Reading 126/341, 2 Chronicles 31.12-34.13

...2 Chronicles...

They brought in the offerings and the tithes and the dedicated things faithfully, and over them Conaniah the Levite was ruler, and Shimei his brother was second. Jehiel, and Azaziah, and Nahath, and Asahel, and Jerimoth, and Jozabad, and Eliel, and Ismachiah, and Mahath, and Benaiah, were overseers under the hand of Conaniah and Shimei his brother, by the appointment of Hezekiah the king, and Azariah the ruler of the house of God. Kore the son of Imnah the Levite, the porter at the east gate, was over the freewill offerings of God, to distribute the offerings of the Lord, and the Most Holy things. Under him were Eden, and Miniamin, and Jeshua, and Shemaiah, Amariah, and Shecaniah, in the cities of the priests, in their office of trust, to give to their brothers by divisions, as well to the great as to the small, besides those who were reckoned by genealogy of males, from three years old and upward, everyone who entered into the house of the Lord, as the duty of every day required, for their service in their offices according to their divisions, and those who were reckoned by genealogy of the priests by their fathers' houses, and the Levites from twenty years old and upward, in their offices by their divisions, and those who were reckoned by genealogy of all their little ones, their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, through all the congregation, for in their office of trust they sanctified themselves in holiness. Also for the sons of Aaron the priests, who were in the fields of the suburbs of their cities, in every city, there were men who were mentioned by name, to give portions to all the males among the priests, and to all who were reckoned by genealogy among the Levites. Thus did Hezekiah throughout all Judah, and he worked what was good and right and faithful before the Lord his God. In every work that he began in the service of the house of God, and in the law, and in the commandments, to seek his God, he did it with all his heart, and prospered. After these things, and this faithfulness, Sennacherib king of Assyria came, and entered into Judah, and encamped against the fortified cities, and thought to win them for himself. When Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib was come, and that he was purposed to fight against Jerusalem, he took counsel with his princes and his mighty men to stop the waters of the springs which were outside of the city, and they helped him. So there was gathered much people together, and they stopped all the springs, and the brook that flowed through the midst of the land, saying, Why should the kings of Assyria come, and find much water? He took courage, and built up all the wall that was broken down, and raised it up to the towers, and the other wall outside, and strengthened Millo in the city of David, and made weapons and shields in abundance. He set captains of war over the people, and gathered them together to him in the broad place at the gate of the city, and spoke comfortably to them, saying, Be strong and of good courage, do not be afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude who is with him; for there is a greater with us than with him, with him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the Lord our God to help us, and to fight our battles. The people rested themselves on the words of Hezekiah king of Judah. After this did Sennacherib king of Assyria send his servants to Jerusalem, (now he was before Lachish, and all his power with him), to Hezekiah king of Judah, and to all Judah who were at Jerusalem, saying, Thus says Sennacherib king of Assyria, On which do you trust, that you abide the siege in Jerusalem? Does not Hezekiah persuade you, to give you over to die by famine and by thirst, saying, the Lord our God will deliver us out of the hand of the king of Assyria? Has not the same Hezekiah taken away his high places and his altars, and commanded Judah and Jerusalem, saying, You shall worship before one altar, and on it shall you burn incense? Do not you know what I and my fathers have done to all the peoples of the lands? Were the gods of the nations of the lands in any wise able to deliver their land out of my hand? Who was there among all the gods of those nations which my fathers utterly destroyed, that could deliver his people out of my hand, that your God should be able to deliver you out of my hand? Now therefore do not let Hezekiah deceive you, nor persuade you after this manner, nor believe you him; for no god of any nation or kingdom was able to deliver his people out of my hand, and out of the hand of my fathers, how much less shall your God deliver you out of my hand? His servants spoke yet more against the Lord God, and against his servant Hezekiah. He wrote also letters, to rail on the Lord, the God of Israel, and to speak against him, saying, As the gods of the nations of the lands, which have not delivered their people out of my hand, so shall the God of Hezekiah not deliver his people out of my hand. They cried with a loud voice in the Jews' language to the people of Jerusalem who were on the wall, to frighten them, and to trouble them; that they might take the city. They spoke of the God of Jerusalem, as of the gods of the peoples of the earth, which are the work of men's hands. Hezekiah the king, and Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz, prayed because of this, and cried to heaven. The Lord sent an angel, who cut off all the mighty men of valor, and the leaders and captains, in the camp of the king of Assyria. So he returned with shame of face to his own land. When he was come into the house of his god, those who came forth from his own bowels killed him there with the sword. Thus the Lord saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib the king of Assyria, and from the hand of all others, and guided them on every side. Many brought gifts to the Lord to Jerusalem, and precious things to Hezekiah king of Judah; so that he was exalted in the sight of all nations from thenceforth. In those days Hezekiah was sick to death, and he prayed to the Lord, and he spoke to him, and gave him a sign. But Hezekiah did not render again according to the benefit done to him; for his heart was lifted up, therefore there was wrath on him, and on Judah and Jerusalem. Notwithstanding Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart, both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the Lord did not come on them in the days of Hezekiah. Hezekiah had exceeding much riches and honor, and he provided him treasuries for silver, and for gold, and for precious stones, and for spices, and for shields, and for all manner of goodly vessels; storehouses also for the increase of grain and new wine and oil, and stalls for all manner of animals, and flocks in folds. Moreover he provided him cities, and possessions of flocks and herds in abundance; for God had given him very much substance. This same Hezekiah also stopped the upper spring of the waters of Gihon, and brought them straight down on the west side of the city of David. Hezekiah prospered in all his works. However in the business of the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon, who sent to him to inquire of the wonder that was done in the land, God left him, to try him, that he might know all that was in his heart. Now the rest of the acts of Hezekiah, and his good deeds, behold, they are written in the vision of Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz, in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel. Hezekiah slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the ascent of the tombs of the sons of David, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem did him honor at his death. Manasseh his son reigned in his place. Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem. He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, after the abominations of the nations whom the Lord cast out before the children of Israel. For he built again the high places which Hezekiah his father had broken down, and he reared up altars for the Baals, and made Asheroth, and worshiped all the army of the sky, and served them. He built altars in the house of the Lord, of which the Lord said, In Jerusalem shall my name be forever. He built altars for all the army of the sky in the two courts of the house of the Lord. He also made his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom, and he practiced sorcery, and used enchantments, and practiced sorcery, and dealt with those who had familiar spirits, and with wizards, he worked much evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger. He set the engraved image of the idol, which he had made, in the house of God, of which God said to David and to Solomon his son, In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, will I put my name forever, nor will I any more remove the foot of Israel from off the land which I have appointed for your fathers, if only they will observe to do all that I have commanded them, all the law and the statutes and the ordinances given by Moses. Manasseh seduced Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that they did evil more than did the nations whom the Lord destroyed before the children of Israel. The Lord spoke to Manasseh, and to his people; but they gave no heed. Therefore the Lord brought on them the captains of the army of the king of Assyria, who took Manasseh in chains, and bound him with fetters, and carried him to Babylon. When he was in distress, he begged the Lord his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. He prayed to him, and he was entreated of him, and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord he was God. Now after this he built an outer wall to the city of David, on the west side of Gihon, in the valley, to the entrance at the fish gate, and he compassed Ophel about with it, and raised it up to a very great height, and he put valiant captains in all the fortified cities of Judah. He took away the foreign gods, and the idol out of the house of the Lord, and all the altars that he had built in the mountain of the house of the Lord, and in Jerusalem, and cast them out of the city. He built up the altar of the Lord, and offered thereon sacrifices of peace offerings and of thanksgiving, and commanded Judah to serve the Lord, the God of Israel. Nevertheless the people sacrificed still in the high places, but only to the Lord their God. Now the rest of the acts of Manasseh, and his prayer to his God, and the words of the seers who spoke to him in the name of the Lord, the God of Israel, behold, they are written among the acts of the kings of Israel. His prayer also, and how God was entreated of him, and all his sin and his trespass, and the places in which he built high places, and set up the Asherim and the engraved images, before he humbled himself, behold, they are written in the history of Hozai. So Manasseh slept with his fathers, and they buried him in his own house, and Amon his son reigned in his place. Amon was twenty-two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned two years in Jerusalem. He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, as did Manasseh his father, and Amon sacrificed to all the engraved images which Manasseh his father had made, and served them. He did not humble himself before the Lord, as Manasseh his father had humbled himself; but this same Amon trespassed more and more. His servants conspired against him, and put him to death in his own house. But the people of the land killed all those who had conspired against king Amon, and the people of the land made Josiah his son king in his place. Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem. He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, and walked in the ways of David his father, and did not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet young, he began to seek after the God of David his father, and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem from the high places, and the Asherim, and the engraved images, and the molten images. They broke down the altars of the Baals in his presence, and the incense altars that were on high above them he hewed down, and the Asherim, and the engraved images, and the molten images, he broke in pieces, and made dust of them, and strewed it on the graves of those who had sacrificed to them. He burnt the bones of the priests on their altars, and purged Judah and Jerusalem. So did he in the cities of Manasseh and Ephraim and Simeon, to Naphtali, in their ruins round about. He broke down the altars, and beat the Asherim and the engraved images into powder, and hewed down all the incense altars throughout all the land of Israel, and returned to Jerusalem. Now in the eighteenth year of his reign, when he had purged the land and the house, he sent Shaphan the son of Azaliah, and Maaseiah the governor of the city, and Joah the son of Joahaz the recorder, to repair the house of the Lord his God. They came to Hilkiah the high priest, and delivered the money that was brought into the house of God, which the Levites, the keepers of the threshold, had gathered of the hand of Manasseh and Ephraim, and of all the remnant of Israel, and of all Judah and Benjamin, and of the inhabitants of Jerusalem. They delivered it into the hand of the workmen who had the oversight of the house of the Lord, and the workmen who labored in the house of the Lord gave it to mend and repair the house; to the carpenters and to the builders gave they it, to buy hewn stone, and timber for couplings, and to make beams for the houses which the kings of Judah had destroyed. The men did the work faithfully, and the overseers of them were Jahath and Obadiah, the Levites, of the sons of Merari, and Zechariah and Meshullam, of the sons of the Kohathites, to set it forward, and others of the Levites, all who were skillful with instruments of music. Also they were over the bearers of burdens, and set forward all who did the work in every manner of service, and of the Levites there were scribes, and officers, and porters.

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