Bible Society of South Africa

To The Word – Day 148

2 Chronicles 22–26, Psalm 121

Bible text(s)

King Ahaziah of Judah

(2 Kgs 8.25–29; 9.21–28)

1Some Arabs had led a raid and killed all King Jehoram's sons except Ahaziah, the youngest. So now the people of Jerusalem made Ahaziah king as his father's successor. 2-3Ahaziah became king at the age of 22, and he ruled in Jerusalem for one year. Ahaziah also followed the example of King Ahab's family, since his mother Athaliah — the daughter of King Ahab and granddaughter of King Omri of Israel — gave him advice that led him into evil. 4He sinned against the LORD, because after his father's death other members of King Ahab's family became his advisers, and they led to his downfall. 5Following their advice, he joined King Joram of Israel in a war against King Hazael of Syria. The armies clashed at Ramoth in Gilead, and Joram was wounded in battle. 6He returned to the city of Jezreel to recover from his wounds, and Ahaziah went there to visit him.

7God used this visit to Joram to bring about Ahaziah's downfall. While Ahaziah was there, he and Joram were confronted by a man named Jehu son of Nimshi, whom the LORD had chosen to destroy the dynasty of Ahab. 8As Jehu was carrying out God's sentence on the dynasty, he came across a group made up of Judean leaders and of Ahaziah's nephews that had accompanied Ahaziah on his visit. Jehu killed them all. 9A search was made for Ahaziah, and he was found hiding in Samaria. They took him to Jehu and put him to death. But they did bury his body out of respect for his grandfather King Jehoshaphat, who had done all he could to serve the LORD.

No member of Ahaziah's family was left who could rule the kingdom.

Queen Athaliah of Judah

(2 Kgs 11.1–3)

10As soon as King Ahaziah's mother Athaliah learnt of her son's murder, she gave orders for all the members of the royal family of Judah to be killed. 11Ahaziah had a half-sister, Jehosheba, who was married to a priest named Jehoiada. She secretly rescued one of Ahaziah's sons, Joash, took him away from the other princes who were about to be murdered and hid him and a nurse in a bedroom at the Temple. By keeping him hidden, she saved him from death at the hands of Athaliah. 12For six years he remained there in hiding, while Athaliah ruled as queen.

2 Chronicles 22GNBOpen in Bible reader

The Revolt against Athaliah

(2 Kgs 11.4–16)

1After waiting six years Jehoiada the priest decided that it was time to take action. He made a pact with five army officers: Azariah son of Jeroham, Ishmael son of Jehohanan, Azariah son of Obed, Maaseiah son of Adaiah, and Elishaphat son of Zichri. 2They travelled to all the cities of Judah and brought back with them to Jerusalem the Levites and all the heads of the clans.

3They all gathered in the Temple, and there they made a covenant with Joash, the king's son. Jehoiada said to them, “Here is the son of the late king! He is now to be king, as the LORD promised that King David's descendants would be. 4This is what we will do. When the priests and Levites come on duty on the Sabbath, one third of them will guard the temple gates, 5another third will guard the royal palace, and the rest will be stationed at the Foundation Gate. All the people will assemble in the temple courtyard. 6No one is to enter the temple buildings except the priests and the Levites who are on duty. They may enter, because they are consecrated, but the rest of the people must obey the LORD's instructions and stay outside. 7The Levites are to stand guard round the king, with their swords drawn, and are to stay with the king wherever he goes. Anyone who tries to enter the Temple is to be killed.”

8The Levites and the people of Judah carried out Jehoiada's instructions. The men were not dismissed when they went off duty on the Sabbath, so the commanders had available both those coming on duty and those going off. 9Jehoiada gave the officers the spears and shields that had belonged to King David and had been kept in the Temple. 10He stationed the men with drawn swords all round the front of the Temple, to protect the king. 11Then Jehoiada led Joash out, placed the crown on his head, and gave him a copy of the laws governing kingship. And so he was made king. Jehoiada the priest and his sons anointed Joash, and everyone shouted, “Long live the king!”

12Athaliah heard the people cheering for the king, so she hurried to the Temple, where the crowd had gathered. 13There she saw the new king at the temple entrance, standing by the column reserved for kings and surrounded by the army officers and the trumpeters. All the people were shouting joyfully and blowing trumpets, and the temple musicians with their instruments were leading the celebration. She tore her clothes in distress and shouted, “Treason! Treason!”

