HOME PAGE TORAH WRITINGS TESTIMONY OF YESHUA

YEHOSHUA
JUDGES
1 SAMUEL
2 SAMUEL
1 KINGS
2 KINGS
ISAIAH
JEREMIAH
EZEKIEL
HOSEA
JOEL
AMOS
OBADIAH
JONAH
MICAH
NAHUM
HABAKKUK
ZEPHANIAH
HAGGAI
ZECHARIAH
MALACHI
The Word of Elohim
ENTIRE INDEX

The HEBREW Tanak {Bible} is divided into 3 parts: The Torah, the Prophets and the Writings. This online Hebrew Tanak is also divided into 3 parts because the file is too big to load and work properly.

The INDEX and TEXT of the Word of Elohim [God] Gabriel Bible, (the so-called “Old Testament”) is arranged in the original (Jewish) order. “[T]he sages disagree as to whether Daniel should be included in that list or not.” The original Jewish order is unlike the Septuagint order of over 99.99% of the English Bibles in existence. The Septuagint (LXX), a Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures was the first to come up with the present day skewed book arrangement, with the Catholic Bibles also including the Apocrypha in the Septuagint order. What evolved into what is called the Septuagint today is really the work of Origen (almost 200 years after the time of the Messiah). The Scriptures and their order were well established long before Yeshua (Jesus) arrived, contrary to the Council of Jamnia theory!

The Word of Elohim is the real name for the“Old Testament”.” Initially the Gabriel Bible was a revision of a prototype of the World English Bible (which was still “in draft form”), which is a revision of the American Standard Version of 1901, that was based on the Revised Version, a British revision of the King James Bible, itself having been revised from the original 1611 version (that does not contain the letter “J”, by the way—no Jesus, no Jehovah). The KJV evolved from the Geneva Bible of 1560, which had been the standard Bible for many years and the first mass produced Bible. We owe it to William Tyndale and Myles Coverdale. Before that there was the Great Bible of 1539, also by Myles Coverdale, based on the works of William Tyndale, an updated version of the quite archaic Coverdale Bible of 1535, again by William Tyndale and Myles Coverdale.

The Gabriel Bible was in ever changing prototype form from 2000 to 2022. The Torah (Volume 1) was the last volume completed in print, the last of my four volumes. The Testimony of Yeshua print version was revised from the 2011 printing in January, 2023 but Amazon sellers likely still have the 2020 slight revisions for sale with that date. “Joshua” and Judges are presently added to Volume 1 due to the number of pages in the printed form. Many thousands of changes were word processed into verses in various stages of development. Volume 2 has been online (and in print since 2019). Volume 3 has been online (and has been in print since late April, 2020.) Volume 4: The so called “New Testament” has been online since 2007 and in print since 2011. Originally I was only going to put the “New Testament” in print once I learned that it was originally written in Aramaic and translated into Greek, and that there was no really modern version of the Aramaic in English at the time (as far as I knew). I stopped working on the online Prophets for several years and created The Testimony of Yeshua (Gabriel Bible). I had been focused on the Prophets because the remaining 90% of these prophecies are approaching fast! I believe that the “beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24) will begin in likely 2024, as I explain here. My website has hundreds of live links to help you understand the difficult times ahead. Who knows when Bible commentary will censored by the corporations online?

Technically Joshua (Yehoshua) and Judges are considered part of the Prophets, but they are being included with the Torah in my print version due to the page limitations on print-on-demand (Lulu). First and Second Samuel and First and Second Kings are in the print Volume 2 because they are considered part of the Prophets. These four large volumes will remain in print and online so long as I am able to manage them and there is time left. I am trying to keep my royalties (and your cost) on my four volume Bible and my four topical commentaries as close to zero as legally possible—often under $20 a year.

There are three primary objectives for creating this version:

Objective 1: The omission of the names Yehovah and Yeshua, and their replacement with dubious to pagan LORD, God and Jesus are a misuse of their names, as specified by the third Commandment, He doesn’t tolerate people messing with His name! (Exodus 20:7). The Leningrad Codex, the basis for all but one or so Bibles, differs from more recent Hebrew Bibles (of the last 900 years) in that it has the vowel points included, “accidentally?’ about 50 times in the Tetragrammaton where it is actually spelled YeHoVaH! (when substituting English letters). [As of JUNE 2018: Nehemiah Gordon, a Karaite has now found 1000 old Hebrew Tanak’s and other ancient sources with YeHoVaH fully spelled out! Zero with Yahweh. Many of these old Hebrew Bibles have never even been examined! Old theories are now dead!]

Objective 2: There are perhaps thousands of live links to the wonderful NASB Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, so that you aren’t even tempted to just trust my English rendering.

Objective 3: I wanted to create a completely modern version of the entire Bible, with easily read plain wording and accuracy, even easier to read than the modern copyrighted versions, expressing extreme clarity of thought, but free of copyright restrictions both online and in print, a version that reads as tho it was originally written in English, and doesn’t constantly remind you that it was translated from Hebrew and Aramaic. There should never be any impediments to the free usage of Scriptures and The Testimony of Yeshua, as explained by the writers of the World English Bible who for many years strived for accuracy, but with wording that is deliberately quite reminiscent of the old ASV— hardly present day English. The Gabriel Bible is classified as Creative Commons, with only “One Right Reserved.”

Yeshua and His followers never said anything about an ‘Old Testament.’ He always referred to it as either ‘The Word of Elohim (Aloha in His native Aramaic, aka God), or ‘the Scriptures.’

The Complete INTRODUCTION is HERE.

Yehoshua (Joshua) 1

(Yehoshua/Joshua, Yeshua, Jesus and Yeshu)

Chapters 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24

After the death of Moses, Yehovah’s servant, Yehovah spoke to Yehoshua [“Joshua” is Yehoshua thruout the book] the son of Nun, Moses’ servant and said: 2 “Moses My servant is dead, so get up and cross over the Jordan River, you and all these people into the land that I’m giving to you Israelites. 3 I’ve given you every place that the sole of your foot will tread on as I told Moses. 4 From the wilderness, and this Lebanon, to the great river, the river Euphrates, including all the land of the Hittites, to the 'Mediterranean' sea toward the going down of the sun. That will be your border. 5 No one will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. I’ll be with you just like I was with Moses. I won’t fail you or forsake you.

6 “Be strong and courageous, because you’ll cause these people to inherit the land that I swore to their ancestors to give them. 7 “Be strong and courageous, and be certain to obey the entire Torah that Moses My servant commanded you. Don’t turn away from it to the right or to the left. Then you’ll be successful wherever you go. 8 This Book of the Torah must never leave your 'conversations'. You must meditate on it day and night. Be sure to do everything that’s written in it. Then you’ll be prosperous and quite successful. 9 Haven’t I commanded you to be strong and courageous? Don’t be afraid or lose hope, because Yehovah your Elohim is with you anywhere you go.”

10 Then Yehoshua [Yehovah saves] commanded the officers of the people: 11 “Go thru the middle of the camp, and command the people to prepare food, because within three days you are to cross over this Jordan River to go in and possess the land that Yehovah your Elohim is giving you to possess.”

12 Yehoshua spoke to the Reubenites, and to the Gadites, and to the half tribe of Manasseh and said, 13 “Remember the instruction that Moses the servant of Yehovah commanded you: ‘Yehovah your Elohim gives you rest, and will give you this land.’ 14 Your wives, your children, and your livestock will live in the land that Moses gave you beyond the Jordan River, but you’ll pass over before your brothers armed, all the valiant warriors, and help them 15 until Yehovah has given your brothers rest, as He has given you, and they’ve also possessed the land that Yehovah your Elohim is giving them. Then you can return and settle here in the land that Moses, the servant of Yehovah, gave you beyond the Jordan River toward the sunrise.”

16 They told Yehoshua, “Everything that you’ve commanded us we’ll do, and we’ll go wherever you send us. 17 Just like we listened to Moses in everything, that’s how we’ll listen to you. Only may Yehovah your Elohim be with you, as He was with Moses. 18 Whoever rebels against your commandment, and doesn’t obey you in everything that you command them will be put to death. Only be strong and courageous.”

Yehoshua 2

Spies Sent to Jericho

1 Yehoshua the son of Nun secretly sent two men out of Acacia Grove as scouts, he said, “Go surveil the land, especially Jericho.” So they went to the house of a prostitute whose name was Rahab, and slept there.

2 The king of Jericho was told, “Israelite men came in here tonight to surveil the land!” 3 So the king of Jericho sent orders to Rahab: “Bring out the men who came and entered your house because they came to surveil the entire land.”

4 The woman had taken the two men and hidden them, and she said, “Yes, the men came to me, but I don’t know where they came from.” 5 Then about the time the gate was shut, when it was dark, the men left. I don’t know where the men went. Chase them quickly and you can catch up with them.” 6 But she had taken them up to the roof and hidden them with the stalks of flax that she had laid out on the roof. 7 The men chased them all the way to the fords of the Jordan River, and as soon as those who were chasing them had left, they shut the gate.

8 Before they laid down, she came up to them on the roof, 9 and she told the men, “I know that Yehovah has given you the land, and that the fear of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt away before you. 10 We have heard how Yehovah dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan River, to Sihon and to Og, who you completely destroyed. 11 As soon as we had heard about it the 'morale' of the people suffered a meltdown, there was no spirit remaining in any of them because of you. Yehovah your Elohim is Elohim in heaven above and on earth below.

12 “So please swear to me by Yehovah that since I’ve treated you kindly, you’ll also treat my father’s household kindly, and give me a true token 13 indicating that you’ll save my father’s life, my mother, my brothers, my sisters and everything they have, and prevent our deaths.”

14 So the men told her, “Our life for yours, if you don’t talk about this business of ours, then, when Yehovah gives us the land, we’ll be kind and truthful with you.”

15 Then she let them down by a cord thru the window, because her house was on the side of the wall, and she lived on the wall. 16 She told them, “Go to the mountain, otherwise the men pursuing you will find you. Hide there for three days until they have returned. Then you can go your way.”

17 The men told her, “The oath we’ve sworn to you is only binding if 18 when we come into the land you tie this line of scarlet thread onto the window that you let us down by. Then gather your father, your mother, your brothers and your father’s entire household into the house. 19 Then if anyone leaves thru the doors of your house onto the street, their blood will be on their head, and we’ll be innocent. Whoever is with you in the house, their blood will be on our heads, if a hand is laid on him. 20 But if you talk about this business of ours, then we’ll be released from the oath that you’ve made us to swear.”

21 She said, “I accept your 'terms', so be it.” She sent them away, and they left. She tied the scarlet line in the window.

22 They went to the mountain, and stayed there three days, until those who were chasing them had returned. 'They' looked for them the whole way, but didn’t find them. 23 Then the two men returned and came down from the mountain, passed over, and came to Yehoshua the son of Nun, and told him everything that had happened to them. 24 They told Yehoshua, “Truly Yehovah has handed us the entire land. All the inhabitants of the land will melt away before us.”

Yehoshua 3

Crossing the Jordan

1 Yehoshua started early the next morning and left the Acacia Grove with all the Israelites and arrived at the Jordan River where they camped before crossing. 2 Then after three days the officers went thru the camp 3 and commanded the people: “When you see the Ark of the Covenant of Yehovah your Elohim and the priests and the Levites carrying it, you must break camp and follow them. 4 You must keep a space between you and them of about 2,000 cubits in length. Don’t approach them to find out which way to go, since you’ve never traveled this way before.”

