2 Chronicles 21-24 Common English Bible (CEB)
21 Jehoshaphat died and was buried with his ancestors in David’s City. His son Jehoram succeeded him as king.
2 Jehoram’s brothers, the other sons of Jehoshaphat, were Azariah, Jehiel, Zechariah, Azariah, Michael, and Shephatiah. All of these were the sons of Israel’s King Jehoshaphat. 3 Their father had given them many gifts of silver, gold, and other valuables, along with fortified cities in Judah, but he gave the kingdom to Jehoram because he was the oldest son.
4 When Jehoram had taken control of his father’s kingdom, he established his rule by killing all his brothers, along with some other leaders of Israel. 5 Jehoram was 32 years old when he became king, and he ruled for eight years in Jerusalem. 6 He walked in the ways of Israel’s kings, just as Ahab’s dynasty had done, because he married Ahab’s daughter. He did what was evil in the Lord’s eyes. 7 Nevertheless, because of the covenant he had made with David, the Lord wasn’t willing to destroy David’s dynasty. He had promised to preserve a lamp for David and his sons forever. 8 During Jehoram’s rule, Edom rebelled against Judah’s power and appointed its own king. 9 Jehoram, along with all his chariots, crossed over to Zair.[a] The Edomites, who had surrounded him, attacked at night, defeating him[b] and his chariot officers. 10 So Edom has been independent of Judah to this day. Libnah rebelled against Jehoram’s rule at the same time because he had abandoned the Lord, the God of his ancestors. 11 As if that wasn’t enough, Jehoram constructed shrines throughout Judah’s highlands, encouraged Jerusalem’s citizens to be unfaithful, and led Judah astray.
12 A letter from the prophet Elijah came to Jehoram that read, “This is what the Lord, the God of your ancestor David, says: Because you haven’t walked in the ways of your father Jehoshaphat or the ways of Judah’s King Asa, 13 but have walked in the ways of Israel’s kings and have encouraged Judah and Jerusalem’s citizens to be unfaithful, just as the house of Ahab did, and because you have even murdered your own brothers, your father’s family, who were better than you, 14 the Lord will now strike your family, your children, your wives, and all your possessions with a heavy blow. 15 You yourself will become deathly ill with a chronic disease that will cause your intestines to fall out.”
16 Then the Lord made the Philistines and the Arabs, who lived near the Cushites, angry with Jehoram. 17 They attacked Judah, broke down its defenses, and hauled off all the goods that were found in the royal palace, along with the king’s children and wives. Only Jehoahaz, Jehoram’s youngest son, was spared. 18 After all this, the Lord struck Jehoram with an incurable intestinal disease. 19 For almost two years he grew steadily worse, until two days before his death, when his intestines fell out, causing him to die in horrible pain. His people didn’t make a fire in his honor as they had done for his ancestors. 20 He was 32 years old when he became king, and he ruled for eight years in Jerusalem. No one was sorry he died. He was buried in David’s City but not in the royal cemetery.
22 The inhabitants of Jerusalem made his youngest son Ahaziah succeed him as king because the raiding party that had invaded the camp with the Arabs had killed all the older sons. So Ahaziah, Jehoram’s son, became king of Judah.
2 Ahaziah was 22 years old[c] when he became king, and he ruled for one year in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Athaliah; she was the granddaughter of Omri. 3 Ahaziah walked in the ways of Ahab’s dynasty, encouraged in this wickedness by his mother. 4 He did what was evil in the Lord’s eyes, just as Ahab’s dynasty had done, because after his father’s death they gave him advice that led to his downfall. 5 Ahaziah was following their advice when he went with Israel’s King Joram,[d] Ahab’s son, to fight against Aram’s King Hazael at Ramoth-gilead, where the Arameans wounded Joram. 6 Joram returned to Jezreel to recover from the wounds he suffered at Ramah in his battle with Aram’s King Hazael. Then Judah’s King Ahaziah,[e] Jehoram’s son, went down to visit Joram, Ahab’s son, at Jezreel because he had been wounded. 7 But God used this visit to Joram to bring about Ahaziah’s downfall. After his arrival, Ahaziah went with Joram to meet Jehu, Nimshi’s son, whom the Lord had anointed to destroy Ahab’s dynasty. 8 While Jehu was executing judgment on Ahab’s dynasty, he discovered the princes of Judah, Ahaziah’s nephews, serving Ahaziah, and Jehu killed them. 9 Jehu went looking for Ahaziah, who was captured while hiding in Samaria. He was then brought to Jehu and executed. He was given a decent burial, however, because people said, “He was the grandson of Jehoshaphat, who sought the Lord with all his heart.”
