2 Kings 22

Josiah becomes the king of Judah

1 Josiah was 8 years old when he became king. He ruled as king in Jerusalem for 31 years. His mother's name was Jedidah. She was the daughter of Adaiah, who came from Bozkath. 2 Josiah did things that the Lord said were right. He lived in the good ways of his ancestor, King David. He did not turn away from the Lord's teaching in any way.

Hilkiah finds the Book of God's Law

3 When Josiah had been king for 18 years, he sent Shaphan to the Lord's temple. Shaphan was the son of Azaliah, and the grandson of Meshullam. He was the king's secretary. Josiah told Shaphan, 4 ‘Go to meet Hilkiah, the leader of the priests. Ask him to count the money that people have brought as gifts into the Lord's temple. Those are the offerings that the temple guards have received from people. 5 The priests must give the money to the men who have authority over the repairs to the Lord's temple. Those leaders must pay the men who are doing the work. 6 Those workers are the carpenters, the builders and the men who work with stones. The leaders of the work must also buy wood. And they must buy stones that people have cut. They must buy them for repairs to the temple. 7 The leaders of the work are honest men. So they do not need to give a report on how they use the money.’

8 Hilkiah, the leader of the priests, told Shaphan, the king's secretary, ‘I have found the Book of the Law in the Lord's temple.’ He gave the book to Shaphan and Shaphan read it. 9 Then Shaphan went to the king. He said to him, ‘Your officers have paid out all the money that was in the Lord's temple. They have given it to the men who are working on the temple repairs and to their leaders.’ 10 Then Shaphan told the king, ‘Hilkiah the priest has given me a book.’ Shaphan started to read the book while the king listened.

11 When the king heard the words from the Book of the Law, he was very upset. He tore his clothes. 12 He gave a command to Hilkiah the priest, Shaphan's son Ahikam, Micaiah's son Acbor, Shaphan the secretary and Asaiah the king's servant. 13 He told them, ‘Go to the temple. Ask the Lord about the message in this book that Hilkiah has found. I need to know what I and all the people of Judah should do. The Lord has become very angry with us because our ancestors have not obeyed the words in this book. They have not done the things that it tells us we should do.’

14 So Hilkiah, Ahikam, Acbor, Shaphan and Asaiah went to speak to Huldah. Huldah was a prophetess who lived in the north part of Jerusalem. She was the wife of Shallum, the son of Tikvah. Tikvah was the son of Harhas, who took care of the king's clothes. The king's men told Huldah why they had come to see her. 15 She said to them, ‘The Lord, Israel's God, says, “Tell this to the man who sent you here to me: 16 This is what the Lord says. I will bring great trouble to this place and the people who live here. The message of the book that the king of Judah has read tells about what will happen. 17 I will send this trouble because they have turned away from me. They have made offerings to other gods. I am very angry with them because of all the idols that they have made with their own hands. My anger is like a fire. It is burning and nobody can stop it!” 18 The king of Judah sent you here to ask for the Lord's answer. Say to the king, “The Lord, Israel's God, says this about the message that you have heard:

19 When you heard the message that I had spoken, you were very upset. You made yourself humble in front of me. You tore your clothes and you wept. You did that when you heard how I would punish this place and the people who live here. I said that I would destroy this place so that people would use its name as a curse. Because you became so upset, I have heard your prayer. 20 So I will let you die in peace and people will bury you beside your ancestors. You yourself will never see the great trouble that I will bring to this place.” That is what the Lord says.’

That was the answer that the men took back to the king.