5 Yehoshua told the people, “Dedicate yourselves, because tomorrow Yehovah will do amazing things among you.”

6 Yehoshua said to the priests, “Pick up the Ark of the Covenant and cross over ahead of the people.” So they picked up the Ark of the Covenant and left ahead of them.

7 Yehovah told Yehoshua, “Today I’ll begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, so that they’ll know that I’m with you, just like I was with Moses. 8 Order the priests who carry the Ark of the Covenant: ‘When you reach the banks of the Jordan River, go and stand in the river.’”

9 Yehoshua told the Israelites, “Come here, and listen to the 'message' of Yehovah your Elohim.” 10 Yehoshua said, “Here is how you’ll really know that the living Elohim is among you and that He’ll force out the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Hivites, the Perizzites, the Girgashites, the Amorites and the Jebusites ahead of you. 11 Watch the Ark of the Covenant of the Sovereign of the entire earth as it crosses over before you into the Jordan River! 12 Now choose twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one from each tribe. 13 Once the priests who carry Yehovah’s Ark, the Sovereign of the entire earth set foot in the water of the Jordan River, the flow of water of the Jordan River will be cut off and the water flowing from upstream will stop and stand up like a wall.”

14 So the people left their tents to cross the Jordan River. The priests who carried the Ark of the Covenant went ahead of the people. 15 When the priests who were carrying the Ark entered the Jordan River and put their feet in the water (since the Jordan River overflows all its banks 'thruout' the harvest), 16 the water that flowed from above piled up as far away as the city of Adam, the city that adjoins Zarethan and the water that went down toward the sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea was entirely cut off. Then the people crossed over near Jericho. 17 The priests bearing the Ark of the Covenant of Yehovah stood firmly on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan until the entire nation finished crossing over the Jordan.

Yehoshua 4

Memorial Stones from the Jordan

1 Then after the entire nation had completely crossed over the Jordan River, Yehovah spoke to Yehoshua: 2 “Choose twelve men from the people, one man from each tribe, 3 and command them to take twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan River, from the place where the priests’ feet stood firm, and carry them over with you, and lay them down where you’ll be staying tonight.”

4 Then Yehoshua called together the twelve men he had selected from the Israelites, one man from each tribe. 5 Yehoshua told them, “Cross over into the middle of the Jordan River to Yehovah your Elohim’s Ark. Then each of you pick up a stone and put it on your shoulder, one for each of the tribes of Israel. 6 This will be a marker for you, so that in the future when your children ask, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’, 7 you can tell them, ‘The water from the Jordan River was cut off before the Ark of the Covenant of Yehovah. When the Ark crossed over the Jordan River, the water of the Jordan River stopped flowing.’ These stones will serve as a memorial to the Israelites forever.”

8 The Israelites did what Yehoshua commanded, and picked up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan River, as Yehovah told Yehoshua, one for each of the tribes of Israel, and they carried them over with them to the place where they camped, and laid them down. 9 Yehoshua set up twelve stones in the middle of the Jordan River, in the place where the feet of the priests who carried the Ark of the Covenant had stood, and they are still there today.

10 The priests who carried the Ark stood in the middle of the Jordan River until everything was finished that Yehovah had commanded Yehoshua to tell the people, that is, everything that Moses commanded Yehoshua, and the people hurriedly crossed over. 11 Then when everyone had completely crossed over, the priests brought Yehovah’s Ark over in the presence of the people. 12 The descendants of Reuben, and the descendants of Gawd, and the half tribe of Manasseh crossed over armed before the Israelites, as Moses ordered them. 13 About 40,000 men armed for battle crossed over in the presence of Yehovah to the plains of Jericho.

14 When that day came, Yehovah made Yehoshua great in the sight of all Israel, and they stood in awe of him, as they had stood in awe of Moses all the days of his life.

15 Yehovah said to Yehoshua: 16 “Command the priests carrying the Ark of the Testimony to come up out of the Jordan River.”

17 So Yehoshua commanded the priests to come up out of the Jordan River!

18 Then when the priests who carried the Ark of the Covenant of Yehovah came up out of the middle of the Jordan River, and the priests’ feet were on dry ground, the water of the Jordan River returned to its place, and overflowed its banks as before.

19 The people came up from the Jordan River on the tenth day of the first month and camped at Gilgal on the eastern border of Jericho. 20 Yehoshua set up the twelve stones that they took out of the Jordan River in Gilgal. 21 He said to the Israelites, “In the future, when your children ask their fathers, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 22 Then you’ll explain to your children that Israel crossed over the Jordan River here on dry ground, 23 because Yehovah your Elohim dried up the water of the Jordan River from before you, until you had crossed over, as Yehovah your Elohim had done to the Red Sea. He dried it up before us until we had crossed over, 24 so that everyone on earth could know that Yehovah’s hand is strong. He did it so that you would revere Yehovah your Elohim forever.”

Yehoshua 5

Israel Is Circumcised

1 Then when all the kings of the Amorites who were west of the Jordan River, and all the kings of the Canaanites who were by the Mediterranean sea heard how Yehovah had dried up the water of the Jordan River before the Israelites, until we had crossed over, the 'morale' of the people suffered a meltdown, they were totally dispirited by the Israelites.

2 At that time, Yehovah told Yehoshua, “Make flint knives, and circumcise the [younger generation] of Israelites.” 3 Yehoshua made flint knives, and circumcised the Israelites at the hill of the foreskins.

4 This is the reason why Yehoshua circumcised all the males who came out of Egypt—because all the fighting men had died in the wilderness along the way after they left Egypt. 5 All the people who came out of Egypt were circumcised, but none of the people who were born in the wilderness during the journey from Egypt had been circumcised. 6 The Israelites walked forty years in the wilderness, until the entire nation, including the fighting men who came out of Egypt 'had died', because they hadn’t obeyed the voice of Yehovah. Yehovah had sworn to them that He wouldn’t let them see the land that Yehovah sworn to their ancestors to give 'them', a land flowing with milk and honey. 7 Their children who He empowered in their place were circumcised by Yehoshua because they were uncircumcised, since they hadn’t circumcised them along the way. 8 Then when they were finished circumcising the entire nation, they stayed in their places in the camp until they were healed.

9 Yehovah told Yehoshua, “Today I’ve rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” So the name of that place is called Gilgal to this day.”

10 The Israelites camped in Gilgal. They celebrated the Passover on the fourteenth day of the month at evening in the plains of Jericho. 11 They ate unleavened cakes and parched grain of the produce of the land on the day following the Passover, that commemorative day. 12 The manna ceased the next day, once they began eating the produce of the land. The Israelites didn’t have manna any more, instead they ate the fruit of the land of Canaan that year.

13 When Yehoshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him holding a drawn sword. Yehoshua approached Him and asked, “Are You for us or for our enemies?”

14 He said, “No, you don’t understand. I’ve come as the Commander of Yehovah’s army.” Yehoshua fell facedown to the earth, and as he bowed in worship, he asked Him, “Master what 'message' do you have for Your servant?”

15 The Commander of Yehovah’s Army [Yeshua; Jesus; Yehoshua], replied “Remove your sandals from your feet, because the place where you are standing is 'special' [1].” So Yehoshua did so.

[1] This is exactly what the Messenger of Yehovah (YeshuaJesus) told Moses in Genesis 1:2.

Yehoshua 6

The Fall of Jericho

1 Now Jericho was tightly shut up because of the Israelites. No one went out and no one came in. 2 Yehovah told Yehoshua, “I’ve handed Jericho over to you, along with its king and his accomplished warriors! 3 All your fighting men must surround the city once. You must do this for six days. 4 Seven priests will carry seven Jubilee shofars [1] before the ark. On the seventh day, you must surround the city seven times, and then have the priests blow the shofars. 5 When they make a long blast with the Jubilee horns [U] and when you hear the shouts of the shofars, then all the people will shout very loudly, and the wall of the city will fall down flat, and the men will rush straight ahead into the city.”

6 Then Yehoshua the son of Nun called the priests, and told them, “Pick up the Ark of the Covenant, and have seven priests carry seven Jubilee shofars before Yehovah’s Ark.” 7 They told the people, “Advance! Surround the city, and have the armed men go on before Yehovah’s ark.”

8 Then once Yehoshua had spoken to the people, the seven priests carrying the seven Jubilee shofars before Yehovah advanced and blew the shofars, and the Ark of the Covenant of Yehovah followed them. 9 The armed men went before the priests who blew the shofars, and the Ark went after them. The shofars shouted as they went. 10 But Yehoshua had given a command to the people. He said, “You must not shout or raise your voices. Don’t let a word leave your mouth until the day I tell you to shout. Then shout!” 11 So he had Yehovah’s Ark taken around the city once. Then they returned to the camp and spent the night in the camp.

12 Yehoshua got up early in the morning, and the priests picked up Yehovah’s Ark. 13 The seven priests carrying the seven Jubilee shofars before Yehovah’s Ark kept going as they blew the shofars, and the armed men went before them. The rear guard came after Yehovah’s Ark; blowing the shofars as they went. 14 The second day they encircled the city once and returned to the camp. They did this for six days.

15 Then on the seventh day they got up at daybreak and encircled the city in the same manner, except on this particular day they trekked around the city seven times. 16 Then on the seventh time the priests blew the shofars, and Yehoshua told the people, “Shout, because Yehovah has given you the city! 17 The city and everything in it will be dedicated to Yehovah for destruction. Only Rahab the prostitute is to live, she and everyone in the house with her, because she hid the spies that we sent. 18 Now concerning you, avoid keeping for yourselves the things dedicated for destruction. If you take anything dedicated for destruction into the camp, you’ll curse the camp of Israel and bring trouble on it. 19 But all the silver and gold and the vessels of bronze and iron are 'cherished' by Yehovah. They are to go into Yehovah’s treasury.”

20 So the people shouted, and the priests blew the shofars. Then when the people heard the shouts of the shofars, the people shouted very loudly and the wall fell flat, so the people went up into the city, every man advanced straight ahead, and they took the city. 21 They completely destroyed everyone in the city, both man and woman, young and old, even the bulls, sheep and donkeys with their swords.

22 Yehoshua told the two men who had surveilled the land, “Go into the prostitute’s house and bring out the woman and everything she has as you swore to her.” 23 The young scouts went in and brought out Rahab with her father, her mother, her brothers, and everything she had. They also brought out her relatives, and they set them outside of the camp of Israel.

24 They burned the city, and everything in it, but they put the silver, the gold and the bronze and iron implements into the treasury of Yehovah’s 'Temple'. 25 But Rahab the prostitute, her father’s household and everything she had, Yehoshua spared. She lives in Israel to this day, because she hid the scouts who Yehoshua sent to surveil Jericho.

26 Then Yehoshua made them take an oath at that time, he said, “Cursed is the man before Yehovah, who rises up and rebuilds the city of Jericho. With the loss of his firstborn he would lay its foundation, and with the loss of his youngest son he would set up its gates.”

27 So Yehovah was with Yehoshua, and his fame spread thruout the land.

[1] It is highly unlikely that any English Bible you have is honest here. Like lemmings the translators each in turn omit the word ‘Jubilee’ here for the same reason that they add ‘Jubilee’ to Leviticus 25:9!

Yehoshua 7

Ai Defeats the Israelites

1 But the Israelites were unfaithful in regard to the things dedicated for destruction because Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah from the house of Judah took some of the things dedicated for destruction, and Yehovah’s anger burned against the Israelites.

