Old Testament Story List

Josiah

Josiah became a king when he was eight years old. As he grew, he sought the Lord and did what was right.

While Josiah was still a young man, he proclaimed a house cleaning in the temple of the Lord. After Hezekiah's death, the temple had been neglected. It had even been misused. One king had set up altars to his 

idol Baal right in the courts of the Lord's house. Josiah decreed that the temple be repaired so all the people could worship God there.

Many skillful workmen were hired to make the temple beautiful again. The heathen altars were torn away, carried outside the city, and burned. Men worked in wood and stone to get the temple in readiness.

While the repair work was going on, the high priest cleaned the rooms of the temple. There, hidden away beneath some rubbish, he found a strange scroll. He looked at it carefully, then unrolled it and began to read.

It did not take Hilkiah long to recognize this scroll as the book of the Law. Long before, God had given Moses the words, and Moses had written them in a book. Moses had commanded that the book of the Law be read to all the people once each seven years, but the people had not kept his command. Then the book was forgotten.

Carefully, the high priest removed the dust from this precious book. Finding this book was like finding a treasure. He called to Shaphan, the scribe, "I have found the book of the Law in the house of the Lord!"

The high priest placed the precious book in Shaphan's hands and sent him to King Josiah. Josiah too became excited. He had never heard the words of God's law. "Read to me from the book," he told Shaphan.

Shaphan read the strange words. He read about God's promise to bless thepeople if they served him faithfully. Then he read God's promise to punish the people if they forsook him and worshiped idols.

Josiah was alarmed. His people had disobeyed God's law. Surely God would punish them as he had said. The king tore his clothes and wept bitterly. What would happen to his people?

Josiah told the priest, "Go, ask of the Lord about the words in the book. Great is the punishment in store for us because our fathers have not kept the word of the Lord."

Hilkiah went to Huldah the prophetess to ask her about God's plan to punish the people for their sins.

The prophetess said, "God will send great punishment to those who forsake his law and worship idols. But because Josiah has humbled his heart and wept tears of sorrow for the sins of his people, God will not let the people be punished while Josiah lives."

For thirty-one years, Josiah ruled the people. At the end of his reign, the king of Egypt marched through the land of Judah to fight against the Assyrians. Josiah did not want this army going through his country, so he got ready to attack them.

The king of Egypt did not want to fight with Josiah. He sent word for Josiah to go back home, but Josiah would not go. Instead, he dressed like an ordinary soldier and went out to battle. During the fight he was wounded by an arrow. His servants brought him back to Jerusalem in a chariot. Josiah died, and the people buried him among the honorable kings of Judah. 


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