Bible Society of South Africa

To The Word – Day 121

2 Kings 21–25, Proverbs 8

Bible text(s)

King Manasseh of Judah

(2 Chr 33.1–20)

1Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled in Jerusalem for 55 years. His mother was Hephzibah. 2Following the disgusting practices of the nations whom the LORD had driven out of the land as his people advanced, Manasseh sinned against the LORD. 3He rebuilt the pagan places of worship that his father Hezekiah had destroyed; he built altars for the worship of Baal and made an image of the goddess Asherah, as King Ahab of Israel had done. Manasseh also worshipped the stars. 4He built pagan altars in the Temple, the place that the LORD had said was where he should be worshipped. 5In the two courtyards of the Temple he built altars for the worship of the stars. 6He sacrificed his son as a burnt offering. He practised divination and magic and consulted fortune tellers and mediums. He sinned greatly against the LORD and stirred up his anger. 7He placed the symbol of the goddess Asherah in the Temple, the place about which the LORD had said to David and his son Solomon: “Here in Jerusalem, in this Temple, is the place that I have chosen out of all the territory of the twelve tribes of Israel as the place where I am to be worshipped. 8And if the people of Israel will obey all my commands and keep the whole Law that my servant Moses gave them, then I will not allow them to be driven out of the land that I gave to their ancestors.” 9But the people of Judah did not obey the LORD, and Manasseh led them to commit even greater sins than those committed by the nations whom the LORD had driven out of the land as his people advanced.

10Through his servants the prophets the LORD said, 11“King Manasseh has done these disgusting things, things far worse than what the Canaanites did; and with his idols he has led the people of Judah into sin. 12So I, the LORD God of Israel, will bring such a disaster on Jerusalem and Judah that everyone who hears about it will be stunned. 13I will punish Jerusalem as I did Samaria, as I did King Ahab of Israel and his descendants. I will wipe Jerusalem clean of its people, as clean as a plate that has been wiped and turned upside down. 14I will abandon the people who survive, and will hand them over to their enemies, who will conquer them and plunder their land. 15I will do this to my people because they have sinned against me and have stirred up my anger from the time their ancestors came out of Egypt to this day.”

16Manasseh killed so many innocent people that the streets of Jerusalem were flowing with blood; he did this in addition to leading the people of Judah into idolatry, causing them to sin against the LORD.

17Everything else that Manasseh did, including the sins he committed, is recorded in The History of the Kings of Judah. 18Manasseh died and was buried in the palace garden, the garden of Uzza, and his son Amon succeeded him as king.

King Amon of Judah

(2 Chr 33.21–25)

19Amon was 22 years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled in Jerusalem for two years. His mother was Meshullemeth, the daughter of Haruz, from the town of Jotbah. 20Like his father Manasseh, he sinned against the LORD; 21he imitated his father's actions, and he worshipped the idols that his father had worshipped. 22He rejected the LORD, the God of his ancestors, and disobeyed the LORD's commands.

23Amon's officials plotted against him and assassinated him in the palace. 24The people of Judah killed Amon's assassins and made his son Josiah king.

25Everything else that Amon did is recorded in The History of the Kings of Judah. 26Amon was buried in the tomb in the garden of Uzza, and his son Josiah succeeded him as king.

2 Kings 21GNBOpen in Bible reader

King Josiah of Judah

(2 Chr 34.1–2)

1Josiah was eight years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled in Jerusalem for 31 years. His mother was Jedidah, the daughter of Adaiah, from the town of Bozkath. 2Josiah did what was pleasing to the LORD; he followed the example of his ancestor King David, strictly obeying all the laws of God.

The Book of the Law is Discovered

(2 Chr 34.8–28)

3In the eighteenth year of his reign, King Josiah sent the court secretary Shaphan, the son of Azaliah and grandson of Meshullam, to the Temple with the order: 4“Go to the High Priest Hilkiah and get a report on the amount of money that the priests on duty at the entrance to the Temple have collected from the people. 5Tell him to give the money to the men who are in charge of the repairs in the Temple. They are to pay 6the carpenters, the builders, and the masons, and buy the timber and the stones used in the repairs. 7The men in charge of the work are thoroughly honest, so there is no need to require them to account for the funds.”

8Shaphan delivered the king's order to Hilkiah, and Hilkiah told him that he had found the book of the Law in the Temple. Hilkiah gave him the book, and Shaphan read it. 9Then he went back to the king and reported: “Your servants have taken the money that was in the Temple and have handed it over to the men in charge of the repairs.” 10And then he said, “I have here a book that Hilkiah gave me.” And he read it aloud to the king.

