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1 Kings 2The Message (MSG)

1-4 When David’s time to die approached, he charged his son Solomon, saying, “I’m about to go the way of all the earth, but you—be strong; show what you’re made of! Do what God tells you. Walk in the paths he shows you: Follow the life-map absolutely, keep an eye out for the signposts, his course for life set out in the revelation to Moses; then you’ll get on well in whatever you do and wherever you go. Then God will confirm what he promised me when he said, ‘If your sons watch their step, staying true to me heart and soul, you’ll always have a successor on Israel’s throne.’

5-6 “And don’t forget what Joab son of Zeruiah did to the two commanders of Israel’s army, to Abner son of Ner and to Amasa son of Jether. He murdered them in cold blood, acting in peacetime as if he were at war, and has been stained with that blood ever since. Do what you think best with him, but by no means let him get off scot-free—make him pay.

“But be generous to the sons of Barzillai the Gileadite—extend every hospitality to them; that’s the way they treated me when I was running for my life from Absalom your brother.

8-9 “You also will have to deal with Shimei son of Gera the Benjaminite from Bahurim, the one who cursed me so viciously when I was on my way to Mahanaim. Later, when he welcomed me back at the Jordan, I promised him under God, ‘I won’t put you to death.’ But neither should you treat him as if nothing ever happened. You’re wise, you know how to handle these things. You’ll know what to do to make him pay before he dies.”

10-12 Then David joined his ancestors. He was buried in the City of David. David ruled Israel for forty years—seven years in Hebron and another thirty-three in Jerusalem. Solomon took over on the throne of his father David; he had a firm grip on the kingdom.

Solomon

13-14 Adonijah son of Haggith came to Bathsheba, Solomon’s mother. She said, “Do you come in peace?”

He said, “In peace.” And then, “May I say something to you?”

“Go ahead,” she said, “speak.”

15-16 “You know that I had the kingdom right in my hands and everyone expected me to be king, and then the whole thing backfired and the kingdom landed in my brother’s lap—God’s doing. So now I have one request to ask of you; please don’t refuse me.”

“Go ahead, ask,” she said.

17 “Ask King Solomon—he won’t turn you down—to give me Abishag the Shunammite as my wife.”

18 “Certainly,” said Bathsheba. “I’ll speak to the king for you.”

19 Bathsheba went to King Solomon to present Adonijah’s request. The king got up and welcomed her, bowing respectfully, and returned to his throne. Then he had a throne put in place for his mother, and she sat at his right hand.

20 She said, “I have a small favor to ask of you. Don’t refuse me.”

The king replied, “Go ahead, Mother; of course I won’t refuse you.”

21 She said, “Give Abishag the Shunammite to your brother Adonijah as his wife.”

22 King Solomon answered his mother, “What kind of favor is this, asking that Abishag the Shunammite be given to Adonijah? Why don’t you just ask me to hand over the whole kingdom to him on a platter since he is my older brother and has Abiathar the priest and Joab son of Zeruiah on his side!”

23-24 Then King Solomon swore under God, “May God do his worst to me if Adonijah doesn’t pay for this with his life! As surely as God lives, the God who has set me firmly on the throne of my father David and has put me in charge of the kingdom just as he promised, Adonijah will die for this—today!”

25 King Solomon dispatched Benaiah son of Jehoiada; he struck Adonijah and he died.

26 The king then told Abiathar the priest, “You’re exiled to your place in Anathoth. You deserve death but I’m not going to kill you—for now anyway—because you were in charge of the Chest of our ruling God in the company of David my father, and because you shared all the hard times with my father.”

27 Solomon stripped Abiathar of his priesthood, fulfilling God’s word at Shiloh regarding the family of Eli.

28-29 When this news reached Joab, this Joab who had conspired with Adonijah (although he had remained loyal in the Absalom affair), he took refuge in the sanctuary of God, seizing the horns of the Altar and holding on for dear life. King Solomon was told that Joab had escaped to the sanctuary of God and was clinging to the Altar; he immediately sent Benaiah son of Jehoiada with orders, “Kill him.”

30 Benaiah went to the sanctuary of God and said, “King’s orders: Come out.”

He said, “No—I’ll die right here.”

Benaiah went back to the king and reported, “This was Joab’s answer.”

