2 Kings 19-21 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Hezekiah Asks Isaiah the Prophet for Advice
19 As soon as Hezekiah heard the news, he tore off his clothes in sorrow and put on sackcloth. Then he went into the temple of the Lord. 2 He told Prime Minister Eliakim, Assistant Prime Minister Shebna, and the senior priests to dress in sackcloth and tell the prophet Isaiah:
3 These are difficult and disgraceful times. Our nation is like a woman too weak to give birth, when it’s time for her baby to be born. 4 Please pray for those of us who are left alive. The king of Assyria sent his army commander to insult the living God. Perhaps the Lord heard what he said and will do something, if you will pray.
5 When these leaders went to Isaiah, 6 he told them that the Lord had this message for Hezekiah:
I am the Lord. Don’t worry about the insulting things that have been said about me by these messengers from the king of Assyria. 7 I will upset him with rumors about what’s happening in his own country. He will go back, and there I will make him die a violent death.
8 Meanwhile, the commander of the Assyrian forces heard that his king had left the town of Lachish and was now attacking Libnah. So he went there.
9 About this same time the king of Assyria learned that King Tirhakah of Ethiopia[a] was on his way to attack him. Then the king of Assyria sent some messengers with this note for Hezekiah:
10 Don’t trust your God or be fooled by his promise to defend Jerusalem against me. 11 You have heard how we Assyrian kings have completely wiped out other nations. What makes you feel so safe? 12 The Assyrian kings before me destroyed the towns of Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and everyone from Eden who lived in Telassar. What good did their gods do them? 13 The kings of Hamath, Arpad, Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah have all disappeared.
14 After Hezekiah had read the note from the king of Assyria, he took it to the temple and spread it out for the Lord to see. 15 He prayed:
Lord God of Israel, your throne is above the winged creatures.[b] You created the heavens and the earth, and you alone rule the kingdoms of this world. 16 But just look how Sennacherib has insulted you, the living God.
17 It is true, our Lord, that Assyrian kings have turned nations into deserts. 18 They destroyed the idols of wood and stone that the people of those nations had made and worshiped. 19 But you are our Lord and our God! We ask you to keep us safe from the Assyrian king. Then everyone in every kingdom on earth will know that you are the only God.
The Lord’s Answer to Hezekiah
20 Isaiah went to Hezekiah and told him that the Lord God of Israel had said:
Hezekiah, I heard your prayer about King Sennacherib of Assyria. 21 Now this is what I say to that king:
The people of Jerusalem
22 Sennacherib, you cursed,
25 Sennacherib, now listen
27 I know all about you,
29 Hezekiah, I will tell you what’s going to happen. This year you will eat crops that grow on their own, and the next year you will eat whatever springs up where those crops grew. But the third year you will plant grain and vineyards, and you will eat what you harvest. 30 Those who survive in Judah will be like a vine that puts down deep roots and bears fruit. 31 I, the Lord All-Powerful, will see to it that some who live in Jerusalem will survive.
32 I promise that the king of Assyria won’t get into Jerusalem, or shoot an arrow into the city, or even surround it and prepare to attack. 33 As surely as I am the Lord, he will return by the way he came and will never enter Jerusalem. 34 I will protect it for myself and for my servant David.
The Death of King Sennacherib
35 That same night the Lord sent an angel to the camp of the Assyrians, and he killed one hundred eighty-five thousand of them. And so the next morning, the camp was full of dead bodies. 36 After this King Sennacherib went back to Assyria and lived in the city of Nineveh. 37 One day he was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisroch, when his sons, Adrammelech and Sharezer, killed him with their swords. They escaped to the land of Ararat, and his son Esarhaddon became king.[e]
Hezekiah Gets Sick and Almost Dies
20 About this time, Hezekiah got sick and was almost dead. Isaiah the prophet went in and told him, “The Lord says you won’t ever get well. You are going to die, so you had better start doing what needs to be done.”
