Josiah Institutes Religious Reforms
1 Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned for thirty-one years in Jerusalem.#map For location see Map5-B1; Map6-F3; Map7-E2; Map8-F2; Map10-B3; JP1-F4; JP2-F4; JP3-F4; JP4-F4. 2 He did what the Lord approved#tn Heb “he did what was proper in the eyes of the Lord.” and followed in his ancestor David’s footsteps;#tn Heb “and walked in the ways of David his father.” he did not deviate to the right or the left.
3 In the eighth year of his reign, while he was still young, he began to seek the God of his ancestor#tn Heb “father.” David. In his twelfth year he began ridding#tn Heb “purifying.” Judah and Jerusalem of the high places, Asherah poles, idols, and images. 4 He ordered the altars of the Baals to be torn down,#tn Heb “and they tore down before him the altars of the Baals.” and broke the incense altars that were above them. He smashed the Asherah poles, idols and images, crushed them up and sprinkled the dust over the tombs of those who had sacrificed to them. 5 He burned the bones of the pagan priests#tn Heb “the priests”; the qualifying adjective “pagan” has been supplied in the translation for clarity. on their altars; he purified Judah and Jerusalem. 6 In the cities of Manasseh, Ephraim, and Simeon, as far as Naphtali, and in the ruins#tn “In their ruins” is the marginal reading (Qere) of the Hebrew text. around them, 7 he tore down the altars and Asherah poles, demolished the idols, and smashed all the incense altars throughout the land of Israel. Then he returned to Jerusalem.
8 In the eighteenth year of his reign, he continued his policy of purifying the land and the temple.#tn Heb “to purify the land and the house.” He sent Shaphan son of Azaliah, Maaseiah the city official, and Joah son of Joahaz the secretary to repair the temple of the Lord his God. 9 They went to Hilkiah the high priest and gave him the silver that had been brought to God’s temple. The Levites who guarded the door had collected it from the people of#tn Heb “from Manasseh and Ephraim.” The words “the people of” are supplied in the translation for clarity. The Hebrew text uses the names “Manasseh and Ephraim” here by metonymy for the people of Manasseh and Ephraim. Manasseh and Ephraim and from all who were left in Israel, as well as from all the people of#tn Heb “all Judah and Benjamin.” The words “the people of” are supplied in the translation for clarity. The Hebrew text uses the names “Judah and Benjamin” here by metonymy for the people of Judah and Benjamin. Judah and Benjamin and the residents of#tc The Hebrew consonantal text (Kethib) assumes the reading, “and the residents of.” The marginal reading (Qere) is “and they returned.” Jerusalem. 10 They handed it over to the construction foremen#tn Heb “doer[s] of the work.” assigned to the Lord’s temple. They in turn paid the temple workers to restore and repair it.#tn Heb “and they gave it to the doers of the work who were working in the house of the Lord to restore and to repair the house.” 11 They gave money to the craftsmen and builders to buy chiseled stone and wood for the braces and rafters of the buildings that the kings of Judah had allowed to fall into disrepair.#tn Heb “of the houses that the kings of Judah had destroyed.” 12 The men worked faithfully. Their supervisors were Jahath and Obadiah (Levites descended from Merari), as well as Zechariah and Meshullam (descendants of Kohath). The Levites, all of whom were skilled musicians, 13 supervised the laborers and all the foremen on their various jobs.#tn Heb “[were] over the laborers and were directing every doer of work for work assignment and work assignment.” Some of the Levites were scribes, officials, and guards.
