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2 Kings 17:1-18:12; Acts 20:1-38; Psalms 148:1-14; Proverbs 18:6-7 (New English Translation)

2 Kings 17:1-18:12

Hoshea’s Reign over Israel

17 In the twelfth year of King Ahaz’s reign over Judah, Hoshea son of Elah became king over Israel. He reigned in Samaria for nine years. He did evil in the sight of the Lord, but not to the same degree as the Israelite kings who preceded him. King Shalmaneser of Assyria threatened him; Hoshea became his subject and paid him tribute. The king of Assyria discovered that Hoshea was planning a revolt. Hoshea had sent messengers to King So of Egypt and had not sent his annual tribute to the king of Assyria. So the king of Assyria arrested him and imprisoned him. The king of Assyria marched through the whole land. He attacked Samaria and besieged it for three years. In the ninth year of Hoshea’s reign, the king of Assyria captured Samaria and deported the people of Israel to Assyria. He settled them in Halah, along the Habor (the river of Gozan), and in the cities of the Medes.

A Summary of Israel’s Sinful History

This happened because the Israelites sinned against the Lord their God, who brought them up from the land of Egypt and freed them from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. They worshiped other gods; they observed the practices of the nations whom the Lord had driven out from before Israel, and followed the example of the kings of Israel. The Israelites said things about the Lord their God that were not right. They built high places in all their cities, from the watchtower to the fortress. 10 They set up sacred pillars and Asherah poles on every high hill and under every green tree. 11 They burned incense on all the high places just like the nations whom the Lord had driven away from before them. Their evil practices made the Lord angry. 12 They worshiped the disgusting idols in blatant disregard of the Lord’s command.

13 The Lord solemnly warned Israel and Judah through all his prophets and all the seers, “Turn back from your evil ways; obey my commandments and rules that are recorded in the law. I ordered your ancestors to keep this law and sent my servants the prophets to remind you of its demands.” 14 But they did not pay attention and were as stubborn as their ancestors, who had not trusted the Lord their God. 15 They rejected his rules, the covenant he had made with their ancestors, and the laws he had commanded them to obey. They paid allegiance to worthless idols, and so became worthless to the Lord. They copied the practices of the surrounding nations in blatant disregard of the Lord’s command. 16 They abandoned all the commandments of the Lord their God; they made two metal calves and an Asherah pole, bowed down to all the stars in the sky, and worshiped Baal. 17 They passed their sons and daughters through the fire, and practiced divination and omen reading. They committed themselves to doing evil in the sight of the Lord and made him angry.

18 So the Lord was furious with Israel and rejected them; only the tribe of Judah was left. 19 Judah also failed to keep the commandments of the Lord their God; they followed Israel’s example. 20 So the Lord rejected all of Israel’s descendants; he humiliated them and handed them over to robbers, until he had thrown them from his presence. 21 He tore Israel away from David’s dynasty, and Jeroboam son of Nebat became their king. Jeroboam drove Israel away from the Lord and encouraged them to commit a serious sin. 22 The Israelites followed in the sinful ways of Jeroboam son of Nebat and did not repudiate them. 23 Finally the Lord rejected Israel just as he had warned he would do through all his servants the prophets. Israel was deported from its land to Assyria and remains there to this very day.

The King of Assyria Populates Israel with Foreigners

24 The king of Assyria brought foreigners from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Sepharvaim and settled them in the cities of Samaria in place of the Israelites. They took possession of Samaria and lived in its cities. 25 When they first moved in, they did not worship the Lord. So the Lord sent lions among them and the lions were killing them. 26 The king of Assyria was told, “The nations whom you deported and settled in the cities of Samaria do not know the requirements of the God of the land, so he has sent lions among them. They are killing the people because they do not know the requirements of the God of the land.” 27 So the king of Assyria ordered, “Take back one of the priests whom you deported from there. He must settle there and teach them the requirements of the God of the land.” 28 So one of the priests whom they had deported from Samaria went back and settled in Bethel. He taught them how to worship the Lord.

