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Josiah's Reign

2 Kings 22:1-23:30
2 Kings 22:1-23:30
2 Kings 22:1-23:30
2 Kings 22:1-23:30

2 Kings 22:1-23:30

22:1 Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Jedidah the daughter of Adaiah of Bozkath. And he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and walked in all the way of David his father, and he did not turn aside to the right or to the left.

In the eighteenth year of King Josiah, the king sent Shaphan the son of Azaliah, son of Meshullam, the secretary, to the house of the Lord, saying, “Go up to Hilkiah the high priest, that he may count the money that has been brought into the house of the Lord, which the keepers of the threshold have collected from the people. And let it be given into the hand of the workmen who have the oversight of the house of the Lord, and let them give it to the workmen who are at the house of the Lord, repairing the house (that is, to the carpenters, and to the builders, and to the masons), and let them use it for buying timber and quarried stone to repair the house. But no accounting shall be asked from them for the money that is delivered into their hand, for they deal honestly.”

And Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the secretary, “I have found the Book of the Law in the house of the Lord.” And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, and he read it. And Shaphan the secretary came to the king, and reported to the king, “Your servants have emptied out the money that was found in the house and have delivered it into the hand of the workmen who have the oversight of the house of the Lord.” 10 Then Shaphan the secretary told the king, “Hilkiah the priest has given me a book.” And Shaphan read it before the king.

11 When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes. 12 And the king commanded Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Achbor the son of Micaiah, and Shaphan the secretary, and Asaiah the king's servant, saying, 13 “Go, inquire of the Lord for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that has been found. For great is the wrath of the Lord that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not obeyed the words of this book, to do according to all that is written concerning us.”

14 So Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam, and Achbor, and Shaphan, and Asaiah went to Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tikvah, son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe (now she lived in Jerusalem in the Second Quarter), and they talked with her. 15 And she said to them, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: ‘Tell the man who sent you to me, 16 Thus says the Lord, Behold, I will bring disaster upon this place and upon its inhabitants, all the words of the book that the king of Judah has read. 17 Because they have forsaken me and have made offerings to other gods, that they might provoke me to anger with all the work of their hands, therefore my wrath will be kindled against this place, and it will not be quenched. 18 But to the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the Lord, thus shall you say to him, Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Regarding the words that you have heard, 19 because your heart was penitent, and you humbled yourself before the Lord, when you heard how I spoke against this place and against its inhabitants, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and you have torn your clothes and wept before me, I also have heard you, declares the Lord. 20 Therefore, behold, I will gather you to your fathers, and you shall be gathered to your grave in peace, and your eyes shall not see all the disaster that I will bring upon this place.’” And they brought back word to the king.

23:1 Then the king sent, and all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem were gathered to him. And the king went up to the house of the Lord, and with him all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem and the priests and the prophets, all the people, both small and great. And he read in their hearing all the words of the Book of the Covenant that had been found in the house of the Lord. And the king stood by the pillar and made a covenant before the Lord, to walk after the Lord and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all his heart and all his soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people joined in the covenant.

And the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest and the priests of the second order and the keepers of the threshold to bring out of the temple of the Lord all the vessels made for Baal, for Asherah, and for all the host of heaven. He burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of the Kidron and carried their ashes to Bethel. And he deposed the priests whom the kings of Judah had ordained to make offerings in the high places at the cities of Judah and around Jerusalem; those also who burned incense to Baal, to the sun and the moon and the constellations and all the host of the heavens. And he brought out the Asherah from the house of the Lord, outside Jerusalem, to the brook Kidron, and burned it at the brook Kidron and beat it to dust and cast the dust of it upon the graves of the common people. And he broke down the houses of the male cult prostitutes who were in the house of the Lord, where the women wove hangings for the Asherah. And he brought all the priests out of the cities of Judah, and defiled the high places where the priests had made offerings, from Geba to Beersheba. And he broke down the high places of the gates that were at the entrance of the gate of Joshua the governor of the city, which were on one's left at the gate of the city. However, the priests of the high places did not come up to the altar of the Lord in Jerusalem, but they ate unleavened bread among their brothers. 10 And he defiled Topheth, which is in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, that no one might burn his son or his daughter as an offering to Molech. 11 And he removed the horses that the kings of Judah had dedicated to the sun, at the entrance to the house of the Lord, by the chamber of Nathan-melech the chamberlain, which was in the precincts. And he burned the chariots of the sun with fire. 12 And the altars on the roof of the upper chamber of Ahaz, which the kings of Judah had made, and the altars that Manasseh had made in the two courts of the house of the Lord, he pulled down and broke in pieces and cast the dust of them into the brook Kidron. 13 And the king defiled the high places that were east of Jerusalem, to the south of the mount of corruption, which Solomon the king of Israel had built for Ashtoreth the abomination of the Sidonians, and for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, and for Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. 14 And he broke in pieces the pillars and cut down the Asherim and filled their places with the bones of men.