14Jehoiada did not want Athaliah killed in the temple area, so he called out the army officers and said, “Take her out between the rows of guards, and kill anyone who tries to rescue her.”

15They seized her, took her to the palace, and there at the Horse Gate they killed her.

Jehoiada's Reforms

(2 Kgs 11.17–20)

16The priest Jehoiada got King Joash and the people to join him in making a covenant that they would be the LORD's people. 17Then they all went to the temple of Baal and tore it down. They smashed the altars and idols there and killed Mattan, the priest of Baal, in front of the altars. 18Jehoiada put the priests and Levites in charge of the work of the Temple. They were to carry out the duties assigned to them by King David and to burn the sacrifices offered to the LORD in accordance with the Law of Moses. They were also in charge of the music and the celebrations. 19Jehoiada also put guards on duty at the temple gates to keep out anyone who was ritually unclean.

20The army officers, the leading citizens, the officials, and all the rest of the people joined Jehoiada in a procession that brought the king from the Temple to the palace. They entered by the main gate, and the king took his place on the throne. 21All the people were filled with happiness, and the city was quiet, now that Athaliah had been killed.

2 Chronicles 23GNBOpen in Bible reader

King Joash of Judah

(2 Kgs 12.1–16)

1Joash became king of Judah at the age of seven, and he ruled in Jerusalem for forty years. His mother was Zibiah from the city of Beersheba. 2He did what was pleasing to the LORD as long as Jehoiada the priest was alive. 3Jehoiada chose two wives for King Joash, and they bore him sons and daughters.

4After he had been king for a while, Joash decided to have the Temple repaired. 5He ordered the priests and the Levites to go to the cities of Judah and collect from all the people enough money to make the annual repairs on the Temple. He told them to act promptly, but the Levites delayed, 6so he called in Jehoiada, their leader, and demanded, “Why haven't you seen to it that the Levites collect from Judah and Jerusalem the tax which Moses, the servant of the LORD, required the people to pay for support of the Tent of the LORD's presence?”

7(The followers of Athaliah, that corrupt woman, had damaged the Temple and had used many of the sacred objects in the worship of Baal.)

8The king ordered the Levites to make a box for contributions and to place it at the temple gate. 9They sent word throughout Jerusalem and Judah for everyone to bring to the LORD the tax which Moses, God's servant, had first collected in the wilderness. 10This pleased the people and their leaders, and they brought their tax money and filled the box with it. 11Every day the Levites would take the box to the royal official who was in charge of it. Whenever it was full, the royal secretary and the High Priest's representative would take the money out and return the box to its place. And so they collected a large sum of money.

12The king and Jehoiada would give the money to those who were in charge of repairing the Temple, and they hired stonemasons, carpenters, and metalworkers to make the repairs. 13All of them worked hard, and they restored the Temple to its original condition, as solid as ever. 14When the repairs were finished, the remaining gold and silver was given to the king and Jehoiada, who used it to have bowls and other utensils made for the Temple.

Jehoiada's Policies are Reversed

As long as Jehoiada was alive, sacrifices were offered regularly at the Temple. 15After reaching the very old age of 130, he died. 16They buried him in the royal tombs in David's City in recognition of the service he had done for the people of Israel, for God, and for the Temple.

17But once Jehoiada was dead, the leaders of Judah persuaded King Joash to listen to them instead. 18So the people stopped worshipping in the Temple of the LORD, the God of their ancestors, and began to worship idols and the images of the goddess Asherah. Their guilt for these sins brought the LORD's anger on Judah and Jerusalem. 19The LORD sent prophets to warn them to return to him, but the people refused to listen. 20Then the Spirit of God took control of Zechariah son of Jehoiada the priest. He stood where the people could see him and called out, “The LORD God asks why you have disobeyed his commands and are bringing disaster on yourselves! You abandoned him, so he has abandoned you!” 21King Joash joined in a conspiracy against Zechariah, and on the king's orders the people stoned Zechariah in the temple courtyard. 22The king forgot about the loyal service that Zechariah's father Jehoiada had given him, and he had Zechariah killed. As Zechariah was dying, he called out, “May the LORD see what you are doing and punish you!”

