2 Chronicles 34-36 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
Judah’s King Josiah
34 Josiah was eight years old when he became king and reigned 31 years in Jerusalem. 2 He did what was right in the Lord’s sight and walked in the ways of his ancestor David; he did not turn aside to the right or the left.
3 In the eighth year of his reign, while he was still a youth, Josiah began to seek the God of his ancestor David, and in the twelfth year he began to cleanse Judah and Jerusalem of the high places, the Asherah poles, the carved images, and the cast images. 4 Then in his presence the altars of the Baals were torn down, and he chopped down the incense altars that were above them. He shattered the Asherah poles, the carved images, and the cast images, crushed them to dust, and scattered them over the graves of those who had sacrificed to them. 5 He burned the bones of the priests on their altars. So he cleansed Judah and Jerusalem. 6 He did the same in the cities of Manasseh, Ephraim, and Simeon, and as far as Naphtali and on their surrounding mountain shrines.[a] 7 He tore down the altars, and he smashed the Asherah poles and the carved images to powder. He chopped down all the incense altars throughout the land of Israel and returned to Jerusalem.
Josiah’s Repair of the Temple
8 In the eighteenth year of his reign, in order to cleanse the land and the temple, Josiah sent Shaphan son of Azaliah, along with Maaseiah the governor of the city and the court historian Joah son of Joahaz, to repair the temple of the Lord his God.
9 So they went to Hilkiah the high priest, and gave him the money brought into God’s temple. The Levites and the doorkeepers had collected money from Manasseh, Ephraim, and from the entire remnant of Israel, and from all Judah, Benjamin, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 10 They put it into the hands of those doing the work—those who oversaw the Lord’s temple. They gave it to the workmen who were working in the Lord’s temple, to repair and restore the temple; 11 they gave it to the carpenters and builders and also used it to buy quarried stone and timbers—for joining and making beams—for the buildings that Judah’s kings had destroyed.
12 The men were doing the work with integrity. Their overseers were Jahath and Obadiah, Levites from the Merarites, and Zechariah and Meshullam from the Kohathites as supervisors. The Levites were all skilled with musical instruments. 13 They were also over the porters and were supervising all those doing the work task by task. Some of the Levites were secretaries, officers, and gatekeepers.
The Recovery of the Book of the Law
14 When they brought out the money that had been deposited in the Lord’s temple, Hilkiah the priest found the book of the law of the Lord written by the hand of Moses. 15 Consequently, Hilkiah told Shaphan the court secretary, “I have found the book of the law in the Lord’s temple,” and he gave the book to Shaphan.
16 Shaphan took the book to the king, and also reported, “Your servants are doing all that was placed in their hands. 17 They have emptied out the money that was found in the Lord’s temple and have put it into the hand of the overseers and the hand of those doing the work.” 18 Then Shaphan the court secretary told the king, “Hilkiah the priest gave me a book,” and Shaphan read from it in the presence of the king.
19 When the king heard the words of the law, he tore his clothes. 20 Then he commanded Hilkiah, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Abdon son of Micah, Shaphan the court secretary, and the king’s servant Asaiah, 21 “Go. Ask Yahweh for me and for those remaining in Israel and Judah, concerning the words of the book that was found. For great is the Lord’s wrath that is poured out on us because our fathers have not kept the word of the Lord in order to do everything written in this book.”
Huldah’s Prophecy of Judgment
22 So Hilkiah and those the king had designated[b] went to the prophetess Huldah, the wife of Shallum son of Tokhath, son of Hasrah, keeper of the wardrobe. She lived in Jerusalem in the Second District. They spoke with her about this.
23 She said to them, “This is what Yahweh, the God of Israel says: Say to the man who sent you to Me, 24 ‘This is what Yahweh says: I am about to bring disaster on this place and on its inhabitants, fulfilling all the curses written in the book that they read in the presence of the king of Judah, 25 because they have abandoned Me and burned incense to other gods in order to provoke Me with all the works of their hands. My wrath will be poured out on this place, and it will not be quenched.’ 26 Say this to the king of Judah who sent you to ask Yahweh, ‘This is what Yahweh, the God of Israel says: As for the words that you heard, 27 because your heart was tender and you humbled yourself before God when you heard His words against this place and against its inhabitants, and because you humbled yourself before Me, and you tore your clothes and wept before Me, I Myself have heard’—this is the Lord’s declaration. 28 ‘I will indeed gather you to your fathers, and you will be gathered to your grave in peace. Your eyes will not see all the disaster that I am bringing on this place and on its inhabitants.’”
