2 Chronicles 34-36 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
King Josiah of Judah
34 Josiah was eight years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled thirty-one years from Jerusalem. 2 He followed the example of his ancestor David and always obeyed the Lord.
Josiah Stops the Worship of Foreign Gods
3 When Josiah was only sixteen years old he began worshiping God, just as his ancestor David had done. Then, four years later, he decided to destroy the local shrines[a] in Judah and Jerusalem, as well as the sacred poles[b] for worshiping the goddess Asherah and the idols of foreign gods. 4 He watched as the altars for the worship of the god Baal were torn down, and as the nearby incense altars were smashed. The Asherah poles, the idols, and the stone images were also smashed, and the pieces were scattered over the graves of their worshipers. 5 Josiah then had the bones of the pagan priests burned on the altars.[c]
And so Josiah got rid of the worship of foreign gods in Judah and Jerusalem. 6 He did the same things in the towns and ruined villages[d] in the territories of West Manasseh, Ephraim, and Simeon, as far as the border of Naphtali. 7 Everywhere in the northern kingdom of Israel, Josiah tore down pagan altars and Asherah poles; he crushed idols to dust and smashed incense altars.
Then Josiah went back to Jerusalem.
Hilkiah Finds The Book of God’s Law
8 In the eighteenth year of Josiah’s rule in Judah, after he had gotten rid of all the sinful things from the land and from the Lord’s temple, he sent three of his officials to repair the temple. They were Shaphan son of Azaliah, Governor Maaseiah of Jerusalem, and Joah son of Joahaz, who kept the government records.
9 These three men went to Hilkiah the high priest. They gave him the money that the Levite guards had collected from the people of West Manasseh, Ephraim, and the rest of Israel, as well as those living in Judah, Benjamin, and Jerusalem. 10 Then the money was turned over to the men who supervised the repairs to the temple. They used some of it to pay the workers, 11 and they gave the rest of it to the carpenters and builders, who used it to buy the stone and wood they needed to repair the other buildings that Judah’s kings had not taken care of.
12 The workers were honest, and their supervisors were Jahath and Obadiah from the Levite clan of Merari, and Zechariah and Meshullam from the Levite clan of Kohath. Other Levites, who were all skilled musicians, 13 were in charge of carrying supplies and supervising the workers. Other Levites were appointed to stand guard around the temple.
14 While the money was being given to these supervisors, Hilkiah found the book that contained the laws that the Lord had given to Moses. 15 Hilkiah handed the book to Shaphan the official and said, “Look what I found here in the temple—The Book of God’s Law.”
16 Shaphan took the book to Josiah and reported, “Your officials are doing everything you wanted. 17 They have collected the money from the temple and have given it to the men supervising the repairs. 18 But there’s something else, Your Majesty. The priest Hilkiah gave me this book.” Then Shaphan read it aloud.
19 When Josiah heard what was in The Book of God’s Law, he tore his clothes in sorrow. 20 At once he called together Hilkiah, Shaphan, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Abdon son of Micah,[e] and his own servant Asaiah. He said, 21 “The Lord must be furious with me and everyone else in Israel and Judah, because our ancestors did not obey the laws written in this book. Go find out what the Lord wants us to do.”
22 Hilkiah and the four other men left right away and went to talk with Huldah the prophet. Her husband was Shallum,[f] who was in charge of the king’s clothes. Huldah lived in the northern part of Jerusalem, and when they met in her home, 23 she said:
You were sent here by King Josiah, and this is what the Lord God of Israel says to him: 24 “Josiah, I am the Lord! And I intend to punish this country and everyone in it, just as this book says. 25 The people of Judah and Israel have rejected me. They have offered sacrifices to foreign gods and have worshiped their own idols. I can’t stand it any longer. I am furious.
26-27 “Josiah, listen to what I am going to do. I noticed how sad you were when you heard that this country and its people would be completely wiped out. You even tore your clothes in sorrow, and I heard you cry. 28 So before I destroy this place, I will let you die in peace.”
The men left and reported to Josiah what Huldah had said.
Josiah Reads The Book of God’s Law
29 King Josiah called together the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem. 30 Then he went to the Lord’s temple, together with all the people of Judah and Jerusalem, the priests, and the Levites.
Finally, when everybody was there, he read aloud The Book of God’s Law[g] that had been found in the temple.
31 After Josiah had finished reading, he stood in the place reserved for the king. He promised in the Lord’s name to faithfully obey the Lord and to follow his laws and teachings that were written in the book. 32 Then he asked the people of Jerusalem and Benjamin to make that same promise and to obey the God their ancestors had worshiped.
33 Josiah destroyed all the idols in the territories of Israel, and he commanded everyone in Israel to worship only the Lord God. The people did not turn away from the Lord God of their ancestors for the rest of Josiah’s rule as king.
Passover Is Celebrated
35 Josiah commanded that Passover be celebrated in Jerusalem to honor the Lord. So, on the fourteenth day of the first month,[h] the lambs were killed for the Passover celebration.
