2 Kings 23:1 And the king sent, and they gathered unto him all the elders of Judah and of Jerusalem.
The book of the Law had been found in the Temple. In the book were written the curses which God would bring upon Israel if they failed to keep the Covenant made at Sinai. Josiah had enquired of the Lord through Huldah the prophetess. God told him that he would bring evil upon Jerusalem because they had turned to idolatry.
2 And the king went up into the house of the LORD, and all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem with him, and the priests, and the prophets, and all the people, both small and great: and he read in their ears all the words of the book of the covenant which was found in the house of the LORD.
Josiah reads the words of the book to the people.
3 And the king stood by a pillar, and made a covenant before the LORD, to walk after the LORD, and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all their heart and all their soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people stood to the covenant.
Josiah renews the Covenant with the assent of the people.
4 And the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest, and the priests of the second order, and the keepers of the door, to bring forth out of the temple of the LORD all the vessels that were made for Baal, and for the grove, and for all the host of heaven: and he burned them without Jerusalem in the fields of Kidron, and carried the ashes of them unto Bethel.
He commands the priests to clear the temple of all the idolatrous paraphernalia which he burns and carries the ashes to Bethel where Jeroboam had placed one of the golden calves and established an idolatrous priesthood.
5 And he put down the idolatrous priests, whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense in the high places in the cities of Judah, and in the places round about Jerusalem; them also that burned incense unto Baal, to the sun, and to the moon, and to the planets, and to all the host of heaven.
He puts down the idolatrous priests.
6 And he brought out the grove from the house of the LORD, without Jerusalem, unto the brook Kidron, and burned it at the brook Kidron, and stamped it small to powder, and cast the powder thereof upon the graves of the children of the people.
He removes the ‘grove’ – Asherah – a wooden image from the temple, burns it, reduces it to fine ash and spreads it upon the graves.
7 And he brake down the houses of the sodomites, that were by the house of the LORD, where the women wove hangings for the grove.
He destroys the houses of the sodomites
8 And he brought all the priests out of the cities of Judah, and defiled the high places where the priests had burned incense, from Geba to Beersheba, and brake down the high places of the gates that were in the entering in of the gate of Joshua the governor of the city, which were on a man’s left hand at the gate of the city.
He fetches all the priests from their cities in Judah and defiles/destroys the high places
9 Nevertheless the priests of the high places came not up to the altar of the LORD in Jerusalem, but they did eat of the unleavened bread among their brethren.
The levitical priests of the high places did not officiate at the altar in Jerusalem but ate the unleavened bread supplied by the people for the priesthood.
10 And he defiled Topheth, which is in the valley of the children of Hinnom, that no man might make his son or his daughter to pass through the fire to Molech.
He defiles Topheth to prevent further child sacrifice to Molech.
11 And he took away the horses that the kings of Judah had given to the sun, at the entering in of the house of the LORD, by the chamber of Nathanmelech the chamberlain, which was in the suburbs, and burned the chariots of the sun with fire.
He removes the horses used for sun worship and burned the chariots.
12 And the altars that were on the top of the upper chamber of Ahaz, which the kings of Judah had made, and the altars which Manasseh had made in the two courts of the house of the LORD, did the king beat down, and brake them down from thence, and cast the dust of them into the brook Kidron.
He destroys the altars made by some of the kings of Judah and throws them into Kidron.
13 And the high places that were before Jerusalem, which were on the right hand of the mount of corruption, which Solomon the king of Israel had builded for Ashtoreth the abomination of the Zidonians, and for Chemosh the abomination of the Moabites, and for Milcom the abomination of the children of Ammon, did the king defile.
He defiles the idolatrous high places built by Solomon at the instigation of his foreign wives.
14 And he brake in pieces the images, and cut down the groves, and filled their places with the bones of men.
He breaks the images and the Asherah and defiles the places with the bones of the dead.
15 Moreover the altar that was at Bethel, and the high place which Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, had made, both that altar and the high place he brake down, and burned the high place, and stamped it small to powder, and burned the grove.
He destroys the altar and the high place at Bethel.
16 And as Josiah turned himself, he spied the sepulchres that were there in the mount, and sent, and took the bones out of the sepulchres, and burned them upon the altar, and polluted it, according to the word of the LORD which the man of God proclaimed, who proclaimed these words.
He takes bones from the sepulchres to pollute the place.
17 Then he said, What title is that that I see? And the men of the city told him, It is the sepulchre of the man of God, which came from Judah, and proclaimed these things that thou hast done against the altar of Bethel.
18 And he said, Let him alone; let no man move his bones. So they let his bones alone, with the bones of the prophet that came out of Samaria.
He finds the tomb of the prophet who withstood Jeroboam and prophesied that a descendant of David by the name of Josiah would destroy the altar (1 Kings 13:1 – 2). He leaves the bones intact in the tomb.
19 And all the houses also of the high places that were in the cities of Samaria, which the kings of Israel had made to provoke the LORD to anger, Josiah took away, and did to them according to all the acts that he had done in Bethel.
He does the same with all the high places in Samaria. He is able to do this because the northern kingdom had been taken into captivity by the Assyrians.
20 And he slew all the priests of the high places that were there upon the altars, and burned men’s bones upon them, and returned to Jerusalem.
He kills the idolatrous priests (these were not Levitical priests) and defiles the altars.
21 And the king commanded all the people, saying, Keep the passover unto the LORD your God, as it is written in the book of this covenant.
He commands the people to keep the Passover as required in the Law.
22 Surely there was not holden such a passover from the days of the judges that judged Israel, nor in all the days of the kings of Israel, nor of the kings of Judah;
23 But in the eighteenth year of king Josiah, wherein this passover was holden to the LORD in Jerusalem.
24 Moreover the workers with familiar spirits, and the wizards, and the images, and the idols, and all the abominations that were spied in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, did Josiah put away, that he might perform the words of the law which were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the house of the LORD.
He put away those with familiar spirits, wizards, images and idols throughout the kingdom of Judah.
25 And like unto him was there no king before him, that turned to the LORD with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; neither after him arose there any like him.
There was no king before or after Josiah who turned to God with all his heart, soul, and might as he did.
I hope you find this helpful.