Free eBook: Getting Through the Storms in Life

2 Chronicles 32; 2 Chronicles 33; 2 Chronicles 34

1 Hezekiah had been completely faithful to the Lord. But in spite of that, Sennacherib came and marched into Judah. He was the king of Assyria. He surrounded the cities that had high walls around them. He got ready to attack them. He thought he could win the battle over them. He thought he could take them for himself. 2 Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib had come to Jerusalem to make war against it. 3 So he asked his officials and military leaders for advice. He asked them about blocking off the water from the springs that were outside the city. They gave him the advice he asked for. 4 A large group of men gathered together. They blocked all of the springs. They also blocked the stream that flowed through the land. "Why should the kings of Assyria come and find plenty of water?" they asked. 5 Then Hezekiah worked hard repairing all of the broken parts of the wall. He built towers on it. He built another wall outside that one. He built up the areas that had been filled in around the City of David. He also made large numbers of weapons and shields. 6 He appointed military officers over the people. He gathered the officers together in front of him in the open area at the city gate. He gave them words of hope. He said, 7 "Be strong. Be brave. Don't be afraid. Don't lose hope. The king of Assyria has a huge army with him. But there's a greater power with us than there is with him. 8 The only thing he has is human strength. But the LORD our God is with us. He will help us. He'll fight our battles." The people had great faith in what Hezekiah, the king of Judah, said. 9 Later Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, and all of his forces surrounded Lachish. They got ready to attack it. At that time, he sent his officers to Jerusalem. They went there with a message for Hezekiah, the king of Judah. The message was also for all of the people of Judah who were there. The message said, 10 "Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, says, 'Why are you putting your faith in what your king says? Why do you remain in Jerusalem when you are surrounded? 11 " 'Hezekiah says, "The LORD our God will save us from the powerful hand of the king of Assyria." But he isn't telling you the truth. If you listen to him, you will die of hunger and thirst. 12 " 'Didn't Hezekiah himself remove your god's high places and altars? Didn't Hezekiah say to the people of Judah and Jerusalem, "You must worship at one altar. You must burn sacrifices on it"? 13 " 'Don't you know what I and the kings who ruled before me have done? Don't you know what we've done to all of the peoples of the other lands? Were the gods of those nations ever able to save their lands from my power? 14 The kings who ruled before me destroyed many nations. Which one of the gods of those nations has been able to save his people from me? So how can your god save you from my power? 15 " 'Don't let Hezekiah trick you. He's telling you lies. Don't believe him. No god of any nation or kingdom has been able to save his people from my power. No god has been able to save his people from the power of the kings who ruled before me. So your god won't save you from my power either!' " 16 Sennacherib's officers spoke even more things against the LORD God and his servant Hezekiah. 17 The king also wrote letters against the Lord. His letters made fun of the God of Israel. They said, "The peoples of other lands have their gods. But those gods didn't save their people from my powerful hand. So the god of Hezekiah won't save his people from my powerful hand either." 18 Then the officers called out in the Hebrew language to the people of Jerusalem who were on the wall. They were trying to scare them and make them afraid. That's because they wanted to capture the city. 19 They were comparing the God of Jerusalem to the gods of the other nations of the world. But those gods were only statues. They had been made by the hands of men. 20 King Hezekiah cried out in prayer to God in heaven. He prayed about the problem Jerusalem was facing. So did the prophet Isaiah. He was the son of Amoz. 21 The LORD sent an angel. The angel wiped out all of the enemy's fighting men, leaders and officers. He put an end to them right there in the camp of the Assyrian king. So Sennacherib went back to his own land in shame. He went into the temple of his god. There some of his own sons cut him down with their swords. 22 So the LORD saved Hezekiah and the people of Jerusalem. He saved them from the power of Sennacherib, the king of Assyria. He also saved them from all of their other enemies. He took care of them on every side. 23 Many people brought offerings to Jerusalem for the Lord. They brought expensive gifts for Hezekiah, the king of Judah. From then on, all of the nations thought highly of him. 24 In those days Hezekiah became sick. He knew he was about to die. So he prayed to the Lord. And the LORD answered him. He gave him a miraculous sign. 25 But Hezekiah's heart was proud. He didn't give thanks for the many kind things the LORD had done for him. So the LORD became angry with him. He also became angry with Judah and Jerusalem. 26 Then Hezekiah had a change of heart. He was sorry he had been proud. The people of Jerusalem were also sorry they had sinned. So the LORD wasn't angry with them as long as Hezekiah was king. 27 Hezekiah was very rich. He received great honor. He made storerooms for his silver and gold. He also made them for his jewels, spices, shields and all kinds of expensive things. 28 He made buildings to store the harvest of grain, fresh wine and olive oil. He made barns for all kinds of cattle. He made sheep pens for his flocks. 29 He built villages. He gained large numbers of flocks and herds. God had made him very rich. 30 Hezekiah blocked up the upper opening of the Gihon spring. He directed the water to flow down to the west side of the City of David. He had success in everything he did. 31 The rulers of Babylon sent messengers to him. They asked him about the miraculous sign that had taken place in the land. Then God left him to put him to the test. He wanted to know everything that was in his heart. 32 Hezekiah did many things that showed he was faithful to the Lord. Those things and the other events of his rule are written down. They are written in the record of the vision of the prophet Isaiah, the son of Amoz. That record is part of the records of the kings of Judah and Israel. 33 Hezekiah joined the members of his family who had already died. His body was buried on the hill where the tombs of David's family are. The whole nation of Judah honored him when he died. So did the people of Jerusalem. Hezekiah's son Manasseh became the next king after him.
