2 Chronicles 15; 2 Chronicles 16; 2 Chronicles 17; 2 Chronicles 18

1 The Spirit of God entered Azariah son of Oded. 2 Azariah went to meet Asa and said, "Listen to me, Asa and all you people of Judah and Benjamin. The Lord is with you when you are with him. If you obey him, you will find him, but if you leave him, he will leave you. 3 For a long time Israel was without the true God and without a priest to teach them and without the teachings. 4 But when they were in trouble, they turned to the Lord, the God of Israel. They looked for him and found him. 5 In those days no one could travel safely. There was much trouble in all the nations. 6 One nation would destroy another nation, and one city would destroy another city, because God troubled them with all kinds of distress. 7 But you should be strong. Don't give up, because you will get a reward for your good work." 8 Asa felt brave when he heard these words and the message from Azariah son of Oded the prophet. So he removed the hateful idols from all of Judah and Benjamin and from the towns he had captured in the hills of Ephraim. He repaired the Lord's altar that was in front of the porch of the Temple of the Lord. 9 Then Asa gathered all the people from Judah and Benjamin and from the tribes of Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon who were living in Judah. Many people came to Asa even from Israel, because they saw that the Lord, Asa's God, was with him. 10 Asa and these people gathered in Jerusalem in the third month of the fifteenth year of Asa's rule. 11 At that time they sacrificed to the Lord seven hundred bulls and seven thousand sheep and goats from the valuable things Asa's army had taken from their enemies. 12 Then they made an agreement to obey the Lord, the God of their ancestors, with their whole being. 13 Anyone who refused to obey the Lord, the God of Israel, was to be killed. It did not matter if that person was important or unimportant, a man or woman. 14 Then Asa and the people made a promise before the Lord, shouting with a loud voice and blowing trumpets and sheep's horns. 15 All the people of Judah were happy about the promise, because they had promised with all their heart. They looked for God and found him. So the Lord gave them peace in all the country. 16 King Asa also removed Maacah, his grandmother, from being queen mother, because she had made a terrible Asherah idol. Asa cut down that idol, smashed it into pieces, and burned it in the Kidron Valley. 17 But the places of worship to gods were not removed from Judah. Even so, Asa was faithful all his life. 18 Asa brought into the Temple of God the gifts he and his father had given: silver, gold, and utensils. 19 There was no more war until the thirty-fifth year of Asa's rule.
1 In the thirty-sixth year of Asa's rule, Baasha king of Israel attacked Judah. He made the town of Ramah strong so he could keep people from leaving or entering Judah, Asa's country. 2 Asa took silver and gold from the treasuries of the Temple of the Lord and out of his own palace. Then he sent it with messengers to Ben-Hadad king of Aram, who lived in Damascus. Asa said, 3 "Let there be a treaty between you and me as there was between my father and your father. I am sending you silver and gold. Break your treaty with Baasha king of Israel so he will leave my land." 4 Ben-Hadad agreed with King Asa and sent the commanders of his armies to attack the towns of Israel. They defeated the towns of Ijon, Dan, and Abel Beth Maacah, and all the towns in Naphtali where treasures were stored. 5 When Baasha heard about this, he stopped building up Ramah and left his work. 6 Then King Asa brought all the people of Judah to Ramah, and they carried away the rocks and wood that Baasha had used. And they used them to build up Geba and Mizpah. 7 At that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah and said to him, "You depended on the king of Aram to help you and not on the Lord your God. So the king of Aram's army escaped from you. 8 The Cushites and Libyans had a large and powerful army and many chariots and horsemen. But you depended on the Lord to help you, so he handed them over to you. 9 The Lord searches all the earth for people who have given themselves completely to him. He wants to make them strong. Asa, you did a foolish thing, so from now on you will have wars." 10 Asa was angry with Hanani the seer because of what he had said; he was so angry that he put Hanani in prison. And Asa was cruel to some of the people at the same time. 11 Everything Asa did as king, from the beginning to the end, is written in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel. 12 In the thirty-ninth year of his rule, Asa got a disease in his feet. Though his disease was very bad, he did not ask for help from the Lord, but only from the doctors. 13 Then Asa died in the forty-first year of his rule. 14 The people buried Asa in the tomb he had made for himself in Jerusalem. They laid him on a bed filled with spices and different kinds of mixed perfumes, and they made a large fire to honor him.
1 Jehoshaphat, Asa's son, became king of Judah in his place. Jehosha- phat made Judah strong so they could fight against Israel. 2 He put troops in all the strong, walled cities of Judah, in the land of Judah, and in the towns of Ephraim that his father Asa had captured. 3 The Lord was with Jehoshaphat, because he lived as his ancestor David had lived when he first became king. Jehoshaphat did not ask for help from the Baal idols, 4 but from the God of his father. He obeyed God's commands and did not live as the people of Israel lived. 5 The Lord made Jehoshaphat a strong king over Judah. All the people of Judah brought gifts to Jehoshaphat, so he had much wealth and honor. 6 He wanted very much to obey the Lord. He also removed the places for worshiping gods and the Asherah idols from Judah. 7 During the third year of his rule, Jehoshaphat sent his officers to teach in the towns of Judah. These officers were Ben-Hail, Obadiah, Zechariah, Nethanel, and Micaiah. 8 Jehoshaphat sent with them these Levites: Shemaiah, Nethaniah, Zebadiah, Asahel, Shemiramoth, Jehonathan, Adonijah, Tobijah, and Tob-Adonijah. He also sent the priests Elishama and Jehoram. 9 These leaders, Levites, and priests taught the people in Judah. They took the Book of the Teachings of the Lord and went through all the towns of Judah and taught the people. 10 The nations near Judah were afraid of the Lord, so they did not start a war against Jehoshaphat. 11 Some of the Philistines brought gifts and silver to Jehoshaphat as he demanded. Some Arabs brought him flocks: seventy-seven hundred sheep and seventy-seven hundred goats. 12 Jehoshaphat grew more and more powerful. He built strong, walled cities and towns for storing supplies in Judah. 13 He kept many supplies in the towns of Judah, and he kept trained soldiers in Jerusalem. 14 These soldiers were listed by families. From the families of Judah, these were the commanders of groups of a thousand men: Adnah was the commander of three hundred thousand soldiers; 15 Jehohanan was the commander of two hundred eighty thousand soldiers; 16 Amasiah was the commander of two hundred thousand soldiers. Amasiah son of Zicri had volunteered to serve the Lord. 17 These were the commanders from the families of Benjamin: Eliada, a brave soldier, had two hundred thousand soldiers who used bows and shields. 18 And Jehozabad had one hundred eighty thousand men armed for war. 19 All these soldiers served King Jehoshaphat. The king also put other men in the strong, walled cities through all of Judah.
