Why God Sent His People Away

About this book

2 Kings is a book about the people called Israelites. The Books of 1 Kings and 2 Kings tell us what happened after King David’s time. The Book of 1 Kings records how Solomon became king after David.

After Solomon died, the country called Israel became two countries. The south was called Judah. The north was still called Israel.

When the kings of Judah and Israel obeyed God, the people had peace. Sometimes the kings did not obey God and they worshipped other gods instead. Then bad things happened. When the people in Israel stopped obeying God, he sent prophets. The most important prophet in 2 Kings is Elisha. He did things that someone could only do with the help of God. He told the people that they should worship God again.

After Elisha died, many of the kings were very bad. In the end, God decided to send his people out of their country. This happened to the people in Israel first. Then it happened to the people in Judah. God did not let his people go back to their country for 70 years.

Chapter 1

King Ahaziah dies

1 After (King) Ahab’s death, (the country called) Moab fought against Israel. 2 (King) Ahaziah lived in Samaria. He fell from the window of an upstairs room. So, he became ill. So he sent people with this message: ‘Go to Baalzebub, (who is) the god in Ekron. Ask him if I will become well again after this illness.’ 3 Then an angel of the LORD spoke to Elijah who was from Tishbe. (The LORD said,) ‘Go and meet the men that the king of Samaria has sent with a message. Say to them, “You should not go to speak to Baalzebub, (who is) the god in Ekron. You seem to think that there is no God in Israel.” 4 So this is what the LORD says (to you, Ahaziah). “You will not leave the bed that you are lying on. You will surely die.” ’ Then Elijah went away.

5 So the people with the message returned to the king. He asked them, ‘Why have you returned?’ 6 They replied, ‘A man came to meet us. And he said (this) to us. Go back to the king who sent you. Tell him, “This is what the LORD says. You should not send men to speak to Baalzebub, (who is) the god in Ekron. You seem to think that there is no God in Israel. You will not leave the bed that you are lying on. You will surely die.” ’ 7 The king asked them, ‘What kind of a man was it who came to meet you? (Who) told you this?’ 8 They replied, ‘He was a man with hairy clothes and he wore a leather belt.’ (Then) the king said, ‘That was Elijah from Tishbe.’

9 Then (the king) sent 50 men with their captain to Elijah. Elijah was sitting on the top of a hill. The captain went up to Elijah. He said to (Elijah), ‘(You are a) man of God. The king says (to you), “Come down.” ’ 10 This was Elijah’s answer to the captain of 50 men. ‘If I am a man of God, fire will come down from the sky. It will burn you and your 50 men.’ Then fire did fall from the sky. It burnt the captain and his men (so that they died).

11 Then the king sent another captain and 50 men to Elijah. The captain said to him, ‘(You are a) man of God. The king says, “Come down immediately.” ’ 12 Elijah answered, ‘If I am a man of God, fire will come down from the sky. It will burn you and your 50 men.’ Then fire from God did fall from the sky. It burnt the captain and his 50 men (so that they died).

13 So the king sent a third captain, with his 50 men. This third captain went up to Elijah. He fell to his knees (in front of Elijah). ‘Man of God’, he prayed, ‘please be kind to me and to these 50 men. We are your servants. Do not cause us to die. 14 Look! Fire fell from the sky. It burnt the first two captains and all their men, (so that they died). But now, be kind to me.’ 15 The LORD’s angel said to Elijah, ‘Go down with him. Do not be afraid of him.’ So Elijah got up and he went down with the captain to the king. 16 (Elijah) said to the king, ‘This is what the LORD says. You should not send men with a message to speak to Baalzebub, (who is) the god in Ekron. You seem to think that there is no God in Israel. You will never leave the bed that you are lying on. It is because you have done this. You will surely die.’

17 So (Ahaziah) died. This is what the LORD had told Elijah. Ahaziah had no son, so Joram became king after him. This was in the second year in which Jehoram was the king of Judah. (Jehoram was) the son of Jehoshaphat. 18 Many other things happened while Ahaziah was king. Also, he did many things. People wrote them in a book. It is called ‘the reports about the kings of Israel’.

Notes about chapter 1

Jehoshaphat was the king in Judah between 868 B.C. and 847 B.C. Here are the dates of the kings of Israel.

          871-852 B.C. Ahab

          852-851 B.C. Ahaziah

          851-845 B.C. Jehoram (also called Joram)

Chapter 2

Elijah goes to heaven

1 The LORD was ready to take Elijah up to heaven in a strong wind. This was while Elijah and Elisha were going away from Gilgal. 2 Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Stay here because the LORD has sent me to Bethel.’ But Elisha replied, ‘I will not leave you. This is as true as the fact that the LORD and you are (both) alive.’ So they went down to Bethel. 3 A group of prophets were at Bethel. They came out (of Bethel) to Elisha and they asked him, ‘Do you know that the LORD will take your master from you today?’ ‘Yes, I do know’, said Elisha. ‘But do not talk about it.’

4 Then Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Stay here because the LORD has sent me to Jericho.’ But Elisha replied, ‘I will not leave you. This is as true as the fact that the LORD and you are (both) alive.’ So they went to Jericho. 5 A group of prophets were at Jericho. They went out to Elisha and they asked him, ‘Do you know that the LORD will take your master from you today?’ ‘Yes, I do know’, said Elisha. ‘But do not talk about it.’

6 Then Elijah said to (Elisha), ‘Stay here because the LORD has sent me to the (river) Jordan.’ But (Elisha) replied, ‘I will not leave you. This is as true as the fact that the LORD and you are (both) alive.’ So they continued to walk (together). 7 50 men, from the group of prophets, went and they stood near the (river) Jordan. They were not far away from where Elijah and Elisha were standing. (The prophets) could see them. 8 Elijah took off his coat. He rolled it up. He hit the water with it. The water went to the right (side) and to the left (side). They both crossed (the river) on dry ground.

9 After they had crossed (the river), Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Tell me (this). What can I do for you before (the LORD) takes me from you?’ Elisha replied, ‘Let me have twice the amount of your spirit.’ 10 ‘You have asked a difficult thing’, said Elijah. ‘But (watch) when (God) takes me from you. If you can see me, it will be yours. (If you cannot see me) it will not (be yours).’ 11 So they walked along and they talked together. Then, a chariot that seemed to be on fire appeared. Horses (were pulling it). It went between them. Elijah went up to heaven in a strong wind. 12 Elisha saw this. He shouted, ‘My father! My father! (These are) the chariots and the men on horses of Israel!’ Then Elisha did not see (Elijah) again. He took off his own clothes and he tore them into pieces. 13 He picked up the coat that had dropped from Elijah. He went and he stood on the edge of the (river) Jordan. 14 Then he took the coat that (Elijah) had dropped. He hit the water with it. And he said, ‘I want the LORD, the God of Elijah, to do something for me.’ When he hit the water, it went to the right (side) and to the left (side). He crossed (the river).

15 The group of prophets from Jericho watched this. They said, ‘The spirit of Elijah is now on Elisha.’ And they went to meet (Elisha). They bent down in front of him. 16 And they said to him, ‘Look! We are your servants. There are 50 strong men with us. Let them go and look for your master. Maybe the Spirit of the LORD has lifted him up. (Maybe) it has put him on a mountain or in a valley.’ ‘No’, Elisha replied. ‘Do not send them.’ 17 But they asked him many times. So he was too ashamed to say ‘no’. So he said, ‘Send them.’ And they sent 50 men. They looked for (Elijah) for three days, but they did not find him. 18 Elisha was staying in Jericho. When they returned to (Elisha), he said to them, ‘I told you that you should not go (to look for Elijah).’

19 The men in the city (Jericho) said to Elisha, ‘Look, our master. You can see that this city is in a good place. But its water is bad and the land does not make good plants.’ 20 (Elisha) said, ‘Bring to me a new dish. Put salt into it.’ So they brought it to him. 21 Then (Elisha) went out to the (bad) water. He threw the salt into it. He said, ‘This is what the LORD is saying. “I have made this water clean. It will never cause people to die again. The land will never give bad plants again.” ’ 22 The water has been good to this day. This is what Elisha had said.

23 From there, Elisha went up to Bethel. While he walked along the road, young (men) came out of the town. They laughed at (Elisha). ‘Go up, you bald (man)!’ they said. ‘Go up, you bald (man)!’ 24 (Elisha) turned and he looked at them. He prayed that the LORD would do something bad to them. Then, two bears (wild animals) came out from the forest. They hurt 42 of the young (men). 25 Then Elisha went to the mountain (called) Carmel. From there, he returned to Samaria.

Chapter 3

Moab’s people fight against Judah, Israel and Edom

1 Jehoram (was) the son of Ahab. (Jehoram) became the king of Israel in Samaria. (This was when) Jehoshaphat had been the king of Judah for 18 years. (Jehoram) was king for 12 years. 2 The LORD saw that he did very bad things. But he was not as (bad) as were his father and his mother. (Jehoram) did throw away the special stone of Baal that his father (Ahab) had made. 3 But he still did the wrong things that Jeroboam had done. (Jeroboam) was the son of Nebat. He had caused (many people in) Israel to do (those wrong things). (Jehoram) continued to do them.

4 Mesha (was) the king of Moab. He was a sheep farmer. He had to supply the king of Israel with 100 000 young sheep. (He) also (had to supply) the soft hair from 100 000 male sheep. 5 But after Ahab died, the king of Moab decided not to do this for the king of Israel. 6 So, at that time, King Jehoram went out from Samaria. He caused all (the men in) Israel to march (with him). 7 He also sent this message to Jehoshaphat, (who was) the king of Judah. ‘The king of Moab will not obey me. Will you go with me to fight against (the king of) Moab?’ ‘I will go with you’, (Jehoshaphat) replied. ‘I am as you are. My people (are) as your people. My horses (are) as your horses.’ 8 ‘What road should we go on to attack (Moab)?’ (Jehoram) asked. ‘Through the sandy part of Edom’, (Jehoshaphat) replied.

9 So the king of Israel, the king of Judah and the king of Edom went together (to Moab). After they had marched round (Edom) for 7 days, there was no more water. (There was no water) for the army or for their animals. 10 ‘What (has happened)?’ said the king of Israel. ‘Has the LORD brought us three kings together to give us to the (king of) Moab?’ 11 But Jehoshaphat asked, ‘Is there not a prophet of the LORD here? We could ask him what the LORD is saying.’ A leader of the king of Israel’s army answered him. ‘Elisha, (who is) the son of Shaphat, is here. He (was the man who) poured water on Elijah’s hands.’ 12 Jehoshaphat said, ‘He will tell us what God is saying (to us).’ So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom went down to (Elisha).

13 Elisha said to the king of Israel, ‘We have nothing to say to each other. Go to the prophets of your father and to the prophets of your mother.’ ‘No!’ the king of Israel replied. ‘The LORD told us three kings that we must come here together. (He is) giving us to Moab.’ 14 Elisha said, ‘I am the servant of the very powerful LORD, who is really alive! I would not look at you if Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, was not with you. (But I think that) he is a good man. (If he were not here), I would not look at you. 15 But now, bring a harpist to me.’ While the harpist was making music, the LORD started to use Elisha powerfully. 16 Then Elisha said, ‘This is what the LORD is saying. Dig many long holes in this valley. 17 (Do it), because the LORD is saying this. You will not see wind or rain. But this valley will become full of water! You, your cows and your other animals will be able to drink. 18 This is a very easy thing for the LORD to do. He will also give (the people in) Moab to you. 19 You will destroy every city that has strong walls. (You will destroy) every important town. You will cut down every good tree. You will fill every hole where they get water. You will put stones on to every good field, so that they will be of no value.’ 20 The water was there on the next morning, at the time when (the priests) burnt food as gifts to (the LORD)! (The water) came from the direction of Edom. The land was full of water!

21 All (the people in) Moab had heard that the kings had come to fight against them. So the (leaders of Moab) asked every man who could fight, whether young or old, to come. They put them on the border (of Moab). 22 When (the men from Moab) got up early (the next) morning, the sun was shining on the water. (They were) the other side of the border. The people from Moab saw that the water seemed red. (They thought that) it was like blood. 23 ‘That is blood’, they said. ‘Those kings have fought each other and they have killed each other. Come on, (people from) Moab. We will take what we can find!’ 24 So the people from Moab came to where Israel’s men were. But then, Israel’s men stood up and they fought against (the people from Moab). (The people from Moab) ran away. The men from Israel attacked their country and they killed the people from Moab. 25 They destroyed the towns. Each man threw a stone on to every good field, until they covered them (with stones). They filled every hole where (the people from Moab) got water. They cut down every good tree. Only Kir Hareseth kept all its stone (walls). But men with weapons were all round it. They also attacked it. 26 Then the king of Moab saw that he was not beating his enemies in the war. So he took with him 700 men with swords. They tried to get to the king of Edom. But they failed. 27 So he took his oldest son. (This son) would have been king after him. He killed him on the wall of the city (Kir Hareseth) to make his god happy. They were very angry with (the people from) Israel. So (the people from Israel) left Moab and they returned to their own country.

Notes about chapter 3

Jehoram is also called Joram in some Bibles. Samaria was the capital of Israel. The special stone of Baal was where people worshipped Baal. Baal was a false god. Worship means ‘to love and to be a servant of’. The kings of Israel caused their people to worship Baal. Perhaps this was to keep them away from God’s house in Jerusalem. 1 Kings 22:47 tells us that there was no king of Edom at this time. The king of Judah ruled Edom. So the ‘king of Edom’ here means the leader of Edom.

Verse 20 The water came from the direction of Edom so the people in Moab would not know about it!

Verse 25 Kir Hareseth was the capital of Moab.

Chapter 4

Some great things that Elisha did with God’s help

1 There was a group of prophets. The wife of one of these men spoke aloud to Elisha. (She said,) ‘My husband is dead. He was your servant and he loved the LORD. (My husband) should have given money to a certain man. (But he did not), so that man will come to take my two children. They will become his slaves.’ 2 Elisha said to her, ‘How can I help you? Tell me, what have you got in (your) house?’ She said (to Elisha), ‘I, your servant, have nothing in the house, only a pot of oil.’ 3 Then (Elisha) said, ‘Go to the people who live near you. Ask them all to lend you many pots. The pots (must be) empty. 4 Then go into (your house). Shut the door behind you and behind your sons. Pour (the oil that you have) into all those pots. When each (pot) is full, put it by your side.’ 5 So she left (Elisha) and she shut the door behind her and behind her sons. They brought (the pots) to her and she poured (the oil into them). 6 When all the pots were full, she said to her son, ‘Bring me another pot.’ But he said, ‘There are no more pots!’ Then there was no more oil to pour (into pots). 7 Then she went and she told (all this) to the man of God. He said, ‘Go and sell the oil. Use (some of) the money to pay (that man who wants your sons). (Buy) food for you and for your sons with what you do not need to pay (the man).’

8 There was a time when Elisha went to Shunem. A rich woman was there (in Shunem). She asked him to have a meal (with her family) every time that he passed (her house). So, each time that he passed (her house), he stopped there to eat (a meal). 9 Then she said to her husband, ‘Listen! I believe that this (Elisha) is a holy man of God. He often passes our (house). 10 We should make a small room on the roof for him. We can put into it a bed, a table, a chair and a light. Then, when he comes (to visit) us, he can stay there.’

11 There was a certain day when Elisha came there. He went up to his room and he lay there. 12 Gehazi was (Elisha’s) servant. (Elisha) said to (Gehazi), ‘Ask the woman from Shunem (to come here).’ So Gehazi asked her (to come) and she stood in front of him. 13 Elisha said to (Gehazi), ‘Say to her, “You have done all this work for us. So, what can (we) do for you? Can we speak on your behalf to the king? Or (can we speak) to the leader of the army (on your behalf)?” ’ But she replied, ‘I live (safely) among my own people.’ 14 But Elisha asked again, ‘What can we do (to help) her?’ Gehazi said, ‘(I know that) she has no son. But her husband is old.’ 15 (Elisha) said, ‘Ask her to come here.’ And when (Gehazi) had asked her to come, she stood by the door. 16 And (Elisha) said, ‘About this time next year, you will have a son in your arms.’ ‘No, my master’, she said, ‘do not say what is not true to your servant. (You are) a man of God.’ 17 But the woman did become pregnant. At that time next year she had a son. Elisha had said that this would happen.

18 When the child had grown, he went to his father. (His father was in a field) with the workers. 19 ‘My head (hurts me)! My head (hurts me)!’ he said to his father. (His father) said to (his) servant, ‘Carry him to his mother.’ 20 So (the servant) lifted him up and carried him to his mother. (The boy) sat on his mother’s knees until midday. Then he died. 21 Then she went up(stairs) and she put (the boy) on the bed of the man of God. Then she shut the door (of his room) and she went out. 22 She sent a message to her husband. She said, ‘Send to me one of the servants and one of the donkeys. Then I will go quickly to the man of God and return (quickly).’ 23 (Her husband) asked, ‘Why are you going to him today? It is not a New Moon or a Sabbath.’ And she said, ‘Do not argue.’ 24 So she put a seat on the donkey. And she said to her servant, ‘Go! Lead (the way)! Do not go slowly for me, unless I say, “You must (go slowly)”.’ 25 So she went out (on the road) and she came to the man of God. (He was on) a hill (called) Carmel. (Elisha) saw her when she was a long way away. So the man of God said to his servant Gehazi, ‘Look! There is the woman from Shunem! 26 Run now to meet her. Ask her, “Are you well? Is your husband well? Is your child well?” ’ And she said, ‘Well.’ 27 But when she reached the man of God at the hill (called Carmel), she held his feet. Gehazi came to push her away. But the man of God said, ‘Do not stop her. She is very, very sad. But the LORD has hidden it from me. (The LORD) has not told me about it.’ 28 ‘My master, I did not ask you for a son’, she said. ‘I said to you, “Do not cause me to hope (for a son).” ’ 29 (Elisha) said to Gehazi, ‘Tie your clothes up round your body. Take my stick in your hand and run (to the boy). If you meet anyone, do not speak to him. If anybody speaks to you, do not answer (them). Put my stick on the boy’s face.’ 30 But the mother of the child said, ‘The LORD is alive. You are alive. I will not leave you as surely as both of these things are true.’ So (Elisha) got up and he went with her. 31 Gehazi went in front of them. He put the stick on the boy’s face. But nothing happened and there was no sound (from the boy). So (Gehazi) went back to meet (Elisha). He said to him, ‘The boy has not woken.’

