to sin--even that altar and high place he demolished. He burned the high place and ground it to powder, and burned the Asherah pole also.
Then Josiah33 looked around, and when he saw the tombs that were there on the hillside, he had the bones removed from them and burned on the altar to defile it, in accordance34 with the word of the LORD proclaimed by the man of God who foretold these things.
The king asked, "What is that tombstone I see?" The men of the city said, "It marks the tomb of the man of God who came from Judah and pronounced against the altar of Bethel the very things you have done to it."
"Leave it alone," he said. "Don't let anyone disturb his bones35." So they spared his bones and those of the prophet36 who had come from Samaria.
Just as he had done at Bethel, Josiah removed and defiled all the shrines at the high places that the kings of Israel had built in the towns of Samaria that had provoked the LORD to anger
Josiah slaughtered37 all the priests of those high places on the altars and burned human bones38 on them. Then he went back to Jerusalem.
The king gave this order to all the people: "Celebrate the Passover39 to the LORD your God, as it is written in this Book of the Covenant."
Not since the days of the judges who led Israel, nor throughout the days of the kings of Israel and the kings of Judah, had any such Passover been observed.
But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah, this Passover was celebrated to the LORD in Jerusalem.4024
Furthermore, Josiah got rid of the mediums and spiritists,41 the household gods,42 the idols and all the other detestable43 things seen in Judah and Jerusalem. This he did to fulfill the requirements of the law written in the book that Hilkiah the priest had discovered in the temple of the LORD.
Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned44 to the LORD as he did--with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance with all the Law of Moses.4526
Nevertheless, the LORD did not turn away from the heat of his fierce anger,46 which burned against Judah because of all that Manasseh47 had done to provoke him to anger.
So the LORD said, "I will remove48 Judah also from my presence49 as I removed Israel, and I will reject50 Jerusalem, the city I chose, and this temple, about which I said, 'There shall my Name be.'d "
As for the other events of Josiah's reign, and all he did, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah?
While Josiah was king, Pharaoh Neco51 king of Egypt went up to the Euphrates River to help the king of Assyria. King Josiah marched out to meet him in battle, but Neco faced him and killed him at Megiddo.5230
Josiah's servants brought his body in a chariot53 from Megiddo to Jerusalem and buried him in his own tomb. And the people of the land took Jehoahaz son of Josiah and anointed him and made him king in place of his father.