15 Moreover, the altar at Bethel, the high place erected by Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, that altar with the high place he pulled down and burned, reducing it to dust. He also burned the Asherah. 16 And as Josiah turned, he saw the tombs there on the mount. And he sent and took the bones out of the tombs and burned them on the altar and defiled it, according to the word of the Lord that the man of God proclaimed, who had predicted these things. 17 Then he said, “What is that monument that I see?” And the men of the city told him, “It is the tomb of the man of God who came from Judah and predicted these things that you have done against the altar at Bethel.” 18 And he said, “Let him be; let no man move his bones.” So they let his bones alone, with the bones of the prophet who came out of Samaria. 19 And Josiah removed all the shrines also of the high places that were in the cities of Samaria, which kings of Israel had made, provoking the Lord to anger. He did to them according to all that he had done at Bethel. 20 And he sacrificed all the priests of the high places who were there, on the altars, and burned human bones on them. Then he returned to Jerusalem.

21 And the king commanded all the people, “Keep the Passover to the Lord your God, as it is written in this Book of the Covenant.” 22 For no such Passover had been kept since the days of the judges who judged Israel, or during all the days of the kings of Israel or of the kings of Judah. 23 But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah this Passover was kept to the Lord in Jerusalem.

24 Moreover, Josiah put away the mediums and the necromancers and the household gods and the idols and all the abominations that were seen in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, that he might establish the words of the law that were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the house of the Lord. 25 Before him there was no king like him, who turned to the Lord with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might, according to all the Law of Moses, nor did any like him arise after him.

26 Still the Lord did not turn from the burning of his great wrath, by which his anger was kindled against Judah, because of all the provocations with which Manasseh had provoked him. 27 And the Lord said, “I will remove Judah also out of my sight, as I have removed Israel, and I will cast off this city that I have chosen, Jerusalem, and the house of which I said, My name shall be there.”

28 Now the rest of the acts of Josiah and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? 29 In his days Pharaoh Neco king of Egypt went up to the king of Assyria to the river Euphrates. King Josiah went to meet him, and Pharaoh Neco killed him at Megiddo, as soon as he saw him. 30 And his servants carried him dead in a chariot from Megiddo and brought him to Jerusalem and buried him in his own tomb. And the people of the land took Jehoahaz the son of Josiah, and anointed him, and made him king in his father's place.

King Josiah of Judah

(2 Chronicles 34.1,2)

1 Josiah was 8 years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled 31 years from Jerusalem. His mother Jedidah was the daughter of Adaiah from Bozkath. 2 Josiah always obeyed the Lord, just as his ancestor David had done.

Hilkiah Finds The Book of God's Law

(2 Chronicles 34.8-28)

3 After Josiah had been king for 18 years, he told Shaphan, one of his highest officials:

Go to the Lord's temple 4 and ask Hilkiah the high priest to collect from the guards all the money that the people have donated. 5 Tell Hilkiah to give it to the men supervising the repairs to the temple. They can use some of the money to pay 6 the workers, and with the rest of it they can buy wood and stone for the repair work. 7 They are honest, so we won't ask them to keep track of the money.

8 While Shaphan was at the temple, Hilkiah handed him a book and said, “Look what I found here in the temple—The Book of God's Law.”

Shaphan read it, 9 then went back to Josiah and reported, “Your officials collected the money in the temple and gave it to the men supervising the repairs. 10 But there's something else, Your Majesty. The priest Hilkiah gave me this book.” Then Shaphan read it out loud.

