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2 Kings 16-17 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 16

Reign of Ahaz of Judah.[a] In the seventeenth year of Pekah, son of Remaliah, Ahaz, son of Jotham, king of Judah, became king. Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem.

He did not do what was right in the sight of the Lord his God, as David his father had done. He walked in the way of the kings of Israel; he even immolated his child by fire, in accordance with the abominable practices of the nations whom the Lord had dispossessed before the Israelites. Further, he sacrificed and burned incense on the high places, on hills, and under every green tree.

Then Rezin, king of Aram, and Pekah, son of Remaliah, king of Israel, came up to Jerusalem to attack it. Although they besieged Ahaz, they were unable to do battle. (In those days Rezin, king of Aram, recovered Elath for Aram, and drove the Judahites out of it. The Edomites then entered Elath, which they have occupied until the present.)

Meanwhile, Ahaz sent messengers to Tiglath-pileser, king of Assyria, with the plea: “I am your servant and your son. Come up and rescue me from the power of the king of Aram and the king of Israel, who are attacking me.” Ahaz took the silver and gold that were in the house of the Lord and in the treasuries of the king’s house and sent them as a present to the king of Assyria. The king of Assyria listened to him and moved against Damascus, captured it, deported its inhabitants to Kir, and put Rezin to death.

10 King Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglath-pileser, king of Assyria. When he saw the altar in Damascus, King Ahaz sent to Uriah the priest a model of the altar and a detailed design of its construction. 11 Uriah the priest built an altar according to the plans which King Ahaz sent him from Damascus, and had it completed by the time King Ahaz returned from Damascus. 12 On his arrival from Damascus, the king inspected the altar; the king approached the altar, went up 13 and sacrificed his burnt offering and grain offering, pouring out his libation, and sprinkling the blood of his communion offerings on the altar. 14 The bronze altar that stood before the Lord he brought from the front of the temple—that is, from the space between the new altar and the house of the Lord—and set it on the north side of his altar. 15 King Ahaz commanded Uriah the priest, “Upon the large altar sacrifice the morning burnt offering and the evening grain offering, the king’s burnt offering and grain offering, and the burnt offering and grain offering of the people of the land.[b] Their libations you must sprinkle on it along with all the blood of burnt offerings and sacrifices. But the old bronze altar shall be mine for consultation.” 16 Uriah the priest did just as King Ahaz had commanded. 17 King Ahaz detached the panels from the stands and removed the basins from them; he also took down the bronze sea from the bronze oxen that supported it, and set it on a stone pavement. 18 In deference to the king of Assyria he removed the sabbath canopy that had been set up in the house of the Lord and the king’s outside entrance[c] to the temple.

19 The rest of the acts of Ahaz, with what he did, are recorded in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah. 20 Ahaz rested with his ancestors; he was buried with his ancestors in the City of David, and his son Hezekiah succeeded him as king.

Chapter 17

Reign of Hoshea of Israel. In the twelfth year of Ahaz, king of Judah, Hoshea, son of Elah, became king in Samaria over Israel for nine years.

He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, yet not to the extent of the kings of Israel before him. Shalmaneser,[d] king of Assyria, advanced against him, and Hoshea became his vassal and paid him tribute. But the king of Assyria found Hoshea guilty of conspiracy for sending messengers to the king of Egypt at Sais, and for failure to pay the annual tribute to the king of Assyria. So the king of Assyria arrested and imprisoned him. Then the king of Assyria[e] occupied the whole land and attacked Samaria, which he besieged for three years.

X. The End of Israel[f]

Israelites Deported. In Hoshea’s ninth year, the king of Assyria took Samaria, deported the Israelites to Assyria, and settled them in Halah, and at the Habor, a river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes. This came about because the Israelites sinned against the Lord, their God, who had brought them up from the land of Egypt, from under the hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt. They venerated other gods, they followed the rites of the nations whom the Lord had dispossessed before the Israelites and those that the kings of Israel had practiced. They adopted unlawful practices toward the Lord, their God. They built high places in all their cities, from guard post to garrisoned town. 10 They set up pillars and asherahs[g] for themselves on every high hill and under every green tree. 11 They burned incense there, on all the high places, like the nations whom the Lord had sent into exile at their coming. They did evil things that provoked the Lord, 12 and served idols, although the Lord had told them: You must not do this.

