2 Kings 19; 2 Kings 20; 2 Kings 21; John 4:1-30

1 As soon as King Hezekiah heard their report, he tore his clothes in grief, put on sackcloth, and went to the Temple of the Lord. 2 He sent Eliakim, the official in charge of the palace, Shebna, the court secretary, and the senior priests to the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz. They also were wearing sackcloth. 3 This is the message which he told them to give Isaiah: "Today is a day of suffering; we are being punished and are in disgrace. We are like a woman who is ready to give birth, but is too weak to do it. 4 The Assyrian emperor has sent his chief official to insult the living God. May the Lord your God hear these insults and punish those who spoke them. So pray to God for those of our people who survive." 5 When Isaiah received King Hezekiah's message, 6 he sent back this answer: "The Lord tells you not to let the Assyrians frighten you with their claims that he cannot save you. 7 The Lord will cause the emperor to hear a rumor that will make him go back to his own country, and the Lord will have him killed there." 8 The Assyrian official learned that the emperor had left Lachish and was fighting against the nearby city of Libnah; so he went there to consult him. 9 Word reached the Assyrians that the Egyptian army, led by King Tirhakah of Ethiopia, was coming to attack them. When the emperor heard this, he sent a letter to King Hezekiah of Judah 10 to tell him, "The god you are trusting in has told you that you will not fall into my hands, but don't let that deceive you. 11 You have heard what an Assyrian emperor does to any country he decides to destroy. Do you think that you can escape? 12 My ancestors destroyed the cities of Gozan, Haran, and Rezeph, and killed the people of Betheden who lived in Telassar, and none of their gods could save them. 13 Where are the kings of the cities of Hamath, Arpad, Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah?" 14 King Hezekiah took the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went to the Temple, placed the letter there in the presence of the Lord, 15 and prayed, "O Lord, the God of Israel, seated on your throne above the winged creatures, you alone are God, ruling all the kingdoms of the world. You created the earth and the sky. 16 Now, Lord, look at what is happening to us. Listen to all the things that Sennacherib is saying to insult you, the living God. 17 We all know, Lord, that the emperors of Assyria have destroyed many nations, made their lands desolate, 18 and burned up their gods - which were no gods at all, only images of wood and stone made by human hands. 19 Now, Lord our God, rescue us from the Assyrians, so that all the nations of the world will know that only you, O Lord, are God." 20 Then Isaiah sent a message telling King Hezekiah that in answer to the king's prayer 21 the Lord had said, "The city of Jerusalem laughs at you, Sennacherib, and makes fun of you. 22 Whom do you think you have been insulting and ridiculing? You have been disrespectful to me, the holy God of Israel. 23 You sent your messengers to boast to me that with all your chariots you had conquered the highest mountains of Lebanon. You boasted that there you cut down the tallest cedars and the finest cypress trees and that you reached the deepest parts of the forests. 24 You boasted that you dug wells and drank water in foreign lands and that the feet of your soldiers tramped the Nile River dry. 25 "Have you never heard that I planned all this long ago? And now I have carried it out. I gave you the power to turn fortified cities into piles of rubble. 26 The people who lived there were powerless; they were frightened and stunned. They were like grass in a field or weeds growing on a roof when the hot east wind blasts them. 27 "But I know everything about you, what you do and where you go. I know how you rage against me. 28 I have received the report of that rage and that pride of yours, and now I will put a hook through your nose and a bit in your mouth, and take you back by the same road you came." 29 Then Isaiah said to King Hezekiah, "Here is a sign of what will happen. This year and next you will have only wild grain to eat, but the following year you will be able to plant your grain and harvest it, and plant vines and eat grapes. 30 Those in Judah who survive will flourish like plants that send roots deep into the ground and produce fruit. 31 There will be people in Jerusalem and on Mount Zion who will survive, because the Lord is determined to make this happen. 32 "And this is what the Lord has said about the Assyrian emperor: "He will not enter this city or shoot a single arrow against it. No soldiers with shields will come near the city, and no siege mounds will be built around it. 33 He will go back by the same road he came, without entering this city. I, the Lord, have spoken. 34 I will defend this city and protect it, for the sake of my own honor and because of the promise I made to my servant David.' " 35 That night an angel of the Lord went to the Assyrian camp and killed 185,000 soldiers. At dawn the next day there they lay, all dead! 36 Then the Assyrian emperor Sennacherib withdrew and returned to Nineveh. 37 One day, when he was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisroch, two of his sons, Adrammelech and Sharezer, killed him with their swords and then escaped to the land of Ararat. Another of his sons, Esarhaddon, succeeded him as emperor.
