2 Kings 15-17 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)
Azariah’s Rule Over Judah
15 King Azariah son of Amaziah of Judah became king in the 27th year that Jeroboam was king of Israel. 2 Azariah was 16 years old when he began to rule. He ruled 52 years in Jerusalem. His mother was named Jecoliah of Jerusalem. 3 Azariah did what the Lord said was right, just as his father Amaziah had done. 4 But he did not destroy the high places. People still made sacrifices and burned incense in these places of worship.
5 The Lord caused King Azariah to become sick with leprosy. He was a leper until the day he died. Azariah lived in a separate house. His son Jotham was in charge of the king’s palace, and he judged the people.
6 All the great things that Azariah did are written in the book, The History of the Kings of Judah. 7 Azariah died and was buried with his ancestors in the City of David. Azariah’s son Jotham became the new king after him.
Zechariah’s Short Rule Over Israel
8 Zechariah son of Jeroboam ruled over Samaria in Israel for six months. This was during the 38th year that Azariah was king of Judah. 9 Zechariah did what the Lord said was wrong. He did the same things his ancestors did. He did not stop committing the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat who caused Israel to sin.
10 Shallum son of Jabesh made plans against Zechariah. Shallum killed Zechariah in Ibleam.[a] Shallum became the new king. 11 All the other things that Zechariah did are written in the book, The History of the Kings of Israel. 12 In this way the Lord’s word came true. He had told Jehu that four generations of his descendants would be kings of Israel.
Shallum’s Short Rule Over Israel
13 Shallum son of Jabesh became king of Israel during the 39th year that Uzziah was king of Judah. Shallum ruled for one month in Samaria.
14 Menahem son of Gadi came up from Tirzah to Samaria and killed Shallum son of Jabesh. Then Menahem became the new king after him.
15 All the things Shallum did, including his plans against Zechariah, are written in the book, The History of the Kings of Israel.
Menahem’s Rule Over Israel
16 Menahem defeated Tiphsah and the area around it. The people refused to open the city gate for him. So Menahem defeated them and ripped open all the pregnant women in that city.
17 Menahem son of Gadi became king over Israel during the 39th year that Azariah was king of Judah. Menahem ruled ten years in Samaria. 18 Menahem did what the Lord said was wrong. He did not stop committing the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat who caused Israel to sin.
19 King Pul of Assyria came to fight against Israel. Menahem gave Pul 75,000 pounds[b] of silver so that Pul would support him and help him gain complete control of the kingdom. 20 Menahem raised the money by making all the rich and powerful men pay taxes. He taxed each man 20 ounces[c] of silver and gave the money to the king of Assyria. So the king of Assyria left and did not stay there in Israel.
21 All the great things that Menahem did are written in the book, The History of the Kings of Israel. 22 Menahem died and was buried with his ancestors. His son Pekahiah became the new king after him.
Pekahiah’s Rule Over Israel
23 Pekahiah son of Menahem became king over Israel in Samaria during the 50th year that Azariah was king of Judah. Pekahiah ruled two years. 24 He did what the Lord said was wrong. He did not stop committing the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat that caused Israel to sin.
25 The commander of Pekahiah’s army was Pekah son of Remaliah. Pekah killed Pekahiah in Samaria at the king’s palace. Pekah had 50 men from Gilead with him when he killed Pekahiah. Then Pekah became the new king after him.
26 All the great things Pekahiah did are written in the book, The History of the Kings of Israel.
Pekah’s Rule Over Israel
27 Pekah son of Remaliah began to rule over Israel in Samaria during the 52nd year that Azariah was king of Judah. Pekah ruled 20 years. 28 Pekah did what the Lord said was wrong. He did not stop committing the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat who caused Israel to sin.
29 King Tiglath Pileser of Assyria came to fight against Israel while Pekah was king of Israel. Tiglath Pileser captured Ijon, Abel Bethmaacah, Janoah, Kedesh, Hazor, Gilead, Galilee, and all the area of Naphtali. He took the people from these places as prisoners to Assyria.
30 Hoshea son of Elah made plans against Pekah son of Remaliah and killed him. Then Hoshea became the new king. This was during the 20th year that Jotham son of Uzziah was king of Judah.
31 All the great things that Pekah did are written in the book, The History of the Kings of Israel.
Jotham’s Rule Over Judah
32 Jotham son of Uzziah became king of Judah. This was during the second year that Pekah son of Remaliah was king of Israel. 33 Jotham was 25 years old when he became king. He ruled 16 years in Jerusalem. His mother was named Jerusha, the daughter of Zadok. 34 Jotham did what the Lord said was right, just as his father Uzziah had done. 35 But he did not destroy the high places. The people still made sacrifices and burned incense at those places of worship. Jotham built the upper gate of the Lord’s Temple. 36 All the great things that Jotham did are written in the book, The History of the Kings of Judah.