There were now no members of Ahaziah’s dynasty strong enough to rule the kingdom.
Queen Athaliah rules Judah
10 When Athaliah, Ahaziah’s mother, learned of her son’s death, she immediately destroyed the entire royal family of Judah’s dynasty. 11 But Jehoshabeath the king’s daughter secretly took Ahaziah’s son Jehoash[f] from the rest of the royal children who were about to be murdered, and hid him in a bedroom, along with his nurse. In this way Jehoshabeath, the daughter of King Jehoram, the wife of the priest Jehoiada and the sister of Ahaziah, hid Jehoash from Athaliah so she couldn’t murder him. 12 He remained hidden with them in God’s temple for six years while Athaliah ruled the country.
23 But in the seventh year Jehoiada boldly formed a conspiracy with the following unit commanders: Jeroham’s son Azariah, Jehohanan’s son Ishmael, Obed’s son Azariah, Adaiah’s son Maaseiah, and Zichri’s son Elishaphat. 2 They went throughout Judah recruiting the Levites from all the cities of Judah, as well as the family heads of Israel, who then came to Jerusalem. 3 The entire assembly made a covenant with the king in God’s temple. Jehoiada said, “Look! Here is the king’s son. He must be king, just as the Lord promised about David’s descendants. 4 This is what you must do: A third of you priests and Levites coming on sabbath duty will guard the gates, 5 another third will be at the royal palace, and another third will be at the Foundation Gate. Meanwhile, all the people will be in the courtyards of the Lord’s temple. 6 Don’t enter the Lord’s temple, because only the priests or Levites on duty can do that. They are allowed to enter because they are holy, but the rest of the people must follow the Lord’s requirements. 7 The Levites must surround the king, each with his weapons drawn. Whoever comes near your ranks must be killed; stay near the king wherever he goes.”
8 The Levites and all Judah did everything that the priest Jehoiada ordered. They each took charge of those men reporting for duty on the Sabbath, as well as those going off duty, since Jehoiada hadn’t released any divisions from duty. 9 Then the priest Jehoiada gave the unit commanders King David’s spears and large and small shields that were kept in God’s temple. 10 He positioned all the people, each with their weapons drawn, near the altar and the temple, stretching from the south side of the temple to the north side, so as to protect the king. 11 Then they brought out the king’s son, crowned him, gave him the royal law,[g] and made him king. Jehoiada and his sons anointed him as everyone cried out, “Long live the king!”
12 When Athaliah heard the noise made by the people running and cheering the king, she went to the people at the Lord’s temple 13 and saw the king standing by the royal pillar at the entrance, with the commanders and trumpeters beside the king. All the people of the land were rejoicing and blowing trumpets, and singers accompanied by musical instruments were leading the praise. Athaliah ripped her clothes and screamed, “Treason! Treason!”
14 Then the priest Jehoiada brought out the unit commanders who were in charge of the army. “Take her out under guard,”[h] he told them, “and kill anyone who follows her.” This was because the priest had said, “She must not be executed in the Lord’s temple.” 15 They arrested her when she reached the entrance of the Horse Gate at the royal palace. She was executed there.
16 Jehoiada then made a covenant between himself, all the people, and the king, that they would be the Lord’s people. 17 Then all the people went to Baal’s temple and tore it down, smashing its altars and images into pieces. They executed Baal’s priest Mattan in front of the altars. 18 Jehoiada appointed the priests and[i] Levites in charge of the Lord’s temple, and then appointed the divisions of the priests and Levites[j] that David had assigned to the Lord’s temple to offer entirely burned sacrifices to the Lord, as written in the Instruction from Moses, with rejoicing and singing, just as David had ordered. 19 He posted guards at the gates of the Lord’s temple so that no one who was unclean in any way could enter. 20 Then he took the unit commanders, the officials, the rulers of the people, and all the people of the land, and they led the king down from the Lord’s temple, processing through the Upper Gate to the palace, where the king sat upon the royal throne. 21 All the people of the land rejoiced, and the city was at peace now that Athaliah had been executed at the palace.
