2 Kings 22:3-23:30
3 During Josiah’s 18th year as king, he dispatched his minister of state,[a] Shaphan (son of Azaliah and grandson of Meshullam), to the Eternal’s house with instructions.
Josiah: 4 Visit the priest, Hilkiah, and ask him to give us an account of the finances that have been collected by the doorkeepers from those who enter the Eternal’s temple. 5 Tell them to give it to the workers who watch over the Eternal’s temple, to the repairmen who keep the place in good condition, 6 to the carpenters and builders and masons for purchasing the wood and cut stones to keep the temple in working order. 7 There is no need to document the financial exchange with these workers because they are honest in their dealings.
Hilkiah (to Shaphan): 8 I have discovered the book of the law in the Eternal’s house.
Hilkiah then handed the book of the law to Shaphan, and Shaphan read through it. 9 Shaphan the secretary returned to the king with a report.
The discovery of the book of the law which has been forgotten for a long time serves two purposes: it rewards Josiah for the work he’s already done, and it pushes him toward more reforms. Besides its positive effect on Judah, not much is known about the book of the law, except that it isn’t a book at all. It is probably a scroll with two columns of writing, much like the Dead Sea Scrolls. The exact content is unknown, but it is probable that the book of the law was the foundational text for the compiler of Deuteronomy. Assuming this, the laws from Deuteronomy explain why Josiah destroys any object that could be used in pagan worship.
Shaphan: Those who serve you in the Eternal’s house have given every last cent of the money to the workers who keep the Eternal’s house in good condition.
10 (continuing) While I was delivering your instructions, Hilkiah the priest handed me an old book.
Shaphan then read the old book aloud to the king. 11 While the king listened to the words of the book of law, he was filled with sorrow, and he tore his garments. 12 Then the king gave a command to Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam (Shaphan’s son), Achbor (Micaiah’s son), Shaphan the minister of state, and Asaiah (one of the king’s advisors).
Josiah: 13 Go and speak to the Eternal One on my behalf, and also on behalf of the people and all of Judah. Speak to Him about this book and all that it commands. There is a wrathful fire on its way to us from Him, all because our ancestors before us did not obey the instructions of this book or do all that is written concerning us.
14 Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Achbor, Shaphan, and Asaiah went to visit the prophetess Huldah (Shallum’s wife). Shallum was Tikvah’s son, and Tikvah was the son of Harhas, who was in charge of the clothing and garments. Huldah lived in the second quarter of Jerusalem. Hilkiah, Ahikam, Achbor, Shaphan, and Asaiah spoke to her.
Huldah: 15 This is the message of the Eternal God of Israel: “Go back and speak to the one who told you to speak to Me that 16 the Eternal says, ‘I will bring a wicked cloud of disaster over this land and those who live within it. It will be just as it is written in all the words of the book read by the king of Judah. 17 Because they have turned their backs on Me and have been promiscuous with other gods, burning incense for them and causing My anger to boil with all their wicked deeds, the fire of My wrath will consume them and be inextinguishable.’”
18 But tell Judah’s king, the one who told you to visit me and speak to the Eternal One on his behalf, “This is the message of the Eternal God of Israel: ‘Concerning what you have heard, 19 your heart was gentle and concerned about My commands. You were humble before the Eternal because of the warnings of desolation I gave to this place and to those who dwell within it. You even tore your garments and cried before Me. Because you have done all this, I have certainly heard your sincerity,’ proclaims the Eternal One.
20 “‘Observe! I am going to bring you to be with your ancestors, and you will meet the grave peacefully, so that you will not have to witness the wicked cloud of disaster I will bring to shadow this land and all those who dwell within it.’”
Then Hilkiah, Ahikam, Achbor, Shaphan, and Asaiah returned to the king and gave him the Lord’s message, as sent through Huldah the prophetess.
23 The king ordered an assembly of all of Judah’s and Jerusalem’s elders. 2 He then went to the Eternal’s temple with all the citizens of Jerusalem and the men of Judah, as well as the priests and prophets and people of all statuses, and he read to them everything in the covenant book that was discovered in the Eternal’s house.
3 While standing next to the sacred pillar, the king proclaimed a covenant before the Eternal One. He promised to follow the Eternal, to obey His commands and laws and testaments with all his being. He promised to honor every word of the covenant book that had been discovered in the temple. Everyone who was present entered into the covenant with the king.
4 The king gave a command to the high priest, Hilkiah, and to the priests of the second order, as well as the doormen. He told them to remove from the Eternal’s house all the vessels that were crafted to honor Baal, Asherah, and all the other gods of the skies. He set them on fire in the fields of Kidron outside of Jerusalem, and then he transported the ashes to Bethel.
