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Nehemiah 10 New Living Translation (NLT)
10 [a]The document was ratified and sealed with the following names:
Nehemiah son of Hacaliah, and also Zedekiah.
2 The following priests:
Seraiah, Azariah, Jeremiah, 3 Pashhur, Amariah, Malkijah, 4 Hattush, Shebaniah, Malluch, 5 Harim, Meremoth, Obadiah, 6 Daniel, Ginnethon, Baruch, 7 Meshullam, Abijah, Mijamin, 8 Maaziah, Bilgai, and Shemaiah. These were the priests.
9 The following Levites:
Jeshua son of Azaniah, Binnui from the family of Henadad, Kadmiel, 10 and their fellow Levites: Shebaniah, Hodiah, Kelita, Pelaiah, Hanan, 11 Mica, Rehob, Hashabiah, 12 Zaccur, Sherebiah, Shebaniah, 13 Hodiah, Bani, and Beninu.
14 The following leaders:
Parosh, Pahath-moab, Elam, Zattu, Bani, 15 Bunni, Azgad, Bebai, 16 Adonijah, Bigvai, Adin, 17 Ater, Hezekiah, Azzur, 18 Hodiah, Hashum, Bezai, 19 Hariph, Anathoth, Nebai, 20 Magpiash, Meshullam, Hezir, 21 Meshezabel, Zadok, Jaddua, 22 Pelatiah, Hanan, Anaiah, 23 Hoshea, Hananiah, Hasshub, 24 Hallohesh, Pilha, Shobek, 25 Rehum, Hashabnah, Maaseiah, 26 Ahiah, Hanan, Anan, 27 Malluch, Harim, and Baanah.
The Vow of the People
28 Then the rest of the people—the priests, Levites, gatekeepers, singers, Temple servants, and all who had separated themselves from the pagan people of the land in order to obey the Law of God, together with their wives, sons, daughters, and all who were old enough to understand— 29 joined their leaders and bound themselves with an oath. They swore a curse on themselves if they failed to obey the Law of God as issued by his servant Moses. They solemnly promised to carefully follow all the commands, regulations, and decrees of the Lord our Lord:
30 “We promise not to let our daughters marry the pagan people of the land, and not to let our sons marry their daughters.
31 “We also promise that if the people of the land should bring any merchandise or grain to be sold on the Sabbath or on any other holy day, we will refuse to buy it. Every seventh year we will let our land rest, and we will cancel all debts owed to us.
32 “In addition, we promise to obey the command to pay the annual Temple tax of one-eighth of an ounce of silver[b] for the care of the Temple of our God. 33 This will provide for the Bread of the Presence; for the regular grain offerings and burnt offerings; for the offerings on the Sabbaths, the new moon celebrations, and the annual festivals; for the holy offerings; and for the sin offerings to make atonement for Israel. It will provide for everything necessary for the work of the Temple of our God.
34 “We have cast sacred lots to determine when—at regular times each year—the families of the priests, Levites, and the common people should bring wood to God’s Temple to be burned on the altar of the Lord our God, as is written in the Law.
35 “We promise to bring the first part of every harvest to the Lord’s Temple year after year—whether it be a crop from the soil or from our fruit trees. 36 We agree to give God our oldest sons and the firstborn of all our herds and flocks, as prescribed in the Law. We will present them to the priests who minister in the Temple of our God. 37 We will store the produce in the storerooms of the Temple of our God. We will bring the best of our flour and other grain offerings, the best of our fruit, and the best of our new wine and olive oil. And we promise to bring to the Levites a tenth of everything our land produces, for it is the Levites who collect the tithes in all our rural towns.
38 “A priest—a descendant of Aaron—will be with the Levites as they receive these tithes. And a tenth of all that is collected as tithes will be delivered by the Levites to the Temple of our God and placed in the storerooms. 39 The people and the Levites must bring these offerings of grain, new wine, and olive oil to the storerooms and place them in the sacred containers near the ministering priests, the gatekeepers, and the singers.
