2 Chronicles 32; 2 Chronicles 33; 2 Chronicles 34

1 After these events, in which King Hezekiah served the Lord faithfully, Sennacherib, the emperor of Assyria, invaded Judah. He besieged the fortified cities and gave orders for his army to break their way through the walls. 2 When Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib intended to attack Jerusalem also, 3 he and his officials decided to cut off the supply of water outside the city in order to keep the Assyrians from having any water when they got near Jerusalem. The officials led a large number of people out and stopped up all the springs, so that no more water flowed out of them. 5 The king strengthened the city's defenses by repairing the wall, building towers on it, and building an outer wall. In addition, he repaired the defenses built on the land that was filled in on the east side of the old part of Jerusalem. He also had a large number of spears and shields made. 6 He placed all the men in the city under the command of army officers and had them assemble in the open square at the city gate. He said to them, 7 "Be determined and confident, and don't be afraid of the Assyrian emperor or of the army he is leading. We have more power on our side than he has on his. 8 He has human power, but we have the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles." The people were encouraged by these words of their king. 9 Some time later, while Sennacherib and his army were still at Lachish, he sent the following message to Hezekiah and the people of Judah who were with him in Jerusalem: 10 "I, Sennacherib, Emperor of Assyria, ask what gives you people the confidence to remain in Jerusalem under siege. 11 Hezekiah tells you that the Lord your God will save you from our power, but Hezekiah is deceiving you and will let you die of hunger and thirst. 12 He is the one who destroyed the Lord's shrines and altars and then told the people of Judah and Jerusalem to worship and burn incense at one altar only. 13 Don't you know what my ancestors and I have done to the people of other nations? Did the gods of any other nation save their people from the emperor of Assyria? 14 When did any of the gods of all those countries ever save their country from us? Then what makes you think that your god can save you? 15 Now don't let Hezekiah deceive you or mislead you like that. Don't believe him! No god of any nation has ever been able to save his people from any Assyrian emperor. So certainly this god of yours can't save you!" 16 The Assyrian officials said even worse things about the Lord God and Hezekiah, the Lord's servant. 17 The letter that the emperor wrote defied the Lord, the God of Israel. It said, "The gods of the nations have not saved their people from my power, and neither will Hezekiah's god save his people from me." 18 The officials shouted this in Hebrew in order to frighten and discourage the people of Jerusalem who were on the city wall, so that it would be easier to capture the city. 19 They talked about the God of Jerusalem in the same way that they talked about the gods of the other peoples, idols made by human hands. 20 Then King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz prayed to God and cried out to him for help. 21 The Lord sent an angel that killed the soldiers and officers of the Assyrian army. So the emperor went back to Assyria disgraced. One day when he was in the temple of his god, some of his sons killed him with their swords. 22 In this way the Lord rescued King Hezekiah and the people of Jerusalem from the power of Sennacherib, the emperor of Assyria, and also from their other enemies. He let the people live in peace with all the neighboring countries. 23 Many people came to Jerusalem, bringing offerings to the Lord and gifts to Hezekiah, so that from then on all the nations held Hezekiah in honor. 24 About this time King Hezekiah became sick and almost died. He prayed, and the Lord gave him a sign that he would recover. 25 But Hezekiah was too proud to show gratitude for what the Lord had done for him, and Judah and Jerusalem suffered for it. 26 Finally, however, Hezekiah and the people of Jerusalem humbled themselves, and so the Lord did not punish the people until after Hezekiah's death. 27 King Hezekiah became very wealthy, and everyone held him in honor. He had storerooms built for his gold, silver, precious stones, spices, shields, and other valuable objects. 28 In addition, he had storehouses built for his grain, wine, and olive oil; barns for his cattle; and pens for his sheep. 29 Besides all this, God gave him sheep and cattle and so much other wealth that he built many cities. 30 It was King Hezekiah who blocked the outlet for Gihon Spring and channeled the water to flow through a tunnel to a point inside the walls of Jerusalem. Hezekiah succeeded in everything he did, 31 and even when the Babylonian ambassadors came to inquire about the unusual event that had happened in the land, God let Hezekiah go his own way only in order to test his character. 32 Everything else that King Hezekiah did and his devotion to the Lord are recorded in [The Vision of the Prophet Isaiah Son of Amoz] and in [The History of the Kings of Judah and Israel.] 33 Hezekiah died and was buried in the upper section of the royal tombs. All the people of Judah and Jerusalem paid him great honor at his death. 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. 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, made images of the goddess Asherah, and worshiped the stars. 4 He built pagan altars in the Temple, the place that the Lord had said was where he should be worshiped forever. 5 In the two courtyards of the Temple he built altars for the worship of the stars. 6 He sacrificed his sons in Hinnom Valley as burnt offerings. He practiced divination and magic and consulted fortunetellers and mediums. He sinned greatly against the Lord and stirred up his anger. 7 He placed an image in the Temple, the place about which God 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 Manasseh led the people of Judah 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 Although the Lord warned Manasseh and his people, they refused to listen. 11 So the Lord let the commanders of the Assyrian army invade Judah. They captured Manasseh, stuck hooks in him, put him in chains, and took him to Babylon. 12 In his suffering he became humble, turned to the Lord his God, and begged him for help. 13 God accepted Manasseh's prayer and answered it by letting him go back to Jerusalem and rule again. This convinced Manasseh that the Lord was God. 14 After this, Manasseh increased the height of the outer wall on the east side of David's City, from a point in the valley near Gihon Spring north to the Fish Gate and the area of the city called Ophel. He also stationed an army officer in command of a unit of troops in each of the fortified cities of Judah. 15 He removed from the Temple the foreign gods and the image that he had placed there, and the pagan altars that were on the hill where the Temple stood and in other places in Jerusalem; he took all these things outside the city and threw them away. 16 He also repaired the altar where the Lord was worshiped, and he sacrificed fellowship offerings and thanksgiving offerings on it. He commanded all the people of Judah to worship the Lord, the God of Israel. 17 Although the people continued to offer sacrifices at other places of worship, they offered them only to the Lord. 18 Everything else that Manasseh did, the prayer he made to his God, and the messages of the prophets who spoke to him in the name of the Lord, the God of Israel, are all recorded in [The History of the Kings of Israel.] 19 The king's prayer and God's answer to it, and an account of the sins he committed before he repented - the evil he did, the pagan places of worship and the symbols of the goddess Asherah that he made and the idols that he worshiped - are all recorded in [The History of the Prophets.] 20 Manasseh died and was buried at the palace, and his son Amon succeeded him as king. 21 Amon was twenty-two years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled in Jerusalem for two years. 22 Like his father Manasseh, he sinned against the Lord, and he worshiped the idols that his father had worshiped. 23 But unlike his father, he did not become humble and turn to the Lord; he was even more sinful than his father had been. 24 Amon's officials plotted against him and assassinated him in the palace. 25 The people of Judah killed Amon's assassins and made his son Josiah king.
