For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked shall perish. Psalm 1:6
2 Kings 22-23
2 King’s 22
Josiah’s Good Reign in Judah
1 Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned 31 years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jedidah the daughter of Adaiah of Bozkath. 2 He did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord, and walked in all the ways of David his father, and did not turn away to the right or to the left.
Josiah Repairs the Temple
3 In the eighteenth year of king Josiah, the king sent Shaphan, the son of Azaliah the son of Meshullam, the scribe, to the house of the Lord, saying,
4 “Go up to Hilkiah the high priest, that he may count the money which has been brought into house of the Lord, which the keepers of the threshold have gathered from the people. 5 Let them deliver it into the hands of the workmen who have the oversight of the house of the Lord; and let them give it to the workmen who are in the house of the Lord, to repair the damage to the house, 6 to the carpenters, and to the builders, and to the masons, and for buying timber and cut stone to repair the house. 7 However there was no accounting made with them of the money that was delivered into their hands; for they dealt faithfully.”
Hilkiah Finds the Book of the Law
8 Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the scribe, “I have found the book of the law in the house of the Lord.” Hilkiah delivered the book to Shaphan, and he read it. 9 Shaphan the scribe came to the king, and brought the king word again, and said, “Your servants have emptied out the money that was found in the house, and have delivered it into the hands of the workmen who have the oversight of the house of the Lord.” 10 Shaphan the scribe told the king, “Hilkiah the priest has delivered a book to me.” Then Shaphan read it before the king.
11 When the king had heard the words of the book of the law, he tore his clothes. 12 The king commanded Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam the son of Shaphan, Achbor the son of Micaiah, Shaphan the scribe, and Asaiah the king’s servant, 13 “Go inquire of the Lord for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that is found; for great is the Lord’s wrath that is burning against us, because our fathers have not listened to the words of this book, to do according to all that is written concerning us.”
14 So Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Achbor, Shaphan, and Asaiah, went to Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tikvah, the son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe (now she lived in Jerusalem in the second quarter); and they talked with her.
15 She said to them, “The Lord God of Israel says, ‘Tell the man who sent you to me, 16 “The Lord says, ‘I will bring tragedy on this place, and on its inhabitants, all the words of the book which the king of Judah has read. 17 Because they have forsaken me, and have burned incense to other gods, that they might provoke me to anger with all the works of their hands, therefore my wrath shall be kindled against this place, and it will not be quenched.’ ”
18 But to the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the Lord, tell him, “The Lord God of Israel says, ‘Concerning the words which you have heard, 19 because your heart was tender, and you humbled yourself before the Lord, when you heard what I spoke against this place, and against its inhabitants, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and have torn your clothes, and wept before me; I also have heard you,’ says the Lord. 20 ‘Therefore, I will gather you to your fathers, and you will be gathered to your grave in peace. Your eyes will not see all the disaster which I will bring on this place.’ ” ’ ”
So they brought this message back to the king.
2 Kings 23
Josiah Renews the Covenant
1 The king sent for all the elders of Judah and of Jerusalem, and they gathered to him. 2 The king went up to the house of the Lord, and all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem with him, with the priests, the prophets, and all the people, both small and great; and he read in their hearing all the words of the book of the covenant which was found in the house of the Lord. 3 The king stood by the pillar, and made a covenant before the Lord, to walk after the Lord, and to keep his commandments, his testimonies, and his statutes, with all his heart, and all his soul, to confirm the words of this covenant that were written in this book; and all the people agreed to the covenant.
Josiah Destroys Idolatry
4 The king commanded Hilkiah the high priest, and the priests of the second order, and the keepers of the threshold, to bring out of the temple of the Lord all the vessels that were made for Baal, for the Asherah, and for all the army of the heavens, and he burned them outside of Jerusalem in the fields of the Kidron, and carried their ashes to Bethel. 5 He got rid of the idolatrous priests, whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense in the high places in the cities of Judah, and in the places around Jerusalem; those also who burned incense to Baal, to the sun, and to the moon, and to the planets, and to all the army of the sky. 6 He brought out the Asherah from the house of the Lord, outside of Jerusalem, to the brook Kidron, and burned it at the brook Kidron, and beat it to dust, and cast its dust on the graves of the common people. 7 He broke down the houses of the male shrine prostitutes that were in the house of the Lord, where the women wove hangings for the Asherah.
