2 Chronicles 27-30New English Translation (NET Bible)
27 Jotham was twenty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned for sixteen years in Jerusalem. His mother was Jerusha the daughter of Zadok. 2 He did what the Lord approved, just as his father Uzziah had done. (He did not, however, have the audacity to enter the temple.) Yet the people were still sinning.
3 He built the Upper Gate to the Lord’s temple and did a lot of work on the wall in the area known as Ophel. 4 He built cities in the hill country of Judah and fortresses and towers in the forests.
5 He launched a military campaign against the king of the Ammonites and defeated them. That year the Ammonites paid him 100 talents of silver, 10,000 cors of wheat, and 10,000 cors of barley. The Ammonites also paid this same amount of annual tribute the next two years.
6 Jotham grew powerful because he was determined to please the Lord his God. 7 The rest of the events of Jotham’s reign, including all his military campaigns and his accomplishments, are recorded in the scroll of the kings of Israel and Judah. 8 He was twenty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned for sixteen years in Jerusalem. 9 Jotham passed away and was buried in the City of David. His son Ahaz replaced him as king.
28 Ahaz was twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned for sixteen years in Jerusalem. He did not do what pleased the Lord, in contrast to his ancestor David. 2 He followed in the footsteps of the kings of Israel; he also made images of the Baals. 3 He offered sacrifices in the Valley of Ben Hinnom and passed his sons through the fire, a horrible sin practiced by the nations whom the Lord drove out before the Israelites. 4 He offered sacrifices and burned incense on the high places, on the hills, and under every green tree.
5 The Lord his God handed him over to the king of Syria. The Syrians defeated him and deported many captives to Damascus. He was also handed over to the king of Israel, who thoroughly defeated him. 6 In one day King Pekah son of Remaliah of Israel killed 120,000 warriors in Judah, because they had abandoned the Lord God of their ancestors. 7 Zikri, an Ephraimite warrior, killed the king’s son Maaseiah, Azrikam, the supervisor of the palace, and Elkanah, the king’s second-in-command. 8 The Israelites seized from their brothers 200,000 wives, sons, and daughters. They also carried off a huge amount of plunder and took it back to Samaria.
9 Oded, a prophet of the Lord, was there. He went to meet the army as they arrived in Samaria and said to them: “Look, because the Lord God of your ancestors was angry with Judah he handed them over to you. You have killed them so mercilessly that God has taken notice. 10 And now you are planning to enslave the people of Judah and Jerusalem. Yet are you not also guilty before the Lord your God? 11 Now listen to me! Send back those you have seized from your brothers, for the Lord is very angry at you!” 12 So some of the Ephraimite family leaders, Azariah son of Jehochanan, Berechiah son of Meshillemoth, Jechizkiah son of Shallum, and Amasa son of Hadlai confronted those returning from the battle. 13 They said to them, “Don’t bring those captives here! Are you planning on making us even more sinful and guilty before the Lord? Our guilt is already great and the Lord is very angry at Israel.” 14 So the soldiers released the captives and the plunder before the officials and the entire assembly. 15 Men were assigned to take the prisoners and find clothes among the plunder for those who were naked. So they clothed them, supplied them with sandals, gave them food and drink, and provided them with oil to rub on their skin. They put the ones who couldn’t walk on donkeys. They brought them back to their brothers at Jericho, the city of the date palm trees, and then returned to Samaria.
16 At that time King Ahaz asked the king of Assyria for help. 17 The Edomites had again invaded and defeated Judah and carried off captives. 18 The Philistines had raided the cities of Judah in the lowlands and the Negev. They captured and settled in Beth Shemesh, Aijalon, Gederoth, Soco and its surrounding villages, Timnah and its surrounding villages, and Gimzo and its surrounding villages. 19 The Lord humiliated Judah because of King Ahaz of Israel, for he encouraged Judah to sin and was very unfaithful to the Lord. 20 King Tiglath-pileser of Assyria came, but he gave him more trouble than support. 21 Ahaz gathered riches from the Lord’s temple, the royal palace, and the officials and gave them to the king of Assyria, but that did not help.
