2 Chronicles 28 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.
2 Kings 16-17 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
King Ahaz of Judah
16 Ahaz son of Jotham became king of Judah in the seventeenth year of Pekah’s rule in Israel. 2 He was twenty years old at the time, and he ruled from Jerusalem for sixteen years.
Ahaz wasn’t like his ancestor David. Instead, he disobeyed the Lord 3 and was even more sinful than the kings of Israel. He sacrificed his own son, which was a disgusting custom of the nations that the Lord had forced out of Israel. 4 Ahaz offered sacrifices at the local shrines, as well as on every hill and in the shade of large trees.
5-6 While Ahaz was ruling Judah, the king of Edom recaptured the town of Elath from Judah and forced out the people of Judah. Edomites[a] then moved into Elath, and they still live there.
About the same time, King Rezin of Syria and King Pekah of Israel marched to Jerusalem and attacked, but they could not capture it.
7 Ahaz sent a message to King Tiglath Pileser of Assyria that said, “Your Majesty, King Rezin and King Pekah are attacking me, your loyal servant. Please come and rescue me.” 8 Along with the message, Ahaz sent silver and gold from the Lord’s temple and from the palace treasury as a gift for the Assyrian king.
9 As soon as Tiglath Pileser received the message, he and his troops marched to Syria. He captured the capital city of Damascus, then he took the people living there to the town of Kir as prisoners and killed King Rezin.[b]
10 Later, Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglath Pileser. And while Ahaz was there, he saw an altar and sent a model of it back to Uriah the priest, along with the plans for building one. 11 Uriah followed the plans and built an altar exactly like the one in Damascus, finishing it just before Ahaz came back.
12 When Ahaz returned, he went to see the altar and to offer sacrifices on it. He walked up to the altar 13 and poured wine over it. Then he offered sacrifices to please the Lord, to give him thanks, and to ask for his blessings.[c] 14 After that, he had the bronze altar moved aside,[d] so his new altar would be right in front of the Lord’s temple. 15 He told Uriah the priest:
From now on, the morning and evening sacrifices as well as all gifts of grain and wine are to be offered on this altar. The sacrifices for the people and for the king must also be offered here. Sprinkle the blood from all the sacrifices on it, but leave the bronze altar for me to use for prayer and finding out what God wants me to do.
16 Uriah did everything Ahaz told him.
17 Ahaz also had the side panels and the small bowls taken off the movable stands in the Lord’s temple. He had the large bronze bowl, called the Sea, removed from the bronze bulls on which it rested and had it placed on a stand made of stone. 18 He took down the special tent that was used for worship on the Sabbath[e] and closed up the private entrance that the kings of Judah used for going into the temple. He did all these things to please Tiglath Pileser.
19 Everything else Ahaz did while he was king is written in The History of the Kings of Judah. 20 Ahaz died and was buried beside his ancestors in Jerusalem,[f] and his son Hezekiah became king.
King Hoshea of Israel
17 Hoshea son of Elah became king of Israel in the twelfth year of Ahaz’s rule in Judah, and he ruled nine years from Samaria. 2 Hoshea disobeyed the Lord and sinned, but not as much as the earlier Israelite kings had done.
3 During Hoshea’s rule, King Shalmaneser of Assyria[g] invaded Israel; he took control of the country and made Hoshea pay taxes. 4 But later, Hoshea refused to pay the taxes and asked King So of Egypt to help him rebel. When Shalmaneser found out, he arrested Hoshea and put him in prison.
Samaria Is Destroyed and the Israelites Are Taken to Assyria
5 Shalmaneser invaded Israel and attacked the city of Samaria for three years, 6 before capturing it in the ninth year of Hoshea’s rule. The Assyrian king[h] took the Israelites away to Assyria as prisoners. He forced some of them to live in the town of Halah, others to live near the Habor River in the territory of Gozan, and still others to live in towns where the Median people lived.
