The Reign of Josiah
341 Josiah was eight years old when he became king; he was ruling in Jerusalem for thirty-one years. 2 And he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, walking in the ways of his father David, without turning to the right hand or to the left.
3 In the eighth year of his rule, while he was still young, his heart was first turned to the God of his father David; and in the twelfth year he undertook the clearing away of all the high places and the pillars and the images of wood and metal from Judah and Jerusalem. 4 He had the altars of the Baals broken down, while he himself was present; and the sun-images which were placed on high over them he had cut down; and the pillars of wood and the metal images he had broken up and crushed to dust, dropping the dust over the resting-places of the dead who had made offerings to them. 5 And he had the bones of the priests burned on their altars, and so he made Judah and Jerusalem clean. 6 And in all the towns of Manasseh and Ephraim and Simeon as far as Naphtali, he made waste their houses round about. 7 He had the altars and the pillars of wood pulled down and the images crushed to dust, and all the sun-images cut down, through all the land of Israel, and then he went back to Jerusalem.
The Book of the Law Discovered
8 Now in the eighteenth year of his rule, when the land and the house had been made clean, he sent Shaphan, the son of Azaliah, and Maaseiah, the ruler of the town, and Joah, the son of Joahaz, the recorder, to make good what was damaged in the house of the Lord his God. 9 And they came to Hilkiah, the chief priest, and gave him all the money which had been taken into the house of God, which the Levites, the keepers of the door, had got from Manasseh and Ephraim and those of Israel who had not been taken away as prisoners, and from all Judah and Benjamin and the people of Jerusalem. 10 And they gave it to the overseers of the work of the Lord's house, and the overseers gave it to the workmen working in the house, for building it up and making good what was damaged; 11 Even to the woodworkers and builders to get cut stone and wood for joining the structure together and for making boards for the houses which the kings of Judah had given up to destruction. 12 And the men did the work well; and those who had authority over them were Jahath and Obadiah, Levites of the sons of Merari, and Zechariah and Meshullam, of the sons of the Kohathites, who were to be responsible for seeing that the work was done; and others of the Levites, who were expert with instruments of music, 13 Had authority over the transport workers, giving directions to all who were doing any sort of work; and among the Levites there were scribes and overseers and door-keepers.
14 Now when they were taking out the money which had come into the Lord's house, Hilkiah the priest came across the book of the law of the Lord, which he had given by the mouth of Moses. 15 Then Hilkiah said to Shaphan the scribe, I have made discovery of the book of the law in the house of the Lord. And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan. 16 And Shaphan took the book to the king; and he gave him an account of what had been done, saying, Your servants are doing all they have been given to do; 17 They have taken out all the money which was in the Lord's house and have given it to the overseers and to the workmen. 18 Then Shaphan the scribe said to the king, Hilkiah the priest has given me a book; and he made a start at reading some of it to the king. 19 And the king, hearing the words of the law, took his robe in his hands, violently parting it as a sign of his grief. 20 And he gave orders to Hilkiah and to Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, and Abdon, the son of Micah, and Shaphan the scribe and Asaiah, the king's servant, saying, 21 Go and get directions from the Lord for me and for those who are still in Israel and for Judah, about the words of this book which has come to light; for great is the wrath of the Lord which has been let loose on us, because our fathers have not kept the word of the Lord or done what is recorded in this book. 22 So Hilkiah, and those whom the king sent, went to Huldah the woman prophet, the wife of Shallum, the son of Tokhath, the son of Hasrah, the keeper of the robes (now she was living in Jerusalem, in the second part of the town); and they had talk with her about this thing. 23 And she said to them, The Lord, the God of Israel, has said, Say to the man who sent you to me, 24 These are the words of the Lord: See, I will send evil on this place and on its people, even all the curses in the book which they have been reading before the king of Judah; 25 Because they have given me up, burning offerings to other gods and moving me to wrath by all the works of their hands; so my wrath is let loose on this place and will not be put out. 26 But to the king of Judah who sent you to get directions from the Lord, say, This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, has said: Because you have given ear to my words, 27 And your heart was soft, and you made yourself low before God, on hearing his words about this place and its people, and with weeping and signs of grief have made yourself low before me, I have given ear to you, says the Lord God. 28 See, I will let you go to your fathers, and be put in your last resting-place in peace, and your eyes will not see all the evil which I will send on this place and on its people. So they took this news back to the king.
