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1 Kings 4-5The Message (MSG)

1-2 King Solomon was off to a good start ruling Israel.

These were the leaders in his government:

2-6 Azariah son of Zadok—the priest;

Elihoreph and Ahijah, sons of Shisha—secretaries;

Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud—historian;

Benaiah son of Jehoiada—commander of the army;

Zadok and Abiathar—priests;

Azariah son of Nathan—in charge of the regional managers;

Zabud son of Nathan—priest and friend to the king;

Ahishar—manager of the palace;

Adoniram son of Abda—manager of the slave labor.

7-19 Solomon had twelve regional managers distributed throughout Israel. They were responsible for supplying provisions for the king and his administration. Each was in charge of bringing supplies for one month of the year. These are the names:

Ben-Hur in the Ephraim hills;

Ben-Deker in Makaz, Shaalbim, Beth Shemesh, and Elon Bethhanan;

Ben-Hesed in Arubboth—this included Socoh and all of Hepher;

Ben-Abinadab in Naphoth Dor (he was married to Solomon’s daughter Taphath);

Baana son of Ahilud in Taanach and Megiddo, all of Beth Shan next to Zarethan below Jezreel, and from Beth Shan to Abel Meholah over to Jokmeam;

Ben-Geber in Ramoth Gilead—this included the villages of Jair son of Manasseh in Gilead and the region of Argob in Bashan with its sixty large walled cities with bronze-studded gates;

Ahinadab son of Iddo in Mahanaim;

Ahimaaz in Naphtali (he was married to Solomon’s daughter Basemath);

Baana son of Hushai in Asher and Aloth;

Jehoshaphat son of Paruah in Issachar;

Shimei son of Ela in Benjamin;

Geber son of Uri in Gilead—this was the country of Sihon king of the Amorites and also of Og king of Bashan; he managed the whole district by himself.

Solomon’s Prosperity

20-21 Judah and Israel were densely populated—like sand on an ocean beach! All their needs were met; they ate and drank and were happy. Solomon was sovereign over all the kingdoms from the River Euphrates in the east to the country of the Philistines in the west, all the way to the border of Egypt. They brought tribute and were vassals of Solomon all his life.

22-23 One day’s food supply for Solomon’s household was:

185 bushels of fine flour

375 bushels of meal

10 grain-fed cattle

20 range cattle

100 sheep

and miscellaneous deer, gazelles, roebucks, and choice fowl.

24-25 Solomon was sovereign over everything, countries and kings, west of the River Euphrates from Tiphsah to Gaza. Peace reigned everywhere. Throughout Solomon’s life, everyone in Israel and Judah lived safe and sound, all of them from Dan in the north to Beersheba in the south—content with what they had.

26-28 Solomon had forty thousand stalls for chariot horses and twelve thousand horsemen. The district managers, each according to his assigned month, delivered food supplies for King Solomon and all who sat at the king’s table; there was always plenty. They also brought to the designated place their assigned quota of barley and straw for the horses.

29-34 God gave Solomon wisdom—the deepest of understanding and the largest of hearts. There was nothing beyond him, nothing he couldn’t handle. Solomon’s wisdom outclassed the vaunted wisdom of wise men of the East, outshone the famous wisdom of Egypt. He was wiser than anyone—wiser than Ethan the Ezrahite, wiser than Heman, wiser than Calcol and Darda the sons of Mahol. He became famous among all the surrounding nations. He created 3,000 proverbs; his songs added up to 1,005. He knew all about plants, from the huge cedar that grows in Lebanon to the tiny hyssop that grows in the cracks of a wall. He understood everything about animals and birds, reptiles and fish. Sent by kings from all over the earth who had heard of his reputation, people came from far and near to listen to the wisdom of Solomon.

International Fame

1-4 Hiram king of Tyre sent ambassadors to Solomon when he heard that he had been crowned king in David’s place. Hiram had loved David his whole life. Solomon responded, saying, “You know that David my father was not able to build a temple in honor of God because of the wars he had to fight on all sides, until God finally put them down. But now God has provided peace all around—no one against us, nothing at odds with us.

5-6 “Now here is what I want to do: Build a temple in honor of God, my God, following the promise that God gave to David my father, namely, ‘Your son whom I will provide to succeed you as king, he will build a house in my honor.’ And here is how you can help: Give orders for cedars to be cut from the Lebanon forest; my loggers will work alongside yours and I’ll pay your men whatever wage you set. We both know that there is no one like you Sidonians for cutting timber.”

When Hiram got Solomon’s message, he was delighted, exclaiming, “Blessed be God for giving David such a wise son to rule this flourishing people!”

8-9 Then he sent this message to Solomon: “I received your request for the cedars and cypresses. It’s as good as done—your wish is my command. My lumberjacks will haul the timbers from the Lebanon forest to the sea, assemble them into log rafts, float them to the place you set, then have them disassembled for you to haul away. All I want from you is that you feed my crew.”

10-12 In this way Hiram supplied all the cedar and cypress timber that Solomon wanted. In his turn, Solomon gave Hiram 125,000 bushels of wheat and 115,000 gallons of virgin olive oil. He did this every year. And God, for his part, gave Solomon wisdom, just as he had promised. The healthy peace between Hiram and Solomon was formalized by a treaty.

The Temple Work Begins

13-18 King Solomon raised a workforce of thirty thousand men from all over Israel. He sent them in shifts of ten thousand each month to the Lebanon forest; they would work a month in Lebanon and then be at home two months. Adoniram was in charge of the work crew. Solomon also had seventy thousand unskilled workers and another eighty thousand stonecutters up in the hills—plus thirty-three hundred foremen managing the project and supervising the work crews. Following the king’s orders, they quarried huge blocks of the best stone—dressed stone for the foundation of The Temple. Solomon and Hiram’s construction workers, assisted by the men of Gebal, cut and prepared the timber and stone for building The Temple.

