The Reign of Josiah
34 1 Josiah was eight years old when he became king; he was ruling in Jerusalem for thirty-one years. 2 And he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, walking in the ways of his father David, without turning to the right hand or to the left.
3 In the eighth year of his rule, while he was still young, his heart was first turned to the God of his father David; and in the twelfth year he undertook the clearing away of all the high places and the pillars and the images of wood and metal from Judah and Jerusalem. 4 He had the altars of the Baals broken down, while he himself was present; and the sun-images which were placed on high over them he had cut down; and the pillars of wood and the metal images he had broken up and crushed to dust, dropping the dust over the resting-places of the dead who had made offerings to them. 5 And he had the bones of the priests burned on their altars, and so he made Judah and Jerusalem clean. 6 And in all the towns of Manasseh and Ephraim and Simeon as far as Naphtali, he made waste their houses round about. 7 He had the altars and the pillars of wood pulled down and the images crushed to dust, and all the sun-images cut down, through all the land of Israel, and then he went back to Jerusalem.
The Book of the Law Discovered
8 Now in the eighteenth year of his rule, when the land and the house had been made clean, he sent Shaphan, the son of Azaliah, and Maaseiah, the ruler of the town, and Joah, the son of Joahaz, the recorder, to make good what was damaged in the house of the Lord his God. 9 And they came to Hilkiah, the chief priest, and gave him all the money which had been taken into the house of God, which the Levites, the keepers of the door, had got from Manasseh and Ephraim and those of Israel who had not been taken away as prisoners, and from all Judah and Benjamin and the people of Jerusalem. 10 And they gave it to the overseers of the work of the Lord's house, and the overseers gave it to the workmen working in the house, for building it up and making good what was damaged; 11 Even to the woodworkers and builders to get cut stone and wood for joining the structure together and for making boards for the houses which the kings of Judah had given up to destruction. 12 And the men did the work well; and those who had authority over them were Jahath and Obadiah, Levites of the sons of Merari, and Zechariah and Meshullam, of the sons of the Kohathites, who were to be responsible for seeing that the work was done; and others of the Levites, who were expert with instruments of music, 13 Had authority over the transport workers, giving directions to all who were doing any sort of work; and among the Levites there were scribes and overseers and door-keepers.
14 Now when they were taking out the money which had come into the Lord's house, Hilkiah the priest came across the book of the law of the Lord, which he had given by the mouth of Moses. 15 Then Hilkiah said to Shaphan the scribe, I have made discovery of the book of the law in the house of the Lord. And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan. 16 And Shaphan took the book to the king; and he gave him an account of what had been done, saying, Your servants are doing all they have been given to do; 17 They have taken out all the money which was in the Lord's house and have given it to the overseers and to the workmen. 18 Then Shaphan the scribe said to the king, Hilkiah the priest has given me a book; and he made a start at reading some of it to the king. 19 And the king, hearing the words of the law, took his robe in his hands, violently parting it as a sign of his grief. 20 And he gave orders to Hilkiah and to Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, and Abdon, the son of Micah, and Shaphan the scribe and Asaiah, the king's servant, saying, 21 Go and get directions from the Lord for me and for those who are still in Israel and for Judah, about the words of this book which has come to light; for great is the wrath of the Lord which has been let loose on us, because our fathers have not kept the word of the Lord or done what is recorded in this book. 22 So Hilkiah, and those whom the king sent, went to Huldah the woman prophet, the wife of Shallum, the son of Tokhath, the son of Hasrah, the keeper of the robes (now she was living in Jerusalem, in the second part of the town); and they had talk with her about this thing. 23 And she said to them, The Lord, the God of Israel, has said, Say to the man who sent you to me, 24 These are the words of the Lord: See, I will send evil on this place and on its people, even all the curses in the book which they have been reading before the king of Judah; 25 Because they have given me up, burning offerings to other gods and moving me to wrath by all the works of their hands; so my wrath is let loose on this place and will not be put out. 26 But to the king of Judah who sent you to get directions from the Lord, say, This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, has said: Because you have given ear to my words, 27 And your heart was soft, and you made yourself low before God, on hearing his words about this place and its people, and with weeping and signs of grief have made yourself low before me, I have given ear to you, says the Lord God. 28 See, I will let you go to your fathers, and be put in your last resting-place in peace, and your eyes will not see all the evil which I will send on this place and on its people. So they took this news back to the king.
29 Then the king sent and got together all the responsible men of Judah and of Jerusalem. 30 And the king went up to the house of the Lord, with all the men of Judah and the people of Jerusalem, and the priests and the Levites and all the people, small and great; and they were present at his reading of the book of the law which had come to light in the house of the Lord. 31 Then the king, taking his place by the pillar, made an agreement before the Lord, to go in the way of the Lord, and to keep his orders and his decisions and his rules with all his heart and with all his soul, and to keep the words of the agreement recorded in this book. 32 And he made all the people in Jerusalem and Benjamin give their word to keep it. And the people of Jerusalem kept the agreement of God, the God of their fathers. 33 Josiah took away all the disgusting things out of all the lands of the children of Israel, and made all who were in Israel servants of the Lord their God. And as long as he was living they were true to the Lord, the God of their fathers.