2 Kings

JB 2 KINGS Chapter 1

1:1 After the death of Ahab Moab rebelled against Israel.

1:2 Ahaziah had fallen from the balcony of his upper room in Samaria, and was lying ill; so he sent messengers, saying to them, ‘Go and consult Baalzebub the god of Ekron and ask whether I shall recover from my illness’.

1:3 But the angel of Yahweh said to Elijah the Tishbite, ‘Up! Go and intercept the messengers of the king of Samaria. Say to them, “Is there no God in Israel, for you to go and consult Baalzebub the god of Ekron?

1:4 Yahweh says this: The bed you have got into you will not get out of; you are certainly going to die.”‘ And Elijah set out.

1:5 The messengers returned to the king, who said, ‘Why have you come back?’

1:6 ‘A man came to meet us’ they answered ‘and said, “Go back to the king who sent you and tell him: Yahweh says this: Is there no God in Israel for you to go and consult Baalzebub the god of Ekron? For this, the bed you have got into you will not get out of; you are certainly going to die.”‘

1:7 He said, ‘This man who met you and said all this, what was he like?’

1:8 ‘A man wearing a hair cloak’ they answered ‘and a leather loincloth.’ ‘It was Elijah the Tishbite’ he said.

1:9 He then sent a captain of fifty soldiers with his contingent to Elijah, whom they found sitting on top of the hill; the captain went up to him and said, ‘Man of God, the king says, “Come down”‘.

1:10 Elijah answered the captain, ‘If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and destroy both you and your fifty men’. And fire came down from heaven and destroyed him and his fifty men.

1:11 The king sent a second captain of fifty to him, again with fifty men, and he too went up and said, ‘Man of God, this is the king’s order: “Come down at once”‘.

1:12 Elijah answered them, ‘If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and destroy both you and your fifty men’. And fire came down from heaven and destroyed him and his fifty men.

1:13 Then the king sent a third captain of fifty to him, with another fifty men. The third captain of fifty came up to Elijah, fell on his knees before him and pleaded with him. ‘Man of God,’ he said ‘let my life and the lives of these fifty servants of yours have some value in your eyes.

1:14 Fire has fallen from heaven and destroyed two captains of fifties, but let my life have some value now in your eyes.’

1:15 The angel of Yahweh said to Elijah, ‘Go down with him; do not be afraid of him’. He rose and accompanied him down to the king,

1:16 and said to him, ‘Yahweh says this, “Since you sent messengers to consult Baalzebub the god of Ekron, the bed you have got into you will not get out of; you are certainly going to die”‘

1:17 And, in accordance with the word of Yahweh that Elijah had uttered, he died. Since he had no son, his brother Jehoram succeeded him, in the second year of Jehoram son of Jehoshaphat, king of Judah.

1:18 The rest of the history of Ahaziah, and his career, is not all this recorded in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel?

JB 2 KINGS Chapter 2

VI. THE ELISHA CYCLE

A. ITS OPENING

Elijah is taken up and Elisha succeeds him

2:1 This is what happened when Yahweh took Elijah up to heaven in the whirlwind: Elijah and Elisha set out from Gilgal,

2:2 and Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Please stay here, for Yahweh is only sending me to Bethel’. But Elisha replied, ‘As Yahweh lives and as you yourself live, I will not leave you!’ and they went down to Bethel.

2:3 The brotherhood of prophets who live at Bethel came out to meet Elisha and said, ‘Do you know that Yahweh is going to carry your lord and master away today?’ ‘Yes, I know,’ he said ‘be quiet.’

2:4 Elijah said, ‘Elisha, please stay here, Yahweh is only sending me to Jericho’. But he replied, ‘As Yahweh lives and as you yourself live, I will not leave you!’ and they went on to Jericho.

2:5 The brotherhood of prophets who live at Jericho went up to Elisha and said, ‘Do you know that Yahweh is going to carry your lord and master away today?’ ‘Yes, I know,’ he said ‘be quiet.’

2:6 Elijah said, ‘Elisha, please stay here, Yahweh is only sending me to the Jordan’. But he replied, ‘As Yahweh lives and as you yourself live, I will not leave you!’ And they went on together.

2:7 Fifty of the brotherhood of prophets followed them, halting some distance away as the two of them stood beside the Jordan.

2:8 Elijah took his cloak, rolled it up and struck the water; and the water divided to left and right, and the two of them crossed over dry-shod.

2:9 When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Make your request. What can I do for you before I am taken from you?’ Elisha answered, ‘Let me inherit a double share of your spirit’.[*a]

2:10 ‘Your request is a difficult one’ Elijah said. ‘If you see me while I am being taken from you, it shall be as you ask; if not, it will not be so.’

2:11 Now as they walked on, talking as they went, a chariot of fire appeared and horses of fire, coming between the two of them; and Elijah went up to heaven in the whirlwind.

2:12 Elisha saw it, and shouted, ‘My father! My father! Chariot of Israel and its chargers!’ Then he lost sight of him, and taking hold of his clothes he tore them in half.

2:13 He picked up the cloak of Elijah which had fallen, and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan.

2:14 He took the cloak of Elijah and struck the water. ‘Where is Yahweh, the God of Elijah?’ he cried. He struck the water, and it divided to right and left, and Elisha crossed over.

2:15 The brotherhood of prophets saw him in the distance, and said, ‘The spirit of Elijah has come to rest on Elisha’; they went to meet him and bowed to the ground before him.

2:16 ‘Look,’ they said ‘your servants have fifty strong men with them; let them go and look for your master; the spirit of Yahweh may have taken him up and thrown him down on a mountain or into a valley.’ ‘Send no one’ he replied.

2:17 But they so shamed him with their insistence that he consented. So they sent fifty men who searched for three days without finding him.

2:18 They then came back to Elisha who had stayed in Jericho; he said, ‘Did I not tell you not to go?’

Two miracles of Elisha

2:19 The men of the town said to Elisha, ‘The town is pleasant to live in, as my lord indeed can see, but the water is foul and the country suffers from miscarriages’.

2:20 ‘Bring me a new bowl,’ he said ‘and put some salt in it.’ They brought it to him.

2:21 Then he went to the place the water came from and threw salt into it. ‘Thus Yahweh speaks,’ he said ‘”I make this water wholesome: neither death nor miscarriage shall come from it any more”.’

2:22 And the water was made wholesome, and is so today, exactly as Elisha had said it would be.

2:23 From there he went up to Bethel, and while he was on the road up, some small boys came out of the town and jeered at him. ‘Go up, baldhead!’ they shouted ‘Go up, baldhead!’

2:24 He turned round and looked at them; and he cursed them in the name of Yahweh. And two she-bears came out of the wood and savaged forty-two of the boys.

2:25 From there he went on to Mount Carmel, and then returned to Samaria.

JB 2 KINGS Chapter 3

B. THE MOABITE WAR

Introduction to the reign of Jehoram in Israel (852-841)

3:1 Jehoram son of Ahab became king of Israel in Samaria in the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and reigned for twelve years.[*a]

3:2 He did what is displeasing to Yahweh, though not like his father and mother, for he did away with the pillar of Baal that his father had made.

3:3 Nonetheless, he continued to practise the sins into which Jeroboam son of Nebat had led Israel, and did not give them up.

The expedition of Israel and Judah against Moab

3:4 Mesha king of Moab was a sheep-breeder and used to pay the king of Israel a hundred thousand lambs and the wool of a hundred thousand rams in tribute.

3:5 But when Ahab died, the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel.

3:6 At once King Jehoram went out of Samaria and mustered all Israel. After

3:7 this he sent word to the king of Judah, ‘The king of Moab has rebelled against me. Will you join with me fighting Moab?’ ‘I will’ he replied. ‘I am as ready as you, my men as your men, my horses as your horses,’

3:8 and added ‘which way are we to attack?’ ‘Through the wilderness of Edom’ the other answered.

3:9 So they set out, the king of Israel, the king of Judah and the king of Edom. They followed a devious route for seven days, until there was no water left for the troops or for the beasts in their baggage train.

3:10 ‘Alas!’ the king of Israel exclaimed ‘Yahweh has summoned us three kings, only to put us into the power of Moab.’

3:11 But the king of Judah said, ‘Is there no prophet of Yahweh here for us to consult Yahweh through him?’ One of the king of Israel’s servants answered, ‘Elisha son of Shaphat is here, who used to pour water on the hands of Elijah’.

3:12 ‘The word of Yahweh is with him’ the king of Judah said. So they went to him, the king of Israel, the king of Judah and the king of Edom.

3:13 But Elisha said to the king of Israel, ‘What business have you with me? Go to the prophets of your father and your mother.’ ‘No,’ the king of Israel answered ‘Yahweh has summoned us three kings, only to put us into the power of Moab.’

3:14 Elisha replied, ‘As Yahweh Sabaoth lives, whom I serve, if I did not respect Jehoshaphat king of Judah, I should not take any notice of you, or so much as look at you.

3:15 ‘Now bring me someone who can play the lyre.'[*b] And as the musician played, the hand of Yahweh was laid on him

3:16 and he said, ‘Yahweh says this, “Dig ditch on ditch in this wadi”,

3:17 for Yahweh says, “You shall see neither wind nor rain, but this wadi shall be filled with water, and you and your troops and your baggage animals shall drink”.

3:18 But this is only a little thing in the sight of Yahweh, for he will put Moab itself into your power.

3:19 You shall storm every fortified town, fell every sound tree, block every water-spring, ruin all the best fields with stones.’

3:20 Next morning at the time when the oblation was being offered, water came from the direction of Edom, and the country was filled with it.

3:21 When the Moabites learned that the kings had come up to fight against them, all who were of age to bear arms were called up; they took up position on the frontier.

3:22 In the morning when they got up, the sun was shining on the water; and in the distance the Moabites saw the water as red as blood.[*c]

3:23 ‘This is blood!’ they said. ‘The kings must have fought among themselves and killed one another. So now for the booty, Moab!’

3:24 But when they reached the Israelite camp, the Israelites launched their attack and the Moabites fled before them, and as they advanced they cut the Moabites to pieces.

3:25 They laid the towns in ruins, and each man threw a stone into all the best fields to fill them up, and they blocked every water-spring and felled every sound tree. In the end, there was only Kir-hareseth left, which the slingers surrounded and battered.

3:26 When the king of Moab saw that the battle had turned against him, he mustered seven hundred swordsmen in the hope of breaking a way out and going to the king of Aram, but he failed.

3:27 Then he took his eldest son who was to succeed him and offered him as a sacrifice on the city wall. There was bitter indignation against the Israelites, who then withdrew, retiring to their own country.

JB 2 KINGS Chapter 4

C. SOME MIRACLES OF ELISHA

The widow’s oil

4:1 The wife of a member of the prophetic brotherhood appealed to Elisha. ‘Your servant my husband is dead,’ she said ‘and you know how your servant revered Yahweh. A creditor has now come to take my two children and make them his slaves.’

4:2 Elisha said, ‘What can I do for you? Tell me, what have you in the house?’ ‘Your servant has nothing in the house,’ she replied ‘except a pot of oil.’

4:3 Then he said, ‘Go outside and borrow jars from all your neighbours, empty jars and not too few.

4:4 When you come back, shut the door on yourself and your sons, and pour the oil into all these jars, putting each aside when it is full.’

4:5 So she left him; and she shut the door on herself and her sons; they passed her the jars and she went on pouring.

4:6 When the jars were full, she said to her son, ‘Pass me another jar’. ‘There are no more’ he replied. Then the oil stopped flowing.

4:7 She went and told the man of God, who said, ‘Go and sell the oil and redeem your pledge; you and your children can live on the remainder’.

The woman of Shunem and her son

4:8 One day as Elisha was on his way to Shunem, a woman of rank who lived there pressed him to stay and eat there. After this he always broke his journey for a meal when he passed that way.

4:9 She said to her husband, ‘Look, I am sure the man who is constantly passing our way must be a holy man of God.

4:10 Let us build him a small room on the roof, and put him a bed in it, and a table and chair and lamp; whenever he comes to us he can rest there.’

4:11 One day when he came, he retired to the upper room and lay down.

4:12 He said to his servant Gehazi, ‘Call our Shunammitess’. He called her, and she came and stood before him.

4:13 ‘Tell her this,’ Elisha said ‘”Look, you have gone to all this trouble for us, what can we do for you? Is there anything you would like said for you to the king or to the commander of the army?”‘ But she replied, ‘I live with my own people about me’.

4:14 ‘What can be done for her then?’ he asked. Gehazi answered, ‘Well, she has no son and her husband is old’.

4:15 Elisha said, ‘Call her’. The servant called her and she stood at the door.

4:16 ‘This time next year,’ he said ‘you will hold a son in your arms.’ But she said, ‘No, my lord, do not deceive your servant’.

4:17 But the woman did conceive, and she gave birth to a son at the time Elisha had said she would.

4:18 The child grew up; one day he went out to his father who was with the reapers,

4:19 and exclaimed to his father, ‘Oh, my head! My head!’ The father told a servant to carry him to his mother.

4:20 He lifted him up and took him to his mother, and the boy sat on her knee until midday, when he died.

4:21 She went upstairs, laid him on the bed of the man of God, shut the door on him and went out.

4:22 She called her husband and said, ‘Send me one of the servants with a donkey. I must hurry to the man of God and back.’