11When the king heard the book being read, he tore his clothes in dismay, 12and gave the following order to Hilkiah the priest, to Ahikam son of Shaphan, to Achbor son of Micaiah, to Shaphan, the court secretary, and to Asaiah, the king's attendant: 13“Go and consult the LORD for me and for all the people of Judah about the teachings of this book. The LORD is angry with us because our ancestors have not done what this book says must be done.”

14Hilkiah, Ahikam, Achbor, Shaphan, and Asaiah went to consult a woman named Huldah, a prophet who lived in the newer part of Jerusalem. (Her husband Shallum, the son of Tikvah and grandson of Harhas, was in charge of the temple robes.) They described to her what had happened, 15and she told them to go back to the king and give him 16the following message from the LORD: “I am going to punish Jerusalem and all its people, as written in the book that the king has read. 17They have rejected me and have offered sacrifices to other gods, and so have stirred up my anger by all they have done. My anger is aroused against Jerusalem, and it will not die down. 18As for the king himself, this is what I, the LORD God of Israel, say: you listened to what is written in the book, 19and you repented and humbled yourself before me, tearing your clothes and weeping, when you heard how I threatened to punish Jerusalem and its people. I will make it a terrifying sight, a place whose name people will use as a curse. But I have heard your prayer, 20and the punishment which I am going to bring on Jerusalem will not come until after your death. I will let you die in peace.”

The men returned to King Josiah with this message.

2 Kings 22GNBOpen in Bible reader

Josiah Does Away with Pagan Worship

(2 Chr 34.3–7, 29–33)

1King Josiah summoned all the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem, 2and together they went to the Temple, accompanied by the priests and the prophets and all the rest of the people, rich and poor alike. Before them all, the king read aloud the whole book of the covenant which had been found in the Temple. 3He stood by the royal column and made a covenant with the LORD to obey him, to keep his laws and commands with all his heart and soul, and to put into practice the demands attached to the covenant, as written in the book. And all the people promised to keep the covenant.

4Then Josiah ordered the High Priest Hilkiah, his assistant priests, and the guards on duty at the entrance to the Temple to bring out of the Temple all the objects used in the worship of Baal, of the goddess Asherah, and of the stars. The king burnt all these objects outside the city near the valley of the Kidron, and then had the ashes taken to Bethel. 5He removed from office the priests that the kings of Judah had ordained to offer sacrifices on the pagan altars in the cities of Judah and in places near Jerusalem — all the priests who offered sacrifices to Baal, to the sun, the moon, the planets, and the stars. 6He removed from the Temple the symbol of the goddess Asherah, took it out of the city to the valley of the Kidron, burnt it, pounded its ashes to dust, and scattered it over the public burial ground. 7He destroyed the living quarters in the Temple occupied by the temple prostitutes. (It was there that women wove robes used in the worship of Asherah.) 8He brought to Jerusalem the priests who were in the cities of Judah, and throughout the whole country he desecrated the altars where they had offered sacrifices. He also tore down the altars dedicated to the goat-demons near the gate built by Joshua, the city governor, which was to the left of the main gate as one enters the city. 9Those priests were not allowed to serve in the Temple, but they could eat the unleavened bread provided for their fellow-priests.

10King Josiah also desecrated Topheth, the pagan place of worship in the Valley of Hinnom, so that no one could sacrifice his son or daughter as a burnt offering to the god Molech. 11He also removed the horses that the kings of Judah had dedicated to the worship of the sun, and he burnt the chariots used in this worship. (These were kept in the temple courtyard, near the gate and not far from the living quarters of Nathan Melech, a high official.) 12The altars which the kings of Judah had built on the palace roof above King Ahaz' quarters, King Josiah tore down, along with the altars put up by King Manasseh in the two courtyards of the Temple; he smashed the altars to bits and threw them into the valley of the Kidron. 13Josiah desecrated the altars that King Solomon had built east of Jerusalem, south of the Mount of Olives, for the worship of disgusting idols — Astarte the goddess of Sidon, Chemosh the god of Moab, and Molech the god of Ammon. 14King Josiah broke the stone pillars to pieces, cut down the symbols of the goddess Asherah, and the ground where they had stood he covered with human bones.

