1 Josiah was eight years old when he became king. He ruled for thirty-one years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Jedidah daughter of Adaiah; she was from Bozkath. 2 He lived the way God wanted. He kept straight on the path blazed by his ancestor David, not one step to either left or right. 3 One day in the eighteenth year of his kingship, King Josiah sent the royal secretary Shaphan son of Azaliah, the son of Meshullam, to The Temple of God with instructions: 4 "Go to Hilkiah the high priest and have him count the money that has been brought to The Temple of God that the doormen have collected from the people. 5 Have them turn it over to the foremen who are managing the work on The Temple of God so they can pay the workers who are repairing God's Temple, 6 all the carpenters, construction workers, and masons. Also, authorize them to buy the lumber and dressed stone for The Temple repairs. 7 You don't need to get a receipt for the money you give them - they're all honest men." 8 The high priest Hilkiah reported to Shaphan the royal secretary, "I've just found the Book of God's Revelation, instructing us in God's ways. I found it in The Temple!" He gave it to Shaphan and Shaphan read it. 9 Then Shaphan the royal secretary came back to the king and gave him an account of what had gone on: "Your servants have bagged up the money that has been collected for The Temple; they have given it to the foremen to pay The Temple workers." 10 Then Shaphan the royal secretary told the king, "Hilkiah the priest gave me a book." Shaphan proceeded to read it to the king. 11 When the king heard what was written in the book, God's Revelation, he ripped his robes in dismay. 12 And then he called for Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Acbor son of Micaiah, Shaphan the royal secretary, and Asaiah the king's personal aide. He ordered them all: 13 "Go and pray to God for me and for this people - for all Judah! Find out what we must do in response to what is written in this book that has just been found! God's anger must be burning furiously against us - our ancestors haven't obeyed a thing written in this book, followed none of the instructions directed to us." 14 Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Acbor, Shaphan, and Asaiah went straight to Huldah the prophetess. She was the wife of Shallum son of Tikvah, the son of Harhas, who was in charge of the palace wardrobe. She lived in Jerusalem in the Second Quarter. The five men consulted with her. 15 In response to them she said, "God's word, the God of Israel: Tell the man who sent you here 16 that I'm on my way to bring the doom of judgment on this place and this people. Every word written in the book read by the king of Judah will happen. 17 And why? Because they've deserted me and taken up with other gods, made me thoroughly angry by setting up their god-making businesses. My anger is raging white-hot against this place and nobody is going to put it out. 18 "And also tell the king of Judah, since he sent you to ask God for direction; tell him this, God's comment on what he read in the book: 19 'Because you took seriously the doom of judgment I spoke against this place and people, and because you responded in humble repentance, tearing your robe in dismay and weeping before me, I'm taking you seriously. God's word: 20 I'll take care of you. You'll have a quiet death and be buried in peace. You won't be around to see the doom that I'm going to bring upon this place.'" The men took her message back to the king.
1 The king acted immediately, assembling all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. 2 Then the king proceeded to The Temple of God, bringing everyone in his train - priests and prophets and people ranging from the famous to the unknown. Then he read out publicly everything written in the Book of the Covenant that was found in The Temple of God. 3 The king stood by the pillar and before God solemnly committed them all to the covenant: to follow God believingly and obediently; to follow his instructions, heart and soul, on what to believe and do; to put into practice the entire covenant, all that was written in the book. The people stood in affirmation; their commitment was unanimous. 4 Then the king ordered Hilkiah the high priest, his associate priest, and The Temple sentries to clean house - to get rid of everything in The Temple of God that had been made for worshiping Baal and Asherah and the cosmic powers. He had them burned outside Jerusalem in the fields of Kidron and then disposed of the ashes in Bethel 5 He fired the pagan priests whom the kings of Judah had hired to supervise the local sex-and-religion shrines in the towns of Judah and neighborhoods of Jerusalem. In a stroke he swept the country clean of the polluting stench of the round-the-clock worship of Baal, sun and moon, stars - all the so-called cosmic powers. 6 He took the obscene phallic Asherah pole from The Temple of God to the Valley of Kidron outside Jerusalem, burned it up, then ground up the ashes and scattered them in the cemetery. 7 He tore out the rooms of the male sacred prostitutes that had been set up in The Temple of God; women also used these rooms for weavings for Asherah. 8 He swept the outlying towns of Judah clean of priests and smashed the sex-and-religion shrines where they worked their trade from one end of the country to the other - all the way from Geba to Beersheba. He smashed the sex-and-religion shrine that had been set up just to the left of the city gate for the private use of Joshua, the city mayor. 9 Even though these sex-and-religion priests did not defile the Altar in The Temple itself, they were part of the general priestly corruption and had to go. 10 Then Josiah demolished the Topheth, the iron furnace griddle set up in the Valley of Ben Hinnom for sacrificing children in the fire. No longer could anyone burn son or daughter to the god Molech. 11 He hauled off the horse statues honoring the sun god that the kings of Judah had set up near the entrance to The Temple. They were in the courtyard next to the office of Nathan-Melech, the warden. He burned up the sun-chariots as so much rubbish. 12 The king smashed all the altars to smithereens - the altar on the roof shrine of Ahaz, the various altars the kings of Judah had made, the altars of Manasseh that littered the courtyard of The Temple - he smashed them all, pulverized the fragments, and scattered their dust in the Valley of Kidron. 13 The king proceeded to make a clean sweep of all the sex-and-religion shrines that had proliferated east of Jerusalem on the south slope of Abomination Hill, the ones Solomon king of Israel had built to the obscene Sidonian sex goddess Ashtoreth, to Chemosh the dirty-old-god of the Moabites, and to Milcom the depraved god of the Ammonites. 14 He tore apart the altars, chopped down the phallic Asherah-poles, and scattered old bones over the sites 15 Next, he took care of the altar at the shrine in Bethel that Jeroboam son of Nebat had built - the same Jeroboam who had led Israel into a life of sin. He tore apart the altar, burned down the shrine leaving it in ashes, and then lit fire to the phallic Asherah-pole. 16 As Josiah looked over the scene, he noticed the tombs on the hillside. He ordered the bones removed from the tombs and had them cremated on the ruined altars, desacralizing the evil altars. This was a fulfillment of the word of God spoken by the Holy Man years before when Jeroboam had stood by the altar at the sacred convocation. 17 Then the king said, "And that memorial stone - whose is that?" The men from the city said, "That's the grave of the Holy Man who spoke the message against the altar at Bethel that you have just fulfilled." 18 Josiah said, "Don't trouble his bones." So they left his bones undisturbed, along with the bones of the prophet from Samaria. 19 But Josiah hadn't finished. He now moved through all the towns of Samaria where the kings of Israel had built neighborhood sex-and-religion shrines, shrines that had so angered God. He tore the shrines down and left them in ruins - just as at Bethel 20 He killed all the priests who had conducted the sacrifices and cremated them on their own altars, thus desacralizing the altars. Only then did Josiah return to Jerusalem. 21 The king now commanded the people, "Celebrate the Passover to God, your God, exactly as directed in this Book of the Covenant. 22 This commanded Passover had not been celebrated since the days that the judges judged Israel - none of the kings of Israel and Judah had celebrated it. 23 But in the eighteenth year of the rule of King Josiah this very Passover was celebrated to God in Jerusalem. 24 Josiah scrubbed the place clean and trashed spirit-mediums, sorcerers, domestic gods, and carved figures - all the vast accumulation of foul and obscene relics and images on display everywhere you looked in Judah and Jerusalem. Josiah did this in obedience to the words of God's Revelation written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in The Temple of God. 25 There was no king to compare with Josiah - neither before nor after - a king who turned in total and repentant obedience to God, heart and mind and strength, following the instructions revealed to and written by Moses. The world would never again see a king like Josiah. 26 But despite Josiah, God's hot anger did not cool; the raging anger ignited by Manasseh burned unchecked. 27 And God, not swerving in his judgment, gave sentence: "I'll remove Judah from my presence in the same way I removed Israel. I'll turn my back on this city, Jerusalem, that I chose, and even from this Temple of which I said, 'My Name lives here.'" 28 The rest of the life and times of Josiah is written in The Chronicles of the Kings of Judah. 29 Josiah's death came about when Pharaoh Neco king of Egypt marched out to join forces with the king of Assyria at the Euphrates River. When King Josiah intercepted him at the Plain of Megiddo, Neco killed him. 30 Josiah's servants took his body in a chariot, returned him to Jerusalem, and buried him in his own tomb. By popular choice Jehoahaz son of Josiah was anointed and succeeded his father as king. 31 Jehoahaz was twenty-three years old when he began to rule. He was king in Jerusalem for a mere three months. His mother's name was Hamutal daughter of Jeremiah. She came from Libnah. 32 In God's opinion, he was an evil king, reverting to the evil ways of his ancestors. 33 Pharaoh Neco captured Jehoahaz at Riblah in the country of Hamath and put him in chains, preventing him from ruling in Jerusalem. He demanded that Judah pay tribute of nearly four tons of silver and seventy-five pounds of gold. 34 Then Pharaoh Neco made Eliakim son of Josiah the successor to Josiah, but changed his name to Jehoiakim. Jehoahaz was carted off to Egypt and eventually died there. 35 Meanwhile Jehoiakim, like a good puppet, dutifully paid out the silver and gold demanded by Pharaoh. He scraped up the money by gouging the people, making everyone pay an assessed tax. 36 Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he began to rule; he was king for eleven years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Zebidah daughter of Pedaiah. She had come from Rumah 37 In God's opinion he was an evil king, picking up on the evil ways of his ancestors.