32 When Elisha arrived at the house, the boy really was dead. He was lying on (Elisha’s) bed. 33 (Elisha) went in (to the room). He shut the door. He and the boy were together. (Elisha) prayed to the LORD. 34 Then (Elisha) went on to the bed. He lay on the boy. He put his mouth to (the boy’s) mouth. He put his eyes to (the boy’s) eyes and he put his hands to (the boy’s) hands. When Elisha lay on the boy’s dead body, it became warm. 35 (Elisha) went away (from the bed). He walked round the room. Then he went on to the bed and he lay down again on the boy. The boy made a noise in his nose 7 times and then he opened his eyes. 36 Then (Elisha) spoke to Gehazi. He said, ‘Ask the woman from Shunem (to come here).’ (Gehazi) did (that). When she came, Elisha said, ‘Take your son.’ 37 She came in (to the room). She fell down by his feet. She put her face near the ground. Then she took her son and she went out (from the room).

38 Elisha went back to Gilgal. And there was a famine round about (Gilgal). While the group of prophets sat with (Elisha), he spoke to his servant. ‘Put the large pot (over the fire). Cook some stew for the group of prophets.’ 39 One of (the prophets) went out into the fields to get some vegetables. He found a wild plant and he picked some of its fruits. He filled the pockets of his coat with them. When he returned he cut the fruits (into pieces). He put (the pieces) into the pot of stew. But nobody knew (what they were). 40 They poured out the stew for the men to eat. But when they started to eat it, they shouted, ‘Man of God, there is poison that would kill us in the pot!’ And they could not eat (it). 41 Then (Elisha) said, ‘Get (some) flour.’ And he put it into the pot. He said, ‘Give it to the people to eat.’ And there was nothing that was dangerous in the pot.

42 A man came from Baal Shalishah. He brought 20 loaves to the man of God. The baker had made the bread with flour. (It was) from the first corn that was ready (for people) to pick. (He also brought) some of the plant with corn still in it. (Elisha) said, ‘Give it to the people to eat.’ 43 But his servant said, ‘How can I give this to 100 men?’ Then (Elisha) answered, ‘Give it to the people to eat. (Do it), because the LORD says, “They will eat. But after (the meal) there will still be some (bread).” ’ 44 So the servant gave (the bread) to them. And they ate it, but they could not eat all of it. The LORD had said that this would happen.

Chapter 5

God makes Naaman well again

1 Naaman was the leader of the king of Aram’s army. (Naaman’s) master thought that (Naaman) was a really great man. (That was) because the LORD had used Naaman. (He had used him) so that (the king of) Aram won wars. (Naaman) was a great soldier. But he had an illness called leprosy. 2 But men from Aram had gone to Israel. They had caught a young girl. She became the servant of Naaman’s wife. 3 The girl said to her master’s wife, ‘I would like my master (Naaman) to see the prophet who is in Samaria. (The prophet) would take away his illness.’ 4 (Naaman) went to his master (who was the king of Aram). He told him what the girl from Israel had said. 5 The king of Aram replied, ‘Go (to Israel)! Go (there)! I will send a letter to the king of Israel.’ So Naaman went (to Israel). He took with him 10 talents of silver, 6000 shekels of gold, and 10 suits of clothes. 6 Also, he took the letter for the king of Israel. It said, ‘I am sending my servant Naaman to you, with this letter. I want you to take away (from him) his leprosy.’ 7 When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes. He said, ‘I am not God. I cannot kill people and make them alive again. This man cannot send someone to me, so that I can take away his leprosy. He is trying to have a quarrel with me.’

8 Elisha, the man of God, heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes. Then, he sent to him this message. ‘You did not have to tear your clothes. Cause the man (from Aram) to come to me. Then he will know that there is a prophet in Israel.’ 9 So Naaman went (to Elisha) with his horses and with his chariots. They stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. 10 Elisha sent a man with a message (to Naaman). ‘Go to the (river) Jordan. Wash yourself 7 times in (the river). Then your skin will be clean. You will not have (leprosy, again).’ 11 But Naaman was angry. He went away and he said, ‘I thought that he would come out (of his house) to me. (And then he would) stand there. (And then) he would pray to the name of the LORD his God. (And then) he would move his hand over the leprosy. (I thought that) he would make me well again (like that). 12 Abana and Pharpar are rivers in Damascus. They are better than any of the rivers in Israel. Surely, I could wash in them and become clean!’ And he turned and he went away. He was very, very angry. 13 But Naaman’s servants went to him. (One of them) said, ‘My father, the prophet might have asked you to do some great thing. You surely would have done it! Now all that he says to you is, “Wash! Then you will be clean.” ’ 14 So (Naaman) went down to the river Jordan. He washed himself (in it) 7 times. That was what the man of God had asked him to do. And (Naaman’s) skin became well again. It became as clean as a young child’s (skin).

15 Then Naaman and all his servants went back to the man of God. (Naaman) stood in front of (the man of God) and said, ‘Now I know that there is no God in the whole world except the one in Israel. Now accept a gift from your servant (Naaman).’ 16 But (Elisha) answered (him), ‘As surely as the LORD is alive, I will not accept (a gift). I am (the LORD’s) servant.’ Naaman asked him many times (to accept a gift) but (Elisha) refused. 17 So Naaman said, ‘So, you will not (accept a gift). But give to me, your servant, as much earth as two donkeys can carry. Then your servant will never again worship any God but the LORD. 18 But I want the LORD to excuse your servant for one thing. My master, (the king of Aram, often) goes into the house of the god Rimmon. He bends down (in front of Rimmon). (My master) holds my arm, so I have to bend down also. I want the LORD to excuse me when I do this in the house of Rimmon.’ 19 And (Elisha) said to (Naaman), ‘Go and do not let it be a trouble (to you).’ Then (Naaman) went a little way from (Elisha).

20 Gehazi (was) the servant of Elisha, (who was) the man of God. (Gehazi) said to himself, ‘My master (made it too) easy for Naaman, the man from Aram. He did not accept (the gifts) that he brought. As surely as the LORD is alive, I will run after him. I will get something from (Naaman).’ 21 So Gehazi hurried after Naaman. Naaman saw that (Gehazi) was running after him. So he got down from (his) chariot to meet him. (Naaman asked Gehazi), ‘Is everything well?’ 22 ‘Everything is well’, he answered. ‘My master sent me to say (this to you). Two young men have come to me. (They are) from a group of prophets in the hills of Ephraim. (Please) give to them a talent of silver (each) and two sets of clothes.’ 23 And Naaman said, ‘Yes, (I will). But take two talents (for each of them).’ He caused (Gehazi to accept them). He tied the two talents of silver into two bags, with two sets of clothes. He gave them to two of his servants and they carried them in front of (Gehazi). 24 When (Gehazi) came to a hill (near Elisha’s house), he took the things from the servants. He put them in the house. He sent (the servants) away and they left him. 25 (Gehazi) went into (the house) and he stood in front of his master. And Elisha said to Gehazi, ‘Where have you been?’ (Gehazi) answered, ‘Your servant has not been anywhere.’ 26 But (Elisha) said to him, ‘My spirit was with you. (It was there) when the man came down from his chariot to meet you. This is not the time to take money, clothes, olive trees, vineyards, groups of animals or male and female servants. 27 Naaman’s leprosy will always be with you and your children.’ Then (Gehazi) went away from (Elisha). He had leprosy. (His skin was) as white as snow.

Chapter 6

More great things that Elisha did with God’s help

1 A group of prophets said to Elisha, ‘The place where we meet with you is too small for us. 2 We must go to the (river that is called) Jordan. Each (one) of us can get a piece of wood there. Then we can build a place there in which we can live.’ And (Elisha) said, ‘Go (there).’ 3 Then one of them said, ‘Please come with your servants.’ (Elisha) replied, ‘I will (come with you).’ 4 And he went with them. They came to the (river) Jordan and they began to cut down trees. 5 While one of them was cutting down a tree, his iron axe fell into the water. ‘My master’, he said, ‘It was not my (axe)!’ 6 The man of God asked (him), ‘Where did it fall?’ He showed (Elisha) the place. Then (Elisha) cut a stick and he threw it there. It caused the iron (axe) to swim (on the water). 7 ‘Lift it out (of the water)’, (Elisha) said. Then the man took it (out of the water) with his hand.

8 Then there was a war between the king of Aram and Israel. (The king of Aram) talked with the officers (of his army). Then he said (to them), ‘I will put my army in a certain place.’ 9 The man of God sent a message to the king of Israel. (He said), ‘Do not pass that certain place. The (army) from Aram is going down there.’ 10 So the king of Israel checked the place, about which the man of God had told him. (Elisha) told (the king) more than once that there was danger (there). (The king) was very careful in that place.

11 This made the king of Aram very angry. He asked the officers (of his army) to come to him. He said to them, ‘Tell me (this). Which of us is helping the king of Israel?’ 12 One of his officers said, ‘None of us (is helping him), my master the king. Elisha is a prophet (who lives) in Israel. He tells the king of Israel every word that you speak in your bedroom.’ 13 ‘Go. And find (the place) where he is’, said the king (of Aram). ‘Then I will send men and I will catch him.’ A report came back (to him), ‘(Elisha) is in Dothan.’ 14 So (the king of Aram) sent horses and chariots and a strong group (of soldiers to Dothan). They went by night and they stayed all round the city.

15 The servant of the man of God got up early the next morning. He went out (and he saw) an army with horses and chariots all round the city. ‘Oh, my master, what can we do?’ the servant asked (Elisha). 16 ‘Do not be afraid’, the prophet answered (him). ‘There are more people with us than there are with them.’ 17 Then Elisha prayed and he said, ‘LORD. Open the eyes (of my servant) so that he can see (the angels).’ And the LORD opened the eyes of the servant. And he looked. And he saw that the hills (round Dothan) were full of horses and chariots. (The chariots seemed to be) on fire. (They were God’s servants, and they were) all round Elisha. 18 When (the enemy) came down towards Elisha, he prayed to the LORD. He said, ‘Make these people so that they cannot see clearly.’ And (the LORD) did what Elisha had asked. The people could not see clearly (to recognise Elisha). 19 And Elisha said to them, ‘This is not the road. And this is not the city (that you are looking for). Follow me! And I will lead you to the man that you are looking for.’ And he led them to Samaria.

20 After they had gone into the city (Samaria), Elisha prayed again. ‘LORD, open the eyes of these men so that they can see clearly.’ And the LORD opened their eyes and they saw clearly. And (they saw that) they were inside Samaria! 21 When the king of Israel saw (the enemy army), he asked Elisha, ‘My father! Should I kill them? Should I kill them?’ 22 (Elisha) answered, ‘You must not kill them. You would not kill men that you had caught yourself with your sword or bow. Give them food and water. Then they can eat and drink. After that, they can go back to their master.’ 23 So (the king of Israel) gave a big meal to them. When they had finished the food and the water, he sent them away. So they returned to their master, (who was the king of Aram). After this, small groups of soldiers from Aram did not go into Israel.

24 But after that, King Ben-Hadad of Aram sent his whole army to Samaria. They marched there and they stayed all round (the city). 25 Then there was a bad famine in the city. (The army) stayed all round the city for so long, that a donkey’s head cost 80 shekels of silver. And a quarter of a litre of seeds cost 5 shekels. 26 While the king of Israel was walking past on the wall (of the city), a woman shouted to him. ‘Help me, my master the king’, she said. 27 The king replied, ‘Do not shout to me for help. The LORD must help you, because I cannot (help you). There is no flour and no wine.’ 28 Then he asked her, ‘What is the matter?’ She answered, ‘This woman (who is with me) spoke to me. (She said), “Give (to us) your son, so that we can eat him today. Tomorrow we will eat my son.” 29 So we cooked my son and we ate him. The next day I said to her, “Give your son (to us), so that we can eat him.” But she had hidden him.’ 30 When the king heard the woman’s words, he tore his clothes. He was walking along the wall. And people saw that under his other clothes he was wearing sackcloth (hairy clothes) next to his body. 31 He said, ‘I want God to do this to me, and more. (I want him to do this) if the head of Elisha the son of Shaphat stays on his shoulders today!’

32 Elisha was sitting in his house. The important men of the city were with him. The king sent a man with a message. But before he arrived, (Elisha) said to the important men, ‘(The king) is sending a killer to cut off my head. When the man with the message comes, shut the door. Keep him outside the door. The sound of his master’s feet is behind him.’ 33 While (Elisha) was still talking to them, the man with the message came down to him. The man said, ‘This bad thing is from the LORD. I cannot wait for the LORD any longer.’

Notes about chapter 6

In verse 25, the donkey’s head was to use for food. It was very, very expensive. The Hebrew word for seeds could mean dirt from a bird called a dove.

In verse 27, the Hebrew words are not ‘flour and wine’. They are the words for the places where they made flour and wine.

Some Bibles say that the king’s name was Joram or Jehoram.

In verse 33, many Bible students say that these are the words of King Joram (or Jehoram).

Chapter 7

The end of the war that started in chapter 6

1 Elisha said, ‘Listen to the word of the LORD. This is what the LORD is saying. “About this time tomorrow, 7 litres of flour will cost a shekel (of silver). 15 litres of barley will cost a shekel at the gate of Samaria.” ’ 2 The king was holding on to the arm of an officer. (The officer) said to the man of God, ‘This will not happen. Even if the LORD opens windows in the skies, (it will not happen).’ (Elisha) answered, ‘You will see it with your own eyes. But you will not eat any of it (yourself)!’

3 At this time, there were 4 men who had leprosy. They were at the gate (where people) went in to the city (Samaria). They said among themselves, ‘We should not stay here. (If we stay here) we will die. 4 There is a famine in the city. If we go there we will die. And if we stay here, we will die. So we will go to the place where the army from Aram is. We will let them catch us. If they are kind to us, we will not die. If they kill us, we will die.’ 5 When the evening came they got up. They went to the place where the (army from) Aram was. When they reached the edge of the place, there was nobody there. 6 The Lord had caused the soldiers from Aram to hear the sounds of horses, chariots and a very big army. So they said among themselves, ‘The king of Israel has brought the king of the Hittites and the king of Egypt to attack us!’ 7 So, in the evening they got up and they ran away. They left their tents, their horses and their donkeys. They left the place where they were without any changes. And they ran away to save their lives. 8 The men who had leprosy came to the edge of this place. They went in to one of the tents. They ate and they drank. They carried away silver and gold and clothes. They went away and they hid them. Then they came back. They went into another tent and they took some things from it. They also hid them.

9 Then they said among themselves, ‘What we are doing is not the right thing to do. This is a day of good news and we are not saying anything about it. If we wait until the morning, something bad will happen to us. We must go immediately and we must tell this to the king’s servants.’ 10 So they went to the people who kept safely the gate of the city. They spoke to them, and they said, ‘We went into the place where the army from Aram was. There was not a man there. There was no sound from anybody. There were only horses and donkeys that they had tied (to something). They had left their tents as they were.’ 11 The people who kept safely the gate of the city shouted the news (to everyone else). Somebody reported it to the (people in the) king’s house. 12 The king got up in the night and he spoke to his officers. ‘I will tell you what the army from Aram has done to us. They know that we have no food. So they have left their tents and they have hidden in the fields. They are thinking, “They will surely come out of (the city). Then we will catch them while they are still alive. We will get into (their) city.” ’ 13 One of the (king’s) officers answered him. ‘Send some men with 5 of the horses that are still in (our) city. What will happen to them will be the same as what will happen to all Israel’s people in the city. They will be like all those among Israel’s people who have died already. They may die. So, send them, to find out what has happened.’ 14 So they chose two chariots with their horses. The king sent them to look for the army from Aram. He said to the drivers, ‘Go! Find out what has happened.’ 15 They followed the army from Aram as far as the (river) Jordan. The road was full of things that the army from Aram threw away. While they were running, (the army) had left clothes and weapons (on the road). So (the men with the chariots) returned to the king. They reported to him the news (about what they had found).

16 Then the people left (the city). They took everything from the army of Aram’s tents. So, 7 litres of flour did cost a shekel (of silver). Also, 15 litres of barley did cost a shekel. This is what the LORD had said. 17 The king had put his special officer by the gate (of Samaria). He had held the arm of this officer (earlier). The people caused this officer to fall by the gate (as they ran past him). He fell under their feet and he died. The man of God had said that this would happen. He had said it when the king came down to his (Elisha’s) house. 18 The man of God had said to the king that it would happen (like this). ‘About this time tomorrow, 7 litres of flour will cost a shekel (of silver)’, he had said. ‘15 litres of barley will cost a shekel at the gate of Samaria.’ 19 The officer had said to the man of God, ‘This will not happen. Even if the LORD opens windows in the skies, (it will not happen).’ The man of God had answered, ‘You will see it with your own eyes. But you will not eat any of it (yourself)!’ 20 And that had really happened to him! The people had walked all over (this officer) by the gate and he had died.

Verse 1 This was very cheap. Everything was very different in 6:25.

Chapter 8

More great things that Elisha did

1 Elisha had made a woman’s son alive again. (Elisha) had said to the woman, ‘Go away with your family. Stay for a time in whatever place you can (stay). (Do this) because the LORD says that there will be a famine in (this) country. It will continue for 7 years.’ 2 The woman had done what the man of God had said. She and her family went away. They stayed in the country called Philistia for 7 years. 3 She came back from the country called Philistia after the 7 years. She went to the king to ask for her house and for her fields. 4 The king was talking to Gehazi, who was the servant of the man of God. (The king) had said, ‘Tell me about all the great things that Elisha has done.’ 5 Gehazi was telling the king that (Elisha) had made dead people alive again. While (Gehazi) was doing this, the woman came in to ask for her house and her fields. It was her dead son that (Elisha) had made alive again. Gehazi said, ‘My master the king, this is the woman! And this is her son that Elisha made alive again!’ 6 The king asked the woman about it and she told him. Then the king asked for an officer to come to him. (The king) said to him, ‘Give everything back to her. This must include all the money from her fields, from the day that she left until now.’

