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23 1-2 Then the king sent for the elders and other leaders of Judah and Jerusalem to go to the Temple with him. So all the priests and prophets and the people, small and great, of Jerusalem and Judah gathered there at the Temple so that the king could read to them the entire book of God’s laws which had been discovered in the Temple. He stood beside the pillar in front of the people, and he and they made a solemn promise to the Lord to obey him at all times and to do everything the book commanded.

Then the king instructed Hilkiah the High Priest and the rest of the priests and the guards of the Temple to destroy all the equipment used in the worship of Baal, Asherah, and the sun, moon, and stars. The king had it all burned in the fields of the Kidron Valley outside Jerusalem, and he carried the ashes to Bethel. He killed the heathen priests who had been appointed by the previous kings of Judah, for they had burned incense in the shrines on the hills throughout Judah and even in Jerusalem. They had also offered incense to Baal and to the sun, moon, stars, and planets. He removed the shameful idol of Asherah from the Temple and took it outside Jerusalem to Kidron Brook; there he burned it and beat it to dust and threw the dust on the graves of the common people. He also tore down the houses of male prostitution around the Temple, where the women wove robes for the Asherah idol.

He brought back to Jerusalem the priests of the Lord, who were living in other cities of Judah, and tore down all the shrines on the hills where they had burned incense, even those as far away as Geba and Beersheba. He also destroyed the shrines at the entrance of the palace of Joshua, the former mayor of Jerusalem, located on the left side as one enters the city gate. However, these priests[a] did not serve at the altar of the Lord in Jerusalem, even though they ate with the other priests.

10 Then the king destroyed the altar of Topheth in the valley of the sons of Hinnom, so that no one could ever again use it to burn his son or daughter to death as a sacrifice to Molech. 11 He tore down the statues of horses and chariots located near the entrance of the Temple, next to the quarters of Nathan-melech the eunuch. These had been dedicated by former kings of Judah to the sun god. 12 Then he tore down the altars that the kings of Judah had built on the palace roof above the Ahaz Room. He also destroyed the altars that Manasseh had built in the two courts of the Temple; he smashed them to bits and scattered the pieces in Kidron Valley.

13 Next he removed the shrines on the hills east of Jerusalem and south of Destruction Mountain. (Solomon had built these shrines for Ashtoreth, the evil goddess of the Sidonians; and for Chemosh, the evil god of Moab; and for Milcom, the evil god of the Ammonites.) 14 He smashed the obelisks and cut down the shameful idols of Asherah; then he defiled these places by scattering human bones over them. 15 He also tore down the altar and shrine at Bethel that Jeroboam I had made when he led Israel into sin. He crushed the stones to dust and burned the shameful idol of Asherah.

16 As Josiah was looking around, he noticed several graves in the side of the mountain. He ordered his men to bring out the bones in them and to burn them there upon the altar at Bethel to defile it, just as the Lord’s prophet had declared would happen to Jeroboam’s altar.[b]

17 “What is that monument over there?” he asked.

And the men of the city told him, “It is the grave of the prophet who came from Judah and proclaimed that what you have just done would happen here at the altar at Bethel!”

18 So King Josiah replied, “Leave it alone. Don’t disturb his bones.”

So they didn’t burn his bones or those of the prophet from Samaria.[c]

19 Josiah demolished the shrines on the hills in all of Samaria. They had been built by the various kings of Israel and had made the Lord very angry. But now he crushed them into dust, just as he had done at Bethel. 20 He executed the priests of the heathen shrines upon their own altars, and he burned human bones upon the altars to defile them. Finally he returned to Jerusalem.

21 The king then issued orders for his people to observe the Passover ceremonies as recorded by the Lord their God in The Book of the Covenant. 22 There had not been a Passover celebration like that since the days of the judges of Israel, and there was never another like it in all the years of the kings of Israel and Judah. 23 This Passover was in the eighteenth year of the reign of King Josiah, and it was celebrated in Jerusalem.

24 Josiah also exterminated the mediums and wizards, and every kind of idol worship, both in Jerusalem and throughout the land. For Josiah wanted to follow all the laws that were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest had found in the Temple. 25 There was no other king who so completely turned to the Lord and followed all the laws of Moses; and no king since the time of Josiah has approached his record of obedience.

