2 Kings 9:14-10:31; Acts 17:1-34; Psalms 144:1-15; Proverbs 17:27-28 (Common English Bible)
2 Kings 9:14-10:31
Jehu kills his enemies
14 Then Jehu, Jehoshaphat’s son and Nimshi’s grandson, plotted against Joram. Now Joram along with all of Israel had been guarding Ramoth-gilead against Aram’s King Hazael, 15 but King Joram[a] had gone back to Jezreel to recover from wounds that the Arameans had given him when he fought Hazael. So Jehu said, “If this is the way you feel, then don’t let anyone escape from the city to talk about it in Jezreel.” 16 Then Jehu got on a chariot and drove to Jezreel because Joram was resting there. Judah’s King Ahaziah had also come to visit Joram.
17 The guard standing on the tower at Jezreel saw a crowd of people coming with Jehu. He said, “I see a crowd of people.”
Joram said, “Take a chariot driver. Send him out to meet them to ask, ‘Do you come in peace?’”
18 So the driver went to meet him and said, “The king asks, ‘Do you come in peace?’”
Jehu replied, “What do you care about peace? Come around and follow me.”
Meanwhile, the tower guard reported, “The messenger met them, but he isn’t returning.”
19 The king sent a second driver. He came to them and said, “The king asks, ‘Do you come in peace?’”
Jehu said, “What do you care about peace? Come around and follow me.”
20 The tower guard reported, “The messenger met them, but he isn’t returning. And the style of chariot driving is like Jehu, Nimshi’s son. Jehu drives like a madman.”
21 Joram said, “Hitch up the chariot!” So they hitched up his chariot. Then Israel’s King Joram and Judah’s King Ahaziah—each in his own chariot—went out to meet Jehu. They happened to meet him at the plot of ground that belonged to Naboth the Jezreelite.
22 When Joram saw Jehu, he said, “Do you come in peace, Jehu?”
He said, “How can there be peace as long as the immoralities of your mother Jezebel and her many acts of sorcery continue?”
23 Then Joram turned his chariot around and fled. He shouted to Ahaziah, “It’s a trap, Ahaziah!”
24 Jehu took his bow and shot Joram in the back. The arrow went through his heart, and he fell down in his chariot. 25 Jehu said to Bidkar his chariot officer, “Pick him up, and throw him on the plot of ground belonging to Naboth the Jezreelite. Remember how you and I were driving chariot teams behind his father Ahab when the Lord spoke this prophecy about him: 26 Yesterday I saw Naboth’s blood and his sons’ blood, declares the Lord. I swear that I will pay you back on this very plot of ground, declares the Lord. Now pick him up, and throw him on that plot of ground, in agreement with the Lord’s word.”
27 Judah’s King Ahaziah saw this and fled on the road to Beth-haggan. Jehu chased after him. “Do the same to him!” he commanded. They shot him[b] in his chariot on the way up to Gur, near Ibleam. Ahaziah fled to Megiddo and died there. 28 His servants carried him back in a chariot to Jerusalem. He was buried in his tomb with his ancestors in David’s City. 29 Ahaziah had become Judah’s king in the eleventh year of Ahab’s son Joram.
30 Jehu then went to Jezreel. When Jezebel heard of it, she put on her eye shadow and arranged her hair. She looked down out of the window. 31 When Jehu came through the gate, she said, “Do you come in peace, Zimri, you master murderer?”
32 Jehu looked up to the window and said, “Who’s on my side? Anyone?” Two or three high officials looked down at him. 33 Then he said, “Throw her out!” So they threw her out of the window. Some of her blood splattered against the wall and on the horses, and they trampled her. 34 Jehu then went in to eat and drink. He said, “Deal with this cursed woman and bury her. She was, after all, a king’s daughter.” 35 They went to bury her, but they couldn’t find her body. Only her skull was left, along with her hands and feet. 36 They went back and reported this to Jehu. He said, “This is the Lord’s word spoken through his servant Elijah from Tishbe: Dogs will devour Jezebel’s flesh in the area of Jezreel. 37 Jezebel’s corpse will be like dung spread out in a field in that plot of land in Jezreel, so no one will be able to say, This was Jezebel.”
Jehu kills Ahab’s family
10 Now Ahab had seventy sons in Samaria. So Jehu wrote letters and sent them to Samaria, to the senior officers of the city,[c] the elders, and the guardians of Ahab’s sons.[d] 2 The letters said: “Your master’s sons are in your possession, along with horses and chariots, a fortified city, and weapons. Now when this letter reaches you, 3 look for the best and most capable of your master’s sons. Place him on his father’s throne. Then fight for your master’s family.”
4 But they were frozen with fear. They said, “Not even two kings could resist him! How can we?” 5 So the palace administrator, the mayor, the elders, and the guardians sent a letter back to Jehu that read, “We are your servants. We will do whatever you tell us. We won’t make anyone king. Do whatever seems right to you.”