22 During his time of trouble King Ahaz was even more unfaithful to the Lord. 23 He offered sacrifices to the gods of Damascus whom he thought had defeated him. He reasoned, “Since the gods of the kings of Damascus helped them, I will sacrifice to them so they will help me.” But they caused him and all Israel to stumble. 24 Ahaz gathered the items in God’s temple and removed them. He shut the doors of the Lord’s temple and erected altars on every street corner in Jerusalem. 25 In every city throughout Judah he set up high places to offer sacrifices to other gods. He angered the Lord God of his ancestors.
26 The rest of the events of Ahaz’s reign, including his accomplishments from start to finish, are recorded in the Scroll of the Kings of Judah and Israel. 27 Ahaz passed away and was buried in the City of David; they did not bring him to the tombs of the kings of Israel. His son Hezekiah replaced him as king.
Hezekiah Consecrates the Temple
29 Hezekiah was twenty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother was Abijah, the daughter of Zechariah. 2 He did what the Lord approved, just as his ancestor David had done.
3 In the first month of the first year of his reign, he opened the doors of the Lord’s temple and repaired them. 4 He brought in the priests and Levites and assembled them in the square on the east side. 5 He said to them: “Listen to me, you Levites! Now consecrate yourselves, so you can consecrate the temple of the Lord God of your ancestors! Remove from the sanctuary what is ceremonially unclean! 6 For our fathers were unfaithful; they did what is evil in the sight of the Lord our God and abandoned him! They turned away from the Lord’s dwelling place and rejected him. 7 They closed the doors of the temple porch and put out the lamps; they did not offer incense or burnt sacrifices in the sanctuary of the God of Israel. 8 The Lord was angry at Judah and Jerusalem and made them an appalling object of horror at which people hiss out their scorn, as you can see with your own eyes. 9 Look, our fathers died violently and our sons, daughters, and wives were carried off because of this. 10 Now I intend to make a covenant with the Lord God of Israel, so that he may relent from his raging anger. 11 My sons, do not be negligent now, for the Lord has chosen you to serve in his presence and offer sacrifices.”
12 The following Levites prepared to carry out the king’s orders:
From the Kohathites: Mahath son of Amasai and Joel son of Azariah; from the Merarites: Kish son of Abdi and Azariah son of Jehallelel; from the Gershonites: Joah son of Zimmah and Eden son of Joah;
13 from the descendants of Elizaphan: Shimri and Jeiel; from the descendants of Asaph: Zechariah and Mattaniah;
14 from the descendants of Heman: Jehiel and Shimei; from the descendants of Jeduthun: Shemaiah and Uzziel.
15 They assembled their brothers and consecrated themselves. Then they went in to purify the Lord’s temple, just as the king had ordered, in accordance with the word of the Lord. 16 The priests then entered the Lord’s temple to purify it; they brought out to the courtyard of the Lord’s temple every ceremonially unclean thing they discovered inside. The Levites took them out to the Kidron Valley. 17 On the first day of the first month they began consecrating; by the eighth day of the month they reached the porch of the Lord’s temple. For eight more days they consecrated the Lord’s temple. On the sixteenth day of the first month they were finished. 18 They went to King Hezekiah and said: “We have purified the entire temple of the Lord, including the altar of burnt sacrifice and all its equipment, and the table for the Bread of the Presence and all its equipment. 19 We have prepared and consecrated all the items that King Ahaz removed during his reign when he acted unfaithfully. They are in front of the altar of the Lord.”
20 Early the next morning King Hezekiah assembled the city officials and went up to the Lord’s temple. 21 They brought seven bulls, seven rams, seven lambs, and seven goats as a sin offering for the kingdom, the sanctuary, and Judah. The king told the priests, the descendants of Aaron, to offer burnt sacrifices on the altar of the Lord. 22 They slaughtered the bulls, and the priests took the blood and splashed it on the altar. Then they slaughtered the rams and splashed the blood on the altar; next they slaughtered the lambs and splashed the blood on the altar. 23 Finally they brought the goats for the sin offering before the king and the assembly, and they placed their hands on them. 24 Then the priests slaughtered them. They offered their blood as a sin offering on the altar to make atonement for all Israel, because the king had decreed that the burnt sacrifice and sin offering were for all Israel.
