2 Kings 7-9 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
7 Elisha answered, “I have a message for you. The Lord promises that tomorrow here in Samaria, you will be able to buy a large sack of flour or two large sacks of barley for almost nothing.”
2 The chief officer there with the king replied, “I don’t believe it! Even if the Lord sent a rainstorm, it couldn’t produce that much grain by tomorrow.”
“You will see it happen, but you won’t eat any of the food,” Elisha warned him.
The Syrian Army Stops Its Attack
3 About the same time, four men with leprosy[a] were just outside the gate of Samaria. They said to each other, “Why should we sit here, waiting to die? 4 There’s nothing to eat in the city, so we would starve if we went inside. But if we stay out here, we will die for sure. Let’s sneak over to the Syrian army camp and surrender. They might kill us, but they might not.” 5-8 That evening the four men got up and left for the Syrian camp.
As they walked toward the camp, the Lord caused the Syrian troops to hear what sounded like the roar of a huge cavalry. The soldiers said to each other, “Listen! The king of Israel must have hired Hittite and Egyptian troops to attack us. Let’s get out of here!” So they ran out of their camp that night, leaving their tents and horses and donkeys.
When the four men with leprosy reached the edge of the Syrian camp, no one was there. They walked into one of the tents, where they ate and drank, before carrying off clothes, as well as silver and gold. They hid all this, then walked into another tent; they took what they wanted and hid it too.
9 They said to each other, “This isn’t right. Today is a day to celebrate, and we haven’t told anyone else what has happened. If we wait until morning, we will be punished. Let’s go to the king’s palace right now and tell the good news.”
10 They went back to Samaria and shouted up to the guards at the gate, “We’ve just come from the Syrian army camp, and all the soldiers are gone! The tents are empty, and the horses and donkeys are still tied up. We didn’t see or hear anybody.”
11 The guards reported the news to the king’s palace. 12 The king got out of bed and said to his officers, “I know what those Syrians are doing. They know we’re starving, so they’re hiding in the fields, hoping we will go out to look for food. When we do, they can capture us and take over our city.”
13 One of his officers replied, “We have a few horses left—why don’t we let some men take five of them and go to the Syrian camp and see what’s happening? We’re going to die anyway like those who have already died.”[b] 14 They found two chariots, and the king commanded the men to find out what had happened to the Syrian troops.
15 The men rode as far as the Jordan River. All along the way they saw clothes and equipment that the Syrians had thrown away as they escaped. Then they went back to the king and told him what they had seen.
16 At once the people went to the Syrian camp and carried off what was left. They took so much that a large sack of flour and two large sacks of barley sold for almost nothing, just as the Lord had promised.
17 The king of Israel had put his chief officer in charge of the gate, but he died when the people trampled him as they rushed out of the city. 18 Earlier, when the king was at Elisha’s house, Elisha had told him that flour or barley would sell for almost nothing. 19 But the officer refused to believe that even the Lord could do that. So Elisha warned him that he would see it happen, but would not eat any of the food. 20 And that’s exactly what happened—the officer was trampled to death.
The Woman from Shunem Is Given Back Her Land
8 Elisha told the woman whose son he had brought back to life,[c] “The Lord has warned that there will be no food here for seven years. Take your family and go live somewhere else for a while.” 2 The woman did exactly what Elisha had said and went to live in Philistine territory.
She and her family lived there seven years. 3 Then she returned to Israel and immediately begged the king to give back her house and property.
4 Meanwhile, the king was asking Gehazi the servant of Elisha about the amazing things Elisha had been doing. 5 While Gehazi was telling him that Elisha had brought a dead boy back to life, the woman and her son arrived.
“Here’s the boy, Your Majesty,” Gehazi said. “And this is his mother.”
6 The king asked the woman to tell her story, and she told him everything that had happened. He then said to one of his officials, “I want you to make sure that this woman gets back everything that belonged to her, including the money her crops have made since the day she left Israel.”
Hazael Kills Benhadad
7 Some time later Elisha went to the capital city of Damascus to visit King Benhadad of Syria, who was sick. And when Benhadad was told he was there, 8 he said to Hazael,[d] “Go meet with Elisha the man of God and have him ask the Lord if I will get well. And take along a gift for him.”
9 Hazael left with forty camel loads of the best things made in Damascus as a gift for Elisha. He found the prophet and said, “Your servant, King Benhadad, wants to know if he will get well.”
10 “Tell him he will,” Elisha said to Hazael. “But the Lord has already told me that Benhadad will definitely die.” 11 Elisha stared at him until Hazael was embarrassed, then Elisha began crying.[e]
12 “Sir, why are you crying?” Hazael asked.
