Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he ruled thirty-one years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Jedidah daughter of Adaiah, who was from Bozkath.
Josiah did what the Lord said was right. He lived as his ancestor David had lived, and he did not stop doing what was right.
In Josiah's eighteenth year as king, he sent Shaphan to the Temple of the Lord. Shaphan son of Azaliah, the son of Meshullam, was the royal secretary. Josiah said,
"Go up to Hilkiah the high priest, and have him empty out the money the gatekeepers have gathered from the people. This is the money they have brought into the Temple of the Lord.
Have him give the money to the supervisors of the work on the Temple of the Lord. They must pay the workers who repair the Temple of the Lord --
the carpenters, builders, and bricklayers. Also use the money to buy timber and cut stone to repair the Temple.
They do not need to report how they use the money given to them, because they are working honestly."
Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the royal secretary, "I've found the Book of the Teachings in the Temple of the Lord." He gave it to Shaphan, who read it.
Then Shaphan the royal secretary went to the king and reported to Josiah, "Your officers have paid out the money that was in the Temple of the Lord. They have given it to the workers and supervisors at the Temple."
Then Shaphan the royal secretary told the king, "Hilkiah the priest has given me a book." And Shaphan read from the book to the king.
When the king heard the words of the Book of the Teachings, he tore his clothes to show how upset he was.
He gave orders to Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Acbor son of Micaiah, Shaphan the royal secretary, and Asaiah the king's servant. These were the orders:
"Go and ask the Lord about the words in the book that was found. Ask for me, for all the people, and for all Judah. The Lord's anger is burning against us, because our ancestors did not obey the words of this book; they did not do all the things written for us to do."
So Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Acbor, Shaphan, and Asaiah went to talk to Huldah the prophetess. She was the wife of Shallum son of Tikvah, the son of Harhas, who took care of the king's clothes. Huldah lived in Jerusalem, in the new area of the city.
She said to them, "This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Tell the man who sent you to me,
'This is what the Lord says: I will bring trouble to this place and to the people living here, as it is written in the book which the king of Judah has read.
The people of Judah have left me and have burned incense to other gods. They have made me angry by all that they have done. My anger burns against this place like a fire, and it will not be put out.'
Tell the king of Judah, who sent you to ask the Lord, 'This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says about the words you heard:
When you heard my words against this place and its people, you became sorry for what you had done and humbled yourself before me. I said they would be cursed and would be destroyed. You tore your clothes to show how upset you were, and you cried in my presence. This is why I have heard you, says the Lord.
So I will let you die, and you will be buried in peace. You won't see all the trouble I will bring to this place.'" So they took her message back to the king.