2 Chronicles 22-24 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
King Ahaziah of Judah
22 Earlier, when the Arabs led a raid against Judah, they killed all of Jehoram’s sons, except Ahaziah, the youngest one. So the people of Jerusalem crowned him their king. 2 He was twenty-two[a] years old at the time, and he ruled only one year from Jerusalem.
Ahaziah’s mother was Athaliah, a granddaughter of King Omri of Israel, 3 and she encouraged her son to sin against the Lord. He followed the evil example of King Ahab and his descendants. 4 In fact, after his father’s death, Ahaziah sinned against the Lord by appointing some of Ahab’s relatives to be his advisors.
Their advice led to his downfall. 5 He listened to them and went with King Joram of Israel to attack King Hazael and the Syrian troops at Ramoth in Gilead. Joram was wounded in that battle, 6 and he went to the town of Jezreel to recover. And Ahaziah later went there to visit him. 7 It was during that visit that God had Ahaziah put to death.
When Ahaziah arrived at Jezreel, he and Joram went to meet with Jehu grandson of Nimshi. The Lord had already told Jehu to kill every male in Ahab’s family, 8 and while Jehu was doing that, he saw some of Judah’s leaders and Ahaziah’s nephews who had come with Ahaziah. Jehu killed them on the spot, 9 then gave orders to find Ahaziah. Jehu’s officers found him hiding in Samaria. They brought Ahaziah to Jehu, who immediately put him to death. They buried Ahaziah only because they respected Jehoshaphat his grandfather, who had done his best to obey the Lord.
There was no one from Ahaziah’s family left to become king of Judah.
Queen Athaliah of Judah
10 As soon as Athaliah heard that her son King Ahaziah was dead, she decided to kill any relative who could possibly become king. She would have done just that, 11 but Jehosheba[b] rescued Joash son of Ahaziah just as the others were about to be murdered. Jehosheba, who was Jehoram’s daughter and Ahaziah’s half sister, was married to Jehoiada the priest. So she was able to hide her nephew Joash and his personal servant in a bedroom in the Lord’s temple where he was safe from Athaliah. 12 Joash hid in the temple with them for six years while Athaliah ruled as queen of Judah.
Jehoiada Makes Joash King of Judah
23 After Ahaziah’s son Joash had hidden in the temple for six years, Jehoiada the priest knew that something had to be done. So he made sure he had the support of several army officers. They were Azariah son of Jeroham, Ishmael son of Jehohanan, Azariah son of Obed, Maaseiah son of Adaiah, and Elishaphat son of Zichri. 2 These five men went to the towns in Judah and called together the Levites and the clan leaders. They all came to Jerusalem 3 and gathered at the temple, where they agreed to help Joash.
Jehoiada said to them:
Joash will be our next king, because long ago the Lord promised that one of David’s descendants would always be king. 4 Here is what we will do. Three groups of priests and Levites will be on guard duty on the Sabbath—one group will guard the gates of the temple, 5 one will guard the palace, and the other will guard Foundation Gate. The rest of you will stand guard in the temple courtyards. 6 Only the priests and Levites who are on duty will be able to enter the temple, because they will be the only ones who have gone through the ceremony to make themselves clean and acceptable. The others must stay outside in the courtyards, just as the Lord has commanded. 7 You Levites must protect King Joash. Don’t let him out of your sight! And keep your swords ready to kill anyone who comes into the temple.
8 The Levites and the people of Judah followed Jehoiada’s orders. The guards going off duty were not allowed to go home, and so each commander had all his guards available—those going off duty as well as those coming on duty. 9 Jehoiada went into the temple and brought out the swords and shields that had belonged to King David, and he gave them to the commanders. 10 They gave the weapons to the guards, and Jehoiada then made sure that the guards took their positions around the temple and the altar to protect the king on every side.
11 Jehoiada and his sons brought Joash outside, where they placed the crown on his head and gave him a copy of the instructions for ruling the nation. Olive oil was poured on his head to show that he was now king, and the crowd cheered and shouted, “Long live the king!”
12 As soon as Queen Athaliah heard the crowd cheering for Joash, she went to the temple. 13 There she saw Joash standing by one of the columns near the entrance, which was the usual place for the king. The commanders and the trumpet players were standing next to him, and the musicians were playing instruments and leading the people as they celebrated and blew trumpets. Athaliah tore her clothes in anger and shouted, “You betrayed me, you traitors!”
14 Right away, Jehoiada said to the army commanders, “Don’t kill her near the Lord’s temple. Take her out in front of the troops, and be sure to kill all of her followers!” 15 She tried to escape, but the commanders caught and killed her near the gate where horses are led into the palace.
