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2 Kings 15-16

Azariah’s Reign over Judah

15 In the twenty-seventh year of King Jeroboam’s reign over Israel, Amaziah’s son Azariah became king over Judah. He was sixteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned for fifty-two years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jecholiah, who was from Jerusalem. He did what the Lord approved, just as his father Amaziah had done. But the high places were not eliminated; the people continued to offer sacrifices and burn incense on the high places. The Lord afflicted the king with an illness; he suffered from a skin disease until the day he died. He lived in separate quarters, while his son Jotham was in charge of the palace and ruled over the people of the land.

The rest of the events of Azariah’s reign, including all his accomplishments, are recorded in the scroll called the Annals of the Kings of Judah. Azariah passed away and was buried with his ancestors in the City of David. His son Jotham replaced him as king.

Zechariah’s Reign over Israel

In the thirty-eighth year of King Azariah’s reign over Judah, Jeroboam’s son Zechariah became king over Israel. He reigned in Samaria for six months. He did evil in the sight of the Lord, as his ancestors had done. He did not repudiate the sinful ways of Jeroboam son of Nebat who encouraged Israel to sin. 10 Shallum son of Jabesh conspired against him; he assassinated him in Ibleam and took his place as king. 11 The rest of the events of Zechariah’s reign are recorded in the scroll called the Annals of the Kings of Israel. 12 His assassination brought to fulfillment the Lord’s word to Jehu, “Four generations of your descendants will rule over Israel.” That is exactly what happened.

13 Shallum son of Jabesh became king in the thirty-ninth year of King Uzziah’s reign over Judah. He reigned for one month in Samaria. 14 Menahem son of Gadi went up from Tirzah to Samaria and attacked Shallum son of Jabesh. He killed him and took his place as king. 15 The rest of the events of Shallum’s reign, including the conspiracy he organized, are recorded in the scroll called the Annals of the Kings of Israel. 16 At that time Menahem came from Tirzah and attacked Tiphsah. He struck down all who lived in the city and the surrounding territory, because they would not surrender. He even ripped open the pregnant women.

Menahem’s Reign over Israel

17 In the thirty-ninth year of King Azariah’s reign over Judah, Menahem son of Gadi became king over Israel. He reigned for twelve years in Samaria. 18 He did evil in the sight of the Lord; he did not repudiate the sinful ways of Jeroboam son of Nebat who encouraged Israel to sin.

During his reign, 19 Pul king of Assyria invaded the land, and Menahem paid him a thousand talents of silver to gain his support and to solidify his control of the kingdom. 20 Menahem got this silver by taxing all the wealthy men in Israel; he took fifty shekels of silver from each one of them and paid it to the king of Assyria. Then the king of Assyria left; he did not stay there in the land.

21 The rest of the events of Menahem’s reign, including all his accomplishments, are recorded in the scroll called the Annals of the Kings of Israel. 22 Menahem passed away and his son Pekahiah replaced him as king.

Pekahiah’s Reign over Israel

23 In the fiftieth year of King Azariah’s reign over Judah, Menahem’s son Pekahiah became king over Israel. He reigned in Samaria for two years. 24 He did evil in the sight of the Lord; he did not repudiate the sinful ways of Jeroboam son of Nebat who encouraged Israel to sin. 25 His officer Pekah son of Remaliah conspired against him. He and fifty Gileadites assassinated Pekahiah, as well as Argob and Arieh, in Samaria in the fortress of the royal palace. Pekah then took his place as king.

26 The rest of the events of Pekahiah’s reign, including all his accomplishments, are recorded in the scroll called the Annals of the Kings of Israel.

Pekah’s Reign over Israel

27 In the fifty-second year of King Azariah’s reign over Judah, Pekah son of Remaliah became king over Israel. He reigned in Samaria for twenty years. 28 He did evil in the sight of the Lord; he did not repudiate the sinful ways of Jeroboam son of Nebat who encouraged Israel to sin. 29 During Pekah’s reign over Israel, King Tiglath-pileser of Assyria came and captured Ijon, Abel Beth Maacah, Janoah, Kedesh, Hazor, Gilead, and Galilee, including all the territory of Naphtali. He deported the people to Assyria. 30 Hoshea son of Elah conspired against Pekah son of Remaliah. He assassinated him and took his place as king, in the twentieth year of the reign of Jotham son of Uzziah.