The End of Joash's Reign

23When autumn came that year, the Syrian army attacked Judah and Jerusalem, killed all the leaders, and took large amounts of loot back to Damascus. 24The Syrian army was small, but the LORD let them defeat a much larger Judean army because the people had abandoned him, the LORD God of their ancestors. In this way King Joash was punished. 25He was severely wounded, and when the enemy withdrew, two of his officials plotted against him and killed him in his bed to avenge the murder of the son of Jehoiada the priest. He was buried in David's City, but not in the royal tombs. 26(Those who plotted against him were Zabad, the son of an Ammonite woman named Shimeath, and Jehozabad, the son of a Moabite woman named Shimrith). 27The Commentary on the Book of Kings contains the stories of the sons of Joash, the prophecies spoken against him, and the record of how he rebuilt the Temple. His son Amaziah succeeded him as king.

2 Chronicles 24GNBOpen in Bible reader

King Amaziah of Judah

(2 Kgs 14.2–6)

1Amaziah became king at the age of 25, and he ruled in Jerusalem for 29 years. His mother was Jehoaddin from Jerusalem. 2He did what was pleasing to the LORD, but did it reluctantly. 3As soon as he was firmly in power, he executed the officials who had murdered his father. 4He did not, however, execute their children, but followed what the LORD had commanded in the Law of Moses: “Parents are not to be put to death for crimes committed by their children, and children are not to be put to death for crimes committed by their parents; a person is to be put to death only for a crime he himself has committed.”

War against Edom

(2 Kgs 14.7)

5King Amaziah organized all the men of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin into army units, according to the clans they belonged to, and placed officers in command of units of a thousand and units of a hundred. This included all men twenty years of age or older, 300,000 in all. They were picked troops, ready for battle, skilled in using spears and shields. 6In addition, he hired 100,000 soldiers from Israel at a cost of about 3.4 tonnes of silver. 7But a prophet went to the king and said to him, “Don't take these Israelite soldiers with you. The LORD is not with these troops from the Northern Kingdom. 8You may think that they will make you stronger in battle, but it is God who has the power to give victory or defeat, and he will let your enemies defeat you.”

9Amaziah asked the prophet, “But what about all that silver I have already paid for them?”

The prophet replied, “The LORD can give you back more than that!” 10So Amaziah sent the hired troops away and told them to go home. At this they went home, bitterly angry with the people of Judah.

11Amaziah summoned up his courage and led his army to the Valley of Salt. There they fought and killed 10,000 Edomite soldiers 12and captured another 10,000. They took the prisoners to the top of the cliff at the city of Sela and threw them off, so that they were killed on the rocks below.

13Meanwhile the Israelite soldiers that Amaziah had not allowed to go into battle with him attacked the Judean cities between Samaria and Beth Horon, killed 3,000 men, and captured quantities of loot.

14When Amaziah returned from defeating the Edomites, he brought their idols back with him, set them up, worshipped them, and burnt incense to them. 15This made the LORD angry, so he sent a prophet to Amaziah. The prophet demanded, “Why have you worshipped foreign gods that could not even save their own people from your power?”

16“Since when,” Amaziah interrupted, “have we made you adviser to the king? Stop talking, or I'll have you killed!”

The prophet stopped, but not before saying, “Now I know that God has decided to destroy you because you have done all this and have ignored my advice.”

War against Israel

(2 Kgs 14.8–20)

17King Amaziah of Judah and his advisers plotted against Israel. He then sent a message to King Jehoash of Israel, who was the son of Jehoahaz and grandson of Jehu, challenging him to fight. 18Jehoash sent this answer to Amaziah: “Once, a thorn bush in the Lebanon Mountains sent a message to a cedar: ‘Give your daughter in marriage to my son.’ A wild animal passed by and trampled the bush down. 19Now Amaziah, you boast that you have defeated the Edomites, but I advise you to stay at home. Why stir up trouble that will only bring disaster on you and your people?”

20But Amaziah refused to listen. It was God's will for Amaziah to be defeated, because he had worshipped the Edomite idols. 21So King Jehoash of Israel went into battle against King Amaziah of Judah. They met at Beth Shemesh in Judah, 22the Judean army was defeated, and the soldiers fled to their homes. 23Jehoash captured Amaziah and took him to Jerusalem. There he tore down the city wall from Ephraim Gate to the Corner Gate, a distance of nearly 200 metres. 24He took back to Samaria as loot all the gold and silver in the Temple, the temple equipment guarded by the descendants of Obed Edom, and the palace treasures. He also took hostages with him.

