2 Chronicles 34 The Voice (VOICE)
Amon’s horrible reign makes his burial unimportant. No one knows if his bones are with his ancestors in the kings’ tomb or outside the city walls with his father’s discarded altars and icons. With a reign as destructive as his, it is appropriate that, like his bones, Amon is forgotten.
34 Josiah was 8 years old when he became king, and he reigned 31 years in Jerusalem. 2 He was one of the few great kings of Israel, who determinedly obeyed the Eternal and followed the example of his ancestor David. 3-4 His zeal for the True God of David began in the 8th year of his reign while he was still a child of 16, but he did not begin his reforms of Judah and Jerusalem until he was 20 years old. Then he removed the high places, chopped down the sacrificial altars and incense altars of the Baals, and smashed the carved and molten images of Asherah and other gods. He then took the broken pieces of the icons, crushed them into powder, and sprinkled that powder on the graves of the people who had worshiped them. 5 He even burned the bones of the priests who had served those gods on the cultic altars to completely purge Judah and Jerusalem. 6 He then continued his reforms throughout the region, including Manasseh, Ephraim, Simeon, and Naphtali and their surrounding villages, 7 where he personally smashed the carved images of Asherah and other gods into powder and chopped down the incense altars. Then he returned to Jerusalem.
8 By the 18th year of his reign, Josiah had cleansed the nation and the temple. Now it was time to repair them both by rebuilding the temple. He sent Shaphan (son of Azaliah), Maaseiah (a city official), and Joah (son of Joahaz the recorder) to the temple of the True God, the Eternal, in order to organize repairs there. 9 First, they took the money from the temple coffers and gave it to Hilkiah, the high priest, so he could oversee the funds for the temple repairs. The money had been collected at the temple by the Levite doorkeepers from those remaining in the Northern Kingdom, including Manasseh and Ephraim, and from all those in the Southern Kingdom, including Judah, Benjamin, and the city of Jerusalem. 10 The money went to the Eternal’s temple construction supervisors who then subcontracted the work to tradesmen and craftsmen. 11 Those subcontractors purchased cut stone, timber, and couplings to rebuild the portions of the temple that had become ruined because of the neglect by the kings of Judah. 12 The subcontractors were dependable workers, following the guidance of their supervisors: Jahath and Obadiah (Levites from the clan of Merari), Zechariah and Meshullam (Levites from the clan of Kohath), and the Levite musicians. 13 These supervisors guided everyone on the job, from the subcontractors and foremen to the unskilled laborers, while performing their regular duties of record keepers, officials, and gatekeepers.
14 As Josiah’s three servants were bringing out the money from the Eternal’s treasury, Hilkiah the priest made an unexpected discovery. Deep inside the temple storerooms, long forgotten, was the Eternal’s law book, rules He had given to the Israelites through Moses.
Hilkiah (to Shaphan the scribe): 15 Look at what I have found. This is the Eternal’s law book, which was buried inside the temple.
Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, 16 who took it to the king and affirmed that they were proceeding with the temple repairs.
Shaphan (to Josiah): All the repairs you planned for the temple are going well. 17 Your three servants have taken the money from the Eternal’s temple treasury and allocated it to the supervisors and subcontractors. In the midst of temple restoration works, 18 Hilkiah the priest made a discovery. He found this book.
Shaphan then read these laws in the presence of the king.
This is the first time God’s law has been in the palace in generations.
19 When the king heard those words, he realized how far his nation had drifted from God’s path, and he tore his clothes in mourning. 20 He then summoned five of his high-ranking officials: Hilkiah, Ahikam (son of Shaphan), Abdon (son of Micah), Shaphan the scribe, and Asaiah the king’s servant.
Josiah: 21 You must intercede for me and for all those who remain in Israel and Judah. Ask the Lord about these laws which we have just found. The Eternal must be furious with us because our ancestors disobeyed His laws in this book. Soon He will unleash that anger and punish us all.
22 The four men including Hilkiah went straight to Huldah the prophetess in Jerusalem’s Second Quarter because they knew He would speak through her. Huldah was the wife of Shallum (son of Tokhath, son of Hasrah, the keeper of the wardrobe).
Huldah: 23-24 These are the words of the Eternal God of Israel: “Tell Josiah, king of Judah, that I will indeed curse this nation and these people, just as the book says I will, 25 because they have disobeyed Me and made sacrifices to other gods intending to infuriate Me by their actions. The pain and suffering you are about to experience will be unbearable and unending.
26 “But to the king of Judah who sent you to Me, I, the Eternal God of Israel, have noticed your reforms. 27 Because you recognized the True God’s laws, which convicted your nation of their sins, and you humbled yourself and mourned your nation’s actions by tearing your clothing, I have heard you and will have mercy on you. 28 You will die and lie with your ancestors in peace before I unleash My anger on this nation, so your eyes will not witness the great disaster that I am about to bring forth on this place and those dwelling here.”
The four servants gave the king this message, 29 and he immediately summoned all the elders in Judah and Jerusalem. 30 The entire nation (great and small, priest and layman, man and woman) went up to the Eternal’s temple where Josiah read to them the laws from the book of the covenant that was found in the Eternal’s temple. 31-32 There, the king and the entire assembly in Jerusalem, people from Benjamin and Judah, stood and renewed Israel’s covenant with the Eternal, promising to follow His ways, obey His laws with all diligence, and perform the duties of the covenant described in the book. Then all the people in Jerusalem respected their covenant with the True God, the God of their ancestors, 33 and Josiah purged all the lands of Israel of false worship, making certain everyone in Israel served the Eternal God. The people remained faithful to the Eternal God of their ancestors throughout Josiah’s reign.