2 Kings 12-14 The Message Bible

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The Reign of Jehoash of Judah

12 1  In the seventh year of Jehu, Joash began his kingly rule. He was king for forty years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Gazelle. She was from Beersheba. 2  Taught and trained by Jehoiada the priest, Joash did what pleased God for as long as he lived. 3  (Even so, he didn't get rid of the sacred fertility shrines - people still frequented them, sacrificing and burning incense.)

4  Joash instructed the priests: "Take the money that is brought into The Temple of God for holy offerings - both mandatory offerings and freewill offerings - 5  and, keeping a careful accounting, use them to renovate The Temple wherever it has fallen into disrepair." 6  But by the twenty-third year of Joash's rule, the priests hadn't done one thing - The Temple was as dilapidated as ever. 7  King Joash called Jehoiada the priest and the company of priests and said, "Why haven't you renovated this sorry-looking Temple? You are forbidden to take any more money for Temple repairs - from now on, hand over everything you get." 8  The priests agreed not to take any more money or to be involved in The Temple renovation. 9  Then Jehoiada took a single chest and bored a hole in the lid and placed it to the right of the main entrance into The Temple of God. All the offerings that were brought to The Temple of God were placed in the chest by the priests who guarded the entrance. 10  When they saw that a large sum of money had accumulated in the chest, the king's secretary and the chief priest would empty the chest and count the offerings. 11  They would give the money accounted for to the managers of The Temple project; they in turn would pay the carpenters, construction workers, 12  masons, stoneworkers, and the buyers of timber and quarried stone for the repair and renovation of The Temple of God - any expenses connected with fixing up The Temple. 13  But none of the money brought into The Temple of God was used for liturgical "extras" (silver chalices, candle snuffers, trumpets, various gold and silver vessels, etc.). 14  It was given to the workmen to pay for their repairing God's Temple. 15  And no one even had to check on the men who handled the money given for the project - they were honest men. 16  Offerings designated for Compensation Offerings and Absolution Offerings didn't go into the building project - those went directly to the priests.

17  Around this time Hazael king of Aram ventured out and attacked Gath, and he captured it. Then he decided to try for Jerusalem. 18  Joash king of Judah countered by gathering up all the sacred memorials - gifts dedicated for holy use by his ancestors, the kings of Judah, Jehoshaphat, Jehoram, and Ahaziah, along with the holy memorials he himself had received, plus all the gold that he could find in the temple and palace storerooms - and sent it to Hazael king of Aram. Appeased, Hazael went on his way and didn't bother Jerusalem. 19  The rest of the life and times of Joash and all that he did are written in The Chronicles of the Kings of Judah. 20  At the last his palace staff formed a conspiracy and assassinated Joash as he was strolling along the ramp of the fortified outside city wall. 21  Jozabad son of Shimeath and Jehozabad son of Shomer were the assassins. And so Joash died and was buried in the family plot in the City of David. His son Amaziah was king after him.

The Reign of Jehoahaz

13 1  In the twenty-third year of Joash son of Ahaziah king of Judah, Jehoahaz son of Jehu became king of Israel in Samaria - a rule of seventeen years. 2  He lived an evil life before God, walking step for step in the tracks of Jeroboam son of Nebat who led Israel into a life of sin, swerving neither left or right. 3  Exasperated, God was furious with Israel and turned them over to Hazael king of Aram and Ben-Hadad son of Hazael. This domination went on for a long time. 4  Then Jehoahaz prayed for a softening of God's anger, and God listened. He realized how wretched Israel had become under the brutalities of the king of Aram. 5  So God provided a savior for Israel who brought them out from under Aram's oppression. The children of Israel were again able to live at peace in their own homes. 6  But it didn't make any difference: They didn't change their lives, didn't turn away from the Jeroboam-sins that now characterized Israel, including the sex-and-religion shrines of Asherah still flourishing in Samaria. 7  Nothing was left of Jehoahaz's army after Hazael's oppression except for fifty cavalry, ten chariots, and ten thousand infantry. The king of Aram had decimated the rest, leaving behind him mostly chaff. 8  The rest of the life and times of Jehoahaz, the record of his accomplishments, are written in The Chronicles of the Kings of Israel. 9  Jehoahaz died and was buried with his ancestors in Samaria. His son Jehoash succeeded him as king.

The Reign of Jehoash of Israel

10  In the thirty-seventh year of Joash king of Judah, Jehoash son of Jehoahaz became king of Israel in Samaria - a reign of sixteen years. 11  In God's eyes he lived an evil life. He didn't deviate one bit from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, who led Israel into a life of sin. He plodded along in the same tracks, step after step. 12  The rest of the life and times of Jehoash, the record of his accomplishments and his war against Amaziah king of Judah, are written in The Chronicles of the Kings of Israel. 13  Jehoash died and joined his ancestors. Jeroboam took over his throne. Jehoash was buried in Samaria in the royal cemetery.

Elisha's Final Prophecy and Death

14  Elisha came down sick. It was the sickness of which he would soon die. Jehoash king of Israel paid him a visit. When he saw him he wept openly, crying, "My father, my father! Chariot and horsemen of Israel!" 15  Elisha told him, "Go and get a bow and some arrows." The king brought him the bow and arrows. 16  Then he told the king, "Put your hand on the bow." He put his hand on the bow. Then Elisha put his hand over the hand of the king. 17  Elisha said, "Now open the east window." He opened it. Then he said, "Shoot!" And he shot. "The arrow of God's salvation!" exclaimed Elisha. "The arrow of deliverance from Aram! You will do battle against Aram until there's nothing left of it." 18  "Now pick up the other arrows," said Elisha. He picked them up. Then he said to the king of Israel, "Strike the ground." The king struck the ground three times and then quit. 19  The Holy Man became angry with him: "Why didn't you hit the ground five or six times? Then you would beat Aram until he was finished. As it is, you'll defeat him three times only."

