2 Chronicles 30-31 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Hezekiah Prepares To Celebrate Passover
30 1-4 Passover wasn’t celebrated in the first month,[a] which was the usual time, because many of the priests were still unclean and unacceptable to serve, and because not everyone in Judah had come to Jerusalem for the festival. So Hezekiah, his officials, and the people agreed to celebrate Passover in the second month.[b]
Hezekiah sent a message to everyone in Israel and Judah, including those in the territories of Ephraim and West Manasseh, inviting them to the temple in Jerusalem for the celebration of Passover in honor of the Lord God of Israel. 5 Everyone from Beersheba in the south to Dan in the north was invited. This was the largest crowd of people that had ever celebrated Passover, according to the official records.
6 Hezekiah’s messengers went everywhere in Israel and Judah with the following letter:
People of Israel, now that you have survived the invasion of the Assyrian kings,[c] it’s time for you to turn back to the Lord God our ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob worshiped. If you do this, he will stop being angry. 7 Don’t follow the example of your ancestors and your Israelite relatives in the north. They were unfaithful to the Lord, and he punished them horribly. 8 Don’t be stubborn like your ancestors. Decide now to obey the Lord our God! Come to Jerusalem and worship him in the temple that will belong to him forever. Then he will stop being angry, 9 and the enemies that have captured your families will show pity and send them back home. The Lord God is kind and merciful, and if you turn back to him, he will no longer turn his back on you.
10 The messengers went to every town in Ephraim and West Manasseh as far north as the territory of Zebulun, but everyone laughed and insulted them. 11 Only a few people from the tribes of Asher, West Manasseh, and Zebulun were humble and went to Jerusalem. 12 God also made everyone in Judah eager to do what Hezekiah and his officials had commanded.
Passover Is Celebrated
13 In the second month,[d] a large crowd of people gathered in Jerusalem to celebrate the Festival of Thin Bread.[e] 14 They took all the foreign altars and incense altars in Jerusalem and threw them into Kidron Valley.
15-17 Then, on the fourteenth day of that same month, the Levites began killing the lambs for Passover, because many of the worshipers were unclean and were not allowed to kill their own lambs. Meanwhile, some of the priests and Levites felt ashamed because they had not gone through the ceremony to make themselves clean. They immediately went through that ceremony and went to the temple, where they offered sacrifices to please the Lord.[f] Then the priests and Levites took their positions, according to the Law of Moses, the servant of God.
As the Levites killed the lambs, they handed some of the blood to the priests, who splattered it on the altar.
18-19 Most of the people that came from Ephraim, West Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun had not made themselves clean, but they ignored God’s Law and ate the Passover lambs anyway. Hezekiah found out what they had done and prayed, “Lord God, these people are unclean according to the laws of holiness. But they are worshiping you, just as their ancestors did. So, please be kind and forgive them.” 20 The Lord answered Hezekiah’s prayer and did not punish them.
21 The worshipers in Jerusalem were very happy and celebrated the Festival for seven days. The Levites and priests sang praises to the Lord every day and played their instruments. 22 Hezekiah thanked the Levites for doing such a good job, leading the celebration.
The worshipers celebrated for seven days by offering sacrifices, by eating the sacred meals, and by praising the Lord God of their ancestors. 23 Everyone was so excited that they agreed to celebrate seven more days.
24 So Hezekiah gave the people one thousand bulls and seven thousand sheep to be offered as sacrifices and to be used as food for the sacred meals. His officials gave one thousand bulls and ten thousand sheep, and many more priests agreed to go through the ceremony to make themselves clean. 25 Everyone was very happy, including those from Judah and Israel, the priests and Levites, and the foreigners living in Judah and Israel. 26 It was the biggest celebration in Jerusalem since the days of King Solomon, the son of David. 27 The priests and Levites asked God to bless the people, and from his home in heaven, he did.
The People Destroy the Local Shrines
31 After the Festival, the people went to every town in Judah and smashed the stone images of foreign gods and cut down the sacred poles[g] for worshiping the goddess Asherah. They destroyed all the local shrines[h] and foreign altars in Judah, as well as those in the territories of Benjamin, Ephraim, and West Manasseh. Then everyone went home.
Offerings for the Priests and Levites
2 Hezekiah divided the priests and Levites into groups, according to their duties. Then he assigned them the responsibilities of offering sacrifices to please the Lord[i] and sacrifices to ask his blessing.[j] He also appointed people to serve at the temple and to sing praises at the temple gates. 3 Hezekiah provided animals from his own herds and flocks to use for the morning and evening sacrifices, as well as for the sacrifices during the Sabbath celebrations, the New Moon Festivals, and the other religious feasts required by the Law of the Lord.
