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2 Kings 17:1-18:12

King Hoshea of Israel

17 In Ahaz’s twelfth year as king of Judah, Hoshea, son of Elah, began to rule as king of Israel in Samaria. He ruled for nine years. He did what Yahweh considered evil, but he didn’t do what the kings of Israel before him had done.

The Fall of Samaria

King Shalmaneser of Assyria defeated Hoshea, who became his servant and was required to make annual payments to him. The king of Assyria found Hoshea to be a traitor. (Hoshea had sent messengers to King Dais of Egypt and had stopped making annual payments to the king of Assyria.) So the king of Assyria arrested him and put him in prison. Then the king of Assyria attacked the entire country. He attacked Samaria and blockaded it for three years. In Hoshea’s ninth year as king of Israel, the king of Assyria captured Samaria and took the Israelites to Assyria as captives. He settled them in Halah, along the Habor River in Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.

The Israelites sinned against Yahweh their Elohim, who brought them out of Egypt and rescued them from the power of Pharaoh (the king of Egypt). They worshiped other gods and lived by the customs of the nations that Yahweh had forced out of the Israelites’ way. They also did what their kings wanted them to do. The Israelites secretly did things against Yahweh their Elohim that weren’t right:

They built for themselves illegal places of worship in all of their cities, from the smallest watchtower to the largest fortified city.

10 They set up sacred stones and poles dedicated to the goddess Asherah on every high hill and under every large tree.

11 At all the illegal places of worship, they sacrificed in the same way as the nations that Yahweh had removed from the land ahead of them.

They did evil things and made Yahweh furious.

12 They served idols, although Yahweh had said, “Never do this.”

13 Yahweh had warned Israel and Judah through every kind of prophet and seer,[a] “Turn from your evil ways, and obey my commands and decrees as I commanded your ancestors in all my teachings, the commands I sent to you through my servants the prophets.” 14 But they refused to listen. They became as impossible to deal with as their ancestors who refused to trust Yahweh their Elohim. 15 They rejected his decrees, the promise[b] he made to their ancestors, and the warnings he had given them. They went after worthless idols and became as worthless as the idols. They behaved like the nations around them, although Yahweh had commanded them not to do that. 16 They abandoned all the commands of Yahweh their Elohim:

They made two calves out of cast metal.

They made a pole dedicated to the goddess Asherah.

They prayed to the entire army of heaven.

They worshiped Baal.

17 They sacrificed their sons and daughters by burning them alive.

They practiced black magic and cast evil spells.

They sold themselves by doing what Yahweh considered evil, and they made him furious.

18 Yahweh became so angry with Israel that he removed them from his sight. Only the tribe of Judah was left. 19 Even Judah didn’t obey the commands of Yahweh their Elohim but lived according to Israel’s customs. 20 So Yahweh rejected all of Israel’s descendants, made them suffer, handed them over to those who looted their property, and finally turned away from Israel.

21 When he tore Israel away from the family of David, the people of Israel made Jeroboam (Nebat’s son) king. Jeroboam forced Israel away from Yahweh and led them to commit a serious sin. 22 The Israelites followed all the sins Jeroboam committed and never turned away from them. 23 Finally, Yahweh turned away from Israel as he had said he would through all his servants, the prophets. So the people of Israel were taken from their land to Assyria as captives, and they are still there today.

Assyria Brings Foreign People to Settle in Israel

24 The king of Assyria brought people from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Sepharvaim and settled them in the cities of Samaria in place of the Israelites. They took over Samaria and lived in its cities.

25 When they first came to live there, they didn’t worship Yahweh. So Yahweh sent lions to kill some of them. 26 Then someone said to the king of Assyria, “The people you took as captives and settled in the cities of Samaria don’t know the customs of the god of that country, so he sent lions. Now the lions are killing them because they don’t know the customs of the god of this country.”

27 The king of Assyria gave this command: “Bring one of the priests you captured from there. Let him go back to teach them the customs of the god of that country.” 28 So one of the priests who had been taken prisoner from Samaria went to live in Bethel. He taught them how to worship Yahweh.

29 But each group that settled in Samaria continued to make its own gods. They put them at the illegal places of worship, which the people of Samaria had made. Each group 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 people from Avva made Nibhaz and Tartak.

The people from Sepharvaim burned their children for Adrammelech and Anammelech, the gods of Sepharvaim.