11 When Josiah heard what was in The Book of God's Law, he tore his clothes in sorrow. 12 At once he called together Hilkiah, Shaphan, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Achbor son of Micaiah, and his own servant Asaiah. He said, 13 “The Lord must be furious with me and everyone else in Judah, because our ancestors did not obey the laws written in this book. Go find out what the Lord wants us to do.”

14 The five men left at once and went to talk with Huldah the prophet. Her husband was Shallum, who was in charge of the king's clothes. Huldah lived in the northern part of Jerusalem, and when they met in her home, 15 she said:

You were sent here by King Josiah, and this is what the Lord God of Israel says to him: 16 “Josiah, I am the Lord! And I will see to it that this country and everyone living in it will be destroyed. It will happen just as this book says. 17 The people of Judah have rejected me. They have offered sacrifices to foreign gods and have worshiped their own idols. I cannot stand it any longer. I am furious.

18 “Josiah, listen to what I am going to do. 19 I noticed how sad you were when you read that this country and its people would be completely wiped out. You even tore your clothes in sorrow, and I heard you cry. 20 So I will let you die in peace, before I destroy this place.”

The men left and took Huldah's answer back to Josiah.

Josiah Reads The Book of God's Law

(2 Chronicles 34.29-33)

1 King Josiah called together the older leaders of Judah and Jerusalem. 2 Then he went to the Lord's temple, together with the people of Judah and Jerusalem, the priests, and the prophets. Finally, when everybody was there, he read aloud The Book of God's Law that had been found in the temple.

3 After Josiah had finished reading, he stood by one of the columns. He asked the people to promise in the Lord's name to faithfully obey the Lord and to follow his commands. The people agreed to do everything written in the book.

Josiah Follows the Teachings of God's Law

(2 Chronicles 34.3-7)

4 Josiah told Hilkiah the priest, the assistant priests, and the guards at the temple door to go into the temple and bring out the things used to worship Baal, Asherah, and the stars. Josiah had these things burned in Kidron Valley just outside Jerusalem, and he had the ashes carried away to the town of Bethel.

5 Josiah also got rid of the pagan priests at the local shrines in Judah and around Jerusalem. These were the men that the kings of Judah had appointed to offer sacrifices to Baal and to the sun, moon, and stars. 6 Josiah had the sacred pole for Asherah brought out of the temple and taken to Kidron Valley, where it was burned. He then had its ashes ground into dust and scattered over the public cemetery there. 7 He had the buildings torn down where the male prostitutes lived next to the temple, and where the women wove sacred robes for the idol of Asherah.

8 In almost every town in Judah, priests had been offering sacrifices to the Lord at local shrines. Josiah brought these priests to Jerusalem and had their shrines made unfit for worship—every shrine from Geba just north of Jerusalem to Beersheba in the south. He even tore down the shrine at Beersheba that was just to the left of Joshua Gate, which was named after the highest official of the city. 9 Those local priests could not serve at the Lord's altar in Jerusalem, but they were allowed to eat sacred bread, just like the priests from Jerusalem.

10 Josiah sent some men to Hinnom Valley just outside Jerusalem with orders to make the altar there unfit for worship. That way, people could no longer use it for sacrificing their children to the god Molech. 11 He also got rid of the horses that the kings of Judah used in their ceremonies to worship the sun, and he destroyed the chariots along with them. The horses had been kept near the entrance to the Lord's temple, in a courtyard close to where an official named Nathan-Melech lived.

12 Some of the kings of Judah, especially Manasseh, had built altars in the two courts of the temple and in the room that Ahaz had built on the palace roof. Josiah had these altars torn down and smashed to pieces, and he had the pieces thrown into Kidron Valley, just outside Jerusalem. 13 After that, he closed down the shrines that Solomon had built east of Jerusalem and south of Spoil Hill to honor Astarte the disgusting goddess of Sidon, Chemosh the disgusting god of Moab, and Milcom the disgusting god of Ammon. 14 He tore down the stone images of foreign gods and cut down the sacred pole used in the worship of Asherah. Then he had the whole area covered with human bones.

15 But Josiah was not finished yet. At Bethel he destroyed the shrine and the altar that Jeroboam son of Nebat had built and that had caused the Israelites to sin. Josiah had the shrine and the Asherah pole burned and ground into dust. 16 As he looked around, he saw graves on the hillside. He had the bones in them dug up and burned on the altar, so that it could no longer be used. This happened just as God's prophet had said when Jeroboam was standing at the altar, celebrating a festival.

