Not Peace, but Division
49 a“I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled! 50 bI have a baptism to be baptized with, and how cgreat is my distress until it is accomplished! 51 dDo you think that I have come to give peace on earth? eNo, I tell you, but rather division. 52 For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. 53 They will be divided, ffather against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”
Interpreting the Time
54 He also said to the crowds, g“When you see ha cloud rising in the west, you say at once, ‘A shower is coming.’ And so it happens. 55 And gwhen you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be iscorching heat,’ and it happens. 56 You hypocrites! jYou know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?
Settle with Your Accuser
57 “And why kdo you not judge lfor yourselves what is right? 58 mAs you go with your accuser before the magistrate, make an effort to settle with him on the way, lest he drag you to the judge, and the judge hand you over to the officer, and the officer put you in prison. 59 I tell you, nyou will never get out until you have paid the very last openny.”1
14 If anyone does not obey what we say in this letter, take note of that person, and fhave nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed. 15 gDo not regard him as an enemy, but hwarn him as a brother.
Let Everything Praise the Lord
150 uPraise the Lord!
Praise God in his msanctuary;
2 Praise him for his omighty deeds;
praise him according to his excellent pgreatness!
3 Praise him with qtrumpet sound;
5 Praise him with sounding vcymbals;
praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
6 Let weverything that has breath praise the Lord!
xPraise the Lord!
Josiah Reigns in Judah
34 mJosiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem. 2 And he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, and walked in the ways of David his father; and he did not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. 3 For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet a boy, he began to seek the God of David his father, and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of the high places, the nAsherim, and the carved and the metal images. 4 And they chopped down the altars of the Baals in his presence, and he cut down the oincense altars that stood above them. And he broke in pieces the nAsherim and the carved and the metal images, and he made dust of them and oscattered it over the graves of those who had sacrificed to them. 5 pHe also burned the bones of the priests on their altars and cleansed Judah and Jerusalem. 6 And in the qcities of Manasseh, Ephraim, and Simeon, and as far as Naphtali, in their ruins1 all around, 7 he broke down the altars and beat the nAsherim and the images rinto powder and cut down all the incense altars throughout all the land of Israel. Then he returned to Jerusalem.
The Book of the Law Found
8 sNow in the eighteenth year of his reign, when he had cleansed the land and the house, he sent Shaphan the son of Azaliah, and Maaseiah the tgovernor of the city, and Joah the son of Joahaz, uthe recorder, to repair the house of the Lord his God. 9 They came to vHilkiah the high priest and gave him the money that had been brought into the house of God, which the Levites, the keepers of the threshold, had collected from qManasseh and Ephraim and from all the remnant of Israel and from all Judah and Benjamin and from the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 10 And they gave it to the workmen who were working in the house of the Lord. And the workmen who were working in the house of the Lord gave it for repairing and restoring the house. 11 They gave it to the carpenters and the builders to buy quarried stone, and timber for binders and wbeams for the buildings that the kings of Judah had let go to ruin. 12 And the men did the work faithfully. Over them were set Jahath and Obadiah the Levites, of the sons of Merari, and Zechariah and Meshullam, of the sons of the Kohathites, to have oversight. xThe Levites, all who were skillful with instruments of music, 13 were over ythe burden-bearers and directed all who did work in every kind of service, and some of the Levites were scribes and officials and gatekeepers.
14 While they were bringing out the money that had been brought into the house of the Lord, vHilkiah the priest found the Book of the Law of the Lord given through2 Moses. 15 Then Hilkiah answered and said to Shaphan the secretary, “I have found the Book of the Law in the house of the Lord.” And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan. 16 Shaphan brought the book to the king, and further reported to the king, “All that was committed to your servants they are doing. 17 They have emptied out the money that was found in the house of the Lord and have given it into the hand of the overseers and the workmen.” 18 Then Shaphan the secretary told the king, “Hilkiah the priest has given me a book.” And Shaphan read from it before the king.
19 And when the king heard the words of the Law, zhe tore his clothes. 20 And the king commanded Hilkiah, Ahikam the son of Shaphan, Abdon the son of Micah, Shaphan the secretary, and Asaiah the king’s servant, saying, 21 “Go, inquire of the Lord for me and for those who are left in Israel and in Judah, concerning the words of the book that has been found. For great is athe wrath of the Lord that is poured out on us, because our fathers have not kept the word of the Lord, to do according to all that is written in this book.”