Then they reported to the king.
Affirmation of the Covenant by Josiah and the People
29 So the king sent messengers and gathered all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. 30 The king went up to the Lord’s temple with all the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, as well as the priests and the Levites—all the people from great to small. He read in their hearing all the words of the book of the covenant that had been found in the Lord’s temple. 31 Then the king stood at his post and made a covenant in the Lord’s presence to follow the Lord and to keep His commands, His decrees, and His statutes with all his heart and with all his soul in order to carry out the words of the covenant written in this book.
32 He had all those present in Jerusalem and Benjamin agree[c] to it. So all the inhabitants of Jerusalem carried out the covenant of God, the God of their ancestors.
33 So Josiah removed everything that was detestable from all the lands belonging to the Israelites, and he required all who were present in Israel to serve the Lord their God. Throughout his reign they did not turn aside from following Yahweh, the God of their ancestors.
Josiah’s Passover Observance
35 Josiah observed the Lord’s Passover and slaughtered the Passover lambs on the fourteenth day of the first month. 2 He appointed the priests to their responsibilities and encouraged them to serve in the Lord’s temple. 3 He said to the Levites who taught all Israel the holy things of the Lord, “Put the holy ark in the temple built by Solomon son of David king of Israel. Since you do not have to carry it on your shoulders, now serve Yahweh your God and His people Israel.
4 “Organize your ancestral houses by your divisions according to the written instruction of David king of Israel and that of his son Solomon. 5 Serve in the holy place by the divisions of the ancestral houses for your brothers, the lay people,[d] and the distribution of the tribal household of the Levites. 6 Slaughter the Passover lambs, consecrate yourselves, and make preparations for your brothers to carry out the word of the Lord through Moses.”
7 Then Josiah donated 30,000 sheep, lambs, and young goats, plus 3,000 bulls from his own possessions, for the Passover sacrifices for all the lay people[e] who were present.
8 His officials also donated willingly for the people, the priests, and the Levites. Hilkiah, Zechariah, and Jehiel, chief officials of God’s temple, gave 2,600 Passover sacrifices and 300 bulls for the priests. 9 Conaniah and his brothers Shemaiah and Nethanel, and Hashabiah, Jeiel, and Jozabad, officers of the Levites, donated 5,000 Passover sacrifices for the Levites, plus 500 bulls.
10 So the service was established; the priests stood at their posts and the Levites in their divisions according to the king’s command. 11 Then they slaughtered the Passover lambs, and while the Levites were skinning the animals, the priests sprinkled the blood[f] they had been given.[g] 12 They removed the burnt offerings so that they might be given to the divisions of the ancestral houses of the lay people[h] to offer to the Lord, according to what is written in the book of Moses; they did the same with the bulls. 13 They roasted the Passover lambs with fire according to regulation. They boiled the holy sacrifices in pots, kettles, and bowls; and they quickly brought them to the lay people.[i] 14 Afterward, they made preparations for themselves and for the priests, since the priests, the descendants of Aaron, were busy offering up burnt offerings and fat until night. So the Levites made preparations for themselves and for the priests, the descendants of Aaron.
15 The singers, the descendants of Asaph, were at their stations according to the command of David, Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun the king’s seer. Also, the gatekeepers were at each gate. None of them left their tasks because their Levite brothers had made preparations for them.
16 So all the service of the Lord was established that day for observing the Passover and for offering burnt offerings on the altar of the Lord, according to the command of King Josiah. 17 The Israelites who were present in Judah also observed the Passover at that time and the Festival of Unleavened Bread for seven days. 18 No Passover had been observed like it in Israel since the days of Samuel the prophet. None of the kings of Israel ever observed a Passover like the one that Josiah observed with the priests, the Levites, all Judah, the Israelites who were present in Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 19 In the eighteenth year of Josiah’s reign, this Passover was observed.
Josiah’s Last Deeds and Death
20 After all this that Josiah had prepared for the temple, Neco king of Egypt marched up to fight at Carchemish by the Euphrates, and Josiah went out to confront him. 21 But Neco sent messengers to him, saying, “What is the issue between you and me, king of Judah? I have not come against you today[j] but I am fighting another dynasty.[k] God told me to hurry. Stop opposing God who is with me; don’t make Him destroy you!”
