NET Bible®

Joshua 1 & 24

Judges 6-7

Ruth 1

1 Sam 3 & 16 & 24

2 sam 7 & 11-12

1 Kings 8 & 12 & 18f

2 Kings 5-5 & 17 & 25

1 Chron 29

2 Chron 20

Ezra 9

Nehemiah 1-2

Esther 3

(Joshua 1)

The Lord Commissions Joshua

1:1 After Moses the Lord’s servant died, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ assistant: 1:2 “Moses my servant is dead. Get ready! Cross the Jordan River! Lead these people into the land which I am ready to hand over to them. 1:3 I am handing over to you every place you set foot, as I promised Moses. 1:4 Your territory will extend from the wilderness in the south to Lebanon in the north. It will extend all the way to the great River Euphrates in the east (including all of Syria) and all the way to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. 1:5 No one will be able to resist you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not abandon you or leave you alone. 1:6 Be strong and brave! You must lead these people in the conquest of this land that I solemnly promised their ancestors I would hand over to them. 1:7 Make sure you are very strong and brave! Carefully obey all the law my servant Moses charged you to keep! Do not swerve from it to the right or to the left, so that you may be successful in all you do. 1:8 This law scroll must not leave your lips! You must memorize it day and night so you can carefully obey all that is written in it. Then you will prosper and be successful. 1:9 I repeat, be strong and brave! Don’t be afraid and don’t panic, for I, the Lord your God, am with you in all you do.”

Joshua Prepares for the Invasion

1:10 Joshua instructed the leaders of the people: 1:11 “Go through the camp and command the people, ‘Prepare your supplies, for within three days you will cross the Jordan River and begin the conquest of the land the Lord your God is ready to hand over to you.’”

1:12 Joshua told the Reubenites, Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh: 1:13 “Remember what Moses the Lord’s servant commanded you. The Lord your God is giving you a place to settle and is handing this land over to you. 1:14 Your wives, children and cattle may stay in the land that Moses assigned to you east of the Jordan River. But all you warriors must cross over armed for battle ahead of your brothers. You must help them 1:15 until the Lord gives your brothers a place like yours to settle and they conquer the land the Lord your God is ready to hand over to them. Then you may go back to your allotted land and occupy the land Moses the Lord’s servant assigned you east of the Jordan.”

1:16 They told Joshua, “We will do everything you say. We will go wherever you send us. 1:17 Just as we obeyed Moses, so we will obey you. But may the Lord your God be with you as he was with Moses! 1:18 Any man who rebels against what you say and does not obey all your commands will be executed. But be strong and brave!”

(Joshua 24)

Israel Renews its Commitment to the Lord

24:1 Joshua assembled all the Israelite tribes at Shechem. He summoned Israel’s elders, rulers, judges, and leaders, and they appeared before God. 24:2 Joshua told all the people, “Here is what the Lord God of Israel says: ‘In the distant past your ancestors lived beyond the Euphrates River, including Terah the father of Abraham and Nahor. They worshiped other gods, 24:3 but I took your father Abraham from beyond the Euphrates and brought him into the entire land of Canaan. I made his descendants numerous; I gave him Isaac, 24:4 and to Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau. To Esau I assigned Mount Seir, while Jacob and his sons went down to Egypt. 24:5 I sent Moses and Aaron, and I struck Egypt down when I intervened in their land. Then I brought you out. 24:6 When I brought your fathers out of Egypt, you arrived at the sea. The Egyptians chased your fathers with chariots and horsemen to the Red Sea. 24:7 Your fathers cried out for help to the Lord; he made the area between you and the Egyptians dark, and then drowned them in the sea. You witnessed with your very own eyes what I did in Egypt. You lived in the wilderness for a long time. 24:8 Then I brought you to the land of the Amorites who lived east of the Jordan. They fought with you, but I handed them over to you; you conquered their land and I destroyed them from before you. 24:9 Balak son of Zippor, king of Moab, launched an attack against Israel. He summoned Balaam son of Beor to call down judgment on you. 24:10 I refused to respond to Balaam; he kept prophesying good things about you, and I rescued you from his power. 24:11 You crossed the Jordan and came to Jericho. The leaders of Jericho, as well as the Amorites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hittites, Girgashites, Hivites, and Jebusites, fought with you, but I handed them over to you. 24:12 I sent terror ahead of you to drive out before you the two Amorite kings. I gave you the victory; it was not by your swords or bows. 24:13 I gave you a land in which you had not worked hard; you took up residence in cities you did not build and you are eating the produce of vineyards and olive groves you did not plant.’

24:14 Now obey the Lord and worship him with integrity and loyalty. Put aside the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates and in Egypt and worship the Lord. 24:15 If you have no desire to worship the Lord, choose today whom you will worship, whether it be the gods whom your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living. But I and my family will worship the Lord!”

24:16 The people responded, “Far be it from us to abandon the Lord so we can worship other gods! 24:17 For the Lord our God took us and our fathers out of slavery in the land of Egypt and performed these awesome miracles before our very eyes. He continually protected us as we traveled and when we passed through nations. 24:18 The Lord drove out from before us all the nations, including the Amorites who lived in the land. So we too will worship the Lord, for he is our God!”

24:19 Joshua warned the people, “You will not keep worshiping the Lord, for he is a holy God. He is a jealous God who will not forgive your rebellion or your sins. 24:20 If you abandon the Lord and worship foreign gods, he will turn against you; he will bring disaster on you and destroy you, though he once treated you well.”

24:21 The people said to Joshua, “No! We really will worship the Lord!” 24:22 Joshua said to the people, “Do you agree to be witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen to worship the Lord?” They replied, “We are witnesses!” 24:23 Joshua said, “Now put aside the foreign gods that are among you and submit to the Lord God of Israel.”

24:24 The people said to Joshua, “We will worship the Lord our God and obey him.”

24:25 That day Joshua drew up an agreement for the people, and he established rules and regulations for them in Shechem. 24:26 Joshua wrote these words in the Law Scroll of God. He then took a large stone and set it up there under the oak tree near the Lord’s shrine. 24:27 Joshua said to all the people, “Look, this stone will be a witness against you, for it has heard everything the Lord said to us. It will be a witness against you if you deny your God.” 24:28 When Joshua dismissed the people, they went to their allotted portions of land.

An Era Ends

24:29 After all this Joshua son of Nun, the Lord’s servant, died at the age of one hundred ten. 24:30 They buried him in his allotted territory in Timnath Serah in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash. 24:31 Israel worshiped the Lord throughout Joshua’s lifetime and as long as the elderly men who outlived him remained alive. These men had experienced firsthand everything the Lord had done for Israel.

24:32 The bones of Joseph, which the Israelites had brought up from Egypt, were buried at Shechem in the part of the field that Jacob bought from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem, for one hundred pieces of money. So it became the inheritance of the tribe of Joseph.

24:33 Eleazar son of Aaron died, and they buried him in Gibeah in the hill country of Ephraim, where his son Phinehas had been assigned land.

(Judges 6)

Oppression and Confrontation

6:1 The Israelites did evil in the Lord’s sight, so the Lord turned them over to Midian for seven years. 6:2 The Midianites overwhelmed Israel. Because of Midian the Israelites made shelters for themselves in the hills, as well as caves and strongholds. 6:3 Whenever the Israelites planted their crops, the Midianites, Amalekites, and the people from the east would attack them. 6:4 They invaded the land and devoured its crops all the way to Gaza. They left nothing for the Israelites to eat, and they took away the sheep, oxen, and donkeys. 6:5 When they invaded with their cattle and tents, they were as thick as locusts. Neither they nor their camels could be counted. They came to devour the land. 6:6 Israel was so severely weakened by Midian that the Israelites cried out to the Lord for help.

6:7 When the Israelites cried out to the Lord for help because of Midian, 6:8 he sent a prophet to the Israelites. He said to them, “This is what the Lord God of Israel says: ‘I brought you up from Egypt and took you out of that place of slavery. 6:9 I rescued you from Egypt’s power and from the power of all who oppressed you. I drove them out before you and gave their land to you. 6:10 I said to you, “I am the Lord your God! Do not worship the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are now living!” But you have disobeyed me.’”

Gideon Meets Some Visitors

6:11 The Lord’s angelic messenger came and sat down under the oak tree in Ophrah owned by Joash the Abiezrite. He arrived while Joash’s son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress so he could hide it from the Midianites. 6:12 The Lord’s messenger appeared and said to him, “The Lord is with you, courageous warrior!” 6:13 Gideon said to him, “Pardon me, but if the Lord is with us, why has such disaster overtaken us? Where are all his miraculous deeds our ancestors told us about? They said, ‘Did the Lord not bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and handed us over to Midian.” 6:14 Then the Lord himself turned to him and said, “You have the strength. Deliver Israel from the power of the Midianites! Have I not sent you?” 6:15 Gideon said to him, “But Lord, how can I deliver Israel? Just look! My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my family.” 6:16 The Lord said to him, “Ah, but I will be with you! You will strike down the whole Midianite army.” 6:17 Gideon said to him, “If you really are pleased with me, then give me a sign as proof that it is really you speaking with me. 6:18 Do not leave this place until I come back with a gift and present it to you.” The Lord said, “I will stay here until you come back.”

6:19 Gideon went and prepared a young goat, along with unleavened bread made from an ephah of flour. He put the meat in a basket and the broth in a pot. He brought the food to him under the oak tree and presented it to him. 6:20 God’s messenger said to him, “Put the meat and unleavened bread on this rock, and pour out the broth.” Gideon did as instructed. 6:21 The Lord’s messenger touched the meat and the unleavened bread with the tip of his staff. Fire flared up from the rock and consumed the meat and unleavened bread. The Lord’s messenger then disappeared.

6:22 When Gideon realized that it was the Lord’s messenger, he said, “Oh no! Master, Lord! I have seen the Lord’s messenger face to face!” 6:23 The Lord said to him, “You are safe! Do not be afraid! You are not going to die!” 6:24 Gideon built an altar for the Lord there, and named it “The Lord is on friendly terms with me.” To this day it is still there in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.

Gideon Destroys the Altar

6:25 That night the Lord said to him, “Take the bull from your father’s herd, as well as a second bull, one that is seven years old. Pull down your father’s Baal altar and cut down the nearby Asherah pole. 6:26 Then build an altar for the Lord your God on the top of this stronghold according to the proper pattern. Take the second bull and offer it as a burnt sacrifice on the wood from the Asherah pole that you cut down.” 6:27 So Gideon took ten of his servants and did just as the Lord had told him. He was too afraid of his father’s family and the men of the city to do it in broad daylight, so he waited until nighttime.

6:28 When the men of the city got up the next morning, they saw the Baal altar pulled down, the nearby Asherah pole cut down, and the second bull sacrificed on the newly built altar. 6:29 They said to one another, “Who did this?” They investigated the matter thoroughly and concluded that Gideon son of Joash had done it. 6:30 The men of the city said to Joash, “Bring out your son, so we can execute him! He pulled down the Baal altar and cut down the nearby Asherah pole.” 6:31 But Joash said to all those who confronted him, “Must you fight Baal’s battles? Must you rescue him? Whoever takes up his cause will die by morning! If he really is a god, let him fight his own battles! After all, it was his altar that was pulled down.” 6:32 That very day Gideon’s father named him Jerub-Baal, because he had said, “Let Baal fight with him, for it was his altar that was pulled down.”

Gideon Summons an Army and Seeks Confirmation

6:33 All the Midianites, Amalekites, and the people from the east assembled. They crossed the Jordan River and camped in the Jezreel Valley. 6:34 The Lord’s spirit took control of Gideon. He blew a trumpet, summoning the Abiezrites to follow him. 6:35 He sent messengers throughout Manasseh and summoned them to follow him as well. He also sent messengers throughout Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali, and they came up to meet him.

6:36 Gideon said to God, “If you really intend to use me to deliver Israel, as you promised, then give me a sign as proof. 6:37 Look, I am putting a wool fleece on the threshing floor. If there is dew only on the fleece, and the ground around it is dry, then I will be sure that you will use me to deliver Israel, as you promised.” 6:38 The Lord did as he asked. When he got up the next morning, he squeezed the fleece, and enough dew dripped from it to fill a bowl. 6:39 Gideon said to God, “Please do not get angry at me, when I ask for just one more sign. Please allow me one more test with the fleece. This time make only the fleece dry, while the ground around it is covered with dew.” 6:40 That night God did as he asked. Only the fleece was dry and the ground around it was covered with dew.