Elisha answered, “Because I know the terrible things you will do to the people of Israel. You will burn down their walled cities and slaughter their young men. You will even crush the heads of their babies and rip open their pregnant women.”
13 “How could I ever do anything like that?” Hazael replied. “I’m only a servant and don’t have that kind of power.”
“Hazael, the Lord has told me that you will be the next king of Syria.”
14 Hazael went back to Benhadad and told him, “Elisha said that you will get well.” 15 But the very next day, Hazael got a thick blanket; he soaked it in water and held it over Benhadad’s face until he died. Hazael then became king.
King Jehoram of Judah
16 Jehoram son of Jehoshaphat became king of Judah in Joram’s fifth year as king of Israel, while Jehoshaphat was still king of Judah.[f] 17 Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he ruled eight years from Jerusalem.
18 Jehoram disobeyed the Lord by doing wrong. He married Ahab’s daughter and was as sinful as Ahab’s family and the kings of Israel. 19 But the Lord refused to destroy Judah, because he had promised his servant David that someone from his family would always rule in Judah.
20 While Jehoram was king, the people of Edom rebelled and chose their own king. 21 So Jehoram[g] and his cavalry marched to Zair, where the Edomite army surrounded him and his commanders. During the night he attacked the Edomites, but he was defeated, and his troops escaped to their homes.[h] 22 Judah was never able to regain control of Edom. Even the town of Libnah[i] rebelled at that time.
23 Everything else Jehoram did while he was king is written in The History of the Kings of Judah. 24 Jehoram died and was buried beside his ancestors in Jerusalem.[j] His son Ahaziah then became king.
King Ahaziah of Judah
25 Ahaziah son of Jehoram became king of Judah in the twelfth year of Joram’s rule in Israel. 26 Ahaziah was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he ruled from Jerusalem for only one year. His mother was Athaliah, a granddaughter of King Omri of Israel. 27 Since Ahaziah was related to Ahab’s family,[k] he acted just like them and disobeyed the Lord by doing wrong.
28 Ahaziah went with King Joram of Israel to attack King Hazael and the Syrian troops at Ramoth in Gilead. Joram was wounded in that battle, 29 so he went to the town of Jezreel to recover. Ahaziah went there to visit him.
Jehu Becomes King of Israel
9 One day, Elisha called for one of the other prophets and said:
Take this bottle of olive oil and get ready to go to the town of Ramoth in Gilead. 2 When you get there, find Jehu son of Jehoshaphat and grandson of Nimshi. Take him to a place where the two of you can be alone, 3 then pour olive oil on his head to show that he is the new king. Say to him, “The Lord has chosen you to be king of Israel.” Then leave quickly—don’t wait around for anything!
4 The young prophet left for Ramoth. 5 When he arrived, the army officers were meeting together. “Sir, I have a message for you,” he said.
“For which one of us?” Jehu asked.
“You, sir,” the prophet answered. 6 So Jehu got up and went inside.[l] The prophet poured olive oil on Jehu’s head and told him:
The Lord God of Israel has this message for you: “I am the Lord, and I have chosen you to be king of my people Israel. 7 I want you to wipe out the family of Ahab, so Jezebel will be punished for killing the prophets and my other servants. 8 Every man and boy in Ahab’s family must die, whether slave or free. 9 His whole family must be destroyed, just like the families of Jeroboam son of Nebat and Baasha son of Ahijah. 10 As for Jezebel, her body will be eaten by dogs in the town of Jezreel. There won’t be enough left of her to bury.”
Then the young prophet opened the door and ran out.
11 Jehu went back to his officers, and one of them asked, “What did that crazy prophet want? Is everything all right?”
“You know him and how he talks,” Jehu answered.
12 “No, we don’t. What did he say?” they asked.
“He had a message from the Lord,” Jehu replied. “He said that the Lord has chosen me to be the next king of Israel.”
13 They quickly grabbed their coats and spread them out on the steps where Jehu was standing. Someone blew a trumpet, and everyone shouted, “Jehu is king!”
Jehu Kills Joram and Ahaziah
14-16 King Joram[m] of Israel had been badly wounded in the battle at Ramoth, trying to defend it against King Hazael and the Syrian army. Joram was now recovering in Jezreel, and King Ahaziah of Judah was there, visiting him.
Meanwhile, Jehu was in Ramoth, making plans to kill Joram. He said to his officers, “If you want me to be king, then don’t let anyone leave this town. They might go to Jezreel and tell Joram.” Then Jehu got in his chariot and rode to Jezreel.
17 When the guard in the watchtower at Jezreel saw Jehu and his men riding up, he shouted to the king, “I see a bunch of men coming this way.”
