2 Chronicles

JB 2 CHRONICLES Chapter 1

III. SOLOMON AND THE BUILDING OF THE TEMPLE

Solomon’s gift of wisdom

1:1 Solomon son of David made himself secure on the throne. Yahweh his God was with him and brought his greatness to its height.

1:2 Solomon then spoke to all Israel, to the commanders of thousands and of hundreds, to the judges, and to all the princes of all Israel, the heads of families.

1:3 Then Solomon, and with him the whole assembly, went to the high place of Gibeon, where God’s Tent of Meeting was, which Moses, the servant of God, had made in the wilderness;

1:4 David, however, had brought the ark of God from Kiriath-jearim to the place he had prepared for it, having pitched a tent for it in Jerusalem.

1:5 The bronze altar that Bezalel son of Uri, son of Hur, had made stood there in front of the tabernacle of Yahweh; to this went Solomon, with the assembly.

1:6 And there Solomon, in Yahweh’s presence, ascended the bronze altar that was by the Tent of Meeting, and on it he offered a thousand holocausts.

1:7 That night, God appeared to Solomon and said, ‘Ask what you would like me to give you’.

1:8 Solomon replied to God, ‘You showed great kindness to David my father; and you have made me king in succession to him.

1:9 Yahweh God, the promise you made to David my father has now been fulfilled, since you have made me king over a people like the dust of the earth for number.

1:10 Therefore now give me wisdom and knowledge to act as leader of this people, for who could govern a people so great as yours?’

1:11 ‘Since that is what you want,’ God said to Solomon ‘since you have asked, not for riches, treasure, honour, the lives of your enemies, or even for a long life, but for wisdom and knowledge to govern my people of whom I have made you king,

1:12 therefore wisdom and knowledge are granted you. I give you riches too, and treasure, and honour such as none of the kings had that were before you, nor shall any have that come after you.’

1:13 Solomon left the high place of Gibeon for Jerusalem, away from the Tent of Meeting. He reigned over Israel.

1:14 Solomon built up a force of chariots and horses; he had one thousand four hundred chariots and twelve thousand horses; these he stationed in the chariot towns and with the king in Jerusalem.

1:15 In Jerusalem the king made silver common as pebbles, and cedars plentiful as the sycamores of the lowlands.

1:16 Solomon’s horses were imported from Cilicia; the king’s agents took delivery of them from Cilicia at a fixed rate.

1:17 They imported chariots from Egypt at six hundred shekels apiece, and horses at one hundred and fifty shekels. These men acted in a similar capacity for all the kings of the Hittites and the kings of Aram.

The final preparations. Huram of Tyre

1:18 Solomon decided to build a house for the name of Yahweh and another for himself and his court.

JB 2 CHRONICLES Chapter 2

2:1 He impressed seventy thousand men for carrying loads, eighty thousand to quarry in the hill country, and three thousand six hundred overseers in charge of them.

2:2 Solomon then despatched this message to Huram king of Tyre, ‘Deal with me as you dealt with my father David when you sent him cedars for him to build a house to live in.

2:3 I am now building a house for the name of Yahweh my God, to acknowledge his holiness, by burning incense of scented spices in his presence, by the loaves that are perpetually set out, by offering holocausts morning and evening, on the sabbath, New Moon, and the solemn festivals of Yahweh our God – and this for ever in Israel.

2:4 The house I am building will be large, for our God is greater than all gods.

2:5 Who would have the means to build him a house when the heavens and their own heavens cannot contain him? And I, for what purpose could I build him a house other than to burn incense in his presence?

2:6 So send me a man skilled in the use of gold, silver, bronze, iron, scarlet, crimson, violet, and the art of engraving too; he is to work with my skilled men here in Judah and Jerusalem, men my father David provided.

2:7 From Lebanon send me cedar wood, juniper and algummim, since I know your servants know the art of felling the trees of Lebanon. My servants will work with yours.

2:8 They will prepare wood in bulk for me, since the house I wish to build is to be of astounding size.

2:9 For the woodmen who are to fell the trees I assign twenty thousand kors of grain, twenty thousand kors of barley, twenty thousand baths of wine, and twenty thousand baths of oil – this is for the maintenance of your servants.’

2:10 In a letter sent to King Solomon, Huram king of Tyre replied, ‘Because Yahweh loves his people he has made you king.

2:11 Blessed be Yahweh, the God of Israel’ Huram went on to say. ‘He has made the heavens and the earth, and given King David a wise son, endowed with discretion and discernment, who is going to build a house for Yahweh and another for himself and his court.

2:12 And I am also sending you a skilled craftsman, Huram-abi,

2:13 the son of a Danite woman by a Tyrian father. He is skilled in the use of gold, silver, bronze, iron, stone, wood, scarlet, violet, fine linen, crimson, in engraving of all kinds, and in the execution of any design suggested to him. Let him be put to work with your craftsmen and those of my lord David, your father.

2:14 So now let my lord send his servants the wheat, barley, oil and wine, as already suggested.

2:15 ‘For our part, we will fell all the wood you need from Lebanon, and bring it you in rafts by sea to Joppa, and it will be your responsibility to transport it to Jerusalem.’

The construction

2:16 Solomon took a count of all the aliens resident in the land of Israel, following the census that David his father had taken; it was found there were a hundred and fifty-three thousand six hundred.

2:17 He impressed seventy thousand of these for carrying loads, eighty thousand for quarrying in the hill country, and three thousand six hundred as overseers to make sure the people worked.

JB 2 CHRONICLES Chapter 3

3:1 Solomon then began to build the house of Yahweh in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah where David his father had a vision. It was the place prepared by David, the threshing-floor of Ornan the Jebusite.

3:2 Solomon began building in the second month of the fourth year of his reign, on the second day.

3:3 Now the structure of the house of God founded by Solomon was sixty cubits long – cubits of the old standard – and twenty cubits wide.

3:4 The Ulam in front of the Hekal of the Temple was twenty cubits long across the width of the house, and its height was a hundred and twenty cubits. He plated it on the inside with pure gold.

3:5 The Great Hall he faced with juniper which he plated with pure gold, and on it set palms and festoons.

3:6 He adorned the hall with precious stones of great beauty; the gold was gold from Parvaim,

3:7 and with this he faced the hall, the rafters, thresholds, walls and doors; on the walls he carved cherubs.

3:8 He then built the hall of the Holy of Holies; its length, across the width of the Great Hall, was twenty cubits, and its width twenty cubits. He plated it with six hundred talents of fine gold;

3:9 the gold nails weighed fifty shekels. He also plated the upper rooms with gold.

3:10 In the hall of the Holy of Holies he made two cherubs of wrought metal work and plated them with gold.

3:11 The total span of the cherubs’ wings was twenty cubits, each being five cubits long, with one wing touching the wall of the hall, while the other touched that of the other cherub.

3:12 One wing of a cherub, five cubits long, touched the wall of the apartment; the second, five cubits long, touched the wing of the other cherub.

3:13 The spread of these cherubs’ wings was twenty cubits. They stood on their feet, facing the Hall.

3:14 He made the Veil of violet, scarlet, crimson and fine linen; he worked cherubs on it.

3:15 In front of the hall he made two pillars thirty-five cubits high, and on the top of each a capital measuring five cubits.

3:16 In the Debir he made festoons, setting them at the tops of the pillars, and a hundred pomegranates which he placed on the festoons.

3:17 He set up the pillars in front of the Hekal, one on the right, the other on the left; the one on the right he called Jachin, the one on the left Boaz.

JB 2 CHRONICLES Chapter 4

4:1 He made an altar of bronze, twenty cubits long, twenty cubits wide and ten high.

4:2 He made the Sea of cast metal, ten cubits from rim to rim, circular in shape and five cubits high; a cord thirty cubits long gave the measurement of its girth.

4:3 Under it and completely encircling it were animals shaped like oxen; they went round the Sea over a length of thirty cubits; the oxen were in two rows, of one and the same casting with the rest.

4:4 It rested on twelve oxen, three facing north, three facing west, three facing south, three facing east; on these, their hindquarters all turned inwards, stood the Sea.

4:5 It was a hand’s breadth in thickness, and its rim was shaped like the rim of a cup, like a flower. It could hold three thousand baths.

4:6 He made ten basins, arranging five on the right-hand side, five on the left-hand side, for washing the victim for the holocaust which was purified there; but the Sea was for the priests to wash in.

4:7 He made the ten golden lamp-stands in the way prescribed and placed them in the Hekal, five on the right and five on the left.

4:8 He made ten tables and placed them in the Hekal, five on the right and five on the left. He made a hundred golden sprinkling bowls.

4:9 He made the court of the priests[*a] and the great court with its gates and plated the gates with bronze.

4:10 He placed the Sea some distance from the right-hand side, to the south-east.

4:11 Huram made the ash containers, the scoops and the sprinkling bowls. He finished all the work that he did for King Solomon on the Temple of God:

4:12 the two pillars; the two mouldings of the capitals surmounting the pillars; the two sets of filigree to cover the two mouldings of the capitals surmounting the pillars;

4:13 the four hundred pomegranates for the two sets of filigree; the pomegranates of each set of filigree were in two rows;

4:14 the ten stands and the ten basins on the stands;

4:15 the one Sea and the twelve oxen beneath it;

4:16 the ash containers, the scoops, the forks, and all their accessories made by Huram-abi of burnished bronze for King Solomon, for the Temple of Yahweh.

4:17 The king made them by the process of sand casting, in the Jordan area between Succoth and Zeredah.

4:18 Solomon made all these articles in great quantities, no reckoning being made of the weight of bronze.

4:19 Solomon placed all the furnishings he had made in the Temple of God: the golden altar and the tables for the loaves of offering;

4:20 the lamp-stands with their lamps to burn, as prescribed, in front of the Debir, of pure gold;

4:21 the floral work, the lamps, the extinguishers, of gold (and it was pure gold);

4:22 the knives, the sprinkling bowls, incense boats, of fine gold; the door of the Temple, the inner doors (for the Holy of Holies) and the Temple doors (for the Hekal), of gold.

JB 2 CHRONICLES Chapter 5

5:1 So all the work that Solomon did for the Temple of Yahweh was completed, and Solomon brought what his father David had consecrated, the silver and the gold and the vessels, and put them in the treasury of the Temple of God.

The ark is brought to the Temple

5:2 Then Solomon called the elders of Israel together in Jerusalem to bring the ark of the covenant of Yahweh up from the Citadel of David, which is Zion.

5:3 All the men of Israel assembled round the king in the seventh month, at the time of the feast.

5:4 All the elders of Israel came, and the Levites took up the ark

5:5 and the Tent of Meeting with all the sacred vessels that were in it; the levitical priests brought them up.

5:6 King Solomon, and all the community of Israel gathering with him in front of the ark, sacrificed sheep and oxen, countless, innumerable.

5:7 The priests brought the ark of the covenant of Yahweh to its place, in the Debir of the Temple, that is, in the Holy of Holies, under the cherubs’ wings.

5:8 For there where the ark was placed the cherubs spread out their wings and sheltered the ark and its shafts.

5:9a These were long enough for their ends to be seen from the Holy Place in front of the Debir, but not from outside.

5:10 There was nothing in the ark except the two tablets that Moses had placed in it at Horeb, where Yahweh had made a covenant with the Israelites when they came out of Egypt;

5:9b they are still there today.

The Lord takes possession of his Temple[*a]

5:11a Now when the priests came out of the sanctuary,

5:13b a cloud filled the sanctuary, the Temple of Yahweh.

5:11b Now all the priests present, whatever order they belonged to, had sanctified themselves.

5:12 The entire body of levitical cantors, Asaph, Heman and Jeduthun with their sons and brothers, was stationed to the east of the altar, robed in fine linen and playing cymbals, harps, and lyres. A hundred and twenty priests accompanied them on the trumpet.

5:13a All those who played the trumpet, or who sang, united in giving praise and glory to Yahweh. Lifting their voices to the sound of the trumpet and cymbal and instruments of music, they gave praise to Yahweh, ‘for he is good, for his love is everlasting’.

5:14 Because of the cloud the priests could no longer perform their duties: the glory of Yahweh filled the Temple of God.

JB 2 CHRONICLES Chapter 6

6:1 Then Solomon said: ‘Yahweh has chosen to dwell in the thick cloud. Yes, I have built you a dwelling,

6:2 a place for you to live in for ever.’

Solomon addresses the people

6:3 Then the king turned and blessed the whole assembly of Israel, while the whole assembly of Israel stood.

6:4 He said, ‘Blessed be Yahweh, the God of Israel, who has carried out by his hand what he promised with his mouth to David, my father, when he said,

6:5 “From the day I brought my people out of the land of Egypt I chose no city, in any of the tribes of Israel, to have a house built where my name might make its home, and chose no man to be prince of my people Israel;

6:6 but I chose Jerusalem for my name to make its home there, and I chose David to rule over Israel my people”.

6:7 My father David had set his heart on building a house for the name of Yahweh, the God of Israel,

6:8 but Yahweh said, “You have set your heart on building a house for my name, and in this you have done well;

6:9 and yet, you are not the man to build the house; your son, born of your own body, shall build the house for my name”.

6:10 Yahweh has kept the promise he made: I have succeeded David my father and am seated on the throne of Israel, as Yahweh promised; I have built the house for the name of Yahweh, the God of Israel,

6:11 and have placed in it the ark containing the covenant that Yahweh made with the sons of Israel.’

Solomon’s prayer for himself

6:12 Then in the presence of the whole assembly of Israel Solomon stood before the altar of Yahweh and stretched out his hands.

6:13 Now Solomon had made a bronze pedestal and had placed it in the middle of the court; it was five cubits long, five cubits wide and five cubits high. Solomon mounted it, and knelt down on it in the presence of the whole assembly of Israel; he stretched out his hands to heaven,

6:14 and said, ‘Yahweh, God of Israel, not in heaven nor on earth is there such a God as you, true to your covenant and your graciousness towards your servants when they walk wholeheartedly in your way.

6:15 You have kept the promise you made to your servant David my father; what you promised with your mouth, today you have carried out by your hand.

6:16 And now, Yahweh, God of Israel, keep the promise you made your servant David when you said, “You shall never lack for a man seated before me on the throne of Israel, if only your sons are careful how they behave, following my law as you yourself have done”.

6:17 So now, God of Israel, let the words come true which you spoke to your servant David my father.

6:18 Yet will God really live with men on the earth? Why, the heavens and their own heavens cannot contain you! How much less this house that I have built!

6:19 Listen to the prayer and entreaty of your servant, Yahweh my God; listen to the cry and to the prayer your servant makes to you.

6:20 Day and night let your eyes watch over this house, over this place in which you have promised to make a home for your name. Listen to the prayer that your servant will offer in this place.

Solomon’s prayer for the people

6:21 ‘Hear the entreaties of your servant and of Israel your people as they pray in this place. From heaven where your dwelling is, hear; and, as you hear, forgive.

6:22 ‘If a man sins against his neighbour, and the neighbour calls down a curse on him and makes him swear an oath before your altar in this Temple,

6:23 hear from heaven, and act; decide between your servants: punish the wicked one, bringing his conduct down on his own head; and vindicate the innocent, rewarding him as his innocence deserves.

6:24 ‘If Israel your people are defeated by the enemy because they have sinned against you, if they return to you and praise your name and pray to you and entreat you in this Temple,

6:25 hear from heaven; forgive the sin of your people Israel, and bring them back to the land you gave to them and their ancestors.

