Read the Bible in a Year

Each day, we'll post passages so that you can read the Bible in one year. This is part of The Colossians 13:16 Project, sponsored by Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Street, Weirton, West Virginia. You're invited to worship with us Sundays, at 11:00 a.m. or Saturdays, at 6:30 p.m. You may also want to consider joining one our adult Bible Studies: Thursdays at 12:00 noon and Sundays at 9:30 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. We also have a full range of programs for children. If you want more information about the church, check out the other blogs. And please feel free to leave any comments.

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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Bible Readings for June 30, 2011

Today our passages are 2 Kings 17:1–18:12; Acts 20:1-38; Psalm 148:1-14; and Proverbs 18:6-7. The readings are from the Contemporary English Version.


2 Kings 17-18:12 (Contemporary English Version)

2 Kings 17

King Hoshea of Israel

1Hoshea son of Elah became king of Israel in the twelfth year of Ahaz's rule in Judah, and he ruled nine years from Samaria. 2Hoshea disobeyed the LORD and sinned, but not as much as the earlier Israelite kings had done.

3During Hoshea's rule, King Shalmaneser of Assyria [a] invaded Israel; he took control of the country and made Hoshea pay taxes. 4But later, Hoshea refused to pay the taxes and asked King So of Egypt to help him rebel. When Shalmaneser found out, he arrested Hoshea and put him in prison.

Samaria Is Destroyed and the Israelites Are Taken to Assyria

5Shalmaneser invaded Israel and attacked the city of Samaria for three years, 6before capturing it in the ninth year of Hoshea's rule. The Assyrian king [b] took the Israelites away to Assyria as prisoners. He forced some of them to live in the town of Halah, others to live near the Habor River in the territory of Gozan, and still others to live in towns where the Median people lived. 7All of this happened because the people of Israel had sinned against the LORD their God, who had rescued them from Egypt, where they had been slaves. They worshiped foreign gods, 8followed the customs of the nations that the LORD had forced out of Israel, and were just as sinful as the Israelite kings. 9Even worse, the Israelites tried to hide their sins from the LORD their God. They built their own local shrines everywhere in Israel--from small towns to large, walled cities. 10They also built stone images of foreign gods and set up sacred poles [c] for the worship of Asherah on every hill and under every shady tree. 11They offered sacrifices at the shrines, [d] just as the foreign nations had done before the LORD forced them out of Israel. They did sinful things that made the LORD very angry. 12Even though the LORD had commanded the Israelites not to worship idols, [e] they did it anyway. 13So the LORD made sure that every prophet warned Israel and Judah with these words: "I, the LORD, command you to stop doing sinful things and start obeying my laws and teachings! I gave them to your ancestors, and I told my servants the prophets to repeat them to you." 14But the Israelites would not listen; they were as stubborn as their ancestors who had refused to worship the LORD their God. 15They ignored the LORD's warnings and commands, and they rejected the solemn agreement he had made with their ancestors. They worshiped worthless idols and became worthless themselves. The LORD had told the Israelites not to do the things that the foreign nations around them were doing, but Israel became just like them.

16The people of Israel disobeyed all the commands of the LORD their God. They made two gold statues of calves and set up a sacred pole for Asherah; they also worshiped the stars and the god Baal. 17They used magic and witchcraft and even sacrificed their own children. The Israelites were determined to do whatever the LORD hated. 18The LORD became so furious with the people of Israel that he allowed them to be carried away as prisoners.

Only the people living in Judah were left, 19but they also disobeyed the LORD's commands and acted like the Israelites. 20So the LORD turned his back on everyone in Israel and Judah [f] and let them be punished and defeated until no one was left. 21Earlier, when the LORD took the northern tribes away from David's family, [g] the people living in northern Israel chose Jeroboam son of Nebat as their king. Jeroboam caused the Israelites to sin and to stop worshiping the LORD. 22The people kept on sinning like Jeroboam, 23until the LORD got rid of them, just as he had warned his servants the prophets. That's why the people of Israel were taken away as prisoners to Assyria, and that's where they remained.

Foreigners Are Resettled in Israel

24The king of Assyria took people who were living in the cities of Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Sepharvaim, and forced them to move to Israel. They took over the towns where the Israelites had lived, including the capital city of Samaria.

25At first these people did not worship the LORD, so he sent lions to attack them, and the lions killed some of them. 26A messenger told the king of Assyria, "The people you moved to Israel don't know how to worship the god of that country. So he sent lions that have attacked and killed some of them."

27The king replied, "Get one of the Israelite priests we brought here and send him back to Israel. He can live there and teach them about the god of that country." 28One of the Israelite priests was chosen to go back to Israel. He lived in Bethel and taught the people how to worship the LORD.

29But in towns all over Israel, the different groups of people made statues of their own gods, then they placed these idols in local Israelite [h] shrines. 30The people from Babylonia made the god Succoth-Benoth; those from Cuthah made the god Nergal; those from Hamath made Ashima; 31those from Avva made Nibhaz and Tartak; and the people from Sepharvaim sacrificed their children to their own gods Adrammelech and Anammelech. 32-33They worshiped their own gods, just as they had before they were taken away to Israel. They also worshiped the LORD, but they chose their own people to be priests at the shrines. 34Everyone followed their old customs. None of them worshiped only the LORD, and they refused to obey the laws and commands that the LORD had given to the descendants of Jacob, the man he named Israel. 35At the time when the LORD had made his solemn agreement with the people of Israel, he told them: Do not worship any other gods! Do not bow down to them or offer them a sacrifice. 36Worship only me! I am the one who rescued you from Egypt with my mighty power. Bow down to me and offer sacrifices. 37Never worship any other god, always obey my laws and teachings, 38and remember the solemn agreement between us.

I will say it again: Do not worship any god 39except me. I am the LORD your God, and I will rescue you from all your enemies.

40But the people living in Israel ignored that command and kept on following their old customs. 41They did worship the LORD, but they also worshiped their own idols. Their descendants did the same thing.

2 Kings 18

King Hezekiah of Judah
(2 Chronicles 29.1,2; 31.1)

1Hezekiah son of Ahaz became king of Judah in the third year of Hoshea's rule in Israel. 2Hezekiah was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he ruled twenty-nine years from Jerusalem. His mother Abi was the daughter of Zechariah.

3Hezekiah obeyed the LORD, just as his ancestor David had done. 4He destroyed the local shrines, then tore down the images of foreign gods and cut down the sacred pole for worshiping the goddess Asherah. He also smashed the bronze snake Moses had made. The people had named it Nehushtan [i] and had been offering sacrifices to it. 5Hezekiah trusted the LORD God of Israel. No other king of Judah was like Hezekiah, either before or after him. 6He was completely faithful to the LORD and obeyed the laws the LORD had given to Moses for the people. 7The LORD helped Hezekiah, so he was successful in everything he did. He even rebelled against the king of Assyria, refusing to be his servant. 8Hezekiah defeated the Philistine towns as far away as Gaza--from the smallest towns to the large, walled cities.

9During the fourth year of Hezekiah's rule, which was the seventh year of Hoshea's rule in Israel, King Shalmaneser of Assyria led his troops to Samaria, the capital city of Israel. They attacked 10and captured it three years later, [j] in the sixth year of Hezekiah's rule and the ninth year of Hoshea's rule. 11The king of Assyria [k] took the Israelites away as prisoners; he forced some of them to live in the town of Halah, others to live near the Habor River in the territory of Gozan, and still others to live in towns where the Median people lived. 12All of that happened because the people of Israel had not obeyed the LORD their God. They rejected the solemn agreement he had made with them, and they ignored everything that the LORD's servant Moses had told them.

2 Kings 17:3 King Shalmaneser of Assyria: The son of Tiglath Pileser, who ruled Assyria from 727 to 722 B.C.
2 Kings 17:6 The Assyrian king: Probably Sargon, Shalmaneser's successor. Shalmaneser died after the city of Samaria was captured (722 B.C.) but before the people were taken away as prisoners (720 B.C.). Sargon ruled Assyria from 721 to 705 B.C.
2 Kings 17:10 sacred poles: See the note at 13.6,7.
2 Kings 17:11 shrines: See the note at 12.3.
2 Kings 17:12 the LORD. . . idols: See Exodus 20.4,5.
2 Kings 17:20 Israel and Judah: Or "Israel," that is, the northern kingdom only.
2 Kings 17:21 when the LORD. . . family: See 1 Kings 11.29-39.
2 Kings 17:29 Israelite: The Hebrew text has "Samaritan," which is a later word to describe the people who lived in northern Israel at this time.
2 Kings 18:4 the bronze snake. . . Nehushtan: See Numbers 21.8,9. "Nehushtan" is a nickname that sounds like the Hebrew words for "snake" and "bronze."
2 Kings 18:10 three years later: When the Israelites measured time, part of a year could be counted as a whole year.
2 Kings 18:11 The king of Assyria: Probably Sargon, Shalmaneser's successor (see the note at 17.6).

Acts 20:1-38 (Contemporary English Version)

Acts 20

Paul Goes through Macedonia and Greece

1When the riot was over, Paul sent for the followers and encouraged them. He then told them good-by and left for Macedonia. 2As he traveled from place to place, he encouraged the followers with many messages. Finally, he went to Greece a] 3and stayed there for three months. Paul was about to sail to Syria. But some of the Jewish leaders plotted against him, so he decided to return by way of Macedonia. 4With him were Sopater, son of Pyrrhus from Berea, and Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica. Gaius from Derbe was also with him, and so were Timothy and the two Asians, Tychicus and Trophimus. 5They went on ahead to Troas and waited for us there. 6After the Festival of Thin Bread, we sailed from Philippi. Five days later we met them in Troas and stayed there for a week.