(Judges 7)

Gideon Reduces the Ranks

7:1 Jerub-Baal (that is, Gideon) and his men got up the next morning and camped near the spring of Harod. The Midianites were camped north of them near the hill of Moreh in the valley. 7:2 The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many men for me to hand Midian over to you. Israel might brag, ‘Our own strength has delivered us.’ 7:3 Now, announce to the men, ‘Whoever is shaking with fear may turn around and leave Mount Gilead.’” Twenty-two thousand men went home; ten thousand remained. 7:4 The Lord spoke to Gideon again, “There are still too many men. Bring them down to the water and I will thin the ranks some more. When I say, ‘This one should go with you,’ pick him to go; when I say, ‘This one should not go with you,’ do not take him.” 7:5 So he brought the men down to the water. Then the Lord said to Gideon, “Separate those who lap the water as a dog laps from those who kneel to drink.” 7:6 Three hundred men lapped; the rest of the men kneeled to drink water. 7:7 The Lord said to Gideon, “With the three hundred men who lapped I will deliver the whole army and I will hand Midian over to you. The rest of the men should go home.” 7:8 The men who were chosen took supplies and their trumpets. Gideon sent all the men of Israel back to their homes; he kept only three hundred men. Now the Midianites were camped down below in the valley.

Gideon Reassured of Victory

7:9 That night the Lord said to Gideon, “Get up! Attack the camp, for I am handing it over to you. 7:10 But if you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with Purah your servant 7:11 and listen to what they are saying. Then you will be brave and attack the camp.” So he went down with Purah his servant to where the sentries were guarding the camp. 7:12 Now the Midianites, Amalekites, and the people from the east covered the valley like a swarm of locusts. Their camels could not be counted; they were as innumerable as the sand on the seashore. 7:13 When Gideon arrived, he heard a man telling another man about a dream he had. The man said, “Look! I had a dream. I saw a stale cake of barley bread rolling into the Midianite camp. It hit a tent so hard it knocked it over and turned it upside down. The tent just collapsed.” 7:14 The other man said, “Without a doubt this symbolizes the sword of Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite. God is handing Midian and all the army over to him.”

Gideon Routs the Enemy

7:15 When Gideon heard the report of the dream and its interpretation, he praised God. Then he went back to the Israelite camp and said, “Get up, for the Lord is handing the Midianite army over to you!” 7:16 He divided the three hundred men into three units. He gave them all trumpets and empty jars with torches inside them. 7:17 He said to them, “Watch me and do as I do. Watch closely! I am going to the edge of the camp. Do as I do! 7:18 When I and all who are with me blow our trumpets, you also blow your trumpets all around the camp. Then say, ‘For the Lord and for Gideon!’”

7:19 Gideon took a hundred men to the edge of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, just after they had changed the guards. They blew their trumpets and broke the jars they were carrying. 7:20 All three units blew their trumpets and broke their jars. They held the torches in their left hand and the trumpets in their right. Then they yelled, “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!” 7:21 They stood in order all around the camp. The whole army ran away; they shouted as they scrambled away. 7:22 When the three hundred men blew their trumpets, the Lord caused the Midianites to attack one another with their swords throughout the camp. The army fled to Beth Shittah on the way to Zererah. They went to the border of Abel Meholah near Tabbath. 7:23 Israelites from Naphtali, Asher, and Manasseh answered the call and chased the Midianites.

Gideon Appeases the Ephraimites

7:24 Now Gideon sent messengers throughout the Ephraimite hill country who announced, “Go down and head off the Midianites. Take control of the fords of the streams all the way to Beth Barah and the Jordan River.” When all the Ephraimites had assembled, they took control of the fords all the way to Beth Barah and the Jordan River. 7:25 They captured the two Midianite generals, Oreb and Zeeb. They executed Oreb on the rock of Oreb and Zeeb in the winepress of Zeeb. They chased the Midianites and brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon, who was now on the other side of the Jordan River.

(Ruth 1)

A Family Tragedy: Famine and Death

1:1 During the time of the judges there was a famine in the land of Judah. So a man from Bethlehem in Judah went to live as a resident foreigner in the region of Moab, along with his wife and two sons. 1:2 (Now the man’s name was Elimelech, his wife was Naomi, and his two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were of the clan of Ephrath from Bethlehem in Judah.) They entered the region of Moab and settled there. 1:3 Sometime later Naomi’s husband Elimelech died, so she and her two sons were left alone. 1:4 So her sons married Moabite women. (One was named Orpah and the other Ruth.) And they continued to live there about ten years. 1:5 Then Naomi’s two sons, Mahlon and Kilion, also died. So the woman was left all alone – bereaved of her two children as well as her husband! 1:6 So she decided to return home from the region of Moab, accompanied by her daughters-in-law, because while she was living in Moab she had heard that the Lord had shown concern for his people, reversing the famine by providing abundant crops.

Ruth Returns with Naomi

1:7 Now as she and her two daughters-in-law began to leave the place where she had been living to return to the land of Judah, 1:8 Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Listen to me! Each of you should return to your mother’s home! May the Lord show you the same kind of devotion that you have shown to your deceased husbands and to me! 1:9 May the Lord enable each of you to find security in the home of a new husband!” Then she kissed them goodbye and they wept loudly. 1:10 But they said to her, “No! We will return with you to your people.”

1:11 But Naomi replied, “Go back home, my daughters! There is no reason for you to return to Judah with me! I am no longer capable of giving birth to sons who might become your husbands! 1:12 Go back home, my daughters! For I am too old to get married again. Even if I thought that there was hope that I could get married tonight and conceive sons, 1:13 surely you would not want to wait until they were old enough to marry! Surely you would not remain unmarried all that time! No, my daughters, you must not return with me. For my intense suffering is too much for you to bear. For the Lord is afflicting me!”

1:14 Again they wept loudly. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye, but Ruth clung tightly to her. 1:15 So Naomi said, “Look, your sister-in-law is returning to her people and to her god. Follow your sister-in-law back home!” 1:16 But Ruth replied,

“Stop urging me to abandon you!

For wherever you go, I will go.

Wherever you live, I will live.

Your people will become my people,

and your God will become my God.

1:17 Wherever you die, I will die – and there I will be buried.

May the Lord punish me severely if I do not keep my promise!

Only death will be able to separate me from you!”

1:18 When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped trying to dissuade her. 1:19 So the two of them journeyed together until they arrived in Bethlehem.

Naomi and Ruth Arrive in Bethlehem

When they entered Bethlehem, the whole village was excited about their arrival. The women of the village said, “Can this be Naomi?” 1:20 But she replied to them, “Don’t call me ‘Naomi’! Call me ‘Mara’ because the Sovereign One has treated me very harshly. 1:21 I left here full, but the Lord has caused me to return empty-handed. Why do you call me ‘Naomi,’ seeing that the Lord has opposed me, and the Sovereign One has caused me to suffer?” 1:22 So Naomi returned, accompanied by her Moabite daughter-in-law Ruth, who came back with her from the region of Moab. (Now they arrived in Bethlehem at the beginning of the barley harvest.)

(1 Samuel 3)

The Call of Samuel

3:1 Now the boy Samuel continued serving the Lord under Eli’s supervision. Word from the Lord was rare in those days; revelatory visions were infrequent.

3:2 Eli’s eyes had begun to fail, so that he was unable to see well. At that time he was lying down in his place, 3:3 and the lamp of God had not yet been extinguished. Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord as well; the ark of God was also there. 3:4 The Lord called to Samuel, and he replied, “Here I am!” 3:5 Then he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But Eli said, “I didn’t call you. Go back and lie down.” So he went back and lay down. 3:6 The Lord again called, “Samuel!” So Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But Eli said, “I didn’t call you, my son. Go back and lie down.”

3:7 Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord; the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. 3:8 Then the Lord called Samuel a third time. So he got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me!” Eli then realized that it was the Lord who was calling the boy. 3:9 So Eli said to Samuel, “Go back and lie down. When he calls you, say, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” So Samuel went back and lay down in his place.

3:10 Then the Lord came and stood nearby, calling as he had previously done, “Samuel! Samuel!” Samuel replied, “Speak, for your servant is listening!” 3:11 The Lord said to Samuel, “Look! I am about to do something in Israel; when anyone hears about it, both of his ears will tingle. 3:12 On that day I will carry out against Eli everything that I spoke about his house – from start to finish! 3:13 You should tell him that I am about to judge his house forever because of the sin that he knew about. For his sons were cursing God, and he did not rebuke them. 3:14 Therefore I swore an oath to the house of Eli, ‘The sin of the house of Eli can never be forgiven by sacrifice or by grain offering.’”

3:15 So Samuel lay down until morning. Then he opened the doors of the Lord’s house. But Samuel was afraid to tell Eli about the vision. 3:16 However, Eli called Samuel and said, “Samuel, my son!” He replied, “Here I am.” 3:17 Eli said, “What message did he speak to you? Don’t conceal it from me. God will judge you severely if you conceal from me anything that he said to you!”

3:18 So Samuel told him everything. He did not hold back anything from him. Eli said, “The Lord will do what he pleases.” 3:19 Samuel continued to grow, and the Lord was with him. None of his prophecies fell to the ground unfulfilled. 3:20 All Israel from Dan to Beer Sheba realized that Samuel was confirmed as a prophet of the Lord. 3:21 Then the Lord again appeared in Shiloh, for it was in Shiloh that the Lord had revealed himself to Samuel through the word of the Lord.  

(1 Samuel 16)

Samuel Anoints David as King

16:1 The Lord said to Samuel, “How long do you intend to mourn for Saul? I have rejected him as king over Israel. Fill your horn with olive oil and go! I am sending you to Jesse in Bethlehem, for I have selected a king for myself from among his sons.”

16:2 Samuel replied, “How can I go? Saul will hear about it and kill me!” But the Lord said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ 16:3 Then invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you should do. You will anoint for me the one I point out to you.”

16:4 Samuel did what the Lord told him. When he arrived in Bethlehem, the elders of the city were afraid to meet him. They said, “Do you come in peace?” 16:5 He replied, “Yes, in peace. I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.” So he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.

16:6 When they arrived, Samuel noticed Eliab and said to himself, “Surely, here before the Lord stands his chosen king!” 16:7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t be impressed by his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. God does not view things the way men do. People look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

16:8 Then Jesse called Abinadab and presented him to Samuel. But Samuel said, “The Lord has not chosen this one, either.” 16:9 Then Jesse presented Shammah. But Samuel said, “The Lord has not chosen this one either.” 16:10 Jesse presented seven of his sons to Samuel. But Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen any of these.” 16:11 Then Samuel said to Jesse, “Is that all of the young men?” Jesse replied, “There is still the youngest one, but he’s taking care of the flock.” Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and get him, for we cannot turn our attention to other things until he comes here.”

16:12 So Jesse had him brought in. Now he was ruddy, with attractive eyes and a handsome appearance. The Lord said, “Go and anoint him. This is the one!” 16:13 So Samuel took the horn full of olive oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers. The Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David from that day onward. Then Samuel got up and went to Ramah.

David Appears before Saul

16:14 Now the Spirit of the Lord had turned away from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord tormented him. 16:15 Then Saul’s servants said to him, “Look, an evil spirit from God is tormenting you!” 16:16 Let our lord instruct his servants who are here before you to look for a man who knows how to play the lyre. Then whenever the evil spirit from God comes upon you, he can play the lyre and you will feel better.” 16:17 So Saul said to his servants, “Find me a man who plays well and bring him to me.” 16:18 One of his attendants replied, “I have seen a son of Jesse in Bethlehem who knows how to play the lyre. He is a brave warrior and is articulate and handsome, for the Lord is with him.”

16:19 So Saul sent messengers to Jesse and said, “Send me your son David, who is out with the sheep. 16:20 So Jesse took a donkey loaded with bread, a container of wine, and a young goat and sent them to Saul with his son David. 16:21 David came to Saul and stood before him. Saul liked him a great deal, and he became his armor bearer. 16:22 Then Saul sent word to Jesse saying, “Let David be my servant, for I really like him.”

16:23 So whenever the spirit from God would come upon Saul, David would take his lyre and play it. This would bring relief to Saul and make him feel better. Then the evil spirit would leave him alone.

