2 Chronicles 33; 2 Chronicles 34

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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