JOSIAH is only eight years old when he becomes king of the southern two tribes of Israel. This is very young for one to be king. So at first some older persons help him to rule the nation.
When Jo·siʹah has been king for seven years he starts to seek Jehovah. He follows the example of good kings like David, Je·hoshʹa·phat and Hez·e·kiʹah. Then, when he is still just a teenager, Jo·siʹah does a brave thing.
For a long time most of the Israelites have been very bad. They worship false gods. They bow down to idols. So Jo·siʹah goes out with his men and begins to remove false worship from the land. This is a big job because so many people worship false gods. You can see Jo·siʹah and his men here breaking up the idols.
Afterward, Jo·siʹah puts three men in charge of repairing Jehovah’s temple. Money is collected from the people and given to these men to pay for the work that is to be done. While they are working on the temple, the high priest Hil·kiʹah finds something very important there. It is the very book of the law that Jehovah had Moses write a long, long time ago. It was lost for many years.
The book is taken to Jo·siʹah, and he asks that it be read to him. As he listens, Jo·si’ah can see that the people have not been keeping Jehovah’s law. He feels very sad about this, and so he tears his clothes apart, as you can see here. He says: ‘Jehovah is angry with us, because our fathers did not keep the laws written in this book.’
Jo·siʹah commands high priest Hil·kiʹah to find out what Jehovah is going to do to them. Hil·kiʹah goes to the woman Hulʹdah, who is a prophetess, and asks her. She gives him this message from Jehovah to take back to Jo·siʹah: ‘Jerusalem and all the people will be punished because they have worshiped false gods and the land has been filled with badness. But because you, Jo·siʹah, have done what is good, this punishment will not come until after your death.’