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

1 The Spirit of God came on Azariah. He was the son of Oded. 2 Azariah went out to meet Asa. He said to him, "Asa and all you people of Judah and Benjamin, listen to me. The LORD is with you when you are with him. If you really look for him, you will find him. But if you desert him, he will desert you. 3 "For a long time Israel didn't worship the true God. They didn't have a priest who taught them. So they didn't know God's law. 4 But when they were in trouble, they turned to the Lord, the God of Israel. When they did, they found him. 5 "In those days it wasn't safe to travel around. The people who lived in all of the areas of the land were having a lot of trouble. 6 One nation was crushing another. One city was crushing another. That's because God was causing them to suffer terribly. 7 "But be strong. Don't give up. God will reward you for your work." 8 Asa heard that prophecy. He paid attention to the words of the prophet Azariah, the son of Oded. So Asa became bolder than ever. He removed the statues of gods from the whole land of Judah and Benjamin. He also removed them from the towns he had captured in the hills of Ephraim. He did it because he hated those gods. He repaired the altar of the Lord. It was in front of the porch of the LORD's temple. 9 Then he gathered all of the people of Judah and Benjamin together. He also gathered together the people from Ephraim, Manasseh and Simeon who had settled among them. Large numbers of people had come over to him from Israel. They came because they saw that the LORD his God was with him. 10 They gathered in Jerusalem. It was the third month of the 15th year of Asa's rule. 11 At that time they sacrificed to the LORD 700 head of cattle and 7,000 sheep and goats. The animals were among the things they had taken after the battle. 12 They made a covenant to look to the Lord, the God of their people. They looked to him with all their heart and soul. 13 All those who wouldn't look to the Lord, the God of Israel, would be killed. It wouldn't matter how important they were. It wouldn't matter whether they were men or women. 14 They took an oath and made a promise to the Lord. They praised him out loud. They shouted. They blew trumpets and horns. 15 All of the people of Judah were happy about the promise they had made. They turned to God with all their heart. When they did, they found him. So the LORD gave them peace and rest on every side. 16 King Asa also removed his grandmother Maacah from her position as queen mother. That's because she had made a pole that was used to worship the goddess Asherah. The LORD hated it. So Asa cut it down. He broke it up. He burned it in the Kidron Valley. 17 Asa didn't remove the high places from Israel. But he committed his whole life completely to the Lord. 18 He and his father had set apart silver, gold and other articles to the Lord. He brought them into God's temple. 19 There weren't any more wars until the 35th year of Asa's rule.
1 Baasha was king of Israel. He marched out against Judah. It was in the 36th year of Asa's rule over Judah. Baasha built up the walls of Ramah. He did it to keep people from leaving or entering the territory of Asa, the king of Judah. 2 Asa took the silver and gold from among the treasures of the LORD's temple and his own palace. He sent it to Ben-Hadad. Ben-Hadad was king of Aram. He was ruling in Damascus. 3 "Let's make a peace treaty between us," Asa said. "My father and your father had made a peace treaty between them. Now I'm sending you silver and gold. So break your treaty with Baasha, the king of Israel. Then he'll go back home." 4 Ben-Hadad agreed with King Asa. He sent his army commanders against the towns of Israel. They attacked Ijon, Dan, Abel Maim and all of the cities in Naphtali where Baasha stored things. 5 Baasha heard about it. So he stopped building up Ramah. He stopped working there. 6 Then King Asa brought all of the men of Judah to Ramah. They carried away the stones and wood Baasha had been using. Asa used them to build up Geba and Mizpah. 7 At that time the prophet Hanani came to Asa, the king of Judah. He said to him, "You trusted the king of Aram. You didn't trust in the LORD your God. So the army of the king of Aram has escaped from you. 8 The people of Cush and Libya had a strong army. They had large numbers of chariots and horsemen. But you trusted in the Lord. So he handed them over to you. 9 The LORD looks out over the whole earth. He gives strength to those who commit their lives completely to him. You have done a foolish thing. From now on you will be at war." 10 Asa was angry with the prophet because of what he had said. In fact, he was so angry he put him in prison. At the same time, Asa treated some of his own people very badly. 11 The events of Asa's rule from beginning to end are written down. They are written in the records of the kings of Judah and Israel. 12 In the 39th year of Asa's rule his feet began to hurt. The pain was terrible. But even though he was suffering, he didn't look to the LORD for help. All he did was go to the doctors. 13 In the 41st year of Asa's rule he joined the members of his family who had already died. 14 His body was buried in a tomb. He had cut it out for himself in the City of David. His body was laid on a wooden frame. It was covered with spices and different mixes of perfume. A huge fire was made in his honor.
