Hezekiah Becomes King of Judah
18:1 In the third year of the reign of Israel’s King Hoshea son of Elah, Ahaz’s son Hezekiah became king over Judah. 18:2 He was twenty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. 1 His mother 2 was Abi, 3 the daughter of Zechariah. 18:3 He did what the Lord approved, just as his ancestor David had done. 4 18:4 He eliminated the high places, smashed the sacred pillars to bits, and cut down the Asherah pole. 5 He also demolished the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for up to that time 6 the Israelites had been offering incense to it; it was called Nehushtan. 7 18:5 He trusted in the Lord God of Israel; in this regard there was none like him among the kings of Judah either before or after. 8 18:6 He was loyal to 9 the Lord and did not abandon him. 10 He obeyed the commandments which the Lord had given to 11 Moses. 18:7 The Lord was with him; he succeeded in all his endeavors. 12 He rebelled against the king of Assyria and refused to submit to him. 13 18:8 He defeated the Philistines as far as Gaza and its territory, from the watchtower to the city fortress. 14
18:9 In the fourth year of King Hezekiah’s reign (it was the seventh year of the reign of Israel’s King Hoshea, son of Elah), King Shalmaneser of Assyria marched 15 up against Samaria 16 and besieged it. 18:10 After three years he captured it (in the sixth year of Hezekiah’s reign); in the ninth year of King Hoshea’s reign over Israel Samaria was captured. 18:11 The king of Assyria deported the people of Israel 17 to Assyria. He settled them in Halah, along the Habor (the river of Gozan), and in the cities of the Medes. 18:12 This happened because they did not obey 18 the Lord their God and broke his agreement with them. 19 They did not pay attention to and obey all that Moses, the Lord’s servant, had commanded. 20
Sennacherib Invades Judah
18:13 In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah’s reign, King Sennacherib of Assyria marched up against all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them. 18:14 King Hezekiah of Judah sent this message to the king of Assyria, who was at Lachish, “I have violated our treaty. 21 If you leave, I will do whatever you demand.” 22 So the king of Assyria demanded that King Hezekiah of Judah pay three hundred talents 23 of silver and thirty talents of gold. 18:15 Hezekiah gave him all the silver in 24 the Lord’s temple and in the treasuries of the royal palace. 18:16 At that time King Hezekiah of Judah stripped the metal overlays from the doors of the Lord’s temple and from the posts which he had plated 25 and gave them to the king of Assyria.
18:17 The king of Assyria sent his commanding general, the chief eunuch, and the chief adviser 26 from Lachish to King Hezekiah in Jerusalem, 27 along with a large army. They went up and arrived at Jerusalem. They went 28 and stood at the conduit of the upper pool which is located on the road to the field where they wash and dry cloth. 29 18:18 They summoned the king, so Eliakim son of Hilkiah, the palace supervisor, accompanied by Shebna the scribe and Joah son of Asaph, the secretary, went out to meet them.
18:19 The chief adviser said to them, “Tell Hezekiah: ‘This is what the great king, the king of Assyria, says: “What is your source of confidence? 30 18:20 Your claim to have a strategy and military strength is just empty talk. 31 In whom are you trusting that you would dare to rebel against me? 18:21 Now look, you must be trusting in Egypt, that splintered reed staff. If a man leans for support on it, it punctures his hand and wounds him. That is what Pharaoh king of Egypt does to all who trust in him. 18:22 Perhaps you will tell me, ‘We are trusting in the Lord our God.’ But Hezekiah is the one who eliminated his high places and altars and then told the people of Judah and Jerusalem, ‘You must worship at this altar in Jerusalem.’ 18:23 Now make a deal 32 with my master the king of Assyria, and I will give you two thousand horses, provided you can find enough riders for them. 18:24 Certainly you will not refuse one of my master’s minor officials and trust in Egypt for chariots and horsemen. 33 18:25 Furthermore it was by the command of the Lord that I marched up against this place to destroy it. The Lord told me, ‘March 34 up against this land and destroy it.’”’” 35
18:26 Eliakim son of Hilkiah, Shebna, and Joah said to the chief adviser, “Speak to your servants in Aramaic, 36 for we understand it. Don’t speak with us in the Judahite dialect 37 in the hearing of the people who are on the wall.” 18:27 But the chief adviser said to them, “My master did not send me to speak these words only to your master and to you. 38 His message is also for the men who sit on the wall, for they will eat their own excrement and drink their own urine along with you.” 39
18:28 The chief adviser then stood there and called out loudly in the Judahite dialect, 40 “Listen to the message of the great king, the king of Assyria. 18:29 This is what the king says: ‘Don’t let Hezekiah mislead you, for he is not able to rescue you from my hand! 41 18:30 Don’t let Hezekiah talk you into trusting in the Lord when he says, “The Lord will certainly rescue us; this city will not be handed over to the king of Assyria.” 18:31 Don’t listen to Hezekiah!’ For this is what the king of Assyria says, ‘Send me a token of your submission and surrender to me. 42 Then each of you may eat from his own vine and fig tree and drink water from his own cistern, 18:32 until I come and take you to a land just like your own – a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive trees and honey. Then you will live and not die. Don’t listen to Hezekiah, for he is misleading you when he says, “The Lord will rescue us.” 18:33 Have any of the gods of the nations actually rescued his land from the power of the king of Assyria? 43 18:34 Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah? 44 Indeed, did any gods rescue Samaria 45 from my power? 46 18:35 Who among all the gods of the lands has rescued their lands from my power? So how can the Lord rescue Jerusalem from my power?’” 47 18:36 The people were silent and did not respond, for the king had ordered, “Don’t respond to him.”