13 The Lord warned Israel and Judah by every prophet and seer: Give up your evil ways and keep my commandments and statutes, in accordance with the entire law which I enjoined on your ancestors and which I sent you by my servants the prophets. 14 But they did not listen. They grew as stiff-necked as their ancestors, who had not believed in the Lord, their God. 15 They rejected his statutes, the covenant he had made with their ancestors, and the warnings he had given them. They followed emptiness and became empty; they followed the surrounding nations whom the Lord had commanded them not to imitate. 16 They abandoned all the commandments of the Lord, their God: they made for themselves two molten calves; they made an asherah; they bowed down to all the host of heaven; they served Baal. 17 They immolated their sons and daughters by fire. They practiced augury and divination. They surrendered themselves to doing what was evil in the Lord’s sight, and provoked him.

18 The Lord became enraged, and removed them from his presence. Only the tribe of Judah was left. 19 Even the people of Judah did not keep the commandments of the Lord, their God, but followed the rites practiced by Israel. 20 So the Lord rejected the entire people of Israel: he afflicted them and delivered them over to plunderers, finally casting them from his presence. 21 When he tore Israel away from the house of David, they made Jeroboam, son of Nebat, king; but Jeroboam lured the Israelites away from the Lord, causing them to commit a great sin. 22 The Israelites imitated Jeroboam in all the sins he committed; they would not depart from them.

23 Finally, the Lord removed Israel from his presence, just as he had declared through all his servants, the prophets. Thus Israel went into exile from their native soil to Assyria until this very day.

Foreigners Deported to Israel. 24 The king of Assyria brought people from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Sepharvaim, and settled them in the cities of Samaria in place of the Israelites. They took possession of Samaria and dwelt in its cities. 25 When they first settled there, they did not venerate the Lord, so he sent lions among them that killed some of them. 26 A report reached the king of Assyria: “The nations you deported and settled in the cities of Samaria do not know the proper worship of the god of the land, so he has sent lions among them that are killing them, since they do not know the law of the god of the land.” 27 The king of Assyria gave the order, “Send back some of the priests you deported, to go there and settle, to teach them the proper worship of the god of the land.” 28 So one of the priests who had been deported from Samaria returned and settled in Bethel, and began to teach them how to venerate the Lord.

29 Thus each of these nations continued to make its own gods, setting them up in the shrines of the high places the Samarians had made: each nation in the cities in which they dwelt. 30 The Babylonians made Sukkot-Benot;[h] the people of Cuth made Nergal; those from Hamath made Ashima; 31 those from Avva made Nibhaz and Tartak; and those from Sepharvaim immolated their children by fire to their city gods, King Hadad and King Anu. 32 At the same time, they were venerating the Lord, appointing from their own number priests for the high places to officiate for them in the shrines on the high places. 33 They were both venerating the Lord and serving their own gods. They followed the custom of the nations from among whom they had been deported.

34 To this very day they continue to act according to their former customs, not venerating the Lord nor observing the statutes and regulations, the law and commandment, that the Lord enjoined on the descendants of Jacob, whom he had named Israel. 35 When the Lord made a covenant with them, he commanded them: You must not venerate other gods, nor bow down to them, nor serve them, nor offer sacrifice to them, 36 but only to the Lord, who brought you up from the land of Egypt with great power and outstretched arm. Him shall you venerate, to him shall you bow down, and to him shall you offer sacrifice. 37 You must be careful always to observe the statutes and ordinances, the law and commandment, which he wrote for you; you must not venerate other gods. 38 The covenant I made with you, you must not forget; you must not venerate other gods. 39 You must venerate only the Lord, your God; it is he who will deliver you from the power of all your enemies. 40 But they did not listen; they continued to act according to their former customs.

