1Now concerning the ministry to the saints, it is unnecessary for me to write to you.2For I know your eagerness, and I brag about you to the Macedonians: "Achaia has been prepared since last year," and your zeal has stirred up most of them.3But I sent the brothers so our boasting about you in the matter would not prove empty, and so you would be prepared just as I said.4For if any Macedonians should come with me and find you unprepared, we, not to mention you, would be embarrassed in that situation.5Therefore I considered it necessary to urge the brothers to go on ahead to you and arrange in advance the generous gift you promised, so that it will be ready as a gift and not an extortion. 6Remember this: the person who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the person who sows generously will also reap generously.7Each person should do as he has decided in his heart-not out of regret or out of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver.8And God is able to make every grace overflow to you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may excel in every good work.9As it is written: He has scattered; He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever. 10Now the One who provides seed for the sower and bread for food will provide and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness,11as you are enriched in every way for all generosity, which produces thanksgiving to God through us.12For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing in many acts of thanksgiving to God.13Through the proof of this service, they will glorify God for your obedience to the confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with others.14And in their prayers for you they will have deep affection for you because of the surpassing grace of God on you.15Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift.
1Josiah was eight years old when he became king; he reigned 31 years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Jedidah the daughter of Adaiah; [she was] from Bozkath.2He did what was right in the Lord's sight and walked in all the ways of his ancestor David; he did not turn to the right or the left.
3In the eighteenth year of King Josiah, the king sent the court secretary Shaphan son of Azaliah, son of Meshullam, to the Lord's temple, saying,4"Go up to Hilkiah the high priest so that he may total up the money brought into the Lord's temple-[the money] the doorkeepers have collected from the people.5It is to be put into the hands of those doing the work-those who oversee the Lord's temple. They [in turn] are to give it to the workmen in the Lord's temple to repair the damage.6[They are to give it] to the carpenters, builders, and masons to buy timber and quarried stone to repair the temple.7But no accounting is to be required from them for the money put into their hands since they work with integrity."
8Hilkiah the high priest told Shaphan the court secretary, "I have found the book of the law in the Lord's temple," and he gave the book to Shaphan, who read it. 9Then Shaphan the court secretary went to the king and reported, "Your servants have emptied out the money that was found in the temple and have put it into the hand of those doing the work-those who oversee the Lord's temple."10Then Shaphan the court secretary told the king, "Hilkiah the priest has given me a book," and Shaphan read it in the presence of the king. 11When the king heard the words of the book of the law, he tore his clothes.12Then he commanded Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Achbor son of Micaiah, Shaphan the court secretary, and the king's servant Asaiah:13"Go and inquire of the Lord for me, the people, and all Judah about the instruction in this book that has been found. For great is the Lord's wrath that is kindled against us because our ancestors have not obeyed the words of this book in order to do everything written about us."
14So Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Achbor, Shaphan, and Asaiah went to the prophetess Huldah, wife of Shallum son of Tikvah, son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe. She lived in Jerusalem in the Second District. They spoke with her. 15She said to them, "This is what the Lord God of Israel says, 'Say to the man who sent you to Me:16This is what the Lord says: I am about to bring disaster on this place and on its inhabitants, [fulfilling] all the words of the book that the king of Judah has read,17because they have abandoned Me and burned incense to other gods in order to provoke Me with all the work of their hands. My wrath will be kindled against this place, and it will not be quenched.18Say this to the king of Judah who sent you to inquire of the Lord: This is what the Lord God of Israel says: As for the words that you heard,19because your heart was tender and you humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I spoke against this place and against its inhabitants, that they would become a desolation and a curse, and because you have torn your clothes and wept before Me, I Myself have heard you-declares the Lord.20Therefore, I will indeed gather you to your fathers, and you will be gathered to your grave in peace. Your eyes will not see all the disaster that I am bringing on this place.'" Then they reported to the king.
