Through the Bible – Day 162

Bible text(s)

Hezekiah gets sick and almost dies

24About this same time, Hezekiah got sick and was almost dead. He prayed, and the LORD gave him a sign that he would recover. 25But Hezekiah was so proud that he refused to thank the LORD for everything he had done for him. This made the LORD angry, and he punished Hezekiah and the people of Judah and Jerusalem. 26Hezekiah and the people later felt sorry and asked the LORD to forgive them. So the LORD did not punish them as long as Hezekiah was king.

Hezekiah's wealth

27Hezekiah was very rich, and everyone respected him. He built special rooms to store the silver, the gold, the precious stones and spices, the shields, and the other valuable possessions. 28Storehouses were also built for his supply of grain, wine, and olive oil; barns were built for his cattle, and pens were put up for his sheep. 29God made Hezekiah extremely rich, so he bought even more sheep, goats, and cattle. And he built towns where he could keep all these animals.

30It was Hezekiah who built a tunnel that carried the water from Gihon Spring into the city of Jerusalem. In fact, everything he did was successful! 31Even when the leaders of Babylonia sent messengers to ask Hezekiah about the sign God had given him, God let Hezekiah give his own answer to test him and to see if he would remain faithful.

Hezekiah dies

32Everything else Hezekiah did while he was king, including how faithful he was to the LORD, is included in the records kept by Isaiah the prophet. These are written in The History of the Kings of Judah and Israel. 33When Hezekiah died, he was buried in the section of the royal tombs that was reserved for the most respected kings, and everyone in Judah and Jerusalem honoured him. His son Manasseh then became king.

King Manasseh and King Amon

King Manasseh of Judah

(2 Kings 21.1-9,17,18)

1Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled fifty-five years from Jerusalem. 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 sacred poles for worshipping the goddess Asherah. And he faithfully worshipped the stars in the sky.

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 courtyards of the temple 6-7and even set up a stone image of a foreign god. Manasseh practised magic and witchcraft; he asked fortune-tellers for advice and sacrificed his own sons in Hinnom Valley. He did many other sinful things and made the LORD very angry.

Years ago, God had told David and Solomon:

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

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

10The LORD tried to warn Manasseh and the people about their sins, but they ignored the warning. 11So he let Assyrian army commanders invade Judah and capture Manasseh. They put a hook in his nose and tied him up in chains, and they took him to Babylon. 12While Manasseh was held captive there, he asked the LORD God to forgive him and to help him. 13The LORD listened to Manasseh's prayer and saw how sorry he was, and so he let him go back to Jerusalem and rule as king. Manasseh knew from then on that the LORD was God.

14Later, Manasseh rebuilt the eastern section of Jerusalem's outer wall and made it taller. This section went from Gihon Valley north to Fish Gate and around the part of the city called Mount Ophel. He also assigned army officers to each of the fortified cities in Judah.

15Manasseh also removed the idols and the stone image of the foreign god from the temple, and he gathered the altars he had built near the temple and in other parts of Jerusalem. He threw all these things outside the city. 16Then he repaired the LORD's altar and offered sacrifices to thank him and sacrifices to ask his blessing. He gave orders that everyone in Judah must worship the LORD God of Israel. 17The people obeyed Manasseh, but they worshipped the LORD at their own shrines.

18Everything else Manasseh did while he was king, including his prayer to the LORD God and the warnings from his prophets, is written in The History of the Kings of Israel. 19Hozai wrote a lot about Manasseh, including his prayer and God's answer. But Hozai also recorded the evil things Manasseh did before turning back to God, as well as a list of places where Manasseh set up idols, and where he built local shrines and places to worship Asherah. 20Manasseh died and was buried near the palace, and his son Amon became king.

King Amon of Judah

(2 Kings 21.19-26)

21Amon was twenty-two years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled from Jerusalem for two years. 22Amon disobeyed the LORD, just as his father Manasseh had done, and he worshipped and offered sacrifices to the idols his father had made. 23Manasseh had turned back to the LORD, but Amon refused to do that. Instead, he sinned even more than his father.

24Some of Amon's officials plotted against him and killed him in his palace. 25But the people of Judah killed the murderers of Amon and made his son Josiah king.

King Josiah of Judah

1Josiah was eight years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled thirty-one years from Jerusalem. 2He followed the example of his ancestor David and always obeyed the LORD.

Josiah stops the worship of foreign gods

3When Josiah was only sixteen years old he began worshipping God, just as his ancestor David had done. Then, four years later, he decided to destroy the local shrines in Judah and Jerusalem, as well as the sacred poles for worshipping the goddess Asherah and the idols of foreign gods. 4He watched as the altars for the worship of the god Baal were torn down, and as the nearby incense altars were smashed. The Asherah poles, the idols, and the stone images were also smashed, and the pieces were scattered over the graves of their worshippers. 5Josiah then had the bones of the pagan priests burnt on the altars.

And so Josiah got rid of the worship of foreign gods in Judah and Jerusalem. 6He did the same things in the towns and ruined villages in the territories of West Manasseh, Ephraim, and Simeon, as far as the border of Naphtali. 7Everywhere in the northern kingdom of Israel, Josiah tore down pagan altars and Asherah poles; he crushed idols to dust and smashed incense altars.

Then Josiah went back to Jerusalem.

Hilkiah finds The Book of God's Law

8In the eighteenth year of Josiah's rule in Judah, after he had got rid of all the sinful things from the land and from the LORD's temple, he sent three of his officials to repair the temple. They were Shaphan son of Azaliah, Governor Maaseiah of Jerusalem, and Joah son of Joahaz, who kept the government records.

