2 Chronicles 21-23
21 Jehoshaphat died and was buried beside his ancestors in Jerusalem, and his son Jehoram became king.
King Jehoram of Judah
2 King Jehoshaphat had seven sons: Jehoram, Azariah, Jehiel, Zechariah, Azariah, Michael, and Shephatiah. 3 Jehoshaphat gave each of them silver and gold, as well as other valuable gifts. He also put them in charge of the fortified cities in Judah, but he had chosen his oldest son Jehoram to succeed him as king.
4 After Jehoram had taken control of Judah, he had his brothers killed, as well as some of the nation's leaders. 5 He was 32 years old when he became king, and he ruled eight years from Jerusalem.
6 Jehoram married Ahab's daughter and followed the sinful example of Ahab's family and the other kings of Israel. He disobeyed the Lord by doing wrong, 7 (A) but because the Lord had made a solemn promise to King David that someone from his family would always rule in Judah, he refused to wipe out David's descendants.
8 (B) While Jehoram was king, the people of Edom rebelled and chose their own king. 9 Jehoram, his officers, and his cavalry marched to Edom, where the Edomite army surrounded them. He escaped during the night, 10 but Judah was never able to regain control of Edom. Even the town of Libnah[a] rebelled at that time.
Those things happened because Jehoram had turned away from the Lord, the God his ancestors had worshiped. 11 Jehoram even built local shrines[b] in the hills of Judah and let the people sin against the Lord by worshiping foreign gods.
12 One day, Jehoram received a letter from Elijah the prophet that said:
I have a message for you from the Lord God your ancestor David worshiped. He knows that you have not followed the example of Jehoshaphat your father or Asa your grandfather. 13 Instead you have acted like those sinful kings of Israel and have encouraged the people of Judah to stop worshiping the Lord, just as Ahab and his descendants did. You even murdered your own brothers, who were better men than you.
14 Because you have done these terrible things, the Lord will severely punish the people in your kingdom, including your own family, and he will destroy everything you own. 15 You will be struck with a painful stomach disease and suffer until you die.
16 The Lord later caused the Philistines and the Arabs who lived near the Ethiopians[c] to become angry with Jehoram. 17 They invaded Judah and stole the royal property from the palace, and they led Jehoram's wives and sons away as prisoners. The only one left behind was Ahaziah,[d] his youngest son.
18 After this happened, the Lord struck Jehoram with an incurable stomach disease. 19 About two years later, Jehoram died in terrible pain. No bonfire was built to honor him, even though the people had done this for his ancestors.
20 Jehoram was 32 years old when he became king, and he ruled 8 years from Jerusalem. He died, and no one even felt sad. He was buried in Jerusalem, but not in the royal tombs.
King Ahaziah of Judah
(2 Kings 8.25-29; 9.21,27,28)
22 Earlier, when the Arabs led a raid against Judah, they killed all of Jehoram's sons, except Ahaziah, the youngest one. So the people of Jerusalem crowned him their king. 2 He was 22[e] years old at the time, and he ruled only one year from Jerusalem.
Ahaziah's mother was Athaliah, a granddaughter of King Omri of Israel, 3 and she encouraged her son to sin against the Lord. He followed the evil example of King Ahab and his descendants. 4 In fact, after his father's death, Ahaziah sinned against the Lord by appointing some of Ahab's relatives to be his advisors.
Their advice led to his downfall. 5 He listened to them and went with King Joram of Israel to attack King Hazael and the Syrian troops at Ramoth in Gilead. Joram was wounded in that battle, 6 and he went to the town of Jezreel to recover. And Ahaziah later went there to visit him. 7 It was during that visit that God had Ahaziah put to death.
When Ahaziah arrived at Jezreel, he and Joram went to meet with Jehu grandson of Nimshi. The Lord had already told Jehu to kill every male in Ahab's family, 8 and while Jehu was doing that, he saw some of Judah's leaders and Ahaziah's nephews who had come with Ahaziah. Jehu killed them on the spot, 9 then gave orders to find Ahaziah. Jehu's officers found him hiding in Samaria. They brought Ahaziah to Jehu, who immediately put him to death. They buried Ahaziah only because they respected Jehoshaphat his grandfather, who had done his best to obey the Lord.
There was no one from Ahaziah's family left to become king of Judah.