16 Jehoiada asked King Joash and the people to join with him in being faithful to the Lord. They agreed, 17 then rushed to the temple of the god Baal and tore it down. They smashed the altars and the idols and killed Mattan the priest of Baal in front of the altars.
18 Jehoiada assigned the priests and Levites their duties at the temple, just as David had done. They were in charge of offering sacrifices to the Lord according to the Law of Moses, and they were responsible for leading the celebrations with singing. 19 Jehoiada ordered the guards at the temple gates to keep out anyone who was unclean.
20 Finally, Jehoiada called together the army commanders, the most important citizens of Judah, and the government officials. The crowd of people followed them as they led Joash from the temple, through the Upper Gate, and into the palace, where he took his place as king of Judah. 21 Everyone celebrated because Athaliah had been killed and Jerusalem was peaceful again.
King Joash of Judah
24 Joash was only seven years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled forty years from Jerusalem. His mother Zibiah was from the town of Beersheba.
2 While Jehoiada the priest was alive, Joash obeyed the Lord by doing right. 3 Jehoiada even chose two women for Joash to marry so he could have a family.
4 Some time later, Joash decided it was time to repair the temple. 5 He called together the priests and Levites and said, “Go everywhere in Judah and collect the annual tax from the people. I want this done right away—we need that money to repair the temple.”
But the Levites were in no hurry to follow the king’s orders. 6 So he sent for Jehoiada the high priest and asked, “Why didn’t you send the Levites to collect the taxes? The Lord’s servant Moses and the people agreed long ago that this tax would be collected and used to pay for the upkeep of the sacred tent. 7 And now we need it to repair the temple because the sons of that evil woman Athaliah came in and wrecked it. They even used some of the sacred objects to worship the god Baal.”
8 Joash gave orders for a wooden box to be made and had it placed outside, near the gate of the temple. 9 He then sent letters everywhere in Judah and Jerusalem, asking everyone to bring their taxes to the temple, just as Moses had required their ancestors to do.
10 The people and their leaders agreed, and they brought their money to Jerusalem and placed it in the box. 11 Each day, after the Levites took the box into the temple, the king’s secretary and the high priest’s assistant would dump out the money and count it. Then the empty box would be taken back outside.
This happened day after day, and soon a large amount of money was collected. 12 Joash and Jehoiada turned the money over to the men who were supervising the repairs to the temple. They used the money to hire stonecutters, carpenters, and experts in working with iron and bronze.
13 These workers went right to work repairing the temple, and when they were finished, it looked as good as new. 14 They did not use all the tax money for the repairs, so the rest of it was handed over to Joash and Jehoiada, who then used it to make dishes and other gold and silver objects for the temple.
Sacrifices to please the Lord[c] were offered regularly in the temple for as long as Jehoiada lived. 15 He died at the ripe old age of one hundred thirty years, 16 and he was buried in the royal tombs in Jerusalem, because he had done so much good for the people of Israel, for God, and for the temple.
Joash Turns Away from the Lord
17 After the death of Jehoiada the priest, the leaders of Judah went to Joash and talked him into doing what they wanted. 18 Right away, the people of Judah stopped worshiping in the temple of the Lord God, and they started worshiping idols and the symbols of the goddess Asherah. These sinful things made the Lord God angry at the people of Judah and Jerusalem, 19 but he still sent prophets who warned them to turn back to him. The people refused to listen.
20 God’s Spirit spoke to Zechariah son of Jehoiada the priest, and Zechariah told everyone that God was saying: “Why are you disobeying me and my laws? This will only bring punishment! You have deserted me, so now I will desert you.”
21-22 King Joash forgot that Zechariah’s father had always been a loyal friend. So when the people of Judah plotted to kill Zechariah, Joash joined them and gave orders for them to stone him to death in the courtyard of the temple. As Zechariah was dying, he said, “I pray that the Lord will see this and punish all of you.”
Joash Is Killed
23 In the spring of the following year, the Syrian army invaded Judah and Jerusalem, killing all of the nation’s leaders. They collected everything of value that belonged to the people and took it back to their king in Damascus. 24 The Syrian army was very small, but the Lord let them defeat Judah’s large army, because he was punishing Joash and the people of Judah for turning away from him.
25-26 Joash was severely wounded during the battle, and as soon as the Syrians left Judah, two of his officials, Zabad and Jehozabad,[d] decided to revenge the death of Zechariah. They plotted and killed Joash while he was in bed, recovering from his wounds. Joash was buried in Jerusalem, but not in the royal tombs. 27 The History of the Kings also tells more about the sons of Joash, what the prophets said about him, and how he repaired the temple. Amaziah son of Joash became king after his father’s death.
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