Josiah was 8 years old when he began to rule, and he was king for 31 years in Jerusalem.
He did what the LORD considered right. He lived in the ways of his ancestor David and never stopped living this way.
In the eighth year of his reign, while he was still a boy, he began to dedicate his life to serving the God of his ancestor David. In his twelfth year as king, he began to make Judah and Jerusalem clean by destroying the illegal places of worship, poles dedicated to the goddess Asherah, carved idols, and metal idols.
He had the altars of the various Baal gods torn down. He cut down the incense altars that were above them. He destroyed the Asherah poles, carved idols, and metal idols. He ground them into powder and scattered the powder over the tombs of those who had sacrificed to them.
He burned the bones of the priests on their altars. So he made Judah and Jerusalem clean.
In the cities of Manasseh, Ephraim, Simeon, and as far as Naphtali, he removed all their temples,
tore down the altars, beat the Asherah poles and idols into powder, and cut down all the incense altars everywhere in Israel. Then he went back to Jerusalem.
In the eighteenth year of his reign as he was making the land and the temple clean, Josiah sent Shaphan, son of Azaliah, Maaseiah, the mayor of the city, and Joah, the royal historian and son of Joahaz, to repair the temple of the LORD his God.
They came to the chief priest Hilkiah and gave him the money that had been brought to God's temple, the money that the Levite doorkeepers had collected from the tribes of Manasseh and Ephraim, from all who were left in Israel, from everyone in the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, and from the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
They gave the money to the foremen who were in charge of the LORD's temple. These foremen gave it to the workmen who were restoring and repairing the temple.
(These workers included carpenters and builders.) They were to buy quarried stones and wood for the fittings and beams of the buildings that the kings of Judah had allowed to become run-down.
The men did their work faithfully under the supervision of Jahath and Obadiah (Levites descended from Merari), and Zechariah and Meshullam (descendants of Kohath). The Levites, who were skilled musicians,
also supervised the workers and directed all the workmen on the various jobs. Some of the Levites served as scribes, officials, or gatekeepers.
When they brought out the money that had been deposited in the LORD's temple, the priest Hilkiah found the book of the LORD's Teachings written by Moses.
Hilkiah told the scribe Shaphan, "I have found the book of the Teachings in the LORD's temple." Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan.
Shaphan took the book to the king and reported, "We are doing everything you told us to do.
We took the money that was donated in the LORD's temple and gave it to the supervisors and the workmen."
Then the scribe Shaphan told the king, "The priest Hilkiah has given me a book." And Shaphan read it to the king.
When the king heard what the Teachings said, he tore his clothes [in distress].
Then the king gave an order to Hilkiah, Ahikam (son of Shaphan), Abdon (son of Micah), the scribe Shaphan, and the royal official Asaiah. He said,
"On behalf of those who are left in Israel and Judah and me, ask the LORD about the words in this book that was found. The LORD's fierce anger has been poured on us because our ancestors did not obey the word of the LORD by doing everything written in this book."
So Hilkiah and the king's officials went to talk to the prophet Huldah about this matter. She was the wife of Shallum, son of Tokhath and grandson of Hasrah. Shallum was in charge of the [royal] wardrobe. Huldah was living in the Second Part of Jerusalem.
She told them, "This is what the LORD God of Israel says: Tell the man who sent you to me,
'This is what the LORD says: I'm going to bring disaster on this place and on the people living here according to the curses written in the book that was read to the king of Judah.
I will do this because they have abandoned me and sacrificed to other gods in order to make me furious. Therefore, my anger will be poured on this place and will never come to an end.'"
[Huldah added,] "Tell Judah's king who sent you to me to ask the LORD a question, 'This is what the LORD God of Israel says about the words you heard:
You had a change of heart and humbled yourself in front of God when you heard my words against this place and those who live here. You humbled yourself, tore your clothes [in distress], and cried in front of me. So I will listen [to you], declares the LORD.
That is why I'm going to bring you to your ancestors. I'm going to bring you to your grave in peace, and your eyes will not see any of the disaster I'm going to bring on this place and those who live here.'" So they reported this to the king.
Then the king sent for all the respected leaders of Judah and Jerusalem to join him.
The king, everyone in Judah, everyone living in Jerusalem, the priests, the Levites, and all the people (young and old) went up to the LORD's temple. He read everything written in the Book of the Promise found in the LORD's temple so that they could hear it.
The king stood in his place and made a promise to the LORD that he would follow the LORD and obey his commands, instructions, and laws with all his heart and soul. He said he would live by the terms of the promise written in this book.
He also made all those found in Jerusalem and Benjamin join with him [in the promise]. Then the people of Jerusalem lived according to the promise of God, the God of their ancestors.
Josiah got rid of all the disgusting idols throughout Israelite territory. He made all people found in Israel serve the LORD their God. As long as he lived, they didn't stop following the LORD God of their ancestors.