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2 Kings 23:1-20 New King James Version (NKJV)

Josiah Restores True Worship

23 Now the king sent them to gather all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem to him. The king went up to the house of the Lord with all the men of Judah, and with him all the inhabitants of Jerusalem—the priests and the prophets and all the people, both small and great. And he read in their hearing all the words of the Book of the Covenant which had been found in the house of the Lord.

Then the king stood by a pillar and made a covenant before the Lord, to follow the Lord and to keep His commandments and 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. And all the people took a stand for the covenant. And the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest, the priests of the second order, and the doorkeepers, to bring out of the temple of the Lord all the articles that were made for Baal, for [a]Asherah, and for all [b]the host of heaven; and he burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of Kidron, and carried their ashes to Bethel. Then he removed the idolatrous priests whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense on the high places in the cities of Judah and in the places all around Jerusalem, and those who burned incense to Baal, to the sun, to the moon, to the [c]constellations, and to all the host of heaven. And he brought out the wooden[d] image from the house of the Lord, to the Brook Kidron outside Jerusalem, burned it at the Brook Kidron and ground it to ashes, and threw its ashes on the graves of the common people. Then he tore down the ritual [e]booths of the [f]perverted persons that were in the house of the Lord, where the women wove hangings for the wooden image. And he brought all the priests from the cities of Judah, and defiled the high places where the priests had burned incense, from Geba to Beersheba; also he broke down the high places at the gates which were at the entrance of the Gate of Joshua the governor of the city, which were to the left of the city gate. Nevertheless the priests of the high places did not come up to the altar of the Lord in Jerusalem, but they ate unleavened bread among their brethren.

10 And he defiled Topheth, which is in the Valley of the [g]Son of Hinnom, that no man might make his son or his daughter pass through the fire to Molech. 11 Then he removed the horses that the kings of Judah had [h]dedicated to the sun, at the entrance to the house of the Lord, by the chamber of Nathan-Melech, the officer who was in the court; and he burned the chariots of the sun with fire. 12 The altars that were on the roof, 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 broke down and pulverized there, and threw their dust into the Brook Kidron. 13 Then the king defiled the [i]high places that were east of Jerusalem, which were on the [j]south of [k]the Mount of Corruption, which Solomon king of Israel had built for Ashtoreth the abomination of the Sidonians, for Chemosh the abomination of the Moabites, and for Milcom the abomination of the people of Ammon. 14 And he broke in pieces the sacred pillars and cut down the wooden images, and filled their places with the bones of men.

15 Moreover the altar that was at Bethel, and the [l]high place which Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel sin, had made, both that altar and the high place he broke down; and he burned the high place and crushed it to powder, and burned the wooden image. 16 As Josiah turned, he saw the tombs that were there on the mountain. And he sent and took the bones out of the tombs and burned them on the altar, and defiled it according to the word of the Lord which the man of God proclaimed, who proclaimed these words. 17 Then he said, “What gravestone is this that I see?”

So the men of the city told him, “It is the tomb of the man of God who came from Judah and proclaimed these things which you have done against the altar of Bethel.”

18 And he said, “Let him alone; let no one move his bones.” So they let his bones alone, with the bones of the prophet who came from Samaria.

19 Now Josiah also took away all the [m]shrines of the [n]high places that were in the cities of Samaria, which the kings of Israel had made to provoke [o]the Lord to anger; and he did to them according to all the deeds he had done in Bethel. 20 He executed all the priests of the [p]high places who were there, on the altars, and burned men’s bones on them; and he returned to Jerusalem.

Footnotes:

  1. 2 Kings 23:4 A Canaanite goddess
  2. 2 Kings 23:4 The gods of the Assyrians
  3. 2 Kings 23:5 Of the Zodiac
  4. 2 Kings 23:6 Heb. Asherah, a Canaanite goddess
  5. 2 Kings 23:7 Lit. houses
  6. 2 Kings 23:7 Heb. qedeshim, those practicing sodomy and prostitution in religious rituals
  7. 2 Kings 23:10 Kt. Sons
  8. 2 Kings 23:11 given
  9. 2 Kings 23:13 Places for pagan worship
  10. 2 Kings 23:13 Lit. right of
  11. 2 Kings 23:13 The Mount of Olives
  12. 2 Kings 23:15 A place for pagan worship
  13. 2 Kings 23:19 Lit. houses
  14. 2 Kings 23:19 Places for pagan worship
  15. 2 Kings 23:19 So with LXX, Syr., Vg.; MT, Tg. omit the Lord
  16. 2 Kings 23:20 Places for pagan worship
New King James Version (NKJV)

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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