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2 Kings 9:14-10:31; Acts 17:1-34; Psalms 144:1-15; Proverbs 17:27-28 (New English Translation)

2 Kings 9:14-10:31

14 Then Jehu son of Jehoshaphat son of Nimshi conspired against Joram.

Jehu the Assassin

Now Joram had been in Ramoth Gilead with the whole Israelite army, guarding against an invasion by King Hazael of Syria. 15 But King Joram had returned to Jezreel to recover from the wounds he received from the Syrians when he fought against King Hazael of Syria. Jehu told his supporters, “If you really want me to be king, then don’t let anyone escape from the city to go and warn Jezreel.” 16 Jehu drove his chariot to Jezreel, for Joram was recuperating there. (Now King Ahaziah of Judah had come down to visit Joram.)

17 Now the watchman was standing on the tower in Jezreel and saw Jehu’s troops approaching. He said, “I see troops!” Jehoram ordered, “Send a rider out to meet them and have him ask, ‘Is everything all right?’” 18 So the horseman went to meet him and said, “This is what the king says, ‘Is everything all right?’” Jehu replied, “None of your business! Follow me.” The watchman reported, “The messenger reached them, but hasn’t started back.” 19 So he sent a second horseman out to them and he said, “This is what the king says, ‘Is everything all right?’” Jehu replied, “None of your business! Follow me.” 20 The watchman reported, “He reached them, but hasn’t started back. The one who drives the lead chariot drives like Jehu son of Nimshi; he drives recklessly.” 21 Jehoram ordered, “Hitch up my chariot.” When his chariot had been hitched up, King Jehoram of Israel and King Ahaziah of Judah went out in their respective chariots to meet Jehu. They met up with him in the plot of land that had once belonged to Naboth of Jezreel.

22 When Jehoram saw Jehu, he asked, “Is everything all right, Jehu?” He replied, “How can everything be all right as long as your mother Jezebel promotes idolatry and pagan practices?” 23 Jehoram turned his chariot around and took off. He said to Ahaziah, “It’s a trap, Ahaziah!” 24 Jehu aimed his bow and shot an arrow right between Jehoram’s shoulders. The arrow went through his heart and he fell to his knees in his chariot. 25 Jehu ordered his officer Bidkar, “Pick him up and throw him into the part of the field that once belonged to Naboth of Jezreel. Remember, you and I were riding together behind his father Ahab, when the Lord pronounced this judgment on him, 26 ‘“Know for sure that I saw the shed blood of Naboth and his sons yesterday,” says the Lord, “and that I will give you what you deserve right here in this plot of land,” says the Lord.’ So now pick him up and throw him into this plot of land, just as the Lord said.”

27 When King Ahaziah of Judah saw what happened, he took off up the road to Beth Haggan. Jehu chased him and ordered, “Shoot him too.” They shot him while he was driving his chariot up the ascent of Gur near Ibleam. He fled to Megiddo and died there. 28 His servants took his body back to Jerusalem and buried him in his tomb with his ancestors in the City of David. 29 Ahaziah had become king over Judah in the eleventh year of Joram son of Ahab.

30 Jehu approached Jezreel. When Jezebel heard the news, she put on some eye liner, fixed up her hair, and leaned out the window. 31 When Jehu came through the gate, she said, “Is everything all right, Zimri, murderer of his master?” 32 He looked up at the window and said, “Who is on my side? Who?” Two or three eunuchs looked down at him. 33 He said, “Throw her down!” So they threw her down, and when she hit the ground, her blood splattered against the wall and the horses, and Jehu drove his chariot over her. 34 He went inside and had a meal. Then he said, “Dispose of this accursed woman’s corpse. Bury her, for after all, she was a king’s daughter.” 35 But when they went to bury her, they found nothing left but the skull, feet, and palms of the hands. 36 When they went back and told him, he said, “The Lord’s word through his servant, Elijah the Tishbite, has come to pass. He warned, ‘In the plot of land at Jezreel, dogs will devour Jezebel’s flesh. 37 Jezebel’s corpse will be like manure on the surface of the ground in the plot of land at Jezreel. People will not be able to even recognize her.’”

Jehu Wipes Out Ahab’s Family

10 Ahab had seventy sons living in Samaria. So Jehu wrote letters and sent them to Samaria to the leading officials of Jezreel and to the guardians of Ahab’s dynasty. This is what the letters said, “You have with you the sons of your master, chariots and horses, a fortified city, and weapons. So when this letter arrives, pick the best and most capable of your master’s sons, place him on his father’s throne, and defend your master’s dynasty.”