37 At that time the Lord sent King Rezin of Aram and Pekah son of Remaliah to fight against Judah.
38 Jotham died and was buried with his ancestors in the City of David, his ancestor. Jotham’s son Ahaz became the new king after him.
Ahaz Becomes King Over Judah
16 Ahaz son of Jotham became king of Judah during the 17th year that Pekah son of Remaliah was king of Israel. 2 Ahaz was 20 years old when he became king. He ruled 16 years in Jerusalem. Unlike his ancestor David, Ahaz did not do what the Lord said was right. 3 He did the same bad things the kings of Israel had done. He even burned his son as a sacrifice.[d] He copied the terrible sins of the nations that the Lord had forced to leave the country when the Israelites came. 4 Ahaz made sacrifices and burned incense at the high places and on the hills and under every green tree.
5 King Rezin of Aram and King Pekah son of Remaliah of Israel came to fight against Jerusalem. Rezin and Pekah surrounded Ahaz, but could not defeat him. 6 At that time King Rezin of Aram took back Elath for Aram. Rezin took all the people of Judah who were living in Elath. The Arameans settled in Elath, and they still live there today.
7 Ahaz sent messengers to King Tiglath Pileser of Assyria with this message: “I am your servant. I am like a son to you. Come and save me from the king of Aram and the king of Israel. They have come to fight me.” 8 Ahaz also took the silver and gold that was in the Temple of the Lord and in the treasuries of the king’s palace. Then Ahaz sent a gift to the king of Assyria. 9 The king of Assyria listened to Ahaz and went to fight against Damascus. The king captured that city and took the people from Damascus as prisoners to Kir. He also killed Rezin.
10 King Ahaz went to Damascus to meet King Tiglath Pileser of Assyria. Ahaz saw the altar at Damascus. He sent a model and pattern of this altar to Uriah the priest. 11 Then Uriah the priest built an altar just like the model King Ahaz had sent him from Damascus. Uriah the priest built the altar this way before King Ahaz came back from Damascus.
12 When the king arrived from Damascus, he saw the altar. He offered sacrifices on the altar. 13 Ahaz burned his burnt offerings and grain offerings on it. He poured his drink offering and sprinkled the blood of his fellowship offerings on this altar.
14 Ahaz took the bronze altar that was before the Lord from the front of the Temple. This bronze altar was between Ahaz’s altar and the Temple of the Lord. Ahaz put the bronze altar on the north side of his own altar. 15 He commanded Uriah the priest, “Use the large altar to burn the morning burnt offerings, the evening grain offerings, and the drink offerings from all the people of this country. Sprinkle all the blood from the burnt offering and other sacrifices on the large altar. But I will use the bronze altar to get answers from God.” 16 Uriah the priest did everything that King Ahaz commanded him to do.
17 There were carts with bronze panels and basins for the priests to wash their hands. King Ahaz removed the panels and basins and cut up the carts. He also took the large tank[e] off the bronze bulls that stood under it. He put the large tank on a stone pavement. 18 Workers had built a covered place inside the Temple area for the Sabbath meetings. But Ahaz removed the covered place and the outside entrance for the king. He removed all these from the Lord’s Temple. Ahaz did this because of the king of Assyria.
19 All the great things that Ahaz did are written in the book, The History of the Kings of Judah. 20 Ahaz died and was buried with his ancestors in the City of David. Ahaz’s son Hezekiah became the new king after him.
Hoshea Begins His Rule Over Israel
17 Hoshea son of Elah began to rule in Samaria over Israel. This was during the 12th year that Ahaz was king of Judah. Hoshea ruled nine years. 2 He did what the Lord said was wrong, but he was not as bad as the kings of Israel who had ruled before him.
3 King Shalmaneser of Assyria came to fight against Hoshea and defeated him. So Hoshea paid tribute to Shalmaneser.
4 Later, Hoshea sent messengers to the king of Egypt to ask for help. That king’s name was So. That year Hoshea did not pay tribute to the king of Assyria as he did every other year. The king of Assyria learned that Hoshea had made plans against him. So he arrested Hoshea and put him in jail.
5 The king of Assyria attacked many places in Israel. Then he came to Samaria and fought against it for three years. 6 The king of Assyria took Samaria during the ninth year that Hoshea was king of Israel. He captured many Israelites and took them as prisoners to Assyria. He made them live in Halah by the Habor River at Gozan and in other cities of the Medes.
