2 Kings 15-16
King Azariah of Judah
15 Azariah son of Amaziah became king of Judah in Jeroboam’s twenty-seventh year as king of Israel. 2 He was only sixteen years old when he became king, and he ruled fifty-two years from Jerusalem, which was also the hometown of his mother Jecoliah.
3 Azariah obeyed the Lord by doing right, as his father Amaziah had done. 4 But Azariah did not destroy the local shrines,[a] and they were still used as places for offering sacrifices.
5 The Lord punished Azariah with leprosy[b] for the rest of his life. He wasn’t allowed to live in the royal palace, so his son Jotham lived there and ruled in his place.
6 Everything else Azariah did while he was king is written in The History of the Kings of Judah. 7 Azariah died and was buried beside his ancestors in Jerusalem. His son Jotham then became king.
King Zechariah of Israel
8 Zechariah son of Jeroboam became king of Israel in the thirty-eighth year of Azariah’s rule in Judah, but he ruled only six months from Samaria. 9 Like his ancestors, Zechariah disobeyed the Lord by following the evil ways of Jeroboam son of Nebat, who had caused the Israelites to sin.
10 Shallum son of Jabesh plotted against Zechariah and killed him in public.[c] Shallum then became king. 11-12 So the Lord had kept his promise to Jehu that the next four kings of Israel would come from his family.[d]
Everything else Zechariah did while he was king is written in The History of the Kings of Israel.
King Shallum of Israel
13 Shallum became king of Israel in the thirty-ninth year of Azariah’s[e] rule in Judah. But only one month after Shallum became king, 14-16 Menahem son of Gadi came to Samaria from Tirzah and killed him. Menahem then became king. The town of Tiphsah would not surrender to him, so he destroyed it and all the surrounding towns as far as Tirzah. He killed everyone living in Tiphsah, and with his sword he even ripped open pregnant women.
Everything else Shallum did while he was king, including his plot against Zechariah, is written in The History of the Kings of Israel.
King Menahem of Israel
17 Menahem became king of Israel in Azariah’s thirty-ninth year as king of Judah, and he ruled Israel ten years from Samaria. 18 He constantly disobeyed the Lord by following the example of Jeroboam son of Nebat, who had caused the Israelites to sin.
19 During Menahem’s rule, King Tiglath Pileser[f] of Assyria invaded Israel. He agreed to help Menahem keep control of his kingdom, if Menahem would pay him over thirty tons of silver. 20 So Menahem ordered every rich person in Israel to give him at least one pound of silver, and he gave it all to Tiglath Pileser, who stopped his attack and left Israel.
21 Everything else Menahem did while he was king is written in The History of the Kings of Israel. 22 Menahem died, and his son Pekahiah became king.
King Pekahiah of Israel
23 Pekahiah became king of Israel in the fiftieth year of Azariah’s rule in Judah, and he ruled two years from Samaria. 24 He disobeyed the Lord and caused the Israelites to sin, just as Jeroboam son of Nebat had done.
25 Pekah son of Remaliah was Pekahiah’s chief officer, but he made plans to kill the king. So he and fifty men from Gilead broke into the strongest part of the palace in Samaria and murdered Pekahiah, together with Argob and Arieh.[g] Pekah then became king.
26 Everything else Pekahiah did while he was king is written in The History of the Kings of Israel.
King Pekah of Israel
27 Pekah son of Remaliah became king of Israel in Azariah’s fifty-second year as king of Judah, and he ruled twenty years from Samaria. 28 He disobeyed the Lord and followed the evil example of Jeroboam son of Nebat, who had caused the Israelites to sin.
29 During Pekah’s rule, King Tiglath Pileser of Assyria marched into Israel. He captured the territories of Gilead and Galilee, including the towns of Ijon, Abel-Bethmaacah, Janoah, Kedesh, and Hazor, as well as the entire territory of Naphtali. Then he took Israelites from those regions to Assyria as prisoners.[h]
30 In the twentieth year of Jotham’s rule in Judah, Hoshea son of Elah plotted against Pekah and murdered him. Hoshea then became king of Israel.
31 Everything else Pekah did while he was king is written in The History of the Kings of Israel.
King Jotham of Judah
32 Jotham son of Azariah[i] became king of Judah in the second year of Pekah’s rule in Israel. 33 Jotham was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he ruled sixteen years from Jerusalem. His mother Jerusha was the daughter of Zadok.
34 Jotham followed the example of his father by obeying the Lord and doing right. 35 It was Jotham who rebuilt the Upper Gate that led into the court around the Lord’s temple. But the local shrines were not destroyed, and they were still used as places for offering sacrifices.