“We promise together not to neglect the Temple of our God.”
(#358 from Suffer Well Devotional Series©)
My Son said, My Kingdom is not of this world and I am not from here.” (John 18:36) And, “You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.”(John 8:23) Surely, then, My supernatural patterns are not for this world either, but for My Kingdom. I save souls and it is always to the soul I speak. Yet, I speak of spiritual things using physical “props”. Props? Yes, everything in the physical world is a manifestation of the spiritual life loved one. If your mind is wicked, your physical world is wicked; if your mind is pure, your world is pure, and so on.
Let’s use the city of Jerusalem as our prop. Jerusalem, as defined in Hebrew, means “foundation of peace; wholeness.” It is meant to describe wholeness and peace of the soul, the mind. Depending on which kingdom you align with, “You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world,” that allegiance will dictate what you perceive as truth. When I tell you to “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem,” it is likely you think about a physical piece of land. Your thoughts default to this world, the “beneath” and not the “above.” My Kingdom is not of this world loved one, not of land! I do not command that you pray for dirt; but then again, what do you think will happen with that dirt when the minds of Yahweh’s children are whole and at peace?
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6): Pray for a foundation of peace and wholeness in your mind, a mind created for redemption. “Father, give me the wholeness and peace that comes from obeying You.” This is what praying for the peace of Jerusalem means. And when I answer the prayer, it is the supernatural consequence that the land, too, will be blessed. Spiritual thoughts manifest in a physical world loved one. Now, read Psalm 122 with the mind of the Messiah:
I was glad when they said to me,
“Let us go to the house of Yahweh.”
And now here we are,
standing inside your gates, O Jerusalem.
Jerusalem is a well-built city;
its seamless walls cannot be breached.
All the tribes of Israel—Yahweh’s people—
make their pilgrimage here.
They come to give thanks to the Name of Yahweh,
as the Law requires of Israyl.
Here stand the thrones where judgment is given,
the thrones of the dynasty of David.
Pray for peace in Jerusalem.
May all who love this city prosper.
O Jerusalem, may there be peace within your walls
and prosperity in your palaces.
For the sake of my family and friends, I will say,
“May you have peace.”
For the sake of the house of Yahweh our Mighty One,
I will seek what is best for you, O Jerusalem.
The house of Yahweh is the Sanctuary of your mind. Let your thoughts become like a well-built city which can no longer be breached by the things of this world. May there be peace within your walls and prosperity in your palaces.
Bulls of Bashan
(#259 from Suffer Well Devotional Series©)
“Many bulls have surrounded me; bulls of Bashan have compassed and beset me; they gape at me with their mouths, as ravening and roaring lions.” (Psalm 22:12-13)
It’s time to cross over loved one. It’s time to seek the deeper implications of the Word. Consider this; is the bigger picture here that there were bulls staring at David? Was David’s true concern a bunch of wild animals? Was he closed in and surrounded by roaring bulls? Was that his real dilemma? Let us challenge you to be transformed. You do have the mind of the Messiah (1 Corinthians 2:16).
This new mind of yours will help you build a foundation that allows for a much greater understanding. This greater understanding involves the metaphysical aspect of scripture, in a sense, the more supernatural meaning. It will provide an appreciation for the underlying, deep, and secret truths that Yahweh intends for you to know. However, it is the glory of the Almighty to conceal a matter, but the glory of kings is to search out a matter. (Proverbs 25:2) The search for the deeper things will aid in the transforming of your mind (Romans 12:2), but be not mistaken, it takes an effort on your part. “It is the glory of kings to search out a matter.” You are a royal priest, are you not?
