Bible: 2 Kings 17-21

Hoshea’s Reign over Israel

17:1 In the twelfth year of King Ahaz’s reign over Judah, Hoshea son of Elah became king over Israel. He reigned in Samaria 1  for nine years. 17:2 He did evil in the sight of 2  the Lord, but not to the same degree as the Israelite kings who preceded him. 17:3 King Shalmaneser of Assyria threatened 3  him; Hoshea became his subject and paid him tribute. 17:4 The king of Assyria discovered that Hoshea was planning a revolt. 4  Hoshea had sent messengers to King So 5  of Egypt and had not sent his annual tribute to the king of Assyria. So the king of Assyria arrested him and imprisoned him. 6  17:5 The king of Assyria marched through 7  the whole land. He attacked Samaria and besieged it for three years. 17:6 In the ninth year of Hoshea’s reign, the king of Assyria captured Samaria and deported the people of Israel 8  to Assyria. He settled them in Halah, along the Habor (the river of Gozan), and in the cities of the Medes.

A Summary of Israel’s Sinful History

17:7 This happened because the Israelites sinned against the Lord their God, who brought them up from the land of Egypt and freed them from the power of 9  Pharaoh king of Egypt. They worshiped 10  other gods; 17:8 they observed the practices 11  of the nations whom the Lord had driven out from before Israel, and followed the example of the kings of Israel. 12  17:9 The Israelites said things about the Lord their God that were not right. 13  They built high places in all their cities, from the watchtower to the fortress. 14  17:10 They set up sacred pillars and Asherah poles on every high hill and under every green tree. 17:11 They burned incense on all the high places just like the nations whom the Lord had driven away from before them. Their evil practices made the Lord angry. 15  17:12 They worshiped 16  the disgusting idols 17  in blatant disregard of the Lord’s command. 18 

17:13 The Lord solemnly warned Israel and Judah through all his prophets and all the seers, “Turn back from your evil ways; obey my commandments and rules that are recorded in the law. I ordered your ancestors to keep this law and sent my servants the prophets to remind you of its demands.” 19  17:14 But they did not pay attention and were as stubborn as their ancestors, 20  who had not trusted the Lord their God. 17:15 They rejected his rules, the covenant he had made with their ancestors, and the laws he had commanded them to obey. 21  They paid allegiance to 22  worthless idols, and so became worthless to the Lord. 23  They copied the practices of the surrounding nations in blatant disregard of the Lord’s command. 24  17:16 They abandoned all the commandments of the Lord their God; they made two metal calves and an Asherah pole, bowed down to all the stars in the sky, 25  and worshiped 26  Baal. 17:17 They passed their sons and daughters through the fire, 27  and practiced divination and omen reading. They committed themselves to doing evil in the sight of the Lord and made him angry. 28 

17:18 So the Lord was furious 29  with Israel and rejected them; 30  only the tribe of Judah was left. 17:19 Judah also failed to keep the commandments of the Lord their God; they followed Israel’s example. 31  17:20 So the Lord rejected all of Israel’s descendants; he humiliated 32  them and handed them over to robbers, until he had thrown them from his presence. 17:21 He tore Israel away from David’s dynasty, and Jeroboam son of Nebat became their king. 33  Jeroboam drove Israel away 34  from the Lord and encouraged them to commit a serious sin. 35  17:22 The Israelites followed in the sinful ways of Jeroboam son of Nebat and did not repudiate 36  them. 17:23 Finally 37  the Lord rejected Israel 38  just as he had warned he would do 39  through all his servants the prophets. Israel was deported from its land to Assyria and remains there to this very day.

The King of Assyria Populates Israel with Foreigners

17:24 The king of Assyria brought foreigners 40  from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Sepharvaim and settled them in the cities of Samaria 41  in place of the Israelites. They took possession of Samaria and lived in its cities. 17:25 When they first moved in, 42  they did not worship 43  the Lord. So the Lord sent lions among them and the lions were killing them. 17:26 The king of Assyria was told, 44 The nations whom you deported and settled in the cities of Samaria do not know the requirements of the God of the land, so he has sent lions among them. They are killing the people 45  because they do not know the requirements of the God of the land.” 17:27 So the king of Assyria ordered, “Take back one of the priests whom you 46  deported from there. He must settle there and teach them the requirements of the God of the land.” 47  17:28 So one of the priests whom they had deported from Samaria went back and settled in Bethel. 48  He taught them how to worship 49  the Lord.

