Through the Bible – Day 160

Bible text(s)

King Jotham of Judah

1Jotham was twenty-five years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled from Jerusalem for sixteen years. Jerushah his mother was the daughter of Zadok.

2Jotham obeyed the LORD and did right. He followed the example of his father Uzziah, except he never burnt incense in the temple as his father had done. But the people of Judah kept sinning against the LORD.

3Jotham rebuilt the Upper Gate of the temple and did a lot of work to repair the wall near Mount Ophel. 4He built towns in the mountains of Judah and built fortresses and defence towers in the forests.

5During his rule he attacked and defeated the Ammonites. Then every year for the next three years, he forced them to pay three thousand four hundred kilogrammes of silver, one thousand tonnes of wheat, and one thousand tonnes of barley.

6Jotham remained faithful to the LORD his God and became a very powerful king.

7Everything else Jotham did while he was king, including the wars he fought, is written in The History of the Kings of Israel and Judah. 8After he had ruled Judah sixteen years, he died at the age of forty-one. 9He was buried in Jerusalem, and his son Ahaz became king.

King Ahaz of Judah

(2 Kings 16.1-4)

1Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled from Jerusalem for sixteen years.

Ahaz was nothing like his ancestor David. Ahaz disobeyed the LORD 2and was as sinful as the kings of Israel. He made idols of the god Baal, 3and he offered sacrifices in Hinnom Valley. Worst of all, Ahaz sacrificed his own sons, which was a disgusting custom of the nations that the LORD had forced out of Israel. 4Ahaz offered sacrifices at the local shrines, as well as on every hill and in the shade of large trees.

Syria and Israel attack Judah

(2 Kings 16.5,6)

5-6Ahaz and the people of Judah sinned and turned away from the LORD, the God their ancestors had worshipped. So the LORD punished them by letting their enemies defeat them.

The king of Syria attacked Judah and took many of its people to Damascus as prisoners. King Pekah of Israel later defeated Judah and killed one hundred and twenty thousand of its bravest soldiers in one day. 7During that battle, an Israelite soldier named Zichri killed three men from Judah: Maaseiah the king's son; Azrikam, the official in charge of the palace; and Elkanah, the king's second in command. 8The Israelite troops captured two hundred thousand women and children and took them back to their capital city of Samaria, along with a large amount of their possessions. They did these things even though the people of Judah were their own relatives.

Oded the prophet condemns Israel

9Oded lived in Samaria and was one of the LORD's prophets. He met Israel's army on their way back from Judah and said to them:

The LORD God of your ancestors let you defeat Judah's army only because he was angry with them. But you should not have been so cruel! 10If you make slaves of the people of Judah and Jerusalem, you will be as guilty as they are of sinning against the LORD.

11Send these prisoners back home—they are your own relatives. If you don't, the LORD will punish you in his anger.

12About the same time, four of Israel's leaders arrived. They were Azariah son of Johanan, Berechiah son of Meshillemoth, Jehizkiah son of Shallum, and Amasa son of Hadlai. They agreed with Oded that the Israelite troops were wrong, 13and they said:

If you bring these prisoners into Samaria, that will be one more thing we've done to sin against the LORD. And he is already angry enough with us.

14So in front of the leaders and the crowd, the troops handed over their prisoners and the property they had taken from Judah. 15The four leaders took some of the stolen clothes and gave them to the prisoners who needed something to wear. They later gave them all a new change of clothes and shoes, then provided something for them to eat and drink, and cleaned their wounds with olive oil. They gave donkeys to those who were too weak to walk, and led all of them back to Jericho, the city known for its palm trees. The leaders then returned to Samaria.

Ahaz asks the king of Assyria for help

(2 Kings 16.7-9)

16-18Some time later, the Edomites attacked the eastern part of Judah again and carried away prisoners. And at the same time, the Philistines raided towns in the western foothills and in the Southern Desert. They conquered the towns of Beth-Shemesh, Aijalon, Gederoth, Soco, Timnah, and Gimzo, including the villages around them. Then some of the Philistines went to live in these places.