8 He brought all the priests out of the cities of Judah, and defiled the high places where the priests had burned incense, from Geba to Beersheba; and he broke down the high places of the gates that were at the entrance of the gate of Joshua the governor of the city, which were to the left of the gate to the city. 9 Nevertheless the priests of the high places didn’t come up to the altar of the Lord in Jerusalem, but they ate unleavened bread among their brothers.
10 He defiled Topheth, which is in the valley of the children of Hinnom, that no man might make his son or his daughter pass through the fire to Molech. 11 He took away the horses that the kings of Judah had given to the sun, at the entrance of the house of the Lord, by the room of Nathan Melech the officer, who was in the court; and he burned the chariots of the sun with fire.
12 The king broke down the altars that were on the roof of the upper room of Ahaz, which the kings of Judah had made, and the altars which Manasseh had made in the two courts of the house of the Lord, and beat them down from there, and cast their dust into the brook Kidron. 13 The king defiled the high places that were before Jerusalem, which were on the right hand of the Mountain of Corruption, which Solomon the king of Israel had built for Ashtoreth the abomination of the Sidonians, and for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, and for Milcom the abomination of the children of Ammon. 14 He broke the pillars in pieces, cut down the Asherah poles, and filled their places with the bones of men.
15 Moreover the altar that was at Bethel, and the high place which Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who caused Israel to sin, had made, that altar and the high place, he broke down; and he burned the high place and beat it to dust, and burned the Asherah. 16 As Josiah turned himself, he spied the tombs that were there in the mountain; and took the bones out of the tombs, and burned them on the altar, and defiled it, according to the word of the Lord which the man of God proclaimed, who proclaimed these things.
17 Then he said, “What monument is that which I see?”
The men of the city told him, “It is the tomb of the man of God, who came from Judah, and proclaimed these things that you have done against the altar of Bethel.”
18 He said, “Let him be! Let no one move his bones.” So they let his bones alone, with the bones of the prophet who came out of Samaria.
19 All the houses also of the high places that were in the cities of Samaria, which the kings of Israel had made, provoking the Lord to anger, Josiah took away, and did to them according to all the acts that he had done in Bethel. 20 He killed all the priests of the high places that were there, on the altars, and burned the bones of men on them; and he returned to Jerusalem.
Josiah Restores the Passover
21 The king commanded all the people, saying, “Keep the Passover to the Lord your God, as it is written in this book of the covenant.” 22 Surely there was not kept such a Passover from the days of the judges who judged Israel, nor in all the days of the kings of Israel, nor of the kings of Judah; 23 but in the eighteenth year of king Josiah, this Passover was kept to the Lord in Jerusalem.
24 Moreover Josiah removed those who had familiar spirits, the wizards, and the teraphim, and the idols, and all the abominations that were seen in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, that he might confirm the words of the law which were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the house of the Lord. 25 There was no king like him before him, who turned to the Lord with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; and there was none like him who arose after him.
26 Notwithstanding, the Lord didn’t turn from the fierceness of his great wrath, with which his anger burned against Judah, because of all the provocation with which Manasseh had provoked him. 27 The Lord said, “I will also remove Judah out of my sight, as I have removed Israel, and I will cast off this city which I have chosen, Jerusalem, and the house of which I said, ‘My name shall be there.’ ”
28 Now the rest of the acts of Josiah, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? 29 In his days, Pharaoh Necoh king of Egypt went up against the king of Assyria to the river Euphrates; and king Josiah went against him; and Pharaoh Necoh killed him at Megiddo, when he had seen him. 30 His servants carried him in a chariot, dead from Megiddo, and brought him to Jerusalem, and buried him in his own tomb. The people of the land took Jehoahaz the son of Josiah, and anointed him, and made him king in his father’s place.
Jehoahaz Succeeds Josiah
31 Jehoahaz was 23 years old when he began to reign; and he reigned three months in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Hamutal the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah. 32 He did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his fathers had done. 33 Pharaoh Necoh put him in chains at Riblah in the land of Hamath, that he might not reign in Jerusalem; and imposed on the land, a tribute of 7,500 pounds of silver and 75 pounds of gold.