However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. But we speak the wisdom of the Almighty in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which the Almighty ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Master of glory. But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart [mind] of man the things which the Almighty has prepared for those who love Him.” But Yahweh has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of the Almighty. (1 Corinthians 2:6-10)
Now let’s take a look at Psalm 22:12-13 again, but this time with more spiritual eyes, so we might search out the deep things of the Almighty:
bulls [dispersed, divided, stubborn thoughts]
have surrounded me; [invaded thought processes]
bulls of Bashan [material consciousness not yet redeemed to spiritual consciousness]
have compassed [continually revolving thoughts]
and beset me; [entangled me]
they [broken, material, conscious, dividing carnal thought processes]
gape at me [speak into my consciousness]
with their mouths [scattering ideas],
as ravening [pulling and plucking at thoughts]
and roaring [rumbling and moaning within]
lions [roaring thoughts that obstruct calm thinking].
Here is a flowing paraphrase:
A growing number of dispersed and stubborn thoughts have invaded my thinking process. These are thoughts that enslave me to an unredeemed material consciousness as opposed to the freedom of spiritual thinking. These fleshly thoughts continually revolve in my mind and keep me entangled. These carnal thought processes create and propagate scattered and fragmented ideas. They pull and pluck at my brain; and they cause a rumbling and moaning within. They roar so loudly that I cannot even think straight.
It’s all about the mind, the thought processes, how we think about our “self,” and how we redeem those thoughts by the power of the Spirit. It’s all in the mind loved one. Life is in the mind!
Don’t Tread on My Suffering
(#230 from Suffer Well Devotional Series©)
Are you so predictable that when I expose my suffering you will tell me of all the others who have it worse? Who are you to diminish my capacity to suffer? Did not our Messiah become perfected through His suffering? (Hebrews 5:8-9) If my greatest dream is being a father, could there be a worse suffering than losing a child? If a woman’s deepest desire is to be a faithful wife, is there a suffering for her greater than an adulterous husband? The magnitude of suffering is relative to each individual, and suffering, like blessings are always under the sovereign will of the Almighty (Lamentations 3:37-38). How can you declare that anyone can have it worse, when you have never asked me what suffering means to me?
You expect your words should bring comfort, like some garment you can throw over my suffering. I suspect you do this because you are not comfortable with suffering, and you do not acknowledge that Yahweh created suffering to bring hope. Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with the Almighty through our Master Yahshua the Messiah, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of the Mighty One. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. (Romans 5:1-4) Don’t you understand that when you take away the substance of my suffering, you take away my joyful reward? Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of the Almighty has been poured out in our hearts [centers of intellect] by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Romans 5:5)
Your words of comfort actually inhibit my joy. You cannot find joy by easing suffering; you can only find joy by embracing it! Stop assigning any meaning to suffering other than what my Creator has intended. My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. (James 1:2-4)
If Yahweh tells me He will never give me more than I can handle, why do you tempt me to reject His promise? Why would you rescue me from my opportunity to be “perfect and complete, lacking nothing?” No trial has overtaken you that is not faced by others. And the Mighty One is faithful: He will not let you be tried beyond what you are able to bear, but with the trial will also provide a way out so that you may be able to endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
Whatever pricked your conscience during this devotion needs to be fully explored. The natural man cannot handle Yahweh’s truth about suffering and is quick to flee. Have you ever come face-to-face with these words of Yahshua in your own life loved one; “Do you too desire to leave Me?” (John 6:67) When you attempt to appease or alleviate the suffering of another you are hindering their ability to be perfect and complete, as Yahweh commanded them to be!
I will bear my cup, as it is just that, “mine to bear!” It is mine and it was given to me. Please don’t tread on my suffering; my hope is found in it.
Behind the Veil
(#191 from Suffer Well Devotional Series©)
The Scriptural patterns or blueprints are all hidden from the simpleton, the proud, and the spiritually lazy. If you have come this far in our time together, then you have certainly shown yourself to be of spiritual fortitude. One overarching pattern we have shown time and time again is that it takes a great commitment to will your “self” to die. Another is that it takes time to realize that there is no power but Yahweh’s, and just as paramount, that your inner rebellion, or “self-power,” will always be resistant lest He crushes it. The Scripture that comes to mind which speaks of this is from John 12:24-25: Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains alone. But if it dies, it brings forth much fruit. He who loves his life will lose it; but he who hates his life in this world will protect it for eternal life.
