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2 Chronicles 30-31

Hezekiah’s Passover

30 Then Hezekiah sent word to all Israel and Judah, and wrote letters to Ephraim and Manasseh as well, inviting them to the Lord’s temple in Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover of the Lord God of Israel. The king, his officials, and the entire Jerusalem congregation had decided to celebrate Passover in the second month.[a] They had been unable to celebrate it at the usual time because the priests had failed to make themselves holy in sufficient numbers, and the people hadn’t gathered at Jerusalem. Since the plan seemed good to the king and the entire congregation, they made arrangements to circulate an announcement throughout all Israel, from Beer-sheba to Dan, to come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover of the Lord God of Israel, because they hadn’t often kept it as written. Under the authority of the king, runners took letters from the king and his officials throughout all Israel and Judah, which read:

People of Israel! Return to the Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, so that he may return to those of you who remain, who have escaped capture by the Assyrian kings. Don’t be like your ancestors and relatives, who were unfaithful to the Lord, the God of their ancestors, so that he made them an object of horror as you can see for yourselves. So don’t be stubborn like your ancestors. Surrender to the Lord! Come to God’s sanctuary, which he has made holy forever, and serve the Lord your God so that he won’t be angry with you any longer. When you return to the Lord, your relatives and your children will receive mercy from their captors and be allowed to return to this land. The Lord your God is merciful and compassionate. He won’t withdraw his presence from you if you return to him.

10 So the runners went from town to town in Ephraim and Manasseh, all the way to Zebulun. But they were laughed at and made fun of. 11 Even so, some people from Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun were submissive and came to Jerusalem. 12 Moreover, God’s power was at work in Judah, unifying them to do what the king and his officials had ordered by the Lord’s command.

13 A huge crowd gathered in Jerusalem to celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread in the second month. A very large congregation gathered. 14 First, they removed the altars in Jerusalem, and hauled off the incense altars and dumped them in the Kidron Valley. 15 They slaughtered the Passover lambs on the fourteenth day of the second month. Ashamed of themselves, the priests and the Levites made themselves holy and brought entirely burned offerings to the Lord’s temple. 16 They now took their places as laid out in the Instruction from Moses the man of God, and the priests splashed the blood they received from the Levites against the altar. 17 Since many in the congregation hadn’t made themselves holy, the Levites slaughtered the Passover lambs, making them holy to the Lord for all who weren’t ceremonially clean. 18 This included most of those who had come from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun—people who hadn’t purified themselves and so hadn’t eaten the Passover meal in the prescribed way. But Hezekiah prayed for them: “May the good Lord forgive 19 everyone who has decided to seek the true God, the Lord, the God of their ancestors, even though they aren’t ceremonially clean by sanctuary standards.” 20 The Lord heard Hezekiah and healed the people. 21 So the Israelites in Jerusalem joyfully celebrated the Festival of Unleavened Bread for seven days, with the Levites and the priests praising the Lord every day, accompanied by the Lord’s mighty instruments. 22 Hezekiah congratulated all the Levites who had performed so skillfully for the Lord. They feasted throughout the seven days of the festival, sacrificing well-being offerings and praising the Lord, the God of their ancestors.

23 Then the whole congregation agreed to celebrate another seven days, which they joyfully did. 24 Judah’s King Hezekiah contributed one thousand bulls and seven thousand sheep for the congregation, while the officials provided another thousand bulls and ten thousand sheep, and great numbers of priests made themselves holy. 25 Then the whole congregation of Judah rejoiced, as did the priests and the Levites, the whole congregation from Israel, the immigrants who had come from the land of Israel, and those who lived in Judah. 26 There was great joy in Jerusalem. Nothing like this had taken place in Jerusalem since the days of Israel’s King Solomon, David’s son. 27 Then the levitical priests blessed the people, and their voice was heard when their prayer reached God’s holy dwelling in heaven.

31 When all of these things were finished, all of the Israelites who were present went out to the cities of Judah, smashed the sacred pillars, cut down the sacred poles,[b] and completely destroyed the shrines and altars throughout Judah as well as Benjamin, Ephraim, and Manasseh. Then all the Israelites returned to their individual homes in their own cities.

Hezekiah’s reform

Hezekiah reappointed the priests and the Levites, each to their divisions and their tasks, to make entirely burned offerings and well-being sacrifices, to serve, to give thanks, and to offer praise in the gates of the Lord’s camp. As his portion, the king personally contributed the entirely burned offerings for the morning and evening sacrifices, as well as the entirely burned offerings for the Sabbaths, new moons, and festivals, as written in the Lord’s Instruction. He ordered the people living in Jerusalem to provide the required portion for the priests and the Levites so they could devote themselves to the Lord’s Instruction. As soon as the order was issued, the Israelites generously gave the best of their grain, new wine, oil, honey, and all their crops—a tenth of everything, a huge amount. The people of Israel and Judah, living in the cities of Judah, also brought in a tenth of their herds and flocks and a tenth of the items that had been dedicated to the Lord their God, stacking it up in piles. They began stacking up the piles in the third month[c] and finished them in the seventh.[d] When Hezekiah and the officials saw the piles, they blessed the Lord and his people Israel.

When Hezekiah asked the priests and Levites about the piles, 10 the chief priest Azariah, who was from Zadok’s family, answered, “Ever since the people started bringing contributions to the Lord’s temple we’ve had enough to eat with plenty to spare. The Lord has definitely blessed his people! There’s a lot left over.”

