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2 Chronicles 31-33New English Translation (NET Bible)

31 When all this was over, the Israelites who were in the cities of Judah went out and smashed the sacred pillars, cut down the Asherah poles, and demolished all the high places and altars throughout Judah, Benjamin, Ephraim, and Manasseh. Then all the Israelites returned to their own homes in their cities.

The People Contribute to the Temple

Hezekiah appointed the divisions of the priests and Levites to do their assigned tasks—to offer burnt sacrifices and present offerings and to serve, give thanks, and offer praise in the gates of the Lord’s sanctuary.

The king contributed some of what he owned for burnt sacrifices, including the morning and evening burnt sacrifices and the burnt sacrifices made on Sabbaths, new moon festivals, and at other appointed times prescribed in the law of the Lord. He ordered the people living in Jerusalem to contribute the portion prescribed for the priests and Levites so they might be obedient to the law of the Lord. When the edict was issued, the Israelites freely contributed the initial portion of their grain, wine, olive oil, honey, and all the produce of their fields. They brought a tenth of everything, which added up to a huge amount. The Israelites and people of Judah who lived in the cities of Judah also contributed a tenth of their cattle and sheep, as well as a tenth of the holy items consecrated to the Lord their God. They brought them and placed them in many heaps. In the third month they began piling their contributions in heaps and finished in the seventh month. When Hezekiah and the officials came and saw the heaps, they praised the Lord and pronounced blessings on his people Israel.

When Hezekiah asked the priests and Levites about the heaps, 10 Azariah, the head priest from the family of Zadok, said to him, “Since the contributions began arriving in the Lord’s temple, we have had plenty to eat and have a large quantity left over. For the Lord has blessed his people, and this large amount remains.” 11 Hezekiah ordered that storerooms be prepared in the Lord’s temple. When this was done, 12 they brought in the contributions, tithes, and consecrated items that had been offered. Konaniah, a Levite, was in charge of all this, assisted by his brother Shimei. 13 Jehiel, Azaziah, Nahath, Asahel, Jerimoth, Jozabad, Eliel, Ismakiah, Mahath, and Benaiah worked under the supervision of Konaniah and his brother Shimei, as directed by King Hezekiah and Azariah, the supervisor of God’s temple.

14 Kore son of Imnah, a Levite and the guard on the east side, was in charge of the voluntary offerings made to God and disbursed the contributions made to the Lord and the consecrated items. 15 In the cities of the priests, Eden, Miniamin, Jeshua, Shemaiah, Amariah, and Shecaniah faithfully assisted him in making disbursements to their fellow priests according to their divisions, regardless of age. 16 They made disbursements to all the males three years old and up who were listed in the genealogical records—to all who would enter the Lord’s temple to serve on a daily basis and fulfill their duties as assigned to their divisions. 17 They made disbursements to the priests listed in the genealogical records by their families, and to the Levites twenty years old and up, according to their duties as assigned to their divisions, 18 and to all the infants, wives, sons, and daughters of the entire assembly listed in the genealogical records, for they faithfully consecrated themselves. 19 As for the descendants of Aaron, the priests who lived in the outskirts of all their cities, men were assigned to disburse portions to every male among the priests and to every Levite listed in the genealogical records.

20 This is what Hezekiah did throughout Judah. He did what the Lord his God considered good and right and faithful. 21 He wholeheartedly and successfully reinstituted service in God’s temple and obedience to the law, in order to follow his God.

Sennacherib Invades Judah

32 After these faithful deeds were accomplished, King Sennacherib of Assyria invaded Judah. He besieged the fortified cities, intending to seize them. When Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib had invaded and intended to attack Jerusalem, he consulted with his advisers and military officers about stopping up the springs outside the city, and they supported him. A large number of people gathered together and stopped up all the springs and the stream that flowed through the district. They reasoned, “Why should the kings of Assyria come and find plenty of water?” Hezekiah energetically rebuilt every broken wall. He erected towers and an outer wall, and fortified the terrace of the City of David. He made many weapons and shields.

He appointed military officers over the army and assembled them in the square at the city gate. He encouraged them, saying, “Be strong and brave! Don’t be afraid and don’t panic because of the king of Assyria and this huge army that is with him! We have with us one who is stronger than those who are with him. He has with him mere human strength, but the Lord our God is with us to help us and fight our battles!” The army was encouraged by the words of King Hezekiah of Judah.

