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Josiah Celebrates the Passover

35 King Josiah celebrated the Passover to the Lord in Jerusalem. The Passover lamb was killed on the fourteenth day of the first month. Josiah chose the priests to do their duties. And he encouraged them as they served in the Temple of the Lord. The Levites taught the Israelites and were made holy for service to the Lord. Josiah said to them: “When David’s son Solomon was king of Israel, he built the Temple. Put the Ark of the Covenant in that Temple. Do not carry it from place to place on your shoulders anymore. Now serve the Lord your God and his people the Israelites. Prepare yourselves by your family groups for service. Do the jobs that King David and his son Solomon gave you to do.

“Stand in the holy place with a group of the Levites. Do this for each family group of the people so you may help them. Kill the Passover lambs. Make yourselves holy to the Lord. And prepare the lambs for your relatives, the people of Israel. Do everything the Lord through Moses commanded us to do.”

Josiah gave the Israelites 30,000 sheep and goats to kill for the Passover sacrifices. He also gave them 3,000 cattle. They were all King Josiah’s own animals.

Josiah’s officers also gave willingly to the people, the priests and the Levites. Hilkiah, Zechariah and Jehiel were the officers in charge of the Temple. They gave the priests 2,600 lambs and goats and 300 cattle for Passover sacrifices. Also Conaniah, his brothers Shemaiah and Nethanel, and Hashabiah, Jeiel and Jozabad gave the Levites animals. They gave 5,000 sheep and goats and 500 cattle for Passover sacrifices. These men were leaders of the Levites.

10 When everything was ready for the Passover service, the priests and Levites went to their places. This is what the king had commanded. 11 The Passover lambs were killed. Then the Levites skinned the animals and gave the blood to the priests. The priests sprinkled the blood on the altar. 12 Then they gave the animals for the burnt offerings to the different family groups. This was done so the burnt offerings could be offered to the Lord as the Law of Moses taught. They also did this with the cattle. 13 The Levites roasted the Passover sacrifices over the fire as they were commanded. And they boiled the holy offerings in pots, kettles and pans. Then they quickly gave the meat to the people. 14 After this was finished, the Levites prepared meat for themselves and for the priests. The priests were the descendants of Aaron. The priests worked until night, offering the burnt offerings and burning the fat of the sacrifices.

15 The Levite singers were from Asaph’s family. They stood in the places King David had chosen for them. They were Asaph, Heman and Jeduthun, the king’s seer. The gatekeepers at each gate did not have to leave their places. This was because their fellow Levites had prepared everything for them for the Passover.

16 So everything was done that day for the worship of the Lord. And it was done as King Josiah commanded. The Passover was celebrated, and the burnt offerings were offered on the Lord’s altar. 17 The Israelites who were there celebrated the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread for seven days. 18 The Passover had not been celebrated like this in Israel since the prophet Samuel was alive. None of the kings of Israel had ever celebrated a Passover like this. King Josiah, the priests and the Levites celebrated it. And the people of Judah and Israel who were there with the people of Jerusalem celebrated it. 19 This Passover was celebrated in the eighteenth year Josiah was king.

The Death of Josiah

20 So Josiah did all this for the Temple. After this, King Neco of Egypt led an army to attack Carchemish. It was a town on the Euphrates River. And Josiah marched out to fight against Neco. 21 But Neco sent messengers to Josiah. They said, “King Josiah, there should not be war between us. I did not come to fight you, but my enemies. God told me to hurry, and he is on my side. So don’t fight God, or he will destroy you.”

22 But Josiah did not go away. He wore different clothes so no one would know who he was. He refused to listen to what Neco said at God’s command. So Josiah went to fight on the plain of Megiddo. 23 In the battle King Josiah was shot by arrows. He told his servants, “Take me away. I am badly wounded.” 24 So they took him out of his chariot. And they put him in another chariot he had brought to the battle. Then they took him to Jerusalem where he died. He was buried in the graves where his ancestors were buried. All the people of Judah and Jerusalem were very sad because he was dead.

25 Jeremiah wrote some sad songs about Josiah. Even to this day all the men and women singers remember and honor Josiah with these songs. It became a custom in Israel to sing these songs. They are written in the collection of sad songs.

26-27 The other things Josiah did as king, from the beginning to the end, are written down. They are in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah. It tells how he loved the Lord and obeyed the Lord’s teachings.

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