2 Kings 15; 2 Kings 16; John 3:1-18

1 In the twenty-seventh year of the reign of King Jeroboam II of Israel, Uzziah son of Amaziah became king of Judah 2 at the age of sixteen, and he ruled in Jerusalem for fifty-two years. His mother was Jecoliah from Jerusalem. 3 Following the example of his father, he did what was pleasing to the Lord. 4 But the pagan places of worship were not destroyed, and the people continued to offer sacrifices and burn incense there. 5 The Lord struck Uzziah with a dreaded skin disease that stayed with him the rest of his life. He lived in a separate house, relieved of all duties, while his son Jotham governed the country. 6 Everything else that Uzziah did is recorded in [The History of the Kings of Judah.] 7 Uzziah died and was buried in the royal burial ground in David's City, and his son Jotham succeeded him as king. 8 In the thirty-eighth year of the reign of King Uzziah of Judah, Zechariah son of Jeroboam II became king of Israel, and he ruled in Samaria for six months. 9 He, like his predecessors, sinned against the Lord. He followed the wicked example of King Jeroboam son of Nebat, who led Israel into sin. 10 Shallum son of Jabesh conspired against King Zechariah, assassinated him at Ibleam, and succeeded him as king. 11 Everything else that Zechariah did is recorded in [The History of the Kings of Israel.] 12 So the promise was fulfilled which the Lord had made to King Jehu: "Your descendants down to the fourth generation will be kings of Israel." 13 In the thirty-ninth year of the reign of King Uzziah of Judah, Shallum son of Jabesh became king of Israel, and he ruled in Samaria for one month. 14 Menahem son of Gadi went from Tirzah to Samaria, assassinated Shallum, and succeeded him as king. 15 Everything else that Shallum did, including an account of his conspiracy, is recorded in [The History of the Kings of Israel.] 16 As Menahem was on his way from Tirzah, he completely destroyed the city of Tappuah, its inhabitants, and the surrounding territory, because the city did not surrender to him. He even ripped open the bellies of all the pregnant women. 17 In the thirty-ninth year of the reign of King Uzziah of Judah, Menahem son of Gadi became king of Israel, and he ruled in Samaria for ten years. 18 He sinned against the Lord, for until the day of his death he followed the wicked example of King Jeroboam son of Nebat, who led Israel into sin. 19 Tiglath Pileser, the emperor of Assyria, invaded Israel, and Menahem gave him thirty-eight tons of silver to gain his support in strengthening Menahem's power over the country. 20 Menahem got the money from the rich men of Israel by forcing each one to contribute fifty pieces of silver. So Tiglath Pileser went back to his own country. 21 Everything else that Menahem did is recorded in [The History of the Kings of Israel.] 22 He died and was buried, and his son Pekahiah succeeded him as king. 23 In the fiftieth year of the reign of King Uzziah of Judah, Pekahiah son of Menahem became king of Israel, and he ruled in Samaria for two years. 24 He sinned against the Lord, following the wicked example of King Jeroboam son of Nebat, who led Israel into sin. 25 An officer of Pekahiah's forces, Pekah son of Remaliah, plotted with fifty men from Gilead, assassinated Pekahiah in the palace's inner fortress in Samaria, and succeeded him as king. 26 Everything else that Pekahiah did is recorded in [The History of the Kings of Israel.] 27 In the fifty-second year of the reign of King Uzziah of Judah, Pekah son of Remaliah became king of Israel, and he ruled in Samaria for twenty years. 28 He sinned against the Lord, following the wicked example of King Jeroboam son of Nebat, who led Israel into sin. 29 It was while Pekah was king that Tiglath Pileser, the emperor of Assyria, captured the cities of Ijon, Abel Beth Maacah, Janoah, Kedesh, and Hazor, and the territories of Gilead, Galilee, and Naphtali, and took the people to Assyria as prisoners. 30 In the twentieth year of the reign of Jotham son of Uzziah as king of Judah, Hoshea son of Elah plotted against King Pekah, assassinated him, and succeeded him as king. 31 Everything else that Pekah did is recorded in [The History of the Kings of Israel.] 32 In the second year of the reign of Pekah son of Remaliah as king of Israel, Jotham son of Uzziah became king of Judah 33 at the age of twenty-five, and he ruled in Jerusalem for sixteen years. His mother was Jerusha, the daughter of Zadok. 34 Following the example of his father Uzziah, Jotham did what was pleasing to the Lord. 35 But the pagan places of worship were not destroyed, and the people continued to offer sacrifices and burn incense there. It was Jotham who built the North Gate of the Temple. 36 Everything else that Jotham did is recorded in [The History of the Kings of Judah.] 37 It was while he was king that the Lord first sent King Rezin of Syria and King Pekah of Israel to attack Judah. 38 Jotham died and was buried in the royal tombs in David's City, and his son Ahaz succeeded him as king.
