1-4Josiah celebrated the Passover to God in Jerusalem. They killed the Passover lambs on the fourteenth day of the first month. He gave the priests detailed instructions and encouraged them in the work of leading worship in The Temple of God. He also told the Levites who were in charge of teaching and guiding Israel in all matters of worship (they were especially consecrated for this), “Place the sacred Chest in The Temple that Solomon son of David, the king of Israel, built. You don’t have to carry it around on your shoulders any longer! Serve God and God’s people Israel. Organize yourselves by families for your respective responsibilities, following the instructions left by David king of Israel and Solomon his son.
5-6“Take your place in the sanctuary—a team of Levites for every grouping of your fellow citizens, the laity. Your job is to kill the Passover lambs, then consecrate yourselves and prepare the lambs so that everyone will be able to keep the Passover exactly as God commanded through Moses.”
7-9Josiah personally donated thirty thousand sheep, lambs, and goats and three thousand bulls—everything needed for the Passover celebration was there. His officials also pitched in on behalf of the people, including the priests and the Levites. Hilkiah, Zechariah, and Jehiel, leaders in The Temple of God, gave twenty-six hundred lambs and three hundred bulls to the priests for the Passover offerings. Conaniah, his brothers Shemaiah and Nethanel, along with the Levitical chiefs Hashabiah, Jeiel, and Jozabad, donated five thousand lambs and five hundred bulls to the Levites for the Passover offerings.
10-13Preparations were complete for the service of worship; the priests took up their positions and the Levites were at their posts as instructed by the king. They killed the Passover lambs, and while the priests sprinkled the blood from the lambs, the Levites skinned them out. Then they set aside the Whole-Burnt-Offering for presentation to the family groupings of the people so that each group could offer it to God following the instructions in the Book of Moses. They did the same with the cattle. They roasted the Passover lamb according to the instructions and boiled the consecrated offerings in pots and kettles and pans and promptly served the people.
14After the people had eaten the holy meal, the Levites served themselves and the Aaronite priests—the priests were busy late into the night making the offerings at the Altar.
15The Asaph singers were all in their places following the instructions of David, Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun the king’s seer. The security guards were on duty at each gate—the Levites also served them because they couldn’t leave their posts.
16-19Everything went without a hitch in the worship of God that day as they celebrated the Passover and the offering of the Whole-Burnt-Offering on the Altar of God. It went just as Josiah had ordered. The Israelites celebrated the Passover, also known as the Feast of Unraised Bread, for seven days. The Passover hadn’t been celebrated like this since the days of Samuel the prophet. None of the kings had done it. But Josiah, the priests, the Levites, all Judah and Israel who were there that week, plus the citizens of Jerusalem—they did it. In the eighteenth year of the rule of King Josiah, this Passover was celebrated.
* * *
20Some time later, after Josiah’s reformation of The Temple, Neco king of Egypt marched out toward Carchemish on the Euphrates River on his way to war. Josiah went out to fight him.
21Neco sent messengers to Josiah saying, “What do we have against each other, O King of Judah? I haven’t come to fight against you but against the country with whom I’m at war. God commanded me to hurry, so don’t get in my way; you’ll only interfere with God, who is on my side in this, and he’ll destroy you.”
22-23But Josiah was spoiling for a fight and wouldn’t listen to a thing Neco said (in actuality it was God who said it). Though King Josiah disguised himself when they met on the plain of Megiddo, archers shot him anyway.
The king said to his servants, “Get me out of here—I’m badly wounded.”
24-25So his servants took him out of his chariot and laid him down in an ambulance chariot and drove him back to Jerusalem. He died there and was buried in the family cemetery. Everybody in Judah and Jerusalem attended the funeral. Jeremiah composed an anthem of lament for Josiah. The anthem is still sung by the choirs of Israel to this day. The anthem is written in the Laments.
26The rest of the history of Josiah, his exemplary and devout life, conformed to The Revelation of God. The whole story, from start to finish, is written in the Royal Annals of the Kings of Israel and Judah. By popular choice, Jehoahaz son of Josiah was made king at Jerusalem, succeeding his father.