They were absolutely terrified and said, “Look, two kings could not stop him! How can we?” So the palace supervisor, the city commissioner, the leaders, and the guardians sent this message to Jehu, “We are your subjects! Whatever you say, we will do. We will not make anyone king. Do what you consider proper.”

He wrote them a second letter, saying, “If you are really on my side and are willing to obey me, then take the heads of your master’s sons and come to me in Jezreel at this time tomorrow.” Now the king had seventy sons, and the prominent men of the city were raising them. When they received the letter, they seized the king’s sons and executed all seventy of them. They put their heads in baskets and sent them to him in Jezreel. The messenger came and told Jehu, “They have brought the heads of the king’s sons.” Jehu said, “Stack them in two piles at the entrance of the city gate until morning.” In the morning he went out and stood there. Then he said to all the people, “You are innocent. I conspired against my master and killed him. But who struck down all of these men? 10 Therefore take note that not one of the judgments the Lord announced against Ahab’s dynasty has failed to materialize. The Lord had done what he announced through his servant Elijah.” 11 Then Jehu killed all who were left of Ahab’s family in Jezreel, and all his nobles, close friends, and priests. He left no survivors.

12 Jehu then left there and set out for Samaria. While he was traveling through Beth Eked of the Shepherds, 13 Jehu encountered the relatives of King Ahaziah of Judah. He asked, “Who are you?” They replied, “We are Ahaziah’s relatives. We have come down to see how the king’s sons and the queen mother’s sons are doing.” 14 He said, “Capture them alive!” So they captured them alive and then executed all forty-two of them in the cistern at Beth Eked. He left no survivors.

15 When he left there, he met Jehonadab, son of Rekab, who had been looking for him. Jehu greeted him and asked, “Are you as committed to me as I am to you?” Jehonadab answered, “I am!” Jehu replied, “If so, give me your hand.” So he offered his hand and Jehu pulled him up into the chariot. 16 Jehu said, “Come with me and see how zealous I am for the Lord’s cause.” So he took him along in his chariot. 17 He went to Samaria and exterminated all the members of Ahab’s family who were still alive in Samaria, just as the Lord had announced to Elijah.

Jehu Executes the Prophets and Priests of Baal

18 Jehu assembled all the people and said to them, “Ahab worshiped Baal a little; Jehu will worship him with great devotion. 19 So now, bring to me all the prophets of Baal, as well as all his servants and priests. None of them must be absent, for I am offering a great sacrifice to Baal. Any of them who fail to appear will lose their lives.” But Jehu was tricking them so he could destroy the servants of Baal. 20 Then Jehu ordered, “Make arrangements for a celebration for Baal.” So they announced it. 21 Jehu sent invitations throughout Israel, and all the servants of Baal came; not one was absent. They arrived at the temple of Baal and filled it up from end to end. 22 Jehu ordered the one who was in charge of the wardrobe, “Bring out robes for all the servants of Baal.” So he brought out robes for them. 23 Then Jehu and Jehonadab son of Rekab went to the temple of Baal. Jehu said to the servants of Baal, “Make sure there are no servants of the Lord here with you; there must be only servants of Baal.” 24 They went inside to offer sacrifices and burnt offerings. Now Jehu had stationed eighty men outside. He had told them, “If any of the men inside get away, you will pay with your lives!”

25 When he finished offering the burnt sacrifice, Jehu ordered the royal guard and officers, “Come in and strike them down! Don’t let any escape!” So the royal guard and officers struck them down with the sword and left their bodies lying there. Then they entered the inner sanctuary of the temple of Baal. 26 They hauled out the sacred pillar of the temple of Baal and burned it. 27 They demolished the sacred pillar of Baal and the temple of Baal; it is used as a latrine to this very day. 28 So Jehu eradicated Baal worship from Israel.

A Summary of Jehu’s Reign

29 However, Jehu did not repudiate the sins which Jeroboam son of Nebat had encouraged Israel to commit; the golden calves remained in Bethel and Dan. 30 The Lord said to Jehu, “You have done well. You have accomplished my will and carried out my wishes with regard to Ahab’s dynasty. Therefore four generations of your descendants will rule over Israel.” 31 But Jehu did not carefully and wholeheartedly obey the law of the Lord God of Israel. He did not repudiate the sins which Jeroboam had encouraged Israel to commit.

