Add parallel Print Page Options

Josiah Rules in Judah

22 Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years. His mother was Jedidah, the daughter of Adaiah from Bozkath. He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight and followed the example of his ancestor David. He did not turn away from doing what was right.

In the eighteenth year of his reign, King Josiah sent Shaphan son of Azaliah and grandson of Meshullam, the court secretary, to the Temple of the Lord. He told him, “Go to Hilkiah the high priest and have him count the money the gatekeepers have collected from the people at the Lord’s Temple. Entrust this money to the men assigned to supervise the restoration of the Lord’s Temple. Then they can use it to pay workers to repair the Temple. They will need to hire carpenters, builders, and masons. Also have them buy the timber and the finished stone needed to repair the Temple. But don’t require the construction supervisors to keep account of the money they receive, for they are honest and trustworthy men.”

Hilkiah Discovers God’s Law

Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the court secretary, “I have found the Book of the Law in the Lord’s Temple!” Then Hilkiah gave the scroll to Shaphan, and he read it.

Shaphan went to the king and reported, “Your officials have turned over the money collected at the Temple of the Lord to the workers and supervisors at the Temple.” 10 Shaphan also told the king, “Hilkiah the priest has given me a scroll.” So Shaphan read it to the king.

11 When the king heard what was written in the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes in despair. 12 Then he gave these orders to Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Acbor son of Micaiah, Shaphan the court secretary, and Asaiah the king’s personal adviser: 13 “Go to the Temple and speak to the Lord for me and for the people and for all Judah. Inquire about the words written in this scroll that has been found. For the Lord’s great anger is burning against us because our ancestors have not obeyed the words in this scroll. We have not been doing everything it says we must do.”

14 So Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Acbor, Shaphan, and Asaiah went to the New Quarter[a] of Jerusalem to consult with the prophet Huldah. She was the wife of Shallum son of Tikvah, son of Harhas, the keeper of the Temple wardrobe.

15 She said to them, “The Lord, the God of Israel, has spoken! Go back and tell the man who sent you, 16 ‘This is what the Lord says: I am going to bring disaster on this city[b] and its people. All the words written in the scroll that the king of Judah has read will come true. 17 For my people have abandoned me and offered sacrifices to pagan gods, and I am very angry with them for everything they have done. My anger will burn against this place, and it will not be quenched.’

18 “But go to the king of Judah who sent you to seek the Lord and tell him: ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says concerning the message you have just heard: 19 You were sorry and humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I said against this city and its people—that this land would be cursed and become desolate. You tore your clothing in despair and wept before me in repentance. And I have indeed heard you, says the Lord. 20 So I will not send the promised disaster until after you have died and been buried in peace. You will not see the disaster I am going to bring on this city.’”

So they took her message back to the king.

Josiah’s Religious Reforms

23 Then the king summoned all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. And the king went up to the Temple of the Lord with all the people of Judah and Jerusalem, along with the priests and the prophets—all the people from the least to the greatest. There the king read to them the entire Book of the Covenant that had been found in the Lord’s Temple. The king took his place of authority beside the pillar and renewed the covenant in the Lord’s presence. He pledged to obey the Lord by keeping all his commands, laws, and decrees with all his heart and soul. In this way, he confirmed all the terms of the covenant that were written in the scroll, and all the people pledged themselves to the covenant.

Then the king instructed Hilkiah the high priest and the priests of the second rank and the Temple gatekeepers to remove from the Lord’s Temple all the articles that were used to worship Baal, Asherah, and all the powers of the heavens. The king had all these things burned outside Jerusalem on the terraces of the Kidron Valley, and he carried the ashes away to Bethel. He did away with the idolatrous priests, who had been appointed by the previous kings of Judah, for they had offered sacrifices at the pagan shrines throughout Judah and even in the vicinity of Jerusalem. They had also offered sacrifices to Baal, and to the sun, the moon, the constellations, and to all the powers of the heavens. The king removed the Asherah pole from the Lord’s Temple and took it outside Jerusalem to the Kidron Valley, where he burned it. Then he ground the ashes of the pole to dust and threw the dust over the graves of the people. He also tore down the living quarters of the male and female shrine prostitutes that were inside the Temple of the Lord, where the women wove coverings for the Asherah pole.

Josiah brought to Jerusalem all the priests who were living in other towns of Judah. He also defiled the pagan shrines, where they had offered sacrifices—all the way from Geba to Beersheba. He destroyed the shrines at the entrance to the gate of Joshua, the governor of Jerusalem. This gate was located to the left of the city gate as one enters the city. The priests who had served at the pagan shrines were not allowed to serve at[c] the Lord’s altar in Jerusalem, but they were allowed to eat unleavened bread with the other priests.

