Covenant Renewal 23 1So the king sent messengers, and they gathered all the elders of Jerusalem and Judah to him. 2Then the king went to the Lord’s temple with all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, as well as the priests and the prophets—all the people from the youngest to the oldest. As they listened, he read all the words of the book of the covenant that had been found in the Lord’s temple. 3Next, the king stood by the pillar[P] and made a covenant in the presence of the Lord to follow the Lord and to keep His commands, His decrees, and His statutes with all his mind and with all his heart, and to carry out the words of this covenant that were written in this book; all the people agreed to[Q] the covenant. Josiah’s Reforms 4Then the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest and the priests of the second rank and the doorkeepers to bring out of the Lord’s temple all the articles made for Baal, Asherah, and the whole heavenly host. He burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of the Kidron and carried their ashes to Bethel. 5Then he did away with the idolatrous priests the kings of Judah had appointed to burn incense at the high places in the cities of Judah and in the areas surrounding Jerusalem. They had burned incense to Baal, and to the sun, moon, constellations, and the whole heavenly host. 6He brought out the Asherah pole from the Lord’s temple to the Kidron Valley outside Jerusalem. He burned it at the Kidron Valley, beat it to dust, and threw its dust on the graves of the common people.[R] 7He also tore down the houses of the male cult prostitutes that were in the Lord’s temple, in which the women were weaving tapestries[S] for Asherah. 8Then Josiah brought all the priests from the cities of Judah, and he defiled the high places from Geba to Beer-sheba, where the priests had burned incense. He tore down the high places of the gates at the entrance of the gate of Joshua the governor of the city (on the left at the city gate). 9The priests of the high places, however, did not come up to the altar of the Lord in Jerusalem; instead, they ate unleavened bread with their fellow priests. 10He defiled Topheth, which is in the Valley of Hinnom, so that no one could make his son or daughter pass through the fire to Molech. 11He did away with the horses that the kings of Judah had dedicated to the sun. They had been at the entrance of the Lord’s temple in the precincts by the chamber of Nathan-melech the court official, and he burned up the chariots of the sun. 12The king tore down the altars that were on the roof—Ahaz’s upper chamber that the kings of Judah had made—and the altars that Manasseh had made in the two courtyards of the Lord’s temple. Then he smashed them[T] there and threw their dust into the Kidron Valley. 13The king also defiled the high places that were across from Jerusalem, to the south of the Mount of Destruction, which King Solomon of Israel had built for Ashtoreth, the detestable idol of the Sidonians; for Chemosh, the detestable idol of Moab; and for Milcom, the abomination of the Ammonites. 14He broke the sacred pillars into pieces, cut down the Asherah poles, then filled their places with human bones. 15He even tore down the altar at Bethel and the high place that Jeroboam son of Nebat, who caused Israel to sin, had made. Then he burned the high place, crushed it to dust, and burned the Asherah. 16As Josiah turned, he saw the tombs there on the mountain. He sent someone to take the bones out of the tombs, and he burned them on the altar. He defiled it according to the word of the Lord proclaimed by the man of God[U] who proclaimed these things. 17Then he said, “What is this monument I see?” The men of the city told him, “It is the tomb of the man of God who came from Judah and proclaimed these things that you have done to the altar at Bethel.” 18So he said, “Let him rest. Don’t let anyone disturb his bones.” So they left his bones undisturbed with the bones of the prophet who came from Samaria. 19Josiah also removed all the shrines of the high places that were in the cities of Samaria, which the kings of Israel had made to provoke the Lord. Josiah did the same things to them that he had done at Bethel. 20He slaughtered on the altars all the priests of the high places who were there, and he burned human bones on the altars. Then he returned to Jerusalem. Passover Observed 21The king commanded all the people, “Keep the Passover of the Lord your God as written in the book of the covenant.” 22No such Passover had ever been kept from the time of the judges who judged Israel through the entire time of the kings of Israel and Judah. 23But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah, this Passover was observed to the Lord in Jerusalem. Further Zeal for the Lord 24In addition, Josiah removed the mediums, the spiritists, household idols, images, and all the detestable things that were seen in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem. He did this in order to carry out the words of the law that were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the Lord’s temple. 25Before him there was no king like him who turned to the Lord with all his mind and with all his heart and with all his strength according to all the law of Moses, and no one like him arose after him. 26In spite of all that, the Lord did not turn from the fury of His great burning anger, which burned against Judah because of all that Manasseh had provoked Him with. 27For the Lord had said, “I will also remove Judah from My sight just as I have removed Israel. I will reject this city Jerusalem, that I have chosen, and the temple about which I said, ‘My name will be there.’ ” Josiah’s Death 28The rest of the events of Josiah’s reign, along with all his accomplishments, are written in the Historical Record of Judah’s Kings. 29During his reign, Pharaoh Neco king of Egypt marched up to help the king of Assyria at the Euphrates River. King Josiah went to confront him, and at Megiddo when Neco saw him he killed him. 30From Megiddo his servants carried his dead body in a chariot, brought him into Jerusalem, and buried him in his own tomb. Then the common people[V] took Jehoahaz son of Josiah, anointed him, and made him king in place of his father. Judah’s King Jehoahaz 31Jehoahaz was 23 years old when he became king and reigned three months in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Hamutal daughter of Jeremiah, from Libnah. 32He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight just as his ancestors had done. 33Pharaoh Neco imprisoned him at Riblah in the land of Hamath to keep him from reigning in Jerusalem, and he imposed on the land a fine of 7,500 pounds[W] of silver and 75 pounds[X] of gold. Judah’s King Jehoiakim 34Then Pharaoh Neco made Eliakim son of Josiah king in place of his father Josiah and changed Eliakim’s name to Jehoiakim. But Neco took Jehoahaz and went to Egypt, and he died there. 35So Jehoiakim gave the silver and the gold to Pharaoh, but at Pharaoh’s command he taxed the land to give the money. He exacted the silver and the gold from the common people,[Y] each man according to his assessment, to give it to Pharaoh Neco. 36Jehoiakim was 25 years old when he became king and reigned 11 years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Zebidah daughter of Pedaiah, from Rumah. 37He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight just as his ancestors had done.
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