Josiah was eight years old when he became king; he reigned 31 years in Jerusalem.
He did what was right in the Lord's sight and walked in the ways of his ancestor David; he did not turn aside to the right or the left.a
In the eighth year of his reign, while he was still a youth, Josiah began to seek the God of his ancestor David, and in the twelfth year he began to cleanse Judah and Jerusalem of the high places, the Asherah poles, the carved images, and the cast images.
Then in his presence the altars of the Baals were torn down, and the incense altars that were above them he chopped down. The Asherah poles, the carved images, and the cast images he shattered, crushed to dust, and scattered over the graves of those who had sacrificed to them.
He burned the bones of the priests on their altars.b So he cleansed Judah and Jerusalem.
[He did the same] in the cities of Manasseh, Ephraim, and Simeon, and as far as Naphtali [and] on their surrounding mountain shrines.c7
He tore down the altars, and he smashed the Asherah poles and the carved images to powder. He chopped down all the incense altars throughout the land of Israel and returned to Jerusalem.d
In the eighteenth year of his reign, in order to cleanse the land and the temple, Josiah sent Shaphan son of Azaliah, along with Maaseiah the governor of the city and the recorder Joah son of Joahaz, to repair the temple of the Lord his God.
So they went to Hilkiah the high priest, and gave him the money brought into God's temple. The Levites and the doorkeepers had collected [money] from Manasseh, Ephraim, and from the entire remnant of Israel, and from all Judah, Benjamin, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
They put it into the hands of those doing the work-those who oversaw the Lord's temple. They [in turn] gave it to the workmen who were working in the Lord's temple, to repair and restore the temple;
they gave it to the carpenters and builders and [also used it] to buy quarried stone and timbers-for joining and to make beams-for the buildings that Judah's kings had destroyed.
The men were doing the work with integrity.e Their overseers were Jahath and Obadiah the Levites from the Merarites, and Zechariah and Meshullam from the Kohathites as supervisors. The Levites were all skilled on musical instruments.
[They were] also over the porters and were supervising all those doing the work task by task. Some of the Levites were secretaries, officers, and gatekeepers.
When they brought out the money that had been deposited in the Lord's temple, Hilkiah the priest found the book of the law of the Lord [written] by the hand of Moses.f15
Consequently, Hilkiah told Shaphan the court secretary, "I have found the book of the law in the Lord's temple," and he gave the book to Shaphan.
Shaphan took the book to the king, and also reported, "Your servants are doing all that was placed in their hands.
They have emptied out the money that was found in the Lord's temple and have put it into the hand of the overseers and the hand of those doing the work."
Then Shaphan the court secretary told the king, "Hilkiah the priest gave me a book," and Shaphan read it in the presence of the king.g19
When the king heard the words of the law, he tore his clothes.
Then he commanded Hilkiah, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Abdon son of Micah, Shaphan the court secretary, and the king's servant Asaiah,
"Go. Inquire of the Lord for me and for those remaining in Israel and Judah, concerning the words of the book that was found. For great is the Lord's wrath that is poured out on us because our fathers have not kept the word of the Lord in order to do everything written in this book."h
So Hilkiah and those the king had designatedi went to the prophetess Huldah, the wife of Shallum son of Tokhath, son of Hasrah, keeper of the wardrobe. She lived in Jerusalem in the Second District. They spoke with her about this.
She said to them, "This is what the Lord God of Israel says: Say to the man who sent you to Me,
'This is what the Lord says: I am about to bring disaster on this place and on its inhabitants, [fulfilling] all the curses written in the book that they read in the presence of the king of Judah,j25
because they have abandoned Me and burned incense to other gods in order to provoke Me with all the works of their hands. My wrath will be poured out on this place, and it will not be quenched.'
Say this to the king of Judah who sent you to inquire of the Lord: 'This is what the Lord God of Israel says: As for the words that you heard,
because your heart was tender and you humbled yourself before God when you heard His words against this place and against its inhabitants, and because you humbled yourself before Me, and you tore your clothes and wept before Me, I Myself have heard'-this is the Lord speaking.
'I will indeed gather you to your fathers, and you will be gathered to your grave in peace. Your eyes will not see all the disaster that I am bringing on this place and on its inhabitants.' "kl Then they reported to the king.m
So the king sent [messengers] and gathered all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem.
Then the king went up to the Lord's temple with all the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, as well as the priests and the Levites-all the people from great to small. He read in their hearing all the words of the book of the covenant that had been found in the Lord's temple.
Next the king stood at his post and made a covenant in the Lord's presence to follow the Lord and to keep His commandments, His decrees, and His statutes with all his heart and with all his souln in order to carry out the words of the covenant written in this book.o32
Then he had all those present in Jerusalem and Benjamin enterp [the covenant]. So all the inhabitants of Jerusalem carried out the covenant of God, the God of their ancestors.q33
So Josiah removed everything that was detestable from all the lands belonging to the Israelites, and he required all who were present in Israel to serve the Lord their God. Throughout his reign they did not turn aside from following the Lord God of their ancestors.