41 But these nations were both venerating the Lord and serving their own idols. Their children and children’s children are still acting like their ancestors, to this very day.

Footnotes:

  1. 16:1–20 Firmly dated events bearing on chaps. 16–20 are: the fall of Damascus (16:9) in 732 B.C., the fall of Samaria (18:9–11) in 722/721 B.C., and Sennacherib’s invasion of Judah (18:13) in 701 B.C., which both in Kings and in Is 36:1 occurs in the fourteenth year of Hezekiah. These data make it possible to connect the chronology of Israel and Judah to the larger chronology of ancient Near Eastern history, but they also complicate further the already vexed problem of inconsistencies in the biblical data about accession years and lengths of reign.
  2. 16:15 People of the land: see note on 11:14. For consultation: perhaps the introduction into Judah of the Babylonian practice of reading omens from animal sacrifices; cf. Ez 21:26.
  3. 16:18 Sabbath canopy…outside entrance: the Hebrew is obscure, but as a vassal Ahaz must have had to divest himself of signs of sovereignty.
  4. 17:3 Shalmaneser: son and successor of the Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser III. Vassal: lit., “servant”; cf. 16:7; so also in 24:1.
  5. 17:5 The king of Assyria: Shalmaneser was succeeded by Sargon II, who usurped the Assyrian throne in 722/721 B.C. In his inscriptions, Sargon claims to have captured Samaria during the first year of his reign.
  6. 17:6–41 This brief section is the Deuteronomistic historian’s theological reflection on the causes and aftermath of Assyria’s conquest of the Northern Kingdom. The text contrasts the Israelites, who were deported (v. 6) because they abandoned the worship of the Lord (vv. 7–23), with the foreigners who were brought into the land (v. 24) and undertook, however imperfectly, to worship the Lord alongside their own traditional deities (vv. 25–34a). The last verses recapitulate the apostasy of the Israelites (vv. 34b–40) and the syncretism of the foreigners (v. 41). This is a deliberately disparaging, and not wholly accurate, account of the origin of the Samaritans; it reflects the hostility the Judahites continued to hold toward the inhabitants of the northern territories.
  7. 17:10 Asherahs: see note on Ex 34:13.
  8. 17:30 Sukkot-Benot: several of the divine names in vv. 30–31 are problematic or conjectural. Sukkot-Benot is unknown, but the name may have been corrupted from that of Sarpanitu, the consort of the Babylonian god Marduk.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Proverbs 8:22-36 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

22 [a]“The Lord begot me, the beginning of his works,
    the forerunner of his deeds of long ago;
23 From of old I was formed,[b]
    at the first, before the earth.
24 [c]When there were no deeps I was brought forth,
    when there were no fountains or springs of water;
25 Before the mountains were settled into place,
    before the hills, I was brought forth;
26 When the earth and the fields were not yet made,
    nor the first clods of the world.
27 When he established the heavens, there was I,
    when he marked out the vault over the face of the deep;
28 When he made firm the skies above,
    when he fixed fast the springs of the deep;
29 When he set for the sea its limit,
    so that the waters should not transgress his command;
When he fixed the foundations of earth,
30     then was I beside him as artisan;[d]
I was his delight day by day,
    playing before him all the while,
31 Playing over the whole of his earth,
    having my delight with human beings.
32 [e]Now, children, listen to me;
    happy are they who keep my ways.
33 Listen to instruction and grow wise,
    do not reject it!
34 Happy the one who listens to me,
    attending daily at my gates,
    keeping watch at my doorposts;
35 For whoever finds me finds life,
    and wins favor from the Lord;
36 But those who pass me by do violence to themselves;
    all who hate me love death.”

