2 Chronicles 26-28
26 All the people of Judah took Uzziah, who was sixteen years old, and made him king in his father Amaziah’s place. 2 Uzziah built up Elat and restored it to Judah after King Amaziah had passed away.
3 Uzziah was sixteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned for fifty-two years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jecholiah, who was from Jerusalem. 4 He did what the Lord approved, just as his father Amaziah had done. 5 He followed God during the lifetime of Zechariah, who taught him how to honor God. As long as he followed the Lord, God caused him to succeed.
6 Uzziah attacked the Philistines and broke down the walls of Gath, Jabneh, and Ashdod. He built cities in the region of Ashdod and throughout Philistine territory. 7 God helped him in his campaigns against the Philistines, the Arabs living in Gur Baal, and the Meunites. 8 The Ammonites paid tribute to Uzziah and his fame reached the border of Egypt, for he grew in power.
9 Uzziah built and fortified towers in Jerusalem at the Corner Gate, Valley Gate, and at the Angle. 10 He built towers in the desert and dug many cisterns, for he owned many herds in the lowlands and on the plain. He had workers in the fields and vineyards in the hills and in Carmel, for he loved agriculture.
11 Uzziah had an army of skilled warriors trained for battle. They were organized by divisions according to the muster rolls made by Jeiel the scribe and Maaseiah the officer under the authority of Hananiah, a royal official. 12 The total number of family leaders who led warriors was 2,600. 13 They commanded an army of 307,500 skilled and able warriors who were ready to defend the king against his enemies. 14 Uzziah supplied shields, spears, helmets, breastplates, bows, and slingstones for the entire army. 15 In Jerusalem he made war machines carefully designed to shoot arrows and large stones from the towers and corners of the walls. He became very famous, for he received tremendous support and became powerful.
16 But once he became powerful, his pride destroyed him. He disobeyed the Lord his God. He entered the Lord’s temple to offer incense on the incense altar. 17 Azariah the priest and eighty other brave priests of the Lord followed him in. 18 They confronted King Uzziah and said to him, “It is not proper for you, Uzziah, to offer incense to the Lord. That is the responsibility of the priests, the descendants of Aaron, who are consecrated to offer incense. Leave the sanctuary, for you have disobeyed and the Lord God will not honor you!” 19 Uzziah, who had an incense censer in his hand, became angry. While he was ranting and raving at the priests, a skin disease appeared on his forehead right there in front of the priests in the Lord’s temple near the incense altar. 20 When Azariah the high priest and the other priests looked at him, there was a skin disease on his forehead. They hurried him out of there; even the king himself wanted to leave quickly because the Lord had afflicted him. 21 King Uzziah suffered from a skin disease until the day he died. He lived in separate quarters, afflicted by a skin disease and banned from the Lord’s temple. His son Jotham was in charge of the palace and ruled over the people of the land.
22 The rest of the events of Uzziah’s reign, from start to finish, were recorded by the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz. 23 Uzziah passed away and was buried near his ancestors in a cemetery belonging to the kings. (This was because he had a skin disease.) His son Jotham replaced him as king.
27 Jotham was twenty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned for sixteen years in Jerusalem. His mother was Jerusha the daughter of Zadok. 2 He did what the Lord approved, just as his father Uzziah had done. (He did not, however, have the audacity to enter the temple.) Yet the people were still sinning.
3 He built the Upper Gate to the Lord’s temple and did a lot of work on the wall in the area known as Ophel. 4 He built cities in the hill country of Judah and fortresses and towers in the forests.
5 He launched a military campaign against the king of the Ammonites and defeated them. That year the Ammonites paid him 100 talents of silver, 10,000 cors of wheat, and 10,000 cors of barley. The Ammonites also paid this same amount of annual tribute the next two years.
6 Jotham grew powerful because he was determined to please the Lord his God. 7 The rest of the events of Jotham’s reign, including all his military campaigns and his accomplishments, are recorded in the scroll of the kings of Israel and Judah. 8 He was twenty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned for sixteen years in Jerusalem. 9 Jotham passed away and was buried in the City of David. His son Ahaz replaced him as king.
28 Ahaz was twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned for sixteen years in Jerusalem. He did not do what pleased the Lord, in contrast to his ancestor David. 2 He followed in the footsteps of the kings of Israel; he also made images of the Baals. 3 He offered sacrifices in the Valley of Ben Hinnom and passed his sons through the fire, a horrible sin practiced by the nations whom the Lord drove out before the Israelites. 4 He offered sacrifices and burned incense on the high places, on the hills, and under every green tree.
