23 1KING JOSIAH sent and gathered to him all the elders of Judah and of Jerusalem. 2The king went up to the house of the Lord, and with him all the men of Judah, all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the priests, the prophets, and all the people, both small and great. And he read in their ears all the words of the Book of the Covenant, which was found in the Lord’s house. 3The king stood [on the platform] by the pillar and made a covenant before the Lord--to walk after the Lord and to keep His commandments, His testimonies, and His statutes with all his heart and soul, to confirm the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people stood to join in the covenant. 4And the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest and the priests of the second rank and the keepers of the threshold to bring out of the temple of the Lord all the vessels made for Baal, for [the goddess] Asherah, and for all the hosts of the heavens; and he burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of the Kidron, and carried their ashes to Bethel [where Israel’s idolatry began]. 5He put away the idolatrous priests whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense in the high places in Judah’s cities and round about Jerusalem--also those who burned incense to Baal, to the sun, to the moon, to the constellations [or twelve signs of the zodiac], and to all the hosts of the heavens. 6And Josiah brought the Asherah from the house of the Lord to outside Jerusalem to the brook Kidron and burned it there, and beat it to dust and cast its dust upon the graves of the common people [who had sacrificed to it]. 7And he broke down the houses of the male cult prostitutes, which were by the house of the Lord, where the women wove [tent] hangings for the Asherah [shrines]. 8And [Josiah] brought all the [idolatrous] priests out of the city of Judah and defiled the high places, where the priests had burned incense, from Geba to Beersheba [north to south], and broke down the high places both at the entrance of the Gate of Joshua the governor of the city and that which was on one’s left at the city’s gate. 9However, the priests of the high places were not allowed to sacrifice upon the Lord’s altar in Jerusalem, but they ate unleavened bread among their brethren. 10And Josiah defiled Topheth, which is in the Valley of Ben-hinnom [son of Hinnom], that no man might ever burn there his son or his daughter as an offering to Molech. 11And he removed the horses that the kings of Judah had devoted to the sun from the entrance of the house of the Lord, by the chamber of Nathan-melech the chamberlain, which was in the area, and he burned the chariots of the sun with fire. 12And the altars on the roof of 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, [Josiah] pulled down and beat them in pieces, and he [ran and] cast their dust into the brook Kidron. 13And the king defiled the high places east of Jerusalem, south of the Mount of Corruption, which Solomon the king of Israel had built for Ashtoreth the abominable [goddess] of the Sidonians, for Chemosh the abominable god of the Moabites, and for Milcom the abominable [god] of the Ammonites. 14He broke in pieces the pillars (images) and cut down the Asherim and replaced them with the bones of men [to defile the places forever]. 15Moreover, the altar at Bethel, the high place made by Jeroboam son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, that altar with the high place Josiah tore down and broke in pieces its stones, beating them to dust, and burned the Asherah. 16And as Josiah turned, he saw the tombs across on the mount, and he sent and brought the bones out of the tombs and burned them upon the altar and defiled it, in fulfillment of the word of the Lord which the man of God prophesied, who predicted these things [about this altar, naming Josiah before he was born]. 17Josiah said, What is that monument I see? The men of the city told him, It is the tomb of the man of God who came from Judah and foretold these things that you have just done against the altar of Bethel. 18He said, Let him alone; let no man move his bones. So they let his bones alone, with the bones of the prophet that came out of Samaria. 19Also Josiah took away all the houses of the high places in the cities of Samaria which the kings of Israel had made, provoking the Lord to anger, and he did to them all that he had done in Bethel. 20He slew all the priests of the high places that were there upon the altars and burned men’s bones upon them [to defile the places forever]. Then he returned to Jerusalem. 21The king commanded all the people, Keep the Passover to the Lord your God, as it is written in this Book of the Covenant. 22Surely such a Passover was not held from the days of Israel’s judges, even in all the days of the kings of Israel or Judah. 23But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah, this Passover was kept to the Lord in Jerusalem. 24Moreover, Josiah put away the mediums, the wizards, the teraphim (household gods), the idols, and all the abominations that were seen in Judah and in Jerusalem, that he might establish the words of the law written in the book found by Hilkiah the priest in the house of the Lord. 25There was no king like him before or after [Josiah] who turned to the Lord with all his heart and all his soul and all his might, according to all the Law of Moses. 26Still the Lord did not turn from the fierceness of His great wrath, kindled against Judah because of all the provocations with which Manasseh had provoked Him. 27And the Lord said, I will remove Judah also out of My sight as I have removed Israel, and will cast off this city, Jerusalem, which I have chosen, and the house, of which I said, My Name [and the pledge of My presence] shall be there. 28The rest of the acts of Josiah, all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of Judah’s Kings? 29In his days Pharaoh Necho king of Egypt went up against the king of Assyria to the river Euphrates. King Josiah went out against him, but he slew Josiah at Megiddo when he saw him. 30Josiah’s servants carried him dead in a chariot from Megiddo, brought him to Jerusalem, and buried him in his own tomb. The people of the land anointed Jehoahaz son of Josiah king in his stead. 31Jehoahaz was twenty-three years old when he began his three-month reign in Jerusalem. His mother was Hamutal daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah. 32He did evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all [the evil] his forefathers had done. 33And Pharaoh Necho put him in bonds at Riblah in the land of Hamath, that he might not reign in Jerusalem, and laid a tribute of a hundred talents of silver and a talent of gold upon the land. 34Pharaoh Necho made Eliakim son of Josiah king in place of Josiah and changed his name to Jehoiakim. But he took Jehoahaz away to Egypt, where he died. 35Jehoiakim gave the silver and the gold to Pharaoh, but he taxed the land to give the money as Pharaoh commanded. He exacted the silver and gold of the people of the land, from everyone according to his assessment, to give it to Pharaoh Necho. 36Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he began his eleven-year reign in Jerusalem. His mother was Zebidah daughter of Pedaiah of Rumah. 37He did evil in the sight of the Lord, like all his [forefathers] had done.
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