Ahaz sent a message to King Tiglath Pileser of Assyria and begged for help. 19But God was punishing Judah with these disasters, because Ahaz had disobeyed him and refused to stop Judah from sinning. 20So Tiglath Pileser came to Judah, but instead of helping, he made things worse. 21Ahaz gave him gifts from the LORD's temple and the king's palace, as well as from the homes of Israel's other leaders. The Assyrian king still refused to help Ahaz.

The final sin of Ahaz and his death

22Even after all these terrible things happened to Ahaz, he sinned against the LORD even worse than before. 23He said to himself, “The Syrian gods must have helped their kings defeat me. Perhaps if I offer sacrifices to those gods, they will help me.” That was the sin that finally led to the downfall of Ahaz, as well as to the destruction of Judah.

24Ahaz collected all the furnishings of the temple and smashed them to pieces. Then he locked the doors to the temple and set up altars to foreign gods on every street corner in Jerusalem. 25In every city and town in Judah he built local shrines to worship foreign gods. All this made the LORD God of his ancestors very angry.

26Everything else Ahaz did while he was king is written in The History of the Kings of Judah and Israel. 27Ahaz died and was buried in Jerusalem, but not in the royal tombs. His son Hezekiah then became king.

King Hezekiah of Judah

1Hezekiah was twenty-five years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled twenty-nine years from Jerusalem. His mother was Abijah daughter of Zechariah. 2Hezekiah obeyed the LORD by doing right, just as his ancestor David had done.

The temple is purified

3In the first month of the first year of Hezekiah's rule, he unlocked the doors to the LORD's temple and had them repaired. 4Then he called the priests and Levites to the east courtyard of the temple 5and said:

It's time to purify the temple of the LORD God of our ancestors. You Levites must first go through the ceremony to make yourselves clean, then go into the temple and bring out everything that is unclean and unacceptable to the LORD. 6Some of our ancestors were unfaithful and disobeyed the LORD our God. Not only did they turn their backs on the LORD, but they also completely ignored his temple. 7They locked the doors, then let the lamps go out and stopped burning incense and offering sacrifices to him. 8The LORD became terribly angry with the people of Judah and Jerusalem, and everyone was shocked and horrified at what he did to punish them. Not only were 9our ancestors killed in battle, but our own children and wives were taken captive.

10So I have decided to renew our agreement with the LORD God of Israel. Perhaps then he will stop being so angry with us. 11Let's not waste any time, my friends. You are the ones who were chosen to be the LORD's priests and to offer him sacrifices.

12-14When Hezekiah finished talking, the following Levite leaders went to work:

Mahath son of Amasai and Joel son of Azariah from the Kohath clan; Kish son of Abdi and Azariah son of Jehallelel from the Merari clan; Joah son of Zimmah and Eden son of Joah from the Gershon clan; Shimri and Jeuel from the Elizaphan clan; Zechariah and Mattaniah from the Asaph clan; Jehuel and Shimei from the Heman clan; Shemaiah and Uzziel from the Jeduthun clan.

15These leaders gathered together the rest of the Levites, and they all went through the ceremony to make themselves clean. Then they began to purify the temple according to the Law of the LORD, just as Hezekiah had commanded.

16The priests went into the temple and carried out everything that was unclean. They put these things in the courtyard, and from there, the Levites carried them outside the city to Kidron Valley.

17The priests and Levites began their work on the first day of the first month. It took them one week to purify the courtyards of the temple and another week to purify the temple. So on the sixteenth day of that same month 18they went back to Hezekiah and said:

Your Majesty, we have finished our work. The entire temple is now pure again, and so is the altar and its utensils, as well as the table for the sacred loaves of bread and its utensils. 19And we have brought back all the things that King Ahaz took from the temple during the time he was unfaithful to God. We purified them and put them back in front of the altar.

Worship in the temple

20Straight away, Hezekiah called together the officials of Jerusalem, and they went to the temple. 21They brought with them seven bulls, seven rams, seven lambs, and seven goats as sacrifices to take away the sins of Hezekiah's family and of the people of Judah, as well as to purify the temple. Hezekiah told the priests, who were descendants of Aaron, to sacrifice these animals on the altar.