Joram ordered, “Send someone out to ask them if this is a friendly visit.”
18 One of the soldiers rode out and said to Jehu, “King Joram wants to know if this is a friendly visit.”
“What’s it to you?” Jehu asked. “Just stay behind me with the rest of my troops!”
About the same time the guard in the watchtower said, “Your Majesty, the rider got there, but he isn’t coming back.”
19 So Joram sent out another rider, who rode up to Jehu and said, “The king wants to know if this is a friendly visit.”
“What’s it to you?” Jehu asked. “Just get behind me with the rest of my troops!”
20 The guard in the watchtower said, “Your Majesty, the rider got there, but he isn’t coming back either. Wait a minute! That one man is a reckless chariot driver—it must be Jehu!”
21 Joram commanded, “Get my chariot ready.” Then he and Ahaziah got in their chariots and rode out to meet Jehu. They all met on the land that had belonged to Naboth.[n] 22 Joram asked, “Jehu, is this a peaceful visit?”
“How can there be peace?” Jehu asked. “Your mother Jezebel has caused everyone to worship idols and practice witchcraft.”
23 “Ahaziah, let’s get out of here!” Joram yelled. “It’s a trap!” As Joram tried to escape, 24 Jehu shot an arrow. It hit Joram between his shoulders, then it went through his heart and came out his chest. He fell over dead in his chariot.
25-26 Jehu commanded his assistant Bidkar, “Get Joram’s body and throw it in the field that Naboth once owned. Do you remember when you and I used to ride side by side behind Joram’s father Ahab? It was then that the Lord swore to Ahab that he would be punished in the same field where he had killed Naboth and his sons. So throw Joram’s body there, just as the Lord said.”
27 Ahaziah saw all of this happen and tried to escape to the town of Beth-Haggan, but Jehu caught up with him and shouted, “Kill him too!” So his troops shot Ahaziah with an arrow while he was on the road to Gur near Ibleam. He went as far as Megiddo, where he died. 28 Ahaziah’s officers put his body in a chariot and took it back to Jerusalem, where they buried him beside his ancestors.
29 Ahaziah had become king of Judah in the eleventh year of the rule of Ahab’s son Joram.
Jehu Kills Jezebel
30 Jehu headed toward Jezreel, and when Jezebel heard he was coming, she put on eye shadow and brushed her hair. Then she stood at the window, waiting for him to arrive. 31 As he walked through the city gate, she shouted down to him, “Why did you come here, you murderer? To kill the king? You’re no better than Zimri!”[o]
32 He looked up toward the window and asked, “Is anyone up there on my side?” A few palace workers stuck their heads out of a window, 33 and Jehu shouted, “Throw her out the window!” They threw her down, and her blood splattered on the walls and on the horses that trampled her body.[p]
34 Jehu left to get something to eat and drink. Then he told some workers, “Even though she was evil, she was a king’s daughter,[q] so make sure she has a proper burial.”
35 But when they went out to bury her body, they found only her skull, her hands, and her feet. 36 They reported this to Jehu, and he said, “The Lord told Elijah the prophet that Jezebel’s body would be eaten by dogs right here in Jezreel. 37 And he warned that her bones would be spread all over the ground like manure, so that no one could tell who it was.”
John 1:1-28 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
The Word of Life
1 In the beginning was the one
3 And with this Word,
9 The true light that shines
14 The Word became
15 John spoke about him and shouted, “This is the one I told you would come! He is greater than I am, because he was alive before I was born.”
16 Because of all that the Son is, we have been given one blessing after another.[b] 17 The Law was given by Moses, but Jesus Christ brought us undeserved kindness and truth. 18 No one has ever seen God. The only Son, who is truly God and is closest to the Father, has shown us what God is like.
John the Baptist Tells about Jesus
19-20 The Jewish leaders in Jerusalem sent priests and temple helpers to ask John who he was. He told them plainly, “I am not the Messiah.” 21 Then when they asked him if he were Elijah, he said, “No, I am not!” And when they asked if he were the Prophet,[c] he also said “No!”
22 Finally, they said, “Who are you then? We have to give an answer to the ones who sent us. Tell us who you are!”
23 John answered in the words of the prophet Isaiah, “I am only someone shouting in the desert, ‘Get the road ready for the Lord!’”
24 Some Pharisees had also been sent to John. 25 They asked him, “Why are you baptizing people, if you are not the Messiah or Elijah or the Prophet?”
26 John told them, “I use water to baptize people. But here with you is someone you don’t know. 27 Even though I came first, I am not good enough to untie his sandals.” 28 John said this as he was baptizing east of the Jordan River in Bethany.[d]
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