2 Kings 15-16
King Azariah of Judah(A)
15 In Jeroboam’s twenty-seventh year as king of Israel, Amaziah’s son Azariah[a] began to rule as king of Judah. 2 He was 16 years old when he began to rule, and he ruled for 52 years in Jerusalem. His mother was Jecoliah from Jerusalem.
3 He did what the Lord considered right, as his father Amaziah had done. 4 But the illegal places of worship were still not torn down. The people continued to offer sacrifices and burn incense at these worship sites.
Azariah’s Skin Disease(B)
5 The Lord inflicted the king with a skin disease that lasted until the day the king died. So the king lived in a separate house. The king’s son Jotham was in charge of the palace and governed the country.
6 Isn’t everything else about Azariah—everything he did—written in the official records of the kings of Judah? 7 Azariah lay down in death with his ancestors and was buried with them in the City of David. His son Jotham succeeded him as king.
King Zechariah of Israel Rules for Six Months
8 In Azariah’s thirty-eighth year as king of Judah, Jeroboam’s son Zechariah was king of Israel in Samaria for six months. 9 He did what the Lord considered evil, as his ancestors had done. He didn’t turn away from the sins that Jeroboam (Nebat’s son) led Israel to commit. 10 Shallum, son of Jabesh, plotted against Zechariah, attacked him at Kabal Am, killed him, and succeeded him as king. 11 Everything else about Zechariah is written in the official records of the kings of Israel. 12 It happened exactly as the Lord had told Jehu: “Four generations of your descendants will sit on the throne of Israel.”
King Shallum of Israel Rules for One Month
13 Shallum, son of Jabesh, became king in Azariah’s thirty-ninth year as king of Judah. Shallum ruled for an entire month in Samaria. 14 Then Menahem, son of Gadi, came from Tirzah to Samaria, attacked Shallum (son of Jabesh), killed him, and succeeded him as king. 15 Everything else about Shallum—all about his conspiracy—is written in the official records of the kings of Israel. 16 Then Menahem attacked Tiphsah, everyone there, and its territory. Because the city didn’t open its gates for him, he attacked it and ripped open all its pregnant women.
King Menahem of Israel
17 In Azariah’s thirty-ninth year as king of Judah, Menahem, son of Gadi, began to rule as king of Israel. He ruled for 10 years in Samaria. 18 He did what the Lord considered evil. During his entire life he never turned away from the sins that Jeroboam (Nebat’s son) led Israel to commit.
19 King Pul of Assyria came to attack the country. So Menahem gave Pul 75,000 pounds of silver to gain his support and help strengthen his hold on the kingdom. 20 Menahem raised the money from all the wealthy men in Israel. Each gave 20 ounces of silver for the king of Assyria. Then the king of Assyria left the country. 21 Isn’t everything else about Menahem—everything he did—written in the official records of the kings of Israel? 22 Menahem lay down in death with his ancestors, and his son Pekahiah succeeded him as king.
King Pekahiah of Israel
23 In Azariah’s fiftieth year as king of Judah, Menahem’s son Pekahiah began to rule. Pekahiah was king of Israel in Samaria for two years. 24 He did what the Lord considered evil. He didn’t turn away from the sins that Jeroboam (Nebat’s son) led Israel to commit. 25 His officer Pekah, son of Remaliah, plotted against him. With 50 men from Gilead, Pekah attacked Pekahiah, Argob, and Arieh in the fortress of the royal palace in Samaria. Pekah killed him and succeeded him as king. 26 Everything else about Pekahiah—everything he did—is written in the official records of the kings of Israel.
King Pekah of Israel
27 In Azariah’s fifty-second year as king of Judah, Pekah, son of Remaliah, began to rule Israel in Samaria. He ruled for 20 years. 28 He did what the Lord considered evil. He did not turn away from the sins that Jeroboam (Nebat’s son) led Israel to commit. 29 In the days of King Pekah of Israel, King Tiglath Pileser of Assyria took Ijon, Abel Beth Maacah, Janoah, Kedesh, Hazor, Gilead, Galilee, and the entire territory of Naphtali. He also took the people away to Assyria as captives. 30 Hoshea, son of Elah, plotted against Pekah, son of Remaliah. Hoshea attacked him and killed him. Hoshea began to rule as king in his place in the twentieth year that Azariah, son of Jotham, was king of Judah. 31 Everything else about Pekah—everything he did—is written in the official records of the kings of Israel.