22The priests killed the bulls, the rams, and the lambs, then splattered the blood on the altar. 23They took the goats to Hezekiah and the worshippers, and they laid their hands on the animals. 24The priests then killed the goats and splattered the blood on the altar as a sacrifice to take away the sins of everyone in Israel, because Hezekiah had commanded that these sacrifices be made for all the people of Israel.

25Next, Hezekiah assigned the Levites to their places in the temple. He gave them cymbals, harps, and other stringed instruments, according to the instructions that the LORD had given King David and the two prophets, Gad and Nathan. 26The Levites were ready to play the instruments that had belonged to David; the priests were ready to blow the trumpets.

27As soon as Hezekiah gave the signal for the sacrifices to be burnt on the altar, the musicians began singing praises to the LORD and playing their instruments, 28and everyone worshipped the LORD. This continued until the last animal was sacrificed.

29After that, Hezekiah and the crowd of worshippers knelt down and worshipped the LORD. 30Then Hezekiah and his officials ordered the Levites to sing the songs of praise that David and Asaph the prophet had written. And so they bowed down and joyfully sang praises to the LORD.

31Hezekiah said to the crowd, “Now that you are once again acceptable to the LORD, bring sacrifices and offerings to give him thanks.”

The people did this, and some of them voluntarily brought animals to be offered as sacrifices. 32Seventy bulls, one hundred rams, and two hundred lambs were brought as sacrifices to please the LORD; 33six hundred bulls and three thousand sheep were brought as sacrifices to ask the LORD's blessing. 34There were not enough priests to skin all these animals, because many of the priests had not taken the time to go through the ceremony to make themselves clean. However, since all the Levites had made themselves clean, they helped the priests until the last animal was skinned. 35Besides all the sacrifices that were burnt on the altar, the fat from the other animal sacrifices was burnt, and the offerings of wine were poured over the altar.

So the temple was once again used for worshipping the LORD. 36Hezekiah and the people of Judah celebrated, because God had helped them make this happen so quickly.

2 Chronicles 27:1-29:36CEVOpen in Bible reader

39And since I usually set a prisoner free for you at Passover, would you like me to set free the king of the Jews?”

40They shouted, “No, not him! We want Barabbas.” Now Barabbas was a terrorist.

1Pilate gave orders for Jesus to be beaten with a whip. 2The soldiers made a crown out of thorn branches and put it on Jesus. Then they put a purple robe on him. 3They came up to him and said, “Hey, you king of the Jews!” They also hit him with their fists.

4Once again Pilate went out. This time he said, “I will have Jesus brought out to you again. Then you can see for yourselves that I have not found him guilty.”

5Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said, “Here is the man!”

6When the chief priests and the temple police saw him, they yelled, “Nail him to a cross! Nail him to a cross!”

Pilate told them, “You take him and nail him to a cross! I don't find him guilty of anything.”

7The crowd replied, “He claimed to be the Son of God! Our Jewish Law says that he must be put to death.”

8When Pilate heard this, he was terrified. 9He went back inside and asked Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus did not answer.

10“Why won't you answer my question?” Pilate asked. “Don't you know that I have the power to let you go free or to nail you to a cross?”

11Jesus replied, “If God had not given you the power, you couldn't do anything at all to me. But the one who handed me over to you did something even worse.”

12Then Pilate wanted to set Jesus free. But the crowd again yelled, “If you set this man free, you are no friend of the Emperor! Anyone who claims to be a king is an enemy of the Emperor.”

13When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out. Then he sat down on the judge's bench at the place known as “The Stone Pavement”. In Aramaic this pavement is called “Gabbatha”. 14It was about midday on the day before Passover, and Pilate said to the crowd, “Look at your king!”

15“Kill him! Kill him!” they yelled. “Nail him to a cross!”

“So you want me to nail your king to a cross?” Pilate asked.

The chief priests replied, “The Emperor is our king!” 16Then Pilate handed Jesus over to be nailed to a cross.

Jesus is nailed to a cross

Jesus was taken away,

John 18:39-19:16CEVOpen in Bible reader
Canadian Bible Societyv.4.21.9
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