Chapter 23

Josiah’s Covenant

1 aThen the king sent, and they gathered to him all the elders of Judah and of Jerusalem.

2 The king went up to the house of the Lord and all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem with him, and the priests and the prophets and all the people, both small and great; and ahe read in their hearing all the words of the book of the covenant bwhich was found in the house of the Lord.

3 aThe king stood by the pillar and made a covenant before the Lord, bto walk after the Lord, and to keep His commandments and His testimonies and His statutes with all his heart and all his soul, to carry out the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people 1entered into the covenant.

Reforms under Josiah

4 Then the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest and athe priests of the second order and the 1doorkeepers, bto bring out of the temple of the Lord all the vessels that were made for Baal, for 2Asherah, and for all the host of heaven; and che burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of the Kidron, and carried their ashes to Bethel.

5 He did away with the idolatrous priests whom the kings of Judah had appointed to burn incense in the high places in the cities of Judah and in the surrounding area of Jerusalem, also those who burned incense to Baal, to the sun and to the moon and to the constellations and to all the ahost of heaven.

6 He brought out the Asherah from the house of the Lord outside Jerusalem to the brook Kidron, and burned it at the brook Kidron, and aground it to dust, and bthrew its dust on the graves of the 1common people.

7 He also broke down the houses of the amale cult prostitutes which were in the house of the Lord, where bthe women were weaving 1hangings for the Asherah.

8 Then he brought all the priests from the cities of Judah, and defiled the high places where the priests had burned incense, from aGeba to Beersheba; and he broke down the high places of the gates which were at the entrance of the gate of Joshua the governor of the city, which were on one’s left at the city gate.

9 Nevertheless athe priests of the high places did not go up to the altar of the Lord in Jerusalem, but they ate unleavened bread among their brothers.

10 aHe also defiled 1Topheth, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, bthat no man might make his son or his daughter pass through the fire for cMolech.

11 He did away with the horses which the kings of Judah had given to the asun, at the entrance of the house of the Lord, by the chamber of Nathan-melech the official, which was in the precincts; and he burned the chariots of the sun with fire.

12 aThe altars which were on the roof, the upper chamber of Ahaz, which the kings of Judah had made, and bthe altars which Manasseh had made in the two courts of the house of the Lord, the king broke down; and he 1smashed them there and cthrew their dust into the brook Kidron.

13 The high places which were before Jerusalem, which were on the right of athe mount of destruction which Solomon the king of Israel had built for bAshtoreth the abomination of the Sidonians, and for cChemosh the abomination of Moab, and for Milcom the abomination of the sons of Ammon, the king defiled.

14 aHe broke in pieces the sacred pillars and cut down the Asherim and bfilled their places with human bones.

15 Furthermore, athe altar that was at Bethel and the bhigh place which Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel sin, had made, even that altar and the high place he broke down. Then he 1cdemolished its stones, ground them to dust, and burned the Asherah.

16 Now when Josiah turned, he saw the graves that were there on the mountain, and he sent and took the bones from the graves and burned them on the altar and defiled it aaccording to the word of the Lord which the man of God proclaimed, who proclaimed these things.

17 Then he said, “What is this monument that I see?” And the men of the city told him, “aIt is the grave of the man of God who came from Judah and proclaimed these things which you have done against the altar of Bethel.”

18 He said, “Let him alone; let no one disturb his bones.” So they 1left his bones undisturbed awith the bones of the prophet who came from Samaria.

19 Josiah also removed all the houses of the high places which were ain the cities of Samaria, which the kings of Israel had made provoking 1the Lord; and he did to them 2just as he had done in Bethel.

20 All the priests of the high places who were there ahe slaughtered on the altars and burned human bones on them; then he returned to Jerusalem.

Passover Reinstituted

21 Then the king commanded all the people saying, “aCelebrate the Passover to the Lord your God bas it is written in this book of the covenant.”

22 aSurely such a Passover had not been celebrated from the days of the judges who judged Israel, nor in all the days of the kings of Israel and of the kings of Judah.

23 But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah, this Passover was observed to the Lord in Jerusalem.

24 Moreover, Josiah 1removed athe mediums and the spiritists and the bteraphim and cthe idols and all the abominations that were seen in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, dthat he might 2confirm the words of the law which were written ein the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the house of the Lord.

25 Before him there was no king alike him who turned to the Lord with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; nor did any like him arise after him.

26 However, the Lord did not turn from the fierceness of His great wrath with which His anger burned against Judah, abecause of all the provocations with which Manasseh had provoked Him.

27 The Lord said, “I will remove Judah also from My sight, aas I have removed Israel. And bI will cast off Jerusalem, this city which I have chosen, and the 1temple of which I said, ‘My name shall be there.’ ”

Jehoahaz Succeeds Josiah

28 Now the rest of the acts of Josiah and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah?

29 aIn his days bPharaoh Neco king of Egypt went up to the king of Assyria to the river Euphrates. And King Josiah went to meet him, and when Pharaoh Neco saw him he killed him at cMegiddo.

30 aHis servants drove 1his body in a chariot from Megiddo, and brought him to Jerusalem and buried him in his own tomb. bThen the people of the land took Jehoahaz the son of Josiah and anointed him and made him king in place of his father.

31 aJehoahaz was twenty-three years old when he became king, and he reigned three months in Jerusalem; and his mother’s name was bHamutal the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah.

32 He did evil in the sight of the Lord, aaccording to all that his fathers had done.

33 aPharaoh Neco imprisoned him at bRiblah in the land of cHamath, that he might not reign in Jerusalem; and he imposed on the land a fine of one hundred talents of silver and a talent of gold.

Jehoiakim Made King by Pharaoh

34 Pharaoh Neco made aEliakim the son of Josiah king in the place of Josiah his father, and bchanged his name to Jehoiakim. But he took Jehoahaz away and 1cbrought him to Egypt, and he died there.

35 So Jehoiakim agave the silver and gold to Pharaoh, but he taxed the land in order to give the money at the 1command of Pharaoh. He exacted the silver and gold from the people of the land, each according to his valuation, to give it to Pharaoh Neco.

36 aJehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem; and his mother’s name was Zebidah the daughter of Pedaiah of Rumah.

37 He did evil in the sight of the Lord, aaccording to all that his fathers had done.


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