(1 Samuel 24)

David Spares Saul’s Life

24:1 When Saul returned from pursuing the Philistines, they told him, “Look, David is in the desert of En Gedi.” 24:2 So Saul took three thousand select men from all Israel and went to find David and his men in the region of the rocks of the mountain goats. 24:3 He came to the sheepfolds by the road, where there was a cave. Saul went into it to relieve himself.

Now David and his men were sitting in the recesses of the cave. 24:4 David’s men said to him, “This is the day about which the Lord said to you, ‘I will give your enemy into your hand, and you can do to him whatever seems appropriate to you.’” So David got up and quietly cut off an edge of Saul’s robe. 24:5 Afterward David’s conscience bothered him because he had cut off an edge of Saul’s robe. 24:6 He said to his men, “May the Lord keep me far away from doing such a thing to my lord, who is the Lord’s chosen one, by extending my hand against him. After all, he is the Lord’s chosen one.” 24:7 David restrained his men with these words and did not allow them to rise up against Saul. Then Saul left the cave and started down the road.

24:8 Afterward David got up and went out of the cave. He called out after Saul, “My lord, O king!” When Saul looked behind him, David kneeled down and bowed with his face to the ground. 24:9 David said to Saul, “Why do you pay attention when men say, ‘David is seeking to do you harm’? 24:10 Today your own eyes see how the Lord delivered you – this very day – into my hands in the cave. Some told me to kill you, but I had pity on you and said, ‘I will not extend my hand against my lord, for he is the Lord’s chosen one.’ 24:11 Look, my father, and see the edge of your robe in my hand! When I cut off the edge of your robe, I didn’t kill you. So realize and understand that I am not planning evil or rebellion. Even though I have not sinned against you, you are waiting in ambush to take my life. 24:12 May the Lord judge between the two of us, and may the Lord vindicate me over you, but my hand will not be against you. 24:13 It’s like the old proverb says: ‘From evil people evil proceeds.’ But my hand will not be against you. 24:14 Who has the king of Israel come out after? Who is it that you are pursuing? A dead dog? A single flea? 24:15 May the Lord be our judge and arbiter. May he see and arbitrate my case and deliver me from your hands!”

24:16 When David finished speaking these words to Saul, Saul said, “Is that your voice, my son David?” Then Saul wept loudly. 24:17 He said to David, “You are more innocent than I, for you have treated me well, even though I have tried to harm you! 24:18 You have explained today how you have treated me well. The Lord delivered me into your hand, but you did not kill me. 24:19 Now if a man finds his enemy, does he send him on his way in good shape? May the Lord repay you with good this day for what you have done to me. 24:20 Now look, I realize that you will in fact be king and that the kingdom of Israel will be established in your hand. 24:21 So now swear to me in the Lord’s name that you will not kill my descendants after me or destroy my name from the house of my father.”

24:22 David promised Saul this on oath. Then Saul went to his house, and David and his men went up to the stronghold.

(2 Samuel 7)

The Lord Establishes a Covenant with David

7:1 The king settled into his palace, for the Lord gave him relief from all his enemies on all sides. 7:2 The king said to Nathan the prophet, “Look! I am living in a palace made from cedar, while the ark of God sits in the middle of a tent.” 7:3 Nathan replied to the king, “You should go and do whatever you have in mind, for the Lord is with you.” 7:4 That night the Lord told Nathan, 7:5 “Go, tell my servant David: ‘This is what the Lord says: Do you really intend to build a house for me to live in? 7:6 I have not lived in a house from the time I brought the Israelites up from Egypt to the present day. Instead, I was traveling with them and living in a tent. 7:7 Wherever I moved among all the Israelites, I did not say to any of the leaders whom I appointed to care for my people Israel, “Why have you not built me a house made from cedar?”’

7:8 “So now, say this to my servant David: ‘This is what the Lord of hosts says: I took you from the pasture and from your work as a shepherd to make you leader of my people Israel. 7:9 I was with you wherever you went, and I defeated all your enemies before you. Now I will make you as famous as the great men of the earth. 7:10 I will establish a place for my people Israel and settle them there; they will live there and not be disturbed any more. Violent men will not oppress them again, as they did in the beginning 7:11 and during the time when I appointed judges to lead my people Israel. Instead, I will give you relief from all your enemies. The Lord declares to you that he himself will build a dynastic house for you. 7:12 When the time comes for you to die, I will raise up your descendant, one of your own sons, to succeed you, and I will establish his kingdom. 7:13 He will build a house for my name, and I will make his dynasty permanent. 7:14 I will become his father and he will become my son. When he sins, I will correct him with the rod of men and with wounds inflicted by human beings. 7:15 But my loyal love will not be removed from him as I removed it from Saul, whom I removed from before you. 7:16 Your house and your kingdom will stand before me permanently; your dynasty will be permanent.’” 7:17 Nathan told David all these words that were revealed to him.

David Offers a Prayer to God

7:18 King David went in, sat before the Lord, and said, “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my family, that you should have brought me to this point? 7:19 And you didn’t stop there, O Lord God! You have also spoken about the future of your servant’s family. Is this your usual way of dealing with men, O Lord God? 7:20 What more can David say to you? You have given your servant special recognition, O Lord God! 7:21 For the sake of your promise and according to your purpose you have done this great thing in order to reveal it to your servant. 7:22 Therefore you are great, O Lord God, for there is none like you! There is no God besides you! What we have heard is true! 7:23 Who is like your people, Israel, a unique nation on the earth? Their God went to claim a nation for himself and to make a name for himself! You did great and awesome acts for your land, before your people whom you delivered for yourself from the Egyptian empire and its gods. 7:24 You made Israel your very own people for all time. You, O Lord, became their God. 7:25 So now, O Lord God, make this promise you have made about your servant and his family a permanent reality. Do as you promised, 7:26 so you may gain lasting fame, as people say, ‘The Lord of hosts is God over Israel!’ The dynasty of your servant David will be established before you, 7:27 for you, O Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, have told your servant, ‘I will build you a dynastic house.’ That is why your servant has had the courage to pray this prayer to you. 7:28 Now, O sovereign Lord, you are the true God! May your words prove to be true! You have made this good promise to your servant! 7:29 Now be willing to bless your servant’s dynasty so that it may stand permanently before you, for you, O sovereign Lord, have spoken. By your blessing may your servant’s dynasty be blessed on into the future!”

(2 Samuel 11)

David Commits Adultery with Bathsheba

11:1 In the spring of the year, at the time when kings normally conduct wars, David sent out Joab with his officers and the entire Israelite army. They defeated the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David stayed behind in Jerusalem. 11:2 One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of his palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. Now this woman was very attractive. 11:3 So David sent someone to inquire about the woman. The messenger said, “Isn’t this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?”

11:4 David sent some messengers to get her. She came to him and he had sexual relations with her. (Now at that time she was in the process of purifying herself from her menstrual uncleanness.) Then she returned to her home. 11:5 The woman conceived and then sent word to David saying, “I’m pregnant.”

11:6 So David sent a message to Joab that said, “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” So Joab sent Uriah to David. 11:7 When Uriah came to him, David asked about how Joab and the army were doing and how the campaign was going. 11:8 Then David said to Uriah, “Go down to your home and relax.” When Uriah left the palace, the king sent a gift to him. 11:9 But Uriah stayed at the door of the palace with all the servants of his lord. He did not go down to his house.

11:10 So they informed David, “Uriah has not gone down to his house.” So David said to Uriah, “Haven’t you just arrived from a journey? Why haven’t you gone down to your house?” 11:11 Uriah replied to David, “The ark and Israel and Judah reside in temporary shelters, and my lord Joab and my lord’s soldiers are camping in the open field. Should I go to my house to eat and drink and have marital relations with my wife? As surely as you are alive, I will not do this thing!” 11:12 So David said to Uriah, “Stay here another day. Tomorrow I will send you back.” So Uriah stayed in Jerusalem both that day and the following one. 11:13 Then David summoned him. He ate and drank with him, and got him drunk. But in the evening he went out to sleep on his bed with the servants of his lord; he did not go down to his own house.

11:14 In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah. 11:15 In the letter he wrote: “Station Uriah in the thick of the battle and then withdraw from him so he will be cut down and killed.”

11:16 So as Joab kept watch on the city, he stationed Uriah at the place where he knew the best enemy soldiers were. 11:17 When the men of the city came out and fought with Joab, some of David’s soldiers fell in battle. Uriah the Hittite also died.

11:18 Then Joab sent a full battle report to David. 11:19 He instructed the messenger as follows: “When you finish giving the battle report to the king, 11:20 if the king becomes angry and asks you, ‘Why did you go so close to the city to fight? Didn’t you realize they would shoot from the wall? 11:21 Who struck down Abimelech the son of Jerub-Besheth? Didn’t a woman throw an upper millstone down on him from the wall so that he died in Thebez? Why did you go so close to the wall?’ just say to him, ‘Your servant Uriah the Hittite is also dead.’”

11:22 So the messenger departed. When he arrived, he informed David of all the news that Joab had sent with him. 11:23 The messenger said to David, “The men overpowered us and attacked us in the field. But we forced them to retreat all the way to the door of the city gate. 11:24 Then the archers shot at your servants from the wall and some of the king’s soldiers died. Your servant Uriah the Hittite is also dead.” 11:25 David said to the messenger, “Tell Joab, ‘Don’t let this thing upset you. There is no way to anticipate whom the sword will cut down. Press the battle against the city and conquer it.’ Encourage him with these words.”

11:26 When Uriah’s wife heard that her husband Uriah was dead, she mourned for him. 11:27 When the time of mourning passed, David had her brought to his palace. She became his wife and she bore him a son. But what David had done upset the Lord.

(2 Samuel 12)

Nathan the Prophet Confronts David

12:1 So the Lord sent Nathan to David. When he came to David, Nathan said, “There were two men in a certain city, one rich and the other poor. 12:2 The rich man had a great many flocks and herds. 12:3 But the poor man had nothing except for a little lamb he had acquired. He raised it, and it grew up alongside him and his children. It used to eat his food, drink from his cup, and sleep in his arms. It was just like a daughter to him.

12:4 “When a traveler arrived at the rich man’s home, he did not want to use one of his own sheep or cattle to feed the traveler who had come to visit him. Instead, he took the poor man’s lamb and cooked it for the man who had come to visit him.”

12:5 Then David became very angry at this man. He said to Nathan, “As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this deserves to die! 12:6 Because he committed this cold-hearted crime, he must pay for the lamb four times over!”

12:7 Nathan said to David, “You are that man! This is what the Lord God of Israel says: ‘I chose you to be king over Israel and I rescued you from the hand of Saul. 12:8 I gave you your master’s house, and put your master’s wives into your arms. I also gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if all that somehow seems insignificant, I would have given you so much more as well! 12:9 Why have you shown contempt for the word of the Lord by doing evil in my sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and you have taken his wife as your own! You have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. 12:10 So now the sword will never depart from your house. For you have despised me by taking the wife of Uriah the Hittite as your own!’ 12:11 This is what the Lord says: ‘I am about to bring disaster on you from inside your own household! Right before your eyes I will take your wives and hand them over to your companion. He will have sexual relations with your wives in broad daylight! 12:12 Although you have acted in secret, I will do this thing before all Israel, and in broad daylight.’”

12:13 Then David exclaimed to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord!” Nathan replied to David, “Yes, and the Lord has forgiven your sin. You are not going to die. 12:14 Nonetheless, because you have treated the Lord with such contempt in this matter, the son who has been born to you will certainly die.”

12:15 Then Nathan went to his home. The Lord struck the child that Uriah’s wife had borne to David, and the child became very ill. 12:16 Then David prayed to God for the child and fasted. He would even go and spend the night lying on the ground. 12:17 The elders of his house stood over him and tried to lift him from the ground, but he was unwilling, and refused to eat food with them.

12:18 On the seventh day the child died. But the servants of David were afraid to inform him that the child had died, for they said, “While the child was still alive he would not listen to us when we spoke to him. How can we tell him that the child is dead? He will do himself harm!”

12:19 When David saw that his servants were whispering to one another, he realized that the child was dead. So David asked his servants, “Is the child dead?” They replied, “Yes, he’s dead.” 12:20 So David got up from the ground, bathed, put on oil, and changed his clothes. He went to the house of the Lord and worshiped. Then, when he entered his palace, he requested that food be brought to him, and he ate.

