WTS Weekly Bible Reading for December 19-25, 2005
2 Chronicles 20 - 24
20 1 And it came about afterward that the sons of Mo´ab and the sons of Am´mon and with them some of the Am´mon·im came against Je·hosh´a·phat in war. 2 So people came and told Je·hosh´a·phat, saying: “There has come against you a large crowd from the region of the sea, from E´dom; and there they are in Haz´a·zon-ta´mar, that is to say, En-ge´di.” 3 At that Je·hosh´a·phat became afraid and set his face to search for Jehovah. So he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. 4 Eventually those of Judah were collected together to inquire of Jehovah. Even from all the cities of Judah they came to consult Jehovah. 5 Then Je·hosh´a·phat stood up in the congregation of Judah and of Jerusalem in the house of Jehovah before the new courtyard, 6 and he proceeded to say: “O Jehovah the God of our forefathers, are you not God in the heavens, and are you not dominating over all the kingdoms of the nations, and are there not in your hand power and mightiness, with no one to hold his ground against you? 7 Did not you yourself, O God of ours, drive away the inhabitants of this land from before your people Israel and then give it to the seed of Abraham, your lover, to time indefinite? 8 And they took up dwelling in it, and they proceeded to build in it for you a sanctuary for your name, saying, 9 ‘If there should come upon us calamity, sword, adverse judgment, or pestilence or famine, let us stand before this house and before you (for your name is in this house), that we may call to you for aid out of our distress, and may you hear and save.’ 10 And now here the sons of Am´mon, and Mo´ab and the mountainous region of Se´ir, whom you did not allow Israel to invade when they were coming out of the land of Egypt, but they turned away from them and did not annihilate them, 11 yes, here they are rewarding us by coming in to drive us out from your possession that you caused us to possess. 12 O our God, will you not execute judgment upon them? For in us there is no power before this large crowd that is coming against us; and we ourselves do not know what we ought to do, but our eyes are toward you.” 13 All the while all those of Judah were standing before Jehovah, even their little ones, their wives and their sons. 14 Now as for Ja·ha·zi´el the son of Zech·a·ri´ah the son of Be·nai´ah the son of Je·i´el the son of Mat·ta·ni´ah the Levite of the sons of A´saph, the spirit of Jehovah came to be upon him in the middle of the congregation. 15 Consequently he said: “Pay attention, all Judah and YOU inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Je·hosh´a·phat! Here is what Jehovah has said to YOU, ‘Do not YOU be afraid or be terrified because of this large crowd; for the battle is not YOURS, but God’s. 16 Tomorrow go down against them. There they are coming up by the pass of Ziz; and YOU will be certain to find them at the end of the torrent valley in front of the wilderness of Je·ru´el. 17 YOU will not need to fight in this instance. Take YOUR position, stand still and see the salvation of Jehovah in YOUR behalf. O Judah and Jerusalem, do not be afraid or be terrified. Tomorrow go out against them, and Jehovah will be with YOU.’” 18 At once Je·hosh´a·phat bowed low with his face to the earth, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem themselves fell down before Jehovah to do obeisance to Jehovah. 19 Then the Levites of the sons of the Ko´hath·ites and of the sons of the Ko´rah·ites rose up to praise Jehovah the God of Israel with an extraordinarily loud voice. 20 And they proceeded to rise early in the morning and go out to the wilderness of Te·ko´a. And as they went out, Je·hosh´a·phat stood up and then said: “Hear me, O Judah and YOU inhabitants of Jerusalem! Put faith in Jehovah YOUR God that YOU may prove yourselves of long duration. Put faith in his prophets and so prove successful.”