36 Everything else Jotham did while he was king is written in The History of the Kings of Judah. 37 During his rule, the Lord let King Rezin of Syria and King Pekah of Israel start attacking Judah. 38 Jotham died and was buried beside his ancestors in Jerusalem, and his son Ahaz became king.
King Ahaz of Judah
16 Ahaz son of Jotham became king of Judah in the seventeenth year of Pekah’s rule in Israel. 2 He was twenty years old at the time, and he ruled from Jerusalem for sixteen years.
Ahaz wasn’t like his ancestor David. Instead, he disobeyed the Lord 3 and was even more sinful than the kings of Israel. He sacrificed his own son, which was a disgusting custom of the nations that the Lord had forced out of Israel. 4 Ahaz offered sacrifices at the local shrines, as well as on every hill and in the shade of large trees.
5-6 While Ahaz was ruling Judah, the king of Edom recaptured the town of Elath from Judah and forced out the people of Judah. Edomites[j] then moved into Elath, and they still live there.
About the same time, King Rezin of Syria and King Pekah of Israel marched to Jerusalem and attacked, but they could not capture it.
7 Ahaz sent a message to King Tiglath Pileser of Assyria that said, “Your Majesty, King Rezin and King Pekah are attacking me, your loyal servant. Please come and rescue me.” 8 Along with the message, Ahaz sent silver and gold from the Lord’s temple and from the palace treasury as a gift for the Assyrian king.
9 As soon as Tiglath Pileser received the message, he and his troops marched to Syria. He captured the capital city of Damascus, then he took the people living there to the town of Kir as prisoners and killed King Rezin.[k]
10 Later, Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglath Pileser. And while Ahaz was there, he saw an altar and sent a model of it back to Uriah the priest, along with the plans for building one. 11 Uriah followed the plans and built an altar exactly like the one in Damascus, finishing it just before Ahaz came back.
12 When Ahaz returned, he went to see the altar and to offer sacrifices on it. He walked up to the altar 13 and poured wine over it. Then he offered sacrifices to please the Lord, to give him thanks, and to ask for his blessings.[l] 14 After that, he had the bronze altar moved aside,[m] so his new altar would be right in front of the Lord’s temple. 15 He told Uriah the priest:
From now on, the morning and evening sacrifices as well as all gifts of grain and wine are to be offered on this altar. The sacrifices for the people and for the king must also be offered here. Sprinkle the blood from all the sacrifices on it, but leave the bronze altar for me to use for prayer and finding out what God wants me to do.
16 Uriah did everything Ahaz told him.
17 Ahaz also had the side panels and the small bowls taken off the movable stands in the Lord’s temple. He had the large bronze bowl, called the Sea, removed from the bronze bulls on which it rested and had it placed on a stand made of stone. 18 He took down the special tent that was used for worship on the Sabbath[n] and closed up the private entrance that the kings of Judah used for going into the temple. He did all these things to please Tiglath Pileser.
19 Everything else Ahaz did while he was king is written in The History of the Kings of Judah. 20 Ahaz died and was buried beside his ancestors in Jerusalem,[o] and his son Hezekiah became king.
- 15.4 local shrines: See the note at 12.3.
- 15.5 leprosy: See the note at 5.1.
- 15.10 in public: Hebrew; some manuscripts of one ancient translation “in Ibleam.”
- 15.11,12 So the Lord. . . family: See 10.28-31.
- 15.13 Azariah’s: The Hebrew text has “Uzziah’s,” another spelling of the name.
- 15.19 Tiglath Pileser: The Hebrew text has “Pul,” another name for Tiglath Pileser, who ruled Assyria from 745 to 727 B.C.
- 15.25 together with Argob and Arieh: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
- 15.29 prisoners: The events in this verse probably took place around 733 B.C.
- 15.32 Azariah: See the note at 15.13.
- 16.5,6 the king of Edom. . . Edomites: The Hebrew text has “King Rezin of Syria. . . Syrians”; in Hebrew, there is only one letter difference between “Edom” and “Aram,” which is the usual Hebrew name for Syria in the Bible (see also 2 Chronicles 28.17).
- 16.9 King Rezin: This probably took place around 734 B.C., before the events in 15.29.
- 16.13 offered. . . blessings: In traditional translations, these sacrifices are usually called “whole burnt offerings,” “grain offerings,” and “peace offerings.” These are described in Leviticus 1—3.
- 16.14 aside: Hebrew “to the north.”
- 16.18 the special tent. . . Sabbath: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
- 16.20 Jerusalem: See the note at 8.24.
13 Some Jewish men started going around trying to force out evil spirits by using the name of the Lord Jesus. They said to the spirits, “Come out in the name of that same Jesus that Paul preaches about!”