1 Jehoshaphat was the son of Asa. Jehoshaphat became the next king after him. He made his kingdom strong in case Israel would attack him. 2 He placed troops in all of the cities of Judah that had high walls around them. He stationed some soldiers in Judah. He also put some in the towns of Ephraim that his father Asa had captured. 3 The LORD was with Jehoshaphat. That's because in his early years he lived the way King David had lived. He didn't ask for advice from the gods that were named after Baal. 4 Instead, he looked to the God of his father. He followed the LORD's commands instead of the practices of Israel. 5 The LORD made the kingdom secure under Jehoshaphat's control. All of the people of Judah brought gifts to Jehoshaphat. So he had great wealth and honor. 6 His heart was committed to living the way the LORD wanted him to. He removed the high places from Judah. He also removed the poles that were used to worship the goddess Asherah. 7 In the third year of his rule, he sent his officials to teach in the towns of Judah. The officials were Ben-Hail, Obadiah, Zechariah, Nethanel and Micaiah. 8 Some Levites were with them. Their names were Shemaiah, Nethaniah, Zebadiah, Asahel, Shemiramoth, Jehonathan, Adonijah, Tobijah and Tob-Adonijah. The priests Elishama and Jehoram were also with them. 9 They taught people all through Judah. They took the Scroll of the Law of the LORD with them. They went around to all of the towns of Judah. And they taught the people. 10 All of the kingdoms of the lands around Judah became afraid of the Lord. So they didn't go to war against Jehoshaphat. 11 Some Philistines brought to Jehoshaphat the gifts and silver he required of them. The Arabs brought him their flocks. They brought him 7,700 rams and 7,700 goats. 12 Jehoshaphat became more and more powerful. He built forts in Judah. He also built cities in Judah where he could store things. 13 He had large supplies in the towns of Judah. In Jerusalem he kept men who knew how to fight well. 14 Here is a list of them, family by family. From Judah there were commanders of companies of 1,000. One of them was Adnah. He commanded 300,000 fighting men. 15 Another was Jehohanan. He commanded 280,000. 16 Another was Amasiah, the son of Zicri. Amasiah commanded 200,000. He had offered to serve the Lord. 17 From Benjamin there were also commanders. One of them was Eliada. He was a brave soldier. He commanded 200,000 men. They were armed with bows and shields. 18 Another was Jehozabad. He commanded 180,000 men. They were prepared for battle. 19 Those were the men who served the king. He stationed some other men in the cities all through Judah. The cities had high walls around them.
