Josiah Celebrates Passover
1King Josiah celebrated the Passover to the Lord in Jerusalem. The Passover lamb was killed on the 14th day of the first month. 2Josiah chose the priests to do their duties. He encouraged the priests while they were serving in the Lord’S Temple. 3He spoke to the Levites who taught the Israelites and who were made holy for service to the Lord. He said to the Levites, “Put the Holy Box in the Temple that Solomon built. Solomon was David’s son. David was king of Israel. Don’t carry the Holy Box from place to place on your shoulders again. Now serve the Lord your God and his people, the Israelites. 4Make yourselves ready for service in the Temple by your tribes. Do the jobs that King David and his son King Solomon gave you to do. 5Stand in the Holy Place with a group of Levites. Do this for each different tribe of the people so that you can help them. 6Kill the Passover lambs and make yourselves holy to the Lord. Get ready to help your fellow Israelites. Do everything the Lord commanded us in the laws he gave to Moses.”
7Josiah gave the Israelites 30,000 sheep and goats to kill for the Passover sacrifices. He also gave 3000 cattle to the people. All these animals were from King Josiah’s own animals. 8Josiah’s officials also freely gave animals and things to the people, to the priests, and Levites to use for the Passover. Hilkiah the high priest, Zechariah, and Jehiel were the officials in charge of the Temple. They gave the priests 2600 lambs and goats and 300 bulls for Passover sacrifices. 9Also Conaniah with Shemaiah and Nethanel, his brothers, and Hashabiah, Jeiel and Jozabad gave 500 sheep and goats and 500 bulls for Passover sacrifices to the Levites. These men were leaders of the Levites.
10When everything was ready for the Passover service to begin, the priests and Levites went to their places. This is what the king commanded. 11The Passover lambs were killed. Then the Levites skinned the animals and gave the blood to the priests. The priests sprinkled the blood on the altar. 12Then they gave the animals to be used for burnt offerings to the different tribes. This was done so that the burnt offerings could be offered to the Lord the way the Law of Moses taught. And they did the same with the bulls. 13The Levites roasted the Passover sacrifices over the fire in the way they were commanded. And they boiled the holy offerings in pots, kettles, and pans. Then they quickly gave the meat to the people. 14After this was finished, the Levites got meat for themselves and for the priests who were descendants of Aaron. These priests were kept very busy, working until it got dark. They worked hard burning the burnt offerings and the fat of the sacrifices. 15The Levite singers from Asaph’s family got in the places that King David had chosen for them to stand. They were Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun the king’s prophet. The gatekeepers at each gate did not have to leave their places because their brother Levites made everything ready for them for the Passover.
16So everything was done that day for the worship of the Lord as King Josiah commanded. The Passover was celebrated and the burnt offerings were offered on the Lord’S altar. 17The Israelites who were there celebrated Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread for seven days. 18Passover hadn’t been celebrated like this since the time of Samuel the prophet! None of the kings of Israel had ever celebrated a Passover like this. King Josiah, the priests, the Levites, and the people of Judah and Israel who were there with all the people in Jerusalem celebrated the Passover in a very special way. 19They celebrated this Passover in Josiah’s 18th year as king.
The Death of Josiah
20Josiah did all these good things for the Temple. Later, King Neco of Egypt led an army to fight against the town of Carchemish on the Euphrates River. King Josiah went out to fight against Neco. 21But Neco sent messengers to Josiah.
They said, “King Josiah, this war is not your problem. I didn’t come to fight against you. I came to fight my enemies. God told me to hurry. He is on my side, so don’t bother me. If you fight against me, God will destroy you!”
22But Josiah did not go away. He put on different clothes to hide who he was and went to fight the battle. Josiah refused to listen to the warning Neco had received from God and went to fight on the plain of Megiddo. 23Then King Josiah was shot by arrows while he was in the battle. He told his servants, “Take me away, I am wounded badly!”
24So the servants took Josiah out of his chariot and put him in another chariot he had brought with him to the battle. Then they took Josiah to Jerusalem. He died there and was buried in the tombs where his ancestors were buried. All the people of Judah and Jerusalem were very sad because Josiah was dead. 25Jeremiah wrote and sang some funeral songs for Josiah. And the men and women singers still sing these sad songs today. It became something the people of Israel always do—they sing a sad song for Josiah. These songs are written in the book, Funeral Songs.
26-27Everything else Josiah did while he was king, from the beginning to the end of his rule, is written in the book, The History of the Kings of Israel and Judah. The book tells about the way he served God faithfully by obeying the law of the Lord.