2 Kings 17-18Amplified Bible (AMP)
Hoshea Reigns over Israel
17 In the twelfth year of Ahaz king of Judah, Hoshea the son of Elah became king over Israel in Samaria, and reigned for nine years. 2 He did evil in the sight of the Lord, but not as the kings of Israel who came before him. 3 [a]Shalmaneser [V] king of Assyria came up against him, and Hoshea became his servant and paid him tribute (money). 4 But the king of Assyria discovered a conspiracy in Hoshea, who sent messengers to So, king of Egypt, and offered no tribute to the king of Assyria, as he had done year by year; therefore the king of Assyria arrested him and bound him in prison.
5 Then the king of Assyria invaded all the land [of Israel] and went up to [b]Samaria and besieged it for three years.
6 In the ninth year of Hoshea, [c]the king of Assyria took Samaria and carried [the people of] Israel into exile to Assyria, and settled them in Halah and in Habor, by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.
Why Israel Fell
7 Now this came about because the Israelites had 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; and they had feared [and worshiped] other gods 8 and walked in the customs of the [pagan] nations whom the Lord had driven out before the sons (descendants) of Israel, and in the pagan customs of the kings of Israel which they had introduced. 9 The Israelites ascribed things to the Lord their God which were not true. They built for themselves high places [of worship] in all their towns, from [the lonely] lookout tower to the [populous] fortified city. 10 They set up for themselves sacred pillars (memorial stones) and [d]Asherim on every high hill and under every green tree. 11 There they burned incense on all the high places, just as the [pagan] nations whom the Lord had deported before them; and they did evil and contemptible things, provoking the Lord [to anger]. 12 And they served idols, of which the Lord had said to them, “You shall not do this thing.” 13 Yet the Lord warned Israel and Judah through all His prophets and every seer, saying, “Turn from your evil ways and keep My commandments and My statutes, in accordance with all the Law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by My servants the prophets.” 14 However they did not listen, but stiffened their necks as did their fathers who did not believe (trust in, rely on, remain steadfast to) the Lord their God. 15 They rejected His statutes and His covenant which He made with their fathers, as well as His warnings that he gave them. And they followed vanity [that is, false gods, idols] and became vain (empty-headed). They followed the [pagan practices of the] nations which surrounded them, although the Lord had commanded that they were not to do as they did. 16 They abandoned all the commandments of the Lord their God and made for themselves cast images of two calves; and they made an Asherah [idol] and worshiped all the [starry] host of heaven and served Baal. 17 They made their sons and their daughters pass through the fire [as human sacrifices], and used divination [to foretell the future] and enchantments; and they sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking Him to anger. 18 Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel and removed them from His sight; none [of the tribes] was left except the tribe of Judah.
19 Judah did not keep the commandments of the Lord their God either, but walked in the customs which Israel introduced. 20 So the Lord rejected all the descendants of Israel (Jacob) and [repeatedly] afflicted them and handed them over to plunderers, until He had cast them out of His sight.
21 When He had torn Israel from the [royal] house of David, they made Jeroboam the son of Nebat king. And Jeroboam drove Israel away from following the Lord and made them commit a great sin. 22 For the Israelites walked in all the [idolatrous] sins which Jeroboam committed; they did not turn from them 23 until the Lord removed Israel from His sight, just as He had foretold through all His servants the prophets. So Israel went into exile from their own land to Assyria to this day [the date of this writing].
Cities of Israel Filled with Strangers
24 The king of Assyria brought men from Babylon and from Cuthah and from Avva and from Hamath and Sepharvaim, and settled them in the cities of Samaria in place of the sons (people) of Israel. They took possession of Samaria and lived in its cities. 25 Now when they began to live there, they did not fear the Lord; therefore the Lord sent lions among them which killed some of them. 26 So the king of Assyria was told, “The nations whom you have sent into exile and settled in the cities of Samaria do not know the custom of the god of the land; so He has sent lions among them, and they are killing them because they do not know the manner of [worship demanded by] the god of the land.”
27 Then the king of Assyria commanded, “Take back [to Samaria] one of the priests whom you brought from there, and have him go and live there; and have him teach the people the custom of the god of the land.” 28 So one of the priests whom they had exiled from Samaria came [back] and lived in Bethel and taught them how they should fear [and worship] the Lord.
29 But every nation still made gods of its own and put them in the houses (shrines) of the high places which the Samaritans had made, every nation in the cities where they lived. 30 The men of Babylon made Succoth-benoth, the men of Cuth made Nergal, the men of Hamath made Ashima, 31 the Avvites made Nibhaz and Tartak; and the Sepharvites burned their children in the fire to Adrammelech and Anammelech, the gods of Sepharvaim. 32 They also feared the Lord and appointed from among themselves priests of the high places, who sacrificed for them in the houses of the high places. 33 They feared the Lord, yet served their own gods, following the custom of the nations from among whom they had been sent into exile.
