1Josiah was eight when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem for thirty-one years.
2He did what was right in the Lord's sight and followed the ways of his forefather David—he did not deviate to the right or to the left.
3In the eighth year of his reign, while he was still young, Josiah began to publicly worship the God of David his forefather, and in the twelfth year of his reign he began to cleanse Judah and Jerusalem by removing the high places, the Asherah poles, the carved idols, and the metal images.
4He had the altars of Baal torn down in front of him, and the incense altars above them cut down. In addition, the Asherah poles, the carved idols, and the metal images were smashed to pieces and scattered over the graves of those who had been sacrificing to them.
5He burned the bones of the idolatrous priests on their altars. In this way he cleansed Judah and Jerusalem.
6Josiah repeated this in the towns of Manasseh, Ephraim, and Simeon, all the way to Naphtali, and in their surrounding areas.
7He tore down the altars and crushed the Asherah poles and the images to dust, and cut down all the incense altars across the whole land of Israel. Then he went back to Jerusalem.
8In the eighteenth year of his reign, once he had finished cleansing the land and the Temple, Josiah sent Shaphan, son of Azaliah, Maaseiah the city governor, and Joah, son of Joahaz, the record-keeper, to repair the Temple of the Lord his God.
9They went to Hilkiah the high priest and gave him the money that had been brought to God's Temple. The Levites at the entrances had collected this money from the people of Manasseh and Ephraim, from what was left of the people of Israel, as well as contributions from Judah, Benjamin, and the people of Jerusalem.
10They handed it over to those who were supervising the repair work on Lord's Temple, who in turn paid the workmen doing the restoring and repairing.
11They also paid carpenters and builders to buy cut stone, as well as timber for joists and beams for the buildings that the kings of Judah had let deteriorate.
12The men did good, honest work. In charge of them were Jahath and Obadiah, Levites from the sons of Merari; and Zechariah and Meshullam, Levites from the sons of the Kohathites. The Levites, all skilled musicians,
13were in charge of the workmen and directed everyone involved, depending on what was required. Some of the Levites were scribes, some officers, and some gatekeepers.
14In the process of taking out the money donated to the Lord's Temple, Hilkiah the priest discovered the Book of the Lord's Law written down by Moses.
15Hilkiah told Shaphan the scribe, “I've found the Book of the Law in the Lord's Temple.” He gave it to Shaphan.
16Shaphan took the book to the king and told him, “We your servants are doing everything we were instructed to do.
17The money collected at the Lord's Temple has been handed over to those who are supervising the workers, paying them to do the repairs.”
18Then Shaphan the scribe told the king, “Hilkiah the priest gave me this book.” Shaphan read it to the king.
19When the king heard what the Law said, he tore his clothes.
20Then he issue the following orders to Hilkiah, Ahikam, son of Shaphan, Abdon, son of Micah, Shaphan the scribe, and Asaiah, the king's assistant:
21“Go and talk to the Lord for me, and also for those who still live in Israel and Judah, about what is said in the book that's been found. For the Lord must be really angry with us because our forefathers have not obeyed the Lord's instructions by following all that's written in this book.”
22Hilkiah and those the king had selected went and talked with Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum, son of Tokhath, the son of Hasrah, custodian of the wardrobe. She lived in Jerusalem, in the city's second quarter.
23Huldah told them, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Tell the man who sent you to me,
24this is what the Lord says: I am about to bring disaster down on this place and on its people, in accordance with all the curses written in the book that has been read to the king of Judah.
25They have abandoned me and offered sacrifices to other gods, making me angry by everything they've done. My anger will be poured out upon this place and will not be stopped.
26But tell the king of Judah who sent you to ask the Lord, tell him this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: As for the what you heard read to you—
27because you were receptive and repentant before God when you heard his warnings against this place and against its people, and because you have repented, tearing your clothes and weeping before me, I have also heard you, declares the Lord.
28All this will not happen until after you have died, and you will die in peace. You will not see all the disaster that I'm going to bring down on this place and on its inhabitants.” They went back to the king and gave him her response.
29Then the king summoned all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem.
30He went to the Lord's Temple with all the people of Judah and Jerusalem, together with the priests and the Levites, all the people from the least to the greatest, and he read to them the whole Book of the Agreement that had been discovered in the Lord's Temple.
31The king stood by the pillar and made a solemn agreement before the Lord to follow him and to keep his commandments, laws, and regulations with total dedication, and to observe the requirements of the agreement as written in the book.
32Then he had everyone present from Jerusalem and Benjamin stand up to show they agreed to it. So all the people of Jerusalem accepted and followed the agreement with God, the God of their forefathers.
33Josiah demolished all the vile idols from the whole territory belonging to the Israelites, and he made everyone in Israel serve the Lord their God. During his reign they did not give up worshiping the Lord, the God of their fathers.