Queen Athaliah of Judah
10 As soon as Athaliah heard that her son King Ahaziah was dead, she decided to kill any relative who could possibly become king. She would have done just that, 11 but Jehosheba[f] rescued Joash son of Ahaziah just as the others were about to be murdered. Jehosheba, who was Jehoram's daughter and Ahaziah's half sister, was married to Jehoiada the priest. So she was able to hide her nephew Joash and his personal servant in a bedroom in the Lord's temple where he was safe from Athaliah. 12 Joash hid in the temple with them for six years while Athaliah ruled as queen of Judah.
Jehoiada Makes Joash King of Judah
23 After Ahaziah's son Joash had hidden in the temple for six years, Jehoiada the priest knew that something had to be done. So he made sure he had the support of several army officers. They were Azariah son of Jeroham, Ishmael son of Jehohanan, Azariah son of Obed, Maaseiah son of Adaiah, and Elishaphat son of Zichri. 2 These five men went to the towns in Judah and called together the Levites and the clan leaders. They all came to Jerusalem 3 (C) and gathered at the temple, where they agreed to help Joash.
Jehoiada said to them:
Joash will be our next king, because long ago the Lord promised that one of David's descendants would always be king. 4 Here is what we will do. Three groups of priests and Levites will be on guard duty on the Sabbath—one group will guard the gates of the temple, 5 one will guard the palace, and the other will guard Foundation Gate. The rest of you will stand guard in the temple courtyards. 6 Only the priests and Levites who are on duty will be able to enter the temple, because they will be the only ones who have gone through the ceremony to make themselves clean and acceptable. The others must stay outside in the courtyards, just as the Lord has commanded. 7 You Levites must protect King Joash. Don't let him out of your sight! And keep your swords ready to kill anyone who comes into the temple.
8 The Levites and the people of Judah followed Jehoiada's orders. The guards going off duty were not allowed to go home, and so each commander had all his guards available—those going off duty as well as those coming on duty. 9 Jehoiada went into the temple and brought out the swords and shields that had belonged to King David, and he gave them to the commanders. 10 They gave the weapons to the guards, and Jehoiada then made sure that the guards took their positions around the temple and the altar to protect the king on every side.
11 Jehoiada and his sons brought Joash outside, where they placed the crown on his head and gave him a copy of the instructions for ruling the nation. Olive oil was poured on his head to show that he was now king, and the crowd cheered and shouted, “Long live the king!”
12 As soon as Queen Athaliah heard the crowd cheering for Joash, she went to the temple. 13 There she saw Joash standing by one of the columns near the entrance, which was the usual place for the king. The commanders and the trumpet players were standing next to him, and the musicians were playing instruments and leading the people as they celebrated and blew trumpets. Athaliah tore her clothes in anger and shouted, “You betrayed me, you traitors!”
14 At once, Jehoiada said to the army commanders, “Don't kill her near the Lord's temple. Take her out in front of the troops, and be sure to kill all of her followers!” 15 She tried to escape, but the commanders caught and killed her near the gate where horses are led into the palace.
16 Jehoiada asked King Joash and the people to join with him in being faithful to the Lord. They agreed, 17 then rushed to the temple of the god Baal and tore it down. They smashed the altars and the idols and killed Mattan the priest of Baal in front of the altars.
18 Jehoiada assigned the priests and Levites their duties at the temple, just as David had done. They were in charge of offering sacrifices to the Lord according to the Law of Moses, and they were responsible for leading the celebrations with singing. 19 Jehoiada ordered the guards at the temple gates to keep out anyone who was unclean.
20 Finally, Jehoiada called together the army commanders, the most important citizens of Judah, and the government officials. The crowd of people followed them as they led Joash from the temple, through the Upper Gate, and into the palace, where he took his place as king of Judah. 21 Everyone celebrated because Athaliah had been killed and Jerusalem was peaceful again.
- 21.10 Even the town of Libnah: This was a town on the border between Philistia and Judah, which means that Jehoram was facing rebellion on both sides of his kingdom.
- 21.11 local shrines: See the note at 11.15.
- 21.16 Ethiopians: See the note at 12.3.
- 21.17 Ahaziah: The Hebrew text has “Jehoahaz,” another spelling of the name.
- 22.2 22: One ancient translation (see also 2 Kings 8.26); Hebrew “42.”
