2 Kings 22-23 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
King Josiah of Judah
22 Josiah was eight years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled thirty-one years from Jerusalem. His mother Jedidah was the daughter of Adaiah from Bozkath. 2 Josiah always obeyed the Lord, just as his ancestor David had done.
Hilkiah Finds The Book of God’s Law
3 After Josiah had been king for eighteen years, he told Shaphan,[a] one of his highest officials:
Go to the Lord’s temple 4 and ask Hilkiah the high priest to collect from the guards all the money that the people have donated. 5 Have Hilkiah give it to the men supervising the repairs to the temple. They can use some of the money to pay 6 the workers, and with the rest of it they can buy wood and stone for the repair work. 7 They are honest, so we won’t ask them to keep track of the money.
8 While Shaphan was at the temple, Hilkiah handed him a book and said, “Look what I found here in the temple—The Book of God’s Law.”
Shaphan read it, 9 then went back to Josiah and reported, “Your officials collected the money in the temple and gave it to the men supervising the repairs. 10 But there’s something else, Your Majesty. The priest Hilkiah gave me this book.” Then Shaphan read it out loud.
11 When Josiah heard what was in The Book of God’s Law, he tore his clothes in sorrow. 12 At once he called together Hilkiah, Shaphan, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Achbor son of Micaiah, and his own servant Asaiah. He said, 13 “The Lord must be furious with me and everyone else in Judah, because our ancestors did not obey the laws written in this book. Go find out what the Lord wants us to do.”
14 The five men left right away and went to talk with Huldah the prophet. Her husband was Shallum,[b] who was in charge of the king’s clothes. Huldah lived in the northern part of Jerusalem, and when they met in her home, 15 she said:
You were sent here by King Josiah, and this is what the Lord God of Israel says to him: 16 “Josiah, I am the Lord! And I will see to it that this country and everyone living in it will be destroyed. It will happen just as this book says. 17 The people of Judah have rejected me. They have offered sacrifices to foreign gods and have worshiped their own idols. I cannot stand it any longer. I am furious.
18 “Josiah, listen to what I am going to do. 19 I noticed how sad you were when you read that this country and its people would be completely wiped out. You even tore your clothes in sorrow, and I heard you cry. 20 So I will let you die in peace, before I destroy this place.”
The men left and took Huldah’s answer back to Josiah.
Josiah Reads The Book of God’s Law
23 King Josiah called together the older leaders of Judah and Jerusalem. 2 Then he went to the Lord’s temple, together with the people of Judah and Jerusalem, the priests, and the prophets. Finally, when everybody was there, he read aloud The Book of God’s Law[c] that had been found in the temple.
3 After Josiah had finished reading, he stood by one of the columns. He asked the people to promise in the Lord’s name to faithfully obey the Lord and to follow his commands. The people agreed to do everything written in the book.
Josiah Follows the Teachings of God’s Law
4 Josiah told Hilkiah the priest, the assistant priests, and the guards at the temple door to go into the temple and bring out the things used to worship Baal, Asherah, and the stars. Josiah had these things burned in Kidron Valley just outside Jerusalem, and he had the ashes carried away to the town of Bethel.
5 Josiah also got rid of the pagan priests at the local shrines in Judah and around Jerusalem. These were the men that the kings of Judah had appointed to offer sacrifices to Baal and to the sun, moon, and stars. 6 Josiah had the sacred pole[d] for Asherah brought out of the temple and taken to Kidron Valley, where it was burned. He then had its ashes ground into dust and scattered over the public cemetery there. 7 He had the buildings torn down where the male prostitutes[e] lived next to the temple, and where the women wove sacred robes[f] for the idol of Asherah.
8 In almost every town in Judah, priests had been offering sacrifices to the Lord at local shrines.[g] Josiah brought these priests to Jerusalem and had their shrines made unfit for worship—every shrine from Geba just north of Jerusalem to Beersheba in the south. He even tore down the shrine at Beersheba that was just to the left of Joshua Gate, which was named after the highest official of the city. 9 Those local priests could not serve at the Lord’s altar in Jerusalem, but they were allowed to eat sacred bread,[h] just like the priests from Jerusalem.
10 Josiah sent some men to Hinnom Valley just outside Jerusalem with orders to make the altar there unfit for worship. That way, people could no longer use it for sacrificing their children to the god Molech. 11 He also got rid of the horses that the kings of Judah used in their ceremonies to worship the sun, and he destroyed the chariots along with them. The horses had been kept near the entrance to the Lord’s temple, in a courtyard[i] close to where an official named Nathan-Melech lived.