Paul's Last Visit to Troas

7On the first day of the week b] we met to break bread together. c] Paul spoke to the people until midnight because he was leaving the next morning. 8In the upstairs room where we were meeting, there were a lot of lamps. 9A young man by the name of Eutychus was sitting on a window sill. While Paul was speaking, the young man got very sleepy. Finally, he went to sleep and fell three floors all the way down to the ground. When they picked him up, he was dead. 10Paul went down and bent over Eutychus. He took him in his arms and said, "Don't worry! He's alive." 11After Paul had gone back upstairs, he broke bread, and ate with us. He then spoke until dawn and left. 12Then the followers took the young man home alive and were very happy.

The Voyage from Troas to Miletus

13Paul decided to travel by land to Assos. The rest of us went on ahead by ship, and we were to take him aboard there. 14When he met us in Assos, he came aboard, and we sailed on to Mitylene. 15The next day we came to a place near Chios, and the following day we reached Samos. The day after that we sailed to Miletus. 16Paul had decided to sail on past Ephesus, because he did not want to spend too much time in Asia. He was in a hurry and wanted to be in Jerusalem in time for Pentecost. d]

Paul Says Good-By to the Church Leaders of Ephesus

17From Miletus, Paul sent a message for the church leaders at Ephesus to come and meet with him. 18When they got there, he said:

You know everything I did during the time I was with you when I first came to Asia. 19Some of the Jews plotted against me and caused me a lot of sorrow and trouble. But I served the Lord and was humble. 20When I preached in public or taught in your homes, I didn't hold back from telling anything that would help you. 21I told Jews and Gentiles to turn to God and have faith in our Lord Jesus.

22I don't know what will happen to me in Jerusalem, but I must obey God's Spirit and go there. 23In every city I visit, I am told by the Holy Spirit that I will be put in jail and will be in trouble in Jerusalem. 24But I don't care what happens to me, as long as I finish the work that the Lord Jesus gave me to do. And that work is to tell the good news about God's great kindness.

25I have gone from place to place, preaching to you about God's kingdom, but now I know that none of you will ever see me again. 26I tell you today that I am no longer responsible for any of you! 27I have told you everything God wants you to know. 28Look after yourselves and everyone the Holy Spirit has placed in your care. Be like shepherds to God's church. It is the flock that he bought with the blood of his own Son. e] 29I know that after I am gone, others will come like fierce wolves to attack you. 30Some of your own people will tell lies to win over the Lord's followers. 31Be on your guard! Remember how day and night for three years I kept warning you with tears in my eyes.

32I now place you in God's care. Remember the message about his great kindness! This message can help you and give you what belongs to you as God's people. 33I have never wanted anyone's money or clothes. 34You know how I have worked with my own hands to make a living for myself and my friends. 35By everything I did, I showed how you should work to help everyone who is weak. Remember that our Lord Jesus said, "More blessings come from giving than from receiving."

36After Paul had finished speaking, he knelt down with all of them and prayed. 37Everyone cried and hugged and kissed him. 38They were especially sad because Paul had told them, "You will never see me again."

Then they went with him to the ship.

Acts 20:2 Greece: Probably Corinth.
Acts 20:7 On the first day of the week: Since the Jewish day began at sunset, the meeting would have begun in the evening.
Acts 20:7 break bread together: See the note at 2.46.
Acts 20:16 in time for Pentecost: The Jewish people liked to be in Jerusalem for this festival (see the note at 2.1).
Acts 20:28 the blood of his own Son: Or "his own blood."

Psalm 148:1-14 (Contemporary English Version)

Psalm 148

Come Praise the LORD

1Shout praises to the LORD!

Shout the LORD's praises
in the highest heavens.

2All of you angels,
and all who serve him above,
come and offer praise.

3Sun and moon,
and all of you bright stars,
come and offer praise.

4Highest heavens,
and the water
above the highest heavens, a]
come and offer praise.

5Let all things praise
the name of the LORD,
because they were created
at his command.

6He made them to last forever,
and nothing can change
what he has done. b]

7All creatures on earth,
you obey his commands,
so come praise the LORD!

8Sea monsters and the deep sea,
fire and hail,
snow and frost,
and every stormy wind,
come praise the LORD!

9All mountains and hills,
fruit trees and cedars,
10every wild and tame animal,
all reptiles and birds,
come praise the LORD!

11Every king and every ruler,
all nations on earth,
12every man and every woman,
young people and old,
come praise the LORD!

13All creation, come praise
the name of the LORD.

Praise his name alone.

The glory of God is greater
than heaven and earth.

14Like a bull with mighty horns,
the LORD protects
his faithful nation Israel,
because they belong to him.

Shout praises to the LORD!

Psalm 148:4 the water. . . heavens: It was believed that the earth and the heavens were surrounded by water.
Psalm 148:6 nothing. . . done: Or " his laws will never change."

Proverbs 18:6-7 (Contemporary English Version)

6Foolish talk will get you
into a lot of trouble.

7Saying foolish things
is like setting a trap
to destroy yourself.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Bible Readings for June 29, 2011

Today our passages are 2 Kings 15:1–16:20; Acts 19:13-41; Psalm 147:1-20; and Proverbs 18:4-5. The readings are from the Contemporary English Version.


2 Kings 15-16:20 (Contemporary English Version)

2 Kings 15

King Azariah of Judah
(2 Chronicles 26.1-23)

1Azariah son of Amaziah became king of Judah in Jeroboam's twenty-seventh year as king of Israel. 2He was only sixteen years old when he became king, and he ruled fifty-two years from Jerusalem, which was also the hometown of his mother Jecoliah.

3Azariah obeyed the LORD by doing right, as his father Amaziah had done. 4But Azariah did not destroy the local shrines, [a] and they were still used as places for offering sacrifices. 5The LORD punished Azariah with leprosy [b] for the rest of his life. He wasn't allowed to live in the royal palace, so his son Jotham lived there and ruled in his place. 6Everything else Azariah did while he was king is written in The History of the Kings of Judah. 7Azariah died and was buried beside his ancestors in Jerusalem. His son Jotham then became king.

King Zechariah of Israel

8Zechariah son of Jeroboam became king of Israel in the thirty-eighth year of Azariah's rule in Judah, but he ruled only six months from Samaria. 9Like his ancestors, Zechariah disobeyed the LORD by following the evil ways of Jeroboam son of Nebat, who had caused the Israelites to sin.

10Shallum son of Jabesh plotted against Zechariah and killed him in public. [c] Shallum then became king. 11-12So the LORD had kept his promise to Jehu that the next four kings of Israel would come from his family. [d] Everything else Zechariah did while he was king is written in The History of the Kings of Israel.

King Shallum of Israel

13Shallum became king of Israel in the thirty-ninth year of Azariah's [e] rule in Judah. But only one month after Shallum became king, 14-16Menahem son of Gadi came to Samaria from Tirzah and killed him. Menahem then became king. The town of Tiphsah would not surrender to him, so he destroyed it and all the surrounding towns as far as Tirzah. He killed everyone living in Tiphsah, and with his sword he even ripped open pregnant women. Everything else Shallum did while he was king, including his plot against Zechariah, is written in The History of the Kings of Israel.

King Menahem of Israel

17Menahem became king of Israel in Azariah's thirty-ninth year as king of Judah, and he ruled Israel ten years from Samaria. 18He constantly disobeyed the LORD by following the example of Jeroboam son of Nebat, who had caused the Israelites to sin.

19During Menahem's rule, King Tiglath Pileser [f] of Assyria invaded Israel. He agreed to help Menahem keep control of his kingdom, if Menahem would pay him over thirty tons of silver. 20So Menahem ordered every rich person in Israel to give him at least one pound of silver, and he gave it all to Tiglath Pileser, who stopped his attack and left Israel. 21Everything else Menahem did while he was king is written in The History of the Kings of Israel. 22Menahem died, and his son Pekahiah became king.

King Pekahiah of Israel

23Pekahiah became king of Israel in the fiftieth year of Azariah's rule in Judah, and he ruled two years from Samaria. 24He disobeyed the LORD and caused the Israelites to sin, just as Jeroboam son of Nebat had done.

25Pekah son of Remaliah was Pekahiah's chief officer, but he made plans to kill the king. So he and fifty men from Gilead broke into the strongest part of the palace in Samaria and murdered Pekahiah, together with Argob and Arieh. [g] Pekah then became king. 26Everything else Pekahiah did while he was king is written in The History of the Kings of Israel.

King Pekah of Israel

27Pekah son of Remaliah became king of Israel in Azariah's fifty-second year as king of Judah, and he ruled twenty years from Samaria. 28He disobeyed the LORD and followed the evil example of Jeroboam son of Nebat, who had caused the Israelites to sin.

29During Pekah's rule, King Tiglath Pileser of Assyria marched into Israel. He captured the territories of Gilead and Galilee, including the towns of Ijon, Abel-Bethmaacah, Janoah, Kedesh, and Hazor, as well as the entire territory of Naphtali. Then he took Israelites from those regions to Assyria as prisoners. [h] 30In the twentieth year of Jotham's rule in Judah, Hoshea son of Elah plotted against Pekah and murdered him. Hoshea then became king of Israel.

31Everything else Pekah did while he was king is written in The History of the Kings of Israel.

King Jotham of Judah
(2 Chronicles 27.1-9)

32Jotham son of Azariah [i] became king of Judah in the second year of Pekah's rule in Israel. 33Jotham was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he ruled sixteen years from Jerusalem. His mother Jerusha was the daughter of Zadok. 34Jotham followed the example of his father by obeying the LORD and doing right. 35It was Jotham who rebuilt the Upper Gate that led into the court around the LORD's temple. But the local shrines were not destroyed, and they were still used as places for offering sacrifices.

36Everything else Jotham did while he was king is written in The History of the Kings of Judah. 37During his rule, the LORD let King Rezin of Syria and King Pekah of Israel start attacking Judah. 38Jotham died and was buried beside his ancestors in Jerusalem, and his son Ahaz became king.