You are the kernel loved one. But even more significant is that you are learning to accept that you are the kernel. That’s why we are here together. We are those who have been given permission to enter behind the veil. We have been found worthy, not of our own strength of course, but because we have accepted the requirements which grant that permission. “The permission?” This Word should be like an old friend by now: “It is no longer I who live, but the Messiah who lives in me.” (Galatians 2:20)
Many are called, but few are chosen. (Matthew 22:14) Few understand; however, the masses claim to be “of Him,” while really just following an idol of their own vain imaginings. “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Master, Master,’ shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the WILL of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord [Baal], Lord [Baal], have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ (Matthew 7:21-23)
The crushed ones, the kernels planted in fertile soil, have broken open and will bear much fruit (Matthew 13:8). They are quieter than others, quicker to listen, and more apt to lend a hand. These qualities reflect the glorious life of Yahshua the Messiah within. Everything illuminates one grand idea; it is the premier pattern of being crushed, crucified with Messiah, and becoming unoffendable (Psalm 119:165).
The kernels “found worthy” quickly say, “Unless I had been crucified with Messiah (Galatians 2:20), I would have been ruined forever by my “self.”” Others only allow so much crushing until they shrink back. They refuse to embrace, “To die is to gain.” (Philippians 1:21) We know the price, and we realize that many will turn cold (Matthew 24:12). But, we also must admit we would have done the same, had Yahweh not done within us that which we would have never desired. “If not for Your mercy, I too would shrink back.” When we embrace this we become un-offendable. We experience a supernatural joy as we recognize, “that would have been me.”
This is your true rebirth, your mental resurrection. So few have been behind the veil loved one. Remember, the road is narrow (Matthew 7:14)! With every thought that enters into your conscience, remember that!
A Time for Everything
3 For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.
2 A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
3 A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
4 A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
5 A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
6 A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
7 A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
8 A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.
9 What do people really get for all their hard work? 10 I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. 11 Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. 12 So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. 13 And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God.
14 And I know that whatever God does is final. Nothing can be added to it or taken from it. God’s purpose is that people should fear him. 15 What is happening now has happened before, and what will happen in the future has happened before, because God makes the same things happen over and over again.
The Injustices of Life
16 I also noticed that under the sun there is evil in the courtroom. Yes, even the courts of law are corrupt! 17 I said to myself, “In due season God will judge everyone, both good and bad, for all their deeds.”
18 I also thought about the human condition—how God proves to people that they are like animals. 19 For people and animals share the same fate—both breathe[a] and both must die. So people have no real advantage over the animals. How meaningless! 20 Both go to the same place—they came from dust and they return to dust. 21 For who can prove that the human spirit goes up and the spirit of animals goes down into the earth? 22 So I saw that there is nothing better for people than to be happy in their work. That is our lot in life. And no one can bring us back to see what happens after we die.
- 3:19 Or both have the same spirit.
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Ezekiel’s Call and Commission
1 “Stand up, son of man,” said the voice. “I want to speak with you.” 2 The Spirit came into me as he spoke, and he set me on my feet. I listened carefully to his words. 3 “Son of man,” he said, “I am sending you to the nation of Israel, a rebellious nation that has rebelled against me. They and their ancestors have been rebelling against me to this very day. 4 They are a stubborn and hard-hearted people. But I am sending you to say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lordsays!’ 5 And whether they listen or refuse to listen—for remember, they are rebels—at least they will know they have had a prophet among them.
6 “Son of man, do not fear them or their words. Don’t be afraid even though their threats surround you like nettles and briers and stinging scorpions. Do not be dismayed by their dark scowls, even though they are rebels. 7 You must give them my messages whether they listen or not. But they won’t listen, for they are completely rebellious! 8 Son of man, listen to what I say to you. Do not join them in their rebellion. Open your mouth, and eat what I give you.”
9 Then I looked and saw a hand reaching out to me. It held a scroll, 10 which he unrolled. And I saw that both sides were covered with funeral songs, words of sorrow, and pronouncements of doom.