34 Pharaoh Necoh made Eliakim the son of Josiah king in the place of Josiah his father, and changed his name to Jehoiakim; but he took Jehoahaz away, and he came to Egypt and died there. 35 Jehoiakim gave the silver and the gold to Pharaoh; but he taxed the land to give the money Pharaoh demanded. He exacted the silver and the gold from the people of the land, from everyone according to his assessment, to give it to Pharaoh Necoh.
Jehoiakim’s Evil Reign in Judah
36 Jehoiakim was 25 years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Zebidah the daughter of Pedaiah of Rumah. 37 He did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his fathers had done.
Paul’s Defense to the Crowd
1 “Brothers and fathers, listen to the defense which I now make to you.”
2 When they heard that he spoke to them in the Hebrew language, they were even more quiet. He said, 3 “I am indeed a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, instructed according to the strict tradition of the law of our fathers, being zealous for God, even as you all are today. 4 I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women. 5 As also the high priest and all the council of the elders testify, from whom also I received letters to the brothers, and traveled to Damascus to bring them also who were there to Jerusalem in bonds to be punished.
6 As I made my journey, and came close to Damascus, about noon, suddenly a great light shone around me from the sky. 7 I fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ 8 I answered, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ He said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you persecute.’
9 “Those who were with me indeed saw the light and were afraid, but they didn’t understand the voice of him who spoke to me. 10 I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ The Lord said to me, ‘Get up, and go into Damascus. There you will be told about all the things which are appointed for you to do.’ 11 When I couldn’t see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of those who were with me, I came into Damascus.
12 One Ananias, a devout man according to the law, well reported of by all the Jews who lived in Damascus, 13 came to me, and standing by me said to me, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight!’ In that very hour I looked up at him. 14 He said, ‘The God of our fathers has appointed you to know his will, and to see the Righteous One, and to hear a voice from his mouth. 15 For you will be a witness for him to all men of what you have seen and heard.16 Now why do you wait? Arise, be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.’
17 “When I had returned to Jerusalem, and while I prayed in the temple, I fell into a trance, 18 and saw him saying to me, ‘Hurry and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not receive testimony concerning me from you.’ 19 I said, ‘Lord, they themselves know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue those who believed in you. 20 When the blood of Stephen, your witness, was shed, I also was standing by, consenting to his death, and guarding the cloaks of those who killed him.’
21 “He said to me, ‘Depart, for I will send you out far from here to the Gentiles.’”
Paul the Roman Citizen
22 They listened to him until he said that; then they lifted up their voice and said, “Rid the earth of this fellow, for he isn’t fit to live!”
23 As they cried out, threw off their cloaks, and threw dust into the air, 24 the commanding officer commanded him to be brought into the barracks, ordering him to be examined by scourging, that he might know for what crime they shouted against him like that. 25 When they had tied him up with thongs, Paul asked the centurion who stood by, “Is it lawful for you to scourge a man who is a Roman, and not found guilty?”
26 When the centurion heard it, he went to the commanding officer and told him, “Watch what you are about to do, for this man is a Roman!”
27 The commanding officer came and asked him, “Tell me, are you a Roman?”
He said, “Yes.”
28 The commanding officer answered, “I bought my citizenship for a great price.”
Paul said, “But I was born a Roman.”
29 Immediately those who were about to examine him departed from him, and the commanding officer also was afraid when he realized that he was a Roman, because he had bound him. 30 But the next day, desiring to know the truth about why he was accused by the Jews, he freed him from the bonds, and commanded the chief priests and all the council to come together, and brought Paul down and set him before them.
1 Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stand on the path of sinners,
nor sit in the seat of scoffers;
2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord.
On his law he meditates day and night.
3 He will be like a tree planted by the streams of water,
that produces its fruit in its season,
whose leaf also does not wither.
Whatever he does shall prosper.
4 The wicked are not so,
but are like the chaff which the wind drives away.
5 Therefore the wicked shall not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
6 For the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked shall perish.
11 The rich man’s wealth is his strong city,
like an unscalable wall in his own imagination.
12 Before destruction the heart of man is proud,
but before honor is humility.