6 Jehu wrote them a second letter: “If you are loyal to me and ready to obey me, take the heads of your master’s sons and bring them to me at Jezreel at this time tomorrow.”
Now the king’s seventy sons were with the city leaders who were raising them. 7 So when the letter came to them, they took the king’s sons and slaughtered all seventy of them. They placed their heads in baskets and sent them to Jehu at Jezreel.
8 A messenger came and told Jehu, “They have brought the heads of the king’s sons.”
He responded, “Pile them in two stacks at the entrance of the gate where they will stay until morning.” 9 In the morning he went out and stood there to address all the people. “You are innocent. I’m the one who plotted against my master and killed him, but who killed all these people? 10 Know this: Nothing that the Lord has said against Ahab’s dynasty will fail to come true. The Lord has done what he said he would do, speaking through his servant Elijah.” 11 Then Jehu struck down all those belonging to Ahab’s family who were left in Jezreel, so that not one of his leaders, close acquaintances, or priests remained.
12 Next Jehu set out for Samaria. Beth-eked of the Shepherds was on his way. 13 There Jehu met up with the brothers of Judah’s King Ahaziah. “Who are you?” he asked.
“We’re Ahaziah’s relatives,” they replied. “We’ve come down for a visit with the king’s sons and the queen mother’s sons.”
14 Jehu then commanded, “Take them alive!” His soldiers took them alive, then slaughtered them at the well of Beth-eked. There were forty-two of them, but not one was left.
Jehu kills Baal worshippers
15 Jehu departed from there and encountered Rechab’s son Jehonadab. Jehu greeted him, and asked, “Are you as committed to me as I am to you?”
Jehonadab responded, “Yes, I am.”
“If so,” said Jehu, “then give me your hand.” So Jehonadab put out his hand, and Jehu pulled him up into the chariot.
16 Jehu said, “Come with me and see my zeal for the Lord.” So Jehu had Jehonadab ride with him in his chariot. 17 When Jehu arrived in Samaria, he killed all those belonging to Ahab who were left in Samaria until they were completely wiped out, in agreement with the Lord’s word that was spoken to Elijah.
18 Then Jehu gathered all the people, saying to them, “Ahab served Baal a little. Jehu will serve him a great deal! 19 So invite all of Baal’s prophets, all his worshippers, and all his priests to come to me. Don’t leave anyone out, because I have a great sacrifice planned for Baal. Anyone who doesn’t show up won’t survive.” But Jehu was lying so that he could wipe out Baal’s worshippers. 20 Jehu called for a holy assembly for Baal, and it was done. 21 Jehu then sent word throughout Israel. All Baal’s worshippers came. No one stayed away. They entered Baal’s temple until it was packed from one end to the other. 22 Then Jehu said to the person in charge of the vestments, “Bring out the special clothes for all Baal’s worshippers.” So he brought out robes for them. 23 Then Jehu and Jehonadab, Rechab’s son, entered Baal’s temple. They said to Baal’s worshippers, “Make sure there are no worshippers of the Lord here with you. There should be only Baal worshippers.” 24 Then they went in to offer sacrifices and entirely burned offerings. But Jehu had stationed eighty soldiers outside and told them, “I’m handing these people over to you. Whoever lets even one of them escape will pay for it with his life.” 25 So when Jehu finished offering the entirely burned offering, he said to the guards and the officers, “Go in and kill everyone! Don’t let anyone escape!” They killed the Baal worshippers without mercy. The guards and the officers then disposed of the bodies and entered the inner part of Baal’s temple. 26 They brought the sacred pillar[e] out of Baal’s temple and burned it. 27 They tore down Baal’s sacred pillar and destroyed Baal’s temple, turning it into a public restroom, which is what it still is today.
28 This is how Jehu eliminated Baal from Israel. 29 However, Jehu didn’t deviate from the sins that Jeroboam, Nebat’s son, had caused Israel to commit—specifically, the gold calves that were in Bethel and Dan.
Jehu rules Israel
30 The Lord said to Jehu: Because you’ve done well by doing what is right in my eyes, treating Ahab’s family as I wished, your descendants will sit on Israel’s throne for four generations. 31 But Jehu wasn’t careful to keep the Lord God of Israel’s Instruction with all his heart. He didn’t deviate from the sins that Jeroboam had caused Israel to commit.
More troubles for Paul
17 Paul and Silas journeyed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, then came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue. 2 As was Paul’s custom, he entered the synagogue and for three Sabbaths interacted with them on the basis of the scriptures. 3 Through his interpretation of the scriptures, he demonstrated that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead. He declared, “This Jesus whom I proclaim to you is the Christ.” 4 Some were convinced and joined Paul and Silas, including a larger number of Greek God-worshippers and quite a few prominent women.