Afterward King Sennacherib of Assyria, while attacking Lachish with all his military might, sent his messengers to Jerusalem. The message was for King Hezekiah of Judah and all the people of Judah who were in Jerusalem. It read: 10 “This is what King Sennacherib of Assyria says: ‘Why are you so confident that you remain in Jerusalem while it is under siege? 11 Hezekiah says, “The Lord our God will rescue us from the power of the king of Assyria.” But he is misleading you and you will die of hunger and thirst! 12 Hezekiah is the one who eliminated the Lord’s high places and altars and then told Judah and Jerusalem, “At one altar you must worship and offer sacrifices.” 13 Are you not aware of what I and my predecessors have done to all the nations of the surrounding lands? Have the gods of the surrounding lands actually been able to rescue their lands from my power? 14 Who among all the gods of these nations whom my predecessors annihilated was able to rescue his people from my power? 15 Now don’t let Hezekiah deceive you or mislead you like this. Don’t believe him, for no god of any nation or kingdom has been able to rescue his people from my power or the power of my predecessors. So how can your gods rescue you from my power?’”

16 Sennacherib’s servants further insulted the Lord God and his servant Hezekiah. 17 He wrote letters mocking the Lord God of Israel and insulting him with these words: “The gods of the surrounding nations could not rescue their people from my power. Neither can Hezekiah’s god rescue his people from my power.” 18 They called out loudly in the Judahite dialect to the people of Jerusalem who were on the wall, trying to scare and terrify them so they could seize the city. 19 They talked about the God of Jerusalem as if he were one of the man-made gods of the nations of the earth.

20 King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz prayed about this and cried out to heaven. 21 The Lord sent a messenger and he wiped out all the soldiers, princes, and officers in the army of the king of Assyria. So Sennacherib returned home humiliated. When he entered the temple of his god, some of his own sons struck him down with the sword. 22 The Lord delivered Hezekiah and the residents of Jerusalem from the power of King Sennacherib of Assyria and from all the other nations. He made them secure on every side. 23 Many were bringing presents to the Lord in Jerusalem and precious gifts to King Hezekiah of Judah. From that time on he was respected by all the nations.

Hezekiah’s Shortcomings and Accomplishments

24 In those days Hezekiah was stricken with a terminal illness. He prayed to the Lord, who answered him and gave him a sign confirming that he would be healed. 25 But Hezekiah was ungrateful; he had a proud attitude, provoking God to be angry at him, as well as Judah and Jerusalem. 26 But then Hezekiah and the residents of Jerusalem humbled themselves and abandoned their pride, and the Lord was not angry with them for the rest of Hezekiah’s reign.

27 Hezekiah was very wealthy and greatly respected. He made storehouses for his silver, gold, precious stones, spices, and all his other valuable possessions. 28 He made storerooms for the harvest of grain, wine, and olive oil, and stalls for all his various kinds of livestock and his flocks. 29 He built royal cities and owned a large number of sheep and cattle, for God gave him a huge amount of possessions.

30 Hezekiah dammed up the source of the waters of the Upper Gihon and directed them down to the west side of the City of David. Hezekiah succeeded in all that he did. 31 So when the envoys arrived from the Babylonian officials to visit him and inquire about the sign that occurred in the land, God left him alone to test him, in order to know his true motives.

32 The rest of the events of Hezekiah’s reign, including his faithful deeds, are recorded in the vision of the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz, included in the Scroll of the Kings of Judah and Israel. 33 Hezekiah passed away and was buried on the ascent of the tombs of the descendants of David. All the people of Judah and the residents of Jerusalem buried him with great honor. His son Manasseh replaced him as king.

Manasseh’s Reign

33 Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned for fifty-five years in Jerusalem. He did evil in the sight of the Lord and committed the same horrible sins practiced by the nations whom the Lord drove out ahead of the Israelites. He rebuilt the high places that his father Hezekiah had destroyed; he set up altars for the Baals and made Asherah poles. He bowed down to all the stars in the sky and worshiped them. He built altars in the Lord’s temple, about which the Lord had said, “Jerusalem will be my permanent home.” In the two courtyards of the Lord’s temple he built altars for all the stars in the sky. He passed his sons through the fire in the Valley of Ben Hinnom and practiced divination, omen reading, and sorcery. He set up a ritual pit to conjure up underworld spirits and appointed magicians to supervise it. He did a great amount of evil in the sight of the Lord and angered him. He put an idolatrous image he had made in God’s temple, about which God had said to David and to his son Solomon, “This temple in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, will be my permanent home. I will not make Israel again leave the land I gave to their ancestors, provided that they carefully obey all I commanded them, the whole law, the rules and regulations given to Moses.” But Manasseh misled the people of Judah and the residents of Jerusalem so that they sinned more than the nations whom the Lord had destroyed ahead of the Israelites.