Then Josiah saw the grave of the prophet who had said this would happen 17 and he asked, “Whose grave is that?”

Some people who lived nearby answered, “It belongs to the prophet from Judah who told what would happen to this altar.”

18 Josiah replied, “Then leave it alone. Don't dig up his bones.” So they did not disturb his bones or the bones of the old prophet from Israel who had also been buried there.

19 Some of the Israelite kings had made the Lord angry by building pagan shrines all over Israel. So Josiah sent troops to destroy these shrines just as he had done to the one in Bethel. 20 He killed the priests who served at them and burned their bones on the altars.

After all that, Josiah went back to Jerusalem.

Josiah and the People of Judah Celebrate Passover

(2 Chronicles 35.1-19)

21 Josiah told the people of Judah, “Celebrate Passover in honor of the Lord your God, just as it says in The Book of God's Law.”

22 This festival had not been celebrated in this way since the time that tribal leaders ruled Israel or the kings ruled Israel and Judah. 23 But in Josiah's eighteenth year as king of Judah, everyone came to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover.

The Lord Is Still Angry with the People of Judah

24 Josiah got rid of every disgusting person and thing in Judah and Jerusalem—including magicians, fortunetellers, and idols. He did his best to obey every law written in the book that the priest Hilkiah found in the Lord's temple. 25 No other king before or after Josiah tried as hard as he did to obey the Law of Moses.

26 But the Lord was still furious with the people of Judah because Manasseh had done so many things to make him angry. 27 The Lord said, “I will desert the people of Judah, just as I deserted the people of Israel. I will reject Jerusalem, even though I chose it to be mine. And I will abandon this temple built to honor me.”

Josiah Dies in Battle

(2 Chronicles 35.20—36.1)

28 Everything else Josiah did while he was king is written in The History of the Kings of Judah. 29 During Josiah's rule, King Neco of Egypt led his army north to the Euphrates River to help the king of Assyria. Josiah led his troops north to fight Neco, but when they met in battle at Megiddo, Josiah was killed. 30 A few of Josiah's servants put his body in a chariot and took it back to Jerusalem, where they buried it in his own tomb. Then the people of Judah found his son Jehoahaz and poured olive oil on his head to show that he was their new king.

King Josiah of Judah

(2 Chronicles 34.1,2)

1 Josiah was eight years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled in Jerusalem for thirty-one years. His mother was Jedidah, the daughter of Adaiah from the town of Bozkath. 2 Josiah did what was pleasing to the Lord; he followed the example of his ancestor King David, strictly obeying all the laws of God.

The Book of the Law Is Discovered

(2 Chronicles 34.8-28)

3 In the eighteenth year of his reign, King Josiah sent the court secretary Shaphan, the son of Azaliah and grandson of Meshullam, to the Temple with the order: 4 “Go to the High Priest Hilkiah and get a report on the amount of money that the priests on duty at the entrance to the Temple have collected from the people. 5 Tell him to give the money to the men who are in charge of the repairs in the Temple. They are to pay 6 the carpenters, the builders, and the masons, and buy the timber and the stones used in the repairs. 7 The men in charge of the work are thoroughly honest, so there is no need to require them to account for the funds.”

8 Shaphan delivered the king's order to Hilkiah, and Hilkiah told him that he had found the book of the Law in the Temple. Hilkiah gave him the book, and Shaphan read it. 9 Then he went back to the king and reported: “Your servants have taken the money that was in the Temple and have handed it over to the men in charge of the repairs.” 10 And then he said, “I have here a book that Hilkiah gave me.” And he read it aloud to the king.

11 When the king heard the book being read, he tore his clothes in dismay, 12 and gave the following order to Hilkiah the priest, to Ahikam son of Shaphan, to Achbor son of Micaiah, to Shaphan, the court secretary, and to Asaiah, the king's attendant: 13 “Go and consult the Lord for me and for all the people of Judah about the teachings of this book. The Lord is angry with us because our ancestors have not done what this book says must be done.”

