2 Kings 23 New Life Version (NLV)
Josiah Brings Back True Worship
23 Then King Josiah sent men out to bring to him all the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem. 2 The king went up to the house of the Lord with all the men of Judah and all the people who lived in Jerusalem. The religious leaders, the men who speak for God, and all the people went with him, both small and great. And Josiah read in their hearing all the words of the Book of the Law which was found in the house of the Lord. 3 Then the king stood by the pillar. There he made an agreement before the Lord. He promised to follow the Lord and keep His Word and His Laws with all his heart and soul. He promised to obey the words of this agreement that were written in this book, and all the people joined him in the agreement.
4 Then the king spoke to Hilkiah the head religious leader, and the religious leaders who were next in power, and the door-keepers. He told them to bring out of the Lord’s house all the objects made for the false gods Baal and Asherah and for all the stars of heaven. He burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of the Kidron. And he carried their ashes to Bethel. 5 He got rid of the religious leaders who worshiped false gods, whom the kings of Judah had chosen. They had been chosen to burn special perfume in the high places in the cities of Judah and in the land around Jerusalem. Josiah got rid of those who burned special perfume to Baal, to the sun and the moon, to groups of stars, and to all the stars of heaven. 6 He brought out the object of the false goddess Asherah from the Lord’s house to the river Kidron outside Jerusalem. There he burned it and ground it to dust, and threw its dust on the people’s graves. 7 He broke down the small rooms in the Lord’s house that were used by the men who sold the use of their bodies for their false gods. The women were making special curtains for the false goddess Asherah in these rooms. 8 Then King Josiah brought all the religious leaders from the cities of Judah. And he showed how sinful the high places were where the religious leaders had burned special perfume, from Geba to Beersheba. He broke down the high places at the gate of Joshua the leader of the city, which were to the left of the city gate. 9 The religious leaders of the high places did not go up to the altar of the Lord in Jerusalem. But they ate bread without yeast among their brothers. 10 The king made Topheth unclean, which is in the valley of the sons of Hinnom. He did this so no one might give his son or daughter there as a burnt gift to the false god Molech. 11 Josiah got rid of the horses which the kings of Judah had given to the sun. They had given them at the door of the Lord’s house, by the room of Nathan-melech the leader. And the king burned the war-wagons of the sun with fire. 12 King Josiah broke down the altars which were on the roof of Ahaz’s room on the second floor. They had been made by the kings of Judah. And he broke down the altars which Manasseh had made in the two open spaces of the Lord’s house. He broke them there and threw their dust into the river Kidron. 13 The king made the high places sinful which were east of Jerusalem and south of the Mount of Destruction. King Solomon of Israel had built them for Ashtoreth the sinful goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh the hated false god of Moab, and Milcom the hated god of the sons of Ammon. 14 And Josiah broke in pieces the pillars used in worship and cut down the Asherim. He filled their places with human bones.
15 The king broke down the altar at Bethel and the high place made by Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel sin, even that altar and the high place he broke down. He crushed its stones, ground them to dust, and burned the false goddess Asherah. 16 As Josiah turned, he saw the graves that were there on the mountain. He had the bones taken from the graves, and burned them on the altar. So he made the altar sinful, as the word of the Lord said would happen, through the man of God. 17 Then Josiah said, “What is this that I see?” The men of the city told him, “It is the grave of the man of God who came from Judah. He is the one who said that these things would happen which you have done against the altar of Bethel.” 18 Josiah said, “Let him alone. Let no one move his bones.” So they let his bones alone, with the bones of the man of God who came from Samaria. 19 Josiah took away all the houses of the high places in the cities of Samaria. The kings of Israel had made the Lord angry by building them. The king did to them just as he had done in Bethel. 20 And he killed on the altar all the religious leaders of the high places who were there. He burned human bones on them. Then he returned to Jerusalem.
Josiah Keeps the Passover
21 King Josiah told all the people, “Keep the Passover to the Lord your God, as it is written in this Book of the Law.” 22 For sure no such Passover had been kept since the days of the judges who ruled Israel. It had not been kept in all the days of the kings of Israel or Judah. 23 But this Passover was kept to the Lord in Jerusalem in the eighteenth year of King Josiah.
24 Josiah put away the people who spoke with spirits, and people who used their secret ways. He put away the house gods and the false gods and all the sinful things that were seen in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem. He did this to obey the words of the Law which were written in the book that was found in the Lord’s house by Hilkiah the religious leader. 25 Before Josiah there was no king like him who turned to the Lord with all his heart and soul and strength, obeying all the Law of Moses. And no one like him came after him.
26 But the Lord did not stop from being very angry against Judah. Because Manasseh had done many things to make Him angry. 27 The Lord said, “I will put Judah away from My eyes, as I have put away Israel. I will put away Jerusalem, this city I have chosen. And I will put away the family of which I said, ‘My name will be there.’”
Josiah Dies in Battle
28 Now the rest of the acts of Josiah are written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah. 29 In his days Pharaoh Neco king of Egypt went up to the king of Assyria to the river Euphrates. King Josiah went to meet him. And Pharaoh Neco killed him at Megiddo when he saw him. 30 Josiah’s servants carried his body from Megiddo in a war-wagon. They brought him to Jerusalem and buried him in his own grave. Then the people of the land took his son Jehoahaz and poured oil on him and made him king in his father’s place.
Jehoahaz Rules Judah
31 Jehoahaz was twenty-three years old when he became king. He ruled for three months in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Hamutal the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah. 32 Jehoahaz did what was sinful in the eyes of the Lord. He did all that his fathers had done. 33 Pharaoh Neco put him in prison at Riblah in the land of Hamath, that he might not rule in Jerusalem. And he made the people of the land pay a tax of silver weighing as much as 100 men, and gold weighing as much as one man. 34 Pharaoh Neco made Josiah’s son Eliakim king in the place of his father Josiah. And he changed his name to Jehoiakim. But he took Jehoahaz away to Egypt, where he died.
Jehoiakim Rules Judah
35 So Jehoiakim gave the silver and gold to Pharaoh. But he taxed the land to give Pharaoh the money he wanted. He took the silver and gold from the people of the land, from each one by the amount of tax he was made to pay. And he gave it to Pharaoh Neco. 36 Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he became king. He ruled for eleven years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Zebidah the daughter of Pedaiah of Rumah. 37 Jehoiakim did what was sinful in the eyes of the Lord. He did just as his fathers had done.