King Josiah Celebrates the Passover—2 Kings 23:21–23
1 Josiah celebrated the Passover for the Lord in Jerusalem. The Passover lamb was slaughtered on the fourteenth day of the first month. 2 Josiah appointed the priests to their duties and encouraged them to serve in the Lord’s temple. 3 He told the Levites, who instructed all Israel and performed ceremonies to make themselves holy to the Lord, “Put the holy ark in the temple that Solomon, son of David and king of Israel, built. It shouldn’t be carried on your shoulders any longer. Serve the Lord your God and his people Israel. 4 Get yourselves ready with the family groups of your divisions, which are listed in the records of King David of Israel and the records of his son Solomon. 5 Stand in the holy place representing the family divisions of your relatives, the people ⸤of Israel⸥. Let the Levites be considered a part of each family. 6 Slaughter the Passover lamb, perform the ceremonies to make yourselves holy, and prepare ⸤the lambs⸥ for the other Israelites as the Lord instructed ⸤us⸥ through Moses.”
7 Josiah provided the people with 33,000 sheep and goats to be sacrificed as Passover offerings for all who were present. In addition, he provided 3,000 bulls. (These animals were the king’s property.) 8 His officials also voluntarily gave animals to the people, priests, and Levites. Hilkiah, Zechariah, and Jehiel, the men in charge of God’s temple, gave the priests 2,600 sheep and goats and 300 bulls for Passover sacrifices. 9 Conaniah and his brothers Shemaiah and Nethanel, and Hashabiah, Jeiel, and Jozabad, the leaders of the Levites, gave the Levites 5,000 sheep and goats and 500 bulls as Passover sacrifices.
10 So the service was prepared. The priests took their positions with the Levites according to their divisions, as the king had ordered. 11 They slaughtered the Passover lambs. The priests sprinkled the blood with their hands while the Levites skinned the lambs. 12 They set aside the burnt offerings to give them to the laypeople according to their family divisions. The laypeople could then present them to the Lord as written in the Book of Moses. The Levites did the same with the bulls. 13 They roasted the Passover lambs according to the directions. They boiled the holy offerings in pots, kettles, and pans and immediately served them to all the people. 14 Later, they prepared ⸤the animals⸥ for themselves and for the priests because the priests (Aaron’s descendants) were sacrificing the burnt offerings and the fat until that evening.
So the Levites prepared ⸤the animals⸥ for themselves and the priests. 15 The singers (Asaph’s descendants) were in their places as David, Asaph, Heman, and the king’s seerb Jeduthun had commanded. The gatekeepers were stationed at each gate. They didn’t need to leave their work, because their relatives, the Levites, prepared ⸤animals⸥ for them.
16 So everything was arranged that day for the worship of the Lord. The Passover was celebrated, and the burnt offerings were sacrificed on the Lord’s altar as King Josiah had commanded. 17 The Israelites who were present celebrated the Passover at that time. They also celebrated the Festival of Unleavened Bread for seven days.
18 Never had a Passover like this been celebrated in Israel during the time of the prophet Samuel or the kings of Israel. They did not celebrate the Passover as Josiah celebrated it with priests, Levites, all of Judah, the people of Israel who could be found, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 19 In the eighteenth year of Josiah’s reign, this Passover was celebrated.
Josiah’s Sin Leads to His Death—2 Kings 23:28–30a
20 After all this, when Josiah had repaired the temple, King Neco of Egypt came to fight a battle at Carchemish at the Euphrates River. Josiah went to attack him. 21 But Neco sent messengers to Josiah to say, “What’s your quarrel with me, king of Judah? I’m not attacking you. I’ve come to fight those who are at war with me. God told me to hurry. God is with me, so stop now or else he will destroy you.”
22 But Josiah would not stop his attack. He disguised himself as he went into battle. He refused to listen to Neco’s words, which came from God, and he went to fight in the valley of Megiddo.
23 Some archers shot King Josiah. The king told his officers, “Take me away because I’m badly wounded.”
24 His officers took him out of the chariot and brought him to Jerusalem in his other chariot. He died and was buried in the tombs of his ancestors. All Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah. 25 Jeremiah sang a funeral song about Josiah. All the male and female singers still sing funeral songs about Josiah today. This became a tradition in Israel. They are written in ⸤the Book of⸥ the Funeral Songs.
26 Everything else about Josiah—including his devotion to God by following what is written in the Lord’s Teachings 27 and his acts from first to last—are written in the records of the kings of Israel and Judah.
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