25King Amaziah of Judah outlived King Jehoash of Israel by fifteen years. 26All the other things that Amaziah did from the beginning to the end of his reign are recorded in The History of the Kings of Judah and Israel. 27Ever since the time when he rebelled against the LORD, there had been a plot against him in Jerusalem. Finally he fled to the city of Lachish, but his enemies followed him there and killed him. 28His body was carried to Jerusalem on a horse, and he was buried in the royal tombs in David's City.

2 Chronicles 25GNBOpen in Bible reader

King Uzziah of Judah

(2 Kgs 14.21–22; 15.1–7)

1All the people of Judah chose Amaziah's sixteen-year-old son Uzziah to succeed his father as king. 2(It was after the death of Amaziah that Uzziah recaptured Elath and rebuilt the city.)

3Uzziah became king at the age of sixteen, and he ruled in Jerusalem for 52 years. His mother was Jecoliah from Jerusalem. 4Following the example of his father, he did what was pleasing to the LORD. 5As long as Zechariah, his religious adviser, was living, he served the LORD faithfully, and God blessed him.

6Uzziah went to war against the Philistines. He tore down the walls of the cities of Gath, Jamnia, and Ashdod, and built fortified cities near Ashdod and in the rest of Philistia. 7God helped him to defeat the Philistines, the Arabs living at Gurbaal, and the Meunites. 8The Ammonites paid tribute to Uzziah, and he became so powerful that his fame spread even to Egypt.

9Uzziah strengthened the fortifications of Jerusalem by building towers at the Corner Gate, at the Valley Gate, and where the wall turned. 10He also built fortified towers in the open country and dug many cisterns, because he had large herds of livestock in the western foothills and plains. Because he loved farming, he encouraged the people to plant vineyards in the hill country and to farm the fertile land.

11He had a large army ready for battle. Its records were kept by his secretaries Jeiel and Maaseiah under the supervision of Hananiah, a member of the king's staff. 12The army was commanded by 2,600 officers. 13Under them were 307,500 soldiers able to fight effectively for the king against his enemies. 14Uzziah supplied the army with shields, spears, helmets, coats of armour, bows and arrows, and stones for slinging. 15In Jerusalem his inventors made equipment for shooting arrows and for throwing large stones from the towers and corners of the city wall. His fame spread everywhere, and he became very powerful because of the help he received from God.

Uzziah is Punished for his Pride

16But when King Uzziah became strong, he grew arrogant, and that led to his downfall. He defied the LORD his God by going into the Temple to burn incense on the altar of incense. 17Azariah the priest, accompanied by eighty strong and courageous priests, followed the king 18to resist him. They said, “Uzziah! You have no right to burn incense to the LORD. Only the priests who are descended from Aaron have been consecrated to do this. Leave this holy place. You have offended the LORD God, and you no longer have his blessing.”

19Uzziah was standing there in the Temple beside the incense altar and was holding an incense burner. He became angry with the priests, and immediately a dreaded skin disease broke out on his forehead. 20Azariah and the other priests stared at the king's forehead in horror, and then forced him to leave the Temple. He hurried to get out, because the LORD had punished him.

21For the rest of his life King Uzziah was ritually unclean because of his disease. Unable to enter the Temple again, he lived in his own house, relieved of all duties, while his son Jotham governed the country.

22The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz recorded all the other things that King Uzziah did during his reign. 23Uzziah died and was buried in the royal burial ground, but because of his disease he was not buried in the royal tombs. His son Jotham succeeded him as king.

2 Chronicles 26GNBOpen in Bible reader

The LORD our Protector

1I look to the mountains;

where will my help come from?

2My help will come from the LORD,

who made heaven and earth.

3He will not let you fall;

your protector is always awake.

4The protector of Israel

never dozes or sleeps.

5The LORD will guard you;

he is by your side to protect you.

6The sun will not hurt you during the day,

nor the moon during the night.

7The LORD will protect you from all danger;

he will keep you safe.

8He will protect you as you come and go

now and for ever.

Psalms 121GNBOpen in Bible reader
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