Ben-Hadad’s death

7 Elisha went to Damascus. Ben-Hadad, (who was) the king of Aram, was ill. Somebody told him, ‘The man of God has come here.’ 8 The king said to Hazael, ‘Take a gift with you. Go and meet the man of God. Ask him to ask the LORD this question. “Will I get well after this illness?” ’ 9 Hazael went to meet (Elisha). He took with him, as a gift, all the best things from Damascus. (They needed) 40 camels to carry them! He went in (to Elisha’s house) and he stood in front of him. He said, ‘Your son, Ben-Hadad, king of Aram, has sent me (to you). He asks, “Will I get well after this illness?” ’

Ben-Hadad was not really Elisha’s son. But Ben-Hadad thought about Elisha as a man thinks about his father.

10 (Elisha) answered, ‘Go (back to him). Say to him, “Surely, you will get well (after your illness).” But the LORD has shown to me that he will surely die.’ 11 (Elisha) looked at him with open eyes until Hazael was ashamed. Then the man of God (Elisha) began to weep. 12 And Hazael asked, ‘Why is my master weeping?’ ‘Because I know that you will hurt Israel’s people’, answered (Elisha). (Then he said,) ‘You will burn their strong (cities). You will kill their young men with the sword. You will knock their children(’s heads) on the ground. You will cut their pregnant women open.’ 13 Hazael said, ‘How could your servant, who has no more power than a dog, do something like that?’ ‘The LORD has shown me (this). You will become king of Aram’, Elisha answered. 14 Then (Hazael) left Elisha and Hazael returned to his master (the king). Ben-Hadad asked him, ‘What did Elisha say to you?’ Hazael replied, ‘He told me (that) you will surely get well.’ 15 But the next day, (Hazael) took a thick cloth. He filled it with water. Then he put it over the king’s face until he died. So Hazael became king after (Ben-Hadad).

Jehoram becomes the king of Judah

16 In the 5th year that Joram was king of Israel, Jehoshaphat was still king of Judah. (Joram was) the son of Ahab. Then Jehoram, the son of Jehoshaphat, also started to rule as king of Judah. 17 He was 32 years old when he became king. He ruled in Jerusalem for 8 years. 18 He did all the (bad) things that the kings of Israel (had done). He did what the family of Ahab had done. That was because he married a daughter of Ahab. (Jehoram) did very bad things in the sight of the LORD. 19 But the LORD did not want to destroy Judah, because of his promise to his servant David. (The LORD) had promised always to leave (something like) a light (in Judah) because of David, and because of his descendants.

20 While Jehoram was (king), Edom’s people decided not to obey (the king of) Judah. (Edom’s people decided) to have their own king. 21 So Jehoram crossed to Zair with all his chariots. (Zair is in Edom.) The men from Edom were all round him and (all round) the leaders of his chariots. But one night, (Jehoram’s) army started to fight. They beat (the men from Edom) that were all round him and (all round) the leaders of his chariots. But then his army hurried back home! 22 Even today, Edom’s people do not obey (the rulers of) Judah. (The people in a city called) Libnah (stopped obeying the king of Judah) at the same time. 23 Other things happened while Jehoram was king and he did other things. People wrote about them in a book. It is called ‘the reports about the kings of Judah’. 24 Jehoram died like his ancestors and people buried him in the City of David. (They buried) him with his ancestors. His son Ahaziah became king after him.

Ahaziah becomes the king of Judah

25 Ahaziah was the son of Jehoram, (who had been) the king of Judah. Joram (was the) son of Ahab (who had been king of Judah). Ahaziah began to rule when (Joram) had been king for (nearly) 12 years. 26 Ahaziah was 22 years old when he became king. He ruled in Jerusalem for one year. His mother’s name was Athaliah. (She was a) granddaughter of Omri, (who had been) the king of Israel. 27 (Ahaziah) did all the bad things that the family of Ahab had done. (Ahaziah) did very bad things in the sight of the LORD. He did what the family of Ahab had done. That was because he had married (a woman from) Ahab’s family.

28 Ahaziah went with Joram to fight against Hazael (who was) the king of Aram. (Joram was) the son of Ahab. (The fight was) at Ramoth Gilead. The army from Aram hurt Joram, 29 so King Joram returned to Jezreel. (He went there) to get well after the army from Aram had hurt him at Ramoth. This happened when he fought Hazael, the king of Aram. Then Ahaziah went down to Jezreel to see Joram (who was the) son of Ahab. (Ahaziah was) the son of Jehoram (who had been the) king of Judah. (Ahaziah went) because (Joram) was ill.

Notes about chapter 8

Verse 1 The story is in 2 Kings 4:8-37. Perhaps the famine was the one in 2 Kings 4:38.

Verses 3 and 6 Someone else had used the woman’s fields while she was away.

Verse 7 Aram is another name for Syria. Damascus was the capital of Aram.

Verse 11 Some Bible students think that Hazael looked at Elisha. The Hebrew words are not very clear.

Verse 16 These dates do not always agree with those in other parts of 2 Kings. When a king became old, his son sometimes ruled with him. Jehoram did that with Jehoshaphat.

Verse 19 ‘A light in Judah’ means that a descendant of David would always rule in Judah.

Chapter 9

Elisha and Jehu

1 The prophet Elisha asked a man from the group of prophets to come (to him). (Elisha) said to him, ‘Fasten your coat into your belt. Take this bottle of oil with you and go to Ramoth Gilead. 2 When you get there, look for Jehu. (He is) the son of Jehoshaphat, (who is) the son of Nimshi. Go to him and take him away from his friends. Take him to an inside room. 3 Pour the oil from the bottle on to his head. Say to him, “This is what the LORD says (to you). ‘I make you king of Israel now.’ ” Then open the door and run away quickly!’

4 So the young man that (Elisha) the prophet had sent, went to Ramoth Gilead. 5 When he arrived (at Ramoth Gilead), he found the army officers. They were sitting together. ‘Captain, I have a message for you’, he said. ‘For which of us?’ Jehu asked. ‘(Only) for you, captain’, the (young prophet) replied. 6 Jehu stood up and he went into the house. The (young prophet) poured the oil on to (Jehu’s) head. He said, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says (to you). “I am making you king over the LORD’s people in Israel. 7 You must kill the family of your master Ahab. (In this way) you will punish (Ahab) because he killed my servants the prophets. Also, Jezebel (his wife) killed many of the LORD’s servants. 8 The whole family of Ahab must die. I will kill every man from the family of Ahab that is in Israel. (I will kill) every male slave. And I will kill every man who is not a slave. 9 I will make the family of Ahab like the family of Jeroboam (who was) the son of Nebat. It will be like the family of Baasha (who was) the son of Ahijah. 10 And dogs will eat Jezebel at a place in Jezreel. Nobody will bury her.” ’ Then (the young prophet) opened the door and he ran away.

11 Jehu went out to the other officers. ‘Is everything well?’ one of them asked him. ‘Why did this crazy (prophet) come to you?’ ‘You know this man. And you know what he says’, Jehu answered. 12 ‘That is not true!’ they said. ‘Tell us (what he said).’ So Jehu said, ‘This is what he told me. “This is what the LORD says. I am making you king over Israel.” ’ 13 They hurried to get their coats. They put them under (his feet) on the (stone) steps. Then they made a sound with a trumpet. They shouted, ‘Jehu is king!’

14 So Jehu (who was the son of Jehoshaphat) became an enemy of Joram. (Jehoshaphat was the) son of Nimshi. Joram had been in Ramoth Gilead. All the army of Israel (was with him). They were waiting to see what Hazael (would do). (Hazael was) the king of Syria. 15 But King Joram then returned to Jezreel. This was to get well after his illness. The (army of) Aram had hurt him in the war with Hazael. (Hazael was) the king of Aram. Jehu said (to his officers), ‘If your purpose really is (to make me king), do not let anyone get out from the city (Jezreel). They will tell the news back in (the city called) Jezreel.’ 16 Then (Jehu) got into his chariot and he rode to Jezreel. That was because Joram was resting there (in Jezreel). Ahaziah (was) the king of Judah. He had come down (from Jerusalem) to meet Joram.

17 A man was standing on a tall building in Jezreel and he was there to watch. He saw Jehu’s soldiers coming (towards Jezreel). He shouted, ‘I can see some soldiers (that) are coming (to us).’ Joram said, ‘Fetch a man and a horse. Send them to meet (the soldiers). Ask them. “Are you friendly to us?” ’ 18 The man on the horse rode away to meet Jehu. He said (to Jehu), ‘The king asks you, “Are you friendly to us?” ’ ‘It does not matter to you if we are friends’, Jehu replied. ‘Ride behind me.’ The man on the tall building reported (to Joram), ‘The man with the message has reached them, but he is not coming back (to us).’ 19 So the king (Joram) sent a second man (who was riding) on a horse. He came to (Jehu). Then he said, ‘The king (Joram) says, “Are you coming to us as a friend?” ’ Jehu replied, ‘It does not matter to you if we are friends. Ride behind me.’ 20 The man on the tall building reported (to Joram), ‘He has reached them, but he is not coming back (to us) either. The man that is driving (the chariot) drives like Jehu. (Jehu is) the son of Nimshi. He drives like someone that is crazy!’

21 Then Joram said, ‘Fetch my chariot (to me).’ So they brought (his chariot). Then King Joram of Israel and King Ahaziah of Judah rode to meet Jehu. Each (king) was in his own chariot. They met (Jehu) at the piece of ground that had belonged to Naboth. (Naboth had lived) in Jezreel. 22 When Joram saw Jehu he asked, ‘Have you come as a friend, Jehu?’ ‘We cannot be friends’, Jehu replied. ‘(That is because of) the things that your mother Jezebel did. People still worship false gods. There are women who do magic (in your country) still.’ 23 Joram turned his chariot and he drove away quickly. He shouted to Ahaziah, ‘Ahaziah, they are not our friends!’ 24 Then Jehu used his bow. He shot Joram between his shoulders. The arrow went through his heart. He fell down in his chariot. 25 Bidkar was Jehu’s chariot officer. (Jehu) said to him, ‘Pick him up! Throw him on to the field that belonged to Naboth. (Naboth was) the man from Jezreel. Remember, you and I rode together in chariots behind Ahab. (Ahab) was (Joram’s) father. Then, the LORD said this about (Joram). 26 “Yesterday, I saw the blood of Naboth. (I saw) also the blood of his sons, says the LORD. Surely, I will cause you to pay for this on this piece of ground, says the LORD.” So now, pick him up and throw him on to that piece (of ground). Do what the LORD has promised.’

27 Ahaziah (was) the king of Judah. He saw what had happened (to Joram). So, he ran away past the house in his garden. Jehu followed him. (Jehu) shouted, ‘Kill him too!’ They hurt (Ahaziah) in his chariot. He was on the road to Gur near Ibleam. But he ran away (from them) to Megiddo, where he died. 28 His servants took him in a chariot to Jerusalem. They buried him with his ancestors in his grave. It was in the City of David.

29 Ahaziah had become king of Judah when Joram (had been king) nearly 11 years. (Joram) was the son of Ahab.

30 Then Jehu went to Jezreel. Jezebel heard about it. So she painted her eyes and she combed her hair. Then she looked out of a window. 31 While Jehu was coming through the gate (of the city), she asked him, ‘Have you come as a friend, Zimri? You are your master’s killer.’ 32 (Jehu) looked up at the window (and he saw her). Then he shouted, ‘Who is with me? Who?’ Two or three eunuchs looked down at him. 33 ‘Throw her down’, Jehu said. So they threw her down. Some of her blood went all over the wall. Some of it went over the horses when they were kicking her with their feet. 34 Jehu went into (the king’s house). He ate and drank (food and drink). ‘Do something with (the dead body of) that bad woman’, he said. ‘Bury her, because she was the daughter of a king.’ 35 But when they went out to bury her, they did not find much. (They found only) the bones of her head, her feet and her hands. 36 They went back and they told this to Jehu. He said, ‘The LORD said that this would happen. He spoke by his servant, (who was) Elijah from Tishbe. (He said), “Dogs will eat Jezebel’s dead body. (They will do it) on a piece of ground at Jezreel. 37 Jezebel’s dead body will be like dirt on the ground, on that piece of ground at Jezreel. Nobody will be able to say, ‘This is Jezebel’.” ’

Notes about chapter 9

Verse 31 Jezebel called Jehu ‘Zimri’. Perhaps Jezebel called Jehu ‘Zimri’ because Zimri had killed his master. (See 1 Kings 16:8-10.)

Verse 32 The king’s house was usually near the gate of a city.

Chapter 10

Jehu kills Ahab’s family

1 Ahab had 70 sons. They were in Samaria. So Jehu wrote letters and he sent them to Samaria. (He sent them) to the officers in Jezreel. (He also sent them) to the important older men and to the people who made Ahab’s children safe. 2 (This was what the letter said.) ‘When this letter reaches you, your master (Ahab’s) sons will be with you. You have chariots and horses, a strong city and weapons. 3 Choose the best person to be king from among your master’s sons. Make him king instead of his father. Then fight on behalf of your master’s family.’ 4 But they were so very afraid. They said, ‘Two kings could not beat (Jehu). So we (cannot beat him)!’

5 So these people sent a message to Jehu:

·          the servant with most authority in the king’s house

·          the man that ruled the city (Samaria)

·          the important older men

·          the people who made (Ahab’s children) safe.

(The message said), ‘We are your servants. We will do anything that you say. We will not make anyone (here) king. You do what is best.’

6 So Jehu wrote to them a second letter. It said, ‘If you agree with me, maybe you will obey me. (If you do), bring the heads of your master’s sons to Jezreel. Be here by this time tomorrow.’ At that time, the 70 sons of Ahab were with the leaders of the city. (The leaders) were teaching them. 7 When the letter arrived, these men went to the sons of King (Ahab). They killed all 70 of them and they put their heads in baskets. Then they sent them to Jehu in Jezreel. 8 The man with the message arrived (in Jezreel). He told Jehu, ‘They have brought the heads of King (Ahab’s) sons.’ Then Jehu said, ‘Put them in two groups. Leave them at the gate of the city until the morning.’ 9 The next morning, Jehu went out. He stood in front of all the people. He said (to them), ‘You have not done anything that is wrong (to Ahab). It was I that decided (to kill) my master. It was I that killed him. But we do not know who killed all these people. 10 You can know this: Everything that the LORD has spoken against the family of Ahab will happen. The LORD has done what he promised to do. (He promised it) by his servant Elijah.’ 11 So Jehu killed everybody in Jezreel who was in the family of Ahab. (Jehu also killed Ahab’s) officers, his friends and his priests. They were all dead.

12 (Jehu) then left (Jezreel), and he went towards Samaria. He came to Beth Eked. Some men who kept sheep safe were there. 13 And Jehu also met some people from Ahaziah’s family. (Ahaziah) was the king of Judah. (Jehu) asked them, ‘Who are you?’ They said, ‘We belong to Ahaziah’s family. We have come down here to say “welcome!” to the families of the king and his mother.’ 14 ‘Catch them (while they are) alive!’ shouted (Jehu). So they caught them (while they were) alive. Then they killed them by the well of Beth Eked. (They killed) 42 men. (Jehu) left none of them alive.

15 When (Jehu) left (Beth Eked), he met Jehonadab. (Jehonadab) was the son of Rechab and he was coming to meet (Jehu). ‘Welcome!’ said (Jehu). ‘Do you agree with me, as I agree with you?’ Jehonadab answered, ‘I do!’ ‘So give me your hand’, said (Jehu). So he did, and (Jehu) helped him up into his chariot. 16 (Jehu) said, ‘Come with me. You will see that I really want to be the LORD’s servant.’ So (Jehonadab) rode with (Jehu) in his chariot. 17 So (Jehu) came to Samaria. There, he killed everyone in Ahab’s family that was still alive. He killed them all. The LORD had told Elijah that this would happen.

18 Then Jehu caused all the people to come together. He said to them, ‘Ahab was not a good servant of Baal. But Jehu will be a much better servant (of Baal)! 19 So, ask all the prophets of Baal to come (here). Also, fetch all (Baal’s) servants and his priests. Be sure that they are all (here). (Do this), because I want to have a big sacrifice for Baal. Any person who does not come will not continue to be alive.’ But Jehu was being very clever. His idea was to kill all Baal’s servant. 20 Then Jehu said, ‘Say that there will be a special meeting (to worship) Baal.’ So (Jehu’s servants) told everybody about it. 21 Then (Jehu) sent a notice to everyone in Israel, and all the servants of Baal came (to the meeting). There was nobody that did not come. They all went into the house of Baal, so that it was full from one end to the other. 22 Then (Jehu) said to the keeper of the clothes, ‘Bring out all the special clothes, for the servants of Baal (to wear).’ So he brought out the special clothes for them. 23 Then Jehu and Jehonadab, who was the son of Rechab, went into the house of Baal. (Jehu) said to the servants of Baal, ‘Look all round (you). Be sure that there are no servants of the LORD here with you. (Be sure) that there are only servants of Baal here.’ 24 So they went in (to the house of Baal) to make sacrifices. And they burned (animals) to offer (to Baal). But Jehu had put 80 (of his) men outside the house (of Baal). He had said to them, ‘Do not let any of these men run away. If one of you does, it will be your life for his life.’ 25 When (Baal’s servants) had finished the sacrifice, Jehu said to his soldiers and (to their) officers, ‘Go in (to the house of Baal) and kill (his servants). Do not let one of them run away.’ So they cut them (into pieces) with their swords. The soldiers and their officers threw (their dead bodies) out (of the house of Baal). Then they went into the inside part of the house of Baal. 26 They brought out the special stones from the house of Baal and they destroyed them. 27 They destroyed the special stone of Baal and they tore down the house of Baal. People have used it as a toilet to this day!

28 So Jehu destroyed Baal in Israel. 29 But Jehu continued (to let people do) the sins of Jeroboam. (Jeroboam was) the son of Nebat. (Jeroboam) had caused Israel to worship young cows. (They had made the young cows) with gold. They were at Bethel and Dan. 30 The LORD said to Jehu, ‘You have done well. You have done what is right in my sight. You have done everything to Ahab’s family that I wanted (someone to do). So, your descendants will be kings of Israel for 4 generations.’ 31 But Jehu did not try as much as he could to obey the rules of the God of Israel. He did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam, which he had caused Israel to do.

32 In those days, the LORD began to make Israel smaller. Hazael was stronger than Israel’s people in all their country 33 east of (the river) Jordan. (That was) the place called Gilead, where the tribes of Gad, Reuben and Manasseh were. Gilead started in Aroer and it went through the Arnon Valley to Bashan. 34 Other things happened while Jehu was king. Everything that he did is in a book. It is called ‘the reports about the kings of Israel’. 35 Jehu died like his ancestors and people buried him in Samaria. His son Jehoahaz became king after him. 36 Jehu ruled over Israel in Samaria for 28 years.

