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2 Kings 13The Message (MSG)

Jehoahaz of Israel

13 1-3 In the twenty-third year of Joash son of Ahaziah king of Judah, Jehoahaz son of Jehu became king of Israel in Samaria—a rule of seventeen years. He lived an evil life before God, walking step for step in the tracks of Jeroboam son of Nebat who led Israel into a life of sin, swerving neither left or right. Exasperated, God was furious with Israel and turned them over to Hazael king of Aram and Ben-Hadad son of Hazael. This domination went on for a long time.

4-6 Then Jehoahaz prayed for a softening of God’s anger, and God listened. He realized how wretched Israel had become under the brutalities of the king of Aram. So God provided a savior for Israel who brought them out from under Aram’s oppression. The children of Israel were again able to live at peace in their own homes. But it didn’t make any difference: They didn’t change their lives, didn’t turn away from the Jeroboam-sins that now characterized Israel, including the sex-and-religion shrines of Asherah still flourishing in Samaria.

Nothing was left of Jehoahaz’s army after Hazael’s oppression except for fifty cavalry, ten chariots, and ten thousand infantry. The king of Aram had decimated the rest, leaving behind him mostly chaff.

8-9 The rest of the life and times of Jehoahaz, the record of his accomplishments, are written in The Chronicles of the Kings of Israel. Jehoahaz died and was buried with his ancestors in Samaria. His son Jehoash succeeded him as king.

Jehoash of Israel

10-11 In the thirty-seventh year of Joash king of Judah, Jehoash son of Jehoahaz became king of Israel in Samaria—a reign of sixteen years. In God’s eyes he lived an evil life. He didn’t deviate one bit from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, who led Israel into a life of sin. He plodded along in the same tracks, step after step.

12-13 The rest of the life and times of Jehoash, the record of his accomplishments and his war against Amaziah king of Judah, are written in The Chronicles of the Kings of Israel. Jehoash died and joined his ancestors. Jeroboam took over his throne. Jehoash was buried in Samaria in the royal cemetery.

14 Elisha came down sick. It was the sickness of which he would soon die. Jehoash king of Israel paid him a visit. When he saw him he wept openly, crying, “My father, my father! Chariot and horsemen of Israel!”

15 Elisha told him, “Go and get a bow and some arrows.” The king brought him the bow and arrows.

16 Then he told the king, “Put your hand on the bow.” He put his hand on the bow. Then Elisha put his hand over the hand of the king.

17 Elisha said, “Now open the east window.” He opened it.

Then he said, “Shoot!” And he shot.

“The arrow of God’s salvation!” exclaimed Elisha. “The arrow of deliverance from Aram! You will do battle against Aram until there’s nothing left of it.”

18 “Now pick up the other arrows,” said Elisha. He picked them up.

Then he said to the king of Israel, “Strike the ground.”

The king struck the ground three times and then quit.

19 The Holy Man became angry with him: “Why didn’t you hit the ground five or six times? Then you would beat Aram until he was finished. As it is, you’ll defeat him three times only.”

20-21 Then Elisha died and they buried him.

Some time later, raiding bands of Moabites, as they often did, invaded the country. One day, some men were burying a man and spotted the raiders. They threw the man into Elisha’s tomb and got away. When the body touched Elisha’s bones, the man came alive, stood up, and walked out on his own two feet.

22-24 Hazael king of Aram badgered and bedeviled Israel all through the reign of Jehoahaz. But God was gracious and showed mercy to them. He stuck with them out of respect for his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He never gave up on them, never even considered discarding them, even to this day. Hazael king of Aram died. His son Ben-Hadad was the next king.

25 Jehoash son of Jehoahaz turned things around and took back the cities that Ben-Hadad son of Hazael had taken from his father Jehoahaz. Jehoash went to war three times and defeated him each time, recapturing the cities of Israel.

The Message (MSG)

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

2 Kings 14The Message (MSG)

Amaziah of Judah

14 1-2 In the second year of Jehoash son of Jehoahaz king of Israel, Amaziah son of Joash became king of Judah. He was twenty-five years old when he became king and he reigned for twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jehoaddin. She was from Jerusalem.

3-4 He lived the way God wanted and did the right thing. But he didn’t come up to the standards of his ancestor David; instead he lived pretty much as his father Joash had; the local sex-and-religion shrines continued to stay in business with people frequenting them.

5-6 When he had the affairs of the kingdom well in hand, he executed the palace guard that had assassinated his father the king. But he didn’t kill the sons of the assassins. He was obedient to what God commanded, written in the Word revealed to Moses, that parents shouldn’t be executed for their children’s sins, nor children for those of their parents. We each pay personally for our sins.

Amaziah roundly defeated Edom in the Valley of Salt to the tune of ten thousand dead. In another battle he took The Rock and renamed it Joktheel, the name it still bears.