1 Josiah was eight years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled in Jerusalem for thirty-one years. 2 He 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 eighth year that Josiah was king, while he was still very young, he began to worship the God of his ancestor King David. Four years later he began to destroy the pagan places of worship, the symbols of the goddess Asherah, and all the other idols. 4 Under his direction the altars where Baal was worshiped were smashed, and the incense altars near them were torn down. They ground to dust the images of Asherah and all the other idols and then scattered the dust on the graves of the people who had sacrificed to them. 5 He burned the bones of the pagan priests on the altars where they had worshiped. By doing all this, he made Judah and Jerusalem ritually clean again. 6 He did the same thing in the cities and the devastated areas of Manasseh, Ephraim, and Simeon, and as far north as Naphtali. 7 Throughout the territory of the Northern Kingdom he smashed the altars and the symbols of Asherah, ground the idols to dust, and broke into bits all the incense altars. Then he returned to Jerusalem. 8 In the eighteenth year of his reign, after he had purified the land and the Temple by ending pagan worship, King Josiah sent three men to repair the Temple of the Lord God: Shaphan son of Azaliah, Maaseiah, the governor of Jerusalem, and Joah son of Joahaz, a high official. 9 The money that the Levite guards had collected in the Temple was turned over to Hilkiah the High Priest. (It had been collected from the people of Ephraim and Manasseh and the rest of the Northern Kingdom, and from the people of Judah, Benjamin, and Jerusalem.) 10 This money was then handed over to the three men in charge of the Temple repairs, and they gave it to 11 the carpenters and the builders to buy the stones and the timber used to repair the buildings that the kings of Judah had allowed to decay. 12 The men who did the work were thoroughly honest. They were supervised by four Levites: Jahath and Obadiah of the clan of Merari, and Zechariah and Meshullam of the clan of Kohath. (The Levites were all skillful musicians.) 13 Other Levites were in charge of transporting materials and supervising the workers on various jobs, and others kept records or served as guards. 14 While the money was being taken out of the storeroom, Hilkiah found the book of the Law of the Lord, the Law that God had given to Moses. 15 He said to Shaphan, "I have found the book of the Law here in the Temple." He gave Shaphan the book, 16 and Shaphan took it to the king. He reported, "We have done everything that you commanded. 17 We have taken the money that was kept in the Temple and handed it over to the workers and their supervisors." 18 Then he added, "I have here a book that Hilkiah gave me." And he read it aloud to the king. 19 When the king heard the book being read, he tore his clothes in dismay 20 and gave the following order to Hilkiah, to Ahikam son of Shaphan, to Abdon son of Micaiah, to Shaphan, the court secretary, and to Asaiah, the king's attendant: 21 "Go and consult the Lord for me and for the people who still remain in Israel and Judah. Find out about the teachings of this book. The Lord is angry with us because our ancestors have not obeyed the word of the Lord and have not done what this book says must be done." 22 At the king's command, Hilkiah and the others 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, 23 and she told them to go back to the king and give him 24 the following message from the Lord: "I am going to punish Jerusalem and all its people with the curses written in the book that was read to the king. 25 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. 26 As for the king himself, this is what I, the Lord God of Israel, say: You listened to what is written in the book, 27 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 have heard your prayer, 28 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. 29 King Josiah summoned all the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem, 30 and together they went to the Temple, accompanied by the priests and the Levites and all the rest of the people, rich and poor alike. Before them all the king read aloud the whole book of the covenant, which had been found in the Temple. 31 He stood by the royal column and made a covenant with the Lord to obey him, to keep his laws and commands with all his heart and soul, and to put into practice the demands attached to the covenant, as written in the book. 32 He made the people of Benjamin and everyone else present in Jerusalem promise to keep the covenant. And so the people of Jerusalem obeyed the requirements of the covenant they had made with the God of their ancestors. 33 King Josiah destroyed all the disgusting idols that were in the territory belonging to the people of Israel, and as long as he lived, he required the people to serve the Lord, the God of their ancestors.
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