12:21 His servants said to him, “What is this that you have done? While the child was still alive, you fasted and wept. Once the child was dead you got up and ate food!” 12:22 He replied, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept because I thought, ‘Perhaps the Lord will show pity and the child will live. 12:23 But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Am I able to bring him back? I will go to him, but he cannot return to me!’”

12:24 So David comforted his wife Bathsheba. He went to her and had marital relations with her. She gave birth to a son, and David named him Solomon. Now the Lord loved the child 12:25 and sent word through Nathan the prophet that he should be named Jedidiah for the Lord’s sake.

12:26 David’s Forces Defeat the Ammonites

So Joab fought against Rabbah of the Ammonites and captured the royal city. 12:27 Joab then sent messengers to David, saying, “I have fought against Rabbah and have captured the water supply of the city. 12:28 So now assemble the rest of the army and besiege the city and capture it. Otherwise I will capture the city and it will be named for me.”

12:29 So David assembled all the army and went to Rabbah and fought against it and captured it. 12:30 He took the crown of their king from his head – it was gold, weighed about seventy-five pounds, and held a precious stone – and it was placed on David’s head. He also took from the city a great deal of plunder. 12:31 He removed the people who were in it and made them do hard labor with saws, iron picks, and iron axes, putting them to work at the brick kiln. This was his policy with all the Ammonite cities. Then David and all the army returned to Jerusalem.

 

Bible Text (1 Kings 8)

8:1 Solomon Moves the Ark into the Temple

Then Solomon convened in Jerusalem Israel’s elders, all the leaders of the Israelite tribes and families, so they could witness the transferal of the ark of the Lord’s covenant from the city of David (that is, Zion). 8:2 All the men of Israel assembled before King Solomon during the festival in the month Ethanim (the seventh month). 8:3 When all Israel’s elders had arrived, the priests lifted the ark. 8:4 The priests and Levites carried the ark of the Lord, the tent of meeting, and all the holy items in the tent. 8:5 Now King Solomon and all the Israelites who had assembled with him went on ahead of the ark and sacrificed more sheep and cattle than could be counted or numbered.

8:6 The priests brought the ark of the Lord’s covenant to its assigned place in the inner sanctuary of the temple, in the most holy place, under the wings of the cherubs. 8:7 The cherubs’ wings extended over the place where the ark sat; the cherubs overshadowed the ark and its poles. 8:8 The poles were so long their ends were visible from the holy place in front of the inner sanctuary, but they could not be seen from beyond that point. They have remained there to this very day. 8:9 There was nothing in the ark except the two stone tablets Moses had placed there in Horeb. It was there that the Lord made an agreement with the Israelites after he brought them out of the land of Egypt. 8:10 Once the priests left the holy place, a cloud filled the Lord’s temple. 8:11 The priests could not carry out their duties because of the cloud; the Lord’s glory filled his temple.

8:12 Then Solomon said, “The Lord has said that he lives in thick darkness. 8:13 O Lord, truly I have built a lofty temple for you, a place where you can live permanently.” 8:14 Then the king turned around and pronounced a blessing over the whole Israelite assembly as they stood there. 8:15 He said, “The Lord God of Israel is worthy of praise because he has fulfilled what he promised my father David. 8:16 He told David, ‘Since the day I brought my people Israel out of Egypt, I have not chosen a city from all the tribes of Israel to build a temple in which to live. But I have chosen David to lead my people Israel.’ 8:17 Now my father David had a strong desire to build a temple to honor the Lord God of Israel. 8:18 The Lord told my father David, ‘It is right for you to have a strong desire to build a temple to honor me. 8:19 But you will not build the temple; your very own son will build the temple for my honor.’ 8:20 The Lord has kept the promise he made. I have taken my father David’s place and have occupied the throne of Israel, as the Lord promised. I have built this temple for the honor of the Lord God of Israel 8:21 and set up in it a place for the ark containing the covenant the Lord made with our ancestors when he brought them out of the land of Egypt.”

Solomon Prays for Israel

8:22 Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in front of the entire assembly of Israel and spread out his hands toward the sky. 8:23 He prayed: “O Lord, God of Israel, there is no god like you in heaven above or on earth below! You maintain covenantal loyalty to your servants who obey you with sincerity. 8:24 You have kept your word to your servant, my father David; this very day you have fulfilled what you promised. 8:25 Now, O Lord, God of Israel, keep the promise you made to your servant, my father David, when you said, ‘You will never fail to have a successor ruling before me on the throne of Israel, provided that your descendants watch their step and serve me as you have done.’ 8:26 Now, O God of Israel, may the promise you made to your servant, my father David, be realized.

8:27 “God does not really live on the earth! Look, if the sky and the highest heaven cannot contain you, how much less this temple I have built! 8:28 But respond favorably to your servant’s prayer and his request for help, O Lord my God. Answer the desperate prayer your servant is presenting to you today. 8:29 Night and day may you watch over this temple, the place where you promised you would live. May you answer your servant’s prayer for this place. 8:30 Respond to the request of your servant and your people Israel for this place. Hear from inside your heavenly dwelling place and respond favorably.

8:31 “When someone is accused of sinning against his neighbor and the latter pronounces a curse on the alleged offender before your altar in this temple, be willing to forgive the accused if the accusation is false. 8:32 Listen from heaven and make a just decision about your servants’ claims. Condemn the guilty party, declare the other innocent, and give both of them what they deserve.

8:33 “The time will come when your people Israel are defeated by an enemy because they sinned against you. If they come back to you, renew their allegiance to you, and pray for your help in this temple, 8:34 then listen from heaven, forgive the sin of your people Israel, and bring them back to the land you gave to their ancestors.

8:35 “The time will come when the skies are shut up tightly and no rain falls because your people sinned against you. When they direct their prayers toward this place, renew their allegiance to you, and turn away from their sin because you punish them, 8:36 then listen from heaven and forgive the sin of your servants, your people Israel. Certainly you will then teach them the right way to live and send rain on your land that you have given your people to possess.

8:37 “The time will come when the land suffers from a famine, a plague, blight and disease, or a locust invasion, or when their enemy lays siege to the cities of the land, or when some other type of plague or epidemic occurs. 8:38 When all your people Israel pray and ask for help, as they acknowledge their pain and spread out their hands toward this temple, 8:39 then listen from your heavenly dwelling place, forgive their sin, and act favorably toward each one based on your evaluation of his motives. (Indeed you are the only one who can correctly evaluate the motives of all people.) 8:40 Then they will obey you throughout their lifetimes as they live on the land you gave to our ancestors.

8:41 “Foreigners, who do not belong to your people Israel, will come from a distant land because of your reputation. 8:42 When they hear about your great reputation and your ability to accomplish mighty deeds, they will come and direct their prayers toward this temple. 8:43 Then listen from your heavenly dwelling place and answer all the prayers of the foreigners. Then all the nations of the earth will acknowledge your reputation, obey you like your people Israel do, and recognize that this temple I built belongs to you.

8:44 “When you direct your people to march out and fight their enemies, and they direct their prayers to the Lord toward his chosen city and this temple I built for your honor, 8:45 then listen from heaven to their prayers for help and vindicate them.

8:46 “The time will come when your people will sin against you (for there is no one who is sinless!) and you will be angry with them and deliver them over to their enemies, who will take them as prisoners to their own land, whether far away or close by. 8:47 When your people come to their senses in the land where they are held prisoner, they will repent and beg for your mercy in the land of their imprisonment, admitting, ‘We have sinned and gone astray; we have done evil.’ 8:48 When they return to you with all their heart and being in the land where they are held prisoner, and direct their prayers to you toward the land you gave to their ancestors, your chosen city, and the temple I built for your honor, 8:49 then listen from your heavenly dwelling place to their prayers for help and vindicate them. 8:50 Forgive all the rebellious acts of your sinful people and cause their captors to have mercy on them. 8:51 After all, they are your people and your special possession whom you brought out of Egypt, from the middle of the iron-smelting furnace.

8:52 “May you be attentive to your servant’s and your people Israel’s requests for help and may you respond to all their prayers to you. 8:53 After all, you picked them out of all the nations of the earth to be your special possession, just as you, O sovereign Lord, announced through your servant Moses when you brought our ancestors out of Egypt.”

8:54 When Solomon finished presenting all these prayers and requests to the Lord, he got up from before the altar of the Lord where he had kneeled and spread out his hands toward the sky. 8:55 When he stood up, he pronounced a blessing over the entire assembly of Israel, saying in a loud voice: 8:56 “The Lord is worthy of praise because he has made Israel his people secure just as he promised! Not one of all the faithful promises he made through his servant Moses is left unfulfilled! 8:57 May the Lord our God be with us, as he was with our ancestors. May he not abandon us or leave us. 8:58 May he make us submissive, so we can follow all his instructions and obey the commandments, rules, and regulations he commanded our ancestors. 8:59 May the Lord our God be constantly aware of these requests of mine I have presented to him, so that he might vindicate his servant and his people Israel as the need arises. 8:60 Then all the nations of the earth will recognize that the Lord is the only genuine God. 8:61 May you demonstrate wholehearted devotion to the Lord our God by following his rules and obeying his commandments, as you are presently doing.”

Solomon Dedicates the Temple

8:62 The king and all Israel with him were presenting sacrifices to the Lord. 8:63 Solomon offered as peace offerings to the Lord 22,000 cattle and 120,000 sheep. Then the king and all the Israelites dedicated the Lord’s temple. 8:64 That day the king consecrated the middle of the courtyard that is in front of the Lord’s temple. He offered there burnt sacrifices, grain offerings, and the fat from the peace offerings, because the bronze altar that stood before the Lord was too small to hold all these offerings. 8:65 At that time Solomon and all Israel with him celebrated a festival before the Lord our God for two entire weeks. This great assembly included people from all over the land, from Lebo Hamath in the north to the Brook of Egypt in the south. 8:66 On the fifteenth day after the festival started, he dismissed the people. They asked God to empower the king and then went to their homes, happy and content because of all the good the Lord had done for his servant David and his people Israel.

(1 Kings 12)

Rehoboam Loses His Kingdom

12:1 Rehoboam traveled to Shechem, for all Israel had gathered in Shechem to make Rehoboam king. 12:2 When Jeroboam son of Nebat heard the news, he was still in Egypt, where he had fled from King Solomon and had been living ever since. 12:3 They sent for him, and Jeroboam and the whole Israelite assembly came and spoke to Rehoboam, saying, 12:4 “Your father made us work too hard. Now if you lighten the demands he made and don’t make us work as hard, we will serve you.” 12:5 He said to them, “Go away for three days, then return to me.” So the people went away.

12:6 King Rehoboam consulted with the older advisers who had served his father Solomon when he had been alive. He asked them, “How do you advise me to answer these people?” 12:7 They said to him, “Today if you show a willingness to help these people and grant their request, they will be your servants from this time forward.” 12:8 But Rehoboam rejected their advice and consulted the young advisers who served him, with whom he had grown up. 12:9 He asked them, “How do you advise me to respond to these people who said to me, ‘Lessen the demands your father placed on us’?” 12:10 The young advisers with whom Rehoboam had grown up said to him, “Say this to these people who have said to you, ‘Your father made us work hard, but now lighten our burden.’ Say this to them: ‘I am a lot harsher than my father! 12:11 My father imposed heavy demands on you; I will make them even heavier. My father punished you with ordinary whips; I will punish you with whips that really sting your flesh.’”

12:12 Jeroboam and all the people reported to Rehoboam on the third day, just as the king had ordered when he said, “Return to me on the third day.” 12:13 The king responded to the people harshly. He rejected the advice of the older men 12:14 and followed the advice of the younger ones. He said, “My father imposed heavy demands on you; I will make them even heavier. My father punished you with ordinary whips; I will punish you with whips that really sting your flesh.” 12:15 The king refused to listen to the people, because the Lord was instigating this turn of events so that he might bring to pass the prophetic announcement he had made through Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam son of Nebat.

