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Josiah Celebrates the Passover(A)

35 Josiah kept a Passover for the Lord in Jerusalem; they slaughtered the Passover lamb on the fourteenth day of the first month. He appointed priests for their duties and encouraged them in their service to the house of the Lord. And he said to the Levites who gave insight to all Israel and were consecrated to the Lord, “Set the holy ark in the house that Solomon, the son of David and king of Israel, built. You should not carry it on your shoulders. Now serve the Lord your God and His people Israel. Prepare yourselves according to your fathers’ houses by your divisions, as instructed in the writing of David, king of Israel, and the document of Solomon his son.

“And stand in the Holy Place according to the divisions of the fathers’ households of your brothers, the laypeople, and according to the Levites, by division of a father’s household. Then slaughter the Passover lamb and consecrate yourselves and prepare for your brothers to do according to the word of the Lord by the hand of Moses.”

Josiah contributed to the laypeople, as Passover offerings for all who were present, lambs and young goats from the flock to the number of thirty thousand, and three thousand bulls; these were from the king’s possession.

His officials contributed willingly to the people, to the priests, and to the Levites. Hilkiah, Zechariah, and Jehiel, the chief officers of the house of God, gave to the priests for the Passover offerings two thousand six hundred lambs and three hundred bulls. Konaniah, his brothers Shemaiah and Nethanel, and Hashabiah, Jeiel, and Jozabad, officers of the Levites, gave to the Levites for the Passover offerings five thousand lambs and five hundred bulls.

10 When the service was prepared, the priests stood in their places and the Levites in their divisions, according to the king’s command. 11 And they slaughtered the Passover offerings, and the priests sprinkled the blood given to them while the Levites skinned animals. 12 And they set aside the burnt offering to distribute according to each house of the fathers for the people to bring near to the Lord, as written in the Book of Moses. And they did the same with the bulls. 13 And they cooked the Passover lamb with fire according to the rule, and they cooked the holy offerings in pots, jars, bowls, and quickly brought them to all the people. 14 Afterward they prepared the offerings for them and the priests because the priests, the sons of Aaron, offered the burnt offering and fat portions until night. So the Levites prepared for themselves and for the priests, the sons of Aaron.

15 The singers, the sons of Asaph, were in their places according to the command of David, Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun the king’s seer. The gatekeepers were at each of the gates; they did not need to leave their service, for their brothers the Levites made preparations for them.

16 So all the service of the Lord was carried out that day to have the Passover, and to offer the burnt offerings on the altar of the Lord according to the command of King Josiah. 17 And the sons of Israel who were present had the Passover at that time and the Feast of Unleavened Bread for seven days. 18 And no Passover had been made like this in Israel since the days of Samuel the prophet. And none of the kings of Israel had performed a Passover like Josiah had done. And the priests and Levites and all Judah and Israel were present along with those living in Jerusalem. 19 In the eighteenth year of the reign of Josiah this Passover was performed.

The Death of Josiah(B)

20 After all this when Josiah had prepared the temple, Necho king of Egypt went up to war in Carchemish on the Euphrates, and Josiah went out to meet him. 21 And Necho sent messengers to him saying, “What is there between you and me, king of Judah? I am not against you this day, but against the house with which I am at war. And God has commanded that I hurry. Refrain from being against God who is with me so that He does not destroy you.”

22 But Josiah did not turn away from him for he went to battle against him disguised. He did not listen to the words of Necho that came from the mouth of God, but he came to battle in the plain of Megiddo.

23 So the archers shot King Josiah, and the king said to his servants, “Take me away for I am severely wounded.” 24 Then his servants took him from the chariot, and they set him in a second chariot, and they brought him to Jerusalem. He died and was buried in the tombs of his fathers. And all Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah.

25 And Jeremiah composed a dirge for Josiah, and all the male and female singers speak of Josiah in their laments to this day. They set them as a statute over Israel. They are written in the Laments.

26 And the remainder of the acts of Josiah, his deeds and covenant faithfulness, according to what is written in the Law of the Lord, 27 and his acts from beginning to end are written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah.