23
Then the king summoned all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. He went to the Lord's Temple with all the people of Judah and Jerusalem, together with the priests and the Levites, all the people from the least to the greatest, and he read to them the whole Book of the Agreement that had been discovered in the Lord's Temple. The king stood by the pillar and made a solemn agreement before the Lord to follow him and to keep his commandments, laws, and regulations with total dedication, and to observe the requirements of the agreement as written in the book. All the people entered into the agreement.
Then the king ordered Hilkiah the high priest, the priests of second rank, and the doorkeepers to remove from the Lord's Temple everything made for Baal, Asherah, and the worship of sun, moon, and stars. He burned them outside Jerusalem in the Kidron fields and took their ashes to Bethel. He also dismissed the priests appointed by the kings of Judah to present burnt offerings on the high places of the towns of Judah and in the places all around Jerusalem, those who had sacrificed to Baal, to the sun and moon, to the constellations, and to all the powers of heaven. He removed the Asherah pole from the Lord's Temple and took it to the Kidron Valley outside Jerusalem. He burned it there, ground it into dust, and threw its dust over the graves of the ordinary people. He also demolished the quarters of the cult prostitutes* that were in the Lord's Temple, where the women used to weave tapestries for the Asherah. Josiah brought to Jerusalem all the priests from the towns of Judah and defiled the high places, from Geba to Beersheba, where the priests had sacrificed burnt offerings. He demolished the high places of the gates, near to the entrance of the gate of Joshua, the governor of the city, which was left of the town gate. Though the priests of the high places did not serve at the altar of the Lord in Jerusalem, they did eat unleavened bread with their brother priests.
10 He defiled the Topheth altar in the Valley of Ben-hinnom so that no one could sacrifice his son or daughter in the fire to Molech. 11 He removed the horses that the kings of Judah had dedicated to the sun from the entrance to the Lord's Temple. They were in the courtyard near the room of a eunuch named Nathan-melech. Josiah also burned the chariots dedicated to the sun. 12 He demolished the altars that the kings of Judah had set up on the roof near the upper chamber of Ahaz, and the altars Manasseh had placed in the two courtyards of the Lord's Temple. The king smashed them to pieces and scattered them in the Kidron Valley. 13 The king also defiled the high places to the east of Jerusalem, to the south of the Mount of Corruption, the places which King Solomon of Israel had built for Ashtoreth, the vile goddess of the Sidonians, for Chemosh, the vile god of the Moabites, and for Molech, the vile god of the Ammonites. 14 He smashed the sacred stone pillars to pieces, chopped down the Asherah poles, and covered the places with human bones.
15 He also demolished the altar at Bethel, the high place set up by Jeroboam, son of Nebat, who had made Israel sin. Then he burned the high place, ground it to dust, and burned the Asherah pole. 16 As Josiah looked around he saw some tombs there on the hill. He had the bones taken from the tombs, and he burned them on the altar to defile it, just as the Lord had said through the man of God who had prophesied these things.
17 Then he asked, “Whose gravestone is this that I see?”
“It's the tomb of the man of God who came from Judah and proclaimed exactly what you have done to the altar of Bethel,” the townspeople replied.
18 Let him rest in peace,” said Josiah. “Don't anyone touch his bones.” So they left his bones undisturbed, together with the bones of the prophet who came from Samaria.
19 Josiah destroyed, just as he did at Bethel, all the shrines of the high places in the towns of Samaria that the kings of Israel had built that had angered the Lord. 20 Josiah slaughtered all the priests who were there at the high places on the altars, and burned human bones on them. Then he returned to Jerusalem.
21 The king sent out an order to all the people, “Observe the Passover of the Lord your God, as it is written in this Book of the Agreement.” 22 Such a Passover as this had not been observed from the days of the judges who ruled Israel on through all the days of the kings of Israel and Judah. 23 But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah, this Passover was observed to honor the Lord in Jerusalem.
24 In addition, Josiah got rid of the mediums and spiritists, the household gods and idols, and all the disgusting practices that were present in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem. He did this to fulfill the words of the law written in the book that Hilkiah the priest had found in the Lord's Temple.
25 Never before was there a king like him who committed himself to the Lord in all his thoughts and attitudes, and with all his strength, keeping all the Law of Moses. There was no king like him afterwards either.
26 However, the Lord had not given up his furious hostility, which burned against Judah because of all that Manasseh had done to anger him. 27 So the Lord announced, “I'm also going to banish Judah from my presence, just as I banished Israel. I will abandon this city that I have chosen, Jerusalem, and the Temple regarding which I said, My name will be there.”
28 The rest of what happened in Josiah's reign, and all he did, are recorded in the Book of Chronicles of the Kings of Judah.
29 While Josiah was still king, Pharaoh Neco, king of Egypt, led his army to help the king of Assyria at the Euphrates River. King Josiah took his army to fight him at Megiddo, but when Neco saw Josiah he killed him. 30 His servants put his body in a chariot, brought him back from Megiddo to Jerusalem, and buried him in his own tomb. Then the people of the land chose Jehoahaz, son of Josiah, anointed him, and made him king in succession to his father.
31 Jehoahaz was twenty-three when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem for three months. His mother's name was Hamutal, daughter of Jeremiah. She came from Libnah. 32 He did what was evil in the Lord's sight, just as all his forefathers had done. 33 Pharaoh Neco imprisoned Jehoahaz at Riblah in the land of Hamath to stop him ruling in Jerusalem. He also imposed on Judah a tribute of one hundred talents of silver and a talent of gold. 34 Pharaoh Neco made Eliakim, son of Josiah, king in succession to his father Josiah, and he changed Eliakim's name to Jehoiakim. Neco took Jehoahaz to Egypt, where he died.
35 Jehoiakim paid the silver and gold to Pharaoh Neco, but in order to meet Pharaoh's demand he taxed the land and required payment of the silver and the gold from the people, each in proportion to their wealth.
36 Jehoiakim was twenty-five when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem for eleven years. His mother's name was Zebidah, daughter of Pedaiah She came from Rumah. 37 He did evil in the Lord's sight, just as his forefathers had done.
* 23:7 Referring to both males and females. 23:8 “To Jerusalem”: implied. 23:17 See 1 Kings 13:2.