22 But Josiah did not turn away from him; instead, in order to fight with him he disguised himself.[l] He did not listen to Neco’s words from the mouth of God, but went to the Valley of Megiddo to fight. 23 The archers shot King Josiah, and he said to his servants, “Take me away, for I am severely wounded!” 24 So his servants took him out of the war chariot, carried him in his second chariot, and brought him to Jerusalem. Then he died, and they buried him in the tomb of his fathers. All Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah. 25 Jeremiah chanted a dirge over Josiah, and all the singing men and singing women still speak of Josiah in their dirges to this very day. They established them as a statute for Israel, and indeed they are written in the Dirges.
26 The rest of the events of Josiah’s reign, along with his deeds of faithful love according to what is written in the law of the Lord, 27 and his words, from beginning to end, are written in the Book of the Kings of Israel and Judah.
Judah’s King Jehoahaz
36 Then the common people[m] took Jehoahaz son of Josiah and made him king in Jerusalem in place of his father.
2 Jehoahaz[n] was 23 years old when he became king and reigned three months in Jerusalem. 3 The king of Egypt deposed him in Jerusalem and fined the land 7,500 pounds[o] of silver and 75 pounds[p] of gold.
Judah’s King Jehoiakim
4 Then Neco king of Egypt made Jehoahaz’s brother Eliakim king over Judah and Jerusalem and changed Eliakim’s name to Jehoiakim. But Neco took his brother Jehoahaz[q] and brought him to Egypt.
5 Jehoiakim was 25 years old when he became king and reigned 11 years in Jerusalem. He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord his God. 6 Now Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon attacked him and bound him in bronze shackles to take him to Babylon. 7 Also Nebuchadnezzar took some of the utensils of the Lord’s temple to Babylon and put them in his temple in Babylon.
8 The rest of the deeds of Jehoiakim, the detestable things he did, and what was found against him, are written in the Book of Israel’s Kings. His son Jehoiachin became king in his place.
Judah’s King Jehoiachin
9 Jehoiachin was 18[r] years old when he became king and reigned three months and 10 days in Jerusalem. He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight. 10 In the spring[s] Nebuchadnezzar sent for him and brought him to Babylon along with the valuable utensils of the Lord’s temple. Then he made Jehoiachin’s brother Zedekiah king over Judah and Jerusalem.
Judah’s King Zedekiah
11 Zedekiah was 21 years old when he became king and reigned 11 years in Jerusalem. 12 He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord his God and did not humble himself before Jeremiah the prophet at the Lord’s command. 13 He also rebelled against King Nebuchadnezzar who had made him swear allegiance by God. He became obstinate[t] and hardened his heart against returning to Yahweh, the God of Israel. 14 All the leaders of the priests and the people multiplied their unfaithful deeds, imitating all the detestable practices of the nations, and they defiled the Lord’s temple that He had consecrated in Jerusalem.
The Destruction of Jerusalem
15 But Yahweh, the God of their ancestors sent word against them by the hand of His messengers, sending them time and time again, for He had compassion on His people and on His dwelling place. 16 But they kept ridiculing God’s messengers, despising His words, and scoffing at His prophets, until the Lord’s wrath was so stirred up against His people that there was no remedy. 17 So He brought up against them the king of the Chaldeans, who killed their choice young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary. He had no pity on young men or young women, elderly or aged; He handed them all over to him. 18 He took everything to Babylon—all the articles of God’s temple, large and small, the treasures of the Lord’s temple, and the treasures of the king and his officials. 19 Then the Chaldeans burned God’s temple. They tore down Jerusalem’s wall, burned down all its palaces, and destroyed all its valuable articles.
20 He deported those who escaped from the sword to Babylon, and they became servants to him and his sons until the rise of the Persian[u] kingdom. 21 This fulfilled the word of the Lord through Jeremiah and the land enjoyed its Sabbath rest all the days of the desolation until 70 years were fulfilled.
The Decree of Cyrus
22 In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, the word of the Lord spoken through[v] Jeremiah was fulfilled. The Lord put it into the mind of King Cyrus of Persia to issue a proclamation throughout his entire kingdom and also to put it in writing:
23 This is what King Cyrus of Persia says: The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and has appointed me to build Him a temple at Jerusalem in Judah. Whoever among you of His people may go up, and may the Lord his God be with him.