18:37 Eliakim son of Hilkiah, the palace supervisor, accompanied by Shebna the scribe and Joah son of Asaph, the secretary, went to Hezekiah with their clothes torn 48 and reported to him what the chief adviser had said. 19:1 When King Hezekiah heard this, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth, and went to the Lord’s temple. 19:2 He sent Eliakim the palace supervisor, Shebna the scribe, and the leading priests, 49 clothed in sackcloth, with this message to the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz: 19:3 “This is what Hezekiah says: 50 ‘This is a day of distress, insults, 51 and humiliation, 52 as when a baby is ready to leave the birth canal, but the mother lacks the strength to push it through. 53 19:4 Perhaps the Lord your God will hear all these things the chief adviser has spoken on behalf of his master, the king of Assyria, who sent him to taunt the living God. 54 When the Lord your God hears, perhaps he will punish him for the things he has said. 55 So pray for this remnant that remains.’” 56
19:5 When King Hezekiah’s servants came to Isaiah, 19:6 Isaiah said to them, “Tell your master this: ‘This is what the Lord says: “Don’t be afraid because of the things you have heard – these insults the king of Assyria’s servants have hurled against me. 57 19:7 Look, I will take control of his mind; 58 he will receive 59 a report and return to his own land. I will cut him down 60 with a sword in his own land.”’”
19:8 When the chief adviser heard the king of Assyria had departed from Lachish, he left and went to Libnah, where the king was campaigning. 61 19:9 The king 62 heard that King Tirhakah of Ethiopia was marching out to fight him. 63 He again sent messengers to Hezekiah, ordering them: 19:10 “Tell King Hezekiah of Judah this: ‘Don’t let your God in whom you trust mislead you when he says, “Jerusalem will not be handed over 64 to the king of Assyria.” 19:11 Certainly you have heard how the kings of Assyria have annihilated all lands. 65 Do you really think you will be rescued? 66 19:12 Were the nations whom my ancestors destroyed – the nations of Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the people of Eden in Telassar – rescued by their gods? 67 19:13 Where are the king of Hamath, the king of Arpad, and the king of Lair, 68 Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah?’”
19:14 Hezekiah took the letter 69 from the messengers and read it. 70 Then Hezekiah went up to the Lord’s temple and spread it out before the Lord. 19:15 Hezekiah prayed before the Lord: “Lord God of Israel, who is enthroned on the cherubs! 71 You alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You made the sky 72 and the earth. 19:16 Pay attention, Lord, and hear! Open your eyes, Lord, and observe! Listen to the message Sennacherib sent and how he taunts the living God! 73 19:17 It is true, Lord, that the kings of Assyria have destroyed the nations and their lands. 19:18 They have burned the gods of the nations, 74 for they are not really gods, but only the product of human hands manufactured from wood and stone. That is why the Assyrians could destroy them. 75 19:19 Now, O Lord our God, rescue us from his power, so that all the kingdoms of the earth will know that you, Lord, are the only God.”
19:20 Isaiah son of Amoz sent this message to Hezekiah: “This is what the Lord God of Israel says: ‘I have heard your prayer concerning King Sennacherib of Assyria. 76 19:21 This is what the Lord says about him: 77
“The virgin daughter Zion 78
despises you, she makes fun of you;
shakes her head after you. 79
19:22 Whom have you taunted and hurled insults at?
