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2 Kings 8The Message (MSG)

1-3 Years before, Elisha had told the woman whose son he had brought to life, “Leave here and go, you and your family, and live someplace else. God has ordered a famine in the land; it will last for seven years.” The woman did what the Holy Man told her and left. She and her family lived as aliens in the country of Philistia for seven years. Then, when the seven years were up, the woman and her family came back. She went directly to the king and asked for her home and farm.

4-5 The king was talking with Gehazi, servant to the Holy Man, saying, “Tell me some stories of the great things Elisha did.” It so happened that as he was telling the king the story of the dead person brought back to life, the woman whose son was brought to life showed up asking for her home and farm.

Gehazi said, “My master the king, this is the woman! And this is her son whom Elisha brought back to life!”

The king wanted to know all about it, and so she told him the story. The king assigned an officer to take care of her, saying, “Make sure she gets everything back that’s hers, plus all profits from the farm from the time she left until now.”

Elisha traveled to Damascus. Ben-Hadad, king of Aram, was sick at the time. He was told, “The Holy Man is in town.”

The king ordered Hazael, “Take a gift with you and go meet the Holy Man. Ask God through him, ‘Am I going to recover from this sickness?’”

Hazael went and met with Elisha. He brought with him every choice thing he could think of from Damascus—forty camel-loads of items! When he arrived he stood before Elisha and said, “Your son Ben-Hadad, king of Aram, sent me here to ask you, ‘Am I going to recover from this sickness?’”

10-11 Elisha answered, “Go and tell him, ‘Don’t worry; you’ll live.’ The fact is, though—God showed me—that he’s doomed to die.” Elisha then stared hard at Hazael, reading his heart. Hazael felt exposed and dropped his eyes. Then the Holy Man wept.

12 Hazael said, “Why does my master weep?”

“Because,” said Elisha, “I know what you’re going to do to the children of Israel:

burn down their forts,
murder their youth,
smash their babies,
rip open their pregnant women.”

13 Hazael said, “Am I a mongrel dog that I’d do such a horrible thing?”

God showed me,” said Elisha, “that you’ll be king of Aram.”

14 Hazael left Elisha and returned to his master, who asked, “So, what did Elisha tell you?”

“He told me, ‘Don’t worry; you’ll live.’”

15 But the very next day, someone took a heavy quilt, soaked it in water, covered the king’s face, and suffocated him.

Now Hazael was king.

Jehoram of Judah

16-19 In the fifth year of the reign of Joram son of Ahab king of Israel, Jehoram son of Jehoshaphat king of Judah became king. He was thirty-two years old when he began his rule, and was king for eight years in Jerusalem. He copied the way of life of the kings of Israel, marrying into the Ahab family and continuing the Ahab line of sin—from God’s point of view, an evil man living an evil life. But despite that, because of his servant David, God was not ready to destroy Judah. He had, after all, promised to keep a lamp burning through David’s descendants.

20-21 During Jehoram’s reign, Edom revolted against Judah’s rule and set up their own king. Jehoram responded by taking his army of chariots to Zair.

Edom surrounded him, but in the middle of the night he and his charioteers broke through the lines and hit Edom hard. But his infantry deserted him.

22 Edom continues in revolt against Judah right up to the present. Even little Libnah revolted at that time.

23-24 The rest of the life and times of Jehoram, the record of his rule, is written in The Chronicles of the Kings of Judah. Jehoram died and was buried in the family grave in the City of David. His son Ahaziah succeeded him as king.

Ahaziah of Judah

25-27 In the twelfth year of the reign of Joram son of Ahab king of Israel, Ahaziah son of Jehoram king of Judah began his reign. Ahaziah was twenty-two years old when he became king; he ruled only a year in Jerusalem. His mother was Athaliah, granddaughter of Omri king of Israel. He lived and ruled just like the Ahab family had done, continuing the same evil-in-God’s-sight line of sin, related by both marriage and sin to the Ahab clan.

28-29 He joined Joram son of Ahab king of Israel in a war against Hazael king of Aram at Ramoth Gilead. The archers wounded Joram. Joram pulled back to Jezreel to convalesce from the injuries he had received in the fight with Hazael. Ahaziah son of Jehoram king of Judah paid a visit to Joram son of Ahab on his sickbed in Jezreel.

The Message (MSG)

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

2 Kings 9The Message (MSG)

Jehu of Israel

1-3 One day Elisha the prophet ordered a member of the guild of prophets, “Get yourself ready, take a flask of oil, and go to Ramoth Gilead. Look for Jehu son of Jehoshaphat son of Nimshi. When you find him, get him away from his companions and take him to a back room. Take your flask of oil and pour it over his head and say, ‘God’s word: I anoint you king over Israel.’ Then open the door and get out of there as fast as you can. Don’t wait around.”