6:26 ‘When the heavens are shut and there is no rain because they have sinned against you, if they pray in this place and praise your name and, having been humbled by you, repent of their sin,

6:27 hear from heaven and forgive the sin of your servant and of your people Israel; show them the good way they ought to follow; and send rain on your land which you have given your people as an inheritance.

6:28 ‘Should there be famine in the land or pestilence, blight or mildew, locust or caterpillar, should this people’s enemies lay siege to one of its city gates, if there is any plague or sickness,

6:29 if any one man, or all Israel your people, should feel remorse and sorrow and pray or make entreaty, stretching out his hands towards this Temple,

6:30 hear from heaven where your home is; forgive, and deal with each as his conduct deserves, for you know each heart – you alone know the hearts of all mankind –

6:31 that they may come to revere you and follow your ways as long as they live in the land you gave to our ancestors.

6:32 ‘And the foreigner too, not belonging to your people Israel, if he comes from a distant country for the sake of your name and of your mighty hand and outstretched arm, if he comes and prays in this Temple,

6:33 hear from heaven where your home is, and grant all the foreigner asks, so that all the peoples of the earth may come to know your name and, like your people Israel, revere you, and know that your name is given to the Temple I have built.

6:34 ‘If your people go out to war against their enemies on the way you send them, and if they turn towards the city you have chosen and towards the Temple I have built for your name and pray to you,

6:35 hear from heaven their prayer and their entreaty, and uphold their cause.

6:36 ‘If they sin against you – for there is no man who does not sin – and you are angry with them and deliver them to the enemy, and they are led away captive to a land far or near,

6:37 if in the land of their exile they come to themselves and repent, and in the country of their captivity they entreat you saying, “We have sinned, we have acted perversely and wickedly”,

6:38 and if they turn again to you with all their heart and soul in the country of their captivity to which they have been deported, and pray, turning towards the land you gave their ancestors, towards the city you have chosen, and towards the Temple I have built for your name,

6:39 hear from heaven where your home is, hear their prayer and their entreaty, uphold their cause, and forgive your people the sins they have committed against you.

Conclusion of the prayer

6:40 ‘Now, O my God, may your eyes be open and your ears attentive to the prayer offered in this place.

6:41 And now Rise Yahweh God, come to your resting place, you and the ark of your power. Your priests, Yahweh God, are vested in salvation, your faithful rejoice in prosperity.

6:42 Yahweh God, do not turn away from the face of your anointed; remember your favours to David your servant.’

JB 2 CHRONICLES Chapter 7

The dedication

7:1 When Solomon had finished his prayer, fire came down from heaven and consumed the holocaust and the sacrifices; and the glory of Yahweh filled the Temple.

7:2 The priests could not enter the house of Yahweh, because the glory of Yahweh filled the house of Yahweh.

7:3 All the sons of Israel, seeing the fire come down and the glory of Yahweh resting on the Temple, bowed down on the pavement with their faces to the earth; they worshipped and gave praise to Yahweh, ‘for he is good, for his love is everlasting’.

7:4 Then the king and all the people offered sacrifice before Yahweh.

7:5 King Solomon offered twenty-two thousand oxen and a hundred and twenty thousand sheep in sacrifice; and so the king and all the people dedicated the Temple of Yahweh.

7:6 The priests stood in their places, while the Levites gave praise to Yahweh on the instruments that David had made to accompany the canticles of Yahweh, ‘for his love is everlasting’. These performed the hymns of praise that David had composed. By their side were the priests sounding the trumpet, while all Israel stood.

7:7 Solomon consecrated the middle of the court that is in front of the Temple of Yahweh; he offered the holocaust there and the fatty parts of the communion sacrifices, since the bronze altar Solomon had made could not hold the holocaust, the oblation and the fatty parts.

7:8 Solomon then celebrated the feast for seven days and all the Israelites gathered together with him in enormous numbers from the Pass of Hamath to the wadi of Egypt.

7:9 On the eighth day they held a propitiation ceremony, for they had been seven days dedicating the altar and seven days celebrating the feast.

7:10 On the twenty-third day of the seventh month Solomon dismissed the people to their homes, rejoicing and with happy hearts for the goodness Yahweh had shown to David and to Solomon and to his people Israel.

Yahweh appears and gives a warning

7:11 Solomon finished the Temple of Yahweh and the royal palace and successfully concluded all he had set his heart on doing in the house of Yahweh and in his own.

7:12 Then Yahweh appeared to Solomon in the night and said, ‘I grant your prayer. I choose this place for myself to be a house of sacrifice.

7:13 When I close the skies and there is no rain, when I command the locust to devour the land, when I send pestilence among my people,

7:14 then if my people who bear my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my presence and turn from their wicked ways, I myself will hear from heaven and forgive their sins and restore their land.

7:15 Now and for the future my eyes are open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is offered in this place.

7:16 Now and for the future I have chosen and consecrated this house for my name to be there for ever; my eyes and my heart will be there for ever.

7:17 For your part, if you walk before me as David your father did, if you do all that I order you and keep my statutes and my ordinances,

7:18 I will make your royal throne secure, according to the compact I made with David your father when I said: You shall never lack for a man to rule in Israel.

7:19 But if you turn away from me and forsake the commandments and statutes I have set before you, and go and serve other gods and worship them,

7:20 then I will tear the Israelites from the land I have given them, and I will reject from my presence this Temple that I have consecrated for my name and make it a proverb and a byword among all the nations.

7:21 As for this Temple, now so exalted, all who pass by will be astounded; they will whistle and say, “Why has Yahweh treated this country and this Temple like this?”

7:22 And the answer will be, “Because they forsook Yahweh, the God of their ancestors, who brought them out of the land of Egypt, and they adopted other gods and worshipped them and served them; that is why he has brought all these disasters on them”.’

JB 2 CHRONICLES Chapter 8

Conclusion. The completion of the building programme

8:1 At the end of the twenty years which it took Solomon to build the Temple of Yahweh and his own palace,

8:2 he rebuilt the towns that Huram had given him and settled Israelites in them.

8:3 He then went to Hamath of Zobah, which he captured;

8:4 he rebuilt Tadmor in the wilderness[*a] and all the garrison towns he had built in Hamath.

8:5 He rebuilt Upper Beth-horon and Lower Beth-horon, fortified towns with walls and gates and bars,

8:6 also Baalath and all the garrison towns owned by Solomon, all the towns for his chariots and horses, and all it pleased Solomon to build in Jerusalem, in Lebanon and in all the countries subject to him.

8:7 All those who survived of the Hittite, Amorite, Perizzite, Hivite and Jebusite peoples, who were not Israelites

8:8 and whose descendants were left in the country after them, and not exterminated by the Israelites, these Solomon levied for forced labour, as they are levied still.

8:9 On the Israelites, however, Solomon did not impose slave-labour; these served as fighting men: they were officers of his equerries and his chariot and cavalry commanders.

8:10 These were the administrators’ officials in the service of King Solomon: two hundred and fifty in charge of the people.

8:11 Solomon brought Pharaoh’s daughter from the Citadel of David up to the house he had built for her. ‘It is not for me’ he said ‘to let a woman live in the palace of David king of Israel; these are holy places, where the ark of Yahweh has been.’

8:12 Solomon then offered holocausts to Yahweh on Yahweh’s altar which he had built in front of the porch.

8:13 Observing the daily rule for holocausts laid down in the commandment of Moses for sabbath, New Moon and the three annual feasts: the feast of Unleavened Bread, the feast of Weeks and the feast of Tabernacles,

8:14 he maintained the regulations of his father David, as also the priestly orders in their duties, the rules affecting the Levites who offered praise and served with the priests according to the daily ritual, and the different orders of gatekeepers at each gate, for such had been the commandments of David, the man of God.

8:15 They did not deviate in anything, not even in the matter of the treasuries, from the royal ordinances applying to the priests and the Levites.

8:16 And all Solomon’s work which, until the day when the foundations of the Temple of Yahweh were laid, had been only in preparation, was completed when the Temple of Yahweh was finished.

Solomon in his glory

8:17 Then Solomon went as far as Ezion-geber and Elath on the shores of the sea, in the land of Edom.

8:18 Huram sent him ships manned by his own men, and experienced sailors. These went with Solomon’s men to Ophir and from there they brought back four hundred and fifty talents of gold, which they delivered to King Solomon.

JB 2 CHRONICLES Chapter 9

9:1 The fame of Solomon having reached the queen of Sheba, she came to Jerusalem to test him with difficult questions. She came with immense riches, camels laden with spices, great quantities of gold and precious stones. On coming to Solomon, she opened her mind freely to him;

9:2 and Solomon had an answer for all her questions, not one was too recondite for Solomon to expound.

9:3 When the queen of Sheba saw the wisdom of Solomon, the palace he had built,

9:4 the food at his table, the accommodation for his officials, the organisation of his staff and the way they were dressed, his cupbearers and the holocausts he offered in the Temple of Yahweh, it left her breathless,

9:5 and she said to the king, ‘What I heard in my own country about you and your wisdom was true, then!

9:6 Until I came and saw it with my own eyes I could not believe what they told me, but evidently what they told me was less than half the real extent of your wisdom; you surpass the report I heard.

9:7 How happy your wives are! How happy these servants of yours who wait on you always and hear your wisdom!

9:8 Blessed be Yahweh your God who has granted you his favour, setting you on his throne as king in the name of Yahweh your God. Because your God loves Israel and means to uphold him for ever, he has made you king over them to administer law and justice.’

9:9 And she presented the king with a hundred and twenty talents of gold and great quantities of spices and precious stones. There never were spices like those the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.

9:10 Similarly the servants of Huram and the servants of Solomon, who carried gold from Ophir, brought algummim wood and precious stones.

9:11 Of the algummim wood the king made floorboards for the Temple of Yahweh and for the royal palace, and lyres and harps for the musicians; the like of them had never been seen before in the land of Judah.

9:12 And King Solomon, in his turn, presented the queen of Sheba with everything she expressed any wish for, besides returning what she had brought to the king. Then she went home, she and her servants, to her own country.

9:13 The weight of gold coming to Solomon in one year was six hundred and sixty-six talents of gold,

9:14 not counting the merchants dues that the import agents brought in; all the kings of Arabia and the governors of the country also brought gold and silver to Solomon.

9:15 King Solomon made two hundred great shields of beaten gold, and plated each shield with six hundred shekels of gold.

9:16 Also three hundred small shields of beaten gold, and plated each of these with three hundred shekels of gold; and he put them in the Hall of the Forest of Lebanon.

9:17 The king also made a great ivory throne, and plated it with purest gold.

9:18 The throne had six steps, and at the back of it a lamb in gold, and arms at either side of the seat; two lions stood beside the arms,

9:19 and twelve lions stood on either side of the six steps. No throne like this was ever made in any other kingdom.

9:20 All King Solomon’s drinking vessels were of gold, and all the furnishings in the Hall of the Forest of Lebanon were of pure gold; silver was thought little of in the time of Solomon.

9:21 And the king also had ships that went to Tarshish with Huram’s men, and once every three years the ships of Tarshish would come back laden with gold and silver, ivory, apes and baboons.

9:22 For riches and for wisdom King Solomon outdid all the kings of the earth.

9:23 All the kings of the earth sought audience of Solomon to hear the wisdom God had implanted in his heart,

9:24 and each would bring his own present: gold vessels, silver vessels, robes, armour, spices, horses and mules; and this went on year after year.

9:25 Solomon had four thousand stalls for his horses and chariots, and twelve thousand horses; these he stationed in the chariot towns and near the king in Jerusalem.

9:26 Solomon extended his power over all the kingdoms from the river to the land of the Philistines and the Egyptian border.

9:27 In Jerusalem the king made silver common as pebbles, and cedars plentiful as the sycamores of the Lowlands.

9:28 Horses were imported for Solomon from Cilicia and all the other countries too.

The death of Solomon

9:29 The rest of the history of Solomon, from first to last, is not all this recorded in the History of Nathan the prophet, in the Prophecy of Ahijah of Shiloh, and in the Vision of Iddo the seer concerning Jeroboam son of Nebat?

9:30 Solomon reigned in Jerusalem for forty years over all Israel.

9:31 Then Solomon slept with his ancestors and was buried in the Citadel of David his father; his son Rehoboam succeeded him.

JB 2 CHRONICLES Chapter 10

IV. FIRST REFORMS OF THE MONARCHICAL PERIOD

A. REHOBOAM AND THE REGROUPING OF THE LEVITES

The schism

10:1 Rehoboam went to Shechem, for it was to Shechem that all Israel had gone to proclaim him king.

10:2 As soon as Jeroboam son of Nebat heard the news – he was still in Egypt, where he had taken refuge from King Solomon – he returned from Egypt.

10:3 They sent and summoned him, and he came, with the whole assembly. And they said this to Rehoboam,

10:4 ‘Your father gave us a heavy burden to bear; lighten your father’s harsh tyranny now, and the weight of the burden he laid on us, and we will serve you’.

10:5 He said, ‘Come back to me in three days’. And the people went away.

10:6 King Rehoboam consulted the elders, who had been in the service of his father Solomon while he was alive. ‘What reply’ he asked ‘do you advise me to give to this people?’

10:7 ‘If you are kind to these people,’ they said ‘if you are pleasant to them and treat them fairly, then they will be your servants for ever.’

10:8 But he rejected the advice given him by the elders and consulted the young men who had grown up with him and were in his service.

10:9 ‘How do you advise us’ he asked ‘to answer these people who have said to me, “Lighten the burden your father imposed on us”?’

10:10 The young men who had grown up with him replied, ‘Give this answer to these people who have said, “Your father gave us a heavy burden to bear, you must lighten it for us”, say this to them, “My little finger is thicker than my father’s loins!

10:11 So then, my father made you bear a heavy burden; I will make it heavier still! My father beat you with whips; I am going to beat you with loaded scourges!”‘

10:12 On the third day all the people came to Rehoboam in obedience to the king’s command: ‘Come back to me on the third day’.

10:13 The king gave them a harsh answer. King Rehoboam, rejecting the advice of the elders,

10:14 spoke to them as the young men had recommended. ‘My father made you bear a heavy burden,’ he said ‘but I will make it heavier still. My father beat you with whips; I am going to beat you with loaded scourges!’

10:15 The king in fact took no notice of the people’s wishes, and this was brought about by God to carry out the promise Yahweh had spoken through Ahijah of Shiloh to Jeroboam son of Nebat.

10:16 When all Israel saw that the king took no notice of their wishes, they gave him this answer: ‘What share have we in David? We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse. To your tents, Israel, each one of you. Henceforth look after your own House, David!’ And all Israel went off to their tents.

10:17 Rehoboam however ruled over those sons of Israel who lived in the towns of Judah.

10:18 King Rehoboam sent Adoram who was in charge of forced labour, but the Israelites stoned him to death; whereupon King Rehoboam was obliged to mount his chariot and escape to Jerusalem.

10:19 And Israel has remained separated from the House of David until the present day.

JB 2 CHRONICLES Chapter 11

The activities of Rehoboam

11:1 Rehoboam went to Jerusalem and mustered the House of Judah with Benjamin, a hundred and eighty thousand picked warriors, to fight the House of Israel and win back the kingdom of Rehoboam.

