2 Kings 9:14-10:31
Jehu Kills King Joram, King Ahaziah, and Queen Jezebel(A)
14 So Jehu, son of Jehoshaphat and grandson of Nimshi, plotted against Joram. (Joram and all Israel were guarding Ramoth Gilead against King Hazael of Aram. 15 But King Joram had returned to Jezreel to recover from the wounds he received while fighting King Hazael of Aram.)
Then Jehu said, “If you want me to be king, don’t let anyone escape from the city to take the news to Jezreel.” 16 So Jehu got on his chariot and drove to Jezreel because Joram was lying in bed there. (King Ahaziah of Judah had come to see Joram.)
17 The watchman standing on the tower in Jezreel saw Jehu’s troops coming. He said, “I see some troops.”
So Joram said, “Take a chariot driver, send him to meet them, and ask, ‘Is everything alright?’”
18 So a chariot driver rode off, met Jehu, and said, “The king asks, ‘Is everything alright?’”
Jehu replied, “Why should that matter to you? Follow me.”
So the watchman announced, “The messenger you sent has reached them, but he isn’t coming back.”
19 Then Joram sent out a second driver. When he came to them, he said, “The king asks, ‘Is everything alright?’”
Jehu replied, “Why should that matter to you? Follow me.”
20 So the watchman announced, “He has reached them, but he isn’t coming back. The troop’s leader is driving like a lunatic, like Jehu, grandson of Nimshi.”
21 “Hitch the horses to the chariot,” Joram ordered. When that was done, King Joram of Israel and King Ahaziah of Judah went to meet Jehu, each in his own chariot. They found him in the field that belonged to Naboth from Jezreel.
22 When Joram saw Jehu, he asked, “Is everything alright, Jehu?”
Jehu answered, “How can everything be alright as long as your mother continues her idolatry and witchcraft?”
23 As Joram turned his chariot around and tried to flee, he said to Ahaziah, “It’s a trap, Ahaziah!” 24 But Jehu took his bow and shot Joram between the shoulders. The arrow came out of his chest, and he slumped over in his chariot.
25 Then Jehu said to his attendant Bidkar, “Take him away, and throw him into the field that belonged to Naboth from Jezreel. Remember when you and I were driving our chariots behind his father Ahab? The Lord revealed this prophecy about him: 26 ‘Just as I saw the blood of Naboth and his sons yesterday, I will pay you back in this field,’ declares the Lord. Now take him and throw him into the field as the Lord predicted.”
27 When King Ahaziah of Judah saw this, he fled on the road leading to Beth Haggan. Jehu pursued him and ordered, “Shoot him down in his chariot.” They shot him at Gur Pass, which is near Ibleam. Ahaziah continued to flee until he got to Megiddo, where he died. 28 His servants brought him in a chariot to Jerusalem. They buried him in a tomb with his ancestors in the City of David. 29 (Ahaziah had become king of Judah in the eleventh year that Joram, Ahab’s son, was king of Israel.)
30 When Jehu arrived in Jezreel, Jezebel heard about it. She put on eye shadow, fixed her hair, and looked out of a second-story window. 31 When Jehu entered the gateway, she asked, “Is everything alright, Zimri, murderer of your master?”
32 Looking up at the window, he asked, “Is anyone on my side? Anyone?” Then two or three eunuchs looked out at him.
33 He said, “Throw her down.” They threw her down, and some of her blood splattered on the wall and the horses. The horses trampled her.
34 He went inside, ate, and drank. Then he said, “Take care of this woman who had a curse on her. After all, she was a king’s daughter.” 35 But when they went out to bury her, they couldn’t find any of her body except her skull, feet, and hands. 36 They came back and told him.
Jehu said, “The Lord spoke through his servant Elijah from Tishbe. He said, ‘Dogs will eat Jezebel’s body inside the walls of Jezreel. 37 Jezebel’s corpse will be like manure on the ground in the fields surrounding Jezreel so that no one will be able to say that this is Jezebel.’”
Jehu Kills King Ahab’s and King Ahaziah’s Heirs
10 Ahab had 70 male heirs in Samaria. So Jehu wrote letters to the officials of Jezreel, the respected leaders, and the guardians of Ahab’s descendants in Samaria. The letters read, 2 “Your master’s heirs are with you, and you have chariots, horses, fortified cities, and weapons. As soon as this letter reaches you, 3 choose the best and most honest of your master’s heirs, and put him on Ahab’s throne. Fight for your master’s family.”
4 But they panicked. They said, “If two kings couldn’t stand up to him, how can we stand up to him?” 5 So the official in charge of the palace, the mayor of the city, the respected leaders, and the guardians sent this message to Jehu: “We are your servants. We’ll do everything you tell us. We won’t make anyone king. Do what you think is best.”
6 So he wrote them a second letter. It read, “If you are on my side and ready to listen to me, bring the heads of your master’s heirs to me in Jezreel about this time tomorrow.”