11 So Hezekiah ordered them to prepare storerooms in the Lord’s temple. When they finished preparing them, 12 the priests conscientiously brought in the contributions, the tenth-part gifts, and the dedicated things. Conaniah, a Levite, was put in charge, assisted by his brother Shimei, 13 while Jehiel, Azaziah, Nahath, Asahel, Jerimoth, Jozabad, Eliel, Ismachiah, Mahath, and Benaiah served as supervisors under them, as appointed by King Hezekiah and Azariah the official in charge of God’s temple. 14 The Levite Kore, Imnah’s son, who was keeper of the east gate, was in charge of the spontaneous gifts to God. He was responsible for distributing the contribution reserved for the Lord and the dedicated gifts. 15 Eden, Miniamin, Jeshua, Shemaiah, Amariah, and Shecaniah faithfully assisted him regarding[e] the priests by distributing the portions to their relatives, old and young alike, by divisions. 16 Additionally, they also distributed daily rations to those males, registered by genealogy, three years old and older, all who entered the Lord’s temple to carry out their daily duties as their divisions required. 17 They also distributed to those priests registered by their families, and to Levites 20 years of age and older according to their divisional responsibilities. 18 The official genealogy included all their small children, their wives, their sons, and their daughters—the entire congregation—for they had faithfully made themselves holy. 19 As for Aaron’s descendants, the priests who lived in the outskirts of the cities, men were assigned to distribute portions to every male among the priests and to every Levite listed in the genealogical records. 20 This is what Hezekiah did throughout all Judah, doing what the Lord his God considered good, right, and true. 21 Everything that Hezekiah began to do for the service of God’s temple, whether by the Instruction or the commands, in order to seek his God, he did successfully and with all his heart.

Footnotes:

  1. 2 Chronicles 30:2 April–May, Iyar
  2. 2 Chronicles 31:1 Heb asherim, perhaps objects devoted to the goddess Asherah
  3. 2 Chronicles 31:7 May–June, Sivan
  4. 2 Chronicles 31:7 September–October, Tishrei
  5. 2 Chronicles 31:15 Or with the assistance of, cf LXX; MT in the cities of
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Romans 15:1-22

15 We who are powerful need to be patient with the weakness of those who don’t have power, and not please ourselves. Each of us should please our neighbors for their good in order to build them up. Christ didn’t please himself, but, as it is written, The insults of those who insulted you fell on me.[a] Whatever was written in the past was written for our instruction so that we could have hope through endurance and through the encouragement of the scriptures. May the God of endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude toward each other, similar to Christ Jesus’ attitude. That way you can glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ together with one voice.

So welcome each other, in the same way that Christ also welcomed you, for God’s glory. I’m saying that Christ became a servant of those who are circumcised for the sake of God’s truth, in order to confirm the promises given to the ancestors, and so that the Gentiles could glorify God for his mercy. As it is written,

Because of this I will confess you among the Gentiles,
    and I will sing praises to your name.[b]

10 And again, it says,

Rejoice, Gentiles, with his people.[c]

11 And again,

Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles,
    and all the people should sing his praises.[d]

12 And again, Isaiah says,

There will be a root of Jesse,
    who will also rise to rule the Gentiles.
        The Gentiles will place their hope in him.[e]

13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in faith so that you overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Paul’s ministry to the Gentiles

14 My brothers and sisters, I myself am convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and are able to teach each other. 15 But I’ve written to you in a sort of daring way, partly to remind you of what you already know. I’m writing to you in this way because of the grace that was given to me by God. 16 It helps me to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles. I’m working as a priest of God’s gospel so that the offering of the Gentiles can be acceptable and made holy by the Holy Spirit. 17 So in Christ Jesus I brag about things that have to do with God. 18 I don’t dare speak about anything except what Christ has done through me to bring about the obedience of the Gentiles. He did it by what I’ve said and what I’ve done, 19 by the power of signs and wonders, and by the power of God’s Spirit. So I’ve completed the circuit of preaching Christ’s gospel from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum. 20 In this way, I have a goal to preach the gospel where they haven’t heard of Christ yet, so that I won’t be building on someone else’s foundation. 21 Instead, as it’s written, Those who hadn’t been told about him will see, and those who hadn’t heard will understand.[f]

Travel plans to visit Rome

22 That’s why I’ve been stopped so many times from coming to see you.

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Psalm 25:1-15

Psalm 25[a]

Of David.

25 I offer my life[b] to you, Lord.
    My God, I trust you.
Please don’t let me be put to shame!
    Don’t let my enemies rejoice over me!
For that matter,
    don’t let anyone who hopes in you
        be put to shame;
    instead, let those who are treacherous without excuse be put to shame.

Make your ways known to me, Lord;
    teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth—teach it to me—
    because you are the God who saves me.
        I put my hope in you all day long.
Lord, remember your compassion and faithful love—
    they are forever!
But don’t remember the sins of my youth or my wrongdoing.
    Remember me only according to your faithful love
        for the sake of your goodness, Lord.

The Lord is good and does the right thing;
    he teaches sinners which way they should go.
God guides the weak to justice,
    teaching them his way.
10 All the Lord’s paths are loving and faithful
    for those who keep his covenant and laws.
11 Please, for the sake of your good name, Lord, forgive my sins, which are many!

12 Where are the ones who honor the Lord?
    God will teach them which path to take.
13 They will live a good life,
    and their descendants will possess the land.
14 The Lord counsels those who honor him;
    he makes his covenant known to them.
15 My eyes are always looking to the Lord
    because he will free my feet from the net.

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 25:1 Ps 25 is an alphabetic acrostic poem; see the note at Pss 9–10.
  2. Psalm 25:1 Or soul; also in 25:13, 20
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Proverbs 20:13-15

13 Don’t love sleep or you will be poor;
    stay alert and you will have plenty to eat.
14 The buyer says, “Bad, bad,”
    but then goes away and brags.
15 Much gold and many pearls exist,
    but wise speech is the most precious jewel.

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Common English Bible (CEB)

Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible

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