25 King Hezekiah stationed the Levites in the Lord’s temple with cymbals and stringed instruments, just as David, Gad the king’s prophet, and Nathan the prophet had ordered. (The Lord had actually given these orders through his prophets.) 26 The Levites had David’s musical instruments and the priests had trumpets. 27 Hezekiah ordered the burnt sacrifice to be offered on the altar. As they began to offer the sacrifice, they also began to sing to the Lord, accompanied by the trumpets and the musical instruments of King David of Israel. 28 The entire assembly worshiped, as the singers sang and the trumpeters played. They continued until the burnt sacrifice was completed.
29 When the sacrifices were completed, the king and all who were with him bowed down and worshiped. 30 King Hezekiah and the officials told the Levites to praise the Lord, using the psalms of David and Asaph the prophet. So they joyfully offered praise and bowed down and worshiped. 31 Hezekiah said, “Now you have consecrated yourselves to the Lord. Come and bring sacrifices and thank offerings to the Lord’s temple.” So the assembly brought sacrifices and thank offerings, and whoever desired to do so brought burnt sacrifices.
32 The assembly brought a total of 70 bulls, 100 rams, and 200 lambs as burnt sacrifices to the Lord, 33 and 600 bulls and 3,000 sheep were consecrated. 34 But there were not enough priests to skin all the animals, so their brothers, the Levites, helped them until the work was finished and the priests could consecrate themselves. (The Levites had been more conscientious about consecrating themselves than the priests.) 35 There was a large number of burnt sacrifices, as well as fat from the peace offerings and drink offerings that accompanied the burnt sacrifices. So the service of the Lord’s temple was reinstituted. 36 Hezekiah and all the people were happy about what God had done for them, for it had been done quickly.
Hezekiah Observes the Passover
30 Hezekiah sent messages throughout Israel and Judah; he even wrote letters to Ephraim and Manasseh, summoning them to come to the Lord’s temple in Jerusalem and observe a Passover celebration for the Lord God of Israel. 2 The king, his officials, and the entire assembly in Jerusalem decided to observe the Passover in the second month. 3 They were unable to observe it at the regular time because not enough priests had consecrated themselves and the people had not assembled in Jerusalem. 4 The proposal seemed appropriate to the king and the entire assembly. 5 So they sent an edict throughout Israel from Beer Sheba to Dan, summoning the people to come and observe a Passover for the Lord God of Israel in Jerusalem, for they had not observed it on a nationwide scale as prescribed in the law. 6 Messengers delivered the letters from the king and his officials throughout Israel and Judah.
This royal edict read: “O Israelites, return to the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, so he may return to you who have been spared from the kings of Assyria. 7 Don’t be like your fathers and brothers who were unfaithful to the Lord God of their ancestors, provoking him to destroy them, as you can see. 8 Now, don’t be stubborn like your fathers! Submit to the Lord and come to his sanctuary which he has permanently consecrated. Serve the Lord your God so that he might relent from his raging anger. 9 For if you return to the Lord, your brothers and sons will be shown mercy by their captors and return to this land. The Lord your God is merciful and compassionate; he will not reject you if you return to him.”
10 The messengers journeyed from city to city through the land of Ephraim and Manasseh as far as Zebulun, but people mocked and ridiculed them. 11 But some men from Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem. 12 In Judah God moved the people to unite and carry out the edict the king and the officers had issued at the Lord’s command. 13 A huge crowd assembled in Jerusalem to observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread in the second month. 14 They removed the altars in Jerusalem; they also removed all the incense altars and threw them into the Kidron Valley.
