Bible: 2 Kings 18-25

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;

Daughter Jerusalem

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.

Josiah Repents

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 

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