Notes about chapter 10

Verse 9 ‘These people’ were the 70 sons of Ahab.

Verse 13 Some Bible students think that ‘welcome’ is a bad translation. They had come to kill the people that had killed Ahaziah, 2 Kings 9:27!

Verses 15 & 23 Some translations have ‘that drove a chariot’ instead of ‘was the son of Rechab’.

Verse 30 ‘for 4 generations’ means Jehu’s son, Jehu’s grandson, his son’s grandson and his grandson’s grandson.

Chapter 11

Queen Athaliah and King Joash

1 Athaliah was the mother of Ahaziah. She heard the news that her son was dead. Then, she started to kill all the king’s family. 2 Jehosheba was the daughter of King Jehoram. She was the sister of Ahaziah. She took Joash away from the sons of the king, because (Athaliah) was ready to kill them. Joash was the son of Ahaziah. (Jehosheba) put Joash and the woman who fed him from her breast in a bedroom. Athaliah did not kill (Joash) because (Jehosheba) had hidden him. 3 Athaliah ruled the country (Judah) for 6 years. All this time (Jehosheba) hid (Joash) in the house of the LORD (in Jerusalem).

4 In the 7th year (that Athaliah ruled Judah), Jehoiada asked (these people) to come to him:

·          the leaders of groups of 100 Carites

·          the soldiers that made the palace safe.

They came to him in the house of the LORD. They agreed together with Jehoiada. He asked them to say a special promise, in the house of the LORD. Then he showed to them the king’s son (Joash).

5 (Jehoiada) said to them, ‘This is what you must do. A third (of your soldiers) that come to work on the Sabbath (must do this). They must make (the door to) the palace safe. 6 (Another) third (of your soldiers must stand) at the Sur Gate. (The other) third must be at the gate of the (LORD’s) house. They must be behind the soldiers that usually make the (LORD’s) house safe. 7 But two groups of your soldiers do not usually work on the Sabbath. Those soldiers must all make the LORD’s house safe for the king. 8 You must stand all round the king. Each (soldier) must have his weapons in his hand (ready to use). Anybody that comes near to you, you must kill. You must stay near to the king everywhere that he goes.’

9 The leaders of the groups of 100 (soldiers) did what Jehoiada the priest asked them to do. Each (leader) brought his men to Jehoiada the priest. (They brought) those (men) that worked on the Sabbath. They also brought those that did not (usually work on the Sabbath). 10 Then (Jehoiada) gave to the leaders the spears and the shields that had been King David’s. They were in the house of the LORD. 11 Each soldier had his weapons in his hand. They stood round the king. They were near to the altar and to the house (of the LORD). They stood from the south side to the north side of the house. 12 Jehoiada brought (Joash,) the king’s son (and Jehoiada put him in front of all the people). He put the crown on to his (head) and he gave to him a copy of the covenant. He said that (Joash) was king. They poured oil on to him. They hit their hands together. Then they shouted, ‘We want the king to be alive for a long time!’

13 But Athaliah heard the noise that the soldiers and the people made. So she went to the people that were at the house of the LORD. 14 She looked and she saw the king. He was standing in the usual place (where they made someone into a king). The leaders (of the army) and the men with trumpets were by the king. All the people in the country (Judah) were very happy. (Many of them) blew into trumpets. Then Athaliah tore her clothes. She shouted, ‘Treason! Treason!’ 15 Jehoiada, the priest, said to each leader of 100 soldiers what they must do. ‘Bring her out (of the house of the LORD). Keep her between groups of soldiers. (Kill) anyone with a sword that follows her.’ That was because the priest had said, ‘You must not kill her in the house of the LORD.’ 16 So they took her to the place where horses went into the king’s palace. There they killed her.

17 Then Jehoiada made a covenant. It was between the LORD, the king and the people. (They agreed) to be the LORD’s people. He also made a covenant between the king and the people. 18 All the people in the country (Judah) went to the house of Baal. They tore it into pieces. They destroyed the altars and the false gods. Mattan was the priest of Baal. They killed him in front of the altars. Then (Jehoiada) the priest put soldiers to make the house of the LORD safe.

19 (Jehoiada) took with him (these people):

·          the leaders of 100 soldiers

·          the Carites and the soldiers

·          all the people of the country (Judah).

They all brought the king down from the house of the LORD into the palace. They went in (to the palace) through the gate where the soldiers (stayed). Then the king sat on the king’s special seat.

20 All the people in the country (Judah) were very happy. And the city (Jerusalem) was quiet. That was because they had killed Athaliah with the sword at the palace.

21 And Joash was 7 years old when he began to rule (Judah).

Notes about chapter 11

Verse 6 Bible students do not know where the Sur gate was.

Verse 9 Priests were special servants of God. Priests sacrificed animals to God in God’s house in Jerusalem. Jehoiada was the leader of the priests.

Chapter 12

Joash makes repairs to God’s house

1 Joash became king (of Judah) in the 7th year that Jehu (was king of Israel). Joash ruled in Jerusalem for 40 years. His mother’s name was Zibiah. (She came from) Beersheba. 2 In all the years that Jehoiada the priest taught him, Joash did right things in the sight of the LORD. 3 But he did not remove the high places. The people continued to burn animals and to burn incense (in the high places).

4 Joash said to all the priests, ‘(There is) money that people offer to God for the house of the LORD. Bring all this money together:

·          what each man pays (to the government);

·          what each man offers (to the LORD);

·          what each man gives (to God’s house).

5 Each priest must give something from his own money. They must use the money to make repairs to the house (of the LORD), where people have broken it.’ 6 Joash had been king for 23 years. (In that time), the priests had not made any repairs to the house (of the LORD)! 7 So King Joash asked Jehoiada and the other priests to come (to him). He said to them, ‘There are no repairs to the parts of the house (of the LORD) where somebody has broken it. (But there should be.) Do not take any more money from the people that give it to you. Give it to (the people that make) repairs to the house (of the LORD).’ 8 The priests agreed that they would not take any money from the people. Also, they agreed that they would not make repairs to the house (of the LORD) themselves.

9 Jehoiada the priest got a large box. He made a hole in the top of it. He put it outside the door of the house of the LORD. It was by the altar, on the right side (of the door). (Some) priests made the door (of the house of the LORD) safe. They put into the box all the money that people brought to the house of the LORD. 10 Every time that there was a large amount of money in the box, they counted the money. The leader of the priests and the king’s servant who wrote things down (did that). (Then), they took (the money from the box) in the house (of the LORD). And they put it into bags. 11 Then they gave the money that they had counted to some men. They had made these (men) the leaders of the workers in the house of the LORD. (The leaders) used the money to pay the men that cut the wood. And (they used it to pay) the builders in the house of the LORD. 12 (They also paid) the men that used stones. And they paid the men that cut stones. They bought wood. And they bought stones that people had cut. They bought them for the repairs to the house of the LORD. And they paid all the other bills for the repairs to the house (of the LORD).

13 But they did not spend any of this money to buy anything that they used in the LORD’s house. (This was the money) that people had brought into the house (of the LORD). They did not use it to buy any of these things:

·          silver bowls

·          tools that they used to cause their lights to burn well

·          bowls (that people used) to pour (water or oil on to things)

·          trumpets.

14 (They used all the money) to pay the workers. The (workers) used it to mend the house of the LORD. 15 (The priests) gave the money to (the leaders of the workers). But they did not ask (these leaders) to show them the bills. Everybody was very honest. 16 They did not bring other money into the house of the LORD. (People) offered (this money) because they had done wrong things. It was for the priests.

17 Hazael (was) the king of Aram. He went to Gath and (his army) attacked it. (His army) beat (the people in Gath). Then (Hazael) went to attack Jerusalem.

18 Then Joash was (still) the king of Judah. He sent all these special things to Hazael (who was) the king of Aram:

·          the gifts that the kings of Judah who were before him had given (to God). (These kings were) Jehoshaphat, Jehoram, and Ahaziah.

·          the gifts that (Joash) himself had given (to God)

·          all the gold that was in the house of the LORD and in the king’s palace

So Hazael left Jerusalem (and he did not attack it).

19 Other things happened while Joash was king. Everything that he did is in a book. It is called ‘the reports about the kings of Judah’. 20 (Joash’s) officers decided (to kill him). They killed him in the house of Millo, which is on the road down to Silla. 21 The officers that killed him were Jozabad, the son of Shimeath, and Jehozabad, the son of Shomer. (After) he died, people buried him with his ancestors in the City of David. Amaziah, (who was) his son, became king after (Joash).

Notes about chapter 12

Verse 2 Priests were special servants of God. Priests sacrificed animals to God in God’s house in Jerusalem. Jehoiada was the leader of the priests.

Verse 3 In the high places the people worshipped Baal and other false gods. The high places were on the tops of hills.

Verses 5-6 We are not sure when Joash asked for repairs to the house of the LORD. But when he was 30, the priests had not done any repairs!

Verse 8 The priests agreed that somebody else would make repairs to the house of the LORD.

Verse 18 Hazael took the special things in the LORD’s house. The priests only used these things when they worshipped the LORD.

Chapter 13

Jehoahaz becomes the king of Israel

1 Joash (was) the son of Ahaziah, (who was) the king of Judah. When (Joash) had been king for nearly 23 years, Jehoahaz became king of Israel in Samaria. (Jehoahaz was) the son of Jehu. (Jehoahaz) was king for 17 years. 2 But he did bad things in the sight of the LORD. He did the same sins as Jeroboam did. (Jeroboam was) the son of Nebat. (Jeroboam) had also caused (the people in) Israel to do these sins. And (Jehoahaz) did not stop these things. 3 So the LORD was very, very angry with Israel. For a long time (the LORD) caused Hazael and Ben-Hadad to beat them. (Ben-Hadad was) the son of Hazael, who was the king of Aram. 4 Then Jehoahaz prayed to the LORD again. And the LORD listened to him because of the king of Aram. (The LORD) knew that (the king of Aram) was being very cruel to Israel. 5 The LORD sent someone to help Israel. So they were free from the power of (the king of) Aram. So the people in Israel lived in their own homes, as they had done before (this time). 6 But the people in Israel still did the sins of the family of Jeroboam. They continued to do what Jeroboam had caused Israel to do. So, the Asherah pole still stood in Samaria.

7 The king of Aram had destroyed most of the army of Jehoahaz. But God did not let him kill or destroy these:

·          50 men that rode horses

·          10 chariots

·          10 000 soldiers who had to walk.

(The king of Aram) made everything else into very small bits of dirt.

8 Other things happened while Jehoahaz was king. Everything that he did is in a book. It is called ‘the reports about the kings of Israel’. 9 Jehoahaz died like his ancestors, and people buried him in Samaria. Then Jehoash, (who was) his son, became king after him.

Jehoash becomes the king of Israel

10 (Joash) was the king of Judah. When he was 37 years old, Jehoash became king of Israel in Samaria. (Jehoash was) the son of Jehoahaz. (Jehoash) was king for 16 years. 11 But he did bad things in the sight of the LORD. He did the same sins as Jeroboam did. (Jeroboam was) the son of Nebat. (Jeroboam) had also caused (the people in) Israel to do these sins. And (Jehoash) continued to do them. 12 Other things happened while Jehoash was king. Everything that he did is in a book. It is called ‘the reports about the kings of Israel’. It includes (the report) of his war against Amaziah, (who was) the king of Judah. 13 Jehoash died like his ancestors and people buried him in Samaria with the kings of Israel. Jeroboam became king (of Israel) after him.

14 Elisha was very ill. It was the illness from which he died. Jehoash, (who was) the king of Israel, went down to see him. (Jehoash) wept by his side. (Jehoash) said, ‘My father! My father! The chariots and the men that ride on horses in Israel!’ 15 Elisha said to (Jehoash), ‘Fetch a bow and (some) arrows.’ So he fetched him a bow and (some) arrows. 16 (Elisha) said to the king of Israel, ‘Hold the bow in your hands.’ When he had done this, Elisha put his hands on the hands of the king. 17 (Elisha) said, ‘Open the east window.’ And (the king) opened (it). ‘Shoot!’ said Elisha. And (the king) shot (the arrow). ‘(It is) the LORD’s arrow, that will beat (the enemy). It is the arrow that will destroy Aram!’ said Elisha. ‘You will completely destroy (the army of) Aram at Aphek.’ 18 Then (Elisha) said, ‘Take the arrows.’ And he took (them). And (Elisha) said to the king of Israel, ‘Hit the ground (with them).’ (The king) hit the ground three times and then he stopped. 19 The man of God was angry with (Jehoash). He said, ‘You should have hit the ground 5 or 6 times. Then you would have beaten (the army of) Aram and you would have destroyed it completely. Now you will beat it only three times.’

Elisha dies

20 So Elisha died and people buried him. But, every spring, men from Moab came into the country (Israel) to rob the people. 21 Once, while they were burying a man, some people saw a group of those men from Moab. So they threw the man’s dead body into Elisha’s grave. When the dead body touched Elisha’s bones, the man became alive again! He stood on his feet.

22 Hazael (was) the king of Aram. He was cruel to (the people in) Israel all the time that Jehoahaz was king. 23 But the LORD was kind to the people (in Israel). He loved them and he helped them. (That was) because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He did not want to kill them and he did not want to send them away from himself until now.

24 Then Hazael, (who was) the king of Aram, died. His son, (who was) Ben-Hadad, became king after him. 25 Then Jehoash, (who was) the son of Jehoahaz, got back from Ben-Hadad some towns. They (were towns) that Hazael had taken from Jehoahaz. (Jehoahaz was Jehoash’s) father. Jehoash beat (Ben-Hadad) three times and he ruled Israel’s towns again.

Notes about chapter 13

Verse 14 Bible students do not know what Jehoash’s words meant. It is 50 years since Elisha was in the report in 2 Kings.

Chapter 14

Amaziah becomes the king of Judah

1 Jehoash, (who was) the son of Jehoahaz, had been the king of Israel for nearly two years. It was then that Amaziah began to rule Judah. (Amaziah) was the son of Joash. 2 (Amaziah) was 25 years old when he became king. He ruled in Jerusalem for 29 years. His mother’s name was Jehoaddin. She (was born in) Jerusalem. 3 (Amaziah) did what was right in the sight of the LORD. But he did not (do everything) as his ancestor David had done. (Amaziah) did everything as his father Joash had done it. 4 But they did not remove the high places. The people continued to burn animals (for Baal). And they continued to burn incense (in those places). 5 (Amaziah) became safe as king (of Judah). Then he killed the officers who had killed his father the king. 6 But he did not kill the sons of these killers. That was because of what (the writer) of the Book of the Law of Moses had written. The LORD had said that they must not do that. ‘Do not kill fathers because their children (have done wrong things). And do not kill children because their fathers (have done wrong things). Each person must die because of his own sins.’

7 It was (Amaziah) that beat 10 000 men from Edom in the Valley of Salt. He beat Sela in a war. He called it Joktheel, which is its name today.

8 Then Amaziah sent men with messages to Jehoash. (Jehoash was) the son of Jehoahaz, (who was) the son of Jehu. (Jehu) had been the king of Israel. The message was, ‘Come and meet me.’ 9 But Jehoash, (who was) the king of Israel, replied like this to Amaziah. (Amaziah was) the king of Judah. ‘The thistle that was in Lebanon sent this message to the cedar. (The cedar was) also in Lebanon. “Give your daughter to my son, to be his wife.” Then a wild animal in Lebanon came and it jumped on the thistle. 10 Yes! You have beaten Edom. And now you think that you are better (than other people). Be very happy because you have beaten (Edom). But stay at home! Do not ask for trouble. It will hurt you and (the people in) Judah.’

11 But Amaziah did not listen (to Jehoash’s message). So Jehoash, (who was) the king of Israel, prepared to attack (Amaziah). (Jehoash) and Amaziah, (who was) the king of Judah, met together at Beth Shemesh, in Judah. 12 (The army from) Israel completely destroyed (the army from) Judah. Every man (from Judah) ran away to his home. 13 Jehoash, (who was) the king of Israel, caught Amaziah at Beth Shemesh. (Amaziah was) the king of Judah. (He was) the son of Joash, (who was) the son of Ahaziah. Then Jehoash went to Jerusalem. He destroyed 180 metres (600 feet) of the wall of Jerusalem, from the Ephraim Gate to the Corner Gate. 14 He took all the gold and silver from the house of the LORD. He also took everything that he found in (the house of the LORD) and in the king’s palace. He also took some of the people away with him and then he returned to Samaria.

15 Other things happened while Jehoash was king. Everything that he did is in a book. It is called ‘the reports about the kings of Israel’. It includes the war against Amaziah, (who was) the king of Judah. 16 So Jehoash died like his ancestors and people buried him in Samaria with the kings of Israel. And his son Jeroboam became king after him.

17 Amaziah (was) the son of Joash, (who was) the king of Judah. (Amaziah) lived for 15 years after Jehoash died. (Jehoash was) the son of Jehoahaz, (who was) the king of Israel. 18 Other things happened while Amaziah ruled (Judah). (These things) are in a book. It is called ‘the reports about the kings of Judah’. 19 Some people in Jerusalem made a plan against (Amaziah). He ran away to Lachish. But (the people in Jerusalem) sent men after him to Lachish and they killed (Amaziah) there. 20 They brought him back to Jerusalem on a horse. They buried him there with his ancestors, in the City of David. 21 Then, all the people in Judah made Azariah king instead of his father Amaziah. (Azariah) was 16 years old. 22 He was (the king) who built Elath again. He won it back (by war) for Judah. That was after Amaziah died like his ancestors.

Jeroboam the Second becomes the king of Israel

23 Amaziah (was) the son of Joash, (who was) the king of Judah. When (Amaziah had been king) for nearly 15 years, Jeroboam became the king of Israel in Samaria. (Jeroboam was) the son of Jehoash. (Jeroboam) ruled (Israel) for 41 years. 24 He did bad things in the sight of the LORD. He did not stop any of the sins of Jeroboam, (who was) the son of Nebat. (The son of Nebat) had caused all (the people in) Israel to do (these sins). 25 (Jeroboam the Second) had won back for Israel (by war places) from Lebo Hamath to the Sea of the Arabah. This is what the LORD had spoken, by his servant Jonah. (The LORD is) the God of Israel. Jonah (was) the son of Amittai. (Jonah) was a prophet from Gath Hepher. 26 Everyone in Israel had trouble that hurt them a lot. And the LORD had seen it. There was nobody to help them, whether they were slaves or free (people). 27 So the LORD saved them. The LORD had said that he would not remove the name of Israel from under the skies. So he used Jeroboam, (who was) the son of Jehoash, to do this.

