2 Chronicles 28-29 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
King Ahaz of Judah
28 Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled from Jerusalem for sixteen years.
Ahaz was nothing like his ancestor David. Ahaz disobeyed the Lord 2 and was as sinful as the kings of Israel. He made idols of the god Baal, 3 and he offered sacrifices in Hinnom Valley. Worst of all, Ahaz sacrificed his own sons, which was a disgusting custom of the nations that the Lord had forced out of Israel. 4 Ahaz offered sacrifices at the local shrines,[a] as well as on every hill and in the shade of large trees.
Syria and Israel Attack Judah
5-6 Ahaz and the people of Judah sinned and turned away from the Lord, the God their ancestors had worshiped. So the Lord punished them by letting their enemies defeat them.
The king of Syria attacked Judah and took many of its people to Damascus as prisoners. King Pekah[b] of Israel later defeated Judah and killed one hundred twenty thousand of its bravest soldiers in one day. 7 During that battle, an Israelite soldier named Zichri killed three men from Judah: Maaseiah the king’s son; Azrikam, the official in charge of the palace; and Elkanah, the king’s second in command. 8 The Israelite troops captured two hundred thousand women and children and took them back to their capital city of Samaria, along with a large amount of their possessions. They did these things even though the people of Judah were their own relatives.
Oded the Prophet Condemns Israel
9 Oded lived in Samaria and was one of the Lord’s prophets. He met Israel’s army on their way back from Judah and said to them:
The Lord God of your ancestors let you defeat Judah’s army only because he was angry with them. But you should not have been so cruel! 10 If you make slaves of the people of Judah and Jerusalem, you will be as guilty as they are of sinning against the Lord.
11 Send these prisoners back home—they are your own relatives. If you don’t, the Lord will punish you in his anger.
12 About the same time, four of Israel’s leaders arrived. They were Azariah son of Johanan, Berechiah son of Meshillemoth, Jehizkiah son of Shallum, and Amasa son of Hadlai. They agreed with Oded that the Israelite troops were wrong, 13 and they said:
If you bring these prisoners into Samaria, that will be one more thing we’ve done to sin against the Lord. And he is already angry enough at us.
14 So in front of the leaders and the crowd, the troops handed over their prisoners and the property they had taken from Judah. 15 The four leaders took some of the stolen clothes and gave them to the prisoners who needed something to wear. They later gave them all a new change of clothes and shoes, then fixed them something to eat and drink, and cleaned their wounds with olive oil. They gave donkeys to those who were too weak to walk, and led all of them back to Jericho, the city known for its palm trees. The leaders then returned to Samaria.
Ahaz Asks the King of Assyria for Help
16-18 Some time later, the Edomites attacked the eastern part of Judah again and carried away prisoners. And at the same time, the Philistines raided towns in the western foothills and in the Southern Desert. They conquered the towns of Beth-Shemesh, Aijalon, Gederoth, Soco, Timnah, and Gimzo, including the villages around them. Then some of the Philistines went to live in these places.
Ahaz sent a message to King Tiglath Pileser of Assyria and begged for help. 19 But God was punishing Judah with these disasters, because Ahaz had disobeyed him and refused to stop Judah from sinning. 20 So Tiglath Pileser came to Judah, but instead of helping, he made things worse. 21 Ahaz gave him gifts from the Lord’s temple and the king’s palace, as well as from the homes of Israel’s other leaders. The Assyrian king still refused to help Ahaz.
The Final Sin of Ahaz and His Death
22 Even after all these terrible things happened to Ahaz, he sinned against the Lord even worse than before. 23 He said to himself, “The Syrian gods must have helped their kings defeat me. Maybe if I offer sacrifices to those gods, they will help me.” That was the sin that finally led to the downfall of Ahaz, as well as to the destruction of Judah.
24 Ahaz collected all the furnishings of the temple and smashed them to pieces. Then he locked the doors to the temple and set up altars to foreign gods on every street corner in Jerusalem. 25 In every city and town in Judah he built local shrines[c] to worship foreign gods. All of this made the Lord God of his ancestors very angry.