21 Further, he took counsel with the people and stationed singers to Jehovah and those offering praise in holy adornment as they went out ahead of the armed men, and saying: “GIVE praise to Jehovah, for to time indefinite is his loving-kindness.” 22 And at the time that they started off with the joyful cry and praise, Jehovah set men in ambush against the sons of Am´mon, Mo´ab and the mountainous region of Se´ir who were coming into Judah, and they went smiting one another. 23 And the sons of Am´mon and Mo´ab proceeded to stand up against the inhabitants of the mountainous region of Se´ir to devote them to destruction and annihilate them; and as soon as they finished with the inhabitants of Se´ir, they helped each one to bring his own fellow to ruin. 24 But as for Judah, it came to the watchtower of the wilderness. When they turned their faces toward the crowd, why, there they were, their carcasses fallen to the earth without anyone escaping. 25 So Je·hosh´a·phat and his people came to plunder the spoil on them, and they got to find among them in abundance both goods and clothing and desirable articles; and they went stripping them off for themselves until they could carry no more. And it came to be three days that they were plundering the spoil, for it was abundant. 26 And on the fourth day they congregated together at the low plain of Ber´a·cah, for there they blessed Jehovah. That is why they called the name of that place Low Plain of Ber´a·cah—until today. 27 Then all the men of Judah and Jerusalem returned, with Je·hosh´a·phat at their head, to return to Jerusalem with rejoicing, for Jehovah had made them rejoice over their enemies. 28 So they came to Jerusalem with stringed instruments and with harps and with trumpets to the house of Jehovah. 29 And the dread of God came to be upon all the kingdoms of the lands when they heard that Jehovah had fought against the enemies of Israel. 30 Thus the royal realm of Je·hosh´a·phat had no disturbance, and his God continued to give him rest all around. 31 And Je·hosh´a·phat went on reigning over Judah. Thirty-five years old he was when he began to reign, and for twenty-five years he reigned in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was A·zu´bah the daughter of Shil´hi. 32 And he kept walking in the way of his father A´sa, and he did not turn aside from it, by doing what was right in Jehovah’s eyes. 33 Only the high places themselves did not disappear; and the people themselves had not yet prepared their heart for the God of their forefathers. 34 As for the rest of the affairs of Je·hosh´a·phat, the first and the last, there they are written among the words of Je´hu the son of Ha·na´ni, which were inserted in the Book of the Kings of Israel. 35 And after this Je·hosh´a·phat the king of Judah had partnership with A·ha·zi´ah the king of Israel, who acted wickedly. 36 So he made him a partner with himself in making ships to go to Tar´shish and they made ships in E´zi·on-ge´ber. 37 However, E·li·e´zer the son of Dod·av´a·hu of Ma·re´sha spoke prophetically against Je·hosh´a·phat, saying: “Inasmuch as you have had partnership with A·ha·zi´ah, Jehovah will certainly break down your works.” Accordingly the ships were wrecked, and they did not retain strength to go to Tar´shish.
21 Finally Je·hosh´a·phat lay down with his forefathers and was buried with his forefathers in the City of David; and Je·ho´ram his son began to reign in place of him. 2 And he had brothers, Je·hosh´a·phat’s sons, Az·a·ri´ah and Je·hi´el and Zech·a·ri´ah and Az·a·ri´ah and Mi´cha·el and Sheph·a·ti´ah, all these being the sons of Je·hosh´a·phat the king of Israel. 3 Consequently their father gave them many gifts in silver and in gold and in choice things along with fortified cities in Judah; but the kingdom he gave to Je·ho´ram, for he was the firstborn. 4 When Je·ho´ram rose up over the kingdom of his father he proceeded to make his position strong, and so he killed all his brothers with the sword and also some of the princes of Israel. 5 Thirty-two years old was Je·ho´ram when he began to reign, and for eight years he reigned in Jerusalem. 6 And he went on walking in the way of the kings of Israel, just as those of the house of A´hab had done; for A´hab’s own daughter had become his wife, and he continued to do what was bad in Jehovah’s eyes. 7 And Jehovah did not want to bring the house of David to ruin, for the sake of the covenant that he had concluded with David, and just as he had said he would give him and his sons a lamp always. 8 In his days E´dom revolted from under the hand of Judah and then made a king to reign over them. 9 So Je·ho´ram together with his chiefs passed over and also all the chariots with him. And it came about that he rose up by night and went striking down the E´dom·ites that were surrounding him and also the chiefs of the chariots. 10 But E´dom kept up its revolt from under the hand of Judah down to this day. It was then that Lib´nah began to revolt at the same time from under his hand, because he had left Jehovah the God of his forefathers. 11 He himself also had made high places on the mountains of Judah, that he might cause the inhabitants of Jerusalem to have immoral intercourse, and that he might drive Judah away. 12 Eventually there came a writing to him from E·li´jah the prophet, saying: “This is what Jehovah the God of David your forefather has said, ‘Due to the fact that you have not walked in the ways of Je·hosh´a·phat your father or in the ways of A´sa the king of Judah, 13 but you walk in the way of the kings of Israel and cause Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to have immoral intercourse the same way that the house of A´hab caused the having of immoral intercourse, and even your own brothers, the household of your father, who were better than you, you have killed; 14 look! Jehovah is dealing a great blow to your people and to your sons and to your wives and to all your goods. 15 And you will be with many sicknesses, with a malady of your intestines, until your intestines have come out because of the sickness day by day.’” 16 Accordingly Jehovah aroused against Je·ho´ram the spirit of the Phi·lis´tines and the Arabs that were by the side of the E·thi·o´pi·ans. 17 So they came up into Judah and forced it open and took captive all the goods that were to be found in the king’s house and also his sons and his wives, and there was not left to him a son but Je·ho´a·haz, his youngest son. 18 And after all this Jehovah plagued him in his intestines with a sickness for which there was no healing. 19 And it came about that in the days to come, even when the term of two full years had expired, his intestines came out during his sickness, and he gradually died in his bad maladies; and his people did not make a burning for him like the burning for his forefathers. 20 Thirty-two years old he happened to be when he began to reign, and for eight years he reigned in Jerusalem. Finally he went away without being desired. So they buried him in the City of David, but not in the burial places of the kings.
