Hilkiah Finds the Book of the Law
1Josiah was eight years old when he became king. He ruled in Jerusalem for 31 years. His mother’s name was Jedidah. She was the daughter of Adaiah. She was from Bozkath. 2Josiah did what was right in the eyes of the Lord. He lived the way King David had lived. He didn’t turn away from it to the right or the left.
3King Josiah sent his secretary Shaphan to the Lord’s temple. It was in the 18th year of Josiah’s rule. Shaphan was the son of Azaliah. Azaliah was the son of Meshullam. Josiah said, 4“Go up to Hilkiah the high priest. Have him add up the money that has been brought into the Lord’s temple. The men who guard the doors have collected it from the people. 5Have them put all the money in the care of certain men. These men have been put in charge of the work on the Lord’s temple. Have them pay the workers who repair it. 6Have them pay the builders and those who work with wood. Have them pay those who lay the stones. Also have them buy lumber and blocks of stone to repair the temple. 7But they don’t have to report how they use the money that is given to them. That’s because they are completely honest.”
8Hilkiah the high priest spoke to Shaphan the secretary. Hilkiah said, “I’ve found the Book of the Law in the Lord’s temple.” Hilkiah gave it to Shaphan, who read it. 9Then Shaphan went to King Josiah. Shaphan told him, “Your officials have paid out the money that was in the Lord’s temple. They’ve put it in the care of the workers and directors there.” 10Shaphan continued, “Hilkiah the priest has given me a book.” Shaphan read some of it to the king.
11The king heard the words of the Book of the Law. When he did, he tore his royal robes. 12He gave orders to Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Akbor, Shaphan the secretary and Asaiah. Ahikam was the son of Shaphan. Akbor was the son of Micaiah. And Asaiah was the king’s attendant. Josiah commanded them, 13“Go. Ask the Lord for advice. Ask him about what is written in this book that has been found. Do it for me. Also do it for the people and the whole nation of Judah. The Lord is very angry with us. That’s because our people who have lived before us didn’t obey the words of this book. They didn’t do everything written there about us.”
14Hilkiah the priest went to speak to Huldah the prophet. So did Ahikam, Akbor, Shaphan and Asaiah. Huldah was the wife of Shallum. Shallum was the son of Tikvah. Tikvah was the son of Harhas. Shallum took care of the sacred robes. Huldah lived in the New Quarter of Jerusalem.
15Huldah said to them, “The Lord is the God of Israel. He says, ‘Here is what you must tell the man who sent you to me. 16Tell him, “The Lord says, ‘I am going to bring horrible trouble on this place and its people. Everything written in the book the king of Judah has read will take place. 17That’s because the people have deserted me. They have burned incense to other gods. They have made me very angry because of the statues of gods their hands have made. So my anger will burn like a fire against this place. And the fire of my anger will not be put out.’ ” ’ 18The king of Judah sent you to ask the Lord for advice. Tell him, ‘The Lord is the God of Israel. He has a message for you about the things you heard. He says, 19“Your heart was tender. You made yourself humble in the eyes of the Lord. You heard what I spoke against this place and its people. I said they would be under a curse. I told them they would be destroyed. You tore your royal robes and wept in front of me. And I have heard you,” announces the Lord. 20“You will join the members of your family who have already died. You will be buried in peace. Your eyes will not see all the trouble I am going to bring on this place.” ’ ”
Huldah’s answer was taken back to the king.