Reading 123/341, 2 Chronicles 21-24

...2 Chronicles...

Jehoshaphat slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David, and Jehoram his son reigned in his place. He had brothers, the sons of Jehoshaphat, Azariah, and Jehiel, and Zechariah, and Azariah, and Michael, and Shephatiah; all these were the sons of Jehoshaphat king of Israel. Their father gave them great gifts, of silver, and of gold, and of precious things, with fortified cities in Judah, but the kingdom gave he to Jehoram, because he was the firstborn. Now when Jehoram was risen up over the kingdom of his father, and had strengthened himself, he killed all his brothers with the sword, and various also of the princes of Israel. Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem. He walked in the way of the kings of Israel, as did the house of Ahab; for he had the daughter of Ahab as wife, and he did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. However the Lord would not destroy the house of David, because of the covenant that he had made with David, and as he promised to give a lamp to him and to his children always. In his days Edom revolted from under the hand of Judah, and made a king over themselves. Then Jehoram passed over with his captains, and all his chariots with him, and he rose up by night, and struck the Edomites who surrounded him, along with the captains of the chariots. So Edom revolted from under the hand of Judah to this day, then did Libnah revolt at the same time from under his hand, because he had forsaken the Lord, the God of his fathers. Moreover he made high places in the mountains of Judah, and made the inhabitants of Jerusalem to play the prostitute, and led Judah astray. There came a writing to him from Elijah the prophet, saying, Thus says the Lord, the God of David your father, Because you have not walked in the ways of Jehoshaphat your father, nor in the ways of Asa king of Judah, but have walked in the way of the kings of Israel, and have made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to play the prostitute, like as the house of Ahab did, and also have slain your brothers of your father's house, who were better than yourself, behold, the Lord will strike with a great disease your people, and your children, and your wives, and all your substance, and you shall have great sickness by disease of your bowels, until your bowels fall out by reason of the sickness, day by day. The Lord stirred up against Jehoram the spirit of the Philistines, and of the Arabians who are beside the Ethiopians, and they came up against Judah, and broke into it, and carried away all the substance that was found in the king's house, and his sons also, and his wives; so that there was never a son left him, save Jehoahaz, the youngest of his sons. After all this the Lord struck him in his bowels with an incurable disease. It happened, in process of time, at the end of two years, that his bowels fell out by reason of his sickness, and he died of sore diseases. His people made no burning for him, like the burning of his fathers. Thirty-two years old was he when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years, and he departed without being desired, and they buried him in the city of David, but not in the tombs of the kings. The inhabitants of Jerusalem made Ahaziah his youngest son king in his place; for the band of men who came with the Arabians to the camp had slain all the eldest. So Ahaziah the son of Jehoram king of Judah reigned. Forty-two years old was Ahaziah when he began to reign, and he reigned one year in Jerusalem, and his mother's name was Athaliah the daughter of Omri. He also walked in the ways of the house of Ahab; for his mother was his counselor to do wickedly. He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, as did the house of Ahab; for they were his counselors after the death of his father, to his destruction. He walked also after their counsel, and went with Jehoram the son of Ahab king of Israel to war against Hazael king of Syria at Ramoth Gilead, and the Syrians wounded Joram. He returned to be healed in Jezreel of the wounds which they had given him at Ramah, when he fought against Hazael king of Syria. Azariah the son of Jehoram king of Judah went down to see Jehoram the son of Ahab in Jezreel, because he was sick. Now the destruction of Ahaziah was of God, in that he went to Joram, for when he was come, he went out with Jehoram against Jehu the son of Nimshi, whom the Lord had anointed to cut off the house of Ahab. It happened, when Jehu was executing judgment on the house of Ahab, that he found the princes of Judah, and the sons of the brothers of Ahaziah, ministering to Ahaziah, and killed them. He sought Ahaziah, and they caught him (now he was hiding in Samaria), and they brought him to Jehu, and killed him, and they buried him, for they said, He is the son of Jehoshaphat, who sought the Lord with all his heart. The house of Ahaziah had no power to hold the kingdom. Now when Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the royal seed of the house of Judah. But Jehoshabeath, the daughter of the king, took Joash the son of Ahaziah, and stole him away from among the king's sons who were slain, and put him and his nurse in the bedchamber. So Jehoshabeath, the daughter of king Jehoram, the wife of Jehoiada the priest (for she was the sister of Ahaziah), hid him from Athaliah, so that she did not kill him. He was with them hid in the house of God six years, and Athaliah reigned over the land. In the seventh year Jehoiada strengthened himself, and took the captains of hundreds, Azariah the son of Jeroham, and Ishmael the son of Jehohanan, and Azariah the son of Obed, and Maaseiah the son of Adaiah, and Elishaphat the son of Zichri, into covenant with him. They went about in Judah, and gathered the Levites out of all the cities of Judah, and the heads of fathers' houses of Israel, and they came to Jerusalem. All the assembly made a covenant with the king in the house of God. He said to them, Behold, the king's son shall reign, as the Lord has spoken concerning the sons of David. This is the thing that you shall do, a third part of you, who come in on the Sabbath, of the priests and of the Levites, shall be porters of the thresholds, and a third part shall be at the king's house, and a third part at the gate of the foundation, and all the people shall be in the courts of the house of the Lord. But let none come into the house of the Lord, save the priests, and those who minister of the Levites; they shall come in, for they are holy, but all the people shall keep the charge of the Lord. The Levites shall compass the king round about, every man with his weapons in his hand, and whoever comes into the house, let him be slain, and be you with the king when he comes in, and when he goes out. So the Levites and all Judah did according to all that Jehoiada the priest commanded, and they took every man his men, those who were to come in on the Sabbath; with those who were to go out on the Sabbath; for Jehoiada the priest did not dismiss the shift. Jehoiada the priest delivered to the captains of hundreds the spears, and