One day Amaziah sent envoys to Jehoash son of Jehoahaz, the son of Jehu, king of Israel, challenging him to a fight: “Come and meet with me—dare you. Let’s have it out face-to-face!”

9-10 Jehoash king of Israel replied to Amaziah king of Judah, “One day a thistle in Lebanon sent word to a cedar in Lebanon, ‘Give your daughter to my son in marriage.’ But then a wild animal of Lebanon passed by and stepped on the thistle, crushing it. Just because you’ve defeated Edom in battle, you now think you’re a big shot. Go ahead and be proud, but stay home. Why press your luck? Why bring defeat on yourself and Judah?”

11 Amaziah wouldn’t take No for an answer. So Jehoash king of Israel gave in and agreed to a battle between him and Amaziah king of Judah. They met at Beth Shemesh, a town of Judah.

12 Judah was thoroughly beaten by Israel—all their soldiers ran home in defeat.

13-14 Jehoash king of Israel captured Amaziah king of Judah, the son of Joash, the son of Ahaziah, at Beth Shemesh. But Jehoash didn’t stop there; he went on to attack Jerusalem. He demolished the wall of Jerusalem all the way from the Ephraim Gate to the Corner Gate—a stretch of about six hundred feet. He looted the gold, silver, and furnishings—anything he found that was worth taking—from both the palace and The Temple of God. And, for good measure, he took hostages. Then he returned to Samaria.

15-16 The rest of the life and times of Jehoash, his significant accomplishments and the fight with Amaziah king of Judah, are all written in The Chronicles of the Kings of Israel. Jehoash died and was buried in Samaria in the cemetery of the kings of Israel. His son Jeroboam became the next king.

17-18 Amaziah son of Joash king of Judah continued as king fifteen years after the death of Jehoash son of Jehoahaz king of Israel. The rest of the life and times of Amaziah is written in The Chronicles of the Kings of Judah.

19-20 At the last they cooked up a plot against Amaziah in Jerusalem and he had to flee to Lachish. But they tracked him down in Lachish and killed him there. They brought him back on horseback and buried him in Jerusalem, with his ancestors in the City of David.

21-22 Azariah—he was only sixteen years old at the time—was the unanimous choice of the people of Judah to succeed his father Amaziah as king. Following his father’s death, he rebuilt and restored Elath to Judah.

Jeroboam II of Israel

23-25 In the fifteenth year of Amaziah son of Joash king of Judah, Jeroboam son of Jehoash became king of Israel in Samaria. He ruled for forty-one years. As far as God was concerned he lived an evil life, never deviating an inch from all the sin of Jeroboam son of Nebat, who led Israel into a life of sin. But he did restore the borders of Israel to Lebo Hamath in the far north and to the Dead Sea in the south, matching what God, the God of Israel, had pronounced through his servant Jonah son of Amittai, the prophet from Gath Hepher.

26-27 God was fully aware of the trouble in Israel, its bitterly hard times. No one was exempt, whether slave or citizen, and no hope of help anywhere was in sight. But God wasn’t yet ready to blot out the name of Israel from history, so he used Jeroboam son of Jehoash to save them.

28-29 The rest of the life and times of Jeroboam, his victories in battle and how he recovered for Israel both Damascus and Hamath which had belonged to Judah, these are all written in The Chronicles of the Kings of Israel. Jeroboam died and was buried with his ancestors in the royal cemetery. His son Zechariah became the next king.

The Message (MSG)

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

2 Chronicles 25The Message (MSG)

King Amaziah

25 1-4 Amaziah was twenty-five years old when he became king and reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother was Jehoaddin from Jerusalem. He lived well before God, doing the right thing for the most part. But he wasn’t wholeheartedly devoted to God. When he had the affairs of the kingdom well in hand, he executed the palace guard who had assassinated his father the king. But he didn’t kill the sons of the assassins—he was mindful of what God commanded in The Revelation of Moses, that parents shouldn’t be executed for their childrens’ sins, nor children for their parents’. We each pay personally for our sins.

5-6 Amaziah organized Judah and sorted out Judah and Benjamin by families and by military units. Men twenty years and older had to register—they ended up with 300,000 judged capable of military service. In addition he hired 100,000 soldiers from Israel in the north at a cost of about four and a half tons of silver.

7-8 A holy man showed up and said, “No, O King—don’t let those northern Israelite soldiers into your army; God is not on their side, nor with any of the Ephraimites. Instead, you go by yourself and be strong. God and God only has the power to help or hurt your cause.”

But Amaziah said to the holy man, “But what about all this money—these tons of silver I have already paid out to hire these men?”

God’s help is worth far more to you than that,” said the holy man.

10 So Amaziah fired the soldiers he had hired from the north and sent them home. They were very angry at losing their jobs and went home seething.