1So the king sent [messengers], and they gathered to him all the elders of Jerusalem and Judah.2Then the king went to the Lord's temple with all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, as well as the priests and the prophets-all the people from the youngest to the oldest. As they listened, he read all the words of the book of the covenant that had been found in the Lord's temple.3Next, the king stood by the pillar and made a covenant in the presence of the Lord to follow the Lord and to keep His commandments, His decrees, and His statutes with all his mind and with all his heart, and to carry out the words of this covenant that were written in this book; all the people agreed to the covenant.
4Then the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest and the priests of the second rank and the doorkeepers to bring out of the Lord's temple all the articles made for Baal, Asherah, and the whole heavenly host. He burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of the Kidron and carried their ashes to Bethel5Then he did away with the idolatrous priests the kings of Judah had appointed to burn incense at the high places in the cities of Judah and in the areas surrounding Jerusalem. They had burned incense to Baal, and to the sun, moon, constellations, and the whole heavenly host.6He brought out the Asherah pole from the Lord's temple to the Kidron Valley outside Jerusalem. He burned it at the Kidron Valley, beat it to dust, and threw its dust on the graves of the common people.7He also tore down the houses of the male shrine prostitutes that were in the Lord's temple, in which the women were weaving tapestries for Asherah. 8Then Josiah brought all the priests from the cities of Judah, and he defiled the high places from Geba to Beer-sheba, where the priests had burned incense. He tore down the high places of the gates at the entrance of the gate of Joshua the governor of the city (on the left at the city gate).9The priests of the high places, however, did not come up to the altar of the Lord in Jerusalem; instead, they ate unleavened bread with their fellow priests. 10He defiled Topheth, which is in the Valley of Hinnom, so that no one could make his son or his daughter pass through the fire to Molech.11He did away with the horses that the kings of Judah had dedicated to the sun. [They had been] at the entrance of the Lord's temple in the precincts by the chamber of Nathan-melech the court official, and he burned up the chariots of the sun. 12The king tore down the altars that were on the roof-Ahaz's upper chamber that the kings of Judah had made-and the altars that Manasseh had made in the two courtyards of the Lord's temple. Then he smashed them there and threw their dust into the Kidron Valley.13The king also defiled the high places that were across from Jerusalem, to the south of the Mount of Destruction, which Solomon king of Israel had built for Ashtoreth, the detestable idol of the Sidonians; for Chemosh, the detestable idol of Moab; and for Milcom, the abomination of the Ammonites.14He broke the sacred pillars into pieces, cut down the Asherah poles, then filled their places with human bones.15He even tore down the altar at Bethel and the high place that Jeroboam son of Nebat, who caused Israel to sin, had made. Then he burned the high place, crushed it to dust, and burned the Asherah.16As Josiah turned, he saw the tombs there on the mountain. He sent [someone] to take the bones out of the tombs, and he burned them on the altar. He defiled it according to the word of the Lord proclaimed by the man of God who proclaimed these things.17Then he said, "What is this monument I see?" The men of the city told him, "It is the tomb of the man of God who came from Judah and proclaimed these things that you have done to the altar at Bethel." 18So he said, "Let him rest. Don't let anyone disturb his bones." So they left his bones undisturbed with the bones of the prophet who came from Samaria. 19Josiah also removed all the shrines of the high places that were in the cities of Samaria, which the kings of Israel had made to provoke [the Lord]. Josiah did the same things to them that he had done at Bethel20He slaughtered on the altars all the priests of the high places who were there, and he burned human bones on the altars. Then he returned to Jerusalem.
21The king commanded all the people, "Keep the Passover of the Lord your God as written in the book of the covenant."22No such Passover had ever been kept from the time of the judges who judged Israel through the entire time of the kings of Israel and Judah.23But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah, this Passover was observed to the Lord in Jerusalem.
