2 Kings Chapter 22 to 23 : Easy-to-Read Version  | SearchSearch | Next Version | Previous Page | Next Page |

Other Versions

Josiah Begins His Rule Over Judah

22 Josiah was eight years old when he began to rule. He ruled 31 years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jedidah the daughter of Adaiah of Bozkath. 2Josiah did the things that the Lord said were right. Josiah followed God like his ancestor* David. Josiah obeyed God’s teachings—he did exactly what God wanted.

Josiah Orders the Temple Repaired

3During the 18th year that Josiah was king, he sent Shaphan son of Azaliah son of Meshullam, the secretary, to the Lord’s temple.* Josiah said, 4“Go up to Hilkiah the high priest. Tell him that he must get the money that people brought to the Lord’s temple. The gatekeepers collected that money from the people. 5The priests must use that money to pay the workers to repair the Lord’s temple. The priests must give that money to the men that supervise the work on the Lord’s temple. 6Use that money for the carpenters, stonemasons, and stonecutters. And use that money to buy the timber and cut stones that are needed to fix the temple. 7Don’t count the money that you give to the workers. Those workers can be trusted.”

Book of the Law Found in the Temple

8Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the secretary, “Look, I found the Book of the Law* in the Lord’s temple!*” Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, and Shaphan read it. 9Shaphan the secretary went to King Josiah and told him what happened. Shaphan said, “Your servants have gathered all the money that was in the temple. They gave it to the men that supervise the work on the Lord’s temple.” 10Then Shaphan the secretary told the king, “And Hilkiah the priest also gave this book to me.” Then Shaphan read the book to the king. 11When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes {to show he was sad and upset}. 12Then the king gave a command to Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Acbor son of Micaiah, Shaphan the secretary, and Asaiah the king’s servant. 13King Josiah said, “Go and ask the Lord what we should do. Ask the Lord for me, for the people, and for all Judah. Ask about the words of this book that was found. The Lord is angry at us. Why? Because our ancestors* did not listen to the words of this book. They did not obey all the commands that were written for us!”

Josiah and Huldah the Prophetess

14So Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Acbor, Shaphan, and Asaiah went to Huldah the woman prophet.* Huldah was the wife of Shallum son of Tikvah, son of Harhas. He took care of the {priests’} clothes. Huldah was living in the second quarter in Jerusalem. They went and talked with Huldah. 15Then Huldah said to them, “The Lord God of Israel says: Tell the man that sent you to me: 16‘The Lord says this: I am bringing trouble on this place and on the people that live here. These are the troubles that are mentioned in the book that the king of Judah read. 17The people of Judah left me and have burned incense* to other gods. They made me very angry. They made many idols.* That is why I will show my anger against this place. My anger will be like a fire that can’t be stopped!’ 18–19“Josiah the king of Judah sent you to ask advice from the Lord. Tell Josiah these things: ‘The Lord God of Israel said the words that you heard. You heard the things I said about this place and the people that live here. Your heart was soft, and you felt sorry when you heard those things. I said that terrible things would happen to this place (Jerusalem). You tore your clothes {to show your sadness} and you began to cry. That is why I heard you.’ The Lord says this. 20‘I will bring you to be with your ancestors.* You will die and go to your grave in peace. So your eyes will not see all the trouble that I am bringing on this place (Jerusalem).’” Then Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Acbor, Shaphan, and Asaiah told that message to the king.

ancestor(s) Literally, “father(s).” This means a person’s parents, grandparents, and all the people they are descended from. temple A special building for worshiping God. God commanded the Jews to worship him at the temple in Jerusalem. Book of the Law This is probably the book of Deuteronomy. prophet A person called by God to be a special servant. God used dreams and visions to show them things to teach to the people. incense A kind of spice that smells good when it is burned. It was burned as a gift to God. idols Statues of false gods that people worshiped.