14 When they took out the silver that had been brought to the Lord’s temple, Hilkiah the priest found the law scroll the Lord had given to Moses. 15 Hilkiah informed Shaphan the scribe, “I found the law scroll in the Lord’s temple.” Hilkiah gave the scroll to Shaphan. 16 Shaphan brought the scroll to the king and reported,#tn Heb “returned still the king a word, saying.” “Your servants are doing everything assigned to them. 17 They melted down the silver in the Lord’s temple#tn Heb “that was found in the house of the Lord.” and handed it over to the supervisors of the construction foremen.” 18 Then Shaphan the scribe told the king, “Hilkiah the priest has given me a scroll.” Shaphan read it out loud before the king. 19 When the king heard the words of the law scroll, he tore his clothes. 20 The king ordered Hilkiah, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Abdon son of Micah,#tn The parallel account in 2 Kgs 22:12 has the variant spelling “Acbor son of Micaiah.” Shaphan the scribe, and Asaiah the king’s servant, 21 “Go, seek an oracle from#tn Or “inquire of.” the Lord for me and those who remain in Israel and Judah. Find out about#tn Heb “concerning.” the words of this scroll that has been discovered. For the Lord’s fury has been ignited against us,#tn Heb “for great is the anger of the Lord which has been ignited against us.” because our ancestors#tn Heb “fathers” (also in vv. 32, 33). have not obeyed the word of the Lord by doing all that this scroll instructs!”#tn Heb “by doing according to all that is written on this scroll.”
22 So Hilkiah and the others sent by the king#tn Heb “and those who [were sent by] the king.” went to Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum son of Tokhath, the son of Hasrah,#tn The parallel account in 2 Kgs 22:14 has the variant spelling “son of Tikvah, the son of Harhas.” the supervisor of the wardrobe.#tn Heb “the keeper of the clothes.” (She lived in Jerusalem in the Mishneh#tn Or “second.” For a discussion of the possible location of this district, see M. Cogan and H. Tadmor, II Kings (AB), 283. district.) They stated their business,#tn Heb “and they spoke to her like this.” 23 and she said to them: “This is what the Lord God of Israel says: ‘Say this to the man who sent you to me: 24 “This is what the Lord says: ‘I am about to bring disaster on this place and its residents, the details of which are recorded in the scroll which they read before the king of Judah. 25 This will happen because they have abandoned me and offered sacrifices#tn Or “burned incense.” to other gods, angering me with all the idols they have made.#tn Heb “angering me with all the work of their hands.” The present translation assumes this refers to idols they have manufactured (note the preceding reference to “other gods”). However, it is possible that this is a general reference to their sinful practices, in which case one might translate, “angering me by all the things they do.” My anger will ignite against this place and will not be extinguished!’” 26 Say this to the king of Judah, who sent you to seek an oracle from the Lord: “This is what the Lord God of Israel says concerning the words you have heard: 27 ‘You displayed a sensitive spirit#tn Heb “Because your heart was tender.” and humbled yourself before God when you heard his words concerning this place and its residents. You humbled yourself before me, tore your clothes and wept before me, and I have heard you,’ says the Lord. 28 ‘Therefore I will allow you to die and be buried in peace.#tn Heb “Therefore, behold, I am gathering you to your fathers, and you will be gathered to your tomb in peace.” You will not have to witness all the disaster I will bring on this place and its residents.’”’” Then they reported back to the king.
29 The king summoned all the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem.#tn Heb “and the king sent and gathered all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem.” 30 The king went up to the Lord’s temple, accompanied by all the people of Judah, the residents of Jerusalem, the priests, and the Levites. All the people were there, from the oldest to the youngest. He read aloud all the words of the scroll of the covenant that had been discovered in the Lord’s temple. 31 The king stood by his pillar#tc This assumes an emendation to עַמּוּדוֹ (’ammudo), see 23:13. The MT reads “at his place.” and renewed#tn Heb “cut,” that is, “made” or “agreed to.” the covenant before the Lord, agreeing to follow#tn Heb “walk after.” the Lord and to obey his commandments, laws, and rules with all his heart and being,#tn Or “soul.” by carrying out the terms#tn Heb “words.” of this covenant recorded on this scroll. 32 He made all who were in Jerusalem and Benjamin agree to it.#tn Heb “and he caused to stand everyone who was found in Jerusalem and Benjamin.” The residents of Jerusalem acted in accordance with the covenant of God, the God of their ancestors. 33 Josiah removed all the detestable idols from all the areas belonging to the Israelites and encouraged#tn Or “caused, forced.” all who were in Israel to worship the Lord their God. Throughout the rest of his reign#tn Heb “all his days.” they did not turn aside from following the Lord God of their ancestors.