King Jotham of Judah(C)
32 In the second year that King Pekah, son of Remaliah, ruled Israel, Jotham, son of Azariah, began to rule as king of Judah. 33 He was 25 years old when he began to rule. He ruled for 16 years in Jerusalem. His mother was Jerusha, daughter of Zadok. 34 He did what the Lord considered right, as his father Azariah had done. 35 But the illegal places of worship were not torn down. The people continued to offer sacrifices and burn incense at these worship sites. Jotham built the Upper Gate of the Lord’s temple. 36 Isn’t everything else about Jotham—everything he did—written in the official records of the kings of Judah?
37 In those days the Lord began to use King Rezin of Aram and Pekah, son of Remaliah, to attack Judah. 38 Jotham lay down in death with his ancestors and was buried with them in the city of his ancestor David. His son Ahaz succeeded him as king.
King Ahaz of Judah(D)
16 Pekah, son of Remaliah, was in his seventeenth year as king of Israel when King Ahaz, son of Jotham, began to rule as king of Judah. 2 Ahaz was 20 years old when he began to rule. He ruled for 26 years in Jerusalem. He didn’t do what the Lord his God considered right, as his ancestor David had done. 3 He followed the example of the kings of Israel and even sacrificed his son by burning him alive. Sacrificing children was one of the disgusting things done by the nations that the Lord had forced out of the Israelites’ way. 4 He offered sacrifices and burned incense as an offering at the illegal worship sites, which were on hills and under every large tree.
5 Then King Rezin of Aram and King Pekah, son of Remaliah of Israel, came to wage war against Jerusalem. They blockaded Ahaz but couldn’t get him to fight. 6 At that time King Rezin of Aram drove the Judeans out of Elath and gave it back to Edom.[b] The Edomites came to Elath and still live there today.
7 Ahaz sent messengers to King Tiglath Pileser of Assyria to say, “I’m your servant, your son. Come and save me from the kings of Aram and Israel who are attacking me.” 8 Ahaz took the silver and gold he found in the Lord’s temple and in the treasury in the royal palace and sent them to the king of Assyria as a present.
9 The king of Assyria listened to him and attacked Damascus. He captured it, took the people to Kir as captives, and killed Rezin.
10 Then King Ahaz went to Damascus to meet King Tiglath Pileser of Assyria. He saw an altar there in Damascus. So King Ahaz sent the priest Urijah a model of the altar and a set of detailed plans. 11 Urijah built an altar exactly like the model King Ahaz sent from Damascus. He finished it before Ahaz returned home from Damascus.
12 When the king came from Damascus, he saw the altar. The king approached the altar and went up to it. 13 He sacrificed his burnt offering and grain offering, poured out his wine offering, and sprinkled the blood of his fellowship offering on the altar. 14 But he moved the bronze altar dedicated to the Lord. It had been in front of the temple between his altar and the Lord’s temple. Ahaz put it on the north side of his altar. 15 King Ahaz gave this command to the priest Urijah: “On this great altar you must burn the morning burnt offerings and the evening grain offering, the king’s burnt offerings and grain offerings, and the burnt offerings, grain offerings, and wine offerings of all the people of the land. Sprinkle all the blood of the burnt offerings and other sacrifices on it. I will use the bronze altar for prayer.” 16 The priest Urijah did what King Ahaz had commanded.
17 King Ahaz cut off the side panels of the bronze stands used in the temple and removed the basin from each of them. He took the bronze pool down from the bronze bulls that were under it and set it on a stone base. 18 Ahaz removed the covered walkway used on the day of rest—a holy day. This walkway had been built in the temple. He also removed the outer entrance for the king from the Lord’s temple. He did this to please the king of Assyria. 19 Isn’t everything else about Ahaz—the things he did—written in the official records of the kings of Judah? 20 Ahaz lay down in death with his ancestors and was buried with them in the City of David. His son Hezekiah succeeded him as king.
13 Some Jews used to travel from place to place and force evil spirits out of people. They tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus to force evil spirits out of those who were possessed. These Jews would say, “I order you to come out in the name of Jesus, whom Paul talks about.” 14 Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this.
15 But the evil spirit answered them, “I know Jesus, and I’m acquainted with Paul, but who are you?” 16 Then the man possessed by the evil spirit attacked them. He beat them up so badly that they ran out of that house naked and wounded.
17 All the Jews and Greeks living in the city of Ephesus heard about this. All of them were filled with awe for the name of the Lord Jesus and began to speak very highly about it. 18 Many believers openly admitted their involvement with magical spells and told all the details. 19 Many of those who were involved in the occult gathered their books and burned them in front of everyone. They added up the cost of these books and found that they were worth 50,000 silver coins. 20 In this powerful way the word of the Lord was spreading and gaining strength.