17:29 But each of these nations made 50  its own gods and put them in the shrines on the high places that the people of Samaria 51  had made. Each nation did this in the cities where they lived. 17:30 The people from Babylon made Succoth Benoth, 52  the people from Cuth made Nergal, 53  the people from Hamath made Ashima, 54  17:31 the Avvites made Nibhaz and Tartak, 55  and the Sepharvites burned their sons in the fire as an offering to Adrammelech and Anammelech, 56  the gods of Sepharvaim. 17:32 At the same time they worshiped 57  the Lord. They appointed some of their own people to serve as priests in the shrines on the high places. 58  17:33 They were worshiping 59  the Lord and at the same time serving their own gods in accordance with the practices of the nations from which they had been deported.

17:34 To this very day they observe their earlier practices. They do not worship 60  the Lord; they do not obey the rules, regulations, law, and commandments that the Lord gave 61  the descendants of Jacob, whom he renamed Israel. 17:35 The Lord made an agreement 62  with them 63  and instructed them, “You must not worship other gods. Do not bow down to them, serve them, or offer sacrifices to them. 17:36 Instead you must worship the Lord, who brought you up from the land of Egypt by his great power and military ability; 64  bow down to him and offer sacrifices to him. 17:37 You must carefully obey at all times the rules, regulations, law, and commandments he wrote down for you. You must not worship other gods. 17:38 You must never forget the agreement I made with you, and you must not worship other gods. 17:39 Instead you must worship the Lord your God; then he will rescue you from the power of all your enemies.” 17:40 But they 65  pay no attention; instead they observe their earlier practices. 17:41 These nations are worshiping the Lord and at the same time serving their idols; their sons and grandsons do just as their fathers have done, to this very day.

Hezekiah Becomes King of Judah

18:1 In the third year of the reign of Israel’s King Hoshea son of Elah, Ahaz’s son Hezekiah became king over Judah. 18:2 He was twenty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. 66  His mother 67  was Abi, 68  the daughter of Zechariah. 18:3 He did what the Lord approved, just as his ancestor David had done. 69  18:4 He eliminated the high places, smashed the sacred pillars to bits, and cut down the Asherah pole. 70  He also demolished the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for up to that time 71  the Israelites had been offering incense to it; it was called Nehushtan. 72  18:5 He trusted in the Lord God of Israel; in this regard there was none like him among the kings of Judah either before or after. 73  18:6 He was loyal to 74  the Lord and did not abandon him. 75  He obeyed the commandments which the Lord had given to 76  Moses. 18:7 The Lord was with him; he succeeded in all his endeavors. 77  He rebelled against the king of Assyria and refused to submit to him. 78  18:8 He defeated the Philistines as far as Gaza and its territory, from the watchtower to the city fortress. 79 

18:9 In the fourth year of King Hezekiah’s reign (it was the seventh year of the reign of Israel’s King Hoshea, son of Elah), King Shalmaneser of Assyria marched 80  up against Samaria 81  and besieged it. 18:10 After three years he captured it (in the sixth year of Hezekiah’s reign); in the ninth year of King Hoshea’s reign over Israel Samaria was captured. 18:11 The king of Assyria deported the people of Israel 82  to Assyria. He settled them in Halah, along the Habor (the river of Gozan), and in the cities of the Medes. 18:12 This happened because they did not obey 83  the Lord their God and broke his agreement with them. 84  They did not pay attention to and obey all that Moses, the Lord’s servant, had commanded. 85 

Sennacherib Invades Judah

18:13 In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah’s reign, King Sennacherib of Assyria marched up against all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them. 18:14 King Hezekiah of Judah sent this message to the king of Assyria, who was at Lachish, “I have violated our treaty. 86  If you leave, I will do whatever you demand.” 87  So the king of Assyria demanded that King Hezekiah of Judah pay three hundred talents 88  of silver and thirty talents of gold. 18:15 Hezekiah gave him all the silver in 89  the Lord’s temple and in the treasuries of the royal palace. 18:16 At that time King Hezekiah of Judah stripped the metal overlays from the doors of the Lord’s temple and from the posts which he had plated 90  and gave them to the king of Assyria.