12:16 When all Israel saw that the king refused to listen to them, the people answered the king, “We have no portion in David, no share in the son of Jesse! Return to your homes, O Israel! Now, look after your own dynasty, O David!” So Israel returned to their homes. 12:17 (Rehoboam continued to rule over the Israelites who lived in the cities of Judah.) 12:18 King Rehoboam sent Adoniram, the supervisor of the work crews, out after them, but all Israel stoned him to death. King Rehoboam managed to jump into his chariot and escape to Jerusalem. 12:19 So Israel has been in rebellion against the Davidic dynasty to this very day. 12:20 When all Israel heard that Jeroboam had returned, they summoned him to the assembly and made him king over all Israel. No one except the tribe of Judah remained loyal to the Davidic dynasty.

12:21 When Rehoboam arrived in Jerusalem, he summoned 180,000 skilled warriors from all of Judah and the tribe of Benjamin to attack Israel and restore the kingdom to Rehoboam son of Solomon. 12:22 But God told Shemaiah the prophet, 12:23 “Say this to King Rehoboam son of Solomon of Judah, and to all Judah and Benjamin, as well as the rest of the people, 12:24 ‘The Lord says this: “Do not attack and make war with your brothers, the Israelites. Each of you go home, for I have caused this to happen.”’” They obeyed the Lord and went home as the Lord had ordered them to do.

12:25 Jeroboam Makes Golden Calves

Jeroboam built up Shechem in the Ephraimite hill country and lived there. From there he went out and built up Penuel. 12:26 Jeroboam then thought to himself: “Now the Davidic dynasty could regain the kingdom. 12:27 If these people go up to offer sacrifices in the Lord’s temple in Jerusalem, their loyalty could shift to their former master, King Rehoboam of Judah. They might kill me and return to King Rehoboam of Judah.” 12:28 After the king had consulted with his advisers, he made two golden calves. Then he said to the people, “It is too much trouble for you to go up to Jerusalem. Look, Israel, here are your gods who brought you up from the land of Egypt.” 12:29 He put one in Bethel and the other in Dan. 12:30 This caused Israel to sin; the people went to Bethel and Dan to worship the calves.

12:31 He built temples on the high places and appointed as priests people who were not Levites. 12:32 Jeroboam inaugurated a festival on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, like the festival celebrated in Judah. On the altar in Bethel he offered sacrifices to the calves he had made. In Bethel he also appointed priests for the high places he had made.

A Prophet from Judah Visits Bethel

12:33 On the fifteenth day of the eighth month (a date he had arbitrarily chosen) Jeroboam offered sacrifices on the altar he had made in Bethel. He inaugurated a festival for the Israelites and went up to the altar to offer sacrifices.  

(1 Kings 18)

Elijah Meets the King’s Servant

18:1 Some time later, in the third year of the famine, the Lord told Elijah, “Go, make an appearance before Ahab, so I may send rain on the surface of the ground.” 18:2 So Elijah went to make an appearance before Ahab.

Now the famine was severe in Samaria. 18:3 So Ahab summoned Obadiah, who supervised the palace. (Now Obadiah was a very loyal follower of the Lord. 18:4 When Jezebel was killing the Lord’s prophets, Obadiah took one hundred prophets and hid them in two caves in two groups of fifty. He also brought them food and water.) 18:5 Ahab told Obadiah, “Go through the land to all the springs and valleys. Maybe we can find some grazing areas so we can keep the horses and mules alive and not have to kill some of the animals.” 18:6 They divided up the land between them; Ahab went one way and Obadiah went the other.

18:7 As Obadiah was traveling along, Elijah met him. When he recognized him, he fell facedown to the ground and said, “Is it really you, my master, Elijah?” 18:8 He replied, “Yes, go and say to your master, ‘Elijah is back.’” 18:9 Obadiah said, “What sin have I committed that you are ready to hand your servant over to Ahab for execution? 18:10 As certainly as the Lord your God lives, my master has sent to every nation and kingdom in an effort to find you. When they say, ‘He’s not here,’ he makes them swear an oath that they could not find you. 18:11 Now you say, ‘Go and say to your master, “Elijah is back.”’ 18:12 But when I leave you, the Lord’s spirit will carry you away so I can’t find you. If I go tell Ahab I’ve seen you, he won’t be able to find you and he will kill me. That would not be fair, because your servant has been a loyal follower of the Lord from my youth. 18:13 Certainly my master is aware of what I did when Jezebel was killing the Lord’s prophets. I hid one hundred of the Lord’s prophets in two caves in two groups of fifty and I brought them food and water. 18:14 Now you say, ‘Go and say to your master, “Elijah is back,”’ but he will kill me.” 18:15 But Elijah said, “As certainly as the Lord who rules over all lives (whom I serve), I will make an appearance before him today.”

Elijah Confronts Baal’s Prophets

18:16 When Obadiah went and informed Ahab, the king went to meet Elijah. 18:17 When Ahab saw Elijah, he said to him, “Is it really you, the one who brings disaster on Israel?” 18:18 Elijah replied, “I have not brought disaster on Israel. But you and your father’s dynasty have, by abandoning the Lord’s commandments and following the Baals. 18:19 Now send out messengers and assemble all Israel before me at Mount Carmel, as well as the 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah whom Jezebel supports.

18:20 Ahab sent messengers to all the Israelites and had the prophets assemble at Mount Carmel. 18:21 Elijah approached all the people and said, “How long are you going to be paralyzed by indecision? If the Lord is the true God, then follow him, but if Baal is, follow him!” But the people did not say a word. 18:22 Elijah said to them: “I am the only prophet of the Lord who is left, but there are 450 prophets of Baal. 18:23 Let them bring us two bulls. Let them choose one of the bulls for themselves, cut it up into pieces, and place it on the wood. But they must not set it on fire. I will do the same to the other bull and place it on the wood. But I will not set it on fire. 18:24 Then you will invoke the name of your god, and I will invoke the name of the Lord. The god who responds with fire will demonstrate that he is the true God.” All the people responded, “This will be a fair test.”

18:25 Elijah told the prophets of Baal, “Choose one of the bulls for yourselves and go first, for you are the majority. Invoke the name of your god, but do not light a fire.” 18:26 So they took a bull, as he had suggested, and prepared it. They invoked the name of Baal from morning until noon, saying, “Baal, answer us.” But there was no sound and no answer. They jumped around on the altar they had made. 18:27 At noon Elijah mocked them, “Yell louder! After all, he is a god; he may be deep in thought, or perhaps he stepped out for a moment or has taken a trip. Perhaps he is sleeping and needs to be awakened.” 18:28 So they yelled louder and, in accordance with their prescribed ritual, mutilated themselves with swords and spears until their bodies were covered with blood. 18:29 Throughout the afternoon they were in an ecstatic frenzy, but there was no sound, no answer, and no response.

18:30 Elijah then told all the people, “Approach me.” So all the people approached him. He repaired the altar of the Lord that had been torn down. 18:31 Then Elijah took twelve stones, corresponding to the number of tribes that descended from Jacob, to whom the Lord had said, “Israel will be your new name.” 18:32 With the stones he constructed an altar for the Lord. Around the altar he made a trench large enough to contain two seahs of seed. 18:33 He arranged the wood, cut up the bull, and placed it on the wood. 18:34 Then he said, “Fill four water jars and pour the water on the offering and the wood.” When they had done so, he said, “Do it again.” So they did it again. Then he said, “Do it a third time.” So they did it a third time. 18:35 The water flowed down all sides of the altar and filled the trench. 18:36 When it was time for the evening offering, Elijah the prophet approached the altar and prayed: “O Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, prove today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. 18:37 Answer me, O Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, O Lord, are the true God and that you are winning back their allegiance.” 18:38 Then fire from the Lord fell from the sky. It consumed the offering, the wood, the stones, and the dirt, and licked up the water in the trench. 18:39 When all the people saw this, they threw themselves down with their faces to the ground and said, “The Lord is the true God! The Lord is the true God!” 18:40 Elijah told them, “Seize the prophets of Baal! Don’t let even one of them escape!” So they seized them, and Elijah led them down to the Kishon Valley and executed them there.

18:41 Then Elijah told Ahab, “Go on up and eat and drink, for the sound of a heavy rainstorm can be heard.” 18:42 So Ahab went on up to eat and drink, while Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel. He bent down toward the ground and put his face between his knees. 18:43 He told his servant, “Go on up and look in the direction of the sea.” So he went on up, looked, and reported, “There is nothing.” Seven times Elijah sent him to look. 18:44 The seventh time the servant said, “Look, a small cloud, the size of the palm of a man’s hand, is rising up from the sea.” Elijah then said, “Go and tell Ahab, ‘Hitch up the chariots and go down, so that the rain won’t overtake you.’” 18:45 Meanwhile the sky was covered with dark clouds, the wind blew, and there was a heavy rainstorm. Ahab rode toward Jezreel. 18:46 Now the Lord energized Elijah with power; he tucked his robe into his belt and ran ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel.

(1 Kings 19)

Elijah Runs for His Life

19:1 Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, including a detailed account of how he killed all the prophets with the sword. 19:2 Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah with this warning, “May the gods judge me severely if by this time tomorrow I do not take your life as you did theirs!”

19:3 Elijah was afraid, so he got up and fled for his life to Beer Sheba in Judah. He left his servant there, 19:4 while he went a day’s journey into the desert. He went and sat down under a shrub and asked the Lord to take his life: “I’ve had enough! Now, O Lord, take my life. After all, I’m no better than my ancestors.” 19:5 He stretched out and fell asleep under the shrub. All of a sudden an angelic messenger touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” 19:6 He looked and right there by his head was a cake baking on hot coals and a jug of water. He ate and drank and then slept some more. 19:7 The Lord’s angelic messenger came back again, touched him, and said, “Get up and eat, for otherwise you won’t be able to make the journey.” 19:8 So he got up and ate and drank. That meal gave him the strength to travel forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God.

19:9 He went into a cave there and spent the night. All of a sudden the Lord spoke to him, “Why are you here, Elijah?” 19:10 He answered, “I have been absolutely loyal to the Lord, the sovereign God, even though the Israelites have abandoned the agreement they made with you, torn down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left and now they want to take my life.” 19:11 The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord. Look, the Lord is ready to pass by.”

A very powerful wind went before the Lord, digging into the mountain and causing landslides, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the windstorm there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 19:12 After the earthquake, there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. After the fire, there was a soft whisper. 19:13 When Elijah heard it, he covered his face with his robe and went out and stood at the entrance to the cave. All of a sudden a voice asked him, “Why are you here, Elijah?” 19:14 He answered, “I have been absolutely loyal to the Lord, the sovereign God, even though the Israelites have abandoned the agreement they made with you, torn down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left and now they want to take my life.” 19:15 The Lord said to him, “Go back the way you came and then head for the Desert of Damascus. Go and anoint Hazael king over Syria. 19:16 You must anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to take your place as prophet. 19:17 Jehu will kill anyone who escapes Hazael’s sword, and Elisha will kill anyone who escapes Jehu’s sword. 19:18 I still have left in Israel seven thousand followers who have not bowed their knees to Baal or kissed the images of him.”

19:19 Elijah went from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat. He was plowing with twelve pairs of oxen; he was near the twelfth pair. Elijah passed by him and threw his robe over him. 19:20 He left the oxen, ran after Elijah, and said, “Please let me kiss my father and mother goodbye, then I will follow you.” Elijah said to him, “Go back! Indeed, what have I done to you?” 19:21 Elisha went back and took his pair of oxen and slaughtered them. He cooked the meat over a fire that he made by burning the harness and yoke. He gave the people meat and they ate. Then he got up and followed Elijah and became his assistant.

(2 Kings 5)

Elisha Heals a Syrian General

5:1 Now Naaman, the commander of the king of Syria’s army, was esteemed and respected by his master, for through him the Lord had given Syria military victories. But this great warrior had a skin disease. 5:2 Raiding parties went out from Syria and took captive from the land of Israel a young girl, who became a servant to Naaman’s wife. 5:3 She told her mistress, “If only my master were in the presence of the prophet who is in Samaria! Then he would cure him of his skin disease.”

5:4 Naaman went and told his master what the girl from the land of Israel had said. 5:5 The king of Syria said, “Go! I will send a letter to the king of Israel.” So Naaman went, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, and ten suits of clothes. 5:6 He brought the letter to king of Israel. It read: “This is a letter of introduction for my servant Naaman, whom I have sent to be cured of his skin disease.” 5:7 When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, “Am I God? Can I kill or restore life? Why does he ask me to cure a man of his skin disease? Certainly you must see that he is looking for an excuse to fight me!”