5 But the Jews became jealous and brought along some thugs who were hanging out in the marketplace. They formed a mob and started a riot in the city. They attacked Jason’s house, intending to bring Paul and Silas before the people. 6 When they didn’t find them, they dragged Jason and some believers before the city officials. They were shouting, “These people who have been disturbing the peace throughout the empire have also come here. 7 What is more, Jason has welcomed them into his home. Every one of them does what is contrary to Caesar’s decrees by naming someone else as king: Jesus.” 8 This provoked the crowd and the city officials even more. 9 After Jason and the others posted bail, they released them.
10 As soon as it was dark, the brothers and sisters sent Paul and Silas on to Beroea. When they arrived, they went to the Jewish synagogue. 11 The Beroean Jews were more honorable than those in Thessalonica. This was evident in the great eagerness with which they accepted the word and examined the scriptures each day to see whether Paul and Silas’ teaching was true. 12 Many came to believe, including a number of reputable Greek women and many Greek men.
13 The Jews from Thessalonica learned that Paul also proclaimed God’s word in Beroea, so they went there too and were upsetting and disturbing the crowds. 14 The brothers and sisters sent Paul away to the seacoast at once, but Silas and Timothy remained at Beroea. 15 Those who escorted Paul led him as far as Athens, then returned with instructions for Silas and Timothy to come to him as quickly as possible.
16 While Paul waited for them in Athens, he was deeply distressed to find that the city was flooded with idols. 17 He began to interact with the Jews and Gentile God-worshippers in the synagogue. He also addressed whoever happened to be in the marketplace each day. 18 Certain Epicurean and Stoic philosophers engaged him in discussion too. Some said, “What an amateur! What’s he trying to say?” Others remarked, “He seems to be a proclaimer of foreign gods.” (They said this because he was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection.) 19 They took him into custody and brought him to the council on Mars Hill. “What is this new teaching? Can we learn what you are talking about? 20 You’ve told us some strange things and we want to know what they mean.” (21 They said this because all Athenians as well as the foreigners who live in Athens used to spend their time doing nothing but talking about or listening to the newest thing.)
22 Paul stood up in the middle of the council on Mars Hill and said, “People of Athens, I see that you are very religious in every way. 23 As I was walking through town and carefully observing your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: ‘To an unknown God.’ What you worship as unknown, I now proclaim to you. 24 God, who made the world and everything in it, is Lord of heaven and earth. He doesn’t live in temples made with human hands. 25 Nor is God served by human hands, as though he needed something, since he is the one who gives life, breath, and everything else. 26 From one person God created every human nation to live on the whole earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God made the nations so they would seek him, perhaps even reach out to him and find him. In fact, God isn’t far away from any of us. 28 In God we live, move, and exist. As some of your own poets said, ‘We are his offspring.’
29 “Therefore, as God’s offspring, we have no need to imagine that the divine being is like a gold, silver, or stone image made by human skill and thought. 30 God overlooks ignorance of these things in times past, but now directs everyone everywhere to change their hearts and lives. 31 This is because God has set a day when he intends to judge the world justly by a man he has appointed. God has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.”
32 When they heard about the resurrection from the dead, some began to ridicule Paul. However, others said, “We’ll hear from you about this again.” 33 At that, Paul left the council. 34 Some people joined him and came to believe, including Dionysius, a member of the council on Mars Hill, a woman named Damaris, and several others.
144 Bless the Lord, my rock,
who taught my hands how to fight,
who taught my fingers how to do battle!
2 God is my loyal one, my fortress,
my place of safety, my rescuer,
my shield, in whom I take refuge,
and the one who subdues people before me.
3 What are human beings, Lord, that you know them at all?
What are human beings that you even consider them?
4 Humans are like a puff of air;
their days go by like a shadow.
5 Lord, part your skies and come down!
Touch the mountains so they smoke!
6 Flash lightning and scatter the enemy!
Shoot your arrows and defeat them!
7 Stretch out your hand from above!
Rescue me and deliver me from deep water,
from the power of strangers, whose mouths speak lies,
8 and whose strong hand is a strong hand of deception!
9 I will sing a new song to you, God.
I will sing praises to you on a ten-stringed harp,
10 to you—the one who gives saving help to rulers,
and who rescues his servant David from the evil sword.
11 Rescue me and deliver me from the power of strangers,
whose mouths speak lies,
and whose strong hand is a strong hand of deception,
12 so that[a] our sons can grow up fully, in their youth, like plants;
so that our daughters can be like pillars carved to decorate a palace;
13 so that our barns can be full, providing all kinds of food;
so that our flocks can be in the thousands—
even tens of thousands—in our fields;
14 so that our cattle can be loaded with calves;
so that there won’t be any breach in the walls,
no exile, no outcries in our streets!
15 The people who have it like this are truly happy!
The people whose God is the Lord are truly happy!
- Psalm 144:12 Heb uncertain
27 Wise are those who restrain their talking;
people with understanding are coolheaded.
28 Fools who keep quiet are deemed wise;
those who shut their lips are smart.