31 The rest of the events of Pekah’s reign, including all his accomplishments, are recorded in the scroll called the Annals of the Kings of Israel.

Jotham’s Reign over Judah

32 In the second year of the reign of Israel’s King Pekah son of Remaliah, Uzziah’s son Jotham became king over Judah. 33 He was twenty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned for sixteen years in Jerusalem. His mother was Jerusha the daughter of Zadok. 34 He did what the Lord approved, just as his father Uzziah had done. 35 But the high places were not eliminated; the people continued to offer sacrifices and burn incense on the high places. He built the Upper Gate to the Lord’s temple.

36 The rest of the events of Jotham’s reign, including his accomplishments, are recorded in the scroll called the Annals of the Kings of Judah. 37 In those days the Lord prompted King Rezin of Syria and Pekah son of Remaliah to attack Judah. 38 Jotham passed away and was buried with his ancestors in the city of his ancestor David. His son Ahaz replaced him as king.

Ahaz’s Reign over Judah

16 In the seventeenth year of the reign of Pekah son of Remaliah, Jotham’s son Ahaz became king over Judah. Ahaz was twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned for sixteen years in Jerusalem. He did not do what pleased the Lord his God, in contrast to his ancestor David. He followed in the footsteps of the kings of Israel. He passed his son through the fire, a horrible sin practiced by the nations whom the Lord drove out from before the Israelites. He offered sacrifices and burned incense on the high places, on the hills, and under every green tree.

At that time King Rezin of Syria and King Pekah son of Remaliah of Israel attacked Jerusalem. They besieged Ahaz, but were unable to conquer him. (At that time King Rezin of Syria recovered Elat for Syria; he drove the Judahites from there. Syrians arrived in Elat and live there to this very day.) Ahaz sent messengers to King Tiglath-pileser of Assyria, saying, “I am your servant and your dependent. March up and rescue me from the power of the king of Syria and the king of Israel, who have attacked me.” Then Ahaz took the silver and gold that were in the Lord’s temple and in the treasuries of the royal palace and sent it as tribute to the king of Assyria. The king of Assyria responded favorably to his request; he attacked Damascus and captured it. He deported the people to Kir and executed Rezin.

10 When King Ahaz went to meet with King Tiglath-pileser of Assyria in Damascus, he saw the altar there. King Ahaz sent to Uriah the priest a drawing of the altar and a blueprint for its design. 11 Uriah the priest built an altar in conformity to the plans King Ahaz had sent from Damascus. Uriah the priest finished it before King Ahaz arrived back from Damascus. 12 When the king arrived back from Damascus and saw the altar, he approached it and offered a sacrifice on it. 13 He offered his burnt sacrifice and his grain offering. He poured out his libation and sprinkled the blood from his peace offerings on the altar. 14 He moved the bronze altar that stood in the Lord’s presence from the front of the temple (between the altar and the Lord’s temple) and put it on the north side of the new altar. 15 King Ahaz ordered Uriah the priest, “On the large altar offer the morning burnt sacrifice, the evening grain offering, the royal burnt sacrifices and grain offering, the burnt sacrifice for all the people of Israel, their grain offering, and their libations. Sprinkle all the blood of the burnt sacrifice and other sacrifices on it. The bronze altar will be for my personal use.” 16 So Uriah the priest did exactly as King Ahaz ordered.

17 King Ahaz took off the frames of the movable stands, and removed the basins from them. He took “The Sea” down from the bronze bulls that supported it and put it on the pavement. 18 He also removed the Sabbath awning that had been built in the temple and the king’s outer entranceway, on account of the king of Assyria.

19 The rest of the events of Ahaz’s reign, including his accomplishments, are recorded in the scroll called the Annals of the Kings of Judah. 20 Ahaz passed away and was buried with his ancestors in the City of David. His son Hezekiah replaced him as king.

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Acts 19:13-41

13 But some itinerant Jewish exorcists tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were possessed by evil spirits, saying, “I sternly warn you by Jesus whom Paul preaches.” 14 (Now seven sons of a man named Sceva, a Jewish high priest, were doing this.) 15 But the evil spirit replied to them, “I know about Jesus and I am acquainted with Paul, but who are you?” 16 Then the man who was possessed by the evil spirit jumped on them and beat them all into submission. He prevailed against them so that they fled from that house naked and wounded. 17 This became known to all who lived in Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks; fear came over them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was praised. 18 Many of those who had believed came forward, confessing and making their deeds known. 19 Large numbers of those who had practiced magic collected their books and burned them up in the presence of everyone. When the value of the books was added up, it was found to total fifty thousand silver coins. 20 In this way the word of the Lord continued to grow in power and to prevail.

