2 Chronicles 32; 2 Chronicles 33; John 18:19-40

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.
19 The High Priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and about his teaching. 20 Jesus answered, "I have always spoken publicly to everyone; all my teaching was done in the synagogues and in the Temple, where all the people come together. I have never said anything in secret. 21 Why, then, do you question me? Question the people who heard me. Ask them what I told them - they know what I said." 22 When Jesus said this, one of the guards there slapped him and said, "How dare you talk like that to the High Priest!" 23 Jesus answered him, "If I have said anything wrong, tell everyone here what it was. But if I am right in what I have said, why do you hit me?" 24 Then Annas sent him, still tied up, to Caiaphas the High Priest. 25 Peter was still standing there keeping himself warm. So the others said to him, "Aren't you also one of the disciples of that man?" But Peter denied it. "No, I am not," he said. 26 One of the High Priest's slaves, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, spoke up. "Didn't I see you with him in the garden?" he asked. 27 Again Peter said "No" - and at once a rooster crowed. 28 Early in the morning Jesus was taken from Caiaphas' house to the governor's palace. The Jewish authorities did not go inside the palace, for they wanted to keep themselves ritually clean, in order to be able to eat the Passover meal. 29 So Pilate went outside to them and asked, "What do you accuse this man of?" 30 Their answer was, "We would not have brought him to you if he had not committed a crime." 31 Pilate said to them, "Then you yourselves take him and try him according to your own law." They replied, "We are not allowed to put anyone to death. 32 (This happened in order to make come true what Jesus had said when he indicated the kind of death he would die.) 33 Pilate went back into the palace and called Jesus. "Are you the king of the Jews?" he asked him. 34 Jesus answered, "Does this question come from you or have others told you about me?" 35 Pilate replied, "Do you think I am a Jew? It was your own people and the chief priests who handed you over to me. What have you done?" 36 Jesus said, "My kingdom does not belong to this world; if my kingdom belonged to this world, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish authorities. No, my kingdom does not belong here!" 37 So Pilate asked him, "Are you a king, then?" Jesus answered, "You say that I am a king. I was born and came into the world for this one purpose, to speak about the truth. Whoever belongs to the truth listens to me." 38 "And what is truth?" Pilate asked. Then Pilate went back outside to the people and said to them, "I cannot find any reason to condemn him. 39 But according to the custom you have, I always set free a prisoner for you during the Passover. Do you want me to set free for you the king of the Jews?" 40 They answered him with a shout, "No, not him! We want Barabbas!" (Barabbas was a bandit.)
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