15Josiah also tore down the place of worship in Bethel which had been built by King Jeroboam son of Nebat, who led Israel into sin. Josiah pulled down the altar, broke its stones into pieces, and pounded them to dust; he also burnt the image of Asherah. 16Then Josiah looked round and saw some tombs there on the hill; he had the bones taken out of them and burnt on the altar. In this way he desecrated the altar, doing what the prophet had predicted long before during the festival as King Jeroboam was standing by the altar. King Josiah looked round and saw the tomb of the prophet who had made this prediction. 17“Whose tomb is that?” he asked.

The people of Bethel answered, “It is the tomb of the prophet who came from Judah and predicted these things that you have done to this altar.”

18“Leave it as it is,” Josiah ordered. “His bones are not to be moved.”

So his bones were not moved, neither were those of the prophet who had come from Samaria.

19In every city of Israel King Josiah tore down all the pagan places of worship which had been built by the kings of Israel, who thereby aroused the LORD's anger. He did to all those altars what he had done in Bethel. 20He killed all the pagan priests on the altars where they served, and he burnt human bones on every altar. Then he returned to Jerusalem.

Josiah Celebrates the Passover

(2 Chr 35.1–19)

21King Josiah ordered the people to celebrate the Passover in honour of the LORD their God, as written in the book of the covenant. 22No Passover like this one had ever been celebrated by any of the kings of Israel or of Judah, since the time when judges ruled the nation. 23Now at last, in the eighteenth year of the reign of Josiah, the Passover was celebrated in Jerusalem.

Other Changes Made by Josiah

24In order to enforce the laws written in the book that the High Priest Hilkiah had found in the Temple, King Josiah removed from Jerusalem and the rest of Judah all the mediums and fortune tellers, and all the household gods, idols, and all other pagan objects of worship. 25There had never been a king like him before, who served the LORD with all his heart, mind, and strength, obeying all the Law of Moses; nor has there been a king like him since.

26But the LORD's fierce anger had been aroused against Judah by what King Manasseh had done, and even now it did not die down. 27The LORD said, “I will do to Judah what I have done to Israel: I will banish the people of Judah from my sight, and I will reject Jerusalem, the city I chose, and the Temple, the place I said was where I should be worshipped.”

The End of Josiah's Reign

(2 Chr 35.20—36.1)

28Everything else that King Josiah did is recorded in The History of the Kings of Judah. 29While Josiah was king, King Neco of Egypt led an army to the River Euphrates to help the emperor of Assyria. King Josiah tried to stop the Egyptian army at Megiddo and was killed in battle. 30His officials placed his body in a chariot and took it back to Jerusalem, where he was buried in the royal tombs.

The people of Judah chose Josiah's son Joahaz and anointed him king.

King Joahaz of Judah

(2 Chr 36.2–4)

31Joahaz was 23 years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled in Jerusalem for three months. His mother was Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah from the city of Libnah. 32Following the example of his ancestors, he sinned against the LORD. 33His reign ended when King Neco of Egypt took him prisoner in Riblah, in the land of Hamath, and made Judah pay 3.4 tonnes of silver and 34 kilogrammes of gold as tribute. 34King Neco made Josiah's son Eliakim king of Judah as successor to Josiah, and changed his name to Jehoiakim. Joahaz was taken to Egypt by King Neco, and there he died.

King Jehoiakim of Judah

(2 Chr 36.5–8)

35King Jehoiakim collected a tax from the people in proportion to their wealth, in order to raise the amount needed to pay the tribute demanded by the king of Egypt.

36Jehoiakim was 25 years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled in Jerusalem for eleven years. His mother was Zebidah, the daughter of Pedaiah from the town of Rumah. 37Following the example of his ancestors, Jehoiakim sinned against the LORD.

2 Kings 23GNBOpen in Bible reader

1While Jehoiakim was king, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia invaded Judah, and for three years Jehoiakim was forced to submit to his rule; then he rebelled. 2The LORD sent armed bands of Babylonians, Syrians, Moabites, and Ammonites against Jehoiakim to destroy Judah, as the LORD had said through his servants the prophets that he would do. 3This happened at the LORD's command, in order to banish the people of Judah from his sight because of all the sins that King Manasseh had committed, 4and especially because of all the innocent people he had killed. The LORD could not forgive Manasseh for that.

5Everything else that Jehoiakim did is recorded in The History of the Kings of Judah. 6Jehoiakim died, and his son Jehoiachin succeeded him as king.

7The king of Egypt and his army never marched out of Egypt again, because the king of Babylonia now controlled all the territory that had belonged to Egypt, from the River Euphrates to the northern border of Egypt.

