2 Kings 10-12 The Message (MSG)
10 1-2 Ahab had seventy sons still living in Samaria. Jehu wrote letters addressed to the officers of Jezreel, the city elders, and those in charge of Ahab’s sons, and posted them to Samaria. The letters read:
2-3 This letter is fair warning. You’re in charge of your master’s children, chariots, horses, fortifications, and weapons. Pick the best and most capable of your master’s sons and put him on the throne. Prepare to fight for your master’s position.
4 They were absolutely terrified at the letter. They said, “Two kings have already been wiped out by him; what hope do we have?”
5 So they sent the warden of the palace, the mayor of the city, the elders, and the guardians to Jehu with this message: “We are your servants. Whatever you say, we’ll do. We’re not making anyone king here. You’re in charge—do what you think best.”
6-7 Then Jehu wrote a second letter:
If you are on my side and are willing to follow my orders, here’s what you do: Decapitate the sons of your master and bring the heads to me by this time tomorrow in Jezreel.
The king’s sons numbered seventy. The leaders of the city had taken responsibility for them. When they got the letter, they took the king’s sons and killed all seventy. Then they put the heads in baskets and sent them to Jehu in Jezreel.
8 A messenger reported to Jehu: “They’ve delivered the heads of the king’s sons.”
He said, “Stack them in two piles at the city gate until morning.”
9-10 In the morning Jehu came out, stood before the people, and addressed them formally: “Do you realize that this very day you are participants in God’s righteous workings? True, I am the one who conspired against my master and assassinated him. But who, do you suppose, is responsible for this pile of skulls? Know this for certain: Not a single syllable that God spoke in judgment on the family of Ahab is canceled; you’re seeing it with your own eyes—God doing what, through Elijah, he said he’d do.”
11 Then Jehu proceeded to kill everyone who had anything to do with Ahab’s family in Jezreel—leaders, friends, priests. He wiped out the entire lot.
12-13 That done, he brushed himself off and set out for Samaria. Along the way, at Beth Eked (Binding House) of the Shepherds, he met up with some relatives of Ahaziah king of Judah.
Jehu said, “Who are you?”
They said, “We’re relatives of Ahaziah and we’ve come down to a reunion of the royal family.”
14 “Grab them!” ordered Jehu. They were taken and then massacred at the well of Beth Eked. Forty-two of them—no survivors.
15 He went on from there and came upon Jehonadab the Recabite who was on his way to meet him. Greeting him, he said, “Are we together and of one mind in this?”
Jehonadab said, “We are—count on me.”
“Then give me your hand,” said Jehu.
They shook hands on it and Jehonadab stepped up into the chariot with Jehu.
16 “Come along with me,” said Jehu, “and witness my zeal for God.”Together they proceeded in the chariot.
17 When they arrived in Samaria, Jehu massacred everyone left in Samaria who was in any way connected with Ahab—a mass execution, just as God had told Elijah.
18-19 Next, Jehu got all the people together and addressed them:
Ahab served Baal small-time;
“Get all the prophets of Baal here—everyone who served him, all his priests. Get everyone here; don’t leave anyone out. I have a great sacrifice to offer Baal. If you don’t show up, you won’t live to tell about it.” (Jehu was lying, of course. He planned to destroy all the worshipers of Baal.)
20 Jehu ordered, “Make preparation for a holy convocation for Baal.” They did and posted the date.
21 Jehu then summoned everyone in Israel. They came in droves—every worshiper of Baal in the country. Nobody stayed home. They came and packed the temple of Baal to capacity.
22 Jehu directed the keeper of the wardrobe, “Get robes for all the servants of Baal.” He brought out their robes.
23-24 Jehu and Jehonadab the Recabite now entered the temple of Baal and said, “Double-check and make sure that there are no worshipers of God in here; only Baal-worshipers are allowed.” Then they launched the worship, making the sacrifices and burnt offerings.
Meanwhile, Jehu had stationed eighty men outside with orders: “Don’t let a single person escape; if you do, it’s your life for his life.”
25-27 When Jehu had finished with the sacrificial solemnities, he signaled to the officers and guards, “Enter and kill! No survivors!”
And the bloody slaughter began. The officers and guards threw the corpses outside and cleared the way to enter the inner shrine of Baal. They hauled out the sacred phallic stone from the temple of Baal and pulverized it. They smashed the Baal altars and tore down the Baal temple. It’s been a public toilet ever since.
28 And that’s the story of Jehu’s wasting of Baal in Israel.
29 But for all that, Jehu didn’t turn back from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, the sins that had dragged Israel into a life of sin—the golden calves in Bethel and Dan stayed.