20  Then Elisha died and they buried him. 21  One day, some men were burying a man and spotted the raiders. They threw the man into Elisha's tomb and got away. When the body touched Elisha's bones, the man came alive, stood up, and walked out on his own two feet. 22  Hazael king of Aram badgered and bedeviled Israel all through the reign of Jehoahaz. 23  But God was gracious and showed mercy to them. He stuck with them out of respect for his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He never gave up on them, never even considered discarding them, even to this day. 24  Hazael king of Aram died. His son Ben-Hadad was the next king. 25  Jehoash son of Jehoahaz turned things around and took back the cities that Ben-Hadad son of Hazael had taken from his father Jehoahaz. Jehoash went to war three times and defeated him each time, recapturing the cites of Israel.

The Reign of Amaziah

14 1  In the second year of Jehoash son of Jehoahaz king of Israel, Amaziah son of Joash became king of Judah. 2  He was twenty-five years old when he became king and he reigned for twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Jehoaddin. She was from Jerusalem. 3  He lived the way God wanted and did the right thing. But he didn't come up to the standards of his ancestor David; instead he lived pretty much as his father Joash had; 4  the local sex-and-religion shrines continued to stay in business with people frequenting them. 5  When he had the affairs of the kingdom well in hand, he executed the palace guard that had assassinated his father the king. 6  But he didn't kill the sons of the assassins. He was obedient to what God commanded, written in the Word revealed to Moses, that parents shouldn't be executed for their children's sins, nor children for those of their parents. We each pay personally for our sins. 7  Amaziah roundly defeated Edom in the Valley of Salt to the tune of ten thousand dead. In another battle he took The Rock and renamed it Joktheel, the name it still bears.

8  One day Amaziah sent envoys to Jehoash son of Jehoahaz, the son of Jehu, king of Israel, challenging him to a fight: "Come and meet with me - I dare you. Let's have it out face to face!" 9  Jehoash king of Israel replied to Amaziah king of Judah, "One day a thistle in Lebanon sent word to a cedar in Lebanon, 'Give your daughter to my son in marriage.' But then a wild animal of Lebanon passed by and stepped on the thistle, crushing it. 10  Just because you've defeated Edom in battle, you now think you're a big shot. Go ahead and be proud, but stay home. Why press your luck? Why bring defeat on yourself and Judah?" 11  Amaziah wouldn't take No for an answer. So Jehoash king of Israel gave in and agreed to a battle between him and Amaziah king of Judah. They met at Beth Shemesh, a town of Judah. 12  Judah was thoroughly beaten by Israel - all their soldiers ran home in defeat. 13  Jehoash king of Israel captured Amaziah king of Judah, the son of Joash, the son of Ahaziah, at Beth Shemesh. But Jehoash didn't stop there; he went on to attack Jerusalem. He demolished the wall of Jerusalem all the way from the Ephraim Gate to the Corner Gate - a stretch of about 600 feet. 14  He looted the gold, silver, and furnishings - anything he found that was worth taking - from both the palace and The Temple of God. And, for good measure, he took hostages. Then he returned to Samaria.

15  The rest of the life and times of Jehoash, his significant accomplishments and the fight with Amaziah king of Judah, are all written in The Chronicles of the Kings of Israel. 16  Jehoash died and was buried in Samaria in the cemetery of the kings of Israel. His son Jeroboam became the next king. 17  Amaziah son of Joash king of Judah continued as king fifteen years after the death of Jehoash son of Jehoahaz king of Israel. 18  The rest of the life and times of Amaziah is written in The Chronicles of the Kings of Judah. 19  At the last they cooked up a plot against Amaziah in Jerusalem and he had to flee to Lachish. But they tracked him down in Lachish and killed him there. 20  They brought him back on horseback and buried him in Jerusalem, with his ancestors in the City of David. 21  Azariah - he was only sixteen years old at the time - was the unanimous choice of the people of Judah to succeed his father Amaziah as king. 22  Following his father's death, he rebuilt and restored Elath to Judah.

The Reign of Jeroboam

23  In the fifteenth year of Amaziah son of Joash king of Judah, Jeroboam son of Jehoash became king of Israel in Samaria. He ruled for forty-one years. 24  As far as God was concerned he lived an evil life, never deviating an inch from all the sin of Jeroboam son of Nebat, who led Israel into a life of sin. 25  But he did restore the borders of Israel to Lebo Hamath in the far north and to the Dead Sea in the south, matching what God, the God of Israel, had pronounced through his servant Jonah son of Amittai, the prophet from Gath Hepher. 26  God was fully aware of the trouble in Israel, its bitterly hard times. No one was exempt, whether slave or citizen, and no hope of help anywhere was in sight. 27  But God wasn't yet ready to blot out the name of Israel from history, so he used Jeroboam son of Jehoash to save them. 28  The rest of the life and times of Jeroboam, his victories in battle and how he recovered for Israel both Damascus and Hamath which had belonged to Judah, these are all written in The Chronicles of the Kings of Israel. 29  Jeroboam died and was buried with his ancestors in the royal cemetery. His son Zechariah became the next king.

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