351King Josiah celebrated the Passover at Jerusalem in honour of the LORD; on the fourteenth day of the first month they killed the animals for the festival. 2He assigned to the priests the duties they were to perform in the Temple and encouraged them to do them well. 3He also gave these instructions to the Levites, the teachers of Israel, who were dedicated to the LORD: “Put the sacred Covenant Box in the Temple that King Solomon, the son of David, built. You are no longer to carry it from place to place, but you are to serve the LORD your God and his people Israel. 4
Take your places in the Temple by clans, according to the responsibilities assigned to you by King David and his son King Solomon, 5and arrange yourselves so that some of you will be available to help each family of the people of Israel. 6You are to kill the Passover lambs and goats. Now make yourselves ritually clean and prepare the sacrifices in order that your fellow-Israelites may follow the instructions which the LORD gave through Moses.”
7For the use of the people at the Passover, King Josiah contributed from his own herds and flocks 30,000 sheep, lambs, and young goats, and 3,000 bulls. 8His officials also made contributions for the people, the priests, and the Levites to use. And the officials in charge of the Temple — Hilkiah, the High Priest, Zechariah, and Jehiel — gave the priests 2,600 lambs and young goats and 300 bulls for sacrifices during the festival. 9The leaders of the Levites — Conaniah, Shemaiah and his brother Nethanel, Hashabiah, Jeiel, and Jozabad — contributed 5,000 lambs and young goats and 500 bulls for the Levites to offer as sacrifices.
10When everything was arranged for the Passover, the priests and the Levites took their places, as commanded by the king. 11After the lambs and goats had been killed, the Levites skinned them, and the priests sprinkled the blood on the altar. 12Then they divided among the people, by family groups, the animals for burnt offerings, so that they could offer them according to the instructions in the Law of Moses. 13
The Levites roasted the Passover sacrifices over the fire, according to the regulations, and boiled the sacred offerings in pots, cauldrons, and pans, and quickly distributed the meat to the people. 14After this was done, the Levites provided meat for themselves and for the priests descended from Aaron, for the priests were kept busy until night, burning the animals that were burnt whole and the fat of the sacrifices. 15
The following musicians of the Levite clan of Asaph were in the places assigned to them by King David's instructions: Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun, the king's prophet. The guards at the temple gates did not need to leave their posts, because the other Levites prepared the Passover for them. 16So, as King Josiah had commanded, everything was done that day for the worship of the LORD, the keeping of the Passover Festival, and the offering of burnt offerings on the altar. 17
For seven days all the people of Israel who were present celebrated the Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread. 18Since the days of the prophet Samuel, the Passover had never been celebrated like this. None of the former kings had ever celebrated a Passover like this one celebrated by King Josiah, the priests, the Levites, and the people of Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem 19in the eighteenth year of Josiah's reign.
20After King Josiah had done all this for the Temple, King Neco of Egypt led an army to fight at Carchemish on the River Euphrates. Josiah tried to stop him, 21but Neco sent Josiah this message: “This war I am fighting does not concern you, King of Judah. I have not come to fight you, but to fight my enemies, and God has told me to hurry. God is on my side, so don't oppose me, or he will destroy you.” 22But Josiah was determined to fight. He refused to listen to what God was saying through King Neco, so he disguised himself and went into battle on the plain of Megiddo.
23During the battle King Josiah was struck by Egyptian arrows. He ordered his servants, “Take me away; I'm badly hurt!” 24They lifted him out of his chariot, placed him in a second chariot which he had there, and took him to Jerusalem. There he died and was buried in the royal tombs. All the people of Judah and Jerusalem mourned his death.
25The prophet Jeremiah composed a lament for King Josiah. It has become a custom in Israel for the singers, both men and women, to use this song when they mourn for him. The song is found in the collection of laments.
26Everything that Josiah did — his devotion to the LORD, his obedience to the Law, 27and his history from beginning to end — is all recorded in The History of the Kings of Israel and Judah.
361The people of Judah chose Josiah's son Joahaz and anointed him king in Jerusalem. 2Joahaz was 23 years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled in Jerusalem for three months. 3King Neco of Egypt took him prisoner and made Judah pay 3.4 tonnes of silver and 34 kilogrammes of gold as tribute. 4
Neco made Joahaz' brother Eliakim king of Judah and changed his name to Jehoiakim. Joahaz was taken to Egypt by Neco.
Jehoiakim was 25 years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled in Jerusalem for eleven years. He sinned against the LORD his God. 6
King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia invaded Judah, captured Jehoiakim, and took him to Babylonia in chains. 7Nebuchadnezzar carried off some of the treasures of the Temple and put them in his palace in Babylon. 8Everything that Jehoiakim did, including his disgusting practices and the evil he committed, is recorded in The History of the Kings of Israel and Judah. His son Jehoiachin succeeded him as king.
9Jehoiachin was eighteen36.9 Some ancient translations (and see 2 Kgs 24.8) eighteen; Hebrew eight. years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled in Jerusalem for three months and ten days. He too sinned against the LORD. 10
When spring came, King Nebuchadnezzar took Jehoiachin to Babylonia as a prisoner, and carried off the treasures of the Temple. Then Nebuchadnezzar made Jehoiachin's uncle36.10 Some ancient translations (and see 2 Kgs 24.17) uncle; Hebrew brother. Zedekiah king of Judah and Jerusalem.
Zedekiah was 21 years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled in Jerusalem for eleven years. 12He sinned against the LORD and did not listen humbly to the prophet Jeremiah, who spoke the word of the LORD.
Zedekiah rebelled against King Nebuchadnezzar, who had forced him to swear in God's name that he would be loyal. He stubbornly refused to repent and return to the LORD, the God of Israel. 14In addition, the leaders of Judah, the priests, and the people followed the sinful example of the nations round them in worshipping idols, and so they defiled the Temple, which the LORD himself had made holy. 15The LORD, the God of their ancestors, had continued to send prophets to warn his people, because he wanted to spare them and the Temple. 16But they ridiculed God's messengers, ignoring his words and laughing at his prophets, until at last the LORD's anger against his people was so great that there was no escape.
So the LORD brought the king of Babylonia to attack them. The king killed the young men of Judah, even in the Temple. He had no mercy on anyone, young or old, man or woman, sick or healthy. God handed them all over to him. 18The king of Babylonia looted the Temple, the temple treasury, and the wealth of the king and his officials, and took everything back to Babylon. 19He burnt down the Temple and the city, with all its palaces and its wealth, and broke down the city wall. 20He took all the survivors to Babylonia, where they served him and his descendants as slaves until the rise of the Persian Empire. 21
And so what the LORD had foretold through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: “The land will lie desolate for seventy years, to make up for the Sabbath rest36.21 Sabbath rest: A reference to the requirement of the Law that every seventh year the land was not to be farmed (see Lev 25.1–7). that has not been observed.”
22In the first year that Cyrus of Persia was emperor,36.22 emperor: King Cyrus of Persia occupied the city of Babylon in 539 bc and began to reign as the emperor of Babylonia. the LORD made what he had said through the prophet Jeremiah come true. He prompted Cyrus to issue the following command and send it out in writing to be read aloud everywhere in his empire:
“This is the command of Cyrus, Emperor of Persia. The LORD, the God of Heaven, has made me ruler over the whole world and has given me the responsibility of building a temple for him in Jerusalem in Judah. Now, all of you who are God's people, go there, and may the LORD your God be with you.”