9These three men went to Hilkiah the high priest. They gave him the money that the Levite guards had collected from the people of West Manasseh, Ephraim, and the rest of Israel, as well as those living in Judah, Benjamin, and Jerusalem. 10Then the money was turned over to the men who supervised the repairs to the temple. They used some of it to pay the workers, 11and they gave the rest of it to the carpenters and builders, who used it to buy the stone and wood they needed to repair the other buildings that Judah's kings had not taken care of.

12The workers were honest, and their supervisors were Jahath and Obadiah from the Levite clan of Merari, and Zechariah and Meshullam from the Levite clan of Kohath. Other Levites, who were all skilled musicians, 13were in charge of carrying supplies and supervising the workers. Other Levites were appointed to stand guard around the temple.

14While the money was being given to these supervisors, Hilkiah found the book that contained the laws that the LORD had given to Moses. 15Hilkiah handed the book to Shaphan the official and said, “Look what I found here in the temple—The Book of God's Law.”

16Shaphan took the book to Josiah and reported, “Your officials are doing everything you wanted. 17They have collected the money from the temple and have given it to the men supervising the repairs. 18But there's something else, Your Majesty. The priest Hilkiah gave me this book.” Then Shaphan read it aloud.

19When Josiah heard what was in The Book of God's Law, he tore his clothes in sorrow. 20At once he called together Hilkiah, Shaphan, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Abdon son of Micah, and his own servant Asaiah. He said, 21“The LORD must be furious with me and everyone else in Israel and Judah, because our ancestors did not obey the laws written in this book. Go and find out what the LORD wants us to do.”

22Hilkiah and the four other 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, 23she said:

You were sent here by King Josiah, and this is what the LORD God of Israel says to him: 24“Josiah, I am the LORD! And I intend to punish this country and everyone in it, just as this book says. 25The people of Judah and Israel have rejected me. They have offered sacrifices to foreign gods and have worshipped their own idols. I can't stand it any longer. I am furious.

26-27“Josiah, listen to what I am going to do. I noticed how sad you were when you heard that this country and its people would be completely wiped out. You even tore your clothes in sorrow, and I heard you cry. 28So before I destroy this place, I will let you die in peace.”

The men left and reported to Josiah what Huldah had said.

Josiah reads The Book of God's Law

29King Josiah called together the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem. 30Then he went to the LORD's temple, together with all the people of Judah and Jerusalem, the priests, and the Levites.

Finally, when everybody was there, he read aloud The Book of God's Law that had been found in the temple.

31After Josiah had finished reading, he stood in the place reserved for the king. He promised in the LORD's name to obey the LORD faithfully and to follow his laws and teachings that were written in the book. 32Then he asked the people of Jerusalem and Benjamin to make that same promise and to obey the God their ancestors had worshipped.

33Josiah destroyed all the idols in the territories of Israel, and he commanded everyone in Israel to worship only the LORD God. The people did not turn away from the LORD God of their ancestors for the rest of Josiah's rule as king.

2 Chronicles 32:24-34:33CEVOpen in Bible reader

Jesus is buried

38Joseph from Arimathea was one of Jesus' disciples. He had kept it secret though, because he was afraid of the Jewish leaders. But now he asked Pilate to let him have Jesus' body. Pilate gave him permission, and Joseph took it down from the cross.

39Nicodemus also came with about thirty kilogrammes of spices made from myrrh and aloes. This was the same Nicodemus who had visited Jesus one night. 40The two men wrapped the body in a linen cloth, together with the spices, which was how the Jewish people buried their dead. 41In the place where Jesus had been nailed to a cross, there was a garden with a tomb that had never been used. 42The tomb was nearby, and since it was the time to prepare for the Sabbath, they were in a hurry to put Jesus' body there.

Jesus is alive

1On Sunday morning while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. 2She ran to Simon Peter and to Jesus' favourite disciple and said, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb! We don't know where they have put him.”

3Peter and the other disciple set off for the tomb. 4They ran side by side, until the other disciple ran faster than Peter and got there first. 5He bent over and saw the strips of linen cloth lying inside the tomb, but he did not go in.

6When Simon Peter got there, he went into the tomb and saw the strips of cloth. 7He also saw the piece of cloth that had been used to cover Jesus' face. It was rolled up and in a place by itself. 8The disciple who got there first then went into the tomb, and when he saw it, he believed. 9At that time Peter and the other disciple did not know that the Scriptures said Jesus would rise to life. 10So the two of them went back to the other disciples.

Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene

11Mary Magdalene stood crying outside the tomb. She was still weeping, when she stooped down 12and saw two angels inside. They were dressed in white and were sitting where Jesus' body had been. One was at the head and the other was at the foot. 13The angels asked Mary, “Why are you crying?”

She answered, “They have taken away my Lord's body! I don't know where they have put him.”

14As soon as Mary said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there. But she did not know who he was. 15Jesus asked her, “Why are you crying? Who are you looking for?”

She thought he was the gardener and said, “Sir, if you have taken his body away, please tell me, so I can go and get him.”

16Then Jesus said to her, “Mary!”

She turned and said to him, “Rabboni.” The Aramaic word “Rabboni” means “Teacher”.

17Jesus told her, “Don't hold on to me! I have not yet gone to the Father. But tell my disciples that I am going to the one who is my Father and my God, as well as your Father and your God.” 18Mary Magdalene then went and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord. She also told them what he had said to her.

John 19:38-20:18CEVOpen in Bible reader
Canadian Bible Societyv.4.21.9
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