Thursday, 13 June 2024 - Sant´Antonio da Padova ( Letture di oggi)

2 Kings 23


1The king then had al the elders of Judah and of Jerusalem summoned to him,2and the king went up to the Temple of Yahweh with al the people of Judah and al the inhabitants ofJerusalem, priests, prophets and the whole populace, high and low. In their hearing he read out the entirecontents of the Book of the Covenant discovered in the Temple of Yahweh.3The king then, standing on the dais, bound himself by the covenant before Yahweh, to fol ow Yahweh,to keep his commandments, decrees and laws with al his heart and soul, and to carry out the terms of thecovenant as written in this book. Al the people pledged their allegiance to the covenant.4The king ordered Hilkiah with the priest next in rank and the guardians of the threshold to remove althe cult objects which had been made for Baal, Asherah and the whole array of heaven; he burnt them outsideJerusalem in the fields of the Kidron and had the ashes taken to Bethel.5He exterminated the spurious priests whom the kings of Judah had appointed and who offered sacrificeon the high places, in the towns of Judah and the neighbourhood of Jerusalem; also those who offered sacrificeto Baal, to the sun, the moon, the constel ations and the whole array of heaven.6And from the Temple of Yahweh he took the sacred pole outside Jerusalem to the Kidron val ey and inthe Kidron valley he burnt it, reducing it to ashes and throwing its ashes on the common burial-ground.7He pulled down the house of the sacred male prostitutes which was in the Temple of Yahweh andwhere the women wove veils for Asherah.8He brought all the priests in from the towns of Judah, and from Geba to Beersheba he renderedunsanctified the high places where these priests had offered sacrifice. He pul ed down the High Place of theGates, which stood at the gate of Joshua, the governor of the city, to the left of the entry to the city.9The priests of the high places, however, did not officiate at the altar of Yahweh in Jerusalem, althoughthey did share the unleavened bread of their brother-priests.10He rendered unsanctified Tophet in the Valley of Ben-Hinnom, so that no one could pass his son ordaughter through the fire of sacrifice to Molech.11He destroyed the horses which the kings of Judah had dedicated to the sun at the entrance to theTemple of Yahweh, near the apartment of Nathan-Melech the official, in the precincts, and he burned the solarchariot.12The king pulled down altars which the kings of Judah had built on the roof and those which Manassehhad built in the two courts of the Temple of Yahweh, and broke them to pieces on the spot, throwing their rubbleinto the Kidron val ey.13The king rendered unsanctified the high places facing Jerusalem, to the south of the Mount of Olives,which Solomon king of Israel had built for Astarte the Sidonian abomination, for Chemosh the Moabiteabomination, and for Milcom the Ammonite abomination.14He also smashed the sacred pil ars, cut down the sacred poles, and covered with human bones theplaces where they had stood.15As for the altar which was at Bethel, the high place built by Jeroboam son of Nebat who had led Israelinto sin, he demolished this altar and this high place as wel , in the same way, breaking up its stones andreducing them to powder. The sacred pole he burned.16On looking round, Josiah saw the tombs there on the hil side; he had the bones fetched from thetombs and burned them on the altar. This he rendered unsanctified, in accordance with the word of Yahwehwhich the man of God had proclaimed when Jeroboam was standing by the altar at the time of the feast. Onlooking round, Josiah caught sight of the tomb of the man of God who had foretold these things.17'What is that monument I see?' he asked. The townspeople replied, 'It is the tomb of the man of Godwho came from Judah and foretold what you have done to the altar.'18'Let him rest,' the king said, 'and let no one disturb his bones.' So they left his bones untouched, withthe bones of the prophet who came from Samaria.19Josiah also destroyed all the shrines on the high places which were in the towns of Samaria andwhich the kings of Israel had built to provoke Yahweh's anger; he treated these places exactly as he had treatedthe one at Bethel.20Al the priests of the high places who were there he slaughtered on the altars, and on those altarsburned human bones. Then he returned to Jerusalem.21The king gave this order to the whole people: 'Celebrate a Passover to Yahweh your God, asprescribed in this Book of the Covenant.'22No Passover like this had ever been celebrated since the days when the judges ruled Israel, northroughout the entire period of the kings of Israel and the kings of Judah.23The eighteenth year of King Josiah was the only time when such a Passover was celebrated inYahweh's honour in Jerusalem.24What is more, the spirit-guides and mediums, the household gods and idols, and al the abominationsto be seen in the country of Judah and in Jerusalem, were swept away by Josiah to give effect to the words ofthe Law written in the book found by the priest Hilkiah in the Temple of Yahweh.25No king before him turned to Yahweh as he did, with al his heart, all his soul, al his strength, inperfect loyalty to the Law of Moses; nor did any king like him arise again.26Yet Yahweh did not renounce the heat of his great anger which had been aroused against Judah byal the provocations which Manasseh had caused him.27Yahweh said, 'I shal thrust Judah away from me too, as I have already thrust Israel; I shall cast offJerusalem, this city which I have chosen, and the Temple of which I have said: My Name shal be there.'28The rest of the history of Josiah, his entire career, is this not recorded in the Book of the Annals of theKings of Judah?29In his times, Pharaoh Necho king of Egypt was advancing to meet the king of Assyria at the RiverEuphrates, and King Josiah went to intercept him; but Necho kil ed him at Megiddo in the first encounter.30His retainers carried his body from Megiddo by chariot; they brought him to Jerusalem and buried himin his own tomb. The people of the country then took Jehoahaz son of Josiah and anointed him, proclaiming himking in succession to his father.31Jehoahaz was twenty-three years old when he came to the throne, and he reigned for three months inJerusalem. His mother's name was Hamutal daughter of Jeremiah, of Libnah.32He did what is displeasing to Yahweh, just as his ancestors had done.33Pharaoh Necho put him in chains at Riblah in Hamath, to prevent his reigning any longer inJerusalem, and imposed a levy of a hundred talents of silver and ten talents of gold on the country.34Pharaoh Necho then made Eliakim son of Josiah king in succession to Josiah his father, and changedhis name to Jehoiakim. Carrying off Jehoahaz, he took him to Egypt, where he died.35Jehoiakim paid over the silver and gold to Pharaoh, but first had to tax the people of the countrybefore he could raise the sum which Pharaoh demanded: he levied the silver and gold to be paid over toPharaoh Necho from each according to his means.36Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he came to the throne, and he reigned for eleven years inJerusalem. His mother's name was Zebidah daughter of Pedaiah of Rumah.37He did what is displeasing to Yahweh, just as his ancestors had done.