28 Other things happened while Jeroboam ruled (Israel). They are in a book. It is called ‘the reports about the kings of Israel’. They include (these) things that his army did. They got Damascus back for Israel. And they got Hamath back from Judah. 29 Jeroboam died like his ancestors. (His ancestors were) the kings of Israel. Then Zechariah, (who was) his son, became king of Israel after him.

Notes about chapter 14

Verse 6 See Deuteronomy 24:16.

Verse 7 The Valley of Salt is a valley south of the Dead Sea. Sela may be Petra, a city in Edom. ‘Today’ means when they wrote 2 Kings.

Verse 29 Read God’s promise in 2 Kings 10:30. Zechariah was the 4th king in Jehu’s family after Jehu himself.

Chapter 15

Azariah becomes the king of Judah

1 Jeroboam had been king of Israel for nearly 27 years when Azariah began to rule (Judah). (Azariah) was the son of Amaziah, (who was) the king of Judah. 2 (Azariah) was 16 years old when he became king. He ruled in Jerusalem for 52 years. His mother’s name was Jecoliah. She (was born in) Jerusalem. 3 Azariah did the right things in the sight of the LORD, as his father Amaziah had done. 4 But he did not remove the high places. The people (in Judah) continued to offer (animals to Baal) and to burn incense there. 5 And the LORD punished the king. The king had the illness called leprosy. He had it until the day that he died. He lived in a separate house. The king’s son Jotham had to rule the palace and the people in the country (Judah). 6 Azariah did many other things while he was king. They (wrote) all those things in a book. It is called ‘the reports about the kings of Judah’. 7 So Azariah died like his ancestors. And people buried him with them in the City of David. His son Jotham became king after him.

Zechariah becomes the king of Israel

8 When Azariah had been king for nearly 38 years, Zechariah became king of Israel in Samaria. (Zechariah was) the son of Jeroboam and he ruled (Israel) for 6 months. 9 He did bad things in the sight of the LORD, as his ancestors had done. He continued to do the sins of Jeroboam. (Jeroboam was) the son of Nebat and he had caused (the people in) Israel to do these (sins). 10 Shallum (was) the son of Jabesh. He (and his friends) decided to kill Zechariah. (Shallum) attacked (Zechariah) in front of the people. He killed him and he became king instead of him. 11 Other things happened while Zechariah ruled (Israel). They are in a book. It is called ‘the reports about the kings of Israel’. 12 So it happened as the LORD had spoken to Jehu. (The LORD had said,) ‘You and 4 of your descendants will rule Israel.’

Shallum becomes the king of Israel

13 When Uzziah had been the king of Judah for 39 years, Shallum became the king (of Israel). (Shallum was) the son of Jabesh. (Shallum) ruled in Samaria for one month. 14 Then Menahem went from Tirzah up to Samaria. (Menahem was) the son of Gadi. He attacked Shallum, (who was) the son of Jabesh, in Samaria. He killed him and he became king (of Israel) after him. 15 Other things that happened when Shallum was king are in a book. It is called ‘the reports about the kings of Israel’. It includes the way that he killed (Zechariah). 16 When Menahem came from Tirzah, he attacked Tiphsah. (He attacked) everybody that was in the city (Tiphsah) and near it. (He did this) because they would not open their gates. He destroyed Tiphsah and he cut open all the pregnant women.

Menahem becomes the king of Israel

17 When Azariah had been the king of Judah for nearly 39 years, Menahem became the king of Israel. (Menahem was) the son of Gadi, and he ruled in Samaria for 10 years. 18 (Menahem) did what was bad in the sight of the LORD. All the time that he was king, he continued to do the sins of Jeroboam. (Jeroboam was) the son of Nebat. (Jeroboam) had caused (the people in) Israel to do these sins also. 19 Then Pul, (who was) the king of Assyria, attacked the country (Israel). Menahem gave him 1000 talents of silver so that (Pul) would help (Menahem). That would make (Menahem) stronger in his own country. 20 Menahem caused (the people in) Israel to give him this money. He caused every rich man to give 50 shekels of silver to the king of Assyria. So the king of Assyria went (home). He did not stay (for a) longer (time) in the country (Israel). 21 The other things that happened to King Menahem are in a book. People wrote them in a book. It is called ‘the reports about the kings of Israel’. Everything that he did (is in that book). 22 So Menahem died like his ancestors. And Pekahiah, (who was) his son, became king after him.

Pekahiah becomes the king of Israel

23 When Azariah had been the king of Judah for nearly 50 years, Pekahiah became the king of Israel in Samaria. (Pekahiah was) the son of Menahem. He ruled (Israel) for two years. 24 Pekahiah did bad things in the sight of the LORD. He continued to do the sins of Jeroboam, (who was) the son of Nebat. (Jeroboam) had caused (the people in) Israel to do these sins also. 25 One of his important officers was Pekah, (who was) the son of Remaliah. (Pekah) decided to kill (Pekahiah). He took 50 men from Gilead with him, and he killed Pekahiah. (He also killed) Argob and Arieh in a strong room in the king’s palace. (The king’s palace was) in Samaria. So Pekah killed Pekahiah and he became king after him. 26 Somebody wrote the other things that King Pekahiah did in a book. It is called ‘the reports about the kings of Israel’. (The book contains) everything that Pekahiah did.

Pekah becomes the king of Israel and Assyria beats Israel

27 When Azariah had been king of Judah for nearly 52 years, Pekah became the king of Israel in Samaria. (Pekah was) the son of Remaliah and he ruled (Israel) for 20 years. 28 Pekah did bad things in the sight of the LORD. He continued to do the sins of Jeroboam, (who was) the son of Nebat. (Jeroboam) had caused (the people in) Israel to do these sins also.

29 While Pekah was the king of Israel, Tiglath Pileser came from Assyria. (He was) the king (of Assyria). He beat (the people in many places in Israel): Ijon, Abel Beth Maacah, Janoah, Kedesh, Hazor, Gilead, Galilee and all of Naphtali. He took (all) the people (that lived in these places) to Assyria. 30 Then Hoshea decided to kill Pekah (who was) the son of Remaliah. (Hoshea was) the son of Elah. (Hoshea) attacked (Pekah) and killed him. So (Hoshea) became king after (Pekah). It was when Jotham had been king of Judah for nearly 20 years. (Jotham was) the son of Uzziah. 31 Somebody wrote the other things that King Pekah did in a book. It is called ‘the reports about the kings of Israel’. (The book contains) everything that Pekah did.

Jotham becomes the king of Judah

32 When Pekah had been the king of Israel for nearly 2 years, Jotham began to rule Judah. (Pekah was) the son of Remaliah and (Jotham was) the son of Uzziah. 33 Jotham was 25 years old when he became king. And he ruled in Jerusalem for 16 years. His mother’s name was Jerusha. She was the daughter of Zadok. 34 (Jotham) did what was right in the sight of the LORD, as his father Uzziah had done. 35 But he did not remove the high places. The people (in Judah) continued to offer (animals to Baal) and to burn incense on them. Jotham built again the High Gate of the house of the LORD. 36 Somebody wrote the other things that King Jotham did in a book. It is called ‘the reports about the kings of Judah’. (The book contains) everything that Jotham did. 37 Then the LORD began to send Rezin and Pekah against (the people in) Judah. (Rezin was) the king of Aram and (Pekah was) the son of Remaliah. 38 And Jotham died like his ancestors and people buried him with his ancestors in the City of his ancestor, David. His son Ahaz became king after him.

Notes about chapter 15

Verse 1 In Isaiah 6:1 and also in 2 Kings 15:13, 30-34, Azariah is called Uzziah.

Verse 12 The 4 descendants were Jehoahaz, Jehoash, Jeroboam the Second and Zechariah.

Chapter 16

Ahaz becomes the king of Judah

1 When Pekah had been king (of Israel) for nearly 17 years, Ahaz began to rule Judah. (Pekah was) the son of Remaliah and Ahaz was the son of King Jotham (of Judah). 2 Ahaz was 20 years old when he became king. He ruled in Jerusalem for 16 years. He did not do what was right in the sight of the LORD his God. So he was not like his ancestor David. 3 He did the bad things that the kings of Israel did. He even caused his son to walk through fire. He did all the very bad things that people had done earlier (in Canaan). These were (the people that) the LORD had caused to leave (Canaan). He did this before (his people) the Jews (came into Canaan). 4 Ahaz burned animals and other things, and also incense on the high places. (He did it) on the tops of hills and under every wide tree.

5 Rezin (was) the king of Aram. Pekah (was) the king of Israel. (He was) the son of Remaliah. (Rezin and Pekah) marched up to Jerusalem, to fight against it. (Their armies) stayed all round Ahaz (and his city), but they could not beat him. 6 At that time, Rezin (who was) the king of Aram got Elath back for Aram. He caused the men from Judah to leave (Elath). People from Edom then moved into Elath. They have lived there until now. 7 Then Ahaz sent people with messages to Tiglath Pileser, (who was) the king of Assyria. They said, ‘I am your servant. And I will do anything that you ask me to do. Come up (to Jerusalem) and save me from the power of the kings of Aram and Israel. They are attacking me.’ 8 Also, Ahaz took the silver and gold out of the house of the LORD. He took the valuable things out of his own palace. He sent them (all) as a gift to the king of Assyria. 9 So the king of Assyria did what (Ahaz) had asked. He attacked Damascus and he beat its people. He sent the people that had lived there to Kir. And he killed Rezin.

10 Then King Ahaz went to Damascus to meet King Tiglath Pileser of Assyria. (Ahaz) saw an altar in Damascus. He sent a picture of the altar to Uriah the priest. (He also sent) a plan, so that (people) could make one. 11 So Uriah the priest built an altar. It was the same as the (one in) the plans that King Ahaz had sent from Damascus. (Uriah) finished it before King Ahaz returned. 12 Then the king returned from Damascus. And he saw the altar. He went near it and he climbed up to it. He offered things (to false gods) on it.

13 He offered (these things to his god) on the altar:

·          an animal (with its blood)

·          something with flour (but no blood) in it

·          a drink that he poured (on to the altar)

·          the blood (of animals) to bring him peace.

14 A bronze altar stood in front of the LORD (in his house). It was between the new altar and the house of the LORD. (Ahaz) brought it from the front of the house (of the LORD). And he put it on the north side of the new altar.

15 Then King Ahaz said that Uriah the priest must do (these things). ‘On the large new altar, offer these (gifts):

·          an animal (with its blood) in the morning

·          something with flour in it in the evening

·          an animal on behalf of the king

·          something with flour in it on behalf of the king

·          an animal as a gift on behalf of all the people in the country

·          something with flour in it on behalf of the people (in the country)

·          all the blood from the animals that you kill.

But I will use the bronze altar to ask (God) to guide me.’

16 So Uriah the priest did what King Ahaz asked him to do.

17 King Ahaz also took away pieces from the sides (of the bronze altar). He took the bowls away from the parts that people could move. He took the large bowl for water away from the bronze male cows that it was on. He put it on stone instead. 18 He took away the roof that they had made to cover (the king’s path) on the Sabbath. (It was at) the house (of the LORD). He removed the door outside the house (of the LORD) that the king used to come in through. The king of Assyria wanted him to do this. 19 Somebody wrote the other things that King Ahaz did, in a book. It is called ‘the reports about the kings of Judah’. (The book contains) everything that Ahaz did. 20 So Ahaz died like his ancestors. And people buried him with his ancestors in the City of David. And Hezekiah, (who was) his son, became king after him.

Notes about chapter 16

Verse 3 ‘Walk through fire’ may mean that he killed his son by fire. 2 Chronicles 28:3 says that he burned his sons (plural) with fire. Bible students think that this was to make the false god Moloch happy.

Verse 4 Some of the ‘other things’ are in verse 13.

Verse 7 These are the words of Ahaz, which the men repeated to Tiglath Pileser.

Verse 9 Damascus was the capital of Syria.

Verse 13 Bible students are not sure whether Ahaz offered these things to the LORD or to Baal.

Chapter 17

Hoshea, who was the last king of Israel

1 When Ahaz had been the king of Judah for nearly 12 years, Hoshea became the king of Israel in Samaria. (Hoshea was) the son of Elah and he ruled (Israel) for 9 years. 2 He did things that were very wrong in the sight of the LORD. But he was not like the kings of Israel who were before him. 3 Shalmaneser (was) the king of Assyria. He came up (to Samaria) to attack Hoshea. He had done everything that Shalmaneser had asked him to do. (Every year) he had paid him all the money (that Shalmaneser had asked him for). 4 But Shalmaneser had discovered that now Hoshea was not a good friend (of Shalmaneser). (Hoshea) had sent people with a message to So, (who was) the king of Egypt. (Hoshea) did not pay any more money to the king of Assyria, as he had done every year. So Shalmaneser caught (Hoshea) and put him into a prison. 5 The king of Assyria attacked all the country (Israel). (His army) marched against Samaria and it stayed round it for 3 years.

6 When Hoshea had been king (of Israel) for nearly 9 years, the king of Assyria beat the people in Samaria. He sent many of the people from Israel to Assyria. He caused them to live in these places:

·          Halah,

·          Gozan by the River Habor and

·          towns in Media.

7 All this happened because (the people in) Israel had not obeyed the LORD. (The LORD) was their God, who had brought them out of Egypt. (God had) made them free from the power of Pharaoh, (who was) the king of Egypt. (But now) they had worshipped other gods. 8 They had done the things that the people (in Canaan) before them had done. Those people (in Canaan) were the people that the LORD had caused to go to other places. The people in Israel had also done things that the kings of Israel had caused them do. 9 The people in Israel did things against the LORD (who was) their God. (Those things) were not right, and they did them secretly. They built high places for themselves in every town. (They built them everywhere) from places where people watched (their sheep) to strong cities. 10 They put up special stones (for their gods) and Asherah poles. (They put them) on every high hill and under every wide tree. 11 At every high place they burned incense. The people that the LORD had sent out (from Canaan) before them had done that. Israel’s people did very bad things that made the LORD very angry. 12 They worshipped false gods. The LORD had said, ‘You must not do that.’ 13 The LORD had sent this message to Israel and to Judah. He sent it by all his prophets and by everyone that he showed things to. ‘Do not do more bad things. Obey my words. (Obey) all my rules. Do everything that is in my Law. I told your ancestors that they must obey (my Law). I gave you (my Law) by my servants (who were) the prophets.’ 14 But the (people in Israel) would not listen. They were like their ancestors had been. They would not change in their minds. (Their ancestors) did not believe that the LORD (would help them). (The LORD was) their God. 15 They did not obey his Law. They did not agree with the covenant that (God) had made with their ancestors. God had said that bad things would happen to them. But they did not listen. They followed false gods that had no value. So they themselves became of no value. They did what the people that lived next to them did. But the LORD had said, ‘Do not do what they do!’ But they still did these things. The LORD had said that they should not do them! 16 They threw away all the laws of the LORD, (who was) their God. They made false gods for themselves. The shapes (of those gods) were the same as baby cows. (They also made) an Asherah pole. They fell to their knees to all the stars (in the skies) and they worshipped Baal. 17 They burned their sons and their daughters in fire (for Baal). They used their false gods to tell them what would happen. They used bad spirits (to do strange things). They did very, very bad things in the sight of the LORD. This made him very, very angry. 18 The LORD was so angry with Israel that he sent them away from himself. Only the tribe of Judah remained.

19 Even Judah did not obey the Law of the LORD (who was) their God. They did the same things that Israel had done. 20 So the LORD sent away all the people out of Israel. He hurt them. He gave them to people who would rob them. They had to go away from where he lived.

21 When (God) tore Israel away from David’s family, they made Jeroboam into their king. (Jeroboam was) the son of Nebat. Jeroboam caused Israel not to obey the LORD. He caused them to do very bad things. 22 The people in Israel continued to do all the sins of Jeroboam. They did not turn away from them 23 until the LORD sent them away from himself. (The LORD) had said by all his servants the prophets that this would happen. So the soldiers from Assyria took the people in Israel away from their own country. They went into exile in Assyria and they are still there.

24 The king of Assyria brought people to live in the towns in Samaria. They came from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath and Sepharvaim. They lived (in Samaria) where Israel’s people had lived. They lived in its towns and they ruled Samaria. 25 When those people first lived (in Samaria), they did not worship the LORD. So (the LORD) sent lions among them. (The lions) killed some of the people. 26 They reported this to the king of Assyria. (The report said,) ‘You sent some people from (your country). You caused them to live in the towns in Samaria. But they do not know what the god of that country wants them to do. He has sent lions among them. The people do not know what to do. So the lions are killing them.’ 27 So the king of Assyria said, ‘You caught some priests in Samaria. Send one of them back to live there. He can teach the people what the god of that country wants them to do.’ 28 So they brought one of the priests that was in exile back to live in Bethel. He taught the people how to worship the LORD.

29 But each group of people, from different countries, made its own gods. They did this in each town where they lived. They did it in the places where the people in Samaria had made altars on the high places. 30 The men from Babylon (worshipped the god called) Succoth-Benoth. The men from Cuthah (worshipped the god called) Nergal. The men from Hamath (worshipped the god called) Ashima. 31 The men from Avva (worshipped the gods called) Nibhaz and Tartak. The people from Sepharvaim burned their children in a fire (for their gods). The gods of the people from Sepharvaim (were called) Adrammelech and Anammelech. 32 They (all) worshipped the LORD. But they also made many of their own people priests (of their gods). (They worshipped those gods) at the gods’ houses on the high places. 33 They worshipped the LORD, but they also worshipped their own gods. They did what they had always done in their own countries. 34 Even today, they still do those things. They do not (really) worship the LORD, neither do they obey his laws and his rules. (They do not really do) the things that the LORD asked the descendants of Jacob to do. (The LORD) called him (and his descendants) Israel. 35 When the LORD made a covenant with the Jews, he said (to them), ‘Do not worship any other gods. Do not get down on your knees to them. Do not be their servants. Do not burn anything for them. 36 But you must worship only the LORD. He brought you out from (the country called) Egypt. He did this very powerfully and he helped you very much. You must fall to your knees to him and you must burn things (on your altar) to him. 37 You must always obey the words that he wrote for you. And (you must) obey him about everything. (You must obey all) his laws and rules. Do not worship other gods. 38 Do not forget the covenant that I made with you. Do not worship other gods. 39 Always worship the LORD (who is) your God. It is he who will save you from the power of all your enemies.’ 40 But they would not listen (to him). They continued to do what they had always done.

