2 Corinthians 11; 2 Kings 25; Habakkuk 2

2 Corinthians 11

Paul and the False Apostles

1 I wish you would put up with a little foolishness from me. Yes, do put up with me. 2 For I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy, because I have promised you in marriage to one husband-to present a pure virgin to Christ. 3 But I fear that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your minds may be corrupted from a complete and pure devotion to Christ. 4 For if a person comes and preaches another Jesus, whom we did not preach, or you receive a different spirit, which you had not received, or a different gospel, which you had not accepted, you put up with it splendidly! 5 Now I consider myself in no way inferior to the "super-apostles." 6 Though untrained in public speaking, I am certainly not [untrained] in knowledge. Indeed, we have always made that clear to you in everything. 7 Or did I commit a sin by humbling myself so that you might be exalted, because I preached the gospel of God to you free of charge? 8 I robbed other churches by taking pay [from them] to minister to you. 9 When I was present with you and in need, I did not burden anyone, for the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied my needs. I have kept myself, and will keep myself, from burdening you in any way. 10 As the truth of Christ is in me, this boasting of mine will not be stopped in the regions of Achaia. 11 Why? Because I don't love you? God knows I do! 12 But I will continue to do what I am doing, in order to cut off the opportunity of those who want an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in what they are boasting about. 13 For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder! For Satan himself is disguised as an angel of light. 15 So it is no great thing if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their destiny will be according to their works.

Paul's Sufferings for Christ

16 I repeat: no one should consider me a fool. But if [you do], at least accept me as a fool, so I too may boast a little. 17 What I say in this matter of boasting, I don't speak as the Lord would, but foolishly. 18 Since many boast from a human perspective, I will also boast. 19 For you gladly put up with fools since you are so smart! 20 In fact, you put up with it if someone enslaves you, if someone devours you, if someone captures you, if someone dominates you, or if someone hits you in the face. 21 I say this to [our] shame: we have been weak. But in whatever anyone dares [to boast]-I am talking foolishly-I also dare: 22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? So am I. 23 Are they servants of Christ? I'm talking like a madman-I'm a better one: with far more labors, many more imprisonments, far worse beatings, near death many times. 24 Five times I received from the Jews 40 lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. I have spent a night and a day in the depths of the sea. 26 On frequent journeys, [I faced] dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my own people, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the open country, dangers on the sea, and dangers among false brothers; 27 labor and hardship, many sleepless nights, hunger and thirst, often without food, cold, and lacking clothing. 28 Not to mention other things, there is the daily pressure on me: my care for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation? 30 If boasting is necessary, I will boast about my weaknesses. 31 The eternally blessed One, the God and Father of the Lord Jesus, knows I am not lying. 32 In Damascus, the governor under King Aretas 40), a Nabatean Arab king guarded the city of the Damascenes in order to arrest me, 33 so I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall and escaped his hands.

2 Kings 25

Nebuchadnezzar's Siege of Jerusalem

1 In the ninth year of Zedekiah's reign, on the tenth day of the tenth month, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon advanced against Jerusalem with his entire army. They laid siege to the city and built a siege wall against it all around. 2 The city was under siege until King Zedekiah's eleventh year. 3 By the ninth day of the [fourth] month the famine was so severe in the city that the people of the land had no food. 4 Then the city was broken into, and all the warriors [fled] by night by way of the gate between the two walls near the king's garden, even though the Chaldeans surrounded the city. As the king made his way along the route to the Arabah, 5 the Chaldean army pursued him and overtook him in the plains of Jericho. Zedekiah's entire army was scattered from him. 6 The Chaldeans seized the king and brought him up to the king of Babylon at Riblah, and they passed sentence on him. 7 They slaughtered Zedekiah's sons before his eyes. Finally, the king of Babylon blinded Zedekiah, bound him in bronze [chains], and took him to Babylon.

Jerusalem Destroyed

8 On the seventh day of the fifth month, which was the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, Nebuzaradan, the commander of the guards, a servant of the king of Babylon, entered Jerusalem. 9 He burned the Lord's temple, the king's palace, and all the houses of Jerusalem; he burned down all the great houses. 10 The whole Chaldean army [with] the commander of the guards tore down the walls surrounding Jerusalem. 11 Nebuzaradan, the commander of the guards, deported the rest of the people who were left in the city, the deserters who had defected to the king of Babylon, and the rest of the population. 12 But the commander of the guards left some of the poorest of the land to be vinedressers and farmers. 13 Now the Chaldeans broke into pieces the bronze pillars of the Lord's temple, the water carts, and the bronze reservoir, which were in the Lord's temple, and carried the bronze to Babylon. 14 They also took the pots, the shovels, the wick trimmers, the dishes, and all the bronze articles used in [temple] service. 15 The commander of the guards took away the firepans and the sprinkling basins-whatever was gold or silver. 16 As for the two pillars, the one reservoir, and the water carts that Solomon had made for the Lord's temple, the weight of the bronze of all these articles was beyond measure. 17 One pillar was 27 feet tall and had a bronze capital on top of it. The capital, encircled by a grating and pomegranates of bronze, stood five feet high. The second pillar was the same, with its own grating. 18 The commander of the guards also took away Seraiah the chief priest, Zephaniah the priest of the second rank, and the three doorkeepers. 19 From the city he took a court official who had been appointed over the warriors; five trusted royal aides found in the city; the secretary of the commander of the army, who enlisted the people of the land for military duty; and 60 men from the common people who were found within the city. 20 Nebuzaradan, the commander of the guards, took them and brought them to the king of Babylon at Riblah. 21 The king of Babylon put them to death at Riblah in the land of Hamath. So Judah went into exile from its land.