11:2 But the word of Yahweh came to Shemaiah the man of God,

11:3 ‘Say this to Rehoboam son of Solomon, king of Judah, and to all the Israelites in Judah and Benjamin,

11:4 “Yahweh says this: Do not set out to fight against your brothers; let everyone go home, for what has happened is my doing”‘. They obeyed Yahweh’s command and went back instead of marching against Jeroboam.

11:5 Rehoboam lived in Jerusalem and built fortified towns in Judah.

11:6 He rebuilt Bethlehem, Etam, Tekoa,

11:7 Beth-zur, Soco, Adullam,

11:8 Gath, Mareshah, Ziph,

11:9 Adoraim, Lachish, Azekah,

11:10 Zorah, Aijalon, Hebron; these were fortified towns in Judah and Benjamin.

11:11 He fortified them strongly and put commanders in them with stores of food, oil and wine.

11:12 In each of these towns were shields and spears. He made them very strong to keep Judah and Benjamin under control.

Rehoboam’s relations with the priests and Levites

11:13 The priests and the Levites throughout Israel left their districts to take up residence near him.

11:14 The Levites, indeed, abandoned their pasture lands and their holdings, and came to Judah and Jerusalem, since Jeroboam and his sons had excluded them from the priesthood of Yahweh,

11:15 and had set up for himself a priesthood of the high places, for the satyrs and the calves he had made.

11:16 Members of all the tribes of Israel, men wholeheartedly devoted to the worship of Yahweh the God of Israel, followed them and came to Jerusalem to sacrifice to Yahweh, the God of their ancestors.

11:17 These added strength to the kingdom of Judah, and gave their support to Rehoboam son of Solomon for three years, because during three years he followed the example of David and Solomon.

Rehoboam turns unfaithful

11:18 Rehoboam took as wife Mahalath the daughter of Jerimoth son of David, and of Abihail, daughter of Eliab son of Jesse,

11:19 and she bore him sons: Jeush, Shemariah and Zaham.

11:20 After her, he married Maacah daughter of Absalom, who bore him Abijah, Attai, Ziza and Shelomith.

11:21 Rehoboam loved Maacah, daughter of Absalom, more than all his other wives and concubines. He had in fact a total of eighteen wives and sixty concubines and had twenty-eight sons and sixty daughters.

11:22 Rehoboam appointed Abijah, Maacah’s son, as head of the family, to be prince among his brothers, with a view to making him king.

11:23 He built more and demolished more than any of his descendants throughout the territories of Judah and Benjamin and in all the fortified towns, which he equipped with numerous granaries. But he consulted the many gods of his wives,

JB 2 CHRONICLES Chapter 12

12:1 and no sooner was his royal authority securely consolidated than he, and all Israel with him, abandoned the Law of Yahweh.

12:2 In the fifth year of Rehoboam, Shishak the king of Egypt marched on Jerusalem, since it had been unfaithful to Yahweh.

12:3 With twelve hundred chariots and sixty thousand horses and a countless army of Libyans, Sukkiim and Ethiopians who came from Egypt with him,

12:4 he captured the fortified towns of Judah and reached Jerusalem.

12:5 Rehoboam and the Judaean captains, at the advance of Shishak, had mustered near Jerusalem; to them came Shemaiah the prophet. ‘Yahweh says this’ he said to them. ‘”You have abandoned me, now I have abandoned you into the hands of Shishak.”‘

12:6 Then the Israelite captains and the king humbled themselves. ‘Yahweh is just!’ they said.

12:7 When Yahweh saw that they had humbled themselves, the word of Yahweh came to Shemaiah. ‘They have humbled themselves,’ it said ‘I will not destroy them. In a little while I will grant them deliverance; my wrath shall not fall on Jerusalem through the power of Shishak.

12:8 Nevertheless they shall become his slaves, so that they may come to understand the difference between serving me and serving the kingdoms of foreign countries.’

12:9 Shishak the king of Egypt marched on Jerusalem. He took all the treasures from the Temple of Yahweh and the treasures from the royal palace, he took everything, including the golden shields that Solomon had made;

12:10 in place of them King Rehoboam had bronze shields made, entrusting them to the care of the officers of the guard who guarded the king’s palace gate.

12:11 Whenever the king went to the Temple of Yahweh, the guards would come out carrying them, and return them to the guardroom afterwards.

12:12 Since he had humbled himself, the wrath of Yahweh turned away from him and did not destroy him altogether. Indeed, things went well in Judah,

12:13 and King Rehoboam was able to strengthen his position in Jerusalem and to govern. Now Rehoboam was forty-one years old when he came to the throne and he reigned for seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city chosen by Yahweh out of all the tribes of Israel, in which to give his name a home. His mother’s name was Naamah the Ammonitess.

12:14 He did evil, because he had not set his heart on seeking Yahweh.

12:15 The history of Rehoboam, from first to last, is not all this recorded in the Annals of Shemaiah the prophet and of Iddo the seer concerning the grouping of the Levites and the incessant warfare between Rehoboam and Jeroboam?

12:16 Then Rehoboam slept with his ancestors and was buried in the Citadel of David; his son Abijah succeeded him.

JB 2 CHRONICLES Chapter 13

B. ABIJAH AND LOYALTY TO THE LEGITIMATE PRIESTHOOD

War

13:1 In the eighteenth year of King Jeroboam, Abijah became king of Judah

13:2 and reigned for three years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Micaiah, daughter of Uriel, from Gibeah. Abijah and Jeroboam were at war.

13:3 Abijah went into battle with an army of brave fighters, four hundred thousand picked men, while Jeroboam drew up his battle line against him with eight hundred thousand picked men, stout fighters.

Abijah addresses the Israelites

13:4 Abijah took his stand on Mount Zemaraim, in the highlands of Ephraim. ‘Jeroboam and all Israel’ he cried ‘listen to me!

13:5 Do you not know that Yahweh the God of Israel has given the sovereignty of Israel to David for ever? It is an inviolable covenant for him and for his sons.

13:6 Yet Jeroboam son of Nebat, a servant of Solomon son of David, has risen in revolt against his lord;

13:7 worthless men, scoundrels, have rallied to him and forced their will on Rehoboam the son of Solomon, on Rehoboam, then a young man and timid, powerless to resist them.

13:8 Now you talk of resisting the sovereignty of Yahweh, which belongs to the sons of David, and you stand there in a great horde, with your golden calves that Jeroboam made you for gods!

13:9 Have you not driven out the priests of Yahweh, the sons of Aaron and the Levites, to make priests of your own like the peoples of foreign countries? Anyone who comes with a bull and seven rams to get himself consecrated can become priest of what is no god at all!

13:10 But for our part, our God is Yahweh, and we have not abandoned him: our priests are sons of Aaron who minister to Yahweh, and those who serve are Levites.

13:11 Every morning, every evening, we burn holocausts to Yahweh our God; we have the incense of sweet spices, the loaves set out in rows on the pure table, the golden lamp-stand with its lamps that burn each evening; for we observe the ritual of Yahweh our God, but you have abandoned him.

13:12 See how God is with us, at our head; see his priests with the trumpets, who will sound them to raise the war cry against you. Sons of Israel, do not fight against Yahweh, the God of our ancestors, for you will not succeed.’

The battle

13:13 Jeroboam outflanked the Judaeans by setting an ambush in their rear; the Judaeans were facing the Israelites with the ambush in their rear.

13:14 The Judaeans, turning about, found themselves attacked in front and rear. They called on Yahweh, the priests sounded the trumpets,

13:15 and the men of Judah raised the war cry, and as they raised the cry God scattered Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah.

13:16 The Israelites fled before Judah and God delivered them into the power of the Judaeans.

13:17 Abijah and his army inflicted a crushing defeat on them: five hundred thousand of Israel’s chosen men fell killed.

13:18 So the sons of Israel were humbled on that occasion, and the sons of Judah reassured since they had relied on Yahweh, the God of their ancestors.

The end of the reign of Abijah

13:19 Abijah pursued Jeroboam and captured certain towns from him: Bethel with its outlying villages, Jeshanah with its outlying villages and Ephron with its outlying villages.

13:20 So in the lifetime of Abijah, Jeroboam could no longer maintain his power; and Yahweh struck him down, and he died.

13:21 But Abijah grew in strength; he took fourteen wives and had twenty-two sons and sixteen daughters.

13:22 The rest of the history of Abijah, his conduct and his deeds, is not all this recorded in the Midrash of the prophet Iddo?

13:23 Then Abijah slept with his fathers and they buried him in the Citadel of David; his son Asa succeeded him.

JB 2 CHRONICLES Chapter 14

C. ASA AND HIS REFORM OF PUBLIC WORSHIP

Peace under Asa

In his time the country was at peace for ten years.

14:1 Asa did what is good and right in the eyes of Yahweh.

14:2 He abolished the foreign altars and the high places, broke the pillars, cut down the sacred poles,

14:3 and urged the Judaeans to look to Yahweh, the God of their ancestors, and to observe law and commandment.

14:4 He abolished the high places and the altars of incense in every town of Judah. The kingdom was at peace under his rule.

14:5 He rebuilt the fortified towns of Judah, since the country was at peace and free of war during those years, Yahweh having granted him peace.

14:6 ‘Let us rebuild these towns,’ he told Judah ‘let us surround them with wall and tower, with gate and bar; we shall be left in this land, since we have looked to Yahweh our God; and he has looked to us and given us peace on every side.’ They built and prospered.

14:7 Asa had an army of three hundred thousand Judaeans armed with buckler and spear, and two hundred and eighty thousand Benjaminites bearing shield and wielding the bow, all of them valiant champions.

Zerah’s Invasion

14:8 Zerah the Cushite and an army one million strong with three hundred chariots made an incursion, and penetrated to Mareshah.

14:9 Asa marched out to intercept him and drew up his battle line in the Valley of Zephathah, at Mareshah.

14:10 He called on Yahweh, his God. ‘Yahweh,’ he said ‘no one but you can stand up for the powerless against the powerful. Come to our help, Yahweh our God! We rely on you, and confront this horde in your name. Yahweh, you are our God. Let man leave everything to you!’

14:11 Yahweh defeated the Cushites before Asa and the Judaeans, the Cushites fled,

14:12 and Asa pursued them with his army as far as Gerar. So many of the Cushites fell that recovery was impossible, for they had been shattered before Yahweh and his army. They collected great quantities of booty,

14:13 they conquered all the towns in the area of Gerar, for the terror of Yahweh had fallen on these; they plundered them all since they were full of loot.

14:14 They also set on the enclosures of livestock and carried off great numbers of sheep and camels; then they returned to Jerusalem.

JB 2 CHRONICLES Chapter 15

The prophecy of Azariah and the oath of fidelity

15:1 The spirit of God came on Azariah son of Oded;

15:2 he went out to meet Asa and said, ‘Listen to me, Asa, and all you of Judah and of Benjamin. Yahweh is with you so long as you are with him. When you seek him, he lets you find him; when you desert him, he deserts you.

15:3 Many a day Israel will spend without a faithful God, without priest to teach, without law;

15:4 but in their distress they will return to Yahweh, the God of Israel; they will seek him, and he will let them find him.

15:5 When that time comes no grown man will know peace, for many troubles will afflict all the inhabitants of the country.

15:6 Nation will be shattered by nation, city shattered by city, since God will afflict them with every kind of distress.

15:7 But for your part, take courage, do not let your hands weaken, for your deeds will be rewarded.’

15:8 When Asa heard these words and this prophecy, he was emboldened to remove all the abominable idols throughout the land of Judah and Benjamin, and in the towns he had captured in the highlands of Ephraim; he then repaired the altar of Yahweh that stood in front of the Porch of Yahweh.[*a]

15:9 He gathered all Judah and Benjamin together, and also the Ephraimites, Manassites and Simeonites who had settled with them, since great numbers of Israelites had gone over to Asa when they saw that Yahweh was with him.

15:10 In the third month of the fifteenth year of Asa they assembled in Jerusalem;

15:11 and they sacrificed to Yahweh that day seven hundred oxen and seven thousand sheep out of the spoil they had brought back.

15:12 They made a compact to seek Yahweh, the God of their ancestors, with all their heart and soul;

15:13 anyone who would not seek Yahweh the God of Israel was to be put to death, whether of high or low degree, man or woman.

15:14 They pledged their oath to Yahweh aloud with shouts to the sound of trumpet and horn;

15:15 all Judah rejoiced at the oath they had wholeheartedly taken. They sought Yahweh so earnestly that he let them find him, and granted them peace on every side.

Further activities of Asa

15:16 Maacah herself, the mother of King Asa, was deprived by him of the dignity of queen mother for making an obscenity for Asherah; Asa cut down her obscenity and burnt it in the wadi Kidron.

15:17 Though the high places were not abolished in Israel,[*b] the heart of Asa was blameless all his life.

15:18 He deposited the offerings dedicated by his father and his own offerings too, in the Temple of God, silver and gold and furnishings.

15:19 Up to the thirty-fifth year of Asa’s reign there was no war.

JB 2 CHRONICLES Chapter 16

16:1 In the thirty-sixth year of Asa’s reign, Baasha king of Israel marched on Judah and fortified Ramah to blockade Asa king of Judah.

16:2 Asa then took the silver and gold from the treasuries of the Temple of Yahweh and the royal palace, and sent this with the following message to Ben-hadad king of Aram who lived in Damascus,

16:3 ‘An alliance between myself and you, as between my father and your father! With this I send you silver and gold. Come, break off your alliance with Baasha king of Israel, and he will have to retire from my territory.’

16:4 Ben-hadad agreed, and sent his generals against the towns of Israel; he conquered Ijon, Dan, Abelmaim and all the garrison towns of Naphtali.

16:5 When Baasha heard this he gave up fortifying Ramah, abandoning this work.

16:6 King Asa then brought all Judah; they took away the stones and timber with which Baasha had been fortifying Ramah, and the king used them to fortify Geba and Mizpah.

16:7 It was then that Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah and said, ‘Since you have relied on the king of Aram and not on Yahweh your God, the army of the king of Aram will slip through your fingers.

16:8 Did not the Cushites and Libyans form a vast army with great numbers of chariots and horses? And were they not delivered into your power because you relied on Yahweh?

16:9 Since the eyes of Yahweh rove to and fro across the whole world to display his might on behalf of those whose hearts are wholly his, you have acted on this occasion like a fool; and from now on you will have war.’

16:10 Enraged with the seer, Asa had him put in the stocks in prison, he was so angry with him for this; at the same time Asa began treating part of the population harshly too.

The end of the reign of Asa

16:11 The history of Asa, from first to last, is recorded in the Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel.

16:12 A disease attacked Asa from head to foot in the thirty-ninth year of his reign; and, what is more, he turned in his sickness, not to Yahweh, but to doctors.

16:13 Then Asa slept with his ancestors, dying in the forty-first year of his reign.

16:14 They buried him in the tomb he had ordered to be dug for himself in the Citadel of David. They laid him on a couch entirely covered with spices and varied ointments, products of the perfumer’s skill, and lit a huge fire for him.

JB 2 CHRONICLES Chapter 17

D. JEHOSHAPHAT AND HIS GOVERNMENT

His power

17:1 His son Jehoshaphat succeeded him and consolidated his power over Israel.

17:2 He put troops in all the fortified towns in Judah, and appointed governors in the land of Judah and in all the towns of Ephraim captured by his father Asa.

