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2 Kings 10The 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.

They were absolutely terrified at the letter. They said, “Two kings have already been wiped out by him; what hope do we have?”

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.

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;
Jehu will serve him big-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.

The Message (MSG)

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

2 Chronicles 22The Message (MSG)

King Ahaziah

22 1-6 The people of Jerusalem made Ahaziah, Jehoram’s youngest son, king. Raiders from the desert, who had come with the Arabs against the settlement, had killed all the older sons. That’s how Ahaziah son of Jehoram king of Judah became king. Ahaziah was twenty-two years old when he became king, but reigned only one year in Jerusalem. His mother was Athaliah, granddaughter of Omri. He lived and ruled just like the Ahab family had done, his mother training him in evil ways. God also considered him evil, related by both marriage and sin to the Ahab clan. After the death of his father, he attended the sin school of Ahab, and graduated with a degree in doom. He did what they taught him, went with Joram son of Ahab king of Israel in the war against Hazael king of Aram at Ramoth Gilead. Joram, wounded by the Arameans, retreated to Jezreel to recover from the wounds he received in Ramah in his war with Hazael king of Aram. Ahaziah son of Jehoram king of Judah paid a visit to Joram son of Ahab on his sickbed at Jezreel.

7-9 The fate of Ahaziah when he went to visit was God’s judgment on him. When Ahaziah arrived at Jezreel, he and Joram met with Jehu son of Nimshi, whom God had already authorized to destroy the dynasty of Ahab. Jehu, already at work, executing doom on the dynasty of Ahab, came upon the captains of Judah and Ahaziah’s nephews, part of the Ahaziah delegation, and killed them outright. Then he sent out a search party looking for Ahaziah himself. They found him hiding out in Samaria and hauled him back to Jehu. And Jehu killed him.

They didn’t, though, just leave his body there. Out of respect for his grandfather Jehoshaphat, famous as a sincere seeker after God, they gave him a decent burial. But there was no one left in Ahaziah’s family capable of ruling the kingdom.

Queen Athaliah

10-12 When Ahaziah’s mother Athaliah saw that her son was dead, she took over. She began by massacring the entire royal family. Jehosheba, daughter of King Jehoram, 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. So Jehosheba, daughter of King Jehoram and Ahaziah’s sister—she was also the wife of Jehoiada the priest—saved Joash from the murderous Queen Athaliah. He was there with her, hidden away for six years in The Temple of God. Athaliah, oblivious to his existence, ruled the country.

The Message (MSG)

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

2 Chronicles 23The Message (MSG)

23 1-3 In the seventh year the priest Jehoiada decided to make his move and worked out a strategy with certain influential officers in the army. He picked Azariah son of Jeroham, Ishmael son of Jehohanan, Azariah son of Obed, Maaseiah son of Adaiah, and Elishaphat son of Zicri as his associates. They dispersed throughout Judah and called in the Levites from all the towns in Judah along with the heads of families. They met in Jerusalem. The gathering met in The Temple of God. They made a covenant there in The Temple.

3-7 The priest Jehoiada showed them the young prince and addressed them: “Here he is—the son of the king. He is going to rule just as God promised regarding the sons of David. Now this is what you must do: A third of you priests and Levites who come on duty on the Sabbath are to be posted as security guards at the gates; another third will guard the palace; and the other third will guard the foundation gate. All the people will gather in the courtyards of The Temple of God. No one may enter The Temple of God except the priests and designated Levites—they are permitted in because they’ve been consecrated, but all the people must do the work assigned them. The Levites are to 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.”

8-10 All the Levites and officers obeyed the orders of Jehoiada the priest. Each took charge of his men, both those who came on duty on the Sabbath and those who went off duty on the Sabbath, for Jehoiada the priest hadn’t exempted any of them from duty. Then the priest armed the officers with spears and the large and small shields originally belonging to King David that were 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.