5:8 When Elisha the prophet heard that the king had torn his clothes, he sent this message to the king, “Why did you tear your clothes? Send him to me so he may know there is a prophet in Israel.” 5:9 So Naaman came with his horses and chariots and stood in the doorway of Elisha’s house. 5:10 Elisha sent out a messenger who told him, “Go and wash seven times in the Jordan; your skin will be restored and you will be healed.” 5:11 Naaman went away angry. He said, “Look, I thought for sure he would come out, stand there, invoke the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the area, and cure the skin disease. 5:12 The rivers of Damascus, the Abana and Pharpar, are better than any of the waters of Israel! Could I not wash in them and be healed?” So he turned around and went away angry. 5:13 His servants approached and said to him, “O master, if the prophet had told you to do some difficult task, you would have been willing to do it. It seems you should be happy that he simply said, “Wash and you will be healed.” 5:14 So he went down and dipped in the Jordan seven times, as the prophet had instructed. His skin became as smooth as a young child’s and he was healed.

5:15 He and his entire entourage returned to the prophet. Naaman came and stood before him. He said, “For sure I know that there is no God in all the earth except in Israel! Now, please accept a gift from your servant.” 5:16 But Elisha replied, “As certainly as the Lord lives (whom I serve), I will take nothing from you.” Naaman insisted that he take it, but he refused. 5:17 Naaman said, “If not, then please give your servant a load of dirt, enough for a pair of mules to carry, for your servant will never again offer a burnt offering or sacrifice to a god other than the Lord. 5:18 May the Lord forgive your servant for this one thing: When my master enters the temple of Rimmon to worship, and he leans on my arm and I bow down in the temple of Rimmon, may the Lord forgive your servant for this.” 5:19 Elisha said to him, “Go in peace.”

When he had gone a short distance, 5:20 Gehazi, the prophet Elisha’s servant, thought, “Look, my master did not accept what this Syrian Naaman offered him. As certainly as the Lord lives, I will run after him and accept something from him.” 5:21 So Gehazi ran after Naaman. When Naaman saw someone running after him, he got down from his chariot to meet him and asked, “Is everything all right?” 5:22 He answered, “Everything is fine. My master sent me with this message, ‘Look, two servants of the prophets just arrived from the Ephraimite hill country. Please give them a talent of silver and two suits of clothes.’” 5:23 Naaman said, “Please accept two talents of silver. He insisted, and tied up two talents of silver in two bags, along with two suits of clothes. He gave them to two of his servants and they carried them for Gehazi. 5:24 When he arrived at the hill, he took them from the servants and put them in the house. Then he sent the men on their way.

5:25 When he came and stood before his master, Elisha asked him, “Where have you been, Gehazi?” He answered, “Your servant hasn’t been anywhere.” 5:26 Elisha replied, “I was there in spirit when a man turned and got down from his chariot to meet you. This is not the proper time to accept silver or to accept clothes, olive groves, vineyards, sheep, cattle, and male and female servants. 5:27 Therefore Naaman’s skin disease will afflict you and your descendants forever!” When Gehazi went out from his presence, his skin was as white as snow.

(2 Kings 6)

Elisha Makes an Ax Head Float

6:1 Some of the prophets said to Elisha, “Look, the place where we meet with you is too cramped for us. 6:2 Let’s go to the Jordan. Each of us will get a log from there and we will build a meeting place for ourselves there.” He said, “Go.” 6:3 One of them said, “Please come along with your servants.” He replied, “All right, I’ll come.” 6:4 So he went with them. When they arrived at the Jordan, they started cutting down trees. 6:5 As one of them was felling a log, the ax head dropped into the water. He shouted, “Oh no, my master! It was borrowed!” 6:6 The prophet asked, “Where did it drop in?” When he showed him the spot, Elisha cut off a branch, threw it in at that spot, and made the ax head float. 6:7 He said, “Lift it out.” So he reached out his hand and grabbed it.

Elisha Defeats an Army

6:8 Now the king of Syria was at war with Israel. He consulted his advisers, who said, “Invade at such and such a place.” 6:9 But the prophet sent this message to the king of Israel, “Make sure you don’t pass through this place because Syria is invading there.” 6:10 So the king of Israel sent a message to the place the prophet had pointed out, warning it to be on its guard. This happened on several occasions. 6:11 This made the king of Syria upset. So he summoned his advisers and said to them, “One of us must be helping the king of Israel.” 6:12 One of his advisers said, “No, my master, O king. The prophet Elisha who lives in Israel keeps telling the king of Israel the things you say in your bedroom.” 6:13 The king ordered, “Go, find out where he is, so I can send some men to capture him.” The king was told, “He is in Dothan.” 6:14 So he sent horses and chariots there, along with a good-sized army. They arrived during the night and surrounded the city.

6:15 The prophet’s attendant got up early in the morning. When he went outside there was an army surrounding the city, along with horses and chariots. He said to Elisha, “Oh no, my master! What will we do?” 6:16 He replied, “Don’t be afraid, for our side outnumbers them.” 6:17 Then Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes so he can see.” The Lord opened the servant’s eyes and he saw that the hill was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 6:18 As they approached him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, “Strike these people with blindness.” The Lord struck them with blindness as Elisha requested. 6:19 Then Elisha said to them, “This is not the right road or city. Follow me, and I will lead you to the man you’re looking for.” He led them to Samaria.

6:20 When they had entered Samaria, Elisha said, “O Lord, open their eyes, so they can see.” The Lord opened their eyes and they saw that they were in the middle of Samaria. 6:21 When the king of Israel saw them, he asked Elisha, “Should I strike them down, my master?” 6:22 He replied, “Do not strike them down! You did not capture them with your sword or bow, so what gives you the right to strike them down? Give them some food and water, so they can eat and drink and then go back to their master.” 6:23 So he threw a big banquet for them and they ate and drank. Then he sent them back to their master. After that no Syrian raiding parties again invaded the land of Israel.

The Lord Saves Samaria

6:24 Later King Ben Hadad of Syria assembled his entire army and attacked and besieged Samaria. 6:25 Samaria’s food supply ran out. They laid siege to it so long that a donkey’s head was selling for eighty shekels of silver and a quarter of a kab of dove’s droppings for five shekels of silver.

6:26 While the king of Israel was passing by on the city wall, a woman shouted to him, “Help us, my master, O king!” 6:27 He replied, “No, let the Lord help you. How can I help you? The threshing floor and winepress are empty.” 6:28 Then the king asked her, “What’s your problem?” She answered, “This woman said to me, ‘Hand over your son; we’ll eat him today and then eat my son tomorrow.’ 6:29 So we boiled my son and ate him. Then I said to her the next day, ‘Hand over your son and we’ll eat him.’ But she hid her son!” 6:30 When the king heard what the woman said, he tore his clothes. As he was passing by on the wall, the people could see he was wearing sackcloth under his clothes. 6:31 Then he said, “May God judge me severely if Elisha son of Shaphat still has his head by the end of the day!”

6:32 Now Elisha was sitting in his house with the community leaders. The king sent a messenger on ahead, but before he arrived, Elisha said to the leaders, “Do you realize this assassin intends to cut off my head?” Look, when the messenger arrives, shut the door and lean against it. His master will certainly be right behind him.” 6:33 He was still talking to them when the messenger approached and said, “Look, the Lord is responsible for this disaster! Why should I continue to wait for the Lord to help?”  

(2 Kings 17)

Hoshea’s Reign over Israel

17:1 In the twelfth year of King Ahaz’s reign over Judah, Hoshea son of Elah became king over Israel. He reigned in Samaria for nine years. 17:2 He did evil in the sight of the Lord, but not to the same degree as the Israelite kings who preceded him. 17:3 King Shalmaneser of Assyria threatened him; Hoshea became his subject and paid him tribute. 17:4 The king of Assyria discovered that Hoshea was planning a revolt. Hoshea had sent messengers to King So of Egypt and had not sent his annual tribute to the king of Assyria. So the king of Assyria arrested him and imprisoned him. 17:5 The king of Assyria marched through the whole land. He attacked Samaria and besieged it for three years. 17:6 In the ninth year of Hoshea’s reign, the king of Assyria captured Samaria and deported the people of Israel to Assyria. He settled them in Halah, along the Habor (the river of Gozan), and in the cities of the Medes.

A Summary of Israel’s Sinful History

17:7 This happened because the Israelites sinned against the Lord their God, who brought them up from the land of Egypt and freed them from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. They worshiped other gods; 17:8 they observed the practices of the nations whom the Lord had driven out from before Israel, and followed the example of the kings of Israel. 17:9 The Israelites said things about the Lord their God that were not right. They built high places in all their cities, from the watchtower to the fortress. 17:10 They set up sacred pillars and Asherah poles on every high hill and under every green tree. 17:11 They burned incense on all the high places just like the nations whom the Lord had driven away from before them. Their evil practices made the Lord angry. 17:12 They worshiped the disgusting idols in blatant disregard of the Lord’s command.

17:13 The Lord solemnly warned Israel and Judah through all his prophets and all the seers, “Turn back from your evil ways; obey my commandments and rules that are recorded in the law. I ordered your ancestors to keep this law and sent my servants the prophets to remind you of its demands.” 17:14 But they did not pay attention and were as stubborn as their ancestors, who had not trusted the Lord their God. 17:15 They rejected his rules, the covenant he had made with their ancestors, and the laws he had commanded them to obey. They paid allegiance to worthless idols, and so became worthless to the Lord. They copied the practices of the surrounding nations in blatant disregard of the Lord’s command. 17:16 They abandoned all the commandments of the Lord their God; they made two metal calves and an Asherah pole, bowed down to all the stars in the sky, and worshiped Baal. 17:17 They passed their sons and daughters through the fire, and practiced divination and omen reading. They committed themselves to doing evil in the sight of the Lord and made him angry.

17:18 So the Lord was furious with Israel and rejected them; only the tribe of Judah was left. 17:19 Judah also failed to keep the commandments of the Lord their God; they followed Israel’s example. 17:20 So the Lord rejected all of Israel’s descendants; he humiliated them and handed them over to robbers, until he had thrown them from his presence. 17:21 He tore Israel away from David’s dynasty, and Jeroboam son of Nebat became their king. Jeroboam drove Israel away from the Lord and encouraged them to commit a serious sin. 17:22 The Israelites followed in the sinful ways of Jeroboam son of Nebat and did not repudiate them. 17:23 Finally the Lord rejected Israel just as he had warned he would do through all his servants the prophets. Israel was deported from its land to Assyria and remains there to this very day.

The King of Assyria Populates Israel with Foreigners

17:24 The king of Assyria brought foreigners from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Sepharvaim and settled them in the cities of Samaria in place of the Israelites. They took possession of Samaria and lived in its cities. 17:25 When they first moved in, they did not worship the Lord. So the Lord sent lions among them and the lions were killing them. 17:26 The king of Assyria was told, “The nations whom you deported and settled in the cities of Samaria do not know the requirements of the God of the land, so he has sent lions among them. They are killing the people because they do not know the requirements of the God of the land.” 17:27 So the king of Assyria ordered, “Take back one of the priests whom you deported from there. He must settle there and teach them the requirements of the God of the land.” 17:28 So one of the priests whom they had deported from Samaria went back and settled in Bethel. He taught them how to worship the Lord.

17:29 But each of these nations made its own gods and put them in the shrines on the high places that the people of Samaria had made. Each nation did this in the cities where they lived. 17:30 The people from Babylon made Succoth Benoth, the people from Cuth made Nergal, the people from Hamath made Ashima, 17:31 the Avvites made Nibhaz and Tartak, and the Sepharvites burned their sons in the fire as an offering to Adrammelech and Anammelech, the gods of Sepharvaim. 17:32 At the same time they worshiped the Lord. They appointed some of their own people to serve as priests in the shrines on the high places. 17:33 They were worshiping the Lord and at the same time serving their own gods in accordance with the practices of the nations from which they had been deported.

