The king ordered Hilkiah the high priest, the priests next in rank and the doorkeepers1 to remove2 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 incense3 to Baal, to the sun and moon, to the constellations and to all the starry hosts.456
He took the Asherah pole from the temple of the LORD to the Kidron Valley6 outside Jerusalem and burned it there. He ground it to powder7 and scattered the dust over the graves8 of the common people.97
He also tore down the quarters of the male shrine prostitutes,10 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 Geba11 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 serve12 at the altar of the LORD in Jerusalem, they ate unleavened bread with their fellow priests.
He desecrated Topheth,13 which was in the Valley of Ben Hinnom,14 so no one could use it to sacrifice his son15 or daughter inb the fire to Molech.
He removed from the entrance to the temple of the LORD the horses that the kings of Judah16 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.1712
He pulled down18 the altars the kings of Judah had erected on the roof19 near the upper room of Ahaz, and the altars Manasseh had built in the two courts20 of the temple of the LORD. He removed them from there, smashed them to pieces and threw the rubble into the Kidron Valley.2113
The king also desecrated the high places that were east of Jerusalem on the south of the Hill of Corruption--the ones Solomon22 king of Israel had built for Ashtoreth the vile goddess of the Sidonians, for Chemosh the vile god of Moab, and for Molechc the detestable23 god of the people of Ammon.2414
Josiah smashed25 the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles and covered the sites with human bones.2615
Even the altar27 at Bethel, the high place made by Jeroboam28 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 Josiah29 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 accordance30 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 bones31." So they spared his bones and those of the prophet32 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 slaughtered33 all the priests of those high places on the altars and burned human bones34 on them. Then he went back to Jerusalem.
The king gave this order to all the people: "Celebrate the Passover35 to the LORD your God, as it is written in this Book of the Covenant."3622
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.3724
Furthermore, Josiah got rid of the mediums and spiritists,38 the household gods,39 the idols and all the other detestable40 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 turned41 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.4226
Nevertheless, the LORD did not turn away from the heat of his fierce anger,43 which burned against Judah because of all that Manasseh44 had done to provoke him to anger.
So the LORD said, "I will remove45 Judah also from my presence46 as I removed Israel, and I will reject47 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?