Josiah was eight years old when he became king. He ruled for thirty-one years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Jedidah daughter of Adaiah; she was from Bozkath.
He lived the way God wanted. He kept straight on the path blazed by his ancestor David, not one step to either left or right.
One day in the eighteenth year of his kingship, King Josiah sent the royal secretary Shaphan son of Azaliah, the son of Meshullam, to The Temple of God with instructions:
"Go to Hilkiah the high priest and have him count the money that has been brought to The Temple of God that the doormen have collected from the people.
Have them turn it over to the foremen who are managing the work on The Temple of God so they can pay the workers who are repairing God's Temple,
all the carpenters, construction workers, and masons. Also, authorize them to buy the lumber and dressed stone for The Temple repairs.
You don't need to get a receipt for the money you give them - they're all honest men."
The high priest Hilkiah reported to Shaphan the royal secretary, "I've just found the Book of God's Revelation, instructing us in God's ways. I found it in The Temple!" He gave it to Shaphan and Shaphan read it.
Then Shaphan the royal secretary came back to the king and gave him an account of what had gone on: "Your servants have bagged up the money that has been collected for The Temple; they have given it to the foremen to pay The Temple workers."
Then Shaphan the royal secretary told the king, "Hilkiah the priest gave me a book." Shaphan proceeded to read it to the king.
When the king heard what was written in the book, God's Revelation, he ripped his robes in dismay.
And then he called for Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Acbor son of Micaiah, Shaphan the royal secretary, and Asaiah the king's personal aide. He ordered them all:
"Go and pray to God for me and for this people - for all Judah! Find out what we must do in response to what is written in this book that has just been found! God's anger must be burning furiously against us - our ancestors haven't obeyed a thing written in this book, followed none of the instructions directed to us."
Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Acbor, Shaphan, and Asaiah went straight to Huldah the prophetess. She was the wife of Shallum son of Tikvah, the son of Harhas, who was in charge of the palace wardrobe. She lived in Jerusalem in the Second Quarter. The five men consulted with her.
In response to them she said, "God's word, the God of Israel: Tell the man who sent you here
that I'm on my way to bring the doom of judgment on this place and this people. Every word written in the book read by the king of Judah will happen.
And why? Because they've deserted me and taken up with other gods, made me thoroughly angry by setting up their god-making businesses. My anger is raging white-hot against this place and nobody is going to put it out.
"And also tell the king of Judah, since he sent you to ask God for direction; tell him this, God's comment on what he read in the book:
'Because you took seriously the doom of judgment I spoke against this place and people, and because you responded in humble repentance, tearing your robe in dismay and weeping before me, I'm taking you seriously. God's word:
I'll take care of you. You'll have a quiet death and be buried in peace. You won't be around to see the doom that I'm going to bring upon this place.'" The men took her message back to the king.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)