17:34 To this very day they observe their earlier practices. They do not worship the Lord; they do not obey the rules, regulations, law, and commandments that the Lord gave the descendants of Jacob, whom he renamed Israel. 17:35 The Lord made an agreement with them and instructed them, “You must not worship other gods. Do not bow down to them, serve them, or offer sacrifices to them. 17:36 Instead you must worship the Lord, who brought you up from the land of Egypt by his great power and military ability; bow down to him and offer sacrifices to him. 17:37 You must carefully obey at all times the rules, regulations, law, and commandments he wrote down for you. You must not worship other gods. 17:38 You must never forget the agreement I made with you, and you must not worship other gods. 17:39 Instead you must worship the Lord your God; then he will rescue you from the power of all your enemies.” 17:40 But they pay no attention; instead they observe their earlier practices. 17:41 These nations are worshiping the Lord and at the same time serving their idols; their sons and grandsons do just as their fathers have done, to this very day.

(2 Kings 25)

25:1 So King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came against Jerusalem with his whole army and set up camp outside it. They built siege ramps all around it. He arrived on the tenth day of the tenth month in the ninth year of Zedekiah’s reign. 25:2 The city remained under siege until King Zedekiah’s eleventh year. 25:3 By the ninth day of the fourth month the famine in the city was so severe the residents had no food. 25:4 The enemy broke through the city walls, and all the soldiers tried to escape. They left the city during the night. They went through the gate between the two walls that is near the king’s garden. (The Babylonians were all around the city.) Then they headed for the Jordan Valley. 25:5 But the Babylonian army chased after the king. They caught up with him in the plains of Jericho, and his entire army deserted him. 25:6 They captured the king and brought him up to the king of Babylon at Riblah, where he passed sentence on him. 25:7 Zedekiah’s sons were executed while Zedekiah was forced to watch. The king of Babylon then had Zedekiah’s eyes put out, bound him in bronze chains, and carried him off to Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar Destroys Jerusalem

25:8 On the seventh day of the fifth month, in the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, Nebuzaradan, the captain of the royal guard who served the king of Babylon, arrived in Jerusalem. 25:9 He burned down the Lord’s temple, the royal palace, and all the houses in Jerusalem, including every large house. 25:10 The whole Babylonian army that came with the captain of the royal guard tore down the walls that surrounded Jerusalem. 25:11 Nebuzaradan, the captain of the royal guard, deported the rest of the people who were left in the city, those who had deserted to the king of Babylon, and the rest of the craftsmen. 25:12 But he left behind some of the poor of the land and gave them fields and vineyards.

25:13 The Babylonians broke the two bronze pillars in the Lord’s temple, as well as the movable stands and the big bronze basin called the “The Sea.” They took the bronze to Babylon. 25:14 They also took the pots, shovels, trimming shears, pans, and all the bronze utensils used by the priests. 25:15 The captain of the royal guard took the golden and silver censers and basins. 25:16 The bronze of the items that King Solomon made for the Lord’s temple – including the two pillars, the big bronze basin called “The Sea,” the twelve bronze bulls under “The Sea,” and the movable stands – was too heavy to be weighed. 25:17 Each of the pillars was about twenty-seven feet high. The bronze top of one pillar was about four and a half feet high and had bronze latticework and pomegranate shaped ornaments all around it. The second pillar with its latticework was like it.

25:18 The captain of the royal guard took Seraiah the chief priest and Zephaniah, the priest who was second in rank, and the three doorkeepers. 25:19 From the city he took a eunuch who was in charge of the soldiers, five of the king’s advisers who were discovered in the city, an official army secretary who drafted citizens for military service, and sixty citizens from the people of the land who were discovered in the city. 25:20 Nebuzaradan, captain of the royal guard, took them and brought them to the king of Babylon at Riblah. 25:21 The king of Babylon ordered them to be executed at Riblah in the territory of Hamath. So Judah was deported from its land.

Gedaliah Appointed Governor

25:22 Now King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon appointed Gedaliah son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan, as governor over the people whom he allowed to remain in the land of Judah. 25:23 All of the officers of the Judahite army and their troops heard that the king of Babylon had appointed Gedaliah to govern. So they came to Gedaliah at Mizpah. The officers who came were Ishmael son of Nethaniah, Johanan son of Kareah, Seraiah son of Tanhumeth the Netophathite, and Jaazaniah son of the Maacathite. 25:24 Gedaliah took an oath so as to give them and their troops some assurance of safety. He said, “You don’t need to be afraid to submit to the Babylonian officials. Settle down in the land and submit to the king of Babylon. Then things will go well for you.” 25:25 But in the seventh month Ishmael son of Nethaniah, son of Elishama, who was a member of the royal family, came with ten of his men and murdered Gedaliah, as well as the Judeans and Babylonians who were with him at Mizpah. 25:26 Then all the people, from the youngest to the oldest, as well as the army officers, left for Egypt, because they were afraid of what the Babylonians might do.

Jehoiachin in Babylon

25:27 In the thirty-seventh year of the exile of King Jehoiachin of Judah, on the twenty-seventh day of the twelfth month, King Evil-Merodach of Babylon, in the first year of his reign, pardoned King Jehoiachin of Judah and released him from prison. 25:28 He spoke kindly to him and gave him a more prestigious position than the other kings who were with him in Babylon. 25:29 Jehoiachin took off his prison clothes and ate daily in the king’s presence for the rest of his life. 25:30 He was given daily provisions by the king for the rest of his life until the day he died.

(1 Chronicles 29)

The People Contribute to the Project

29:1 King David said to the entire assembly: “My son Solomon, the one whom God has chosen, is just an inexperienced young man, and the task is great, for this palace is not for man, but for the Lord God. 29:2 So I have made every effort to provide what is needed for the temple of my God, including the gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood, as well as a large amount of onyx, settings of antimony and other stones, all kinds of precious stones, and alabaster. 29:3 Now, to show my commitment to the temple of my God, I donate my personal treasure of gold and silver to the temple of my God, in addition to all that I have already supplied for this holy temple. 29:4 This includes 3,000 talents of gold from Ophir and 7,000 talents of refined silver for overlaying the walls of the buildings, 29:5 for gold and silver items, and for all the work of the craftsmen. Who else wants to contribute to the Lord today?”

29:6 The leaders of the families, the leaders of the Israelite tribes, the commanders of units of a thousand and a hundred, and the supervisors of the king’s work contributed willingly. 29:7 They donated for the service of God’s temple 5,000 talents and ten thousand darics of gold, 10,000 talents of silver, 18,000 talents of bronze, and 100,000 talents of iron. 29:8 All who possessed precious stones donated them to the treasury of the Lord’s temple, which was under the supervision of Jehiel the Gershonite. 29:9 The people were delighted with their donations, for they contributed to the Lord with a willing attitude; King David was also very happy.

David Praises the Lord

29:10 David praised the Lord before the entire assembly:

“O Lord God of our father Israel, you deserve praise forevermore! 29:11 O Lord, you are great, mighty, majestic, magnificent, glorious, and sovereign over all the sky and earth! You have dominion and exalt yourself as the ruler of all. 29:12 You are the source of wealth and honor; you rule over all. You possess strength and might to magnify and give strength to all. 29:13 Now, our God, we give thanks to you and praise your majestic name!

29:14 “But who am I and who are my people, that we should be in a position to contribute this much? Indeed, everything comes from you, and we have simply given back to you what is yours. 29:15 For we are resident foreigners and nomads in your presence, like all our ancestors; our days are like a shadow on the earth, without security. 29:16 O Lord our God, all this wealth, which we have collected to build a temple for you to honor your holy name, comes from you; it all belongs to you. 29:17 I know, my God, that you examine thoughts and are pleased with integrity. With pure motives I contribute all this; and now I look with joy as your people who have gathered here contribute to you. 29:18 O Lord God of our ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, maintain the motives of your people and keep them devoted to you. 29:19 Make my son Solomon willing to obey your commands, rules, and regulations, and to complete building the palace for which I have made preparations.”

29:20 David told the entire assembly: “Praise the Lord your God!” So the entire assembly praised the Lord God of their ancestors; they bowed down and stretched out flat on the ground before the Lord and the king.

David Designates Solomon King

29:21 The next day they made sacrifices and offered burnt sacrifices to the Lord (1,000 bulls, 1,000 rams, 1,000 lambs), along with their accompanying drink offerings and many other sacrifices for all Israel. 29:22 They held a feast before the Lord that day and celebrated.

Then they designated Solomon, David’s son, as king a second time; before the Lord they anointed him as ruler and Zadok as priest. 29:23 Solomon sat on the Lord’s throne as king in place of his father David; he was successful and all Israel was loyal to him. 29:24 All the officers and warriors, as well as all of King David’s sons, pledged their allegiance to King Solomon. 29:25 The Lord greatly magnified Solomon before all Israel and bestowed on him greater majesty than any king of Israel before him.

David’s Reign Comes to an End

29:26 David son of Jesse reigned over all Israel. 29:27 He reigned over Israel forty years; he reigned in Hebron seven years and in Jerusalem thirty-three years. 29:28 He died at a good old age, having enjoyed long life, wealth, and honor. His son Solomon succeeded him. 29:29 King David’s accomplishments, from start to finish, are recorded in the Annals of Samuel the prophet, the Annals of Nathan the prophet, and the Annals of Gad the prophet. 29:30 Recorded there are all the facts about his reign and accomplishments, and an account of the events that involved him, Israel, and all the neighboring kingdoms.

(2 Chronicles 20)

The Lord Gives Jehoshaphat Military Success

20:1 Later the Moabites and Ammonites, along with some of the Meunites, attacked Jehoshaphat. 20:2 Messengers arrived and reported to Jehoshaphat, “A huge army is attacking you from the other side of the Dead Sea, from the direction of Edom. Look, they are in Hazezon Tamar (that is, En Gedi).” 20:3 Jehoshaphat was afraid, so he decided to seek the Lord’s advice. He decreed that all Judah should observe a fast. 20:4 The people of Judah assembled to ask for the Lord’s help; they came from all the cities of Judah to ask for the Lord’s help.

20:5 Jehoshaphat stood before the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem at the Lord’s temple, in front of the new courtyard. 20:6 He prayed: “O Lord God of our ancestors, you are the God who lives in heaven and rules over all the kingdoms of the nations. You possess strength and power; no one can stand against you. 20:7 Our God, you drove out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and gave it as a permanent possession to the descendants of your friend Abraham. 20:8 They settled down in it and built in it a temple to honor you, saying, 20:9 ‘If disaster comes on us in the form of military attack, judgment, plague, or famine, we will stand in front of this temple before you, for you are present in this temple. We will cry out to you for help in our distress, so that you will hear and deliver us.’ 20:10 Now the Ammonites, Moabites, and men from Mount Seir are coming! When Israel came from the land of Egypt, you did not allow them to invade these lands. They bypassed them and did not destroy them. 20:11 Look how they are repaying us! They come to drive us out of our allotted land which you assigned to us! 20:12 Our God, will you not judge them? For we are powerless against this huge army that attacks us! We don’t know what we should do; we look to you for help.”

20:13 All the men of Judah were standing before the Lord, along with their infants, wives, and children. 20:14 Then in the midst of the assembly, the Lord’s Spirit came upon Jachaziel son of Zechariah, son of Benaiah, son of Jeiel, son of Mattaniah, a Levite and descendant of Asaph. 20:15 He said: “Pay attention, all you people of Judah, residents of Jerusalem, and King Jehoshaphat! This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Don’t be afraid and don’t panic because of this huge army! For the battle is not yours, but God’s. 20:16 Tomorrow march down against them as they come up the Ascent of Ziz. You will find them at the end of the ravine in front of the Desert of Jeruel. 20:17 You will not fight in this battle. Take your positions, stand, and watch the Lord deliver you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Don’t be afraid and don’t panic! Tomorrow march out toward them; the Lord is with you!’”

20:18 Jehoshaphat bowed down with his face toward the ground, and all the people of Judah and the residents of Jerusalem fell down before the Lord and worshiped him. 20:19 Then some Levites, from the Kohathites and Korahites, got up and loudly praised the Lord God of Israel.

20:20 Early the next morning they marched out to the Desert of Tekoa. When they were ready to march, Jehoshaphat stood up and said: “Listen to me, you people of Judah and residents of Jerusalem! Trust in the Lord your God and you will be safe! Trust in the message of his prophets and you will win.” 20:21 He met with the people and appointed musicians to play before the Lord and praise his majestic splendor. As they marched ahead of the warriors they said: “Give thanks to the Lord, for his loyal love endures.”

