1 Kings 11:1-12:19 New International Reader's Version (NIRV)
11 King Solomon loved many women besides Pharaoh’s daughter. They were from other lands. They were Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites. 2 The Lord had warned Israel about women from other nations. He had said, “You must not marry them. If you do, you can be sure they will turn your hearts toward their gods.” But Solomon continued to love them anyway. He wouldn’t give them up. 3 He had 700 wives who came from royal families. And he had 300 concubines. His wives led him astray. 4 As Solomon grew older, his wives turned his heart toward other gods. He didn’t follow the Lord his God with all his heart. So he wasn’t like his father David. 5 Solomon worshiped Ashtoreth. Ashtoreth was the female god of the Sidonians. He also worshiped Molek. Molek was the god of the Ammonites. The Lord hated that god. 6 Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. He didn’t completely obey the Lord. He didn’t do what his father David had done.
7 There is a hill east of Jerusalem. Solomon built a high place for worshiping Chemosh there. He built a high place for worshiping Molek there too. Chemosh was the god of Moab. Molek was the god of Ammon. The Lord hated both of those gods. 8 Solomon also built high places so that all his wives from other nations could worship their gods. Those women burned incense and offered sacrifices to their gods.
9 The Lord became angry with Solomon. That’s because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel. He had appeared to Solomon twice. 10 He had commanded Solomon not to worship other gods. But Solomon didn’t obey the Lord. 11 So the Lord said to Solomon, “You have chosen not to keep my covenant. You have decided not to obey my rules. I commanded you to do what I told you. But you did not do it. So you can be absolutely sure I will tear the kingdom away from you. I will give it to one of your officials. 12 But I will not do that while you are still living. Because of your father David I will wait. I will tear the kingdom out of your son’s hand. 13 But I will not tear the whole kingdom away from him. I will give him one of the tribes because of my servant David. I will also do it because of Jerusalem. That is the city I have chosen.”
14 Then the Lord brought an enemy against Solomon. The enemy’s name was Hadad. He was from Edom. In fact, he belonged to the royal family of Edom. 15 David had fought against Edom. Joab had been the commander of the army. He had gone up to bury the dead bodies of the Israelites who had been killed in battle. At that time he had struck down all the men in Edom. 16 In fact, Joab and all the men of Israel stayed there for six months. During that time they destroyed all the men in Edom. 17 But when Hadad was only a boy, he ran away to Egypt. Some officials from Edom went with him. They had served Hadad’s father. 18 They started out from Midian and went to Paran. They took some people from Paran with them. Then they went to Egypt. They went to Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. He gave Hadad a house and some land. He also supplied him with food.
19 Pharaoh was very pleased with Hadad. Pharaoh’s wife was Queen Tahpenes. He gave Hadad her sister to be his wife. 20 The sister of Tahpenes had a son by Hadad. The baby was named Genubath. Tahpenes brought him up in the royal palace. Genubath lived there with Pharaoh’s own children.
21 Hadad heard that David had joined the members of his family who had already died. He also heard that Joab, the commander of the army, was dead. Hadad heard those things while he was in Egypt. He said to Pharaoh, “Let me go. I want to return to my own country.”
22 “Why do you want to go back to your own country?” Pharaoh asked. “Don’t you have everything you need right here?”
“Yes,” Hadad replied. “But I want you to let me go anyway!”
23 God brought another enemy against Solomon. The enemy’s name was Rezon. He was the son of Eliada. Rezon had run away from his master Hadadezer, the king of Zobah. 24 David had destroyed Zobah’s army. Then Rezon gathered together some men to follow him. He became their leader. They went to Damascus where they made their homes. They also took control of Damascus. 25 Rezon was Israel’s enemy as long as Solomon was living. Rezon added to the trouble Hadad had caused. So Rezon ruled in Aram. He was Israel’s enemy.
Jeroboam Refuses to Follow Solomon
26 Jeroboam refused to follow King Solomon. He was one of Solomon’s officials. He was from Zeredah in the territory of Ephraim. His father was Nebat. His mother was a widow named Zeruah.