1 Jehoshaphat had great wealth and honor. He joined forces with Ahab by getting married to Ahab's daughter. 2 Some years later he went down to visit Ahab in Samaria. Ahab killed a lot of sheep and cattle for him and the people who were with him. Ahab tried to get Jehoshaphat to attack Ramoth Gilead. 3 Ahab was the king of Israel. He spoke to Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah. He asked, "Will you go with me to fight against Ramoth Gilead?" Jehoshaphat replied, "Yes. I'll go with you. My men will also go with you. We'll join you in the war." 4 He continued, "First ask the LORD for advice." 5 So the king of Israel brought 400 prophets together. He asked them, "Should we go to war against Ramoth Gilead? Or should I stay here?" "Go," they answered. "God will hand it over to you." 6 But Jehoshaphat asked, "Isn't there a prophet of the LORD here? If there is, ask him what we should do." 7 The king of Israel answered Jehoshaphat. He said, "There is still one other man we can go to. We can ask the LORD for advice through him. But I hate him. He never prophesies anything good about me. He only prophesies bad things. His name is Micaiah. He's the son of Imlah." "You shouldn't say bad things about him," Jehoshaphat replied. 8 So the king of Israel called for one of his officials. He told him, "Bring Micaiah, the son of Imlah, at once." 9 The king of Israel and Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, were wearing their royal robes. They were sitting on their thrones at the threshing floor. It was near the entrance of the gate of Samaria. All of the prophets were prophesying in front of them. 10 Zedekiah was the son of Kenaanah. Zedekiah had made horns out of iron. They looked like animal horns. He announced, "The LORD says, 'With these horns you will drive back the men of Aram until they are destroyed.' " 11 All of the other prophets were prophesying the same thing. "Attack Ramoth Gilead," they said. "Win the battle over it. The LORD will hand it over to you." 12 A messenger went to get Micaiah. He said to him, "Look. The other prophets agree. All of them are saying the king will have success. So agree with them. Say the same thing they do." 13 But Micaiah said, "You can be sure that the LORD lives. And you can be just as sure that I can only tell the king what my God says." 14 When Micaiah arrived, the king spoke to him. He asked, "Should we go to war against Ramoth Gilead? Or should I stay here?" "Attack," he answered. "You will win. The people of Ramoth Gilead will be handed over to you." 15 The king said to him, "I've made you promise to tell the truth many times before. So don't tell me anything but the truth in the name of the Lord." 16 Then Micaiah answered, "I saw all of the people of Israel scattered on the hills. They were like sheep that didn't have a shepherd. The LORD said, 'These people do not have a master. Let each of them go home in peace.' " 17 The king of Israel spoke to Jehoshaphat. He said, "Didn't I tell you he never prophesies anything good about me? He only prophesies bad things." 18 Micaiah continued, "Listen to the LORD's message. I saw the LORD sitting on his throne. Some of the angels of heaven were standing at his right side. The others were standing at his left side. 19 The LORD said, 'Who will try to get Ahab, the king of Israel, to attack Ramoth Gilead? I want him to die there.' "One angel suggested one thing. Another suggested something else. 20 Finally, a spirit came forward and stood in front of the Lord. The spirit said, 'I'll try to get Ahab to do it.' " 'How?' the LORD asked. 21 "The spirit said, 'I'll go and put lies in the mouths of all of his prophets.' " 'You will have success in getting Ahab to attack Ramoth Gilead,' said the Lord. 'Go and do it.' 22 "So the LORD has put lies in the mouths of your prophets. He has said that great harm will come to you." 23 Then Zedekiah, the son of Kenaanah, went up and slapped Micaiah in the face. "So you think the spirit that was sent by the LORD went away from me to speak to you, do you?" he asked. "Which way did he go?" 24 Micaiah replied, "You will find out on the day you go to hide in an inside room to save your life." 25 Then the king of Israel gave an order. He said, "Take Micaiah away. Send him back to Amon. Amon is the ruler of the city of Samaria. And send him back to Joash. Joash is a member of the royal court. 26 Tell them, 'The king says, "Put this fellow in prison. Don't give him anything but bread and water until I return safely." ' " 27 Micaiah announced, "Do you really think you will return safely? If you do, the LORD hasn't spoken through me." He continued, "All of you people, remember what I've said!" 28 So the king of Israel went up to Ramoth Gilead. Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, went there too. 29 The king of Israel spoke to Jehoshaphat. He said, "I'll go into battle wearing different clothes. Then people won't recognize me. But you wear your royal robes." So the king of Israel put on different clothes. Then he went into battle. 30 The king of Aram had given an order to his chariot commanders. He had said, "Fight only against the king of Israel. Don't fight against anyone else." 31 The chariot commanders saw Jehoshaphat. They thought, "That's the king of Israel." So they turned to attack him. But Jehoshaphat cried out. And the LORD helped him. God drew the commanders away from him. 32 They saw he wasn't the king of Israel after all. So they stopped chasing him. 33 But someone shot an arrow without taking aim. The arrow hit the king of Israel between the parts of his armor. The king told the chariot driver, "Turn the chariot around. Get me out of this battle. I've been wounded." 34 All day long the battle continued. The king of Israel kept himself standing up by leaning against the inside of his chariot. He kept his face toward the men of Aram until evening. At sunset he died.
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