26 But the Lord still did not hold back his great anger against Judah, caused by the evils of King Manasseh. 27 For the Lord had said, “I will destroy Judah just as I have destroyed Israel; and I will discard my chosen city of Jerusalem and the Temple that I said was mine.”

28 The rest of the biography of Josiah is written in The Annals of the Kings of Judah. 29 In those days King Neco of Egypt went out to help the king of Assyria at the Euphrates River. Then King Josiah went out with his troops to fight King Neco; but King Neco withstood him at Megiddo and killed him. 30 His officers took his body back in a chariot from Megiddo to Jerusalem and buried him in the grave he had selected. And his son Jehoahaz was chosen by the nation as its new king.

31-32 New king of Judah: Jehoahaz

His age at the beginning of his reign: 23 years old

Length of reign: 3 months, in Jerusalem

Mother’s name: Hamutal (the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah)

Character of his reign: evil, like the other kings who had preceded him

33 Pharaoh Neco jailed him at Riblah in Hamath to prevent his reigning in Jerusalem, and he levied a tax against Judah totaling $230,000. 34 The Egyptian king then chose Eliakim, another of Josiah’s sons, to reign in Jerusalem; and he changed his name to Jehoiakim. Then he took King Jehoahaz to Egypt, where he died. 35 Jehoiakim taxed the people to get the money that the Pharaoh had demanded.

36-37 New king of Judah: Jehoiakim

His age at the beginning of his reign: 25 years old

Length of reign: 11 years, in Jerusalem

Mother’s name: Zebidah (daughter of Pedaiah of Rumah)

Character of his reign: evil, like the other kings who had preceded him


  1. 2 Kings 23:9 these priests, literally, “the priests of the high places.”
  2. 2 Kings 23:16 Jeroboam’s altar, see 1 Kings 13:2.
  3. 2 Kings 23:18 See 1 Kings 13:31-32.

Josiah Renews the Covenant(A)(B)(C)(D)

23 Then the king called together all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. He went up to the temple of the Lord with the people of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the priests and the prophets—all the people from the least to the greatest. He read(E) in their hearing all the words of the Book of the Covenant,(F) which had been found in the temple of the Lord. The king stood by the pillar(G) and renewed the covenant(H) in the presence of the Lord—to follow(I) the Lord and keep his commands, statutes and decrees with all his heart and all his soul, thus confirming the words of the covenant written in this book. Then all the people pledged themselves to the covenant.

The king ordered Hilkiah the high priest, the priests next in rank and the doorkeepers(J) to remove(K) from the temple of the Lord all the articles made for Baal and Asherah and all the starry hosts. He burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of the Kidron Valley and took the ashes to Bethel. He did away with the idolatrous priests appointed by the kings of Judah to burn incense on the high places of the towns of Judah and on those around Jerusalem—those who burned incense(L) to Baal, to the sun and moon, to the constellations and to all the starry hosts.(M) He took the Asherah pole from the temple of the Lord to the Kidron Valley(N) outside Jerusalem and burned it there. He ground it to powder(O) and scattered the dust over the graves(P) of the common people.(Q) He also tore down the quarters of the male shrine prostitutes(R) that were in the temple of the Lord, the quarters where women did weaving for Asherah.

Josiah brought all the priests from the towns of Judah and desecrated the high places, from Geba(S) to Beersheba, where the priests had burned incense. He broke down the gateway at the entrance of the Gate of Joshua, the city governor, which was on the left of the city gate. Although the priests of the high places did not serve(T) at the altar of the Lord in Jerusalem, they ate unleavened bread with their fellow priests.

10 He desecrated Topheth,(U) which was in the Valley of Ben Hinnom,(V) so no one could use it to sacrifice their son(W) or daughter in the fire to Molek. 11 He removed from the entrance to the temple of the Lord the horses that the kings of Judah(X) had dedicated to the sun. They were in the court[a] near the room of an official named Nathan-Melek. Josiah then burned the chariots dedicated to the sun.(Y)

12 He pulled down(Z) the altars the kings of Judah had erected on the roof(AA) near the upper room of Ahaz, and the altars Manasseh had built in the two courts(AB) of the temple of the Lord. He removed them from there, smashed them to pieces and threw the rubble into the Kidron Valley.(AC) 13 The king also desecrated the high places that were east of Jerusalem on the south of the Hill of Corruption—the ones Solomon(AD) king of Israel had built for Ashtoreth the vile goddess of the Sidonians, for Chemosh the vile god of Moab, and for Molek the detestable(AE) god of the people of Ammon.(AF) 14 Josiah smashed(AG) the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles and covered the sites with human bones.(AH)