4:23 ‘Why go to him today?’ he asked ‘It is not New Moon or sabbath.’ But she answered, ‘Never mind’.

4:24 She had the donkey saddled, and said to her servant, ‘Lead on, go! Do not draw rein until I give the order.’

4:25 She set off and came to the man of God at Mount Carmel; when he saw her in the distance, he said to his servant Gehazi, ‘Look, here comes our Shunammitess!

4:26 Now run and meet her and ask her, “Are you well? Is your husband well? Your child well?”‘ She answered, ‘Yes’.

4:27 When she came to the man of God there on the mountain, she took hold of his feet. Gehazi stepped forward to push her away, but the man of God said, ‘Leave her; there is bitterness in her soul and Yahweh has hidden it from me, he has not told me’.

4:28 She said, ‘Did I ask my lord for a son? Did I not say: Do not deceive me?’

4:29 Elisha said to Gehazi, ‘Tuck up your cloak, take my staff in your hand and go. If you meet anyone, do not greet him; if anyone greets you, do not answer him. You are to stretch out my staff over the child.’

4:30 But the child’s mother said, ‘As Yahweh lives and as you yourself live, I will not leave you’. Then he stood up and followed her.

4:31 Gehazi had gone ahead of them and had stretched out the staff over the child, but there was no sound or response. He went back to meet Elisha and told him. ‘The child has not woken up’ he said.

4:32 Elisha then went to the house, and there on his bed lay the child, dead.

4:33 He went in and shut the door on the two of them and prayed to Yahweh.

4:34 Then he climbed on to the bed and stretched himself on top of the child, putting his mouth on his mouth, his eyes to his eyes, and his hands on his hands, and as he lowered himself on to him, the child’s flesh grew warm.

4:35 Then he got up and walked to and fro inside the house, and then climbed on to the bed again and lowered himself on to the child seven times in all; then the child sneezed and opened his eyes.

4:36 He then summoned Gehazi. ‘Call our Shunammitess’ he said; and he called her. When she came to him, he said, ‘Take up your son’.

4:37 She went in and, falling at his feet, bowed down to the ground; and taking up her son went out.

The poisoned soup

4:38 Elisha went back to Gilgal while there was famine in the country. As the brotherhood of prophets were sitting with him, he said to his servant, ‘Put the large pot on the fire and cook some soup for the brotherhood’.

4:39 One of them went into the fields to gather herbs and came on some wild vine off which he gathered enough gourds to fill his lap. On his return, he cut them up into the pot of soup; they did not know what they were.

4:40 They then poured the soup out for the men to eat, but they had no sooner tasted the soup than they cried, ‘Man of God, there is death in the pot!’ And they could not eat it.

4:41 ‘Bring some meal then’ Elisha said. This he threw into the pot, and said, ‘Pour out for these men, and let them eat’. And there was nothing harmful in the pot.

The multiplication of loaves

4:42 A man came from Baal-shalishah, bringing the man of God bread from the first-fruits, twenty barley loaves and fresh grain in the ear. ‘Give it to the people to eat’, Elisha said.

4:43 But his servant replied, ‘How can I serve this to a hundred men?’ ‘Give it to the people to eat’ he insisted ‘for Yahweh says this, “They will eat and have some left over”.’

4:44 He served them; they ate and had some left over, as Yahweh had said.

JB 2 KINGS Chapter 5

Naaman is healed

5:1 Naaman, army commander to the king of Aram, was a man who enjoyed his master’s respect and favour, since through him Yahweh had granted victory to the Aramaeans. But the man was a leper.

5:2 Now on one of their raids, the Aramaeans had carried off from the land of Israel a little girl who had become a servant of Naaman’s wife.

5:3 She said to her mistress, ‘If only my master would approach the prophet of Samaria. He would cure him of his leprosy.’

5:4 Naaman went and told his master. ‘This and this’ he reported ‘is what the girl from the land of Israel said.’

5:5 ‘Go by all means,’ said the king of Aram ‘I will send a letter to the king of Israel.’ So Naaman left, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold and ten festal robes.

5:6 He presented the letter to the king of Israel. It read: ‘With this letter, I am sending my servant Naaman to you for you to cure him of his leprosy’.

5:7 When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his garments. ‘Am I a god to give death and life,’ he said ‘that he sends a man to me and asks me to cure him of his leprosy? Listen to this, and take note of it and see how he intends to pick a quarrel with me.’

5:8 When Elisha heard that the king of Israel had torn his garments, he sent word to the king, ‘Why did you tear your garments? Let him come to me, and he will find there is a prophet in Israel.’

5:9 So Naaman came with his team and chariot and drew up at the door of Elisha’s house.

5:10 And Elisha sent him a messenger to say, ‘Go and bathe seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will become clean once more’.

5:11 But Naaman was indignant and went off, saying, ‘Here was I thinking he would be sure to come out to me, and stand there, and call on the name of Yahweh his God, and wave his hand over the spot and cure the leprous part.

5:12 Surely Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, are better than any water in Israel? Could I not bathe in them and become clean?’ And he turned round and went off in a rage.

5:13 But his servants approached him and said, ‘My father, if the prophet had asked you to do something difficult, would you not have done it? All the more reason, then, when he says to you, “Bathe, and you will become clean”.’

5:14 So he went down and immersed himself seven times in the Jordan, as Elisha had told him to do. And his flesh became clean once more like the flesh of a little child.

5:15 Returning to Elisha with his whole escort, he went in and stood before him. ‘Now I know’ he said ‘that there is no God in all the earth except in Israel. Now, please, accept a present from your servant.’

5:16 But Elisha replied, ‘As Yahweh lives, whom I serve, I will accept nothing’. Naaman pressed him to accept, but he refused.

5:17 Then Naaman said, ‘Since your answer is “No”, allow your servant to be given as much earth as two mules may carry, because your servant will no longer offer holocaust or sacrifice to any god except Yahweh.

5:18 Only – and may Yahweh forgive your servant – when my master goes to the temple of Rimmon to worship there, he leans on my arm, and I bow down in the temple of Rimmon when he does;[*a] may Yahweh forgive your servant this act!’

5:19 ‘Go in peace’ Elisha answered. Naaman had gone a small distance,

5:20 when Gehazi, the servant of Elisha, said to himself, ‘My master has let this Aramaean Naaman off lightly, by not accepting what he offered. As Yahweh lives, I will run after him and get something out of him.’

5:21 So Gehazi set off in pursuit of Naaman. When Naaman saw him running after him, he jumped down from his chariot to meet him. ‘Is all well?’ he asked.

5:22 ‘All is well’ he said. ‘My master has sent me to say, “This very moment two young men of the prophetic brotherhood have arrived from the highlands of Ephraim. Be kind enough to give them a talent of silver.”‘

5:23 ‘Please accept two talents’ Naaman replied, and pressed him, tying up the two talents of silver in two bags and consigning them to two of his servants who carried them in front of Gehazi.

5:24 When he reached Ophel, he took them from their hands and put them away in the house. He then dismissed the men, who went away.

5:25 He, for his part, went and presented himself to his master. Elisha said, ‘Gehazi, where have you been?’ ‘Your servant has not been anywhere’ he replied.

5:26 But Elisha said to him, ‘Was not my heart present there when someone left his chariot to meet you? Now you have taken the money, you can buy gardens with it, and olive groves, sheep and oxen, male and female slaves.

5:27 But Naaman’s leprosy will cling to you and to your descendants for ever.’ And Gehazi left his presence a leper, white as snow.

JB 2 KINGS Chapter 6

The axe lost and found

6:1 The brotherhood of prophets said to Elisha, ‘Look, the place where we live by side with you is too confined for us.

6:2 Let us go to the Jordan, then, and each of us cut a beam there, and we will make our living quarters there.’ He replied, ‘Go’.

6:3 ‘Be good enough to go with your servants’ one of them said. ‘I will go’ he answered,

6:4 and went with them. On reaching the Jordan they cut down timber.

6:5 But, as one of them was felling his beam, the iron axehead fell into the water. ‘Alas, my lord,’ he exclaimed ‘and it was a borrowed one too!’

6:6 ‘Where did it fall?’ the man of God asked; and he showed him the spot. Then, cutting a stick, Elisha threw it in at that point and made the iron axehead float.

6:7 ‘Lift it out’ he said; and the man stretched out his hand and took it.

D. THE ARAMAEAN WARS

Elisha captures an armed band of Aramaeans

6:8 The king of Aram was at war with Israel. He conferred with his officers, and said, ‘You are to attack at such and such a place’.

6:9 But Elisha sent word to the king of Israel, ‘Be on your guard at this place, because the Aramaeans are going to attack it’.

6:10 The king of Israel accordingly sent men to the place Elisha had named. And he kept warning the king, and the king stayed on the alert; and this happened more than once or twice.

6:11 The king of Aram was disturbed in mind at this; he summoned his officers, and said, ‘Tell me which of you is betraying us to the king of Israel’.

6:12 ‘No, my lord king,’ one of his officers replied ‘it is Elisha, the prophet in Israel, who reveals to the king of Israel the words you speak in your bedchamber.’

6:13 ‘Go and find out where he is,’ the king said ‘so that I can send people to capture him.’ Word was brought to him, ‘He is now in Dothan’.

6:14 So he sent horses and chariots there, and a large force; and these, arriving during the night, surrounded the town.

6:15 Next day, Elisha rose early and went out; and there surrounding the town was an armed force with horses and chariots. ‘Oh, my lord,’ his servant said ‘what are we to do?’

6:16 ‘Have no fear,’ he replied ‘there are more on our side than on theirs.’

6:17 And Elisha prayed. ‘Yahweh,’ he said ‘open his eyes and make him see.’ Yahweh opened the servant’s eyes, and he saw the mountain covered with horses and chariots of fire surrounding Elisha.

6:18 As the Aramaeans came down towards him, Elisha prayed to Yahweh, ‘I beg you to strike this people with blindness’. And at the word of Elisha he struck them blind.

6:19 Then Elisha said to them, ‘This is not the road, nor is this the town. Follow me; I will lead you to the man you are looking for.’ But he led them to Samaria.

6:20 As they entered Samaria, Elisha said, ‘Yahweh, open the eyes of these men, and let them see’. Yahweh opened their eyes and they saw; they were inside Samaria.

6:21 When the king of Israel saw them, he said to Elisha, ‘Shall I kill them, my father?’

6:22 ‘Do not kill them’ he answered. ‘Do you put prisoners to death when you have taken them with your sword and your bow? Offer them bread and water for them to eat and drink, and let them go back to their master.’

6:23 So the king provided a great feast for them; and when they had eaten and drunk, he sent them off and they returned to their master. Aramaean raiding parties never invaded the territory of Israel again.

Samaria besieged; the famine

6:24 It happened after this that Ben-hadad king of Aram mustered his whole army and came to lay siege to Samaria.

6:25 In Samaria there was great famine, and so strict was the siege that the head of a donkey sold for eighty shekels of silver, and one quarter-kab of wild onions for five shekels of silver.

6:26 Now as the king was passing along the city wall a woman shouted, ‘Help, my lord king!’

6:27 ‘May Yahweh leave you helpless!’ he retorted. ‘Where can I find help for you? From the threshing-floor? From the winepress?’

6:28 Then the king asked, ‘What is the matter?’ ‘This woman here’ she answered ‘has said to me, “Give up your son; we will eat him today, and eat my son tomorrow”. So we cooked my son and ate him. Next day, I said to her, “Give up your son for us to eat”. But she has hidden her son.’

6:30 On hearing the woman’s words, the king tore his garments; the king was walking on the wall, and the people saw that underneath he was wearing sackcloth next his body.

6:31 ‘May God do this to me and more,’ he said ‘if the head of Elisha son of Shaphat remains on his shoulders today!’

Elisha foretells imminent relief

6:32 Elisha was sitting in his house, and the elders were sitting with him. The king sent a messenger ahead but, before the man arrived, Elisha had said to the elders, ‘Do you see how this born assassin has given orders to cut off my head? Look, when the messenger comes, shut the door; hold the door against him. Is not the sound of his master’s step following behind him?’

6:33 Even as he spoke, the king arrived. ‘This misery plainly comes from Yahweh,’ he said ‘why should I still trust in Yahweh?’

JB 2 KINGS Chapter 7

7:1 ‘Listen to the word of Yahweh’ Elisha said. ‘Yahweh says this, “By this time tomorrow a measure of finest flour will sell for one shekel, and two measures of barley for one shekel, at the gate of Samaria”.’

7:2 The equerry on whose arm the king was leaning retorted to Elisha, ‘Even if Yahweh made windows in the sky, could this come true?’ ‘You will see it with your own eyes,’ Elisha answered ‘though you will eat none of it.’

The Aramaean camp is found abandoned

7:3 Now at the entrance to the gate – for they were lepers – there were four men and they debated among themselves, ‘Why sit here waiting for death?

7:4 If we decide to go into the town, what with the famine in it, we shall die there; if we stay here we shall die just the same. Come on, let us go over to the Aramaean camp; if they spare our lives, we live; if they kill us, well then we die.’

7:5 So at dusk they set out and made for the Aramaean camp, but when they reached the confines of the camp there was not a soul there.

7:6 For Yahweh had caused the Aramaeans in their camp to hear a noise of chariots and horses, the noise of a great army; and they had said to one another, ‘Hark! The king of Israel has hired the Hittite kings against us and the kings of Egypt to attack us.’