27 Here is the story of how Jeroboam refused to follow the king. Solomon had filled in the low places near the palace. He had also repaired the wall of the city of his father David. 28 Jeroboam was a very important young man. Solomon saw how well he did his work. So he put him in charge of all the workers in northern Israel.
29 About that time Jeroboam was going out of Jerusalem. Ahijah the prophet met him on the road. Ahijah was from Shiloh. He was wearing a new coat. The two of them were all alone out in the country. 30 Ahijah grabbed the new coat he had on. He tore it up into 12 pieces. 31 Then he said to Jeroboam, “Take ten pieces for yourself. The Lord is the God of Israel. He says, ‘I am going to tear the kingdom out of Solomon’s hand. I will give you ten of its tribes. 32 Solomon will have one of its tribes. I will let him keep it because of my servant David and because of Jerusalem. I have chosen that city out of all the cities in the tribes of Israel. 33 I will do these things because the tribes have deserted me. They have worshiped Ashtoreth, the female god of the people of Sidon. They have worshiped Chemosh, the god of the people of Moab. And they have worshiped Molek, the god of the people of Ammon. They have not lived the way I wanted them to. They have not done what is right in my eyes. They have not obeyed my rules and laws as Solomon’s father David did.
34 “ ‘But I will not take the whole kingdom out of Solomon’s hand. I have made him ruler all the days of his life. I have done it because of my servant David. I chose him, and he obeyed my commands and rules. 35 I will take the kingdom out of his son’s hands. And I will give you ten of the tribes. 36 I will give one of the tribes to David’s son. Then my servant David will always have a son on his throne in Jerusalem. The lamp of David’s kingdom will always burn brightly in my sight. Jerusalem is the city I chose for my Name. 37 But I will make you king over Israel. You will rule over everything your heart desires. So you will be the king of Israel. 38 Do everything I command you to do. Live the way I want you to. Do what is right in my eyes. Obey my rules and commands. That is what my servant David did. If you do those things, I will be with you. I will build you a kingdom. It will last as long as the one I built for David. I will give Israel to you. 39 I will punish David’s family because of what Solomon has done. But I will not punish them forever.’ ”
40 Solomon tried to kill Jeroboam. But Jeroboam ran away to Egypt. He went to Shishak, the king of Egypt. He stayed there until Solomon died.
41 The other events of Solomon’s rule are written down. Everything he did and the wisdom he showed are written down. They are written in the official records of Solomon. 42 Solomon ruled in Jerusalem over the whole nation of Israel for 40 years. 43 Then he joined the members of his family who had already died. He was buried in the city of his father David. Solomon’s son Rehoboam became the next king after him.
Israel Refuses to Follow Rehoboam
12 Rehoboam went to the city of Shechem. All the Israelites had gone there to make him king. 2 Jeroboam heard about it. He was the son of Nebat. Jeroboam was still in Egypt at that time. He had gone there for safety. He wanted to get away from King Solomon. But now he returned from Egypt. 3 So the people sent for Jeroboam. He and the whole community of Israel went to Rehoboam. They said to him, 4 “Your father put a heavy load on our shoulders. But now make our hard work easier. Make the heavy load on us lighter. Then we’ll serve you.”
5 Rehoboam answered, “Go away for three days. Then come back to me.” So the people went away.
6 King Rehoboam asked the elders for advice. They had served his father Solomon while he was still living. Rehoboam asked them, “What advice can you give me? How should I answer these people?”