24In addition, Josiah removed the mediums, the spiritists, household idols, images, and all the detestable things that were seen in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem. He did this in order to carry out the words of the law that were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the Lord's temple.25Before him there was no king like him who turned to the Lord with all his mind and with all his heart and with all his strength according to all the law of Moses, and no one like him arose after him. 26In spite of all that, the Lord did not turn from the fierceness of His great wrath and anger, which burned against Judah because of all the provocations Manasseh had provoked Him with.27For the Lord had said, "I will also remove Judah from My sight just as I have removed Israel. I will reject this city Jerusalem, that I have chosen, and the temple about which I said, 'My name will be there.' "
28The rest of the events of Josiah's [reign], along with all his accomplishments, are written about in the Historical Record of Judah's Kings.29During his reign, Pharaoh Neco king of Egypt marched up to the king of Assyria at the Euphrates river. King Josiah went to confront him, and at Megiddo when Neco saw him he killed him.30From Megiddo his servants carried his dead body in a chariot, brought him into Jerusalem, and buried him in his own tomb. Then the common people took Jehoahaz son of Josiah, anointed him, and made him king in place of his father.
31Jehoahaz was 23 years old when he became king; he reigned three months in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Hamutal daughter of Jeremiah; [she was] from Libnah.32He did what was evil in the Lord's sight just as his ancestors had done.33Pharaoh Neco imprisoned him at Riblah in the land of Hamath to keep him from reigning in Jerusalem, and he imposed on the land a fine of 7,500 pounds of silver and 75 pounds of gold.
34Then Pharaoh Neco made Eliakim son of Josiah king in place of his father Josiah and changed Eliakim's name to Jehoiakim. But Neco took Jehoahaz and went to Egypt, and he died there.35So Jehoiakim gave the silver and the gold to Pharaoh, but at Pharaoh's command he taxed the land to give the money. He exacted the silver and the gold from the people of the land, each man according to his valuation, to give it to Pharaoh Neco.
1Woe to the city of blood, totally deceitful, full of plunder, never without prey. 2The crack of the whip and rumble of the wheel, galloping horse and jolting chariot! 3Charging horseman, flashing sword, shining spear; heaps of slain, mounds of corpses, dead bodies without end- they stumble over their dead. 4Because of the continual prostitution of the prostitute, the attractive mistress of sorcery, who betrays nations by her prostitution and clans by her witchcraft, 5I am against you- the declaration of the Lord of Hosts. I will lift your skirts over your face and display your nakedness to nations, your shame to kingdoms. 6I will throw filth on you and treat you with contempt; I will make a spectacle of you. 7Then all who see you will recoil from you, saying: Nineveh is devastated; who will show sympathy to her? Where can I find anyone to comfort you? 8Are you better than Thebes that sat along the Nile with water surrounding her, whose rampart was the sea, the river her wall? 9Cush and Egypt were her endless source of strength; Put and Libya were among her allies. 10Yet she became an exile; she went into captivity. Her children were also dashed to pieces at the head of every street. They cast lots for her dignitaries, and all her nobles were bound in chains. 11You also will become drunk; you will hide yourself. You also will seek refuge from the enemy. 12All your fortresses are fig trees with figs that ripened first; when shaken, they fall- right into the mouth of the eater! 13Look, your troops are women among you; the gates of your land are wide open to your enemies. Fire will devour the bars [of your gates]. 14Draw water for the siege; strengthen your fortresses. Step into the clay and tread the mortar; take hold of the brick-mold! 15The fire will devour you there; the sword will cut you down. It will devour you like the young locust. Multiply yourselves like the young locust, multiply like the swarming locust! 16You have made your merchants more numerous than the stars of the sky. The young locust strips [the land] and flies away. 17Your court officials are like the swarming locust, and your scribes like clouds of locusts, which settle on the walls on a cold day; when the sun rises, they take off, and no one knows where they are. 18King of Assyria, your shepherds slumber; your officers sleep. Your people are scattered across the mountains with no one to gather [them] together. 19There is no remedy for your injury; your wound is severe. All who hear the news about you will clap their hands because of you, for who has not experienced your constant cruelty?