4-5 The young prophet went to Ramoth Gilead. On arrival he found the army officers all sitting around. He said, “I have a matter of business with you, officer.”

Jehu said, “Which one of us?”

“With you, officer.”

6-10 He got up and went inside the building. The young prophet poured the oil on his head and said, “God’s word, the God of Israel: I’ve anointed you to be king over the people of God, over Israel. Your assignment is to attack the regime of Ahab your master. I am avenging the massacre of my servants the prophets—yes, the Jezebel-massacre of all the prophets of God. The entire line of Ahab is doomed. I’m wiping out the entire bunch of that sad lot. I’ll see to it that the family of Ahab experiences the same fate as the family of Jeroboam son of Nebat and the family of Baasha son of Ahijah. As for Jezebel, the dogs will eat her carcass in the open fields of Jezreel. No burial for her!” Then he opened the door and made a run for it.

11 Jehu went back out to his master’s officers. They asked, “Is everything all right? What did that crazy fool want with you?”

He said, “You know that kind of man—all talk.”

12 “That’s a lie!” they said. “Tell us what’s going on.”

He said, “He told me this and this and this—in effect, ‘God’s word: I anoint you king of Israel!’”

13 They sprang into action. Each man grabbed his robe; they piled them at the top of the steps for a makeshift throne. Then they blew the trumpet and declared, “Jehu is king!”

14-15 That ignited the conspiracy of Jehu son of Jehoshaphat son of Nimshi against Joram.

Meanwhile, Joram and the entire army were defending Ramoth Gilead against Hazael king of Aram. Except that Joram had pulled back to Jezreel to convalesce from the injuries he got from the Arameans in the battle with Hazael king of Aram.

Jehu said, “If you really want me as king, don’t let anyone sneak out of the city and blab the news in Jezreel.”

16 Then Jehu mounted a chariot and rode to Jezreel, where Joram was in bed, resting. King Ahaziah of Judah had come down to visit Joram.

17 A sentry standing duty on the watchtower in Jezreel saw the company of Jehu arrive. He said, “I see a band of men.”

Joram said, “Get a horseman and send him out to meet them and inquire, ‘Is anything wrong?’”

18 The horseman rode out to meet Jehu and said, “The king wants to know if there’s anything wrong.”

Jehu said, “What’s it to you whether things are right or wrong? Fall in behind me.”

The sentry said, “The messenger reached them, but he’s not returning.”

19 The king then sent a second horseman. When he reached them he said, “The king wants to know if there’s anything wrong.”

Jehu said, “What’s it to you whether things are right or wrong? Fall in behind me.”

20 The sentry said, “The messenger reached them, but he’s not returning. The driving is like the driving of Jehu son of Nimshi—crazy!”

21 Joram ordered, “Get my chariot ready!” They hitched up his chariot. Joram king of Israel and Ahaziah king of Judah, each in his own chariot, drove out to meet Jehu. They met in the field of Naboth of Jezreel.

22 When Joram saw Jehu he called out, “Good day, Jehu!”

Jehu answered, “What’s good about it? How can there be anything good about it as long as the promiscuous whoring and sorceries of your mother Jezebel pollute the country?”

23 Joram wheeled his chariot around and fled, yelling to Ahaziah, “It’s a trap, Ahaziah!”

24 Jehu pulled on his bow and released an arrow; it hit Joram between the shoulder blades and went right through his heart. He slumped to his knees in his chariot.

25-26 Jehu ordered Bidkar, his lieutenant, “Quick—throw him into the field of Naboth of Jezreel. Remember when you and I were driving our chariots behind Ahab his father? That’s when God pronounced this doom upon him: ‘As surely as I saw the blood of murdered Naboth and his sons yesterday, you’ll pay for it on this exact piece of ground. God’s word!’ So take him and throw him out in the field. God’s instructions carried out to the letter!”

27 Ahaziah king of Judah saw what was going on and made his escape on the road toward Beth Haggan. Jehu chased him, yelling out, “Get him, too!” Jehu’s troops shot and wounded him in his chariot on the hill up to Gur, near Ibleam. He was able to make it as far as Megiddo; there he died.

28 His aides drove on to Jerusalem. They buried him in the family plot in the City of David.

29 In the eleventh year of the reign of Joram son of Ahab, Ahaziah had become king of Judah.

30-31 When Jezebel heard that Jehu had arrived in Jezreel, she made herself up—put on eyeshadow and arranged her hair—and posed seductively at the window. When Jehu came through the city gate, she called down, “So, how are things, ‘Zimri,’ you dashing king-killer?”

32 Jehu looked up at the window and called, “Is there anybody up there on my side?” Two or three palace eunuchs looked out.

33 He ordered, “Throw her down!” They threw her out the window. Her blood spattered the wall and the horses, and Jehu trampled her under his horse’s hooves.