24 Jehoash[k] was 7 years old when he became king, and he ruled for forty years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Zibiah; she was from Beer-sheba. 2 Jehoash did what was right in the Lord’s eyes as long as Jehoiada the priest was alive. 3 Jehoiada had him marry two wives, and Jehoash fathered sons and daughters.
4 Sometime later, Jehoash wanted to renovate the Lord’s temple. 5 He gathered the priests and the Levites and said, “Go to the cities of Judah and collect the annual tax of silver due from all Israel for the upkeep of God’s temple. Do it right away.”
But the Levites procrastinated. 6 So the king summoned the chief priest Jehoiada and asked him, “Why haven’t you required the Levites to bring in from Judah and Jerusalem the tax imposed by the Lord’s servant Moses and the Israelite assembly for the covenant tent?” (7 Now wicked Athaliah and her followers had broken into God’s temple and used all the holy objects of the Lord’s temple in their worship of the Baals.) 8 So at the king’s command a box was made and placed outside the gate of the Lord’s temple. 9 Then a proclamation was issued throughout Judah and Jerusalem requiring the people to bring to the Lord the tax that God’s servant Moses had imposed on Israel in the wilderness. 10 This so pleased all the leaders and all the people that they gladly dropped their money in the box until it was full. 11 Whenever the box was brought by the Levites to the royal accountants, as soon as they saw that a large amount of money was in the box, the royal scribe and the representative of the high priest would come, empty the box, and return it to its place. This took place day after day, and a large amount of money was collected. 12 The king and Jehoiada would give it to those in charge of the work on the Lord’s temple who in turn hired masons and carpenters to renovate the Lord’s temple, as well as metalworkers for the iron and bronze to repair the Lord’s temple. 13 The workers labored hard, and the restoration progressed smoothly under their control until they had brought God’s temple back to its original state and reinforced it. 14 As soon as they finished, they brought the remaining money to the king and Jehoiada. They used it to make equipment for the Lord’s temple, including what was used for the service and the entirely burned offerings, pans, and other objects made of gold and silver. As long as Jehoiada lived, the entirely burned offerings were regularly offered in the Lord’s temple.
15 Jehoiada grew old, and when he reached the age of 130, he died. 16 He was buried among the kings in David’s City because of his exemplary service to Israel, God, and God’s temple.
17 After Jehoiada’s death, however, the leaders of Judah came and bowed before the king, and the king listened to them. 18 They abandoned the temple of the Lord, their ancestors’ God, and worshipped sacred poles[l] and idols. Anger came upon Judah and Jerusalem as a consequence of their sin, 19 and though God sent prophets to them to bring them back to the Lord and to warn them, they refused to listen. 20 Then the spirit of God enwrapped Zechariah the son of the priest Jehoiada. Standing before the people, he told them, “This is what God says: Why do you defy the Lord’s commands and keep yourselves from prospering? Because you have abandoned the Lord, he has abandoned you!” 21 But the people plotted against Zechariah, and at the king’s command stoned him to death in the courtyard of the Lord’s temple. 22 King Jehoash failed to remember the loyalty that Jehoiada, Zechariah’s father, had shown him and murdered Jehoida’s son, who cried out as he lay dying, “May the Lord see and seek vengeance!”
23 That spring the Aramean army marched against Jehoash. They attacked Judah and Jerusalem, destroyed all the people’s leaders, and sent all the loot to the king of Damascus. 24 Although the Aramean forces were relatively small, the Lord handed over to them a very large army, because the people of Judah had abandoned the Lord, their ancestors’ God. Jehoash was justly punished. 25 The Arameans left him badly wounded, but his own officials plotted against him for murdering the son[m] of the priest Jehoiada. So they killed him in his bed. He died and was buried in David’s City but not in the royal cemetery. 26 Those who plotted against him were the Ammonite Zabad, Shimeath’s son, and the Moabite Jehozabad, Shimrith’s son. 27 The list of Jehoash’s sons, the many prophecies against him, and the account of his restoration of God’s temple are written in the comments on the records of the kings. His son Amaziah succeeded him as king.