7:7 So in the dusk they had made off and fled, abandoning their tents, their horses and their donkeys; leaving the camp just as it was, they had fled for their lives.

7:8 The lepers, then, reached the confines of the camp. They went into one of the tents and ate and drank, and from it carried off silver and gold and clothing; these they went and hid. Then they came back and, entering another tent, looted it too, and went and hid their booty.

The siege at an end; the famine ceases

7:9 Then they said to one another, ‘We are doing wrong. This is a day of good news, yet we are holding our tongues! If we wait till morning, we shall surely be punished. Come on, let us go and take the news to the palace.’

7:10 Off they went, called the city guards, and said, ‘We have been to the Aramaean camp. There was not a soul there, no sound of anyone, only tethered horses and tethered donkeys, and their tents just as they were.’

7:11 The gatekeepers shouted the news, which was reported inside the palace.

7:12 The king got up while it was still dark and said to his officers, ‘I can tell you what the Aramaeans have done to us. They know we are starving, so they have left the camp to hide in the open country. “They will come out of the town,” they think “we will catch them alive and get into the town.”‘

7:13 One of his officers replied, ‘Five of the surviving horses still left us had better be taken – they would die in any case like all the rest. Let us send them and see.’

7:14 So they took two chariot teams and the king sent them after the Aramaean army, saying, ‘Go and see’.

7:15 They tracked them as far as the Jordan, finding the whole way strewn with clothes and gear that the Aramaeans had thrown away in their panic. The scouts returned and informed the king.

7:16 Then the people went out and plundered the Aramaean camp: a measure of finest flour sold for one shekel, and two measures of barley for one shekel, as Yahweh had promised they would be.

7:17 The king had detailed the equerry, on whose arm he leaned, as commander of the guard on the gate, but the people trampled on him in the gateway and he died, as the man of God had foretold when the king had come down to him.

7:18 (What Elisha had said to the king came true, ‘Two measures of barley will sell for one shekel, and a measure of finest flour for one shekel, by this time tomorrow at the gate of Samaria’.

7:19 The equerry had retorted to Elisha, ‘Even if Yahweh made windows in the sky, could this come true?’ ‘You will see it with your own eyes,’ Elisha had answered ‘though you will eat none of it.’

7:20 And this is what happened to him: the people trampled on him in the gateway and he died.)

JB 2 KINGS Chapter 8

Epilogue to the story of the woman of Shunem.

8:1 Elisha had said to the woman whose son he had raised to life, ‘Move away with your family, and live where you can in some foreign country, for Yahweh has called up a famine – it is coming on the country already – for seven years.’

8:2 The woman hurried to do what the man of God had told her: she set out, she and her family, and for seven years she lived in the land of the Philistines.

8:3 When the seven years were over, the woman came back from the land of the Philistines and went to lodge a claim with the king for her house and lands.

8:4 Now the king was talking to Gehazi, the servant of the man of God. ‘Tell me’ he was saying ‘all the great things Elisha has done.’

8:5 Gehazi was just telling the king how Elisha had raised the dead child to life, when the woman whose son Elisha had raised lodged her claim with the king for her house and lands. ‘My lord king,’ Gehazi said ‘this is the very woman, and that is her son whom Elisha raised to life.’

8:6 The king questioned the woman, who told him the story. The king then referred her to one of the eunuchs, giving him this order: ‘See that all her property is restored to her, and all the revenue from her land from the day she left the country until now’.

Elisha and Hazael of Damascus

8:7 Elisha came to Damascus. Ben-hadad the king of Aram was ill, and was told, ‘The man of God has come all the way to us’.

8:8 Then the king said to Hazael, ‘Take a present with you and go to meet the man of God; consult Yahweh through him, and find out if I shall recover from my illness’.

8:9 So Hazael went to meet Elisha, taking with him as a present the best Damascus could offer, a load for forty camels. He came and standing before him said, ‘Your son Ben-hadad has sent me to ask you, “Shall I recover from my illness?”‘

8:10 Elisha answered, ‘Go and tell him, “you will certainly recover”, though Yahweh has shown me that he will certainly die’.

8:11 Then his face went rigid and his look grew fixed, and the man of God wept.

8:12 ‘Why’ Hazael asked ‘does my lord weep?’ ‘Because I know’ Elisha replied ‘all the harm you will do the Israelites: you will burn down their fortresses, put their picked warriors to the sword, dash their little children to pieces, rip open their pregnant women.’

8:13 ‘But what is your servant?’ Hazael said. ‘How could this dog achieve anything so great?’ ‘In a vision from Yahweh,’ Elisha replied ‘I have seen you king of Aram.’

8:14 Leaving Elisha, Hazael went back to his master who asked, ‘What did Elisha say to you?’ He answered, ‘He told me you would certainly recover’.

8:15 Next day he took a blanket, soaked it in water, and spread it over his face.[*a] So died Benhadad, and Hazael succeeded him.

The reign of Jehoram in Judah (848-841)

8:16 In the fifth year of Jehoram son of Ahab king of Israel, Jehoram son of Jehoshaphat became king of Judah.

8:17 He was thirty-two years old when he came to the throne, and he reigned for eight years in Jerusalem.

8:18 He followed the example of the kings of Israel as the family of Ahab had done, having taken a wife from the family[*b] of Ahab; he did what is displeasing to Yahweh.

8:19 Yahweh, however, did not intend to destroy Judah, because of his servant David, and was faithful to the promise he had made to leave him a lamp for ever in his presence.

8:20 In this time Edom threw off the domination of Judah and set up a king for itself.

8:21 Jehoram crossed to Zair, and with him all the chariots . . . He rose during the night and, with his chariot commanders, broke through the Edomites encircling him; the people fled to their tents.

8:22 Thus Edom threw off the domination of Judah, remaining free to the present day. Libnah also revolted. At that time…

8:23 The rest of the history of Jehoram, his entire career, is not all this recorded in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Judah?

8:24 Then Jehoram slept with his ancestors and was buried with his ancestors in the Citadel of David; his son Ahaziah succeeded him.

The reign of Ahaziah in Judah (841)

8:25 In the twelfth year of Jehoram son of Ahab king of Israel, Ahaziah son of Jehoram became king of Judah.

8:26 Ahaziah was twenty-two 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 king of Israel.

8:27 He followed the example of the family of Ahab and did what is displeasing to Yahweh as the family of Ahab had done, to whom he was related by marriage.

8:28 He went with Jehoram son of Ahab to fight against Hazael king of Aram at Ramoth-gilead, but the Aramaeans wounded Jehoram.

8:29 King Jehoram returned to Jezreel to recover from the wounds which he had received at Ramah, 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.

JB 2 KINGS Chapter 9

E. THE HISTORY OF JEHU

A disciple of Elisha anoints Jehu king

9:1 Elisha the prophet summoned a member of the prophetic brotherhood to him, ‘Tuck up your cloak, take this flask of oil, and go to Ramoth-gilead.

9:2 When you arrive there, look for Jehu son of Jehoshaphat son of Nimshi. Then, when you find him, tell him to get up and leave his companions, and take him into an inner room.

9:3 Take the flask of oil then and pour it over his head, and say, “This is Yahweh’s word: I have anointed you king of Israel”. Then throw open the door and escape as fast as you can.’

9:4 The young man left for Ramoth-gilead

9:5 and when he arrived, he found the senior officers of the army sitting together. ‘I have a message for you, commander’ he said. ‘For which of us?’ asked Jehu. ‘For you, commander’ he answered.

9:6 Then Jehu got up and went into the house. And the young man poured the oil on his head, saying, ‘Yahweh the God of Israel says this, “I have anointed you king over the people of Yahweh, king of Israel.

9:7 You are to strike down the family of Ahab your master, and I will avenge the blood of my servants the prophets and of all the servants of Yahweh on Jezebel

9:8 and the whole family of Ahab. I will wipe out every male belonging to the family of Ahab, fettered or free in Israel.

9:9 I will make the family of Ahab like the family of Jeroboam son of Nebat and of Baasha son of Ahijah.

9:10 As for Jezebel, the dogs shall eat her in the territory of Jezreel; no one will bury her.”‘ With this, he opened the door and made his escape.

Jehu proclaimed king

9:11 Jehu came out to the officers of his master. ‘Is all well?’ they asked him. ‘Why did this madman come to you?’ ‘You know the fellow and how he talks’ he answered.

9:12 ‘Evasion!’ they cried ‘Come on, tell us.’ He replied, ‘His drift was this – he said, “Yahweh says this: I have anointed you king of Israel”‘.

9:13 Whereupon they all took their cloaks and spread them under him on the bare steps; they sounded the trumpet and shouted, ‘Jehu is king!’

Jehu prepares to usurp power

9:14 Jehu son of Jehoshaphat son of Nimshi plotted against Jehoram. (Jehoram, with all Israel, was at that time defending Ramoth-gilead against Hazael king of Aram,

9:15 although Jehoram had returned to Jezreel to recover from the wounds which he had received from the Aramaeans while he was fighting against Hazael king of Aram.) ‘If this is how you feel,’ Jehu said ‘let no one escape from the town to go and take the news to Jezreel.’

9:16 Jehu then mounted his chariot and left for Jezreel; Jehoram had taken to his bed there, and Ahaziah king of Judah had gone down to visit him.

9:17 The lookout posted on the tower of Jezreel saw Jehu’s troop approaching, ‘I can see a body of men’ he shouted. Jehoram gave the order: ‘Have a horseman sent to meet them and ask, “Is all well?”‘

9:18 The horseman went to meet Jehu and said, ‘The king says, “Is all well?”‘ ‘What has it to do with you whether all is well?’ Jehu replied. ‘Fall in behind me.’ The lookout reported, ‘The messenger has reached them and is not coming back’.

9:19 The king sent a second horseman who reached them and said, ‘The king says, “Is all well?”‘ ‘What has it to do with you whether all is well?’ Jehu replied. ‘Fall in behind me.’

9:20 The lookout reported, ‘He has reached them and is not coming back. The manner of driving is like that of Jehu son of Nimshi: he drives like a madman.’

9:21 ‘Harness!’ Jehoram cried; and they harnessed his chariot. Then Jehoram king of Israel and Ahaziah king of Judah, each in his chariot, set out to meet Jehu. They reached him in the field of Naboth of Jezreel.

The assassination of Jehoram

9:22 As soon as Jehoram saw Jehu he asked, ‘Is all well, Jehu?’ ‘What a question!’ he replied ‘when all the while the prostitutions[*a] and countless sorceries of your mother Jezebel go on.’

9:23 At this, Jehoram wheeled and fled, saying to Ahaziah, ‘Treason, Ahaziah!’

9:24 But Jehu had drawn his bow; he struck Jehoram between the shoulder-blades, the arrow went through the king’s heart, and he sank down in his chariot.

9:25 ‘Pick him up,’ Jehu said to Bidkar, his equerry ‘and throw him into the field of Naboth of Jezreel. Remember how, when you and I both rode behind Ahab his father, Yahweh pronounced this sentence against him:

9:26 “This I swear. Yesterday I saw the blood of Naboth and the blood of his sons – it is Yahweh who speaks. In this same field I will requite you – it is Yahweh who speaks.” So pick him up, and throw him into the field, as Yahweh declared should happen.’

The assassination of Ahaziah

9:27 When Ahaziah king of Judah saw this, he fled along the Beth-haggan road, but Jehu went in pursuit of him. ‘Strike him down too’ he said. And they wounded him in his chariot at the slope of Gur, which is near Ibleam, and he took refuge in Megiddo, where he died.

9:28 His servants carried him in a chariot to Jerusalem and buried him in his tomb in the Citadel of David.

9:29 Ahaziah had become king of Judah in the eleventh year of Jehoram son of Ahab.

The assassination of Jezebel

9:30 Jehu went back to Jezreel and Jezebel heard of it. She made up her eyes with kohl and adorned her head and appeared at the window.

9:31 As Jehu came through the gateway she said, ‘Is all well, Zimri, you murderer of your master?[*b]

9:32 Jehu looked up to the window and said, ‘Who is on my side? Who?’ And two or three

eunuchs looked down at him.

9:33 ‘Throw her down’ he said. They threw her down, and her blood spattered the walls and the horses; and Jehu rode over her.

9:34 He went in and ate and drank, then said, ‘See to this accursed woman, and give her burial; after all, she was a king’s daughter’.

9:35 But when they went to bury her, they found nothing but her skull, feet and hands.

9:36 They came back and told Jehu, who said, ‘This is the word of Yahweh which he spoke through his servant Elijah the Tishbite, “The dogs will eat the flesh of Jezebel in the territory of Jezreel;

9:37 the corpse of Jezebel will be like dung spread on the fields, so that no one will be able to say: This was Jezebel”‘.

JB 2 KINGS Chapter 10

The massacre of the royal family of Israel

10:1 There were seventy sons of Ahab in Samaria.[*a] Jehu sent to Samaria, to the authorities of the city, to the elders and to the guardians of the children of Ahab. He said,

10:2 ‘At this time, when this letter reaches you, you have your master’s sons with you; you also have chariots and horses, fortified towns and weapons.

10:3 See which of your master’s sons is the best and worthiest, put him on his father’s throne and fight for the dynasty of your master.’