2 Yehoshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, east of Beth Aven on the east side of Bethel, and told them, “Go up and surveil the land.” So the men went up and serveilled Ai. 3 They returned to Yehoshua, and told him, “Don’t allow all the people to go up, but allow about two or three thousand men to go up and attack Ai. Don’t make all the people toil there, because there are only a few of them.”

4 So about three thousand men from the 'group' went up there, and they fled before the men of Ai. 5 The men of Ai struck about thirty-six of the men, and they chased them from before the gateway all the way to Shebarim, and attacked them at the descent. The 'morale' of the people had a meltdown, 'they were' like water.

6 Yehoshua tore his clothes and fell to the ground on his face before Yehovah’s Ark until the evening, he and the elders of Israel, and they put dust on their heads. 7 Yehoshua said, “Oh no, Sovereign YEHOVAH [“Yeshua”]! Why did You even bring these people across the Jordan River, only to hand them over to the Amorites and cause us to die? I wish that we had been content to live beyond the Jordan River! 8 Yehovah, what can I say, now that Israel has turned their backs before their enemies! 9 The Canaanites and everyone else in the land will hear about it and surround us, and 'wipe' our name from the earth. Then what will You do for Your great name?”

10 Yehovah told Yehoshua, “Get up! Why have you fallen on your face like that? 11 Israel has sinned. Yes, they’ve even transgressed My covenant that I commanded them. Yes, they’ve actually taken things dedicated for destruction, and have also stolen, and deceived. They’ve even stashed it with their own stuff. 12 So the Israelites can’t stand before their enemies. They turn their backs before their enemies, because they’ve become devoted for destruction. I won’t be with you any longer unless you destroy the things dedicated for destruction from among you.

13 “Get up! Purify the people. Tell them to purify themselves for tomorrow, because Yehovah, the Elohim of Israel says: There is something dedicated for destruction among you, Israel. You can’t stand before your enemies until you get rid the things dedicated for destruction from among you.

14 “In the morning you must present yourselves by tribes, and the tribe that Yehovah selects will come forward by clans. The clan that Yehovah selects will come forward by family. The family that Yehovah selects will come forward man by man. 15 Then he who is caught with the things dedicated for destruction will be burnt with fire, he and everything he has, because he has transgressed the covenant of Yehovah, and because he has done something shameful in Israel.”

16 So Yehoshua got up early in the morning and brought Israel forward by their tribes. The house of Judah was singled out. 17 He brought the house of Judah forward, and He selected the clan of the Zerahites. He brought the family of the Zerahites forward man by man, and Zabdi was selected. 18 he brought his household forward man by man. Achan was singled out. He was a son of Carmi, grandson of Zabdi, great-grandson of Zerah, from the tribe of Judah.

19 Yehoshua said to Achan, “My son, please give praise to Yehovah, Elohim of Israel, and confess to Him. Now tell me what you’ve done! Don’t hide it from me!”

20 So Achan replied to Yehoshua, “I’ve truly sinned against Yehovah, the Elohim of Israel, and this is what I’ve done. 21 When I saw among the spoil a beautiful Babylonian robe, two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them. See, they are hidden in the ground in the middle of my tent, with the silver under it.”

22 So Yehoshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent, and saw that it was hidden in his tent, with the silver under it. 23 They took them from among the tent, and brought them to Yehoshua and to all the Israelites. They laid them down before Yehovah.

24 Yehoshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, the silver, the robe, the wedge of gold, his sons, his daughters, his cattle, his donkeys, his sheep, his tent, and all that he had, and they brought them up to the Valley of Achor. 25 Yehoshua said, “Why have you brought trouble on us? Yehovah will bring trouble on you today.” Then all Israel stoned them with stones, and they burned them 'up' after they stoned them. 26 They 'piled' a huge heap of stones over him that remains to this day. Yehovah turned from the fierceness of His anger. So the name of that place is called the Valley of Achor to this day.

Yehoshua 8

The Israelites Defeat Ai

1 Yehovah told Yehoshua, “Don’t be afraid or discouraged. Take the entire army with you and head to Ai. I’ve handed over the king of Ai to you, with his people, his city and his land! 2 You’ll do to Ai and her king what you did to Jericho and her king, except that you’ll salvage all the goods and livestock for yourselves. Set an ambush behind the 'city'.”

3 So Yehoshua got ready with all the fighting men to go up to Ai. Yehoshua chose thirty thousand valiant warriors, and sent them out during the night. 4 He commanded them, “You must prepare an ambush behind the city. Don’t go very far from the city. You should all remain ready. 5 I and all the people with me will approach the city. Then when they come out against us, as before, we’ll run away from them. 6 They’ll come out after us, until we have drawn them away from the city, because they’ll say, “They/ are running away from us as they did/ before.’ Then, while we’re running away from them, 7 you’ll jump out from the ambush and seize the city. Yehovah your Elohim will hand it over to you. 8 Then once you’ve seized on the city, set the city on fire. You’ll do this exactly as the Word of Yehovah commanded you!”

9 Yehoshua sent them out, and they went to set the ambush. They stayed between Bethel and Ai, but Yehoshua remained among the people in the camp that night. 10 Yehoshua got up early in the morning, and mobilized the people, and went up, he and the elders of Israel in front of the people to Ai. 11 All the people including the fighting men who were with him went up and approached the city, and camped on the north side of Ai. There was a valley between him and Ai. 12 He took about five thousand men, and prepared an ambush between Bethel and Ai, on the west side of the city. 13 So they stationed the entire army—the main encampment that was north of the city, and their ambush on the west of the city, and Yehoshua spent that night in the valley.

14 Then when the king of Ai saw the 'Israelites', they hurried out early in the morning and attacked the Israelites he and all his people, at the specified place overlooking the Arabah, but he didn’t realize that there was an ambush set behind the city. 15 Yehoshua and all Israel pretended that they were 'badly' defeated, and fled in the direction of the the wilderness. 16 All the people in the city were called out to chase after them. They chased Yehoshua, and were lured away from the city. 17 There wasn’t a man left in Ai or Beth El who didn’t go out after Israel. They left the city unguarded in pursuit of Israel.

18 Yehovah told Yehoshua, “Stretch out the javelin in your hand toward Ai, because I’ll hand it to you.” Yehoshua stretched out the javelin in his hand toward the city. 19 The men in the ambush quickly came out of their hiding place and rushed forward once he stretched out his hand. They entered the city and captured it, and they quickly set the city on fire.

20 When the men of Ai looked behind them, they saw the smoke of the city ascending up to heaven, and they had no power to flee this way or that way. The people who fled to the wilderness turned back on the pursuers. 21 When Yehoshua and all Israel saw that the the men in ambush had taken the city, and saw the smoke of the city ascending, they turned around and killed the men of Ai. 22 Those in the ambush also came out of the city to confront them, so that they were caught in the middle, some on this side, and some on that side and the 'Israelites' killed them until there was no one left to escape. 23 But they captured the king of Ai alive, and brought him to Yehoshua.

24 Then when Israel had finished killing all the inhabitants of Ai in the field, in the wilderness where they pursued them, and they had all been killed by swords until they were destroyed, all Israel returned to Ai and attacked it with swords. 25 Twelve thousand men and women fell that day—all the people of Ai. 26 For Yehoshua didn’t withdraw his hand when he stretched out the javelin until he had completely destroyed all the inhabitants of Ai. 27 Israel took only the livestock and the spoils of that city as goods for themselves, as the Word of Yehovah had commanded Yehoshua. 28 So Yehoshua burnt Ai, and made it a permanent refuse heap, desolate to this day.

29 He hanged the king of Ai on a tree until the evening, and at sundown Yehoshua ordered that they take his body down from the tree, and throw it down at the city gate, and heap a huge pile of stones over it that remains to this day.

30 Then Yehoshua built an altar to Yehovah, the Elohim of Israel, on Mount Ebal, 31 as Moses the servant of Yehovah had commanded the Israelites, as the Writings say in the Book of the Torah of Moses, an altar of uncut stones that no one had used an iron tool on. They offered burnt offerings on it to Yehovah as well as fellowship zebakim. 32 There, in the presence of the Israelites, he wrote on the stones a copy of the Torah of Moses. 33 And all Israel with their elders, officers, and their judges were standing on both sides of the ark before the priests, the Levites who carried Yehovah’s Ark of the Covenant, the foreigners as well as the natives, half of them stood in front of Mount Gerizim, and half of them in front of Mount Ebal, exactly as Moses the servant of Yehovah had commanded initially to bless the House of Israel.

34 Afterward 'Yehoshua' read every word of the Torah, the blessings and the curses, exactly as they were written in the Book of the Torah. 35 Every word of every command that Moses had commanded was read before the entire assembly of Israel, with the women, the children, and the foreigners who were living among them.

Yehoshua 9

The Gibeonites Deceive Israel

1 Then when all the kings who were west of the Jordan River in the highlands, and the lowlands all along the entire sea shore of the Mediterranean Sea as far as Lebanon, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, heard about it, 2 they formed an alliance to fight against Yehoshua and Israel.

3 But when the population of Gibeon heard what Yehoshua had done to Jericho and Ai, 4 they resorted to deception, pretending that they were ambassadors, and took worn out. sacks on their donkeys, and wineskins that were worn out, split open and mended. 5 They put worn and patched sandals on their feet and wore worn out clothes. All the bread they took with them was dry and crumbling. 6 They went to Yehoshua at the camp at Gilgal and told him and the Israelites, “We have come from a distant country; make a peace treaty with us.”

7 The Israelites replied to these Hivites, “Maybe you live nearby. How could we make a treaty with you?”

8 So they said to Yehoshua, “We are your servants.”

But Yehoshua asked, “Who are you and where do you come from?”

9 They answered, “Your servants have come from a very distant country because of the name [or reputation] of Yehovah your Elohim. We heard about Him and everything He did in Egypt. 10 And We heard about everything he did to the two kings of the Amorites on the east side of the Jordan River, Heshbon’s King Sihon and Bashan’s King Og who reigned in Ashtaroth. 11 So our elders and all the people in our country said to us, ‘Take provisions for your journey; go and meet them and say to them, “We are your servants; make a peace treaty with us.”’ 12 “This bread was hot from the ovens when we left our homes, but now, as you can see, it is dry and crumbled! 13 These wineskins were new when we filled them. But now they are split open. These clothes and sandals are worn out from the very long journey.”

14 The men sampled their provisions, but didn’t ask Yehovah what to do. 15 So Yehoshua made peace with them, and made a peace treaty with them to let them live. The leaders of the assembly swore to the agreement.

16 But three days after making the peace treaty with them, they learned that these people actually lived nearby! 17 The Israelites traveled to their cities on the third day. Their cities were Gibeon, Chephirah, Beeroth and Kiriath Jearim. 18 But the Israelites didn’t kill them, because the leaders of the assembly had sworn to them by Yehovah, the Elohim of Israel.

The whole assembly complained about the leaders. 19 But all the leaders replied to the entire assembly, “We have sworn to them by Yehovah, the Elohim of Israel, so now we can’t touch them. 20 This is what we must do, otherwise wrath would fall on us, because of the oath that we swore to them.” 21 So the leaders told them, “Let them live,” so they became wood cutters and water haulers for the entire assembly, exactly as the leaders had committed to them.

