Josiah: Eight-Year-Old King


(This account is found in 2 Kgs. 22–23.)

To be the king of the mighty nation of Judah was a great challenge for Josiah, who was only eight years old. His father, who had been the king before him, had been very evil. Josiah wanted to correct the wrong things his father had done and teach his people righteousness. Most of the people in Judah were worshipping idols, and there was a lot of wickedness. Josiah felt that these things were wrong, but he was not sure what to do to correct them.

After he had reigned for twenty-six years Josiah decided to repair the temple built by King Solomon. Parts of this temple still stood, but they were in bad condition.

“Count up all the silver brought into the house of the Lord,” commanded Josiah, “and give it to the carpenters, builders, and masons, so that they might repair the Lord’s house.”

The workers were busy rebuilding the temple when Hilkiah, the high priest, discovered a book of the law in the temple. Hilkiah and Shaphan, the scribe, read this book of scripture. Then they brought the exciting discovery to Josiah.

Josiah was fascinated to hear the word of the Lord from the scriptures for the first time in his life. Finally he knew what he should do to bring his people to righteousness, but it made him sad. The scriptures said, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me,” and Josiah’s people had been worshipping idols. Josiah was afraid because his people had been doing evil for so long. He knew that the Lord would be angry with his people.

Josiah commanded his high priest and religious leaders to find out what the Lord expected of him and his people. The leaders went to a spiritual woman named Huldah, who was a prophetess.

She told the men, “The Lord God of Israel saith, ‘These people have done great evil and must be punished. However, their punishment will not come while Josiah is king, for he has humbled himself and listened to the word of the Lord.’”

After hearing the words of Huldah, Josiah realized he must use his time as king to help his people draw closer to the Lord.

Josiah called all his people to come to a meeting in the temple. He read them the words of the scriptures that had been found in the house of the Lord. He and his people made a covenant with the Lord to keep the commandments of God. Josiah then traveled throughout the kingdom, destroying the idols and the places where they had been worshipped. Josiah loved his people and taught them to worship the true and living God.

After helping his people to come to know the truth, Josiah told them to once again hold the feast of the Passover in remembrance of the Lord’s goodness in leading the people of Israel out of Egypt. This was the greatest celebration to be held in Judah for many years as the people gladly turned to the Lord.

Even though Josiah was only eight years old when he became king, he grew to be one of the best kings Judah ever had. He served the Lord with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his might.