22 1 Then the inhabitants of Jerusalem made A·ha·zi´ah his youngest son king in place of him, (for the marauder band that came with the Arabs to the camp had killed all the older ones,) and A·ha·zi´ah the son of Je·ho´ram began to reign as king of Judah. 2 Twenty-two years old was A·ha·zi´ah when he began to reign, and for one year he reigned in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Ath·a·li´ah the granddaughter of Om´ri. 3 He himself also walked in the ways of the house of A´hab, for his mother herself became his counselor in doing wickedly. 4 And he went on doing what was bad in Jehovah’s eyes, the same as the house of A´hab, for they themselves became counselors to him after the death of his father, to his ruination. 5 It was also in their counsel that he walked, so that he went with Je·ho´ram the son of A´hab the king of Israel to the war against Haz´a·el the king of Syria at Ra´moth-gil´e·ad, at which the shooters got to strike Je·ho´ram. 6 Hence he returned to get healed at Jez´re·el from the wounds that they had inflicted upon him at Ra´mah when he fought Haz´a·el the king of Syria. As for Az·a·ri´ah the son of Je·ho´ram the king of Judah, he went down to see Je·ho´ram the son of A´hab in Jez´re·el, for he was sick. 7 But it was from God that the downfall of A·ha·zi´ah occurred by [his] coming to Je·ho´ram; and when he came, he went out with Je·ho´ram to Je´hu the grandson of Nim´shi, whom Jehovah had anointed to cut off the house of A´hab. 8 And it came about that as soon as Je´hu had entered into controversy with the house of A´hab, he got to find the princes of Judah and the sons of the brothers of A·ha·zi´ah, ministers of A·ha·zi´ah, and he proceeded to kill them. 9 Then he went looking for A·ha·zi´ah, and they finally captured him, as he was hiding in Sa·mar´i·a, and brought him to Je´hu. Then they put him to death and buried him, for they said: “He is the grandson of Je·hosh´a·phat, who searched for Jehovah with all his heart.” And there was no one of the house of A·ha·zi´ah to retain power for the kingdom. 10 As regards Ath·a·li´ah the mother of A·ha·zi´ah, she saw that her son had died. So she rose up and destroyed all the royal offspring of the house of Judah. 11 However, Je·ho·shab´e·ath the daughter of the king took Je·ho´ash the son of A·ha·zi´ah and stole him away from among the sons of the king that were to be put to death, and put him and his nursing woman in the inner room for the couches. And Je·ho·shab´e·ath the daughter of King Je·ho´ram, the wife of Je·hoi´a·da the priest, (for she herself happened to be the sister of A·ha·zi´ah,) kept him concealed because of Ath·a·li´ah, and she did not put him to death. 12 And he continued with them in the house of the [true] God hidden for six years, while Ath·a·li´ah was ruling as queen over the land.