5 He got rid of the corrupted priests who worshiped false gods and whom the old kings of Judah had instructed to burn incense in the high places in Judah’s cities and in the land all around Jerusalem, and those who honored Baal and the sun and moon and stars and all the gods of the skies by burning incense.
6 The king removed the sacred pole from the Eternal’s temple, and he set it on fire at the Kidron brook just outside Jerusalem. He crushed it until it was nothing more than a pile of dust, and then he tossed the dust onto ordinary graves, further contaminating it by contact with dead bodies. 7 He destroyed the houses of cult prostitutes next to the house of the Eternal, where women were weaving hangings for the sacred pole. 8 He assembled in Jerusalem all of Judah’s priests and destroyed the high places from Geba to Beersheba where they had burned incense. He tore down the high places of the gates located on the left side of the city gates near the gate of Joshua, who was governor of Jerusalem.
9 The corrupted priests of the high places did not approach the Eternal’s altar in Jerusalem, but they filled their bellies with unleavened bread in the company of their families, since they would not travel to Jerusalem to perform their religious duties.
10 The king destroyed Topheth as well. Topheth is in the valley of Hinnom’s son. He did this so that no man could offer his children as a burnt sacrifice to Molech.
11 Close to the entrance to the Eternal’s house, near the official Nathan-melech’s chamber in the area around the temple, were horses that Judah’s kings had dedicated to the sun. The king removed the horses and set fire to the chariots of the sun as well.
12 The king also tore down the roof altars, Ahaz’s upper room which was crafted by Judah’s kings, and the altars crafted by Manasseh for the two courts in the Eternal’s house. He crushed them into piles of dust, and then he tossed the dust into the Kidron brook. 13 The king also destroyed the high places south of the mountain of corruption, which Solomon (Israel’s king) constructed east of Jerusalem to honor Ashtoreth, the corrupt Sidonian goddess; Chemosh, the corrupt Moabite god; and Milcom, the corrupt Ammonite god. 14 He shattered the sacred pillars and chopped down the sacred poles. In their place, he desecrated their sites by contact with corpses.
15 He tore down the altar at Bethel, the high place—the one erected by Jeroboam (Nebat’s son), the very Jeroboam who caused the Israelites to live sinful lives. He crushed the rocks and pounded them into dust and set fire to the sacred pole.
16 Josiah turned and observed the graves there on the mountain; and he sent men to gather up the bones and set fire to them on the altar, defiling the altar by contact with corpses exactly as the Eternal One had spoken through the man of God.[b]
Josiah (noticing a specific burial plot): 17 What is the significance of that marker?
Men of the City: This is a grave marker for the man of God from Judah who prophesied the very things which you have just done to the altar at Bethel.
Josiah: 18 Leave him be. No one is to lay a finger on his bones, so that he may rest in peace.
They let his bones rest in peace next to the bones of the Samaritan prophet.[c]
19 Josiah tore down all the temples of the high places built by Israel’s kings in the Samaritan cities. These high places had caused the Eternal’s anger to boil. Josiah did the same thing to these houses as he did to the houses in Bethel.
20 Josiah also killed all the priests who were present at the high places. He killed them on the altars and set fire to their bones. Then he went back to the place from which he came—Jerusalem.
Josiah (to the people): 21 The covenant book that was found in the temple says we must observe the Passover and rejoice in the Eternal One our God, who led us out of bondage in Egypt.
22 The Passover had not been observed from the time when the judges judged Israel, even throughout all the generations of Israel’s kings and Judah’s kings. 23 But during King Josiah’s 18th year, the Passover was celebrated in honor of the Eternal One in Jerusalem.
24 In addition, Josiah destroyed the clairvoyants, necromancers, household gods, idols, and every other corruption in Judah and in Jerusalem, so that he could make things right according to the laws and commands of the covenant book Hilkiah the priest had discovered in the Eternal’s house.
25 No king before him or after him ever gave himself to the Eternal so fully and deeply as Josiah did. He offered to the Eternal with all his being: all of his heart, all of his soul, and all his might, in accordance with the sacred law given through Moses.
26 Still the Eternal did not abandon His immense wrath. It boiled against Judah, because of all the wickedness Manasseh had committed against Him.
Eternal One: 27 I will remove Judah from before My presence. I will do this just as I have done it to Israel. I will cast aside Jerusalem, the city I chose for My temple when I said, “This will be the dwelling place for My name.”
28 Is not the rest of Josiah’s story—his actions and lasting legacy—documented in the book of the chronicles of Judah’s kings?
29 Josiah’s death happened this way: Pharaoh Neco, Egypt’s king, marched north with his army to the Euphrates River to meet with Assyria’s king. King Josiah mustered his forces and attempted to block Neco’s advance.