Jerusalem’s Last Warning
1 “Run for your lives, you people of Benjamin!
Get out of Jerusalem!
Sound the alarm in Tekoa!
Send up a signal at Beth-hakkerem!
A powerful army is coming from the north,
coming with disaster and destruction.
2 O Jerusalem,[a] you are my beautiful and delicate daughter—
but I will destroy you!
3 Enemies will surround you, like shepherds camped around the city.
Each chooses a place for his troops to devour.
4 They shout, ‘Prepare for battle!
Attack at noon!’
‘No, it’s too late; the day is fading,
and the evening shadows are falling.’
5 ‘Well then, let’s attack at night
and destroy her palaces!’”
6 This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says:
“Cut down the trees for battering rams.
Build siege ramps against the walls of Jerusalem.
This is the city to be punished,
for she is wicked through and through.
7 She spouts evil like a fountain.
Her streets echo with the sounds of violence and destruction.
I always see her sickness and sores.
8 Listen to this warning, Jerusalem,
or I will turn from you in disgust.
Listen, or I will turn you into a heap of ruins,
a land where no one lives.”
9 This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says:
“Even the few who remain in Israel
will be picked over again,
as when a harvester checks each vine a second time
to pick the grapes that were missed.”
Judah’s Constant Rebellion
10 To whom can I give warning?
Who will listen when I speak?
Their ears are closed,
and they cannot hear.
They scorn the word of the Lord.
They don’t want to listen at all.
11 So now I am filled with the Lord’s fury.
Yes, I am tired of holding it in!
“I will pour out my fury on children playing in the streets
and on gatherings of young men,
on husbands and wives
and on those who are old and gray.
12 Their homes will be turned over to their enemies,
as will their fields and their wives.
For I will raise my powerful fist
against the people of this land,”
says the Lord.
13 “From the least to the greatest,
their lives are ruled by greed.
From prophets to priests,
they are all frauds.
14 They offer superficial treatments
for my people’s mortal wound.
They give assurances of peace
when there is no peace.
15 Are they ashamed of their disgusting actions?
Not at all—they don’t even know how to blush!
Therefore, they will lie among the slaughtered.
They will be brought down when I punish them,”
says the Lord.
Judah Rejects the Lord’s Way
16 This is what the Lord says:
“Stop at the crossroads and look around.
Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it.
Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls.
But you reply, ‘No, that’s not the road we want!’
17 I posted watchmen over you who said,
‘Listen for the sound of the alarm.’
But you replied,
‘No! We won’t pay attention!’
18 “Therefore, listen to this, all you nations.
Take note of my people’s situation.
19 Listen, all the earth!
I will bring disaster on my people.
It is the fruit of their own schemes,
because they refuse to listen to me.
They have rejected my word.
20 There’s no use offering me sweet frankincense from Sheba.
Keep your fragrant calamus imported from distant lands!
I will not accept your burnt offerings.
Your sacrifices have no pleasing aroma for me.”
21 Therefore, this is what the Lord says:
“I will put obstacles in my people’s path.
Fathers and sons will both fall over them.
Neighbors and friends will die together.”
An Invasion from the North
22 This is what the Lord says:
“Look! A great army coming from the north!
A great nation is rising against you from far-off lands.
23 They are armed with bows and spears.
They are cruel and show no mercy.
They sound like a roaring sea
as they ride forward on horses.
They are coming in battle formation,
planning to destroy you, beautiful Jerusalem.[b]”
24 We have heard reports about the enemy,
and we wring our hands in fright.
Pangs of anguish have gripped us,
like those of a woman in labor.
25 Don’t go out to the fields!
Don’t travel on the roads!
The enemy’s sword is everywhere
and terrorizes us at every turn!
26 Oh, my people, dress yourselves in burlap
and sit among the ashes.
Mourn and weep bitterly, as for the loss of an only son.
For suddenly the destroying armies will be upon you!
27 “Jeremiah, I have made you a tester of metals,[c]
that you may determine the quality of my people.