bucklers, and shields, that had been king David's, which were in the house of God. He set all the people, every man with his weapon in his hand, from the right side of the house to the left side of the house, along by the altar and the house, by the king round about. Then they brought out the king's son, and put the crown on him, and gave him the covenant, and made him king, and Jehoiada and his sons anointed him, and they said, Long live the king. When Athaliah heard the noise of the people running and praising the king, she came to the people into the house of the Lord, and she looked, and, behold, the king stood by his pillar at the entrance, and the captains and the trumpets by the king, and all the people of the land rejoiced, and blew trumpets; the singers also played on instruments of music, and led the singing of praise. Then Athaliah tore her clothes, and said, Treason! treason! Jehoiada the priest brought out the captains of hundreds who were set over the army, and said to them, Have her forth between the ranks, and whoever follows her, let him be slain with the sword, for the priest said, Do not kill her in the house of the Lord. So they made way for her, and she went to the entrance of the horse gate to the king's house, and they killed her there. Jehoiada made a covenant between himself, and all the people, and the king, that they should be the Lord's people. All the people went to the house of Baal, and broke it down, and broke his altars and his images in pieces, and killed Mattan the priest of Baal before the altars. Jehoiada appointed the officers of the house of the Lord under the hand of the priests the Levites, whom David had distributed in the house of the Lord, to offer the burnt offerings of the Lord, as it is written in the law of Moses, with rejoicing and with singing, according to the order of David. He set the porters at the gates of the house of the Lord, that no one who was unclean in anything should enter in. He took the captains of hundreds, and the nobles, and the governors of the people, and all the people of the land, and brought down the king from the house of the Lord, and they came through the upper gate to the king's house, and set the king on the throne of the kingdom. So all the people of the land rejoiced, and the city was quiet. Athaliah they had slain with the sword. Joash was seven years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years in Jerusalem, and his mother's name was Zibiah, of Beersheba. Joash did what was right in the eyes of the Lord all the days of Jehoiada the priest. Jehoiada took for him two wives, and he became the father of sons and daughters. It happened after this, that Joash was minded to restore the house of the Lord. He gathered together the priests and the Levites, and said to them, Go out to the cities of Judah, and gather of all Israel money to repair the house of your God from year to year, and see that you hasten the matter. However the Levites did not hurry. The king called for Jehoiada the chief, and said to him, Why have not you required of the Levites to bring in out of Judah and out of Jerusalem the tax of Moses the servant of the Lord, and of the assembly of Israel, for the tent of the covenant? For the sons of Athaliah, that wicked woman, had broken up the house of God, and also all the dedicated things of the house of the Lord did they bestow on the Baals. So the king commanded, and they made a chest, and set it outside at the gate of the house of the Lord. They made a proclamation through Judah and Jerusalem, to bring in for the Lord the tax that Moses the servant of God laid on Israel in the desert. All the princes and all the people rejoiced, and brought in, and cast into the chest, until they had made an end. It was so, that whenever the chest was brought to the king's officers by the hand of the Levites, and when they saw that there was much money, the king's scribe and the chief priest's officer came and emptied the chest, and took it, and carried it to its place again. Thus they did day by day, and gathered money in abundance. The king and Jehoiada gave it to such as did the work of the service of the house of the Lord, and they hired masons and carpenters to restore the house of the Lord, and also such as worked iron and bronze to repair the house of the Lord. So the workmen worked, and the work of repairing went forward in their hands, and they set up the house of God in its state, and strengthened it. When they had made an end, they brought the rest of the money before the king and Jehoiada, of which were made vessels for the house of the Lord, vessels with which to minister and to offer, and spoons, and vessels of gold and silver. They offered burnt offerings in the house of the Lord continually all the days of Jehoiada. But Jehoiada grew old and was full of days, and he died; one hundred thirty years old was he when he died. They buried him in the city of David among the kings, because he had done good in Israel, and toward God and his house. Now after the death of Jehoiada came the princes of Judah, and made obeisance to the king. Then the king listened to them. They forsook the house of the Lord, the God of their fathers, and served the Asherim and the idols, and wrath came on Judah and Jerusalem for this their guiltiness. Yet he sent prophets to them, to bring them again to the Lord, and they testified against them, but they would not give ear. The Spirit of God came on Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest, and he stood above the people, and said to them, Thus says God, Why disobey you the commandments of the Lord, so that you cannot prosper? because you have forsaken the Lord, he has also forsaken you. They conspired against him, and stoned him with stones at the commandment of the king in the court of the house of the Lord. Thus Joash the king did not remember the kindness which Jehoiada his father had done to him, but killed his son. When he died, he said, the Lord look on it, and require it. It happened at the end of the year, that the army of the Syrians came up against him, and they came to Judah and Jerusalem, and destroyed all the princes of the people from among the people, and sent all the spoil of them to the king of Damascus. For the army of the Syrians came with a small company of men, and the Lord delivered a very great army into their hand, because they had forsaken the Lord, the God of their fathers. So they executed judgment on Joash. When they were departed for him (for they left him very sick), his own servants conspired against him for the blood of the sons of Jehoiada the priest, and killed him on his bed, and he died, and they buried him in the city of David, but they did not bury him in the tombs of the kings. These are those who conspired against him, Zabad the son of Shimeath the Ammonitess, and Jehozabad the son of Shimrith the Moabitess. Now concerning his sons, and the greatness of the burdens laid on him, and the rebuilding of the house of God, behold, they are written in the commentary of the book of the kings. Amaziah his son reigned in his place.

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