22 Yehoshua called for them, and asked them, “Why did you lie to us us by saying, you were from a distant land when you live right here among us? 23 So now you are cursed, and some of you will forever be slaves who cut wood and haul for the house of my Elohim.”

24 They replied to Yehoshua, “Because your servants were clearly told how Yehovah your Elohim commanded His servant Moses to give you all the land, and to kill the entire population of the land in the area. So we were very afraid for our lives because of you, so we did this. So we feared for our lives because of you, and that’s why we did it. 25 Now we’re in your hands. Do to us whatever seems good and proper to you”

26 So 'Yehoshua' saved them from the grasp of the Israelites and they didn’t kill them. 27 That day Yehoshua made the 'Gibeonites' wood cutters and water haulers for the assembly and for the altar of Yehovah, wherever he wanted them, in the place that he should choose, as it remains to this day.

Yehoshua 10

The Sun Stands Still

1 When Adoni Zedek king of Jerusalem heard how Yehoshua had taken Ai and had completely destroyed it, as he had done to Jericho and her king, as he had done to Ai and her king, and how the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel and were among them. 2 They were very afraid because Gibeon was a huge city like one of the royal cities, and because it was larger than Ai, and all its men were warriors. 3 So Adoni Zedek king of Jerusalem sent messengers to Hoham king of Hebron, Piram king of Jarmuth, Japhia king of Lachish, and Debir king of Eglon, to 'propose': 4 “Come with me and help me attack Gibeon, because it has made peace with Yehoshua and with the Israelites.”

5 So the five kings of the Amorites, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish and the king of Eglon joined forces and moved all their troops into position and attacked Gibeon.

6 The men of Gibeon sent messengers to Yehoshua at his camp in Gilgal to say, “Don’t abandon your servants! Come quickly and save us. Help us, because all the kings of the Amorites from the highlands have joined forces to attack us.”

7 So Yehoshua went up from Gilgal with his entire army, and all his valiant warriors. 8 Yehovah told Yehoshua, “Don’t fear them, because I’ve delivered them into your hands. Not one of them will stand against you.”

9 Yehoshua caught them by surprise, having advanced all night from Gilgal. 10 Yehovah threw them into a panic before Israel, and He killed them in a huge slaughter at Gibeon and chased them on the road ascending to Beth Horon, and struck them down as far as Azekah and Makkedah. 11 Then as they fled from before Israel, while they were at the descent of Beth Horon, Yehovah hurled down large hailstones from the sky on them to Azekah and killed them. More of them died from the hail than by the Israelites’ swords.

12 Then Yehoshua spoke to Yehovah on the day when Yehovah turned the Amorites over to the Israelites, and he said in the sight of Israel: “Sun, stand still on Gibeon, and Moon, stop in the Valley of Aijalon!”

13 The sun stood still and the moon stopped [1] until the nation had taken vengeance on their enemies. This account is recorded in the book of Jashar. The sun stayed in mid sky, and wasn’t in a hurry to set as a perfect day. 14 There has been no day like it before or since, when Yehovah listened to the voice of a man. Yehovah was fighting for Israel.

15 Yehoshua returned, and all Israel with him to the camp at Gilgal.

16 These five kings escaped and hid in a cave at Makkedah. 17 Yehoshua was told, “The five kings have been found, hidden in a cave at Makkedah.” 18 Yehoshua said, “Roll large stones to the mouth of the cave, and post men by it to guard them, 19 but don’t stay. Pursue your enemies and attack them from the rear. Don’t allow them to enter their cities, because Yehovah your Elohim has handed them over to you.”

20 Then Yehoshua and the Israelites finished killing them in a very huge slaughter until they were destroyed, but a few survivors reached the fortified cities. 21 All the people returned safely to Yehoshua in the camp at Makkedah in peace. After that no one 'made any threats' against Israel.

22 Then Yehoshua said, “Open the mouth of the cave, and bring those five kings out of the cave to me.” 23 So they brought the five kings out of the cave to him—the kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish and Eglon. 24 When they brought the kings out to Yehoshua, Yehoshua summoned all the Israelites and said to the army commanders who had come with him, “Come here and put your feet on kings’ necks.” They came forward and put their feet on their necks.

25 Yehoshua told them, “Don’t be afraid or discouraged. Be strong and courageous, because Yehovah will do this to all the enemies you fight.” 26 Afterward Yehoshua struck them down and executed them. He hanged them on five trees. They were hanging on the trees until the evening.

27 Then at sundown, Yehoshua commanded that they be taken down from the trees, and threw them into the cave where they had been hiding, and laid huge stones at the mouth of the cave that remains to this very day.

28 Yehoshua captured Makkedah that same day. They killed everyone in it, including the king with swords. They left no survivors. He did to the king of Makkedah what he had done to the king of Jericho. 29 Yehoshua along with all Israel traveled from Makkedah to Libnah and attacked it. 30 Yehovah handed over the city and its king to Israel. They killed everyone in it with swords, and left no one remaining in it. They did to its king what he had done to the king of Jericho.

31 Yehoshua and all Israel with him moved on from Libnah to Lachish. They camped near it and then attacked it. 32 Yehovah handed over Lachish to Israel. 'Yehoshua' captured it on the second day, and killed all the people who were in it with swords just as they had done to Libnah. 33 Then Gezer’s King Horam came up to help Lachish. But Yehoshua struck him and his people down, leaving no survivors.

34 Yehoshua along with all Israel moved on from Lachish to Eglon. They set up an encampment and attacked it. 35 They captured it that day and killed everyone in it. They completely destroyed everyone, just as they had done at Lachish. 36 Yehoshua went up from Eglon, and all Israel with him, to Hebron, and attacked it. 37 They captured it and killed everyone in it with swords, including its king, leaving no survivors. They did the same thing to all of its surrounding villages. They left no survivors, just as they had done to Eglon, they completely destroyed it and everyone in it.

38 Yehoshua and all Israel returned with him to Debir and fought against it. 39 He took it, with its king and all its cities. They struck them with swords, and completely destroyed all the people who were in it. They left no survivors. As they had done to Hebron, so they did to Debir and to its king as they had done also to Libnah, and to its king.

40 So Yehoshua conquered the entire region, the highlands, the Negev, the western foothills and the mountain slopes, and all their kings. They left no survivors, but they completely destroyed everything that breathed, as Yehovah, the Elohim of Israel, had commanded. 41 Yehoshua slaughtered them from Kadesh Barnea to Gaza, and the whole land of Goshen all the way to Gibeon. 42 Yehoshua captured all these kings and their lands at one time, because Yehovah, the Elohim of Israel was fighting for Israel.

43 Then Yehoshua along with all Israel came back to the camp at Gilgal.

[1] I really liked this article, except for the conclusion! (How would he explain Isaiah 45:6

Yehoshua 11

Israel Defeats the Northern Armies

1 When Jabin king of Hazor heard about it, he sent messages to Jobab king of Madon, to the king of Shimron, to the king of Achshaph, 2 and to the kings who were in the north, in the highlands, in the Arabah south of Chinneroth, in the lowlands, and in the heights of Dor on the west; 3 to the Canaanites on the east and on the west, to the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites and the Jebusites in the highlands, and to the Hivites at the foot of Mount Hermon in the region of Mizpah. 4 They went out with their 'combined' armies, as numerous as the grains of sand on the seashore, and with very many horses and chariots. 5 All these kings joined 'forces', and they encamped together around the water near Merom to fight against Israel.

6 Then Yehovah told Yehoshua, “Don’t be afraid of them, because by this time tomorrow, I’ll hand all of them over to Israel virtually dead. You’ll hamstring their horses and burn their chariots.”

7 So Yehoshua and all his fighting men traveled to the water near Merom and suddenly attacked them. 8 Yehovah handed them over to Israel. They chased them to Greater Sidon, Misrephoth Maim, and the Valley of Mizpah to the east. They struck them down until no survivors were left. 9 Yehoshua did to them as Yehovah told him. He hamstrung their horses and burned all their chariots.

10 Yehoshua turned back at that time and captured Hazor and stabbed its king with a sword. Hazor had previously been the capital of all these kingdoms. 11 They struck down everyone there with swords, completely destroying them. There was no one left breathing. Then he burned 'down' Hazor.

12 Yehoshua captured all the cities of these kings, and all their kings; and struck them down with swords, completely destroying them, just as Moses the servant of Yehovah had commanded. 13 But none of the cities standing on their mounds were burned by Israel, except for Hazor. Yehoshua burned that. 14 The Israelites kept for their themselves all the spoils of these cities and the livestock, but every person [literally: man] they struck with swords until they had destroyed them. They didn’t leave anyone breathing. 15 Just as Yehovah had commanded Moses His servant, so Moses commanded Yehoshua. That is what Joshua did, he left nothing undone of everything that Yehovah had commanded Moses.

16 So Yehoshua captured all that land, the highlands, all of the Negev, all the land of Goshen, the foothills, the Arabah, the highlands of Israel with its foothills 17 from Mount Halak that rises to Seir, as far as Baal Gawd in the Valley of Lebanon at the foot of Mount Hermon. He captured all their kings and struck them and put them to death. 18 Yehoshua made war a long time with all those kings. 19 There wasn’t a city that made peace with the Israelites, except for the Hivites, the inhabitants of Gibeon. They took all the others in battle. 20 It was Yehovah’s plan to harden their 'intentions' into coming against Israel in battle, so that He could completely destroy them, so that they would have no favor, but that He could destroy them, as Yehovah had commanded Moses.

21 Yehoshua came at that time and eliminated the Anakim from the highlands, from Hebron, from Debir, from Anab and from all the highlands of Judah, and from all the highlands of Israel, Yehoshua completely destroyed them with their cities. 22 There were none of the Anakim left in the land of Israel, other than a few remaining in Gaza, in Gath and Ashdod.

23 So Yehoshua conquered the entire land, just as Yehovah had instructed Moses, and Yehoshua gave it as an inheritance to Israel according to their tribal divisions. Then the land had rest from war.

Yehoshua 12

Kings Defeated by Israel

1 These are the kings of the land who the Israelites defeated, taking possession of their land east the Jordan River toward the sunrise, from the Arnon Valley to Mount Hermon, and all the Arabah to the east:

2 King Sihon of the Amorites lived in Heshbon and ruled from Aroer on the bank of the Arnon Valley, and extended from the middle of the Arnon Gorge to the Jabbok River, which serves as a border for the Ammonites, 3 and the Arabah to the Sea of Chinneroth toward the east and as far as the Arabah, that is, the 'Dead' Sea, eastward toward Beth Jeshimoth, and on the south, at the foot of the slopes of Pisgah;

4 and the territory of King Og of Bashan, one of the 'survivors' of the Rephaim, who lived in Ashtaroth and at Edrei. 5 He ruled over Mount Hermon, Salecah, all of Bashan, as far as the border of the Geshurites and the Maacathites, and half of Gilead, as far as the border of Heshbon’s King Sihon.

6 Moses the servant of Yehovah and the Israelites defeated them; and Moses the servant of Yehovah gave it to the Reubenites, the Gaudites, and the half tribe of Manasseh.