At whom have you shouted, 80
and looked so arrogantly? 81
At the Holy One of Israel! 82
19:23 Through your messengers you taunted the sovereign master, 83
‘With my many chariots 84
I climbed up the high mountains,
the slopes of Lebanon.
I cut down its tall cedars,
and its best evergreens.
I invaded its most remote regions, 85
its thickest woods.
19:24 I dug wells and drank
water in foreign lands. 86
With the soles of my feet I dried up
all the rivers of Egypt.’ 19:25 87
Certainly you must have heard! 88
Long ago I worked it out,
In ancient times I planned 89 it;
and now I am bringing it to pass.
The plan is this:
Fortified cities will crash
into heaps of ruins. 90
19:26 Their residents are powerless, 91
they are terrified and ashamed.
They are as short-lived as plants in the field,
or green vegetation. 92
They are as short-lived as grass on the rooftops 93
when it is scorched by the east wind. 94
19:27 I know where you live,
and everything you do. 95
19:28 Because you rage against me,
and the uproar you create has reached my ears; 96
I will put my hook in your nose, 97
and my bridle between your lips,
and I will lead you back the way
you came.” 19:29 98
This will be your confirmation that I have spoken the truth: 99 This year you will eat what grows wild, 100 and next year 101 what grows on its own from that. But in the third year you will plant seed and harvest crops; you will plant vines and consume their produce. 102 19:30 Those who remain in Judah will take root in the ground and bear fruit. 103
19:31 For a remnant will leave Jerusalem;
survivors will come out of Mount Zion.
The intense devotion of the sovereign Lord 104 to his people 105 will accomplish this.
19:32 So this is what the Lord says about the king of Assyria:
“He will not enter this city,
nor will he shoot an arrow here. 106
He will not attack it with his shield-carrying warriors, 107
nor will he build siege works against it.
19:33 He will go back the way he came.
He will not enter this city,” says the Lord.
19:34 I will shield this city and rescue it for the sake of my reputation and because of my promise to David my servant.’” 108
19:35 That very night the Lord’s messenger went out and killed 185,000 men in the Assyrian camp. When they 109 got up early the next morning, there were all the corpses. 110 19:36 So King Sennacherib of Assyria broke camp and went on his way. He went home and stayed in Nineveh. 111 19:37 One day, 112 as he was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisroch, 113 his sons 114 Adrammelech and Sharezer struck him down with the sword. 115 They escaped to the land of Ararat; his son Esarhaddon replaced him as king.
Hezekiah is Healed
20:1 In those days Hezekiah was stricken with a terminal illness. 116 The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz visited him and told him, “This is what the Lord says, ‘Give your household instructions, for you are about to die; you will not get well.’” 117 20:2 He turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, 20:3 “Please, Lord. Remember how I have served you 118 faithfully and with wholehearted devotion, 119 and how I have carried out your will.” 120 Then Hezekiah wept bitterly. 121
20:4 Isaiah was still in the middle courtyard when the Lord told him, 122 20:5 “Go back and tell Hezekiah, the leader of my people: ‘This is what the Lord God of your ancestor David says: “I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Look, I will heal you. The day after tomorrow 123 you will go up to the Lord’s temple. 20:6 I will add fifteen years to your life and rescue you and this city from the king of Assyria. I will shield this city for the sake of my reputation and because of my promise to David my servant.”’” 124 20:7 Isaiah ordered, “Get a fig cake.” So they did as he ordered 125 and placed it on the ulcerated sore, and he recovered. 126
20:8 Hezekiah had said to Isaiah, “What is the confirming sign that the Lord will heal me and that I will go up to the Lord’s temple the day after tomorrow?” 20:9 Isaiah replied, “This is your sign from the Lord confirming that the Lord will do what he has said. Do you want the shadow to move ahead ten steps or to go back ten steps?” 127 20:10 Hezekiah answered, “It is easy for the shadow to lengthen ten steps, but not for it 128 to go back ten steps.” 20:11 Isaiah the prophet called out to the Lord, and the Lord 129 made the shadow go back ten steps on the stairs of Ahaz. 130
Messengers from Babylon Visit Hezekiah
20:12 At that time Merodach-Baladan 131 son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a gift to Hezekiah, for he had heard that Hezekiah was ill. 20:13 Hezekiah welcomed 132 them and showed them his whole storehouse, with its silver, gold, spices, and high quality olive oil, as well as his armory and everything in his treasuries. Hezekiah showed them everything in his palace and in his whole kingdom. 133 20:14 Isaiah the prophet visited King Hezekiah and asked him, “What did these men say? Where do they come from?” Hezekiah replied, “They come from the distant land of Babylon.” 20:15 Isaiah 134 asked, “What have they seen in your palace?” Hezekiah replied, “They have seen everything in my palace. I showed them everything 135 in my treasuries.” 20:16 Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Listen to the word of the Lord, 20:17 ‘Look, a time is 136 coming when everything in your palace and the things your ancestors have accumulated to this day will be carried away to Babylon; nothing will be left,’ says the Lord. 20:18 ‘Some of your very own descendants whom you father 137 will be taken away and will be made eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.’” 20:19 Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “The Lord’s word which you have announced is appropriate.” 138 Then he added, 139 “At least there will be peace and stability during my lifetime.” 140
20:20 The rest of the events of Hezekiah’s reign and all his accomplishments, including how he built a pool and conduit to bring 141 water into the city, are recorded in the scroll called the Annals of the Kings of Judah. 142 20:21 Hezekiah passed away 143 and his son Manasseh replaced him as king.
