2 Chronicles 21; 2 Chronicles 22; 2 Chronicles 23; 2 Chronicles 24

1 Jehoshaphat died and was buried in the royal tombs in David's City and his son Jehoram succeeded him as king. 2 Jehoram son of King Jehoshaphat of Judah had six brothers: Azariah, Jehiel, Zechariah, Azariahu, Michael, and Shephatiah. 3 Their father gave them large amounts of gold, silver, and other valuable possessions, and placed each one in charge of one of the fortified cities of Judah. But because Jehoram was the oldest, Jehoshaphat made him his successor. 4 When Jehoram was in firm control of the kingdom, he had all his brothers killed, and also some Israelite officials. 5 Jehoram became king at the age of thirty-two, and he ruled in Jerusalem for eight years. 6 He followed the wicked example of King Ahab and the other kings of Israel, because he had married one of Ahab's daughters. He sinned against the Lord, 7 but the Lord was not willing to destroy the dynasty of David, because he had made a covenant with David and promised that his descendants would always continue to rule. 8 During Jehoram's reign Edom revolted against Judah and became an independent kingdom. 9 So Jehoram and his officers set out with chariots and invaded Edom. There the Edomite army surrounded them, but during the night they managed to break out and escape. 10 Edom has been independent of Judah ever since. During this same period the city of Libnah also revolted, because Jehoram had abandoned the Lord, the God of his ancestors. 11 He even built pagan places of worship in the Judean highlands and led the people of Judah and Jerusalem to sin against the Lord. 12 The prophet Elijah sent Jehoram a letter, which read as follows: "The Lord, the God of your ancestor David, condemns you, because you did not follow the example of your father, King Jehoshaphat, or that of your grandfather, King Asa. 13 Instead, you have followed the example of the kings of Israel and have led the people of Judah and Jerusalem into being unfaithful to God, just as Ahab and his successors led Israel into unfaithfulness. You even murdered your brothers, who were better men than you are. 14 As a result, the Lord will severely punish your people, your children, and your wives, and will destroy your possessions. 15 You yourself will suffer a painful intestinal disease that will grow worse day by day." 16 Some Philistines and Arabs lived near where some Ethiopians had settled along the coast. The Lord caused them to go to war against Jehoram. 17 They invaded Judah, looted the royal palace, and carried off as prisoners all the king's wives and sons except Ahaziah, his youngest son. 18 Then after all this, the Lord brought on the king a painful disease of the intestines. 19 For almost two years it grew steadily worse until finally the king died in agony. His subjects did not light a bonfire in mourning for him as had been done for his ancestors. 20 Jehoram had become king at the age of thirty-two and had ruled in Jerusalem for eight years. Nobody was sorry when he died. They buried him in David's City, but not in the royal tombs.
1 Some Arabs had led a raid and killed all of King Jehoram's sons except Ahaziah, the youngest. So now the people of Jerusalem made Ahaziah king as his father's successor. 2 Ahaziah became king at the age of twenty-two, and he ruled in Jerusalem for one year. Ahaziah also followed the example of King Ahab's family, since his mother Athaliah - the daughter of King Ahab and granddaughter of King Omri of Israel - gave him advice that led him into evil. 4 He sinned against the Lord, because after his father's death other members of King Ahab's family became his advisers, and they led to his downfall. 5 Following their advice, he joined King Joram of Israel in a war against King Hazael of Syria. The armies clashed at Ramoth in Gilead, and Joram was wounded in battle. 6 He returned to the city of Jezreel to recover from his wounds, and Ahaziah went there to visit him. 7 God used this visit to Joram to bring about Ahaziah's downfall. While Ahaziah was there, he and Joram were confronted by a man named Jehu son of Nimshi, whom the Lord had chosen to destroy the dynasty of Ahab. 8 As Jehu was carrying out God's sentence on the dynasty, he came across a group made up of Judean leaders and of Ahaziah's nephews that had accompanied Ahaziah on his visit. Jehu killed them all. 9 A search was made for Ahaziah, and he was found hiding in Samaria. They took him to Jehu and put him to death. But they did bury his body out of respect for his grandfather King Jehoshaphat, who had done all he could to serve the Lord. No member of Ahaziah's family was left who could rule the kingdom. 10 As soon as King Ahaziah's mother Athaliah learned of her son's murder, she gave orders for all the members of the royal family of Judah to be killed. 11 Ahaziah had a half sister, Jehosheba, who was married to a priest named Jehoiada. She secretly rescued one of Ahaziah's sons, Joash, took him away from the other princes who were about to be murdered and hid him and a nurse in a bedroom at the Temple. By keeping him hidden, she saved him from death at the hands of Athaliah. 12 For six years he remained there in hiding, while Athaliah ruled as queen.
