2 Kings 20; 2 Kings 21; 2 Kings 22

1 About this time King Hezekiah became sick and almost died. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to see him and said to him, "The Lord tells you that you are to put everything in order, because you will not recover. Get ready to die." 2 Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed: 3 "Remember, Lord, that I have served you faithfully and loyally and that I have always tried to do what you wanted me to." And he began to cry bitterly. 4 Isaiah left the king, but before he had passed through the central courtyard of the palace the Lord told him 5 to go back to Hezekiah, ruler of the Lord's people, and say to him, "I, the Lord, the God of your ancestor David, have heard your prayer and seen your tears. I will heal you, and in three days you will go to the Temple. 6 I will let you live fifteen years longer. I will rescue you and this city Jerusalem from the emperor of Assyria. I will defend this city, for the sake of my own honor and because of the promise I made to my servant David." 7 Then Isaiah told the king's attendants to put on his boil a paste made of figs, and he would get well. 8 King Hezekiah asked, "What is the sign to prove that the Lord will heal me and that three days later I will be able to go to the Temple?" 9 Isaiah replied, "The Lord will give you a sign to prove that he will keep his promise. Now, would you prefer to have the shadow on the stairway go forward ten steps or go back ten steps?" 10 Hezekiah answered, "It's easy to have the shadow go forward ten steps! Have it go back ten steps." 11 Isaiah prayed to the Lord, and the Lord made the shadow go back ten steps on the stairway set up by King Ahaz. 12 About that same time the king of Babylonia, Merodach Baladan, the son of Baladan, heard that King Hezekiah had been sick, so he sent him a letter and a present. 13 Hezekiah welcomed the messengers and showed them his wealth - his silver and gold, his spices and perfumes, and all his military equipment. There was nothing in his storerooms or anywhere in his kingdom that he did not show them. 14 Then the prophet Isaiah went to King Hezekiah and asked, "Where did these men come from and what did they say to you?" Hezekiah answered, "They came from a very distant country, from Babylonia." 15 "What did they see in the palace?" "They saw everything. There is nothing in the storerooms that I didn't show them." 16 Isaiah then told the king, "The Lord Almighty says that 17 a time is coming when everything in your palace, everything that your ancestors have stored up to this day, will be carried off to Babylonia. Nothing will be left. 18 Some of your own direct descendants will be taken away and made eunuchs to serve in the palace of the king of Babylonia." 19 King Hezekiah understood this to mean that there would be peace and security during his lifetime, so he replied, "The message you have given me from the Lord is good." 20 Everything else that King Hezekiah did, his brave deeds, and an account of how he built a reservoir and dug a tunnel to bring water into the city, are all recorded in [The History of the Kings of Judah.] 21 Hezekiah died, and his son Manasseh succeeded him as king.
1 Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled in Jerusalem for fifty-five years. His mother was Hephzibah. 2 Following the disgusting practices of the nations whom the Lord had driven out of the land as his people advanced, Manasseh sinned against the Lord. 3 He rebuilt the pagan places of worship that his father Hezekiah had destroyed; he built altars for the worship of Baal and made an image of the goddess Asherah, as King Ahab of Israel had done. Manasseh also worshiped the stars. 4 He built pagan altars in the Temple, the place that the Lord had said was where he should be worshiped. 5 In the two courtyards of the Temple he built altars for the worship of the stars. 6 He sacrificed his son as a burnt offering. He practiced divination and magic and consulted fortunetellers and mediums. He sinned greatly against the Lord and stirred up his anger. 7 He placed the symbol of the goddess Asherah in the Temple, the place about which the Lord had said to David and his son Solomon: "Here in Jerusalem, in this Temple, is the place that I have chosen out of all the territory of the twelve tribes of Israel as the place where I am to be worshiped. 8 And if the people of Israel will obey all my commands and keep the whole Law that my servant Moses gave them, then I will not allow them to be driven out of the land that I gave to their ancestors." 9 But the people of Judah did not obey the Lord, and Manasseh led them to commit even greater sins than those committed by the nations whom the Lord had driven out of the land as his people advanced. 10 Through his servants the prophets the Lord said, 11 "King Manasseh has done these disgusting things, things far worse than what the Canaanites did; and with his idols he has led the people of Judah into sin. 12 So I, the Lord God of Israel, will bring such a disaster on Jerusalem and Judah that everyone who hears about it will be stunned. 