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2 Chronicles 26:1-28:27; Romans 13:1-14; Psalms 23:1-6; Proverbs 20:11 (Common English Bible)

2 Chronicles 26-28

Uzziah rules Judah

26 Then all the people of Judah took Uzziah,[a] who was 16 years old, and made him king after his father Amaziah. He rebuilt Eloth, restoring it to Judah after King Amaziah had lain down with his ancestors.

Uzziah was 16 years old when he became king, and he ruled for fifty-two years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jecoliah; she was from Jerusalem. He did what was right in the Lord’s eyes, just as his father Amaziah had done. He sought God as long as Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear[b] of God, was alive. And as long as he sought the Lord, God gave him success. He marched against the Philistines and broke down the walls of Gath, Jabneh, and Ashdod. Then he rebuilt towns near Ashdod and elsewhere among the Philistines. God helped him against the Philistines, the Arabs who inhabited Gur,[c] and the Meunites. The Meunites[d] paid taxes to Uzziah, whose fame spread even to Egypt because he had grown so powerful. He built towers in Jerusalem, at the Corner Gate, the Valley Gate, and at the Angle, and reinforced them. 10 He also built towers in the wilderness and dug many wells for his large herds in the lowlands and the plain. He had many workers who tended his farms and vineyards, because he loved the soil. 11 Uzziah had a standing army equipped for combat whose units went to war according to the number determined by the scribe Jeiel and Maaseiah, an officer under the authority of Hananiah, one of the king’s officials. 12 The grand total of family heads in charge of these courageous warriors was twenty-six hundred. 13 They commanded an army of three hundred seven thousand five hundred. They formed a powerful force that could support the king against the enemy. 14 Uzziah supplied the entire force with shields, spears, helmets, armor, bows, and sling stones. 15 He set up clever devices in Jerusalem on the towers and corners of the wall designed to shoot arrows and large stones. And so Uzziah’s fame spread far and wide, because he had received wonderful help until he became powerful.

16 But as soon as he became powerful, he grew so arrogant that he acted corruptly. He was unfaithful to the Lord his God by entering the Lord’s sanctuary to burn incense upon the incense altar. 17 The priest Azariah, accompanied by eighty other of the Lord’s courageous priests, went in after him 18 and confronted King Uzziah.

“You have no right, Uzziah,” he said, “to burn incense to the Lord! That privilege belongs to the priests, Aaron’s descendants, who have been ordained to burn incense. Get out of this holy place because you have been unfaithful! The Lord God won’t honor you for this.”

19 Then Uzziah, who already had a censer in his hand ready to burn the incense, became angry. While he was fuming at the priests, skin disease[e] erupted on his forehead in the presence of the priests before the incense altar in the Lord’s temple. 20 When Azariah the chief priest and all the other priests turned and saw the skin disease on his forehead, they rushed him out of there. Uzziah also was anxious to leave because the Lord had afflicted him. 21 King Uzziah had skin disease until the day he died. He lived in a separate house,[f] diseased in his skin, because he was barred from the Lord’s temple. His son Jotham supervised the palace administration and governed the people of the land. 22 The rest of Uzziah’s deeds, from beginning to end, were written down by the prophet Isaiah, Amoz’s son. 23 Uzziah died and was buried with his ancestors in a field belonging to the kings, because people said, “He had skin disease.” His son Jotham succeeded him as king.

Jotham rules

27 Jotham was 25 years old when he became king, and he ruled for sixteen years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jerushah; she was Zadok’s daughter. Jotham did what was right in the Lord’s eyes, just as his father Uzziah had done. Unlike Uzziah, Jotham didn’t enter the Lord’s temple. But the people continued their crooked practices. Jotham rebuilt the Upper Gate of the Lord’s temple and did extensive work on the wall of the elevated fortress.[g] He built towns in Judah’s highlands and fortresses and towers in the wooded areas. He fought against the king of the Ammonites and defeated the Ammonites. They paid him one hundred kikkars of silver, ten thousand kors[h] of wheat, and ten thousand kors of barley that year and for the next two years. Jotham was securely established because he maintained a faithful life before the Lord his God. The rest of Jotham’s deeds, including all his wars and accomplishments, are written in the official records of Israel’s and Judah’s kings. He was 25 years old when he became king, and he ruled for sixteen years in Jerusalem. Jotham lay down with his ancestors and was buried in David’s City. His son Ahaz succeeded him as king.