1 After waiting six years Jehoiada the priest decided that it was time to take action. He made a pact with five army officers: Azariah son of Jeroham, Ishmael son of Jehohanan, Azariah son of Obed, Maaseiah son of Adaiah, and Elishaphat son of Zichri. 2 They traveled to all the cities of Judah and brought back with them to Jerusalem the Levites and all the heads of the clans. 3 They all gathered in the Temple, and there they made a covenant with Joash, the king's son. Jehoiada said to them, "Here is the son of the late king. He is now to be king, as the Lord promised that King David's descendants would be. 4 This is what we will do. When the priests and Levites come on duty on the Sabbath, one third of them will guard the Temple gates 5 another third will guard the royal palace, and the rest will be stationed at the Foundation Gate. All the people will assemble in the Temple courtyard. 6 No one is to enter the Temple buildings except the priests and the Levites who are on duty. They may enter, because they are consecrated, but the rest of the people must obey the Lord's instructions and stay outside. 7 The Levites are to stand guard around the king, with their swords drawn, and are to stay with the king wherever he goes. Anyone who tries to enter the Temple is to be killed." 8 The Levites and the people of Judah carried out Jehoiada's instructions. The men were not dismissed when they went off duty on the Sabbath, so the commanders had available both those coming on duty and those going off. 9 Jehoiada gave the officers the spears and shields that had belonged to King David and had been kept in the Temple. 10 He stationed the men with drawn swords all around the front of the Temple, to protect the king. 11 Then Jehoiada led Joash out, placed the crown on his head, and gave him a copy of the laws governing kingship. And so he was made king. Jehoiada the priest and his sons anointed Joash, and everyone shouted, "Long live the king!" 12 Athaliah heard the people cheering for the king, so she hurried to the Temple, where the crowd had gathered. 13 There she saw the new king at the Temple entrance, standing by the column reserved for kings and surrounded by the army officers and the trumpeters. All the people were shouting joyfully and blowing trumpets, and the Temple musicians with their instruments were leading the celebration. She tore her clothes in distress and shouted, "Treason! Treason!" 14 Jehoiada did not want Athaliah killed in the Temple area, so he called out the army officers and said, "Take her out between the rows of guards, and kill anyone who tries to rescue her. 15 They seized her, took her to the palace, and there at the Horse Gate they killed her. 16 The priest Jehoiada had King Joash and the people join him in making a covenant that they would be the Lord's people. 17 Then they all went to the temple of Baal and tore it down. They smashed the altars and idols there and killed Mattan, the priest of Baal, in front of the altars. 18 Jehoiada put the priests and Levites in charge of the work of the Temple. They were to carry out the duties assigned to them by King David and to burn the sacrifices offered to the Lord in accordance with the Law of Moses. They were also in charge of the music and the celebrations. 19 Jehoiada also put guards on duty at the Temple gates to keep out anyone who was ritually unclean 20 The army officers, the leading citizens, the officials, and all the rest of the people joined Jehoiada in a procession that brought the king from the Temple to the palace. They entered by the main gate, and the king took his place on the throne. 21 All the people were filled with happiness, and the city was quiet, now that Athaliah had been killed