1 Manasseh was 12 years old when he became king. He ruled in Jerusalem for 55 years. 2 Manasseh did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. He followed the practices of the nations. The LORD hated those practices. He had driven those nations out to make room for the people of Israel. 3 Manasseh rebuilt the high places. His father Hezekiah had destroyed them. Manasseh also set up altars to the gods that were named after Baal. He made poles that were used to worship the goddess Asherah. He even bowed down to all of the stars. And he worshiped them. 4 He built altars in the LORD's temple. The LORD had said about his temple, "My Name will remain in Jerusalem forever." 5 In both courtyards of the LORD's temple Manasseh built altars to honor all of the stars. 6 He sacrificed his children in the fire to other gods. He did it in the Valley of Ben Hinnom. He practiced all kinds of evil magic. He took part in worshiping evil powers. He got messages from those who had died. He talked to the spirits of the dead. He did many things that were evil in the sight of the Lord. He made him very angry. 7 Manasseh had carved a statue of a god. He put it in God's temple. God had spoken to David and his son Solomon about the temple. He had said, "My Name will be in this temple and in Jerusalem forever. Out of all of the cities in the tribes of Israel I have chosen Jerusalem. 8 I gave this land to your people who lived long ago. I will not make the Israelites leave it again. But they must be careful to do everything I commanded them. They must follow all of the laws, directions, and rules I gave them through Moses." 9 But Manasseh led Judah and the people of Jerusalem down the wrong path. They did more evil things than the nations the LORD had destroyed to make room for the people of Israel. 10 The LORD spoke to Manasseh and his people. But they didn't pay any attention to him. 11 So the LORD brought the army commanders of the king of Assyria against them. They took Manasseh as a prisoner. They put a hook in his nose. They put him in bronze chains. And they took him to Babylon. 12 When Manasseh was in trouble, he asked the LORD his God to show favor to him. He made himself very low in the sight of the God of his people. 13 Manasseh prayed to him. When he did, the LORD felt sorry for him. He answered his prayer. He brought him back to Jerusalem and his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD is God. 14 After that, Manasseh rebuilt the outer wall of the City of David. It was west of the Gihon spring in the valley. It reached all the way to the entrance of the Fish Gate. It went around the entire hill of Ophel. Manasseh also made the wall much higher. He stationed military commanders in all of the cities in Judah that had high walls around them. 15 Manasseh got rid of the strange gods. He removed the statue of one of those gods from the LORD's temple. He also removed all of the altars he had built on the temple hill and in Jerusalem. He threw them out of the city. 16 Then he made the LORD's altar look like new again. He sacrificed friendship offerings and thank offerings on it. He told the people of Judah to serve the Lord, the God of Israel. 17 The people continued to offer sacrifices at the high places. But they offered them only to the LORD their God. 18 The other events of Manasseh's rule are written down in the official records of the kings of Israel. They include his prayer to his God. They also include the words the prophets spoke to him in the name of the Lord, the God of Israel. 19 Everything about Manasseh is written in the records of the prophets. That includes his prayer and the fact that God felt sorry for him. It includes everything he did before he made himself low in the LORD's sight. It includes all of his sins and the fact that he wasn't faithful to the Lord. It includes the locations where he built high places. It includes the places where he set up poles that were used to worship the goddess Asherah. And it includes the places where he set up statues of other gods. 20 Manasseh joined the members of his family who had already died. His body was buried in his palace. His son Amon became the next king after him. 21 Amon was 22 years old when he became king. He ruled in Jerusalem for two years. 22 Amon did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, just as his father Manasseh had done. Amon worshiped and offered sacrifices to all of the statues of gods that Manasseh had made. 23 He didn't make himself low in the LORD's sight as his father Manasseh had done. So Amon became even more guilty. 24 Amon's officials made plans against him. They murdered him in his palace. 25 Then the people of the land killed all those who had made plans against King Amon. They made his son Josiah king in his place.