10:4 They were utterly terrified. ‘We have seen how the two kings could not stand up to him,’ they said ‘so how could we do so?’

10:5 Consequently the master of the palace, the governor of the city, the elders and the guardians sent word to Jehu, ‘We are your servants. We will do whatever you order us. We will not proclaim a king; act as you think best.’

10:6 Jehu then wrote them a second letter. He said, ‘If you are for me and if you are prepared to accept orders from me, take the heads[*b] of the men of your master’s house and come to me at Jezreel by this time tomorrow’. (There were seventy sons of the king being educated there by the leading men of the city.)

10:7 When this letter reached them, they took the king’s sons and butchered all seventy of them, put their heads in baskets and sent them to him at Jezreel.

10:8 The messenger came and told Jehu, ‘They have brought the heads of the king’s sons’. ‘Leave them in two heaps at the entrance to the gate until morning’ he replied.

10:9 When morning came, he went out and, standing, said to all the people, ‘Be guiltless! I certainly plotted against my master and murdered him; but who killed all these?

10:10 Know, then, nothing will fail to be fulfilled of the oracle uttered by Yahweh against the family of Ahab: Yahweh has done what he said through his servant Elijah.’

10:11 Jehu then killed everyone of the House of Ahab surviving in Jezreel, all his leading men, his close friends, his priests; he did not leave a single one alive.

The massacre of the princes of Judah

10:12 Jehu then set out and went to Samaria. As he was on his way

10:13 he met, at Beth-eked of the Shepherds, the brothers of Ahaziah king of Judah. ‘Who are you?’ he asked. ‘We are brothers of Ahaziah,’ they answered ‘and we are going down to pay our respects to the sons of the king and the sons of the queen.’

10:14 ‘Take them alive’ he said. They took them alive, and he slaughtered them at the cistern of Beth-eked, forty-two of them; he did not spare a single one.

Jehu and Jehonadab

10:15 Leaving there, he came upon Jehonadab son of Rechab who was on his way to meet him. He greeted him and said, ‘Is your heart true to mine, as my heart is to yours?’ Jehonadab replied, ‘Yes’. ‘If so,’ Jehu said ‘give me your hand.’ Jehonadab gave him his hand, and Jehu took him up beside him in his chariot.

10:16 ‘Come with me,’ he said ‘and witness my zeal for Yahweh’, and drove him on in his chariot.

10:17 When he entered Samaria, he killed all the survivors of Ahab’s family in Samaria; he wiped it out, as Yahweh had told Elijah it would happen.

The destruction of the adherents and temple of Baal

10:18 Then Jehu assembled all the people. ‘Ahab did Baal some small service,’ he said ‘but Jehu will do him a great one.

10:19 Now call me all the prophets of Baal and all his priests. Let no one be missing: I have a great sacrifice to offer to Baal. If anyone is missing, he shall forfeit his life.’ This was a trick on Jehu’s part to destroy the devotees of Baal.

10:20 ‘Summon a sacred assembly for Baal’ he commanded; and they summoned it.

10:21 Jehu sent messengers throughout Israel, and all the devotees of Baal arrived, not a man was left who did not attend. They packed into the temple of Baal until it was full from wall to wall.

10:22 Jehu then said to the keeper of the wardrobe, ‘Bring out vestments for all the devotees of Baal’; he brought out the vestments for them.

10:23 Jehu then went into the temple of Baal with Jehonadab son of Rechab and said to the devotees of Baal, ‘Make quite sure there are no devotees of Yahweh in here with you, but only devotees of Baal’.

10:24 He then proceeded to offer sacrifices and holocausts. Now Jehu had stationed eighty of his men outside, having said, ‘If any of you lets anyone of those I am handing over to you escape, his life will pay for the life of the other’.

10:25 When he had finished offering the holocaust, he gave the order to the guards and squires: ‘Go in, strike them down! Let no one out!’ The guards and squires went in, putting everyone to the sword, until they had reached the sanctuary of the temple of Baal.

10:26 They took the sacred pole out of the temple of Baal and burned it.

10:27 They demolished the altar of Baal, and demolished the temple of Baal too, making it into a latrine, which it still is today.

The reign of Jehu in Israel (841-814)

10:28 Thus Jehu rid Israel of Baal.

10:29 Even so, Jehu did not give up the sins into which Jeroboam son of Nebat had led Israel, the golden calves of Bethel and Dan.

10:30 Yahweh said to Jehu, ‘Since you have done properly what was pleasing in my sight, and have achieved all I set my heart on against Ahab’s family, your sons shall sit on the throne of Israel down to the fourth generation’.

10:31 But Jehu did not follow the law of Yahweh, the God of Israel faithfully and wholeheartedly: he did not give up the sins into which Jeroboam son of Nebat had led Israel.

10:32 At that time, Yahweh began to whittle Israel down, and Hazael defeated the Israelites throughout the territory[*c]

10:33 from the Jordan eastwards: all the land of Gilead, of the Gadites, the Reubenites and the Manassites, from Aroer which is by the wadi Arnon, Gilead and Bashan.

10:34 The rest of the history of Jehu, his entire career, all his prowess, is not all this recorded in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel?

10:35 Then he slept with his ancestors, and they buried him in Samaria; his son Jehoahaz succeeded him.

10:36 Jehu’s reign over Israel in Samaria lasted twenty-eight years.

JB 2 KINGS Chapter 11

F. FROM THE REIGN OF ATHALIAH TO THE DEATH OF ELISHA

Athaliah (841-835)

11:1 When Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah learned that her son was dead, she promptly did away with all those of royal stock.

11:2 But Jehosheba, daughter of King Jehoram and sister of Ahaziah, secretly took away Jehoash, 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 she hid him from Athaliah, and he was not put to death.

11:3 He stayed with her for six years, hidden in the Temple of Yahweh, while Athaliah governed the country.

11:4 In the seventh year, Jehoiada[*a] sent for the commanders of hundreds of the Carians[*b] and of the guards, and had them brought to him in the Temple of Yahweh. He made a pact with them and, putting them under oath, showed them the king’s son.

11:5 He gave them this order: ‘This is what you must do: one third of

(6) you, those who are off duty on the sabbath, are to mount guard at the royal palace,

11:7 while the other two thirds of you, mounting guard at the Temple of Yahweh,

11:8 are to surround the king, each with his weapons in his hand; anyone who tries to break through your ranks is to be put to death. Wherever the king goes or comes, you are to escort him.’

11:9 The commanders of hundreds did everything as Jehoiada the priest had ordered. They brought their men, those coming off duty on the sabbath together with those mounting guard on the sabbath, and came to Jehoiada the priest.

11:10 The priest equipped the commanders of hundreds with King David’s spears and shields which were in the Temple of Yahweh.

11:11 The guards formed 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.

11:12 Then Jehoiada brought out the king’s son, put the crown and armlets on him, and he anointed him king. They clapped their hands and shouted, ‘Long live the king!’

11:13 Athaliah, on hearing the shouts of the people, made for the Temple of Yahweh where the people were.

11:14 When she saw the king standing there beside the pillar, as the custom was, with the captains and trumpeters at the king’s side, and all the country people rejoicing and sounding trumpets, Athaliah tore her garments and shouted, ‘Treason, treason!’

11:15 Then Jehoiada the priest gave the order to the army officers: ‘Take her outside the precincts and put to death anyone who follows her’. ‘For’ the priest had reasoned ‘she must not be put to death in the Temple of Yahweh.’

11:16 They seized her, and when she had reached the palace through the Entry of the Horses, she was put to death there.

11:17 Jehoiada made a covenant between Yahweh and king and people, by which the latter undertook to be the people of Yahweh; and also between king and people.

11:18 All the country 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. The priest posted sentries to guard the Temple of Yahweh.

11:19 He then took the commanders of hundreds, the Carians, the guards and all the country people and made them escort the king down from the Temple of Yahweh and through the Gate of the Guards into the palace. Jehoash took his seat on the throne of the kings.

11:20 All the country people were delighted, and the city made no move. And they put Athaliah to death in the royal palace.

JB 2 KINGS Chapter 12

The reign of Jehoash in Judah (835-796)

12:1 <21 Jehoash was seven years old when he came to the throne.

12:2 <1 Jehoash became king in the seventh year of Jehu, and reigned for forty years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Zibiah, of Beersheba.

12:3 <2 Jehoash did what is pleasing to Yahweh all his life, having been instructed by Jehoiada the priest.

12:4 <3 The high places, however, were not abolished, and the people still offered sacrifices and incense on the high places.

12:5 <4 Jehoash said to the priests, ‘All the money from the sacred dues brought to the Temple of Yahweh, the money from personal taxes, and the money given spontaneously to the Temple

12:6 <5 is to be accepted by the priests, from people of their acquaintance, and the priests are to carry out all repairs to the Temple as required’.

12:7 <6 Now in the twenty-third year of King Jehoash, the priests had done no repairs to the Temple;

12:8 <7 so King Jehoash summoned Jehoiada the priest and the other priests. ‘Why are you not repairing the Temple?’ he asked. ‘You are no longer to accept money from people of your acquaintance, but are to hand it over for the Temple repairs.’

12:9 <8 The priests agreed to accept no money from the people and no longer to be responsible for repairs to the Temple.

12:10 <9 Jehoiada the priest procured a chest, bored a hole in the lid of it, and placed it beside the pillar, to the right as you enter the Temple of Yahweh; in it the priests who guarded the threshold put all the money that was given for the Temple of Yahweh.

12:11 <10 Whenever they saw that there was a lot of money in the chest, the king’s secretary would come, and they would melt down and reckon the money then in the Temple of Yahweh.

12:12 <11 Once checked; they paid this money over to the masters of works attached to the Temple of Yahweh, and these in turn spent it on carpenters and builders working on the Temple of Yahweh,

12:13 <12 on masons and stonecutters, and on buying wood and dressed stone to be used for repairs to the Temple of Yahweh; in short, for all the costs of the Temple repairs.

12:14 <13 No silver basins, however, no knives, sprinkling bowls, trumpets, no gold or silver objects whatever were made for the Temple of Yahweh out of the money presented,

12:15 <14 for this was all given to the workmen who used it for repairing the Temple of Yahweh.

12:16 <15 No accounts were kept with the men to whom the money was paid over to be spent on the workmen, since they were honest in their dealings.

12:17 <16 Money offered in expiation of an offence or of a sin was not given to the Temple of Yahweh; that was for the priests.

12:18 <17 At that time Hazael king of Aram went to war against Gath, and captured it; he then prepared to attack Jerusalem.

12:19 <18 Jehoash king of Judah took all the sacred offerings dedicated by his ancestors, the kings of Judah, Jehoshaphat, Jehoram and Ahaziah, with those that he himself had dedicated, and all the gold that was to be found in the treasuries of the Temple of Yahweh and of the royal palace; he sent it all to Hazael king of Aram, who retired from Jerusalem.

12:20 <19 The rest of the history of Jehoash, his entire career, is not all this recorded in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Judah?

12:21 <20 His officers rebelled and hatched a plot; they struck Jehoash down at Beth-millo…

12:22 <21 Jozacar son of Shimeath and Jehozabad son of Shomer were the two who struck him down and killed him. They buried him with his ancestors in the Citadel of David; his son Amaziah succeeded him.

JB 2 KINGS Chapter 13

The reign of Jehoahaz in Israel (814-798)

13:1 In the twenty-third year of Joash son of Ahaziah, king of Judah, Jehoahaz son of Jehu became king of Israel in Samaria. He reigned for seventeen years.

13:2 He did what is displeasing to Yahweh and persisted in the sin into which Jeroboam had led Israel; he did not give it up.

13:3 Then the anger of Yahweh blazed out against the Israelites, and he delivered them without respite into the power of Hazael king of Aram and of Ben-hadad[*a] son of Hazael.

13:4 Jehoahaz, however, tried to placate Yahweh, and Yahweh heard him, for he had seen the oppression the king of Aram was inflicting on them.

13:5 Yahweh gave Israel a saviour who freed them from the grip of Aram, and the Israelites lived in their tents as in the past.

13:6 But they did not give up the sin into which Jeroboam had led Israel; they persisted in it, and even the sacred pole remained in Samaria.

13:7 Yahweh left of the army of Jehoahaz only fifty horsemen, ten chariots and ten thousand foot soldiers. The king of Aram had destroyed them, making them like the dust that is trampled under foot.

13:8 The rest of the history of Jehoahaz, his entire career, his prowess, is not all this recorded in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel?

13:9 Then Jehoahaz slept with his ancestors, and they buried him in Samaria; his son Joash succeeded him.

The reign of Jehoash in Israel (798-783)

13:10 In the thirty-seventh year of Joash king of Judah, Jehoash, son of Jehoahaz, became king of Israel in Samaria. He reigned for sixteen years.

13:11 He did what is displeasing to Yahweh, he did not give up the sin into which Jeroboam son of Nebat had led Israel; he persisted in it.

13:12 The rest of the history of Joash, his entire career, his prowess, how he waged war on Amaziah king of Judah, is not all this recorded in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel?

13:13 Then Joash slept with his ancestors, and Jeroboam ascended his throne. Joash was buried in Samaria with the kings of Israel.

The death of Elisha

13:14 When Elisha had fallen ill of the illness he was to die of, Joash king of Israel went down to him and shedding tears over him said, ‘My father! My father! Chariot of Israel and its chargers!’