18:17 The king of Assyria sent his commanding general, the chief eunuch, and the chief adviser 91  from Lachish to King Hezekiah in Jerusalem, 92  along with a large army. They went up and arrived at Jerusalem. They went 93  and stood at the conduit of the upper pool which is located on the road to the field where they wash and dry cloth. 94  18:18 They summoned the king, so Eliakim son of Hilkiah, the palace supervisor, accompanied by Shebna the scribe and Joah son of Asaph, the secretary, went out to meet them.

18:19 The chief adviser said to them, “Tell Hezekiah: ‘This is what the great king, the king of Assyria, says: “What is your source of confidence? 95  18:20 Your claim to have a strategy and military strength is just empty talk. 96  In whom are you trusting that you would dare to rebel against me? 18:21 Now look, you must be trusting in Egypt, that splintered reed staff. If a man leans for support on it, it punctures his hand and wounds him. That is what Pharaoh king of Egypt does to all who trust in him. 18:22 Perhaps you will tell me, ‘We are trusting in the Lord our God.’ But Hezekiah is the one who eliminated his high places and altars and then told the people of Judah and Jerusalem, ‘You must worship at this altar in Jerusalem.’ 18:23 Now make a deal 97  with my master the king of Assyria, and I will give you two thousand horses, provided you can find enough riders for them. 18:24 Certainly you will not refuse one of my master’s minor officials and trust in Egypt for chariots and horsemen. 98  18:25 Furthermore it was by the command of the Lord that I marched up against this place to destroy it. The Lord told me, ‘March 99  up against this land and destroy it.’”’ 100 

18:26 Eliakim son of Hilkiah, Shebna, and Joah said to the chief adviser, “Speak to your servants in Aramaic, 101  for we understand it. Don’t speak with us in the Judahite dialect 102  in the hearing of the people who are on the wall.” 18:27 But the chief adviser said to them, “My master did not send me to speak these words only to your master and to you. 103  His message is also for the men who sit on the wall, for they will eat their own excrement and drink their own urine along with you.” 104 

18:28 The chief adviser then stood there and called out loudly in the Judahite dialect, 105 Listen to the message of the great king, the king of Assyria. 18:29 This is what the king says: ‘Don’t let Hezekiah mislead you, for he is not able to rescue you from my hand! 106  18:30 Don’t let Hezekiah talk you into trusting in the Lord when he says, “The Lord will certainly rescue us; this city will not be handed over to the king of Assyria.” 18:31 Don’t listen to Hezekiah!’ For this is what the king of Assyria says, ‘Send me a token of your submission and surrender to me. 107  Then each of you may eat from his own vine and fig tree and drink water from his own cistern, 18:32 until I come and take you to a land just like your own – a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive trees and honey. Then you will live and not die. Don’t listen to Hezekiah, for he is misleading you when he says, “The Lord will rescue us.” 18:33 Have any of the gods of the nations actually rescued his land from the power of the king of Assyria? 108  18:34 Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah? 109  Indeed, did any gods rescue Samaria 110  from my power? 111  18:35 Who among all the gods of the lands has rescued their lands from my power? So how can the Lord rescue Jerusalem from my power?’ 112  18:36 The people were silent and did not respond, for the king had ordered, “Don’t respond to him.”