14 Hilkiah, Ahikam, Achbor, Shaphan, and Asaiah went to consult a woman named Huldah, a prophet who lived in the newer part of Jerusalem. (Her husband Shallum, the son of Tikvah and grandson of Harhas, was in charge of the Temple robes.) They described to her what had happened, 15 and she told them to go back to the king and give him 16 the following message from the Lord: “I am going to punish Jerusalem and all its people, as written in the book that the king has read. 17 They have rejected me and have offered sacrifices to other gods, and so have stirred up my anger by all they have done. My anger is aroused against Jerusalem, and it will not die down. 18 As for the king himself, this is what I, the Lord God of Israel, say: You listened to what is written in the book, 19 and you repented and humbled yourself before me, tearing your clothes and weeping, when you heard how I threatened to punish Jerusalem and its people. I will make it a terrifying sight, a place whose name people will use as a curse. But I have heard your prayer, 20 and the punishment which I am going to bring on Jerusalem will not come until after your death. I will let you die in peace.”

The men returned to King Josiah with this message.

Josiah Does Away with Pagan Worship

(2 Chronicles 34.3-7,29-33)

1 King Josiah summoned all the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem, 2 and together they went to the Temple, accompanied by the priests and the prophets and all the rest of the people, rich and poor alike. Before them all the king read aloud the whole book of the covenant which had been found in the Temple. 3 He stood by the royal column and made a covenant with the Lord to obey him, to keep his laws and commands with all his heart and soul, and to put into practice the demands attached to the covenant, as written in the book. And all the people promised to keep the covenant.

4 Then Josiah ordered the High Priest Hilkiah, his assistant priests, and the guards on duty at the entrance to the Temple to bring out of the Temple all the objects used in the worship of Baal, of the goddess Asherah, and of the stars. The king burned all these objects outside the city near Kidron Valley and then had the ashes taken to Bethel. 5 He removed from office the priests that the kings of Judah had ordained to offer sacrifices on the pagan altars in the cities of Judah and in places near Jerusalem—all the priests who offered sacrifices to Baal, to the sun, the moon, the planets, and the stars. 6 He removed from the Temple the symbol of the goddess Asherah, took it out of the city to Kidron Valley, burned it, pounded its ashes to dust, and scattered it over the public burying ground. 7 He destroyed the living quarters in the Temple occupied by the temple prostitutes. (It was there that women wove robes used in the worship of Asherah.) 8 He brought to Jerusalem the priests who were in the cities of Judah, and throughout the whole country he desecrated the altars where they had offered sacrifices. He also tore down the altars dedicated to the goat demons near the gate built by Joshua, the city governor, which was to the left of the main gate as one enters the city. 9 Those priests were not allowed to serve in the Temple, but they could eat the unleavened bread provided for their fellow priests.

10 King Josiah also desecrated Topheth, the pagan place of worship in Hinnom Valley, so that no one could sacrifice his son or daughter as a burnt offering to the god Molech. 11 He also removed the horses that the kings of Judah had dedicated to the worship of the sun, and he burned the chariots used in this worship. (These were kept in the temple courtyard, near the gate and not far from the living quarters of Nathan Melech, a high official.) 12 The altars which the kings of Judah had built on the palace roof above King Ahaz' quarters, King Josiah tore down, along with the altars put up by King Manasseh in the two courtyards of the Temple; he smashed the altars to bits and threw them into Kidron Valley. 13 Josiah desecrated the altars that King Solomon had built east of Jerusalem, south of the Mount of Olives, for the worship of disgusting idols—Astarte the goddess of Sidon, Chemosh the god of Moab, and Molech the god of Ammon. 14 King Josiah broke the stone pillars to pieces, cut down the symbols of the goddess Asherah, and the ground where they had stood he covered with human bones.

15 Josiah also tore down the place of worship in Bethel, which had been built by King Jeroboam son of Nebat, who led Israel into sin. Josiah pulled down the altar, broke its stones into pieces, and pounded them to dust; he also burned the image of Asherah. 16 Then Josiah looked around and saw some tombs there on the hill; he had the bones taken out of them and burned on the altar. In this way he desecrated the altar, doing what the prophet had predicted long before during the festival as King Jeroboam was standing by the altar. King Josiah looked around and saw the tomb of the prophet who had made this prediction. 17 “Whose tomb is that?” he asked.

