2 Kings 15-16 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
King Azariah of Judah
15 Azariah son of Amaziah became king of Judah in Jeroboam’s twenty-seventh year as king of Israel. 2 He was only sixteen years old when he became king, and he ruled fifty-two years from Jerusalem, which was also the hometown of his mother Jecoliah.
3 Azariah obeyed the Lord by doing right, as his father Amaziah had done. 4 But Azariah did not destroy the local shrines,[a] and they were still used as places for offering sacrifices.
5 The Lord punished Azariah with leprosy[b] for the rest of his life. He wasn’t allowed to live in the royal palace, so his son Jotham lived there and ruled in his place.
6 Everything else Azariah did while he was king is written in The History of the Kings of Judah. 7 Azariah died and was buried beside his ancestors in Jerusalem. His son Jotham then became king.
King Zechariah of Israel
8 Zechariah son of Jeroboam became king of Israel in the thirty-eighth year of Azariah’s rule in Judah, but he ruled only six months from Samaria. 9 Like his ancestors, Zechariah disobeyed the Lord by following the evil ways of Jeroboam son of Nebat, who had caused the Israelites to sin.
10 Shallum son of Jabesh plotted against Zechariah and killed him in public.[c] Shallum then became king. 11-12 So the Lord had kept his promise to Jehu that the next four kings of Israel would come from his family.[d]
Everything else Zechariah did while he was king is written in The History of the Kings of Israel.
King Shallum of Israel
13 Shallum became king of Israel in the thirty-ninth year of Azariah’s[e] rule in Judah. But only one month after Shallum became king, 14-16 Menahem son of Gadi came to Samaria from Tirzah and killed him. Menahem then became king. The town of Tiphsah would not surrender to him, so he destroyed it and all the surrounding towns as far as Tirzah. He killed everyone living in Tiphsah, and with his sword he even ripped open pregnant women.
Everything else Shallum did while he was king, including his plot against Zechariah, is written in The History of the Kings of Israel.
King Menahem of Israel
17 Menahem became king of Israel in Azariah’s thirty-ninth year as king of Judah, and he ruled Israel ten years from Samaria. 18 He constantly disobeyed the Lord by following the example of Jeroboam son of Nebat, who had caused the Israelites to sin.
19 During Menahem’s rule, King Tiglath Pileser[f] of Assyria invaded Israel. He agreed to help Menahem keep control of his kingdom, if Menahem would pay him over thirty tons of silver. 20 So Menahem ordered every rich person in Israel to give him at least one pound of silver, and he gave it all to Tiglath Pileser, who stopped his attack and left Israel.
21 Everything else Menahem did while he was king is written in The History of the Kings of Israel. 22 Menahem died, and his son Pekahiah became king.
King Pekahiah of Israel
23 Pekahiah became king of Israel in the fiftieth year of Azariah’s rule in Judah, and he ruled two years from Samaria. 24 He disobeyed the Lord and caused the Israelites to sin, just as Jeroboam son of Nebat had done.
25 Pekah son of Remaliah was Pekahiah’s chief officer, but he made plans to kill the king. So he and fifty men from Gilead broke into the strongest part of the palace in Samaria and murdered Pekahiah, together with Argob and Arieh.[g] Pekah then became king.
26 Everything else Pekahiah did while he was king is written in The History of the Kings of Israel.
King Pekah of Israel
27 Pekah son of Remaliah became king of Israel in Azariah’s fifty-second year as king of Judah, and he ruled twenty years from Samaria. 28 He disobeyed the Lord and followed the evil example of Jeroboam son of Nebat, who had caused the Israelites to sin.
29 During Pekah’s rule, King Tiglath Pileser of Assyria marched into Israel. He captured the territories of Gilead and Galilee, including the towns of Ijon, Abel-Bethmaacah, Janoah, Kedesh, and Hazor, as well as the entire territory of Naphtali. Then he took Israelites from those regions to Assyria as prisoners.[h]
30 In the twentieth year of Jotham’s rule in Judah, Hoshea son of Elah plotted against Pekah and murdered him. Hoshea then became king of Israel.
31 Everything else Pekah did while he was king is written in The History of the Kings of Israel.
King Jotham of Judah
32 Jotham son of Azariah[i] became king of Judah in the second year of Pekah’s rule in Israel. 33 Jotham was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he ruled sixteen years from Jerusalem. His mother Jerusha was the daughter of Zadok.
34 Jotham followed the example of his father by obeying the Lord and doing right. 35 It was Jotham who rebuilt the Upper Gate that led into the court around the Lord’s temple. But the local shrines were not destroyed, and they were still used as places for offering sacrifices.
36 Everything else Jotham did while he was king is written in The History of the Kings of Judah. 37 During his rule, the Lord let King Rezin of Syria and King Pekah of Israel start attacking Judah. 38 Jotham died and was buried beside his ancestors in Jerusalem, and his son Ahaz became king.
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[j] 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.[k]
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.[l] 14 After that, he had the bronze altar moved aside,[m] 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[n] 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,[o] and his son Hezekiah became king.
John 3:1-18 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Jesus and Nicodemus
3 There was a man named Nicodemus who was a Pharisee and a Jewish leader. 2 One night he went to Jesus and said, “Sir, we know that God has sent you to teach us. You could not work these miracles, unless God were with you.”
3 Jesus replied, “I tell you for certain that you must be born from above[a] before you can see God’s kingdom!”
4 Nicodemus asked, “How can a grown man ever be born a second time?”
5 Jesus answered:
I tell you for certain that before you can get into God’s kingdom, you must be born not only by water, but by the Spirit. 6 Humans give life to their children. Yet only God’s Spirit can change you into a child of God. 7 Don’t be surprised when I say that you must be born from above. 8 Only God’s Spirit gives new life. The Spirit is like the wind that blows wherever it wants to. You can hear the wind, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it is going.
9 “How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.
10 Jesus replied:
How can you be a teacher of Israel and not know these things? 11 I tell you for certain that we know what we are talking about because we have seen it ourselves. But none of you will accept what we say. 12 If you don’t believe when I talk to you about things on earth, how can you possibly believe if I talk to you about things in heaven?
13 No one has gone up to heaven except the Son of Man, who came down from there. 14 And the Son of Man must be lifted up, just as that metal snake was lifted up by Moses in the desert.[b] 15 Then everyone who has faith in the Son of Man will have eternal life.
16 God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die. 17 God did not send his Son into the world to condemn its people. He sent him to save them! 18 No one who has faith in God’s Son will be condemned. But everyone who doesn’t have faith in him has already been condemned for not having faith in God’s only Son.
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