23:4 The king ordered Hilkiah the high priest, the high-ranking priests, 1 and the guards 2 to bring out of the Lord’s temple all the items that were used in the worship of 3 Baal, Asherah, and all the stars of the sky. 4 The king 5 burned them outside of Jerusalem in the terraces 6 of Kidron, and carried their ashes to Bethel. 7 23:5 He eliminated 8 the pagan priests whom the kings of Judah had appointed to offer sacrifices 9 on the high places in the cities of Judah and in the area right around Jerusalem. (They offered sacrifices 10 to Baal, the sun god, the moon god, the constellations, and all the stars in the sky.) 23:6 He removed the Asherah pole from the Lord’s temple and took it outside Jerusalem to the Kidron Valley, where he burned it. 11 He smashed it to dust and then threw the dust in the public graveyard. 12
1 tn Heb “the priests of the second [rank],” that is, those ranked just beneath Hilkiah.
2 tn Or “doorkeepers.”
3 tn Heb “for.”
5 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the king) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
6 tn Or “fields.” For a defense of the translation “terraces,” see M. Cogan and H. Tadmor, II Kings (AB), 285.
8 tn Perhaps, “destroyed.”
9 tn Or “burn incense.”
10 tn Or “burned incense.”
11 tn Heb “and he burned it in the Kidron Valley.”
12 tc Heb “on the grave of the sons of the people.” Some Hebrew, Greek, Syriac, Aramaic, and Latin witnesses read the plural “graves.”
tn The phrase “sons of the people” refers here to the common people (see BDB 766 s.v. עַם), as opposed to the upper classes who would have private tombs.