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. If you find these readings helpful, please consider sending an offering directly to Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Street, Weirton, West Virginia or through PayPal by using the link below.
2 Kings 8-9:13 (Contemporary English Version)
2 Kings 8
The Woman from Shunem Is Given Back Her Land1Elisha told the woman whose son he had brought back to life, a<="" value="[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 Benhadad7Some 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 Israel1One 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 Jail16One 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<="" value="[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)
(A psalm by David.)
A Prayer in Time of Danger1Listen, 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
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<="" value="[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."
Thought for the Day
American author and social worker, Virginia Satir wrote, “Feelings of worth can flourish only in an atmosphere where individual differences are appreciated, mistakes are tolerated, communication is open, and rules are flexible - the kind of atmosphere that is found in a nurturing family.”
A Joke for Today
A young boy enters a barbershop and the barber whispers to his customer, "This is the dumbest kid in the world. Watch while I prove it to you."
The barber puts a dollar bill in one hand and two quarters in the other, then calls the boy over and asks, "Which do you want, son?"
The boy takes the quarters and leaves.
"What did I tell you?" said the barber. "That kid never learns!"
Later, when the customer leaves, he sees the same young boy coming out of the ice cream store. "Hey, son! May I ask you a question? Why did you take the quarters instead of the dollar bill?"
The boy licked his cone and replied, "Because the day I take the dollar, the game's over!"