7 These are the kings of the land who Yehoshua and the Israelites conquered on the west side of the Jordan River, from Baal Gawd in the valley of Lebanon and on to Mount Halak, that goes up to Seir. Yehoshua gave it to the tribes of Israel as a possession according to their divisions, 8 in the highlands, and in the lowlands, in the Arabah, on the slopes, in the wilderness, and in the South, the Hittites, the Amorites, and the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, 9 the king of Jericho, the king of Ai, that is beside Bethel, 10 the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, 11 the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, 12 the king of Eglon, the king of Gezer, 13 the king of Debir, the king of Geder, 14 the king of Hormah, the king of Arad, 15 the king of Libnah, the king of Adullam, 16 the king of Makkedah, the king of Bethel, 17 the king of Tappuah, the king of Hepher, 18 the king of Aphek, the king of Sharon, 19 the king of Madon, the king of Hazor, 20 the king of Shimron Meron, the king of Achshaph, 21 the king of Taanach, the king of Armageddon, 22 the king of Kedesh, the king of Jokneam in Carmel, 23 the king of Dor in the height of Dor, the king of Goiim in Gilgal, 24 the king of Tirzah. Thirty-one kings in all.

Yehoshua 13

Canaan Divided among the Tribes

1 When Yehoshua was very old, Yehovah told him: “You are now very old and a great deal of land is yet to be conquered.

2 This is the land that remains: the entire region of the Philistines, and Geshurites, 3 from the Shihor River east of Egypt to the Ekron territory on the north is considered to be Canaanite, the five Philistine leaders, the Gazites, and the Ashdodites, the Ashkelonites, the Gittites, the Ekronites and the Avvim 4 to the south, all the land of the Canaanites, and Mearah belongs to the Sidonians, as far as Aphek on the border of the Amorites; 5 the territory of Byblos and all of Lebanon toward the sunrise, from Baal Gawd under Mount Hermon to Lebo Hamath.

6 “I’ll drive out all of the inhabitants of the highlands from Lebanon to Misrephoth Maim, and all the Sidonians in advance of the Israelites. Be sure to allocate it to Israel for an inheritance, as I’ve commanded you.” 7 So divide this land for an inheritance to the nine tribes and the half tribe of Manasseh.

8 With him the Reubenites and the Gadites received the inheritance that Moses had given them, beyond the Jordan River eastward, just as Moses the servant of Yehovah gave them.

9 'Starting at' Aroer on the rim of the Arnon Valley, with the city in the middle of the valley, and the entire plain of Medeba to Dibon, 10 and all the cities of the Amorites’ King Sihon, who reigned in Heshbon, as far as the Ammonite border, 11 and Gilead, and the territory of the Geshurites and Maacathites, all of Mount Hermon and all of Bashan as far as Salecah, 12 the entire kingdom of Og in Bashan, who reigned in Ashtaroth and in Edrei (He was the last surviving Rephaite), because Moses attacked them and drove them out. 13 But the Israelites didn’t drive out the Geshurites or the Maacathites. The Geshur and Maacath still live among the Israelites to this day.

14 But he didn’t give an inheritance to the tribe of Levi. The zebakim of Yehovah, the Elohim of Israel, made by fire are his inheritance, just as he told him.

15 Moses had provided for the clans of the tribe of Reuben.

16 Their territory extended from Aroer by the rim of the Arnon Valley and the city in the middle of the gorge, and the entire plain beyond Medeba. 17 It included Heshbon and all its cities on the plain, Dibon, Bamoth Baal, Beth Baal Meon, 18 Jahaz, Kedemoth, Mephaath, 19 Kiriathaim, Sibmah, Zereth Shahar on the hill above the valley, 20 Beth Peor, the slopes of Pisgah and Beth Jeshimoth, 21 all the cities of the plain, and the entire kingdom of Sihon king of the Amorites who reigned in Heshbon. Moses defeated him along with the leaders of Midian, Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, Reba, and the leaders of Sihon, who lived in that country. 22 The Israelites also killed Balaam, the son of Beor, who practiced divination with a sword. 23 The Jordan River was the western boundary for the tribe of Reuben. This was the inheritance of the descendants of Reuben according to their clans, the cities and their villages.

24 Moses had given the land to the tribe of Gawd, to the descendants of Gawd according to their clans.

25 Their territory 'included' Jazer and all the cities of Gilead, and half the land of the Ammonites as far as Aroer near Rabbah, 26 and from Heshbon to Ramath Mizpeh and Betonim, and from Mahanaim to the territory of Debir. 27 In the valley were Beth Haram, Beth Nimrah, Succoth, and Zaphon, and the rest of the kingdom of King Sihon of Heshbon, with the Jordan as the western boundary, as far as the lower end of the Sea of 'Galilee' beyond the Jordan River to the east. 28 This is the inheritance of the descendants of Gawd according to their clans, the cities and their villages. 29 Moses had also given land to the half tribe of Manasseh. It was for the half tribe of the descendants of Manasseh according to their clans. 30 Their territory extended from Mahanaim, and included the entire former kingdom of Bashan and the land ruled king of Bashan, and all sixty of the tent villages of Jair in Bashan. 31 Also half of Gilead, Ashtaroth and Edrei, the cities of the kingdom of Og in Bashan were given to half of the descendants of Makir, Manasseh’s son. 32 These are the territories that Moses allotted while on the plains of Moab, beyond the Jordan River east of Jericho. 33 But Moses gave no inheritance to the tribe of Levi. Yehovah, the Elohim of Israel is their inheritance, exactly as he promised them.

Yehoshua 14

Division of the Land West of the Jordan

1 These are the territories that the Israelites inherited in the land of Canaan that Eleazar the priest, Yehoshua son of Nun and the heads of the 'ancestral' houses of Israel allotted to them. 2 Their inheritances were assigned by lot to the nine and a half tribes, as Yehovah commanded thru Moses. 3 Moses had granted the two and a half tribes their 'homeland' beyond the Jordan River, but he gave no 'land' to the Levites among them. 4 The descendants of Joseph had become two tribes, Manasseh and Ephraim, and they gave no part of the land to the Levites, only cities to live in surrounding pasturelands for their livestock and 'flocks'. 5 The Israelites did exactly as Yehovah had commanded Moses, and they divided the land.

6 Then the 'tribe' of Judah approached Yehoshua in Gilgal and Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, “You know what Yehovah told Moses the man of Elohim about you in Kadesh Barnea. 7 I was forty years old when Moses the servant of Yehovah sent me from Kadesh Barnea to surveil the land, and I brought him an accurate report as to what 'I had witnessed'. 8 But my brothers who accompanied me caused a meltdown in the morale of the people, but I unhesitatingly followed Yehovah my Elohim.” 9 Moses swore that day, ‘Without doubt the land you walked on will be an inheritance to you and to your children forever, because you 'remained loyal to' Yehovah my Elohim.’

10 “Now then, Yehovah has kept me alive exactly as he said these forty-five years from the time that Yehovah 'gave' this 'message' to Moses, while Israel wandered in the wilderness. So here I am today, eighty-five years old! 11 I’m as strong today as I was when Moses sent me out. I can still travel and fight as well as I could then. 12 So give me the highlands that Yehovah promised that day. You heard on that day that Anakim were living there, with large fortified cities. Perhaps Yehovah will be with me, and I’ll drive them out just as Yehovah said.”

13 So Yehoshua blessed him, and he gave Hebron to Caleb, Jephunneh’s son as his inheritance. 14 So Hebron still belongs to the descendants of Caleb, Jephunneh’s son the Kenizzite to this day because he remained loyal to Yehovah, the Elohim of Israel. 15 Hebron used to be called Kiriath Arba, because Arba was the greatest man among the Anakim. Then the land had rest from war.

Yehoshua 15

The Jewish Territory

1 The allotment for the clans of the tribe of Judah reached southward to the border of Edom, as far south as the wilderness of Zin in the extreme south.

2 Their southern boundary was from the lower end of the 'Dead' Sea on the south bay 3 and it extended south of the Scorpion Ascent and continued to Zin, then went up by the south of Kadesh Barnea and continued to Hezron, and went up to Addar and curves around to Karka. 4 It then extended to Azmon until it finally reached the Brook of Egypt, ending at the Mediterranean Sea. This was their southern border.

5 The eastern boundary was the 'Dead' Sea, at the mouth of the Jordan River.

The border of the northern quarter was from the bay of the sea at the end of the Jordan River. And the northern boundary ran from the bay of the Dead Sea at the mouth of the Jordan. 6 The boundary went up to Beth Hoglah, and continued north of Beth Arabah. The border went up to the Stone of Bohan (Reuben’s son). 7 The border went up to Debir from the Valley of Achor, to Debir turning north toward Gilgal, opposite the ascent of Adummim on the south side of the valley. From there the boundary extended to the springs at En Shemesh and on to En Rogel. 8 Then the boundary ascended thru the Valley of Hinnom [Gehenna] to the southern side of the Jebusite city (that is Jerusalem), and the border went up to the top of the mountain that lies before the Hinnom Valley to the west at the northern end of the Rephaim [Giants] Valley . 9 Then the boundary extended from the top of the mountain to the spring of the waters of Nephtoah, and then it went to the cities near Mount Ephron, and the border extended to Baalah (Kiriath Jearim). 10 The boundary curved westward from Baalah to Mount Seir, and descended along the northern slope of Mount Jearim (Kesalon), and continued down to Beth Shemesh and passed to Timnah. 11 Then the boundary went out to the slope of Ekron northward, and the boundary extended to Shikkeron, and continued to Mount Baalah, and went out at Jabneel, and the boundary ended at the sea.

12 The western boundary was at the coastline of the 'Mediterranean' Sea. These were the boundaries surrounding the clans of the tribe of Judah.

13 He gave Jephunneh’s son Caleb a portion among the Jews based on the commandment of Yehovah to Yehoshua: Kiriath Arba, that is, Hebron (Arba was the father of Anak). 14 Caleb drove out the three Anakite 'clans' living in Hebron: Sheshai, Ahiman and Talmai, the descendants of Anak.

15 He went up against the people living in Debir (formerly called Kiriath Sepher). 16 And Caleb said, “I’ll give Achsah my daughter in marriage to whoever attacks and captures Kiriath Sepher.” 17 Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s brother, captured it, so Caleb gave his daughter Acsah to Othniel in marriage.

18 When she arrived, she urged him to ask her father for a field. After she got off of her donkey, Caleb asked, “What do you want?”

19 She said, “Give me a blessing. Since you’ve given me in the land of the Negev, give me springs of water as well.” So he gave her the upper springs and the lower springs.

20 This became the 'allotment' for the clans of the tribe of Judah.

21 The outlying cities of the tribe of Judah toward the border of Edom in the south were Kabzeel, Eder, Jagur, 22 Kinah, Dimonah, Adadah, 23 Kedesh, Hazor, Ithnan, 24 Ziph Telem, Bealoth, 25 Hazor Hadattah, Kerioth Hezron (that is Hazor), 26 Amam, Shema, Moladah, 27 Hazar Gaddah, Heshmon, Beth Pelet, 28 Hazar Shual, Beersheba, Biziothiah, 29 Baalah, lim, Ezem, 30 Eltolad, Kesil, Hormah, 31 Ziklag, Madmannah, Sansannah, 32 Lebaoth, Shilhim, Ain, and Rimmon—a total of twenty-nine cities and their villages.

33 In the lowland, Eshtaol, Zorah, Ashnah, 34 Zanoah, En Gannim, Tappuah, Enam, 35 Jarmuth, Adullam, Socoh, Azekah, 36 Shaaraim, Adithaim and Gederah (Gederothaim), fourteen cities and their villages.

