2 Chronicles 33-36 Common English Bible (CEB)
33 Manasseh was 12 years old when he became king, and he ruled for fifty-five years in Jerusalem. 2 He did what was evil in the Lord’s eyes, imitating the detestable practices of the nations that the Lord had driven out before the Israelites. 3 He rebuilt the shrines that his father Hezekiah had destroyed, set up altars for the Baals, and made sacred poles.[a] He bowed down to all the stars in the sky and worshipped them. 4 He even built altars in the Lord’s temple, the very place the Lord was speaking about when he said, “My name will remain in Jerusalem forever.” 5 Manasseh built altars for all the stars in the sky in both courtyards of the Lord’s temple. 6 He burned his own sons alive in the Ben-hinnom Valley, consulted sign readers, fortune-tellers, and sorcerers, and used mediums and diviners. He did much evil in the Lord’s eyes and made him angry.
7 Manasseh set up the carved image he had made in God’s temple, the very temple God had spoken about to David and his son Solomon, saying: In this temple and in Jerusalem, which I have selected out of all Israel’s tribes, I will put my name forever. 8 I will never again remove Israel from the fertile land I gave to your ancestors, provided they carefully do everything I have commanded them—keeping all the Instruction, the regulations, and the case laws given through Moses. 9 In this way Manasseh led Judah and the residents of Jerusalem into doing even more evil than the nations that the Lord had wiped out before the Israelites.
10 The Lord spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they wouldn’t listen. 11 So the Lord brought the army commanders of Assyria’s king against them. They captured Manasseh with hooks, bound him with bronze chains, and carried him off to Babylon. 12 During his distress, Manasseh made peace with the Lord his God, truly submitting himself to the God of his ancestors. 13 He prayed, and God was moved by his request. God listened to Manasseh’s prayer and restored him to his rule in Jerusalem. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord was the true God.
14 After this, Manasseh rebuilt the outer wall of David’s City, west of the Gihon Spring in the valley, extending as far as the entrance of the Fish Gate, enclosing the elevated fortress[b] and greatly increasing its height. He also installed military commanders in all the fortified cities of Judah. 15 He removed the foreign gods and the idol from the Lord’s temple, as well as all the altars he had built on the hill of the Lord’s temple and in Jerusalem, dumping them outside the city. 16 He restored the Lord’s altar, offered well-being sacrifices and thank offerings on it, and ordered the people of Judah to worship the Lord, Israel’s God. 17 The people, however, still sacrificed at the shrines, but only to the Lord their God. 18 The rest of Manasseh’s deeds, including his prayer to God and what the seers told him in the name of the Lord, Israel’s God, are found in the records of Israel’s kings. 19 Manasseh’s prayer and its answer, all his sin and unfaithfulness, and the locations of the shrines, sacred poles,[c] and idols he set up before he submitted are written in the records of Hozai.[d] 20 Manasseh lay down with his ancestors and was buried in his palace. His son Amon succeeded him as king.
21 Amon was 22 years old when he became king, and he ruled for two years in Jerusalem. 22 He did what was evil in the Lord’s eyes, just as his father Manasseh had done. He sacrificed to all the idols his father had made and worshipped them. 23 But unlike his father Manasseh, Amon didn’t submit before the Lord; instead, Amon increased his guilt. 24 His own officials plotted against him and killed him in his palace. 25 The people of the land then executed all those who had plotted against King Amon and made his son Josiah the next king.
34 Josiah was 8 years old when he became king, and he ruled for thirty-one years in Jerusalem. 2 He did what was right in the Lord’s eyes and walked in the ways of his ancestor David, not deviating from it even a bit to the right or left. 3 In the eighth year of his rule, while he was just a boy, he began to seek the God of his ancestor David, and in the twelfth year he began purifying Judah and Jerusalem of the shrines, the sacred poles,[e] idols, and images. 4 Under his supervision, the altars for the Baals were torn down, and the incense altars that were above them were smashed. He broke up the sacred poles, idols, and images, grinding them to dust and scattering them over the graves of those who had sacrificed to them. 5 He burned the bones of the priests on their altars, purifying Judah and Jerusalem. 6 In the cities of Manasseh, Ephraim, and Simeon, all the way up to Naphtali, he removed their temples,[f] 7 tore down the altars and sacred poles, ground the idols to dust, and smashed all the incense altars throughout the land of Israel. Then Josiah returned to Jerusalem.