10 The Lord confronted Manasseh and his people, but they paid no attention. 11 So the Lord brought against them the commanders of the army of the king of Assyria. They seized Manasseh, put hooks in his nose, bound him with bronze chains, and carried him away to Babylon. 12 In his pain Manasseh asked the Lord his God for mercy and truly humbled himself before the God of his ancestors. 13 When he prayed to the Lord, the Lord responded to him and answered favorably his cry for mercy. The Lord brought him back to Jerusalem to his kingdom. Then Manasseh realized that the Lord is the true God.

14 After this Manasseh built up the outer wall of the City of David on the west side of the Gihon in the valley to the entrance of the Fish Gate and all around the terrace; he made it much higher. He placed army officers in all the fortified cities in Judah.

15 He removed the foreign gods and images from the Lord’s temple and all the altars he had built on the hill of the Lord’s temple and in Jerusalem; he threw them outside the city. 16 He erected the altar of the Lord and offered on it peace offerings and thank offerings. He told the people of Judah to serve the Lord God of Israel. 17 The people continued to offer sacrifices at the high places, but only to the Lord their God.

18 The rest of the events of Manasseh’s reign, including his prayer to his God and the words the prophets spoke to him in the name of the Lord God of Israel, are recorded in the Annals of the Kings of Israel. 19 The Annals of the Prophets include his prayer, give an account of how the Lord responded to it, record all his sins and unfaithful acts, and identify the sites where he built high places and erected Asherah poles and idols before he humbled himself. 20 Manasseh passed away and was buried in his palace. His son Amon replaced him as king.

Amon’s Reign

21 Amon was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned for two years in Jerusalem. 22 He did evil in the sight of the Lord, just like his father Manasseh had done. He offered sacrifices to all the idols his father Manasseh had made, and worshiped them. 23 He did not humble himself before the Lord as his father Manasseh had done. Amon was guilty of great sin. 24 His servants conspired against him and killed him in his palace. 25 The people of the land executed all who had conspired against King Amon, and they made his son Josiah king in his place.

New English Translation (NET)

NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://netbible.com All rights reserved.

Acts 8:26-9:19New English Translation (NET Bible)

Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch

26 Then an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Get up and go south on the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (This is a desert road.) 27 So he got up and went. There he met an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasury. He had come to Jerusalem to worship, 28 and was returning home, sitting in his chariot, reading the prophet Isaiah. 29 Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this chariot.” 30 So Philip ran up to it and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. He asked him, “Do you understand what you’re reading?” 31 The man replied, “How in the world can I, unless someone guides me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. 32 Now the passage of scripture the man was reading was this:

He was led like a sheep to slaughter,
and like a lamb before its shearer is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
33 In humiliation justice was taken from him.
Who can describe his posterity?
For his life was taken away from the earth.”

34 Then the eunuch said to Philip, “Please tell me, who is the prophet saying this about—himself or someone else?” 35 So Philip started speaking, and beginning with this scripture proclaimed the good news about Jesus to him. 36 Now as they were going along the road, they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “Look, there is water! What is to stop me from being baptized?” 38 So he ordered the chariot to stop, and both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. 39 Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him any more, but went on his way rejoicing. 40 Philip, however, found himself at Azotus, and as he passed through the area, he proclaimed the good news to all the towns until he came to Caesarea.

The Conversion of Saul

Meanwhile Saul, still breathing out threats to murder the Lord’s disciples, went to the high priest and requested letters from him to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any who belonged to the Way, either men or women, he could bring them as prisoners to Jerusalem. As he was going along, approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” So he said, “Who are you, Lord?” He replied, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting! But stand up and enter the city and you will be told what you must do.” (Now the men who were traveling with him stood there speechless, because they heard the voice but saw no one.) So Saul got up from the ground, but although his eyes were open, he could see nothing. Leading him by the hand, his companions brought him into Damascus. For three days he could not see, and he neither ate nor drank anything.

10 Now there was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias,” and he replied, “Here I am, Lord.” 11 Then the Lord told him, “Get up and go to the street called ‘Straight,’ and at Judas’ house look for a man from Tarsus named Saul. For he is praying, 12 and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and place his hands on him so that he may see again.” 13 But Ananias replied, “Lord, I have heard from many people about this man, how much harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem, 14 and here he has authority from the chief priests to imprison all who call on your name!” 15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, because this man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before Gentiles and kings and the people of Israel. 16 For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” 17 So Ananias departed and entered the house, placed his hands on Saul and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came here, has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 Immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, 19 and after taking some food, his strength returned.

For several days he was with the disciples in Damascus,

New English Translation (NET)

NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://netbible.com All rights reserved.

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