Footnotes:

  1. 8:22–31 Wisdom is of divine origin. She is represented as existing before all things (vv. 22–26), when God planned and created the universe, adorning it with beauty and variety, and establishing its wonderful order (vv. 27–30). The purpose of the two cosmogonies (vv. 22–26 and 27–31) is to ground Wisdom’s claims. The first cosmogony emphasizes that she was born before all else (and so deserving of honor) and the second underscores that she was with the Lord during the creation of the universe. The pre-existence of Woman Wisdom with God is developed in Sir 24 and in New Testament hymns to Christ, especially in Jn 1 and Col 1:15–20.
  2. 8:23 Formed: since the other verbs of the origin of Wisdom in these verses describe birth, it is likely that the somewhat uncertain verb is to be understood of birth as in Ps 139:13.
  3. 8:24–26 Perhaps the formless mass from which God created the heavens and the earth; cf. Gn 1:1–2; 2:4–6.
  4. 8:30 Artisan: the translation of the Hebrew word ’āmôn has been controverted since antiquity. There have been three main opinions: (1) artisan; (2) trustworthy (friend); (3) ward, nursling. The most likely explanation is that ’āmôn is artisan, related to Akkadian ummānu, legendary sages and heroes who brought divine gifts and culture to the human race. I was his delight: the chiastic or ABBA structure of vv. 30–31 unifies the four lines and underscores the analogy between Woman Wisdom’s intimate relation to the Lord and her intimate relation to human beings, i.e., “delight” + “playing” parallels “playing” + “delight.” She is God’s friend and intimate and invites human beings to a similar relationship to God through her.
  5. 8:32–36 The final appeal of Woman Wisdom to her disciples is similar to the appeal of the father in 7:24–27.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

2 Corinthians 2 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 2

For I decided not to come to you again in painful circumstances. For if I inflict pain upon you, then who is there to cheer me except the one pained by me? And I wrote as I did[a] so that when I came I might not be pained by those in whom I should have rejoiced, confident about all of you that my joy is that of all of you. For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote to you with many tears, not that you might be pained but that you might know the abundant love I have for you.

The Offender.[b] If anyone has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but in some measure (not to exaggerate) to all of you. This punishment by the majority is enough for such a person, so that on the contrary you should forgive and encourage him instead, or else the person may be overwhelmed by excessive pain. Therefore, I urge you to reaffirm your love for him. For this is why I wrote, to know your proven character, whether you were obedient in everything. 10 Whomever you forgive anything, so do I. For indeed what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for you in the presence of Christ, 11 so that we might not be taken advantage of by Satan, for we are not unaware of his purposes.

Paul’s Anxiety.[c] 12 When I went to Troas for the gospel of Christ, although a door was opened for me in the Lord, 13 [d]I had no relief in my spirit because I did not find my brother Titus. So I took leave of them and went on to Macedonia.

B. Paul’s Ministry[e]

Ministers of a New Covenant. 14 [f]But thanks be to God,[g] who always leads us in triumph in Christ[h] and manifests through us the odor of the knowledge of him[i] in every place. 15 For we are the aroma of Christ for God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, 16 to the latter an odor of death that leads to death, to the former an odor of life that leads to life. Who is qualified[j] for this? 17 For we are not like the many who trade on the word of God; but as out of sincerity, indeed as from God and in the presence of God, we speak in Christ.

Footnotes:

