2 Chronicles 34

Josiah obeys the Lord

1 Josiah was 8 years old when he started to rule. And he ruled in Jerusalem for 31 years. 2 He did the things that gave pleasure to the Lord. He always did things as his ancestor David had done. He did that all the time.

34:1Josiah began to rule in about 640 BC. He died in about 609 BC.

3 When Josiah had been king for nearly 8 years he was still a boy. He began to worship the God of his ancestor David. When he had been king for nearly 12 years he started to destroy the high places for worship. He did that in Jerusalem and in all Judah. And he started to take away the Asherahs and idols of wood and metal. 4 He caused the people to pull down the altars to the Baals. He watched them while they did it. Then he cut down the altars to burn oils with sweet smells that were above the altars for Baal. He took away the Asherahs. He broke them and the wood and metal idols into pieces. Then he hit the pieces until they were very small. Then he threw those pieces over the places where they had buried people. The people were those who had sacrificed to those gods. 5 Josiah burned the bones of their priests on the idols' altars. That is how he made Judah and Jerusalem holy again. 6 He went to the towns of Manasseh, Ephraim and Simeon and even into Naphtali. And he did the same in all the old places round them that nobody had used for some time. 7 He pulled down the altars and the Asherahs. He hit their idols until they were very small pieces. He cut down all the altars to burn oils with sweet smells in all Israel. Then he returned to Jerusalem.

Josiah does repairs to the temple

8 When Josiah had been king for nearly 18 years, the country and the temple were clean and holy again. Then he sent men to do repairs to the house of the Lord his God. He chose men to tell them how to do the work. Those men were Azaliah's son Shaphan, Maaseiah the ruler of the city, and Joah, son of Joahaz, who recorded everything.

9 The people had given money to the Levites who kept the doors of the temple safe. The tribes of Manasseh, Ephraim and those who stayed in Israel gave money to those Levites. Also, the people from all Judah and Benjamin and those who lived in Jerusalem gave money to them. They brought this money into the house of God. The three men came to Hilkiah, the most important priest and they gave the money to him. 10 Then they gave this money to the men who were leaders over the work on the Lord's house. Those men gave it to the workers. And they worked to do repairs to the Lord's house and to make it strong. 11 They also gave money to those who worked with wood and with stones. They gave money to the builders to buy stones that were ready to use and wood. The wood was to hold the walls up and for beams. They needed those things because the kings of Judah before Josiah had destroyed the buildings of the temple.

Good men did the work

12 Josiah was able to trust the men and they did good work. The Levites Jahath and Obadiah, Merari's descendants, were over them. Kohath's descendants, Zechariah and Meshullam were also over the men. Those Levites also knew how to make beautiful music. 13 They were also over the men who carried heavy things and over all the other workers. Some Levites worked as secretaries or officers, and some were guards.

Hilkiah finds the Book of the Lord's Law

14 The Levites brought out the money that people had brought into the house of the Lord. While they were doing that, Hilkiah the priest found the Book of the Law of the Lord. The Lord had used Moses to give this Law to his people. 15 Hilkiah spoke to Shaphan the writer. He said, ‘I have found the Book of the Law in the Lord's house.’ And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan.

16 Then Shaphan brought the book to the king and he told the king about it. He said, ‘Your servants are doing everything that you asked them to do. 17 They have taken the money that was in the Lord's house. They have given it to the workers and to the men who are over them.’

Shaphan reads the Book to the king

18 Then Shaphan the writer told the king about it. ‘Hilkiah the priest has given a book to me,’ he said. And Shaphan read from it to the king. 19 When the king had listened to the words of the Law, he tore his clothes.

The king sends Hilkiah and other men to ask the Lord about the Book

20 Then Josiah spoke to Hilkiah, Shaphan's son Ahikam, Micah's son Abdon, Shaphan the writer and Asaiah the king's servant. He told them what they must do. This is what he said to them: 21 ‘Go to ask the Lord for me and for the people who are still in Israel or in Judah,’ he said. ‘Ask about the words in the book that Hilkiah has found. The Lord will be very angry with us because our ancestors have not obeyed the words of the Lord. They have not done everything that is in this book.’

Hilkiah and the other men visit a prophet

22 Hilkiah and those other men that the king had sent went to Huldah. Huldah was a prophetess. She was the wife of Tokhath's son Shallum. Tokhath was the son of Hasrah, who took care of the king's clothes. Huldah was living in the new part of Jerusalem. The men went to Huldah and they gave her the king's message.

23 She said to them, ‘This is what the Lord, Israel's God, says: Say this to the man who sent you to me: 24 “The Lord says: I will cause very bad things to happen to this place, and to all the people who live here. Those bad things were written in the book that they read to the king of Judah. 25 I will do that because they have gone away from me. They have made other gods with their hands and they have burned oils with sweet smells to them. They made me angry by all the things that they made with their hands. So I will punish this place and nobody will be able to make it impossible.” 26 Speak to the king of Judah who sent you to ask the Lord about this. Say, “The Lord Israel's God says this about the words that you heard: 27 You were sorry when you heard your God's words about this place and about its people. You made yourself humble in front of your God. You made yourself humble in front of me. You tore your clothes and you wept in front of me. So I have heard you, says the Lord. 28 I will let you die in peace and people will bury you with your ancestors. You will not see all the bad things that I will cause for this place and for the people here.” ’

The men took Huldah's answer to the king.

Josiah and the people promise to obey the Law

29 Then the king asked all the leaders in Judah and in Jerusalem to come to him. And they came. 30 Then the king went to the Lord's house. And all the men from Judah, the people from Jerusalem and the priests and the Levites went with him. All the people went, from the most important person to the least important person. He read to all the people the words of the Book that Hilkiah had found in the Lord's house. That book contained the covenant that the Lord made with the Israelites. 31 The king stood there in his special place. And he promised the Lord that he would obey the Lord in every way. He promised that he would obey the Lord's words, rules and laws. He promised to obey them with his whole mind. And he promised that he would really want to obey them. He promised to obey all the words of the covenant that was in the book.

32 Then he caused all the people from Benjamin and all the other people in Jerusalem to promise that too. And so the people who lived in Jerusalem agreed to obey the covenant of God, the God of their ancestors.

All Israel's people worship the Lord

33 Josiah took away all the idols from all the land of the Israelites. He caused all the people in Israel to be servants of the Lord their God. All the time that he was alive, they worshipped the Lord, the God of their ancestors. And they did not stop.