2 Chronicles 32-33 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
King Sennacherib of Assyria Invades Judah
32 After King Hezekiah had faithfully obeyed the Lord’s instructions by doing these things, King Sennacherib of Assyria invaded Judah. He attacked the fortified cities and thought he would capture every one of them.
2 As soon as Hezekiah learned that Sennacherib was planning to attack Jerusalem, 3-4 he and his officials worked out a plan to cut off the supply of water outside the city, so that the Assyrians would have no water when they came to attack. The officials got together a large work force that stopped up the springs and streams near Jerusalem.
5 Hezekiah also had workers repair the broken sections of the city wall. Then they built defense towers and an outer wall to help protect the one already there. The landfill on the east side of David’s City was also strengthened.
He gave orders to make a large supply of weapons and shields, 6 and he appointed army commanders over the troops. Then he gathered the troops together in the open area in front of the city gate and said to them:
7 Be brave and confident! There’s no reason to be afraid of King Sennacherib and his powerful army. We are much more powerful, 8 because the Lord our God fights on our side. The Assyrians must rely on human power alone.
These words encouraged the army of Judah.
9 When Sennacherib and his troops were camped at the town of Lachish, he sent a message to Hezekiah and the people in Jerusalem. It said:
10 I am King Sennacherib of Assyria, and I have Jerusalem surrounded. Do you think you can survive my attack? 11 Hezekiah your king is telling you that the Lord your God will save you from me. But he is lying, and you’ll die of hunger and thirst. 12 Didn’t Hezekiah tear down all except one of the Lord’s altars and places of worship?[a] And didn’t he tell you people of Jerusalem and Judah to worship at that one place?
13 You’ve heard what my ancestors and I have done to other nations. Were the gods of those nations able to defend their land against us? 14 None of those gods kept their people safe from the kings of Assyria. Do you really think your God can do any better? 15 Don’t be fooled by Hezekiah! No god of any nation has ever been able to stand up to Assyria. Believe me, your God cannot keep you safe!
16 The Assyrian officials said terrible things about the Lord God and his servant Hezekiah. 17 Sennacherib’s letter even made fun of the Lord. It said, “The gods of other nations could not save their people from Assyria’s army, and neither will the God that Hezekiah worships.” 18 The officials said all these things in Hebrew, so that everyone listening from the city wall would understand and be terrified and surrender. 19 The officials talked about the Lord God as if he were nothing but an ordinary god or an idol that someone had made.
The Death of King Sennacherib
20 Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz asked the Lord for help, 21 and he sent an angel that killed every soldier and commander in the Assyrian camp.
Sennacherib returned to Assyria, completely disgraced. Then one day he went into the temple of his god where some of his sons killed him.
22 The Lord rescued Hezekiah and the people of Jerusalem from Sennacherib and also protected them from other enemies. 23 People brought offerings to Jerusalem for the Lord and expensive gifts for Hezekiah, and from that day on, every nation on earth respected Hezekiah.
Hezekiah Gets Sick and Almost Dies
24 About this same time, Hezekiah got sick and was almost dead. He prayed, and the Lord gave him a sign that he would recover. 25 But Hezekiah was so proud that he refused to thank the Lord for everything he had done for him. This made the Lord angry, and he punished Hezekiah and the people of Judah and Jerusalem. 26 Hezekiah and the people later felt sorry and asked the Lord to forgive them. So the Lord did not punish them as long as Hezekiah was king.
27 Hezekiah was very rich, and everyone respected him. He built special rooms to store the silver, the gold, the precious stones and spices, the shields, and the other valuable possessions. 28 Storehouses were also built for his supply of grain, wine, and olive oil; barns were built for his cattle, and pens were put up for his sheep. 29 God made Hezekiah extremely rich, so he bought even more sheep, goats, and cattle. And he built towns where he could keep all these animals.
30 It was Hezekiah who built a tunnel that carried the water from Gihon Spring into the city of Jerusalem. In fact, everything he did was successful! 31 Even when the leaders of Babylonia sent messengers to ask Hezekiah about the sign God had given him, God let Hezekiah give his own answer to test him and to see if he would remain faithful.
32 Everything else Hezekiah did while he was king, including how faithful he was to the Lord, is included in the records kept by Isaiah the prophet. These are written in The History of the Kings of Judah and Israel. 33 When Hezekiah died, he was buried in the section of the royal tombs that was reserved for the most respected kings,[b] and everyone in Judah and Jerusalem honored him. His son Manasseh then became king.
King Manasseh of Judah
33 Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled fifty-five years from Jerusalem. 2 Manasseh disobeyed the Lord by following the disgusting customs of the nations that the Lord had forced out of Israel. 3 He rebuilt the local shrines[c] that his father Hezekiah had torn down. He built altars for the god Baal and set up sacred poles[d] for worshiping the goddess Asherah. And he faithfully worshiped the stars in the sky.
4 In the temple, where only the Lord was supposed to be worshiped, Manasseh built altars for pagan gods 5 and for the stars. He placed these altars in both courtyards of the temple 6-7 and even set up a stone image of a foreign god. Manasseh practiced magic and witchcraft; he asked fortunetellers for advice and sacrificed his own sons in Hinnom Valley. He did many other sinful things and made the Lord very angry.