2 Kings 16

King Ahaz of Judah
(2 Chronicles 28.1-27)

1Ahaz son of Jotham became king of Judah in the seventeenth year of Pekah's rule in Israel. 2He was twenty years old at the time, and he ruled from Jerusalem for sixteen years.

Ahaz wasn't like his ancestor David. Instead, he disobeyed the LORD 3and was even more sinful than the kings of Israel. He sacrificed his own son, which was a disgusting custom of the nations that the LORD had forced out of Israel. 4Ahaz offered sacrifices at the local shrines, as well as on every hill and in the shade of large trees.

5-6While Ahaz was ruling Judah, the king of Edom recaptured the town of Elath from Judah and forced out the people of Judah. Edomites [j] then moved into Elath, and they still live there. About the same time, King Rezin of Syria and King Pekah of Israel marched to Jerusalem and attacked, but they could not capture it.

7Ahaz sent a message to King Tiglath Pileser of Assyria that said, "Your Majesty, King Rezin and King Pekah are attacking me, your loyal servant. Please come and rescue me." 8Along with the message, Ahaz sent silver and gold from the LORD's temple and from the palace treasury as a gift for the Assyrian king.

9As soon as Tiglath Pileser received the message, he and his troops marched to Syria. He captured the capital city of Damascus, then he took the people living there to the town of Kir as prisoners and killed King Rezin. [k] 10Later, Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglath Pileser. And while Ahaz was there, he saw an altar and sent a model of it back to Uriah the priest, along with the plans for building one. 11Uriah followed the plans and built an altar exactly like the one in Damascus, finishing it just before Ahaz came back.

12When Ahaz returned, he went to see the altar and to offer sacrifices on it. He walked up to the altar 13and poured wine over it. Then he offered sacrifices to please the LORD, to give him thanks, and to ask for his blessings. [l] 14After that, he had the bronze altar moved aside, [m] so his new altar would be right in front of the LORD's temple. 15He told Uriah the priest: From now on, the morning and evening sacrifices as well as all gifts of grain and wine are to be offered on this altar. The sacrifices for the people and for the king must also be offered here. Sprinkle the blood from all the sacrifices on it, but leave the bronze altar for me to use for prayer and finding out what God wants me to do.

16Uriah did everything Ahaz told him.

17Ahaz also had the side panels and the small bowls taken off the movable stands in the LORD's temple. He had the large bronze bowl, called the Sea, removed from the bronze bulls on which it rested and had it placed on a stand made of stone. 18He took down the special tent that was used for worship on the Sabbath [n] and closed up the private entrance that the kings of Judah used for going into the temple. He did all these things to please Tiglath Pileser. 19Everything else Ahaz did while he was king is written in The History of the Kings of Judah. 20Ahaz died and was buried beside his ancestors in Jerusalem, [o] and his son Hezekiah became king.

2 Kings 15:4 local shrines: See the note at 12.3.
2 Kings 15:5 leprosy: See the note at 5.1.
2 Kings 15:10 in public: Hebrew; some manuscripts of one ancient translation "in Ibleam."
2 Kings 15:11 So the LORD. . . family: See 10.28-31.
2 Kings 15:13 Azariah's: The Hebrew text has "Uzziah's," another spelling of the name.
2 Kings 15:19 Tiglath Pileser: The Hebrew text has "Pul," another name for Tiglath Pileser, who ruled Assyria from 745 to 727 B.C.
2 Kings 15:25 together with Argob and Arieh: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
2 Kings 15:29 prisoners: The events in this verse probably took place around 733 B.C.
2 Kings 15:32 Azariah: See the note at 15.13.
2 Kings 16:5 the king of Edom. . . Edomites: The Hebrew text has "King Rezin of Syria. . . Syrians"; in Hebrew, there is only one letter difference between "Edom" and "Aram," which is the usual Hebrew name for Syria in the Bible (see also 2 Chronicles 28.17).
2 Kings 16:9 King Rezin: This probably took place around 734 B.C., before the events in 15.29.
2 Kings 16:13 offered. . . blessings: In traditional translations, these sacrifices are usually called "whole burnt offerings," "grain offerings," and "peace offerings." These are described in Leviticus 1--3.
2 Kings 16:14 aside: Hebrew "to the north."
2 Kings 16:18 the special tent. . . Sabbath: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
2 Kings 16:20 Jerusalem: See the note at 8.24.

Acts 19:13-41 (Contemporary English Version)

13Some Jewish men started going around trying to force out evil spirits by using the name of the Lord Jesus. They said to the spirits, "Come out in the name of that same Jesus that Paul preaches about!"

14Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this, 15when an evil spirit said to them, "I know Jesus! And I have heard about Paul. But who are you?" 16Then the man with the evil spirit jumped on them and beat them up. They ran out of the house, naked and bruised.

17When the Jews and Gentiles in Ephesus heard about this, they were so frightened that they praised the name of the Lord Jesus. 18Many who were followers now started telling everyone about the evil things they had been doing. 19Some who had been practicing witchcraft even brought their books and burned them in public. These books were worth about fifty thousand silver coins. 20So the Lord's message spread and became even more powerful.

The Riot in Ephesus

21After all of this had happened, Paul decided [a] to visit Macedonia and Achaia on his way to Jerusalem. Paul had said, "From there I will go on to Rome." 22So he sent his two helpers, Timothy and Erastus, to Macedonia. But he stayed on in Asia for a while.

23At that time there was serious trouble because of the Lord's Way. [b] 24A silversmith named Demetrius had a business that made silver models of the temple of the goddess Artemis. Those who worked for him earned a lot of money. 25Demetrius brought together everyone who was in the same business and said:

Friends, you know that we make a good living at this. 26But you have surely seen and heard how this man Paul is upsetting a lot of people, not only in Ephesus, but almost everywhere in Asia. He claims that the gods we humans make are not really gods at all. 27Everyone will start saying terrible things about our business. They will stop respecting the temple of the goddess Artemis, who is worshiped in Asia and all over the world. Our great goddess will be forgotten!

28When the workers heard this, they got angry and started shouting, "Great is Artemis, the goddess of the Ephesians!" 29Soon the whole city was in a riot, and some men grabbed Gaius and Aristarchus, who had come from Macedonia with Paul. Then everyone in the crowd rushed to the place where the town meetings were held.

30Paul wanted to go out and speak to the people, but the Lord's followers would not let him. 31A few of the local officials were friendly to Paul, and they sent someone to warn him not to go.

32Some of the people in the meeting were shouting one thing, and others were shouting something else. Everyone was completely confused, and most of them did not even know why they were there.

33Several of the Jewish leaders pushed a man named Alexander to the front of the crowd and started telling him what to say. He motioned with his hand and tried to explain what was going on. 34But when the crowd saw that he was Jewish, they all shouted for two hours, "Great is Artemis, the goddess of the Ephesians!"

35Finally, a town official made the crowd be quiet. Then he said:

People of Ephesus, who in the world doesn't know that our city is the center for worshiping the great goddess Artemis? Who doesn't know that her image which fell from heaven is right here? 36No one can deny this, and so you should calm down and not do anything foolish. 37You have brought men in here who have not robbed temples or spoken against our goddess.

38If Demetrius and his workers have a case against these men, we have courts and judges. Let them take their complaints there. 39But if you want to do more than that, the matter will have to be brought before the city council. 40We could easily be accused of starting a riot today. There is no excuse for it! We cannot even give a reason for this uproar.

41After saying this, he told the people to leave.

Acts 19:21 Paul decided: Or "Paul was led by the Holy Spirit."
Acts 19:23 the Lord's Way: See the note at 9.2.

Psalm 147:1-20 (Contemporary English Version)

Psalm 147

Sing and Praise the LORD

1Shout praises to the LORD!

Our God is kind,
and it is right and good
to sing praises to him.

2The LORD rebuilds Jerusalem
and brings the people of Israel
back home again.

3He renews our hopes
and heals our bodies.

4He decided how many stars
there would be in the sky
and gave each one a name.

5Our LORD is great and powerful!

He understands everything.

6The LORD helps the poor,
but he smears the wicked
in the dirt.

7Celebrate and sing!

Play your harps
for the LORD our God.

8He fills the sky with clouds
and sends rain to the earth,
so that the hills
will be green with grass.

9He provides food for cattle
and for the young ravens,
when they cry out.

10The LORD doesn't care about
the strength of horses
or powerful armies.

11The LORD is pleased only
with those who worship him
and trust his love.

12Everyone in Jerusalem,
come and praise
the LORD your God!

13He makes your city gates strong
and blesses your people
by giving them children.

14God lets you live in peace,
and he gives you
the very best wheat.

15As soon as God speaks,
the earth obeys.

16He covers the ground with snow
like a blanket of wool,
and he scatters frost
like ashes on the ground.

17God sends down hailstones
like chips of rocks.

Who can stand the cold?

18At his command the ice melts,
the wind blows,
and streams begin to flow.

19God gave his laws and teachings
to the descendants of Jacob,
the nation of Israel.

20But he has not given his laws
to any other nation.

Shout praises to the LORD!

Proverbs 18:4-5 (Contemporary English Version)

4Words of wisdom
are a stream
that flows
from a deep fountain.

5It's wrong to favor the guilty
and keep the innocent
from getting justice.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Bible Readings for June 28, 2011

Today our passages are 2 Kings 13:1–14:29; Acts 18:23–19:12; Psalm 146:1-10; and Proverbs 18:2-3. The readings are from the Contemporary English Version.


2 Kings 13-14:29 (Contemporary English Version)

2 Kings 13

King Jehoahaz of Israel

1Jehoahaz son of Jehu became king of Israel in the twenty-third year of Joash's rule in Judah. Jehoahaz ruled seventeen years from Samaria 2and disobeyed the LORD by doing wrong. He never stopped following the example of Jeroboam, who had caused the Israelites to sin.

