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First Reading: 2 Chronicles Chapter 21 and 22
2 Chronicles 21
21:1 Then Jehoshaphat rested with his fathers and was buried with them in the
City of David. And Jehoram his son succeeded him as king. 2 Jehoram's brothers,
the sons of Jehoshaphat, were Azariah, Jehiel, Zechariah, Azariahu, Michael
and Shephatiah. All these were sons of Jehoshaphat king of Israel. 3 Their father
had given them many gifts of silver and gold and articles of value, as well
as fortified cities in Judah, but he had given the kingdom to Jehoram because
he was his firstborn son.
4 When Jehoram established himself firmly over his father's kingdom, he put all his brothers to the sword along with some of the princes of Israel. 5 Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years. 6 He walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, as the house of Ahab had done, for he married a daughter of Ahab. He did evil in the eyes of the LORD. 7 Nevertheless, because of the covenant the LORD had made with David, the LORD was not willing to destroy the house of David. He had promised to maintain a lamp for him and his descendants forever.
8 In the time of Jehoram, Edom rebelled against Judah and set up its own king. 9 So Jehoram went there with his officers and all his chariots. The Edomites surrounded him and his chariot commanders, but he rose up and broke through by night. 10 To this day Edom has been in rebellion against Judah.
Libnah revolted at the same time, because Jehoram had forsaken the LORD, the God of his fathers. 11 He had also built high places on the hills of Judah and had caused the people of Jerusalem to prostitute themselves and had led Judah astray.
12 Jehoram received a letter from Elijah the prophet, which said:
"This is what the LORD, the God of your father David, says: 'You have not walked in the ways of your father Jehoshaphat or of Asa king of Judah. 13 But you have walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, and you have led Judah and the people of Jerusalem to prostitute themselves, just as the house of Ahab did. You have also murdered your own brothers, members of your father's house, men who were better than you. 14 So now the LORD is about to strike your people, your sons, your wives and everything that is yours, with a heavy blow. 15 You yourself will be very ill with a lingering disease of the bowels, until the disease causes your bowels to come out.'"
16 The LORD aroused against Jehoram the hostility of the Philistines and of the Arabs who lived near the Cushites. 17 They attacked Judah, invaded it and carried off all the goods found in the king's palace, together with his sons and wives. Not a son was left to him except Ahaziah, the youngest.
18 After all this, the LORD afflicted Jehoram with an incurable disease of the bowels. 19 In the course of time, at the end of the second year, his bowels came out because of the disease, and he died in great pain. His people made no fire in his honor, as they had for his fathers.
20 Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years. He passed away, to no one's regret, and was buried in the City of David, but not in the tombs of the kings.
2 Chronicles 22
22:1 The people of Jerusalem made Ahaziah, Jehoram's youngest son, king in
his place, since the raiders, who came with the Arabs into the camp, had killed
all the older sons. So Ahaziah son of Jehoram king of Judah began to reign.
2 Ahaziah was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem one year. His mother's name was Athaliah, a granddaughter of Omri.
3 He too walked in the ways of the house of Ahab, for his mother encouraged him in doing wrong. 4 He did evil in the eyes of the LORD, as the house of Ahab had done, for after his father's death they became his advisers, to his undoing. 5 He also followed their counsel when he went with Joram son of Ahab king of Israel to war against Hazael king of Aram at Ramoth Gilead. The Arameans wounded Joram; 6 so he returned to Jezreel to recover from the wounds they had inflicted on him at Ramoth in his battle with Hazael king of Aram.
Then Ahaziah son of Jehoram king of Judah went down to Jezreel to see Joram son of Ahab because he had been wounded.
7 Through Ahaziah's visit to Joram, God brought about Ahaziah's downfall. When Ahaziah arrived, he went out with Joram to meet Jehu son of Nimshi, whom the LORD had anointed to destroy the house of Ahab. 8 While Jehu was executing judgment on the house of Ahab, he found the princes of Judah and the sons of Ahaziah's relatives, who had been attending Ahaziah, and he killed them. 9 He then went in search of Ahaziah, and his men captured him while he was hiding in Samaria. He was brought to Jehu and put to death. They buried him, for they said, "He was a son of Jehoshaphat, who sought the LORD with all his heart." So there was no one in the house of Ahaziah powerful enough to retain the kingdom.
10 When Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she proceeded to destroy the whole royal family of the house of Judah. 11 But Jehosheba, the daughter of King Jehoram, took Joash son of Ahaziah and stole him away from among the royal princes who were about to be murdered and put him and his nurse in a bedroom. Because Jehosheba, the daughter of King Jehoram and wife of the priest Jehoiada, was Ahaziah's sister, she hid the child from Athaliah so she could not kill him. 12 He remained hidden with them at the temple of God for six years while Athaliah ruled the land.
I love the LORD, for he heard my voice;he heard my cry for mercy. 2 Because he turned his ear to me,I will call on him as long as I live.
3 The cords of death entangled me,the anguish of the grave came upon me;I was overcome by trouble and sorrow. 4 Then I called on the name of the LORD:"O LORD, save me!"
5 The LORD is gracious and righteous;our God is full of compassion. 6 The LORD protects the simplehearted;when I was in great need, he saved me.
7 Be at rest once more, O my soul,for the LORD has been good to you.
8 For you, O LORD, have delivered my soul from death,my eyes from tears,my feet from stumbling, 9 that I may walk before the LORD in the land of the living. 10 I believed; therefore I said,"I am greatly afflicted." 11 And in my dismay I said,"All men are liars."
12 How can I repay the LORD for all his goodness to me? 13 I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD. 14 I will fulfill my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people.
15 Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints. 16 O LORD, truly I am your servant;I am your servant, the son of your maidservant;you have freed me from my chains.
17 I will sacrifice a thank offering to you and call on the name of the LORD. 18 I will fulfill my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people, 19 in the courts of the house of the LORD in your midst, O Jerusalem.
Praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD, all you nations;extol him, all you peoples. 2 For great is his love toward us,and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever.
Praise the LORD.
CRITICS OF THE BIBLE
Part 4 of 8
Archaeological Discoveries and the Dead Sea Scrolls answer the critics of the Bible. Until recent years it was commonly believed that writing was unknown in the early days of Old Testament history. This was one of the bases of the modern critical theory that some of the Old Testament books were written long after the events they describe, thus embodying only Oral Tradition. But now the spade of the archeologist has revealed that written records of important events were made from the dawn of history. Archaeologists have found writings in cities such as Ur, Babylon, Kish, and Erech dating from before the time of Abraham.
Over the past two centuries Archaeologists have verified the truth of the Bible. For instance, the walls of Jericho were found to have "fallen down flat" around 1400 B.C. which coincides with the record in Joshua. An actual layer of mud, evidently deposited by the Flood, has been found in three separate places.
The Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in 1947 by an Arabic Bedouin. These are ancient scrolls some dating back to the First Century and include fragments of every book of the Old Testament except for Esther. Comparisons to modern texts of these scriptures show an amazing accuracy.
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