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.