15 They slaughtered the Passover lamb on the fourteenth day of the second month. The priests and Levites were ashamed, so they consecrated themselves and brought burnt sacrifices to the Lord’s temple. 16 They stood at their posts according to the regulations outlined in the law of Moses, the man of God. The priests were splashing the blood as the Levites handed it to them. 17 Because many in the assembly had not consecrated themselves, the Levites slaughtered the Passover lambs of all who were ceremonially unclean and could not consecrate their sacrifice to the Lord. 18 The majority of the many people from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun were ceremonially unclean, yet they ate the Passover in violation of what is prescribed in the law. For Hezekiah prayed for them, saying: “May the Lord, who is good, forgive 19 everyone who has determined to follow God, the Lord God of his ancestors, even if he is not ceremonially clean according to the standards of the temple.” 20 The Lord responded favorably to Hezekiah and forgave the people.
21 The Israelites who were in Jerusalem observed the Feast of Unleavened Bread for seven days with great joy. The Levites and priests were praising the Lord every day with all their might. 22 Hezekiah expressed his appreciation to all the Levites, who demonstrated great skill in serving the Lord. They feasted for the seven days of the festival, and were making peace offerings and giving thanks to the Lord God of their ancestors.
23 The entire assembly then decided to celebrate for seven more days; so they joyfully celebrated for seven more days. 24 King Hezekiah of Judah supplied 1,000 bulls and 7,000 sheep for the assembly, while the officials supplied them with 1,000 bulls and 10,000 sheep. Many priests consecrated themselves. 25 The celebration included the entire assembly of Judah, the priests, the Levites, the entire assembly of those who came from Israel, the resident foreigners who came from the land of Israel, and the residents of Judah. 26 There was a great celebration in Jerusalem, unlike anything that had occurred in Jerusalem since the time of King Solomon son of David of Israel. 27 The priests and Levites got up and pronounced blessings on the people. The Lord responded favorably to them as their prayers reached his holy dwelling place in heaven.
Acts 8:1-25New English Translation (NET Bible)
8 1 And Saul agreed completely with killing him.
Saul Begins to Persecute the Church
Now on that day a great persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were forced to scatter throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria. 2 Some devout men buried Stephen and made loud lamentation over him. 3 But Saul was trying to destroy the church; entering one house after another, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison.
Philip Preaches in Samaria
4 Now those who had been forced to scatter went around proclaiming the good news of the word. 5 Philip went down to the main city of Samaria and began proclaiming the Christ to them. 6 The crowds were paying attention with one mind to what Philip said, as they heard and saw the miraculous signs he was performing. 7 For unclean spirits, crying with loud shrieks, were coming out of many who were possessed, and many paralyzed and lame people were healed. 8 So there was great joy in that city.
9 Now in that city was a man named Simon, who had been practicing magic and amazing the people of Samaria, claiming to be someone great. 10 All the people, from the least to the greatest, paid close attention to him, saying, “This man is the power of God that is called ‘Great.’” 11 And they paid close attention to him because he had amazed them for a long time with his magic. 12 But when they believed Philip as he was proclaiming the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they began to be baptized, both men and women. 13 Even Simon himself believed, and after he was baptized, he stayed close to Philip constantly, and when he saw the signs and great miracles that were occurring, he was amazed.
14 Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. 15 These two went down and prayed for them so that they would receive the Holy Spirit. 16 (For the Spirit had not yet come upon any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) 17 Then Peter and John placed their hands on the Samaritans, and they received the Holy Spirit.
18 Now Simon, when he saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, offered them money, 19 saying, “Give me this power too, so that everyone I place my hands on may receive the Holy Spirit.” 20 But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could acquire God’s gift with money! 21 You have no share or part in this matter because your heart is not right before God! 22 Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that he may perhaps forgive you for the intent of your heart. 23 For I see that you are bitterly envious and in bondage to sin.” 24 But Simon replied, “You pray to the Lord for me so that nothing of what you have said may happen to me.”
25 So after Peter and John had solemnly testified and spoken the word of the Lord, they started back to Jerusalem, proclaiming the good news to many Samaritan villages as they went.