Bible: 2 Kings 22-25

Josiah Repents

22:1 Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned for thirty-one years in Jerusalem. 1  His mother 2  was Jedidah, daughter of Adaiah, from Bozkath. 22:2 He did what the Lord approved 3  and followed in his ancestor David’s footsteps; 4  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: 5  22:4 Go up to Hilkiah the high priest and have him melt down 6  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 7  assigned to the Lord’s temple. They in turn should pay the temple workers to repair it, 8  22:6 including craftsmen, builders, and masons, and should buy wood and chiseled stone for the repair work. 9  22:7 Do not audit the foremen who disburse the silver, for they are honest.” 10 

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, 11 Your servants melted down the silver in the temple 12  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 13  the Lord for me and the people – for all Judah. Find out about 14  the words of this scroll that has been discovered. For the Lord’s fury has been ignited against us, 15  because our ancestors have not obeyed the words of this scroll by doing all that it instructs us to do.” 16 

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. 17  (She lived in Jerusalem in the Mishneh 18  district.) They stated their business, 19  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. 20  22:17 This will happen because they have abandoned me and offered sacrifices 21  to other gods, angering me with all the idols they have made. 22  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 23  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. 24  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. 25  You will not have to witness 26  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. 27  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 28  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 29  the covenant before the Lord, agreeing to follow 30  the Lord and to obey his commandments, laws, and rules with all his heart and being, 31  by carrying out the terms 32  of this covenant recorded on this scroll. All the people agreed to keep the covenant. 33 

23:4 The king ordered Hilkiah the high priest, the high-ranking priests, 34  and the guards 35  to bring out of the Lord’s temple all the items that were used in the worship of 36  Baal, Asherah, and all the stars of the sky. 37  The king 38  burned them outside of Jerusalem in the terraces 39  of Kidron, and carried their ashes to Bethel. 40  23:5 He eliminated 41  the pagan priests whom the kings of Judah had appointed to offer sacrifices 42  on the high places in the cities of Judah and in the area right around Jerusalem. (They offered sacrifices 43  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. 44  He smashed it to dust and then threw the dust in the public graveyard. 45  23:7 He tore down the quarters 46  of the male cultic prostitutes in the Lord’s temple, where women were weaving shrines 47  for Asherah.

23:8 He brought all the priests from the cities of Judah and ruined 48  the high places where the priests had offered sacrifices, from Geba to Beer Sheba. 49  He tore down the high place of the goat idols 50  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.) 51  23:10 The king 52  ruined Topheth in the Valley of Ben Hinnom so that no one could pass his son or his daughter through the fire to Molech. 53  23:11 He removed from the entrance to the Lord’s temple the statues of horses 54  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.) 55  He burned up the chariots devoted to the sun god. 56  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 57  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, 58  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 59  with human bones.

23:15 He also tore down the altar in Bethel 60  at the high place made by Jeroboam son of Nebat, who encouraged Israel to sin. 61  He burned all the combustible items at that high place and crushed them to dust; including the Asherah pole. 62  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; 63  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 64  turned and saw the grave of the prophet who had foretold this. 65  23:17 He asked, “What is this grave marker I see?” The men from the city replied, “It’s the grave of the prophet 66  who came from Judah and foretold these very things you have done to the altar of Bethel.” 23:18 The king 67  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. 68 

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. 69  He did to them what he had done to the high place in Bethel. 70  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 71  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. 72  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 73  the ritual pits used to conjure up spirits, 74  the magicians, personal idols, disgusting images, 75  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 76  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. 77 

23:26 Yet the Lord’s great anger against Judah did not subside; he was still infuriated by all the things Manasseh had done. 78  23:27 The Lord announced, “I will also spurn Judah, 79  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.” 80 