14 Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this, 15 when an evil spirit said to them, “I know Jesus! And I have heard about Paul. But who are you?” 16 Then the man with the evil spirit jumped on them and beat them up. They ran out of the house, naked and bruised.
17 When the Jews and Gentiles[a] in Ephesus heard about this, they were so frightened that they praised the name of the Lord Jesus. 18 Many who were followers now started telling everyone about the evil things they had been doing. 19 Some who had been practicing witchcraft even brought their books and burned them in public. These books were worth about fifty thousand silver coins. 20 So the Lord’s message spread and became even more powerful.
The Riot in Ephesus
21 After all of this had happened, Paul decided[b] to visit Macedonia and Achaia on his way to Jerusalem. Paul had said, “From there I will go on to Rome.” 22 So he sent his two helpers, Timothy and Erastus, to Macedonia. But he stayed on in Asia for a while.
23 At that time there was serious trouble because of the Lord’s Way.[c] 24 A silversmith named Demetrius had a business that made silver models of the temple of the goddess Artemis. Those who worked for him earned a lot of money. 25 Demetrius brought together everyone who was in the same business and said:
Friends, you know that we make a good living at this. 26 But you have surely seen and heard how this man Paul is upsetting a lot of people, not only in Ephesus, but almost everywhere in Asia. He claims that the gods we humans make are not really gods at all. 27 Everyone will start saying terrible things about our business. They will stop respecting the temple of the goddess Artemis, who is worshiped in Asia and all over the world. Our great goddess will be forgotten!
28 When the workers heard this, they got angry and started shouting, “Great is Artemis, the goddess of the Ephesians!” 29 Soon the whole city was in a riot, and some men grabbed Gaius and Aristarchus, who had come from Macedonia with Paul. Then everyone in the crowd rushed to the place where the town meetings were held.
30 Paul wanted to go out and speak to the people, but the Lord’s followers would not let him. 31 A few of the local officials were friendly to Paul, and they sent someone to warn him not to go.
32 Some of the people in the meeting were shouting one thing, and others were shouting something else. Everyone was completely confused, and most of them did not even know why they were there.
33 Several of the Jewish leaders pushed a man named Alexander to the front of the crowd and started telling him what to say. He motioned with his hand and tried to explain what was going on. 34 But when the crowd saw that he was Jewish, they all shouted for two hours, “Great is Artemis, the goddess of the Ephesians!”
35 Finally, a town official made the crowd be quiet. Then he said:
People of Ephesus, who in the world doesn’t know that our city is the center for worshiping the great goddess Artemis? Who doesn’t know that her image which fell from heaven is right here? 36 No one can deny this, and so you should calm down and not do anything foolish. 37 You have brought men in here who have not robbed temples or spoken against our goddess.
38 If Demetrius and his workers have a case against these men, we have courts and judges. Let them take their complaints there. 39 But if you want to do more than that, the matter will have to be brought before the city council. 40 We could easily be accused of starting a riot today. There is no excuse for it! We cannot even give a reason for this uproar.
41 After saying this, he told the people to leave.
Sing and Praise the Lord
147 Shout praises to the Lord!
Our God is kind,
and it is right and good
to sing praises to him.
2 The Lord rebuilds Jerusalem
and brings the people of Israel
back home again.
3 He renews our hopes
and heals our bodies.
4 He decided how many stars
there would be in the sky
and gave each one a name.
5 Our Lord is great and powerful!
He understands everything.
6 The Lord helps the poor,
but he smears the wicked
in the dirt.
7 Celebrate and sing!
Play your harps
for the Lord our God.
8 He fills the sky with clouds
and sends rain to the earth,
so that the hills
will be green with grass.
9 He provides food for cattle
and for the young ravens,
when they cry out.
10 The Lord doesn’t care about
the strength of horses
or powerful armies.
11 The Lord is pleased only
with those who worship him
and trust his love.
12 Everyone in Jerusalem,
come and praise
the Lord your God!
13 He makes your city gates strong
and blesses your people
by giving them children.
14 God lets you live in peace,
and he gives you
the very best wheat.
15 As soon as God speaks,
the earth obeys.
16 He covers the ground with snow
like a blanket of wool,
and he scatters frost
like ashes on the ground.
17 God sends down hailstones
like chips of rocks.
Who can stand the cold?
18 At his command the ice melts,
the wind blows,
and streams begin to flow.
19 God gave his laws and teachings
to the descendants of Jacob,
the nation of Israel.
20 But he has not given his laws
to any other nation.
Shout praises to the Lord!
4 Words of wisdom
are a stream
from a deep fountain.
5 It’s wrong to favor the guilty
and keep the innocent
from getting justice.