23 1 And in the seventh year Je·hoi´a·da showed himself courageous and proceeded to take the chiefs of hundreds, namely, Az·a·ri´ah the son of Je·ro´ham, and Ish´ma·el the son of Je·ho·ha´nan and Az·a·ri´ah the son of O´bed and Ma·a·sei´ah the son of A·dai´ah and E·li·sha´phat the son of Zich´ri, with him into the covenant. 2 Afterward they went around throughout Judah and collected together the Levites from all the cities of Judah and the heads of the paternal houses of Israel. So they came to Jerusalem. 3 Then all the congregation concluded a covenant with the king in the house of the [true] God, after which he said to them: “Look! The son of the king himself will reign, just as Jehovah promised concerning the sons of David. 4 This is the thing that YOU will do: one third of YOU who are coming in on the sabbath, of the priests and of the Levites, will be for doorkeepers; 5 and one third will be at the house of the king; and one third will be at the Gate of the Foundation; and all the people will be in the courtyards of the house of Jehovah. 6 And do not let anyone enter the house of Jehovah but the priests and those of the Levites ministering. These are the ones that will enter, because they are a holy group, and all the people themselves will keep the obligation to Jehovah. 7 And the Levites must encircle the king all around, each one with his weapons in his hands; and as for anyone coming into the house, he should be put to death. And continue with the king when he comes in and when he goes out.” 8 And the Levites and all Judah proceeded to do according to all that Je·hoi´a·da the priest had commanded. So they took each one his men that were coming in on the sabbath together with those going out on the sabbath, for Je·hoi´a·da the priest had not set the divisions free from duty. 9 Further, Je·hoi´a·da the priest gave the chiefs of hundreds the spears and the shields and the circular shields that had belonged to King David, which were in the house of the [true] God. 10 And he went on to station all the people, even each one with his missile in his hand, from the right side of the house clear to the left side of the house, by the altar and by the house, all around near the king. 11 Then they brought the king’s son out and put upon him the diadem and the Testimony and made him king, and so Je·hoi´a·da and his sons anointed him and said: “Let the king live!” 12 When Ath·a·li´ah heard the sound of the people running and praising the king, she at once came to the people at the house of Jehovah. 13 Then she saw, and there was the king standing by his pillar at the entry, and the princes and the trumpets by the king, and all the people of the land were rejoicing and blowing the trumpets, and the singers with the instruments of song and those giving the signal for offering praise. Immediately Ath·a·li´ah ripped her garments apart and said: “Conspiracy! Conspiracy!” 14 But Je·hoi´a·da the priest brought out the chiefs of hundreds, the appointed ones of the military force, and said to them: “Take her out from inside the rows; and as for anyone coming after her, he should be put to death with the sword!” For the priest had said: “YOU must not put her to death at the house of Jehovah.” 15 So they laid their hands upon her. When she came to the entry of the horse gate of the king’s house, they at once put her to death there. 16 Then Je·hoi´a·da concluded a covenant between himself and all the people and the king that they would continue as the people of Jehovah. 17 After that all the people came to the house of Ba´al and pulled it down; and his altars and his images they broke up, and Mat´tan the priest of Ba´al they killed before the altars. 18 Further, Je·hoi´a·da put the offices of the house of Jehovah in the hand of the priests [and] the Levites, whom David had put in divisions over the house of Jehovah to offer up the burnt sacrifices of Jehovah according to what is written in the law of Moses, with rejoicing and with song by the hands of David. 19 So he stationed the gatekeepers by the gates of the house of Jehovah that no one unclean in any respect might enter. 20 He now took the chiefs of hundreds and the lordly ones and the rulers over the people and all the people of the land and brought the king down from the house of Jehovah. Then they came right through the upper gate to the king’s house and seated the king upon the throne of the kingdom. 21 And all the people of the land continued to rejoice; and the city itself had no disturbance, and Ath·a·li´ah they had put to death with the sword.
