2 Kings 20-22Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)
20 At that time Hezekiah became sick and almost died. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to see him and told him, “The Lord says, ‘You will die soon, so you should tell your family what they should do when you die. You will not get well.’”
2 Hezekiah turned his face to the wall that faced the Temple and began praying to the Lord. 3 “Lord, remember that I have sincerely served you with all my heart. I have done what you say is good.” Then Hezekiah cried very hard.
4 Before Isaiah had left the middle courtyard, he received this message from the Lord, 5 “Go back and speak to Hezekiah, the leader of my people. Tell him, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of your ancestor David, says: I heard your prayer and I saw your tears, so I will heal you. On the third day you will go up to the Temple of the Lord. 6 I will add 15 years to your life. I will save you and this city from the king of Assyria. I will protect this city. I will do this for myself and because of the promise I made to my servant David.’”
7 Then Isaiah said, “Crush figs together and put them on your sore; you will get well.”
So they took the mixture of figs and put it on Hezekiah’s sore place, and he got well.
8 Hezekiah asked Isaiah, “What will be the sign that the Lord will heal me, and that I will go up to the Temple of the Lord on the third day?”
9 Isaiah said, “Which do you want? Should the shadow go forward ten steps or go back ten steps?[a] This is the sign for you from the Lord to show that the Lord will do what he said he would do.”
10 Hezekiah answered, “It is an easy thing for the shadow to go down ten steps. No, make the shadow go back ten steps.”
11 Then Isaiah prayed, and the Lord made the shadow move back ten steps. It went back up the steps that it had already been on.
Messengers From Babylon
12 At that time Merodach Baladan son of Baladan was king of Babylon. He sent letters and a gift to Hezekiah when he heard that Hezekiah had been sick. 13 Hezekiah listened to the messengers and then showed them all the valuable things he owned. He showed them the silver, the gold, the spices, the expensive perfume, and the building where he stored the weapons. He showed them everything in his treasuries, in his palace, and in his kingdom.
14 Then Isaiah the prophet came to King Hezekiah and asked him, “What did these men say? Where did they come from?”
Hezekiah said, “These men came from a faraway country, from Babylon.”
15 Isaiah said, “What did they see in your palace?”
Hezekiah answered, “They saw everything I own. I showed them all my wealth.”
16 Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Listen to this message from the Lord. 17 The time is coming when everything in your palace and everything your ancestors have saved until today will be carried away to Babylon. Nothing will be left! The Lord said this. 18 The Babylonians will take your sons, and your sons will become officers[b] in the palace of the king of Babylon.”
19 Then Hezekiah told Isaiah, “This message from the Lord is good.” (Hezekiah said this because he thought, “There will be real peace and security during my lifetime.”)
20 All the great things that Hezekiah did, including his work on the pool and the aqueduct to bring water into the city, are written in the book, The History of the Kings of Judah. 21 Hezekiah died and was buried with his ancestors. And his son Manasseh became the new king after him.
Manasseh Begins His Evil Rule Over Judah
21 Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to rule. He ruled 55 years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Hephzibah.
2 Manasseh did what the Lord said was wrong. He did the terrible things the other nations did. (And the Lord forced those nations to leave their country when the Israelites came.) 3 Manasseh rebuilt the high places that his father Hezekiah had destroyed. He also built altars for Baal and made an Asherah pole, just as King Ahab of Israel had done. Manasseh worshiped and served the stars of heaven. 4 He built altars to honor false gods in the Lord’s Temple. (This is the place the Lord was talking about when he said, “I will put my name in Jerusalem.”) 5 Manasseh built altars for the stars of heaven in the two courtyards of the Lord’s Temple. 6 He sacrificed his own son and burned him on the altar.[c] He used different ways of trying to know the future. He visited mediums and wizards.
Manasseh did more and more things that the Lord saw as evil, which made the Lord angry. 7 Manasseh made a carved statue of Asherah. He put this statue in the Temple. The Lord had said to David and to David’s son Solomon about this Temple: “I have chosen Jerusalem from all the cities in Israel. I will put my name in the Temple in Jerusalem forever. 8 I will not cause the Israelites to leave the land that I gave to their ancestors. I will let the people stay in their land if they obey everything I commanded them and all the teachings that my servant Moses gave them.” 9 But the people did not listen to God. Manasseh did more evil things than all the nations that lived in Canaan before Israel came. And the Lord destroyed those nations when the Israelites came to take their land.