13:15 Elisha said to him, ‘Bring bow and arrows’; and he sent for a bow and arrows.

13:16 Then Elisha said to the king, ‘Draw the bow’; and he drew it. Elisha put his hands over the hands of the king,

13:17 then he said, ‘Open the window towards the east’, and he opened it. Then Elisha said, ‘Arrow of victory over Aram! You will defeat Aram at Aphek completely.’

13:18 Elisha said, ‘Take the arrows’; and he took them. Then he said to the king, ‘Strike the ground’; and he struck it three times, then stopped.

13:19 At this, the man of God grew angry with him. ‘You should have struck half a dozen times’ he said ‘and you would have beaten Aram completely; now you will only beat Aram three times.’

13:20 Elisha died, and was buried. Now bands of Moabites were making incursions into the country every year.

13:21 Some people happened to be carrying a man out for burial; at the sight of one of these bands, they flung the man into the tomb of Elisha and made off. The man had no sooner touched the bones of Elisha than he came to life and stood up on his feet.

Victory over the Aramaeans

13:22 Hazael king of Aram had oppressed the Israelites throughout the lifetime of Jehoahaz,

13:23 but Yahweh was kind and took pity on them. Because of the covenant he had made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, he relented towards them; he had no wish to destroy them, he did not cast them out of his presence.

13:24 Hazael king of Aram died, and his son Ben-hadad succeeded him.

13:25 Jehoash son of Jehoahaz recaptured from Ben-hadad son of Hazael the towns which Hazael had seized from his father Jehoahaz by force of arms. Joash defeated him three times and recovered the Israelite towns.

JB 2 KINGS Chapter 14

VII. THE TWO KINGDOMS TO THE FALL OF SAMARIA

The reign of Amaziah in Judah (796-781)

14:1 In the second year of Joash son of Jehoahaz, king of Israel, Amaziah son of Joash became king of Judah.

14:2 He 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 Jehoaddin, of Jerusalem.

14:3 He did what is pleasing to Yahweh, though not like his ancestor David; he imitated his father Joash in all respects.

14:4 The high places, however, were not abolished, and the people still offered sacrifices and incense on the high places.

14:5 Once the kingdom was firmly under his control, he killed those of his officers who had murdered the king his father.

14:6 But he did not put the murderers’ sons to death, in accordance with what is written in the Book of Moses, where Yahweh has ordered: ‘Fathers must not be put to death for sons, nor sons for fathers; every one must be put to death for his own sin.’

14:7 It was he who defeated the Edomites in the Valley of Salt, ten thousand of them, and who took the Rock by assault; he gave it the name Joktheel, which it bears to this present day.

14:8 Then Amaziah sent messengers to Jehoash son of Jehoahaz son of Jehu, king of Israel, saying, ‘Come and make a trial of strength!’

14:9 Jehoash king of Israel sent word to Amaziah king of Judah, ‘The thistle of Lebanon sent a message to the cedar of Lebanon, “Give my son your daughter in marriage”; but the wild animals of Lebanon trampled down the thistle as they passed.

14:10 You have conquered Edom, 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?’

14:11 But Amaziah would not listen, and Jehoash king of Israel marched to the attack. And at Beth-shemesh, which belongs to Judah, they made their trial of strength, Jehoash and Amaziah king of Judah.

14:12 Judah was defeated by Israel, and everyone fled to his tent.

14:13 The king of Judah, Amaziah son of Jehoash, 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.

14:14 He took all the gold and silver, and all the furnishings to be found in the Temple of Yahweh and in the treasury of the royal palace, and hostages besides, and then returned to Samaria.

14:15 The rest of the history of Jehoash, his entire career, his prowess, how he waged war on Amaziah king of Judah, is not all this recorded in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel?

14:16 Then Jehoash slept with his ancestors, and was buried in Samaria with the kings of Israel; his son Jeroboam succeeded him.

14:17 Amaziah son of Joash, king of Judah, lived for fifteen years after the death of Jehoash son of Jehoahaz, king of Israel.

14:18 The rest of the history of Amaziah, is not all this recorded in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Judah?

14:19 A plot having been hatched against him in Jerusalem, he fled to Lachish; but he was followed to Lachish where he was put to death.

14:20 He was brought back by horse, and buried in Jerusalem with his ancestors in the Citadel of David.

14:21 All the people of Judah chose Uzziah, then sixteen years old, and made him king in succession to his father Amaziah.

14:22 It was he who rebuilt Elath and recovered it for Judah, after the king had slept with his ancestors.

The reign of Jeroboam II in Israel (783-743)

14:23 In the fifteenth year of Amaziah son of Joash, king of Judah, Jeroboam son of Joash became king of Israel in Samaria. He reigned for forty-one years.

14:24 He did what is displeasing to Yahweh and did not give up any of the sins into which Jeroboam son of Nebat had led Israel.

14:25 It was he who recovered the territory of Israel from the Pass of Hamath as far as the Sea of the Arabah, in accordance with the word that Yahweh, the God of Israel, had spoken through his servant Jonah[*a] son of Amittai, the prophet from Gath-hepher.

14:26 For Yahweh had seen how very bitter the affliction of Israel was, with no one, neither fettered nor free, to come to the help of Israel.

14:27 But Yahweh had resolved not to blot out the name of Israel from under heaven; he rescued them by means of Jeroboam son of Joash.

14:28 The rest of the history of Jeroboam, his entire career, his prowess, what wars he waged, how he. . . is not all this recorded in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel?

14:29 Then Jeroboam slept with his ancestors. They buried him in Samaria with the kings of Israel; his son Zechariah succeeded him.

JB 2 KINGS Chapter 15

The reign of Uzziah in Judah (781-740)

15:1 In the seventeenth year of Jeroboam king of Israel, Uzziah son of Amaziah became king of Judah.

15:2 He 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.

15:3 He did what is pleasing to Yahweh, just as his father Amaziah had done.

15:4 The high places, however, were not abolished, and the people still offered sacrifices and incense on the high places.

15:5 But Yahweh struck the king, and he became a leper till his dying day. He lived confined to his room; his son Jotham was master of the palace and ruled the country.

15:6 The rest of the history of Uzziah, his entire career, is not all this recorded in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Judah?

15:7 Then Uzziah slept with his ancestors, and they buried him in the Citadel of David; his son Jotham succeeded him.

The reign of Zechariah in Israel (743)

15:8 In the thirty-eighth year of Uzziah king of Judah, Zechariah son of Jeroboam became king of Israel in Samaria for six months.

15:9 He did what is displeasing to Yahweh, as his fathers had done; he did not give up the sins into which Jeroboam son of Nebat had led Israel.

15:10 Shallum son of Jabesh plotted against him, murdered him at Ibleam, and succeeded him.

15:11 The rest of the history of Zechariah is recorded in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel.

15:12 It happened as Yahweh had said to Jehu, ‘Your sons will sit on the throne of Israel to the fourth generation’. And so it turned out.

The reign of Shallum in Israel (743)

15:13 Shallum son of Jabesh became king in the thirty-ninth year of Uzziah king of Judah, and reigned for one month in Samaria.

15:14 Then Menahem son of Gadi went up from Tirzah, entered Samaria, murdered Shallum son of Jabesh there, and succeeded him.

15:15 The rest of the history of Shallum, and the plot he hatched, all this is recorded in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel.

15:16 It was at that time that Menahem sacked Tappush – killing all who were in it – and its territory from Tirzah onwards, because it had not opened its gates to him; he sacked the town and ripped open all the pregnant women.

15:17 In the thirty-ninth year of Uzziah king of Judah, Menahem son of Gad became king of Israel. He reigned for ten years in Samaria.

15:18 He did what is displeasing to Yahweh, he did not give up the sins into which Jeroboam son of Nebat had led Israel. In his times,

15:19 Pul[*a] king of Assyria invaded the country, Menahem gave Pul a thousand talents of silver in return for his support in strengthening his hold on the royal power.

15:20 Menahem levied this sum from Israel, from all the men of rank, at the rate of fifty shekels a head, to be given to the king of Assyria, who then withdrew, and did not stay in the country.

15:21 The rest of the history of Menahem, his entire career, is not all this recorded in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel?

15:22 Then Menahem slept with his ancestors; his son Pekahiah succeeded him.

The reign of Pekahiah in Israel (738-737)

15:23 In the fiftieth year of Uzziah king of Judah, Pekahiah son of Menahem became king of Israel in Samaria. He reigned for two years.

15:24 He did what is displeasing to Yahweh; he did not give up the sins into which Jeroboam son of Nebat had led Israel.

15:25 Pekah son of Remaliah, his equerry, plotted against him and struck him down in Samaria, in the keep of the royal palace . . . He had fifty men of Gilead with him. He killed the king, and succeeded him.

15:26 The rest of the history of Pekahiah, his entire career, all this is recorded in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel.

The reign of Pekah in Israel (737-732)

15:27 In the fifty-second year of Uzziah king of Judah, Pekah son of Remaliah became king of Israel in Samaria. He reigned for twenty years.

15:28 He did what is displeasing to Yahweh; he did not give up the sins into which Jeroboam son of Nebat had led Israel.

15:29 In the days of Pekah king of Israel, Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria came and captured Ijon, Abel-beth-maacah, Janoah, Kedesh, Hazor, Gilead and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali, and deported the population to Assyria.[*b]

15:30 Hoshea son of Elah hatched a plot against Pekah son of Remaliah; he murdered the king, and succeeded him.

15:31 The rest of the history of Pekah, and his entire career, is not all this recorded in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel?

The reign of Jotham in Judah (740-736)

15:32 In the second year of Pekah son of Remaliah, king of Israel, Jotham son of Uzziah became king of Judah.

15:33 He was twenty-five years old when he came to the throne, and he reigned for sixteen years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jerusha, daughter of Zadok.

15:34 He did what is pleasing to Yahweh, just as his father Uzziah had done.

15:35 The high places, however, were not abolished, and the people still offered sacrifices and incense on the high places. It was he who built the Upper Gate of the Temple of Yahweh.

15:36 The rest of the history of Jotham, his entire career, is not all this recorded in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Judah?

15:37 At that time, Yahweh began sending Rezin king of Aram and Pekah son of Remaliah against Judah.

15:38 Then Jotham slept with his ancestors, and was buried in the Citadel of David, his ancestor; his son Ahaz succeeded him.

JB 2 KINGS Chapter 16

The reign of Ahaz in Judah (736-716)

16:1 In the seventeenth year of Pekah son of Remaliah, Ahaz son of Jotham became king of Judah.

16:2 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 his God, as his ancestor David had done.

16:3 He followed the example of the kings of Israel, even causing his son to pass through fire, copying the shameful practices of the nations which Yahweh had dispossessed for the sons of Israel.

16:4 He offered sacrifices and incense on the high places, on the hills and under every spreading tree.

16:5 It was then that Rezin king of Aram and Pekah son of Remaliah, king of Israel, launched their campaign against Jerusalem. They besieged it but could not reduce it.

16:6 (At that time, the king of Edom recovered Elath for Edom; he drove out the men of Judah from Elath, and the Edomites occupied it and live there to this present day.)

16:7 Then Ahaz sent messengers to Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria to say, ‘I am your servant and your son. Come and rescue me from the king of Aram and the king of Israel who are making war against me.’

16:8 And Ahaz took the silver and gold that was found in the Temple of Yahweh and in the treasury of the royal palace, and sent this as a present to the king of Assyria.

16:9 The king of Assyria granted his request and, going up against Damascus, captured it; he deported its population to Kir, and put Rezin to death.

16:10 When King Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria, he saw the altar that was in Damascus. He then sent the measurements and a model of the altar with the detail of its workmanship to Uriah the priest.

16:11 Uriah the priest constructed the altar; all the instructions sent by King Ahaz from Damascus were carried out by Uriah the priest before King Ahaz returned from Damascus.

16:12 When the king arrived from Damascus, he inspected the altar, he approached it and ascended it.

16:13 He burned his holocaust and his oblation; he poured out his libation and sprinkled the blood of his communion sacrifice.

16:14 The altar that used to stand before Yahweh he removed from the front of the Temple, where it had stood between the new altar and the Temple of Yahweh, and placed it at the north side of the new altar.

16:15 King Ahaz gave this order to Uriah the priest: ‘In future you will burn the morning holocaust, the evening oblation, the king’s holocaust and his oblation, the holocaust, the oblation and the libations of all people on the great altar; on it you will pour out all the blood of the holocausts and sacrifices. As regards the altar of bronze, I shall see to that.’

16:16 Uriah the priest did everything that King Ahaz had ordered.

16:17 King Ahaz dismantled the wheeled stands, removed the crosspieces and the basins from them, and took the bronze Sea off the oxen supporting it, and rested it on the stone pavement.

16:18 In deference to the king of Assyria, he removed from the Temple of Yahweh the dais for the throne, which had been set up there, and the royal entry on the outside.

16:19 The rest of the history of Ahaz, his entire career, is not all this recorded in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Judah?

16:20 Then Ahaz slept with his ancestors, and was buried in the Citadel of David; his son Hezekiah succeeded him.

JB 2 KINGS Chapter 17

The reign of Hoshea in Israel (732-724)

17:1 In the twelfth year of Ahaz king of Judah, Hoshea son of Elah became king of Israel in Samaria, and reigned for nine years.