1 Josiah was eight years old when he became king. He ruled for thirty-one years in Jerusalem. 2 He behaved well before God. He kept straight on the path blazed by his ancestor David, not one step to the left or right. 3 When he had been king for eight years - he was still only a teenager - he began to seek the God of David his ancestor. Four years later, the twelfth year of his reign, he set out to cleanse the neighborhood of sex-and-religion shrines, and get rid of the sacred Asherah groves and the god and goddess figurines, whether carved or cast, from Judah. 4 He wrecked the Baal shrines, tore down the altars connected with them, and scattered the debris and ashes over the graves of those who had worshiped at them. 5 He burned the bones of the priests on the same altars they had used when alive. He scrubbed the place clean, Judah and Jerusalem, clean inside and out. 6 The clean-up campaign ranged outward to the cities of Manasseh, Ephraim, Simeon, and the surrounding neighborhoods - as far north as Naphtali. 7 Throughout Israel he demolished the altars and Asherah groves, pulverized the god and goddess figures, chopped up the neighborhood shrines into firewood. With Israel once more intact, he returned to Jerusalem. 8 One day in the eighteenth year of his kingship, with the cleanup of country and Temple complete, King Josiah sent Shaphan son of Azaliah, Maaseiah the mayor of the city, and Joah son of Joahaz the historian to renovate The Temple of God. 9 First they turned over to Hilkiah the high priest all the money collected by the Levitical security guards from Manasseh and Ephraim and the rest of Israel, and from Judah and Benjamin and the citizens of Jerusalem. 10 It was then put into the hands of the foremen managing the work on The Temple of God 11 who then passed it on to the workers repairing God's Temple - the carpenters, construction workers, and masons - so they could buy the lumber and dressed stone for rebuilding the foundations the kings of Judah had allowed to fall to pieces. 12 The workmen were honest and diligent. Their foremen were Jahath and Obadiah, the Merarite Levites, and Zechariah and Meshullam from the Kohathites - these managed the project. The Levites - they were all skilled musicians - 13 were in charge of the common laborers and supervised the workers as they went from job to job. The Levites also served as accountants, managers, and security guards. 14 While the money that had been given for The Temple of God was being received and dispersed, Hilkiah the high priest found a copy of The Revelation of Moses. 15 He reported to Shaphan the royal secretary, "I've just found the Book of God's Revelation, instructing us in God's way - found it in The Temple!" He gave it to Shaphan, 16 who then gave it to the king. And along with the book, he gave this report: "The job is complete - everything you ordered done is done. 17 They took all the money that was collected in The Temple of God and handed it over to the managers and workers." 18 And then Shaphan told the king, "Hilkiah the priest gave me a book." Shaphan proceeded to read it out to the king. 19 When the king heard what was written in the book, God's Revelation, he ripped his robes in dismay. 20 And then he called for Hilkiah, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Abdon son of Micah, Shaphan the royal secretary, and Asaiah the king's personal aide. 21 He ordered them all: "Go and pray to God for me and what's left of Israel and Judah. Find out what we must do in response to what is written in this book that has just been found! God's anger must be burning furiously against us - our ancestors haven't obeyed a thing written in this book of God, followed none of the instructions directed to us." 22 Hilkiah and those picked by the king went straight to Huldah the prophetess. She was the wife of Shallum son of Tokhath, the son of Hasrah, who was in charge of the palace wardrobe. She lived in Jerusalem in the Second Quarter. The men consulted with her. 23 In response to them she said, "God's word, the God of Israel: Tell the man who sent you here, 24 'God has spoken, I'm on my way to bring the doom of judgment on this place and this people. Every word written in the book read by the king of Judah will happen. 25 And why? Because they've deserted me and taken up with other gods; they've made me thoroughly angry by setting up their god-making businesses. My anger is raging white-hot against this place and nobody is going to put it out.' 26 "And also tell the king of Judah, since he sent you to ask God for direction, God's comment on what he read in the book: 27 'Because you took seriously the doom of judgment I spoke against this place and people, and because you responded in humble repentance, tearing your robe in dismay and weeping before me, I'm taking you seriously. God's word. 28 I'll take care of you; you'll have a quiet death and be buried in peace. You won't be around to see the doom that I'm going to bring upon this place and people.'" The men took her message back to the king. 29 The king acted immediately, assembling all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem, 30 and then proceeding to The Temple of God bringing everyone in his train - priests and prophets and people ranging from the least to the greatest. Then he read out publicly everything written in the Book of the Covenant that was found in The Temple of God. 31 The king stood by his pillar and before God solemnly committed himself to the covenant: to follow God believingly and obediently; to follow his instructions, heart and soul, on what to believe and do; to confirm with his life the entire covenant, all that was written in the book. 32 Then he made everyone in Jerusalem and Benjamin commit themselves. And they did it. They committed themselves to the covenant of God, the God of their ancestors. 33 Josiah did a thorough job of cleaning up the pollution that had spread throughout Israelite territory and got everyone started fresh again, serving and worshiping their God. All through Josiah's life the people kept to the straight and narrow, obediently following God, the God of their ancestors.
