Through the Bible – Day 138

Bible text(s)

King Manasseh of Judah

1Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled fifty-five years from Jerusalem. His mother was Hephzibah. 2Manasseh disobeyed the LORD by following the disgusting customs of the nations that the LORD had forced out of Israel. 3He rebuilt the local shrines that his father Hezekiah had torn down. He built altars for the god Baal and set up a sacred pole for worshipping the goddess Asherah, just as King Ahab of Israel had done. And he faithfully worshipped the stars in heaven.

4In the temple, where only the LORD was supposed to be worshipped, Manasseh built altars for pagan gods 5and for the stars. He placed these altars in both courts of the temple, 6-7and even set up the pole for Asherah there. Manasseh practised magic and witchcraft; he asked fortune-tellers for advice and sacrificed his own son. He did many sinful things and made the LORD very angry.

Years ago the LORD had told David and his son Solomon:

Jerusalem is the place I prefer above all others in Israel. It belongs to me, and there I will be worshipped for ever. 8If my people will faithfully obey all the commands in the Law of my servant Moses, I will never make them leave the land I gave to their ancestors.

9But the people of Judah disobeyed the LORD. They listened to Manasseh and did even more sinful things than the nations the LORD had wiped out.

10One day the LORD said to some of his prophets:

11King Manasseh has done more disgusting things than the Amorites, and he has led my people to sin by forcing them to worship his idols. 12Now I, the LORD God of Israel, will destroy both Jerusalem and Judah! People will hear about it but won't believe it. 13Jerusalem is as sinful as Ahab and the people of Samaria were. So I will wipe out Jerusalem and be done with it, just as someone wipes water off a plate and turns it over to dry.

14I will even get rid of my people who survive. They will be defeated and robbed by their enemies. 15My people have done what I hate and have not stopped making me angry since their ancestors left Egypt.

16Manasseh was guilty of causing the people of Judah to sin and disobey the LORD. He also refused to protect innocent people—he even let so many of them be killed that their blood filled the streets of Jerusalem.

17Everything else Manasseh did while he was king, including his terrible sins, is written in The History of the Kings of Judah. 18He died and was buried in Uzza Garden near his palace, and his son Amon became king.

King Amon of Judah

19Amon was twenty-two years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled from Jerusalem for two years. His mother Meshullemeth was the daughter of Haruz from Jotbah. 20Amon disobeyed the LORD, just as his father Manasseh had done. 21Amon worshipped the idols Manasseh had made and 22refused to be faithful to the LORD, the God his ancestors had worshipped.

23Some of Amon's officials plotted against him and killed him in his palace. 24-26He was buried in Uzza Garden. Soon after that, the people of Judah killed the murderers of Amon, then they made his son Josiah king.

Everything else Amon did while he was king is written in The History of the Kings of Judah.

The rule of King Josiah and The Book of God's Law

King Josiah of Judah

(2 Chronicles 34.1,2)

1Josiah was eight years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled thirty-one years from Jerusalem. His mother Jedidah was the daughter of Adaiah from Bozkath. 2Josiah always obeyed the LORD, just as his ancestor David had done.

Hilkiah finds The Book of God's Law

(2 Chronicles 34.8-28)

3After Josiah had been king for eighteen years, he told Shaphan, one of his highest officials:

Go to the LORD's temple 4and ask Hilkiah the high priest to collect from the guards all the money that the people have donated. 5Tell Hilkiah to give it to the men supervising the repairs to the temple. They can use some of the money to pay 6the workers, and with the rest of it they can buy wood and stone for the repair work. 7They are honest, so we won't ask them to keep track of the money.

8While Shaphan was at the temple, Hilkiah handed him a book and said, “Look what I found here in the temple—The Book of God's Law.”

Shaphan read it, 9then went back to Josiah and reported, “Your officials collected the money in the temple and gave it to the men supervising the repairs. 10But there's something else, Your Majesty. The priest Hilkiah gave me this book.” Then Shaphan read it out loud.