18:37 Eliakim son of Hilkiah, the palace supervisor, accompanied by Shebna the scribe and Joah son of Asaph, the secretary, went to Hezekiah with their clothes torn 113  and reported to him what the chief adviser had said. 19:1 When King Hezekiah heard this, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth, and went to the Lord’s temple. 19:2 He sent Eliakim the palace supervisor, Shebna the scribe, and the leading priests, 114  clothed in sackcloth, with this message to the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz: 19:3 This is what Hezekiah says: 115  ‘This is a day of distress, insults, 116  and humiliation, 117  as when a baby is ready to leave the birth canal, but the mother lacks the strength to push it through. 118  19:4 Perhaps the Lord your God will hear all these things the chief adviser has spoken on behalf of his master, the king of Assyria, who sent him to taunt the living God. 119  When the Lord your God hears, perhaps he will punish him for the things he has said. 120  So pray for this remnant that remains.’ 121 

19:5 When King Hezekiah’s servants came to Isaiah, 19:6 Isaiah said to them, “Tell your master this: ‘This is what the Lord says: “Don’t be afraid because of the things you have heard – these insults the king of Assyria’s servants have hurled against me. 122  19:7 Look, I will take control of his mind; 123  he will receive 124  a report and return to his own land. I will cut him down 125  with a sword in his own land.”’

19:8 When the chief adviser heard the king of Assyria had departed from Lachish, he left and went to Libnah, where the king was campaigning. 126  19:9 The king 127  heard that King Tirhakah of Ethiopia was marching out to fight him. 128  He again sent messengers to Hezekiah, ordering them: 19:10 Tell King Hezekiah of Judah this: ‘Don’t let your God in whom you trust mislead you when he says, “Jerusalem will not be handed over 129  to the king of Assyria.” 19:11 Certainly you have heard how the kings of Assyria have annihilated all lands. 130  Do you really think you will be rescued? 131  19:12 Were the nations whom my ancestors destroyed – the nations of Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the people of Eden in Telassar – rescued by their gods? 132  19:13 Where are the king of Hamath, the king of Arpad, and the king of Lair, 133  Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah?’

19:14 Hezekiah took the letter 134  from the messengers and read it. 135  Then Hezekiah went up to the Lord’s temple and spread it out before the Lord. 19:15 Hezekiah prayed before the Lord: “Lord God of Israel, who is enthroned on the cherubs! 136  You alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You made the sky 137  and the earth. 19:16 Pay attention, Lord, and hear! Open your eyes, Lord, and observe! Listen to the message Sennacherib sent and how he taunts the living God! 138  19:17 It is true, Lord, that the kings of Assyria have destroyed the nations and their lands. 19:18 They have burned the gods of the nations, 139  for they are not really gods, but only the product of human hands manufactured from wood and stone. That is why the Assyrians could destroy them. 140  19:19 Now, O Lord our God, rescue us from his power, so that all the kingdoms of the earth will know that you, Lord, are the only God.”

19:20 Isaiah son of Amoz sent this message to Hezekiah: “This is what the Lord God of Israel says: ‘I have heard your prayer concerning King Sennacherib of Assyria. 141  19:21 This is what the Lord says about him: 142 

“The virgin daughter Zion 143 

despises you, she makes fun of you;

Daughter Jerusalem

shakes her head after you. 144 

19:22 Whom have you taunted and hurled insults at?

At whom have you shouted, 145 

and looked so arrogantly? 146 

At the Holy One of Israel! 147 

19:23 Through your messengers you taunted the sovereign master, 148 

‘With my many chariots 149 

I climbed up the high mountains,

the slopes of Lebanon.

I cut down its tall cedars,

and its best evergreens.

I invaded its most remote regions, 150 

its thickest woods.

19:24 I dug wells and drank

water in foreign lands. 151 

With the soles of my feet I dried up

all the rivers of Egypt.’

19:25 152 

Certainly you must have heard! 153 

Long ago I worked it out,

In ancient times I planned 154  it;

and now I am bringing it to pass.

The plan is this:

Fortified cities will crash

into heaps of ruins. 155 

19:26 Their residents are powerless, 156 

they are terrified and ashamed.

They are as short-lived as plants in the field,

or green vegetation. 157 

They are as short-lived as grass on the rooftops 158 

when it is scorched by the east wind. 159 

19:27 I know where you live,

and everything you do. 160 

19:28 Because you rage against me,

and the uproar you create has reached my ears; 161 

I will put my hook in your nose, 162 

and my bridle between your lips,

and I will lead you back the way

you came.”