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

2 Chronicles 2The Message (MSG)

The Temple Construction Begins

Solomon gave orders to begin construction on the house of worship in honor of God and a palace for himself.

Solomon assigned seventy thousand common laborers, eighty thousand to work the quarries in the mountains, and thirty-six hundred foremen to manage the workforce.

3-4 Then Solomon sent this message to King Hiram of Tyre: “Send me cedar logs, the same kind you sent David my father for building his palace. I’m about to build a house of worship in honor of God, a holy place for burning perfumed incense, for setting out holy bread, for making Whole-Burnt-Offerings at morning and evening worship, and for Sabbath, New Moon, and Holy Day services of worship—the acts of worship required of Israel.

5-10 “The house I am building has to be the best, for our God is the best, far better than competing gods. But who is capable of building such a structure? Why, the skies—the entire cosmos!—can’t begin to contain him. And me, who am I to think I can build a house adequate for God—burning incense to him is about all I’m good for! I need your help: Send me a master artisan in gold, silver, bronze, iron, textiles of purple, crimson, and violet, and who knows the craft of engraving; he will supervise the trained craftsmen in Judah and Jerusalem that my father provided. Also send cedar, cypress, and algum logs from Lebanon; I know you have lumberjacks experienced in the Lebanon forests. I’ll send workers to join your crews to cut plenty of timber—I’m going to need a lot, for this house I’m building is going to be absolutely stunning—a showcase temple! I’ll provide all the food necessary for your crew of lumberjacks and loggers: 130,000 bushels of wheat, 120,000 gallons of wine, and 120,000 gallons of olive oil.”

11 Hiram king of Tyre wrote Solomon in reply: “It’s plain that God loves his people—he made you king over them!”

12-14 He wrote on, “Blessed be the God of Israel, who made heaven and earth, and who gave King David a son so wise, so knowledgeable and shrewd, to build a temple for God and a palace for himself. I’ve sent you Huram-Abi—he’s already on his way—he knows the construction business inside and out. His mother is from Dan and his father from Tyre. He knows how to work in gold, silver, bronze, iron, stone, and wood, in purple, violet, linen, and crimson textiles; he is also an expert engraver and competent to work out designs with your artists and architects, and those of my master David, your father.

15-16 “Go ahead and send the wheat, barley, olive oil, and wine you promised for my work crews. We’ll log the trees you need from the Lebanon forests and raft them down to Joppa. You’ll have to get the timber up to Jerusalem yourself.”

17-18 Solomon then took a census of all the foreigners living in Israel, using the same census-taking method employed by his father. They numbered 153,600. He assigned 70,000 of them as common laborers, 80,000 to work the quarries in the mountains, and 3,600 as foremen to manage the work crews.

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Psalm 101The Message (MSG)

A David Psalm

101 1-8 My theme song is God’s love and justice,
    and I’m singing it right to you, God.
I’m finding my way down the road of right living,
    but how long before you show up?
I’m doing the very best I can,
    and I’m doing it at home, where it counts.
I refuse to take a second look
    at corrupting people and degrading things.
I reject made-in-Canaan gods,
    stay clear of contamination.
The crooked in heart keep their distance;
    I refuse to shake hands with those who plan evil.
I put a gag on the gossip
    who bad-mouths his neighbor;
I can’t stand
    arrogance.
But I have my eye on salt-of-the-earth people—
    they’re the ones I want working with me;
Men and women on the straight and narrow—
    these are the ones I want at my side.
But no one who traffics in lies
    gets a job with me; I have no patience with liars.
I’ve rounded up all the wicked like cattle
    and herded them right out of the country.
I purged God’s city
    of all who make a business of evil.

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

2 Thessalonians 3The Message (MSG)

Those Who Are Lazy

1-3 One more thing, friends: Pray for us. Pray that the Master’s Word will simply take off and race through the country to a groundswell of response, just as it did among you. And pray that we’ll be rescued from these scoundrels who are trying to do us in. I’m finding that not all “believers” are believers. But the Master never lets us down. He’ll stick by you and protect you from evil.

4-5 Because of the Master, we have great confidence in you. We know you’re doing everything we told you and will continue doing it. May the Master take you by the hand and lead you along the path of God’s love and Christ’s endurance.

6-9 Our orders—backed up by the Master, Jesus—are to refuse to have anything to do with those among you who are lazy and refuse to work the way we taught you. Don’t permit them to freeload on the rest. We showed you how to pull your weight when we were with you, so get on with it. We didn’t sit around on our hands expecting others to take care of us. In fact, we worked our fingers to the bone, up half the night moonlighting so you wouldn’t be burdened with taking care of us. And it wasn’t because we didn’t have a right to your support; we did. We simply wanted to provide an example of diligence, hoping it would prove contagious.

10-13 Don’t you remember the rule we had when we lived with you? “If you don’t work, you don’t eat.” And now we’re getting reports that a bunch of lazy good-for-nothings are taking advantage of you. This must not be tolerated. We command them to get to work immediately—no excuses, no arguments—and earn their own keep. Friends, don’t slack off in doing your duty.

14-15 If anyone refuses to obey our clear command written in this letter, don’t let him get by with it. Point out such a person and refuse to subsidize his freeloading. Maybe then he’ll think twice. But don’t treat him as an enemy. Sit him down and talk about the problem as someone who cares.

16 May the Master of Peace himself give you the gift of getting along with each other at all times, in all ways. May the Master be truly among you!

17 I, Paul, bid you good-bye in my own handwriting. I do this in all my letters, so examine my signature as proof that the letter is genuine.

18 The incredible grace of our Master, Jesus Christ, be with all of you!

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

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