Josiah repairs the temple
8 In the eighteenth year of his rule, after he had purified the land and the temple, Josiah sent Azaliah’s son Shaphan, Maaseiah the mayor of the city, and Joahaz’s son Joah the secretary to repair the Lord his God’s temple. 9 When they came to the high priest Hilkiah, they delivered the money that had been collected in God’s temple by the levitical gatekeepers from Manasseh, Ephraim, and the rest of Israel, as well as from Judah, Benjamin, and the residents of Jerusalem. 10 They handed it over to the supervisors[g] in charge of the Lord’s temple, who in turn paid it to those working on, repairing, and restoring the Lord’s temple. 11 They then gave it to the carpenters and the builders to pay for quarried stone and lumber for rafters and beams in the buildings the kings of Judah had neglected. 12 The men worked conscientiously under the supervision of Jahath and Obadiah, who were Levites descended from Merari, and Zechariah and Meshullam from the Kohathites. The Levites, all of whom were accomplished musicians, 13 were also in charge of the laborers and all the workers, no matter what their jobs, while some of the Levites served as scribes, officials, and guards.
The Instruction scroll
14 While they were bringing out the money that had been brought into the Lord’s temple, Hilkiah the priest found the Instruction scroll that the Lord had given through Moses. 15 Hilkiah told the secretary Shaphan, “I have found the Instruction scroll in the Lord’s temple.”
Then Hilkiah turned the scroll over to Shaphan, 16 who brought it to the king with this report: “Your servants are doing everything you’ve asked them to do. 17 They have released the money that was found in the Lord’s temple and have handed it over to the supervisors and the workers.” 18 Then the secretary Shaphan told the king, “The priest Hilkiah has given me a scroll,” and he read it out loud before the king.
19 As soon as the king heard what the Instruction scroll said, he ripped his clothes. 20 The king ordered Hilkiah, Shaphan’s son Ahikam, Micah’s son Abdon, the secretary Shaphan, and the royal officer Asaiah as follows: 21 “Go and ask the Lord on my behalf, and on behalf of those who still remain in Israel and Judah, concerning the contents of this scroll that has been found. The Lord must be furious with us because our ancestors failed to obey the Lord’s word and do everything written in this scroll.”
22 So Hilkiah and the royal officials went to the prophetess Huldah. She was married to Shallum, Tokhath’s son and Hasrah’s grandson, who was in charge of the wardrobe. She lived in Jerusalem in the second district. When they spoke to her, 23 she replied, “This is what the Lord, Israel’s God, says: Tell this to the man who sent you to me: 24 This is what the Lord says: I am about to bring disaster on this place and its citizens—all the curses written in the scroll that they have read to Judah’s king. 25 My anger burns against this place, never to be quenched, because they’ve deserted me and have burned incense to other gods, angering me by everything they have done.[h] 26 But also say this to the king of Judah, who sent you to question the Lord: This is what the Lord, Israel’s God, says about the message you’ve just heard: 27 Because your heart was broken and you submitted before the Lord when you heard what he said against this place and its citizens,[i] and because you ripped your clothes and cried before me, I have listened to you, declares the Lord. 28 I will gather you to your ancestors, and you will go to your grave in peace. You won’t experience the disaster I am about to bring on this place and its citizens.”
When they reported Huldah’s words to the king, 29 the king sent a message and gathered together all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. 30 Then the king went up to the Lord’s temple, together with all the people of Judah and all the citizens of Jerusalem, the priests and the Levites, and all the people, young and old alike. There the king read out loud all the words of the covenant scroll that had been found in the Lord’s temple. 31 The king stood in his place and made a covenant with the Lord that he would follow the Lord by keeping his commandments, his instructions, and his regulations with all his heart and all his being, in order to fulfill the words of the covenant that were written in this scroll. 32 Then he made everyone found in Jerusalem and Benjamin join in a similar promise. The citizens of Jerusalem lived according to the covenant made with God, the God of their ancestors. 33 Josiah got rid of all the detestable idols from all the regions that belonged to the Israelites, and he made everyone who lived in Israel serve the Lord their God. As long as Josiah lived, they didn’t turn away from following the Lord God of their ancestors.