12 Some of the kings of Judah, especially Manasseh, had built altars in the two courts of the temple and in the room that Ahaz had built on the palace roof. Josiah had these altars torn down and smashed to pieces, and he had the pieces thrown into Kidron Valley, just outside Jerusalem. 13 After that, he closed down the shrines that Solomon had built east of Jerusalem and south of Spoil Hill to honor Astarte the disgusting goddess of Sidon, Chemosh the disgusting god of Moab, and Milcom the disgusting god of Ammon.[j] 14 He tore down the stone images of foreign gods and cut down the sacred pole used in the worship of Asherah. Then he had the whole area covered with human bones.[k]
15 But Josiah was not finished yet. At Bethel he destroyed the shrine and the altar that Jeroboam son of Nebat had built and that had caused the Israelites to sin. Josiah had the shrine and the Asherah pole burned and ground into dust. 16 As he looked around, he saw graves on the hillside. He had the bones in them dug up and burned on the altar, so that it could no longer be used. This happened just as God’s prophet had said when Jeroboam was standing at the altar, celebrating a festival.[l]
Then Josiah saw the grave of the prophet who had said this would happen 17 and he asked,[m] “Whose grave is that?”
Some people who lived nearby answered, “It belongs to the prophet from Judah who told what would happen to this altar.”
18 Josiah replied, “Then leave it alone. Don’t dig up his bones.” So they did not disturb his bones or the bones of the old prophet from Israel who had also been buried there.[n]
19 Some of the Israelite kings had made the Lord angry by building pagan shrines all over Israel. So Josiah sent troops to destroy these shrines just as he had done to the one in Bethel. 20 He killed the priests who served at them and burned their bones on the altars.
After all that, Josiah went back to Jerusalem.
Josiah and the People of Judah Celebrate Passover
21 Josiah told the people of Judah, “Celebrate Passover in honor of the Lord your God, just as it says in The Book of God’s Law.”[o]
22 This festival had not been celebrated in this way since kings ruled Israel and Judah. 23 But in Josiah’s eighteenth year as king of Judah, everyone came to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover.
The Lord Is Still Angry at the People of Judah
24 Josiah got rid of every disgusting person and thing in Judah and Jerusalem—including magicians, fortunetellers, and idols. He did his best to obey every law written in the book that the priest Hilkiah found in the Lord’s temple. 25 No other king before or after Josiah tried as hard as he did to obey the Law of Moses.
26 But the Lord was still furious with the people of Judah because Manasseh had done so many things to make him angry. 27 The Lord said, “I will desert the people of Judah, just as I deserted the people of Israel. I will reject Jerusalem, even though I chose it to be mine. And I will abandon this temple built to honor me.”
Josiah Dies in Battle
28 Everything else Josiah did while he was king is written in The History of the Kings of Judah. 29 During Josiah’s rule, King Neco of Egypt led his army north to the Euphrates River to help the king of Assyria. Josiah led his troops north to fight Neco, but when they met in battle at Megiddo, Josiah was killed.[p] 30 A few of Josiah’s servants put his body in a chariot and took it back to Jerusalem, where they buried it in his own tomb. Then the people of Judah found his son Jehoahaz and poured olive oil on his head to show that he was their new king.
King Jehoahaz of Judah
31 Jehoahaz was twenty-three years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled from Jerusalem only three months. His mother Hamutal was the daughter of Jeremiah from Libnah. 32 Jehoahaz disobeyed the Lord, just as some of his ancestors had done.
33 King Neco of Egypt had Jehoahaz arrested and put in prison at Riblah[q] near Hamath. Then he forced the people of Judah to pay him almost four tons of silver and about seventy-five pounds of gold as taxes. 34 Neco appointed Josiah’s son Eliakim king of Judah, and changed his name to Jehoiakim. He took Jehoahaz as a prisoner to Egypt, where he died.
35 Jehoiakim forced the people of Judah to pay higher taxes, so he could give Neco the silver and gold he demanded.
King Jehoiakim of Judah
36 Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he was appointed king, and he ruled eleven years from Jerusalem. His mother Zebidah was the daughter of Pedaiah from Rumah. 37 Jehoiakim disobeyed the Lord by following the example of his ancestors.
2 Chronicles 34-35 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.
Click the button below to continue.
Three easy steps to start your free trial subscription to Bible Gateway Plus.