11-12 But Amaziah was optimistic. He led his troops into the Valley of Salt and killed ten thousand men of Seir. They took another ten thousand as prisoners, led them to the top of the Rock, and pushed them off a cliff. They all died in the fall, smashed on the rocks.

13 But the troops Amaziah had dismissed from his army, angry over their lost opportunity for plunder, rampaged through the towns of Judah all the way from Samaria to Beth Horon, killing three thousand people and taking much plunder.

14-15 On his return from the destruction of the Edomites, Amaziah brought back the gods of the men of Seir and installed them as his own gods, worshiping them and burning incense to them. That ignited God’s anger; a fiery blast of God’s wrath put into words by a God-sent prophet: “What is this? Why on earth would you pray to inferior gods who couldn’t so much as help their own people from you—gods weaker than Amaziah?”

16 Amaziah interrupted him, “Did I ask for your opinion? Shut up or get thrown out!”

The prophet quit speaking, but not before he got in one last word: “I have it on good authority: God has made up his mind to throw you out because of what you’ve done, and because you wouldn’t listen to me.”

17 One day Amaziah sent envoys to Jehoash son of Jehoahaz, the son of Jehu, king of Israel, challenging him to a fight: “Come and meet with me, I dare you. Let’s have it out face-to-face!”

18-19 Jehoash king of Israel replied to Amaziah king of Judah, “One day a thistle in Lebanon sent word to a cedar in Lebanon, ‘Give your daughter to my son in marriage.’ But then a wild animal of Lebanon passed by and stepped on the thistle, crushing it. Just because you’ve defeated Edom in battle, you now think you’re a big shot. Go ahead and be proud, but stay home. Why press your luck? Why bring defeat on yourself and Judah?”

20-22 Amaziah wouldn’t take no for an answer—God had already decided to let Jehoash defeat him because he had defected to the gods of Edom. So Jehoash king of Israel came on ahead and confronted Amaziah king of Judah. They met at Beth Shemesh, a town of Judah. Judah was thoroughly beaten by Israel—all the soldiers straggled home in defeat.

23-24 Jehoash king of Israel captured Amaziah king of Judah, the son of Joash, the son of Ahaziah, at Beth Shemesh. But Jehoash didn’t stop at that; he went on to attack Jerusalem. He demolished the Wall of Jerusalem all the way from the Ephraim Gate to the Corner Gate—a stretch of about six hundred feet. He looted the gold, silver, and furnishings—anything he found that was worth taking—from both the palace and The Temple of God—and, for good measure, he took hostages. Then he returned to Samaria.

25-26 Amaziah son of Joash king of Judah continued as king fifteen years after the death of Jehoash son of Jehoahaz king of Israel. The rest of the life and times of Amaziah from start to finish is written in the Royal Annals of the Kings of Judah and Israel.

27-28 During those last days, after Amaziah had defected from God, they cooked up a plot against Amaziah in Jerusalem, and he had to flee to Lachish. But they tracked him down in Lachish and killed him there. They brought him back on horseback and buried him in Jerusalem with his ancestors in the City of David.

The Message (MSG)

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

2 Timothy 3The Message (MSG)

Difficult Times Ahead

1-5 Don’t be naive. There are difficult times ahead. As the end approaches, people are going to be self-absorbed, money-hungry, self-promoting, stuck-up, profane, contemptuous of parents, crude, coarse, dog-eat-dog, unbending, slanderers, impulsively wild, savage, cynical, treacherous, ruthless, bloated windbags, addicted to lust, and allergic to God. They’ll make a show of religion, but behind the scenes they’re animals. Stay clear of these people.

6-9 These are the kind of people who smooth-talk themselves into the homes of unstable and needy women and take advantage of them; women who, depressed by their sinfulness, take up with every new religious fad that calls itself “truth.” They get exploited every time and never really learn. These men are like those old Egyptian frauds Jannes and Jambres, who challenged Moses. They were rejects from the faith, twisted in their thinking, defying truth itself. But nothing will come of these latest impostors. Everyone will see through them, just as people saw through that Egyptian hoax.

Keep the Message Alive

10-13 You’ve been a good apprentice to me, a part of my teaching, my manner of life, direction, faith, steadiness, love, patience, troubles, sufferings—suffering along with me in all the grief I had to put up with in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra. And you also well know that God rescued me! Anyone who wants to live all out for Christ is in for a lot of trouble; there’s no getting around it. Unscrupulous con men will continue to exploit the faith. They’re as deceived as the people they lead astray. As long as they are out there, things can only get worse.

14-17 But don’t let it faze you. Stick with what you learned and believed, sure of the integrity of your teachers—why, you took in the sacred Scriptures with your mother’s milk! There’s nothing like the written Word of God for showing you the way to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.

The Message (MSG)

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

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