Josiah, then, and his reformation is brought before us (2 Chronicles 34). He was young when he began to reign - only eight years old - and "in the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet young, he began to seek alter the God of David his father: and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem from the high places and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images. And they brake down the altars of Baalim in his presence, and the images that were on high above them, he cut down: and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images, he brake in pieces, and made dust of them, and strewed it upon the graves of them that had sacrificed unto them. And he burnt the bones of the priests upon their altars" - nothing could be more thorough-going than this action against the false gods - "and cleansed Judah and Jerusalem. And so did he in the cities of Manasseh and Ephraim and Simeon, even unto Naphtali, with their mattocks round about. And when he had broken down the altars and the groves, and had beaten the graven images into powder, and cut down all the idols throughout all the land of Israel, he returned to Jerusalem."
For, you observe, he goes beyond his own sphere. He goes out into "the cities of Manasseh and Ephraim and Simeon, even unto Naphtali."
There is amazing vigour in this young king. "And in the eighteenth year of his reign, when he had purged the land, and the house, he sent Shaphan the son of Azaliah, and Maaseiah the governor of the city, and Joah the son of Joahaz the recorder, to repair the house of Jehovah his God." And God shows him signal mercy, for there it was that the priest Hilkiah found the book of the law of Jehovah given to Moses. "And Hilkiah answered and said to Shaphan the scribe, I have found the book of the law in the house of Jehovah. And Hilkiah delivered the book to Shaphan." The king hears of it and, just as I have said, his conscience is the remarkable part of this good king; for when he hears the words of Jehovah, he rends his clothes. Had he not been pious? Had he not been faithful? Yes, but he forgot the things that were behind, and he pressed toward those that were before. He did not think of the good that he had done, but of the evil that, alas! was still around him, and of the good that he had not done and that remained before him.
So he sends, saying, "Go, enquire of Jehovah for me, and for them that are left in Israel and in Judah, concerning the words of the bock that is found, for great is the wrath of Jehovah that is poured out upon us, because our fathers have not kept the word of Jehovah, to do after all that is written in this bock." And God answers his desires. "And Hilkiah, and they that the king had appointed, went to Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tikvath," and she gives the answer from Jehovah, and the king acts upon it, and humbles himself before the Lord. "And he caused all that were present in Jerusalem and Benjamin to stand to it. And the inhabitants of Jerusalem did according to the covenant of God, the God of their fathers."