The people of Bethel answered, “It is the tomb of the prophet who came from Judah and predicted these things that you have done to this altar.”

18 “Leave it as it is,” Josiah ordered. “His bones are not to be moved.”

So his bones were not moved, neither were those of the prophet who had come from Samaria.

19 In every city of Israel King Josiah tore down all the pagan places of worship which had been built by the kings of Israel, who thereby aroused the Lord's anger. He did to all those altars what he had done in Bethel. 20 He killed all the pagan priests on the altars where they served, and he burned human bones on every altar. Then he returned to Jerusalem.

Josiah Celebrates the Passover

(2 Chronicles 35.1-19)

21 King Josiah ordered the people to celebrate the Passover in honor of the Lord their God, as written in the book of the covenant. 22 No Passover like this one had ever been celebrated by any of the kings of Israel or of Judah, since the time when judges ruled the nation. 23 Now at last, in the eighteenth year of the reign of Josiah, the Passover was celebrated in Jerusalem.

Other Changes Made by Josiah

24 In order to enforce the laws written in the book that the High Priest Hilkiah had found in the Temple, King Josiah removed from Jerusalem and the rest of Judah all the mediums and fortunetellers, and all the household gods, idols, and all other pagan objects of worship. 25 There had never been a king like him before, who served the Lord with all his heart, mind, and strength, obeying all the Law of Moses; nor has there been a king like him since.

26 But the Lord's fierce anger had been aroused against Judah by what King Manasseh had done, and even now it did not die down. 27 The Lord said, “I will do to Judah what I have done to Israel: I will banish the people of Judah from my sight, and I will reject Jerusalem, the city I chose, and the Temple, the place I said was where I should be worshiped.”

The End of Josiah's Reign

(2 Chronicles 35.20 —36.1)

28 Everything else that King Josiah did is recorded in The History of the Kings of Judah 29 While Josiah was king, King Neco of Egypt led an army to the Euphrates River to help the emperor of Assyria. King Josiah tried to stop the Egyptian army at Megiddo and was killed in battle. 30 His officials placed his body in a chariot and took it back to Jerusalem, where he was buried in the royal tombs.

The people of Judah chose Josiah's son Joahaz and anointed him king.

Josiah Repents

22:1 Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned for thirty-one years in Jerusalem. His mother was Jedidah, daughter of Adaiah, from Bozkath. 2 He did what the Lord approved and followed in his ancestor David’s footsteps; he did not deviate to the right or the left.

3 In the eighteenth year of King Josiah’s reign, the king sent the scribe Shaphan son of Azaliah, son of Meshullam, to the Lord’s temple with these orders: 4 “Go up to Hilkiah the high priest and have him melt down the silver that has been brought by the people to the Lord’s temple and has been collected by the guards at the door. 5 Have them hand it over to the construction foremen assigned to the Lord’s temple. They in turn should pay the temple workers to repair it, 6 including craftsmen, builders, and masons, and should buy wood and chiseled stone for the repair work. 7 Do not audit the foremen who disburse the silver, for they are honest.”

8 Hilkiah the high priest informed Shaphan the scribe, “I found the law scroll in the Lord’s temple.” Hilkiah gave the scroll to Shaphan and he read it. 9 Shaphan the scribe went to the king and reported, “Your servants melted down the silver in the temple and handed it over to the construction foremen assigned to the Lord’s temple.” 10 Then Shaphan the scribe told the king, “Hilkiah the priest has given me a scroll.” Shaphan read it out loud before the king. 11 When the king heard the words of the law scroll, he tore his clothes. 12 The king ordered Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Acbor son of Micaiah, Shaphan the scribe, and Asaiah the king’s servant, 13 “Go, seek an oracle from the Lord for me and the people – for all Judah. Find out about the words of this scroll that has been discovered. For the Lord’s fury has been ignited against us, because our ancestors have not obeyed the words of this scroll by doing all that it instructs us to do.”