17:2 He did what is displeasing to Yahweh, though not like the preceding kings of Israel.

17:3 Shalmaneser king of Assyria made war on Hoshea who submitted to him and paid him tribute.

17:4 But the king of Assyria discovered that Hoshea was playing a double game with him: he had sent messengers to So, king of Egypt, and had not, as in previous years, handed over the tribute to the king of Assyria. For this the king of Assyria imprisoned him, in chains.

The fall of Samaria (721)

17:5 The king of Assyria invaded the whole country and, coming to Samaria, laid siege to it for three years.

17:6 In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria captured Samaria and deported the Israelites to Assyria. He settled them in Halah on the Habor, a river of Gozan,[*a] and in the cities of the Medes.[*b]

Observations on the fall of the Northern Kingdom

17:7 This happened because the Israelites had sinned against Yahweh their God who had brought them out of the land of Egypt, out of the grip of Pharaoh king of Egypt. They worshipped other gods,

17:8 they followed the practices of the nations that Yahweh had dispossessed for them.

17:9 The Israelites, and the kings they had made for themselves, plotted wicked schemes against their God. They built high places for themselves wherever they lived, from watchtower to fortified town.

17:10 They set up pillars and sacred poles for themselves on every high hill and under every spreading tree.

17:11 They sacrificed there after the manner of the nations that Yahweh had expelled before them, and did wicked things there, provoking the anger of Yahweh.

17:12 They served idols, although Yahweh had told them, ‘This you must not do’.

17:13 And yet through all the prophets and all the seers, Yahweh had given Israel and Judah this warning, ‘Turn from your wicked ways and keep my commandments and my laws in accordance with the entire Law I laid down for your fathers and delivered to them through my servants the prophets’.

17:14 But they would not listen, they were more stubborn than their ancestors had been who had no faith in Yahweh their God.

17:15 They despised his laws and the covenant he had made with their ancestors, and the warnings he had given them. They pursued emptiness, and themselves became empty through copying the nations round them although Yahweh had ordered them not to act as they did.

17:16 They rejected all the commandments of Yahweh their God and made idols of cast metal for themselves, two calves; they made themselves sacred poles, they worshipped the whole array of heaven, and they served Baal.

17:17 They made their sons and daughters pass through fire, they practised divination and sorcery, they sold themselves to evil-doing in the sight of Yahweh, provoking his anger.

17:18 For this, Yahweh was enraged with Israel and thrust them away from him. There was none left but the tribe of Judah only.

17:19 Judah did not keep the commandments of Yahweh their God either, but copied the practices that Israel had introduced.

17:20 Yahweh rejected the whole race of Israel; he brought them low, delivering them into the hands of marauders, until at length he thrust them away from him.

17:21 And indeed he had torn Israel away from the House of David, and they had made Jeroboam son of Nebat king; Jeroboam had drawn Israel away from Yahweh and led them into a great sin.

17:22 The Israelites copied the sin Jeroboam had committed; they did not give it up,

17:23 until at length Yahweh thrust Israel away from him, as he had foretold through all his servants the prophets; he deported the Israelites from their own country to Assyria, where they still are today.

The origin of the Samaritans

17:24 The king of Assyria brought people from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath and Sepharvaim, and settled them in the towns of Samaria to replace the Israelites; they took possession of Samaria and lived in its towns.

17:25 When they first came to live there, they did not worship Yahweh, so Yahweh sent lions against them, which killed a number of them.

17:26 They said to the king of Assyria, ‘The nations you deported and settled in the towns of Samaria do not know how to worship the god of the country, and he has sent lions against them; and now these are killing them because they do not know how to worship the god of the country’.

17:27 So the king of Assyria gave this order: ‘Send back one of the priests whom I deported from there; let him go and live there and teach them how to worship the god of the country’.

17:28 Accordingly, one of the priests they had deported from Samaria came to live in Bethel; he taught them how to worship Yahweh.

17:29 Each national group made idols representing its own gods and put them in the temples of the high places made by the Samaritans; each national group did this in the towns allocated to it.

17:30 The men of Babylon had made a Succoth-benoth, the men of Cuthah a Nergal, the men of Hamath an Ashima,

17:31 the Avvites a Nibhaz and a Tartak; while the Sepharvites burnt their children in the fire in honour of Adrammelech and of Anammelech, gods of Sepharvaim.

17:32 They worshipped Yahweh as well, and they appointed priests out of their own number for the high places who officiated for them in the temples of the high places.

17:33 They worshipped Yahweh and served their own gods at the same time, with the rites of the countries from which they had been deported.

17:34 They still follow their old rites even now. They did not worship Yahweh[*c] and did not conform to his statutes or ritual, or the law or the commandments, which Yahweh had laid down for the sons of Jacob to whom he gave the name Israel.

17:35 Yahweh had made a covenant with them and had given them this command: ‘You are not to worship alien gods, you are not to bow down to them or serve them or offer them sacrifices.

17:36 You are to bow down and offer sacrifice to Yahweh who brought you out of the land of Egypt with great power and outstretched arm.

17:37 You are to observe the statutes and ritual, the law and the commandments which he has given you in writing and to which you are always to conform; you are not to worship alien gods.

17:38 Do not forget the covenant I have made with you, and do not venerate alien gods.

17:39 Venerate Yahweh alone, your God, and he will deliver you out of the power of all your enemies.’

17:40 But they would not listen, and still followed their old rites.

17:41 These nations, then, worshipped Yahweh and served their carved images as well, their children, too, and their children’s children still behave today as their fathers behaved in the past.

JB 2 KINGS Chapter 18

VIII. THE LAST YEARS OF THE KINGDOM OF JUDAH

A. HEZEKIAH, THE PROPHET ISAIAH; ASSYRIA

Introduction to the reign of Hezekiah (716-687)

18:1 In the third year of Hoshea son of Elah, king of Judah, Hezekiah son of Ahaz became king of Judah.

18:2 He 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 Abijah daughter of Zechariah.

18:3 He did what is pleasing to Yahweh, just as his ancestor David had done.

18:4 It was he who abolished the high places, broke the pillars, cut down the sacred poles and smashed the bronze serpent that Moses had made; for up to that time the Israelites had offered sacrifice to it; it was called Nehushtan.

18:5 He put his trust in the God of Israel. No king of Judah after him could be compared with him – nor any of those before him.

18:6 He was devoted to Yahweh, never turning from him, but keeping the commandments that Yahweh had laid down for Moses.

18:7 And so Yahweh was with him, and he was successful in all that he undertook. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and refused to serve him.

18:8 It was he who harassed the Philistines as far as Gaza, laying their territory waste from watchtower to fortified town.

The fall of Samaria; recapitulation

18:9 In the fourth year of Hezekiah, which was the seventh year of Hoshea son of Elah, king of Israel, Shalmaneser king of Assyria made war on Samaria and laid siege to it. He captured it after three years.

18:10 Samaria fell in the sixth year of Hezekiah, which was the ninth year of Hoshea king of Israel.

18:11 The king of Assyria deported the Israelites to Assyria and settled them in Halah on the Habor, a river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.

18:12 This happened because they had not obeyed the voice of Yahweh their God and had broken his covenant, violating all that Moses the servant of Yahweh had laid down. They neither listened to it nor put it into practice.

Sennacherib’s invasion[*a]

18:13 In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, Sennacherib king of Assyria attacked the fortified towns of Judah and captured them.

18:14 Then Hezekiah king of Judah sent this message to the king of Assyria at Lachish, ‘I have been at fault. Call off the attack, and I will submit myself to whatever you impose on me.’ The king of Assyria exacted three hundreds talents of silver and thirty talents of gold from Hezekiah king of Judah,

18:15 and Hezekiah gave him all the silver in the Temple of Yahweh and in the treasury of the royal palace.

18:16 It was then that Hezekiah stripped the facing from the leaves and jambs of the doors of the Temple of Yahweh, which . . . king of Judah had plated, and gave it to the king of Assyria.

The embassy of the cupbearer-in-chief

18:17 From Lachish the king of Assyria sent the cupbearer-in-chief with a large force to King Hezekiah in Jerusalem. He went up to Jerusalem, and when he arrived, he took a position near the conduit of the upper pool which is on the road to the Fuller’s Field.

18:18 He summoned the king. The master of the palace, Eliakim son of Hilkiah, Shebnah the secretary and the herald Joah son of Asaph went out to him.

18:19 The cupbearer-in-chief said to them, ‘Say to Hezekiah, “Thus speaks the great king, the king of Assyria: What makes you so confident?

18:20 Do you think empty words are as good as strategy and military strength? Who are you relying on, to dare to rebel against me?

18:21 We know you are relying on that broken reed Egypt, which pricks and pierces the hand of the man who leans on it. – That is what Pharaoh king of Egypt is like to all who rely on him. –

18:22 You may say to me: We rely on Yahweh our God, but are they not his high places and altars that Hezekiah has suppressed, saying to the people of Judah and Jerusalem: This in Jerusalem, is the altar, before which you must worship?

18:23 Come, make a wager with my lord the king of Assyria: I will give you two thousand horses if you can find horsemen to ride them.

18:24 How could you repulse a single one of the least of my master’s servants? And yet you have relied on Egypt for chariots and horsemen.

18:25 And lastly, have I come up against this place to lay it waste without warrant from Yahweh? Yahweh himself said to me: March against this country and lay it waste.”‘

18:26 Eliakim, Shebnah and Joah said to the cupbearer-in-chief, ‘Please speak to your servants in Aramaic, for we understand it; do not speak to us in the Judaean language within earshot of the people on the ramparts’.

18:27 But the cupbearer-in-chief said, ‘Do you think my lord sent me here to say these things to your master or to you? On the contrary, it was to the people sitting on the ramparts who, like you, are doomed to eat their own dung and drink their own urine.

18:28 Then the cupbearer-in-chief stood erect and, shouting loudly in the Judaean language, called out, ‘Listen to the word of the great king, the king of Assyria.

18:29 Thus the king speaks: “Do not let Hezekiah delude you. He will be powerless to save you from my hands.

18:30 Do not let Hezekiah persuade you to rely on Yahweh by saying: Yahweh is sure to save us; this city will not fall into the power of the king of Assyria.

18:31 Do not listen to Hezekiah, for the king of Assyria says this: Make peace with me, surrender to me, and every one of you will eat the fruit of his own vine and of his own fig tree and drink the water of his own cistern

18:32 until I come and deport you to a country like your own, a land of corn and good wine, a land of bread and of vineyards, a land of oil and of honey, so that you may not die but live. Do not listen to Hezekiah who is deluding you when he says: Yahweh will save us.

18:33 Has any god of any nation saved his country from the power of the king of Assyria?

18:34 Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim and Hena and Ivvah? Where are the gods of the land of Samaria? Did they save Samaria from me?

18:35 Tell me which, of all the gods of any country, have saved their countries from my hands, for Yahweh to be able to save Jerusalem?”‘

18:36 They kept silence and said nothing in reply, since such was the king’s order: ‘Do not answer him’ he had said.

18:37 The master of the palace, Eliakim son of Hilkiah, Shebnah the secretary and the herald Joah son of Asaph, with their garments torn, went to Hezekiah and reported what the cupbearer-in-chief had said.

JB 2 KINGS Chapter 19

The prophet Isaiah is consulted

19:1 On hearing this, King Hezekiah tore his garments, covered himself with sackloth and went to the Temple of Yahweh.

19:2 He sent the master of the palace, Eliakim, Shebnah the secretary and the elders of the priests, covered in sackcloth, to the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz.

19:3 They said to him, ‘This is what Hezekiah says, “Today is a day of suffering, of punishment, of disgrace. Children come to birth, and there is no strength to bring them forth.

19:4 May Yahweh your God hear the words of the cupbearer-in-chief whom his master, the king of Assyria, has sent to insult the living God, and may Yahweh your God punish the words he has heard. Offer your prayer for the remnant that is left.”‘

19:5 When the ministers of King Hezekiah had come to Isaiah,

19:6 he replied, ‘Say to your master, “Yahweh says this: Do not be afraid of the words you have heard or the blasphemies the minions of the king of Assyria have uttered against me.

19:7 I am going to put a spirit in him, and when he hears a rumour he will return to his own country, and in that country I will bring him down with the sword.”‘

The cupbearer returns to his master

19:8 The cupbearer went back and rejoined the king of Assyria at Libnah, which he was attacking. The cupbearer had already learnt that the king of Assyria had left Lachish,

19:9 since he had received this news about Tirhakah[*a] king of Cush, ‘He has set out to fight you’.

Sennacherib’s letter to Hezekiah

Sennacherib sent messengers to Hezekiah again, saying,

19:10 ‘Tell this to Hezekiah king of Judah, “Do not let your God on whom you are relying deceive you, when he says: Jerusalem shall not fall into the power of the king of Assyria.

19:11 You have learnt by now what the kings of Assyria have done to every country, putting them all under the ban. Are you likely to be spared?

19:12 What power to help did the gods have of those nations my fathers destroyed, Gozan, Haran, Rezeph and the Edenites who were in Tel Basar?

19:13 Where are the king of Hamath, the king of Arpad, the kings of Sepharvaim, of Hena, of Ivvah?”‘

19:14 Hezekiah took the letter from the hands of the messenger and read it; he then went up to the Temple of Yahweh and spread it out before Yahweh.