2 Hezekiah turned toward the wall and prayed, 3 “Don’t forget that I have been faithful to you, Lord. I have obeyed you with all my heart, and I do whatever you say is right.” After this, he cried hard.
4 Before Isaiah got to the middle court of the palace, 5 the Lord sent him back to Hezekiah with this message:
Hezekiah, you are the ruler of my people, and I am the Lord God, who was worshiped by your ancestor David. I heard you pray, and I saw you cry. I will heal you, so that three days from now you will be able to worship in my temple. 6 I will let you live fifteen years more, while I protect you and your city from the king of Assyria. I will defend this city as an honor to me and to my servant David.
7 Then Isaiah said to the king’s servants, “Bring some mashed figs and place them on the king’s open sore. He will then get well.”
8 Hezekiah asked Isaiah, “Can you prove that the Lord will heal me, so that I can worship in his temple in three days?”
9 Isaiah replied, “The Lord will prove to you that he will keep his promise. Will the shadow made by the setting sun on the stairway go forward ten steps or back ten steps?”[f]
10 “It’s normal for the sun to go forward,” Hezekiah answered. “But how can it go back?”
11 Isaiah prayed, and the Lord made the shadow go back ten steps on the stairway built for King Ahaz.[g]
The Lord Is Still with Hezekiah
12 Merodach[h] Baladan, the son of Baladan, was now king of Babylonia.[i] And when he learned that Hezekiah had been sick, he sent messengers with letters and a gift for him. 13 Hezekiah welcomed[j] the messengers and showed them all the silver, the gold, the spices, and the fine oils that were in his storehouse. He even showed them where he kept his weapons. Nothing in his palace or in his entire kingdom was kept hidden from them.
14 Isaiah asked Hezekiah, “Where did these men come from? What did they want?”
“They came all the way from Babylonia,” Hezekiah answered.
15 “What did you show them?” Isaiah asked.
Hezekiah answered, “I showed them everything in my kingdom.”
16 Then Isaiah told Hezekiah:
I have a message for you from the Lord. 17 One day everything you and your ancestors have stored up will be taken to Babylonia. The Lord has promised that nothing will be left. 18 Some of your own sons will be taken to Babylonia, where they will be disgraced and made to serve in the king’s palace.
19 Hezekiah thought, “At least our nation will be at peace for a while.” So he told Isaiah, “The message you brought me from the Lord is good.”
20 Everything else Hezekiah did while he was king, including how he made the upper pool and tunnel to bring water into Jerusalem, is written in The History of the Kings of Judah. 21 Hezekiah died, and his son Manasseh became king.
King Manasseh of Judah
21 Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled fifty-five years from Jerusalem. His mother was Hephzibah. 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 that his father Hezekiah had torn down. He built altars for the god Baal and set up a sacred pole for worshiping the goddess Asherah, just as King Ahab of Israel had done. And he faithfully worshiped the stars in heaven.
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 courts of the temple, 6-7 and even set up the pole for Asherah there. Manasseh practiced magic and witchcraft; he asked fortunetellers for advice and sacrificed his own son. He did many sinful things and made the Lord very angry.
Years ago the Lord had told David and his son Solomon:
Jerusalem is the place I prefer above all others in Israel. It belongs to me, and there I will be worshiped forever. 8 If my people will faithfully obey all the commands in the Law of my servant Moses, I will never make them leave the land I gave to their ancestors.
9 But the people of Judah disobeyed the Lord. They listened to Manasseh and did even more sinful things than the nations the Lord had wiped out.
10 One day the Lord said to some of his prophets:
11 King Manasseh has done more disgusting things than the Amorites,[k] and he has led my people to sin by forcing them to worship his idols. 12 Now I, the Lord God of Israel, will destroy both Jerusalem and Judah! People will hear about it but won’t believe it. 13 Jerusalem is as sinful as Ahab and the people of Samaria were. So I will wipe out Jerusalem and be done with it, just as someone wipes water off a plate and turns it over to dry.
