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33: 1-4, 11-13, 16-17, 20-25
(1-4) Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem. He did evil in the sight of the Lord, following the abominable practices of the nations whom the Lord had cleared out of the way of Israelites. He rebuilt the high places which his father Hezekiah had torn down, erected altars for the Baals, made sacred poles, and prostrated himself before the whole host of heaven and worshiped them. He even built altars in the temple of the Lord, of which the Lord had said, “In Jerusalem shall my name be forever.”
(11-13) therefore the Lord brought against them the army commanders of the Assyrian king; they took Manasseh with hooks, shackled him with chains, and transported him to Babylong. In this distress, he began to appease the Lord, his God. He humbled himself abjectly before the God of his fathers and prayed to him. The Lord let himself be won over: he heard his prayer and restored him to his kingdom in Jerusalem. Then Manasseh understood that the Lord is indeed God.
(16-17) He restored the altar of the Lord, and sacrificed on it peace offerings and thank offerings, and commanded Judah to serve the Lord, the God of Israel. Though the people continued to sacrifice on the high places, they now did so to the Lord, their God.
(20-25) Manasseh rested with his ancestors and was buried in his own place. His Amon succeeded him as king.
Amon was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned two years in Jerusalem. He did evil in the sight of the Lord, just as his father Manasseh had done. Amon offered sacrifice to all the idols which his father Manasseh had made, and worshiped them. Moreover, he did not humble himself before the Lord as his father Manasseh had done; on the contrary, Amon only increased his guilt. His servants conspired against him and put him to death in his own house. But the people of the land slew all those who had conspired against King Amon, and then they, the people of the land, made his son Josiah king in his stead.
34: 1-2, 4, 8, 18-19, 29-33
(1-2) Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem. He pleased the Lord, following the path of his ancestor David.
(4) In his presence, the altars of the Baals were destroyed; the incense stands erected above them were torn down; the sacred poles and the carved and molten images were shattered and beaten into dust, which was strewn over the tombs of those who had sacrificed in them.
(8) In the eighteenth year of his reign, in order to cleanse the temple as well as the land, he sent chamberlain, to restore the house of the Lord, his God.
(18-19) Then Shaphan the scribe announced to the king, “Hilkiah the priest has given me a book [he found in the temple].” And Shaphan read from it before the king. When the king heard the words of the law, he tore his garments.
(29-33) The king now convened all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. He went up to the house of the Lord with all the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the priests, the Levites, and all the people, great and small; and he had read aloud to them the entire text of the book of the covenant that had been found in the house of the Lord. Standing at his post, the king made a covenant before the Lord to follow the Lord and to keep his commandments, decrees, and statutes with his whole heart and soul, thus observing the terms of the covenant written in this book. He thereby committed all who were of Jerusalem and Benjamin, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem conformed themselves to the covenant of God, the God of their fathers. Josiah removed every abominable thing from all the territory belonging to the Israelites, and he obliged all who were in Israel to serve the Lord, their God. During his lifetime they did not desert the Lord, the God of their fathers.
Jerusalem holds a large Passover feast, with much sacrifice to the Lord. Josiah quarrels with Egypt, and is killed in a battle. He is buried with much lamentations. His son Jehoahaz is put on the throne.
(1-14: paraphrased) The last four kings of the Southern Kingdom, Judah, reign. They are: Jehoahaz, son of Josiah; Johoiakim, son of Jehoahaz; Jehoichain, son of Jehoiakim; and Zedekiah, uncle of Jehoichain. Zedekiah is called his brother in Chronicles, and his uncle in Kings.
(15-23) Early and often did the Lord, the God of their fathers, send his messengers to them, for he had compassion on his people and his dwelling place. But they mocked the messengers of God, despised his warning, and scoffed at his prophets, until the anger of the Lord against his people was so inflamed that there was no remedy. Then he brought up against them the king of the Chaldeans, who slew their young men in their own sanctuary building, sparing neither young man nor maiden, neither the aged nor the decrepit; he delivered all of them over into his grip. All the utensils of the house of God, the large and the small, and the treasures of the Lord’s house and of the king and his princes, all these he brought to Babylon. They burnt the house of God, tore down the walls of Jerusalem, set all its palaces afire, and destroyed all its precious objects. Those who escaped the sword he carried captive to Babylon, where they became his and his sons’ servants until the kingdom of the Persians came to power. All this was to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah: “Until the land has retrieved its lost Sabbaths, during all the time it lies waste it shall have rest while seventy years are fulfilled.”
In the first year of Cyrus, king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, the Lord inspired King Cyrus of Persia to issue this proclamation throughout his kingdom, both by word of mouth and in writing: “Thus says Cyrus, king of Persia: ‘All the kingdoms of the earth the Lord, the God of heaven, has given to me, and he has also charged me to build him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever, therefore, among you belongs to any part of his people, let him go up, and may his God be with him!’”
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