His observance of the Law

17:3 Yahweh was with Jehoshaphat because he followed the example of his father’s earlier days and did not have recourse to the Baals;

17:4 he sought the God of his father, following his commandments and not following the example of Israel.

17:5 Yahweh made the kingship secure in his hands; all Judah paid tribute to Jehoshaphat, and ample riches and honour were his.

17:6 His heart advanced in the ways of Yahweh, and once again he did away with the high places and sacred poles in Judah.

17:7 In the third year of his reign he sent his officers: Ben-hail, Obadiah, Zechariah, Nethanel and Micaiah, to give instruction in the towns of Judah.

17:8 With them went the Levites: Shemaiah, Nethaniah, Zebadiah, Asahel, Shemiramoth, Jehonathan, Adonijah and Tobijah, the Levites, together with the priests, Elishama and Jehoram.

17:9 They gave instruction in Judah, having with them the book of the Law of Yahweh, and went round all the towns of Judah instructing the people.

17:10 The terror of Yahweh fell on all the kingdoms of the land surrounding Judah; they did not make war on Jehoshaphat.

17:11 Some of the Philistines brought him gifts and silver in tribute; the Arabs themselves brought him, in small stock, seven thousand seven hundred rams and seven thousand seven hundred he-goats.

17:12 Jehoshaphat became more and more powerful. He built fortresses and garrison towns in Judah.

The army

17:13 He had strong formations in the towns of Judah and a garrison of valiant champions in Jerusalem.

17:14 This was their disposition by families: for Judah, commanders of thousands: Adnah, the commanding officer, with three hundred thousand valiant champions;

17:15 under his command, Jehohanan with two hundred and eighty thousand;

17:16 under his command, Amasiah son of Zichri, who had volunteered for Yahweh’s service, with two hundred thousand valiant champions.

17:17 From Benjamin: the valiant champion Eliada with two hundred thousand, armed with bow and shield;

17:18 under his command, Jehozabad with a hundred and eighty thousand equipped for war.

17:19 These were the men who served the king, not counting those the king had put in the fortified towns throughout Judah.

JB 2 CHRONICLES Chapter 18

The alliance with Ahab; the prophets’ attitude

18:1 Jehoshaphat, then, enjoyed great wealth and honour, and allied himself by marriage to Ahab.

18:2 After some years he went to visit Ahab in Samaria. Ahab slaughtered for him and for his retinue great numbers of sheep and oxen to induce him to attack Ramoth-gilead.

18:3 ‘Will you come with me to Ramoth-gilead?’ Ahab king of Israel asked Jehoshaphat king of Judah. Jehoshaphat answered the king of Israel, ‘I am as ready for battle as you, my men as your men’.

The spurious prophets predict success

18:4 Jehoshaphat, however, said to the king of Israel, ‘First, please consult the word of Yahweh’

18:5 ‘So the king of Israel called the prophets together, four hundred of them. ‘Should we march to attack Ramoth-gilead,’ he asked ‘or should I refrain?’ ‘March,’ they replied ‘Yahweh will deliver it into the power of the king.’

18:6 But Jehoshaphat said, ‘Is there no other prophet of Yahweh here for us to consult?’

18:7 The king of Israel answered Jehoshaphat, ‘There is one more man through whom we can consult Yahweh, but I hate him because he never has a favourable prophecy for me, always unfavourable ones; he is Micaiah son of Imlah’. ‘The king should not say such things’ Jehoshaphat said.

18:8 Accordingly the king of Israel summoned one of the eunuchs and said, ‘Bring Micaiah son of Imlah immediately’.

18:9 The king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah were both sitting on their thrones in full regalia; they sat at the threshing-floor outside the gate of Samaria, with all the prophets raving in front of them.

18:10 Zedekiah son of Chenaanah had made himself iron horns. ‘Yahweh says this’ he said. ‘”With these you will gore the Aramaeans till you make an end of them.”‘

18:11 And all the prophets prophesied the same. ‘March to Ramoth-gilead,’ they said ‘and conquer. Yahweh will deliver it into the power of the king.’

18:12 The messenger who had gone to summon Micaiah said, ‘Here are all the prophets as one man in speaking favourably to the king. Try to speak like one of them and foretell success.’

18:13 But Micaiah answered, ‘As Yahweh lives, what my God says, that will I utter!’

18:14 When he came to the king, the king said, ‘Micaiah, should we march to attack Ramoth-gilead, or should I refrain?’ He answered, ‘March and conquer. They will be delivered into your power.’

18:15 But the king said, ‘How often must I put you on oath to tell me nothing but the truth in the name of Yahweh?’

18:16 Then Micaiah spoke: ‘I have seen all Israel scattered on the mountains like sheep without a shepherd. And Yahweh said, “These have no master, let each one go home unmolested”.’

18:17 At this the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, ‘Did I not tell you that he never gives me favourable prophecies, but only unfavourable ones?’

18:18 Micaiah went on, ‘Listen rather to the word of Yahweh. I have seen Yahweh seated on his throne; all the array of heaven stood to his right and to his left.

18:19 Yahweh said, “Who will trick Ahab king of Israel into marching to his death at Ramoth-gilead?” At which some answered one way, and some another.

18:20 Then the spirit came forward and stood before Yahweh. “I,” he said “I will trick him.” “How?” Yahweh asked.

18:21 He replied, “I will go and become a lying spirit in the mouths of all his prophets”. “You shall trick him,” Yahweh said “you shall succeed. Go and do it.”

18:22 Now see how Yahweh has put a lying spirit into the mouths of your prophets here. But Yahweh has pronounced disaster on you.’

18:23 Then Zedekiah son of Chenaanah came up and struck Micaiah on the jaw. ‘Which way’ he asked ‘did the spirit of Yahweh leave me, to talk to you?’

18:24 ‘This is what you will find out,’ Micaiah retorted ‘the day you flee to an inner room to hide.’

18:25 The king of Israel said, ‘Seize Micaiah and hand him over to Amon, governor of the city, and to Prince Joash,

18:26 and say, “This is the king’s order: Put this man in prison and feed him on nothing but bread and water until I come back safe and sound”‘

18:27 Micaiah said, ‘If you come back safe and sound, Yahweh has not spoken through me’.

18:28 The king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah went up against Ramoth-gilead.

18:29 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, ‘I will disguise myself to go into battle, but I want you to wear your royal uniform.’ The king of Israel disguised himself, and they went into battle.

18:30 The king of Aram had given his chariot commanders the following order: ‘Do not attack anyone of whatever rank, except the king of Israel’.

18:31 When the chariot commanders caught sight of Jehoshaphat, they said, ‘That is the king of Israel’. And they wheeled to the attack. But Jehoshaphat gave a shout and Yahweh came to his help, God drew them away from him,

18:32 for the chariot commanders, realising that he was not the king of Israel, called off their pursuit.

18:33 Now one of the men, drawing his bow at random, hit the king of Israel between the corslet and the scale-armour of his breastplate. ‘Turn about,’ the king said to his charioteer ‘get me out of the battle; I have been hurt.’

18:34 But the battle grew fiercer as the day went on; until evening the king held himself upright in his chariot facing the Aramaeans, and at sunset he died.

JB 2 CHRONICLES Chapter 19

19:1 Jehoshaphat came back safe and sound to Jerusalem.

19:2 Jehu, son of Hanani the seer, went to meet him and said to King Jehoshaphat, ‘Should a man give help to the wicked? Should you love those who hate Yahweh and so bring his wrath on you?

19:3 There is some good in you, however, since you have removed the sacred poles from the land and have set your heart on seeking God.’

Measures taken to spread the true religion of Yahweh

19:4 After a stay in Jerusalem, Jehoshaphat made another progress through his people, from Beersheba to the highlands of Ephraim, to bring them back to Yahweh, the God of their ancestors.

19:5 He appointed judges in the country in every one of all the fortified towns of Judah.

19:6 He said to these judges, ‘Give due thought to your duties, since you are not judging in the name of men but in the name of Yahweh, who is with you whenever you pronounce sentence.

19:7 May the fear of Yahweh now be on you. Keep the Law, apply it, for Yahweh our God has no part in fraud or partiality or the taking of bribes.’

19:8 In addition, Jehoshaphat appointed priests, Levites and heads of Israelite families in Jerusalem to pronounce the verdicts of Yahweh and to judge disputed cases. They lived in Jerusalem

19:9 and Jehoshaphat gave them the following instructions, ‘You are to perform these duties in the fear of Yahweh, faithfully and with all your heart.

19:10 Whatever dispute comes before you from your brothers living in their towns: a question of blood-vengeance, of the Law, of some commandment, of statute, or of ordinance, you are to clarify these matters for them so that they do not incur guilt before Yahweh, whose wrath will otherwise come on you and your brothers. Do this and you will incur no guilt.

19:11 Amariah, the chief priest, will preside over you in all religious matters, and son of Ishmael, controller of the House of Judah, in all matters affecting the king. The Levites will serve as your scribes. Be resolute, carry out these instructions, and Yahweh will be there to bring success.’

JB 2 CHRONICLES Chapter 20

An act of faith and song of praise in the war against Edom

20:1 After this the Moabites and Ammonites, with some of the Meunites[*a] started to make war on Jehoshaphat.

20:2 Jehoshaphat received the following intelligence, ‘A vast horde is advancing against you from Edom, from the other side of the sea; they are already at Hazazon-tamar, that is, En-gedi’.

20:3 Jehoshaphat was alarmed and resolved to have recourse to Yahweh; he proclaimed a fast for all Judah.

20:4 Judah assembled to seek help from Yahweh; they came seeking Yahweh from every single town in Judah.

20:5 At this assembly of the people of Judah and Jerusalem in the Temple of Yahweh, Jehoshaphat stood before the new court

20:6 and said, ‘Yahweh, God of our ancestors, are you not the God who dwells in the heavens? Do you not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations? Such power and might are in your hands that no one can resist you.

20:7 Are you not our God, you who have dispossessed the inhabitants of this land for Israel your people, and given it to the descendants of Abraham whom you will love for ever?

20:8 They have settled in it and built a sanctuary there for your name,

20:9 saying, “Should calamity befall us, or war, punishment, pestilence, or famine, then we shall stand before this Temple and before you, for your name is in this Temple. From the depths of our distress we shall cry to you, and you will hear and save us.”

20:10 ‘Here now are the Ammonites and Moab and the mountain folk of Seir; when Israel came out of the land of Egypt you would not let Israel invade them; instead, Israel turned away from them and did not destroy them;

20:11 and this is how they reward us, by coming to drive us out of the possessions you have given us as our inheritance.

20:12 Will you our God not execute judgement on them, since we are helpless against this vast horde attacking us? We ourselves do not know what to do; we look to you.’

20:13 All the men of Judah, even down to their youngest children and their wives, stood in the presence of Yahweh.

20:14 In the middle of the assembly the spirit of Yahweh came on Jahaziel son of Zechariah, son of Benaiah, son of Jeiel, son of Mattaniah the Levite, one of the sons of Asaph.

20:15 ‘Listen all you men of Judah,’ he cried ‘and you who live in Jerusalem, and you, King Jehoshaphat! Yahweh says this to you, “Do not be afraid, do not be daunted by this vast horde; this battle is not yours but God’s.

20:16 March out against them tomorrow; they are coming up by the Slope of Ziz and you will come on them in the Valley of Soph, near the wilderness of Jeruel.

20:17 You will not need to fight here. Take up your position, stand firm, and see what salvation Yahweh has in store for you. Judah and Jerusalem, be fearless, be dauntless; march out against them tomorrow and Yahweh will be with you.”‘

20:18 Jehoshaphat bent his head, his face to the ground, and all Judah with those who lived in Jerusalem fell down before Yahweh, worshipping him.

20:19 Then the Levites – Kohathites and Korahites – began praising Yahweh the God of Israel at the tops of their voices.

20:20 They rose early in the morning and left for the wilderness of Tekoa. As they were setting out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, ‘Listen to me Judah and all who live in Jerusalem! Have faith in Yahweh your God and you will be secure; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.’

20:21 Then, having held a conference with the people, he set the cantors of Yahweh in sacred vestments at the head of the army, to sing praises to him. ‘Give praise to Yahweh,’ they sang ‘for his love is everlasting.’

20:22 As they began to sing their joy and their praise, Yahweh laid an ambush for the Ammonites and Moab and the mountain folk of Seir who had come to attack Judah, and routed them.

20:23 The Ammonites and Moabites turned on the mountain folk of Seir to inflict the ban on them and destroy them altogether, but they only helped each other to their own undoing.

20:24 When the men of Judah reached the spot that looks out on the wilderness and turned to face the horde, they found only corpses lying on the ground; no one had escaped.

20:25 Jehoshaphat came with his troops to plunder them, and found quantities of cattle, goods, clothing and valuables; they collected more than they could take away; the booty was so plentiful they were three days gathering it.

20:26 On the fourth day they mustered in the Valley of Beracah; and there they did indeed bless Yahweh,[*b] hence the name of the Valley of Beracah by which the place is still called today.

20:27 Then all the men of Judah and Benjamin, with Jehoshaphat at their head, went back joyfully to Jerusalem, for Yahweh had given them cause to rejoice over their enemies.

20:28 To the music of harp and lyre and trumpet they came to Jerusalem and to the Temple of Yahweh,

20:29 and the Terror of God came on all the kingdoms of foreign countries when they came to hear how Yahweh had fought against the enemies of Israel.

20:30 The kingdom of Jehoshaphat was calm, his God granting him peace on all his frontiers.

The end of the reign of Jehoshaphat

20:31 Jehoshaphat reigned over Judah. He was thirty-five years old when he came to the throne and he reigned for twenty-five years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Azubah, daughter of Shilhi.

20:32 He followed the example of his father Asa undeviatingly, doing what is right in the eyes of Yahweh.

20:33 The high places, however, were not abolished; the people had still not turned their hearts to the God of their ancestors.

20:34 The rest of the history of Jehoshaphat, from first to last, is recorded in the Annals of Jehu son of Hanani which have been transcribed into the Book of the Kings of Israel.

20:35 After this, Jehoshaphat king of Judah allied himself with Ahaziah king of Israel, who led him into evil ways.

20:36 He combined with him to build ships that would sail to Tarshish; they built them at Ezion-geber.

20:37 Eliezer son of Dodavahu of Mareshah then made a prophecy against Jehoshaphat. ‘Because you have allied yourself with Ahaziah,’ he said ‘Yahweh has broken your work.’ The ships broke up and were never fit to sail for Tarshish.

JB 2 CHRONICLES Chapter 21

21:1 Jehoshaphat slept with his ancestors and was buried in the Citadel of David; his son Jehoram succeeded him.

E. IMPIETY AND DISASTERS UNDER JEHORAM, AHAZIAH, ATHALIAH AND JOASH

The accession and crime of Jehoram

21:2 Jehoram had six brothers, sons of Jehoshaphat: Azariah, Jehiel, Zechariah, Azariahu, Michael and Shephatiah; these are all the sons of Jehoshaphat king of Israel.

21:3 Their father had made them many gifts of silver, gold and jewels, and of fortified towns in Judah, but he bequeathed the throne to Jehoram since he was the first-born.

21:4 Jehoram, having maintained his hold over his father’s kingdom and secured his own position, put all his brothers to the sword and some officials of Israel too.