35 Then Josiah celebrated the Lord’s Passover in Jerusalem. They slaughtered the Passover lambs on the fourteenth day of the first month.[j] 2 He assigned the priests to their posts, encouraging them to fulfill their responsibilities in the Lord’s temple.
3 Next Josiah ordered the Levites, who were holy to the Lord and who instructed all Israel: “Put the holy chest in the temple built by Israel’s King Solomon, David’s son. You don’t need to carry it around on your shoulders anymore. Now serve the Lord your God and his people Israel. 4 Organize yourselves by families according to your divisions, as directed by Israel’s King David and his son Solomon. 5 Stand in the sanctuary, according to the family divisions of your relatives the laypeople, so that there can be Levites for each family division.[k] 6 Slaughter the Passover lambs and prepare the holy sacrifices[l] for your relatives in order to celebrate according to the Lord’s word through Moses.”
7 On behalf of the laypeople, Josiah donated from his personal holdings thirty thousand lambs and young goats, and three thousand bulls, all for the Passover offerings. 8 His officials also provided spontaneous gift offerings for the people, the priests, and the Levites. Hilkiah, Zechariah, and Jehiel, the ones in charge of God’s temple, gave two thousand six hundred Passover lambs and three hundred bulls for the priests. 9 Conaniah and his brothers Shemaiah and Nethanel, along with Hashabiah, Jeiel, and Jozabad, the leaders of the Levites, provided the Levites with five thousand lambs and five hundred bulls as Passover sacrifices. 10 When everything was ready, the priests and the Levites took their places as the king had ordered. 11 Then they slaughtered the Passover lambs, and the priests splashed the blood[m] while the Levites skinned the animals. 12 Next they divided the entirely burned offerings among the laypeople by their families to sacrifice to the Lord as written in the scroll from Moses, and they did the same with the bulls. 13 They roasted the Passover lambs in the fire as instructed, cooked the holy offerings in pots, kettles, and pans, and brought them quickly to all the laypeople. 14 Next they prepared food for themselves and for the priests. Since the priests, Aaron’s descendants, were busy offering up the entirely burned offerings and fat pieces until nighttime, the Levites prepared food for themselves and for the priests, Aaron’s descendants. 15 The Asaphite singers also remained at their stations as ordered by David, Asaph, Heman, and the king’s seer Jeduthun, as did the guards at the various gates. They didn’t need to leave their tasks because their fellow Levites prepared food for them. 16 So on that day all of the Lord’s service was prepared for celebrating Passover and offering up entirely burned offerings on the Lord’s altar, just as King Josiah had ordered. 17 The Israelites who were present celebrated the Passover at that time, and observed the Festival of Unleavened Bread for seven days. 18 Not since the days of the prophet Samuel had such a Passover been celebrated in Israel. And no other king of Israel had celebrated a Passover like the one Josiah celebrated with the priests, the Levites, all the people of Judah and Israel who were present, and the residents of Jerusalem. 19 This Passover was celebrated in the eighteenth year of Josiah’s rule.
20 After all of these things, when Josiah had finished restoring the temple, Egypt’s King Neco marched against Carchemish by the Euphrates, and Josiah marched out against him. 21 But Neco sent messengers to Josiah. “What do you want with me, king of Judah?” he asked. “I haven’t come to attack you today. I’m after the dynasty that wars with me. God told me to hurry, and he is on my side. Get out of God’s way, or he will destroy you.”
