3 In the eighteenth year of King Josiah’s rule, he sent the secretary Shaphan, Azaliah’s son and Meshullam’s grandson, to the Lord’s temple with the following orders: 4 “Go to the high priest Hilkiah. Have him carefully count[a] the money that has been brought to the Lord’s temple and that has been collected from the people by the doorkeepers. 5 It should be given to the supervisors in charge of the Lord’s temple, who in turn should pay it to those who are in the Lord’s temple, repairing the temple— 6 the carpenters, the builders, and the masons. It should be used to pay for lumber and quarried stone to repair the temple. 7 But there’s no need to check on them regarding the money they receive, because they are honest workers.”
8 The high priest Hilkiah told Shaphan the secretary: “I have found the Instruction scroll in the Lord’s temple.” Then Hilkiah turned the scroll over to Shaphan, who read it.
9 Shaphan the secretary then went to the king and reported this to him: “Your officials have released the money that was found in the temple and have handed it over to those who supervise the work in the Lord’s temple.” 10 Then Shaphan the secretary told the king, “Hilkiah the priest has given me a scroll,” and he read it out loud before the king.
11 As soon as the king heard what the Instruction scroll said, he ripped his clothes. 12 The king ordered the priest Hilkiah, Shaphan’s son Ahikam, Micaiah’s son Achbor, Shaphan the secretary, and Asaiah the royal officer as follows: 13 “Go and ask the Lord on my behalf, and on behalf of the people, and on behalf of all 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 words of this scroll and do everything written in it about us.”
14 So Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Achbor, Shaphan, and Asaiah went to the prophetess Huldah. She was married to Shallum, Tikvah’s son and Harhas’ grandson, who was in charge of the wardrobe. She lived in Jerusalem in the second district. When they spoke to her, 15 she replied, “This is what the Lord, Israel’s God, says: Tell this to the man who sent you to me: 16 This is what the Lord says: I am about to bring disaster on this place and its citizens—all the words in the scroll that Judah’s king has read! 17 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.[b] 18 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: 19 Because your heart was broken and you submitted before the Lord when you heard what I said about this place and its citizens—that they will become a horror and a curse—and because you ripped your clothes and cried before me, I have listened to you, declares the Lord. 20 That’s why 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.”
When they reported Huldah’s words to the king, 23 1 the king sent a message, and all of Judah’s and Jerusalem’s elders gathered before him. 2 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 prophets, 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. 3 The king stood beside the pillar and made a covenant with the Lord that he would follow the Lord by keeping his commandments, his laws, and his regulations with all his heart and all his being in order to fulfill the words of this covenant that were written in this scroll. All of the people accepted the covenant.
4 The king then commanded the high priest Hilkiah, the second-order priests, and the doorkeepers to remove from the Lord’s temple all the religious objects made for Baal, Asherah, and all the heavenly bodies. The king burned them outside Jerusalem in the Kidron fields and took the ashes to Bethel. 5 He got rid of the pagan priests that the Judean kings had appointed to burn incense at the shrines in Judah’s cities and the areas around Jerusalem. He did the same to those who burned incense to Baal, to the sun, to the moon, to the constellations, and to all the heavenly bodies. 6 He removed the Asherah image[c] from the Lord’s temple, taking it to the Kidron Valley outside Jerusalem. There he burned it, ground it to dust, and threw the dust on the public graveyard. 7 The king tore down the shrines for the consecrated workers[d] that were in the Lord’s temple, where women made woven coverings[e] for Asherah.
8 Then Josiah brought all the priests out of Judah’s cities. From Geba to Beer-sheba, he defiled the shrines where the priests had been burning incense. He also tore down the shrines at the gates at the entrance to the gate of Joshua the city’s governor, which were on the left as one entered the city gate. 9 Although the priests of these shrines didn’t go up on the Lord’s altar in Jerusalem, they did eat unleavened bread with their fellow priests.
10 Josiah defiled the Topheth in the Ben-hinnom Valley so no one could burn their child alive in honor of the god Molech. 11 He did away with the horses that Judah’s kings had dedicated to the sun. They were kept at the entrance to the Lord’s temple near a room in the annex[f] that belonged to an official named Nathan-melech. Josiah set fire to the chariots that were dedicated to the sun. 12 The king also tore down the altars that were on the roof of Ahaz’s upper story, which had been made by the Judean kings, and he did the same with the altars that Manasseh had built in the two courtyards of the Lord’s temple. He broke them up there[g] and threw their dust into the Kidron Valley. 13 The king then defiled the shrines facing Jerusalem, south of the Mountain of Destruction. Solomon the king of Israel had built these for Ashtoreth, the monstrous Sidonian god, for Chemosh, the monstrous Moabite god, and for Milcom, the detestable Ammonite god. 14 He smashed the sacred pillars and cut down the sacred poles,[h] filling the places where they had been with human bones.
15 Josiah also tore down the altar that was in Bethel. That was the shrine made by Jeroboam, Nebat’s son, who caused Israel to sin. Josiah tore down that altar and its shrine. He burned the shrine, grinding it into dust. Then he burned its sacred pole.[i] 16 When Josiah turned around, he noticed tombs up on the hillside. So he ordered the bones to be taken out of the tombs. He then burned them on the altar, desecrating it. (This was in agreement with the word that the Lord announced by the man of God when Jeroboam stood by the altar at the festival.) Josiah then turned and saw the tomb of the man of God[j] who had predicted these things. 17 “What’s this gravestone I see?” Josiah asked.