1 Jehoshaphat had much wealth and honor, and he made an agree- ment with King Ahab through marriage. 2 A few years later Jehoshaphat went to visit Ahab in Samaria. Ahab sacrificed many sheep and cattle as a great feast to honor Jehoshaphat and the people with him. He encouraged Jehoshaphat to attack Ramoth in Gilead. 3 Ahab king of Israel asked Jehoshaphat king of Judah, "Will you go with me to attack Ramoth in Gilead?" Jehoshaphat answered, "I will go with you, and my soldiers are yours. We will join you in the battle." 4 Jehoshaphat also said to Ahab, "But first we should ask if this is the Lord's will." 5 So King Ahab called four hundred prophets together and asked them, "Should we go to war against Ramoth in Gilead or not?" They answered, "Go, because God will hand them over to you." 6 But Jehoshaphat asked, "Isn't there a prophet of the Lord here? Let's ask him what we should do." 7 Then King Ahab said to Jehoshaphat, "There is one other prophet. We could ask the Lord through him, but I hate him. He never prophesies anything good about me, but always something bad. He is Micaiah son of Imlah." Jehoshaphat said, "King Ahab, you shouldn't say that!" 8 So Ahab king of Israel told one of his officers to bring Micaiah to him at once. 9 Ahab king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah had on their royal robes and were sitting on their thrones at the threshing floor, near the entrance to the gate of Samaria. All the prophets were standing before them speaking their messages. 10 Zedekiah son of Kenaanah had made some iron horns. He said to Ahab, "This is what the Lord says: 'You will use these horns to fight the Arameans until they are destroyed.'" 11 All the other prophets said the same thing, "Attack Ramoth in Gilead and win, because the Lord will hand the Arameans over to you." 12 The messenger who had gone to get Micaiah said to him, "All the other prophets are saying King Ahab will win. You should agree with them and give the king a good answer." 13 But Micaiah answered, "As surely as the Lord lives, I can tell him only what my God says." 14 When Micaiah came to Ahab, the king asked him, "Micaiah, should we attack Ramoth in Gilead or not?" Micaiah answered, "Attack and win! They will be handed over to you." 15 But Ahab said to Micaiah, "How many times do I have to tell you to speak only the truth to me in the name of the Lord?" 16 So Micaiah answered, "I saw the army of Israel scattered over the hills like sheep without a shepherd. The Lord said, 'They have no leaders. They should go home and not fight.'" 17 Then Ahab king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, "I told you! He never prophesies anything good about me, but only bad." 18 But Micaiah said, "Hear the message from the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on his throne with his heavenly army standing on his right and on his left. 19 The Lord said, 'Who will trick King Ahab of Israel into attacking Ramoth in Gilead where he will be killed?' "Some said one thing; some said another. 20 Then one spirit came and stood before the Lord and said, 'I will trick him.' "The Lord asked, 'How will you do it?' 21 "The spirit answered, 'I will go to Ahab's prophets and make them tell lies.' "So the Lord said, 'You will succeed in tricking him. Go and do it.'" 22 Micaiah said, "Ahab, the Lord has made your prophets lie to you, and the Lord has decided that disaster should come to you." 23 Then Zedekiah son of Kenaanah went up to Micaiah and slapped him in the face. Zedekiah said, "Has the Lord's Spirit left me to speak through you?" 24 Micaiah answered, "You will find out on the day you go to hide in an inside room." 25 Then Ahab king of Israel ordered, "Take Micaiah and send him to Amon, the governor of the city, and to Joash, the king's son. 26 Tell them I said to put this man in prison and give him only bread and water until I return safely from the battle." 27 Micaiah said, "Ahab, if you come back safely from the battle, the Lord has not spoken through me. Remember my words, all you people!" 28 So Ahab king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah went to Ramoth in Gilead. 29 King Ahab said to Jehoshaphat, "I will go into battle, but I will wear other clothes so no one will recognize me. But you wear your royal clothes." So Ahab wore other clothes, and they went into battle. 30 The king of Aram ordered his chariot commanders, "Don't fight with anyone -- important or unimportant -- except the king of Israel." 31 When these commanders saw Jehoshaphat, they thought he was the king of Israel, so they turned to attack him. But Jehoshaphat began shouting, and the Lord helped him. God made the chariot commanders turn away from Jehoshaphat. 32 When they saw he was not King Ahab, they stopped chasing him. 33 By chance, a soldier shot an arrow which hit Ahab king of Israel between the pieces of his armor. King Ahab said to his chariot driver, "Turn around and get me out of the battle, because I am hurt!" 34 The battle continued all day. King Ahab held himself up in his chariot and faced the Arameans until evening. Then he died at sunset.
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