2 On that day, Josiah made sure the priests knew what duties they were to do in the temple. 3 He called together the Levites who served the Lord and who taught the people his laws, and he said:
No longer will you have to carry the sacred chest from place to place. It will stay in the temple built by King Solomon son of David, where you will serve the Lord and his people Israel. 4 Get ready to do the work that David and Solomon assigned to you, according to your clans. 5 Divide yourselves into groups, then arrange yourselves throughout the temple so that each family of worshipers will be able to get help from one of you.[i] 6 When the people bring you their Passover lamb, you must kill it and prepare it to be sacrificed to the Lord. Make sure the people celebrate according to the instructions that the Lord gave Moses, and don’t do anything to make yourselves unclean and unacceptable.
7 Josiah donated thirty thousand sheep and goats, and three thousand bulls from his own flocks and herds for the people to offer as sacrifices. 8 Josiah’s officials also voluntarily gave some of their animals to the people, the priests, and the Levites as sacrifices. Hilkiah, Zechariah, and Jehiel, who were the officials in charge of the temple, gave the priests twenty-six hundred sheep and lambs and three hundred bulls to sacrifice during the Passover celebration. 9 Conaniah, his two brothers Shemaiah and Nethanel, as well as Hashabiah, Jeiel, and Jozabad were leaders of the Levites, and they gave the other Levites five thousand sheep and goats, and five hundred bulls to offer as sacrifices.
10 When everything was ready to celebrate Passover, the priests and the Levites stood where Josiah had told them. 11 Then the Levites killed and skinned the Passover lambs, and they handed some of the blood to the priests, who splattered it on the altar. 12 The Levites set aside the parts of the animal that the worshipers needed for their sacrifices to please the Lord,[j] just as the Law of Moses required. They also did the same thing with the bulls. 13 They sacrificed the Passover animals on the altar and boiled the meat for the other offerings in pots, kettles, and pans. Then they quickly handed the meat to the people so they could eat it.
14 All day long, the priests were busy offering sacrifices and burning the animals' fat on the altar. And when everyone had finished, the Levites prepared Passover animals for themselves and for the priests.
15 During the celebration some of the Levites prepared Passover animals for the musicians and the guards, so that the Levite musicians would not have to leave their places, which had been assigned to them according to the instructions of David, Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun the king’s prophet. Even the guards at the temple gates did not have to leave their posts.
16 So on that day, Passover was celebrated to honor the Lord, and sacrifices were offered on the altar to him, just as Josiah had commanded. 17 The worshipers then celebrated the Festival of Thin Bread for the next seven days.
18 People from Jerusalem and from towns all over Judah and Israel were there. Passover had not been observed like this since the days of Samuel the prophet. In fact, this was the greatest Passover celebration in Israel’s history! 19 All these things happened in the eighteenth year of Josiah’s rule in Judah.
Josiah Dies in Battle
20 Some time later, King Neco of Egypt led his army to the city of Carchemish on the Euphrates River. And Josiah led his troops north to meet the Egyptians in battle.[k]
21 Neco sent the following message to Josiah:
I’m not attacking you, king of Judah! We’re not even at war. But God has told me to quickly attack my enemy. God is on my side, so if you try to stop me, he will punish you.
22 But Josiah ignored Neco’s warning, even though it came from God! Instead, he disguised himself and marched into battle against Neco in the valley near Megiddo.
23 During the battle an Egyptian soldier shot Josiah with an arrow. Josiah told his servants, “Get me out of here! I’ve been hit.” 24 They carried Josiah out of his chariot, then put him in the other chariot he had there and took him back to Jerusalem, where he soon died. He was buried beside his ancestors, and everyone in Judah and Jerusalem mourned his death.
25 Jeremiah the prophet wrote a funeral song in honor of Josiah. And since then, anyone in Judah who mourns the death of Josiah sings that song. It is included in the collection of funeral songs.
26 Everything else Josiah did while he was king, including how he faithfully obeyed the Lord, 27 is written in The History of the Kings of Israel and Judah.
King Jehoahaz of Judah
36 After the death of Josiah, the people of Judah crowned his son Jehoahaz their new king. 2 He was twenty-three years old at the time, and he ruled only three months from Jerusalem. 3 King Neco of Egypt captured Jehoahaz and forced Judah to pay almost four tons of silver and seventy-five pounds of gold as taxes. 4 Then Neco appointed Jehoahaz’s brother Eliakim king of Judah and changed his name to Jehoiakim. He led Jehoahaz away to Egypt as his prisoner.
King Jehoiakim of Judah
5 Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he was appointed king, and he ruled eleven years from Jerusalem. Jehoiakim disobeyed the Lord his God by doing evil.
6 During Jehoiakim’s rule, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia invaded Judah. He arrested Jehoiakim and put him in chains, and he sent him to the capital city of Babylon. 7 Nebuchadnezzar also carried off many of the valuable things in the Lord’s temple, and he put them in his palace in Babylon.
8 Everything else Jehoiakim did while he was king, including all the disgusting and evil things, is written in The History of the Kings of Israel and Judah. His son Jehoiachin then became king.