41 Even while they were worshipping the LORD, they were also the servants of (their) idols. Until today, their children and their grandchildren do what their fathers did.

Notes about chapter 17

Verse 9 ‘from places where people watched to strong cities’ maybe means this. ‘From lonely places to places where there were many people’.

Verses 11 and 30 People thought that their gods lived in their own country. This is also what verses 26-27 mean.

Verse 36 The Hebrew words for ‘very powerfully’ mean ‘by his arm’. Many students think that ‘the arm of the LORD’ is a name for the Son of God.

Chapter 18

Hezekiah becomes the king of Judah

1 When Hoshea had been the king of Israel for nearly three years, Hezekiah began to rule Judah. (Hoshea was) the son of Elah and (Hezekiah was) the son of Ahaz. 2 (Hezekiah) was 25 years old when he became king. And he ruled in Jerusalem for 29 years. His mother’s name was Abijah. (She was) the daughter of Zechariah. 3 (Hezekiah) did what was right in the sight of the LORD. He did what his ancestor David had done. 4 He removed the high places. He broke completely the stones (where people worshipped). He cut down the Asherah poles. He broke into pieces the bronze snake that Moses had made. Until then, the people in Israel had burned incense to it. It was called Nehushtan. 5 Hezekiah believed in the LORD (who is) the God of Israel. None of the other kings of Judah was like him, either before him or after him. 6 He really loved the LORD and he always obeyed him. He obeyed the laws that the LORD had given to Moses. 7 And the LORD helped him in everything that he decided to do. So everything that happened was very good! He did not obey the king of Assyria. He did not become his servant. 8 He beat the people in Philistia as far as Gaza and the country that was near it. (He did this) from places where people watched to strong cities.

9 Shalmaneser (was) the king of Assyria. When Hezekiah had been king for nearly 4 years, Shalmaneser marched (his army) to Samaria. (The army) stayed round Samaria (for nearly three years). That was when Hoshea had been the king of Israel for nearly 7 years. (Hoshea was) the son of Elah. 10 After three years, the soldiers from Assyria beat the people in Samaria. So they beat them when Hezekiah had been king (of Judah) for nearly 6 years. Hoshea had been the king of Judah for nearly 9 years.

11 The king of Assyria took all the people out of Israel to Assyria. He caused them to live in these places:

·          Halah,

·          Gozan by the River Habor and

·          towns in Media.

12 This happened because they had not obeyed the LORD. (The LORD was) their God. They had not obeyed his covenant. (The covenant contained) all the rules that Moses had told them about. (Moses was) a servant of the LORD. They did not listen to Moses’ words and they did not obey them.

13 When Hezekiah had ruled (Judah) for nearly 14 years, Sennacherib attacked all the strong cities in Judah. He made them his cities. (Sennacherib was) the king of Assyria. 14 So King Hezekiah of Judah sent this message to the king of Assyria. (Sennacherib was) at Lachish. ‘What I did was wrong. March away from me. Then I will pay everything that you ask me to pay.’ The king of Assyria asked King Hezekiah of Judah to send to him 300 talents of silver and 30 talents of gold. 15 So Hezekiah gave (to Sennacherib) all the silver from the house of the LORD. And he gave him all the silver that they found in the king’s palace. 16 Hezekiah (was) the king of Judah. He had covered all the doors in the house of the LORD with gold. And he covered the wood on which the doors hung with gold. At this time, he took it all off and he gave it to the king of Assyria.

Sennacherib says that he will attack Jerusalem

17 The king of Assyria sent (three people) from Lachish to King Hezekiah. Hezekiah was at Jerusalem. (They came) with a large army. These were the three people:

·          the most important leader of his army

·          the leader of his officers

·          the leader of his army where they fought.

They came to Jerusalem and they stopped at the aqueduct by the Higher Pool. It was on the road to the field (by the water) where people washed things. (It was called the Washerman’s Field.)

18 They asked for the king to come to them. These (three people) went out to meet them:

·          Eliakim, (who was) the son of Hilkiah. He decided what would happen in the palace.

·          Shebna. He helped the king.

·          Joah, (who was) the son of Asaph. He wrote down the things that happened.

19 The leader of (Sennacherib’s) army where they fought said this to them:

Say to Hezekiah, ‘This is what the great king, the king of Assyria, says. “You should not be so happy that you have decided well. 20 You say that you have ideas. And you say that your army is strong. But what you say is very silly! Think about the man that you are believing in. Think about why you are fighting against me. 21 Think (about it)! You are hoping that Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, will help you. (But Pharaoh is like) a sharp bit of wood. It makes a hole in a man’s hand. Then it hurts him when he puts his weight on it! Pharaoh is like that to everybody who wants him to help them. 22 But maybe you will say to me, ‘We are hoping that the LORD will help us. He is our God.’ But I say to you, Hezekiah removed all his high places and his altars. (Hezekiah) said to the people in Judah and Jerusalem, ‘You must worship (God) in front of this altar in Jerusalem.’ ” 23 So, come to my master, the king of Assyria, and agree with him. I will give you 2000 horses if you can put riders on them. 24 You are hoping that Egypt will give you chariots and men on horses. But you cannot beat one soldier that the least powerful of my master’s officers sends (to you). 25 Also, I would not come to attack and to destroy this place without a word from the LORD. The LORD himself said to me, “March against this country and destroy it.” ’

26 Then Eliakim, the son of Hilkiah, and Shebna and Joah said to the leader of the army where they fought, ‘Speak to (us) your servants in the language called Aramaic. We do understand it. Do not speak to us in the Hebrew language. All the people who are on the wall (of the city) will hear it.’ 27 But the leader of the army replied, ‘My master did not send me to say these things only to your king and to you. (He sent me) also to the men who are sitting on the wall. Like you, they will have to eat their own dirt and to drink their own piss.’

28 Then the leader of the army stood and he shouted in the Hebrew language, ‘Listen to the words of the great king, (who is) the king of Assyria! 29 This is what the king says. “Do not let Hezekiah make you into fools. He cannot save you from my power. 30 Do not let Hezekiah cause you to believe that the LORD will help you. (Hezekiah) says, ‘The LORD will surely help us. He will not give this city into the power of the king of Assyria.’ 31 Do not listen to Hezekiah.” This is what the king of Assyria says. “Let me be good to you! Come out (of your city) to me! Then you will all eat (fruit) from your own vines and fig trees. You will drink water from your own wells. 32 Then I will come (to Jerusalem). And I will take you away to a country (that is) like your own country. It is a country where there is corn and new wine. There will be bread in that country and there will be vineyards. There will be olive trees in that country and there will be honey. Choose to live! Do not choose to die! 33 Do not listen to Hezekiah. What he says is not true. (He says), ‘The LORD will save us.’ 34 No god of any country has ever saved his country from the power of the king of Assyria. The gods of Sepharvaim, Hena and Ivvah have not saved Samaria from my power. 35 None of the gods of those countries has been able to save his country from me. (So tell me) how the LORD can save Jerusalem from my power.” ’

36 But the people (who were sitting on the wall) were quiet. They did not reply, because the king had said, ‘Do not answer him.’

37 Then these people went to Hezekiah:

·          Eliakim, (who was) the son of Hilkiah. He decided what would happen in the palace.

·          Shebna. He helped the king.

·          Joah, (who was) the son of Asaph. He wrote down the things that happened.

They had torn their clothes. They told (Hezekiah) what the leader of (Sennacherib’s) army had said.

Notes about chapter 18

Verse 4 The word ‘Nehushtan’ means ‘a piece of bronze’. But in Hebrew, it is very like the word for snake.

Verse 5 David and Solomon were not only kings of Judah. They were kings of all Israel, which included Judah.

Verse 8 ‘from places where people watched to strong cities’ maybe means this. ‘From lonely places to places where there were many people’.

Verse 31-32 Sennacherib offers good food and drink, not the bad food as in verse 27. Bible students do not think that Sennacherib spoke truly here! Many Bibles translate ‘let me be good to you’ like this. ‘Do not fight me.’ But the Hebrew word means ‘be good to’.

Chapter 19

The LORD saves Jerusalem

1 When King Hezekiah heard (the report of his servants), he tore his clothes. Then he put on sackcloth (hairy clothes) and he went into the house of the LORD (in Jerusalem). 2 And he sent Eliakim and Shebna and the leaders of the priests to Isaiah (who was) a prophet. (Isaiah) was the son of Amoz. (Eliakim was) the most important servant in the (king’s) palace. (Shebna was) the leader of the (king’s) government. And (Eliakim, Shebna and the priests) all wore sackcloth (hairy clothes). 3 And they told (Isaiah), ‘Hezekiah says, “There are many problems at this time. And (the leader of the army’s) words make me ashamed. (The problems) are like a child that is ready to be born. But (its mother) is not strong enough for it to be born. 4 Perhaps the LORD, (who is) your God, will do something about all the words of the leader of the army. His master is the king of Assyria. (The king) sent him to laugh in a bad way at the God who really is alive. Maybe the LORD your God will tell him that his words were wrong. (God) has heard them. So, pray about the people that remain (in Jerusalem).” ’ 5 So Hezekiah’s servants came to Isaiah. 6 Isaiah said to them, ‘Tell your master that the LORD says, “Do not be afraid of the words that you have heard. The servants of the king of Assyria are not important. They have said very bad things about me. 7 Listen (to me)! I will put a spirit into (the king of Assyria). Then, he will hear a certain report. When (he will hear it), he will return to his own country. And there, I will cause (someone) to kill him with a sword.” ’

8 Then, the leader of the army heard that the king of Assyria had left Lachish (city). So he left Jerusalem and he found the king (of Assyria). The king was fighting against Libnah (city). 9 But (the king of Assyria) heard (this report) about Tirhakah. (Tirhakah) was the king of Ethiopia. (The report) said, ‘He has come out (from Ethiopia) to fight against you.’ So again he sent people (to Jerusalem) with a message. They had this message for Hezekiah. 10 ‘Say this to King Hezekiah of Judah. Say, “You are hoping that your God will help you. But do not let him tell you what is not true. (Your God) says that the king of Assyria will not destroy Jerusalem. 11 But you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all the (other) countries. They destroyed them completely. And (your God) will not save you. 12 The gods of (these other) countries did not save them. My fathers destroyed Gozan, Haran and Rezeph. And (they have killed) the people of Eden (that lived) in Tel Assar. 13 The kings of Hamath and Arpad have gone. The king of the city called Sepharvaim has gone. The kings of Hena and Ivvah have gone.” ’

14 And Hezekiah received the letter from the people that brought the message. And he read it and then he went up to the house of the LORD. He opened the letter in front of the LORD. 15 And Hezekiah prayed to the LORD. He said, ‘LORD, (you are) the God of Israel. You sit on a seat between the special angels. Only you are the God of all the countries in the world. You have made the skies and the earth. 16 LORD, turn your ears to me and hear (me). LORD, open your eyes and look (at this letter). Listen to the words of Sennacherib. He sent them to laugh in a bad way at the God who really is alive. 17 It is true, LORD, that the kings of Assyria have made empty places of many countries and their lands. 18 They threw their gods into the fire. They destroyed them because they are not really God. Human hands made them from wood and stone. 19 So now, our LORD and our God, save us from the power of (the king of Assyria)! Then all the people and all the kings in the world will know that only you are the LORD.’

20 Then Isaiah, (who was) the son of Amoz, sent a message to Hezekiah. ‘The LORD, (who is) the God of Israel, says, “I heard when you prayed to me about Sennacherib, the king of Assyria.” So,

21 this is what the LORD says about him.

            “(The) people who live in Zion

            do not like you.

            They laugh at you.

            (The) people who live in Jerusalem

            move the head about behind you.

22      Whom have you said bad things about?

            They were not true!

            Who is it that you have shouted at?

            Who is it that you have looked at proudly?

            (The answer is) theHoly (God) of Israel!

23      You have used your servants to say bad things about the Lord.

            You have said, ‘With many of my chariots

            I have gone up very high mountains,

            the highest (mountains) in Lebanon.

            I have cut its tallest cedars down,

            and the best of its pine trees.

            I went to its highest places and to its best forests.

24      I dug wells and I drank (the) water (from them).

            I made all the rivers in Egypt dry with my feet.’

25      Surely, you have heard (this)!

            I decided what to do a long time ago!

            I decided what to do in past (times)!

            Now it has happened.

            You have caused strong cities to become mountains of stones.

26      The people in them are not strong.

            They are not happy. And they are confused.

            They are like plants in a field.

            (They are like) the new parts of young green plants.

            (They are like) grass on the roof (of a house).

            (The hot winds burn them) before they can grow.

27      I know (everything about you).

            (I know) when you sit down.

            And (I know) when you go out.

            And (I know) when you come in.

            And (I know) when you shout proudly at me.

28      You have shouted proudly at me

            and you have said bad things about me.

            So I will put my hook in your nose

            and my bit in your mouth.

            And I will cause you to return home by the same way that you came.”

29 And this will show it to you, (Hezekiah).

            “This year, you will eat what grows from its own (seeds).

            And in the second year, (you will eat) what grows from (the first year’s seeds).

            But in the third year you will plant (seeds). And you will pick (what grows from them).

            And you will plant again the vineyards and you will enjoy their fruit.

30      And this will happen also to the people that remain in Judah.

            (They will be like plants.)

            They put roots down below (the ground) and they grow fruit above (it).

            (The people will be like that.)

31      (That will happen) because a remnant will come out from Jerusalem.

            And the people that remain will come out from Zion Hill.

            The great love that the LORD of Everything has (for his people) will cause that to happen!”

32 This is what the LORD says about the king of Assyria.

            “He will not come into this city,

            and he will not shoot an arrow here.

            He will not stand in front of it with a shield.

            He will not build mountains of earth against it.

33      He will return (to Assyria) by the way that he came,

            and he will not come into this city.”

            (This is) the promise of the LORD.

34      “So I will make this city safe and I will save it.

            (I will do this to keep) my good name.

            I promised my servant David (that I would do it). (That is why I will do it.)” ’

35 That night, the LORD’s angel went and he killed 185 000 men in the army from Assyria. When people got up in the morning, they saw all those dead bodies! 36 So Sennacherib, (who was) the king of Assyria, took his army away. He returned to (Assyria) and he stayed there in Nineveh. 37 (After that time) he was worshipping his god Nisroch in the house (of Nisroch). (Two of) his sons, Adrammelech and Sharezer, killed him with (their) swords. Then, they ran away into the country called Ararat. (So) Esarhaddon, (who was another of) his sons, ruled instead of (Sennacherib).

Notes about chapter 19

This chapter is almost the same as Isaiah chapter 37.

Verse 37 Students think that this happened about 20 years after verse 36.

Chapter 20

Hezekiah’s illness and his mistake

1 At that time, Hezekiah was very ill. He nearly died. And Isaiah the prophet, (who was) the son of Amoz, went to (Hezekiah). And (Isaiah) said to (Hezekiah), ‘This is what the LORD says. “Make everything ready (for your son), because you will die. You will not get well again.” ’ 2 Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and he prayed to the LORD. 3 And he said, ‘Remember, LORD, that I have been your good servant. I have always loved you very much. You have seen that I always did good things.’ And Hezekiah wept very much. 4 Then the LORD told Isaiah (again what) to say. This happened before he left the middle (of the king’s house). 5 ‘Go back! Say to Hezekiah, (who is) the leader of my people, “This is what the LORD says. (The LORD) is the God of your ancestor David. I have heard what you prayed. I have seen that you have cried. I will make you well again. On the third day from now you will go to the house of the LORD. 6 I will let you live for 15 more years. I will save you and this city from the power of the king of Assyria. Also, I will keep this city safe, because of my servant David.” ’ 7 And (Isaiah said), ‘Make some medicine with figs in it.’ So (the king’s servants) did. They put the medicine on the bad place on (Hezekiah’s) skin that made him ill. And he was soon well again.

8 Hezekiah had asked, ‘How will I know that the LORD will make me well again? (How will I know that) I will go up to the house of the LORD on the third day from now?’ 9 Isaiah answered, ‘This is a like a sign to you from the LORD. It will show you (that my words are true). (It is a message to you) that (tells you this). The LORD will do what he has promised (to do). Do you want the shadow (on these stairs) to go down 10 stairs? Or do you want it to go back up 10 stairs?’ 10 ‘It is easy to cause the shadow to go down 10 stairs’, said Hezekiah. ‘So, cause it to go back 10 stairs.’ 11 Then the prophet prayed to the LORD. And the LORD caused the shadow to go back 10 stairs. It had already gone down 10 stairs on the stairs that Ahaz had made.

12 When this happened, Merodach-Baladan was the king of Babylon. (He was) the son of Baladan. (Merodach-Baladan) sent Hezekiah letters and a gift. He had heard that (Hezekiah) was ill. 13 Hezekiah met the people with the messages (that the king of Babylon) had sent. (Hezekiah) showed to them everything that he had stored. (He showed them) silver and gold, spices and very good oil. (He showed them) all his weapons and everything else that was valuable. There was nothing in his palace or in his whole country that Hezekiah did not show them. 14 Then Isaiah the prophet went to King Hezekiah and (Isaiah) asked him, ‘What did these men say? And from where did they come to you?’ Then Hezekiah replied, ‘They came to me from the far country called Babylon.’ 15 The prophet asked, ‘What did they see in your palace?’ ‘They saw everything (that is) in my palace’, Hezekiah replied. ‘There is nothing among my valuable things that I did not show to them.’

16 Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, ‘Listen to what the LORD says. 17 “This is what will surely happen. (Soldiers from Babylon) will take everything (that is) in your palace to Babylon. They will take everything that your ancestors have stored here until now. They will not leave anything (here)”, says the LORD. 18 “And (soldiers from Babylon) will take away some of your own descendants, your sons that will be born to you. And they will become eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.” ’ 19 And Hezekiah replied, ‘You have spoken good words from the LORD.’ But what he thought was, ‘There will be no war. It will be safe while I am alive.’

