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The Young Josiah And The Book Of The Law

Josiah was eight years old when he began to rule, and he ruled thirty-one years in Jerusalem. In the eighteenth year of his rule he sent Shaphan, the scribe, to the temple of Jehovah with the command, "Go up to Hilkiah, the chief priest, and see that, when he has taken the money that is brought into the temple of Jehovah and that which the doorkeepers have gathered from the people, they give it to the workmen who have charge of the temple of Jehovah. Then let them give it to the carpenters, the builders, and the masons who are in the temple of Jehovah, to repair the breaks in it and to buy timber and cut stone to restore it." But no account was asked of them for the money that was given to them, for they dealt honestly.
      Then Hilkiah, the chief priest, said to Shaphan, the scribe, "I have found the book of the law in the temple of Jehovah." And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, and he read it. Then Shaphan went to Josiah and told him, "Your servants have taken the money that was found in the temple and have turned it over to the workmen who have charge of the temple of Jehovah." Shaphan, the scribe, also said to Josiah, "Hilkiah, the priest, has given me a book." And Shaphan read it to him.
      When Josiah had heard the words of the book of the law, he tore his clothes. Then he gave this command to Hilkiah, the priest, to Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, to Achbor, the son of Micaiah, to Shaphan, the scribe, and to Asaiah, his servant, "Go, ask of Jehovah for me and for the people and for all Judah about the words of this book that has been found; for Jehovah must be very angry with us, because our fathers have not listened to the words of this book nor done all that we are there commanded to do."
      So Hilkiah, the priest, and Ahikam and Achbor went to Huldah, the prophetess, who lived in Jerusalem and talked with her. She said to them, "This is the message of Jehovah, the God of Israel: 'Tell the man who sent you to me, Jehovah says, I am now about to bring evil upon this place and upon its people even all that is written in the book which the ruler of Judah has read. But you shall say to him who sent you to ask of Jehovah, Jehovah the God of Israel declares, Because you listened and humbled yourself before Jehovah and have wept before me, I also have heard you,'" So they brought back word to Josiah.
      Then at his command they got together all the leaders of Judah and of Jerusalem. And Josiah went up to the temple of Jehovah, and with him all the men of Judah and all the people of Jerusalem, as well as the priests and the prophets and all the people, including the children. And he read to them all the words of the book of the covenant which was found in the temple of Jehovah. And Josiah stood by the pillar and made a solemn promise before Jehovah to obey all the commands and carry out the rules written in this book. And all the people also agreed to do so.
      Then Josiah commanded Hilkiah, the chief priest, and the second priest and the doorkeepers to bring out from the temple of Jehovah all the things that were made for Baal and for the Canaanite goddess of fortune, and for the Babylonian star gods. And he burned them outside Jerusalem in the lime-kilns by the Kidron, and carried their ashes to Bethel. He also put away the idolatrous priests, whom the rulers of Judah had appointed to offer sacrifice at the temples on the heights in the towns of Judah and in the places about Jerusalem; those also who offered sacrifices to Baal, to the sun, the moon, and the planets and all the starry host.
      He also destroyed Topheth, which is in the valley of Ben-Hinnom, so that no man could ever make his son or his daughter pass through the fire to Molech. He removed the horses at the entrance of the temple of Jehovah, which the rulers of Judah had given to the sun, and burned the chariots of the sun. Josiah broke down and crushed in pieces the altars that were on the roof, which the rulers of Judah had made.
      Josiah also tore down the altar and the old temple at Bethel, broke its stones in pieces, and beat it to dust.
      Then he gave this command to all the people: "Keep the passover to Jehovah your God, as is commanded in this book of the covenant." Such a passover as this had not been kept from the days of the judges who ruled Israel and during the period of the rulers of Israel and of Judah; but this passover was kept in Jehovah's honor in Jerusalem for the first time in the eighteenth year of Josiah's rule.
      Josiah put away all the mediums, the wizards, the idols and all the evil things that were discovered in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, that he might carry out the words of the law which were written in the book that Hilkiah, the priest, found in the temple of Jehovah. Josiah was the first ruler who turned to Jehovah with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his strength in exact accord with the law of Moses, nor were any of the rulers that followed like him.

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