10 Then the king defiled the altar of Topheth in the valley of Ben-Hinnom, so no one could ever again use it to sacrifice a son or daughter in the fire[d] as an offering to Molech. 11 He removed from the entrance of the Lord’s Temple the horse statues that the former kings of Judah had dedicated to the sun. They were near the quarters of Nathan-melech the eunuch, an officer of the court.[e] The king also burned the chariots dedicated to the sun.

12 Josiah tore down the altars that the kings of Judah had built on the palace roof above the upper room of Ahaz. The king destroyed the altars that Manasseh had built in the two courtyards of the Lord’s Temple. He smashed them to bits[f] and scattered the pieces in the Kidron Valley. 13 The king also desecrated the pagan shrines east of Jerusalem, to the south of the Mount of Corruption, where King Solomon of Israel had built shrines for Ashtoreth, the detestable goddess of the Sidonians; and for Chemosh, the detestable god of the Moabites; and for Molech,[g] the vile god of the Ammonites. 14 He smashed the sacred pillars and cut down the Asherah poles. Then he desecrated these places by scattering human bones over them.

15 The king also tore down the altar at Bethel—the pagan shrine that Jeroboam son of Nebat had made when he caused Israel to sin. He burned down the shrine and ground it to dust, and he burned the Asherah pole. 16 Then Josiah turned around and noticed several tombs in the side of the hill. He ordered that the bones be brought out, and he burned them on the altar at Bethel to desecrate it. (This happened just as the Lord had promised through the man of God when Jeroboam stood beside the altar at the festival.)

Then Josiah turned and looked up at the tomb of the man of God[h] who had predicted these things. 17 “What is that monument over there?” Josiah asked.

And the people of the town told him, “It is the tomb of the man of God who came from Judah and predicted the very things that you have just done to the altar at Bethel!”

18 Josiah replied, “Leave it alone. Don’t disturb his bones.” So they did not burn his bones or those of the old prophet from Samaria.

19 Then Josiah demolished all the buildings at the pagan shrines in the towns of Samaria, just as he had done at Bethel. They had been built by the various kings of Israel and had made the Lord[i] very angry. 20 He executed the priests of the pagan shrines on their own altars, and he burned human bones on the altars to desecrate them. Finally, he returned to Jerusalem.

Josiah Celebrates Passover

21 King Josiah then issued this order to all the people: “You must celebrate the Passover to the Lord your God, as required in this Book of the Covenant.” 22 There had not been a Passover celebration like that since the time when the judges ruled in Israel, nor throughout all the years of the kings of Israel and Judah. 23 But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah’s reign, this Passover was celebrated to the Lord in Jerusalem.

24 Josiah also got rid of the mediums and psychics, the household gods, the idols,[j] and every other kind of detestable practice, both in Jerusalem and throughout the land of Judah. He did this in obedience to the laws written in the scroll that Hilkiah the priest had found in the Lord’s Temple. 25 Never before had there been a king like Josiah, who turned to the Lord with all his heart and soul and strength, obeying all the laws of Moses. And there has never been a king like him since.

26 Even so, the Lord was very angry with Judah because of all the wicked things Manasseh had done to provoke him. 27 For the Lord said, “I will also banish Judah from my presence just as I have banished Israel. And I will reject my chosen city of Jerusalem and the Temple where my name was to be honored.”

28 The rest of the events in Josiah’s reign and all his deeds are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Judah.

29 While Josiah was king, Pharaoh Neco, king of Egypt, went to the Euphrates River to help the king of Assyria. King Josiah and his army marched out to fight him,[k] but King Neco[l] killed him when they met at Megiddo. 30 Josiah’s officers took his body back in a chariot from Megiddo to Jerusalem and buried him in his own tomb. Then the people of the land anointed Josiah’s son Jehoahaz and made him the next king.

Footnotes

  1. 22:14 Or the Second Quarter, a newer section of Jerusalem. Hebrew reads the Mishneh.
  2. 22:16 Hebrew this place; also in 22:19, 20.
  3. 23:9 Hebrew did not come up to.
  4. 23:10 Or to make a son or daughter pass through the fire.
  5. 23:11 The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.
  6. 23:12 Or He quickly removed them.
  7. 23:13 Hebrew Milcom, a variant spelling of Molech.
  8. 23:16 As in Greek version; Hebrew lacks when Jeroboam stood beside the altar at the festival. Then Josiah turned and looked up at the tomb of the man of God.
  9. 23:19 As in Greek and Syriac versions and Latin Vulgate; Hebrew lacks the Lord.
  10. 23:24 The Hebrew term (literally round things) probably alludes to dung.
  11. 23:29a Or Josiah went out to meet him.
  12. 23:29b Hebrew he.