13 I will punish Jerusalem as I did Samaria, as I did King Ahab of Israel and his descendants. I will wipe Jerusalem clean of its people, as clean as a plate that has been wiped and turned upside down. 14 I will abandon the people who survive, and will hand them over to their enemies, who will conquer them and plunder their land. 15 I will do this to my people because they have sinned against me and have stirred up my anger from the time their ancestors came out of Egypt to this day." 16 Manasseh killed so many innocent people that the streets of Jerusalem were flowing with blood; he did this in addition to leading the people of Judah into idolatry, causing them to sin against the Lord. 17 Everything else that Manasseh did, including the sins he committed, is recorded in [The History of the Kings of Judah.] 18 Manasseh died and was buried in the palace garden, the garden of Uzza, and his son Amon succeeded him as king. 19 Amon was twenty-two years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled in Jerusalem for two years. His mother was Meshullemeth, the daughter of Haruz from the town of Jotbah. 20 Like his father Manasseh, he sinned against the Lord; 21 he imitated his father's actions, and he worshiped the idols that his father had worshiped. 22 He rejected the Lord, the God of his ancestors, and disobeyed the Lord's commands. 23 Amon's officials plotted against him and assassinated him in the palace. 24 The people of Judah killed Amon's assassins and made his son Josiah king. 25 Everything else that Amon did is recorded in [The History of the Kings of Judah.] 26 Amon was buried in the tomb in the garden of Uzza, and his son Josiah succeeded him as king.
1 Josiah was eight years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled in Jerusalem for thirty-one years. His mother was Jedidah, the daughter of Adaiah from the town of Bozkath. 2 Josiah did what was pleasing to the Lord; he followed the example of his ancestor King David, strictly obeying all the laws of God. 3 In the eighteenth year of his reign, King Josiah sent the court secretary Shaphan, the son of Azaliah and grandson of Meshullam, to the Temple with the order: 4 "Go to the High Priest Hilkiah and get a report on the amount of money that the priests on duty at the entrance to the Temple have collected from the people. 5 Tell him to give the money to the men who are in charge of the repairs in the Temple. They are to pay 6 the carpenters, the builders, and the masons, and buy the timber and the stones used in the repairs. 7 The men in charge of the work are thoroughly honest, so there is no need to require them to account for the funds." 8 Shaphan delivered the king's order to Hilkiah, and Hilkiah told him that he had found the book of the Law in the Temple. Hilkiah gave him the book, and Shaphan read it. 9 Then he went back to the king and reported: "Your servants have taken the money that was in the Temple and have handed it over to the men in charge of the repairs." 10 And then he said, "I have here a book that Hilkiah gave me." And he read it aloud to the king. 11 When the king heard the book being read, he tore his clothes in dismay, 12 and gave the following order to Hilkiah the priest, to Ahikam son of Shaphan, to Achbor son of Micaiah, to Shaphan, the court secretary, and to Asaiah, the king's attendant: 13 "Go and consult the Lord for me and for all the people of Judah about the teachings of this book. The Lord is angry with us because our ancestors have not done what this book says must be done." 14 Hilkiah, Ahikam, Achbor, Shaphan, and Asaiah went to consult a woman named Huldah, a prophet who lived in the newer part of Jerusalem. (Her husband Shallum, the son of Tikvah and grandson of Harhas, was in charge of the Temple robes.) They described to her what had happened, 15 and she told them to go back to the king and give him 16 the following message from the Lord: "I am going to punish Jerusalem and all its people, as written in the book that the king has read. 17 They have rejected me and have offered sacrifices to other gods, and so have stirred up my anger by all they have done. My anger is aroused against Jerusalem, and it will not die down. 18 As for the king himself, this is what I, the Lord God of Israel, say: You listened to what is written in the book, 19 and you repented and humbled yourself before me, tearing your clothes and weeping, when you heard how I threatened to punish Jerusalem and its people. I will make it a terrifying sight, a place whose name people will use as a curse. But I have heard your prayer, 20 and the punishment which I am going to bring on Jerusalem will not come until after your death. I will let you die in peace." The men returned to King Josiah with this message.
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