24 1 Seven years old was Je·ho´ash when he began to reign, and for forty years he reigned in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Zib´i·ah from Be´er-she´ba. 2 And Je·ho´ash kept doing what was right in Jehovah’s eyes all the days of Je·hoi´a·da the priest. 3 And Je·hoi´a·da proceeded to get two wives for him, and he came to be father to sons and daughters. 4 Now it occurred afterward that it became close to the heart of Je·ho´ash to renovate the house of Jehovah. 5 Accordingly he collected the priests and the Levites together and said to them: “Go out to the cities of Judah and collect money from all Israel to repair the house of YOUR God from year to year; and YOU, for YOUR part, should act quickly in the matter.” And the Levites did not act quickly. 6 So the king called Je·hoi´a·da the head and said to him: “Why is it that you have not required an account of the Levites for bringing in from Judah and Jerusalem the sacred tax ordered by Moses the servant of Jehovah, even that of the congregation of Israel, for the tent of the Testimony? 7 For as regards Ath·a·li´ah the wicked woman, her sons themselves had broken into the house of the [true] God, and even all the holy things of the house of Jehovah they had rendered up to the Ba´als.” 8 Then the king said [the word], and so they made a chest and put it outside at the gate of the house of Jehovah. 9 After that they issued a call throughout Judah and Jerusalem to bring to Jehovah the sacred tax ordered by Moses the servant of the [true] God upon Israel in the wilderness. 10 And all the princes and all the people began to rejoice, and they kept bringing and casting it into the chest until they all had given. 11 And it came about at the proper time he would bring the chest to the care of the king by the hand of the Levites, and, as soon as they saw that there was plenty of money, the secretary of the king and the commissioner of the chief priest came and then emptied the chest and lifted it up and returned it to its place. That was the way they did from day to day, so that they gathered money in abundance. 12 Then the king and Je·hoi´a·da would give it to the doers of the work of the service of Jehovah’s house, and they came to be hirers of the stonecutters and of the craftsmen for renovating Jehovah’s house, and also of the workers in iron and copper for repairing Jehovah’s house. 13 And the doers of the work began operations, and the repair work kept advancing by their hand, and finally they made the house of the [true] God stand as it structurally should and made it strong. 14 And as soon as they had finished they brought before the king and Je·hoi´a·da the rest of the money, and they proceeded to make utensils for the house of Jehovah, utensils for the ministry and for making offerings and cups and utensils of gold and of silver; and they came to be offerers of burnt sacrifices in the house of Jehovah constantly all the days of Je·hoi´a·da. 15 And Je·hoi´a·da got to be old and satisfied with years and gradually died, being a hundred and thirty years old at his death. 16 So they buried him in the City of David along with the kings, because he had done good in Israel and with the [true] God and His house. 17 And after Je·hoi´a·da’s death the princes of Judah came in and proceeded to bow down to the king. At that time the king listened to them. 18 And gradually they left the house of Jehovah the God of their forefathers and began serving the sacred poles and the idols, so that there came to be indignation against Judah and Jerusalem because of this guilt of theirs. 19 And he kept sending prophets among them to bring them back to Jehovah; and they kept bearing witness against them, but they did not give ear. 20 And God’s spirit itself enveloped Zech·a·ri´ah the son of Je·hoi´a·da the priest, so that he stood up above the people and said to them: “This is what the [true] God has said, ‘Why are YOU overstepping the commandments of Jehovah, so that YOU cannot prove successful? Because YOU have left Jehovah, he will, in turn, leave YOU.’” 21 Finally they conspired against him and pelted him with stones at the king’s commandment in the courtyard of Jehovah’s house. 22 And Je·ho´ash the king did not remember the loving-kindness that Je·hoi´a·da his father had exercised toward him, so that he killed his son, who, when he was at the point of dying, said: “Let Jehovah see to it and ask it back.” 23 And it came about at the turn of the year a military force of Syria came up against him, and they began to invade Judah and Jerusalem. Then they brought all the princes of the people to ruin from among the people, and all their spoil they sent to the king of Damascus. 24 For it was with a small number of men that the military force of the Syrians made an invasion, and Jehovah himself gave into their hand a military force of very great number, because they had left Jehovah the God of their forefathers; and upon Je·ho´ash they executed acts of judgment. 25 And when they went away from him (for they left him with many diseases), his own servants conspired against him because of the blood of the sons of Je·hoi´a·da the priest; and they got to kill him upon his own couch, so that he died. Then they buried him in the City of David, but they did not bury him in the burial places of the kings. 26 And these were the conspirators against him: Za´bad the son of Shim´e·ath the Am´mon·it·ess and Je·hoz´a·bad the son of Shim´rith the Mo´ab·i·tess. 27 As for his sons and the abundance of the pronouncement against him and the founding of the house of the [true] God, there they are written in the exposition of the Book of the Kings. And Am·a·zi´ah his son began to reign in place of him.