19:29 163 

This will be your confirmation that I have spoken the truth: 164  This year you will eat what grows wild, 165  and next year 166  what grows on its own from that. But in the third year you will plant seed and harvest crops; you will plant vines and consume their produce. 167  19:30 Those who remain in Judah will take root in the ground and bear fruit. 168 

19:31 For a remnant will leave Jerusalem;

survivors will come out of Mount Zion.

The intense devotion of the sovereign Lord 169  to his people 170  will accomplish this.

19:32 So this is what the Lord says about the king of Assyria:

“He will not enter this city,

nor will he shoot an arrow here. 171 

He will not attack it with his shield-carrying warriors, 172 

nor will he build siege works against it.

19:33 He will go back the way he came.

He will not enter this city,” says the Lord.

19:34 I will shield this city and rescue it for the sake of my reputation and because of my promise to David my servant.’ 173 

19:35 That very night the Lord’s messenger went out and killed 185,000 men in the Assyrian camp. When they 174  got up early the next morning, there were all the corpses. 175  19:36 So King Sennacherib of Assyria broke camp and went on his way. He went home and stayed in Nineveh. 176  19:37 One day, 177  as he was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisroch, 178  his sons 179  Adrammelech and Sharezer struck him down with the sword. 180  They escaped to the land of Ararat; his son Esarhaddon replaced him as king.

Hezekiah is Healed

20:1 In those days Hezekiah was stricken with a terminal illness. 181  The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz visited him and told him, “This is what the Lord says, ‘Give your household instructions, for you are about to die; you will not get well.’ 182  20:2 He turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, 20:3 Please, Lord. Remember how I have served you 183  faithfully and with wholehearted devotion, 184  and how I have carried out your will.” 185  Then Hezekiah wept bitterly. 186 

20:4 Isaiah was still in the middle courtyard when the Lord told him, 187  20:5 Go back and tell Hezekiah, the leader of my people: ‘This is what the Lord God of your ancestor David says: “I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Look, I will heal you. The day after tomorrow 188  you will go up to the Lord’s temple. 20:6 I will add fifteen years to your life and rescue you and this city from the king of Assyria. I will shield this city for the sake of my reputation and because of my promise to David my servant.”’ 189  20:7 Isaiah ordered, “Get a fig cake.” So they did as he ordered 190  and placed it on the ulcerated sore, and he recovered. 191 

20:8 Hezekiah had said to Isaiah, “What is the confirming sign that the Lord will heal me and that I will go up to the Lord’s temple the day after tomorrow? 20:9 Isaiah replied, “This is your sign from the Lord confirming that the Lord will do what he has said. Do you want the shadow to move ahead ten steps or to go back ten steps? 192  20:10 Hezekiah answered, “It is easy for the shadow to lengthen ten steps, but not for it 193  to go back ten steps.” 20:11 Isaiah the prophet called out to the Lord, and the Lord 194  made the shadow go back ten steps on the stairs of Ahaz. 195 

Messengers from Babylon Visit Hezekiah

20:12 At that time Merodach-Baladan 196  son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a gift to Hezekiah, for he had heard that Hezekiah was ill. 20:13 Hezekiah welcomed 197  them and showed them his whole storehouse, with its silver, gold, spices, and high quality olive oil, as well as his armory and everything in his treasuries. Hezekiah showed them everything in his palace and in his whole kingdom. 198  20:14 Isaiah the prophet visited King Hezekiah and asked him, “What did these men say? Where do they come from?” Hezekiah replied, “They come from the distant land of Babylon.” 20:15 Isaiah 199  asked, “What have they seen in your palace?” Hezekiah replied, “They have seen everything in my palace. I showed them everything 200  in my treasuries.” 20:16 Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Listen to the word of the Lord, 20:17 Look, a time is 201  coming when everything in your palace and the things your ancestors have accumulated to this day will be carried away to Babylon; nothing will be left,’ says the Lord. 20:18 Some of your very own descendants whom you father 202  will be taken away and will be made eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.’ 20:19 Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “The Lord’s word which you have announced is appropriate.” 203  Then he added, 204 At least there will be peace and stability during my lifetime.” 205 

20:20 The rest of the events of Hezekiah’s reign and all his accomplishments, including how he built a pool and conduit to bring 206  water into the city, are recorded in the scroll called the Annals of the Kings of Judah. 207  20:21 Hezekiah passed away 208  and his son Manasseh replaced him as king.

