Josiah becomes king at 8 years old. He does right, and rebuilds the temple. Hilkiah, the high priest, finds a book of law (probably an earlier version of Deuteronomy), which is read to the king. Josiah tears his clothes. Huldah the prophetess warns that judgment is coming against Jerusalem, but not in Josiah’s time.
Josiah publically reads book of law to all Judah. Josiah set a thorough programme of religious reform in motion. He also destroy the pagan altar at Bethel (fulfilling the prophecy of 1 King 13), and the high places in Samaria. A centralised Passover is held in Jerusalem. Josiah is killed fighting at the battle of Megiddo, fighting king Necho of Egypt, who was travelling through Judah to assist the Assyrians. Josiah’s son, Jehoahaz, takes over, and does evil. He reigns for three months, then is taken prisoner by Necho. Necho installs Jehoiakim on the throne of Judah. Jehoiakim is an Egyptian puppet, and reigns for eleven year.
Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon make Jehoiakim his vassal. Judah is attacked by raiders from Babylon, Syria, Moab and Ammon. Jehoiachin, the son of Jehoiakim, rules next and does evil. The Egyptians leave Judah alone, because the Babylonians become the dominant local power. Nebuchadnezzar besiege Jerusalem, and takes Jehoiachin prisoner. Jerusalem is stripped of its wealth, and all but the poorest are forcibly deported. Zedekiah, the uncle of Jehoiachin, is installed on the throne of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar. Zedekiah reigns for eleven years, and rebels against Nebuchadnezzar.
Nebuchadnezzar besieges Jerusalem again. The sons of Zedekiah are killed, and Zedekiah himself blinded and taken prisoner. Nebuchadnezzar destroys the temple and the city, taking valuables and people to Babylon. Gedaliah is made the governor of the few who remain. Gedaliah is assassinated, whereupon the remnant in Judah flee to Egypt. Jehoiachin leads a more comfortable life in Babylon.