3The LORD was angry at the Israelites, so he let King Hazael of Syria and his son Benhadad rule over them for a long time. 4Jehoahaz prayed to the LORD for help, and the LORD saw how terribly Hazael was treating the Israelites. He answered Jehoahaz 5by sending Israel a leader who rescued them from the Syrians, [a] and the Israelites lived in peace as they had before. 6-7But Hazael had defeated Israel's army so badly that Jehoahaz had only ten chariots, fifty cavalry troops, and ten thousand regular soldiers left in his army. The Israelites kept sinning and following the example of Jeroboam's family. They did not tear down the sacred poles [b] that had been set up in Samaria for the worship of the goddess Asherah. 8Everything else Jehoahaz did while he was king, including his brave deeds, is written in The History of the Kings of Israel. 9Jehoahaz died and was buried in Samaria, and his son Jehoash became king.

King Jehoash of Israel

10Jehoash became king of Israel in the thirty-seventh year of Joash's rule in Judah, and he ruled sixteen years from Samaria. 11He disobeyed the LORD by doing just like Jeroboam, who had caused the Israelites to sin.
12Everything else Jehoash did while he was king, including his war against King Amaziah of Judah, is written in The History of the Kings of Israel. 13Jehoash died and was buried in Samaria beside the other Israelite kings. His son Jeroboam then became king.

Elisha the Prophet Dies

14Some time before the death of King Jehoash, Elisha the prophet was very sick and about to die. Jehoash went in and stood beside him, crying. He said, "Master, what will Israel's chariots and cavalry be able to do without you?" [c] 15-16"Grab a bow and some arrows," Elisha told him, "and hold them in your hand." Jehoash grabbed the bow and arrows and held them. Elisha placed his hand on the king's hand 17and said, "Open the window facing east." When it was open, Elisha shouted, "Now shoot!" Jehoash shot an arrow and Elisha said, "That arrow is a sign that the LORD will help you completely defeat the Syrian army at Aphek."

18Elisha said, "Pick up the arrows and hit the ground with them." Jehoash grabbed the arrows and hit the ground three times, then stopped. 19Elisha became angry at the king and exclaimed, "If you had struck it five or six times, you would completely wipe out the Syrians. Now you will defeat them only three times."

20Elisha died and was buried.

Every year in the spring, Moab's leaders sent raiding parties into Israel. 21Once, while some Israelites were burying a man's body, they saw a group of Moabites. The Israelites quickly threw the body into Elisha's tomb and ran away. As soon as the man's body touched the bones of Elisha, the man came back to life and stood up.

Israel Defeats Syria

22Israel was under the power of King Hazael of Syria during the entire rule of Jehoahaz. 23But the LORD was kind to the Israelites and showed them mercy because of his solemn agreement with their ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. In fact, he has never turned his back on them or let them be completely destroyed.

24Hazael died, and his son Benhadad then became king of Syria. 25King Jehoash of Israel attacked and defeated the Syrian army three times. He took back from Benhadad all the towns Hazael had captured in battle from his father Jehoahaz.

2 Kings 14

King Amaziah of Judah
(2 Chronicles 25.1-24)

1Amaziah son of Joash became king of Judah in the second year of Jehoash's rule in Israel. 2Amaziah was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he ruled twenty-nine years from Jerusalem, which was also the hometown of his mother Jehoaddin.

3Amaziah followed the example of his father Joash by obeying the LORD and doing right. But he was not as faithful as his ancestor David. 4Amaziah did not destroy the local shrines, and they were still used as places for offering sacrifices.

5As soon as Amaziah had control of Judah, he arrested and killed the officers who had murdered his father. 6But the children of those officers were not killed. The LORD had commanded in the Law of Moses that only the people who sinned were to be punished, not their parents or children. [d] 7While Amaziah was king, he killed ten thousand Edomite soldiers in Salt Valley. He captured the town of Sela and renamed it Joktheel, which is still its name.

8One day, Amaziah sent a message to King Jehoash of Israel: "Come out and face me in battle!"

9Jehoash sent back this reply:

Once upon a time, a small thornbush in Lebanon announced that his son was going to marry the daughter of a large cedar tree. But a wild animal came along and trampled the small bush.

10Amaziah, you think you're so powerful because you defeated Edom. Go ahead and celebrate--but stay at home. If you cause any trouble, both you and your kingdom of Judah will be destroyed.

11But Amaziah refused to listen. So Jehoash and his troops marched to the town of Beth-Shemesh in Judah to attack Amaziah and his troops. 12During the battle, Judah's army was crushed. Every soldier from Judah ran back home, 13and Jehoash captured Amaziah.

Jehoash then marched to Jerusalem and broke down the city wall from Ephraim Gate to Corner Gate, a section about six hundred feet long. 14He took the gold and silver, as well as everything of value from the LORD's temple and the king's treasury. He took hostages, then returned to Samaria.

15Everything else Jehoash did while he was king, including his brave deeds and how he defeated King Amaziah of Judah, is written in The History of the Kings of Israel. 16Jehoash died and was buried in Samaria beside the other Israelite kings. His son Jeroboam then became king.

17Fifteen years after Jehoash died, 18-20some people in Jerusalem plotted against Amaziah. He was able to escape to the town of Lachish, but another group of people caught him and killed him there. His body was taken back to Jerusalem on horseback and buried beside his ancestors.

Everything else Amaziah did while he was king is written in The History of the Kings of Judah. 21After his death the people of Judah made his son Azariah king, even though he was only sixteen at the time. 22Azariah was the one who later recaptured and rebuilt the town of Elath.

King Jeroboam the Second of Israel

23Jeroboam son of Jehoash became king of Israel in the fifteenth year of Amaziah's rule in Judah. Jeroboam ruled forty-one years from Samaria. 24He disobeyed the LORD by following the evil example of Jeroboam son of Nebat, who had caused the Israelites to sin.

25Jeroboam extended the boundaries of Israel from Lebo-Hamath in the north to the Dead Sea in the south, just as the LORD had promised his servant Jonah son of Amittai, who was a prophet from Gath-Hepher. 26The LORD helped Jeroboam do this because he had seen how terribly the Israelites were suffering, whether slave or free, and no one was left to help them. 27And since the LORD had promised that he would not let Israel be completely destroyed, he helped Jeroboam rescue them.

28Everything else Jeroboam did while he was king, including his brave deeds and how he recaptured the towns of Damascus and Hamath, [e] is written in The History of the Kings of Israel. 29Jeroboam died and was buried, and his son Zechariah became king.

2 Kings 13:5 by sending. . . the Syrians: The name of this leader is not given, but it may refer to Elisha the prophet, King Jehoash of Israel, or his son King Jeroboam.
2 Kings 13:6 sacred poles: Or "trees," used as symbols of Asherah, the goddess of fertility.
2 Kings 13:14 Master. . . without you: Or "Master, you were like chariots and cavalry for Israel!"
2 Kings 14:6 The LORD had commanded. . . children: See Deuteronomy 24.16.
2 Kings 14:28 how he recaptured. . . Hamath: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.

Acts 18:23-19:12 (Contemporary English Version)

23After staying there for a while, he left and visited several places in Galatia and Phrygia. He helped the followers there to become stronger in their faith.

Apollos in Ephesus

24A Jewish man named Apollos came to Ephesus. Apollos had been born in the city of Alexandria. He was a very good speaker and knew a lot about the Scriptures. 25He also knew much about the Lord's Way, [a] and he spoke about it with great excitement. What he taught about Jesus was right, but all he knew was John's message about baptism. 26Apollos started speaking bravely in the Jewish meeting place. But when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him to their home and helped him understand God's Way even better.

27Apollos decided to travel through Achaia. So the Lord's followers wrote letters, encouraging the followers there to welcome him. After Apollos arrived in Achaia, he was a great help to everyone who had put their faith in the Lord Jesus because of God's kindness. 28He got into fierce arguments with the Jewish people, and in public he used the Scriptures to prove that Jesus is the Messiah.

Acts 19

Paul in Ephesus

1While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul traveled across the hill country to Ephesus, where he met some of the Lord's followers. 2He asked them, "When you put your faith in Jesus, were you given the Holy Spirit?"

"No!" they answered. "We have never even heard of the Holy Spirit."

3"Then why were you baptized?" Paul asked.

They answered, "Because of what John taught." [b] 4Paul replied, "John baptized people so that they would turn to God. But he also told them that someone else was coming, and that they should put their faith in him. Jesus is the one that John was talking about." 5After the people heard Paul say this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6Then Paul placed his hands on them. The Holy Spirit was given to them, and they spoke unknown languages and prophesied. 7There were about twelve men in this group.

8For three months Paul went to the Jewish meeting place and talked bravely with the people about God's kingdom. He tried to win them over, 9but some of them were stubborn and refused to believe. In front of everyone they said terrible things about God's Way. Paul left and took the followers with him to the lecture hall of Tyrannus. He spoke there every day 10for two years, until every Jew and Gentile [c] in Asia had heard the Lord's message.

The Sons of Sceva

11God gave Paul the power to work great miracles. 12People even took handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched Paul's body, and they carried them to everyone who was sick. All of the sick people were healed, and the evil spirits went out.

Acts 18:25 the Lord's Way: See the note at 9.2.
Acts 19:3 Then why were you baptized?. . . Because of what John taught: Or "In whose name were you baptized?. . . We were baptized in John's name."
Acts 19:10 Gentile(s): The text has "Greek(s)" (see the note at 14.1).

Psalm 146:1-10 (Contemporary English Version)

Psalm 146

Shout Praises to the LORD

1Shout praises to the LORD!

With all that I am,
I will shout his praises.

2I will sing
and praise
the LORD God
for as long as I live.

3You can't depend on anyone,
not even a great leader.

4Once they die and are buried,
that will be the end
of all their plans.

5The LORD God of Jacob blesses
who trusts him
and depends on him.