Gedaliah Made Governor

22 Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon appointed Gedaliah son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan, over the rest of the people he left in the land of Judah. 23 When all the commanders of the armies-they and their men-heard that the king of Babylon had appointed Gedaliah, they came to Gedaliah at Mizpah. [The commanders included] Ishmael son of Nethaniah, Johanan son of Kareah, Seraiah son of Tanhumeth the Netophathite, and Jaazaniah son of the Maacathite-they and their men. 24 Gedaliah swore an oath to them and their men, assuring them, "Don't be afraid of the servants of the Chaldeans. Live in the land and serve the king of Babylon, and it will go well for you." 25 In the seventh month, however, Ishmael son of Nethaniah, son of Elishama, of the royal family, came with 10 men and struck down Gedaliah, and he died. Also, [they killed] the Jews and the Chaldeans who were with him at Mizpah. 26 Then all the people, from the youngest to the oldest, and the commanders of the army, left and went to Egypt, for they were afraid of the Chaldeans.

Jehoiachin Pardoned

27 On the twenty-seventh day of the twelfth month of the thirty-seventh year of the exile of Judah's King Jehoiachin, Evil-merodach king of Babylon, in the year he became king, pardoned King Jehoiachin of Judah [and released him] from prison. 28 He spoke kindly to him and set his throne over the thrones of the kings who were with him in Babylon. 29 So Jehoiachin changed his prison clothes, and he dined regularly in the presence of the king of Babylon for the rest of his life. 30 As for his allowance, a regular allowance was given to him by the king, a portion for each day, for the rest of his life.

Habakkuk 2

Habakkuk Waits for God's Response

1 I will stand at my guard post and station myself on the lookout tower. I will watch to see what He will say to me and what I should reply about my complaint.

God's Second Answer

2 The Lord answered me: Write down this vision; clearly inscribe it on tablets so one may easily read it. 3 For the vision is yet for the appointed time; it testifies about the end and will not lie. Though it delays, wait for it, since it will certainly come and not be late. 4 Look, his ego is inflated; he is without integrity. But the righteous one will live by his faith. 5 Moreover, wine betrays; an arrogant man is never at rest. He enlarges his appetite like Sheol, and like Death he is never satisfied. He gathers all the nations to himself; he collects all the peoples for himself.

The 5 Woe Oracles

6 Won't all of these take up a taunt against him, with mockery and riddles about him? They will say: Woe to him who amasses what is not his- how much longer?- and loads himself with goods taken in pledge. 7 Won't your creditors suddenly arise, and those who disturb you wake up? Then you will become spoil for them. 8 Since you have plundered many nations, all the peoples who remain will plunder you- because of human bloodshed and violence against lands, cities, and all who live in them. 9 Woe to him who unjustly gains wealth for his house to place his nest on high, to escape from the reach of disaster! 10 You have planned shame for your house by wiping out many peoples and sinning against your own self. 11 For the stones will cry out from the wall, and the rafters will answer them from the woodwork. 12 Woe to him who builds a city with bloodshed and founds a town with injustice! 13 Is it not from the Lord of Hosts, that the peoples labor [only] to fuel the fire and countries exhaust themselves for nothing? 14 For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord's glory, as the waters cover the sea. 15 Woe to him who gives his neighbors drink, pouring out your wrath and even making them drunk, in order to look at their nakedness! 16 You will be filled with disgrace instead of glory. You also-drink, and expose your uncircumcision! The cup in the Lord's right hand will come around to you, and utter disgrace will cover your glory. 17 For [your] violence against Lebanon will overwhelm you; the destruction of animals will terrify you, because of [your] human bloodshed and violence against lands, cities, and all who live in them. 18 What use is a carved idol after its craftsman carves it? It is [only] a cast image, a teacher of lies. For the one who crafts its shape trusts in it and makes idols that cannot speak. 19 Woe to him who says to wood: Wake up! or to mute stone: Come alive! Can it teach? Look! It may be plated with gold and silver, yet there is no breath in it at all. 20 But the Lord is in His holy temple; let everyone on earth be silent in His presence.
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