14 So Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Acbor, Shaphan, and Asaiah went to Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shullam son of Tikvah, the son of Harhas, the supervisor of the wardrobe. (She lived in Jerusalem in the Mishneh district.) They stated their business, 15 and she said to them: “This is what the Lord God of Israel says: ‘Say this to the man who sent you to me: 16 “This is what the Lord says: ‘I am about to bring disaster on this place and its residents, the details of which are recorded in the scroll which the king of Judah has read. 17 This will happen because they have abandoned me and offered sacrifices to other gods, angering me with all the idols they have made. My anger will ignite against this place and will not be extinguished!’” 18 Say this to the king of Judah, who sent you to seek an oracle from the Lord: “This is what the Lord God of Israel says concerning the words you have heard: 19 ‘You displayed a sensitive spirit and humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard how I intended to make this place and its residents into an appalling example of an accursed people. You tore your clothes and wept before me, and I have heard you,’ says the Lord. 20 ‘Therefore I will allow you to die and be buried in peace. You will not have to witness all the disaster I will bring on this place.’”’” Then they reported back to the king.

The King Institutes Religious Reform

23:1 The king summoned all the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem. 2 The king went up to the Lord’s temple, accompanied by all the people of Judah, all the residents of Jerusalem, the priests, and the prophets. All the people were there, from the youngest to the oldest. He read aloud all the words of the scroll of the covenant that had been discovered in the Lord’s temple. 3 The king stood by the pillar and renewed the covenant before the Lord, agreeing to follow the Lord and to obey his commandments, laws, and rules with all his heart and being, by carrying out the terms of this covenant recorded on this scroll. All the people agreed to keep the covenant.

4 The king ordered Hilkiah the high priest, the high-ranking priests, and the guards to bring out of the Lord’s temple all the items that were used in the worship of Baal, Asherah, and all the stars of the sky. The king burned them outside of Jerusalem in the terraces of Kidron, and carried their ashes to Bethel. 5 He eliminated the pagan priests whom the kings of Judah had appointed to offer sacrifices on the high places in the cities of Judah and in the area right around Jerusalem. (They offered sacrifices to Baal, the sun god, the moon god, the constellations, and all the stars in the sky.) 6 He removed the Asherah pole from the Lord’s temple and took it outside Jerusalem to the Kidron Valley, where he burned it. He smashed it to dust and then threw the dust in the public graveyard. 7 He tore down the quarters of the male cultic prostitutes in the Lord’s temple, where women were weaving shrines for Asherah.

8 He brought all the priests from the cities of Judah and ruined the high places where the priests had offered sacrifices, from Geba to Beer Sheba. He tore down the high place of the goat idols situated at the entrance of the gate of Joshua, the city official, on the left side of the city gate. 9 (Now the priests of the high places did not go up to the altar of the Lord in Jerusalem, but they did eat unleavened cakes among their fellow priests.) 10 The king ruined Topheth in the Valley of Ben Hinnom so that no one could pass his son or his daughter through the fire to Molech. 11 He removed from the entrance to the Lord’s temple the statues of horses that the kings of Judah had placed there in honor of the sun god. (They were kept near the room of Nathan Melech the eunuch, which was situated among the courtyards.) He burned up the chariots devoted to the sun god. 12 The king tore down the altars the kings of Judah had set up on the roof of Ahaz’s upper room, as well as the altars Manasseh had set up in the two courtyards of the Lord’s temple. He crushed them up and threw the dust in the Kidron Valley. 13 The king ruined the high places east of Jerusalem, south of the Mount of Destruction, that King Solomon of Israel had built for the detestable Sidonian goddess Astarte, the detestable Moabite god Chemosh, and the horrible Ammonite god Milcom. 14 He smashed the sacred pillars to bits, cut down the Asherah pole, and filled those shrines with human bones.

15 He also tore down the altar in Bethel at the high place made by Jeroboam son of Nebat, who encouraged Israel to sin. He burned all the combustible items at that high place and crushed them to dust; including the Asherah pole. 16 When Josiah turned around, he saw the tombs there on the hill. So he ordered the bones from the tombs to be brought; he burned them on the altar and defiled it. This fulfilled the Lord’s announcement made by the prophet while Jeroboam stood by the altar during a festival. King Josiah turned and saw the grave of the prophet who had foretold this. 17 He asked, “What is this grave marker I see?” The men from the city replied, “It’s the grave of the prophet who came from Judah and foretold these very things you have done to the altar of Bethel.” 18 The king said, “Leave it alone! No one must touch his bones.” So they left his bones undisturbed, as well as the bones of the Israelite prophet buried beside him.