6God made heaven and earth;
he created the sea
and everything else.

God always keeps his word.

7He gives justice to the poor
and food to the hungry.

The LORD sets prisoners free
8and heals blind eyes.

He gives a helping hand
to everyone who falls.

The LORD loves good people
9and looks after strangers.

He defends the rights
of orphans and widows,
but destroys the wicked.

10The LORD God of Zion
will rule forever!

Shout praises to the LORD!

Proverbs 18:2-3 (Contemporary English Version)

2Fools have no desire to learn;
they would much rather
give their own opinion.

3Wrongdoing leads to shame
and disgrace.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Bible Readings for June 27, 2011

Today our passages are 2 Kings 10:32–12:21; Acts 18:1-22; Psalm 145:1-21; and Proverbs 18:1. The readings are from the Contemporary English Version.


2 Kings 10:32-12:21 (Contemporary English Version)

Jehu Dies

32In those days the LORD began to reduce the size of Israel's territory. King Hazael of Syria defeated the Israelites and took control 33of the regions of Gilead and Bashan east of the Jordan River and north of the town of Aroer near the Arnon River. This was the land where the tribes of Gad, Reuben, and Manasseh had once lived.

34Everything else Jehu did while he was king, including his brave deeds, is written in The History of the Kings of Israel. 35Jehu died and was buried in Samaria, and his son Jehoahaz became king. 36Jehu had ruled Israel twenty-eight years from Samaria.

2 Kings 11

Queen Athaliah of Judah
(2 Chronicles 22.10-12)

1As soon as Athaliah heard that her son King Ahaziah was dead, she decided to kill any relative who could possibly become king. She would have done that, 2but Jehosheba rescued Joash son of Ahaziah just as he was about to be murdered. Jehosheba, who was Jehoram's [a] daughter and Ahaziah's half sister, hid her nephew Joash and his personal servant in a bedroom in the LORD's temple where he was safe from Athaliah. 3Joash hid in the temple with Jehosheba [b] for six years while Athaliah ruled as queen of Judah.

Jehoiada Makes Joash King of Judah
(2 Chronicles 23.1-21)

4Joash son of Ahaziah had hidden in the LORD's temple six years. Then in the seventh year, Jehoiada the priest sent for the commanders of the king's special bodyguards [c] and the commanders of the palace guards. They met him at the temple, and he asked them to make a promise in the name of the LORD. Then he brought out Joash 5and said to them: Here's what I want you to do. Three of your guard units will be on duty on the Sabbath. I want one unit to guard the palace. 6Another unit will guard Sur Gate, and the third unit will guard the palace gate and relieve the palace guards.

7The other two guard units are supposed to be off duty on the Sabbath. But I want both of them to stay here at the temple and protect King Joash. 8Make sure they follow him wherever he goes, and have them keep their swords ready to kill anyone who tries to get near him.

9The commanders followed Jehoiada's orders. Each one called together his guards--those coming on duty and those going off duty. 10Jehoiada brought out the swords and shields that had belonged to King David and gave them to the commanders. 11Then they gave the weapons to their guards, who took their positions around the temple and the altar to protect Joash on every side.

12Jehoiada brought Joash outside, where he placed the crown on his head and gave him a copy of instructions for ruling the nation. Olive oil was poured on his head to show that he was now king, while the crowd clapped and shouted, "Long live the king!"

13Queen Athaliah heard the crowd and went to the temple. 14There she saw Joash standing by one of the columns, which was the usual place for the king. The singers [d] and the trumpet players were standing next to him, and the people were celebrating and blowing trumpets. Athaliah tore her clothes in anger and shouted, "You betrayed me, you traitors!" 15Right away, Jehoiada said to the army commanders, "Kill her! But don't do it anywhere near the LORD's temple. Take her out in front of the troops and kill anyone who is with her!" 16So the commanders dragged her to the gate where horses are led into the palace, and they killed her there.

17Jehoiada the priest asked King Joash and the people to promise that they would be faithful to each other and to the LORD. 18Then the crowd went to the temple built to honor Baal and tore it down. They smashed the altars and idols and killed Mattan the priest of Baal right in front of the altars.

After Jehoiada had placed guards around the LORD's temple, 19he called together all the commanders, the king's special bodyguards, [e] the palace guards, and the people. They led Joash from the temple, through the Guards' Gate, and into the palace. He took his place on the throne and became king of Judah. 20Everyone celebrated because Athaliah had been killed and Jerusalem was peaceful again. 21Joash was only seven years old when this happened.

2 Kings 12

King Joash of Judah
(2 Chronicles 24.1-16)

1Joash [f] became king of Judah in Jehu's seventh year as king of Israel, and he ruled forty years from Jerusalem. His mother Zibiah was from the town of Beersheba. 2Jehoiada the priest taught Joash what was right, and so for the rest of his life Joash obeyed the LORD. 3But even Joash did not destroy the local shrines, [g] and they were still used as places for offering sacrifices. 4One day, Joash said to the priests, "Collect all the money that has been given to the LORD's temple, whether from taxes or gifts, 5and use it to repair the temple. You priests can contribute your own money too." [h] 6But the priests never started repairing the temple. So in the twenty-third year of his rule, 7Joash called for Jehoiada and the other priests and said, "Why aren't you using the money to repair the temple? Don't take any more money for yourselves. It is only to be used to pay for the repairs." 8The priests agreed that they would not collect any more money or be in charge of the temple repairs.

9Jehoiada found a wooden box; he cut a hole in the top of it and set it on the right side of the altar where people went into the temple. Whenever someone gave money to the temple, the priests guarding the entrance would put it into this box. 10When the box was full of money, the king's secretary and the chief priest would count the money and put it in bags. 11Then they would give it to the men supervising the repairs to the temple. Some of the money was used to pay the builders, the woodworkers, 12the stonecutters, and the men who built the walls. And some was used to buy wood and stone and to pay any other costs for repairing the temple.

13While the repairs were being made, the money that was given to the temple was not used to make silver bowls, lamp snuffers, small sprinkling bowls, trumpets, or anything gold or silver for the temple. 14It went only to pay for repairs. 15The men in charge were honest, so no one had to keep track of the money.

16The fines that had to be paid along with the sacrifices to make things right and the sacrifices for sin did not go to the temple. This money belonged only to the priests.

17About the same time, King Hazael of Syria attacked the town of Gath and captured it. Next, he decided to attack Jerusalem. 18So Joash collected everything he and his ancestors Jehoshaphat, Jehoram, and Ahaziah had dedicated to the LORD, as well as the gold in the storage rooms in the temple and palace. He sent it all to Hazael as a gift, and when Hazael received it, he ordered his troops to leave Jerusalem.

19Everything else Joash did while he was king is written in The History of the Kings of Judah. 20-21At the end of his rule, some of his officers rebelled against him. Jozabad [i] son of Shimeath and Jehozabad son of Shomer murdered him in a building where the land was filled in on the east side of Jerusalem, [j] near the road to Silla. Joash was buried beside his ancestors in Jerusalem, [k] and his son Amaziah became king.

2 Kings 11:2 Jehoram's: The Hebrew text has "Joram's," another spelling of the name.
2 Kings 11:3 Jehosheba: Jehosheba was the wife of Jehoiada the priest (see 2 Chronicles 22.11), which is why she could hide Joash in one of the private bedrooms used only by the priests.
2 Kings 11:4 the king's special bodyguards: The Hebrew text has "the Carites," who were probably foreign soldiers hired to serve as royal bodyguards.
2 Kings 11:14 singers: Two ancient translations; Hebrew "commanders."
2 Kings 11:19 the king's special bodyguards: See the note at verse 4.
2 Kings 12:1 Joash: The Hebrew text has "Jehoash," another spelling of the name.
2 Kings 12:3 local shrines: The Hebrew text has "high places," which were local places to worship God or foreign gods.
2 Kings 12:5 You priests. . . money too: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
2 Kings 12:20 Jozabad: Some manuscripts of the Hebrew text; other manuscripts "Jozacar."
2 Kings 12:20 where. . . Jerusalem: The Hebrew text has "on the Millo," which probably refers to a landfill to strengthen and extend the hill where the city was built.
2 Kings 12:20 Jerusalem: See the note at 8.24.

Acts 18:1-22 (Contemporary English Version)

Acts 18

Paul in Corinth

1Paul left Athens and went to Corinth, 2where he met Aquila, a Jewish man from Pontus. Not long before this, Aquila had come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Emperor Claudius had ordered the Jewish people to leave Rome. [a] Paul went to see Aquila and Priscilla 3and found out that they were tent makers. Paul was a tent maker too. So he stayed with them, and they worked together. 4Every Sabbath, Paul went to the Jewish meeting place. He spoke to Jews and Gentiles [b] and tried to win them over. 5But after Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia, he spent all his time preaching to the Jews about Jesus the Messiah. 6Finally, they turned against him and insulted him. So he shook the dust from his clothes [c] and told them, "Whatever happens to you will be your own fault! I am not to blame. From now on I am going to preach to the Gentiles." 7Paul then moved into the house of a man named Titius Justus, who worshiped God and lived next door to the Jewish meeting place. 8Crispus was the leader of the meeting place. He and everyone in his family put their faith in the Lord. Many others in Corinth also heard the message, and all the people who had faith in the Lord were baptized.

9One night, Paul had a vision, and in it the Lord said, "Don't be afraid to keep on preaching. Don't stop! 10I am with you, and you won't be harmed. Many people in this city belong to me." 11Paul stayed on in Corinth for a year and a half, teaching God's message to the people.

12While Gallio was governor of Achaia, some of the Jewish leaders got together and grabbed Paul. They brought him into court 13and said, "This man is trying to make our people worship God in a way that is against our Law!"