26 Everything else Ahaz did while he was king is written in The History of the Kings of Judah and Israel. 27 Ahaz died and was buried in Jerusalem, but not in the royal tombs. His son Hezekiah then became king.
King Hezekiah of Judah
29 Hezekiah was twenty-five years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled twenty-nine years from Jerusalem. His mother was Abijah daughter of Zechariah. 2 Hezekiah obeyed the Lord by doing right, just as his ancestor David had done.
The Temple Is Purified
3 In the first month[d] of the first year of Hezekiah’s rule, he unlocked the doors to the Lord’s temple and had them repaired.[e] 4 Then he called the priests and Levites to the east courtyard of the temple 5 and said:
It’s time to purify the temple of the Lord God of our ancestors. You Levites must first go through the ceremony to make yourselves clean, then go into the temple and bring out everything that is unclean and unacceptable to the Lord. 6 Some of our ancestors were unfaithful and disobeyed the Lord our God. Not only did they turn their backs on the Lord, but they also completely ignored his temple. 7 They locked the doors, then let the lamps go out and stopped burning incense and offering sacrifices to him. 8 The Lord became terribly angry at the people of Judah and Jerusalem, and everyone was shocked and horrified at what he did to punish them. Not only were 9 our ancestors killed in battle, but our own children and wives were taken captive.
10 So I have decided to renew our agreement with the Lord God of Israel. Maybe then he will stop being so angry at us. 11 Let’s not waste any time, my friends. You are the ones who were chosen to be the Lord’s priests and to offer him sacrifices.
12-14 When Hezekiah finished talking, the following Levite leaders went to work:
Mahath son of Amasai and Joel son of Azariah from the Kohath clan; Kish son of Abdi and Azariah son of Jehallelel from the Merari clan; Joah son of Zimmah and Eden son of Joah from the Gershon clan; Shimri and Jeuel from the Elizaphan clan; Zechariah and Mattaniah from the Asaph clan; Jehuel and Shimei from the Heman clan; Shemaiah and Uzziel from the Jeduthun clan.
15 These leaders gathered together the rest of the Levites, and they all went through the ceremony to make themselves clean. Then they began to purify the temple according to the Law of the Lord, just as Hezekiah had commanded.
16 The priests went into the temple and carried out everything that was unclean. They put these things in the courtyard, and from there, the Levites carried them outside the city to Kidron Valley.
17 The priests and Levites began their work on the first day of the first month.[f] It took them one week to purify the courtyards of the temple and another week to purify the temple. So on the sixteenth day of that same month 18 they went back to Hezekiah and said:
Your Majesty, we have finished our work. The entire temple is now pure again, and so is the altar and its utensils, as well as the table for the sacred loaves of bread and its utensils. 19 And we have brought back all the things that King Ahaz took from the temple during the time he was unfaithful to God. We purified them and put them back in front of the altar.
Worship in the Temple
20 Right away, Hezekiah called together the officials of Jerusalem, and they went to the temple. 21 They brought with them seven bulls, seven rams, seven lambs, and seven goats[g] as sacrifices to take away the sins of Hezekiah’s family and of the people of Judah, as well as to purify the temple. Hezekiah told the priests, who were descendants of Aaron, to sacrifice these animals on the altar.
22 The priests killed the bulls, the rams, and the lambs, then splattered the blood on the altar. 23 They took the goats to Hezekiah and the worshipers, and they laid their hands on the animals. 24 The priests then killed the goats and splattered the blood on the altar as a sacrifice to take away the sins of everyone in Israel, because Hezekiah had commanded that these sacrifices be made for all the people of Israel.
25 Next, Hezekiah assigned the Levites to their places in the temple. He gave them cymbals, harps, and other stringed instruments, according to the instructions that the Lord had given King David and the two prophets, Gad and Nathan. 26 The Levites were ready to play the instruments that had belonged to David; the priests were ready to blow the trumpets.