Manasseh’s Reign over Judah
21:1 Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned for fifty-five years in Jerusalem. 144 His mother 145 was Hephzibah. 21:2 He did evil in the sight of 146 the Lord and committed the same horrible sins practiced by the nations 147 whom the Lord drove out from before the Israelites. 21:3 He rebuilt the high places that his father Hezekiah had destroyed; he set up altars for Baal and made an Asherah pole just like King Ahab of Israel had done. He bowed down to all the stars in the sky 148 and worshiped 149 them. 21:4 He built altars in the Lord’s temple, about which the Lord had said, “Jerusalem will be my home.” 150 21:5 In the two courtyards of the Lord’s temple he built altars for all the stars in the sky. 21:6 He passed his son 151 through the fire 152 and practiced divination and omen reading. He set up a ritual pit to conjure up underworld spirits, and appointed magicians to supervise it. 153 He did a great amount of evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking him to anger. 154 21:7 He put an idol of Asherah he had made in the temple, about which the Lord had said to David and to his son Solomon, “This temple in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, will be my permanent home. 155 21:8 I will not make Israel again leave the land I gave to their ancestors, 156 provided that they carefully obey all I commanded them, the whole law my servant Moses ordered them to obey.” 21:9 But they did not obey, 157 and Manasseh misled them so that they sinned more than the nations whom the Lord had destroyed from before the Israelites.
21:10 So the Lord announced through 158 his servants the prophets: 21:11 “King Manasseh of Judah has committed horrible sins. 159 He has sinned more than the Amorites before him and has encouraged Judah to sin by worshiping his disgusting idols. 160 21:12 So this is what the Lord God of Israel says, ‘I am about to bring disaster on Jerusalem and Judah. The news will reverberate in the ears of those who hear about it. 161 21:13 I will destroy Jerusalem the same way I did Samaria 162 and the dynasty of Ahab. 163 I will wipe Jerusalem clean, just as one wipes a plate on both sides. 164 21:14 I will abandon this last remaining tribe among my people 165 and hand them over to their enemies; they will be plundered and robbed by all their enemies, 166 21:15 because they have done evil in my sight 167 and have angered me from the time their ancestors left Egypt right up to this very day!’”
21:16 Furthermore Manasseh killed so many innocent people, he stained Jerusalem with their blood from end to end, 168 in addition to encouraging Judah to sin by doing evil in the sight of the Lord. 169
21:17 The rest of the events of Manasseh’s reign and all his accomplishments, as well as the sinful acts he committed, are recorded in the scroll called the Annals of the Kings of Judah. 170 21:18 Manasseh passed away 171 and was buried in his palace garden, the garden of Uzzah, and his son Amon replaced him as king.
Amon’s Reign over Judah
21:19 Amon was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned for two years in Jerusalem. 172 His mother 173 was Meshullemeth, the daughter of Haruz, from Jotbah. 21:20 He did evil in the sight of 174 the Lord, just like his father Manasseh had done. 21:21 He followed in the footsteps of his father 175 and worshiped and bowed down to the disgusting idols 176 which his father had worshiped. 177 21:22 He abandoned the Lord God of his ancestors and did not follow the Lord’s instructions. 178 21:23 Amon’s servants conspired against him and killed the king in his palace. 21:24 The people of the land executed all those who had conspired against King Amon, and they 179 made his son Josiah king in his place.
