2 Chronicles 35Living Bible (TLB)
35 Then Josiah announced that the Passover would be celebrated on the first day of April in Jerusalem. The Passover lambs were slain that evening. 2 He also reestablished the priests in their duties and encouraged them to begin their work at the Temple again. 3 He issued this order to the sanctified Levites, the religious teachers in Israel:
“Since the Ark is now in Solomon’s Temple and you don’t need to carry it back and forth upon your shoulders, spend your time ministering to the Lord and to his people. 4-5 Form yourselves into the traditional service corps of your ancestors, as first organized by King David of Israel and by his son Solomon. Each corps will assist particular clans of the people who bring in their offerings to the Temple. 6 Kill the Passover lambs and sanctify yourselves and prepare to assist the people who come. Follow all of the instructions of the Lord through Moses.”
7 Then the king contributed 30,000 lambs and young goats for the people’s Passover offerings and 3,000 young bulls. 8 The king’s officials made willing contributions to the priests and Levites. Hilkiah, Zechariah, and Jehiel, the overseers of the Temple, gave the priests 2,600 sheep and goats and 300 oxen as Passover offerings. 9 The Levite leaders—Conaniah, Shemaiah, and Nethanel, and his brothers Hashabiah, Jeiel, and Jozabad—gave 5,000 sheep and goats and 500 oxen to the Levites for their Passover offerings.
10 When everything was organized and the priests were standing in their places, and the Levites were formed into service corps as the king had instructed, 11 then the Levites killed the Passover lambs and presented the blood to the priests, who sprinkled it upon the altar as the Levites removed the skins. 12 They piled up the carcasses for each tribe to present its own burnt sacrifices to the Lord, as it is written in the law of Moses. They did the same with the oxen. 13 Then, as directed by the laws of Moses, they roasted the Passover lambs and boiled the holy offerings in pots, kettles, and pans, and hurried them out to the people to eat. 14 Afterwards the Levites prepared a meal for themselves and for the priests, for they had been busy from morning till night offering the fat of the burnt offerings.
15 The singers (the sons of Asaph) were in their places, following directions issued centuries earlier by King David, Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun the king’s prophet. The gatekeepers guarded the gates and didn’t need to leave their posts of duty, for their meals were brought to them by their Levite brothers. 16 The entire Passover ceremony was completed in that one day. All the burnt offerings were sacrificed upon the altar of the Lord, as Josiah had instructed.
17 Everyone present in Jerusalem took part in the Passover observance, and this was followed by the Feast of Unleavened Bread for the next seven days. 18 Never since the time of Samuel the prophet had there been such a Passover—not one of the kings of Israel could vie with King Josiah in this respect, involving so many of the priests, Levites, and people from Jerusalem and from all parts of Judah, and from Israel. 19 This all happened in the eighteenth year of the reign of Josiah.
20 Afterwards King Neco of Egypt led his army to Carchemish on the Euphrates River, and Josiah declared war on him.
21 But King Neco sent ambassadors to Josiah with this message: “I don’t want a fight with you, O king of Judah! I have come only to fight the power with which I am at war. Leave me alone! God has told me to hurry! Don’t meddle with God or he will destroy you, for he is with me.”
22 But Josiah refused to turn back. Instead he led his army into the battle at the valley of Megiddo. (He laid aside his royal robes so that the enemy wouldn’t recognize him.) Josiah refused to believe that Neco’s message was from God. 23 The enemy archers struck King Josiah with their arrows and fatally wounded him.
“Take me out of the battle,” he exclaimed to his aides.
24-25 So they lifted him out of his chariot and placed him in his second chariot and brought him back to Jerusalem where he died. He was buried there in the royal cemetery. And all Judah and Jerusalem, including even Jeremiah the prophet, mourned for him, as did the Temple choirs. To this day they still sing sad songs about his death, for these songs of sorrow were recorded among the official lamentations.
26 The other activities of Josiah, and his good deeds, and how he followed the laws of the Lord, 27 all are written in The Annals of the Kings of Israel and Judah.