21:5 Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he came to the throne and he reigned for eight years in Jerusalem.

21:6 He followed the example of the kings of Israel as the family of Ahab had done, having married one of Ahab’s daughters; and he did what is displeasing to Yahweh.

21:7 Yahweh however did not intend to destroy the House of David, because of the covenant he had made with David, and was faithful to the promise he had made to leave a lamp for him and his sons for ever.

The punishment

21:8 In his time Edom threw off the domination of Judah and set up a king for itself.

21:9 Jehoram crossed the frontier with his commanders and all his chariots. He rose during the night and broke through the Edomites encircling him and his chariot commanders.

21:10 Thus Edom threw off the domination of Judah, and has remained free to the present day. Libnah threw off Jehoram’s domination at the same time. He had indeed deserted Yahweh, the God of his ancestors.

21:11 He also set up high places in the highlands of Judah and caused the inhabitants of Jerusalem to prostitute themselves, and Judah to go astray.

21:12 Then something written by the prophet Elijah came into his hands. It ran, ‘This is the word of Yahweh, the God of David your ancestor. “Since you have not followed the example of your father Jehoshaphat or of Asa king of Judah,

21:13 but the example of the kings of Israel, and have caused Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to prostitute themselves, just as the House of Ahab did, and since you have also murdered your brothers, your own family, better men than yourself,

21:14 Yahweh will strike you with a great calamity, your people, your descendants, your wives and all your property.

21:15 You yourself shall suffer dire diseases, and a disease of your bowels so severe that within two years it will make your bowels drop out.”‘

21:16 Yahweh roused against Jehoram the hostility of the Philistines, and of the Arabs bordering on the Cushites.

21:17 They attacked Judah, invading it and carrying off all the property they found belonging to the king’s household, including his sons and his wives; the only son left him was Ahaziah, the youngest of them.

21:18 And after all this, Yahweh struck him down with an incurable disease of the bowels;

21:19 it lasted for more than one year, and when two years were over and his last hour had come, his bowels dropped out with disease and he died in great pain. The people did not light a fire for him as they had for his father.

21:20 He was thirty-two years old when he came to the throne and he reigned for eight years in Jerusalem. He passed away with no one to regret him, and they buried him in the Citadel of David, though not in the tombs of the kings.

JB 2 CHRONICLES Chapter 22

Ahaziah and his policy

22:1 The population of Jerusalem made his youngest son Ahaziah king in succession to him, since the armed band that had broken into the camp with the Arabs had killed all the elder sons. That was why Ahaziah son of Jehoram became king of Judah.

22:2 Ahaziah was twenty years old when he came to the throne and he reigned for one year in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Athaliah, daughter of Omri.

22:3 He too followed the example of Ahab’s family, since his mother gave him wicked advice.

22:4 He did what is displeasing to Yahweh as Ahab’s family had done, for these were his advisers after his father’s death, to his undoing.

22:5 He also put their policy into practice and went with Jehoram son of Ahab, king of Israel, to fight against Hazael king of Aram at Ramoth-gilead. But the Aramaeans wounded Jehoram,

22:6 who returned to Jezreel to recover from the wounds that he had received at Ramoth, fighting against Hazael king of Aram. Ahaziah son of Jehoram, king of Judah, went down to Jezreel to visit Jehoram son of Ahab because he was ill.

22:7 Through this visit to Jehoram Yahweh brought ruin to Ahaziah. On his arrival he went out with Jehoram to meet Jehu son of Nimshi whom Yahweh had anointed to make an end of the House of Ahab.

22:8 While Jehu was busy executing justice on the House of Ahab, he came across the officials of Judah and the nephews of Ahaziah who were in the king’s service; he killed them,

22:9 and then went in search of Ahaziah. The latter was captured while trying to hide in Samaria, and taken to Jehu who put him to death. But they gave him burial. ‘This was a son of Jehoshaphat,’ they said ‘who sought Yahweh with all his heart.’

The crime of Athaliah

There was no one left in the House of Ahaziah strong enough to reign.

22:10 As soon as Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah learned that her son was dead, she promptly did away with all the royal stock of the House of Judah.

22:11 But Jehosheba, daughter of the king, secretly took away Joash, her brother’s son, from among the sons of the king who were being murdered, and put him with his nurse in the sleeping quarters; in this way Jehosheba the daughter of King Joram and wife of Jehoiada the priest (a sister, too, of Ahaziah) hid him from Athaliah, and prevented her from killing him.

22:12 He stayed with them for six years, hidden in the Temple of God, while Athaliah governed the country.

JB 2 CHRONICLES Chapter 23

The ministers of the Temple oppose Athaliah

23:1 In the seventh year Jehoiada took strong measures. He sent for the commanders of hundreds, Azariah son of Jeroham, Ishmael son of Jehohanan, Azariah son of Obed, Maaseiah son of Adaiah and Elishaphat son of Zichri, and made a pact with them.

23:2 They went through Judah, gathering the Levites from all the towns of Judah, and the heads of the Israelite families.[*a] They came to Jerusalem,

23:3 and this whole assembly made a pact with the king in the Temple of God. ‘Here is the son of the king’ Jehoiada told them. ‘Let him reign, as Yahweh has promised of the sons of David!

23:4 This is what you must do: one third of you, priests, Levites and keepers of the gate, must come in for the sabbath,

23:5 one third must be at the royal palace, one third at the Gate of Foundation, and all the people will be in the court of the Temple of Yahweh.

23:6 Let no one enter the Temple of Yahweh except the priests and the Levites on duty, since they are consecrated and may enter. The people must all observe the injunctions of Yahweh.

23:7 The Levites must surround the king, each with his weapons in his hand; anyone who tries to enter the Temple is to be put to death. Wherever the king comes or goes, you must escort him.’

23:8 The Levites and all Judah carried out all the orders of Jehoiada the priest. Each brought his men, those coming off duty on the sabbath together with those mounting guard on the sabbath, for Jehoiada the priest had exempted none of the orders.

23:9 Then Jehoiada the priest issued the commanders of hundreds with King David’s spears and large and small shields, which were in the Temple of God.

23:10 He drew all the people up, each man with his weapon in his hand, from the south corner to the north corner of the Temple, surrounding the altar and the Temple, to form a circle round the king.

23:11 Then Jehoiada brought out the king’s son, crowned him, and imposed the Law on him; and they proclaimed him king, Jehoiada and his sons then anointed him and shouted, ‘Long live the king!’

23:12 Athaliah, on hearing the shouts of the people rushing to the king and acclaiming him, made for the Temple of Yahweh where the people were.

23:13 When she saw the king standing there at the entrance beside the pillar, with the captains and trumpeters at the king’s side, and all the country people rejoicing and sounding trumpets, and the cantors with their musical instruments leading the hymns, Athaliah tore her garments and shouted, ‘Treason, treason!’

23:14 Then Jehoiada the priest called out the military officers. ‘Take her outside the precincts,’ he ordered ‘and put anyone to the sword who follows her.’ For the priest had said, ‘You must not put her to death in the Temple of Yahweh’.

23:15 They seized her, and when she had reached the palace at the entry to the Gate of the Horses, they put her to death there.

The reforms by Jehoiada

23:16 Jehoiada made a covenant between the king and all the people, by which they undertook to be the people of Yahweh.

23:17 All the people then went to the temple of Baal and demolished it; they smashed his altars and his images and killed Mattan, priest of Baal, in front of the altars.

23:18 Jehoiada posted sentries to guard the Temple of Yahweh under the authority of the levitical priests. David had given the Temple of Yahweh to these as their portion, so that they could offer the holocausts of Yahweh as is laid down in the Law of Moses, with joy and song, in accordance with the orders of David.

23:19 He stationed gatekeepers at the gates of the Temple of Yahweh so that no one who was in any way unclean might enter.

23:20 Then taking the commanders of hundreds, the notables, those holding public positions, and all the country people, he escorted the king down from the Temple of Yahweh. They entered the royal palace through the middle arch of the Upper Gate and seated the king on the royal throne.

23:21 All the country people were delighted, and the city made no move. Athaliah was put to death.

JB 2 CHRONICLES Chapter 24

Joash repairs the Temple

24:1 Joash was seven years old when he came to the throne and he reigned for forty years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Zibiah of Beersheba.

24:2 Joash did what is pleasing to Yahweh throughout the lifetime of Jehoiada the priest.

24:3 Jehoiada found him two wives and he had sons and daughters.

24:4 Subsequently, Joash made up his mind to repair the Temple of Yahweh.

24:5 Calling the priests and the Levites together, he said, ‘Go out to the towns of Judah, and collect enough money from all the Israelites to make possible annual repairs to the Temple of Yahweh. Do this quickly.’ But the Levites were in no hurry,

24:6 so the king summoned Jehoiada their leader, and said, ‘Why have you not insisted on the Levites collecting from Judah and Jerusalem what Moses the servant of Yahweh levied from the community of Israel for the Tent of the Testimony?

24:7 Athaliah and her sons, whom she perverted, not only damaged the Temple of God but even assigned the sacred revenues of the Temple of Yahweh to the Baals.’

24:8 The king ordered them to make a chest and to place it outside the gate of the Temple of Yahweh.

24:9 Proclamation was then made in Judah and in Jerusalem that what Moses the servant of God had levied from Israel in the wilderness should be brought to Yahweh.

24:10 All the officials and all the people came joyfully with their contribution, dropping it into the chest until all was paid.

24:11 When the chest was taken to the royal office of control, run by the Levites, these would check the amount of money in it; then the king’s secretary would come with a representative of the chief priest; they would take up the chest, carry it away, and later return it to its place. They did this every day, and collected a large sum of money.

24:12 The king and Jehoiada handed it over to the master of works attached to the Temple of Yahweh. The hired men, masons and carpenters, set about restoring the Temple of Yahweh; craftsmen in iron and bronze also worked on the repairing of it.

24:13 The masters of works having once made a start, the repairs went ahead under their supervision; they rebuilt the Temple of God to its former state and strengthened the fabric.

24:14 When they had finished, they brought the balance of the money to the king and Jehoiada, and with this furnishings were made for the Temple of Yahweh, vessels for the liturgy and for the holocausts, incense boats and objects of gold and silver. So, for as long as Jehoiada lived they offered perpetual holocaust in the Temple of Yahweh.

24:15 Then Jehoiada, growing old, had his fill of days and died. He died at the age of a hundred and thirty years,

24:16 and they buried him with the kings in the Citadel of David because he had served God and his Temple well in Israel.

Joash falls away and is punished

24:17 After the death of Jehoiada, the officials of Judah came to pay court to the king, and the king now turned to them for advice.

24:18 The Judaeans abandoned the Temple of Yahweh, the God of their ancestors, for the worship of sacred poles and idols. Because of their guilt, God’s anger fell on Judah and Jerusalem.

24:19 He sent them prophets to bring them back to Yahweh, but when these gave their message, they would not listen.

24:20 The spirit of God took possession of Zechariah son of Jehoiada the priest. He stood up before the people and said, ‘God says this, “Why do you transgress the commandments of Yahweh to no good purpose? You have deserted Yahweh, now he deserts you.”‘

24:21 They then plotted against him and by order of the king stoned him in the court of the Temple of Yahweh.

24:22 King Joash, forgetful of the kindness that Jehoiada, the father of Zechariah, had shown him, killed Jehoiada’s son who cried out as he died, ‘Yahweh sees and he will avenge!’

24:23 When a year had gone by, the Aramaean army made war on Joash. They reached Judah and Jerusalem, and executed all the officials among the people, sending back to the king at Damascus all that they had plundered from them.

24:24 Though the Aramaean army had by no means come in force, Yahweh delivered into its power an army of great size for having deserted him, the God of their ancestors. The Aramaeans treated Joash as he had deserved,

24:25 and when they retired they left him a very sick man; and his officers, plotting against him to avenge the death of the son of Jehoiada the priest, murdered him in his bed. So he died, and they buried him in the Citadel of David, though not in the tombs of the kings.

24:26 These were the conspirators: Zabad son of Shimeath the Ammonite woman, and Jehozabad son of Shimrith the Moabitess.

24:27 As regards his sons, the heavy tribute imposed on him, and the restoration of the Temple of God, this is all recorded in the Midrash on the Book of the Kings. His son Amaziah succeeded him.

JB 2 CHRONICLES Chapter 25

F. THE HALF-HEARTED PIETY AND PARTIAL SUCCESS OF AMAZIAH, UZZIAH AND JOTHAM

The religious policy of Amaziah

25:1 Amaziah was twenty-five years old when he came to the throne and he reigned for twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jehoaddan of Jerusalem.

25:2 He did what is pleasing to Yahweh, though not wholeheartedly.

25:3 Once the kingdom was firmly under his control, he killed those of his officers who had murdered the king his father.

25:4 But he did not put their sons to death, in obedience to what is written in the Law, in the book of Moses, where Yahweh has ordered, ‘Fathers must not be put to death for sons, nor sons for fathers; each one must be put to death for his own sin’.

25:5 Amaziah called the men of Judah together and organised them in families with commanders of thousands and of hundreds for all Judah and Benjamin. He took a census of those who were twenty years old and upwards, and found there were three hundred thousand of them, eligible and fit for military service, with spear and shield to hand.

25:6 Next, he enrolled one hundred thousand valiant champions from Israel as mercenaries, for a hundred talents of silver.

25:7 A man of God then came to him. ‘O king,’ he said ‘the troops of Israel must not march with you, for Yahweh is not with Israel, nor with anyone from Ephraim.

25:8 For if they come, no matter how brave your conduct in the fight, God will still bring you down before your enemies, for God’s is the power to uphold or to throw down.’

25:9 Amaziah answered the man of God, ‘And what about the hundred talents I have given the Israelite contingent?’ ‘Yahweh can give you far more than that’ the man of God replied.

25:10 At this, Amaziah dismissed from his army the troops that had come to him from Ephraim and sent them home; these men were furious with Judah and went home in a great rage.

His infidelity after the Edomite campaign

25:11 Amaziah decided to lead out his troops and, having reached the Valley of Salt, defeated ten thousand of the sons of Seir.

25:12 The men of Judah took ten thousand captives alive and, taking them to the summit of the Rock, threw them off the top; they were all dashed to pieces.

25:13 Then the contingent which Amaziah had dismissed and not allowed to fight with him raided the towns of Judah, from Samaria as far as Beth-horon, beating a force of three thousand strong and capturing great quantities of plunder.

25:14 On returning from his defeat of the Edomites, Amaziah brought the gods of the sons of Seir with him; he set these up as gods for himself, bowing down before them and burning incense to them.

25:15 The anger of Yahweh blazed out against Amaziah; he sent him a prophet, who said, ‘Why do you resort to this people’s gods, to gods who could not save their own people from your hands?’

25:16 He was still speaking when Amaziah interrupted him. ‘Have we appointed you a royal counsellor? If you do not want to be hurt, be quiet!’ The prophet paused; then he said, ‘I know that God has determined to destroy you, since you have behaved like this and have refused to listen to my advice’.

The disaster at Beth-shemesh

25:17 After consulting his advisers, Amaziah king of Judah sent a message to Joash son of Jehoahaz son of Jehu, king of Israel, saying, ‘Come and make a trial of strength!’

