Josiah became king of Judah when he was 8 years old. Both his grandfather Manasseh and his father Amon led the people of Jerusalem astray, away from the ways of God. Manasseh worshiped many gods, erecting pagan altars and structures in God’s temple. Amon followed the ways of his father, worshiping idols and forsaking the God of his ancestors.
But the Bible says that Josiah does “what was right in the eyes of the Lord” (2 Kings 22:2). At 16, “he began to seek the God of his ancestor David” (2 Chronicles 34:3) and experiences a religious awakening. Soon thereafter, he begins to purge idolatry out of the land.
At 26, Josiah decides to renovate the temple, paying for carpenters, builders, and masons to do the repairs. It was during this time that the high priest, Hilkiah, found the book of the law, which had been lost, perhaps for generations. The book of the law, given to the people by God through Moses, was the foundation of Israel’s entire religious and political system. The fact that it was lost shows the almost inconceivable neglect during the reigns of Manasseh and Amon.
The high priest immediately gave Josiah’s secretary the book of the law. When the scroll was read, King Josiah was so devastated that he tore his clothes in mourning (2 Chronicles 34:19). He responded with great humility. The book of the law told Josiah how His people are to live; understanding this, he saw that they were in danger of God’s wrath. The king needed guidance on what to do, so he sent his advisers to the holy prophetess Huldah, asking for a word from the Lord.
The prophetess did give the king’s men a message from God. What was it, and how did King Josiah react? The Bible says about this young man of God, “Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the Lord as he did—with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance with all the Law of Moses” (2 Kings 23:25). What exactly did Josiah do to earn these words in God’s book?