29 Then the king sent and got together all the responsible men of Judah and of Jerusalem. 30 And the king went up to the house of the Lord, with all the men of Judah and the people of Jerusalem, and the priests and the Levites and all the people, small and great; and they were present at his reading of the book of the law which had come to light in the house of the Lord. 31 Then the king, taking his place by the pillar, made an agreement before the Lord, to go in the way of the Lord, and to keep his orders and his decisions and his rules with all his heart and with all his soul, and to keep the words of the agreement recorded in this book. 32 And he made all the people in Jerusalem and Benjamin give their word to keep it. And the people of Jerusalem kept the agreement of God, the God of their fathers. 33 Josiah took away all the disgusting things out of all the lands of the children of Israel, and made all who were in Israel servants of the Lord their God. And as long as he was living they were true to the Lord, the God of their fathers.
Josiah Keeps the Passover
351 And Josiah kept a Passover to the Lord in Jerusalem; on the fourteenth day of the first month they put the Passover lamb to death. 2 And he gave the priests their places, making them strong for the work of the house of God. 3 And he said to the Levites, the teachers of all Israel, who were holy to the Lord, See, the holy ark is in the house which Solomon, the son of David, king of Israel, made; it will no longer have to be transported on your backs: now be the servants of the Lord your God and his people Israel, 4 And make yourselves ready in your divisions, by your families, as it is ordered in the writings of David, king of Israel, and of Solomon his son; 5 And take your positions in the holy place, grouped in the families of your brothers, the children of the people, and for every division let there be a part of a family of the Levites. 6 And put the Passover lamb to death, and make yourselves holy, and make it ready for your brothers, so that the orders given by the Lord through Moses may be done. 7 And Josiah gave lambs and goats from the flock as Passover offerings for all the people who were present, to the number of thirty thousand, and three thousand oxen: these were from the king's private property. 8 And his captains freely gave an offering to the people, the priests, and the Levites. Hilkiah and Zechariah and Jehiel, the rulers of the house of God, gave to the priests for the Passover offerings two thousand, six hundred small cattle and three hundred oxen. 9 And Conaniah and Shemaiah and Nethanel, his brothers, and Hashabiah and Jeiel and Jozabad, the chiefs of the Levites, gave to the Levites for the Passover offerings five thousand small cattle and five hundred oxen. 10 So everything was made ready and the priests took their places with the Levites in their divisions, as the king had said. 11 And they put the Passover lambs to death, the blood being drained out by the priests when it was given to them, and the Levites did the skinning. 12 And they took away the burned offerings, so that they might give them to be offered to the Lord for the divisions of the families of the people, as it is recorded in the book of Moses. And they did the same with the oxen. 13 And the Passover lamb was cooked over the fire, as it says in the law; and the holy offerings were cooked in pots and basins and vessels, and taken quickly to all the people. 14 And after that, they made ready for themselves and for the priests; for the priests, the sons of Aaron, were offering the burned offerings and the fat till night; so the Levites made ready what was needed for themselves and for the priests, the sons of Aaron. 15 And the sons of Asaph, the makers of melody, were in their places, as ordered by David and Asaph and Heman and Jeduthun, the king's seer; and the door-keepers were stationed at every door: there was no need for them to go away from their places, for their brothers the Levites made ready for them. 16 So everything needed for the worship of the Lord was made ready that same day, for the keeping of the Passover and the offering of burned offerings on the altar of the Lord, as King Josiah had given orders. 17 And all the children of Israel who were present kept the Passover and the feast of unleavened bread at that time for seven days. 18 No Passover like it had been kept in Israel from the days of Samuel the prophet; and not one of the kings of Israel had ever kept a Passover like the one kept by Josiah and the priests and the Levites and all those of Judah and Israel who were present, and the people of Jerusalem. 19 In the eighteenth year of the rule of Josiah this Passover was kept.