Huldah Prophesies Disaster
22 So Hilkiah and those whom the king had sent3 went to Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tokhath, son of Hasrah, keeper of the wardrobe (now she lived in Jerusalem in the Second Quarter) and spoke to her to that effect. 23 And she said to them, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: ‘Tell the man who sent you to me, 24 Thus says the Lord, Behold, I will bring disaster upon this place and upon its inhabitants, all the curses that are written in the book that was read before the king of Judah. 25 Because they have forsaken me and bhave made offerings to other gods, that they might provoke me to anger with all the works of their hands, therefore amy wrath will be poured out on this place and will not be quenched. 26 But to the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the Lord, thus shall you say to him, Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Regarding the words that you have heard, 27 because your heart was tender and you humbled yourself before God when you heard his words against this place and its inhabitants, and you have humbled yourself before me and have torn your clothes and wept before me, I also have heard you, declares the Lord. 28 Behold, I will gather you to your fathers, and you shall be gathered to your grave in peace, and your eyes shall not see all the disaster that I will bring upon this place and its inhabitants.’” And they brought back word to the king.
29 cThen the king sent and gathered together all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. 30 And the king went up to the house of the Lord, with all the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and the priests and the Levites, all the people both great and small. And he read in their hearing all the words of the Book of the Covenant that had been found in the house of the Lord. 31 And the king dstood in his place eand made a covenant before the Lord, to walk after the Lord and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes, with all his heart and all his soul, to perform the words of the covenant that were written in this book. 32 Then he made all who were present in Jerusalem and in Benjamin join in it. And the inhabitants of Jerusalem did according to the covenant of God, the God of their fathers. 33 And Josiah took away fall the abominations from all the territory that belonged to the people of Israel and made all who were present in Israel serve the Lord their God. All his days they did not turn away from following the Lord, the God of their fathers.
Josiah Keeps the Passover
35 gJosiah kept a Passover to the Lord in Jerusalem. And they slaughtered the Passover lamb hon the fourteenth day of the first month. 2 He appointed the priests to their offices iand encouraged them in the service of the house of the Lord. 3 And he said to the Levites jwho taught all Israel and who were holy to the Lord, “Put the holy ark in the house that Solomon the son of David, king of Israel, built. You need not carry it on your shoulders. Now serve the Lord your God and his people Israel. 4 Prepare yourselves kaccording to your fathers’ houses by your divisions, las prescribed in the writing of David king of Israel mand the document of Solomon his son. 5 And nstand in the Holy Place oaccording to the groupings of the fathers’ houses of your brothers the lay people, and according to the division of the Levites by fathers’ household. 6 And slaughter the Passover lamb, and pconsecrate yourselves, and prepare for your brothers, to do according to the word of the Lord by4 Moses.”
7 Then Josiah contributed to the lay people, as Passover offerings for all who were present, lambs and young goats from the flock to the number of 30,000, and 3,000 bulls; qthese were from the king’s possessions. 8 And his officials contributed willingly to the people, to the priests, and to the Levites. rHilkiah, Zechariah, and Jehiel, the chief officers of the house of God, gave to the priests for the Passover offerings 2,600 Passover lambs and 300 bulls. 9 Conaniah also, and Shemaiah and Nethanel his brothers, and Hashabiah and Jeiel and Jozabad, the chiefs of the Levites, gave to the Levites for the Passover offerings 5,000 lambs and young goats and 500 bulls.
10 When the service had been prepared for, the priests sstood in their place, tand the Levites in their divisions according to the king’s command. 11 uAnd they slaughtered the Passover lamb, and the priests vthrew the blood that they received from them wwhile the Levites flayed the sacrifices. 12 And they set aside the burnt offerings that they might distribute them according to the groupings of the fathers’ houses of the lay people, to offer to the Lord, as it is written in the Book of Moses. And so they did with the bulls. 13 xAnd they roasted the Passover lamb with fire according to the rule; and they yboiled the holy offerings in pots, in cauldrons, and in pans, and carried them quickly to all the lay people. 14 And afterward they prepared for themselves and for the priests, because the priests, the sons of Aaron, were offering the burnt offerings and the fat parts until night; so the Levites prepared for themselves and for the priests, the sons of Aaron. 15 The singers, the sons of Asaph, were in their place zaccording to the command of David, and Asaph, and Heman, and Jeduthun the king’s aseer; band the gatekeepers were at each gate. They did not need to depart from their service, for their brothers the Levites prepared for them.