31-33 The king said, “Go ahead then, do what he says: Kill him and bury him. Absolve me and my father’s family of the guilt from Joab’s senseless murders. God is avenging those bloody murders on Joab’s head. Two men he murdered, men better by far than he ever was: Behind my father’s back he brutally murdered Abner son of Ner, commander of Israel’s army, and Amasa son of Jether, commander of Judah’s army. Responsibility for their murders is forever fixed on Joab and his descendants; but for David and his descendants, his family and kingdom, the final verdict is God’s peace.”

34-35 So Benaiah son of Jehoiada went back, struck Joab, and killed him. He was buried in his family plot out in the desert. The king appointed Benaiah son of Jehoiada over the army in place of Joab, and replaced Abiathar with Zadok the priest.

36-37 The king next called in Shimei and told him, “Build yourself a house in Jerusalem and live there, but you are not to leave the area. If you so much as cross the Brook Kidron, you’re as good as dead—you will have decreed your own death sentence.”

38 Shimei answered the king, “Oh, thank you! Your servant will do exactly as my master the king says.” Shimei lived in Jerusalem a long time.

39-40 But it so happened that three years later, two of Shimei’s slaves ran away to Achish son of Maacah, king of Gath. Shimei was told, “Your slaves are in Gath.” Shimei sprang into action, saddled his donkey, and went to Achish in Gath looking for his slaves. And then he came back, bringing his slaves.

41 Solomon was told, “Shimei left Jerusalem for Gath, and now he’s back.”

42-43 Solomon then called for Shimei and said, “Didn’t I make you promise me under God, and give you a good warning besides, that you would not leave this area? That if you left you would have decreed your own death sentence? And didn’t you say, ‘Oh, thank you—I’ll do exactly as you say’? So why didn’t you keep your sacred promise and do what I ordered?”

44-45 Then the king told Shimei, “Deep in your heart you know all the evil that you did to my father David; God will now avenge that evil on you. But King Solomon will be blessed and the rule of David will be a sure thing under God forever.”

46 The king then gave orders to Benaiah son of Jehoiada; he went out and struck Shimei dead.

The kingdom was now securely in Solomon’s grasp.

The Message (MSG)

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

1 Chronicles 29The Message (MSG)

They Get Ready to Build

29 1-5 Then David the king addressed the congregation: “My son Solomon was singled out and chosen by God to do this. But he’s young and untested and the work is huge—this is not just a place for people to meet each other, but a house for God to meet us. I’ve done my best to get everything together for building this house for my God, all the materials necessary: gold, silver, bronze, iron, lumber, precious and varicolored stones, and building stones—vast stockpiles. Furthermore, because my heart is in this, in addition to and beyond what I have gathered, I’m turning over my personal fortune of gold and silver for making this place of worship for my God: 3,000 talents (about 113 tons) of gold—all from Ophir, the best—and 7,000 talents (214 tons) of silver for covering the walls of the buildings, and for the gold and silver work by craftsmen and artisans.

“And now, how about you? Who among you is ready and willing to join in the giving?”

6-8 Ready and willing, the heads of families, leaders of the tribes of Israel, commanders and captains in the army, stewards of the king’s affairs, stepped forward and gave willingly. They gave 5,000 talents (188 tons) and 10,000 darics (185 pounds) of gold, 10,000 talents of silver (377 tons), 18,000 talents of bronze (679 tons), and 100,000 talents (3,775 tons) of iron. Anyone who had precious jewels put them in the treasury for the building of The Temple of God in the custody of Jehiel the Gershonite.

And the people were full of a sense of celebration—all that giving! And all given willingly, freely! King David was exuberant.

10-13 David blessed God in full view of the entire congregation:

Blessed are you, God of Israel, our father
    from of old and forever.
To you, O God, belong the greatness and the might,
    the glory, the victory, the majesty, the splendor;
Yes! Everything in heaven, everything on earth;
    the kingdom all yours! You’ve raised yourself high over all.
Riches and glory come from you,
    you’re ruler over all;
You hold strength and power in the palm of your hand
    to build up and strengthen all.
And here we are, O God, our God, giving thanks to you,
    praising your splendid Name.

14-19 “But me—who am I, and who are these my people, that we should presume to be giving something to you? Everything comes from you; all we’re doing is giving back what we’ve been given from your generous hand. As far as you’re concerned, we’re homeless, shiftless wanderers like our ancestors, our lives mere shadows, hardly anything to us. God, our God, all these materials—these piles of stuff for building a house of worship for you, honoring your Holy Name—it all came from you! It was all yours in the first place! I know, dear God, that you care nothing for the surface—you want us, our true selves—and so I have given from the heart, honestly and happily. And now see all these people doing the same, giving freely, willingly—what a joy! O God, God of our fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, keep this generous spirit alive forever in these people always, keep their hearts set firmly in you. And give my son Solomon an uncluttered and focused heart so that he can obey what you command, live by your directions and counsel, and carry through with building The Temple for which I have provided.”

