2 Kings 23
Modern English Version
Josiah Renews the Covenant(A)
23 Then the king sent them away and they gathered all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem to him. 2 The king went up to the house of the Lord, and all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem with him, the priests, the prophets, and all the people, both small and great. He read in their hearing all the words of the Book of the Covenant that was found in the house of the Lord. 3 The king stood by a pillar and made a covenant before the Lord to follow the Lord, to keep His commandments, His testimonies, and His statutes with all his heart and all his soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. All the people agreed with the covenant.
4 The king commanded Hilkiah the high priest, the priests of the second order, and the keepers of the threshold to bring out of the temple of the Lord all the implements that were made for Baal, for Asherah, and for all the host of heaven. Then he burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of Kidron and carried their ashes to Bethel. 5 Then he removed the idolatrous priests whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense on the high places at the cities of Judah and around Jerusalem; those also who burned incense to Baal, to the sun, to the moon, to the constellations, and to all the host of heaven. 6 He brought out the Asherah from the house of the Lord to the outside of Jerusalem, to the Kidron Valley. Then he burned it at the Kidron Valley, crushed it to dust, and threw its dust upon the graves of the people. 7 He tore down the houses of the male cult prostitutes that were in the house of the Lord, where the women were weaving hangings for the Asherah.
8 He brought all the priests out of the cities of Judah and defiled the high places where the priests had made offerings, from Geba to Beersheba. He broke down the high places of the gates at the entry of the gates of Joshua the governor of the city, which were on the left at the gate of the city. 9 However the priests of the high places did not go up to the altar of the Lord in Jerusalem. Instead they ate unleavened bread among their fellow priests.
10 He defiled Topheth, which is in the Valley of Ben Hinnom, so that no man would make his son or his daughter pass through the fire to Molek. 11 He removed the horses that the kings of Judah had given to the sun, at the entry of the house of the Lord, by the hall of Nathan-Melek the eunuch, which was in the vestibule. The chariots of the sun he burned with fire.
12 The altars that were on the roof of the upper chamber of Ahaz, which the kings of Judah had made, and the altars which Manasseh had made in the two courts of the house of the Lord the king tore down and banished from there and threw their dust into the Kidron Valley. 13 The high places east of Jerusalem, south of the Mount of Corruption, which Solomon the king of Israel had built for Ashtoreth the abomination of the Sidonians, for Chemosh the abomination of the Moabites, and for Molek the abomination of the Ammonites, the king defiled. 14 He broke the standing stones, cut down the Asherah poles, and filled their sites with human bones.
15 Moreover, the altar that was at Bethel and the high place which Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel sin, had made, both that altar and the high place he tore down. Then he burned the high place and crushed it to powder, and he burned the Asherah. 16 As Josiah turned, he saw the tombs that were there on the mount. He took the bones out of the tombs and burned them on the altar and defiled it, according to the word of the Lord that the man of God proclaimed, the one who announced these things.
17 Then he said, “What is this monument that I see?”
The men of the city said to him, “It is the tomb of the man of God who came from Judah and proclaimed these things that you have done against the altar of Bethel.”
18 He said, “Let him rest. No one shall disturb his bones.” So they let his bones alone, with the bones of the prophet who came out of Samaria.
19 Moreover, all the houses of the high places that were in the cities of Samaria, which the kings of Israel had made to provoke the Lord to anger, Josiah removed. He did to them just as he had done in Bethel. 20 He slaughtered on the altars all the priests of the high places who were there, and burned human bones on them. Then he returned to Jerusalem.
21 The king commanded all the people, “Keep the Passover to the Lord your God as it is written in this Book of the Covenant.” 22 For such a Passover had not been kept from the days of the judges who judged Israel, nor in all the days of the kings of Israel and the kings of Judah. 23 But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah, this Passover was kept to the Lord in Jerusalem.
24 Moreover, Josiah disposed of the mediums, the soothsayers, the teraphim, the idols, and all the abominations that were seen in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, so that he established the words of the law that were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the house of the Lord. 25 Now there had been no king like him before or after, who turned to the Lord with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the Law of Moses.
26 However, the Lord did not turn from the fierceness of His great wrath, by which His anger was kindled against Judah, because of all the provocations with which Manasseh had provoked Him. 27 The Lord said, “I will also remove Judah from before Me, as I have removed Israel. I will reject this city that I have chosen, Jerusalem, and the house of which I said, My name shall be there.”
Josiah Dies in Battle
28 Now the rest of the deeds of Josiah, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah?
29 In his days Pharaoh Necho, king of Egypt, went up against the king of Assyria to the River Euphrates. King Josiah went to meet him, but he killed him at Megiddo when he had seen him. 30 His servants carried him dead in a chariot from Megiddo, brought him to Jerusalem, and buried him in his own tomb. The people of the land took Jehoahaz the son of Josiah, anointed him, and made him king in place of his father.
Jehoahaz, King of Judah(B)
31 Jehoahaz was twenty-three years old when he became king, and he reigned three months in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Hamutal daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah. 32 He did evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his fathers had done. 33 Pharaoh Necho imprisoned him at Riblah in the land of Hamath, so that he might not reign in Jerusalem, and imposed tribute on the land of a hundred talents[a] of silver and a talent[b] of gold. 34 Pharaoh Necho made Eliakim son of Josiah king in place of Josiah his father and changed his name to Jehoiakim. He took Jehoahaz away and went to Egypt, and he died there. 35 Jehoiakim gave the silver and gold to Pharaoh, but he taxed the land to give the money according to Pharaoh’s demand. According to an assessed amount, he exacted the silver and gold from the people of the land to give to Pharaoh Necho.
Jehoiakim, King of Judah(C)
36 Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he became king. He reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Zebidah daughter of Pedaiah of Rumah. 37 He did evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his fathers had done.