5 The Lord his God handed him over to the king of Syria. The Syrians defeated him and deported many captives to Damascus. He was also handed over to the king of Israel, who thoroughly defeated him. 6 In one day King Pekah son of Remaliah of Israel killed 120,000 warriors in Judah, because they had abandoned the Lord God of their ancestors. 7 Zikri, an Ephraimite warrior, killed the king’s son Maaseiah, Azrikam, the supervisor of the palace, and Elkanah, the king’s second-in-command. 8 The Israelites seized from their brothers 200,000 wives, sons, and daughters. They also carried off a huge amount of plunder and took it back to Samaria.
9 Oded, a prophet of the Lord, was there. He went to meet the army as they arrived in Samaria and said to them: “Look, because the Lord God of your ancestors was angry with Judah he handed them over to you. You have killed them so mercilessly that God has taken notice. 10 And now you are planning to enslave the people of Judah and Jerusalem. Yet are you not also guilty before the Lord your God? 11 Now listen to me! Send back those you have seized from your brothers, for the Lord is very angry at you!” 12 So some of the Ephraimite family leaders, Azariah son of Jehochanan, Berechiah son of Meshillemoth, Jechizkiah son of Shallum, and Amasa son of Hadlai confronted those returning from the battle. 13 They said to them, “Don’t bring those captives here! Are you planning on making us even more sinful and guilty before the Lord? Our guilt is already great and the Lord is very angry at Israel.” 14 So the soldiers released the captives and the plunder before the officials and the entire assembly. 15 Men were assigned to take the prisoners and find clothes among the plunder for those who were naked. So they clothed them, supplied them with sandals, gave them food and drink, and provided them with oil to rub on their skin. They put the ones who couldn’t walk on donkeys. They brought them back to their brothers at Jericho, the city of the date palm trees, and then returned to Samaria.
16 At that time King Ahaz asked the king of Assyria for help. 17 The Edomites had again invaded and defeated Judah and carried off captives. 18 The Philistines had raided the cities of Judah in the lowlands and the Negev. They captured and settled in Beth Shemesh, Aijalon, Gederoth, Soco and its surrounding villages, Timnah and its surrounding villages, and Gimzo and its surrounding villages. 19 The Lord humiliated Judah because of King Ahaz of Israel, for he encouraged Judah to sin and was very unfaithful to the Lord. 20 King Tiglath-pileser of Assyria came, but he gave him more trouble than support. 21 Ahaz gathered riches from the Lord’s temple, the royal palace, and the officials and gave them to the king of Assyria, but that did not help.
22 During his time of trouble King Ahaz was even more unfaithful to the Lord. 23 He offered sacrifices to the gods of Damascus whom he thought had defeated him. He reasoned, “Since the gods of the kings of Damascus helped them, I will sacrifice to them so they will help me.” But they caused him and all Israel to stumble. 24 Ahaz gathered the items in God’s temple and removed them. He shut the doors of the Lord’s temple and erected altars on every street corner in Jerusalem. 25 In every city throughout Judah he set up high places to offer sacrifices to other gods. He angered the Lord God of his ancestors.
26 The rest of the events of Ahaz’s reign, including his accomplishments from start to finish, are recorded in the Scroll of the Kings of Judah and Israel. 27 Ahaz passed away and was buried in the City of David; they did not bring him to the tombs of the kings of Israel. His son Hezekiah replaced him as king.
Submission to Civil Government
13 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except by God’s appointment, and the authorities that exist have been instituted by God. 2 So the person who resists such authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will incur judgment 3 (for rulers cause no fear for good conduct but for bad). Do you desire not to fear authority? Do good and you will receive its commendation, 4 for it is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be in fear, for it does not bear the sword in vain. It is God’s servant to administer retribution on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of the wrath of the authorities but also because of your conscience. 6 For this reason you also pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants devoted to governing. 7 Pay everyone what is owed: taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due.
Exhortation to Love Neighbors
8 Owe no one anything, except to love one another, for the one who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not covet,” (and if there is any other commandment) are summed up in this, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
Motivation to Godly Conduct
11 And do this because we know the time, that it is already the hour for us to awake from sleep, for our salvation is now nearer than when we became believers. 12 The night has advanced toward dawn; the day is near. So then we must lay aside the works of darkness, and put on the weapons of light. 13 Let us live decently as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in discord and jealousy. 14 Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh to arouse its desires.
A psalm of David.
1 The Lord is my shepherd,
I lack nothing.
2 He takes me to lush pastures,
he leads me to refreshing water.
3 He restores my strength.
He leads me down the right paths
for the sake of his reputation.
4 Even when I must walk through the darkest valley,
I fear no danger,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff reassure me.
5 You prepare a feast before me
in plain sight of my enemies.
You refresh my head with oil;
my cup is completely full.
6 Surely your goodness and faithfulness will pursue me all my days,
and I will live in the Lord’s house for the rest of my life.
11 Even a young man is known by his actions,
whether his activity is pure and whether it is right.