Through the Bible – Day 136

Bible text(s)

King Hoshea of Israel and the defeat of the northern kingdom

1Hoshea son of Elah became king of Israel in the twelfth year of Ahaz's rule in Judah, and he ruled nine years from Samaria. 2Hoshea disobeyed the LORD and sinned, but not as much as the earlier Israelite kings had done.

3During Hoshea's rule, King Shalmaneser of Assyria invaded Israel; he took control of the country and made Hoshea pay taxes. 4But later, Hoshea refused to pay the taxes and asked King So of Egypt to help him rebel. When Shalmaneser found out, he arrested Hoshea and put him in prison.

Samaria is destroyed and the Israelites are taken to Assyria

5Shalmaneser invaded Israel and attacked the city of Samaria for three years, 6before capturing it in the ninth year of Hoshea's rule. The Assyrian king took the Israelites away to Assyria as prisoners. He forced some of them to live in the town of Halah, others to live near the River Habor in the territory of Gozan, and still others to live in towns where the Median people lived.

7All of this happened because the people of Israel had sinned against the LORD their God, who had rescued them from Egypt, where they had been slaves. They worshipped foreign gods, 8followed the customs of the nations that the LORD had forced out of Israel, and were just as sinful as the Israelite kings. 9Even worse, the Israelites tried to hide their sins from the LORD their God. They built their own local shrines everywhere in Israel—from small towns to large, walled cities. 10They also built stone images of foreign gods and set up sacred poles for the worship of Asherah on every hill and under every shady tree. 11They offered sacrifices at the shrines, just as the foreign nations had done before the LORD forced them out of Israel. They did sinful things that made the LORD very angry.

12Even though the LORD had commanded the Israelites not to worship idols, they did it anyway. 13So the LORD made sure that every prophet warned Israel and Judah with these words: “I, the LORD, command you to stop doing sinful things and start obeying my laws and teachings! I gave them to your ancestors, and I told my servants the prophets to repeat them to you.”

14But the Israelites would not listen; they were as stubborn as their ancestors who had refused to worship the LORD their God. 15They ignored the LORD's warnings and commands, and they rejected the solemn agreement he had made with their ancestors. They worshipped worthless idols and became worthless themselves. The LORD had told the Israelites not to do the things that the foreign nations around them were doing, but Israel became just like them.

16The people of Israel disobeyed all the commands of the LORD their God. They made two gold statues of calves and set up a sacred pole for Asherah; they also worshipped the stars and the god Baal. 17They used magic and witchcraft and even sacrificed their own children. The Israelites were determined to do whatever the LORD hated. 18The LORD became so furious with the people of Israel that he allowed them to be carried away as prisoners.

Only the people living in Judah were left, 19but they also disobeyed the LORD's commands and acted like the Israelites. 20So the LORD turned his back on everyone in Israel and Judah and let them be punished and defeated until no one was left.

21Earlier, when the LORD took the northern tribes away from David's family, the people living in northern Israel chose Jeroboam son of Nebat as their king. Jeroboam caused the Israelites to sin and to stop worshipping the LORD. 22The people kept on sinning like Jeroboam, 23until the LORD got rid of them, just as he had warned his servants the prophets.

That's why the people of Israel were taken away as prisoners to Assyria, and that's where they remained.

Foreigners are resettled in Israel

24The king of Assyria took people who were living in the cities of Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Sepharvaim, and forced them to move to Israel. They took over the towns where the Israelites had lived, including the capital city of Samaria.

25At first these people did not worship the LORD, so he sent lions to attack them, and the lions killed some of them. 26A messenger told the king of Assyria, “The people you moved to Israel don't know how to worship the god of that country. So he sent lions that have attacked and killed some of them.”

27The king replied, “Get one of the Israelite priests we brought here and send him back to Israel. He can live there and teach them about the god of that country.” 28One of the Israelite priests was chosen to go back to Israel. He lived in Bethel and taught the people how to worship the LORD.

29But in towns all over Israel, the different groups of people made statues of their own gods, then they placed these idols in local Israelite shrines. 30The people from Babylonia made the god Succoth-Benoth; those from Cuthah made the god Nergal; those from Hamath made Ashima; 31those from Avva made Nibhaz and Tartak; and the people from Sepharvaim sacrificed their children to their own gods Adrammelech and Anammelech. 32-33They worshipped their own gods, just as they had before they were taken away to Israel. They also worshipped the LORD, but they chose their own people to be priests at the shrines. 34Everyone followed their old customs. None of them worshipped only the LORD, and they refused to obey the laws and commands that the LORD had given to the descendants of Jacob, the man he named Israel. 35At the time when the LORD had made his solemn agreement with the people of Israel, he told them:

Do not worship any other gods! Do not bow down to them or offer them a sacrifice. 36Worship only me! I am the one who rescued you from Egypt with my mighty power. Bow down to me and offer sacrifices. 37Never worship any other god, always obey my laws and teachings, 38and remember the solemn agreement between us.

