2 Kings 1-2
The Lord Condemns Ahaziah
1 1-2 Soon after King Ahab of Israel died, the country of Moab rebelled against his son King Ahaziah.[a]
One day, Ahaziah fell through the wooden slats around the porch on the flat roof of his palace in Samaria, and he was badly injured. So he sent some messengers to the town of Ekron[b] with orders to ask the god Baalzebub if he would get well.
3 About the same time, an angel from the Lord sent Elijah the prophet from Tishbe to say to the king’s messengers, “Ahaziah has rejected Israel’s own God by sending you to ask Baalzebub about his injury. 4 Tell him that because he has done this, he’s on his deathbed! And Elijah did what he was told.
5 When the messengers returned to Ahaziah, he asked, “Why are you back so soon?”
6 “A man met us along the road with a message for you from the Lord,” they answered. “The Lord wants to know why you sent us to ask Baalzebub about your injury and why you don’t believe there’s a God in Israel. The man also told us that the Lord says you’re going to die.”
7 “What did the man look like?” Ahaziah asked.
8 “He was hairy[c] and had a leather belt around his waist,” they answered.
“It must be Elijah!” replied Ahaziah. 9 So at once he sent an army officer and fifty soldiers to meet Elijah.
10 “If I am a man of God,” Elijah answered, “God will send down fire on you and your fifty soldiers.” Fire immediately came down from heaven and burned up the officer and his men.
11 Ahaziah sent another officer and fifty more soldiers to Elijah. The officer said, “Man of God, the king orders you to come see him right now.”
12 “If I am a man of God,” Elijah answered, “fire will destroy you and your fifty soldiers.” And God sent down fire[f] from heaven on the officer and his men.
13 Ahaziah sent a third army officer and fifty more soldiers. This officer went up to Elijah, then he got down on his knees and begged, “Man of God, please be kind to me and these fifty servants of yours. Let us live! 14 Fire has already wiped out the other officers and their soldiers. Please don’t let it happen to me.”
15 The angel from the Lord said to Elijah, “Go with him and don’t be afraid.” So Elijah got up and went with the officer.
16 When Elijah arrived, he told Ahaziah, “The Lord wants to know why you sent messengers to Ekron to ask Baalzebub about your injury. Don’t you believe there’s a God in Israel? Ahaziah, because you did that, the Lord says you will die.”
17 Ahaziah died, just as the Lord had said. But since Ahaziah had no sons, Joram[g] his brother[h] then became king. This happened in the second year that Jehoram son of Jehoshaphat was king of Judah.[i] 18 Everything else Ahaziah did while he was king is written in The History of the Kings of Israel.
The Lord Takes Elijah Away
2 Not long before the Lord took Elijah up into heaven in a strong wind, Elijah and Elisha were leaving Gilgal. 2 Elijah said to Elisha, “The Lord wants me to go to Bethel, but you must stay here.”
Elisha replied, “I swear by the living Lord and by your own life that I will stay with you no matter what!” And he went with Elijah to Bethel.
3 A group of prophets who lived there asked Elisha, “Do you know that today the Lord is going to take away your master?”
“Yes, I do,” Elisha answered. “But don’t remind me of it.”
4 Elijah then said, “Elisha, now the Lord wants me to go to Jericho, but you must stay here.”
Elisha replied, “I swear by the living Lord and by your own life, that I will stay with you no matter what!” And he went with Elijah to Jericho.
5 A group of prophets who lived there asked Elisha, “Do you know that today the Lord is going to take away your master?”
“Yes, I do,” Elisha answered. “But don’t remind me of it.”
6 Elijah then said to Elisha, “Now the Lord wants me to go to the Jordan River, but you must stay here.”
Elisha replied, “I swear by the living Lord and by your own life that I will never leave you!” So the two of them walked on together.
7 Fifty prophets followed Elijah and Elisha from Jericho, then stood at a distance and watched as the two men walked toward the river. 8 When they got there, Elijah took off his coat, then he rolled it up and struck the water with it. At once a path opened up through the river, and the two of them walked across on dry ground.