King Jehoiachin of Judah

(2 Chr 36.9–10)

8Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled in Jerusalem for three months. His mother was Nehushta, the daughter of Elnathan from Jerusalem. 9Following the example of his father, Jehoiachin sinned against the LORD.

10It was during his reign that the Babylonian army, commanded by King Nebuchadnezzar's officers, marched against Jerusalem and besieged it. 11During the siege Nebuchadnezzar himself came to Jerusalem, 12and King Jehoiachin, along with his mother, his sons, his officers, and the palace officials, surrendered to the Babylonians. In the eighth year of Nebuchadnezzar's reign he took Jehoiachin prisoner 13and carried off to Babylon all the treasures in the Temple and the palace. As the LORD had foretold, Nebuchadnezzar broke up all the gold utensils which King Solomon had made for use in the Temple. 14Nebuchadnezzar carried away as prisoners the people of Jerusalem, all the royal princes, and all the leading men, 10,000 in all. He also deported all the skilled workmen, including the blacksmiths, leaving only the poorest of the people behind in Judah.

15Nebuchadnezzar took Jehoiachin to Babylon as a prisoner, together with Jehoiachin's mother, his wives, his officials, and the leading men of Judah. 16Nebuchadnezzar deported all the important men to Babylonia, 7,000 in all, and 1,000 skilled workers, including the blacksmiths, all of them able-bodied men fit for military duty.

17Nebuchadnezzar made Jehoiachin's uncle Mattaniah king of Judah and changed his name to Zedekiah.

King Zedekiah of Judah

(2 Chr 36.11–12; Jer 52.1–3a)

18Zedekiah was 21 years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled in Jerusalem for eleven years. His mother was Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah from the city of Libnah. 19King Zedekiah sinned against the LORD, just as King Jehoiakim had done. 20The LORD became so angry with the people of Jerusalem and Judah that he banished them from his sight.

2 Kings 24GNBOpen in Bible reader

The Fall of Jerusalem

(2 Chr 36.13–21; Jer 52.3b–11)

1Zedekiah rebelled against King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia, so Nebuchadnezzar came with all his army and attacked Jerusalem on the tenth day of the tenth month of the ninth year of Zedekiah's reign. They set up camp outside the city, built siege walls round it, 2and kept it under siege until Zedekiah's eleventh year. 3On the ninth day of the fourth month of that same year, when the famine was so bad that the people had nothing left to eat, 4the city walls were broken through. Although the Babylonians were surrounding the city, all the soldiers escaped during the night. They left by way of the royal garden, went through the gateway connecting the two walls, and fled in the direction of the Jordan Valley. 5But the Babylonian army pursued King Zedekiah, captured him in the plains near Jericho, and all his soldiers deserted him. 6Zedekiah was taken to King Nebuchadnezzar, who was in the city of Riblah, and there Nebuchadnezzar passed sentence on him. 7While Zedekiah was looking on, his sons were put to death; then Nebuchadnezzar had Zedekiah's eyes put out, placed him in chains, and took him to Babylon.

The Destruction of the Temple

(Jer 52.12–23)

8On the seventh day of the fifth month of the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia, Nebuzaradan, adviser to the king and commander of his army, entered Jerusalem. 9He burnt down the Temple, the palace, and the houses of all the important people in Jerusalem, 10and his soldiers tore down the city walls. 11Then Nebuzaradan took away to Babylonia the people who were left in the city, the remaining skilled workmen, and those who had deserted to the Babylonians. 12But he left in Judah some of the poorest people, who owned no property, and put them to work in the vineyards and fields.

13The Babylonians broke in pieces the bronze columns and the carts that were in the Temple, together with the large bronze tank, and they took all the bronze to Babylon. 14They also took away the shovels and the ash containers used in cleaning the altar, the tools used in tending the lamps, the bowls used for catching the blood from the sacrifices, the bowls used for burning incense, and all the other bronze articles used in the temple service. 15They took away everything that was made of gold or silver, including the small bowls and the pans used for carrying live coals. 16The bronze objects that King Solomon had made for the Temple — the two columns, the carts, and the large tank — were too heavy to weigh. 17The two columns were identical: each one was eight metres high, with a bronze capital on top, 1.3 metres high. All round each capital was a bronze grating decorated with pomegranates made of bronze.