28 They are the worst kind of rebel,
full of slander.
They are as hard as bronze and iron,
and they lead others into corruption.
29 The bellows fiercely fan the flames
to burn out the corruption.
But it does not purify them,
for the wickedness remains.
30 I will label them ‘Rejected Silver,’
for I, the Lord, am discarding them.”
2 Kings 23
Josiah’s Religious Reforms
1 Then the king summoned all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. 2 And the king went up to the Temple of the Lord with all the people of Judah and Jerusalem, along with the priests and the prophets—all the people from the least to the greatest. There the king read to them the entire Book of the Covenant that had been found in the Lord’s Temple. 3 The king took his place of authority beside the pillar and renewed the covenant in the Lord’s presence. He pledged to obey the Lord by keeping all his commands, laws, and decrees with all his heart and soul. In this way, he confirmed all the terms of the covenant that were written in the scroll, and all the people pledged themselves to the covenant.
4 Then the king instructed Hilkiah the high priest and the priests of the second rank and the Temple gatekeepers to remove from the Lord’s Temple all the articles that were used to worship Baal, Asherah, and all the powers of the heavens. The king had all these things burned outside Jerusalem on the terraces of the Kidron Valley, and he carried the ashes away to Bethel. 5 He did away with the idolatrous priests, who had been appointed by the previous kings of Judah, for they had offered sacrifices at the pagan shrines throughout Judah and even in the vicinity of Jerusalem. They had also offered sacrifices to Baal, and to the sun, the moon, the constellations, and to all the powers of the heavens. 6 The king removed the Asherah pole from the Lord’s Temple and took it outside Jerusalem to the Kidron Valley, where he burned it. Then he ground the ashes of the pole to dust and threw the dust over the graves of the people. 7 He also tore down the living quarters of the male and female shrine prostitutes that were inside the Temple of the Lord, where the women wove coverings for the Asherah pole.
8 Josiah brought to Jerusalem all the priests who were living in other towns of Judah. He also defiled the pagan shrines, where they had offered sacrifices—all the way from Geba to Beersheba. He destroyed the shrines at the entrance to the gate of Joshua, the governor of Jerusalem. This gate was located to the left of the city gate as one enters the city. 9 The priests who had served at the pagan shrines were not allowed to serve at[a] the Lord’s altar in Jerusalem, but they were allowed to eat unleavened bread with the other priests.
10 Then the king defiled the altar of Topheth in the valley of Ben-Hinnom, so no one could ever again use it to sacrifice a son or daughter in the fire[b] as an offering to Molech. 11 He removed from the entrance of the Lord’s Temple the horse statues that the former kings of Judah had dedicated to the sun. They were near the quarters of Nathan-melech the eunuch, an officer of the court.[c] The king also burned the chariots dedicated to the sun.
12 Josiah tore down the altars that the kings of Judah had built on the palace roof above the upper room of Ahaz. The king destroyed the altars that Manasseh had built in the two courtyards of the Lord’s Temple. He smashed them to bits[d] and scattered the pieces in the Kidron Valley. 13 The king also desecrated the pagan shrines east of Jerusalem, to the south of the Mount of Corruption, where King Solomon of Israel had built shrines for Ashtoreth, the detestable goddess of the Sidonians; and for Chemosh, the detestable god of the Moabites; and for Molech,[e] the vile god of the Ammonites. 14 He smashed the sacred pillars and cut down the Asherah poles. Then he desecrated these places by scattering human bones over them.
15 The king also tore down the altar at Bethel—the pagan shrine that Jeroboam son of Nebat had made when he caused Israel to sin. He burned down the shrine and ground it to dust, and he burned the Asherah pole. 16 Then Josiah turned around and noticed several tombs in the side of the hill. He ordered that the bones be brought out, and he burned them on the altar at Bethel to desecrate it. (This happened just as the Lord had promised through the man of God when Jeroboam stood beside the altar at the festival.)