25:18 Joash king of Israel sent back word to Amaziah king of Judah, ‘The thistle of Lebanon sent a message to the cedar of Lebanon, saying, “Give my son your daughter in marriage”; but the wild animals of Lebanon trampled the thistle down as they passed.

25:19 “Look at me, the conqueror of Edom” you say, and now hold your head in the air; boast on, but stay at home. Why challenge disaster, to your own ruin and the ruin of Judah?’

25:20 But Amaziah would not listen, and this was God’s doing: he intended to hand them over to their enemies for resorting to the gods of Edom.

25:21 And at Beth-shemesh, which belongs to Judah, they made their trial of strength, Joash and Amaziah king of Judah.

25:22 Judah was defeated by Israel, and everyone fled to his tent.

25:23 The king of Judah, Amaziah son of Joash, son of Ahaziah, was taken prisoner at Beth-shemesh by Joash king of Israel who led him off to Jerusalem, where Joash demolished the city wall from the Gate of Ephraim to the Gate of the Corner for a distance of four hundred cubits.

25:24 He took all the gold and silver, and all the furnishings to be found with Obed-edom in the Temple of God, the treasures of the royal palace, and hostages besides, and then returned to Samaria.

The end of the reign of Amaziah

25:25 Amaziah son of Joash, king of Judah, lived for fifteen years after the death of Joash son of Jehoahaz, king of Israel.

25:26 The rest of the history of Amaziah, from first to last, is not all this recorded in the Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel?

25:27 After the time when Amaziah rejected Yahweh, a plot was hatched against him in Jerusalem; he fled to Lachish; but he was followed to Lachish and was put to death there.

25:28 He was brought back by horse, and buried with his ancestors in the Citadel of David.

JB 2 CHRONICLES Chapter 26

The beginning of the reign of Uzziah

26:1 All the people of Judah chose Uzziah, who was sixteen years old, and made him king in succession to his father Amaziah.

26:2 It was he who rebuilt Elath and recovered it for Judah, after the king was sleeping with his ancestors.

26:3 Uzziah was sixteen years old when he came to the throne and he reigned for fifty-two years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jecoliah, of Jerusalem.

26:4 He did what is pleasing to Yahweh, just as his father Amaziah had done;

26:5 he sought God devotedly throughout the lifetime of Zechariah, who had advanced so far in the fear of God. And for as long as he sought Yahweh, God gave him prosperity.

His military strength

26:6 He went out to fight the Philistines, demolished the walls of Gath, Jabneh and Ashdod, then rebuilt the towns in the area of Ashdod and in Philistine territory.

26:7 God helped him against the Philistines, the Arabs, the inhabitants of Gur-baal[*a] and the Meunites.

26:8 The Ammonites paid tribute to Uzziah. His fame spread as far as the approaches of Egypt, since he had become very powerful indeed.

26:9 Uzziah built towers in Jerusalem, at the Gate of the Corner, at the Gate of the Valley and at the Angle; and he fortified these.

26:10 He built towers in the wilderness too, and dug a great many cisterns, for he had large herds in the lowlands and on the tableland; and he had farmers and vine dressers in the hills and on the fertile lands; he was fond of agriculture.

26:11 Uzziah had a professional army ready to go on campaign, divided into contingents manned as detailed by the scribe Jeiel and the registrar Maaseiah, and commanded by Hananiah, one of the king’s officers.

26:12 The total number of heads of families of these valiant champions was two thousand six hundred.

26:13 Under their command was a trained army of three hundred and seven thousand five hundred fighting men, a powerful force to support the king against the enemy.

26:14 Uzziah provided them with shields, spears, helmets, coats of mail, bows and sling stones, for each campaign.

26:15 In Jerusalem he constructed engines, invented by experts, which were mounted on the towers and at the corners to fire arrows and great stones. His fame spread far and wide; he owed his strength to a help nothing short of miraculous.

Pride and its punishment

26:16 But, as his power increased, his heart grew proud, and this was his ruin: he broke faith with Yahweh his God. He entered the great hall of the Temple of Yahweh to burn incense on the altar of incense.

26:17 Azariah the priest followed King Uzziah in, with eighty brave priests of Yahweh,

26:18 to resist him. ‘Uzziah,’ they said ‘it is not for you to burn incense to Yahweh, but for the priests, the sons of Aaron, consecrated for the purpose. Leave the sanctuary; you have broken faith; the glory from Yahweh God, is no longer yours.’

26:19 Uzziah, censer in hand for the burning of incense, flew into a rage. But while he was raging at the priests, leprosy broke out on his forehead in the presence of the priests, in the Temple of Yahweh, there by the altar of incense.

26:20 Azariah the chief priest and all the other priests turned towards him and saw the leprosy on his forehead. They quickly hurried him out, and he himself was anxious to go, since Yahweh had struck him.

26:21 King Uzziah was a leper till his dying day. He lived confined to his room, a leper, excluded from the Temple of Yahweh. Jotham, his son, was master of the palace, and ruled the people of the country.

26:22 The rest of the history of Uzziah, from first to last, has been written by the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz.

26:23 Then Uzziah slept with his ancestors and they buried him with his fathers in the burial ground of the kings,[*b] for they said, ‘He is a leper’. His son Jotham succeeded him.

JB 2 CHRONICLES Chapter 27

The reign of Jotham

27:1 Jotham was twenty-five years old when he came to the throne and he reigned for sixteen years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jerushah, daughter of Zadok.

27:2 He did what is pleasing to Yahweh, just as his father Uzziah had done. But he did not enter the sanctuary of Yahweh. As for the people, they were still corrupt.

27:3 It was he who built the Upper Gate of the Temple of Yahweh and carried out considerable work on the wall of the Ophel.

27:4 He built towns in the highlands of Judah, and fortified places and towers in the arable lands.

27:5 He fought against the king of the Ammonites.[*a] He defeated these, and that year the Ammonites had to give him a hundred talents of silver, ten thousand kors of wheat and ten thousand of barley. This was the amount that the Ammonites had to pay him, and the same for the second and third years.

27:6 Jotham became powerful because he kept an even course in the presence of Yahweh his God.

27:7 The rest of the history of Jotham, all his wars and his policy, are recorded in the Book of the Kings of Israel and Judah.

27:8 He was twenty-five years old when be came to the throne and he reigned for sixteen years in Jerusalem.

27:9 Then Jotham slept with his ancestors, and they buried him in the Citadel of David; his son Ahaz succeeded him.

JB 2 CHRONICLES Chapter 28

V. THE GREAT REFORMS UNDER HEZEKIAH AND JOSIAH

A. THE SINS OF AHAZ, FATHER OF HEZEKIAH

Summary of the reign

28:1 Ahaz was twenty years old when he came to the throne and he reigned for sixteen years in Jerusalem. He did not do what is pleasing to Yahweh, as his ancestor David had done.

28:2 He followed the example of the kings of Israel, even having idols cast for the Baals;

28:3 he offered incense in the Valley of the Sons of Hinnom[*a] and caused his sons to pass through fire, copying the shameful practices of the nations which Yahweh had dispossessed for the sons of Israel.

28:4 He offered sacrifices and incense on the high places, on the hills and under every spreading tree.

The invasion

28:5 Yahweh his God delivered him into the power of the king of the Aramaeans who defeated him and took great numbers of his people captive, carrying them off to Damascus. He was also delivered into the power of the king of Israel, who inflicted a crushing defeat on him.

28:6 In a single day, Pekah son of Remaliah killed a hundred and twenty thousand in Judah, all stout fighting men; this was because they had deserted Yahweh, the God of their ancestors.

28:7 Zichri, an Ephraimite champion, killed Maaseiah, son of the king, Azrikam the controller of the palace, and Elkanah the king’s second-in-command.

28:8 The Israelites took two hundred thousand of their brothers captive, with wives, sons, daughters; they also took quantities of booty, carrying everything off to Samaria.

The Israelites obey the prophet Oded

28:9 A prophet of Yahweh was there named Oded, who went out to meet the troops returning to Samaria and said, ‘Yahweh, the God of your ancestors, was angry with Judah and so he delivered them into your power, but you have slaughtered with such fury as reaches to heaven.

28:10 And now you propose to reduce these children of Judah and Jerusalem to being your serving men and women! And are you not all the while the ones who are guilty before Yahweh your God?

28:11 Now listen to me: release the prisoners you have taken of your brothers, for the fierce anger of Yahweh hangs over you.’

28:12 Some of the Ephraimite chieftains then protested to those who were returning from the expedition: Azariah son of Jehohanan, Berechiah son of Meshillemoth, Jehizkiah son of Shallum and Amasa son of Hadlai.

28:13 ‘You must not bring the captives in here,’ they said ‘or we should be guilty before Yahweh. You are proposing to add to our sins and to our guilt, but our guilt is already heavy and the fierce anger of Yahweh is hanging over Israel.’

28:14 So in the presence of the officials and of the whole assembly the army gave up the captives and the booty.

28:15 Men expressly nominated for the purpose saw to the relief of the prisoners. From the booty they clothed all those of them who were naked; they gave them clothing and sandals and provided them with food, drink and shelter. They mounted all those who were infirm on donkeys and took them back to their kinsmen at Jericho, the city of palm trees. Then they returned to Samaria.

The sins of Ahaz

28:16 It was then that King Ahaz sent asking the kings of Assyria to come to his assistance.

28:17 The Edomites once again invaded and defeated Judah, and carried off prisoners.

28:18 The Philistines encroached on the towns in the lowlands and in the Negeb of Judah. They took Beth-shemesh, Aijalon, Gederoth, and Soco with its outlying villages, Timnah with its outlying villages, Gimzo with its outlying villages, and they settled in them.

28:19 For Yahweh humbled Judah on account of Ahaz king of Israel, since he neglected Judah and was unfaithful to Yahweh.

28:20 Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria attacked and besieged him but could not overcome him.

28:21 Ahaz however had to take part of the goods in the Temple of Yahweh and in the palaces of the king and princes, to hand over to the king of Assyria, yet he received no help from him.

28:22 During the time he was under siege he made his faithlessness graver still, this King Ahaz,

28:23 by offering sacrifices to the gods of Damascus who had defeated him. ‘Since the gods of the kings of Aram’ he said ‘have been of help to them, I will sacrifice to them in the hope that they may be of help to me.’ But they proved his downfall and that of Israel.

28:24 Ahaz collected a number of the furnishings of the Temple of God, and dismantled others; he closed the doors of the Temple of Yahweh and put up altars at every street corner in Jerusalem;

28:25 he set up high places in every town of Judah to offer incense to other gods, and so provoked the anger of Yahweh, the God of his ancestors.

28:26 The rest of his history, his whole policy, from first to last, is recorded in the Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel.

28:27 Then Ahaz slept with his ancestors, and they buried him in the Citadel, in Jerusalem, though he was not taken into the tombs of the kings of Israel. His son Hezekiah succeeded him.

JB 2 CHRONICLES Chapter 29

B. REFORM UNDER HEZEKIAH

Summary of the reign

29:1 Hezekiah came to the throne when he was twenty-five years old and reigned for twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Abijah, daughter of Zechariah.

29:2 He did what is pleasing to Yahweh, just as his ancestor David had done.

The Temple is purified

29:3 It was he who, in the first month of the first year of his reign, threw open the doors of the Temple of Yahweh and repaired them.

29:4 Then he brought the priests and the Levites, assembled them in the eastern square, and said to them.

29:5 ‘Listen to me, Levites! Sanctify yourselves now and consecrate the Temple of Yahweh, the God of our ancestors, and eject what is impure from the sanctuary.

29:6 Your ancestors have been unfaithful and done what is displeasing to Yahweh our God. They have deserted him; they have turned their faces away from the place Yahweh has made his home, they have turned their backs on him.

29:7 They have even closed the doors of the Vestibule, they have put out the lamps and offered no incense, no holocaust, to the God of Israel in the holy place.

29:8 So the anger of Yahweh has fallen on Judah and Jerusalem; he has made them an object of terror, astonishment and derisive whistling, as you can see for yourselves.

29:9 This is why our ancestors have fallen by the sword, and our sons, our daughters, our wives, been taken captive.

29:10 I am now determined to make a covenant with Yahweh, the God of Israel, so that his fierce anger may be turned away from us.

29:11 My sons, be negligent no longer, for Yahweh has chosen you to stand in his presence and serve him, to conduct his worship, and offer him incense.’

29:12 The Levites set to work: Mahath son of Amasai and Joel son of Azariah, of the sons of Kohath; of the Merarites: Kish son of Abdi and Azariah son of Jehallelel; of the Gershonites: Joah son of Zimmah and Eden son of Joah;

29:13 of the sons of Elizaphan: Shimri and Jeuel; of the sons of Asaph: Zechariah and Mattaniah;

29:14 of the sons of Heman: Jehiel and Shimei; of the sons of Jeduthun: Shemaiah and Uzziel.

29:15 They gathered their brothers together, they sanctified themselves, and in obedience to the king’s order, in accordance with the words of Yahweh, they began purifying the Temple of Yahweh.

29:16 The priests went inside the Temple of Yahweh to purify it. They brought out everything unclean they found in the sanctuary of Yahweh, out into the court of the Temple of Yahweh, and the Levites collected it and carried it outside, into the wadi Kidron.

29:17 They began this consecration on the first day of the first month, and were able to enter the Vestibule of Yahweh on the eighth of the month; they then took eight days to consecrate the Temple of Yahweh, and finished on the sixteenth day of the first month.

The sacrifice of Atonement

29:18 They then waited on King Hezekiah and said, ‘We have purified the whole Temple of Yahweh, the altar of holocaust with all its furnishings, and the tables on which the rows of bread are set with all its furnishings.

29:19 All the furnishings King Ahaz cast aside during his sacrilegious reign we have put back and consecrated; they are now in front of the altar of Yahweh.’

29:20 King Hezekiah lost no time but called the officials of the city together and went up to the Temple of Yahweh.

29:21 They brought seven bulls, seven rams and seven lambs, with seven he-goats as a sacrifice for sin on behalf of the royal house, of the sanctuary, and of Judah. The king then told the priests, the sons of Aaron, to offer the holocaust on the altar of Yahweh.

29:22 They slaughtered the bulls and the priests took up the blood and poured it on the altar. They then slaughtered the rams and poured their blood on the altar; and they slaughtered the lambs and poured their blood on the altar.

29:23 Then they brought the he-goats, the sacrifice for sin, before the king and the assembly who laid their hands on them.

29:24 The priests slaughtered them, and with their blood on the altar offered a sacrifice for sin, to perform the ritual of atonement for all Israel – since the king had ordered the holocaust and the sacrifice for sin on behalf of all Israel.

29:25 He then positioned the Levites in the Temple of Yahweh with cymbals, harps and lyres, in accordance with the ordinances of David, of Gad the king’s seer and of Nathan the prophet; the order had in fact come from Yahweh through his prophets.

29:26 When the Levites had taken their places with David’s musical instruments, and the priests with their trumpets,

29:27 Hezekiah ordered the holocaust to be offered on the altar. And as the holocaust began, the hymns of Yahweh began too, and the trumpets sounded, to the accompaniment of the instruments of David king of Israel.

29:28 The whole assembly worshipped, cantors singing, trumpets sounding, until the holocaust was over.

29:29 The offering at an end, the king and all there with him fell to their knees and worshipped.

29:30 Then King Hezekiah and the officials told the Levites to sing praise to Yahweh in the words of David and of Asaph the seer; they sang most fervently and then fell down and worshipped.