7 All of this happened because the people of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God, who had rescued them from Egypt, where they had been slaves. They worshiped foreign gods, 8 followed the customs of the nations that the Lord had forced out of Israel, and were just as sinful as the Israelite kings. 9 Even worse, the Israelites tried to hide their sins from the Lord their God. They built their own local shrines everywhere in Israel—from small towns to large, walled cities. 10 They also built stone images of foreign gods and set up sacred poles[i] for the worship of Asherah on every hill and under every shady tree. 11 They offered sacrifices at the shrines,[j] just as the foreign nations had done before the Lord forced them out of Israel. They did sinful things that made the Lord very angry.
12 Even though the Lord had commanded the Israelites not to worship idols,[k] they did it anyway. 13 So the Lord made sure that every prophet warned Israel and Judah with these words: “I, the Lord, command you to stop doing sinful things and start obeying my laws and teachings! I gave them to your ancestors, and I told my servants the prophets to repeat them to you.”
14 But the Israelites would not listen; they were as stubborn as their ancestors who had refused to worship the Lord their God. 15 They ignored the Lord’s warnings and commands, and they rejected the solemn agreement he had made with their ancestors. They worshiped worthless idols and became worthless themselves. The Lord had told the Israelites not to do the things that the foreign nations around them were doing, but Israel became just like them.
16 The people of Israel disobeyed all the commands of the Lord their God. They made two gold statues of calves and set up a sacred pole for Asherah; they also worshiped the stars and the god Baal. 17 They used magic and witchcraft and even sacrificed their own children. The Israelites were determined to do whatever the Lord hated. 18 The Lord became so furious with the people of Israel that he allowed them to be carried away as prisoners.
Only the people living in Judah were left, 19 but they also disobeyed the Lord’s commands and acted like the Israelites. 20 So the Lord turned his back on everyone in Israel and Judah[l] and let them be punished and defeated until no one was left.
21 Earlier, when the Lord took the northern tribes away from David’s family,[m] the people living in northern Israel chose Jeroboam son of Nebat as their king. Jeroboam caused the Israelites to sin and to stop worshiping the Lord. 22 The people kept on sinning like Jeroboam, 23 until the Lord got rid of them, just as he had warned his servants the prophets.
That’s why the people of Israel were taken away as prisoners to Assyria, and that’s where they remained.
Foreigners Are Resettled in Israel
24 The king of Assyria took people who were living in the cities of Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Sepharvaim, and forced them to move to Israel. They took over the towns where the Israelites had lived, including the capital city of Samaria.
25 At first these people did not worship the Lord, so he sent lions to attack them, and the lions killed some of them. 26 A messenger told the king of Assyria, “The people you moved to Israel don’t know how to worship the god of that country. So he sent lions that have attacked and killed some of them.”
27 The king replied, “Get one of the Israelite priests we brought here and send him back to Israel. He can live there and teach them about the god of that country.” 28 One of the Israelite priests was chosen to go back to Israel. He lived in Bethel and taught the people how to worship the Lord.
29 But in towns all over Israel, the different groups of people made statues of their own gods, then they placed these idols in local Israelite[n] shrines. 30 The people from Babylonia made the god Succoth-Benoth; those from Cuthah made the god Nergal; those from Hamath made Ashima; 31 those from Avva made Nibhaz and Tartak; and the people from Sepharvaim sacrificed their children to their own gods Adrammelech and Anammelech. 32-33 They worshiped their own gods, just as they had before they were taken away to Israel. They also worshiped the Lord, but they chose their own people to be priests at the shrines. 34 Everyone followed their old customs. None of them worshiped only the Lord, and they refused to obey the laws and commands that the Lord had given to the descendants of Jacob, the man he named Israel. 35 At the time when the Lord had made his solemn agreement with the people of Israel, he told them:
Do not worship any other gods! Do not bow down to them or offer them a sacrifice. 36 Worship only me! I am the one who rescued you from Egypt with my mighty power. Bow down to me and offer sacrifices. 37 Never worship any other god, always obey my laws and teachings, 38 and remember the solemn agreement between us.
I will say it again: Do not worship any god 39 except me. I am the Lord your God, and I will rescue you from all your enemies.
40 But the people living in Israel ignored that command and kept on following their old customs. 41 They did worship the Lord, but they also worshiped their own idols. Their descendants did the same thing.
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