  1. 2:3–4 I wrote as I did: we learn for the first time about the sending of a letter in place of the proposed visit. Paul mentions the letter in passing, but emphasizes his motivation in sending it: to avoid being saddened by them (cf. 1 Cor 2:1), and to help them realize the depth of his love. Another motive will be added in 2 Cor 7:12—to bring to light their own concern for him. With many tears: it has been suggested that we may have all or part of this “tearful letter” somewhere in the Corinthian correspondence, either in 1 Cor 5 (the case of the incestuous man), or in 1 Corinthians as a whole, or in 2 Cor 2:10–13. None of these hypotheses is entirely convincing. See note on 2 Cor 13:1.
  2. 2:5–11 The nature of the pain (2 Cor 2:5) is unclear, though some believe an individual at Corinth rejected Paul’s authority, thereby scandalizing many in the community. In any case, action has been taken, and Paul judges the measures adequate to right the situation (2 Cor 2:6). The follow-up directives he now gives are entirely positive: forgive, encourage, love. Overwhelmed (2 Cor 2:7): a vivid metaphor (literally “swallowed”) that Paul employs positively at 2 Cor 5:4 and in 1 Cor 15:54 (2 Cor 2:7). It is often used to describe satanic activity (cf. 1 Pt 5:8); note the reference to Satan here in 2 Cor 2:11.
  3. 2:12–13 I had no relief: Paul does not explain the reason for his anxiety until he resumes the thread of his narrative at 2 Cor 7:5: he was waiting to hear how the Corinthians would respond to his letter. Since 2 Cor 7:5–16 describes their response in entirely positive terms, we never learn in detail why he found it necessary to defend and justify his change of plans, as in 2 Cor 1:15–24. Was this portion of the letter written before the arrival of Titus with his good news (2 Cor 7:6–7)?
  4. 2:13 Macedonia: a Roman province in northern Greece.
  5. 2:14–7:4 This section constitutes a digression within the narrative of the crisis and its resolution (2 Cor 1:12–2:13 and 2 Cor 7:5–16). The main component (2 Cor 2:14–6:10) treats the nature of Paul’s ministry and his qualifications for it; this material bears some similarity to the defense of his ministry in chaps. 10–13, but it may well come from a period close to the crisis. This is followed by a supplementary block of material quite different in character and tone (2 Cor 6:14–7:1). These materials may have been brought together into their present position during final editing of the letter; appeals to the Corinthians link them to one another (2 Cor 6:11–13) and lead back to the interrupted narrative (2 Cor 7:2–4).
  6. 2:14–6:10 The question of Paul’s adequacy (2 Cor 2:16; cf. 2 Cor 3:5) and his credentials (2 Cor 3:1–2) has been raised. Paul responds by an extended treatment of the nature of his ministry. It is a ministry of glory (2 Cor 3:7–4:6), of life (2 Cor 4:7–5:10), of reconciliation (2 Cor 5:11–6:10).
  7. 2:14–16a The initial statement plunges us abruptly into another train of thought. Paul describes his personal existence and his function as a preacher in two powerful images (2 Cor 2:14) that constitute a prelude to the development to follow.
  8. 2:14a Leads us in triumph in Christ: this metaphor of a festive parade in honor of a conquering military hero can suggest either a positive sharing in Christ’s triumph or an experience of defeat, being led in captivity and submission (cf. 2 Cor 4:8–11; 1 Cor 4:9). Paul is probably aware of the ambiguity, as he is in the case of the next metaphor.
  9. 2:14b–16a The odor of the knowledge of him: incense was commonly used in triumphal processions. The metaphor suggests the gradual diffusion of the knowledge of God through the apostolic preaching. The aroma of Christ: the image shifts from the fragrance Paul diffuses to the aroma that he is. Paul is probably thinking of the “sweet odor” of the sacrifices in the Old Testament (e.g., Gn 8:21; Ex 29:18) and perhaps of the metaphor of wisdom as a sweet odor (Sir 24:15). Death…life: the aroma of Christ that comes to them through Paul is perceived differently by various classes of people. To some his preaching and his life (cf. 1 Cor 1:17–2:6) are perceived as death, and the effect is death for them; others perceive him, despite appearances, as life, and the effect is life for them. This fragrance thus produces a separation and a judgment (cf. the function of the “light” in John’s gospel).
  10. 2:16b–17 Qualified: Paul may be echoing either the self-satisfied claims of other preachers or their charges about Paul’s deficiencies. No one is really qualified, but the apostle contrasts himself with those who dilute or falsify the preaching for personal advantage and insists on his totally good conscience: his ministry is from God, and he has exercised it with fidelity and integrity (cf. 2 Cor 3:5–6).
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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