30 God commended Jehu: “You did well to do what I saw was best. You did what I ordered against the family of Ahab. As reward, your sons will occupy the throne of Israel for four generations.”
31 Even then, though, Jehu wasn’t careful to walk in God’s ways and honor the God of Israel from an undivided heart. He didn’t turn back from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, who led Israel into a life of sin.
32-33 It was about this time that God began to shrink Israel. Hazael hacked away at the borders of Israel from the Jordan to the east—all the territory of Gilead, Gad, Reuben, and Manasseh from Aroer near the Brook Arnon. In effect, all Gilead and Bashan.
34-36 The rest of the life and times of Jehu, his accomplishments and fame, are written in The Chronicles of the Kings of Israel. Jehu died and was buried in the family plot in Samaria. His son Jehoahaz was the next king. Jehu ruled Israel from Samaria for twenty-eight years.
Athaliah of Judah
11 1-3 Athaliah was the mother of Ahaziah. When she saw that her son was dead, she took over. She began by massacring the entire royal family. But Jehosheba, daughter of King Joram and sister of Ahaziah, took Ahaziah’s son Joash and kidnapped him from among the king’s sons slated for slaughter. She hid him and his nurse in a private room away from Athaliah. He didn’t get killed. He was there with her, hidden away for six years in The Temple of God. Athaliah, oblivious to his existence, ruled the country.
4 In the seventh year Jehoiada sent for the captains of the bodyguards and the Palace Security Force. They met him in The Temple of God. He made a covenant with them, swore them to secrecy, and only then showed them the young prince.
5-8 Then he commanded them, “These are your instructions: Those of you who come on duty on the Sabbath and guard the palace, and those of you who go off duty on the Sabbath and guard The Temple of God, are to join forces at the time of the changing of the guard and form a ring around the young king, weapons at the ready. Kill anyone who tries to break through your ranks. Your job is to stay with the king at all times and places, coming and going.”
9-11 The captains obeyed the orders of Jehoiada the priest. Each took his men, those who came on duty on the Sabbath and those who went off duty on the Sabbath, and presented them to Jehoiada the priest. The priest armed the officers with spears and shields originally belonging to King David, stored in The Temple of God. Well-armed, the guards took up their assigned positions for protecting the king, from one end of The Temple to the other, surrounding both Altar and Temple.
12 Then the priest brought the prince into view, crowned him, handed him the scroll of God’s covenant, and made him king. As they anointed him, everyone applauded and shouted, “Long live the king!”
13-14 Athaliah heard the shouting of guards and people and came to the crowd gathered at The Temple of God. Astonished, she saw the king standing beside the throne, flanked by the captains and heralds, with everybody beside themselves with joy, trumpets blaring. Athaliah ripped her robes in dismay and shouted, “Treason! Treason!”
15-16 Jehoiada the priest ordered the military officers, “Drag her outside and kill anyone who tries to follow her!” (The priest had said, “Don’t kill her inside The Temple of God.”) So they dragged her out to the palace’s horse corral; there they killed her.
17 Jehoiada now made a covenant between God and the king and the people: They were God’s people. Another covenant was made between the king and the people.
18-20 The people poured into the temple of Baal and tore it down, smashing altar and images to smithereens. They killed Mattan the priest in front of the altar.
Jehoiada then stationed sentries in The Temple of God. He arranged for the officers of the bodyguard and the palace security, along with the people themselves, to escort the king down from The Temple of God through the Gate of the Guards and into the palace. There he sat on the royal throne. Everybody celebrated the event. And the city was safe and undisturbed—they had killed Athaliah with the royal sword.
21 Joash was seven years old when he became king.
Joash of Judah
12 In the seventh year of Jehu, Joash began his kingly rule. He was king for forty years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Gazelle. She was from Beersheba.
2-3 Taught and trained by Jehoiada the priest, Joash did what pleased God for as long as he lived. (Even so, he didn’t get rid of the sacred fertility shrines—people still frequented them, sacrificing and burning incense.)
4-5 Joash instructed the priests: “Take the money that is brought into The Temple of God for holy offerings—both mandatory offerings and freewill offerings—and, keeping a careful accounting, use them to renovate The Temple wherever it has fallen into disrepair.”
6 But by the twenty-third year of Joash’s rule, the priests hadn’t done one thing—The Temple was as dilapidated as ever.
7 King Joash called Jehoiada the priest and the company of priests and said, “Why haven’t you renovated this sorry-looking Temple? You are forbidden to take any more money for Temple repairs—from now on, hand over everything you get.”