I will say it again: do not worship any god 39except me. I am the LORD your God, and I will rescue you from all your enemies.

40But the people living in Israel ignored that command and kept on following their old customs. 41They did worship the LORD, but they also worshipped their own idols. Their descendants did the same thing.

King Hezekiah of Judah

1Hezekiah son of Ahaz became king of Judah in the third year of Hoshea's rule in Israel. 2Hezekiah was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he ruled twenty-nine years from Jerusalem. His mother Abi was the daughter of Zechariah.

3Hezekiah obeyed the LORD, just as his ancestor David had done. 4He destroyed the local shrines, then tore down the images of foreign gods and cut down the sacred pole for worshipping the goddess Asherah. He also smashed the bronze snake Moses had made. The people had named it Nehushtan and had been offering sacrifices to it.

5Hezekiah trusted the LORD God of Israel. No other king of Judah was like Hezekiah, either before or after him. 6He was completely faithful to the LORD and obeyed the laws the LORD had given to Moses for the people. 7The LORD helped Hezekiah, so he was successful in everything he did. He even rebelled against the king of Assyria, refusing to be his servant. 8Hezekiah defeated the Philistine towns as far away as Gaza—from the smallest towns to the large, walled cities.

9During the fourth year of Hezekiah's rule, which was the seventh year of Hoshea's rule in Israel, King Shalmaneser of Assyria led his troops to Samaria, the capital city of Israel. They attacked 10and captured it three years later, in the sixth year of Hezekiah's rule and the ninth year of Hoshea's rule. 11The king of Assyria took the Israelites away as prisoners; he forced some of them to live in the town of Halah, others to live near the River Habor in the territory of Gozan, and still others to live in towns where the Median people lived. 12All of that happened because the people of Israel had not obeyed the LORD their God. They rejected the solemn agreement he had made with them, and they ignored everything that the LORD's servant Moses had told them.

King Sennacherib of Assyria invades Judah

13In the fourteenth year of Hezekiah's rule in Judah, King Sennacherib of Assyria invaded the country and captured every walled city, except Jerusalem. 14Hezekiah sent this message to Sennacherib, who was in the town of Lachish: “I know I am guilty of rebellion. But I will pay you whatever you want, if you stop your attack.”

Sennacherib told Hezekiah to pay ten thousand kilogrammes of silver and a thousand kilogrammes of gold. 15So Hezekiah collected all the silver from the LORD's temple and the royal treasury. 16He even stripped the gold that he had used to cover the doors and doorposts in the temple. He gave it all to Sennacherib.

17The king of Assyria ordered his three highest military officers to leave Lachish and take a large army to Jerusalem. When they arrived, the officers stood on the road near the cloth makers' shops along the canal from the upper pool. 18They called out to Hezekiah, and three of his highest officials came out to meet them. One of them was Hilkiah's son Eliakim, who was the prime minister. The other two were Shebna, assistant to the prime minister, and Joah son of Asaph, keeper of the government records.

19One of the Assyrian commanders told them:

I have a message for Hezekiah from the great king of Assyria. Ask Hezekiah why he feels so sure of himself. 20Does he think he can plan and win a war with nothing but words? Who is going to help him, now that he has turned against the king of Assyria? 21Is he depending on Egypt and its king? That's the same as leaning on a broken stick, and it will go right through his hand.

22Is Hezekiah now depending on the LORD your God? Didn't Hezekiah tear down all except one of the LORD's altars and places of worship? Didn't he tell the people of Jerusalem and Judah to worship at that one place?

23The king of Assyria wants to make a bet with you people. He will give you two thousand horses, if you have enough troops to ride them. 24How could you even defeat our lowest ranking officer, when you have to depend on Egypt for chariots and cavalry? 25Don't forget that it was the LORD who sent me here with orders to destroy your nation!

26Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah said, “Sir, we don't want the people listening from the city wall to understand what you are saying. So please speak to us in Aramaic instead of Hebrew.”

27The Assyrian army commander answered, “My king sent me to speak to everyone, not just to you leaders. These people will soon have to eat their own body waste and drink their own urine! And so will the three of you.”