34 To this day they act in accordance with their former [pagan] customs: they do not [really] fear the Lord, nor do they obey their statutes and ordinances, nor the law, nor the commandments which the Lord commanded the sons (descendants) of Jacob, whom He named Israel; 35 with whom the Lord had made a covenant and commanded them, saying, “You shall not fear other gods or bow yourselves to them nor serve them, nor sacrifice to them. 36 But the Lord, who brought you up from the land of Egypt with great power and an outstretched arm, Him you shall fear, and to Him you shall bow yourselves down, and to Him you shall sacrifice. 37 The statutes and the ordinances and the law and the commandment which He wrote for you [by the hand of Moses], you shall observe and do forever. You shall not fear (worship, serve) other gods. 38 The covenant that I have made with you, you shall not forget; you shall not fear other gods. 39 But the Lord your God you shall fear [and worship]; then He will rescue you from the hands of all your enemies.” 40 However, they did not listen, but they acted in accordance with their former custom. 41 So these nations [superficially] feared the Lord; they also served their idols, as did their children and their children’s children, just as their fathers did, so do they to this day [the date of this writing].
Hezekiah Reigns over Judah
18 Now it came about in the third year of Hoshea the son of Elah king of Israel, Hezekiah the son of Ahaz king of Judah became king. 2 He was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Abi the daughter of Zechariah. 3 Hezekiah did right in the sight of the Lord, in accordance with everything that David his father (ancestor) had done. 4 He removed the high places [of pagan worship], broke down the images (memorial stones) and cut down the Asherim. He also crushed to pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the Israelites had burned incense to it; and it was called [e]Nehushtan [a bronze sculpture]. 5 Hezekiah trusted in and relied confidently on the Lord, the God of Israel; so that after him there was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, nor among those who were before him. 6 For he clung to the Lord; he did not turn away from [faithfully] following Him, but he kept His commandments, which the Lord had commanded Moses.
7 And the Lord was with Hezekiah; he was successful wherever he went. And he rebelled against the king of Assyria and refused to serve him. 8 He defeated the Philistines as far as Gaza [the most distant city] and its borders, from the [isolated] lookout tower to the [populous] fortified city.
9 Now in the fourth year of King Hezekiah, which was the seventh of Hoshea the son of Elah king of Israel, Shalmaneser the king of Assyria went up against Samaria and besieged it. 10 At the end of three years they captured it; in the sixth year of Hezekiah, which was the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Israel, Samaria was taken. 11 Then the king of Assyria sent Israel into exile to Assyria, and put them in Halah, and on the Habor, the river of [the city of] Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes, 12 because they did not obey the voice of the Lord their God, but broke His covenant, everything that Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded; and they would not listen nor do it.
Invasion of Judah
13 In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, Sennacherib king of Assyria went up against all the fortified cities of Judah [except Jerusalem] and captured them. 14 Then Hezekiah king of Judah sent word to the king of Assyria at Lachish, saying, “I have done wrong. Withdraw from me; whatever you impose on me I will bear.” So the king of Assyria imposed on Hezekiah king of Judah [a tribute tax of] three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold. 15 Hezekiah gave him all the silver that was found in the house (temple) of the Lord, and in the treasuries of the king’s house (palace). 16 At that time Hezekiah cut away the gold framework from the doors of the temple of the Lord and from the doorposts which [f]he had overlaid, and gave it to the king of Assyria.
17 Then the king of Assyria sent [g]the Tartan and the Rab-saris and the Rabshakeh [his highest officials] with a large army, from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem. They went up and came to Jerusalem, and when they went up and arrived, they stood by the aqueduct of the upper pool, which is on the road of the Fuller’s Field. 18 When they called for the king, Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, who was in charge of the [king’s] household, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah the son of Asaph the secretary went out to [meet] them.
19 Then the Rabshakeh said to them, “Say to Hezekiah, ‘Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria, “What is [the reason for] this confidence that you have? 20 You say (but they are only empty words) ‘I have counsel and strength for the war.’ Now on whom do you rely, that you have rebelled against me? 21 Now pay attention: you are relying on Egypt, on that staff of crushed reed; if a man leans on it, it will only go into his hand and pierce it. So is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who trust and rely on him. 22 But if you tell me, ‘We trust in and rely on the Lord our God,’ is it not He whose high places and altars Hezekiah has removed, and has said to Judah and Jerusalem, ‘You shall worship [only] before this altar in Jerusalem’? 23 Now then, make a bargain with my lord the king of Assyria, and I will give you two thousand horses, if on your part you can put riders on them. 24 How then can you drive back even one official of the least of my master’s servants, when you rely on Egypt for chariots and horsemen? 25 Now have I come up against this place to destroy it without the Lord’s approval? The Lord said to me, ‘Go up against this land and destroy it.’”’”