29 But each of these nations made its own gods and put them in the shrines on the high places that the people of Samaria had made. Each nation did this in the cities where they lived. 30 The people from Babylon made Succoth Benoth, the people from Cuth made Nergal, the people from Hamath made Ashima, 31 the Avvites made Nibhaz and Tartak, and the Sepharvites burned their sons in the fire as an offering to Adrammelech and Anammelech, the gods of Sepharvaim. 32 At the same time they worshiped the Lord. They appointed some of their own people to serve as priests in the shrines on the high places. 33 They were worshiping the Lord and at the same time serving their own gods in accordance with the practices of the nations from which they had been deported.

34 To this very day they observe their earlier practices. They do not worship the Lord; they do not obey the rules, regulations, law, and commandments that the Lord gave the descendants of Jacob, whom he renamed Israel. 35 The Lord made an agreement with them and instructed them, “You must not worship other gods. Do not bow down to them, serve them, or offer sacrifices to them. 36 Instead you must worship the Lord, who brought you up from the land of Egypt by his great power and military ability; bow down to him and offer sacrifices to him. 37 You must carefully obey at all times the rules, regulations, law, and commandments he wrote down for you. You must not worship other gods. 38 You must never forget the agreement I made with you, and you must not worship other gods. 39 Instead you must worship the Lord your God; then he will rescue you from the power of all your enemies.” 40 But they pay no attention; instead they observe their earlier practices. 41 These nations are worshiping the Lord and at the same time serving their idols; their sons and grandsons do just as their fathers have done, to this very day.

Hezekiah Becomes King of Judah

18 In the third year of the reign of Israel’s King Hoshea son of Elah, Ahaz’s son Hezekiah became king over Judah. He was twenty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother was Abi, the daughter of Zechariah. He did what the Lord approved, just as his ancestor David had done. He eliminated the high places, smashed the sacred pillars to bits, and cut down the Asherah pole. He also demolished the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for up to that time the Israelites had been offering incense to it; it was called Nehushtan. He trusted in the Lord God of Israel; in this regard there was none like him among the kings of Judah either before or after. He was loyal to the Lord and did not abandon him. He obeyed the commandments which the Lord had given to Moses. The Lord was with him; he succeeded in all his endeavors. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and refused to submit to him. He defeated the Philistines as far as Gaza and its territory, from the watchtower to the city fortress.

In the fourth year of King Hezekiah’s reign (it was the seventh year of the reign of Israel’s King Hoshea, son of Elah), King Shalmaneser of Assyria marched up against Samaria and besieged it. 10 After three years he captured it (in the sixth year of Hezekiah’s reign); in the ninth year of King Hoshea’s reign over Israel Samaria was captured. 11 The king of Assyria deported the people of Israel to Assyria. He settled them in Halah, along the Habor (the river of Gozan), and in the cities of the Medes. 12 This happened because they did not obey the Lord their God and broke his agreement with them. They did not pay attention to and obey all that Moses, the Lord’s servant, had commanded.

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Acts 20

Paul Travels Through Macedonia and Greece

20 After the disturbance had ended, Paul sent for the disciples, and after encouraging them and saying farewell, he left to go to Macedonia. After he had gone through those regions and spoken many words of encouragement to the believers there, he came to Greece, where he stayed for three months. Because the Jews had made a plot against him as he was intending to sail for Syria, he decided to return through Macedonia. Paul was accompanied by Sopater son of Pyrrhus from Berea, Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica, Gaius from Derbe, and Timothy, as well as Tychicus and Trophimus from the province of Asia. These had gone on ahead and were waiting for us in Troas. We sailed away from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread, and within five days we came to the others in Troas, where we stayed for seven days. On the first day of the week, when we met to break bread, Paul began to speak to the people, and because he intended to leave the next day, he extended his message until midnight. (Now there were many lamps in the upstairs room where we were meeting.) A young man named Eutychus, who was sitting in the window, was sinking into a deep sleep while Paul continued to speak for a long time. Fast asleep, he fell down from the third story and was picked up dead. 10 But Paul went down, threw himself on the young man, put his arms around him, and said, “Do not be distressed, for he is still alive!” 11 Then Paul went back upstairs, and after he had broken bread and eaten, he talked with them a long time, until dawn. Then he left. 12 They took the boy home alive and were greatly comforted.

