2 Kings 23
King Josiah sent word and they brought to him all the elders of Judah and of Jerusalem. The king went up to the house of the Lord, and with him all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the priests, the prophets, and all the people, both small and great; and he read in their hearing all the words of the book of the covenant which was found in the house (temple) of the Lord. The king stood by the pillar and made a covenant before the Lord, to walk after the Lord and to keep His commandments, His testimonies, and His statutes with all his heart and soul, to confirm the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people entered into the covenant.
Reforms under Josiah
Then the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest and the priests of the second rank and the doorkeepers to bring out of the temple of the Lord all the articles made for Baal, for [the goddess] Asherah, and for all the [starry] host of heaven; and he burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of the Kidron, and carried their ashes to Bethel [where Israel’s idolatry began]. He got rid of the idolatrous priests whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense [to pagan gods] in the high places in Judah’s cities and all around Jerusalem—also those who burned incense to Baal, to the sun, to the moon, to the constellations [of the zodiac], and to all the [starry] host of heaven. Josiah brought out the Asherah from the house of the Lord to the Brook Kidron outside Jerusalem, and burned it there, and ground it to dust, and threw its dust on the graves of the common people [who had sacrificed to it]. And he tore down the houses of the [male] cult prostitutes, which were at the house (temple) of the Lord, where the women were weaving [tent] hangings for the Asherah [shrines]. Then Josiah brought all the [idolatrous] priests from the cities of Judah, and desecrated the high places where the priests had burned incense [to idols], from Geba to Beersheba, [that is, north to south]; and he tore down the high places of the gates which were at the entrance of the gate of Joshua the governor of the city, which were on one’s left at the city gate. However, the priests of the high places were not allowed to go up to the altar of the Lord in Jerusalem [to serve], but they ate unleavened bread among their brothers. Josiah also defiled Topheth, which is in the Valley of Ben-hinnom (son of Hinnom), so that no man could make his son or his daughter pass through the fire [as a burnt offering] for Molech. And he got rid of the horses that the kings of Judah had given [in worship] to the sun at the entrance of the house of the Lord, by the chamber of Nathan-melech the official, which was in the annex; and he burned the chariots of the sun. The altars [dedicated to the starry host of heaven] which were on the roof, the upper chamber of Ahaz, which the kings of Judah had made, and the altars which Manasseh had made in the two courtyards of the house of the Lord, the king tore down; and he smashed them there and threw their dust into the Brook Kidron. The king desecrated the high places which were opposite [east of] Jerusalem, which were on the right (south) of the mount of corruption which Solomon the king of Israel had built for Ashtoreth the repulsiveness of the Sidonians, for Chemosh the repulsiveness of Moab, and for Milcom the repulsiveness of the sons (descendants) of Ammon. He broke in pieces the sacred pillars (cultic memorial stones, images) and cut down the Asherim and replaced them with human bones [to desecrate the places forever].
Further, the altar that was at Bethel, the high place which Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel sin, had made, even that altar and the high place he tore down. Then he demolished its stones, ground them to dust, and burned the Asherah. And as Josiah turned, he saw the graves that were there on the mountain, and he sent men and had the bones taken from the graves, and burned them on the altar and [thereby] desecrated it, in accordance with the word of the Lord which the man of God prophesied, who proclaimed these things [about this altar, naming Josiah before he was born]. Then Josiah said, “What is this monument (gravestone) that I see?” The men of the city told him, “It is the grave of the man of God who came from Judah and proclaimed these things which you have done to the altar of Bethel.” He said, “Let him alone; let no one disturb his bones.” So they left his bones undisturbed, with the bones of the prophet who came from Samaria. Josiah also removed all the houses of the high places which were in the cities of Samaria, which the kings of Israel had made provoking the Lord [to anger]; and he did to them just as he had done [to those] in Bethel. All the priests of the high places who were there he slaughtered on the altars, and burned human bones on them [to desecrate the places forever]. Then he returned to Jerusalem.
Then the king commanded all the people, saying, “Celebrate the Passover to the Lord your God as it is written in this book of the covenant.” Indeed, such a Passover as this had not been held since the days of the judges who judged Israel, nor in all the days of the kings of Israel and the kings of Judah. But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah, this Passover to the Lord was kept in Jerusalem.
Moreover, Josiah removed the mediums and the soothsayers and the teraphim (household gods) and the idols and all the repulsive things that were seen in Judah and in Jerusalem, so that he might fulfill the words of the law written in the book which Hilkiah the priest found in the house (temple) of the Lord. Before him there was no king like Josiah who turned to the Lord with all his heart and all his soul and all his might, in accordance with all the Law of Moses; nor did anyone like him arise after him.
However, the Lord did not turn from the fierceness of His great wrath which was kindled against Judah because of all the [a]despicable acts with which Manasseh had provoked Him. The Lord said, “I will also remove Judah from My sight, just as I have removed Israel; and will reject this city which I have chosen, this Jerusalem, and the house, of which I said, ‘My Name [and the pledge of My Presence] shall be there.’”
Jehoahaz Succeeds Josiah
Now the rest of the acts of Josiah, everything that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? In his days Pharaoh Neco (Necho) king of Egypt went up to the king of Assyria to the river Euphrates [to help him fight Nabopolassar the king of Babylon]. King Josiah went out to meet him, but Pharaoh killed Josiah at Megiddo when he saw him. Josiah’s servants carried his dead body in a chariot from Megiddo, brought him to Jerusalem, and buried him in his own tomb. Then the people of the land took Jehoahaz the son of Josiah and anointed him and made him king in his father’s place.
Jehoahaz was twenty-three years old when he became king, and he reigned for [only] three months in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Hamutal daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah. He did evil in the sight of the Lord, in accordance with everything that his forefathers had done. Pharaoh Neco imprisoned him at Riblah in the land of Hamath, so that he would not reign in Jerusalem, and imposed a fine on the land of a hundred talents of silver and a talent of gold.
Jehoiakim Made King by Pharaoh
Pharaoh Neco made Eliakim the son of Josiah king in place of his father Josiah, and changed his name to Jehoiakim. But he took Jehoahaz and brought him to Egypt, where he died. Jehoiakim gave the silver and the gold to Pharaoh, but he taxed the land to give the money as Pharaoh commanded. He collected the silver and gold from the people of the land, from everyone according to his assessment, to give it to Pharaoh Neco.
Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned for eleven years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Zebidah daughter of Pedaiah of Rumah. He did evil in the sight of the Lord, in accordance with everything that his forefathers had done.
- 2 Kings 23:26 Lit provocations.
2 Kings 24:1-7
Babylon Controls Jehoiakim
In his days, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up, and Jehoiakim became his servant for three years; then he turned and rebelled against him. The Lord sent marauding bands of Chaldeans, Arameans (Syrians), Moabites, and Ammonites against Jehoiakim. And He sent them against Judah to destroy it, in accordance with the word of the Lord which He spoke through His servants the prophets. Surely this came on Judah at the command of the Lord, to remove them from His sight because of the sins of [King] Manasseh, in accordance with everything that he had done, and also for the innocent blood that he shed, for he filled Jerusalem with innocent blood; and the Lord would not pardon it. Now the rest of the acts of Jehoiakim, and everything that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah?
So Jehoiakim slept with his fathers [in death], and his son Jehoiachin became king in his place. The king of Egypt did not come out of his land again, because the [a]king of Babylon had taken everything that belonged to the king of Egypt, from the river of Egypt to the river Euphrates.
- 2 Kings 24:7 When Nebuchadnezzar was crown prince of Babylon he led his father’s army and defeated Egypt at the battle of Carchemish (Jer 46:2).