2 Chronicles 35

King Josiah prepares for the Passover festival

1 King Josiah told the people to have the Passover festival in Jerusalem, to give honour to the Lord. They killed the lambs for the Passover meal on the 14th day of the first month of the year. 2 Josiah told the priests the jobs that they should do. He told them to be strong as they served the Lord in his temple. 3 The work of the Levites was to teach all the Israelites about God's laws. The Lord had chosen them to do that special work. Josiah said to them, ‘Put the holy Covenant Box in the temple that David's son, King Solomon, built. Do not carry it on your shoulders. Now you must serve the Lord your God and his people, the Israelites. 4 Each group of families must be ready to do their work. King David of Israel and his son Solomon decided what work each group must do. 5 Each group of Levites must stand in the holy place of the temple. Each group will be ready to help the people of different clans. 6 Kill the lambs for the Passover meal. Make yourselves clean to serve the Lord. Prepare the sacrifices for each Israelite family. Then they can eat the Passover meal, as the Lord told Moses they must do.’

Many people give offerings

7 Josiah took 30,000 lambs and goats, and 3,000 bulls from his own animals. He gave them to the people who were there, to kill for their Passover sacrifices.

8 His officers were also happy to give their animals to the people, as well as to the priests and the Levites. Hilkiah, Zechariah, and Jehiel were officers who took care of the temple. They gave 2,600 lambs and 300 bulls to the priests for Passover sacrifices. 9 These Levite officers gave 5,000 lambs and 500 bulls to the Levites for Passover sacrifices: Konaniah and his brothers, Shemaiah and Nethanel; Hashabiah, Jeiel and Jozabad.

The Passover meal

10 Everything was ready for the Passover to begin. The priests and the Levites stood in their places, group by group, as the king had commanded. 11 Some Levites killed the lambs for the Passover meal. They gave the blood to the priests, and the priests splashed the blood on the altar. At the same time, some Levites were removing the skins from the animals. 12 They took the animals for the burnt offerings to give to the people. They shared them among each group of families. Then each family could offer a bull to the Lord as a sacrifice, in the way that the book of Moses taught. 13 The Levites cooked the lambs for the Passover meal over a fire, as the rules taught. They boiled the meat of the holy offerings in pots and pans. Then they quickly carried the meat to all the people.

35:13Pots and pans are things that hold water so that you can cook food in them.

14 After that, the Levites prepared the Passover meal for themselves and for the priests. The priests had been busy all day, until the evening. They were offering the burnt offerings and the pieces of fat to the Lord. So the Levites prepared the meal for themselves and for the priests, Aaron's descendants.

15 Asaph's descendants, the musicians, stood in their places. Those were the places that David, Asaph, Heman and the king's prophet, Jeduthun, had chosen. The guards continued to watch the different gates all through the day. So the other Levites prepared the meal for them too.

16 So they did everything properly to serve the Lord that day. Everyone did what King Josiah had told them to do. They had the Passover meal and they offered the burnt offerings on the Lord's altar. 17 Some Israelite people were also there in Jerusalem for the Passover festival at that time. They also stayed seven more days for the festival of Flat Bread.

18 There had not been a Passover festival like that in Israel since the time of the prophet Samuel. No king of Israel had enjoyed a Passover festival as good as the one that King Josiah had. The priests, the Levites and all the people enjoyed the festival. They were the people of Judah, the people of Israel who had come to Jerusalem, as well as the people who lived in Jerusalem. 19 This Passover festival happened in the 18th year that Josiah ruled Judah as king.

Josiah dies

20 After Josiah had done all those things for the temple, King Necho of Egypt marched out with his army. He came to fight a battle at Carchemish, a city beside the Euphrates river. King Josiah went with his army to fight against King Necho. 21 But Necho sent men with a message to Josiah. King Necho said, ‘King of Judah, you should not come to fight against me. We should be friends. I came to fight against this kingdom which is my enemy. God has told me that I must hurry. So do not try to stop me, because God is with me. If you try to fight against God, he will destroy you.’

22 But Josiah would not agree to go away. He changed his clothes so that nobody would recognize him in the battle. God had told King Necho what to say to Josiah. But Josiah would not listen to his words. Instead, he went to fight against Necho in Megiddo valley.

23 Necho's soldiers hit King Josiah with their arrows. The king said to his servants, ‘Take me away from the battle! The arrows have hurt me very much.’ 24 So they took him out of the chariot that he was riding in. They put him in his other chariot. Then they took him to Jerusalem and he died there. His people buried him beside his ancestors. All the people of Judah and Jerusalem wept because Josiah had died.

25 Jeremiah wrote sad songs about Josiah's death. The male and female singers still sing these songs to remember Josiah, even today. The songs have become something that the people of Israel always like to sing. They are written in a book called ‘The book of sad songs’.

26-27 All the other things that Josiah did while he was king are written in a book. The book is called ‘The history of the kings of Israel and Judah’. It tells how Josiah faithfully obeyed what is written in the Law of the Lord. It includes all the good things that he did, from the beginning to the end of his time as king.