27 As soon as Hezekiah gave the signal for the sacrifices to be burned on the altar, the musicians began singing praises to the Lord and playing their instruments, 28 and everyone worshiped the Lord. This continued until the last animal was sacrificed.
29 After that, Hezekiah and the crowd of worshipers knelt down and worshiped the Lord. 30 Then Hezekiah and his officials ordered the Levites to sing the songs of praise that David and Asaph the prophet had written. And so they bowed down and joyfully sang praises to the Lord.
31 Hezekiah said to the crowd, “Now that you are once again acceptable to the Lord, bring sacrifices and offerings to give him thanks.”
The people did this, and some of them voluntarily brought animals to be offered as sacrifices. 32 Seventy bulls, one hundred rams, and two hundred lambs were brought as sacrifices to please the Lord;[h] 33 six hundred bulls and three thousand sheep were brought as sacrifices to ask the Lord’s blessing.[i] 34 There were not enough priests to skin all these animals, because many of the priests had not taken the time to go through the ceremony to make themselves clean. However, since all the Levites had made themselves clean, they helped the priests until the last animal was skinned. 35 Besides all the sacrifices that were burned on the altar, the fat from the other animal sacrifices was burned, and the offerings of wine were poured over the altar.
So the temple was once again used for worshiping the Lord. 36 Hezekiah and the people of Judah celebrated, because God had helped them make this happen so quickly.
John 17 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
17 After Jesus had finished speaking to his disciples, he looked up toward heaven and prayed:
Father, the time has come for you to bring glory to your Son, in order that he may bring glory to you. 2 And you gave him power over all people, so that he would give eternal life to everyone you give him. 3 Eternal life is to know you, the only true God, and to know Jesus Christ, the one you sent. 4 I have brought glory to you here on earth by doing everything you gave me to do. 5 Now, Father, give me back the glory that I had with you before the world was created.
6 You have given me some followers from this world, and I have shown them what you are like. They were yours, but you gave them to me, and they have obeyed you. 7 They know that you gave me everything I have. 8 I told my followers what you told me, and they accepted it. They know that I came from you, and they believe that you are the one who sent me. 9 I am praying for them, but not for those who belong to this world.[a] My followers belong to you, and I am praying for them. 10 All that I have is yours, and all that you have is mine, and they will bring glory to me.
11 Holy Father, I am no longer in the world. I am coming to you, but my followers are still in the world. So keep them safe by the power of the name that you have given me. Then they will be one with each other, just as you and I are one. 12 While I was with them, I kept them safe by the power you have given me. I guarded them, and not one of them was lost, except the one who had to be lost. This happened so that what the Scriptures say would come true.
13 I am on my way to you. But I say these things while I am still in the world, so that my followers will have the same complete joy that I do. 14 I have told them your message. But the people of this world hate them, because they don’t belong to this world, just as I don’t.
15 Father, I don’t ask you to take my followers out of the world, but keep them safe from the evil one. 16 They don’t belong to this world, and neither do I. 17 Your word is the truth. So let this truth make them completely yours. 18 I am sending them into the world, just as you sent me. 19 I have given myself completely for their sake, so that they may belong completely to the truth.
20 I am not praying just for these followers. I am also praying for everyone else who will have faith because of what my followers will say about me. 21 I want all of them to be one with each other, just as I am one with you and you are one with me. I also want them to be one with us. Then the people of this world will believe that you sent me.
22 I have honored my followers in the same way that you honored me, in order that they may be one with each other, just as we are one. 23 I am one with them, and you are one with me, so that they may become completely one. Then this world’s people will know that you sent me. They will know that you love my followers as much as you love me.
24 Father, I want everyone you have given me to be with me, wherever I am. Then they will see the glory that you have given me, because you loved me before the world was created. 25 Good Father, the people of this world don’t know you. But I know you, and my followers know that you sent me. 26 I told them what you are like, and I will tell them even more. Then the love that you have for me will become part of them, and I will be one with them.
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