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. 81  23:29 During Josiah’s reign Pharaoh Necho king of Egypt marched toward 82  the Euphrates River to help the king of Assyria. King Josiah marched out to fight him, but Necho 83  killed him at Megiddo 84  when he saw him. 23:30 His servants transported his dead body 85  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, 86  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. 87  His mother 88  was Hamutal the daughter of Jeremiah, from Libnah. 23:32 He did evil in the sight of 89  the Lord as his ancestors had done. 90  23:33 Pharaoh Necho imprisoned him in Riblah in the land of Hamath and prevented him from ruling in Jerusalem. 91  He imposed on the land a special tax 92  of one hundred talents 93  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. 94  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. 95 

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. 96  His mother was Zebidah the daughter of Pedaiah, from Rumah. 23:37 He did evil in the sight of 97  the Lord as his ancestors had done.

24:1 During Jehoiakim’s reign, 98  King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon attacked. 99  Jehoiakim was his subject for three years, but then he rebelled against him. 100  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. 101  24:3 Just as the Lord had announced, he rejected Judah because of all the sins which Manasseh had committed. 102  24:4 Because he killed innocent people and stained Jerusalem with their blood, the Lord was unwilling to forgive them. 103 

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. 104  24:6 He passed away 105  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. 106  His mother 107  was Nehushta the daughter of Elnathan, from Jerusalem. 24:9 He did evil in the sight of 108  the Lord as his ancestors had done.

24:10 At that time the generals 109  of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon marched to Jerusalem and besieged the city. 110  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 111  to the king of Babylon. The king of Babylon, in the eighth year of his reign, 112  took Jehoiachin 113  prisoner. 24:13 Nebuchadnezzar 114  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. 115  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. 116  24:17 The king of Babylon made Mattaniah, Jehoiachin’s 117  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. 118  His mother 119  was Hamutal, 120  the daughter of Jeremiah, from Libnah. 24:19 He did evil in the sight of 121  the Lord, as Jehoiakim had done. 122 

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. 123  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 124  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. 125  25:2 The city remained under siege until King Zedekiah’s eleventh year. 25:3 By the ninth day of the fourth month 126  the famine in the city was so severe the residents 127  had no food. 25:4 The enemy broke through the city walls, 128  and all the soldiers tried to escape. They left the city during the night. 129  They went through the gate between the two walls that is near the king’s garden. 130  (The Babylonians were all around the city.) Then they headed for the Jordan Valley. 131  25:5 But the Babylonian army chased after the king. They caught up with him in the plains of Jericho, 132  and his entire army deserted him. 25:6 They captured the king and brought him up to the king of Babylon at Riblah, 133  where he 134  passed sentence on him. 25:7 Zedekiah’s sons were executed while Zedekiah was forced to watch. 135  The king of Babylon 136  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 137  day of the fifth month, 138  in the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, Nebuzaradan, the captain of the royal guard 139  who served the king of Babylon, arrived in Jerusalem. 140  25:9 He burned down the Lord’s temple, the royal palace, and all the houses in Jerusalem, including every large house. 141  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. 142  25:12 But he 143  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.” 144  They took the bronze to Babylon. 25:14 They also took the pots, shovels, 145  trimming shears, 146  pans, and all the bronze utensils used by the priests. 147  25:15 The captain of the royal guard took the golden and silver censers 148  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,” 149  and the movable stands – was too heavy to be weighed. 25:17 Each of the pillars was about twenty-seven feet 150  high. The bronze top of one pillar was about four and a half feet 151  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 152  of the king’s advisers 153  who were discovered in the city, an official army secretary who drafted citizens 154  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 155  at Riblah in the territory 156  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. 157  25:23 All of the officers of the Judahite army 158  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. 159  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 160  Ishmael son of Nethaniah, son of Elishama, who was a member of the royal family, 161  came with ten of his men and murdered Gedaliah, 162  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 163  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 164  day of the twelfth month, 165  King Evil-Merodach of Babylon, in the first year of his reign, pardoned 166  King Jehoiachin of Judah and released him 167  from prison. 25:28 He spoke kindly to him and gave him a more prestigious position than 168  the other kings who were with him in Babylon. 25:29 Jehoiachin 169  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. 170 

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