37 Zenan, Hadashah, Migdal Gawd, 38 Dilean, Mizpeh, Joktheel, 39 Lachish, Bozkath, Eglon, 40 Cabbon, Lahmam, Kitlish, 41 Gederoth, Beth Dagon, Naamah, and Makkedah, sixteen cities and their villages.

42 Libnah, Ether, Ashan, 43 Iphtah, Ashnah, Nezib, 44 Keilah, Achzib, and Mareshah, nine cities and their villages.

45 Ekron, with its cities and its villages, 46 from Ekron all the way to the sea, all that were by the side of Ashdod, and their villages. 47 Ashdod, its cities and its villages, Gaza, its cities and its villages, to the brook of Egypt, and the coast of the Mediterranean Sea.

48 In the highlands: Shamir, Jattir, Socoh, 49 Dannah, Kiriath Sannah (that is Debir), 50 Anab, Eshtemoh, Anim, 51 Goshen, Holon, and Giloh, eleven cities and their villages.

52 Arab, Dumah, Eshan, 53 Janim, Beth Tappuah, Aphekah, 54 Humtah, Kiriath Arba (that is Hebron), and Zior, nine cities and their villages.

55 Maon, Carmel, Ziph, Jutah, 56 Jezreel, Jokdeam, Zanoah, 57 Kain, Gibeah, and Timnah, ten cities and their villages.

58 Halhul, Beth Zur, Gedor, 59 Maarath, Beth Anoth and Eltekon, six cities and their villages.

60 Kiriath Baal (that is Kiriath Jearim), and Rabbah, two cities and their villages.

61 In the wilderness, Beth Arabah, Middin, Secacah, 62 Nibshan, the City of Salt, and En Gedi, six cities and their villages.

63 But the Jews couldn’t oust the Jebusites living in Jerusalem. So the Jebusites live among the Jews in Jerusalem to this day.

Yehoshua 16

Territory of Ephraim

1 The lot for the descendants of Joseph went from the Jordan River at Jericho to the water of Jericho on the east, including the wilderness going from Jericho thru the highlands to Bethel. 2 It continued from Bethel to Luz, and crossed over to the territory of the Arkites in Ataroth, 3 and it went down westward to the territory of the Japhletitesas as far as the territory of Lower Beth Horon and as far as Gezer, ending at the Mediterranean Sea.

4 Manasseh and Ephraim, the descendants of Joseph received their land.

5 This territory was given to the clans of the tribe of Ephraim: The boundary of their inheritance went from Ataroth Addar on the east to Upper Beth Horon. 6 The border went westward from Michmethath on the north, and the border turned eastward to Taanath Shiloh and continued beyond it to the east of Janoah. 7 From Janoah it descended to Ataroth and Naarah, then reached Jericho and came out at the Jordan River. 8 From Tappuah the boundary continued westward to the Brook of Kanah and ended at the Mediterranea Sea. This was the inheritance of the descendants of Ephraim, allocated to their clans.

9 It included cities that were set apart for the descendants of Ephraim amid the inheritance of the descendants of Manasseh, all the cities and their villages. 10 But they didn’t drive out the Canaanites who lived in Gezer. The Canaanites live among the Ephraimites to this day, and have become forced laborers.

Yehoshua 17

Territory of Manasseh

1 Then land was allotted to the tribe of Manasseh, because he was Joseph’s firstborn. Gilead and Bashan belonged to Machir, who was Manasseh’s oldest son and Gilead’s father because he was a warrior. 2 So this allotment was for the rest of the descendants of Manasseh by their clans, for the descendants of Abiezer, the descendants of Helek, the descendants of Asriel, the descendants of Shechem, the descendants of Hepher, and for the descendants of Shemida, these were the male descendants of Manasseh the son of Joseph, by their clans.

3 Zelophehad was Hepher’s son, Gilead’s grandson, Machir’s great-grandson and Manasseh’s great-great-grandson. Manasseh had no sons, only daughters; and these are the names of his daughters: Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah and Tirzah. 4 They came before Eleazar the priest, and before Yehoshua the son of Nun, and before the leaders, saying, “Yehovah commanded Moses to give us an inheritance among our brothers.” So in accord with the commandment of Yehovah he gave them 'land' along with their uncles. 5 So the tribe of Manasseh had ten parcels of land, in addition to the land of Gilead and Bashan across the Jordan River, 6 because the daughters of Manasseh received 'land' along with his sons. The land of Gilead belonged to the rest of the descendants of Manasseh.

7 The territory of Manasseh ran from Asher to Michmethath east of Shechem. Then the boundary went south from Micmethath toward the settlement near Entappua. 8 The land around Tappuah belonged to Manasseh, but Tappuah on the border of Manasseh belonged to the descendants of Ephraim. 9 The border went down by the Kanah Valley, south of the brook. These cities belonged to Ephraim lying inside the cities of Manasseh. The border of Manasseh was on the north side of the brook, and it ended at the sea. 10 The south side belonged to Ephraim and northward it was Manasseh’s, and the sea was 'Manasseh’s' boundary. The 'territory' reached Asher on the north and Issachar on the east.

11 In Issachar and in Asher, Manasseh had Beth Shan and its villages and Ibleam and its villages and the inhabitants of Dor and its villages, and the inhabitants of Endor and its villages, and the inhabitants of Taanach and its villages, and the inhabitants of Armageddon and its villages; the third one is Naphath.

12 But the descendants of Manasseh couldn’t take possession of these cities, because the Canaanites were determined to live in that region. 13 Then when the Israelites became strong enough, they forced the Canaanites to work for them, but they didn’t completely drive them out.

14 The descendants of Joseph asked Yehoshua, “Why have you given me a single lot and a solitary parcel for our 'homeland', when we’re a numerous people who Yehovah has blessed so far?”

15 Yehoshua replied, “If you are a numerous people, then go up to the forest, and clear land for yourself there in the land of the Perizites and the Rephaim, since the highlands of Ephraim is too small for you.”

16 The descendants of Joseph then said, “The highlands isn’t enough for us. And all the Canaanites who live in the valley land have iron clad chariots, both those in Beth Shan and its surrounding settlements and those in the Jezreel Valley.”

17 Then Yehoshua said the House of Joseph—Ephraim and Manasseh, “You are a numerous people with great power. You will have more than a single allotment. 18 The highlands will also be yours. Tho it’s a forest, you’ll cut it down, and it’s farthest limits will be yours. You’ll drive the Canaanites out, even tho they have iron clad chariots and are strong.”

Yehoshua 18

Territory of Manasseh

1 The whole assembly of the Israelites gathered together in Shiloh, and set up the 'Cherished' Tabernacle there, since the land had been subdued by their advance. 2 But there were still seven tribes in Israel that hadn’t received their allotment yet.

3 Yehoshua asked the Israelites, “How long will you neglect to go in to possess the land that Yehovah, the Elohim of your ancestors has given you? 4 You should choose three men from each tribe. I’ll send them, and they’ll get up and walk thru the land, and survey it according to their inheritance, and come back to me. 5 They’ll divide it into seven sections. The Jews are to remain in its territory on the south while the House of Joseph [Israel] will stay in their territory on the north. 6 You’ll survey the land into seven sections, and bring the description here to me. Then I’ll cast lots for you here before Yehovah our Elohim. 7 The Levites have no allotment among you, because the priesthood of Yehovah is their inheritance. Gawd, Reuben and the half tribe of Manasseh have already received their 'land grant' beyond the Jordan River on the east. 8 Then the men got up to go away, and Yehoshua commanded those going to survey the land: “Go and explore the land, survey it and return to me. I’ll cast lots for you here in Shiloh before Yehovah.” 9 The men went thru the land, and surveyed it by cities into seven portions in a book. They returned to Yehoshua in the camp at Shiloh. 10 Yehoshua cast lots for them in Shiloh before Yehovah. There Yehoshua divided the land to the Israelites by their divisions.

11 The lot came up for the tribe of Benjamin’s descendants by their clans. The territory of their lot stretched out between Judah’s descendants and Joseph’s descendants.

12 Their border on the north side began at the Jordan River. The border went up to the slope of Jericho on the north, and went up thru the highlands westward, and ended at the wilderness of Beth Aven. 13 From there the border went to Luz, to the southern slope of Luz (also known as Bethel). Then the border descends to Ataroth Addar on the mountain south of Lower Beth Horon.

14 The border changed direction, turning on the western side southward from the mountain that lies to the south, opposite Beth Horon, and ended at Kiriath Baal (that is Kiriath Jearim), a city of the Jews. This was the western border.

15 The southern border started at the outskirts of Kiriath Jearim on the west. It then proceeded to the Nephtoah Spring. 16 Then the border went down to the edge of the mountain facing the Valley of Ben Hinnom, north of the Valley of Rephaim, then down the Hinnom Valley along the southern slope of the Jebusite city and continued on to En Rogel. 17 Then it turned northward and went to En Shemesh, continued to Geliloth, which is across from the slopes of Adummim, then down to the Stone of Bohan (Reuben’s son). 18 It continued to the northern slope of Beth Arabah, and went down to the Jordan Valley. 19 Then the border continued to the side of Beth Hoglah northward, and the border ended at the north bay of the 'Dead' Sea, at the 'mouth' of the Jordan River. This was the southern border.

20 The Jordan River was the border on the east side. This was the 'homeland' of the Benjamite in regard to the borders around it, and according to their clans.

21 These were the cities belonging to the tribe of Benjamin’s descendants by their clans: Jericho, Beth Hoglah, Emek Keziz, 22 Beth Arabah, Zemaraim, Bethel, 23 Avvim, Parah, Ophrah, 24 Chephar Ammoni, Ophni, and Geba, twelve cities and their villages. 25 Gibeon, Ramah, Beeroth, 26 Mizpeh, Chephirah, Mozah, 27 Rekem, Irpeel, Taralah, 28 Zelah, Eleph, the Jebusite (that is Jerusalem), Gibeath, and Kiriath, fourteen cities and their villages.

This is the inheritance of the Benjamites according to their clans.

Yehoshua 19

The Territory of Simeon

1 The second lot fell to Simeon, to the clans of the tribe of Simeon. Their allotment of land was in the middle of the Jewish 'territory'.

2 Their inheritance included: Beersheba (or Sheba), Moladah, 3 Hazar Shual, Balah, Ezem, 4 Eltolad, Bethul, Hormah, 5 Ziklag, Beth Marcaboth, Hazar Susah, 6 Beth Lebaoth and Sharuhen, thirteen cities and their villages, 7 Ain, Rimmon, Ether and Ashan, four cities and their villages, 8 and all the villages around these cities as far as Baalath Beer, Ramah of the Negev.

This was the inheritance of the tribe descended from Simeon according to their clans. 9 The 'homeland' of the Simeonites was taken from part of the land of the descendants Judah, because Judah’s share was larger than they needed. So the tribe of Simeon received an allocation within the territory of Judah.

The Territory of Zebulun

10 The third lot fell to the descendants of Zebulun according to their clans.

The territory of their inheritance started at Sarid. 11 Their border went up westward all the way to Maralah, touched Dabbesheth, then the brook east of Jokneam. 12 It turned from Sarid eastward toward the sunrise to the border of Chisloth Tabor and on to Daberath and then up to Japhia. 13 From there it continued eastward toward the sunrise to Gath Hepher, to Ethkazin and it went out to Rimmon and turned toward Neah. 14 Then the northern border circled around it to Hannathon and ended at the Valley of Iphtah El. 15 Included were Kattath, Nahalal, Shimron, Idalah and Bethlehem; twelve cities and their villages.