11 Then the priest brought the prince into view, crowned him, handed him the scroll of God’s covenant, and made him king. As Jehoiada and his sons anointed him they shouted, “Long live the king!”

12-13 Athaliah, hearing all the commotion, the people running around and praising the king, came to The Temple to see what was going on. Astonished, she saw the young king standing at the entrance flanked by the captains and heralds, with everybody beside themselves with joy, trumpets blaring, the choir and orchestra leading the praise. Athaliah ripped her robes in dismay and shouted, “Treason! Treason!”

14-15 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 and there they killed her.

16 Jehoiada now made a covenant between himself and the king and the people: they were to be God’s special people.

17 The people poured into the temple of Baal and tore it down, smashing altar and images to smithereens. They killed Mattan the priest of Baal in front of the altar.

18-21 Jehoiada turned the care of God’s Temple over to the priests and Levites, the way David had directed originally. They were to offer the Whole-Burnt-Offerings of God as set out in The Revelation of Moses, and with praise and song as directed by David. He also assigned security guards at the gates of God’s Temple so that no one who was unprepared could enter. Then he got everyone together—officers, nobles, governors, and the people themselves—and escorted the king down from The Temple of God, through the Upper Gate, and placed him on the royal throne. Everybody celebrated the event. And the city was safe and undisturbed—Athaliah had been killed; no more Athaliah terror.

The Message (MSG)

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

1 Timothy 5The Message (MSG)

The Family of Faith

1-2 Don’t be harsh or impatient with an older man. Talk to him as you would your own father, and to the younger men as your brothers. Reverently honor an older woman as you would your mother, and the younger women as sisters.

3-8 Take care of widows who are destitute. If a widow has family members to take care of her, let them learn that religion begins at their own doorstep and that they should pay back with gratitude some of what they have received. This pleases God immensely. You can tell a legitimate widow by the way she has put all her hope in God, praying to him constantly for the needs of others as well as her own. But a widow who exploits people’s emotions and pocketbooks—well, there’s nothing to her. Tell these things to the people so that they will do the right thing in their extended family. Anyone who neglects to care for family members in need repudiates the faith. That’s worse than refusing to believe in the first place.

9-10 Sign some widows up for the special ministry of offering assistance. They will in turn receive support from the church. They must be over sixty, married only once, and have a reputation for helping out with children, strangers, tired Christians, the hurt and troubled.

11-15 Don’t put young widows on this list. No sooner will they get on than they’ll want to get off, obsessed with wanting to get a husband rather than serving Christ in this way. By breaking their word, they’re liable to go from bad to worse, frittering away their days on empty talk, gossip, and trivialities. No, I’d rather the young widows go ahead and get married in the first place, have children, manage their homes, and not give critics any foothold for finding fault. Some of them have already left and gone after Satan.

16 Any Christian woman who has widows in her family is responsible for them. They shouldn’t be dumped on the church. The church has its hands full already with widows who need help.

17-18 Give a bonus to leaders who do a good job, especially the ones who work hard at preaching and teaching. Scripture tells us, “Don’t muzzle a working ox” and “A worker deserves his pay.”

19 Don’t listen to a complaint against a leader that isn’t backed up by two or three responsible witnesses.

20 If anyone falls into sin, call that person on the carpet. Those who are inclined that way will know right off they can’t get by with it.

21-23 God and Jesus and angels all back me up in these instructions. Carry them out without favoritism, without taking sides. Don’t appoint people to church leadership positions too hastily. If a person is involved in some serious sins, you don’t want to become an unwitting accomplice. In any event, keep a close check on yourself. And don’t worry too much about what the critics will say. Go ahead and drink a little wine, for instance; it’s good for your digestion, good medicine for what ails you.

24-25 The sins of some people are blatant and march them right into court. The sins of others don’t show up until much later. The same with good deeds. Some you see right off, but none are hidden forever.

The Message (MSG)

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

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