Manasseh’s Reign over Judah

21:1 Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned for fifty-five years in Jerusalem. 209  His mother 210  was Hephzibah. 21:2 He did evil in the sight of 211  the Lord and committed the same horrible sins practiced by the nations 212  whom the Lord drove out from before the Israelites. 21:3 He rebuilt the high places that his father Hezekiah had destroyed; he set up altars for Baal and made an Asherah pole just like King Ahab of Israel had done. He bowed down to all the stars in the sky 213  and worshiped 214  them. 21:4 He built altars in the Lord’s temple, about which the Lord had said, “Jerusalem will be my home.” 215  21:5 In the two courtyards of the Lord’s temple he built altars for all the stars in the sky. 21:6 He passed his son 216  through the fire 217  and practiced divination and omen reading. He set up a ritual pit to conjure up underworld spirits, and appointed magicians to supervise it. 218  He did a great amount of evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking him to anger. 219  21:7 He put an idol of Asherah he had made in the temple, about which the Lord had said to David and to his son Solomon, “This temple in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, will be my permanent home. 220  21:8 I will not make Israel again leave the land I gave to their ancestors, 221  provided that they carefully obey all I commanded them, the whole law my servant Moses ordered them to obey.” 21:9 But they did not obey, 222  and Manasseh misled them so that they sinned more than the nations whom the Lord had destroyed from before the Israelites.

21:10 So the Lord announced through 223  his servants the prophets: 21:11 King Manasseh of Judah has committed horrible sins. 224  He has sinned more than the Amorites before him and has encouraged Judah to sin by worshiping his disgusting idols. 225  21:12 So this is what the Lord God of Israel says, ‘I am about to bring disaster on Jerusalem and Judah. The news will reverberate in the ears of those who hear about it. 226  21:13 I will destroy Jerusalem the same way I did Samaria 227  and the dynasty of Ahab. 228  I will wipe Jerusalem clean, just as one wipes a plate on both sides. 229  21:14 I will abandon this last remaining tribe among my people 230  and hand them over to their enemies; they will be plundered and robbed by all their enemies, 231  21:15 because they have done evil in my sight 232  and have angered me from the time their ancestors left Egypt right up to this very day!’

21:16 Furthermore Manasseh killed so many innocent people, he stained Jerusalem with their blood from end to end, 233  in addition to encouraging Judah to sin by doing evil in the sight of the Lord. 234 

21:17 The rest of the events of Manasseh’s reign and all his accomplishments, as well as the sinful acts he committed, are recorded in the scroll called the Annals of the Kings of Judah. 235  21:18 Manasseh passed away 236  and was buried in his palace garden, the garden of Uzzah, and his son Amon replaced him as king.

Amon’s Reign over Judah

21:19 Amon was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned for two years in Jerusalem. 237  His mother 238  was Meshullemeth, the daughter of Haruz, from Jotbah. 21:20 He did evil in the sight of 239  the Lord, just like his father Manasseh had done. 21:21 He followed in the footsteps of his father 240  and worshiped and bowed down to the disgusting idols 241  which his father had worshiped. 242  21:22 He abandoned the Lord God of his ancestors and did not follow the Lord’s instructions. 243  21:23 Amon’s servants conspired against him and killed the king in his palace. 21:24 The people of the land executed all those who had conspired against King Amon, and they 244  made his son Josiah king in his place.

21:25 The rest of Amon’s accomplishments are recorded in the scroll called the Annals of the Kings of Judah. 245  21:26 He was buried 246  in his tomb in the garden of Uzzah, and his son Josiah replaced him as king.

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