20 David then addressed the congregation: “Bless God, your God!” And they did it, blessed God, the God of their ancestors, and worshiped reverently in the presence of God and the king.

21-22 The very next day they butchered the sacrificial animals and offered in the worship of Israel to God a thousand bulls, a thousand rams, a thousand sheep, and in addition drink offerings and many other sacrifices. They feasted all day, eating and drinking before God, exuberant with joy.

22-25 Then they ceremonially reenacted Solomon’s coronation, anointing David’s son before God as their leader, and Zadok as priest. Solomon sat on the throne of God as king in place of David his father. And everything went well; all Israel obeyed him. All the leaders of the people, including all the sons of King David, accepted Solomon as their king and promised their loyalty. Solomon rode high on a crest of popular acclaim—it was all God’s doing. God gave him position and honor beyond any king in Israel before him.

26-30 David son of Jesse ruled over all Israel. He was king for forty years. He ruled from Hebron seven years and from Jerusalem thirty-three. He died at a ripe old age, full of days, wealth, and glory. His son Solomon ruled after him. The history of David the king, from start to finish, is written in the chronicles of Samuel the seer, Nathan the prophet, and Gad the seer, including a full account of his rule, his exploits, and the times through which he and Israel and the surrounding kingdoms passed.

The Message (MSG)

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

Psalm 95The Message (MSG)

95 1-2 Come, let’s shout praises to God,
    raise the roof for the Rock who saved us!
Let’s march into his presence singing praises,
    lifting the rafters with our hymns!

3-5 And why? Because God is the best,
    High King over all the gods.
In one hand he holds deep caves and caverns,
    in the other hand grasps the high mountains.
He made Ocean—he owns it!
    His hands sculpted Earth!

6-7 So come, let us worship: bow before him,
    on your knees before God, who made us!
Oh yes, he’s our God,
    and we’re the people he pastures, the flock he feeds.

7-11 Drop everything and listen, listen as he speaks:
    “Don’t turn a deaf ear as in the Bitter Uprising,
As on the day of the Wilderness Test,
    when your ancestors turned and put me to the test.
For forty years they watched me at work among them,
    as over and over they tried my patience.
And I was provoked—oh, was I provoked!
    ‘Can’t they keep their minds on God for five minutes?
    Do they simply refuse to walk down my road?’
Exasperated, I exploded,
    ‘They’ll never get where they’re headed,
    never be able to sit down and rest.’”

The Message (MSG)

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

2 Thessalonians 1The Message (MSG)

1-2 I, Paul, together with Silas and Timothy, greet the church of the Thessalonian Christians in the name of God our Father and our Master, Jesus Christ. Our God gives you everything you need, makes you everything you’re to be.

Justice Is on the Way

3-4 You need to know, friends, that thanking God over and over for you is not only a pleasure; it’s a must. We have to do it. Your faith is growing phenomenally; your love for each other is developing wonderfully. Why, it’s only right that we give thanks. We’re so proud of you; you’re so steady and determined in your faith despite all the hard times that have come down on you. We tell everyone we meet in the churches all about you.

5-10 All this trouble is a clear sign that God has decided to make you fit for the kingdom. You’re suffering now, but justice is on the way. When the Master Jesus appears out of heaven in a blaze of fire with his strong angels, he’ll even up the score by settling accounts with those who gave you such a bad time. His coming will be the break we’ve been waiting for. Those who refuse to know God and refuse to obey the Message will pay for what they’ve done. Eternal exile from the presence of the Master and his splendid power is their sentence. But on that very same day when he comes, he will be exalted by his followers and celebrated by all who believe—and all because you believed what we told you.

11-12 Because we know that this extraordinary day is just ahead, we pray for you all the time—pray that our God will make you fit for what he’s called you to be, pray that he’ll fill your good ideas and acts of faith with his own energy so that it all amounts to something. If your life honors the name of Jesus, he will honor you. Grace is behind and through all of this, our God giving himself freely, the Master, Jesus Christ, giving himself freely.

The Message (MSG)

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

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