Bible: 2 Kings 23:4-20

23:4 The king ordered Hilkiah the high priest, the high-ranking priests, 1  and the guards 2  to bring out of the Lord’s temple all the items that were used in the worship of 3  Baal, Asherah, and all the stars of the sky. 4  The king 5  burned them outside of Jerusalem in the terraces 6  of Kidron, and carried their ashes to Bethel. 7  23:5 He eliminated 8  the pagan priests whom the kings of Judah had appointed to offer sacrifices 9  on the high places in the cities of Judah and in the area right around Jerusalem. (They offered sacrifices 10  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. 11  He smashed it to dust and then threw the dust in the public graveyard. 12  23:7 He tore down the quarters 13  of the male cultic prostitutes in the Lord’s temple, where women were weaving shrines 14  for Asherah.

23:8 He brought all the priests from the cities of Judah and ruined 15  the high places where the priests had offered sacrifices, from Geba to Beer Sheba. 16  He tore down the high place of the goat idols 17  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.) 18  23:10 The king 19  ruined Topheth in the Valley of Ben Hinnom so that no one could pass his son or his daughter through the fire to Molech. 20  23:11 He removed from the entrance to the Lord’s temple the statues of horses 21  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.) 22  He burned up the chariots devoted to the sun god. 23  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 24  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, 25  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 26  with human bones.

23:15 He also tore down the altar in Bethel 27  at the high place made by Jeroboam son of Nebat, who encouraged Israel to sin. 28  He burned all the combustible items at that high place and crushed them to dust; including the Asherah pole. 29  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; 30  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 31  turned and saw the grave of the prophet who had foretold this. 32  23:17 He asked, “What is this grave marker I see?” The men from the city replied, “It’s the grave of the prophet 33  who came from Judah and foretold these very things you have done to the altar of Bethel.” 23:18 The king 34  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. 35 

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. 36  He did to them what he had done to the high place in Bethel. 37  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.

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