21:25 The rest of Amon’s accomplishments are recorded in the scroll called the Annals of the Kings of Judah. 180 21:26 He was buried 181 in his tomb in the garden of Uzzah, and his son Josiah replaced him as king.
22:1 Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned for thirty-one years in Jerusalem. 182 His mother 183 was Jedidah, daughter of Adaiah, from Bozkath. 22:2 He did what the Lord approved 184 and followed in his ancestor David’s footsteps; 185 he did not deviate to the right or the left.
22:3 In the eighteenth year of King Josiah’s reign, the king sent the scribe Shaphan son of Azaliah, son of Meshullam, to the Lord’s temple with these orders: 186 22:4 “Go up to Hilkiah the high priest and have him melt down 187 the silver that has been brought by the people to the Lord’s temple and has been collected by the guards at the door. 22:5 Have them hand it over to the construction foremen 188 assigned to the Lord’s temple. They in turn should pay the temple workers to repair it, 189 22:6 including craftsmen, builders, and masons, and should buy wood and chiseled stone for the repair work. 190 22:7 Do not audit the foremen who disburse the silver, for they are honest.” 191
22:8 Hilkiah the high priest informed Shaphan the scribe, “I found the law scroll in the Lord’s temple.” Hilkiah gave the scroll to Shaphan and he read it. 22:9 Shaphan the scribe went to the king and reported, 192 “Your servants melted down the silver in the temple 193 and handed it over to the construction foremen assigned to the Lord’s temple.” 22:10 Then Shaphan the scribe told the king, “Hilkiah the priest has given me a scroll.” Shaphan read it out loud before the king. 22:11 When the king heard the words of the law scroll, he tore his clothes. 22:12 The king ordered Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Acbor son of Micaiah, Shaphan the scribe, and Asaiah the king’s servant, 22:13 “Go, seek an oracle from 194 the Lord for me and the people – for all Judah. Find out about 195 the words of this scroll that has been discovered. For the Lord’s fury has been ignited against us, 196 because our ancestors have not obeyed the words of this scroll by doing all that it instructs us to do.” 197
22:14 So Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Acbor, Shaphan, and Asaiah went to Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shullam son of Tikvah, the son of Harhas, the supervisor of the wardrobe. 198 (She lived in Jerusalem in the Mishneh 199 district.) They stated their business, 200 22:15 and she said to them: “This is what the Lord God of Israel says: ‘Say this to the man who sent you to me: 22:16 “This is what the Lord says: ‘I am about to bring disaster on this place and its residents, the details of which are recorded in the scroll which the king of Judah has read. 201 22:17 This will happen because they have abandoned me and offered sacrifices 202 to other gods, angering me with all the idols they have made. 203 My anger will ignite against this place and will not be extinguished!’” 22:18 Say this to the king of Judah, who sent you to seek an oracle from the Lord: “This is what the Lord God of Israel says concerning the words you have heard: 22:19 ‘You displayed a sensitive spirit 204 and humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard how I intended to make this place and its residents into an appalling example of an accursed people. 205 You tore your clothes and wept before me, and I have heard you,’ says the Lord. 22:20 ‘Therefore I will allow you to die and be buried in peace. 206 You will not have to witness 207 all the disaster I will bring on this place.’”’” Then they reported back to the king.
The King Institutes Religious Reform
23:1 The king summoned all the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem. 208 23:2 The king went up to the Lord’s temple, accompanied by all the people of Judah, all the residents of Jerusalem, the priests, and the prophets. All the people were there, from the youngest to the oldest. He read aloud 209 all the words of the scroll of the covenant that had been discovered in the Lord’s temple. 23:3 The king stood by the pillar and renewed 210 the covenant before the Lord, agreeing to follow 211 the Lord and to obey his commandments, laws, and rules with all his heart and being, 212 by carrying out the terms 213 of this covenant recorded on this scroll. All the people agreed to keep the covenant. 214
23:4 The king ordered Hilkiah the high priest, the high-ranking priests, 215 and the guards 216 to bring out of the Lord’s temple all the items that were used in the worship of 217 Baal, Asherah, and all the stars of the sky. 218 The king 219 burned them outside of Jerusalem in the terraces 220 of Kidron, and carried their ashes to Bethel. 221 23:5 He eliminated 222 the pagan priests whom the kings of Judah had appointed to offer sacrifices 223 on the high places in the cities of Judah and in the area right around Jerusalem. (They offered sacrifices 224 to Baal, the sun god, the moon god, the constellations, and all the stars in the sky.) 23:6 He removed the Asherah pole from the Lord’s temple and took it outside Jerusalem to the Kidron Valley, where he burned it. 225 He smashed it to dust and then threw the dust in the public graveyard. 226 23:7 He tore down the quarters 227 of the male cultic prostitutes in the Lord’s temple, where women were weaving shrines 228 for Asherah.
