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1 Kings 22The Message (MSG)

22 1-3 They enjoyed three years of peace—no fighting between Aram and Israel. In the third year, Jehoshaphat king of Judah had a meeting with the king of Israel. Israel’s king remarked to his aides, “Do you realize that Ramoth Gilead belongs to us, and we’re sitting around on our hands instead of taking it back from the king of Aram?”

4-5 He turned to Jehoshaphat and said, “Will you join me in fighting for Ramoth Gilead?”

Jehoshaphat said, “You bet. I’m with you all the way—my troops are your troops, my horses are your horses.” He then continued, “But before you do anything, ask God for guidance.”

The king of Israel got the prophets together—all four hundred of them—and put the question to them: “Should I attack Ramoth Gilead? Or should I hold back?”

“Go for it,” they said. “God will hand it over to the king.”

But Jehoshaphat dragged his heels: “Is there still another prophet of God around here we can consult?”

The king of Israel told Jehoshaphat, “As a matter of fact, there is still one such man. But I hate him. He never preaches anything good to me, only doom, doom, doom—Micaiah son of Imlah.”

“The king shouldn’t talk about a prophet like that,” said Jehoshaphat.

So the king of Israel ordered one of his men, “On the double! Get Micaiah son of Imlah.”

10-12 Meanwhile, the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat were seated on their thrones, dressed in their royal robes, resplendent in front of the Samaria city gates. All the prophets were staging a prophecy-performance for their benefit. Zedekiah son of Kenaanah had even made a set of iron horns, and brandishing them called out, “God’s word! With these horns you’ll gore Aram until there’s nothing left of him!” All the prophets chimed in, “Yes! Go for Ramoth Gilead! An easy victory! God’s gift to the king!”

13 The messenger who went to get Micaiah said, “The prophets have all said Yes to the king. Make it unanimous—vote Yes!”

14 But Micaiah said, “As surely as God lives, what God says, I’ll say.”

15 With Micaiah before him, the king asked him, “So Micaiah—do we attack Ramoth Gilead, or do we hold back?”

“Go ahead,” he said. “An easy victory. God’s gift to the king.”

16 “Not so fast,” said the king. “How many times have I made you promise under oath to tell me the truth and nothing but the truth?”

17 “All right,” said Micaiah, “since you insist.

I saw all of Israel scattered over the hills,
    sheep with no shepherd.
Then God spoke: ‘These poor people
    have no one to tell them what to do.
Let them go home and do
    the best they can for themselves.’”

18 Then the king of Israel turned to Jehoshaphat, “See! What did I tell you? He never has a good word for me from God, only doom.”

19-23 Micaiah kept on: “I’m not done yet; listen to God’s word:

I saw God enthroned,
    and all the angel armies of heaven
Standing at attention
    ranged on his right and his left.
And God said, ‘How can we seduce Ahab
    into attacking Ramoth Gilead?’
Some said this,
    and some said that.
Then a bold angel stepped out,
    stood before God, and said,
‘I’ll seduce him.’
    ‘And how will you do it?’ said God.
‘Easy,’ said the angel,
    ‘I’ll get all the prophets to lie.’
‘That should do it,’ said God.
    ‘On your way—seduce him!’

“And that’s what has happened. God filled the mouths of your puppet prophets with seductive lies. God has pronounced your doom.”

24 Just then Zedekiah son of Kenaanah came up and punched Micaiah in the nose, saying, “Since when did the Spirit of God leave me and take up with you?”

25 Micaiah said, “You’ll know soon enough; you’ll know it when you’re frantically and futilely looking for a place to hide.”

26-27 The king of Israel had heard enough: “Get Micaiah out of here! Turn him over to Amon the city magistrate and to Joash the king’s son with this message, ‘King’s orders: Lock him up in jail; keep him on bread and water until I’m back in one piece.’”