16 So all the service of the Lord was prepared that day, to keep the Passover and to offer burnt offerings on the altar of the Lord, according to the command of King Josiah. 17 And the people of Israel who were present kept the Passover at that time, cand the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days. 18 dNo Passover like it had been kept in Israel since the days of Samuel the prophet. None of the kings of Israel had kept such a Passover as was kept by Josiah, and the priests and the Levites, and all Judah and Israel who were present, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 19 In the eighteenth year of the reign of Josiah this Passover was kept.
Josiah Killed in Battle
20 eAfter all this, when Josiah had prepared the temple, Neco king of Egypt went up to fight at fCarchemish on the Euphrates, and Josiah went out to meet him. 21 But he sent envoys to him, saying, “What have we to do with each other, king of Judah? I am not coming against you this day, but against the house with which I am at war. And God has commanded me to hurry. Cease opposing God, who is with me, lest he destroy you.” 22 Nevertheless, Josiah did not turn away from him, but gdisguised himself in order to fight with him. He did not listen to the words of Neco from the mouth of God, but came to fight in the plain of hMegiddo. 23 And the archers shot King Josiah. And the king said to his servants, i“Take me away, for I am badly wounded.” 24 So his servants took him out of the chariot and carried him in his second chariot and brought him to Jerusalem. And he died and was buried in the tombs of his fathers. jAll Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah. 25 kJeremiah also uttered a lament for Josiah; and all lthe singing men and singing women have spoken of Josiah in their laments to this day. They made these a rule in Israel; behold, they are written in the Laments. 26 Now the rest of the acts of Josiah, and his good deeds according to what is written in the Law of the Lord, 27 and his acts, first and last, behold, they are written in the Book of the Kings of Israel and Judah.
36 mThe people of the land took Jehoahaz the son of Josiah and made him king in his father’s place in Jerusalem. 2 Jehoahaz was twenty-three years old when he began to reign, and he reigned three months in Jerusalem. 3 Then the king of Egypt deposed him in Jerusalem and nlaid on the land a tribute of a hundred talents of silver and a talent5 of gold. 4 And the king of Egypt made Eliakim his brother king over Judah and Jerusalem, and changed his name to Jehoiakim. But Neco took Jehoahaz his brother and carried him to Egypt.
5 oJehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord his God. 6 pAgainst him came up Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon qand bound him in chains rto take him to Babylon. 7 sNebuchadnezzar also carried part of the vessels of the house of the Lord to Babylon and put them in his palace in Babylon. 8 tNow the rest of the acts of Jehoiakim, and the abominations that he did, and what was found against him, behold, they are written in the Book of the Kings of Israel and Judah. And Jehoiachin his son reigned in his place.
9 uJehoiachin was eighteen6 years old when he became king, and he reigned three months and ten days in Jerusalem. He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. 10 In vthe spring of the year King Nebuchadnezzar sent and brought him to Babylon, wwith the precious vessels of the house of the Lord, and made his brother xZedekiah king over Judah and Jerusalem.
11 yZedekiah was twenty-one years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. 12 He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord his God. He did not humble himself before zJeremiah the prophet, who spoke from the mouth of the Lord. 13 aHe also rebelled against King Nebuchadnezzar, who had made him swear by God. bHe stiffened his neck and hardened his heart against turning to the Lord, the God of Israel. 14 All the officers of the priests and the people likewise were exceedingly unfaithful, following all the abominations of the nations. And they polluted the house of the Lord that he had made holy in Jerusalem.
15 The Lord, the God of their fathers, csent persistently to them by his messengers, because he had compassion on his people and on his dwelling place. 16 dBut they kept mocking the messengers of God, edespising his words and scoffing at his prophets, funtil the wrath of the Lord rose against his people, until there was no remedy.
Jerusalem Captured and Burned
17 gTherefore he brought up against them the king of the Chaldeans, who killed their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary and had no compassion on young man or virgin, old man or aged. He gave them all into his hand. 18 hAnd all the vessels of the house of God, great and small, and the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king and of his princes, all these he brought to Babylon. 19 iAnd they burned the house of God and broke down the wall of Jerusalem and burned all its palaces with fire and destroyed all its precious vessels. 20 He jtook into exile in Babylon those who had escaped from the sword, kand they became servants to him and to his sons until the establishment of the kingdom of Persia, 21 to fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had lenjoyed its Sabbaths. All the days that it lay desolate mit kept Sabbath, to fulfill seventy years.
The Proclamation of Cyrus
22 nNow in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, othat the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, pthe Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom and also put it in writing: 23 “Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, ‘The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever is among you of all his people, may the Lord his God be with him. Let him go up.’”