23:8 He brought all the priests from the cities of Judah and ruined 229 the high places where the priests had offered sacrifices, from Geba to Beer Sheba. 230 He tore down the high place of the goat idols 231 situated at the entrance of the gate of Joshua, the city official, on the left side of the city gate. 23:9 (Now the priests of the high places did not go up to the altar of the Lord in Jerusalem, but they did eat unleavened cakes among their fellow priests.) 232 23:10 The king 233 ruined Topheth in the Valley of Ben Hinnom so that no one could pass his son or his daughter through the fire to Molech. 234 23:11 He removed from the entrance to the Lord’s temple the statues of horses 235 that the kings of Judah had placed there in honor of the sun god. (They were kept near the room of Nathan Melech the eunuch, which was situated among the courtyards.) 236 He burned up the chariots devoted to the sun god. 237 23:12 The king tore down the altars the kings of Judah had set up on the roof of Ahaz’s upper room, as well as the altars Manasseh had set up in the two courtyards of the Lord’s temple. He crushed them up 238 and threw the dust in the Kidron Valley. 23:13 The king ruined the high places east of Jerusalem, south of the Mount of Destruction, 239 that King Solomon of Israel had built for the detestable Sidonian goddess Astarte, the detestable Moabite god Chemosh, and the horrible Ammonite god Milcom. 23:14 He smashed the sacred pillars to bits, cut down the Asherah pole, and filled those shrines 240 with human bones.
23:15 He also tore down the altar in Bethel 241 at the high place made by Jeroboam son of Nebat, who encouraged Israel to sin. 242 He burned all the combustible items at that high place and crushed them to dust; including the Asherah pole. 243 23:16 When Josiah turned around, he saw the tombs there on the hill. So he ordered the bones from the tombs to be brought; 244 he burned them on the altar and defiled it. This fulfilled the Lord’s announcement made by the prophet while Jeroboam stood by the altar during a festival. King Josiah 245 turned and saw the grave of the prophet who had foretold this. 246 23:17 He asked, “What is this grave marker I see?” The men from the city replied, “It’s the grave of the prophet 247 who came from Judah and foretold these very things you have done to the altar of Bethel.” 23:18 The king 248 said, “Leave it alone! No one must touch his bones.” So they left his bones undisturbed, as well as the bones of the Israelite prophet buried beside him. 249
23:19 Josiah also removed all the shrines on the high places in the cities of Samaria. The kings of Israel had made them and angered the Lord. 250 He did to them what he had done to the high place in Bethel. 251 23:20 He sacrificed all the priests of the high places on the altars located there, and burned human bones on them. Then he returned to Jerusalem.
23:21 The king ordered all the people, “Observe the Passover of the Lord your God, as prescribed in this scroll of the covenant.” 23:22 He issued this edict because 252 a Passover like this had not been observed since the days of the judges; it was neglected for the entire period of the kings of Israel and Judah. 253 23:23 But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah’s reign, such a Passover of the Lord was observed in Jerusalem.
23:24 Josiah also got rid of 254 the ritual pits used to conjure up spirits, 255 the magicians, personal idols, disgusting images, 256 and all the detestable idols that had appeared in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem. In this way he carried out the terms of the law 257 recorded on the scroll that Hilkiah the priest had discovered in the Lord’s temple. 23:25 No king before or after repented before the Lord as he did, with his whole heart, soul, and being in accordance with the whole law of Moses. 258
23:26 Yet the Lord’s great anger against Judah did not subside; he was still infuriated by all the things Manasseh had done. 259 23:27 The Lord announced, “I will also spurn Judah, 260 just as I spurned Israel. I will reject this city that I chose – both Jerusalem and the temple, about which I said, “I will live there.” 261
23:28 The rest of the events of Josiah’s reign and all his accomplishments are recorded in the scroll called the Annals of the Kings of Judah. 262 23:29 During Josiah’s reign Pharaoh Necho king of Egypt marched toward 263 the Euphrates River to help the king of Assyria. King Josiah marched out to fight him, but Necho 264 killed him at Megiddo 265 when he saw him. 23:30 His servants transported his dead body 266 from Megiddo in a chariot and brought it to Jerusalem, where they buried him in his tomb. The people of the land took Josiah’s son Jehoahaz, poured olive oil on his head, 267 and made him king in his father’s place.