The Voyage to Miletus

13 We went on ahead to the ship and put out to sea for Assos, intending to take Paul aboard there, for he had arranged it this way. He himself was intending to go there by land. 14 When he met us in Assos, we took him aboard and went to Mitylene. 15 We set sail from there, and on the following day we arrived off Chios. The next day we approached Samos, and the day after that we arrived at Miletus. 16 For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus so as not to spend time in the province of Asia, for he was hurrying to arrive in Jerusalem, if possible, by the day of Pentecost. 17 From Miletus he sent a message to Ephesus, telling the elders of the church to come to him.

18 When they arrived, he said to them, “You yourselves know how I lived the whole time I was with you, from the first day I set foot in the province of Asia, 19 serving the Lord with all humility and with tears, and with the trials that happened to me because of the plots of the Jews. 20 You know that I did not hold back from proclaiming to you anything that would be helpful, and from teaching you publicly and from house to house, 21 testifying to both Jews and Greeks about repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus. 22 And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem without knowing what will happen to me there, 23 except that the Holy Spirit warns me in town after town that imprisonment and persecutions are waiting for me. 24 But I do not consider my life worth anything to myself, so that I may finish my task and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the good news of God’s grace.

25 “And now I know that none of you among whom I went around proclaiming the kingdom will see me again. 26 Therefore I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of you all. 27 For I did not hold back from announcing to you the whole purpose of God. 28 Watch out for yourselves and for all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God that he obtained with the blood of his own Son. 29 I know that after I am gone fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Even from among your own group men will arise, teaching perversions of the truth to draw the disciples away after them. 31 Therefore be alert, remembering that night and day for three years I did not stop warning each one of you with tears. 32 And now I entrust you to God and to the message of his grace. This message is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. 33 I have desired no one’s silver or gold or clothing. 34 You yourselves know that these hands of mine provided for my needs and the needs of those who were with me. 35 By all these things, I have shown you that by working in this way we must help the weak, and remember the words of the Lord Jesus that he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

36 When he had said these things, he knelt down with them all and prayed. 37 They all began to weep loudly, and hugged Paul and kissed him, 38 especially saddened by what he had said, that they were not going to see him again. Then they accompanied him to the ship.

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Psalm 148

Psalm 148

Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the sky!
Praise him in the heavens!
Praise him, all his angels!
Praise him, all his heavenly assembly!
Praise him, O sun and moon!
Praise him, all you shiny stars!
Praise him, O highest heaven,
and you waters above the sky!
Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for he gave the command and they came into existence.
He established them so they would endure;
he issued a decree that will not be revoked.
Praise the Lord from the earth,
you sea creatures and all you ocean depths,
O fire and hail, snow and clouds,
O stormy wind that carries out his orders,
you mountains and all you hills,
you fruit trees and all you cedars,
10 you animals and all you cattle,
you creeping things and birds,
11 you kings of the earth and all you nations,
you princes and all you leaders on the earth,
12 you young men and young women,
you elderly, along with you children!
13 Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for his name alone is exalted;
his majesty extends over the earth and sky.
14 He has made his people victorious,
and given all his loyal followers reason to praise—
the Israelites, the people who are close to him.
Praise the Lord!

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Proverbs 18:6-7

The lips of a fool enter into strife,
and his mouth invites a flogging.
The mouth of a fool is his ruin,
and his lips are a snare for his life.

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New English Translation (NET)

NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://netbible.com All rights reserved.

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