King Jehoiachin of Judah
9 Jehoiachin was eighteen[l] years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled only three months and ten days from Jerusalem. Jehoiachin also disobeyed the Lord by doing evil. 10 In the spring of the year, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia had Jehoiachin arrested and taken to Babylon, along with more of the valuable items in the temple. Then Nebuchadnezzar appointed Zedekiah king of Judah.
King Zedekiah of Judah
11 Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he was appointed king of Judah, and he ruled from Jerusalem for eleven years. 12 He disobeyed the Lord his God and refused to change his ways, even after a warning from Jeremiah, the Lord’s prophet.
13 King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia had forced Zedekiah to promise in God’s name that he would be loyal. Zedekiah was stubborn and refused to turn back to the Lord God of Israel, so he rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar. 14 The people of Judah and even the priests who were their leaders became more unfaithful. They followed the disgusting example of the nations around them and made the Lord’s holy temple unfit for worship. 15 But the Lord God felt sorry for his people, and instead of destroying the temple, he sent prophets who warned the people over and over about their sins. 16 But the people only laughed and insulted these prophets. They ignored what the Lord God was trying to tell them, until he finally became so angry that nothing could stop him from punishing Judah and Jerusalem.
Jerusalem Is Destroyed
17 The Lord sent King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia to attack Jerusalem. Nebuchadnezzar killed the young men who were in the temple, and he showed no mercy to anyone, whether man or woman, young or old. God let him kill everyone in the city. 18 Nebuchadnezzar carried off everything that was left in the temple; he robbed the treasury and the personal storerooms of the king and his officials. He took everything back to Babylon.
19 Nebuchadnezzar’s troops burned down the temple and destroyed every important building in the city. Then they broke down the city wall. 20 The survivors were taken to Babylonia as prisoners, where they were slaves of the king and his sons, until Persia became a powerful nation.
21 Judah was an empty desert, and it stayed that way for seventy years, to make up for all the years it was not allowed to rest.[m] These things happened just as Jeremiah the Lord’s prophet had said.[n]
Cyrus Lets the Jews Return Home
22 In the first year that Cyrus was king of Persia,[o] the Lord had Cyrus send a message to all parts of his kingdom. This happened just as Jeremiah the Lord’s prophet had promised. 23 The message said:
I am King Cyrus of Persia.
The Lord God of heaven has made me the ruler of every nation on earth. He has also chosen me to build a temple for him in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. The Lord God will watch over any of his people who want to go back to Judah.
John 19:1-22 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
19 Pilate gave orders for Jesus to be beaten with a whip. 2 The soldiers made a crown out of thorn branches and put it on Jesus. Then they put a purple robe on him. 3 They came up to him and said, “Hey, you king of the Jews!” They also hit him with their fists.
4 Once again Pilate went out. This time he said, “I will have Jesus brought out to you again. Then you can see for yourselves that I have not found him guilty.”
5 Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said, “Here is the man!”[a]
6 When the chief priests and the temple police saw him, they yelled, “Nail him to a cross! Nail him to a cross!”
Pilate told them, “You take him and nail him to a cross! I don’t find him guilty of anything.”
7 The crowd replied, “He claimed to be the Son of God! Our Jewish Law says that he must be put to death.”
8 When Pilate heard this, he was terrified. 9 He went back inside and asked Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus did not answer.
10 “Why won’t you answer my question?” Pilate asked. “Don’t you know that I have the power to let you go free or to nail you to a cross?”
11 Jesus replied, “If God had not given you the power, you couldn’t do anything at all to me. But the one who handed me over to you did something even worse.”
12 Then Pilate wanted to set Jesus free. But the crowd again yelled, “If you set this man free, you are no friend of the Emperor! Anyone who claims to be a king is an enemy of the Emperor.”
13 When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out. Then he sat down on the judge’s bench at the place known as “The Stone Pavement.” In Aramaic this pavement is called “Gabbatha.” 14 It was about noon on the day before Passover, and Pilate said to the crowd, “Look at your king!”
15 “Kill him! Kill him!” they yelled. “Nail him to a cross!”
“So you want me to nail your king to a cross?” Pilate asked.
The chief priests replied, “The Emperor is our king!” 16 Then Pilate handed Jesus over to be nailed to a cross.
Jesus Is Nailed to a Cross
Jesus was taken away, 17 and he carried his cross to a place known as “The Skull.”[b] In Aramaic this place is called “Golgotha.” 18 There Jesus was nailed to the cross, and on each side of him a man was also nailed to a cross.
19 Pilate ordered the charge against Jesus to be written on a board and put above the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.” 20 The words were written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek.
The place where Jesus was taken wasn’t far from the city, and many of the Jewish people read the charge against him. 21 So the chief priests went to Pilate and said, “Why did you write that he is King of the Jews? You should have written, ‘He claimed to be King of the Jews.’”
22 But Pilate told them, “What is written will not be changed!”
Click the button below to continue.
Three easy steps to start your free trial subscription to Bible Gateway Plus.