29:31 Hezekiah spoke again, ‘Now you are dedicated to the service of Yahweh. Come forward, bring the sacrifices of communion and praise into the Temple of Yahweh.’ The assembly brought sacrifices of communion and praise, and every kind of holocaust as votive offerings.

29:32 The number of victims for these holocausts was seventy bulls, a hundred rams and two hundred lambs, all as holocausts for Yahweh;

29:33 six hundred bulls and three thousand sheep were consecrated.

29:34 The priests were too few, however, and could not dismember all the holocausts, so the Levites helped them until the work was done and the priests were sanctified; for the Levites had been more conscientious about sanctifying themselves than the priests had.

29:35 There was, in addition, an abundant holocaust of fatty parts of the communion sacrifices, and numerous libations in association with the holocaust. And so the liturgy of Yahweh’s Temple was restored.

29:36 Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced that God had disposed the people to act so promptly.

JB 2 CHRONICLES Chapter 30

The Passover assembly

30:1 Hezekiah sent messengers to all Israel and Judah, and also wrote letters to Ephraim and Manasseh, bidding them come to the Temple of Yahweh in Jerusalem to celebrate a Passover in honour of Yahweh, the God of Israel.

30:2 The king and his officials and all the assembly in Jerusalem had agreed to celebrate it in the second month,

30:3 being unable to celebrate it at the proper time, since the priests had not purified themselves in sufficient number, and the people had not assembled in Jerusalem.

30:4 This arrangement seemed fitting to the king and to all the assembly.

30:5 It was resolved to send a proclamation throughout Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, calling on the people to come to Jerusalem and celebrate a Passover in honour of Yahweh, the God of Israel, for few had observed the prescribed regulations.

30:6 Couriers set out with letters from the hands of the king and his officials for every part of Israel and Judah. They had orders from the king to say, ‘Sons of Israel, come back to Yahweh, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, of Israel, and he will come back to those of you who are left and have escaped the grasp of the kings of Assyria.

30:7 Do not be like your fathers and brothers who were unfaithful to Yahweh, the God of their ancestors, and whom he handed over to destruction, as you can see.

30:8 Do not be stubborn now as your ancestors were. Yield to Yahweh, come to his sanctuary which he has consecrated for ever, serve Yahweh your God and he will turn his fierce anger from you.

30:9 If you come back sincerely to Yahweh, your brothers and your sons will win favour with their conquerors and return to this land, for Yahweh your God is gracious and merciful. If you come back to him, he will not turn his face from you.’

30:10 The couriers went from town to town through the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, but the people laughed and scoffed at them,

30:11 though a few men from Asher and Manasseh and Zebulun were humble enough to come to Jerusalem.

30:12 It was in Judah, rather, that the hand of God worked to inspire them with a united will to obey the order of the king and the officials as contained in the word of Yahweh.

30:13 A great number of people gathered in Jerusalem to celebrate the feast of Unleavened Bread in the second month. A very great assembly

30:14 set to work removing the altars that were in Jerusalem and all the altars for burning incense, and throwing them into the wadi Kidron.

The Passover and feast of Unleavened Bread

30:15 They slaughtered the passover on the fourteenth day of the second month. The priests and the Levites were ashamed; they sanctified themselves and so were able to bring holocausts into the Temple of Yahweh.

30:16 Then they took up their positions as ordained for them according to the Law of Moses, the man of God. The priests poured out the blood handed to them by the Levites,

30:17 since there were many people in the assembly who had not sanctified themselves; the Levites were given the task of slaughtering the Passover victims on behalf of those who lacked the requisite purity to consecrate their victims to Yahweh.

30:18 In point of fact, most of the people, many from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar and Zebulun had not purified themselves; they had eaten the Passover without observing the prescribed regulations. But Hezekiah interceded for them, saying, ‘May Yahweh in his goodness cover up the fault of

30:19 anyone who sets his heart to seeking God, Yahweh the God of his ancestors, even if he lacks the purity requisite for holy things’.

30:20 Yahweh heard Hezekiah and left the people unharmed.

30:21 For seven days and with great rejoicing the Israelites in Jerusalem celebrated the feast of Unleavened Bread, while each day the Levites and the priests praised Yahweh with all their might.

30:22 The words of Hezekiah encouraged the Levites who all showed how versed they were in the things of Yahweh, and for seven days they ate their portion in the feast, offering communion sacrifices with praise to Yahweh, the God of their ancestors.

30:23 Then all the assembly agreed to continue the celebrations for a further seven days and made of them seven days of rejoicing,

30:24 since Hezekiah king of Judah had provided a thousand bulls and seven thousand sheep for the assembly, and the officials another thousand bulls and ten thousand sheep. The priests sanctified themselves in great numbers,

30:25 and the whole assembly of Judah rejoiced, the priests too, and the Levites, and all who had come from Israel, the refugees who came from Israel and those who lived in Judah.

30:26 There was great rejoicing in Jerusalem, for since the time of Solomon son of David, king of Israel, nothing comparable had ever occurred in Jerusalem.

30:27 The levitical priests began to bless the people. Their voices were heard and their prayer received in heaven, his holy dwelling place.

JB 2 CHRONICLES Chapter 31

Idolatrous worship abolished

31:1 When all this was over, all the Israelites who were there set off for the towns of Judah to smash the pillars, cut down the sacred poles, wreck the high places and the altars, and so do away with them altogether throughout Judah, Benjamin, Ephraim, and Manasseh. Then all the Israelites returned to their towns, each man to his holding.

The reorganisation of the priests and Levites

31:2 Hezekiah re-established the priestly and levitical orders, each man in his proper order according to his duties, whether priest or Levite, whether for holocaust, communion sacrifice, liturgical service, thanksgiving or praise, within the gates of the camp of Yahweh.

31:3 The king set aside a portion of his own possessions for the morning and evening holocausts, and the holocausts of sabbath, New Moon, and solemn feast, as laid down in the Law of Yahweh.

31:4 He then told the people, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to give the priests and the Levites their share so that they might devote themselves to the Law of Yahweh.

31:5 As soon as the order had been promulgated, the Israelites amassed the first fruits of corn, wine, oil, honey, and all agricultural produce, and brought in a generous tithe of everything.

31:6 The Israelites and Judaeans living in the towns of Judah also brought in the tithe of cattle and sheep, and the tithe of the holy things dedicated to Yahweh their God, piling them up, heap after heap.

31:7 They began making these heaps in the third month and finished them in the seventh.

31:8 Hezekiah and his officials came to inspect the heaps and blessed Yahweh and his people Israel.

31:9 Hezekiah questioned the priests and the Levites about the heaps,

31:10 and Azariah, the chief priest, of the family of Zadok, answered him. ‘Since the contributions were first brought to the Temple of Yahweh,’ he said, ‘we have had enough to eat and still have plenty left over, for Yahweh has blessed his people; this huge pile is what is left.’

31:11 Hezekiah then ordered them to have rooms prepared in the Temple of Yahweh. They did this,

31:12 and then brought in the contributions, tithes and consecrated things, to keep them in a safe place. Conaniah the Levite was officer in charge of them, with Shimei his brother as his second.

31:13 Jehiel, Azaziah, Nahath, Asahel, Jerimoth, Jozabad, Eliel, Ismachiah, Mahath, and Benaiah were appointed overseers under the command of Conaniah and his brother Shimei, by order of King Hezekiah and of Azariah, ruler of the house of God.

31:14 Kore son of Imnah the Levite, keeper of the eastern gate, was made responsible for the voluntary offerings to God; he provided the portion set aside for Yahweh and the most holy offerings.

31:15 Under his command he had Eden, Miniamin, Jeshua, Shemaiah, Amariah and Shecaniah, who resided permanently in the towns of the priests to carry out the distributions to their kinsmen according to their orders whether more or less important.

31:16 Further to this, there was the organisation by related groups of all those men thirty years old and upwards who went to the Temple of Yahweh, by daily rotation, to perform the ritual duties appropriate to their orders.

31:17 There was also the organisation of priests by families; as also that of Levites twenty years old and upwards, by duties and orders.

31:18 There was also the organisation of all their families, wives, sons and daughters for the whole assembly, since they had an obligation to sanctify themselves faithfully by means of the holy things.

31:19 As regards the priests, the sons of Aaron, who lived in the pasture lands belonging to their towns, or in the towns themselves, there were men expressly named for the purpose of distributing portions to every male among the priests. Each group was organised by the Levites.

31:20 Hezekiah enforced these arrangements throughout Judah. He did what is good and right and loyal before Yahweh his God.

31:21 All he undertook in the service of the Temple of God as concerning law or commandments, he performed while seeking God with all his heart, and he prospered.

JB 2 CHRONICLES Chapter 32

Sennacherib’s invasion

32:1 After these loyal acts of service came the invasion of Sennacherib king of Assyria. He invaded Judah, pitched camp before the fortified towns and gave orders for them to be taken by storm.

32:2 Realising that Sennacherib’s advance was the preliminary to an attack on Jerusalem, Hezekiah

32:3 and his officers and champions decided to cut off the water supply from the springs situated outside the city. His military staff supported this plan

32:4 and numbers of people banded together to block all the springs and cut off the watercourse flowing through the fields. ‘Why’ they said ‘should the kings of Assyria find plenty of water when they arrive?’

32:5 Hezekiah strengthened his defences: he had the broken parts of the wall repaired, built towers on it, constructed a second wall on the outer side, strengthened the Millo of the Citadel of David and made quantities of missiles and shields.

32:6 He then appointed generals to command the people, summoned them to him in the square by the city gate and spoke as follows to encourage them,

32:7 ‘Be strong and stand firm; be fearless, be undaunted when you face the king of Assyria and the whole horde he brings with him, since he that is with us is stronger than he that is with him.

32:8 He has only an arm of flesh, but we have Yahweh our God to help us and fight our battles.’ The people took heart at the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.

The blasphemies of Sennacherib

32:9 Next, Sennacherib king of Assyria, who was then outside Lachish with all his forces, sent his servants to Jerusalem, to Hezekiah king of Judah, and to all the Judaeans who were in Jerusalem. They said,

32:10 ‘Hear the message from Sennacherib king of Assyria, “What gives you the confidence to stay in Jerusalem under siege?

32:11 Is not Hezekiah deluding you? Is he not condemning you to die of hunger and thirst when he says: Yahweh our God will save us from the king of Assyria?

32:12 Is not Hezekiah the very man who has suppressed his high places and his altars, and given the order to Judah and to Jerusalem: Before one altar only are you to worship, and on that alone offer incense?

32:13 Do you not know what I have done, I and my ancestors, to all the peoples of other countries? Have the gods of any single nation in those countries ever been able to save them from me?

32:14 Of all the gods of those nations devoted to the ban by my father, name a single one who has been able to save his people from me! So how could your god save you?

32:15 Do not let Hezekiah deceive you. Do not let him delude you like this. Do not believe him, for no god of any nation or kingdom has been able to save his people from me or from my ancestors. No more will your god be able to save you from me.”‘

32:16 The envoys were still maligning Yahweh God, and his servant Hezekiah,

32:17 when Sennacherib wrote a letter insulting Yahweh the God of Israel. This is what he said about him, ‘Just as the gods of the nations in other countries have failed to save their peoples from me, so will the god of Hezekiah fail to save his people’.

32:18 They shouted this out in the language of Judah, to the people of Jerusalem on the ramparts, to confuse and frighten them, and so that they might capture the city;

32:19 they spoke of the God of Jerusalem as of one of the gods of the peoples of the world, the work of men’s hands.

The prayer of Hezekiah is heard

32:20 Faced with this situation, King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz prayed and cried out to heaven.

32:21 Yahweh sent an angel who massacred all the mighty warriors, commanders and officers in the camp of the king of Assyria. Covered with disgrace he retired to his own country. He went into the temple of his god, and there some of his own children struck him down with the sword.

32:22 So Yahweh saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from the power of Sennacherib king of Assyria and of everyone else, and he gave them peace on every side.

32:23 Many people brought oblations to Yahweh in Jerusalem and gifts for Hezekiah king of Judah; after what had happened, he stood high in the esteem of all the nations.

32:24 In those days, Hezekiah fell ill and was at the point of death. He prayed to Yahweh, who heard him and granted him a sign.

32:25 But Hezekiah made no return for the benefit he received; his heart grew proud and the wrath came on him and on Judah and Jerusalem.

32:26 Hezekiah did however humble the pride of his heart, and so did the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem; hence the wrath of Yahweh did not come on them in the lifetime of Hezekiah.

32:27 Hezekiah enjoyed immense riches and honour. He built himself treasuries for gold, silver, precious stones, spices, gems and every sort of valuable.

32:28 He had storehouses for his returns of corn, wine and oil, buildings for his different sorts of cattle, and sheep-runs for his sheep,

32:29 and, further, acquired donkeys and enormous herds and flocks. God had indeed given him immense possessions.

Summary of the reign; its end

32:30 It was Hezekiah who stopped the upper outlet of the waters of Gihon and directed them down to the west side of the Citadel of David. Hezekiah succeeded in all he undertook.

32:31 Even in the affair of the messengers from the authorities in Babylon, sent to him to inquire about the extraordinary thing that had taken place in the country, God only deserted him to test him, and to discover the secrets of his heart.

32:32 The rest of the history of Hezekiah, and his deeds of piety, are recorded in the Vision of the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz, in the Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel.

32:33 Then Hezekiah slept with his ancestors, and they buried him on the slope going up to the tombs of the sons of David. At his death, all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem did him honour. His son Manasseh succeeded him.

JB 2 CHRONICLES Chapter 33

C. THE SINS OF MANASSEH AND OF AMON

Manasseh undoes the work of Hezekiah

33:1 Manasseh was twelve years old when he came to the throne and he reigned for fifty-five years in Jerusalem.

33:2 He did what is displeasing to Yahweh, copying the shameful practices of the nations whom Yahweh had dispossessed for the sons of Israel.

33:3 He rebuilt the high places that his father Hezekiah had demolished, he set up altars to the Baals and made sacred poles, he worshipped the whole array of heaven and served it.

33:4 He built altars in the Temple of Yahweh, the Temple of which Yahweh had said, ‘In Jerusalem my name shall be for ever.

33:5 He built altars to the whole array of heaven in the two courts of the Temple of Yahweh.

33:6 He caused his sons to pass through the fire in the Valley of Ben-hinnom. He practised soothsaying, magic and witchcraft, and introduced necromancers and wizards. He did very many more things displeasing to Yahweh, thus provoking his anger.

33:7 He placed the image of the idol he had made in the Temple of which God had said to David and to his son Solomon, ‘In this Temple and in Jerusalem, the city I chose out of all the tribes of Israel, I will give my name a home for ever.

33:8 I will no longer turn Israel’s footsteps away from the land I assigned to their fathers, provided they observe all I have ordered them in accordance with the whole Law, the statutes and the ordinances, given through Moses.’

33:9 Manasseh led Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem astray, so that they did more evil than those nations Yahweh had destroyed before the sons of Israel.

33:10 Yahweh spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they paid no attention.

The conversion of Manasseh[*a]

33:11 Then Yahweh sent the generals of the king of Assyria against them, who captured Manasseh with hooks, put him in chains and led him away to Babylon.[*b]

33:12 In his distress he sought to appease Yahweh his God, humbling himself deeply before the God of his ancestors;

33:13 he prayed to him, and God relented at his prayer, hearing his plea and bringing him back to Jerusalem and his kingdom. Manasseh realised then that Yahweh is God.