28 Micaiah said, “If you ever get back in one piece, I’m no prophet of God.”

He added,“When it happens, O people, remember where you heard it!”

29-30 The king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah attacked Ramoth Gilead. The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Wear my kingly robe; I’m going into battle disguised.” So the king of Israel entered the battle in disguise.

31 Meanwhile, the king of Aram had ordered his chariot commanders (there were thirty-two of them): “Don’t bother with anyone, whether small or great; go after the king of Israel and him only.”

32-33 When the chariot commanders saw Jehoshaphat they said, “There he is! The king of Israel!” and took after him. Jehoshaphat yelled out, and the chariot commanders realized they had the wrong man—it wasn’t the king of Israel after all. They let him go.

34 Just then someone, without aiming, shot an arrow randomly into the crowd and hit the king of Israel in the chink of his armor. The king told his charioteer, “Turn back! Get me out of here—I’m wounded.”

35-37 All day the fighting continued, hot and heavy. Propped up in his chariot, the king watched from the sidelines. He died that evening. Blood from his wound pooled in the chariot. As the sun went down, shouts reverberated through the ranks, “Abandon camp! Head for home! The king is dead!”

37-38 The king was brought to Samaria and there they buried him. They washed down the chariot at the pool of Samaria where the town whores bathed, and the dogs lapped up the blood, just as God’s word had said.

39-40 The rest of Ahab’s life—everything he did, the ivory palace he built, the towns he founded, and the defense system he built up—is all written up in The Chronicles of the Kings of Israel. He was buried in the family cemetery and his son Ahaziah was the next king.

Jehoshaphat of Judah

41-44 Jehoshaphat son of Asa became king of Judah in the fourth year of Ahab king of Israel. Jehoshaphat was thirty-five years old when he became king and he ruled for twenty-five years in Jerusalem. His mother was Azubah daughter of Shilhi. He continued the kind of life characteristic of his father Asa—no detours, no dead ends—pleasing God with his life. But he failed to get rid of the neighborhood sex-and-religion shrines. People continued to pray and worship at these idolatrous shrines. And he kept on good terms with the king of Israel.

45-46 The rest of Jehoshaphat’s life, his achievements and his battles, is all written in The Chronicles of the Kings of Judah. Also, he got rid of the sacred prostitutes left over from the days of his father Asa.

47 Edom was kingless during his reign; a deputy was in charge.

48-49 Jehoshaphat built ocean-going ships to sail to Ophir for gold. But they never made it; they shipwrecked at Ezion Geber. During that time Ahaziah son of Ahab proposed a joint shipping venture, but Jehoshaphat wouldn’t go in with him.

50 Then Jehoshaphat died and was buried in the family cemetery in the City of David his ancestor. Jehoram his son was the next king.

Ahaziah of Israel

51-53 Ahaziah son of Ahab became king over Israel in Samaria in the seventeenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah. He ruled Israel for two years. As far as God was concerned, he lived an evil life, reproducing the bad life of his father and mother, repeating the pattern set down by Jeroboam son of Nebat, who led Israel into a life of sin. Worshiping at the Baal shrines, he made God, the God of Israel, angry, oh, so angry. If anything, he was worse than his father.

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

2 Chronicles 18The Message (MSG)

18 1-3 But even though Jehoshaphat was very rich and much honored, he made a marriage alliance with Ahab of Israel. Some time later he paid a visit to Ahab at Samaria. Ahab celebrated his visit with a feast—a huge barbecue with all the lamb and beef you could eat. But Ahab had a hidden agenda; he wanted Jehoshaphat’s support in attacking Ramoth Gilead. Then Ahab brought it into the open: “Will you join me in attacking Ramoth Gilead?” Jehoshaphat said, “You bet. I’m with you all the way; you can count on me and my troops.”

Then Jehoshaphat said, “But before you do anything, ask God for guidance.”

The king of Israel got the prophets together—all four hundred of them—and put the question to them: “Should I attack Ramoth Gilead or should I hold back?”