11When Josiah heard what was in The Book of God's Law, he tore his clothes in sorrow. 12At once he called together Hilkiah, Shaphan, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Achbor son of Micaiah, and his own servant Asaiah. He said, 13“The LORD must be furious with me and everyone else in Judah, because our ancestors did not obey the laws written in this book. Go and find out what the LORD wants us to do.”

14The five men left straight away and went to talk with Huldah the prophet. Her husband was Shallum, who was in charge of the king's clothes. Huldah lived in the northern part of Jerusalem, and when they met in her home, 15she said:

You were sent here by King Josiah, and this is what the LORD God of Israel says to him: 16“Josiah, I am the LORD! And I will see to it that this country and everyone living in it will be destroyed. It will happen just as this book says. 17The people of Judah have rejected me. They have offered sacrifices to foreign gods and have worshipped their own idols. I cannot stand it any longer. I am furious.

18“Josiah, listen to what I am going to do. 19I noticed how sad you were when you read that this country and its people would be completely wiped out. You even tore your clothes in sorrow, and I heard you cry. 20So I will let you die in peace, before I destroy this place.”

The men left and took Huldah's answer back to Josiah.

Josiah reads The Book of God's Law

1King Josiah called together the older leaders of Judah and Jerusalem. 2Then he went to the LORD's temple, together with the people of Judah and Jerusalem, the priests, and the prophets. Finally, when everybody was there, he read aloud The Book of God's Law that had been found in the temple.

3After Josiah had finished reading, he stood by one of the columns. He asked the people to promise in the LORD's name to obey the LORD faithfully and to follow his commands. The people agreed to do everything written in the book.

Josiah follows the teachings of God's Law

4Josiah told Hilkiah the priest, the assistant priests, and the guards at the temple door to go into the temple and bring out the things used to worship Baal, Asherah, and the stars. Josiah had these things burnt in Kidron Valley just outside Jerusalem, and he had the ashes carried away to the town of Bethel.

5Josiah also got rid of the pagan priests at the local shrines in Judah and around Jerusalem. These were the men whom the kings of Judah had appointed to offer sacrifices to Baal and to the sun, moon, and stars. 6Josiah had the sacred pole for Asherah brought out of the temple and taken to Kidron Valley, where it was burnt. He then had its ashes ground into dust and scattered over the public cemetery there. 7He had the buildings torn down where the male prostitutes lived next to the temple, and where the women wove sacred robes for the idol of Asherah.

8In almost every town in Judah, priests had been offering sacrifices to the LORD at local shrines. Josiah brought these priests to Jerusalem and had their shrines made unfit for worship—every shrine from Geba just north of Jerusalem to Beersheba in the south. He even tore down the shrine at Beersheba that was just to the left of Joshua Gate, which was named after the highest official of the city. 9Those local priests could not serve at the LORD's altar in Jerusalem, but they were allowed to eat sacred bread, just like the priests from Jerusalem.

10Josiah sent some men to Hinnom Valley just outside Jerusalem with orders to make the altar there unfit for worship. That way, people could no longer use it for sacrificing their children to the god Molech. 11He also got rid of the horses that the kings of Judah used in their ceremonies to worship the sun, and he destroyed the chariots along with them. The horses had been kept near the entrance to the LORD's temple, in a courtyard close to where an official named Nathan-Melech lived.

12Some of the kings of Judah, especially Manasseh, had built altars in the two courts of the temple and in the room that Ahaz had built on the palace roof. Josiah had these altars torn down and smashed to pieces, and he had the pieces thrown into Kidron Valley, just outside Jerusalem. 13After that, he closed down the shrines that Solomon had built east of Jerusalem and south of Spoil Hill to honour Astarte the disgusting goddess of Sidon, Chemosh the disgusting god of Moab, and Milcom the disgusting god of Ammon. 14He tore down the stone images of foreign gods and cut down the sacred pole used in the worship of Asherah. Then he had the whole area covered with human bones.

