Josiah Renews the Covenant
Then the king called together all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem.
He went up to the temple of the LORD with the men of Judah,
the people of Jerusalem, the priests and the prophets -
all the people from the least to the greatest.
He read in their hearing all the words of the Book of the Covenant,
which had been found in the temple of the LORD.
The king stood by the pillar and renewed the covenant in the presence of the LORD -
to follow the LORD and keep his commands, regulations and decrees
with all his heart and all his soul, thus confirming the words of the covenant
written in this book. Then all the people pledged themselves to the covenant.
The king ordered Hilkiah the high priest, the priests next in rank and
the doorkeepers to remove from the temple of the LORD all the articles
made for Baal and Asherah and all the starry hosts. He burned them outside
Jerusalem in the fields of the Kidron Valley and took the ashes to Bethel.
He did away with the pagan priests appointed by the kings of Judah
to burn incense on the high places of the towns of Judah and
on those around Jerusalem - those who burned incense to Baal,
to the sun and moon, to the constellations and to all the starry hosts.
He took the Asherah pole from the temple of the LORD to the Kidron Valley
outside Jerusalem and burned it there. He ground it to powder and
scattered the dust over the graves of the common people.
He also tore down the quarters of the male shrine prostitutes,
which were in the temple of the LORD and where women did weaving for Asherah.
Josiah brought all the priests from the towns of Judah and desecrated
the high places, from Geba to Beersheba, where the priests had burned incense.
he broke down the shrines at the gates - at the entrance to the Gate of Joshua,
the city governor, which is on the left of the city gate.
Although the priests of the high places did not serve at the altar of
the LORD in Jerusalem, they ate unleavened bread with their fellow priests.
He desecrated Topheth, which was in the Valley of Ben Hinnom,
so no one could use it to sacrifice his son or daughter in the fire to Molech.
He removed from the entrance to the temple of the LORD the horses
that the kings of Judah had dedicated to the sun. They were in the court
near the room of an official named Nathan-Melech.
Josiah then burned the chariots dedicated to the sun.
He pulled down the altars the kings of Judah had erected on the roof near
the upper room of Ahaz, and the altars Manasseh had built in the two courts
of the temple of the LORD. He removed them from there,
smashed them to pieces and threw the rubble into the Kidron Valley.
The king also desecrated the high places that were east of Jerusalem
on the south of the Hill of Corruption - the ones Solomon king of Israel
had built for Ashtoreth the vile goddess of the Sidonians, for Chemosh the
vile god of Moab, and for Molech the detestable god of the people of Ammon.
Josiah smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles
and covered the sites with human bones.
Even the altar at Bethel, the high place made by Jeroboam son of Nebat,
who had caused Israel to sin - even that altar and high place he demolished.
He burned the high place and ground it to powder,
and burned the Asherah pole also.
Then Josiah looked around, and when he saw the tombs that were there
on the hillside, he had the bones removed from them and burned on
the altar to defile it, in accordance with the word of the LORD proclaimed
by the man of God who foretold these things.
The king asked, "What is that tombsone I see?" The men of the city said,
"It marks the tomb of the man of God who came from Judah and
pronounced against the altar of Bethel the very things you have done to it."
"Leave it alone," he said. "Don't let anyone disturb his bones."
So they spared his bone and those of the prophet who had come from Samaria.
Just as he had done at Bethel, Josiah removed and defiled all the shrines
at the high places that the kings of Israel had built in the towns of Samaria
that had provoked the LORD to anger.
Josiah slaughtered all the priests of those high places on the altars and
burned human bones on them. Then he went back to Jerusalem.
The king gave this order to all the people:
"Celebrate the Passover to the LORD your God,
as it is written in this Book of the Covenant."
Not since the days of the judges who led Israel, nor throughout the days of
the kings of Israel and the kings of Judah, had any such Passover been observed.
But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah,
this Passover was celebraed to the LORD in Jerusalem.
Furthermore, Josiah got rid of the mediums and spiritists, the household gods,
the idols and all the other detestable things seen in Judah and Jerusalem.
This he did to fulfill the requirements of the law written in the book that
Hilkiah the priest had discovered in the temple of the LORD.
Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king l;ike him who turned to
the LORD as he did - with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his
strength, in accordance with all the Laws of Moses.
Nevertheless, the LORD did not turn away from the heat of his fierce anger,
which burned against Judah because of all that Manasseh had done to
provoke him to anger.
So the LORD said, "I will remove Judah also from my presence as I removed Israel,
and I will reject Jeusalem, the city I chose, and this temple, about which I said,
'There shall my Name be.' "
As for the other events of Josiah's reign, and all he did, are they not written
in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah?
While Josiah was king, Pharaoh Neco king of Egypt went up to the Euphrates
River to help the king of Assyria. King Josiah marched out to meet him in battle,
but Neco faced him and killed him at Megiddo.
Josiah,s servants brought his body in a chariot from Megiddo to Jerusalem
and buried him in his own tomb. And the people of the land took Jehoahaz
son of Josiah and anointed him and made him king in place of his father.
Jehoahaz King of Judah
Jehoahaz was twenty-three years old when he became king,
and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. His mother's name was
Hamutal daughter of Jeremiah; she was from Libnah
He did evil in the eyes of the LORD, just as his fathers had done.
Pharaoh Neco put him in chains at Riblahin the land of Hamath so that
he might not reign in Jerusalem, and he imposed on Judah a levy of
a hundred talents of silver and a talent of gold.
Pharaoh Neco made Eliakim son of Josiah king in place of his father Josiah
and changed Eliakim's name to Jehoiakim. But he took Jehoahaza and
carried him off to Egypt, and there he died.
Jehoiakim paid Pharaoh Neco the silver and gold he demanded.
In order to do so, he taxed the land and exacted the silver and gold
from the people of the land accroding to their assessments.
Jehoiakim King of Judah
Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he became king,
and he reigned in Jerusalem eleven years.
His mother's name was Zebidah daughter of Pedaiah; she was from Rumah.
And he did evil in the eyes of the LORD, just as his fathers had done.