“Go for it,” they said. “God will hand it over to the king.”

But Jehoshaphat dragged his feet, “Is there another prophet of God around here we can consult? Let’s get a second opinion.”

The king of Israel told Jehoshaphat, “As a matter of fact, there is another. But I hate him. He never preaches anything good to me, only doom, doom, doom—Micaiah son of Imlah.”

“The king shouldn’t talk about a prophet like that!” said Jehoshaphat.

So the king of Israel ordered one of his men, “Quickly, get Micaiah son of Imlah.”

9-11 Meanwhile, the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat were seated on their thrones, dressed in their royal robes, resplendent in front of the Samaria city gates. All the prophets were staging a prophecy-performance for their benefit. Zedekiah son of Kenaanah had even made a set of iron horns, and brandishing them, called out, “God’s word! With these horns you’ll gore Aram until there’s nothing left of them!” All the prophets chimed in, “Yes! Go for Ramoth Gilead! An easy victory! God’s gift to the king!”

12 The messenger who went to get Micaiah told him, “The prophets have all said Yes to the king. Make it unanimous—vote Yes!”

13 But Micaiah said, “As sure as God lives, what God says, I’ll say.”

14 With Micaiah before him, the king asked him, “So, Micaiah—do we attack Ramoth Gilead? Or do we hold back?”

“Go ahead,” he said, “an easy victory! God’s gift to the king.”

15 “Not so fast,” said the king. “How many times have I made you promise under oath to tell me the truth and nothing but the truth?”

16 “All right,” said Micaiah, “since you insist . . .

I saw all of Israel scattered over the hills,
    sheep with no shepherd.
Then God spoke, ‘These poor people
    have no one to tell them what to do.
Let them go home and do
    the best they can for themselves.’”

17 The king of Israel turned to Jehoshaphat, “See! What did I tell you? He never has a good word for me from God, only doom.”

18-21 Micaiah kept on, “I’m not done yet; listen to God’s word:

I saw God enthroned,
    and all the Angel Armies of heaven
standing at attention,
    ranged on his right and his left.
And God said, “How can we seduce Ahab
    into attacking Ramoth Gilead?”
Some said this,
    and some said that.
Then a bold angel stepped out,
    stood before God, and said,
“I’ll seduce him.”
    “And how will you do it?” said God.
“Easy,” said the angel,
    “I’ll get all the prophets to lie.”
“That should do it,” said God;
    “On your way—seduce him!”

22 “And that’s what has happened. God filled the mouths of your puppet prophets with seductive lies. God has pronounced your doom.”

23 Just then Zedekiah son of Kenaanah came up and slapped Micaiah in the face, saying, “Since when did the Spirit of God leave me and take up with you?”

24 Micaiah said, “You’ll know soon enough; you’ll know it when you’re frantically and futilely looking for a place to hide.”

25-26 The king of Israel had heard enough: “Get Micaiah out of here! Turn him over to Amon the city magistrate and to Joash the king’s son with this message: ‘King’s orders! Lock him up in jail; keep him on bread and water until I’m back in one piece.’”

27 Micaiah said,

If you ever get back in one piece,
    I’m no prophet of God.

He added,

When it happens, O people,
    remember where you heard it!

28-29 So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah went ahead and attacked Ramoth Gilead. The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Wear my kingly robe; I’m going into battle disguised.” So the king of Israel entered the battle in disguise.

30 Meanwhile, the king of Aram had ordered his chariot commanders (there were thirty-two of them), “Don’t bother with anyone whether small or great; go after the king of Israel and him only.”

31-32 When the chariot commanders saw Jehoshaphat, they said, “There he is! The king of Israel!” and took after him. Jehoshaphat yelled out, and the chariot commanders realized they had the wrong man—it wasn’t the king of Israel after all. God intervened and they let him go.