19:15 Hezekiah said this prayer in the presence of Yahweh, ‘Yahweh Sabaoth, God of Israel, enthroned on the cherubs, you alone are God of all the kingdoms of the earth, you have made heaven and earth.

19:16 ‘Give ear, Yahweh, and listen. Open your eyes, Yahweh, and see. Hear the words of Sennacherib who has sent to insult the living God.

19:17 ‘It is true, Yahweh, that the kings of Assyria have exterminated all the nations,

19:18 they have thrown their gods on the fire, for these were not gods but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone, and hence they have destroyed them.

19:19 But now, Yahweh our God, save us from his hand, I pray you, and let all the kingdoms of the earth know that you alone are God, Yahweh.’

Isaiah intervenes

19:20 Then Isaiah son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah. ‘Yahweh, the God of Israel’ he said ‘says this, “I have heard the prayer you have addressed to me about Sennacherib king of Assyria”.

19:21 Here is the oracle that Yahweh has pronounced against him: “She despises you, she scorns you, the virgin, daughter of Zion; she tosses her head behind you, the daughter of Jerusalem.

19:22 Whom have you insulted, whom did you blaspheme? Against whom raised your voice and lifted your haughty eyes? Against the Holy One of Israel!

19:23 Through your envoys you have insulted the Lord, you have said: With my many chariots I have climbed the tops of mountains, the utmost peaks of Lebanon. I have felled its tall forest of cedars, its finest cypresses.I have reached its furthest recesses, its forest garden.

19:24 Yes, I have dug wells and drunk of alien waters; I have put down my feet, and I have dried up all the rivers of Egypt.

19:25 “Do you hear? Long ago I planned for it, from days of old I designed it, now I carry it out. Your part was to bring down in heaps of ruins fortified cities.

19:26 Their inhabitants, hands feeble, dismayed, discomfited, were like plants of the field, like tender grass, like grass of housetop and meadow under the east wind.

19:27 But I am there whether you rise or sit; whether you go out, or you come in, I know it.

19:28 Because you have raved against me and your insolence has come to my ears, I will put my ring through your nostrils, my bit between your lips, to make you return by the road on which you came.

A sign for Hezekiah

19:29 “This shall be the sign for you: this year will be eaten the self-sown grain, next year what sprouts in the fallow, but in the third year sow and reap, plant vineyards and eat their fruit.

19:30 The surviving remnant of the House of Judah shall bring forth new roots below and fruits above;

19:31 for a remnant shall go out from Jerusalem, and survivors from Mount Zion. The jealous love of Yahweh Sabaoth shall accomplish this.”

19:32 ‘This, then, is what Yahweh says about the king of Assyria: “He will not enter this city, he will let fly no arrow against it, confront it with no shield, throw up no earthwork against it.

19:33 By the road that he came on he will return; he shall not enter this city. It is Yahweh who speaks.

19:34 I will protect this city and save it for my own sake and for the sake of my servant David.”‘

Sennacherib is punished

19:35 That same night the angel of Yahweh went out and struck down a hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp. In the early morning when it was time to get up, there they lay, so many corpses.

19:36 Sennacherib struck camp and left; he returned home and stayed in Nineveh.

19:37 One day when he was worshipping in the temple of his god Nisroch, his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer struck him down with the sword and escaped into the land of Ararat.[*b] His son Esarhaddon succeeded him.

JB 2 KINGS Chapter 20

The illness and cure of Hezekiah

20:1 In those days Hezekiah fell ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz came and said to him, ‘Yahweh says this, “Put your affairs in order, for you are going to die, you will not live”‘.

20:2 Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and addressed this prayer to Yahweh,

20:3 ‘Ah, Yahweh, remember I beg you, how I have behaved faithfully and with sincerity of heart in your presence and done what is right in your eyes’. And Hezekiah shed many tears.

20:4 Isaiah had not left the middle court, before the word of Yahweh came to him,

20:5 ‘Go back and say to Hezekiah, prince of my people, “Yahweh, the God of David your ancestor, says this: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears. I will cure you: in three days’ time you shall go up to the Temple of Yahweh.

20:6 I will add fifteen years to your life. I will save you and this city from the hands of the king of Assyria, I will protect this city for my own sake and the sake of my servant David.”‘

20:7 ‘Bring a fig poultice’ Isaiah said; they brought one, applied it to the ulcer, and the king recovered.

20:8 Hezekiah said to Isaiah, ‘What is the sign to tell me that Yahweh will cure me and that I shall be going up to the Temple of Yahweh in three days?’

20:9 ‘Here’ Isaiah replied ‘is the sign from Yahweh that he will do what he has said; would you like the shadow to go forward ten steps, or to go back ten steps?’

20:10 ‘It is easy for the shadow to lengthen ten steps,’ Hezekiah answered ‘no, I would rather the shadow went back ten steps.’

20:11 The prophet Isaiah then called on Yahweh who made the shadow go back ten steps on the steps of Ahaz.

The Babylonian embassy

20:12 At that time the king of Babylon, Merodach-baladan son of Baladan, sent letters and a gift to Hezekiah, for he had heard of his illness and his recovery.

20:13 Hezekiah was delighted at this and showed the messengers his treasure-house, the silver, gold, spices, precious oil, his armoury too, and everything there was in his storehouses. There was nothing Hezekiah did not show them in his palace or in his whole domain.

20:14 Then the prophet Isaiah came to King Hezekiah and asked him, ‘What have these men said, and where have they come from?’ Hezekiah answered, ‘They have come from a faraway country, from Babylon’.

20:15 Isaiah said, ‘What have they seen in your palace?’ ‘They have seen everything in my palace’ Hezekiah answered. ‘There is nothing in my storehouses that I have not shown them.’

20:16 Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, ‘Listen to the word of Yahweh,

20:17 “The days are coming when everything in your palace, everything that your ancestors have amassed until now, will be carried off to Babylon. Not a thing will be left” says Yahweh.

20:18 “Sons sprung from you, sons begotten by you, will be chosen to be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.”‘

20:19 Hezekiah said to Isaiah, ‘This word of Yahweh that you announce is reassuring’, for he was thinking, ‘And why not? So long as there is peace and security during my own lifetime.’

The end of the reign of Hezekiah

20:20 The rest of the history of Hezekiah, all his prowess, how he constructed the pool and the conduit to bring water into the city, is not all this recorded in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Judah?

20:21 Then Hezekiah slept with his fathers; his son Manasseh succeeded him.

JB 2 KINGS Chapter 21

B. TWO WICKED KINGS

The reign of Manasseh in Judah (687-642)

21:1 Manasseh was twelve years old when he came to the throne, and he reigned for fifty-five years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Hephzibah.

21:2 He did what is displeasing to Yahweh, copying the shameful practices of the nations whom Yahweh had dispossessed for the sons of Israel.

21:3 He rebuilt the high places that his father Hezekiah had destroyed, he set up altars to Baal and made a sacred pole as Ahab king of Israel had done, he worshipped the whole array of heaven and served it.

21:4 He built altars in the Temple of Yahweh of which Yahweh had said, ‘Jerusalem is where I will give my name a home’.

21:5 He built altars to the whole array of heaven in the two courts of the Temple of Yahweh.

21:6 He caused his son to pass through the fire. He practised soothsaying and magic and introduced necromancers and wizards. He did very many more things displeasing to Yahweh, thus provoking his anger.

21:7 He placed the carved image of Asherah which he had made in the Temple, of which Yahweh had said to David and 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.

21:8 I will no longer make Israel’s footsteps wander from the land I gave their fathers, provided they observe all I have ordered them in accordance with the whole Law that my servant Moses prescribed for them.’

21:9 But they did not listen, Manasseh led them astray, so that they did more evil than those nations Yahweh had destroyed before the sons of Israel.

21:10 Then Yahweh spoke through his servants the prophets,

21:11 ‘Since Manasseh king of Judah has done these shameful deeds, acting more wickedly than all the Amorites did before him, and has led Judah itself into sin with his idols,

21:12 Yahweh, the God of Israel, says this, “Look, I will bring such disaster as to make the ears of all who hear of it tingle.

21:13 I will stretch over Jerusalem the same measuring line as over Samaria, the same plumb-rule as for the House of Ahab; I will scour Jerusalem as a man scours a dish and, having scoured it, turns it upside down.

21:14 I will cast away the remnant of my inheritance, delivering them into the power of their enemies, and making them serve as prey and booty to all their enemies,

21:15 because they have done what is displeasing to me and have provoked my anger from the day their ancestors came out of Egypt until now.”‘

21:16 Manasseh shed innocent blood, too, in such great quantity that he flooded Jerusalem from end to end, apart from the sins into which he led Judah by doing what is displeasing to Yahweh.

21:17 The rest of the history of Manasseh, his entire career, the sins he committed, is not all this recorded in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Judah?

21:18 Then Manasseh slept with his ancestors, and was buried in the garden of his palace, the garden of Uzza; his son Amon succeeded him.

The reign of Amon in Judah (642-640)

21:19 Amon was twenty-two years old when he came to the throne, and he reigned for two years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Meshullemeth, daughter of Haruz, of Jotbah.

21:20 He did what is displeasing to Yahweh, as Manasseh his father had done.

21:21 In every respect he followed the example of his father, serving the idols his father had served, and worshipping them.

21:22 He abandoned Yahweh, the God of his ancestors; he did not follow the way of Yahweh.

21:23 Amon’s officers plotted against the king and killed him in his palace.

21:24 But the country people struck down all those who had plotted against king Amon, and proclaimed his son Josiah as his successor.

21:25 The rest of the history of Amon, his entire career, is not all this recorded in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Judah?

21:26 He was buried in his father’s tomb in the garden of Uzza; his son Josiah succeeded him.

JB 2 KINGS Chapter 22

C. JOSIAH AND THE RELIGIOUS REFORM

Introduction to the reign of Josiah (640-609)

22:1 Josiah was eight years old when he came to the throne, and he reigned for thirty-one years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jedidah, daughter of Adaiah, of Bozkath.

22:2 He did what is pleasing to Yahweh, and in every respect followed the example of his ancestor David, not deviating from it to right or left.

The Book of the Law discovered

22:3 In the eighteenth year of King Josiah, the king sent the secretary Shaphan son of Azaliah son of Meshullam to the Temple of Yahweh.

22:4 ‘Go to Hilkiah the high priest,’ he told him ‘and tell him to melt down the silver that has been brought to the Temple of Yahweh and that those who guard the threshold have collected from the people.

22:5 Let him hand it over to the masters of works attached to the Temple of Yahweh, for them to spend on the workmen working on the repairs to the Temple of Yahweh,

22:6 on the carpenters, builders and masons, and on buying wood and dressed stone for the Temple repairs.

22:7 But they are not to be asked to render account of the money handed over to them, since they are honest in their dealings.’

22:8 The high priest Hilkiah said to Shaphan the secretary, ‘I have found the Book of the Law in the Temple of Yahweh’.[*a] And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, who read it.

22:9 Shaphan the secretary went to the king and reported to him as follows, ‘Your servants’ he said ‘have melted down the silver which was in the Temple and have handed it over to the masters of works attached to the Temple of Yahweh’.

22:10 Then Shaphan the secretary informed the king, ‘Hilkiah the priest has given me a book’; and Shaphan read it aloud in the king’s presence.

Huldah the prophetess is consulted

On hearing the contents of the Book of the Law, the king tore his garments,

22:11 and gave the following order to Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam son of Shaphan,

22:12 Achbor son of Micaiah, Shaphan the secretary and Asaiah the king’s minister: ‘Go and consult Yahweh, on behalf of me and the people, about the contents of

22:13 this book that has been found. Great indeed must be the anger of Yahweh blazing out against us because our ancestors did not obey what this book says by practising everything written in it.’

22:14 Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Achbor, Shaphan and Asaiah went to Huldah the prophetess, wife of Shallum son of Tikvah, son of Harhas, the keeper of the wardrobe; she lived in Jerusalem in the new town. They put the matter to her,

22:15 and she replied, ‘Yahweh, the God of Israel, says this, “To the man who sent you to me say this:

22:16 Yahweh says this: I am bringing disaster on this place and those who live in it, carrying out everything said in the book the king of Judah has read,

22:17 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.

22:18 And you are to say to the king of Judah who sent you to consult Yahweh: Yahweh, the God of Israel, says this: The words you have heard. . .

22:19 But since your heart has been touched and you have humbled yourself before Yahweh on hearing what I have decreed against this place and those who live in it, how they will become an object of horror and cursing; and since you have torn your garments and wept before me, I for my part have heard – it is Yahweh who speaks.

22:20 For this reason 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.”‘ They took this answer to the king.

JB 2 KINGS Chapter 23

The covenant renewed

23:1 The king then had all the elders of Judah and of Jerusalem summoned to him,

23:2 and the king went up to the Temple of Yahweh with all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, priests, prophets 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.

23:3 The king stood beside the pillar, and in the presence of Yahweh he made a covenant to follow Yahweh and keep his commandments and decrees and laws with all his heart and soul, in order to enforce the terms of the covenant as written in that book. All the people gave their allegiance to the covenant.

Religious reform in Judah

23:4 The king ordered Hilkiah with the priest next in rank and the guardians of the threshold to remove all the cult objects that had been made for Baal, Asherah and the whole array of heaven; he burnt them outside Jerusalem in the fields of the Kidron and had the ashes taken to Bethel.