28Then, in a voice loud enough for everyone to hear, he shouted in Hebrew:

Listen to what the great king of Assyria says! 29Don't be fooled by Hezekiah. He can't save you. 30Don't trust him when he tells you that the LORD will protect you from the king of Assyria. 31Stop listening to Hezekiah! Pay attention to my king. Surrender to him. He will let you keep your own vineyards, fig trees, and cisterns 32for a while. Then he will come and take you away to a country just like yours, where you can plant vineyards, raise your own grain, and have plenty of olive oil and honey. Believe me, you won't starve there.

Hezekiah claims the LORD will save you. But don't be fooled by him. 33Were any other gods able to defend their land against the king of Assyria? 34What happened to the gods of Hamath and Arpad? What about the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah? Were the gods of Samaria able to protect their land against the Assyrian forces? 35None of these gods kept their people safe from the king of Assyria. Do you think the LORD your God can do any better?

36-37Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah had been warned by King Hezekiah not to answer the Assyrian commander. So they tore their clothes in sorrow and reported to Hezekiah everything the commander had said.

2 Kings 17:1-18:37CEVOpen in Bible reader

Jesus and the Samaritan woman

3Jesus left Judea and started for Galilee again. 4This time he had to go through Samaria, 5and on his way he came to the town of Sychar. It was near the field that Jacob had long ago given to his son Joseph. 6-8The well that Jacob had dug was still there, and Jesus sat down beside it because he was tired from travelling. It was midday, and after Jesus' disciples had gone into town to buy some food, a Samaritan woman came to draw water from the well.

Jesus asked her, “Would you please give me a drink of water?”

9“You are a Jew,” she replied, “and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink of water when Jews and Samaritans won't have anything to do with each other?”

10Jesus answered, “You don't know what God wants to give you, and you don't know who is asking you for a drink. If you did, you would ask me for the water that gives life.”

11“Sir,” the woman said, “you don't even have a bucket, and the well is deep. Where are you going to get this life-giving water? 12Our ancestor Jacob dug this well for us, and his family and animals got water from it. Are you greater than Jacob?”

13Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will get thirsty again. 14But no one who drinks the water I give will ever be thirsty again. The water I give is like a flowing fountain that gives eternal life.”

15The woman replied, “Sir, please give me a drink of that water! Then I won't get thirsty and have to come to this well again.”

16Jesus told her, “Go and bring your husband.”

17-18The woman answered, “I don't have a husband.”

“That's right,” Jesus replied, “you're telling the truth. You don't have a husband. You have already been married five times, and the man you are now living with isn't your husband.”

19The woman said, “Sir, I can see that you are a prophet. 20My ancestors worshipped on this mountain, but you Jews say Jerusalem is the only place to worship.”

21Jesus said to her:

Believe me, the time is coming when you won't worship the Father either on this mountain or in Jerusalem. 22You Samaritans don't really know the one you worship. But we Jews do know the God we worship, and by using us, God will save the world. 23But a time is coming, and it is already here! Even now the true worshippers are being led by the Spirit to worship the Father according to the truth. These are the ones the Father is seeking to worship him. 24God is Spirit, and those who worship God must be led by the Spirit to worship him according to the truth.

25The woman said, “I know that the Messiah will come. He is the one we call Christ. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

26“I am that one,” Jesus told her, “and I am speaking to you now.”

27The disciples returned about this time and were surprised to find Jesus talking with a woman. But none of them asked him what he wanted or why he was talking with her.

28The woman left her water jar and ran back into town. She said to the people, 29“Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! Could he be the Messiah?” 30Everyone in town went out to see Jesus.

31While this was happening, Jesus' disciples were saying to him, “Teacher, please eat something.”

32But Jesus told them, “I have food that you don't know anything about.”

33His disciples started asking each other, “Has someone brought him something to eat?”

34Jesus said:

My food is to do what God wants! He is the one who sent me, and I must finish the work that he gave me to do. 35You may say that there are still four months until harvest time. But I tell you to look, and you will see that the fields are ripe and ready to harvest.

36Even now the harvest workers are receiving their reward by gathering a harvest that brings eternal life. Then everyone who planted the seed and everyone who harvests the crop will celebrate together. 37So the saying proves true, “Some plant the seed, and others harvest the crop.” 38I am sending you to harvest crops in fields where others have done all the hard work.

39A lot of Samaritans in that town put their faith in Jesus because the woman had said, “This man told me everything I have ever done.” 40They came and asked him to stay in their town, and he stayed on for two days.

41Many more Samaritans put their faith in Jesus because of what they heard him say. 42They told the woman, “We no longer have faith in Jesus just because of what you told us. We have heard him ourselves, and we are certain that he is the Saviour of the world!”

John 4:3-42CEVOpen in Bible reader
Canadian Bible Societyv.4.21.9
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