When the king heard the words of the law scroll, he tore his clothes.
He appointed the priests to fulfill their duties and encouraged them to carry out their service in the Lord’s temple.
He asked, “What is this grave marker I see?” The men from the city replied, “It’s the grave of the prophet 1 who came from Judah and foretold these very things you have done to the altar of Bethel.”
Does it make you any more of a king that you outstrip everyone else in 1 building with cedar? Just think about your father. He was content that he had food and drink. 2 He did what was just and right. 3 So things went well with him.
Necho 1 sent messengers to him, saying, “Why are you opposing me, O king of Judah? 2 I am not attacking you today, but the kingdom with which I am at war. 3 God told me to hurry. Stop opposing God, who is with me, or else he will destroy you.” 4
The king tore down the altars the kings of Judah had set up on the roof of Ahaz’s upper room, as well as the altars Manasseh had set up in the two courtyards of the Lord’s temple. He crushed them up 1 and threw the dust in the Kidron Valley.
He also tore down the altar in Bethel 1 at the high place made by Jeroboam son of Nebat, who encouraged Israel to sin. 2 He burned all the combustible items at that high place and crushed them to dust; including the Asherah pole. 3
He smashed the sacred pillars to bits, cut down the Asherah pole, and filled those shrines 1 with human bones.
The king ordered all the people, “Observe the Passover of the Lord your God, as prescribed in this scroll of the covenant.”
Yet the Lord’s great anger against Judah did not subside; he was still infuriated by all the things Manasseh had done. 1
Shaphan brought the scroll to the king and reported, 1 “Your servants are doing everything assigned to them.
Say this to the king of Judah, who sent you to seek an oracle from the Lord: “This is what the Lord God of Israel says concerning the words you have heard:
He removed from the entrance to the Lord’s temple the statues of horses 1 that the kings of Judah had placed there in honor of the sun god. (They were kept near the room of Nathan Melech the eunuch, which was situated among the courtyards.) 2 He burned up the chariots devoted to the sun god. 3
“‘Do not weep for the king who was killed. Do not grieve for him. But weep mournfully for the king who has gone into exile. For he will never return to see his native land again. 1
In the eighth year of his reign, while he was still young, he began to seek the God of his ancestor 1 David. In his twelfth year he began ridding 2 Judah and Jerusalem of the high places, Asherah poles, idols, and images.