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Acts 17

Paul and Silas at Thessalonica

17 After they traveled through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue. Paul went to the Jews in the synagogue, as he customarily did, and on three Sabbath days he addressed them from the scriptures, explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and to rise from the dead, saying, “This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ.” Some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, along with a large group of God-fearing Greeks and quite a few prominent women. But the Jews became jealous, and gathering together some worthless men from the rabble in the marketplace, they formed a mob and set the city in an uproar. They attacked Jason’s house, trying to find Paul and Silas to bring them out to the assembly. When they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city officials, screaming, “These people who have stirred up trouble throughout the world have come here too, and Jason has welcomed them as guests! They are all acting against Caesar’s decrees, saying there is another king named Jesus!” They caused confusion among the crowd and the city officials who heard these things. After the city officials had received bail from Jason and the others, they released them.

Paul and Silas at Berea

10 The brothers sent Paul and Silas off to Berea at once, during the night. When they arrived, they went to the Jewish synagogue. 11 These Jews were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they eagerly received the message, examining the scriptures carefully every day to see if these things were so. 12 Therefore many of them believed, along with quite a few prominent Greek women and men. 13 But when the Jews from Thessalonica heard that Paul had also proclaimed the word of God in Berea, they came there too, inciting and disturbing the crowds. 14 Then the brothers sent Paul away to the coast at once, but Silas and Timothy remained in Berea. 15 Those who accompanied Paul escorted him as far as Athens, and after receiving an order for Silas and Timothy to come to him as soon as possible, they left.

Paul at Athens

16 While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, his spirit was greatly upset because he saw the city was full of idols. 17 So he was addressing the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles in the synagogue, and in the marketplace every day those who happened to be there. 18 Also some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers were conversing with him, and some were asking, “What does this foolish babbler want to say?” Others said, “He seems to be a proclaimer of foreign gods.” (They said this because he was proclaiming the good news about Jesus and the resurrection.) 19 So they took Paul and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are proclaiming? 20 For you are bringing some surprising things to our ears, so we want to know what they mean.” 21 (All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there used to spend their time in nothing else than telling or listening to something new.)

22 So Paul stood before the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I see that you are very religious in all respects. 23 For as I went around and observed closely your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: ‘To an unknown god.’ Therefore what you worship without knowing it, this I proclaim to you. 24 The God who made the world and everything in it, who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by human hands, 25 nor is he served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives life and breath and everything to everyone. 26 From one man he made every nation of the human race to inhabit the entire earth, determining their set times and the fixed limits of the places where they would live, 27 so that they would search for God and perhaps grope around for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 28 For in him we live and move about and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we too are his offspring.’ 29 So since we are God’s offspring, we should not think the deity is like gold or silver or stone, an image made by human skill and imagination. 30 Therefore, although God has overlooked such times of ignorance, he now commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because he has set a day on which he is going to judge the world in righteousness, by a man whom he designated, having provided proof to everyone by raising him from the dead.”

32 Now when they heard about the resurrection from the dead, some began to scoff, but others said, “We will hear you again about this.” 33 So Paul left the Areopagus. 34 But some people joined him and believed. Among them were Dionysius, who was a member of the Areopagus, a woman named Damaris, and others with them.

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Psalm 144

Psalm 144

By David.

The Lord, my protector, deserves praise—
the one who trains my hands for battle,
and my fingers for war,
who loves me and is my stronghold,
my refuge and my deliverer,
my shield and the one in whom I take shelter,
who makes nations submit to me.
O Lord, of what importance is the human race, that you should notice them?
Of what importance is mankind, that you should be concerned about them?
People are like a vapor,
their days like a shadow that disappears.
O Lord, make the sky sink and come down!
Touch the mountains and make them smolder!
Hurl lightning bolts and scatter them!
Shoot your arrows and rout them!
Reach down from above!
Grab me and rescue me from the surging water,
from the power of foreigners,
who speak lies,
and make false promises.
O God, I will sing a new song to you!
Accompanied by a ten-stringed instrument, I will sing praises to you,
10 the one who delivers kings,
and rescued David his servant from a deadly sword.
11 Grab me and rescue me from the power of foreigners,
who speak lies,
and make false promises.
12 Then our sons will be like plants,
that quickly grow to full size.
Our daughters will be like corner pillars,
carved like those in a palace.
13 Our storehouses will be full,
providing all kinds of food.
Our sheep will multiply by the thousands
and fill our pastures.
14 Our cattle will be weighted down with produce.
No one will break through our walls,
no one will be taken captive,
and there will be no terrified cries in our city squares.
15 How blessed are the people who experience these things!
How blessed are the people whose God is the Lord!

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Proverbs 17:27-28

27 The truly wise person restrains his words,
and the one who stays calm is discerning.
28 Even a fool who remains silent is considered wise,
and the one who holds his tongue is deemed discerning.

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New English Translation (NET)

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