2 Chronicles 13; 2 Chronicles 14; John 12:1-26

1 In the eighteenth year of the reign of King Jeroboam of Israel, Abijah became king of Judah, 2 and he ruled three years in Jerusalem. His mother was Micaiah daughter of Uriel, from the city of Gibeah. War broke out between Abijah and Jeroboam. 3 Abijah raised an army of 400,000 soldiers, and Jeroboam opposed him with an army of 800,000. 4 The armies met in the hill country of Ephraim. King Abijah went up Mount Zemaraim and called out to Jeroboam and the Israelites: "Listen to me!" he said. 5 "Don't you know that the Lord, the God of Israel, made an unbreakable covenant with David, giving him and his descendants kingship over Israel forever? 6 Jeroboam son of Nebat rebelled against Solomon, his king. 7 Later he gathered together a group of worthless scoundrels, and they forced their will on Rehoboam son of Solomon, who was too young and inexperienced to resist them. 8 Now you propose to fight against the royal authority that the Lord gave to David's descendants. You have a huge army and have with you the gold bull-calves that Jeroboam made to be your gods. 9 You drove out the Lord's priests, the descendants of Aaron, and you drove out the Levites. In their place you appointed priests in the same way that other nations do. Anybody who comes along with a bull or seven sheep can get himself consecrated as a priest of those so-called gods of yours. 10 "But we still serve the Lord our God and have not abandoned him. Priests descended from Aaron perform their duties, and Levites assist them. 11 Every morning and every evening they offer him incense and animal sacrifices burned whole. They present the offerings of bread on a table that is ritually clean, and every evening they light the lamps on the gold lampstand. We do what the Lord has commanded, but you have abandoned him. 12 God himself is our leader and his priests are here with trumpets, ready to blow them and call us to battle against you. People of Israel, don't fight against the Lord, the God of your ancestors! You can't win!" 13 Meanwhile Jeroboam had sent some of his troops to ambush the Judean army from the rear, while the rest faced them from the front. 14 The Judeans looked around and saw that they were surrounded. They cried to the Lord for help, and the priests blew the trumpets. 15 The Judeans gave a loud shout, and led by Abijah, they attacked; God defeated Jeroboam and the Israelite army. 16 The Israelites fled from the Judeans, and God let the Judeans overpower them. 17 Abijah and his army dealt the Israelites a crushing defeat - half a million of Israel's best soldiers were killed. 18 And so the people of Judah were victorious over Israel, because they relied on the Lord, the God of their ancestors. 19 Abijah pursued Jeroboam's army and occupied some of his cities: Bethel, Jeshanah, and Ephron, and the villages near each of these cities. 20 Jeroboam never regained his power during Abijah's reign. Finally the Lord struck him down, and he died. 21 Abijah, however, grew more powerful. He had fourteen wives and fathered twenty-two sons and sixteen daughters. 22 The rest of the history of Abijah, what he said and what he did, is written in [The History of Iddo the Prophet.]
1 King Abijah died and was buried in the royal tombs in David's City. His son Asa succeeded him as king, and under Asa the land enjoyed peace for ten years. 2 Asa pleased the Lord, his God, by doing what was right and good. 3 He removed the foreign altars and the pagan places of worship, broke down the sacred stone columns, and cut down the symbols of the goddess Asherah. 4 He commanded the people of Judah to do the will of the Lord, the God of their ancestors, and to obey his teachings and commands. 5 Because he abolished the pagan places of worship and the incense altars from all the cities of Judah, the kingdom was at peace under his rule. 6 He built fortifications for the cities of Judah during this time, and for several years there was no war, because the Lord gave him peace. 7 He told the people of Judah, "Let us fortify the cities by building walls and towers, and gates that can be shut and barred. We have control of the land because we have done the will of the Lord our God. He has protected us and given us security on every side." And so they built and prospered. 8 King Asa had an army of 300,000 men from Judah, armed with shields and spears, and 280,000 men from Benjamin, armed with shields and bows. All of them were brave, well-trained men. 9 An Ethiopian named Zerah invaded Judah with an army of a million men and three hundred chariots and advanced as far as Mareshah. 10 Asa went out to fight him, and both sides took up their positions at Zephathah Valley near Mareshah. 11 Asa prayed to the Lord his God, "O Lord, you can help a weak army as easily as a powerful one. Help us now, O Lord our God, because we are relying on you, and in your name we have come out to fight against this huge army. Lord, you are our God; no one can hope to defeat you." 12 The Lord defeated the Ethiopian army when Asa and the Judean army attacked them. They fled, 13 and Asa and his troops pursued them as far as Gerar. So many of the Ethiopians were killed that the army was unable to rally and fight. They were overpowered by the Lord and his army, and the army took large amounts of loot. 14 Then they were able to destroy the cities in the area around Gerar, because the people there were terrified of the Lord. The army plundered all those cities and captured large amounts of loot. 15 They also attacked the camps of some shepherds, capturing large numbers of sheep and camels. Then they returned to Jerusalem.
1 Six days before the Passover, Jesus went to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, the man he had raised from death. 2 They prepared a dinner for him there, which Martha helped serve; Lazarus was one of those who were sitting at the table with Jesus. 3 Then Mary took a whole pint of a very expensive perfume made of pure nard, poured it on Jesus' feet, and wiped them with her hair. The sweet smell of the perfume filled the whole house. 4 One of Jesus' disciples, Judas Iscariot - the one who was going to betray him - said, 5 "Why wasn't this perfume sold for three hundred silver coins and the money given to the poor?" 6 He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief. He carried the money bag and would help himself from it. 7 But Jesus said, "Leave her alone! Let her keep what she has for the day of my burial. 8 You will always have poor people with you, but you will not always have me." 9 A large number of people heard that Jesus was in Bethany, so they went there, not only because of Jesus but also to see Lazarus, whom Jesus had raised from death. 10 So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus too, 11 because on his account many Jews were rejecting them and believing in Jesus. 12 The next day the large crowd that had come to the Passover Festival heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. 13 So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, shouting, "Praise God! God bless him who comes in the name of the Lord! God bless the King of Israel!" 14 Jesus found a donkey and rode on it, just as the scripture says, 15 "Do not be afraid, city of Zion! Here comes your king, riding on a young donkey." 16 His disciples did not understand this at the time; but when Jesus had been raised to glory, they remembered that the scripture said this about him and that they had done this for him. 17 The people who had been with Jesus when he called Lazarus out of the grave and raised him from death had reported what had happened. 18 That was why the crowd met him - because they heard that he had performed this miracle. 19 The Pharisees then said to one another, "You see, we are not succeeding at all! Look, the whole world is following him!" 20 Some Greeks were among those who had gone to Jerusalem to worship during the festival. 21 They went to Philip (he was from Bethsaida in Galilee) and said, "Sir, we want to see Jesus." 22 Philip went and told Andrew, and the two of them went and told Jesus. 23 Jesus answered them, "The hour has now come for the Son of Man to receive great glory. 24 I am telling you the truth: a grain of wheat remains no more than a single grain unless it is dropped into the ground and dies. If it does die, then it produces many grains. 25 Those who love their own life will lose it; those who hate their own life in this world will keep it for life eternal. 26 Whoever wants to serve me must follow me, so that my servant will be with me where I am. And my Father will honor anyone who serves me.
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