1 Josiah celebrated the Passover to God in Jerusalem. They killed the Passover lambs on the fourteenth day of the first month. By popular choice, Jehoahaz son of Josiah was made king at Jerusalem, succeeding his father. 2 He gave the priests detailed instructions and encouraged them in the work of leading worship in The Temple of God. 3 He also told the Levites who were in charge of teaching and guiding Israel in all matters of worship (they were especially consecrated for this), "Place the sacred Chest in The Temple that Solomon son of David, the king of Israel, built. You don't have to carry it around on your shoulders any longer! Serve God and God's people Israel. 4 Organize yourselves by families for your respective responsibilities, following the instructions left by David king of Israel and Solomon his son. 5 "Take your place in the sanctuary - a team of Levites for every grouping of your fellow citizens, the laity. 6 Your job is to kill the Passover lambs, then consecrate yourselves and prepare the lambs so that everyone will be able to keep the Passover exactly as God commanded through Moses." 7 Josiah personally donated 30,000 sheep, lambs, and goats and 3,000 bulls - everything needed for the Passover celebration was there. 8 His officials also pitched in on behalf of the people, including the priests and the Levites. Hilkiah, Zechariah, and Jehiel, leaders in The Temple of God, gave 2,600 lambs and 300 bulls to the priests for the Passover offerings. 9 Conaniah, his brothers Shemaiah and Nethanel, along with the Levitical chiefs Hashabiah, Jeiel, and Jozabad, donated 5,000 lambs and 500 bulls to the Levites for the Passover offerings. 10 Preparations were complete for the service of worship; the priests took up their positions and the Levites were at their posts as instructed by the king. 11 They killed the Passover lambs, and while the priests sprinkled the blood from the lambs, the Levites skinned them out. 12 Then they set aside the Whole-Burnt-Offering for presentation to the family groupings of the people so that each group could offer it to God following the instructions in the Book of Moses. They did the same with the cattle. 13 They roasted the Passover lamb according to the instructions and boiled the consecrated offerings in pots and kettles and pans and promptly served the people. 14 After the people had eaten the holy meal, the Levites served themselves and the Aaronite priests - the priests were busy late into the night making the offerings at the Altar. 15 The Asaph singers were all in their places following the instructions of David, Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun the king's seer. The security guards were on duty at each gate - the Levites also served them because they couldn't leave their posts. 16 Everything went without a hitch in the worship of God that day as they celebrated the Passover and the offering of the Whole-Burnt-Offering on the Altar of God. It went just as Josiah had ordered. 17 The Israelites celebrated the Passover, also known as the Feast of Unraised Bread, for seven days. 18 The Passover hadn't been celebrated like this since the days of Samuel the prophet. None of the kings had done it. But Josiah, the priests, the Levites, all Judah and Israel who were there that week, plus the citizens of Jerusalem - they did it. 19 In the eighteenth year of the rule of King Josiah, this Passover was celebrated. 20 Some time later, after Josiah's reformation of The Temple, Neco king of Egypt marched out toward Carchemish on the Euphrates River on his way to war. Josiah went out to fight him. 21 Neco sent messengers to Josiah saying, "What do we have against each other, O king of Judah? I haven't come to fight against you but against the country with whom I'm at war. God commanded me to hurry, so don't get in my way; you'll only interfere with God, who is on my side in this, and he'll destroy you." 22 But Josiah was spoiling for a fight and wouldn't listen to a thing Neco said (in actuality it was God who said it). Though King Josiah disguised himself when they met on the plain of Megiddo, 23 archers shot him anyway. The king said to his servants, "Get me out of here - I'm badly wounded." 24 So his servants took him out of his chariot and laid him down in an ambulance chariot and drove him back to Jerusalem. He died there and was buried in the family cemetery. Everybody in Judah and Jerusalem attended the funeral. 25 Jeremiah composed an anthem of lament for Josiah. The anthem is still sung by the choirs of Israel to this day. The anthem is written in the Laments. 26 The rest of the history of Josiah, his exemplary and devout life, conformed to The Revelation of God. 27 The whole story, from start to finish, is written in the Royal Annals of the Kings of Israel and Judah.