23:5 He did away with the spurious priests whom the kings of Judah had appointed and who offered sacrifice on the high places, in the towns of Judah and the neighbourhood of Jerusalem; also those who offered sacrifice to Baal, to the sun, the moon, the constellations and the whole array of heaven.

23:6 From the Temple of Yahweh he removed the sacred pole right out of Jerusalem to the wadi Kidron, and in the wadi Kidron he burnt it; he reduced it to ashes and threw its ashes on the common burying-ground.

23:7 He pulled down the house of the sacred male prostitutes which was in the Temple of Yahweh and where the women wove clothes for Asherah.

23:8 He brought all the priests in from the towns of Judah, and from Geba to Beersheba he desecrated the high places where these priests had offered sacrifice. He pulled down the shrine of the goats[*a] which stood at the gate of Joshua, the governor of the city, to the left as you enter the city gate.

23:9 The priests of the high places, however, could not go up to the altar of Yahweh in Jerusalem, but they ate unleavened bread in the company of their brother priests.

23:10 He desecrated the furnace in the Valley of Ben-hinnom, so that no one could make his son or daughter pass through fire in honour of Molech.

23:11 He did away with the horses that the kings of Judah had dedicated to the sun at the entrance to the Temple of Yahweh, near the apartment of Nathan-melech the eunuch, in the precincts, and he burned the chariot of the sun.

23:12 The altars on the roof that the kings of Judah had built, with those that Manasseh had built in the two courts of the Temple of Yahweh, the king pulled down, and broke them to pieces on the spot, then carried them away and threw their rubble into the wadi Kidron.

23:13 The king desecrated the high places facing Jerusalem, to the south of the Mount of Olives, which Solomon king of Israel had built for Astarte the Sidonian abomination, for Chemosh the Moabite abomination, and for Milcom the Ammonite abomination.

23:14 He also smashed the sacred pillars, cut down the sacred poles, and covered the places where they had stood with human bones.[*b]

The reform is extended to the former Northern Kingdom

23:15 Similarly, as regards the altar that was at Bethel, the high place built by Jeroboam son of Nebat who had led Israel into sin, this altar and this high place he also demolished, breaking up its stones and reducing them to powder. The sacred pole he burned.

23:16 As he looked around, Josiah saw the tombs there on the hillside; he had the bones fetched from the tombs and burned them on the altar. Thus he desecrated it, in accordance with the word of Yahweh which the man of God had proclaimed when Jeroboam was standing by the altar at the time of the feast. As he looked around, Josiah caught sight of the tomb of the man of God who had foretold these things.

23:17 ‘What is that monument I see?’ he asked. The townspeople replied, ‘It is the tomb of the man of God who came from Judah and foretold what you have done to the altar’.

23:18 ‘Let him rest,’ the king said ‘and let no one disturb his bones.’ So they left his bones untouched, with the bones of the prophet who was from Samaria.

23:19 Josiah also did away with all the temples of the high places that the kings of Israel had built in the towns of Samaria, provoking the anger of Yahweh; he treated these places exactly as he had treated the one at Bethel.

23:20 All the priests of the high places who were there he slaughtered on the altars, and on those altars burned human bones. Then he returned to Jerusalem.

The Passover celebrated

23:21 The king gave this order to the whole people: ‘Celebrate a Passover in honour of Yahweh your God, as prescribed in this book of the covenant’.

23:22 No Passover like this one had ever been celebrated since the days when the judges ruled Israel or throughout the entire period of the kings of Israel and the kings of Judah.

23:23 The eighteenth year of King Josiah was the only time when such a Passover was celebrated in honour of Yahweh at Jerusalem.

Last words on the religious reform

23:24 What is more, the necromancers and wizards, the household gods and idols, and all the abominations to be seen in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, all these were swept away by Josiah to give effect to the words of the Law written in the book found by Hilkiah the priest in the Temple of Yahweh.

23:25 No king before him had turned to Yahweh as he did, with all his heart, all his soul, all his strength, in perfect loyalty to the Law of Moses; nor was any king like him seen again.

23:26 Yet Yahweh did not renounce the heat of his great anger which blazed out against Judah because of all the provocation Manasseh had offered him.

23:27 Yahweh decreed, ‘I will thrust Judah away from me too, as I have already thrust Israel; I will cast away Jerusalem, this city I had chosen, and the Temple of which I had said: There my name shall be.’

The end of the reign of Josiah

23:28 The rest of the history of Josiah, his entire career, is not all this recorded in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Judah?

23:29 During his reign Pharaoh Neco king of Egypt was on his way to the king of Assyria at the river Euphrates when King Josiah intercepted him; but Neco killed him at Megiddo in the first encounter.

23:30 His servants carried his body from Megiddo by chariot; they brought him to Jerusalem, and buried him in his own tomb. The country people took Jehoahaz son of Josiah and anointed him, proclaiming him king in succession to his father.

D. THE DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM

The reign of Jehoahaz in Judah (609)

23:31 Jehoahaz was twenty-three years old when he came to the throne, and he reigned for three months in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Hamutal, daughter of Jeremiah, from Libnah.

23:32 He did what is displeasing to Yahweh, just as his ancestors had done.

23:33 Pharaoh Neco put him in chains at Riblah, in the territory of Hamath, and imposed a levy of a hundred talents of silver and ten talents of gold on the country.

23:34 Pharaoh Neco made Eliakim son of Josiah king in succession to Josiah his father, and changed his name to Jehoiakim. Jehoahaz he took and carried away into Egypt, where he died.

23:35 Jehoiakim paid over the silver and gold to Pharaoh, but first had to tax the country before he could raise the sum that Pharaoh demanded: he levied the silver and gold to be paid over to Pharaoh Neco from each according to his means.

The reign of Jehoiakim in Judah (609-598)

23:36 Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he came to the throne, and he reigned for eleven years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Zebidah, daughter of Pedaiah, from Rumah.

23:37 He did what is displeasing to Yahweh, just as his ancestors had done.

JB 2 KINGS Chapter 24

24:1 During his time Nebuchadnezzar[*a] king of Babylon invaded, and Jehoiakim became his vassal for three years but then rebelled against him a second time.

24:2 So he sent armed bands of Chaldaeans, Aramaeans, Moabites and Ammonites against him; he sent these against Judah to destroy it, in accordance with the word that Yahweh had spoken through his servants the prophets.

24:3 That this happened in Judah was due entirely to the anger of Yahweh: he had resolved to thrust them away from him because of the sins of Manasseh and all that he had done,

24:4 and also because of the innocent blood that he had shed, flooding Jerusalem from end to end with innocent blood. Yahweh would not forgive.

24:5 The rest of the history of Jehoiakim, his entire career, is not all this recorded in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Judah?

24:6 Then Jehoiakim slept with his ancestors; his son Jehoiachin succeeded him.

24:7 The king of Egypt did not leave his own country again, because the king of Babylon had conquered everywhere belonging to the king of Egypt, from the wadi of Egypt to the river Euphrates.[*b]

Introduction to the reign of Jehoiachin (598)

24:8 Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he came to the throne, and he reigned for three months in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Nehushta, daughter of Elnathan, from Jerusalem.

24:9 He did what is displeasing to Yahweh, just as his father had done.

The first deportation

24:10 At that time the troops of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon marched on Jerusalem, and the city was besieged.

24:11 Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon himself came to attack the city while his troops were besieging it.

24:12 Then Jehoiachin king of Judah surrendered to the king of Babylon, he, his mother, his officers, his nobles and his eunuchs, and the king of Babylon took them prisoner. This was in the eighth year of King Nebuchadnezzar.

24:13 The latter carried off all the treasures of the Temple of Yahweh and the treasures of the royal palace, and broke up all the golden furnishings that Solomon king of Israel had made for the sanctuary of Yahweh, as Yahweh had foretold.

24:14 He carried off all Jerusalem into exile, all the nobles and all the notables, ten thousand of these were exiled, with all the blacksmiths and metalworkers; only the poorest people in the country were left behind.

24:15 He deported Jehoiachin to Babylon, as also the king’s mother, his eunuchs and the nobility of the country; he made them all leave Jerusalem for exile in Babylon.

24:16 All the men of distinction, seven thousand of them, the blacksmiths and metalworkers, one thousand of them, all of them men capable of bearing arms, were led into exile in Babylon by the king of Babylon.

24:17 The king of Babylon made Mattaniah, Jehoiachin’s uncle, king in succession to him, and changed his name to Zedekiah.

Introduction to the reign of Zedekiah in Judah (598-587)

24:18 Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he came to the throne, and he reigned for eleven years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Hamital, daughter of Jeremiah, from Libnah.

24:19 He did what is displeasing to Yahweh, just as Jehoiakim had done.

24:20 That this happened in Jerusalem and Judah was due to the anger of Yahweh, with the result that in the end he cast them away from him.

The siege of Jerusalem

Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon.

JB 2 KINGS Chapter 25

25:1 In the ninth year of his reign,[*a] in the tenth month, on the tenth day of the month, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came with his whole army to attack Jerusalem; he pitched camp in front of the city and threw up earthworks round it.

25:2 The city lay under siege till the eleventh year of King Zedekiah.

25:3 In the fourth month, on the ninth day of the month, when famine was raging in the city and there was no food for the populace,

25:4 a breach was made in the city wall. At once, the king made his escape under cover of dark, with all the fighting men, by way of the gate between the two walls, which is near the king’s garden – the Chaldaeans had surrounded the city – and made his way towards the Arabah[*b]

25:5 The Chaldaean troops pursued the king and caught up with him in the plains of Jericho, where all his troops deserted.

25:6 The Chaldaeans captured the king and took him to the king of Babylon at Riblah, who passed sentence on him.

25:7 He had the sons of Zedekiah slaughtered before his eyes, then put out Zedekiah’s eyes and, loading him with chains, carried him off to Babylon.

The sack of Jerusalem. The second deportation

25:8 In the fifth month, on the seventh day of the month – it was in the nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon – Nebuzaradan, commander of the guard, an officer of the king of Babylon, entered Jerusalem.

25:9 He burned down the Temple of Yahweh, the royal palace and all the houses in Jerusalem.

25:10 The Chaldaean troops who accompanied the commander of the guard demolished the walls surrounding Jerusalem.

25:11 Nebuzaradan, commander of the guard, deported the remainder of the population left behind in the city, the deserters who had gone over to the king of Babylon, and the rest of the common people.

25:12 The commander of the guard left some of the humbler country people as vineyard workers and ploughmen.

25:13 The Chaldaeans broke up the bronze pillars from the Temple of Yahweh, the wheeled stands and the bronze Sea that were in the Temple of Yahweh, and took the bronze away to Babylon.

25:14 They also took the ash containers, the scoops, the knives, the incense boats, and all the bronze furnishings used in worship.

25:15 The commander of the guard took the censers and the sprinkling bowls, everything that was made of gold and everything made of silver.

25:16 As regards the two pillars, the one Sea and the wheeled stands, which Solomon had made for the Temple of Yahweh, there was no reckoning the weight of bronze in all these objects.

25:17 The height of one pillar was eighteen cubits, and on it stood a capital of bronze, the height of the capital being five cubits; round the capital were filigree and pomegranates, all in bronze. So also for the second pillar…

25:18 The commander of the guard took prisoner Seraiah the chief priest, Zephaniah the priest next in rank, and the three guardians of the threshold.

25:19 In the city he took prisoner a eunuch who was in command of the fighting men, five of the king’s personal friends who were discovered in the city, the secretary to the army commander, responsible for military conscription, and sixty men of distinction discovered in the city.

25:20 Nebuzaradan, commander of the guard, took these men and brought them to the king of Babylon at Riblah,

25:21 and at Riblah, in the land of Hamath, the king of Babylon had them put to death. Thus Judah was deported from its land.

Gedaliah, governor of Judah

25:22 As regards the people who remained in the land of Judah whom Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had left behind, he appointed Gedaliah son of Ahikam son of Shaphan as their governor.

25:23 When the commanders of the troops and their men all heard that the king of Babylon had appointed Gedaliah as governor, they went to him at Mizpah: Ishmael son of Nethaniah, Johanan son of Kareah, Seraiah son of Tanhumeth, the Netophathite, Jaazaniah the Maacathite, they and their men.

25:24 To them and to their men Gedaliah swore an oath. ‘Do not be afraid of the Chaldaeans,’ he said ‘live in the country, obey the king of Babylon, and all will go well with you.’

25:25 But in the seventh month, Ishmael son of Nethaniah son of Elishama, who was of royal descent, and ten men with him, came and murdered Gedaliah, as well as the Judaeans and Chaldaeans who were with him at Mizpah.

25:26 Then the people, of high and low degree, with the commanders of the troops, all set out and made for Egypt, in fear of the Chaldaeans.

King Jehoiachin pardoned

25:27 In the thirty-seventh year of the exile of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, Evil-merodach king of Babylon, in the year he came to the throne, pardoned Jehoiachin king of Judah and released him from prison.

25:28 He treated him kindly and allotted him a seat above those of the other kings who were with him in Babylon.

25:29 So Jehoiachin laid aside his prisoner’s garb, and for the rest of his life always ate at the king’s table.

25:30 And his upkeep was permanently ensured by the king, day after day, for the rest of his life.

END OF JB 2 KINGS [25 Chapters].

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