14Even before Paul could speak, Gallio said, "If you were charging this man with a crime or some other wrong, I would have to listen to you. 15But since this concerns only words, names, and your own law, you will have to take care of it. I refuse to judge such matters." 16Then he sent them out of the court. 17The crowd grabbed Sosthenes, the Jewish leader, and beat him up in front of the court. But none of this mattered to Gallio.

Paul Returns to Antioch in Syria

18After Paul had stayed for a while with the Lord's followers in Corinth, he told them good-by and sailed on to Syria with Aquila and Priscilla. But before he left, he had his head shaved [d] at Cenchreae because he had made a promise to God. 19The three of them arrived in Ephesus, where Paul left Priscilla and Aquila. He then went into the Jewish meeting place to talk with the people there. 20They asked him to stay longer, but he refused. 21He told them good-by and said, "If God lets me, I will come back."

22Paul sailed to Caesarea, where he greeted the church. Then he went on to Antioch.

Acts 18:2 Emperor Claudius had ordered all the Jewish people to leave Rome: Probably A.D. 49, though it may have been A.D. 41.
Acts 18:4 Gentiles: Here the word is "Greeks." But see the note at 14.1.
Acts 18:6 shook the dust from his clothes: This means the same as shaking dust from the feet (see the note at 13.51).
Acts 18:18 he had his head shaved: Paul had promised to be a "Nazirite" for a while. This meant that for the time of the promise, he could not cut his hair or drink wine. When the time was over, he would have to cut his hair and offer a sacrifice to God.

Psalm 145:1-21 (Contemporary English Version)

Psalm 145
(By David for praise.)

The LORD Is Kind and Merciful

1I will praise you,
my God and King,
and always honor your name.

2I will praise you each day
and always honor your name.

3You are wonderful, LORD,
and you deserve all praise,
because you are much greater
than anyone can understand.

4Each generation will announce
to the next
your wonderful
and powerful deeds.

5I will keep thinking about
your marvelous glory
and your mighty miracles. [a]

6Everyone will talk about
your fearsome deeds,
and I will tell all nations
how great you are.

7They will celebrate and sing
about your matchless mercy
and your power to save.

8You are merciful, LORD!

You are kind and patient
and always loving.

9You are good to everyone,
and you take care
of all your creation.

10All creation will thank you,
and your loyal people
will praise you.

11They will tell about
your marvelous kingdom
and your power.

12Then everyone will know about
the mighty things you do
and your glorious kingdom.

13Your kingdom will never end,
and you will rule forever.

Our LORD, you keep your word
and do everything you say. [b]

14When someone stumbles or falls,
you give a helping hand.

15Everyone depends on you,
and when the time is right,
you provide them with food.

16By your own hand
you satisfy
the desires of all who live.

17Our LORD, everything you do
is kind and thoughtful,
18and you are near to everyone
whose prayers are sincere.

19You satisfy the desires
of all your worshipers,
and you come to save them
when they ask for help.

20You take care of everyone
who loves you,
but you destroy the wicked.

21I will praise you, LORD,
and everyone will respect
your holy name forever.

Psalm 145:5 and. . . miracles: One Hebrew manuscript and two ancient translations have " as others tell about your mighty miracles."
Psalm 145:13 Our. . . say: These words are found in one Hebrew manuscript and two ancient translations.

Proverbs 18:1 (Contemporary English Version)

Proverbs 18

It's Wrong to Favor the Guilty

1It's selfish and stupid
to think only of yourself
and to sneer at people
who have sense. [a]

Proverbs 18:1 sense: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 1.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Bible Readings for June 26, 2011

Today our passages are 2 Kings 9:14–10:31; Acts 17:1-34; Psalm 144:1-15; and Proverbs 17:27-28. The readings are from the Contemporary English Version.


2 Kings 9:14-10:31 (Contemporary English Version)

Jehu Kills Joram and Ahaziah

14-16King Joram [a] of Israel had been badly wounded in the battle at Ramoth, trying to defend it against King Hazael and the Syrian army. Joram was now recovering in Jezreel, and King Ahaziah of Judah was there, visiting him. Meanwhile, Jehu was in Ramoth, making plans to kill Joram. He said to his officers, "If you want me to be king, then don't let anyone leave this town. They might go to Jezreel and tell Joram." Then Jehu got in his chariot and rode to Jezreel.

17When the guard in the watchtower at Jezreel saw Jehu and his men riding up, he shouted to the king, "I see a bunch of men coming this way."

Joram ordered, "Send someone out to ask them if this is a friendly visit."

18One of the soldiers rode out and said to Jehu, "King Joram wants to know if this is a friendly visit."

"What's it to you?" Jehu asked. "Just stay behind me with the rest of my troops!"

About the same time the guard in the watchtower said, "Your Majesty, the rider got there, but he isn't coming back."

19So Joram sent out another rider, who rode up to Jehu and said, "The king wants to know if this is a friendly visit."

"What's it to you?" Jehu asked. "Just get behind me with the rest of my troops!"

20The guard in the watchtower said, "Your Majesty, the rider got there, but he isn't coming back either. Wait a minute! That one man is a reckless chariot driver--it must be Jehu!"

21Joram commanded, "Get my chariot ready." Then he and Ahaziah got in their chariots and rode out to meet Jehu. They all met on the land that had belonged to Naboth. [b] 22Joram asked, "Jehu, is this a peaceful visit?" "How can there be peace?" Jehu asked. "Your mother Jezebel has caused everyone to worship idols and practice witchcraft."

23"Ahaziah, let's get out of here!" Joram yelled. "It's a trap!" As Joram tried to escape, 24Jehu shot an arrow. It hit Joram between his shoulders, then it went through his heart and came out his chest. He fell over dead in his chariot.

25-26Jehu commanded his assistant Bidkar, "Get Joram's body and throw it in the field that Naboth once owned. Do you remember when you and I used to ride side by side behind Joram's father Ahab? It was then that the LORD swore to Ahab that he would be punished in the same field where he had killed Naboth and his sons. So throw Joram's body there, just as the LORD said."

27Ahaziah saw all of this happen and tried to escape to the town of Beth-Haggan, but Jehu caught up with him and shouted, "Kill him too!" So his troops shot Ahaziah with an arrow while he was on the road to Gur near Ibleam. He went as far as Megiddo, where he died. 28Ahaziah's officers put his body in a chariot and took it back to Jerusalem, where they buried him beside his ancestors.

29Ahaziah had become king of Judah in the eleventh year of the rule of Ahab's son Joram.

Jehu Kills Jezebel

30Jehu headed toward Jezreel, and when Jezebel heard he was coming, she put on eye shadow and brushed her hair. Then she stood at the window, waiting for him to arrive. 31As he walked through the city gate, she shouted down to him, "Why did you come here, you murderer? To kill the king? You're no better than Zimri!" [c] 32He looked up toward the window and asked, "Is anyone up there on my side?" A few palace workers stuck their heads out of a window, 33and Jehu shouted, "Throw her out the window!" They threw her down, and her blood splattered on the walls and on the horses that trampled her body. [d] 34Jehu left to get something to eat and drink. Then he told some workers, "Even though she was evil, she was a king's daughter, [e] so make sure she has a proper burial." 35But when they went out to bury her body, they found only her skull, her hands, and her feet. 36They reported this to Jehu, and he said, "The LORD told Elijah the prophet that Jezebel's body would be eaten by dogs right here in Jezreel. 37And he warned that her bones would be spread all over the ground like manure, so that no one could tell who it was."

2 Kings 10

Jehu Kills All of Ahab's Descendants

1Ahab still had seventy descendants living in Samaria. So Jehu wrote a letter to each of the important leaders and officials of the town, [f] and to those who supported Ahab. In the letters he wrote: 2Your town is strong, and you're protected by chariots and an armed cavalry. And I know that King Ahab's descendants live there with you. So as soon as you read this letter, 3choose the best person for the job and make him the next king. Then be prepared to defend Ahab's family.

4The officials and leaders read the letters and were very frightened. They said to each other, "Jehu has already killed King Joram and King Ahaziah! We have to do what he says." 5The prime minister, the mayor of the city, as well as the other leaders and Ahab's supporters, sent this answer to Jehu, "We are your servants, Your Majesty, and we will do whatever you tell us. But it's not our place to choose someone to be king. You do what you think is best."

6Jehu then wrote another letter which said, "If you are on my side and will obey me, then prove it. Bring me the heads of the descendants of Ahab! And be here in Jezreel by this time tomorrow."

The seventy descendants of King Ahab were living with some of the most important people of the city. 7And when these people read Jehu's second letter, they called together all seventy of Ahab's descendants. They killed them, put their heads in baskets, and sent them to Jezreel.

8When Jehu was told what had happened, he said, "Put the heads in two piles at the city gate, and leave them there until morning."

9The next morning, Jehu went out and stood where everyone could hear him, and he said, "You people are not guilty of anything. I'm the one who plotted against Joram and had him killed. But who killed all these men? 10Listen to me. Everything the LORD's servant Elijah promised about Ahab's family will come true." [g] 11Then Jehu killed the rest of Ahab's relatives living in Jezreel, as well as his highest officials, his priests, and his closest friends. No one in Ahab's family was left alive in Jezreel.

12-13Jehu left for Samaria, and along the way, he met some relatives of King Ahaziah of Judah at a place where shepherds meet. [h] He asked, "Who are you?" "We are relatives of Ahaziah," they answered. "We're going to visit his family."

14"Take them alive!" Jehu said to his officers. So they grabbed them and led them to the well near the shepherds' meeting place, where they killed all forty-two of them.

15As Jehu went on, he saw Jehonadab son of Rechab [i] coming to meet him. Jehu greeted him, then said, "Jehonadab, I'm on your side. Are you on mine?" "Yes, I am."

"Then give me your hand," Jehu answered. He helped Jehonadab into his chariot 16and said, "Come with me and see how faithful I am to the LORD."

They rode together in Jehu's chariot 17to Samaria. Jehu killed everyone there who belonged to Ahab's family, as well as all his officials. Everyone in his family was now dead, just as the LORD had promised Elijah.

