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2 Kings 11The Message (MSG)

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.

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.

The Message (MSG)

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

2 Kings 12The Message (MSG)

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.”

But by the twenty-third year of Joash’s rule, the priests hadn’t done one thing—The Temple was as dilapidated as ever.

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.”

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.

The Message (MSG)

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

2 Chronicles 24The Message (MSG)

King Joash

24 Joash was seven years old when he became king; he was king for forty years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Gazelle (Zibiah). She was from Beersheba.

2-3 Taught and trained by Jehoiada the priest, Joash did what pleased God throughout Jehoiada’s lifetime. Jehoiada picked out two wives for him; he had a family of both sons and daughters.

4-6 The time came when Joash determined to renovate The Temple of God. He got the priests and Levites together and said, “Circulate through the towns of Judah every year and collect money from the people to repair The Temple of your God. You are in charge of carrying this out.” But the Levites dragged their feet and didn’t do anything.

Then the king called in Jehoiada the chief priest and said, “Why haven’t you made the Levites bring in from Judah and Jerusalem the tax Moses, servant of God and the congregation, set for the upkeep of the place of worship? You can see how bad things are—wicked Queen Athaliah and her sons let The Temple of God go to ruin and took all its sacred artifacts for use in Baal worship.”

8-9 Following the king’s orders, they made a chest and placed it at the entrance to The Temple of God. Then they sent out a tax notice throughout Judah and Jerusalem: “Pay the tax that Moses the servant of God set when Israel was in the wilderness.”

10 The people and their leaders were glad to do it and cheerfully brought their money until the chest was full.

11-14 Whenever the Levites brought the chest in for a royal audit and found it to be full, the king’s secretary and the official of the chief priest would empty the chest and put it back in its place. Day after day they did this and collected a lot of money. The king and Jehoiada gave the money to the managers of The Temple project; they in turn paid the masons and carpenters for the repair work on The Temple of God. The construction workers kept at their jobs steadily until the restoration was complete—the house of God as good as new! When they had finished the work, they returned the surplus money to the king and Jehoiada, who used the money for making sacred vessels for Temple worship, vessels for the daily worship, for the Whole-Burnt-Offerings, bowls, and other gold and silver liturgical artifacts.

14-16 Whole-Burnt-Offerings were made regularly in The Temple of God throughout Jehoiada’s lifetime. He died at a ripe old age—130 years old! They buried him in the royal cemetery because he had such a distinguished life of service to Israel and God and God’s Temple.

17-19 But after the death of Jehoiada things fell apart. The leaders of Judah made a formal presentation to the king and he went along with them. Things went from bad to worse; they deserted The Temple of God and took up with the cult of sex goddesses. An angry cloud hovered over Judah and Jerusalem because of this sin. God sent prophets to straighten them out, warning of judgment. But nobody paid attention.

20 Then the Spirit of God moved Zechariah son of Jehoiada the priest to speak up: “God’s word: Why have you deliberately walked away from God’s commandments? You can’t live this way! If you walk out on God, he’ll walk out on you.”

21-22 But they worked out a plot against Zechariah, and with the complicity of the king—he actually gave the order!—they murdered him, pelting him with rocks, right in the court of The Temple of God. That’s the thanks King Joash showed the loyal Jehoiada, the priest who had made him king. He murdered Jehoiada’s son. Zechariah’s last words were, “Look, God! Make them pay for this!”

23-24 A year or so later Aramean troops attacked Joash. They invaded Judah and Jerusalem, massacred the leaders, and shipped all their plunder back to the king in Damascus. The Aramean army was quite small, but God used them to wipe out Joash’s large army—their punishment for deserting God, the God of their ancestors. Arameans implemented God’s judgment against Joash.

25-27 They left Joash badly wounded and his own servants finished him off—it was a palace conspiracy, avenging the murder of the son of Jehoiada the priest. They killed him in his bed. Afterward they buried him in the City of David, but he was not honored with a grave in the royal cemetery. The temple conspirators were Zabad, whose mother was Shimeath from Ammon, and Jehozabad, whose mother was Shimrith from Moab. The story of his sons, the many sermons preached to Joash, and the account of his repairs on The Temple of God can be found contained in the commentary on the royal history.

Amaziah, Joash’s son, was the next king.

The Message (MSG)

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

1 Timothy 6The Message (MSG)

1-2 Whoever is a slave must make the best of it, giving respect to his master so that outsiders don’t blame God and our teaching for his behavior. Slaves with Christian masters all the more so—their masters are really their beloved brothers!

The Lust for Money

2-5 These are the things I want you to teach and preach. If you have leaders there who teach otherwise, who refuse the solid words of our Master Jesus and this godly instruction, tag them for what they are: ignorant windbags who infect the air with germs of envy, controversy, bad-mouthing, suspicious rumors. Eventually there’s an epidemic of backstabbing, and truth is but a distant memory. They think religion is a way to make a fast buck.

6-8 A devout life does bring wealth, but it’s the rich simplicity of being yourself before God. Since we entered the world penniless and will leave it penniless, if we have bread on the table and shoes on our feet, that’s enough.

9-10 But if it’s only money these leaders are after, they’ll self-destruct in no time. Lust for money brings trouble and nothing but trouble. Going down that path, some lose their footing in the faith completely and live to regret it bitterly ever after.

Running Hard

11-12 But you, Timothy, man of God: Run for your life from all this. Pursue a righteous life—a life of wonder, faith, love, steadiness, courtesy. Run hard and fast in the faith. Seize the eternal life, the life you were called to, the life you so fervently embraced in the presence of so many witnesses.

13-16 I’m charging you before the life-giving God and before Christ, who took his stand before Pontius Pilate and didn’t give an inch: Keep this command to the letter, and don’t slack off. Our Master, Jesus Christ, is on his way. He’ll show up right on time, his arrival guaranteed by the Blessed and Undisputed Ruler, High King, High God. He’s the only one death can’t touch, his light so bright no one can get close. He’s never been seen by human eyes—human eyes can’t take him in! Honor to him, and eternal rule! Oh, yes.

17-19 Tell those rich in this world’s wealth to quit being so full of themselves and so obsessed with money, which is here today and gone tomorrow. Tell them to go after God, who piles on all the riches we could ever manage—to do good, to be rich in helping others, to be extravagantly generous. If they do that, they’ll build a treasury that will last, gaining life that is truly life.

20-21 And oh, my dear Timothy, guard the treasure you were given! Guard it with your life. Avoid the talk-show religion and the practiced confusion of the so-called experts. People caught up in a lot of talk can miss the whole point of faith.

Overwhelming grace keep you!

The Message (MSG)

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

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