20 All the other events while Hezekiah ruled (Judah) are in a book. It is called ‘the reports about the kings of Judah’. Everything that he did is in the book. It includes the (story of) the pool and the aqueduct, through which he brought water into the city (Jerusalem). 21 So Hezekiah died like his ancestors. And Manasseh, (who was) his son, became king after him.

Chapter 21

Manasseh becomes the king of Judah

1 Manasseh was 12 years old when he became king. He ruled in Jerusalem for 55 years. His mother’s name was Hephzibah. 2 Manasseh did very bad things in the sight of the LORD. He did all the bad things that the people before him (in Canaan) had done. The LORD had sent those people away before Israel’s people (had come into the country). 3 He built again the high places that his father Hezekiah had destroyed. He made altars for (the false god) Baal. And he made an Asherah pole, as King Ahab of Israel had done. He fell on to his knees in front of all the stars and he worshipped them. 4 He built altars in the house of the LORD. But the LORD had said (about his house), ‘I will put my Name in Jerusalem.’ 5 He built altars to all the stars in both courts which were outside the house of the LORD. 6 He burnt his own son in a fire (for one of the false gods). He used bad spirits (to do strange things). He used false gods to try to discover what would happen. He visited bad people to talk to dead people. He visited bad people who used magic. He did very, very bad things in the sight of the LORD. This made (the LORD) very, very angry. 7 He had cut a piece of wood into an Asherah pole. He put it in the house (of the LORD). But the LORD had said to both David and to his son, Solomon, ‘I have chosen Jerusalem out of all the tribes of Israel. I will put my Name in this house for all time. 8 I will never cause the feet of the people in Israel go away from this country again. I gave (this country) to their ancestors. But they must do everything that I asked them to do. They must obey all the Law that my servant Moses gave to them.’ 9 But the people did not listen (to the LORD). Manasseh caused them not to obey (the Law). Then, the people in Israel did more bad things than the people that the LORD had killed before them.

10 So the LORD said by his servants (who were) prophets, 11 ‘Manasseh (is) the king of Judah. He has done these really bad sins. He has done more bad things than the people called Amorites. They lived (in Canaan) before him. His false gods have caused (the people in) Judah to do many sins. 12 So the LORD, (who is) the God of Israel, says, “I will cause very, very bad things to happen to Jerusalem and to Judah. Those things will be a bad surprise to everybody who hears about them! 13 I will put a line that measures over Jerusalem. It is the line that I used against Samaria. And it is the plumbline that I used against Ahab’s family. I will clean Jerusalem as someone washes a dish. I will clean it and turn it. Its top will be under (the dish)!

14 I will leave the remnant of my people and I will give them to their enemies. All their enemies will rob them. Then they will kill them, 15 because they have done very bad things in my sight. They have made me very, very angry. (They have done that) since their ancestors came out from Egypt until today.” ’

16 Also, Manasseh poured out so much blood that he filled Jerusalem from one end to the other (with blood). (The blood was from) people who had not done anything wrong. And there were the sins that he had caused (the people in) Judah to do. They did very bad things in the sight of the LORD.

17 All the other events while Manasseh ruled are in a book. It is called ‘the reports about the kings of Judah’. It contains everything that he did. And it includes all his sins. 18 So Manasseh died like his ancestors. People buried him in the garden of the palace. It is called the garden of Uzza. And Amon, (who was) his son, became king after him.

Amon becomes the king of Judah

19 Amon was 22 years old when he became king. And he ruled in Jerusalem for two years. His mother’s name was Meshullemeth, (who was) the daughter of Haruz. (Haruz) was from Jotbah. 20 Amon did very bad things in the sight of the LORD, as his father Manasseh had done. 21 He did all the (bad) things that his father had done. He worshipped the false gods that his father had worshipped. He went down on his knees to them. 22 He left the LORD, (who was) the God of his ancestors. He did not do the things that the LORD wanted him to do. 23 Amon’s officers had some bad ideas against him. Then they killed him in his palace. 24 Then the people (who lived in) the country of Judah killed them. They killed all Amon’s killers. They made Josiah, (who was Amon’s) son, king instead. 25 The other events while Amon was king are in a book. It is called ‘the reports about the kings of Judah’. Everything that he did is in (that book). 26 People buried him in his grave in the garden of Uzza. Josiah, (who was) his son, became king after him.

Notes about chapter 21

Verses 4 and 7-8 Name has a capital N because it means God! God meant that they should not worship any other god in his house.

Verse 13 These are tools that a builder uses. The line measures if a wall is flat. Also, it measures how long it is. The metal is on the end of a line. It measures whether a wall is straight up. A builder measures his building. So God measures what his people have done. Read Amos 7:7-8 and Isaiah 28:17.

Verse 14 The word for ‘people’ really means ‘inheritance’. This means a man’s gift to his children when he dies.

Chapter 22

Josiah becomes the king of Judah

1 Josiah was 8 years old when he became king. He ruled in Jerusalem for 31 years. His mother’s name was Jedidah (who was) the daughter of Adaiah. (Adaiah) came from (a town called) Bozkath. 2 (Josiah) did what was right in the sight of the LORD. He lived like his ancestor David did. He did not fail to obey the LORD in any way.

Hilkiah finds the Law Book

3 When Josiah had been king for nearly 18 years, he sent Shaphan to the house of the LORD. (Shaphan was) the son of Azaliah, (who was) the son of Meshullam. (Josiah) said, 4 ‘Go up to Hilkiah, (who is) the leader of the priests. Ask him to get ready the money that people have brought into the house of the LORD. The people gave it to the men by the doors (of the house of the LORD). 5 (The priests) must give (the money) to the men who will be leaders for the work in the house (of the LORD). These leaders must pay the men who will mend the house of the LORD. 6 These men will work with wood, and they will build with stones. So they must buy wood. And they must buy stones that people have cut. They must buy them to mend the house (of the LORD). 7 But (the priests) do not need to ask how (the workers) used the money. The (workers) will use the money that (the priests) gave them in the right way.’

8 Hilkiah, (who was) the leader of the priests, said this to Shaphan. (Shaphan) wrote everything (for the king). ‘I have found the Law Book in the house of the LORD.’ He gave (the book) to Shaphan, who read it. 9 Then Shaphan, who wrote everything (for the king), went to the king, He said to him, ‘Your officers have paid all the money that was in the house of the LORD. They have given it to the workers and their leaders in the house (of the LORD).’ 10 Then Shaphan, who wrote everything (for the king), said to the king, ‘Hilkiah the priest has given me a book.’ And Shaphan read from (the book) in front of the king.

11 When the king heard the words from the Law Book, he tore his own clothes. 12 He said that Hilkiah, Ahikam, Acbor, Shaphan and Asaiah must do this. Hilkiah (was) the priest and Ahikam (was) the son of Shaphan. Acbor (was) the son of Micaiah and Shaphan wrote everything (for the king). Asaiah was the king’s helper. 13 ‘Go. And ask the LORD about what is in this book. (Ask) on my behalf, on behalf of the people (in Jerusalem) and on behalf of all (the people in Judah). Ask about this book that (Hilkiah) found. The LORD is very, very angry with us. He is so angry that it is like a fire! (This is because) our ancestors have not obeyed the words in this book. They have not done everything that is in the book. And (it is the same) for us.’

14 So Hilkiah, (who was) the priest, and Ahikam, Acbor, Shaphan and Asaiah went to speak to Huldah. (Huldah) was a prophetess. She was the wife of Shallum (who was) the son of Tikvah. (Tikvah was) the son of Harhas, who kept the king’s clothes. Huldah lived in the north part of Jerusalem. 15 She said to them, ‘(The LORD is) the God of Israel. This is what the LORD says. “Tell this to the man who sent you to me.” 16 This is what the LORD is saying. “I will bring much trouble to this place and to its people. It is all in the book that the king of Judah has read. 17 (This is because) they have gone away from me. They have burned incense to other (false) gods. All the false gods that they made with their hands have made me very, very angry. I am so angry with this place that it is like a fire. Nobody will put out (the fire).” 18 The king of Judah sent you to ask for (an answer) from the LORD. Give this answer (to the king). “The LORD, (who is) the God of Israel, says this. (He says it) about the words that you heard (from the Law Book).

19 I heard you (when you prayed to me),” says the LORD. “(I heard you) for these reasons:

·          You knew that you needed to do something.

·          You made yourself humble in front of the LORD.

·          You tore your clothes and you wept in front of me.

(You did all that) when you heard (my words). I spoke against this place and its people. I said that bad things would happen to them. (An enemy) will destroy them.

20 So I will bring you to your ancestors. And they will bury you in your grave in peace. You yourself will never see all the bad things that I will cause to happen to this place.” ’ That was the answer that they took back to the king.

Chapter 23

King Josiah and the covenant

1 So the king (Josiah) asked all the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem to come together.

2 He went up to the house of the LORD. All the people, from the least to the greatest, went with him. These people went:

·          the men from Judah

·          the people in Jerusalem

·          the priests and the prophets.

He read to them, while they listened, all the words in the Book of the Covenant. They had found this (book) in the house of the LORD.

3 The king stood in his place (in the house of the LORD). He promised, in front of the LORD, that he would obey the covenant. He promised these things:

·          He would work for the LORD and he would obey him.

·          He would try as much as he could to obey the LORD’s words, his rules and his laws.

So (Josiah) agreed with all the words that were in the Book of the Covenant. Then all the people also promised to obey the covenant.

4 Then the king spoke to Hilkiah and to the other priests. And he spoke to the men who watched at the door (of God’s house). He told them what they must do. Hilkiah (was) the leader of the priests. They must take out from the house of the LORD everything that people had made for Baal. And they must take out everything that people had made for Asherah and for all the stars (in the sky). He burned them outside Jerusalem, in a field in the Kidron Valley. Then he took the ashes to Bethel. 5 He sent away the priests of the false gods. The kings of Judah had them to burn incense on the high places. (These were in) the towns of Judah and (the hills) round Jerusalem. (These priests) burned incense to Baal, to the sun and to the moon. They also burned incense to all the stars and to the groups of stars. 6 He took the Asherah pole away from the house of the LORD to the Kidron Valley. (This valley was) outside Jerusalem. He burned the (Asherah pole) there. He made it into a powder and he threw the dirt (from it) over the graves of the people. 7 He also destroyed the houses where the male prostitutes from the house (of the LORD) lived. They were in the house of the LORD. Also, the women made cloth there for Asherah. 8 Josiah brought out all the priests (of false gods) from the towns in Judah. He destroyed the high places, where the priests had burned incense, from Geba to Beersheba. He destroyed the high places at (one of) the gates of the city (Jerusalem). It was called the Gate of Joshua, who was the ruler of the city. It is on the left side of the most important gate (of the city). 9 The priests from the high places did not work at the altar of the LORD in Jerusalem. But they did eat the unleavened bread with the other priests. 10 (Josiah) destroyed Topheth, which was in the Valley of Ben Hinnom. After this, nobody could use it to burn his son or his daughter in the fire to (the false god) Molech. 11 The kings of Judah had made (copies of) horses for the sun (god). (Josiah) removed them from near the door of the house of the LORD. (The horses) were in a court (outside the house). (It was) near the room of an officer called Nathan Melech. Josiah then burned the chariots that they had made for the sun (god). 12 The kings of Judah had built altars on the roof (of the house of the LORD). (They were) near the high room of Ahaz. (Josiah) knocked them down. Manasseh had built altars in the two courts of the house of the LORD. (Josiah) took them away from there and he broke them into pieces. He threw the bits into the Kidron Valley.

13 King (Josiah) also destroyed the high places that were on the east (side) of Jerusalem. They were on the south side of the hill called the Hill of Offence. King Solomon had built some of these (high places) for (these false gods):

·          Ashtoreth. (She was) a very, very bad female god. The people in Sidon (worshipped her).

·          Chemosh. (He was) a very, bad god. (The people in) Moab (worshipped him).

·          Molech. (He was) the very, very bad god of the people in Ammon.

14 (Josiah) broke the special stones into small pieces. He cut down the Asherah poles. He covered the places where they had been with human bones.

15 (Josiah) even destroyed the altar at Bethel. It was a high place that Jeroboam had made. (He was) the son of Nebat, who had caused the people of Israel to sin. He even destroyed that altar and high place! He burned the high place and he broke (the ash) into powder. He also burned the Asherah pole. 16 Then Josiah looked (at everything that was) round him. When he saw graves in the sides of hills, he sent (someone) to take the bones from them. They burned them on the altar, (so that people would not use it again). He had made it dirty. God had said that this would happen. He had said it by a man of God. 17 Then (the king) asked, ‘I can see a (large) stone. What is it?’ The men from the city said to him, ‘It is the grave of the man of God. He came from Judah. He said things against the altar in Bethel. He said what you would do to it.’ 18 ‘Do not move (his stone)’, he said. ‘Do not let anyone move his bones.’ So they did not move his bones, or the bones of the prophet who had come from Samaria. 19 And Josiah did to all the towns in Samaria what he had done in Bethel. The kings of Israel had built altars (in) the high places, which had made (the LORD) angry. (Josiah) took away all these things. He made them dirty (so that people would not use them again). 20 And he killed all the priests (of the false gods) at the high places. (He killed them) on their own altars. He burned human bones on (the altars). Then he went back to Jerusalem.

21 Then the king said what all the people must do. ‘Have a special meal (called) the Passover. (Have it) for the LORD, (who is) your God. Obey the rules that are in Book of the Covenant.’ 22 There was never a Passover like it, since the days (in the Book of) Judges. There was nothing like it, all the times when there were kings in Judah and Israel. 23 Josiah had been king for nearly 18 years when they had this Passover for the LORD.

24 Josiah did all these things to obey the rules in the Law (Book). This was the book that Hilkiah the priest had found in the house of the LORD.

·          (Josiah) sent away the people that tried to speak to dead people.

·          (He sent away) the men that did magic.

·          (He destroyed) the false gods that were in people’s houses.

·          (He destroyed) all the other really bad things that were in Judah and in Jerusalem.

25 There was never a king like (Josiah). He turned to the LORD like (no other king), either before him or after him. (He obeyed the LORD) with all his mind and with all his soul and with all his strength. He obeyed all the Law of Moses.

26 But the LORD was still very angry with Judah. He was angry because of everything that Manasseh had done to make him angry. He was so angry that it was like a hot fire. 27 So the LORD said, ‘I will also send Judah away from where I am. (I will send them) as I sent Israel away. And I will go away from Jerusalem, the city which I chose for my house. I said about (my house), “My Name will always be there.” ’

28 Other things happened while Josiah ruled (Judah). Everything that he did is in a book. It is called ‘the reports about the kings of Judah’.

King Josiah dies

29 While Josiah was king, Pharaoh Neco (was) the king of Egypt. (Pharaoh Neco) went up to the River Euphrates, to help the king of Assyria. King Josiah marched out to meet (Pharaoh Neco). There was a war between them, and Neco killed (Josiah) at Megiddo. 30 Josiah’s servants brought his dead body from Megiddo to Jerusalem in a chariot. People buried him in his own grave. And the people in the country (Judah) poured oil on Jehoahaz. They made him king after his father. (Jehoahaz was) the son of Josiah.

Jehoahaz becomes the king of Judah

31 Jehoahaz was 23 years old when he became king. He ruled in Jerusalem for three months. His mother’s name was Hamutal, (who was) the daughter of Jeremiah. She came from Libnah. 32 (Jehoahaz) did very bad things in the sight of the LORD, as his ancestors had done. 33 Pharaoh Neco tied him (in a prison) at Riblah, so (Jehoahaz) could not rule in Jerusalem. (Riblah is) in the country called Hamath. (Neco) caused Judah to pay him 100 talents of silver and one talent of gold.

Jehoiakim becomes the king of Judah

34 And then Pharaoh Neco made Eliakim, (who was Josiah’s) son, king (of Judah). (He became king) after his father Josiah. (Neco) changed Eliakim’s name to Jehoiakim. Then he took Jehoahaz away with him to Egypt. (Jehoahaz) died in Egypt. 35 Jehoiakim paid Pharaoh Neco (all) the silver and gold that he asked for. The people in Judah had to pay money to the government so that he could do this. (They gave) the silver and gold that he asked for.

36 Jehoiakim was 25 years old when he became king. He ruled for 11 years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Zebidah. (She was) the daughter of Pedaiah. (Pedaiah) came from Rumah. 37 And (Jehoiakim) did bad things in the sight of the LORD, as his ancestors had done.

Notes about chapter 23

Verse 2 ‘He went up’ because the house of the LORD was on a hill. The hill was called Zion.

Verse 4 He took the ashes to Bethel because of what he would do there in verses 15-18.

Verse 6 They buried people outside the city in the Kidron Valley. It was the place where the people in Jerusalem buried dead bodies.

Verse 7 ‘In the house’ means that they were by the walls of the house of the LORD. ‘They’ maybe means both the houses and the prostitutes.

Verse 10 Topheth may mean ‘a place where there is a fire’. The Valley of Ben Hinnom was to the south and west of Jerusalem.

Verse 11 They used the horses and chariots when they worshipped the sun. Bible students do not know how. Kathleen Kenyon had found small copies of horses near this part of Jerusalem.

Verse 13 The hill called the Hill of Offence was maybe on the Hill of Olives, to the east of Jerusalem. Here, ‘offence’ means ‘something that makes very bad or destroys’. This was because there were many altars for false gods there.

Verse 14 The special stones helped people to worship their false gods. People would not go where there were dead bodies, Numbers 5:2.

Verse 15 Bible students do not know how you can burn a hill! Maybe it means everything that was with the false god and the Asherah pole.

Verse 16 The story of the man of God is in 1 Kings 13:1-3, 29-32.

Verse 30 The Jews always poured oil (from olives) on to people when they made them into kings. The Hebrew words for ‘poured oil on’ mean ‘they messiahed him’. ‘Messiah’ is a Hebrew word for ‘leader’.