Jehu Kills All the Worshipers of Baal

18Jehu called together the people in Samaria and said:

King Ahab sometimes worshiped Baal, but I will be completely faithful to Baal. 19I'm going to offer a huge sacrifice to him. So invite his prophets and priests, and be sure everyone who worships him is there. Anyone who doesn't come will be killed.

But this was a trick--Jehu was really planning to kill the worshipers of Baal. 20He said, "Announce a day of worship for Baal!" After the day had been announced, 21Jehu sent an invitation to everyone in Israel. All the worshipers of Baal came, and the temple was filled from one end to the other. 22Jehu told the official in charge of the sacred robes to make sure that everyone had a robe to wear.

23Jehu and Jehonadab went into the temple, and Jehu said to the crowd, "Look around and make sure that only the worshipers of Baal are here. No one who worships the LORD is allowed in." 24Then they began to offer sacrifices to Baal.

Earlier, Jehu had ordered eighty soldiers to wait outside the temple. He had warned them, "I will get all these worshipers here, and if any of you let even one of them escape, you will be killed instead!"

25As soon as Jehu finished offering the sacrifice, he told the guards and soldiers, "Come in and kill them! Don't let anyone escape." They slaughtered everyone in the crowd and threw the bodies outside. Then they went back into the temple 26and carried out the image of Baal. They burned it 27and broke it into pieces, then they completely destroyed Baal's temple. And since that time, it's been nothing but a public toilet. [j] 28That's how Jehu stopped the worship of Baal in Israel. 29But he did not stop the worship of the gold statues of calves at Dan and Bethel that Jeroboam had made for the people to worship. [k] 30Later the LORD said, "Jehu, you have done right by destroying Ahab's entire family, just as I had planned. So I will make sure that the next four kings of Israel will come from your own family."

31But Jehu did not completely obey the commands of the LORD God of Israel. Instead, he kept doing the sinful things that Jeroboam had caused the Israelites to do.

2 Kings 9:14 Joram: The Hebrew text has "Jehoram," another spelling of the name.
2 Kings 9:21 the land. . . Naboth: See 1 Kings 21.
2 Kings 9:31 Zimri: An Israelite king who killed King Elah and his family so he could become king, but who ruled only seven days (see 1 Kings 16.8-20).
2 Kings 9:33 horses. . . her body: Two ancient translations; Hebrew "horses. Then Jehu trampled her body."
2 Kings 9:34 she. . . daughter: Her father was King Ethbaal of Sidon (see 1 Kings 16.31).
2 Kings 10:1 the town: Two ancient translations; Hebrew "Jezreel."
2 Kings 10:10 Everything. . . come true: See 1 Kings 21.17-24.
2 Kings 10:12 at a place where shepherds meet: Or "at Betheked of the Shepherds."
2 Kings 10:15 Jehonadab son of Rechab: Or "Jehonadab the chariot driver."
2 Kings 10:27 public toilet: Or "garbage dump."
2 Kings 10:29 gold statues. . . to worship: See 1 Kings 12.26-30.

Acts 17:1-34 (Contemporary English Version)

Acts 17

Trouble in Thessalonica

1After Paul and his friends had traveled through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they went on to Thessalonica. A Jewish meeting place was in that city. 2So as usual, Paul went there to worship, and on three Sabbaths he spoke to the people. He used the Scriptures 3to show them that the Messiah had to suffer, but that he would rise from death. Paul also told them that Jesus is the Messiah he was preaching about. 4Some of them believed what Paul had said, and they became followers with Paul and Silas. Some Gentiles [a] and many important women also believed the message. 5The Jewish leaders were jealous and got some worthless bums who hung around the marketplace to start a riot in the city. They wanted to drag Paul and Silas out to the mob, and so they went straight to Jason's home. 6But when they did not find them there, they dragged out Jason and some of the Lord's followers. They took them to the city authorities and shouted, "Paul and Silas have been upsetting things everywhere. Now they have come here, 7and Jason has welcomed them into his home. All of them break the laws of the Roman Emperor by claiming that someone named Jesus is king."

8The officials and the people were upset when they heard this. 9So they made Jason and the other followers pay bail before letting them go.

People in Berea Welcome the Message

10That same night the Lord's followers sent Paul and Silas on to Berea, and after they arrived, they went to the Jewish meeting place. 11The people in Berea were much nicer than those in Thessalonica, and they gladly accepted the message. Day after day they studied the Scriptures to see if these things were true. 12Many of them put their faith in the Lord, including some important Greek women and several men.

13When the Jewish leaders in Thessalonica heard that Paul had been preaching God's message in Berea, they went there and caused trouble by turning the crowds against Paul.

14Right away the followers sent Paul down to the coast, but Silas and Timothy stayed in Berea. 15Some men went with Paul as far as Athens, and then returned with instructions for Silas and Timothy to join him as soon as possible.

Paul in Athens

16While Paul was waiting in Athens, he was upset to see all the idols in the city. 17He went to the Jewish meeting place to speak to the Jews and to anyone who worshiped with them. Day after day he also spoke to everyone he met in the market. 18Some of them were Epicureans [b] and some were Stoics, [c] and they started arguing with him. People were asking, "What is this know-it-all trying to say?"

Some even said, "Paul must be preaching about foreign gods! That's what he means when he talks about Jesus and about people rising from death." [d] 19They brought Paul before a council called the Areopagus, and said, "Tell us what your new teaching is all about. 20We have heard you say some strange things, and we want to know what you mean."

21More than anything else the people of Athens and the foreigners living there loved to hear and to talk about anything new. 22So Paul stood up in front of the council and said:

People of Athens, I see that you are very religious. 23As I was going through your city and looking at the things you worship, I found an altar with the words, "To an Unknown God." You worship this God, but you don't really know him. So I want to tell you about him. 24This God made the world and everything in it. He is Lord of heaven and earth, and he doesn't live in temples built by human hands. 25He doesn't need help from anyone. He gives life, breath, and everything else to all people. 26From one person God made all nations who live on earth, and he decided when and where every nation would be.

27God has done all this, so that we will look for him and reach out and find him. He isn't far from any of us, 28and he gives us the power to live, to move, and to be who we are. "We are his children," just as some of your poets have said.

29Since we are God's children, we must not think that he is like an idol made out of gold or silver or stone. He isn't like anything that humans have thought up and made. 30In the past, God forgave all this because people did not know what they were doing. But now he says that everyone everywhere must turn to him. 31He has set a day when he will judge the world's people with fairness. And he has chosen the man Jesus to do the judging for him. God has given proof of this to all of us by raising Jesus from death.

32As soon as the people heard Paul say that a man had been raised from death, some of them started laughing. Others said, "We will hear you talk about this some other time." 33When Paul left the council meeting, 34some of the men put their faith in the Lord and went with Paul. One of them was a council member named Dionysius. A woman named Damaris and several others also put their faith in the Lord.

Acts 17:4 Gentiles: See the note at 14.1.
Acts 17:18 Epicureans: People who followed the teaching of a man named Epicurus, who taught that happiness should be the main goal in life.
Acts 17:18 Stoics: Followers of a man named Zeno, who taught that people should learn self-control and be guided by their consciences.
Acts 17:18 people rising from death: Or "a goddess named `Rising from Death.' "

Psalm 144:1-15 (Contemporary English Version)

Psalm 144
(By David.)

A Prayer for the Nation

1I praise you, LORD!

You are my mighty rock, [a]
and you teach me
how to fight my battles.

2You are my friend,
and you are my fortress
where I am safe.

You are my shield,
and you made me the ruler
of our people. [b]

3Why do we humans mean anything
to you, our LORD?

Why do you care about us?

4We disappear like a breath;
we last no longer
than a faint shadow.

5Open the heavens like a curtain
and come down, LORD.

Touch the mountains
and make them send up smoke.

6Use your lightning as arrows
to scatter my enemies
and make them run away.

7Reach down from heaven
and set me free.

Save me from the mighty flood
8of those lying foreigners
who can't tell the truth.

9In praise of you, our God,
I will sing a new song,
while playing my harp.

10By your power, kings win wars,
and your servant David is saved
from deadly swords.

11Won't you keep me safe
from those lying foreigners
who can't tell the truth?

12Let's pray that our young sons
will grow like strong plants
and that our daughters
will be as lovely
as columns
in the corner of a palace.

13May our barns be filled
with all kinds of crops.

May our fields be covered
with sheep by the thousands,
14and every cow have calves. [c]

Don't let our city be captured
or any of us be taken away,
and don't let cries of sorrow
be heard in our streets.

15Our LORD and our God,
you give these blessings
to all who worship you.

Psalm 144:1 mighty rock: See the note at 18.2.
Psalm 144:2 of our people: Some Hebrew manuscripts and ancient translations have " of the nations."
Psalm 144:14 have calves: Or " grow fat."

Proverbs 17:27-28 (Contemporary English Version)

27It makes a lot of sense
to be a person of few words
and to stay calm.

28Even fools seem smart
when they are quiet.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Bible Readings for June 25, 2011

Today our passages are 2 Kings 8:1–9:13; Acts 16:16-40; Psalm 143:1-12; and Proverbs 17:26. The readings are from the Contemporary English Version.


2 Kings 8-9:13 (Contemporary English Version)

2 Kings 8

The Woman from Shunem Is Given Back Her Land

1Elisha told the woman whose son he had brought back to life, [a] "The LORD has warned that there will be no food here for seven years. Take your family and go live somewhere else for a while." 2The woman did exactly what Elisha had said and went to live in Philistine territory. She and her family lived there seven years. 3Then she returned to Israel and immediately begged the king to give back her house and property.

4Meanwhile, the king was asking Gehazi the servant of Elisha about the amazing things Elisha had been doing. 5While Gehazi was telling him that Elisha had brought a dead boy back to life, the woman and her son arrived.