15 Even the altar(AI) at Bethel, the high place made by Jeroboam(AJ) son of Nebat, who had caused Israel to sin—even that altar and high place he demolished. He burned the high place and ground it to powder, and burned the Asherah pole also. 16 Then Josiah(AK) looked around, and when he saw the tombs that were there on the hillside, he had the bones removed from them and burned on the altar to defile it, in accordance(AL) with the word of the Lord proclaimed by the man of God who foretold these things.

17 The king asked, “What is that tombstone I see?”

The people of the city said, “It marks the tomb of the man of God who came from Judah and pronounced against the altar of Bethel the very things you have done to it.”

18 “Leave it alone,” he said. “Don’t let anyone disturb his bones(AM).” So they spared his bones and those of the prophet(AN) who had come from Samaria.

19 Just as he had done at Bethel, Josiah removed all the shrines at the high places that the kings of Israel had built in the towns of Samaria and that had aroused the Lord’s anger. 20 Josiah slaughtered(AO) all the priests of those high places on the altars and burned human bones(AP) on them. Then he went back to Jerusalem.

21 The king gave this order to all the people: “Celebrate the Passover(AQ) to the Lord your God, as it is written in this Book of the Covenant.”(AR) 22 Neither in the days of the judges who led Israel nor in the days of the kings of Israel and the kings of Judah had any such Passover been observed. 23 But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah, this Passover was celebrated to the Lord in Jerusalem.(AS)

24 Furthermore, Josiah got rid of the mediums and spiritists,(AT) the household gods,(AU) the idols and all the other detestable(AV) things seen in Judah and Jerusalem. This he did to fulfill the requirements of the law written in the book that Hilkiah the priest had discovered in the temple of the Lord. 25 Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned(AW) to the Lord as he did—with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance with all the Law of Moses.(AX)

26 Nevertheless, the Lord did not turn away from the heat of his fierce anger,(AY) which burned against Judah because of all that Manasseh(AZ) had done to arouse his anger. 27 So the Lord said, “I will remove(BA) Judah also from my presence(BB) as I removed Israel, and I will reject(BC) Jerusalem, the city I chose, and this temple, about which I said, ‘My Name shall be there.’[b]

28 As for the other events of Josiah’s reign, and all he did, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah?

29 While Josiah was king, Pharaoh Necho(BD) king of Egypt went up to the Euphrates River to help the king of Assyria. King Josiah marched out to meet him in battle, but Necho faced him and killed him at Megiddo.(BE) 30 Josiah’s servants brought his body in a chariot(BF) from Megiddo to Jerusalem and buried him in his own tomb. And the people of the land took Jehoahaz son of Josiah and anointed him and made him king in place of his father.

Jehoahaz King of Judah(BG)

31 Jehoahaz(BH) was twenty-three years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. His mother’s name was Hamutal(BI) daughter of Jeremiah; she was from Libnah. 32 He did evil(BJ) in the eyes of the Lord, just as his predecessors had done. 33 Pharaoh Necho put him in chains at Riblah(BK) in the land of Hamath(BL) so that he might not reign in Jerusalem, and he imposed on Judah a levy of a hundred talents[c] of silver and a talent[d] of gold. 34 Pharaoh Necho made Eliakim(BM) son of Josiah king in place of his father Josiah and changed Eliakim’s name to Jehoiakim. But he took Jehoahaz and carried him off to Egypt, and there he died.(BN) 35 Jehoiakim paid Pharaoh Necho the silver and gold he demanded. In order to do so, he taxed the land and exacted the silver and gold from the people of the land according to their assessments.(BO)

Jehoiakim King of Judah(BP)

36 Jehoiakim(BQ) was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eleven years. His mother’s name was Zebidah daughter of Pedaiah; she was from Rumah. 37 And he did evil(BR) in the eyes of the Lord, just as his predecessors had done.


  1. 2 Kings 23:11 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
  2. 2 Kings 23:27 1 Kings 8:29
  3. 2 Kings 23:33 That is, about 3 3/4 tons or about 3.4 metric tons
  4. 2 Kings 23:33 That is, about 75 pounds or about 34 kilograms