The 70 male heirs were staying with the city’s most powerful men. These men had raised them. 7 When the letter came to the men, they slaughtered all 70 heirs. They put the heads in baskets and sent them to Jehu in Jezreel. 8 A messenger told him, “They’ve brought the heads of the king’s heirs.”
Jehu said, “Put them in two piles at the entrance to the gateway until morning.” 9 In the morning he stood there. He told the people, “You are innocent. I plotted against my master and killed him. But who killed all these men? 10 You can be sure that the Lord’s word spoken about Ahab’s family will be fulfilled. The Lord will do what he said through his servant Elijah.”
11 Jehu also killed every member of Ahab’s household who was left in Jezreel: all the most powerful men, friends, and priests. Not one of them was left.
12 Then Jehu left for Samaria. When he came to Beth Eked of the Shepherds, 13 he found some relatives of King Ahaziah of Judah. “Who are you?” he asked.
They answered, “We’re Ahaziah’s relatives. We’ve come to greet the families of the king and the queen mother.”
14 Jehu ordered, “Capture them!”
Jehu’s men captured and slaughtered 42 of them at a cistern near Beth Eked. They didn’t leave any survivors.
15 When he left that place, he met Jehonadab, son of Rechab, who was coming to meet him. Jehu greeted him and asked, “Are you as loyal to me as I am to you?”
“I am,” Jehonadab answered.
So Jehu said, “If you are, give me your hand.”
When he gave Jehu his hand, Jehu helped him up into the chariot. 16 Jehu said, “Come with me. See how devoted I am to the Lord.” So he had Jehonadab ride on his chariot. 17 When they arrived in Samaria, Jehu killed the rest of Ahab’s family, every member who was left in Samaria. He wiped them out, as the Lord had told Elijah.
Jehu Kills Baal’s Prophets
18 Then Jehu brought all the people together. He said, “Ahab served Baal a little, but Jehu will serve him a lot. 19 Summon all the prophets, servants, and priests of Baal. Make sure no one is missing because I have a great sacrifice to offer Baal. Whoever is missing will not live.” (Jehu was deceiving them. He actually wanted to destroy those who worshiped Baal.)
20 Jehu said, “Call a holy assembly to honor Baal.” So they did. 21 Jehu sent messengers to all the Israelites. All the worshipers of Baal came, and there wasn’t one who didn’t come. They went into the temple of Baal and filled it from one end to the other.
22 Then Jehu told the man in charge of the priests’ robes, “Bring out the robes for all the worshipers of Baal.” So he brought out robes for them. 23 Jehu and Jehonadab, son of Rechab, went into the temple of Baal and said to the worshipers of Baal, “Make sure that there are no worshipers of the Lord here with you. Only the worshipers of Baal should be here.” 24 So they went in to offer sacrifices and burnt offerings. But Jehu had stationed 80 of his men outside. He said to them, “If any of the people I’m putting in your hands escape, you will pay for their lives with yours.”
25 When the burnt offerings had been made, Jehu said to the guards and attendants, “Kill them. Don’t let anyone get away.” So they used swords to kill the Baal worshipers and threw out the bodies until the guards and attendants came to the stronghold in the temple of Baal. 26 Then they brought out the large sacred stone of the temple of Baal and burned it. 27 They destroyed the sacred stone of Baal and the temple of Baal and made it into a latrine. It is still a latrine today.
28 So Jehu got rid of Baal worship throughout Israel. 29 But Jehu did not turn away from the sins that Jeroboam (Nebat’s son) led Israel to commit—the worship of the golden calves that were at Bethel and Dan.
30 The Lord said to Jehu, “You did what I consider right, and you did it well. You did everything I wanted done to Ahab’s family. That is why four generations of your descendants will sit on the throne of Israel.”
31 But Jehu didn’t wholeheartedly obey the teachings of the Lord God of Israel. He didn’t turn away from the sins that Jeroboam led Israel to commit.
Paul and Silas in Thessalonica
17 Paul and Silas traveled through the cities of Amphipolis and Apollonia and came to the city of Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue. 2 As usual, Paul went into the synagogue. On three consecutive days of rest—a holy day, he had discussions about Scripture with the synagogue members. 3 He explained and showed them that the Messiah had to suffer, die, and come back to life, and that Jesus, the person he talked about, was this Messiah.
4 Some of the Jews were persuaded to join Paul and Silas, especially a large group of Greeks who had converted to Judaism and the wives of many prominent men.
5 Then the Jews became jealous. They took some low-class characters who hung around the public square, formed a mob, and started a riot in the city. They attacked Jason’s home and searched it for Paul and Silas in order to bring them out to the crowd. 6 When they didn’t find Paul and Silas, they dragged Jason and some other believers in front of the city officials. They shouted, “Those men who have made trouble all over the world are now here in Thessalonica, 7 and Jason has welcomed them as his guests. All of them oppose the emperor’s decrees by saying that there is another king, whose name is Jesus.”