9 After they had reached the other side, Elijah said, “Elisha, the Lord will soon take me away. What can I do for you before that happens?”
Elisha answered, “Please give me twice as much of your power as you give the other prophets, so I can be the one who takes your place as their leader.”
10 “It won’t be easy,” Elijah answered. “It can happen only if you see me as I am being taken away.”
11 Elijah and Elisha were walking along and talking, when suddenly there appeared between them a flaming chariot pulled by fiery horses. Right away, a strong wind took Elijah up into heaven. 12 Elisha saw this and shouted, “Israel’s cavalry and chariots have taken my master away!”[j] After Elijah had gone, Elisha tore his clothes in sorrow.
13 Elijah’s coat had fallen off, so Elisha picked it up and walked back to the Jordan River. 14 He struck the water with the coat and wondered, “Will the Lord perform miracles for me as he did for Elijah?” As soon as Elisha did this, a dry path opened up through the water, and he walked across.
15 When the prophets from Jericho saw what happened, they said to each other, “Elisha now has Elijah’s power.”
They walked over to him, bowed down, 16 and said, “There are fifty strong men here with us. Please let them go look for your master. Maybe the Spirit of the Lord carried him off to some mountain or valley.”
“No,” Elisha replied, “they won’t find him.”
17 They kept begging until he was embarrassed to say no. He finally agreed, and the prophets sent the men out. They looked three days for Elijah but never found him. 18 They returned to Jericho, and Elisha said, “I told you that you wouldn’t find him.”
Elisha Makes the Water Pure at Jericho
19 One day the people of Jericho said, “Elisha, you can see that our city is in a good spot. But the water from our spring is so bad that it even keeps our crops from growing.”
20 He replied, “Put some salt in a new bowl and bring it to me.”
They brought him the bowl of salt, 21 and he carried it to the spring. He threw the salt into the water and said, “The Lord has made this water pure again. From now on you’ll be able to grow crops, and no one will starve.”
22 The water has been fine ever since, just as Elisha said.
Some Boys Make Fun of Elisha
23 Elisha left and headed toward Bethel. Along the way some boys started making fun of him by shouting, “Go away, baldy! Get out of here!”
24 Elisha turned around and stared at the boys. Then he cursed them in the name of the Lord. Right away two bears ran out of the woods and ripped to pieces forty-two of the boys.
25 Elisha went up to Mount Carmel, then returned to Samaria.
- 1.1,2 the country. . . King Ahaziah: The story of Moab’s rebellion is in 3.4-27.
- 1.1,2 Ekron: An important Philistine town about forty miles southwest of Samaria.
- 1.8 hairy: Or “wearing a furry coat.”
- 1.9 a hill: Probably Mount Carmel.
- 1.9 Man of God: Another name for a prophet of the Lord.
- 1.12 God sent down fire: Or “A mighty fire came down.”
- 1.17 Joram: The Hebrew text has “Jehoram,” another spelling of the name.
- 1.17 his brother: Some ancient translations (see also 3.1); these words are not in the Hebrew text.
- 1.17 This happened. . . Judah: According to 3.1, this was also the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat’s rule in Judah. In biblical times, a father and son would sometimes rule as kings at the same time. This way, when the father died, the son would already have control of the kingdom (see also 8.16).
- 2.12 Israel’s. . . away: Or “Master, you were like cavalry and chariots for the people of Israel!”
42 As Paul and Barnabas were leaving the meeting, the people begged them to say more about these same things on the next Sabbath. 43 After the service, many Jews and a lot of Gentiles who worshiped God went with them. Paul and Barnabas begged them all to remain faithful to God, who had been so kind to them.
44 The next Sabbath almost everyone in town came to hear the message about the Lord.[a] 45 When the Jewish people saw the crowds, they were very jealous. They insulted Paul and spoke against everything he said.
46 But Paul and Barnabas bravely said:
We had to tell God’s message to you before we told it to anyone else. But you rejected the message! This proves that you don’t deserve eternal life. Now we are going to the Gentiles. 47 The Lord has given us this command,
“I have placed you here
as a light
for the Gentiles.