1 About this time King Hezekiah became sick and almost died. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to see him and said to him, "The Lord tells you that you are to put everything in order, because you will not recover. Get ready to die." 2 Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed: 3 "Remember, Lord, that I have served you faithfully and loyally and that I have always tried to do what you wanted me to." And he began to cry bitterly. 4 Isaiah left the king, but before he had passed through the central courtyard of the palace the Lord told him 5 to go back to Hezekiah, ruler of the Lord's people, and say to him, "I, the Lord, the God of your ancestor David, have heard your prayer and seen your tears. I will heal you, and in three days you will go to the Temple. 6 I will let you live fifteen years longer. I will rescue you and this city Jerusalem from the emperor of Assyria. I will defend this city, for the sake of my own honor and because of the promise I made to my servant David." 7 Then Isaiah told the king's attendants to put on his boil a paste made of figs, and he would get well. 8 King Hezekiah asked, "What is the sign to prove that the Lord will heal me and that three days later I will be able to go to the Temple?" 9 Isaiah replied, "The Lord will give you a sign to prove that he will keep his promise. Now, would you prefer to have the shadow on the stairway go forward ten steps or go back ten steps?" 10 Hezekiah answered, "It's easy to have the shadow go forward ten steps! Have it go back ten steps." 11 Isaiah prayed to the Lord, and the Lord made the shadow go back ten steps on the stairway set up by King Ahaz. 12 About that same time the king of Babylonia, Merodach Baladan, the son of Baladan, heard that King Hezekiah had been sick, so he sent him a letter and a present. 13 Hezekiah welcomed the messengers and showed them his wealth - his silver and gold, his spices and perfumes, and all his military equipment. There was nothing in his storerooms or anywhere in his kingdom that he did not show them. 14 Then the prophet Isaiah went to King Hezekiah and asked, "Where did these men come from and what did they say to you?" Hezekiah answered, "They came from a very distant country, from Babylonia." 15 "What did they see in the palace?" "They saw everything. There is nothing in the storerooms that I didn't show them." 16 Isaiah then told the king, "The Lord Almighty says that 17 a time is coming when everything in your palace, everything that your ancestors have stored up to this day, will be carried off to Babylonia. Nothing will be left. 18 Some of your own direct descendants will be taken away and made eunuchs to serve in the palace of the king of Babylonia." 19 King Hezekiah understood this to mean that there would be peace and security during his lifetime, so he replied, "The message you have given me from the Lord is good." 20 Everything else that King Hezekiah did, his brave deeds, and an account of how he built a reservoir and dug a tunnel to bring water into the city, are all recorded in [The History of the Kings of Judah.] 21 Hezekiah died, and 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. His mother was Hephzibah. 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 and made an image of the goddess Asherah, as King Ahab of Israel had done. Manasseh also worshiped the stars. 4 He built pagan altars in the Temple, the place that the Lord had said was where he should be worshiped. 5 In the two courtyards of the Temple he built altars for the worship of the stars. 6 He sacrificed his son as a burnt offering. He practiced divination and magic and consulted fortunetellers and mediums. He sinned greatly against the Lord and stirred up his anger. 7 He placed the symbol of the goddess Asherah in the Temple, the place about which the Lord 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 But the people of Judah did not obey the Lord, and Manasseh led them 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 Through his servants the prophets the Lord said, 11 "King Manasseh has done these disgusting things, things far worse than what the Canaanites did; and with his idols he has led the people of Judah into sin. 12 So I, the Lord God of Israel, will bring such a disaster on Jerusalem and Judah that everyone who hears about it will be stunned. 