20:22 When they began to shout and praise, the Lord suddenly attacked the Ammonites, Moabites, and men from Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. 20:23 The Ammonites and Moabites attacked the men from Mount Seir and annihilated them. When they had finished off the men of Seir, they attacked and destroyed one another. 20:24 When the men of Judah arrived at the observation post overlooking the desert and looked at the huge army, they saw dead bodies on the ground; there were no survivors! 20:25 Jehoshaphat and his men went to gather the plunder; they found a huge amount of supplies, clothing and valuable items. They carried away everything they could. There was so much plunder, it took them three days to haul it off.

20:26 On the fourth day they assembled in the Valley of Berachah, where they praised the Lord. So that place is called the Valley of Berachah to this very day. 20:27 Then all the men of Judah and Jerusalem returned joyfully to Jerusalem with Jehoshaphat leading them; the Lord had given them reason to rejoice over their enemies. 20:28 They entered Jerusalem to the sound of stringed instruments and trumpets and proceeded to the temple of the Lord. 20:29 All the kingdoms of the surrounding lands were afraid of God when they heard how the Lord had fought against Israel’s enemies. 20:30 Jehoshaphat’s kingdom enjoyed peace; his God made him secure on every side.

Jehoshaphat’s Reign Ends

20:31 Jehoshaphat reigned over Judah. He was thirty-five years old when he became king and he reigned for twenty-five years in Jerusalem. His mother was Azubah, the daughter of Shilhi. 20:32 He followed in his father Asa’s footsteps and was careful to do what the Lord approved. 20:33 However, the high places were not eliminated; the people were still not devoted to the God of their ancestors.

20:34 The rest of the events of Jehoshaphat’s reign, from start to finish, are recorded in the Annals of Jehu son of Hanani which are included in Scroll of the Kings of Israel.

20:35 Later King Jehoshaphat of Judah made an alliance with King Ahaziah of Israel, who did evil. 20:36 They agreed to make large seagoing merchant ships; they built the ships in Ezion Geber. 20:37 Eliezer son of Dodavahu from Mareshah prophesied against Jehoshaphat, “Because you made an alliance with Ahaziah, the Lord will shatter what you have made.” The ships were wrecked and unable to go to sea.

(Ezra 9)

A Prayer of Ezra

9:1 Now when these things had been completed, the leaders approached me and said, “The people of Israel, the priests, and the Levites have not separated themselves from the local residents who practice detestable things similar to those of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites. 9:2 Indeed, they have taken some of their daughters as wives for themselves and for their sons, so that the holy race has become intermingled with the local residents. Worse still, the leaders and the officials have been at the forefront of all of this!”

9:3 When I heard this report, I tore my tunic and my robe and ripped out some of the hair from my head and beard. Then I sat down, quite devastated. 9:4 Everyone who held the words of the God of Israel in awe gathered around me because of the unfaithful acts of the people of the exile. Devastated, I continued to sit there until the evening offering.

9:5 At the time of the evening offering I got up from my self-abasement, with my tunic and robe torn, and then dropped to my knees and spread my hands to the Lord my God. 9:6 I prayed,

“O my God, I am ashamed and embarrassed to lift my face to you, my God! For our iniquities have climbed higher than our heads, and our guilt extends to the heavens. 9:7 From the days of our fathers until this very day our guilt has been great. Because of our iniquities we, along with our kings and priests, have been delivered over by the local kings to sword, captivity, plunder, and embarrassment – right up to the present time.

9:8 “But now briefly we have received mercy from the Lord our God, in that he has left us a remnant and has given us a secure position in his holy place. Thus our God has enlightened our eyes and has given us a little relief in our time of servitude. 9:9 Although we are slaves, our God has not abandoned us in our servitude. He has extended kindness to us in the sight of the kings of Persia, in that he has revived us to restore the temple of our God and to raise up its ruins and to give us a protective wall in Judah and Jerusalem.

9:10 “And now what are we able to say after this, our God? For we have forsaken your commandments 9:11 which you commanded us through your servants the prophets with these words: ‘The land that you are entering to possess is a land defiled by the impurities of the local residents! With their abominations they have filled it from one end to the other with their filthiness. 9:12 Therefore do not give your daughters in marriage to their sons, and do not take their daughters in marriage for your sons. Do not ever seek their peace or welfare, so that you may be strong and may eat the good of the land and may leave it as an inheritance for your children forever.’

9:13 “Everything that has happened to us has come about because of our wicked actions and our great guilt. Even so, our God, you have exercised restraint toward our iniquities and have given us a remnant such as this. 9:14 Shall we once again break your commandments and intermarry with these abominable peoples? Would you not be so angered by us that you would wipe us out, with no survivor or remnant? 9:15 O Lord God of Israel, you are righteous, for we are left as a remnant this day. Indeed, we stand before you in our guilt. However, because of this guilt no one can really stand before you.”

(Nehemiah 1)

1:1 A Prayer of Nehemiah

These are the words of Nehemiah son of Hacaliah:

It so happened that in the month of Kislev, in the twentieth year, I was in Susa the citadel. 1:2 Hanani, who was one of my relatives, along with some of the men from Judah, came to me, and I asked them about the Jews who had escaped and had survived the exile, and about Jerusalem.

1:3 They said to me, “The remnant that remains from the exile there in the province are experiencing considerable adversity and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem lies breached, and its gates have been burned down!”

1:4 When I heard these things I sat down abruptly, crying and mourning for several days. I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven. 1:5 Then I said, “Please, O LORD God of heaven, great and awesome God, who keeps his loving covenant with those who love him and obey his commandments, 1:6 may your ear be attentive and your eyes be open to hear the prayer of your servant that I am praying to you today throughout both day and night on behalf of your servants the Israelites. I am confessing the sins of the Israelites that we have committed against you – both I myself and my family have sinned. 1:7 We have behaved corruptly against you, not obeying the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments that you commanded your servant Moses. 1:8 Please recall the word you commanded your servant Moses: ‘If you act unfaithfully, I will scatter you among the nations. 1:9 But if you repent and obey my commandments and do them, then even if your dispersed people are in the most remote location, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen for my name to reside.’ 1:10 They are your servants and your people, whom you have redeemed by your mighty strength and by your powerful hand. 1:11 Please, O Lord, listen attentively to the prayer of your servant and to the prayer of your servants who take pleasure in showing respect to your name. Grant your servant success today and show compassion to me in the presence of this man.”

Now I was cupbearer for the king.

(Nehemiah 2)

Nehemiah Is Permitted to Go to Jerusalem

2:1 Then in the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was brought to me, I took the wine and gave it to the king. Previously I had not been depressed in the king’s presence. 2:2 So the king said to me, “Why do you appear to be depressed when you aren’t sick? What can this be other than sadness of heart?” This made me very fearful.

2:3 I replied to the king, “O king, live forever! Why would I not appear dejected when the city with the graves of my ancestors lies desolate and its gates destroyed by fire?” 2:4 The king responded, “What is it you are seeking?” Then I quickly prayed to the God of heaven 2:5 and said to the king, “If the king is so inclined and if your servant has found favor in your sight, dispatch me to Judah, to the city with the graves of my ancestors, so that I can rebuild it.” 2:6 Then the king, with his consort sitting beside him, replied, “How long would your trip take, and when would you return?” Since the king was amenable to dispatching me, I gave him a time. 2:7 I said to the king, “If the king is so inclined, let him give me letters for the governors of Trans-Euphrates that will enable me to travel safely until I reach Judah, 2:8 and a letter for Asaph the keeper of the king’s nature preserve, so that he will give me timber for beams for the gates of the fortress adjacent to the temple and for the city wall and for the house to which I go.” So the king granted me these requests, for the good hand of my God was on me. 2:9 Then I went to the governors of Trans-Euphrates, and I presented to them the letters from the king. The king had sent with me officers of the army and horsemen. 2:10 When Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite official heard all this, they were very displeased that someone had come to seek benefit for the Israelites.

Nehemiah Arrives in Jerusalem

2:11 So I came to Jerusalem. When I had been there for three days, 2:12 I got up during the night, along with a few men who were with me. But I did not tell anyone what my God was putting on my heart to do for Jerusalem. There were no animals with me, except for the one I was riding. 2:13 I proceeded through the Valley Gate by night, in the direction of the Well of the Dragons and the Dung Gate, inspecting the walls of Jerusalem that had been breached and its gates that had been destroyed by fire. 2:14 I passed on to the Gate of the Well and the King’s Pool, where there was not enough room for my animal to pass with me. 2:15 I continued up the valley during the night, inspecting the wall. Then I turned back and came to the Valley Gate, and so returned. 2:16 The officials did not know where I had gone or what I had been doing, for up to this point I had not told any of the Jews or the priests or the nobles or the officials or the rest of the workers. 2:17 Then I said to them, “You see the problem that we have: Jerusalem is desolate and its gates are burned. Come on! Let’s rebuild the wall of Jerusalem so that this reproach will not continue.” 2:18 Then I related to them how the good hand of my God was on me and what the king had said to me. Then they replied, “Let’s begin rebuilding right away!” So they readied themselves for this good project. 2:19 But when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official, and Geshem the Arab heard all this, they derided us and expressed contempt toward us. They said, “What is this you are doing? Are you rebelling against the king?” 2:20 I responded to them by saying, “The God of heaven will prosper us. We his servants will start the rebuilding. But you have no just or ancient right in Jerusalem.”

(Esther 3)

Haman Conspires to Destroy the Jews

3:1 Some time later King Ahasuerus promoted Haman the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, exalting him and setting his position above that of all the officials who were with him. 3:2 As a result, all the king’s servants who were at the king’s gate were bowing and paying homage to Haman, for the king had so commanded. However, Mordecai did not bow, nor did he pay him homage.

3:3 Then the servants of the king who were at the king’s gate asked Mordecai, “Why are you violating the king’s commandment?” 3:4 And after they had spoken to him day after day without his paying any attention to them, they informed Haman to see whether this attitude on Mordecai’s part would be permitted. Furthermore, he had disclosed to them that he was a Jew.

3:5 When Haman saw that Mordecai was not bowing or paying homage to him, he was filled with rage. 3:6 But the thought of striking out against Mordecai alone was repugnant to him, for he had been informed of the identity of Mordecai’s people. So Haman sought to destroy all the Jews (that is, the people of Mordecai) who were in all the kingdom of Ahasuerus.

3:7 In the first month (that is, the month of Nisan), in the twelfth year of King Ahasuerus’ reign, pur (that is, the lot) was cast before Haman in order to determine a day and a month. It turned out to be the twelfth month (that is, the month of Adar).

3:8 Then Haman said to King Ahasuerus, “There is a particular people that is dispersed and spread among the inhabitants throughout all the provinces of your kingdom whose laws differ from those of all other peoples. Furthermore, they do not observe the king’s laws. It is not appropriate for the king to provide a haven for them. 3:9 If the king is so inclined, let an edict be issued to destroy them. I will pay ten thousand talents of silver to be conveyed to the king’s treasuries for the officials who carry out this business.”

3:10 So the king removed his signet ring from his hand and gave it to Haman the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, who was hostile toward the Jews. 3:11 The king replied to Haman, “Keep your money, and do with those people whatever you wish.”

3:12 So the royal scribes were summoned in the first month, on the thirteenth day of the month. Everything Haman commanded was written to the king’s satraps and governors who were in every province and to the officials of every people, province by province according to its script and people by people according to its language. In the name of King Ahasuerus it was written and sealed with the king’s signet ring. 3:13 Letters were sent by the runners to all the king’s provinces stating that they should destroy, kill, and annihilate all the Jews, from youth to elderly, both women and children, on a particular day, namely the thirteenth day of the twelfth month (that is, the month of Adar), and to loot and plunder their possessions. 3:14 A copy of this edict was to be presented as law throughout every province; it was to be made known to all the inhabitants, so that they would be prepared for this day. 3:15 The messengers scurried forth with the king’s order. The edict was issued in Susa the citadel. While the king and Haman sat down to drink, the city of Susa was in an uproar!

NET Bible®

The Peace Prayer

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;

Where there is hatred, let me sow love;

Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is error, the truth;
Where there is doubt, the faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled, as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.

The Little Bible

For God so loved the world,

that he gave his only begotten Son,

that whosoever believeth in him

should not perish,

but have everlasting life.

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Jn 3:16 KJV