19 Josiah also removed all the shrines on the high places in the cities of Samaria. The kings of Israel had made them and angered the Lord. He did to them what he had done to the high place in Bethel. 20 He sacrificed all the priests of the high places on the altars located there, and burned human bones on them. Then he returned to Jerusalem.

21 The king ordered all the people, “Observe the Passover of the Lord your God, as prescribed in this scroll of the covenant.” 22 He issued this edict because a Passover like this had not been observed since the days of the judges; it was neglected for the entire period of the kings of Israel and Judah. 23 But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah’s reign, such a Passover of the Lord was observed in Jerusalem.

24 Josiah also got rid of the ritual pits used to conjure up spirits, the magicians, personal idols, disgusting images, and all the detestable idols that had appeared in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem. In this way he carried out the terms of the law recorded on the scroll that Hilkiah the priest had discovered in the Lord’s temple. 25 No king before or after repented before the Lord as he did, with his whole heart, soul, and being in accordance with the whole law of Moses.

26 Yet the Lord’s great anger against Judah did not subside; he was still infuriated by all the things Manasseh had done. 27 The Lord announced, “I will also spurn Judah, just as I spurned Israel. I will reject this city that I chose – both Jerusalem and the temple, about which I said, “I will live there.”

28 The rest of the events of Josiah’s reign and all his accomplishments are recorded in the scroll called the Annals of the Kings of Judah. 29 During Josiah’s reign Pharaoh Necho king of Egypt marched toward the Euphrates River to help the king of Assyria. King Josiah marched out to fight him, but Necho killed him at Megiddo when he saw him. 30 His servants transported his dead body from Megiddo in a chariot and brought it to Jerusalem, where they buried him in his tomb. The people of the land took Josiah’s son Jehoahaz, poured olive oil on his head, and made him king in his father’s place.

The Creation
Adam and Eve
Cain and Abel
The Great Flood
The Tower of Babel
God Calls Abraham
Sodom and Gomorrah
Abraham's Obedience
Isaac Marries Rebekah
Esau's Birthright
Isaac Blesses Jacob
Jacob and Laban
Jacob Wrestles
Revenge against Shechem
Joseph in Prison
Joseph as a Ruler
Family Reunion
Moses' Birth
The Burning Bush
The Ten Plagues
The Exodus
The Red Sea
The Gold Calf
Exploring the Land
Rebellion in the Ranks
Balak and Balaam
Rahab and the Spies
Jericho Falls
Gibeon's Con Artists
Deborah and Barak
Gideon as Judge
Abimelech's Ambition
Samson as Judge
Ruth, Naomi and Boaz
Samuel is Born
Samuel the Prophet
Saul Becomes King
Jonathan's Bravery
Saul's Disobedience
David Kills Goliath
David and Jonathan
Nabal and Abigail
Saul's Death
David's Success
David and Bathsheba
Amnon and Tamar
Absalom
Solomon's Wisdom
Jeroboam and Rehoboam
Elijah's Challenge
God Speaks to Elijah
Micaiah the Prophet
Chariot of Fire
Elisha Heals Naaman
Famine and Unbelief
Joash and Jehoiada
Hezekiah Trusts God
Josiah's Reign
Fall of Jerusalem
David's Power
David's Census
Jehoshaphat and Ahab
Ezra Rebuilds the Altar
Nehemiah Builds the Wall
Enemy Opposition
Nehemiah's Justice
Esther Saves the Jews
Job is Tested
Ezekiel's Vision
The Fiery Furnace
The Lions' Den
Jonah
Jesus is Born
Wise Men and King Herod
Jesus is Tempted
Jesus Feeds 5,000
The Bread of Life
Jesus Walks on Water
The Good Samaritan
The Lost Son
Jesus Raises Lazarus
Jesus and Zacchaeus
The Triumphal Entry
The Last Supper
Jesus' Trial
Jesus' Crucifixion
Jesus' Resurrection
Jesus' Ascension
The Holy Spirit Comes
The Apostles' Courage
Ananias and Sapphira
Philip and the Eunuch
Saul Encounters Jesus
Peter and Cornelius
Paul in Corinth
Paul in Ephesus
Paul Goes to Rome