32 So while these people were worshiping Yahweh, they also appointed all kinds of people to serve as priests for the shrines at their illegal places of worship. 33 They worshiped Yahweh but also served their own gods according to the customs of the nations from which they had come.

34 Today they are still following their customs, as they’ve done from the beginning. They don’t fear Yahweh or live by the decrees, customs, teachings, or commands that Yahweh gave to the descendants of Jacob (whom he named Israel). 35 When Yahweh made a promise to Israel, he commanded, “Never worship other gods, bow down to them, serve them, or sacrifice to them. 36 Instead, worship Yahweh, who used his great power and a mighty arm to bring you out of Egypt. Bow down to Yahweh, and sacrifice to him. 37 Faithfully obey the laws, rules, teachings, and commands that he wrote for you: ‘Never worship other gods. 38 Never forget the promise I made to you. Never worship other gods. 39 Instead, worship Yahweh your Elohim, and he will rescue you from your enemies.’”

40 The people of Israel had refused to listen and made up their own rules, as they had done from the beginning. 41 These other nations worshiped Yahweh but also served their own idols. So did their children and their grandchildren. They still do whatever their ancestors did.

King Hezekiah of Judah

18 King Hoshea, son of Elah, had been king in Israel for three years when King Hezekiah, son of Ahaz of Judah, began to rule as king. Hezekiah was 25 years old when he began to rule, and he ruled for 29 years in Jerusalem. His mother was Abi, daughter of Zechariah.

He did what Yahweh considered right, as his ancestor David had done. He got rid of the illegal places of worship, crushed the sacred stones, and cut down the poles dedicated to the goddess Asherah. He even crushed the bronze snake that Moses had made because up to that time the Israelites had been burning incense to it. They called it Nehushtan. Hezekiah trusted Yahweh Elohim of Israel. No king among all the kings of Judah was like Hezekiah. He was loyal to Yahweh and never turned away from him. He obeyed the commands that Yahweh had given through Moses, so Yahweh was with him. He succeeded in everything he tried: He rebelled against the king of Assyria and wouldn’t serve him anymore. He conquered the Philistines from the smallest watchtower to the largest fortified city all the way to Gaza and its territory.

The Fall of Samaria

In Hezekiah’s fourth year as king (which was the seventh year in the reign of King Hoshea, son of Elah of Israel) King Shalmaneser of Assyria attacked Samaria, blockaded it, 10 and captured it at the end of three years. Samaria was taken in Hezekiah’s sixth year as king (which was Hoshea’s ninth year as king of Israel). 11 The king of Assyria took the Israelites to Assyria as captives. He put them in Halah, along the Habor River in Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes. 12 This happened because they refused to obey Yahweh their Elohim and disregarded the conditions of the promise[c] he made to them. They refused to obey everything that Moses, Yahweh’s servant, had commanded.

Footnotes:

  1. 2 Kings 17:13 A seer is a prophet.
  2. 2 Kings 17:15 Or “covenant.”
  3. 2 Kings 18:12 Or “covenant.”
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Acts 20

20 When the uproar was over, Paul sent for the disciples, encouraged them, said goodbye, and left for Macedonia. He went through that region and spoke many words of encouragement to the people. Then he went to Greece and stayed there for three months.

Paul in Troas

When Paul was going to board a ship for Syria, he found out that the Jews were plotting to kill him. So he decided to go back through Macedonia. Sopater (son of Pyrrhus) from Berea, Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica, Gaius from Derbe, Timothy, and Tychicus and Trophimus from the province of Asia accompanied Paul. All these men went ahead and were waiting for us in Troas. After the Festival of Unleavened Bread, we boarded a ship at Philippi. Five days later we joined them in Troas and stayed there for seven days.

On Sunday we met to break bread. Paul was discussing Scripture with the people. Since he intended to leave the next day, he kept talking until midnight. (Many lamps were lit in the upstairs room where we were meeting.)

A young man named Eutychus was sitting in a window. As Paul was talking on and on, Eutychus was gradually falling asleep. Finally, overcome by sleep, he fell from the third story and was dead when they picked him up. 10 Paul went to him, took him into his arms, and said, “Don’t worry! He’s alive!” 11 Then Eutychus went upstairs again, broke the bread, and ate. Paul talked with the people for a long time, until sunrise, and then left.