21 After all these things had happened, Paul decided to go to Jerusalem by traveling through Macedonia and Greece. He said, “After I have been there, I must see Rome.” 22 So he sent two of his helpers, Timothy and Erastus, to Macedonia, while he stayed longer in the province of Asia.
A Riot in Ephesus
23 During that time a serious disturbance concerning the way of Christ broke out in the city of Ephesus.
24 Demetrius, a silversmith, was in the business of making silver models of the temple of Artemis. His business brought a huge profit for the men who worked for him. 25 He called a meeting of his workers and others who did similar work. Demetrius said, “Men, you know that we’re earning a good income from this business, 26 and you see and hear what this man Paul has done. He has won over a large crowd that follows him not only in Ephesus but also throughout the province of Asia. He tells people that gods made by humans are not gods. 27 There’s a danger that people will discredit our line of work, and there’s a danger that people will think that the temple of the great goddess Artemis is nothing. Then she whom all Asia and the rest of the world worship will be robbed of her glory.”
28 When Demetrius’ workers and the others heard this, they became furious and began shouting, “Artemis of the Ephesians is great!” 29 The confusion spread throughout the city, and the people had one thought in mind as they rushed into the theater. They grabbed Gaius and Aristarchus, the Macedonians who traveled with Paul, and they dragged the two men into the theater with them.
30 Paul wanted to go into the crowd, but his disciples wouldn’t let him. 31 Even some officials who were from the province of Asia and who were Paul’s friends sent messengers to urge him not to risk going into the theater.
32 Some people shouted one thing while others shouted something else. The crowd was confused. Most of the people didn’t even know why they had come together. 33 Some people concluded that Alexander was the cause, so the Jews pushed him to the front. Alexander motioned with his hand to quiet the people because he wanted to defend himself in front of them. 34 But when they recognized that Alexander was a Jew, everyone started to shout in unison, “Artemis of the Ephesians is great!” They kept doing this for about two hours.
35 The city clerk finally quieted the crowd. Then he said, “Citizens of Ephesus, everyone knows that this city of the Ephesians is the keeper of the temple of the great Artemis. Everyone knows that Ephesus is the keeper of the statue that fell down from Zeus. 36 No one can deny this. So you have to be quiet and not do anything foolish. 37 The men you brought here don’t rob temples or insult our goddess. 38 If Demetrius and the men who work for him have a legal complaint against anyone, we have special days and officials to hold court. That’s where they should bring charges against each other. 39 If you want anything else, you must settle the matter in a legal assembly. 40 At this moment we run the risk of being accused of rioting today for no reason. We won’t be able to explain this mob.” 41 After saying this, he dismissed the assembly.[a]
It is good to sing psalms to our God.
It is pleasant to sing his praise beautifully.
2 The Lord is the builder of Jerusalem.
He is the one who gathers the outcasts of Israel together.
3 He is the healer of the brokenhearted.
He is the one who bandages their wounds.
4 He determines the number of stars.
He gives each one a name.
5 Our Lord is great, and his power is great.
There is no limit to his understanding.
6 The Lord gives relief to those who are oppressed.
He brings wicked people down to the ground.
7 Sing to the Lord a song of thanksgiving.
Make music to our God with a lyre.
8 He covers the sky with clouds.
He provides rain for the ground.
He makes grass grow on the mountains.
9 He is the one who gives food to animals
and to young ravens when they call out.
10 He finds no joy in strong horses,
nor is he pleased by brave soldiers.
11 The Lord is pleased with those who fear him,
with those who wait with hope for his mercy.
12 Praise the Lord, Jerusalem!
Praise your God, Zion!
13 He makes the bars across your gates strong.
He blesses the children within you.
14 He is the one who brings peace to your borders
and satisfies your hunger with the finest wheat.
15 He is the one who sends his promise throughout the earth.
His word travels with great speed.
16 He is the one who sends snow like wool
and scatters frost like ashes.
17 He is the one who throws his hailstones like breadcrumbs.
Who can withstand his chilling blast?
18 He sends out his word and melts his hailstones.
He makes wind blow and water flow.
19 He speaks his word to Jacob,
his laws and judicial decisions to Israel.
20 He has done nothing like this for any other nation.
The other nations do not know the decisions he has handed down.
4 The words of a person’s mouth are like deep waters.
The fountain of wisdom is an overflowing stream.
5 It is not good to be partial toward a wicked person,
thereby depriving an innocent person of justice.