The People Hear the Law

23 King Josiah told all the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem to come and meet with him. 2Then the king went up to the Lord’s temple. All the people of Judah and the people that lived in Jerusalem went with him. The priests, the prophets, and all the people—from the least important to the most important—went with him. Then he read the book of the Agreement. This was the Book of the Law that was found in the Lord’s temple. Josiah read the book so all the people could hear it. 3The king stood by the column and made an agreement with the Lord. He agreed to follow the Lord and to obey his commands, the Agreement, and his rules. He agreed to do this with all his heart and soul. He agreed to obey the Agreement written in this book. All the people stood to {show they supported} the {king’s} agreement. 4Then the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest, the other priests, and the gatekeepers, to bring out of the Lord’s temple* all the dishes and things that were made to honor Baal,* Asherah,* and the stars of heaven. Then Josiah burned those things outside Jerusalem in the fields in Kidron Valley. Then they carried the ashes to Bethel. 5The kings of Judah had chosen some ordinary men to serve as priests. {These men were not from the family of Aaron!} Those false priests were burning incense* at the high places* in every city of Judah and all the towns around Jerusalem. They burned incense to honor Baal,* the sun, the moon, the constellations (groups of stars), and all the stars in the sky. But Josiah stopped those false priests. 6Josiah removed the Asherah Pole* from the Lord’s temple.* He took the Asherah pole outside the city to the Kidron Valley and burned it there. Then he beat the burnt pieces into dust and scattered the dust over the graves of the common people.* 7Then King Josiah broke down the houses of the male prostitutes* that were in the Lord’s temple. Women also used those houses and made little tent covers to honor the false goddess Asherah. 8–9At that time, the priests did not bring the sacrifices to Jerusalem and offer them on the altar in the temple. The priests lived in cities all over Judah. And they burned incense* and offered sacrifices at the high places* in those cities. Those high places were everywhere, from Geba to Beersheba. And the priests ate their unleavened bread in those towns with the ordinary people—{not at the special place for priests in the temple in Jerusalem}. But King Josiah defiled (ruined) those high places and brought the priests to Jerusalem. Josiah also destroyed the high places that were on the left, by Joshua Gate. (Joshua was the ruler of the city.) 10Topheth was a place in the Valley of Hinnom’s Son where people killed their children and burned them on an altar to honor the false god Molech.* Josiah defiled (ruined) that place so people could not use that place again. 11In the past, the kings of Judah had put some horses and a chariot* near the entrance to the Lord’s temple. This was near the room of an important official named Nathan Melech. The horses and chariot were to honor the sun god.* Josiah removed the horses and burned the chariot. 12In the past, the kings of Judah had built altars on the roof of Ahab’s building. King Manasseh had also built altars in the two courtyards of the Lord’s temple. Josiah destroyed all those altars and threw the broken pieces into Kidron Valley. 13In the past, King Solomon built some high places* on Destroyer Hill near Jerusalem. The high places were on the south side of that hill. King Solomon built one of those places of worship to honor Ashtoreth, that horrible thing the people of Sidon worship. King Solomon also built one to honor Chemosh, that horrible thing the people of Moab worship. And King Solomon built one high place to honor Milcom, that horrible thing the Ammonite people worship. But King Josiah defiled (ruined) all those places of worship. 14King Josiah broke all the memorial stones* and Asherah poles.* Then he scattered dead men’s bones over that place.* 15Josiah also broke down the altar and high place* at Bethel. Jeroboam son of Nebat had made this altar. Jeroboam caused Israel to sin.* Josiah broke down both that altar and the high place. Josiah broke the stones of the altar to pieces. Then he beat it into dust. And he burned the Asherah pole. 16Josiah looked around and saw graves on the mountain. He sent men, and they took the bones from those graves. Then he burned the bones on the altar. In this way, Josiah defiled (ruined) the altar. This happened according to the message from the Lord that the man of God* announced.* The man of God announced these things when Jeroboam stood beside the altar. Then Josiah looked around and saw the grave of the man of God.* 17Josiah said, “What is that monument I see?” The people of the city told him, “It is the grave of the man of God* that came from Judah. This man of God told about the things you have done to the altar at Bethel. He said those things a long time ago.” 18Josiah said, “Leave the man of God* alone. Don’t move his bones.” So they left his bones and the bones of the man of God from Samaria. 19Josiah also destroyed all the temples at the high places* in the cities of Samaria. The kings of Israel had built those temples. And that made the Lord very angry. Josiah destroyed those temples, just like he destroyed the place of worship at Bethel. 20Josiah killed all the priests of the high places that were in Samaria. He killed the priests on those altars. He burned men’s bones on the altars. {In this way he ruined those places of worship.} Then he went back to Jerusalem.