"Here's the boy, Your Majesty," Gehazi said. "And this is his mother."

6The king asked the woman to tell her story, and she told him everything that had happened. He then said to one of his officials, "I want you to make sure that this woman gets back everything that belonged to her, including the money her crops have made since the day she left Israel."

Hazael Kills Benhadad

7Some time later Elisha went to the capital city of Damascus to visit King Benhadad of Syria, who was sick. And when Benhadad was told he was there, 8he said to Hazael, [b] "Go meet with Elisha the man of God and have him ask the LORD if I will get well. And take along a gift for him." 9Hazael left with forty camel loads of the best things made in Damascus as a gift for Elisha. He found the prophet and said, "Your servant, King Benhadad, wants to know if he will get well."

10"Tell him he will," Elisha said to Hazael. "But the LORD has already told me that Benhadad will definitely die." 11Elisha stared at him until Hazael was embarrassed, then Elisha began crying. [c] 12"Sir, why are you crying?" Hazael asked.

Elisha answered, "Because I know the terrible things you will do to the people of Israel. You will burn down their walled cities and slaughter their young men. You will even crush the heads of their babies and rip open their pregnant women."

13"How could I ever do anything like that?" Hazael replied. "I'm only a servant and don't have that kind of power."

"Hazael, the LORD has told me that you will be the next king of Syria."

14Hazael went back to Benhadad and told him, "Elisha said that you will get well." 15But the very next day, Hazael got a thick blanket; he soaked it in water and held it over Benhadad's face until he died. Hazael then became king.

King Jehoram of Judah
(2 Chronicles 21.2-20)

16Jehoram son of Jehoshaphat became king of Judah in Joram's fifth year as king of Israel, while Jehoshaphat was still king of Judah. [d] 17Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he ruled eight years from Jerusalem. 18Jehoram disobeyed the LORD by doing wrong. He married Ahab's daughter and was as sinful as Ahab's family and the kings of Israel. 19But the LORD refused to destroy Judah, because he had promised his servant David that someone from his family would always rule in Judah.
20While Jehoram was king, the people of Edom rebelled and chose their own king. 21So Jehoram [e] and his cavalry marched to Zair, where the Edomite army surrounded him and his commanders. During the night he attacked the Edomites, but he was defeated, and his troops escaped to their homes. [f] 22Judah was never able to regain control of Edom. Even the town of Libnah [g] rebelled at that time. 23Everything else Jehoram did while he was king is written in The History of the Kings of Judah. 24Jehoram died and was buried beside his ancestors in Jerusalem. [h] His son Ahaziah then became king.

King Ahaziah of Judah
(2 Chronicles 22.1-6)

25Ahaziah son of Jehoram became king of Judah in the twelfth year of Joram's rule in Israel. 26Ahaziah was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he ruled from Jerusalem for only one year. His mother was Athaliah, a granddaughter of King Omri of Israel. 27Since Ahaziah was related to Ahab's family, [i] he acted just like them and disobeyed the LORD by doing wrong. 28Ahaziah went with King Joram of Israel to attack King Hazael and the Syrian troops at Ramoth in Gilead. Joram was wounded in that battle, 29so he went to the town of Jezreel to recover. Ahaziah went there to visit him.

2 Kings 9

Jehu Becomes King of Israel

1One day, Elisha called for one of the other prophets and said:

Take this bottle of olive oil and get ready to go to the town of Ramoth in Gilead. 2When you get there, find Jehu son of Jehoshaphat and grandson of Nimshi. Take him to a place where the two of you can be alone, 3then pour olive oil on his head to show that he is the new king. Say to him, "The LORD has chosen you to be king of Israel." Then leave quickly--don't wait around for anything!

4The young prophet left for Ramoth. 5When he arrived, the army officers were meeting together. "Sir, I have a message for you," he said.

"For which one of us?" Jehu asked.

"You, sir," the prophet answered. 6So Jehu got up and went inside. [j] The prophet poured olive oil on Jehu's head and told him: The LORD God of Israel has this message for you: "I am the LORD, and I have chosen you to be king of my people Israel. 7I want you to wipe out the family of Ahab, so Jezebel will be punished for killing the prophets and my other servants. 8Every man and boy in Ahab's family must die, whether slave or free. 9His whole family must be destroyed, just like the families of Jeroboam son of Nebat and Baasha son of Ahijah. 10As for Jezebel, her body will be eaten by dogs in the town of Jezreel. There won't be enough left of her to bury."

Then the young prophet opened the door and ran out.

11Jehu went back to his officers, and one of them asked, "What did that crazy prophet want? Is everything all right?"

"You know him and how he talks," Jehu answered.

12"No, we don't. What did he say?" they asked.

"He had a message from the LORD," Jehu replied. "He said that the LORD has chosen me to be the next king of Israel."

13They quickly grabbed their coats and spread them out on the steps where Jehu was standing. Someone blew a trumpet, and everyone shouted, "Jehu is king!"

2 Kings 8:1 Elisha. . . life: See 4.8-37.
2 Kings 8:8 Hazael: Probably one of Benhadad's officials.
2 Kings 8:11 Elisha stared. . . crying: Or "Hazael stared at him until Elisha was embarrassed and began to cry."
2 Kings 8:16 while Jehoshaphat. . . Judah: In biblical times, a father and son would sometimes rule as kings at the same time. That way, when the father died, his son would already have control of the kingdom.
2 Kings 8:21 Jehoram: The Hebrew text has "Joram," another spelling of the name.
2 Kings 8:21 he attacked. . . homes: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
2 Kings 8:22 Even the town of Libnah: This was a town on the border between Philistia and Judah, which means that Jehoram was facing rebellion on two sides of his kingdom.
2 Kings 8:24 Jerusalem: Hebrew "the city of David."
2 Kings 8:27 Since. . . family: Ahaziah's mother was Ahab's daughter (see verse 18).
2 Kings 9:6 went inside: The officers were probably meeting outside in an open courtyard of some building.

Acts 16:16-40 (Contemporary English Version)

Paul and Silas Are Put in Jail

16One day on our way to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl. She had a spirit in her that gave her the power to tell the future. By doing this she made a lot of money for her owners. 17The girl followed Paul and the rest of us and kept yelling, "These men are servants of the Most High God! They are telling you how to be saved."

18This went on for several days. Finally, Paul got so upset that he turned and said to the spirit, "In the name of Jesus Christ, I order you to leave this girl alone!" At once the evil spirit left her.

19When the girl's owners realized that they had lost all chances for making more money, they grabbed Paul and Silas and dragged them into court. 20They told the officials, "These Jews are upsetting our city! 21They are telling us to do things we Romans are not allowed to do."

22The crowd joined in the attack on Paul and Silas. Then the officials tore the clothes off the two men and ordered them to be beaten with a whip. 23After they had been badly beaten, they were put in jail, and the jailer was told to guard them carefully. 24The jailer did as he was told. He put them deep inside the jail and chained their feet to heavy blocks of wood.

25About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing praises to God, while the other prisoners listened. 26Suddenly a strong earthquake shook the jail to its foundations. The doors opened, and the chains fell from all the prisoners.

27When the jailer woke up and saw that the doors were open, he thought that the prisoners had escaped. He pulled out his sword and was about to kill himself. 28But Paul shouted, "Don't harm yourself! No one has escaped."

29The jailer asked for a torch and went into the jail. He was shaking all over as he knelt down in front of Paul and Silas. 30After he had led them out of the jail, he asked, "What must I do to be saved?"

31They replied, "Have faith in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved! This is also true for everyone who lives in your home."

32Then Paul and Silas told him and everyone else in his house about the Lord. 33While it was still night, the jailer took them to a place where he could wash their cuts and bruises. Then he and everyone in his home were baptized. 34They were very glad that they had put their faith in God. After this, the jailer took Paul and Silas to his home and gave them something to eat.

35The next morning the officials sent some police with orders for the jailer to let Paul and Silas go. 36The jailer told Paul, "The officials have ordered me to set you free. Now you can leave in peace."

37But Paul told the police, "We are Roman citizens, [a] and the Roman officials had us beaten in public without giving us a trial. They threw us into jail. Now do they think they can secretly send us away? No, they cannot! They will have to come here themselves and let us out." 38When the police told the officials that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, the officials were afraid. 39So they came and apologized. They led them out of the jail and asked them to please leave town. 40But Paul and Silas went straight to the home of Lydia, where they saw the Lord's followers and encouraged them. Then they left.

Acts 16:37 Roman citizens: Only a small number of the people living in the Roman Empire were citizens, and they had special rights and privileges.

Psalm 143:1-12 (Contemporary English Version)

Psalm 143
(A psalm by David.)

A Prayer in Time of Danger

1Listen, LORD, as I pray!

You are faithful and honest
and will answer my prayer.

2I am your servant.

Don't try me in your court,
because no one is innocent
by your standards.

3My enemies are chasing me,
crushing me in the ground.

I am in total darkness,
like someone long dead.

4I have given up all hope,
and I feel numb all over.

5I remember to think about
the many things
you did
in years gone by.

6Then I lift my hands in prayer,
because my soul is a desert,
thirsty for water from you.

7Please hurry, LORD,
and answer my prayer.

I feel hopeless.

Don't turn away
and leave me here to die.

8Each morning let me learn
more about your love
because I trust you.

I come to you in prayer,
asking for your guidance.

9Please rescue me
from my enemies, LORD!

I come to you for safety. [a]

10You are my God.

Show me
what you want me to do,
and let your gentle Spirit
lead me in the right path.

11Be true to your name, LORD,
and keep my life safe.

Use your saving power
to protect me from trouble.

12I am your servant.

Show how much you love me
by destroying my enemies.

Psalm 143:9 I. . . safety: Or " You are my hiding place."

Proverbs 17:26 (Contemporary English Version)

26It isn't fair
to punish the innocent
and those who do right.