13 I will punish Jerusalem as I did Samaria, as I did King Ahab of Israel and his descendants. I will wipe Jerusalem clean of its people, as clean as a plate that has been wiped and turned upside down. 14 I will abandon the people who survive, and will hand them over to their enemies, who will conquer them and plunder their land. 15 I will do this to my people because they have sinned against me and have stirred up my anger from the time their ancestors came out of Egypt to this day." 16 Manasseh killed so many innocent people that the streets of Jerusalem were flowing with blood; he did this in addition to leading the people of Judah into idolatry, causing them to sin against the Lord. 17 Everything else that Manasseh did, including the sins he committed, is recorded in [The History of the Kings of Judah.] 18 Manasseh died and was buried in the palace garden, the garden of Uzza, and his son Amon succeeded him as king. 19 Amon was twenty-two years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled in Jerusalem for two years. His mother was Meshullemeth, the daughter of Haruz from the town of Jotbah. 20 Like his father Manasseh, he sinned against the Lord; 21 he imitated his father's actions, and he worshiped the idols that his father had worshiped. 22 He rejected the Lord, the God of his ancestors, and disobeyed the Lord's commands. 23 Amon's officials plotted against him and assassinated him in the palace. 24 The people of Judah killed Amon's assassins and made his son Josiah king. 25 Everything else that Amon did is recorded in [The History of the Kings of Judah.] 26 Amon was buried in the tomb in the garden of Uzza, and his son Josiah succeeded him as king.
1 (The Pharisees heard that Jesus was winning and baptizing more disciples than John 2 Actually, Jesus himself did not baptize anyone; only his disciples did.) 3 So when Jesus heard what was being said, he left Judea and went back to Galilee; 4 on his way there he had to go through Samaria. 5 In Samaria he came to a town named Sychar, which was not far from the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob's well was there, and Jesus, tired out by the trip, sat down by the well. It was about noon. 7 (A Samaritan woman came to draw some water, and Jesus said to her, "Give me a drink of water. 8 His disciples had gone into town to buy food.) 9 The woman answered, "You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan - so how can you ask me for a drink?" (Jews will not use the same cups and bowls that Samaritans use.) 10 Jesus answered, "If you only knew what God gives and who it is that is asking you for a drink, you would ask him, and he would give you life-giving water." 11 "Sir," the woman said, "you don't have a bucket, and the well is deep. Where would you get that life-giving water? 12 It was our ancestor Jacob who gave us this well; he and his children and his flocks all drank from it. You don't claim to be greater than Jacob, do you?" 13 Jesus answered, "Those who drink this water will get thirsty again, 14 but those who drink the water that I will give them will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give them will become in them a spring which will provide them with life-giving water and give them eternal life." 15 "Sir," the woman said, "give me that water! Then I will never be thirsty again, nor will I have to come here to draw water." 16 "Go and call your husband," Jesus told her, "and come back." 17 "I don't have a husband," she answered. Jesus replied, "You are right when you say you don't have a husband. 18 You have been married to five men, and the man you live with now is not really your husband. You have told me the truth." 19 "I see you are a prophet, sir," the woman said. 20 "My Samaritan ancestors worshiped God on this mountain, but you Jews say that Jerusalem is the place where we should worship God." 21 Jesus said to her, "Believe me, woman, the time will come when people will not worship the Father either on this mountain or in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans do not really know whom you worship; but we Jews know whom we worship, because it is from the Jews that salvation comes. 23 But the time is coming and is already here, when by the power of God's Spirit people will worship the Father as he really is, offering him the true worship that he wants. 24 God is Spirit, and only by the power of his Spirit can people worship him as he really is." 25 The woman said to him, "I know that the Messiah will come, and when he comes, he will tell us everything." 26 Jesus answered, "I am he, I who am talking with you." 27 At that moment Jesus' disciples returned, and they were greatly surprised to find him talking with a woman. But none of them said to her, "What do you want?" or asked him, "Why are you talking with her?" 28 Then the woman left her water jar, went back to the town, and said to the people there, 29 "Come and see the man who told me everything I have ever done. Could he be the Messiah?" 30 So they left the town and went to Jesus.
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