The situation has changed for Assyria in the 100 years since the Northern Kingdom was conquered. About 7 years after the Babylonians conquer the Assyrian capital of Nineveh, Neco is actually rushing to the aid of Assyria instead of fighting to destroy her. The Egyptian and Assyrian plan is to defeat Babylonia; and unfortunately, Josiah is in the way. The death of the good king Josiah and the victory of Babylonia over both Assyria and Egypt doom Judah to becoming part of the Babylonian Empire.
In the ensuing battle, Neco and his forces killed Josiah at Megiddo. 30 Josiah’s servants took his body back to Jerusalem from Megiddo in a chariot. They laid him to rest in his own tomb instead of in a tomb with his fathers. The people of Judah then took Josiah’s son, Jehoahaz, and anointed him and set him upon the throne of his father as king.
37 They were just leaving the temple area when Paul asked the commandant,
Paul: May I say something to you?
Commandant: Do you speak Greek? 38 We thought you were that Egyptian who recently stirred a rebellion and led 4,000 assassins out into the desert. But if you speak Greek, then obviously you’re not the person we supposed.
Paul: 39 No, I’m a Jew, originally from Tarsus in Cilicia. I’m a citizen from an important city. Please, I beg you, let me speak to the people.
40 The commandant agreed, and Paul stood there on the steps, motioning for the people to be silent. The crowd settled down, and Paul spoke in their native tongue, Aramaic.
22 Paul: Brothers and fathers, please let me defend myself against these charges.
2 When they heard him speaking Aramaic, a hush came over the crowd.
Paul: 3 I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia. I was raised here in Jerusalem and was tutored in the great school of Gamaliel. My education trained me in the strict interpretation of the law of our ancestors, and I grew zealous for God, just as all of you are today. 4 I encountered a movement known as the Way, and I considered it a threat to our religion, so I persecuted it violently. I put both men and women in chains, had them imprisoned, and would have killed them— 5 as the high priest and the entire council of elders will tell you. I received documentation from them to go to Damascus and work with the brothers there to arrest followers of the Way and bring them back to Jerusalem in chains so they could be properly punished. 6 I was on my way to Damascus. It was about noon. Suddenly a powerful light shone around me, 7 and I fell to the ground. A voice spoke: “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?” 8 I answered, “Who are You, Lord?” The voice replied, “I am Jesus of Nazareth, the One you persecute.”
9 My companions saw the light, but they didn’t hear the voice. 10 I asked, “What do You want me to do, Lord?” The Lord replied, “Get up and go to Damascus; you will be given your instructions there.” 11 Since the intense light had blinded me, my companions led me by the hand into Damascus. 12 I was visited there by a devout man named Ananias, a law-keeping Jew who was well spoken of by all the Jews living in Damascus. 13 He said, “Brother Saul, regain your sight!” I could immediately see again, beginning with Ananias standing before me. 14 Then he said, “You have been chosen by the God of our ancestors to know His will, to see the Righteous One, and to hear the voice of God. 15 You will tell the story of what you have seen and heard to the whole world. 16 So now, don’t delay. Get up, be ceremonially cleansed through baptism,[a] and have your sins washed away, as you call on His name in prayer.”
- 22:16 Literally, immersed, in a rite of initiation and purification
Book One (Psalms 1–41) is attributed almost entirely to David; all but four of the psalms (1–2; 10; 33) are ascribed to him. In Hebrew Psalm 10 is a continuation of Psalm 9 because it was composed as an acrostic poem. Likewise, many Hebrew manuscripts combine Psalm 33 with 32. Only later are these divided into separate psalms. Psalm 1 sets the stage for the entire collection by explaining that the study of the Word of God is the foundation of a meaningful, prosperous life.
1 God’s blessings follow you and await you at every turn:
when you don’t follow the advice of those who delight in wicked schemes,
When you avoid sin’s highway,
when judgment and sarcasm beckon you, but you refuse.
2 For you, the Eternal’s Word is your happiness.
It is your focus—from dusk to dawn.
3 You are like a tree,
planted by flowing, cool streams of water that never run dry.
Your fruit ripens in its time;
your leaves never fade or curl in the summer sun.
No matter what you do, you prosper.
4 For those who focus on sin, the story is different.
They are like the fallen husk of wheat, tossed by an open wind, left deserted and alone.
5 In the end, the wicked will fall in judgment;
the guilty will be separated from the innocent.
6 Their road suddenly will end in death,
yet the journey of the righteous has been charted by the Eternal.
11 The rich think their wealth is their sturdy fortress;
they imagine it to be an invincible wall of security.
12 A proud heart precedes destruction,
and before honor is humility.