15But Josiah had not finished yet. At Bethel he destroyed the shrine and the altar that Jeroboam son of Nebat had built and that had caused the Israelites to sin. Josiah had the shrine and the Asherah pole burnt and ground into dust. 16As he looked around, he saw graves on the hillside. He had the bones in them dug up and burnt on the altar, so that it could no longer be used. This happened just as God's prophet had said when Jeroboam was standing at the altar, celebrating a festival.

Then Josiah saw the grave of the prophet who had said this would happen 17and he asked, “Whose grave is that?”

Some people who lived nearby answered, “It belongs to the prophet from Judah who told what would happen to this altar.”

18Josiah replied, “Then leave it alone. Don't dig up his bones.” So they did not disturb his bones or the bones of the old prophet from Israel who had also been buried there.

19Some of the Israelite kings had made the LORD angry by building pagan shrines all over Israel. So Josiah sent troops to destroy these shrines just as he had done to the one in Bethel. 20He killed the priests who served at them and burnt their bones on the altars.

After all that, Josiah went back to Jerusalem.

2 Kings 21:1-23:20CEVOpen in Bible reader

The Son's authority

19Jesus told the people:

I tell you for certain that the Son cannot do anything on his own. He can do only what he sees the Father doing, and he does exactly what he sees the Father do. 20The Father loves the Son and has shown him everything he does. The Father will show him even greater things, and you will be amazed. 21Just as the Father raises the dead and gives life, so the Son gives life to anyone he wants to.

22The Father doesn't judge anyone, but he has made his Son the judge of everyone. 23The Father wants all people to honour the Son as much as they honour him. When anyone refuses to honour the Son, that is the same as refusing to honour the Father who sent him. 24I tell you for certain that everyone who hears my message and has faith in the one who sent me has eternal life and will never be condemned. They have already gone from death to life.

25I tell you for certain that the time will come, and it is already here, when all the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God. And those who listen to it will live! 26The Father has the power to give life, and he has given that same power to the Son. 27And he has given his Son the right to judge everyone, because he is the Son of Man.

28Don't be surprised! The time will come when all the dead will hear the voice of the Son of Man, 29and they will come out of their graves. Everyone who has done good things will rise to life, but everyone who has done evil things will rise and be condemned.

30I cannot do anything on my own. The Father sent me, and he is the one who told me how to judge. I judge with fairness, because I obey him, and I don't just try to please myself.

Witnesses to Jesus

Jesus continued:

31If I speak for myself, there is no way to prove I am telling the truth. 32But there is someone else who speaks for me, and I know what he says is true. 33You sent messengers to John, and he told them the truth. 34I don't depend on what people say about me, but I tell you these things so that you may be saved. 35John was a lamp that gave a lot of light, and you were glad to enjoy his light for a while.

36But something more important than John speaks for me. I mean the things that the Father has given me to do! All of these speak for me and prove that the Father sent me.

37The Father who sent me also speaks for me, but you have never heard his voice or seen him face to face. 38You have not believed his message, because you refused to have faith in the one he sent.

39You search the Scriptures, because you think you will find eternal life in them. The Scriptures tell about me, 40but you refuse to come to me for eternal life.

41I don't care about human praise, 42but I do know that none of you love God. 43I have come with my Father's authority, and you have not welcomed me. But you will welcome people who come on their own. 44How could you possibly believe? You like to have your friends praise you, and you don't care about praise that the only God can give!

45Don't think that I will be the one to accuse you to the Father. You have put your hope in Moses, yet he is the very one who will accuse you. 46Moses wrote about me, and if you had believed Moses, you would have believed me. 47But if you don't believe what Moses wrote, how can you believe what I say?

John 5:19-47CEVOpen in Bible reader
Canadian Bible Societyv.4.21.9
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