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1Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned for 31 years in Jerusalem. 2He practiced what the LORD considered to be right, following the example of his ancestor David, turning neither to the right nor to the left.
3In the eighth year of his reign, while he was still young, he began to seek the God of his ancestor David. In the twelfth year of his reign, he began to remove the high places, Asherim, carved images, and cast images from Judah and Jerusalem. 4They tore down the altars of Baals in his presence. He chopped down the incense altars that stood high above them. He broke into pieces the Asherim, the carved images, and the cast images, ground them to dust, and scattered the residue on the graves of those who had sacrificed to them. 5He burned the bones of the priests on their altars, thus purging Judah and Jerusalem. 6In the cities of Manasseh, Ephraim, Simeon, and as far as Naphtali and their surrounding ruins, 7he also tore down altars, destroyed the Asherim and the carved images, grinding them into dust, and chopped down all the incense altars throughout the land of Israel. Then he went back to Jerusalem.
8In the eighteenth year of his reign, after he had purged the land and the Temple, he sent Azaliah's son Shaphan, Maaseiah, mayor of Jerusalem, and Joahaz's son Joah, the recorder, to repair the Temple of the LORD his God. 9They approached Hilkiah the high priest and delivered to him the money that had been brought into God's Temple that the descendants of Levi and gatekeepers had collected from Manasseh, Ephraim, the surviving Israelis, Judah, Benjamin, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 10They paid it to the workmen who supervised the LORD's Temple, and the workmen who were employed in the LORD's Temple to supervise restoration and repair of the Temple. 11They, in turn, paid the carpenters and builders to purchase quarried stone and timber for binders and beams for the buildings that previous kings of Judah had let deteriorate. 12The workmen did their duties faithfully with these foremen supervising them: Jahath and Obadiah, descendants of Levi who were Merari's sons, Zechariah and Meshullam, descendants of Kohath, and various descendants of Levi, who were skilled musicians. 13These men also supervised the heavy lift workers and supervised all the workmen from job to job, while some of the descendants of Levi served as scribes, officials, and gatekeepers.
14While they were bringing out the money that had come in as gifts to the LORD's Temple, Hilkiah the priest discovered the Book of the Law of the LORD that had been handed down by Moses. 15Hilkiah reported his finding to Shaphan the scribe, telling him, "I found the Book of the Law in the LORD's Temple. Then he gave the book to Shaphan. 16Shaphan took the book to the king and gave an additional report to the king, telling him "Everything that you've entrusted to your servants is being carried out. 17They've removed the money that was found in the LORD's Temple and have passed it on to the supervisors and the workmen." 18Shaphan the scribe also informed the king, "Hilkiah the priest gave me a book." Shaphan read from its contents to the king.
19As soon as he heard what the Law said, he tore his clothes. 20He issued these orders to Hilkiah, Shaphan's son Ahikam, Micah's son Abdon, Shaphan the scribe, and the king's personal assistant Asaiah: 21"Go ask the LORD for me and for those who survive in Israel and in Judah about the words that we've read in this book that we found, because the wrath of the LORD that we deserve to have poured out on us is very great, since our ancestors haven't obeyed the command from the LORD that required us to do everything that is written in this book."
22So Hilkiah and the others who had received orders from the king went to visit Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Tokhath's son Shallum, grandson of Hasrah. She was the king's wardrobe supervisor, and she lived in Jerusalem's Second Quarter. They asked her about what had happened. 23In response, she replied: "This is what the LORD God of Israel says: 'Tell the man who sent you to me, 24"This is what the LORD says: 'Pay attention! I'm bringing evil to visit this place and its inhabitants—every single curse written in the book that they've been reading to the King of Judah. 25Because they abandoned me and have burned incense to other gods, provoking me to become angry at everything they're doing, therefore my wrath is about to be poured out on this place, and it won't be quenched.'"' 26"Now tell the king of Judah who sent you to ask the LORD about this: 'This is what the LORD God of Israel says about what you've heard: 27"Because your heart was sensitive, and you humbled yourself before God when you heard what he had to say about this place and its inhabitants—indeed, because you humbled yourself before me, tore your clothes, and cried out to me, I have heard you," declares the LORD. 28"Look! I'm going to take you to your ancestors, and you will be buried in your grave in peace so that you won't have to see all the evil that I'm going to bring to this place and to its inhabitants."'" So they all brought back this message to the king.
29The king sent word to gather all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. 30Then the king went up to the LORD's Temple, accompanied by the men of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the priests and descendants of Levi, and everyone else from the most important to the least important, and he read out loud all the words of the book of the covenant that had been found in the LORD's Temple.
31While standing in his appointed place, the king made a public covenant with the LORD to follow the LORD, to keep his commandments, his testimonies, and his statutes, and to do so with all of his heart and soul, and to carry out what was written in the covenant contained in the book. 32He also made everyone who was present in Jerusalem and Benjamin to stand in agreement with him. As a result, the inhabitants of Jerusalem reconfirmed the covenant of God, the God of their ancestors. 33Josiah also removed all the detestable things from the territories that belonged to the people of Israel, and made everyone who lived in Israel to serve the LORD their God. For the rest of his life, they didn't abandon their quest to follow the LORD God of their ancestors.