Then Josiah turned and looked up at the tomb of the man of God[f] who had predicted these things. 17 “What is that monument over there?” Josiah asked.
And the people of the town told him, “It is the tomb of the man of God who came from Judah and predicted the very things that you have just done to the altar at Bethel!”
18 Josiah replied, “Leave it alone. Don’t disturb his bones.” So they did not burn his bones or those of the old prophet from Samaria.
19 Then Josiah demolished all the buildings at the pagan shrines in the towns of Samaria, just as he had done at Bethel. They had been built by the various kings of Israel and had made the Lord[g] very angry. 20 He executed the priests of the pagan shrines on their own altars, and he burned human bones on the altars to desecrate them. Finally, he returned to Jerusalem.
Josiah Celebrates Passover
21 King Josiah then issued this order to all the people: “You must celebrate the Passover to the Lord your God, as required in this Book of the Covenant.” 22 There had not been a Passover celebration like that since the time when the judges ruled in Israel, nor throughout all the years of the kings of Israel and Judah. 23 But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah’s reign, this Passover was celebrated to the Lord in Jerusalem.
24 Josiah also got rid of the mediums and psychics, the household gods, the idols,[h] and every other kind of detestable practice, both in Jerusalem and throughout the land of Judah. He did this in obedience to the laws written in the scroll that Hilkiah the priest had found in the Lord’s Temple. 25 Never before had there been a king like Josiah, who turned to the Lord with all his heart and soul and strength, obeying all the laws of Moses. And there has never been a king like him since.
26 Even so, the Lord was very angry with Judah because of all the wicked things Manasseh had done to provoke him. 27 For the Lord said, “I will also banish Judah from my presence just as I have banished Israel. And I will reject my chosen city of Jerusalem and the Temple where my name was to be honored.”
28 The rest of the events in Josiah’s reign and all his deeds are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Judah.
29 While Josiah was king, Pharaoh Neco, king of Egypt, went to the Euphrates River to help the king of Assyria. King Josiah and his army marched out to fight him,[i] but King Neco[j] killed him when they met at Megiddo. 30 Josiah’s officers took his body back in a chariot from Megiddo to Jerusalem and buried him in his own tomb. Then the people of the land anointed Josiah’s son Jehoahaz and made him the next king.
Jehoahaz Rules in Judah
31 Jehoahaz was twenty-three years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. His mother was Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah from Libnah. 32 He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, just as his ancestors had done.
33 Pharaoh Neco put Jehoahaz in prison at Riblah in the land of Hamath to prevent him from ruling[k] in Jerusalem. He also demanded that Judah pay 7,500 pounds of silver and 75 pounds of gold[l] as tribute.
Jehoiakim Rules in Judah
34 Pharaoh Neco then installed Eliakim, another of Josiah’s sons, to reign in place of his father, and he changed Eliakim’s name to Jehoiakim. Jehoahaz was taken to Egypt as a prisoner, where he died.
35 In order to get the silver and gold demanded as tribute by Pharaoh Neco, Jehoiakim collected a tax from the people of Judah, requiring them to pay in proportion to their wealth.
36 Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eleven years. His mother was Zebidah, the daughter of Pedaiah from Rumah. 37 He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, just as his ancestors had done.
- 23:9 Hebrew did not come up to.
- 23:10 Or to make a son or daughter pass through the fire.
- 23:11 The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.
- 23:12 Or He quickly removed them.
- 23:13 Hebrew Milcom, a variant spelling of Molech.
- 23:16 As in Greek version; Hebrew lacks when Jeroboam stood beside the altar at the festival. Then Josiah turned and looked up at the tomb of the man of God.
- 23:19 As in Greek and Syriac versions and Latin Vulgate; Hebrew lacks the Lord.
- 23:24 The Hebrew term (literally round things) probably alludes to dung.
- 23:29a Or Josiah went out to meet him.
- 23:29b Hebrew he.
- 23:33a The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.
- 23:33b Hebrew 100 talents [3,400 kilograms] of silver and 1 talent [34 kilograms] of gold.