A Riot in Ephesus

21 Now after all these things had taken place, Paul resolved to go to Jerusalem, passing through Macedonia and Achaia. He said, “After I have been there, I must also see Rome.” 22 So after sending two of his assistants, Timothy and Erastus, to Macedonia, he himself stayed on for a while in the province of Asia.

23 At that time a great disturbance took place concerning the Way. 24 For a man named Demetrius, a silversmith who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought a great deal of business to the craftsmen. 25 He gathered these together, along with the workmen in similar trades, and said, “Men, you know that our prosperity comes from this business. 26 And you see and hear that this Paul has persuaded and turned away a large crowd, not only in Ephesus but in practically all of the province of Asia, by saying that gods made by hands are not gods at all. 27 There is danger not only that this business of ours will come into disrepute, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be regarded as nothing, and she whom all the province of Asia and the world worship will suffer the loss of her greatness.”

28 When they heard this they became enraged and began to shout, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” 29 The city was filled with the uproar, and the crowd rushed to the theater together, dragging with them Gaius and Aristarchus, the Macedonians who were Paul’s traveling companions. 30 But when Paul wanted to enter the public assembly, the disciples would not let him. 31 Even some of the provincial authorities who were his friends sent a message to him, urging him not to venture into the theater. 32 So then some were shouting one thing, some another, for the assembly was in confusion, and most of them did not know why they had met together. 33 Some of the crowd concluded it was about Alexander because the Jews had pushed him to the front. Alexander, gesturing with his hand, was wanting to make a defense before the public assembly. 34 But when they recognized that he was a Jew, they all shouted in unison, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” for about two hours. 35 After the city secretary quieted the crowd, he said, “Men of Ephesus, what person is there who does not know that the city of the Ephesians is the keeper of the temple of the great Artemis and of her image that fell from heaven? 36 So because these facts are indisputable, you must keep quiet and not do anything reckless. 37 For you have brought these men here who are neither temple robbers nor blasphemers of our goddess. 38 If then Demetrius and the craftsmen who are with him have a complaint against someone, the courts are open and there are proconsuls; let them bring charges against one another there. 39 But if you want anything in addition, it will have to be settled in a legal assembly. 40 For we are in danger of being charged with rioting today, since there is no cause we can give to explain this disorderly gathering.” 41 After he had said this, he dismissed the assembly.

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Psalm 147

Psalm 147

Praise the Lord,
for it is good to sing praises to our God!
Yes, praise is pleasant and appropriate!
The Lord rebuilds Jerusalem,
and gathers the exiles of Israel.
He heals the brokenhearted,
and bandages their wounds.
He counts the number of the stars;
he names all of them.
Our Lord is great and has awesome power;
there is no limit to his wisdom.
The Lord lifts up the oppressed,
but knocks the wicked to the ground.
Offer to the Lord a song of thanks!
Sing praises to our God to the accompaniment of a harp!
He covers the sky with clouds,
provides the earth with rain,
and causes grass to grow on the hillsides.
He gives food to the animals,
and to the young ravens when they chirp.
10 He is not enamored with the strength of a horse,
nor is he impressed by the warrior’s strong legs.
11 The Lord takes delight in his faithful followers,
and in those who wait for his loyal love.
12 Extol the Lord, O Jerusalem!
Praise your God, O Zion!
13 For he makes the bars of your gates strong.
He blesses your children within you.
14 He brings peace to your territory.
He abundantly provides for you the best grain.
15 He sends his command through the earth;
swiftly his order reaches its destination.
16 He sends the snow that is white like wool;
he spreads the frost that is white like ashes.
17 He throws his hailstones like crumbs.
Who can withstand the cold wind he sends?
18 He then orders it all to melt;
he breathes on it, and the water flows.
19 He proclaims his word to Jacob,
his statutes and regulations to Israel.
20 He has not done so with any other nation;
they are not aware of his regulations.
Praise the Lord!

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Proverbs 18:4-5

The words of a person’s mouth are like deep waters,
and the fountain of wisdom is like a flowing brook.
It is terrible to show partiality to the wicked,
by depriving a righteous man of justice.

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New English Translation (NET)

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