II Kin. 22:1-20; II Chron. 34:1-28
Assyria had become strong and had maintained control of several nations around them. During the reign of Hezekiah, Judah had begun to pay tribute to the Assyrians. That practice continued throughout the reigns of Manasseh, Amon and the early years of Amon’s successor, Josiah. As the Judean kings were somewhat subjected to Assyria’s rule, they had adopted Assyria’s religious practices.
Josiah, in an attempt to assert his independence began to restore once again the worship to the true God. He destroyed idols and altars that had been erected to the false gods of the Assyrians and to restore the house of God. During the course of events, Hilkiah, the high priest found the Book of the Law (probably Deuteronomy) amid the construction. Upon hearing the words of the law read, Josiah was so horrified that his nation had been so unfaithful to the Lord that he tore his clothes in anguish.
The prophetess, Huldah responding to the king’s request to hear from the Lord spoke, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel…‘Behold, I will bring calamity on this place and on its inhabitants—all the words of the book which the king of Judah has read…Therefore My wrath shall be aroused against this place and shall not be quenched.’” However, because of Josiah’s zeal to do His will, God promised to allow him to reign in peace and that the destruction would not occur during his lifetime.