1 In the seventeenth year of the reign of Pekah son of Remaliah as king of Israel, Ahaz son of Jotham became king of Judah 2 at the age of twenty, and he ruled in Jerusalem for sixteen years. He did not follow the good example of his ancestor King David; instead, he did what was not pleasing to the Lord his God 3 and followed the example of the kings of Israel. He even sacrificed his own son as a burnt offering to idols, imitating the disgusting practice of the people whom the Lord had driven out of the land as the Israelites advanced. 4 At the pagan places of worship, on the hills, and under every shady tree, Ahaz offered sacrifices and burned incense. 5 King Rezin of Syria and King Pekah of Israel attacked Jerusalem and besieged it, but could not defeat Ahaz. 6 (At the same time the king of Edom regained control of the city of Elath and drove out the Judeans who lived there. The Edomites settled in Elath and still live there.) 7 Ahaz sent men to Tiglath Pileser, the emperor of Assyria, with this message: "I am your devoted servant. Come and rescue me from the kings of Syria and of Israel, who are attacking me." 8 Ahaz took the silver and gold from the Temple and the palace treasury, and sent it as a present to the emperor. 9 Tiglath Pileser, in answer to Ahaz' plea, marched out with his army against Damascus, captured it, killed King Rezin, and took the people to Kir as prisoners. 10 When King Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Emperor Tiglath Pileser, he saw the altar there and sent back to Uriah the priest an exact model of it, down to the smallest details. 11 So Uriah built an altar just like it and finished it before Ahaz returned. 12 On his return from Damascus, Ahaz saw that the altar was finished, 13 so he burned animal sacrifices and grain offerings on it and poured a wine offering and the blood of a fellowship offering on it. 14 The bronze altar dedicated to the Lord was between the new altar and the Temple, so Ahaz moved it to the north side of his new altar. 15 Then he ordered Uriah: "Use this large altar of mine for the morning burnt offerings and the evening grain offerings, for the burnt offerings and grain offerings of the king and the people, and for the people's wine offerings. Pour on it the blood of all the animals that are sacrificed. But keep the bronze altar for me to use for divination." 16 Uriah did as the king commanded. 17 King Ahaz took apart the bronze carts used in the Temple and removed the basins that were on them. He also took the bronze tank from the backs of the twelve bronze bulls and placed it on a stone foundation. 18 And in order to please the Assyrian emperor, Ahaz also removed from the Temple the platform for the royal throne and closed up the king's private entrance to the Temple. 19 Everything else that King Ahaz did is recorded in [The History of the Kings of Judah.] 20 Ahaz died and was buried in the royal tombs in David's City, and his son Hezekiah succeeded him as king.
1 There was a Jewish leader named Nicodemus, who belonged to the party of the Pharisees. 2 One night he went to Jesus and said to him, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher sent by God. No one could perform the miracles you are doing unless God were with him." 3 Jesus answered, "I am telling you the truth: no one can see the Kingdom of God without being born again." 4 "How can a grown man be born again?" Nicodemus asked. "He certainly cannot enter his mother's womb and be born a second time!" 5 "I am telling you the truth," replied Jesus, "that no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. 6 A person is born physically of human parents, but is born spiritually of the Spirit. 7 Do not be surprised because I tell you that you must all be born again. 8 The wind blows wherever it wishes; you hear the sound it makes, but you do not know where it comes from or where it is going. It is like that with everyone who is born of the Spirit." 9 "How can this be?" asked Nicodemus. 10 Jesus answered, "You are a great teacher in Israel, and you don't know this? 11 I am telling you the truth: we speak of what we know and report what we have seen, yet none of you is willing to accept our message. 12 You do not believe me when I tell you about the things of this world; how will you ever believe me, then, when I tell you about the things of heaven? 13 And no one has ever gone up to heaven except the Son of Man, who came down from heaven." 14 As Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the desert, in the same way the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. 16 For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to be its judge, but to be its savior. 18 Those who believe in the Son are not judged; but those who do not believe have already been judged, because they have not believed in God's only Son.
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