The people of the city replied, “That tomb belongs to the man of God who came from Judah and announced what you would do to the altar of Bethel.”
18 “Let it be,” Josiah said. “No one should disturb his bones.” So they left his bones untouched, along with the bones of the prophet who came from Samaria.
19 Moreover, Josiah removed all the shrines on the high hills that the Israelite kings had constructed throughout the cities of Samaria. These had made the Lord angry. Josiah did to them just what he did at Bethel. 20 He actually slaughtered on those altars all the priests of the shrines who were there, and he burned human bones on them. Then Josiah returned to Jerusalem.
21 The king commanded all the people, “Celebrate a Passover to the Lord your God following what is instructed in this scroll containing the covenant.” 22 A Passover like this hadn’t been celebrated since the days when the judges judged Israel; neither had it been celebrated during all the days of the Israelite and Judean kings. 23 But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah’s rule, this Passover was celebrated to the Lord in Jerusalem.
24 Josiah burned those who consulted dead spirits and the mediums, the household gods and the worthless idols—all the monstrous things that were seen in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem. In this way Josiah fulfilled the words of the Instruction written in the scroll that the priest Hilkiah found in the Lord’s temple. 25 There’s never been a king like Josiah, whether before or after him, who turned to the Lord with all his heart, all his being, and all his strength, in agreement with everything in the Instruction from Moses.
26 Even so, the Lord didn’t turn away from the great rage that burned against Judah on account of all that Manasseh had done to make him angry. 27 The Lord said, “I will remove Judah from my presence just as I removed Israel. I will reject this city, Jerusalem, which I chose, and this temple where I promised my name would reside.”
28 The rest of Josiah’s deeds and all that he accomplished, aren’t they written in the official records of Judah’s kings? 29 In his days, the Egyptian king Pharaoh Neco marched against the Assyrian king at the Euphrates River. King Josiah marched out to intercept him. But when Neco encountered Josiah in Megiddo, he killed the king. 30 Josiah’s servants took his body from Megiddo in a chariot. They brought him to Jerusalem and buried him in his own tomb. The people of the land took Jehoahaz, Josiah’s son, anointed him, and made him king after his father.
37 As Paul was about to be taken into the military headquarters, he asked the commander, “May I speak with you?”
He answered, “Do you know Greek? 38 Aren’t you the Egyptian who started a revolt and led four thousand terrorists into the desert some time ago?”
39 Paul replied, “I’m a Jew from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of an important city. Please, let me speak to the people.” 40 With the commander’s permission, Paul stood on the steps and gestured to the people. When they were quiet, he addressed them in Aramaic.
22 “Brothers and fathers, listen now to my defense.” 2 When they heard him address them in Aramaic, they became even more quiet. 3 Paul continued, “I’m a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia but raised in this city. Under Gamaliel’s instruction, I was trained in the strict interpretation of our ancestral Law. I am passionately loyal to God, just like you who are gathered here today. 4 I harassed those who followed this Way to their death, arresting and delivering both men and women into prison. 5 The high priest and the whole Jerusalem Council can testify about me. I received letters from them, addressed to our associates in Damascus, then went there to bring those who were arrested to Jerusalem so they could be punished.
6 “During that journey, about noon, as I approached Damascus, suddenly a bright light from heaven encircled me. 7 I fell to the ground and heard a voice asking me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you harassing me?’ 8 I answered, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ ‘I am Jesus the Nazarene, whom you are harassing,’ he replied. 9 My traveling companions saw the light, but they didn’t hear the voice of the one who spoke to me. 10 I asked, ‘What should I do, Lord?’ ‘Get up,’ the Lord replied, ‘and go into Damascus. There you will be told everything you have been appointed to do.’ 11 I couldn’t see because of the brightness of that light, so my companions led me by the hand into Damascus.
12 “There was a certain man named Ananias. According to the standards of the Law, he was a pious man who enjoyed the respect of all the Jews living there. 13 He came and stood beside me. ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight!’ he said. Instantly, I regained my sight and I could see him. 14 He said, ‘The God of our ancestors has selected you to know his will, to see the righteous one, and to hear his voice. 15 You will be his witness to everyone concerning what you have seen and heard. 16 What are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized, and wash away your sins as you call on his name.’
1 The truly happy person
doesn’t follow wicked advice,
doesn’t stand on the road of sinners,
and doesn’t sit with the disrespectful.
2 Instead of doing those things,
these persons love the Lord’s Instruction,
and they recite God’s Instruction day and night!
3 They are like a tree replanted by streams of water,
which bears fruit at just the right time
and whose leaves don’t fade.
Whatever they do succeeds.
4 That’s not true for the wicked!
They are like dust that the wind blows away.
5 And that’s why the wicked will have no standing in the court of justice—
neither will sinners
in the assembly of the righteous.
6 The Lord is intimately acquainted
with the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked is destroyed.
11 The riches of the wealthy are a strong city
and like a high wall in their imagination.
12 Pride comes before a disaster,
but humility comes before respect.