8 The priests agreed not to take any more money or to be involved in The Temple renovation.
9-16 Then Jehoiada took a single chest and bored a hole in the lid and placed it to the right of the main entrance into The Temple of God. All the offerings that were brought to The Temple of God were placed in the chest by the priests who guarded the entrance. When they saw that a large sum of money had accumulated in the chest, the king’s secretary and the chief priest would empty the chest and count the offerings. They would give the money accounted for to the managers of The Temple project; they in turn would pay the carpenters, construction workers, masons, stoneworkers, and the buyers of timber and quarried stone for the repair and renovation of The Temple of God—any expenses connected with fixing up The Temple. But none of the money brought into The Temple of God was used for liturgical “extras” (silver chalices, candle snuffers, trumpets, various gold and silver vessels, etc.). It was given to the workmen to pay for their repairing God’s Temple. And no one even had to check on the men who handled the money given for the project—they were honest men. Offerings designated for Compensation Offerings and Absolution Offerings didn’t go into the building project—those went directly to the priests.
17-18 Around this time Hazael king of Aram ventured out and attacked Gath, and he captured it. Then he decided to try for Jerusalem. Joash king of Judah countered by gathering up all the sacred memorials—gifts dedicated for holy use by his ancestors, the kings of Judah, Jehoshaphat, Jehoram, and Ahaziah, along with the holy memorials he himself had received, plus all the gold that he could find in the temple and palace storerooms—and sent it to Hazael king of Aram. Appeased, Hazael went on his way and didn’t bother Jerusalem.
19-21 The rest of the life and times of Joash and all that he did are written in The Chronicles of the Kings of Judah. At the last his palace staff formed a conspiracy and assassinated Joash as he was strolling along the ramp of the fortified outside city wall. Jozabad son of Shimeath and Jehozabad son of Shomer were the assassins. And so Joash died and was buried in the family plot in the City of David. His son Amaziah was king after him.
John 1:29-51 The Message (MSG)
29-31 The very next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and yelled out, “Here he is, God’s Passover Lamb! He forgives the sins of the world! This is the man I’ve been talking about, ‘the One who comes after me but is really ahead of me.’ I knew nothing about who he was—only this: that my task has been to get Israel ready to recognize him as the God-Revealer. That is why I came here baptizing with water, giving you a good bath and scrubbing sins from your life so you can get a fresh start with God.”
32-34 John clinched his witness with this: “I watched the Spirit, like a dove flying down out of the sky, making himself at home in him. I repeat, I know nothing about him except this: The One who authorized me to baptize with water told me, ‘The One on whom you see the Spirit come down and stay, this One will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ That’s exactly what I saw happen, and I’m telling you, there’s no question about it: This is the Son of God.”
Come, See for Yourself
35-36 The next day John was back at his post with two disciples, who were watching. He looked up, saw Jesus walking nearby, and said, “Here he is, God’s Passover Lamb.”
37-38 The two disciples heard him and went after Jesus. Jesus looked over his shoulder and said to them, “What are you after?”
They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?”
39 He replied, “Come along and see for yourself.”
They came, saw where he was living, and ended up staying with him for the day. It was late afternoon when this happened.
40-42 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard John’s witness and followed Jesus. The first thing he did after finding where Jesus lived was find his own brother, Simon, telling him, “We’ve found the Messiah” (that is, “Christ”). He immediately led him to Jesus.
Jesus took one look up and said, “You’re John’s son, Simon? From now on your name is Cephas” (or Peter, which means “Rock”).
43-44 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. When he got there, he ran across Philip and said, “Come, follow me.” (Philip’s hometown was Bethsaida, the same as Andrew and Peter.)
45-46 Philip went and found Nathanael and told him, “We’ve found the One Moses wrote of in the Law, the One preached by the prophets. It’s Jesus, Joseph’s son, the one from Nazareth!” Nathanael said, “Nazareth? You’ve got to be kidding.”
But Philip said, “Come, see for yourself.”
47 When Jesus saw him coming he said, “There’s a real Israelite, not a false bone in his body.”
48 Nathanael said, “Where did you get that idea? You don’t know me.”
Jesus answered, “One day, long before Philip called you here, I saw you under the fig tree.”
49 Nathanael exclaimed, “Rabbi! You are the Son of God, the King of Israel!”
50-51 Jesus said, “You’ve become a believer simply because I say I saw you one day sitting under the fig tree? You haven’t seen anything yet! Before this is over you’re going to see heaven open and God’s angels descending to the Son of Man and ascending again.”