The People of Judah Celebrate Passover

21Then King Josiah gave a command to all the people. He said, “Celebrate Passover for the Lord your God. Do this just like it is written in the book of the Agreement.” 22The people had not celebrated a Passover like this since the days that the judges ruled Israel. None of the kings of Israel or the Kings of Judah ever had such a big celebration for Passover. 23They celebrated this Passover for the Lord in Jerusalem during Josiah’s 18th year as king. 24Josiah destroyed the mediums,* wizards,* the house gods, the idols,* and all the horrible things people worshiped in Judah and Jerusalem. Josiah did this to obey the Law written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the Lord’s temple.* 25There had never been a king like Josiah before. Josiah turned to the Lord with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his strength.* No king had followed all the Law of Moses like Josiah. And there has never been another king like Josiah since that time. 26But the Lord did not stop being angry at the people of Judah. The Lord was still angry at them for all the things that Manasseh had done. 27The Lord said, “I forced the people of Israel to leave their land. I will do the same to Judah. I will take Judah out of my sight. I will not accept Jerusalem. Yes, I chose that city. I was talking about Jerusalem when I said, ‘My name will be there.’ But I will destroy the temple* that is in that place.” 28All the other things that Josiah did are written in the book The History of the Kings of Judah.

The Death of Josiah

29During Josiah’s time, Pharaoh Neco, the king of Egypt went to fight against the king of Assyria at the Euphrates River. Josiah went out to meet Neco at Megiddo. Pharaoh saw Josiah and killed him. 30Josiah’s officers put his body in a chariot* and carried him from Megiddo to Jerusalem. They buried Josiah in his own grave. Then the common people took Josiah’s son Jehoahaz and anointed* him. They made Jehoahaz the new king.

Jehoahaz Becomes King of Judah

31Jehoahaz was 23 years old when he became king. He ruled three months in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Hamutal daughter of Jeremiah from Libnah. 32Jehoahaz did the things that the Lord said were wrong. Jehoahaz did all the same things that his ancestors* had done. 33Pharaoh Neco put Jehoahaz in prison at Riblah in the land of Hamath. So Jehoahaz could not rule in Jerusalem. Pharaoh Neco forced Judah to pay 7,500 pounds* of silver and 75 pounds* of gold. 34Pharaoh Neco made Josiah’s son Eliakim the new king. Eliakim took the place of Josiah his father. Pharaoh Neco changed Eliakim’s name to Jehoiakim. And Pharaoh Neco took Jehoahaz away to Egypt. Jehoahaz died in Egypt. 35Jehoiakim gave the silver and the gold to Pharaoh. But Jehoiakim made the common people pay taxes and used that money to give to Pharaoh Neco. So each person paid his share of silver and gold. And King Jehoiakim gave the money to Pharaoh Neco. 36Jehoiakim was 25 years old when he became king. He ruled eleven years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Zebidah daughter of Pedaiah from Rumah. 37Jehoiakim did the things that the Lord said were wrong. Jehoiakim did all the same things his ancestors* had done.

temple A special building for worshiping God. God commanded the Jews to worship him at the temple in Jerusalem. Baal The Canaanite people believed that this false god brought the rain and storms. They also thought that he made the land produce good crops. Asherah An important Canaanite goddess. At this time, the people thought she was the wife of Baal. incense A kind of spice that smells good when it is burned. It was burned as a gift to God. high place(s) Places for worshiping God or false gods. These places were often on the hills and mountains. Asherah Pole These poles were used to honor the female god Asherah that the Canaanite people worshiped. scattered … common people This was a strong way of showing that the Asherah pole could never be used again. male prostitutes Men who used their bodies for sexual sin. people … Molech Literally, “people made their son or daughter pass through fire to Molech.” chariot(s) A small wagon used in war. horses … sun god The people thought the sun was a god that drove his chariot (the sun) across the sky each day. memorial stones Stones that were set up to help people remember something special. In ancient Israel, people often set up stones as special places to worship false gods. scattered … place This was the way he defiled (ruined) those places so they could not be used for places of worship.  Jeroboam … sin See 1 Kings 12:26–30. man of God Another name for a prophet. announced See 1 Kings 13:1–3. medium(s) A person that tries to communicate with the spirits of dead people. wizard(s) A person that tries to use evil spirits to do magic. idols Statues of false gods that people worshiped. with all his heart … strength See Deut. 6:4,5. chariot(s) A small wagon used in war. anoint(ed) To pour olive oil on a person’s head to show he was chosen by God to be a king, priest, or prophet. ancestors Literally, “fathers.” This means a person’s parents, grandparents, and all the people they are descended from. 7,500 pounds Or, 3,400kg. Literally, “100 talents (kikars).” 75 pounds Or, 34kg. Literally, “1 talent (kikar).” 

Other Versions