Chapter 24

Nebuchadnezzar attacks Judah

1 While Jehoiakim was king, Nebuchadnezzar attacked the country (Judah). (Nebuchadnezzar) was the king of Babylon. Jehoiakim had to be his servant for three years. But then, Jehoiakim changed his mind. He decided not to be (Nebuchadnezzar’s) servant. 2 The LORD sent armies against (Jehoiakim). They came from Babylon, Aram, Moab and Ammon. (The LORD) sent them to destroy Judah. He had said that he would do that. He had said it by his prophets. (His prophets) were his servants. 3 It is sure that these things should happen to Judah. The LORD had said that they must happen. That is why they happened. (They had to happen) to remove Judah from where the LORD was. That was because of the sins of Manasseh and because of everything that he had done. 4 (Manasseh) had poured out blood from people who had not done anything wrong. He had filled Jerusalem with the blood of those people. The LORD did not want to excuse him. 5 The other things that King Jehoiakim did are in a book. It is called ‘the reports about the kings of Judah’. Everything that he did (is in that book). 6 Jehoiakim died like his ancestors. And Jehoiachin, (who was) his son, became king after him. 7 The king of Egypt did not march out (with his army) from his own country again. (That was because) the king of Babylon had taken a lot of his ground. He had taken all the ground from the Valley of Egypt to the River Euphrates.

8 Jehoiachin was 18 years old when he became king. And he ruled in Jerusalem for three months. His mother’s name was Nehushta. (She was) the daughter of Elnathan and she came from Jerusalem. 9 (Jehoiachin) did very bad things in the sight of the LORD, as his father had done.

10-11The leaders of Nebuchadnezzar’s (army) marched to Jerusalem. They stayed all round it. And Nebuchadnezzar, (who was) the king of Babylon, himself came up to the city (Jerusalem). (He came) while his army leaders were there.

12 All these people went out to the king of Babylon (Nebuchadnezzar):

·          Jehoiachin, the king of Judah

·          his mother (Nehushta)

·          (Jehoiachin’s) servants, his leaders and his eunuchs.

And the king of Babylon took Jehoiachin away when Nebuchadnezzar had ruled for less than 8 years.

13 Nebuchadnezzar took all the valuable things from the house of the LORD and from the king’s palace. He took away all the things that Solomon had made out of gold, for the house of the LORD. The LORD had said that this would happen. 14 Nebuchadnezzar took away all the people from Jerusalem into exile. He took 10 000 people. They were officers, soldiers and people that could make beautiful things. He left only the very poor people in the country. 15 Nebuchadnezzar took Jehoiachin to (a place like) a prison in Babylon. He also took from Jerusalem the king’s mother, his wives, his officers and the important men in the country (Judah). 16 The king of Babylon also took away to Babylon the whole army of 7000 men. They were strong men and ready for war. He also took 1000 people that could make beautiful things. 17 Jehoiachin’s father’s brother (was called) Mattaniah. (Nebuchadnezzar) made him king instead of Jehoiachin. (Nebuchadnezzar) changed (Mattaniah’s) name to Zedekiah.

18 Zedekiah was 21 years old when he became king. And he ruled in Jerusalem for 11 years. His mother’s name was Hamutal. (She was) the daughter of Jeremiah and she came from Libnah. 19 (Zedekiah) did bad things in the sight of the LORD, as Jehoiakim had done. 20 All this happened to Jerusalem and to Judah because the LORD was so angry (with them). In the end, (the LORD) sent them away from where he was. Then Zedekiah began to fight against the king of Babylon.

Notes about chapter 24

Verses 3 and 20 At this time, many people believed that a god was only powerful in his own country. But the LORD God is powerful everywhere! He left Jerusalem when Nebuchadnezzar took the people into exile. Isaiah tells us something very important. Before the people would return to Judah, God would return to Jerusalem. (See Isaiah 40:9-11.)

Chapter 25

Nebuchadnezzar destroys Jerusalem

Nebuchadnezzar did not only destroy Jerusalem. He took away all the people who were in its government, too.

1 Nebuchadnezzar, (who was) the king of Babylon, marched against Jerusalem, with all his army. He did that when Zedekiah had ruled for nearly 9 years, on the 10th day of the 10th month. (The army) stayed outside the city. They built walls all round (the city), which were higher than the walls (of Jerusalem). 2 The army stayed (outside the city), until Zedekiah had been king for nearly 11 years. 3 By the 9th day of the month, the famine was very bad. There was no food for the people to eat. 4 Then the army (from Babylon) broke the city wall. (They did it) on a road near the two walls by the king’s garden. The army from Babylon was all round (the city). So the king (of Judah) ran away along (another) road to Arabah. The king (and his servants) went in the night. 5 But the soldiers from Babylon followed the king. They reached him on some flat land near Jericho. All his soldiers became separate from him and they ran away to different places. 6 But (the soldiers from Babylon) caught the king (Zedekiah) and they took him to the king of Babylon at Riblah. There (the king of Babylon) said what would happen to (Zedekiah). 7 They killed all Zedekiah’s sons, while (Zedekiah) watched. Then they destroyed Zedekiah’s eyes. They tied him with a line of metal pieces that joined together. And they took him to Babylon.

8 When Nebuchadnezzar had been the king of Babylon for nearly 19 years, Nebuzaradan came to Jerusalem. It was on the 7th day of the 5th month. (Nebuzaradan) was an officer (of the king of Babylon). He was the leader of the soldiers that made the king safe. 9 (Nebuzaradan) burned the house of the LORD, the king’s palace and all the other houses in Jerusalem. He burned every important building (that was in Jerusalem). 10 All the army from Babylon knocked down the walls round Jerusalem. Their leader was the leader of the soldiers that made king (Nebuchadnezzar) safe. 11 Nebuzaradan was the leader of the soldiers (that made the king of Babylon safe). He sent into exile all the people who remained in the city (Jerusalem). He did the same to all the people (in the country called Judah). He included those who had joined the king of Babylon(’s army). 12 But (Nebuzaradan) let some of the poorest people stay behind. They had to work in the vineyards and in the fields.

13 The army from Babylon broke the bronze pillars that were in the house of the LORD. They also took everything that they could move. And (they took) the large bronze bowl for water. They carried all the bronze away to Babylon. 14 They also took away the pots, the spades, the tools for the lights and the spoons. And (they took away) everything else that people had used in the work (of the house of the LORD). 15 The leader of the soldiers that made (the king of Babylon) safe also took away things. He took away the things in which they had put fire or water. (He took away) everything that (Solomon had) made out of gold or silver. 16 Solomon had made the two bronze pillars and the large bowl for water. And (he had made) the things that people could move, for the house of the LORD. The bronze in all this was more than they could weigh! 17 Each pillar was 8 metres (8 yards) high. The bronze piece on the top of one pillar was more than a metre (1 yard) high. There were fruits called pomegranates at the top, (that Solomon had) made out of bronze. The other pillar, with its pomegranates, was the same.

18 The leader of the soldiers (that kept Nebuchadnezzar safe) caught some people. These were the people:

·          Seraiah, who was the leader of the priests

·          Zephaniah, who was the next most important priest

·          three people who stood by the door (of the house of the LORD).

19 He also caught some of the people that were still in the city (Jerusalem):

·          the leader of the soldiers

·          5 of the men that had told the king (of Judah) what he should do

·          the leader of the men who had caused the men in the country to join the army

·          60 of his helpers whom they found in the city (Jerusalem).

20 Nebuzaradan was the leader of the soldiers that kept Nebuchadnezzar safe. He took all those people and he brought them to the king of Babylon at Riblah. 21 There, at Riblah, in the country of Hamath, the (soldiers of the) king killed them all. So Judah’s people went into exile, away from their own country.

22 Nebuchadnezzar (was) the king of Babylon. He made Gedaliah the leader of the people that were still in Jerusalem. (Gedaliah was) the son of Ahikam, (who was) the son of Shaphan.

23 The leaders (of Zedekiah’s) army and their men heard that the king of Babylon had made Gedaliah leader (of Jerusalem). So these people came to Gedaliah at Mizpah:

·          Ishmael, (who was) the son of Nethaniah

·          Johanan, (who was) the son of Kareah

·          Seraiah, (who was) the son of Tanhumeth, (who came from) Netophah

·          Jaazaniah, (who was) the son of a descendant of Maachah

·          all their men.

24 Gedaliah promised that all these men would be safe. ‘Do not be afraid of the leaders from Babylon’, he said. ‘Live in the country (Judah), but be servants of the king of Babylon. Then you will not have any problems.’ 25 But in the 7th month, Ishmael, (who was) the son of Nethaniah, came with 10 men. They killed Gedaliah, the men from Judah and the men from Babylon who were with him in Mizpah. (Nethaniah was) the son of Elishama, who belonged to the king’s (Zedekiah’s) family. 26 When that happened, everybody ran away to Egypt. That included the leaders of the army, the poor people and the important people. They were all afraid of the people from Babylon.

27 When King Jehoiachin of Judah had been in exile for nearly 37 years, Evil Merodach became the king of Babylon. On the 27th day of the 12th month, he took Jehoiachin out from the prison. 28 (Evil Merodach) spoke kindly to (Jehoiachin). He gave him a seat that was more important than (the seats) of the other kings with him in Babylon. 29 So Jehoiachin took off the clothes that he had worn in the prison. Until he died, he always ate (his food) at the king’s table (in Babylon). 30 Every day, the king (of Babylon) supplied Jehoiachin regularly with everything (that he needed). That happened for as long as (Jehoiachin) was alive.

Notes about chapter 25

Verse 1 The army from Babylon could stand on their new walls. Then they could shoot arrows from their bows into Jerusalem.

Verse 3 Jeremiah 52:6 says that it was the 4th month.

Verse 4 Different translations say that Zedekiah ran away near the two walls by the king’s garden. Our translation is like the translation of T. R. Hobbs in the Word Biblical Commentary.

Verses 13, 16 The large bronze bowl for water was something special in the house of the LORD. It contained a lot of water. They called the bronze pillars Jachin and Boaz. They were pieces of bronze about 8 metres (9 yards) high.

Word List

altar
a special table in or outside the house of the LORD, or of a god. People burned animals and other things on them for God or for their gods.
ancestor
ancestors are people years ago that your parents came from.
angels
God’s special servants in his home in heaven. Usually, we cannot see them.
aqueduct
like a pipe that took water from one place to another place. Ahaz had made this aqueduct. It took water into the city (Jerusalem).
Aram
another name for Syria.
arrow
a piece of wood with a sharp point at the end of it. People shot them from bows.
Asherah pole
a false god on a tall stick.
B.C.
50 B.C. means the year that was 50 years before Jesus came, and so on.
Baal
male god of the people who lived in Canaan before the Jews came.
barley
a plant that people make flour from.
bit
what they put in a horse’s mouth to lead it.
bowl
something to put things into. Bowls are usually round.
bronze
people mix two other metals to make bronze.
camel
a big animal that can carry heavy things.
Canaan
the name of Judah and Israel before the Jews had come into the country.
Carites
foreign soldiers; Bible students do not know where they came from.
cedar
a large and beautiful tree; its leaves are always green.
chariot
a kind of car that soldiers rode in. Horses pulled chariots.
City of David
the part of Jerusalem where King David had lived.
corn
people use corn to make flour and bread.
courts
special yards outside the house of the LORD. Only the priests could go into the house itself. Outside the house, there was a court for men and another one for women.
covenant
when two people promise things to each other. God’s covenant with his people was very special. He agreed to be his people’s God and to help them. They agreed to love him and to obey him. 2 Kings 23:3 explains the covenant while Josiah was king of Judah.
crown
a special hat that a king wears. People usually make crowns out of gold.
descendant
a child, grandchild, and so on; a person in your family who lives after you are dead.
donkey
an animal like a small horse.
eunuch
a servant in the king’s house. Eunuchs were not able to have sex.
exile
away from your own country with little or no hope that you can return to it. People like this were ‘in exile’.
family
family can sometimes mean not only sons and daughters but grandchildren and their children and so on; sometimes it can mean grandfathers and their fathers.
famine
a time when there is not much food, or no food, so people die.
father
(here) somebody that you obeyed as you would obey your own father.
fig trees
trees that have fruits called figs.
generation
the time between when a man is born and when his child is born.
grave
a hole in the ground or in the rocks, where people bury dead bodies.
harpist
someone who makes music on something called a harp; you use your fingers to make music with a harp.
heaven
the place where God lives and rules.
Hebrew
the language that the Jews spoke; they wrote the Book of 2 Kings in the Hebrew language.
high places
altars on hills, where people worshipped their gods.
Hittite
one of a group of people who had lived in Canaan before the Jews lived there.
holy
to be good and to be like God. Only God is really holy.
honey
something that is very sweet, like sugar; insects make it.
hook
a piece of metal that has this shape: ?.
humble
humble people do not think that they are important.
idol
a thing that people make out of wood, stone or metal. It is like a man or a god. People worship it and they pray to it. But nobody should do this.
in peace
where there is no war. In 2 Kings 22:20 it means ‘before the war when God destroys Judah’.
in my sight
The same as “in the sight of the LORD”. Either, while the LORD watched; or, as the LORD thought. Maybe both!
in the sight of the *LORD
either, while the LORD watched; or, as the LORD thought. Maybe both!
incense
something that made a nice smell when people burned it.
Jew
a person who is born from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their children.
laugh at
laugh against someone to cause him to feel bad.
Law
the first 5 books in the Bible.
laws
the rules that God gave to his people, most importantly those in the Old Testament; or, the rules that a government makes.
leprosy
an illness of the skin. People with leprosy (called lepers) had to live away from other people.
lion
wild animal, like a very large cat; lions sometimes eat people.
listen
the Hebrew word for listen means ‘hear and obey’.
LORD
a special name for God. It translates the Hebrew word ‘Yahweh’. It may mean ‘always alive’.
lord
master, someone with authority. With a capital L it is a name for God. It is not the same word in Hebrew as LORD.
Lord
master. With a capital L it is a name for God. It does not translate the same Hebrew word that we have translated as LORD.
LORD of Everything
a name for God. Isaiah often used it.
magic
when people use bad spirits to do strange things.
man of God
in 2 Kings, it is often a name for Elisha.
oil
not car oil, but from a fruit called the olive. They burned the oil to give them light. They used it in other ways too.
Old Testament
the first part of the Bible, which the writers wrote before the life of Jesus.
olive
a tree with small fruits (or the fruits themselves) that people use to make oil. They burned the oil to give them light. They used it in other ways too.
palace
a large and beautiful house that a king lives in.
Passover
an important holy day for the Jews. They ate a special meal on this day every year; this was to remember that God made them free from being slaves in Egypt at the time of Moses; they came to Jerusalem, to meet in God’s house; and then they ate a special meal together.
peace
when we and God are friends; or, when there is no war, and when people do not argue.
pillar
a tall, round bit of stone, metal or wood that keeps something up.
pine
a beautiful tree. Its leaves are always green.
piss
water that goes out of our bodies.
plan
one or more ideas (here, bad ideas).
plumbline
a piece of metal that hangs on a line. The metal is called lead. It shows a builder whether a wall is straight up.
pregnant
a pregnant woman has a baby inside her.
priest
a special servant of God. Priests sacrificed animals to God in God’s house in Jerusalem. Priests came from the tribe of Levi. False gods also had priests, as in 2 Kings 23:5.
prophet
someone that tells people what God, or a false god, is saying.
prophetess
a woman who tells people what God is saying.
prostitute
someone that has sex with people for money.
proudly
when you think that you are better than other people.
Pul
another name for Tiglath Pileser.
punish
hurt somebody because they have done wrong things.
remnant
a small bit of something that was larger.
roll up
make it into a ball.
roots
part of plant in the ground.
Sabbath
the 7th day of the week for Jews. People worshipped the LORD on Sabbaths and when the moon was new.
sackcloth
very hairy clothes. People wore sackcloth when they were very sad.
sacrifice
to kill animals and then burn them. This is how they offered them to God. The word also means the things (usually animals, but sometimes children) that they offered.
shekel
an amount of money among the Jews; students think that it was about 11 grams of silver (0.4 ounces).
shield
a soldier holds this over himself to stop things that would hit him.
silver
a valuable metal, like gold.
sin
it is a sin when we do not obey God. Also, we sin when we do not obey God.
soul
the part of us that lives after our bodies die.
spear
a long stick with a knife at the top to throw at enemies. A long piece of wood with a sharp point at the end. Soldiers used spears to fight.
spices
they had a nice or strong smell.
spirit
in 2 Kings 2:9, 15 what God had given to Elijah so that he could do great things.
stew
food with meat and vegetables in it.
strength
our strength makes us strong.
sword
a long, sharp knife that soldiers used.
talent
about 34 kilos (75 pounds). But some students say that a talent was sometimes twice as heavy as that.
tent
a small house that people made from animal skins and other materials. People could move the tents about.
thistle
a weed.
treason
when somebody fights against their own country or against their ruler, it is treason.
tribe
a very large family group. There were 12 tribes in Israel. But some people say that there were really 13. That is because there were 2 ‘tribes of Joseph’: Ephraim and Manasseh.
trumpet
you use your mouth to make loud music with a trumpet.
unleavened bread
bread that had no yeast in it. Yeast made the usual bread that people ate.
vine
a plant that grows fruits called grapes.
vineyard
a field where people grow vines.
weapon
something to fight people with, like a sword.
wine
a drink with alcohol in it. People make it from grapes. Grapes are fruits that grow on vines.
worship
tell someone that they are very great; also, tell them that you love them; to love and to be a servant of someone.
yeast
people put yeast into flour and water to make bread. The yeast grows in the bread and it causes the bread to become bigger.
Zion
the name of a hill in Jerusalem. People often use it to mean all Jerusalem.

Book List

Alfred Barry, DD ~ A Bible Commentary for English Readers, Volume 3 ~ Cassell and Company

B. Davidson ~ Analytical Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon ~ Bagster, 1959

J. J. S. Perowne ~ Kings 1 and 2 ~ Cambridge University Press, 1897

Frank L. Paine ~ Miracle of Time ~ Shiloah Ministries, 1994

T. R. Hobbs ~ Word Biblical Commentary Volume 13, 2 Kings ~ Word Books, Waco, Texas, 1985

Oxford Bible Atlas, Third Edition ~ OUP, 1995

John R. Kohlenberger III ~ The Interlinear NIV Hebrew-English Old Testament ~ Zondervan Publishing House, 1987

Bibles

Authorised Version, 1611.

English Version for the Deaf ~ Baker Book House, 1992.

New Living Translation ~ Tyndale House Publishers, 1997.

The Promise, CEV ~ Nelson, 1995.

Info

© Wycliffe Associates (UK), 1997-2008

This version published June 2008

The translated Bible text has been through Advanced Checking.