33 Just then someone, without aiming, shot an arrow into the crowd and hit the king of Israel in the chink of his armor. The king told his charioteer, “Turn back! Get me out of here—I’m wounded.”

34 All day the fighting continued, hot and heavy. Propped up in his chariot, the king watched from the sidelines. He died that evening.

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

2 Chronicles 19The Message (MSG)

19 1-3 But Jehoshaphat king of Judah got home safe and sound. Jehu, son of Hanani the seer, confronted King Jehoshaphat: “You have no business helping evil, cozying up to God-haters. Because you did this, God is good and angry with you. But you’re not all bad—you made a clean sweep of the polluting sex-and-religion shrines; and you were single-minded in seeking God.”

Jehoshaphat kept his residence in Jerusalem but made a regular round of visits among the people, from Beersheba in the south to Mount Ephraim in the north, urging them to return to God, the God of their ancestors.

5-7 And he was diligent in appointing judges in the land—each of the fortress cities had its judge. He charged the judges: “This is serious work; do it carefully. You are not merely judging between men and women; these are God’s judgments that you are passing on. Live in the fear of God—be most careful, for God hates dishonesty, partiality, and bribery.”

8-10 In Jerusalem Jehoshaphat also appointed Levites, priests, and family heads to decide on matters that had to do with worship and mediating local differences. He charged them: “Do your work in the fear of God; be dependable and honest in your duties. When a case comes before you involving any of your fellow citizens, whether it seems large (like murder) or small (like matters of interpretation of the law), you are responsible for warning them that they are dealing with God. Make that explicit, otherwise both you and they are going to be dealing with God’s wrath. Do your work well or you’ll end up being as guilty as they are.

11 “Amariah the chief priest is in charge of all cases regarding the worship of God; Zebadiah son of Ishmael, the leader of the tribe of Judah, is in charge of all civil cases; the Levites will keep order in the courts. Be bold and diligent. And God be with you as you do your best.”

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Colossians 4The Message (MSG)

And masters, treat your servants considerately. Be fair with them. Don’t forget for a minute that you, too, serve a Master—God in heaven.

Pray for Open Doors

2-4 Pray diligently. Stay alert, with your eyes wide open in gratitude. Don’t forget to pray for us, that God will open doors for telling the mystery of Christ, even while I’m locked up in this jail. Pray that every time I open my mouth I’ll be able to make Christ plain as day to them.

5-6 Use your heads as you live and work among outsiders. Don’t miss a trick. Make the most of every opportunity. Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out.

7-9 My good friend Tychicus will tell you all about me. He’s a trusted minister and companion in the service of the Master. I’ve sent him to you so that you would know how things are with us, and so he could encourage you in your faith. And I’ve sent Onesimus with him. Onesimus is one of you, and has become such a trusted and dear brother! Together they’ll bring you up-to-date on everything that has been going on here.

10-11 Aristarchus, who is in jail here with me, sends greetings; also Mark, cousin of Barnabas (you received a letter regarding him; if he shows up, welcome him); and also Jesus, the one they call Justus. These are the only ones left from the old crowd who have stuck with me in working for God’s kingdom. Don’t think they haven’t been a big help!

12-13 Epaphras, who is one of you, says hello. What a trooper he has been! He’s been tireless in his prayers for you, praying that you’ll stand firm, mature and confident in everything God wants you to do. I’ve watched him closely, and can report on how hard he has worked for you and for those in Laodicea and Hierapolis.

14 Luke, good friend and physician, and Demas both send greetings.

15 Say hello to our friends in Laodicea; also to Nympha and the church that meets in her house.

16 After this letter has been read to you, make sure it gets read also in Laodicea. And get the letter that went to Laodicea and have it read to you.

17 And, oh, yes, tell Archippus, “Do your best in the job you received from the Master. Do your very best.”

18 I’m signing off in my own handwriting—Paul. Remember to pray for me in this jail. Grace be with you.

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

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