2 Kings 23International Children’s Bible (ICB)
The People Hear the Law
23 Then the king gathered all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem together. 2 He went up to the Temple of the Lord. All the men from Judah and Jerusalem went with him. The priests, prophets and all the people—from the least important to the most important—went with him. He read to them all the words of the Book of the Agreement. That book was found in the Temple of the Lord. 3 The king stood by the pillar. He made an agreement in the presence of the Lord. He agreed to follow the Lord and obey his commands, rules and laws with his whole being. He agreed to do what was written in this book. Then all the people promised to obey the agreement.
Josiah Destroys the Places for Idol Worship
4 The king gave a command to Hilkiah the high priest. He also gave it to the priests of the next rank and the gatekeepers. He told them to bring out of the Temple of the Lord everything made for Baal, Asherah and all the stars of heaven. Then Josiah burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of the Kidron Valley. And he carried the ashes to Bethel. 5 The kings of Judah had chosen priests for these gods. These priests burned incense on the places where false gods were worshiped. These places were in the cities of Judah and the towns around Jerusalem. The priests burned incense to Baal, the sun and the moon. And they burned incense to the planets and all the stars of heaven. But Josiah took those priests away. 6 He removed the Asherah idol from the Temple of the Lord. He took it outside Jerusalem to the Kidron Valley. There he burned it and beat it into dust. And he threw the dust on the graves of the common people. 7 Then he tore down the houses of the male prostitutes who were in the Temple of the Lord. This was where the women did weaving for Asherah.
8 King Josiah brought all the false priests from the cities of Judah. He made the places where false gods were worshiped impure. This is where the priests had burned incense. These places of worship were everywhere, from Geba to Beersheba. He destroyed the places of worship at the entrance to the Gate of Joshua. (Joshua was the ruler of the city.) This gate was on the left side of the city gate. 9 The priests at the places where false gods were worshiped were not allowed to serve at the Lord’s altar in Jerusalem. But they could eat bread made without yeast with their brothers.
10 Topheth was in the Valley of Ben Hinnom. Josiah made it impure so no one could sacrifice his son or daughter to Molech. 11 Judah’s kings had placed horses at the front door of the Temple of the Lord. This was in the courtyard near the room of Nathan-Melech, an officer. These horses were for the worship of the sun. But Josiah removed them. Then he burned the chariots that were for sun worship.
12 The kings of Judah had also built altars on the roof[a] of the upstairs room of Ahaz. Josiah broke down these altars. He also broke down the altars Manasseh had made. These were in the two courtyards of the Temple of the Lord. He smashed them to pieces. Then he threw their dust into the Kidron Valley. 13 King Josiah made impure the places east of Jerusalem where false gods were worshiped. These were south of the Mount of Olives.[b] Solomon king of Israel had built these places. One was for Ashtoreth, the hated goddess of the Sidonians. One was for Chemosh, the hated god of Moab. And one was for Molech, the hated god of the Ammonites. 14 Josiah smashed into pieces the stone pillars they worshiped. He cut down the Asherah idols. And he covered the places with human bones.
15 Josiah also broke down the altar at Bethel. This was the place of worship Jeroboam son of Nebat had made. Jeroboam had caused Israel to sin. Josiah burned that place. He broke the stones of the altar to pieces. Then he beat them into dust. And he burned the Asherah idol. 16 When he turned around, he saw the graves on the mountain. He had the bones taken from the graves. Then he burned the bones on the altar to make it impure. This happened as the Lord had said it would through the man of God.
17 Josiah asked, “What is that monument to the dead I see?”
The people of the city answered, “It’s the grave of the man of God who came from Judah. This prophet announced the things you have done against the altar of Bethel.”
18 Josiah said, “Leave the grave alone. No person may move this man’s bones.” So they left his bones. And they left the bones of the prophet who had come from Samaria.
19 The kings of Israel had built temples for worshiping false gods in the cities of Samaria. That had caused the Lord to be angry. Josiah removed all those temples. He did the same things as he had done at Bethel. 20 Josiah killed all the priests of those places of worship. He killed them on the altars. And he burned human bones on the altars. Then he went back to Jerusalem.
The Passover Is Brought Back
21 The king gave a command to all the people. He said, “Celebrate the Passover to the Lord your God. Do it as it is written in this Book of the Agreement.” 22 No Passover like this one had been celebrated since the judges led Israel. Nor had one like it happened while there were kings of Israel and kings of Judah. 23 This Passover was celebrated to the Lord in Jerusalem. It was the eighteenth year of King Josiah’s rule.
24 Josiah destroyed the mediums, fortune-tellers, house gods and idols. He destroyed all the hated gods seen in the land of Judah and Jerusalem. He did this to obey the words of the teachings. They were written in the book Hilkiah the priest had found in the Temple of the Lord.
25 There was no king like Josiah before or after him. He obeyed the Lord with all his heart, soul and strength. He followed all the Teachings of Moses.
26 Even so, the Lord did not stop his strong and terrible anger. His anger burned against Judah. It was because of all that Manasseh had done to make him angry. 27 The Lord said, “I have taken Israel away. I will do the same to Judah. I will take them out of my sight. I will reject Jerusalem which I chose. I will take away the Temple about which I said, ‘I will be honored there.’”
28 Everything else Josiah did is written down. It is in the book of the history of the kings of Judah.
29 While Josiah was king, Neco king of Egypt went to help the king of Assyria. Neco was at the Euphrates River. King Josiah marched out to fight against Neco. But at Megiddo, Neco faced Josiah and killed him. 30 Josiah’s servants carried his body in a chariot from Megiddo. They brought him to Jerusalem and buried him in his own grave. Then the people of Judah chose Josiah’s son Jehoahaz. They poured olive oil on him to appoint him king in his father’s place.
Jehoahaz King of Judah
31 Jehoahaz was 23 years old when he became king. And he was king in Jerusalem for three months. His mother’s name was Hamutal. She was the daughter of Jeremiah from Libnah. 32 Jehoahaz did what the Lord said was wrong. He did just as his ancestors had done.
33 King Neco took Jehoahaz prisoner at Riblah in the land of Hamath. He did this so Jehoahaz could not rule in Jerusalem. Neco made the people of Judah pay about 7,500 pounds of silver and about 75 pounds of gold.
34 King Neco made Josiah’s son Eliakim the king in place of Josiah his father. Then Neco changed Eliakim’s name to Jehoiakim. But Neco took Jehoahaz to Egypt, and he died there. 35 Jehoiakim gave King Neco the silver and gold he demanded. But Jehoiakim taxed the land so he could pay the king. He took silver and gold from the people of the land. The amount he took from each person depended on how much he had.
Jehoiakim King of Judah
36 Jehoiakim was 25 years old when he became king. He was king in Jerusalem for 11 years. His mother’s name was Zebidah daughter of Pedaiah. She was from Rumah. 37 Jehoiakim did what the Lord said was wrong, just as his ancestors had done.
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