The People of Judah are Taken to Babylonia

(Jer 52.24–27)

18In addition, Nebuzaradan, the commanding officer, took away as prisoners Seraiah the High Priest, Zephaniah the priest next in rank, and the three other important temple officials. 19From the city he took the officer who had been in command of the troops, five of the king's personal advisers who were still in the city, the commander's assistant, who was in charge of military records, and sixty other important men. 20Nebuzaradan took them to the king of Babylonia, who was in the city of Riblah 21in the territory of Hamath. There the king had them beaten and put to death.

So the people of Judah were carried away from their land into exile.

Gedaliah, Governor of Judah

(Jer 40.7–9; 41.1–3)

22King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia made Gedaliah, the son of Ahikam and grandson of Shaphan, governor of Judah, and placed him in charge of all those who had not been taken away to Babylonia. 23When the Judean officers and soldiers who had not surrendered heard about this, they joined Gedaliah at Mizpah. These officers were Ishmael son of Nethaniah, Johanan son of Kareah, Seraiah son of Tanhumeth, from the town of Netophah, and Jezaniah from Maacah. 24Gedaliah said to them, “I give you my word that there is no need for you to be afraid of the Babylonian officials. Settle in this land, serve the king of Babylonia, and all will go well with you.”

25But in the seventh month of that year, Ishmael, the son of Nethaniah and grandson of Elishama, a member of the royal family, went to Mizpah with ten men, attacked Gedaliah and killed him. He also killed the Israelites and Babylonians who were there with him. 26Then all the Israelites, rich and poor alike, together with the army officers, left and went to Egypt, because they were afraid of the Babylonians.

Jehoiachin is Released from Prison

(Jer 52.31–34)

27In the year that Evilmerodach became king of Babylonia, he showed kindness to King Jehoiachin of Judah by releasing him from prison. This happened on the 27th day of the twelfth month of the 37th year after Jehoiachin had been taken away as prisoner. 28Evilmerodach treated him kindly, and gave him a position of greater honour than he gave the other kings who were exiles with him in Babylonia. 29So Jehoiachin was permitted to change from his prison clothes and to dine at the king's table for the rest of his life. 30Each day, for as long as he lived, he was given a regular allowance for his needs.

2 Kings 25GNBOpen in Bible reader

In Praise of Wisdom

1Listen! Wisdom is calling out.

Reason is making herself heard.

2On the hilltops near the road

and at the crossroads she stands.

3At the entrance to the city,

beside the gates, she calls:

4“I appeal to all of you;

I call to everyone on earth.

5Are you immature? Learn to be mature.

Are you foolish? Learn to have sense.

6Listen to my excellent words;

all I tell you is right.

7What I say is the truth;

lies are hateful to me.

8Everything I say is true;

nothing is false or misleading.

9To those with insight, it is all clear;

to the well-informed, it is all plain.

10Choose my instruction instead of silver;

choose knowledge rather than the finest gold.

11“I am Wisdom, I am better than jewels;

nothing you want can compare with me.

12I am Wisdom, and I have insight;

I have knowledge and sound judgement.

13To honour the LORD is to hate evil;

I hate pride and arrogance,

evil ways and false words.

14I make plans and carry them out.

I have understanding, and I am strong.

15I help kings to govern

and rulers to make good laws.

16Every ruler on earth governs with my help,

officials and nobles alike.

17I love those who love me;

whoever looks for me can find me.

18I have riches and honour to give,

prosperity and success.

19What you get from me is better than the finest gold,

better than the purest silver.

20I walk the way of righteousness;

I follow the paths of justice,

21giving wealth to those who love me,

filling their houses with treasures.

22“The LORD created me first of all,

the first of his works, long ago.

23I was made in the very beginning,

at the first, before the world began.

24I was born before the oceans,

when there were no springs of water.

25I was born before the mountains,

before the hills were set in place,

26before God made the earth and its fields

or even the first handful of soil.

27I was there when he set the sky in place,

when he stretched the horizon across the ocean,

28when he placed the clouds in the sky,

when he opened the springs of the ocean

29and ordered the waters of the sea

to rise no further than he said.

I was there when he laid the earth's foundations.

30I was beside him like an architect,

I was his daily source of joy,

always happy in his presence —

31happy with the world

and pleased with the human race.

32“Now, young people, listen to me.

Do as I say, and you will be happy.

33Listen to what you are taught.

Be wise; do not neglect it.

34Those who listen to me will be happy —

those who stay at my door every day,

waiting at the entrance to my home.

35Those who find me find life,

and the LORD will be pleased with them.

36Those who do not find me hurt themselves;

anyone who hates me loves death.”

Proverbs 8GNBOpen in Bible reader
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