26 Then Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, and Shebna and Joah, said to the Rabshakeh, “Please speak to your servants in the Aramaic (Syrian) language, because we understand it; and do not speak with us in the Judean (Hebrew) language in the hearing of the people who are on the wall.” 27 But the Rabshakeh said to them, “Has my master sent me only to your master and to you to say these things? Has he not sent me to the men who sit on the wall, [who are doomed by the siege] to eat their own excrement and drink their own urine along with you?”
28 Then the Rabshakeh stood and shouted out with a loud voice in Judean (Hebrew), “Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria. 29 Thus says the king, ‘Do not let Hezekiah deceive you, for he will not be able to rescue you from my hand; 30 nor let Hezekiah make you trust in and rely on the Lord, saying, “The Lord will certainly rescue us, and this city [of Jerusalem] will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.” 31 Do not listen to Hezekiah, for thus says the king of Assyria: “Surrender to me and come out to [meet] me, and every man may eat from his own vine and fig tree, and every man may drink the waters of his own well, 32 until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive trees and honey, so that you may live and not die.” Do not listen to Hezekiah when he misleads and incites you, saying, “The Lord will rescue us!” 33 Has any one of the gods of the nations ever rescued his land from the hand of the king of Assyria? 34 Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad [in Aram]? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah [in the valley of the Euphrates]? Have they rescued Samaria (Israel’s capital) from my hand? 35 Who among all the gods of the lands have rescued their lands from my hand, that the Lord would rescue Jerusalem from my hand?’”
36 But the people kept silent and did not answer him, for the king had commanded, “Do not answer him.” 37 Then Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, who was in charge of the [royal] household, and Shebna the scribe and Joah the son of Asaph the secretary, came to Hezekiah with their clothes torn [in grief and despair] and told him what the Rabshakeh had said.
John 3:19-36Amplified Bible (AMP)
19 This is the judgment [that is, the cause for indictment, the test by which people are judged, the basis for the sentence]: the Light has come into the world, and people loved the [a]darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. 20 For every wrongdoer hates the Light, and does not come to the Light [but shrinks from it] for fear that his [sinful, worthless] activities will be exposed and condemned. 21 But whoever practices truth [and does what is right—morally, ethically, spiritually] comes to the Light, so that his works may be plainly shown to be what they are—accomplished in God [divinely prompted, done with God’s help, in dependence on Him].”
John’s Last Testimony
22 After these things Jesus and His disciples went into the land of Judea, and there He spent time with them and baptized. 23 Now John was also baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was an abundance of water there; and people were coming and were being baptized— 24 for John had not yet been thrown into prison.
25 Therefore there arose a controversy between John’s disciples and a Jew in regard to [b]purification (ceremonial washing). 26 So they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi (Teacher), the Man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan [at the Jordan River crossing]—and to whom you have testified—look, He is baptizing too, and everyone is going to Him!” 27 John replied, “A man can receive nothing [he can claim nothing at all] unless it has been granted to him from heaven [for there is no other source than the sovereign will of God]. 28 You yourselves are my witnesses that I stated, ‘I am not the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed),’ but, ‘I have [only] been sent ahead of Him [as His appointed forerunner and messenger to announce and proclaim His coming].’ 29 He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands by and listens to him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. So this pleasure and joy of mine is now complete. 30 He must increase [in prominence], but I must decrease.
31 “He who comes from [heaven] above is above all others; he who is of the earth is from the earth and speaks [about things] of the earth [his viewpoint and experience are earthly]. He who comes from heaven is above all. 32 What He has [actually] seen and heard, of that He testifies; and yet no one accepts His testimony [as true]. 33 Whoever receives His testimony has set his seal [of approval] to this: God is true [and he knows that God cannot lie]. 34 For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God [proclaiming the Father’s own message]; for God gives the [gift of the] Spirit without measure [generously and boundlessly]! 35 The Father loves the Son and has given and entrusted all things into His hand. 36 He who believes and trusts in the Son and accepts Him [as Savior] has eternal life [that is, already possesses it]; but he who does not believe the Son and chooses to reject Him, [disobeying Him and denying Him as Savior] will not see [eternal] life, but [instead] the wrath of God hangs over him continually.”
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