Jehoahaz’s Reign over Judah
23:31 Jehoahaz was twenty-three years old when he became king, and he reigned three months in Jerusalem. 268 His mother 269 was Hamutal the daughter of Jeremiah, from Libnah. 23:32 He did evil in the sight of 270 the Lord as his ancestors had done. 271 23:33 Pharaoh Necho imprisoned him in Riblah in the land of Hamath and prevented him from ruling in Jerusalem. 272 He imposed on the land a special tax 273 of one hundred talents 274 of silver and a talent of gold. 23:34 Pharaoh Necho made Josiah’s son Eliakim king in Josiah’s place, and changed his name to Jehoiakim. He took Jehoahaz to Egypt, where he died. 275 23:35 Jehoiakim paid Pharaoh the required amount of silver and gold, but to meet Pharaoh’s demands Jehoiakim had to tax the land. He collected an assessed amount from each man among the people of the land in order to pay Pharaoh Necho. 276
Jehoiakim’s Reign over Judah
23:36 Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned for eleven years in Jerusalem. 277 His mother was Zebidah the daughter of Pedaiah, from Rumah. 23:37 He did evil in the sight of 278 the Lord as his ancestors had done.
24:1 During Jehoiakim’s reign, 279 King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon attacked. 280 Jehoiakim was his subject for three years, but then he rebelled against him. 281 24:2 The Lord sent against him Babylonian, Syrian, Moabite, and Ammonite raiding bands; he sent them to destroy Judah, as he had warned he would do through his servants the prophets. 282 24:3 Just as the Lord had announced, he rejected Judah because of all the sins which Manasseh had committed. 283 24:4 Because he killed innocent people and stained Jerusalem with their blood, the Lord was unwilling to forgive them. 284
24:5 The rest of the events of Jehoiakim’s reign and all his accomplishments, are recorded in the scroll called the Annals of the Kings of Judah. 285 24:6 He passed away 286 and his son Jehoiachin replaced him as king. 24:7 The king of Egypt did not march out from his land again, for the king of Babylon conquered all the territory that the king of Egypt had formerly controlled between the Brook of Egypt and the Euphrates River.
Jehoiachin’s Reign over Judah
24:8 Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he became king, and he reigned three months in Jerusalem. 287 His mother 288 was Nehushta the daughter of Elnathan, from Jerusalem. 24:9 He did evil in the sight of 289 the Lord as his ancestors had done.
24:10 At that time the generals 290 of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon marched to Jerusalem and besieged the city. 291 24:11 King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came to the city while his generals were besieging it. 24:12 King Jehoiachin of Judah, along with his mother, his servants, his officials, and his eunuchs surrendered 292 to the king of Babylon. The king of Babylon, in the eighth year of his reign, 293 took Jehoiachin 294 prisoner. 24:13 Nebuchadnezzar 295 took from there all the riches in the treasuries of the Lord’s temple and of the royal palace. He removed all the gold items which King Solomon of Israel had made for the Lord’s temple, just as the Lord had warned. 24:14 He deported all the residents of Jerusalem, including all the officials and all the soldiers (10,000 people in all). This included all the craftsmen and those who worked with metal. No one was left except for the poorest among the people of the land. 24:15 He deported Jehoiachin from Jerusalem to Babylon, along with the king’s mother and wives, his eunuchs, and the high-ranking officials of the land. 296 24:16 The king of Babylon deported to Babylon all the soldiers (there were 7,000), as well as 1,000 craftsmen and metal workers. This included all the best warriors. 297 24:17 The king of Babylon made Mattaniah, Jehoiachin’s 298 uncle, king in Jehoiachin’s place. He renamed him Zedekiah.
Zedekiah’s Reign over Judah
24:18 Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he ruled for eleven years in Jerusalem. 299 His mother 300 was Hamutal, 301 the daughter of Jeremiah, from Libnah. 24:19 He did evil in the sight of 302 the Lord, as Jehoiakim had done. 303
24:20 What follows is a record of what happened to Jerusalem and Judah because of the Lord’s anger; he finally threw them out of his presence. 304 Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon. 25:1 So King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came against Jerusalem with his whole army and set up camp outside 305 it. They built siege ramps all around it. He arrived on the tenth day of the tenth month in the ninth year of Zedekiah’s reign. 306 25:2 The city remained under siege until King Zedekiah’s eleventh year. 25:3 By the ninth day of the fourth month 307 the famine in the city was so severe the residents 308 had no food. 25:4 The enemy broke through the city walls, 309 and all the soldiers tried to escape. They left the city during the night. 310 They went through the gate between the two walls that is near the king’s garden. 311 (The Babylonians were all around the city.) Then they headed for the Jordan Valley. 312 25:5 But the Babylonian army chased after the king. They caught up with him in the plains of Jericho, 313 and his entire army deserted him. 25:6 They captured the king and brought him up to the king of Babylon at Riblah, 314 where he 315 passed sentence on him. 25:7 Zedekiah’s sons were executed while Zedekiah was forced to watch. 316 The king of Babylon 317 then had Zedekiah’s eyes put out, bound him in bronze chains, and carried him off to Babylon.