The Territory of Zebulun

16 So these cities and villages were assigned to the descendants of Zebulun according to their clans.

The Territory of Issachar

17 The fourth lot fell to Issachar, to the descendants of Issachar according to their clans.

18 Their territory included: Jezreel, Kesulloth, Shunem, 19 Hapharaim, Shion, Anaharath, 20 Rabbith, Kishion, Ebez, 21 Remeth, En Gannim, En Haddah and Beth Pazzez. 22 The boundary reached to Tabor, Shahazumah and Beth Shemesh and ended at the Jordan River—sixteen cities and their villages.

23 These cities and their villages were 'part of the homeland' given to the clans of the tribe of Issachar.

The Territory of Asher

24 The fifth lot fell to the tribe of the descendants of Asher according to their clans.

25 Their border was Helkath, Hali, Beten, Achshaph, 26 Allammelech, Amad and Mishal. It reached to Carmel westward and to Shihorlibnath. 27 It turned toward the sunrise to Beth Dagon, and reached to Zebulun, and to the valley of Iphtah El northward to Beth Emek and Neiel. It went out to Cabul on the left, 28 and Ebron, Rehob, Hammon and Kanah as far as great Sidon. 29 The border turned to Ramah, to the fortified city of Tyre, and the border turned to Hosah. It ended at the sea by the region of Achzib, 30 Included were Ummah, Aphek and Rehob; twenty-two cities and their villages.

31 This is the inheritance of the tribe of the descendants of Asher according to their clans, these cities and their villages.

The Territory of Naphtali

32 The sixth lot came out for the descendants of Naphtali, to the descendants of Naphtali according to their clans.

33 Their border was from Heleph, from the oak in Zaanannim, Adaminekeb and Jabneel, to Lakkum. It ended at the Jordan River. 34 The border turned westward to Aznoth Tabor, and went out from there to Hukkok. It reached to Zebulun on the south, and reached to Asher on the west, and to Judah at the Jordan River toward the sunrise. 35 The fortified cities were Ziddim, Zer, Hammath, Rakkath, Chinnereth, 36 Adamah, Ramah, Hazor, 37 Kedesh, Edrei, En Hazor, 38 Iron, Migdal El, Horem, Beth Anath and Beth Shemesh; nineteen cities and their villages.

39 This is the inheritance of the tribe of the descendants of Naphtali according to their clans, the cities and their villages.

The Territory of Dan

40 The seventh lot fell to the tribe of the Danites according to their clans.

41 The border of their inheritance was Zorah, Eshtaol, Irshemesh, 42 Shaalabbin, Aijalon, Ithlah, 43 Elon, Timnah, Ekron, 44 Eltekeh, Gibbethon, Baalath, 45 Jehud, Bene Berak, Gath Rimmon, 46 Me Jarkon and Rakkon, with the region near Joppa.

47 The border of the Danites went out beyond them, because the Danites went up and fought against Leshem, and took it, and 'killed the people' with swords, took possession of it, and lived there. They renamed it Dan, after their ancestor Dan.

48 This is the inheritance of the tribe of the Danites according to their clans, these cities and their villages.

The Territory of Yehoshua

49 When they had finished distributing the land for inheritance by its borders. The Israelites gave an inheritance to Yehoshua the son of Nun in the middle of them. 50 According to the commandment of Yehovah, they gave him the city that he asked for—Timnathserah in the highlands of Ephraim, and he built the city and lived there.

51 These are the inheritances that Eleazar the priest, Yehoshua the son of Nun and the heads of the ancestral households of the tribes of the Israelites, distributed for inheritance by lot in Shiloh before Yehovah, at the door of the Tabernacle of assembly. So they finished dividing the land.

Yehoshua 20

Cities of Refuge

1 Then Yehovah said to Yehoshua: 2 “Tell the Israelites to assign the cities of refuge that I had Moses tell you about, 3 so that a person who accidentally and unintentionally kills someone can flee there. They’ll be a refuge for anyone from an avenger of blood. 4 When they flee to one of those cities, and stand at the entrance of the city gate, and state their case before the elders of that city. The elders are to let the person into the city, give them a place of refuge to stay among them. 5 If a relative of the victim shows up to avenge the manslaughter, the 'leaders' must not hand the fugitive over to them, because they killed the other person unintentionally and without premeditation. 6 They are to stay in that city until they have stood trial before the assembly and until the high priest serving at the time dies. Then that person can return to the home and the city they fled from.”

7 So they designated Kedesh in Galilee in the highlands of Naphtali, and Shechem in the highlands of Ephraim, and Kiriath Arba (that is, Hebron) in the highlands of Judah. 8 On the east side of the Jordan River, across from Jericho they assigned Bezer in the wilderness on the plateau from the tribe of Reuben, Ramoth in Gilead from the tribe of Gawd, and Golan in Bashan from the tribe of Manasseh. 9 These were the assigned cities for all the Israelites, including any foreigners living among them. Anyone who accidentally killed another person could take refuge in one of these cities. In this way, they could escape being killed in 'revenge' prior to standing trial before a local assembly.

Yehoshua 21

Cities for the Levites

1 Then the leaders of the 'ancestral' house of Levi approached Eleazar the priest, Yehoshua the son of Nun and the leaders of the other 'ancestral' houses of the Israelite tribes. 2 At Shiloh in the land of Canaan they told them, “Yehovah commanded Moses to give us cities to live in with their pasturelands for our livestock.” 3 The Israelites gave the Levites the following cities and their pasturelands in accord with Yehovah’s commandment.”

4 The first lot fell to the clans of the Kohathites. The descendants of Aaron the priest were allotted thirteen cities from the tribes of Judah, Simeon and Benjamin. 5 The rest of the descendants of Kohath were allotted ten cities from the clans of the tribe of Ephraim, Dan, and the half tribe of Manasseh.

6 Gershon’s descendants were allotted thirteen cities from the clans of the tribe of Issachar, Asher and Naphtali and from the half tribe of Manasseh in Bashan.

7 The descendants of Merari according to their clans had twelve cities from the tribe of Reuben, from the tribe of Gawd and from the tribe of Zebulun.

8 The Israelites allotted the Levites these cities with their pasturelands as Yehovah had commanded thru Moses.

9 They gave the following cities, identified here by name, from the tribes of Judah and Simeon, 10 that were for the descendants of Aaron, who were one of the Kohathite clan of the Levites, because the lot had fallen to them first: 11 They gave them Kiriath Arba, named after the ancestor of Anak (that is Hebron), in the Jewish highlands, and its surrounding pasturelands. 12 But they gave the fields of the city and its villages to Jephunneh’s son Caleb as his property.

13 The following cities with their pasturelands were given to the descendants of Aaron the priest: Hebron (a city of refuge for anyone wrongly accused of murder), Libnah, 14 Jattir, Eshtemoa, 15 Holon, Debir, 16 Ain, Juttah and Beth Shemesh, nine cities from those two tribes.

17 From the tribe of Benjamin: Gibeon and Geba with their pasturelands, 18 Anathoth and Almon, with their pasturelands—four cities. 19 So these thirteen cities with their pasturelands were given to the priests, the descendants of Aaron.

20 Then the cities from the tribe of Ephraim were allotted to the clans of the descendants of Kohath, the Levites, that is, to the rest of the descendants of Kohath. 21 They gave them Shechem, the city of refuge for anyone wrongly accused of murder and its pasturelands in the highlands of Ephraim, and Gezer and its pasturelands, 22 Kibzaim and its pasturelands, and Beth Horon and its pasturelands, four cities.

23 From the tribe of Dan they allotted Eltekeh and its pasturelands, Gibbethon and its pasturelands, 24 Aijalon and its pasturelands, and Gath Rimmon and its pasturelands—four cities.

25 From half the tribe of Manasseh they allotted Taanach and its pasturelands and Gath Rimmon and its pasturelands—two cities. 26 All ten cities with their pasturelands were for the other clans descended from Kohath.

27 And to the Gershonites, one of the clans of the Levites, were allotted from the half tribe of Manasseh, Golan in Bashan, the city of refuge for anyone wrongly accused of murder, and its pasturelands, and Beeshterah, and its pasturelands—two cities.

28 From the tribe of Issachar they allotted: Kishion and its pasturelands, Daberath and its pasturelands, 29 Jarmuth and its pasturelands, En Gannim and its pasturelands—four cities;

30 From the tribe of Asher they were allotted: Mishal and its pasturelands, Abdon and its pasturelands. 31 Helkath and its pasturelands, and Rehob and its pasturelands—four cities.

32 From the tribe of Naphtali they were allotted: Kedesh in Galilee, the city of refuge for anyone wrongly accused of murder, and its pasturelands, Hammoth Dor and its pasturelands, and Kartan and its pasturelands—three cities. 33 The Gershonite clans were allotted thirteen cities with their pasturelands.

34 The Merarite clans (the rest of the Levites) were allotted from the tribe of Zebulun, Jokneam and its pasturelands, Kartah and its pasturelands, 35 Dimnah and its pasturelands, and Nahalal and its pasturelands—four cities.

36 From the tribe of Reuben they were allotted Bezer and its pasturelands, Jahaz and its pasturelands, 37 Kedemoth and its pasturelands, and Mephaath and its pasturelands—four cities.

38 From the tribe of Gawd they were allotted Ramoth in Gilead, the city of refuge for anyone who committed manslaughter, with its pasturelands, Mahanaim with its pasturelands, 39 Heshbon with its pasturelands, and Jazer with its pasturelands—four cities in all. 40 All twelve cities were allotted to the clans of Merari’s descendants, the remaining Levite clans.

41 A total of forty-eight cities with their pasturelands in the 'homeland' of Israel were allotted to the Levites. 42 These cities all had its pasturelands around around them. That is how it was with all of these cities.

43 So Yehovah gave Israel all the land that He had sworn to give to their ancestors. They took possession of it and settled there. 44 Yehovah gave them rest on all sides, just as He had swore to their ancestors. Not one of their enemies could stand against them. Yehovah handed all their enemies over to them. 45 Not a single one of the good promises that Yehovah had made to the House of Israel failed. Everything was fulfilled.

Yehoshua 22

Tribes beyond Jordan Return

1 Then Yehoshua summoned the Reubenites and the Gadites and the half tribe of Manasseh, 2 and told them, “You’ve done everything that Moses the servant of Yehovah commanded, and you’ve obeyed me in everything I commanded. 3 You haven’t abandoned your brothers these many days, down to today, and have been careful to obey the commands of Yehovah your Elohim. 4 Now Yehovah your Elohim has given rest to your brothers, as He told them. So now return to your tents, to the land of your possession, that Moses the servant of Yehovah gave you, beyond the Jordan River. 5 But be very careful to obey the commandments and the Torah that Moses the servant of Yehovah commanded you, to love Yehovah your Elohim, to 'live by' all His ways, to obey His Commandments, to be loyal to Him, and to serve Him with all your mind and with all your life.”

6 So Yehoshua blessed them, and sent them away, and they went to their tents. 7 Now to the one half tribe of Manasseh Moses had given inheritance in Bashan, but to the other half Yehoshua gave to their brothers beyond the Jordan River westward. When Yehoshua sent them away to their tents, he blessed them, 8 and told them: “Return to your tents with the great wealth you have taken from your enemies, the large herds of livestock, the silver, gold, bronze, iron and the large quantity of clothing, and divvy up the plunder with your brothers.”