14 I will even get rid of my people who survive. They will be defeated and robbed by their enemies. 15 My people have done what I hate and have not stopped making me angry since their ancestors left Egypt.
16 Manasseh was guilty of causing the people of Judah to sin and disobey the Lord. He also refused to protect innocent people—he even let so many of them be killed[l] that their blood filled the streets of Jerusalem.
17 Everything else Manasseh did while he was king, including his terrible sins, is written in The History of the Kings of Judah. 18 He died and was buried in Uzza Garden near his palace, and his son Amon became king.
King Amon of Judah
19 Amon was twenty-two years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled from Jerusalem for two years. His mother Meshullemeth was the daughter of Haruz from Jotbah. 20 Amon disobeyed the Lord, just as his father Manasseh had done. 21 Amon worshiped the idols Manasseh had made and 22 refused to be faithful to the Lord, the God his ancestors had worshiped.
23 Some of Amon’s officials plotted against him and killed him in his palace. 24-26 He was buried in Uzza Garden. Soon after that, the people of Judah killed the murderers of Amon, then they made his son Josiah king.
Everything else Amon did while he was king is written in The History of the Kings of Judah.
John 4:1-30 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
4 Jesus knew that the Pharisees had heard that he was winning and baptizing more followers than John was. 2 But Jesus' disciples were really the ones doing the baptizing, and not Jesus himself.
Jesus and the Samaritan Woman
3 Jesus left Judea and started for Galilee again. 4 This time he had to go through Samaria, 5 and on his way he came to the town of Sychar. It was near the field that Jacob had long ago given to his son Joseph. 6-8 The well that Jacob had dug was still there, and Jesus sat down beside it because he was tired from traveling. It was noon, and after Jesus' disciples had gone into town to buy some food, a Samaritan woman came to draw water from the well.
Jesus asked her, “Would you please give me a drink of water?”
9 “You are a Jew,” she replied, “and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink of water when Jews and Samaritans won’t have anything to do with each other?”[a]
10 Jesus answered, “You don’t know what God wants to give you, and you don’t know who is asking you for a drink. If you did, you would ask me for the water that gives life.”
11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you don’t even have a bucket, and the well is deep. Where are you going to get this life-giving water? 12 Our ancestor Jacob dug this well for us, and his family and animals got water from it. Are you greater than Jacob?”
13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will get thirsty again. 14 But no one who drinks the water I give will ever be thirsty again. The water I give is like a flowing fountain that gives eternal life.”
15 The woman replied, “Sir, please give me a drink of that water! Then I won’t get thirsty and have to come to this well again.”
16 Jesus told her, “Go and bring your husband.”
17-18 The woman answered, “I don’t have a husband.”
“That’s right,” Jesus replied, “you’re telling the truth. You don’t have a husband. You have already been married five times, and the man you are now living with isn’t your husband.”
19 The woman said, “Sir, I can see that you are a prophet. 20 My ancestors worshiped on this mountain,[b] but you Jews say Jerusalem is the only place to worship.”
21 Jesus said to her:
Believe me, the time is coming when you won’t worship the Father either on this mountain or in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans don’t really know the one you worship. But we Jews do know the God we worship, and by using us, God will save the world. 23 But a time is coming, and it is already here! Even now the true worshipers are being led by the Spirit to worship the Father according to the truth. These are the ones the Father is seeking to worship him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship God must be led by the Spirit to worship him according to the truth.
25 The woman said, “I know that the Messiah will come. He is the one we call Christ. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
26 “I am that one,” Jesus told her, “and I am speaking to you now.”
27 The disciples returned about this time and were surprised to find Jesus talking with a woman. But none of them asked him what he wanted or why he was talking with her.
28 The woman left her water jar and ran back into town. She said to the people, 29 “Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! Could he be the Messiah?” 30 Everyone in town went out to see Jesus.
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