Josiah revives the Passover

Josiah celebrated the Passover to the Lord in Jerusalem. He sacrificed the Passover lamb on the fourteenth day of the first month.[a] He gave the priests, dressed in religious robes, their daily assignments in the Lord’s temple. He said to the Levites serving in Israel’s temple: “Dedicate yourselves to the Lord for placing the Lord’s holy chest in the house that David’s son King Solomon built. You don’t need to carry it on your shoulders anymore. Now worship the Lord your God and serve Israel, God’s people. Prepare yourselves according to your families and tribes, and according to the plan of King David and the greatness of his son Solomon. Take your positions in the temple according to your inherited priestly[b] groups, serving before your people the Israelites. Sacrifice the Passover lamb and prepare sacrifices for your people, and conduct the Passover ceremony according to the rules that the Lord gave to Moses.”

Josiah gave to the people a gift of thirty thousand lambs and kid goats and three thousand calves. These came as promised from the king’s own possessions to the people, priests, and Levites. Hilkiah, Zechariah, and Jehiel[c] (the chief officials of the temple) gave to the priests for the Passover twenty-six hundred sheep and three hundred calves. Jeconiah, Shemaiah and his brother Nethanel, Hashabiah, Ochiel, and Joram, military commanders, gave to the Levites five thousand sheep and seven hundred calves for the Passover.

10 This is what happened. Early in the morning the priests and Levites, 11 holding the unleavened bread, stood in the proper order of their tribes 12 and by their inherited groups. They brought the offerings to the Lord according to the scroll from Moses. 13 They roasted the Passover lamb over fire as required. They boiled the sacrifices, with a sweet aroma, in copper pots and kettles and carried them over to all the people. 14 Later on, the Levites prepared the Passover meal for themselves and for their fellow priests, Aaron’s sons, since the priests were offering the fat of the sacrifices until late into the night. 15 The temple singers, Asaph’s sons, were in their designated positions according to the instructions set down by David and by Asaph, Zechariah, and Eddinus, the king’s advisors. The city gatekeepers were at each gate. No one needed to change his daily routine, because the Levites had prepared the Passover meal for them. 16 Everything for the Lord’s sacrifice was accomplished on that day. They celebrated the Passover and offered sacrifices on the Lord’s altar according to King Josiah’s command.

17 The Israelites celebrated the Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread for seven days. 18 No Passover like it had been celebrated in Israel since the time of the prophet Samuel. 19 Nor had any of the kings of Israel ever celebrated a Passover like that celebrated by Josiah, the priests, the Levites, the Judeans, and all of Israel who were living in Jerusalem. 20 In the eighteenth year of the rule of Josiah this Passover was celebrated.

21 Josiah did the right thing in the Lord’s presence, because his heart was devoted to God. 22 The story of his rule was officially recorded in ancient times. The records include those who sinned and committed ungodly acts toward the Lord, beyond those of any other nation and kingdom. Their acts intentionally grieved the Lord, so that the Lord spoke against Israel.

Death of Josiah

23 Sometime after Josiah’s actions, Pharaoh, Egypt’s king, went to start a war at Carchemish on the Euphrates. Josiah went out against him.

24 The king of Egypt sent a message to Josiah: “What do you want with me, King of Judea? 25 I haven’t been sent out by the Lord God against you; rather, my war is at the Euphrates. Now the Lord is with me and urges me on. So stand aside and don’t oppose the Lord.”

26 Josiah, however, didn’t return to his chariot but resolved to fight. He didn’t pay attention to the words of the prophet Jeremiah, which came from the Lord. 27 He went to war with Pharaoh in the plain of Megiddo, and Pharaoh’s commanders came against King Josiah. 28 The king said to his attendants, “Take me away from the battle, for I’m severely wounded.” His attendants immediately took him away from the line of battle. 29 Josiah got into a second chariot. After he was brought back to Jerusalem, he died and was buried in his family tomb.

30 The whole land of Judea mourned for Josiah. The prophet Jeremiah also grieved for Josiah. The leading citizens, with the women, grieve over him until this day. This has become a tradition for the whole nation of Israel to observe. 31 These events have been written in the official records of the Judean kings. All of Josiah’s actions—including his honor, his understanding of the Law of the Lord, all that he did previously, and these things that are now told—are described in the official records of the kings of Israel and Judea.

32 Then the leaders of the nation appointed Jeconiah, Josiah’s son, who was 23 years old, as king to succeed his father. 33 He ruled in Judea and Jerusalem for three months. Then the king of Egypt removed him from his rule in Jerusalem 34 and fined the nation 5,700 pounds of silver and fifty-seven pounds of gold.

35 The king of Egypt appointed his own brother Jehoiakim as king of Judea and Jerusalem. 36 Jehoiakim put the officials in prison. He seized his other brother Zarius and took him from Egypt. 37 Jehoiakim was 25 years old when he began to rule over Judea and Jerusalem; he did what was evil in the Lord’s presence.

38 Then Babylon’s King Nebuchadnezzar went up against him, bound him with bronze chains, and took him away to Babylon. 39 Nebuchadnezzar also seized some of the Lord’s holy equipment, carried it off to Babylon, and placed it in his temple. 40 But the things reported about Jehoiakim,[d] his impurity and godlessness, have been written in the scroll about the times of the kings.

41 His son Jehoiachin[e] ruled in his place. When he was appointed king, he was 18 years old. 42 He ruled in Jerusalem for three months and ten days, and he did evil things in the Lord’s presence.

43 After a year, Nebuchadnezzar removed Jehoiachin to Babylon, along with the Lord’s holy equipment. 44 He appointed Zedekiah king of Judea and Jerusalem when Zedekiah was 21 years old. He ruled for eleven years. 45 He also did evil things in the Lord’s presence and paid no attention to the words Jeremiah the prophet spoke, which came from the Lord. 46 Although King Nebuchadnezzar had made him swear a solemn pledge in the Lord’s name, he swore falsely and rebelled. He was stubborn and broke the laws of the Lord, the God of Israel.

47 The leaders of the people and the priests committed godless and immoral acts far beyond the impure ones of the nations. They even corrupted the Lord’s temple that had been made holy in Jerusalem. 48 The God of their ancestors sent his messenger to call them back, because he was trying to spare them and his dwelling place. 49 But they mocked the messengers and made fun of the prophets on the day that the Lord spoke.

Finally, God, with divine anger, brought the Chaldean kings against his chosen nation because of their godless acts. 50 The Chaldeans killed the young people around the holy temple. They spared neither man nor woman, young nor old, for God handed over all of them. 51 They seized and carried off to Babylon all the Lord’s holy equipment, great and small, the treasure chests of the Lord, and the royal stores. 52 They set fire to the Lord’s house. They smashed the walls of Jerusalem. They burned its towers with fire. 53 They utterly ruined all of its radiance. King Nebuchadnezzar led away the survivors to Babylon under guard. 54 They became servants to him and to his sons until the rise of the Persian kingdom, which fulfilled the Lord’s word through Jeremiah, 55 who said, “Until the land has enjoyed its sabbath rest, it will remain untouched,[f] after its destruction, for seventy years.”


  1. 1 Esdras 1:1 March–April, Nisan
  2. 1 Esdras 1:5 Or levitical
  3. 1 Esdras 1:8 Gk Esyelus
  4. 1 Esdras 1:40 Or him
  5. 1 Esdras 1:41 Gk Jehoiakim
  6. 1 Esdras 1:55 Or it will keep sabbath