- 22.11 Jehosheba: The Hebrew text has “Jehoshabeath,” another spelling of the name.
13 I am now speaking to you Gentiles, and as long as I am an apostle to you, I will take pride in my work. 14 I hope in this way to make some of my own people jealous enough to be saved. 15 When Israel rejected God,[a] the rest of the people in the world were able to turn to him. So when God makes friends with Israel, it will be like bringing the dead back to life. 16 If part of a batch of dough is made holy by being offered to God, then all of the dough is holy. If the roots of a tree are holy, the rest of the tree is holy too.
17 You Gentiles are like branches of a wild olive tree made to be part of a cultivated olive tree. You have taken the place of some branches that were cut away from it. And because of this, you enjoy the blessings that come from being part of that cultivated tree. 18 But don't think you are better than the branches that were cut away. Just remember you are not supporting the roots of this tree. Its roots are supporting you.
19 Maybe you think those branches were cut away, so you could be put in their place. 20 That's true enough. But they were cut away because they did not have faith, and you are where you are because you do have faith. So don't be proud, but be afraid. 21 If God cut away those natural branches, couldn't he do the same to you?
22 Now you see both how kind and how hard God can be. He was hard on those who fell, but he was kind to you. And he will keep on being kind to you, if you keep on trusting in his kindness. Otherwise, you will be cut away too.
23 If those other branches will start having faith, they will be made a part of that tree again. God has the power to put them back. 24 After all, it wasn't natural for branches to be cut from a wild olive tree and to be made part of a cultivated olive tree. So it is much more likely that God will join the natural branches back to the cultivated olive tree.
The People of Israel Will Be Brought Back
25 My friends, I don't want you Gentiles to be too proud of yourselves. So I will explain the mystery of what has happened to the people of Israel. Some of them have become stubborn, and they will stay like that until the complete number of you Gentiles has come in. 26 (A) In this way all of Israel will be saved, as the Scriptures say,
“From Zion someone will come
to rescue us.
Then Jacob's descendants
will stop being evil.
27 (B) This is what the Lord
has promised to do
when he forgives their sins.”
28 The people of Israel are treated as God's enemies, so the good news can come to you Gentiles. But they are still the chosen ones, and God loves them because of their famous ancestors. 29 God doesn't take back the gifts he has given or disown the people he has chosen.
30 At one time you Gentiles rejected God. But now Israel has rejected God, and you have been shown mercy. 31 And because of the mercy shown to you, they will also be shown mercy. 32 All people have disobeyed God, and that's why he treats them as prisoners. But he does this, so that he can have mercy on all of them.
33 (C) Who can measure the wealth and wisdom and knowledge of God? Who can understand his decisions or explain what he does?
36 (F) Everything comes from the Lord. All things were made because of him and will return to him. Praise the Lord forever! Amen.
- 11.15 When Israel rejected God: Or “When Israel was rejected.”
(A psalm by David for the music leader. To the tune “A Deer at Dawn.”)
Suffering and Praise
1 (A) My God, my God, why have you
Why are you so far away?
Won't you listen to my groans
and come to my rescue?
2 I cry out day and night,
but you don't answer,
and I can never rest.
3 Yet you are the holy God,
ruling from your throne
and praised by Israel.
4 (B) Our ancestors trusted you,
and you rescued them.
5 When they cried out for help,
you saved them,
and you did not let them down
when they depended on you.
6 But I am merely a worm,
far less than human,
and I am hated and rejected
by people everywhere.
7 (C) Everyone who sees me
makes fun and sneers.
They shake their heads,
8 (D) and say, “Trust the Lord!
If you are his favorite,
let him protect you
and keep you safe.”
9 You, Lord, brought me
safely through birth,
and you protected me
when I was a baby
at my mother's breast.
10 From the day I was born,
I have been in your care,
and from the time of my birth,
you have been my God.
11 Don't stay far off
when I am in trouble
with no one to help me.
12 Enemies are all around
like a herd of wild bulls.
Powerful bulls from Bashan[a]
13 My enemies are like lions
roaring and attacking
with jaws open wide.
14 I have no more strength
than a few drops of water.
All my bones are out of joint;
my heart is like melted wax.
15 My strength has dried up
like a broken clay pot,
and my tongue sticks
to the roof of my mouth.
You, God, have left me
to die in the dirt.
7 Good people live right,
and God blesses the children
who follow their example.