Years ago, God had told David and Solomon:
Jerusalem is the place I prefer above all others in Israel. It belongs to me, and there in the temple I will be worshiped forever. 8 If my people will faithfully obey all the laws and teaching I gave to my servant Moses, I will never again force them to leave the land I gave to their ancestors.
9 But the people of Judah and Jerusalem listened to Manasseh and did even more sinful things than the nations the Lord had wiped out.
10 The Lord tried to warn Manasseh and the people about their sins, but they ignored the warning. 11 So he let Assyrian army commanders invade Judah and capture Manasseh. They put a hook in his nose and tied him up in chains, and they took him to Babylon. 12 While Manasseh was held captive there, he asked the Lord God to forgive him and to help him. 13 The Lord listened to Manasseh’s prayer and saw how sorry he was, and so he let him go back to Jerusalem and rule as king. Manasseh knew from then on that the Lord was God.
14 Later, Manasseh rebuilt the eastern section of Jerusalem’s outer wall and made it taller. This section went from Gihon Valley north to Fish Gate and around the part of the city called Mount Ophel. He also assigned army officers to each of the fortified cities in Judah.[e]
15 Manasseh also removed the idols and the stone image of the foreign god from the temple, and he gathered the altars he had built near the temple and in other parts of Jerusalem. He threw all these things outside the city. 16 Then he repaired the Lord’s altar and offered sacrifices to thank him and sacrifices to ask his blessing.[f] He gave orders that everyone in Judah must worship the Lord God of Israel. 17 The people obeyed Manasseh, but they worshiped the Lord at their own shrines.
18 Everything else Manasseh did while he was king, including his prayer to the Lord God and the warnings from his prophets, is written in The History of the Kings of Israel. 19 Hozai[g] wrote a lot about Manasseh, including his prayer and God’s answer. But Hozai also recorded the evil things Manasseh did before turning back to God, as well as a list of places where Manasseh set up idols, and where he built local shrines and places to worship Asherah. 20 Manasseh died and was buried near the palace, and his son Amon became king.
King Amon of Judah
21 Amon was twenty-two years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled from Jerusalem for two years. 22 Amon disobeyed the Lord, just as his father Manasseh had done, and he worshiped and offered sacrifices to the idols his father had made. 23 Manasseh had turned back to the Lord, but Amon refused to do that. Instead, he sinned even more than his father.
24 Some of Amon’s officials plotted against him and killed him in his palace. 25 But the people of Judah killed the murderers of Amon and made his son Josiah king.
John 18:19-40 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Jesus Is Questioned by the High Priest
19 The high priest questioned Jesus about his followers and his teaching. 20 But Jesus told him, “I have spoken freely in front of everyone. And I have always taught in our meeting places and in the temple, where all of our people come together. I have not said anything in secret. 21 Why are you questioning me? Why don’t you ask the people who heard me? They know what I have said.”
22 As soon as Jesus said this, one of the temple police hit him and said, “That’s no way to talk to the high priest!”
23 Jesus answered, “If I have done something wrong, say so. But if not, why did you hit me?” 24 Jesus was still tied up, and Annas sent him to Caiaphas the high priest.
Peter Again Denies that He Knows Jesus
25 While Simon Peter was standing there warming himself, someone asked him, “Aren’t you one of Jesus' followers?”
Again Peter denied it and said, “No, I am not!”
26 One of the high priest’s servants was there. He was a relative of the servant whose ear Peter had cut off, and he asked, “Didn’t I see you in the garden with that man?”
27 Once more Peter denied it, and right then a rooster crowed.
Jesus Is Tried by Pilate
28 It was early in the morning when Jesus was taken from Caiaphas to the building where the Roman governor stayed. But the crowd waited outside. Any of them who had gone inside would have become unclean and would not be allowed to eat the Passover meal.[a]
29 Pilate came out and asked, “What charges are you bringing against this man?”
30 They answered, “He is a criminal! That’s why we brought him to you.”
31 Pilate told them, “Take him and judge him by your own laws.”
The crowd replied, “We are not allowed to put anyone to death.” 32 And so what Jesus said about his death[b] would soon come true.
33 Pilate then went back inside. He called Jesus over and asked, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
34 Jesus answered, “Are you asking this on your own or did someone tell you about me?”
35 “You know I’m not a Jew!” Pilate said. “Your own people and the chief priests brought you to me. What have you done?”
36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom doesn’t belong to this world. If it did, my followers would have fought to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders. No, my kingdom doesn’t belong to this world.”
37 “So you are a king,” Pilate replied.
“You are saying that I am a king,” Jesus told him. “I was born into this world to tell about the truth. And everyone who belongs to the truth knows my voice.”
38 Pilate asked Jesus, “What is truth?”
Jesus Is Sentenced to Death
Pilate went back out and said, “I don’t find this man guilty of anything! 39 And since I usually set a prisoner free for you at Passover, would you like for me to set free the king of the Jews?”
40 They shouted, “No, not him! We want Barabbas.” Now Barabbas was a terrorist.[c]
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