The Death of Josiah
20 After all this, and after Josiah had put the house in order, Neco, king of Egypt, went up to make war at Carchemish by the river Euphrates; and Josiah went out against him. 21 But he sent representatives to him, saying, What have I to do with you, O king of Judah? I have not come against you this day, but against those with whom I am at war; and God has given me orders to go forward quickly: keep out of God's way, for he is with me, or he will send destruction on you. 22 However, Josiah would not go back; but keeping to his purpose of fighting against him, and giving no attention to the words of Neco, which came from God, he went forward to the fight in the valley of Megiddo. 23 And the bowmen sent their arrows at King Josiah, and the king said to his servants, Take me away, for I am badly wounded. 24 So his servants took him out of the line of war-carriages, and put him in his second carriage and took him to Jerusalem, where he came to his end, and they put his body in the resting-place of his fathers. And in all Judah and Jerusalem there was great weeping for Josiah. 25 And Jeremiah made a song of grief for Josiah; and to this day Josiah is named by all the makers of melody, men and women, in their songs of grief; they made it a rule in Israel; and the songs are recorded among the songs of grief. 26 Now the rest of the acts of Josiah, and the good he did, in keeping with what is recorded in the law of the Lord, 27 And all his acts, first and last, are recorded in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah.
The Reign and Dethronement of Jehoahaz
361 Then the people of the land took Jehoahaz, the son of Josiah, and made him king in Jerusalem in place of his father. 2 Jehoahaz was twenty-three years old when he became king; he was ruling in Jerusalem for three months. 3 Then the king of Egypt took the kingdom from him in Jerusalem, and put on the land a tax of a hundred talents of silver and a talent of gold. 4 And the king of Egypt made Eliakim his brother king over Judah and Jerusalem, changing his name to Jehoiakim. And Neco took his brother Jehoahaz away to Egypt.
The Reign of Jehoiakim
5 Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he became king; he was ruling in Jerusalem for eleven years, and he did evil in the eyes of the Lord his God. 6 Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, came up against him, and took him away in chains to Babylon. 7 And Nebuchadnezzar took away some of the vessels of the Lord's house, and put them in the house of his god in Babylon. 8 Now the rest of the acts of Jehoiakim and the disgusting things he did, and all there is to be said against him, are recorded in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah; and Jehoiachin his son became king in his place.
Jehoiachin Taken Captive to Babylon
9 Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he became king; he was ruling in Jerusalem for three months and ten days, and he did evil in the eyes of the Lord. 10 In the spring of the year King Nebuchadnezzar sent and took him away to Babylon, with the beautiful vessels of the house of the Lord, and made Zedekiah, his father's brother, king over Judah and Jerusalem.
The Reign of Zedekiah
11 Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king; he was ruling in Jerusalem for eleven years. 12 He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, and did not make himself low before Jeremiah the prophet who gave him the word of the Lord. 13 And he took up arms against King Nebuchadnezzar, though he had made him take an oath by God; but he made his neck stiff and his heart hard, turning away from the Lord, the God of Israel. 14 And more than this, all the great men of Judah and the priests and the people made their sin great, turning to all the disgusting ways of the nations; and they made unclean the house of the Lord which he had made holy in Jerusalem. 15 And the Lord, the God of their fathers, sent word to them by his servants, sending early and frequently, because he had pity on his people and on his living-place; 16 But they put shame on the servants of God, making sport of his words and laughing at his prophets, till the wrath of God was moved against his people, till there was no help.
The Captivity of Judah
17 So he sent against them the king of the Chaldaeans, who put their young men to death with the sword in the house of their holy place, and had no pity for any, young man or virgin, old man or white-haired: God gave them all into his hands. 18 And all the vessels of the house of God, great and small, and the stored wealth of the Lord's house and the wealth of the king and his chiefs, he took away to Babylon. 19 And the house of God was burned and the wall of Jerusalem broken down; all its great houses were burned with fire and all its beautiful vessels given up to destruction. 20 And all who had not come to death by the sword he took away prisoners to Babylon; and they became servants to him and to his sons till the kingdom of Persia came to power: 21 So that the words of the Lord, which he said by the mouth of Jeremiah, might come true, till the land had had pleasure in her Sabbaths; for as long as she was waste the land kept the Sabbath, till seventy years were complete.
The Proclamation of Cyrus
22 Now in the first year of Cyrus, king of Persia, in order that the words which the Lord had said by the mouth of Jeremiah might come true, the spirit of Cyrus, king of Persia, was moved by the Lord, and he made a public statement and had it given out through all his kingdom and put in writing, saying, 23 Cyrus, king of Persia, has said, All the kingdoms of the earth have been given to me by the Lord, the God of heaven; and he has made me responsible for building a house for him in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever there is among you of all his people, may the Lord his God be with him and let him go up.