1 Esdras 1 Revised Standard Version (RSV)
Josiah Celebrates the Passover
1 Josi′ah kept the passover to his Lord in Jerusalem; he killed the passover lamb on the fourteenth day of the first month, 2 having placed the priests according to their divisions, arrayed in their garments, in the temple of the Lord. 3 And he told the Levites, the temple servants of Israel, that they should sanctify themselves to the Lord and put the holy ark of the Lord in the house which Solomon the king, the son of David, had built; 4 and he said, “You need no longer carry it upon your shoulders. Now worship the Lord your God and serve his people Israel; and prepare yourselves by your families and kindred, 5 in accordance with the directions of David king of Israel and the magnificence of Solomon his son. Stand in order in the temple according to the groupings of the fathers’ houses of you Levites, who minister before your brethren the people of Israel, 6 and kill the passover lamb and prepare the sacrifices for your brethren, and keep the passover according to the commandment of the Lord which was given to Moses.”
7 And Josi′ah gave to the people who were present thirty thousand lambs and kids, and three thousand calves; these were given from the king’s possessions, as he promised, to the people and the priests and Levites. 8 And Hilki′ah, Zechari′ah, and Jehi′el,[a] the chief officers of the temple, gave to the priests for the passover two thousand six hundred sheep and three hundred calves. 9 And Jeconi′ah and Shemai′ah and Nethan′el his brother, and Hashabi′ah and Ochiel and Joram, captains over thousands, gave the Levites for the passover five thousand sheep and seven hundred calves.
10 And this is what took place. The priests and the Levites, properly arrayed and having the unleavened bread, stood according to kindred 11 and the grouping of the fathers’ houses, before the people, to make the offering to the Lord as it is written in the book of Moses; this they did in the morning. 12 They roasted the passover lamb with fire, as required; and they boiled the sacrifices in brass pots and caldrons, with a pleasing odor, 13 and carried them to all the people. Afterward they prepared the passover for themselves and for their brethren the priests, the sons of Aaron, 14 because the priests were offering the fat until night; so the Levites prepared it for themselves and for their brethren the priests, the sons of Aaron. 15 And the temple singers, the sons of Asaph, were in their place according to the arrangement made by David, and also Asaph, Zechari′ah, and Eddinus, who represented the king. 16 The gatekeepers were at each gate; no one needed to depart from his duties, for their brethren the Levites prepared the passover for them.
17 So the things that had to do with the sacrifices to the Lord were accomplished that day: the passover was kept 18 and the sacrifices were offered on the altar of the Lord, according to the command of King Josi′ah. 19 And the people of Israel who were present at that time kept the passover and the feast of unleavened bread seven days. 20 No passover like it had been kept in Israel since the times of Samuel the prophet; 21 none of the kings of Israel had kept such a passover as was kept by Josi′ah and the priests and Levites and the men of Judah and all of Israel who were dwelling in Jerusalem. 22 In the eighteenth year of the reign of Josi′ah this passover was kept. 23 And the deeds of Josi′ah were upright in the sight of the Lord, for his heart was full of godliness. 24 The events of his reign have been recorded in the past, concerning those who sinned and acted wickedly toward the Lord beyond any other people or kingdom, and how they grieved the Lord[b] deeply, so that the words of the Lord rose up against Israel.
The End of Josiah’s Reign
25 After all these acts of Josi′ah, it happened that Pharaoh, king of Egypt, went to make war at Car′chemish on the Euphra′tes, and Josi′ah went out against him. 26 And the king of Egypt sent word to him saying, “What have we to do with each other, king of Judea? 27 I was not sent against you by the Lord God, for my war is at the Euphra′tes. And now the Lord is with me! The Lord is with me, urging me on! Stand aside, and do not oppose the Lord.”
28 But Josi′ah did not turn back to his chariot, but tried to fight with him, and did not heed the words of Jeremiah the prophet from the mouth of the Lord. 29 He joined battle with him in the plain of Megid′do, and the commanders came down against King Josi′ah. 30 And the king said to his servants, “Take me away from the battle, for I am very weak.” And immediately his servants took him out of the line of battle. 31 And he got into his second chariot; and after he was brought back to Jerusalem he died, and was buried in the tomb of his fathers. 32 And in all Judea they mourned for Josi′ah. Jeremiah the prophet lamented for Josi′ah, and the principal men, with the women,[c] have made lamentation for him to this day; it was ordained that this should always be done throughout the whole nation of Israel. 33 These things are written in the book of the histories of the kings of Judea; and every one of the acts of Josi′ah, and his splendor, and his understanding of the law of the Lord, and the things that he had done before and these that are now told, are recorded in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah.
The Last Kings of Judah
34 And the men of the nation took Jeconi′ah the son of Josi′ah, who was twenty-three years old, and made him king in succession to Josi′ah his father. 35 And he reigned three months in Judah and Jerusalem. Then the king of Egypt deposed him from reigning in Jerusalem, 36 and fined the nation a hundred talents of silver and a talent of gold. 37 And the king of Egypt made Jehoi′akim his brother king of Judea and Jerusalem. 38 Jehoi′akim put the nobles in prison, and seized his brother Zarius and brought him up out of Egypt.
39 Jehoi′akim was twenty-five years old when he began to reign in Judea and Jerusalem, and he did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. 40 And Nebuchadnez′zar king of Babylon came up against him, and bound him with a chain of brass and took him away to Babylon. 41 Nebuchadnez′zar also took some holy vessels of the Lord, and carried them away, and stored them in his temple in Babylon. 42 But the things that are reported about Jehoi′akim[d] and his uncleanness and impiety are written in the chronicles of the kings.
43 Jehoi′achin[e] his son became king in his stead; when he was made king he was eighteen years old, 44 and he reigned three months and ten days in Jerusalem. He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. 45 So after a year Nebuchadnez′zar sent and removed him to Babylon, with the holy vessels of the Lord, 46 and made Zedeki′ah king of Judea and Jerusalem.
The Fall of Jerusalem
Zedeki′ah was twenty-one years old, and he reigned eleven years. 47 He also did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and did not heed the words that were spoken by Jeremiah the prophet from the mouth of the Lord. 48 And though King Nebuchadnez′zar had made him swear by the name of the Lord, he broke his oath and rebelled; and he stiffened his neck and hardened his heart and transgressed the laws of the Lord, the God of Israel. 49 Even the leaders of the people and of the priests committed many acts of sacrilege and lawlessness beyond all the unclean deeds of all the nations, and polluted the temple of the Lord which had been hallowed in Jerusalem. 50 So the God of their fathers sent by his messenger to call them back, because he would have spared them and his dwelling place. 51 But they mocked his messengers, and whenever the Lord spoke, they scoffed at his prophets, 52 until in his anger against his people because of their ungodly acts he gave command to bring against them the kings of the Chalde′ans. 53 These slew their young men with the sword around their holy temple, and did not spare young man or virgin, old man or child, for he gave them all into their hands. 54 And all the holy vessels of the Lord, great and small, and the treasure chests of the Lord, and the royal stores, they took and carried away to Babylon. 55 And they burned the house of the Lord and broke down the walls of Jerusalem and burned their towers with fire, 56 and utterly destroyed all its glorious things. The survivors he led away to Babylon with the sword, 57 and they were servants to him and to his sons until the Persians began to reign, in fulfilment of the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah: 58 “Until the land has enjoyed its sabbaths, it shall keep sabbath all the time of its desolation until the completion of seventy years.”