7 These things happened because the Israelites had sinned against the Lord their God. And it was the Lord who brought the Israelites out of the land of Egypt! He saved them from the power of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. But the Israelites began worshiping other gods. 8 They began doing the same things that other people did. And the Lord had forced those people to leave their land when the Israelites came. The Israelites also chose to be ruled by kings. 9 The Israelites secretly did things against the Lord their God, and those things were wrong!
The Israelites built high places in all their cities—from the smallest town to the largest city. 10 They put up memorial stones and Asherah poles on every high hill and under every green tree. 11 They burned incense there in all those places for worship.[f] They did these things like the nations that the Lord forced out of the land before them. The Israelites did evil things that made the Lord angry. 12 They served idols, and the Lord had said to them, “You must not do this.”
13 The Lord used every prophet and every seer to warn Israel and Judah. He said, “Turn away from the evil things you do. Obey my commands and laws. Follow all the law that I gave to your ancestors. I used my servants the prophets to give this law to you.”
14 But the people would not listen. They were very stubborn like their ancestors. Their ancestors did not believe the Lord their God. 15 They refused to follow his laws and the agreement he made with their ancestors. They would not listen to his warnings. They worshiped idols that were worth nothing and they themselves became worth nothing. The Lord had warned them not to do the evil things that the people in the nations around them did. But they lived the same way those people lived.
16 The people stopped following the commands of the Lord their God. They made two gold statues of calves. They made Asherah poles. They worshiped all the stars of heaven and served Baal. 17 They sacrificed their sons and daughters in the fire. They used magic and witchcraft to try to learn the future. They sold themselves to do what the Lord said was evil. They did this to make him angry. 18 So the Lord became very angry with Israel and removed them from his sight. There were no Israelites left, except the tribe of Judah.
The People of Judah Are Also Guilty
19 But even the people of Judah did not obey the commands of the Lord their God. They lived just as the Israelites had.
20 The Lord rejected all the Israelites. He brought them many troubles. He let people destroy them. Finally, he threw them away and removed them from his sight. 21 He tore them from the family of David, and they made Jeroboam son of Nebat their king. Jeroboam pulled the Israelites away from following the Lord. He caused them to commit a great sin. 22 So the Israelites sinned in all the ways Jeroboam did. And they did not stop committing these sins 23 until the Lord took Israel away from his sight. And he said this would happen. He sent his prophets to tell the people this would happen. So the Israelites were taken out of their country into Assyria. And they have been there to this day.
Foreigners Settle in Israel
24 The king of Assyria took the Israelites out of Samaria and brought in other people from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Sepharvaim. They took over Samaria and lived in the cities around it. 25 When these people began to live in Samaria, they did not honor the Lord, so the Lord sent lions to attack them. The lions killed some of them. 26 Some people said to the king of Assyria, “The people who you took away and put in the cities of Samaria don’t know the law of the god of that country. So that god sent lions to attack them. The lions killed them because they don’t know the law of the god of that country.”
27 So the king of Assyria gave this command: “You took some priests from Samaria. Send one of them who I captured back to Samaria. Let that priest go and live there. Then he can teach the people the law of the god of that country.”
28 So one of the priests who the Assyrians had carried away from Samaria came to live in Bethel. He taught the people how they should honor the Lord.
29 But all those people made gods of their own. They put them in the temples at the high places that the people of Samaria had made. They did this wherever they lived. 30 The people of Babylon made the false god Succoth Benoth. The people of Cuthah made the false god Nergal. The people of Hamath made the false god Ashima. 31 The people of Avva made the false gods Nibhaz and Tartak. The people from Sepharvaim also burned their children in the fire to honor their false gods, Adrammelech and Anammelech.
32 But they also worshiped the Lord. They chose priests for the high places from among the people. These priests made sacrifices for the people in the temples at those places of worship. 33 They respected the Lord but also served their own gods, just as they did in their own countries.
34 Even today, they live the same way they did in the past. They don’t honor the Lord. They don’t obey the rules and commands of the Israelites. They don’t obey the law or the commands that the Lord gave to the children of Jacob. 35 The Lord made an agreement with the Israelites. He commanded them, “You must not honor other gods. You must not worship them or serve them or offer sacrifices to them. 36 But you must follow the Lord, who brought you out of Egypt. He used his great power to save you. You must worship him and make sacrifices to him. 37 You must obey the rules, laws, teachings, and commands that he wrote for you. You must obey these things all the time. You must not respect other gods. 38 You must not forget the agreement that I made with you. You must not respect other gods. 39 No, you must respect only the Lord your God. Then he will save you from all your enemies.”
40 But the Israelites did not listen. They kept on doing the same things they did before. 41 So now those other nations respected the Lord, but they also served their own idols. Their children and grandchildren did the same thing their ancestors did. They still do these things to this day.