1 Joash became king of Judah at the age of seven, and he ruled in Jerusalem for forty years. His mother was Zibiah from the city of Beersheba. 2 He did what was pleasing to the Lord as long as Jehoiada the priest was alive. 3 Jehoiada chose two wives for King Joash, and they bore him sons and daughters. 4 After he had been king for a while, Joash decided to have the Temple repaired. 5 He ordered the priests and the Levites to go to the cities of Judah and collect from all the people enough money to make the annual repairs on the Temple. He told them to act promptly, but the Levites delayed, 6 so he called in Jehoiada, their leader, and demanded, "Why haven't you seen to it that the Levites collect from Judah and Jerusalem the tax which Moses, the servant of the Lord, required the people to pay for support of the Tent of the Lord's presence?" 7 (The followers of Athaliah, that corrupt woman, had damaged the Temple and had used many of the sacred objects in the worship of Baal.) 8 The king ordered the Levites to make a box for contributions and to place it at the Temple gate. 9 They sent word throughout Jerusalem and Judah for everyone to bring to the Lord the tax which Moses, God's servant, had first collected in the wilderness. 10 This pleased the people and their leaders, and they brought their tax money and filled the box with it. 11 Every day the Levites would take the box to the royal official who was in charge of it. Whenever it was full, the royal secretary and the High Priest's representative would take the money out and return the box to its place. And so they collected a large sum of money. 12 The king and Jehoiada would give the money to those who were in charge of repairing the Temple, and they hired stonemasons, carpenters, and metalworkers to make the repairs. 13 All of them worked hard, and they restored the Temple to its original condition, as solid as ever. 14 When the repairs were finished, the remaining gold and silver was given to the king and Jehoiada, who used it to have bowls and other utensils made for the Temple. As long as Jehoiada was alive, sacrifices were offered regularly at the Temple. 15 After reaching the very old age of a hundred and thirty, he died. 16 They buried him in the royal tombs in David's City in recognition of the service he had done for the people of Israel, for God, and for the Temple. 17 But once Jehoiada was dead, the leaders of Judah persuaded King Joash to listen to them instead. 18 And so the people stopped worshiping in the Temple of the Lord, the God of their ancestors, and began to worship idols and the images of the goddess Asherah. Their guilt for these sins brought the Lord's anger on Judah and Jerusalem. 19 The Lord sent prophets to warn them to return to him, but the people refused to listen. 20 Then the spirit of God took control of Zechariah son of Jehoiada the priest. He stood where the people could see him and called out, "The Lord God asks why you have disobeyed his commands and are bringing disaster on yourselves! You abandoned him, so he has abandoned you!" 21 King Joash joined in a conspiracy against Zechariah, and on the king's orders the people stoned Zechariah in the Temple courtyard. 22 The king forgot about the loyal service that Zechariah's father Jehoiada had given him, and he had Zechariah killed. As Zechariah was dying, he called out, "May the Lord see what you are doing and punish you!" 23 When autumn came that year, the Syrian army attacked Judah and Jerusalem, killed all the leaders, and took large amounts of loot back to Damascus. 24 The Syrian army was small, but the Lord let them defeat a much larger Judean army because the people had abandoned him, the Lord God of their ancestors. In this way King Joash was punished. 25 He was severely wounded, and when the enemy withdrew, two of his officials plotted against him and killed him in his bed to avenge the murder of the son of Jehoiada the priest. He was buried in David's City, but not in the royal tombs 26 (Those who plotted against him were Zabad, the son of an Ammonite woman named Shimeath, and Jehozabad, the son of a Moabite woman named Shimrith.) 27 The [Commentary on the Book of Kings] contains the stories of the sons of Joash, the prophecies spoken against him, and the record of how he rebuilt the Temple. His son Amaziah succeeded him as king.
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