8 The crowd and the officials were upset when they heard this. 9 But after they had made Jason and the others post bond, they let them go.
10 Immediately when night came, the believers sent Paul and Silas to the city of Berea.
Paul and Silas in Berea
When Paul and Silas arrived in the city of Berea, they entered the synagogue. 11 The people of Berea were more open-minded than the people of Thessalonica. They were very willing to receive God’s message, and every day they carefully examined the Scriptures to see if what Paul said was true. 12 Many of them became believers, and quite a number of them were prominent Greek men and women.
13 But when the Jews in Thessalonica found out that Paul was also spreading God’s word in Berea, they went there to upset and confuse the people. 14 The believers immediately sent Paul to the seacoast, but Silas and Timothy stayed in Berea.
Paul in Athens
15 The men who escorted Paul took him all the way to the city of Athens. When the men left Athens, they took instructions back to Silas and Timothy to join Paul as soon as possible.
16 While Paul was waiting for Silas and Timothy in Athens, he saw that the city had statues of false gods everywhere. This upset him. 17 He held discussions in the synagogue with Jews and converts to Judaism. He also held discussions every day in the public square with anyone who happened to be there. 18 Some Epicurean and Stoic philosophers had discussions with him. Some asked, “What is this babbling fool trying to say?” Others said, “He seems to be speaking about foreign gods.” The philosophers said these things because Paul was telling the Good News about Jesus and saying that people would come back to life.
19 Then they brought Paul to the city court, the Areopagus, and asked, “Could you tell us these new ideas that you’re teaching? 20 Some of the things you say sound strange to us. So we would like to know what they mean.”
21 Everyone who lived in Athens looked for opportunities to tell or hear something new and unusual.
22 Paul stood in the middle of the court and said, “Men of Athens, I see that you are very religious. 23 As I was going through your city and looking closely at the objects you worship, I noticed an altar with this written on it: ‘To an unknown god.’ I’m telling you about the unknown god you worship. 24 The God who made the universe and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth. He doesn’t live in shrines made by humans, 25 and he isn’t served by humans as if he needed anything. He gives everyone life, breath, and everything they have. 26 From one man he has made every nation of humanity to live all over the earth. He has given them the seasons of the year and the boundaries within which to live. 27 He has done this so that they would look for God, somehow reach for him, and find him. In fact, he is never far from any one of us. 28 Certainly, we live, move, and exist because of him. As some of your poets have said, ‘We are God’s children.’ 29 So if we are God’s children, we shouldn’t think that the divine being is like an image made from gold, silver, or stone, an image that is the product of human imagination and skill.
30 “God overlooked the times when people didn’t know any better. But now he commands everyone everywhere to turn to him and change the way they think and act. 31 He has set a day when he is going to judge the world with justice, and he will use a man he has appointed to do this. God has given proof to everyone that he will do this by bringing that man back to life.”
32 When the people of the court heard that a person had come back to life, some began joking about it, while others said, “We’ll hear you talk about this some other time.”
33 With this response, Paul left the court. 34 Some men joined him and became believers. With them were Dionysius, who was a member of the court, and a woman named Damaris, and some other people.
1 Thank the Lord, my rock,
who trained my hands to fight
and my fingers to do battle,
2 my merciful one, my fortress,
my stronghold, and my savior,
my shield, the one in whom I take refuge,
and the one who brings people under my authority.
3 O Lord, what are humans that you should care about them?
What are mere mortals that you should think about them?
4 Humans are like a breath of air.
Their life span is like a fleeting shadow.
5 O Lord, bend your heaven low, and come down.
Touch the mountains, and they will smoke.
6 Hurl bolts of lightning, and scatter them.
Shoot your arrows, and throw them into confusion.
7 Stretch out your hands from above.
Snatch me, and rescue me from raging waters
and from foreigners’ hands.
8 Their mouths speak lies.
Their right hands take false pledges.
9 O God, I will sing a new song to you.
I will sing a psalm to you on a ten-stringed harp.
10 You are the one who gives victory to kings.
You are the one who snatches your servant David
away from a deadly sword.
11 Snatch me, and rescue me from foreigners’ hands.
Their mouths speak lies.
Their right hands take false pledges.
12 May our sons be like full-grown, young plants.
May our daughters be like stately columns
that adorn the corners of a palace.
13 May our barns be filled with all kinds of crops.
May our sheep give birth to thousands of lambs,
tens of thousands in our fields.
14 May our cattle have many calves.[a]
May no one break in, and may no one be dragged out.
May there be no cries of distress in our streets.
15 Blessed are the people who have these blessings!
Blessed are the people whose God is the Lord!
A song of praise by David.
27 Whoever has knowledge controls his words,
and a person who has understanding is even-tempered.
28 Even a stubborn fool is thought to be wise if he keeps silent.
He is considered intelligent if he keeps his lips sealed.