4 He told the people of Jerusalem to bring the offerings that were to be given to the priests and Levites, so that they would have time to serve the Lord with their work. 5 As soon as the people heard what the king wanted, they brought a tenth of everything they owned, including their best grain, wine, olive oil, honey, and other crops. 6 The people from the other towns of Judah brought a tenth of their herds and flocks, as well as a tenth of anything they had dedicated to the Lord. 7 The people started bringing their offerings to Jerusalem in the third month,[k] and the last ones arrived four months later. 8 When Hezekiah and his officials saw these offerings, they thanked the Lord and the people.
9 Hezekiah asked the priests and Levites about the large amount of offerings. 10 The high priest at the time was Azariah, a descendant of Zadok, and he replied, “Ever since the people have been bringing us their offerings, we have had more than enough food and supplies. The Lord has certainly blessed his people. Look at how much is left over!”
11 So the king gave orders for storerooms to be built in the temple, and when they were completed, 12-13 all the extra offerings were taken there. Hezekiah and Azariah then appointed Conaniah the Levite to be in charge of these storerooms. His brother Shimei was his assistant, and the following Levites worked with them: Jehiel, Azaziah, Nahath, Asahel, Jerimoth, Jozabad, Eliel, Ismachiah, Mahath, and Benaiah. 14 Kore son of Imnah was assigned to guard the East Gate, and he was put in charge of receiving the offerings voluntarily given to God and of dividing them among the priests and Levites. 15-16 He had six assistants who were responsible for seeing that all the priests in the other towns of Judah also got their share of these offerings. They were Eden, Miniamin, Jeshua, Shemaiah, Amariah, and Shecaniah.
Every priest and every Levite over thirty[l] years old who worked daily in the temple received part of these offerings, according to their duties. 17 The priests were listed in the official records by clans, and the Levites twenty years old and older were listed by their duties. 18 The official records also included their wives and children, because they had also been faithful in keeping themselves clean and acceptable to serve the Lord.
19 Hezekiah also appointed other men to take food and supplies to the priests and Levites whose homes were in the pastureland around the towns of Judah. But the priests had to be descendants of Aaron, and the Levites had to be listed in the official records.
20-21 Everything Hezekiah did while he was king of Judah, including what he did for the temple in Jerusalem, was right and good. He was a successful king, because he obeyed the Lord God with all his heart.
John 18:1-18 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Jesus Is Betrayed and Arrested
18 When Jesus had finished praying, he and his disciples crossed the Kidron Valley and went into a garden.[a] 2 Jesus had often met there with his disciples, and Judas knew where the place was.
3-5 Judas had promised to betray Jesus. So he went to the garden with some Roman soldiers and temple police, who had been sent by the chief priests and the Pharisees. They carried torches, lanterns, and weapons. Jesus already knew everything that was going to happen, but he asked, “Who are you looking for?”
They answered, “We are looking for Jesus from Nazareth!”
Jesus told them, “I am Jesus!”[b] 6 At once they all backed away and fell to the ground.
7 Jesus again asked, “Who are you looking for?”
“We are looking for Jesus from Nazareth,” they answered.
8 This time Jesus replied, “I have already told you that I am Jesus. If I am the one you are looking for, let these others go. 9 Then everything will happen, just as I said, ‘I did not lose anyone you gave me.’”
10 Simon Peter had brought along a sword. He now pulled it out and struck at the servant of the high priest. The servant’s name was Malchus, and Peter cut off his right ear. 11 Jesus told Peter, “Put your sword away. I must drink from the cup[c] that the Father has given me.”
Jesus Is Brought to Annas
12 The Roman officer and his men, together with the temple police, arrested Jesus and tied him up. 13 They took him first to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. 14 This was the same Caiaphas who had told the Jewish leaders, “It is better if one person dies for the people.”
Peter Says He Doesn’t Know Jesus
15 Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. That disciple knew the high priest, and he followed Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest’s house. 16 Peter stayed outside near the gate. But the other disciple came back out and spoke to the girl at the gate. She let Peter go in, 17 but asked him, “Aren’t you one of that man’s followers?”
“No, I am not!” Peter answered.
18 It was cold, and the servants and temple police had made a charcoal fire. They were warming themselves around it, when Peter went over and stood near the fire to warm himself.
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