The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Second Book of Paralipomena
Josias was eight years old when he came to the throne, and his reign at Jerusalem lasted thirty-one years;
he was obedient to the Lord’s will, and followed the example of his ancestor, king David, never swerving to right or left.
It was while he was still a boy, in the eighth year of his reign, that he betook himself to the God his father David worshipped; and in the twelfth year of his reign he rid Juda and Jerusalem of hill-shrine and forest shrine, carved image and molten image.
All the altars of the countryside gods must be destroyed in his presence; sacred trees and statues he cut down everywhere and broke in pieces, which he scattered on the tombs of their worshippers;
and on the altars that were raised to false gods he burned the bones of their own priests, till Juda and Jerusalem were defiled no more.
Then he must carry out the same work of destruction in the cities of Manasses, Ephraim and Simeon, and all the way to Nephthali;
altars were thrown down, images crushed to pieces, and shrines demolished, all over the land of Israel; and so he returned to Jerusalem.✻
Then, in the eighteenth year of his reign, the land and the temple now purged, he commissioned Saphan, son of Eselias, and Maasias that was governor of the city, and Joha son of Joachaz, that kept the records, to see that the house of the Lord their God was put in repair.
So they made their way to the high priest, Helcias, who handed over to them the offerings collected by Levites and door-keepers for the temple fabric; offerings from Manasses and Ephraim and all the rest of Israel, as well as Juda, Benjamin and Jerusalem.
These they paid out to the overseers of the Lord’s house, bidding them restore it and put it in repair.
And they, in their turn, gave it to the craftsmen and masons, that must buy stone from the quarries; wood, too, for joiner’s work, and for roofing the buildings which earlier kings had left in ruins.
All this was faithfully carried out; the work was hastened on by these overseers, the Merarites Jahath and Abdias, the Caathites Zacharias and Masollam, Levites all and musicians;
the workmen that did but carry burdens at need were under the command of the secretaries and the chief door-keepers.
It was just when they came to take away the temple offerings that Helcias found a copy of the law which the Lord gave through Moses;
and he told Saphan, the secretary, how he had found, there in the temple, a copy of the law, which he gave him to read.
Saphan took the book with him when he went to the king to report that the commission had been faithfully executed.
They have collected all the money, said he, that was there in the temple, and paid it out through the overseers to craftsmen and to masons.
And here is a book the high priest, Helcias, has given me.
This book, then, Saphan read out in the royal presence; and the king, upon hearing the terms of the law, rent his garments about him.
Then he gave orders to Helcias, and Ahicam son of Saphan, and Abdon son of Micha, and Asaas, one of his courtiers;
Go and consult the Lord,✻ he told them, for me and all that is left of Israel and Juda, about this new-found copy of the law. What wonder if the Lord should rain down vengeance on us, a race that has left his warnings unheeded, his bidding undone?
So Helcias and his companions went on the king’s errand to the prophetess Olda. She was wife to Sellum, son of Thecuath, son of Hasra, that once kept the royal wardrobe; her dwelling was at Jerusalem, in the new part of the city. So they told her their business,
and she, in return, gave them this message from the Lord God of Israel for the man that sent them;
Thus says the Lord, For this city and its citizens I have punishments in store, all the punishments threatened in yonder book which has been read out to the king of Juda.
The men of Juda have forsaken me, and offered sacrifice to alien gods; all they do is done in defiance of me; the fire of my vengeance must needs rain down on this city, and there is no quenching it.
But to the king of Juda, who sent you here to consult the Lord, give this message from the Lord God of Israel: Well for thee thou didst listen to the warnings this book gave thee!
Well for thee that thy heart failed thee, and thou didst humble thyself before God, at hearing him threaten city and citizens with doom; that thou didst make amends, by tearing thy garments about thee, and hadst recourse to me with tears.
And thou hast won my audience, the Lord says; I will lay thee to rest with thy fathers, in quiet times thou shalt go to thy grave. Not for thy eyes the great calamities I mean to bring on city and citizens of thine.
When they brought the king his answer, he summoned all the elders of Juda and Jerusalem;
then he went up to the Lord’s temple, and all the men of Juda bore him company, all the citizens of Jerusalem, priest and Levite and common folk high and low. There, in their hearing, he read the whole book out to them.
Standing on the dais, he made a promise, there in the Lord’s presence; they would make the Lord their leader, holding fast by command and decree and observance of his, heart and soul, obeying all the terms of the law they had listened to.
And he bound them by an oath, all the men of Jerusalem and of Benjamin. This pact with the Lord God of their fathers was kept loyally.✻
So Josias swept away from the whole realm of Israel all detestable worship, and made the remnant that were left in Israel obey the Lord their God. Never again did they forsake the Lord, their fathers’ God, while Josias’ life lasted.
The Holy Bible