You are to take
the saving power of God
to people everywhere on earth.”
48 This message made the Gentiles glad, and they praised what they had heard about the Lord. [b] Everyone who had been chosen for eternal life then put their faith in the Lord.
49 The message about the Lord spread all over that region. 50 But the Jewish leaders went to some of the important men in the town and to some respected women who were religious. They turned them against Paul and Barnabas and started making trouble for them. They even chased them out of that part of the country.
51 Paul and Barnabas shook the dust from that place off their feet[c] and went on to the city of Iconium.
52 But the Lord’s followers in Antioch were very happy and were filled with the Holy Spirit.
Paul and Barnabas in Iconium
14 Paul and Barnabas spoke in the Jewish meeting place in Iconium, just as they had done at Antioch, and many Jews and Gentiles[d] put their faith in the Lord. 2 But the Jews who did not have faith in him made the other Gentiles angry and turned them against the Lord’s followers.
3 Paul and Barnabas stayed there for a while, having faith in the Lord and bravely speaking his message. The Lord gave them the power to work miracles and wonders, and he showed that their message about his great kindness was true.
4 The people of Iconium did not know what to think. Some of them believed the Jewish group, and others believed the apostles. 5 Finally, some Gentiles and Jews, together with their leaders, decided to make trouble for Paul and Barnabas and to stone them to death.
6-7 But when the two apostles found out what was happening, they escaped to the region of Lycaonia. They preached the good news there in the towns of Lystra and Derbe and in the nearby countryside.
- 13.44,48 the Lord: Some manuscripts have “God.”
- 13.44,48 the Lord: Some manuscripts have “God.”
- 13.51 shook the dust from that place off their feet: This was a way of showing rejection.
- 14.1 Gentiles: The Greek text has “Greeks,” which probably means people who were not Jews. But it may mean Gentiles who worshiped with the Jews.
(A psalm by David for the music leader.)
The Lord Is Always Near
139 You have looked deep
into my heart, Lord,
and you know all about me.
2 You know when I am resting
or when I am working,
and from heaven
you discover my thoughts.
3 You notice everything I do
and everywhere I go.
4 Before I even speak a word,
you know what I will say,
5 and with your powerful arm
you protect me
from every side.
6 I can’t understand all of this!
Such wonderful knowledge
is far above me.
7 Where could I go to escape
from your Spirit
or from your sight?
8 If I were to climb up
to the highest heavens,
you would be there.
If I were to dig down
to the world of the dead
you would also be there.
9 Suppose I had wings
like the dawning day
and flew across the ocean.
10 Even then your powerful arm
would guide and protect me.
11 Or suppose I said, “I’ll hide
in the dark
until night comes
to cover me over.”
12 But you see in the dark
because daylight and dark
are all the same to you.
13 You are the one
who put me together
inside my mother’s body,
14 and I praise you
the wonderful way
you created me.
Everything you do is marvelous!
Of this I have no doubt.
15 Nothing about me
is hidden from you!
I was secretly woven together
deep in the earth below,
16 but with your own eyes
my body being formed.
Even before I was born,
you had written in your book
everything I would do.
17 Your thoughts are far beyond
much more than I
could ever imagine.
18 I try to count your thoughts,
but they outnumber the grains
of sand on the beach.
And when I awake,
I will find you nearby.
19 How I wish that you would kill
all cruel and heartless people
and protect me from them!
20 They are always rebelling
and speaking evil of you.[a]
21 You know I hate anyone
who hates you, Lord,
and refuses to obey.
22 They are my enemies too,
and I truly hate them.
23 Look deep into my heart, God,
and find out everything
I am thinking.
24 Don’t let me follow evil ways,
but lead me in the way
that time has proven true.
- 139.20 you: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 20.
19 The wicked and the proud
and keep begging
to be hurt.
20 Dishonesty does you no good,
and telling lies
will get you in trouble.
21 It’s never pleasant
to be the parent of a fool
and have nothing but pain.