10 The Lord used his servants the prophets to say this: 11 “King Manasseh of Judah has done these hated things and has done more evil than the Amorites before him. He also has caused Judah to sin because of his idols. 12 So the Lord, the God of Israel, says, ‘Look! I will bring so much trouble against Jerusalem and Judah that anyone who hears about it will be shocked.[d] 13 I will stretch the measuring line of Samaria[e] and the plumb line[f] of Ahab’s family over Jerusalem. A man wipes a dish, and then he turns it upside down. I will do that to Jerusalem. 14 There will still be a few of my people left, but I will leave them. I will give them to their enemies. Their enemies will take them as prisoners—they will be like the valuable things soldiers take in war. 15 This is because my people did what I said was wrong. They have made me angry with them since the day their ancestors came up out of Egypt. 16 And Manasseh killed many innocent people. He filled Jerusalem from one end to another with blood. And all these sins are in addition to the sins that caused Judah to sin. Manasseh caused Judah to do what the Lord said was wrong.’”
17 All the things that Manasseh did, including the sins that he committed, are written in the book, The History of the Kings of Judah. 18 Manasseh died and was buried with his ancestors. He was buried in the garden at his house. It was called the “Garden of Uzza.” His son Amon became the new king after him.
Amon’s Short Rule
19 Amon was 22 years old when he began to rule. He ruled two years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Meshullemeth daughter of Haruz from Jotbah.
20 Amon did what the Lord said was wrong, just as his father Manasseh had done. 21 Amon lived just as his father had lived. He worshiped and served the same idols his father had worshiped. 22 Amon left the Lord, the God of his ancestors, and did not live the way the Lord wanted.
23 Amon’s servants made plans against him and killed him in his palace. 24 The common people killed all the officers who made plans against King Amon. Then the people made Amon’s son Josiah the new king after him.
25 The other things that Amon did are written in the book, The History of the Kings of Judah. 26 Amon was buried in his grave at the Garden of Uzza. His son Josiah became the new king.
Josiah Begins His Rule Over Judah
22 Josiah was eight years old when he began to rule. He ruled 31 years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jedidah the daughter of Adaiah of Bozkath. 2 Josiah did what the Lord said was right. He followed God like his ancestor David. Josiah obeyed God’s teachings—he did exactly what God wanted.
Josiah Orders the Temple Repaired
3 During the 18th year that Josiah was king, he sent Shaphan son of Azaliah son of Meshullam, the secretary, to the Lord’s Temple. Josiah said, 4 “Go up to Hilkiah the high priest. Tell him that he must get the money that people brought to the Lord’s Temple. The gatekeepers collected that money from the people. 5 The priests must use that money to pay the workers to repair the Lord’s Temple. They must give that money to the men who supervise the work on the Lord’s Temple. 6 Use that money for the carpenters, stonemasons, and stonecutters. Also use that money to buy the timber and cut stones that are needed to repair the Temple. 7 Don’t count the money that you give to the workers. They can be trusted.”
Book of the Law Found in the Temple
8 Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the secretary, “Look, I found the Book of the Law[g] in the Lord’s Temple!” Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, and Shaphan read it.
9 He went to King Josiah and told him what happened. Shaphan said, “Your servants have gathered all the money that was in the Temple. They gave it to the men who supervise the work on the Lord’s Temple.” 10 Then he told the king, “And Hilkiah the priest also gave this book to me.” Then Shaphan read the book to the king.
11 When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes to show he was sad and upset. 12 Then he gave a command to Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Acbor son of Micaiah, Shaphan the secretary, and Asaiah the king’s servant. 13 King Josiah said, “Go and ask the Lord what we should do. Ask for me, for the people, and for all Judah. Ask about the words of this book that was found. The Lord is angry with us, because our ancestors did not listen to the words of this book. They did not obey all the commands that were written for us.”
Josiah and Huldah the Prophetess
14 So Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Acbor, Shaphan, and Asaiah went to Huldah the woman prophet. Huldah was the wife of Shallum son of Tikvah, son of Harhas. He took care of the priests’ clothes. Huldah was living in the second quarter in Jerusalem. They went and talked with Huldah.
15 Then Huldah said to them, “The Lord, the God of Israel, says: Tell the man who sent you to me: 16 ‘The Lord says this: I am bringing trouble on this place and on the people who live here. These are the troubles that are mentioned in the book that the king of Judah read. 17 The people of Judah have left me and have burned incense to other gods. They made me very angry. They made many idols. That is why I will show my anger against this place. My anger will be like a fire that cannot be stopped!’
18-19 “King Josiah of Judah sent you to ask advice from the Lord. Tell Josiah that this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘You heard the words I spoke against this place and those who live here. And when you heard those things, your heart was soft, and you showed your sorrow before the Lord. I said that terrible things would happen to this place. So you tore your clothes to show your sadness, and you began to cry. That is why I heard you.’ This is what the Lord says. 20 ‘I will bring you to be with your ancestors. You will die and go to your grave in peace. So your eyes will not see all the trouble that I am bringing on this place.’”
Then Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Acbor, Shaphan, and Asaiah gave that message to the king.