Nebuchadnezzar Destroys Jerusalem
25:8 On the seventh 318 day of the fifth month, 319 in the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, Nebuzaradan, the captain of the royal guard 320 who served the king of Babylon, arrived in Jerusalem. 321 25:9 He burned down the Lord’s temple, the royal palace, and all the houses in Jerusalem, including every large house. 322 25:10 The whole Babylonian army that came with the captain of the royal guard tore down the walls that surrounded Jerusalem. 25:11 Nebuzaradan, the captain of the royal guard, deported the rest of the people who were left in the city, those who had deserted to the king of Babylon, and the rest of the craftsmen. 323 25:12 But he 324 left behind some of the poor of the land and gave them fields and vineyards.
25:13 The Babylonians broke the two bronze pillars in the Lord’s temple, as well as the movable stands and the big bronze basin called the “The Sea.” 325 They took the bronze to Babylon. 25:14 They also took the pots, shovels, 326 trimming shears, 327 pans, and all the bronze utensils used by the priests. 328 25:15 The captain of the royal guard took the golden and silver censers 329 and basins. 25:16 The bronze of the items that King Solomon made for the Lord’s temple – including the two pillars, the big bronze basin called “The Sea,” the twelve bronze bulls under “The Sea,” 330 and the movable stands – was too heavy to be weighed. 25:17 Each of the pillars was about twenty-seven feet 331 high. The bronze top of one pillar was about four and a half feet 332 high and had bronze latticework and pomegranate shaped ornaments all around it. The second pillar with its latticework was like it.
25:18 The captain of the royal guard took Seraiah the chief priest and Zephaniah, the priest who was second in rank, and the three doorkeepers. 25:19 From the city he took a eunuch who was in charge of the soldiers, five 333 of the king’s advisers 334 who were discovered in the city, an official army secretary who drafted citizens 335 for military service, and sixty citizens from the people of the land who were discovered in the city. 25:20 Nebuzaradan, captain of the royal guard, took them and brought them to the king of Babylon at Riblah. 25:21 The king of Babylon ordered them to be executed 336 at Riblah in the territory 337 of Hamath. So Judah was deported from its land.
Gedaliah Appointed Governor
25:22 Now King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon appointed Gedaliah son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan, as governor over the people whom he allowed to remain in the land of Judah. 338 25:23 All of the officers of the Judahite army 339 and their troops heard that the king of Babylon had appointed Gedaliah to govern. So they came to Gedaliah at Mizpah. The officers who came were Ishmael son of Nethaniah, Johanan son of Kareah, Seraiah son of Tanhumeth the Netophathite, and Jaazaniah son of the Maacathite. 25:24 Gedaliah took an oath so as to give them and their troops some assurance of safety. 340 He said, “You don’t need to be afraid to submit to the Babylonian officials. Settle down in the land and submit to the king of Babylon. Then things will go well for you.” 25:25 But in the seventh month 341 Ishmael son of Nethaniah, son of Elishama, who was a member of the royal family, 342 came with ten of his men and murdered Gedaliah, 343 as well as the Judeans and Babylonians who were with him at Mizpah. 25:26 Then all the people, from the youngest to the oldest, as well as the army officers, left for 344 Egypt, because they were afraid of what the Babylonians might do.
Jehoiachin in Babylon
25:27 In the thirty-seventh year of the exile of King Jehoiachin of Judah, on the twenty-seventh 345 day of the twelfth month, 346 King Evil-Merodach of Babylon, in the first year of his reign, pardoned 347 King Jehoiachin of Judah and released him 348 from prison. 25:28 He spoke kindly to him and gave him a more prestigious position than 349 the other kings who were with him in Babylon. 25:29 Jehoiachin 350 took off his prison clothes and ate daily in the king’s presence for the rest of his life. 25:30 He was given daily provisions by the king for the rest of his life until the day he died. 351