Ahaz rules

28 Ahaz was 20 years old when he became king, and he ruled for sixteen years in Jerusalem. He didn’t do what was right in the Lord’s eyes, unlike his ancestor David. Instead, he walked in the ways of Israel’s kings, making images of the Baals and burning incense in the Ben-hinnom Valley. He even burned his own sons alive, imitating the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites. He also sacrificed and burned incense at the shrines on every hill and beneath every shady tree. So the Lord his God handed him over to Aram’s king, who defeated him and carried off many prisoners, bringing them to Damascus. Ahaz was also handed over to Israel’s king, who defeated him with a severe beating. In Judah, Pekah, Remaliah’s son, killed one hundred twenty thousand warriors in the course of a single day because they had abandoned the Lord, God of their ancestors. An Ephraimite warrior named Zichri killed the king’s son Maaseiah, the palace administrator Azrikam, and Elkanah, the king’s second in command. The Israelites took captive two hundred thousand women, boys, and girls from their Judean relatives and seized enormous amounts of plunder, which they took back to Samaria.

One of the Lord’s prophets named Oded lived in Samaria. When the army arrived there, he went to meet them and said, “Don’t you see that the Lord God of your ancestors was angry with Judah and let you defeat them? But look what you’ve done! Your merciless slaughter of them stinks to high heaven! 10 And now you think you can enslave the men and women of Judah and Jerusalem? What about your own guilt before the Lord your God? 11 Listen to me! Send back the captives you took from your relatives, because the Lord is furious with you.”

12 At this, some of the Ephraimite leaders—Johanan’s son Azariah, Meshillemoth’s son Berechiah, Shallum’s son Jehizkiah, and Hadlai’s son Amasa—confronted those returning from battle. 13 “Don’t bring the captives here,” they told them. “Your plan will only add to our sin and guilt before the Lord. We’re already guilty enough, and great anger is already directed at Israel.” 14 So the warriors released the captives and brought the loot before the officers and the whole assembly. 15 Then people named for this task took charge of the captives and dressed everyone who was naked with items taken from the loot. They gave them clothing, sandals, food and drink, and bandaged their wounds. Everyone who couldn’t walk they placed on donkeys, and they brought them to Jericho, Palm City, near their Judean relatives. Then they returned to Samaria.

16 At that time King Ahaz sent for help from the king[i] of Assyria. 17 Once again, the Edomites had invaded Judah, defeating Judah and carrying off captives. 18 The Philistines had raided the towns in the lowlands and the arid southern plain of Judah, capturing Beth-shemesh, Aijalon, and Gederoth, along with Soco and its surrounding villages, Timnah and its surrounding villages, and Gimzo and its surrounding villages, and occupying all of these cities. 19 The Lord was humiliating Judah on account of Israel’s King Ahaz, because he had exercised no restraint in Judah and had been utterly unfaithful to the Lord. 20 Assyria’s King Tiglath-pileser[j] came to Ahaz, but he brought trouble, not support. 21 Even though Ahaz took items from the Lord’s temple, the royal palace, and the officials to buy off the king of Assyria, it was of no help.

22 It was during this troubled time that King Ahaz became even more unfaithful to the Lord 23 by sacrificing to the gods of Damascus, who had defeated him.

“Since the gods of Aram’s kings are helping them,” he said, “I’ll sacrifice to them too, so that they will help me.”

But they became the ruin of both him and all Israel. 24 Ahaz gathered the objects from God’s temple, cut them up, shut the doors of the Lord’s temple, and made himself altars on every corner in Jerusalem. 25 He made shrines in all the towns of Judah for burning incense to other gods. This made the Lord, the God of his ancestors, very angry.