34 Then Jehu went inside and ate his lunch. During lunch he gave orders, “Take care of that damned woman; give her a decent burial—she is, after all, a king’s daughter.”

35-36 They went out to bury her, but there was nothing left of her but skull, feet, and hands. They came back and told Jehu. He said, “It’s God’s word, the word spoken by Elijah the Tishbite:

In the field of Jezreel,
    dogs will eat Jezebel;
37 The body of Jezebel will be like
        dog-droppings on the ground in Jezreel.
    Old friends and lovers will say,
        ‘I wonder, is this Jezebel?’”

The Message (MSG)

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

2 Chronicles 21The Message (MSG)

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

King Jehoram

2-4 Jehoram’s brothers were Azariah, Jehiel, Zechariah, Azariahu, Michael, and Shephatiah—the sons of Jehoshaphat king of Judah. Their father had lavished them with gifts—silver, gold, and other valuables, plus the fortress cities in Judah. But Jehoram was his firstborn son and he gave him the kingdom of Judah. But when Jehoram had taken over his father’s kingdom and had secured his position, he killed all his brothers along with some of the government officials.

5-7 Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king and ruled in Jerusalem for eight years. He imitated Israel’s kings and married into the Ahab dynasty. God considered him an evil man. But despite that, because of his covenant with David, God was not yet ready to destroy the descendants of David; he had, after all, promised to keep a light burning for David and his sons.

8-9 During Jehoram’s reign, Edom revolted from Judah’s rule and set up their own king. Jehoram responded by setting out with his officers and chariots. Edom surrounded him, but in the middle of the night he and his charioteers broke through the lines and hit Edom hard.

10-11 Edom continues in revolt against Judah right up to the present. Even little Libnah revolted at that time. The evidence accumulated: Since Jehoram had abandoned God, the God of his ancestors, God was abandoning him. He even went so far as to build pagan sacred shrines in the mountains of Judah. He brazenly led Jerusalem away from God, seducing the whole country.

12-15 One day he got a letter from Elijah the prophet. It read, “From God, the God of your ancestor David—a message: Because you have not kept to the ways of Jehoshaphat your father and Asa your grandfather, kings of Judah, but have taken up with the ways of the kings of Israel in the north, leading Judah and Jerusalem away from God, going step by step down the apostate path of Ahab and his crew—why, you even killed your own brothers, all of them better men than you!—God is going to afflict your people, your wives, your sons, and everything you have with a terrible plague. And you are going to come down with a terrible disease of the colon, painful and humiliating.”

16-20 The trouble started with an invasion. God incited the Philistines and the Arabs who lived near the Ethiopians to attack Jehoram. They came to the borders of Judah, forced their way in, and plundered the place—robbing the royal palace of everything in it including his wives and sons. One son, his youngest, Ahaziah, was left behind. The terrible and fatal disease in his colon followed. After about two years he was totally incontinent and died writhing in pain. His people didn’t honor him by lighting a great bonfire, as was customary with his ancestors. He was thirty-two years old when he became king and reigned for eight years in Jerusalem. There were no tears shed when he died—it was good riddance!—and they buried him in the City of David, but not in the royal cemetery.

The Message (MSG)

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

1 Timothy 4The Message (MSG)

Teach with Your Life

1-5 The Spirit makes it clear that as time goes on, some are going to give up on the faith and chase after demonic illusions put forth by professional liars. These liars have lied so well and for so long that they’ve lost their capacity for truth. They will tell you not to get married. They’ll tell you not to eat this or that food—perfectly good food God created to be eaten heartily and with thanksgiving by believers who know better! Everything God created is good, and to be received with thanks. Nothing is to be sneered at and thrown out. God’s Word and our prayers make every item in creation holy.

6-10 You’ve been raised on the Message of the faith and have followed sound teaching. Now pass on this counsel to the followers of Jesus there, and you’ll be a good servant of Jesus. Stay clear of silly stories that get dressed up as religion. Exercise daily in God—no spiritual flabbiness, please! Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today and forever. You can count on this. Take it to heart. This is why we’ve thrown ourselves into this venture so totally. We’re banking on the living God, Savior of all men and women, especially believers.

11-14 Get the word out. Teach all these things. And don’t let anyone put you down because you’re young. Teach believers with your life: by word, by demeanor, by love, by faith, by integrity. Stay at your post reading Scripture, giving counsel, teaching. And that special gift of ministry you were given when the leaders of the church laid hands on you and prayed—keep that dusted off and in use.

15-16 Cultivate these things. Immerse yourself in them. The people will all see you mature right before their eyes! Keep a firm grasp on both your character and your teaching. Don’t be diverted. Just keep at it. Both you and those who hear you will experience salvation.

The Message (MSG)

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

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