12 The people took the boy home. They were greatly relieved that he was alive.

Paul’s Trip to Miletus

13 We went ahead to the ship and sailed for the city of Assos. At Assos, we were going to pick up Paul. He had made these arrangements, since he had planned to walk overland to Assos. 14 When Paul met us in Assos, we took him on board and went to the city of Mitylene. 15 We sailed from there. On the following day we approached the island of Chios. The next day we went by the island of Samos, and on the next day we arrived at the city of Miletus. 16 Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus to avoid spending time in the province of Asia. He was in a hurry to get to Jerusalem for the day of Pentecost, if that was possible.

Paul Meets with the Spiritual Leaders from Ephesus

17 From Miletus Paul sent messengers to the city of Ephesus and called the spiritual leaders[a] of the church to meet with him in Miletus. 18 When they were with him, he said to them, “You know how I spent all my time with you from the first day I arrived in the province of Asia. 19 I humbly served the Lord, often with tears in my eyes. I served the Lord during the difficult times I went through when the Jews plotted against me. 20 I didn’t avoid telling you anything that would help you, and I didn’t avoid teaching you publicly and from house to house. 21 I warned Jews and Greeks to change the way they think and act and to believe in our Lord Yeshua.

22 “I am determined to go to Jerusalem now. I don’t know what will happen to me there. 23 However, the Holy Spirit warns me in every city that imprisonment and suffering are waiting for me. 24 But I don’t place any value on my own life. I want to finish the race I’m running. I want to carry out the mission I received from the Lord Yeshua—the mission of testifying to the Good News of God’s kindness.[b]

25 “Now I know that none of you whom I told about the kingdom of God will see me again. 26 Therefore, I declare to you today that I am not responsible for the spiritual death of any of you. 27 I didn’t avoid telling you the whole plan of God. 28 Pay attention to yourselves and to the entire flock in which the Holy Spirit has placed you as bishops[c] to be shepherds for God’s church which he acquired with his own blood. 29 I know that fierce wolves will come to you after I leave, and they won’t spare the flock. 30 Some of your own men will come forward and say things that distort the truth. They will do this to lure disciples into following them. 31 So be alert! Remember that I instructed each of you for three years, day and night, at times with tears in my eyes.

32 “I am now entrusting you to God and to his message that tells how kind he is. That message can help you grow and can give you the inheritance that is shared by all of God’s holy people.

33 “I never wanted anyone’s silver, gold, or clothes. 34 You know that I worked to support myself and those who were with me. 35 I have given you an example that by working hard like this we should help the weak. We should remember the words that the Lord Yeshua said, ‘Giving gifts is more satisfying than receiving them.’”

36 When Paul had finished speaking, he knelt down and prayed with all of them. 37 Everyone cried a lot as they put their arms around Paul and kissed him. 38 The thought of not seeing Paul again hurt them most of all. Then they took Paul to the ship.

Footnotes:

  1. Acts 20:17 Or “pastors,” or “elders.”
  2. Acts 20:24 Or “grace.”
  3. Acts 20:28 English equivalent difficult.
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Psalm 148

Psalm 148

Hallelujah!

Praise Yahweh from the heavens.
    Praise him in the heights above.
Praise him, all his angels.
    Praise him, his entire heavenly army.
Praise him, sun and moon.
    Praise him, all shining stars.
Praise him, you highest heaven
    and the water above the sky.
Let them praise the name of Yahweh
    because they were created by his command.
He set them in their places forever and ever.
    He made it a law that no one can break.

Praise Yahweh from the earth.
    Praise him, large sea creatures and all the ocean depths,
lightning and hail,
    snow and fog,
    strong winds that obey his commands,
mountains and all hills,
    fruit trees and all cedar trees,
10 wild animals and all domestic animals,
    crawling animals and birds,
11 kings of the earth and all its people,
    officials and all judges on the earth,
12 young men and women,
    old and young together.
13 Let them praise the name of Yahweh
    because his name is high above all others.
        His glory is above heaven and earth.
14 He has given his people a strong leader,[a]
    someone praiseworthy for his faithful ones,
        for the people of Israel, the people who are close to him.

Hallelujah!

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 148:14 Or “given his people strength.”
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Proverbs 18:6-7

By talking, a fool gets into an argument,
    and his mouth invites a beating.
A fool’s mouth is his ruin.
    His lips are a trap to his soul.

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Names of God Bible (NOG)

The Names of God Bible (without notes) © 2011 by Baker Publishing Group.

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