7 They replied, “Serve them today. Give them what they are asking for. Then they’ll always serve you.”
8 But Rehoboam didn’t accept the advice the elders gave him. Instead, he asked for advice from the young men. They had grown up with him and were now serving him. 9 He asked them, “What’s your advice? How should I answer these people? They say to me, ‘Make the load your father put on our shoulders lighter.’ ”
10 The young men who had grown up with him gave their answer. They replied, “These people have said to you, ‘Your father put a heavy load on our shoulders. Make it lighter.’ Now tell them, ‘My little finger is stronger than my father’s legs. 11 My father put a heavy load on your shoulders. But I’ll make it even heavier. My father beat you with whips. But I’ll beat you with bigger whips.’ ”
12 Three days later Jeroboam and all the people returned to Rehoboam. That’s because the king had said, “Come back to me in three days.” 13 The king answered the people in a mean way. He didn’t accept the advice the elders had given him. 14 Instead, he followed the advice of the young men. He said, “My father put a heavy load on your shoulders. But I’ll make it even heavier. My father beat you with whips. But I’ll beat you with bigger whips.” 15 So the king didn’t listen to the people. That’s because the Lord had planned it that way. What he had said through Ahijah came true. Ahijah had spoken the Lord’s message to Jeroboam, the son of Nebat. Ahijah was from Shiloh.
16 All the Israelites saw that the king refused to listen to them. So they answered the king. They said,
“We don’t have any share in David’s royal family.
So the Israelites went home. 17 But Rehoboam still ruled over the Israelites living in the towns of Judah.
18 Adoniram was in charge of those who were forced to work hard for King Rehoboam. The king sent him out among all the Israelites. But they killed Adoniram by throwing stones at him. King Rehoboam was able to get away in his chariot. He escaped to Jerusalem. 19 Israel has refused to follow the royal family of David to this day.
Acts 9:1-25 New International Reader's Version (NIRV)
Saul Becomes a Believer
9 Meanwhile, Saul continued to oppose the Lord’s followers. He said they would be put to death. He went to the high priest. 2 He asked the priest for letters to the synagogues in Damascus. He wanted to find men and women who belonged to the Way of Jesus. The letters would allow him to take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. 3 On his journey, Saul approached Damascus. Suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4 He fell to the ground. He heard a voice speak to him, “Saul! Saul! Why are you opposing me?”
5 “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.
“I am Jesus,” he replied. “I am the one you are opposing. 6 Now get up and go into the city. There you will be told what you must do.”
7 The men traveling with Saul stood there. They weren’t able to speak. They had heard the sound. But they didn’t see anyone. 8 Saul got up from the ground. He opened his eyes, but he couldn’t see. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. 9 For three days he was blind. He didn’t eat or drink anything.
10 In Damascus there was a believer named Ananias. The Lord called out to him in a vision. “Ananias!” he said.
“Yes, Lord,” he answered.
11 The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street. Ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul. He is praying. 12 In a vision Saul has seen a man come and place his hands on him. That man’s name is Ananias. In the vision, Ananias placed his hands on Saul so he could see again.”
13 “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I’ve heard many reports about this man. They say he has done great harm to your holy people in Jerusalem. 14 Now he has come here to arrest all those who worship you. The chief priests have given him authority to do this.”
15 But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! I have chosen this man to work for me. He will announce my name to the Gentiles and to their kings. He will also announce my name to the people of Israel. 16 I will show him how much he must suffer for me.”
17 Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. He placed his hands on Saul. “Brother Saul,” he said, “you saw the Lord Jesus. He appeared to you on the road as you were coming here. He has sent me so that you will be able to see again. You will be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 Right away something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes. And he could see again. He got up and was baptized. 19 After eating some food, he got his strength back.
Saul in Damascus and Jerusalem
Saul spent several days with the believers in Damascus. 20 Right away he began to preach in the synagogues. He taught that Jesus is the Son of God. 21 All who heard him were amazed. They asked, “Isn’t he the man who caused great trouble in Jerusalem? Didn’t he make trouble for those who worship Jesus? Hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?” 22 But Saul grew more and more powerful. The Jews living in Damascus couldn’t believe what was happening. Saul proved to them that Jesus is the Messiah.
23 After many days, the Jews had a meeting. They planned to kill Saul. 24 But he learned about their plan. Day and night they watched the city gates closely in order to kill him. 25 But his followers helped him escape by night. They lowered him in a basket through an opening in the wall.
Psalm 131 New International Reader's Version (NIRV)
A song for those who go up to Jerusalem to worship the Lord. A psalm of David.
1 Lord, my heart isn’t proud.
3 Israel, put your hope in the Lord
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