26 The rest of Ahaz’s deeds, from beginning to end, are written in the official records of Israel’s and Judah’s kings. 27 Ahaz lay down with his ancestors and was buried in the city, in Jerusalem, but not in the royal cemetery of Israel’s kings. His son Hezekiah succeeded him as king.

Footnotes:

  1. 2 Chronicles 26:1 Uzziah is usually named Azariah in 2 Kgs 14:21; 15:1, 6-7.
  2. 2 Chronicles 26:5 LXX; MT visions
  3. 2 Chronicles 26:7 Tg; MT Gur-baal
  4. 2 Chronicles 26:8 LXX; MT Ammonites
  5. 2 Chronicles 26:19 The precise meaning is uncertain; traditionally leprosy—a term used for several different skin diseases. Also in 26:21-20, 23.
  6. 2 Chronicles 26:21 Heb uncertain
  7. 2 Chronicles 27:3 Or hillside; Heb uncertain
  8. 2 Chronicles 27:5 One kor is equivalent to a homer and is possibly equal to fifty gallons of grain.
  9. 2 Chronicles 28:16 LXX, Syr, Vulg; MT kings
  10. 2 Chronicles 28:20 MT Tilgath-pilneser
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Romans 13

13 Every person should place themselves under the authority of the government. There isn’t any authority unless it comes from God, and the authorities that are there have been put in place by God. So anyone who opposes the authority is standing against what God has established. People who take this kind of stand will get punished. The authorities don’t frighten people who are doing the right thing. Rather, they frighten people who are doing wrong. Would you rather not be afraid of authority? Do what’s right, and you will receive its approval. It is God’s servant given for your benefit. But if you do what’s wrong, be afraid because it doesn’t have weapons to enforce the law for nothing. It is God’s servant put in place to carry out his punishment on those who do what is wrong. That is why it is necessary to place yourself under the government’s authority, not only to avoid God’s punishment but also for the sake of your conscience. You should also pay taxes for the same reason, because the authorities are God’s assistants, concerned with this very thing. So pay everyone what you owe them. Pay the taxes you owe, pay the duties you are charged, give respect to those you should respect, and honor those you should honor.

Don’t be in debt to anyone, except for the obligation to love each other. Whoever loves another person has fulfilled the Law. The commandments, Don’t commit adultery, don’t murder, don’t steal, don’t desire what others have,[a] and any other commandments, are all summed up in one word: You must love your neighbor as yourself.[b] 10 Love doesn’t do anything wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is what fulfills the Law.

The day is near

11 As you do all this, you know what time it is. The hour has already come for you to wake up from your sleep. Now our salvation is nearer than when we first had faith. 12 The night is almost over, and the day is near. So let’s get rid of the actions that belong to the darkness and put on the weapons of light. 13 Let’s behave appropriately as people who live in the day, not in partying and getting drunk, not in sleeping around and obscene behavior, not in fighting and obsession. 14 Instead, dress yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ, and don’t plan to indulge your selfish desires.

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Psalm 23

Psalm 23

A psalm of David.

23 The Lord is my shepherd.
    I lack nothing.
He lets me rest in grassy meadows;
    he leads me to restful waters;
        he keeps me [a] alive.
He guides me in proper paths
    for the sake of his good name.

Even when I walk through the darkest valley,
    I fear no danger because you are with me.
Your rod and your staff—
    they protect me.

You set a table for me
    right in front of my enemies.
You bathe my head in oil;
    my cup is so full it spills over!
Yes, goodness and faithful love
    will pursue me all the days of my life,
    and I will live[b] in the Lord’s house
    as long as I live.

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 23:3 Or my soul
  2. Psalm 23:6 LXX; MT I will return
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Proverbs 20:11

11 Even young people are known by their actions,
    whether their conduct is pure and upright.

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Common English Bible (CEB)

Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible

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