33:14 After this he rebuilt the outer wall of the Citadel of David, west of Gihon in the wadi, as far as the Fish Gate; it encircled the Ophel, and he increased its height very considerably. He stationed military governors in all the fortified towns of Judah.

33:15 Next he removed the alien gods and the idol from the Temple of Yahweh, and all the altars he had built on the mountain of the Temple of Yahweh and in Jerusalem, and threw them out of the city.

33:16 He rebuilt the altar of Yahweh and offered sacrifices of communion and of praise on it, and ordered Judah to offer worship to Yahweh the God of Israel;

33:17 however, the people continued to sacrifice on the high places, although only to Yahweh their God.

33:18 The rest of the history of Manasseh, his prayer to his God,[*c] and the words of the seers who spoke to him in the name of Yahweh the God of Israel, can be found in the Annals of the Kings of Israel.

33:19 His prayer and how God relented at his prayer, all his sins, his unfaithfulness, the sites where he built high places and set up sacred poles and idols before he humbled himself, are recorded in the Annals of Hozai.

33:20 Then Manasseh slept with his ancestors, and they buried him in his palace. His son Amon succeeded him.

The obduracy of Amon

33:21 Amon was twenty-two years old when he came to the throne and he reigned for two years in Jerusalem.

33:22 He did what is displeasing to Yahweh, as Manasseh his father had done. Amon offered sacrifice and worship to all the idols Manasseh his father had made.

33:23 He did not humble himself before Yahweh like Manasseh his father; it was this very Amon who made the guilt of Judah so grave.

33:24 His officers plotted against him and killed him in his palace.

33:25 But the country people struck down all those who had plotted against King Amon and proclaimed his son Josiah as his successor.

JB 2 CHRONICLES Chapter 34

D. REFORM UNDER JOSIAH

Summary of the reign

34:1 Josiah was eight years old when he came to the throne and he reigned for thirty-one years in Jerusalem.

34:2 He did what is pleasing to Yahweh, and followed the example of his ancestor David, not deviating from it to right or left.

The first reforms

34:3 In the eighth year of his reign, when he was still a youth, he began to seek the God of his ancestor David. In the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of high places, sacred poles and carved or cast idols.

34:4 He looked on as the altars of the Baals were demolished; he tore down the altars of incense standing on them, he smashed the sacred poles and the carved and cast idols; he reduced them to dust, scattering it over the graves of those who had offered them sacrifices.

34:5 He burned the bones of their priests on their altars, and so purified Judah and Jerusalem;

34:6 he did the same in the towns of Manasseh, Ephraim, Simeon, and even Naphtali, and in the ravaged districts round them.

34:7 He demolished the altars and sacred poles, smashed the idols and ground them to powder, and tore down all the altars of incense throughout the land of Israel. Then he returned to Jerusalem.

Work on the Temple

34:8 In the eighteenth year of his reign, with the object of purifying land and Temple, he sent Shaphan son of Azaliah, Maaseiah governor of the city and the herald Joah son of Joahaz, to repair the Temple of Yahweh his God.

34:9 These went to the high priest Hilkiah and handed over the money that had been brought to the Temple of God and that the Levites, the guardians of the threshold, had collected; the money had come from Manasseh, Ephraim and all the rest of Israel, and from all the Judaeans and Benjaminites who lived in Jerusalem.

34:10 They handed it over to the masters of works attached to the Temple of Yahweh, and these used it for the repair and restoration of the Temple.

34:11 They gave it to the carpenters and builders for buying dressed stone, and wood for the coupling and the rafters of the buildings which the kings of Judah had allowed to fall into ruin.

34:12 The men were conscientious in doing their work; to supervise them they had Jahath and Obadiah, Levites of the sons of Merari; Zechariah and Meshullam of the sons of Kohath, who were masters of works; Levites who were all skilled liturgical musicians;

34:13 others who were in charge of the carriers; others who gave instructions to the masters of works of the various undertakings; and lastly a number of Levites who were scribes, clerks and gatekeepers.

The Book of the Law discovered

34:14 When they took out the money that had been brought to the Temple of Yahweh, Hilkiah the high priest found the book of the Law given through Moses.

34:15 At once Hilkiah told Shaphan the secretary, ‘I have found the Book of the Law in the Temple of Yahweh’. And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan.

34:16 Shaphan took the book to the king, and reported to him: ‘Your servants’ he said ‘are carrying out the commissions you gave them:

34:17 they have melted down the silver which was in the Temple of Yahweh and have handed it over to the overseers and masters of works,’

34:18 after which Shaphan the secretary informed the king, ‘Hilkiah the priest has given me a book’; and Shaphan read from it in the king’s presence.

34:19 On hearing the contents of the Law, the king tore his garments,

34:20 and gave the following order to Hilkiah, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Abdon son of Micah, Shaphan the secretary and Asaiah the king’s minister,

34:21 ‘Go and consult Yahweh, on behalf of me and those left in Israel and Judah, about the contents of the book that has been found. Great indeed must be the anger of Yahweh pouring down on us because our ancestors did not observe the word of Yahweh by practising everything written in this book.’

Huldah the prophetess is consulted

34:22 Hilkiah and the king’s men went to Huldah the prophetess, wife of Shallum son of Tokhath, son of Hasrah, the keeper of the wardrobe; she lived in Jerusalem in the new town. They spoke to her about this,

34:23 and she replied, ‘Yahweh, the God of Israel says this, “To the man who sent you to me say this:

34:24 Yahweh says this: I am bringing disaster on this place and those who live in it, carrying out all the curses written in the book that has been read in the presence of the king of Judah,

34:25 because they have deserted me and sacrificed to other gods, to provoke my anger by everything they did. My anger blazes out against this place; it will not be extinguished.

34:26 And you will say to the king of Judah who sent you to consult Yahweh, Yahweh, the God of Israel says this: The words you have heard . . .

34:27 But since your heart has been touched and you have humbled yourself before God on hearing what he has threatened against this place and those who live in it, since you have humbled yourself before me and torn your garments and wept before me, I for my part have heard – it is Yahweh who speaks.

34:28 I will gather you to your ancestors, you shall be gathered into your grave in peace; your eyes will not see all the disasters that I mean to bring on this place and on those who live in it.”‘ They took this answer to the king.

The covenant renewed

34:29 The king then had all the elders of Judah and of Jerusalem summoned,

34:30 and the king went up to the Temple of Yahweh, with all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, priests, Levites and all the people, of high or low degree. In their hearing he read out everything that was said in the book of the covenant found in the Temple of Yahweh.

34:31 The king stood beside the pillar, and in the presence of Yahweh he made a covenant to follow Yahweh and to enforce the terms of the covenant as written in that book with all his heart and soul.

34:32 He allotted a station to everyone there in Jerusalem or in Benjamin; and the inhabitants of Jerusalem complied with the covenant of God, the God of their ancestors.

34:33 Josiah removed all the abominations throughout the territories belonging to the sons of Israel. His whole life long he made sure that every member of Israel served their God. They did not fail to follow Yahweh, the God of their ancestors.

JB 2 CHRONICLES Chapter 35

The preparation for the Passover

35:1 Josiah then celebrated a Passover in honour of Yahweh in Jerusalem and they slaughtered the passover on the fourteenth day of the first month.

35:2 He re-established the priests in their functions and made it possible for them to discharge the duties of the Temple of Yahweh.

35:3 Then he said to the Levites, whose understanding was at the disposal of all Israel and who were consecrated to Yahweh, ‘Place the holy ark in the Temple built by Solomon son of David, king of Israel. It is no longer a burden for your shoulders. Now serve Yahweh your God and Israel his people.

35:4 Take your places by families according to your orders, in compliance with the written decree of David king of Israel and his son Solomon.

35:5 Stand in the sanctuary at the disposal of the family groupings, at the disposal of your brothers the laity; the Levites are to have a portion in the family.

35:6 Slaughter the passover, sanctify yourselves, and be at the disposal of your brothers in acting in accordance with the word of Yahweh which was spoken through Moses.’

The celebration of the Passover

35:7 Josiah then provided for the laity lambs and kids from the flocks to the number of thirty thousand, all as Passover victims for all who were present, and three thousand bulls as well; all the animals came from the king’s possessions.

35:8 His officials, for their part, made provision for the voluntary offerings on behalf of the people, the priests and the Levites. The senior officials gave the priests of the Temple of God, Hilkiah, Zechariah and Jehiel, two thousand six hundred lambs and kids and three hundred bulls as Passover victims.

35:9 The heads of the Levites, Conaniah, Shemaiah and his brother Nathanel, Hashabiah, Jeiel and Jozabad, provided five thousand lambs and kids and five hundred bulls as Passover victims for the Levites.

35:10 The order of the service was arranged, the priests at their places and the Levites in their orders, in compliance with the king’s order.

35:11 They slaughtered the passover, and the priests sprinkled the blood as they received it from the Levites, and the Levites dismembered the victims.

35:12 They put the holocaust on one side to give it to the family groupings among the laity as each made its offering to Yahweh, as is written in the Book of Moses; they did the same with the bulls.

35:13 They roasted the passover, as ordained, and the sacred foods in pots, dishes, pans, carrying them speedily to the laity.

35:14 Afterwards they prepared the passover for themselves and for the priests – the priests, the sons of Aaron, having been busy till nightfall offering the holocaust and the fatty parts; that was why the Levites prepared the passover for themselves and for the priests, the sons of Aaron.

35:15 The cantors, the sons of Asaph, were at their places, in accordance with the ordinances of David; neither Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun the king’s seer, nor the keepers of each gate, had to leave their duties, since their brothers the Levites made all the preparations for them.

35:16 So the whole liturgical service of Yahweh was arranged that day to celebrate the Passover and to offer holocausts on the altar of Yahweh, in accordance with the ordinances of King Josiah.

35:17 And so it was that the Israelites who were present celebrated the Passover and, for seven days, the feast of Unleavened Bread.

35:18 No Passover like this one had ever been celebrated in Israel since the days of the prophet Samuel; no king of Israel had ever celebrated a Passover like the one celebrated by Josiah with the priests, the Levites, all of Judah and of Israel who were present, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

The tragic end of the reign

35:19 This Passover was celebrated in the eighteenth year of the reign of Josiah.

35:20 After everything had been done by Josiah to set the Temple in order, Neco king of Egypt came up to fight at Carchemish on the Euphrates. When Josiah marched out to intercept him,

35:21 Neco sent him messengers to say, ‘What quarrel is there between me and you, king of Judah? I have not come today to attack you; my quarrel is with another dynasty, and God has told me to hurry. Do not oppose the God who is with me any more, or else he may destroy you.’

35:22 But Josiah continued to challenge him; he was in fact determined to fight him, and would not listen to the words of Neco from God’s own mouth. He gave battle in the plain of Megiddo;

35:23 the bowmen fired on King Josiah, and the king said to his followers, ‘Take me away; I am badly wounded’.

35:24 His servants lifted him out of his own chariot, transferred him to another one and took him back to Jerusalem, where he died. He was buried in the tombs of his ancestors. All Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah.

35:25 Jeremiah composed a lament for Josiah which all the singing men and singing women still recite today when they lament for Josiah; this has become a custom in Israel; the dirges are recorded in the Lamentations.[*a]

35:26 The rest of the history of Josiah, his deeds of piety conforming to everything written in the Law of Yahweh,

35:27 his history from first to last, are recorded in the Book of the Kings of Israel and Judah.

JB 2 CHRONICLES Chapter 36

E. ISRAEL IN THE CLOSING YEARS OF THE MONARCHY

Jehoahaz

36:1 The country people took Jehoahaz son of Josiah and made him king in Jerusalem in succession to his father.

36:2 Jehoahaz was twenty-three years old when he came to the throne and he reigned for three months in Jerusalem.

36:3 The king of Egypt carried him off from Jerusalem and imposed a levy of a hundred talents of silver and one talent of gold on the country.

36:4 The king of Egypt then made Eliakim, brother of Jehoahaz, king of Judah and Jerusalem, and changed his name to Jehoiakim. Neco took his brother Jehoahaz and carried him off to Egypt.

Jehoiakim

36:5 Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he came to the throne and he reigned for eleven years in Jerusalem. He did what is displeasing to Yahweh his God.

36:6 Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon attacked him, loaded him with chains and carried him off to Babylon.

36:7 To Babylon Nebuchadnezzar also carried off part of the furnishings of the Temple of Yahweh and put them in his palace at Babylon.

36:8 The rest of the history of Jehoiakim, the shameful things he did and those discovered to his discredit, these are recorded in the Book of the Kings of Israel and Judah. His son Jehoiachin succeeded him.

Jehoiachin

36:9 Jehoiachin was eight years old when he came to the throne and he reigned for three months and ten days in Jerusalem. He did what is displeasing to Yahweh.

36:10 At the turn of the year, King Nebuchadnezzar sent for him and had him taken to Babylon, with the precious furnishings of the Temple of Yahweh, and made Zedekiah his brother[*a] king of Judah and Jerusalem in his place.

Zedekiah

36:11 Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he came to the throne and he reigned for eleven years in Jerusalem.

36:12 He did what is displeasing to Yahweh his God. He did not listen humbly to the prophet Jeremiah, accredited by Yahweh himself.

36:13 He also rebelled against King Nebuchadnezzar to whom he had sworn allegiance by God. He became stubborn, and obstinately refused to return to Yahweh the God of Israel.

The nation as a whole

36:14 Furthermore, all the heads of the priesthood, and the people too, added infidelity to infidelity, copying all the shameful practices of the nations and defiling the Temple that Yahweh had consecrated for himself in Jerusalem.

36:15 Yahweh, the God of their ancestors, tirelessly sent them messenger after messenger, since he wished to spare his people and his house.

36:16 But they ridiculed the messengers of God, they despised his words, they laughed at his prophets, until at last the wrath of Yahweh rose so high against his people that there was no further remedy.

The end

36:17 He summoned against them the king of the Chaldaeans who put their young warriors to the sword within their sanctuary; he spared neither youth nor virgin, neither old man nor aged cripple; God handed them all over to him.

36:18 All the furnishings of the Temple of God, large and small, the treasures of the Temple of Yahweh, the treasures of the king and his officials, he carried everything off to Babylon.

36:19 They burned down the Temple of God, demolished the walls of Jerusalem, set fire to all its palaces, and destroyed everything of value in it.

36:20 The survivors were deported by Nebuchadnezzar to Babylon; they were to serve him and his sons until the kingdom of Persia came to power.

36:21 This is how the word of Yahweh was fulfilled that he spoke through Jeremiah, ‘Until this land has enjoyed its sabbath rest, until seventy years have gone by, it will keep sabbath throughout the days of its desolation’.

Looking to the Future

36:22 And in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, to fulfil the word of Yahweh that was spoken through Jeremiah, Yahweh roused the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia to issue a proclamation and to have it publicly displayed throughout his kingdom:

36:23 ‘Thus speaks Cyrus king of Persia, “Yahweh, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth; he has ordered me to build him a Temple in Jerusalem, in Judah. Whoever there is among you of all his people, may his God be with him! Let him go up.”‘

END OF JB 2 CHRONICLES [36 Chapters].

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