1 Josiah was eight years old when he became king. He ruled in Jerusalem for 31 years. 2 He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord. He lived the way King David had lived. He didn't turn away from it to the right or the left. 3 While he was still young, he began to worship the God of King David. It was the eighth year of Josiah's rule. In his 12th year he began to get rid of the high places in Judah and Jerusalem. He removed the poles that were used to worship the goddess Asherah. He also removed the wooden and metal statues of gods. 4 He ordered the altars of the gods that were named after Baal to be torn down. He cut to pieces the altars for burning incense that were above them. He smashed the Asherah poles. He also smashed the wooden and metal statues of gods. He broke all of them to pieces. He scattered the pieces over the graves of those who had offered sacrifices to those gods. 5 He burned the bones of the priests on their altars. That's the way he made Judah and Jerusalem pure and clean. 6 He went to the towns of Manasseh, Ephraim and Simeon. He went all the way to Naphtali. He also went to the destroyed places around all of those towns. 7 Everywhere he went he tore down the altars and the Asherah poles. He crushed the statues of gods to powder. He cut to pieces all of the altars for burning incense. He destroyed all of those things everywhere in Israel. Then he went back to Jerusalem. 8 In the 18th year of Josiah's rule, he decided to make the land and temple pure and clean. So he sent Shaphan, Maaseiah and Joah to repair the temple of the LORD his God. Shaphan was the son of Azaliah. Maaseiah was ruler of the city. And Joah, the son of Joahaz, kept the records. 9 They went to the high priest Hilkiah. They gave him the money that had been brought into God's temple. The Levites who guarded the doors had collected it. They had received some of the money from the people of Manasseh, Ephraim and the others who remained in Israel. They had received the rest of it from the people of Judah and Benjamin and those who lived in Jerusalem. 10 They put all of the money in the care of the men who had been appointed to direct the work on the LORD's temple. Those men paid the workers who repaired the temple and made it look like new again. 11 They also gave money to the builders and those who worked with wood. The workers used it to buy lumber and blocks of stone. The lumber was used for the supports and beams for the buildings. The kings of Judah had let the buildings fall down. 12 The men were faithful in doing the work. Jahath and Obadiah directed them. They were Levites from the family line of Merari. Zechariah and Meshullam also directed them. They were from the family line of Kohath. The Levites were skilled in playing musical instruments. 13 They were in charge of the laborers. They directed all of the workers from job to job. Some of the Levites were secretaries and writers. Others guarded the doors. 14 The money that had been taken into the LORD's temple was being brought out. At that time the priest Hilkiah found the Scroll of the Law of the Lord. It had been given through Moses. 15 Hilkiah spoke to the secretary Shaphan. He said, "I've found the Scroll of the Law in the LORD's temple." He gave it to Shaphan. 16 Then Shaphan took the scroll to King Josiah. He told him, "Your officials are doing everything they've been asked to do. 17 They have paid out the money that was in the LORD's temple. They've put it in the care of the directors and workers." 18 Shaphan continued, "The priest Hilkiah has given me a scroll." Shaphan read some of it to the king. 19 The king heard the words of the Law. When he did, he tore his royal robes. 20 He gave orders to Hilkiah, Ahikam, Abdon, the secretary Shaphan and Asaiah. Ahikam was the son of Shaphan. Abdon was the son of Micah. And Asaiah was the king's attendant. Josiah commanded them, 21 "Go. Ask the LORD for advice. Ask him about what is written in this scroll that has been found. Do it for me. Also do it for those who remain in Israel and Judah. The LORD has poured out his burning anger on us. That's because our people before us didn't obey what the LORD had said. They didn't do everything that is written in this scroll." 22 Hilkiah and those the king had sent with him went to speak to the prophet Huldah. She was the wife of Shallum. Shallum was the son of Tokhath. Tokhath was the son of Hasrah. Shallum took care of the sacred robes. Huldah lived in the New Quarter of Jerusalem. 23 She said to them, "The LORD is the God of Israel. He says, 'Tell the man who sent you to me, 24 "The LORD says, 'I am going to bring horrible trouble on this place and its people. All of the curses that are written down in the scroll that has been read to the king of Judah will take place. 25 That is because the people have deserted me. They have burned incense to other gods. They have made me very angry because of everything their hands have made. So I will pour out my burning anger on this place. The fire of my anger will not be put out.' " ' 26 "The king of Judah sent you to ask for advice. Tell him, 'The LORD is the God of Israel. He has a message for you about the things you heard. 27 He says, "Your heart was tender. You made yourself low in my sight. You heard what I spoke against this place and its people. So you made yourself low. You tore your royal robes and sobbed. And I have heard you," announces the Lord. 28 " ' "You will join the members of your family who have already died. Your body will be buried in peace. Your eyes will not see all of the trouble I am going to bring on this place and those who live here." ' " Huldah's answer was taken back to the king. 29 Then the king called together all of the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. 30 He went up to the LORD's temple. The people of Judah and Jerusalem went with him. So did the priests and Levites. All of them went, from the least important of them to the most important. The king had all of the words of the Scroll of the Covenant read to them. The scroll had been found in the LORD's temple. 31 The king stood next to his pillar. He agreed to the terms of the covenant in front of the Lord. He promised to follow him and obey his commands, directions and rules. He promised to obey them with all his heart and with all his soul. So he promised to obey the terms of the covenant that were written down in that scroll. 32 Then he had everyone in Jerusalem and in Benjamin commit themselves to the covenant. The people of Jerusalem did it in keeping with the covenant of the God of Israel. 33 Josiah removed all of the statues of gods from the whole territory that belonged to the people of Israel. The LORD hated those statues. Josiah had everyone in Israel serve the LORD their God. As long as he lived, they didn't fail to follow the Lord, the God of their people.
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