22 But Josiah wouldn’t turn back. Instead, he camouflaged himself in preparation for battle, refusing to listen to Neco’s words from God’s own mouth, and went to fight Neco on the plain of Megiddo. 23 When archers shot King Josiah, he said to his servants, “Take me away; I’m badly wounded!” 24 So his servants took him out of his chariot, placed him in another one, and brought him to Jerusalem, where he died and was buried in the tombs of his ancestors. All Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah. 25 Jeremiah composed a funeral song[n] for Josiah, and to this day every singer, man or woman, continues to remember Josiah in their funeral songs. They are now traditional in Israel and are written down among the funeral songs.
26 The rest of Josiah’s deeds, including his faithfulness in acting according to what is written in the Lord’s Instruction, 27 and everything else he did, from beginning to end, are written in the official records of Israel’s and Judah’s kings.
36 The people of the land took Jehoahaz, Josiah’s son, and made him the next king in Jerusalem. 2 Jehoahaz was 23 years old when he became king, and he ruled for three months in Jerusalem. 3 The king of Egypt removed him from office in Jerusalem. The Egyptian king imposed a fine on the land totaling one hundred kikkars of silver and one kikkar of gold. 4 Then the king of Egypt made Jehoahaz’s brother Eliakim king of Judah and Jerusalem, and changed his name to Jehoiakim. Neco took his brother Jehoahaz prisoner and carried him off to Egypt.
5 Jehoiakim was 25 years old when he became king, and he ruled for eleven years in Jerusalem. He did what was evil in the Lord’s eyes. 6 Babylon’s King Nebuchadnezzar attacked him, bound him with bronze chains, and took him to Babylon. 7 Nebuchadnezzar also took some equipment from the Lord’s temple to Babylon and placed them in his own temple there. 8 The rest of Jehoiakim’s deeds, including his detestable practices and all that was charged against him, are written in the official records of Israel’s and Judah’s kings. His son Jehoiachin succeeded him as king.
9 Jehoiachin was 18[o] years old when he became king, and he ruled for three months[p] in Jerusalem. He did what was evil in the Lord’s eyes. 10 In the springtime, King Nebuchadnezzar sent for him to be brought to Babylon, along with valuable equipment from the Lord’s temple. Then he made Zedekiah his uncle the next king of Judah and Jerusalem.
11 Zedekiah was 21 years old when he became king, and he ruled for eleven years in Jerusalem. 12 He did what was evil in the Lord his God’s eyes and didn’t submit before the prophet Jeremiah, who spoke for the Lord. 13 Moreover, he rebelled against King Nebuchadnezzar, despite the solemn pledge Nebuchadnezzar had forced him to swear in God’s name. He became stubborn and refused to turn back to the Lord, Israel’s God. 14 All the leaders of the priests and the people also grew increasingly unfaithful, following all the detestable practices of the nations. They polluted the Lord’s temple that God had dedicated in Jerusalem. 15 Time and time again, the Lord, the God of their ancestors, sent word to them through his messengers because he had compassion on his people and his dwelling. 16 But they made fun of God’s messengers, treating God’s words with contempt and ridiculing God’s prophets to such an extent that there was no hope of warding off the Lord’s rising anger against his people.
17 So God brought the Babylonian[q] king against them. The king killed their young men with the sword in their temple’s sanctuary, and showed no pity for young men or for virgins, for the old or for the feeble. God handed all of them over to him. 18 Then the king hauled everything off to Babylon, every item from God’s temple, both large and small, including the treasures of the Lord’s temple and those of the king and his officials. 19 Next the Babylonians burned God’s temple down, demolished the walls of Jerusalem, and set fire to all its palaces, destroying everything of value. 20 Finally, he exiled to Babylon anyone who survived the killing so that they could be his slaves and the slaves of his children until Persia came to power. 21 This is how the Lord’s word spoken by Jeremiah was carried out. The land finally enjoyed its sabbath rest. For as long as it lay empty, it rested, until seventy years were completed.
22 In the first year of Persia’s King Cyrus, to carry out the Lord’s promise spoken through Jeremiah, the Lord moved Persia’s King Cyrus to issue the following proclamation throughout his kingdom, along with a written decree:
23 This is what Persia’s King Cyrus says: The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the earth’s kingdoms and has instructed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. Whoever among you belong to God’s people, let them go up, and may the Lord their God be with them!