9 So the descendants of Reuben, the descendants of Gawd, and the half tribe of Manasseh returned home, and left the Israelites at Shiloh, in the land of Canaan, to return to the land of Gilead, their own land that they had settled, in accord with the commandment of Yehovah by Moses.

10 When they came to the region near the Jordan River in the land of Canaan, the descendants of Reuben and the descendants of Gawd and the half tribe of Manasseh built an altar there by the Jordan River, a large and impressive altar. 11 But the other Israelites heard that the descendants of Reuben, Gawd and the half tribe of Manasseh had built an altar at the frontier of the the land of Canaan, in the region around the Jordan River, on the Israelite side. 12 When the Israelites heard this, the entire assembly of Israel gathered at Shiloh to wage war against them.

13 So the Israelites sent Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest to the descendants of Reuben, and the descendants of Gawd, and the half tribe of Manasseh in the land of Gilead, 14 and with him ten leaders, one leader from each of the tribes of Israel, and every one of them was the leader of one of the clans of Israel.

15 They came to the descendants of Reuben, Gawd, and the half tribe of Manasseh, to the land of Gilead, and they asked them, 16 This is what the entire assembly of Yehovah is asking, “How could you betray the Elohim of Israel like this? How could you turn against Yehovah and build yourselves an altar in rebellion against Yehovah today? 17 Wasn’t the offense of Peor enough for us? To this day we haven’t fully cleansed ourselves, even tho it brought a plague on the assembly of Yehovah, 18 and now you are turning away from following Yehovah?

If you don’t stop what you’re doing today, then tomorrow Yehovah will be angry with the entire congregation of Israel. 19 But if your land is unclean, then come over to Yehovah’ land, where Yehovah’s tabernacle stands, and settle among us. But don’t rebel against Yehovah, or rebel against us by building an altar other than the altar of Yehovah our Elohim. 20 Didn’t Achan the son of Zerah refuse to obey the command about the things designated for destruction, and wrath fell on the entire assembly of Israel? And he didn’t die alone in his wickedness.”

21 Then the descendants of Reuben and the descendants of Gawd and the half tribe of Manasseh replied to the leaders of the Israelite clans, 22 “The Mighty One, Elohim, Yehovah, the Mighty One, Elohim, Yehovah knows, and Israel will know if it was in rebellion, or if we acted in unfaithfulness against Yehovah, you can kill us today! 23 If we have built ourselves an altar to turn away from following Yehovah, or to offer burnt offering or grain offering, or if to offer zebakim [sacrifices] of fellowship zebakim, may Yehovah Himself demand it.

24 In fact we did this because we were concerned that in the future your children would ask our children, ‘What do you have to do with Yehovah, the Elohim of Israel? 25 ‘Yehovah has made the Jordan River a border between us and you, you descendants of Reuben and descendants of Gawd. You have no portion in Yehovah.’ So your children might make our children stop fearing Yehovah.

26 “That is why we decided to build this altar. But it is not for burnt offerings and grain offerings and zebakim [sacrifices]), 27 rather, it is to be a witness between our descendants and your descendants that we, too, have the right to perform the service of Yehovah before Him with our burnt offerings, with our zebakim and with our fellowship zebakim,’ then your descendants won’t tell our descendants in time to come, ‘You have no share with Yehovah.’

28 So we said, ‘Then when they tell us or our descendants this in the future, we’ll reply: Look at the replica of Yehovah’s altar that our ancestors made, not for burnt offering or for zebakim, but as a witness between us and you.’ 29 Far be it from us to rebel against Yehovah, and turn away from following Yehovah today, by building an altar for burnt offering, grain offering, or for zebakim, besides the altar by Yehovah our Elohim that is before His tabernacle!”

30 When Phinehas the priest, and the leaders of the assembly and the leaders of the clans of Israel with him heard what the descendants of Reuben and the descendants of Gawd and the descendants of Manasseh said, it pleased them well. 31 Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest told the descendants of Reuben, Gawd, and the descendants of Manasseh, “Today we know that Yehovah is among us, because you haven’t turned against Yehovah. Now you’ve saved the Israelites from the 'grasp' of Yehovah.”

32 Then Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, and the leaders, returned from the descendants of Reuben, Gawd, from the land of Gilead to the land of Canaan, to the Israelites, and brought back word to them. 33 This pleased the Israelites, and the Israelites blessed Elohim, and spoke no more of going to war against them, to destroy the land where the descendants of Reuben and Gawd lived.

34 The descendants of Reuben and Gawd named the altar: A Witness Between Us that Yehovah is Elohim.

Yehoshua 23

Yehoshua’s Farewell Address

1 Many 'years' passed, and Yehovah had given rest to Israel from all their enemies on every side, and Yehoshua had grown very old. 2 Yehoshua summoned all Israel, their elders, leaders, judges and their officers and told them, “I am old, getting on in years, 3 and you’ve seen everything that Yehovah your Elohim has done to all these nations because of you, because it’s Yehovah your Elohim has been fighting for you. 4 I’ve allotted for your tribes all the 'territory' of the nations that remain, as well as the nations I have already conquered between the Jordan river and the 'Mediterranean' Sea in the west. 5 Yehovah your Elohim will drive them out ahead of you—drive them out of your way. You’ll possess the land, just as Yehovah your Elohim promised you.

6 “Be resolute in carrying out all that is written in the Book of the Torah of Moses, so that you don’t stray to the right or to the left. 7 Don’t have anything to do with these nations that remain with you. Don’t even mention the names of their gods or swear by them. You must never serve them or bow down to them, 8 but hold fast to Yehovah your Elohim, as you’ve been doing to this day.

9 “For Yehovah has driven out many great and powerful nations ahead of you, and no one has been able to resist you to this day. 10 A single one of you thrashes a thousand, because Yehovah your Elohim fights for you, just as He told you. 11 So be very careful to love Yehovah your Elohim.

12 “But if for any reason you turn back, and ally yourselves with the 'survivors' of these nations, these very people who remain among you, and you intermarry with them, and you get along with them, 13 then know for certain that Yehovah your Elohim will no longer drive these nations out ahead of you. They’ll be snares and traps to you, like whips on your back and thorns in your eyes, until you vanish from this fertile land that Yehovah your Elohim has given you.

14 “Today I’m going 'to return to the ground'! You know and fully believe that not a single one of the many good things that Yehovah your Elohim promised you has failed. They were all fulfilled for you. Nothing has failed. 15 But just like all the good things that Yehovah your Elohim promised to you has come true, 'in the same way' Yehovah will cause every promise of disaster to come true for you until He has destroyed you from this good land that Yehovah your Elohim has given you, 16 when you break the covenant of Yehovah your Elohim, that He commanded you, and go and serve other gods, and bow down to them, then the anger of Yehovah will burn you, and you’ll quickly 'vanish' from this fertile land that He has given to you.”

Yehoshua 24

The Covenant Renewed at Shechem

1 Yehoshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and called for the elders of Israel, for their leaders, for their judges and for their officers, and they presented themselves before Elohim.

2 Yehoshua said to all the people, “This is what Yehovah, the Elohim of Israel says: Long ago your ancestors lived beyond the River, even Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nahor, and they served other gods. 3 Then I took your father Abraham from beyond the Euphrates River, and led him thru the entire land of Canaan, and multiplied his descendants and gave him Isaac. 4 And to Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau, and I gave Esau the mountains of Edom, tho Jacob and his family went down into Egypt.

5 “Then I sent Moses and Aaron, and I plagued Egypt with what I did there, and afterward I brought you out. 6 When I brought your ancestors out of Egypt, and you came to the sea, the Egyptians chased your ancestors with charioteers and cavalry to the Red Sea. 7 But when they cried out to Yehovah, He put darkness between you and the Egyptians, He brought the sea crashing down on them and covered them. You saw with your own eyes what I did to the Egyptians. Then you lived in the wilderness for a long time.

8 “Later I brought you into the land of the Amorites who lived 'east' of the Jordan River. They fought against you, and I handed them over to you, and you took over their land when I wiped them out before you. 9 Then Moab’s King Balak, Zippor’s son, rose up and fought against Israel, and he summoned Balaam, Beor’s son, to curse you. 10 But I wasn’t willing to listen to Balaam. So he had to bless you, and I saved you from his 'grasp'.

11 “You crossed over the Jordan River and came to Jericho, and the people of Jericho fought against you, as did the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Hivites and the Jebusites. So I handed them over to you. 12 I sent hornets [?] ahead of you to drive out the two kings of the Amorites. It wasn’t by your swords or bows. 13 I gave you a land that you hadn’t labored for, and cities that you didn’t build, and you live in them. You’re eating from vineyards and olive groves that you didn’t plant.

14 “Now revere Yehovah, and serve Him in sincerity and truth. Ditch the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve Yehovah. 15 If it seems an imposition for you to serve Yehovah, choose today who you’ll serve, whether the gods that your ancestors served that were beyond the 'Euphrates', or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you now live. But as for me and my family, we will serve Yehovah.”

16 The people replied, “Far be it from us to abandon Yehovah and serve other gods! 17 Yehovah our Elohim brought us and our ancestors up out of the land of Egypt, out of a 'region' of slavery. He has done powerful 'miracles; before our very eyes. He brought us out and protected us while we traveled thru 'foreign' lands. 18 Yehovah drove out all the people living in the land, including the Amorites who lived in the land. So we will serve Yehovah, because He is our Elohim.”

19 But Yehoshua told the people, “You are not able to serve Yehovah, because He is a 'cherished' Elohim. He is a jealous Elohim. He won’t forgive your rebellion or your sins. 20 If you forsake Yehovah and serve foreign gods, then He’ll turn against you, bring disaster and exterminate you after having done good for you.”

21 The people said to Yehoshua, “No, we’ll serve Yehovah.”

22 Yehoshua told the people, “You are witnesses against yourselves since you’ve chosen for yourselves to serve Yehovah.”

They said, “We are witnesses.”

23 “Then get rid of the foreign gods that you have, and turn your 'sentiments' to Yehovah, Elohim of Israel.”

24 Then the people said to Yehoshua, “We will serve Yehovah our Elohim, and we’ll obey Him.”

25 So Yehoshua made a covenant with the people that day, and made them permanent rules and regulations in Shechem. 26 Yehoshua wrote these words in the Book of the Torah of Elohim. Then he took a large stone and set it up there under the oak near the 'appointed' place of Yehovah.

27 Yehoshua said to all the people, “This stone will be a witness against us, because it has heard the entire 'message' of Yehovah that He said to us! It will serve as a witness against you if you deny your Elohim.”

28 Then Yehoshua sent the people away to their own homes.

29 Then after this Yehoshua, Nun’s son, Yehovah’s servant, died at the age of a hundred and ten. 30 They buried him in the land he had been allocated, in Timnath Serah, in the highlands of Ephraim north of Mount Gaash.

31 Israel served Yehovah all the days of Yehoshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Yehoshua and who had experienced everything Yehovah had done for Israel.

32 When the Israelites left Egypt, they brought the bones of Joseph with them from Egypt, in Shechem, in the parcel of ground that Jacob bought from the descendants of Hamor the father of Shechem for a hundred silver qesitah. This land was part of the territory allotted to Joseph’s descendants.

33 Eleazar son of Aaron died and was buried in the town of Gibeah that had been allotted to his son Phinehas in the highlands of Ephraim.

JUDGES (Leaders) 1

Chapters 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21

Jerusalem Is Captured

1 After Yehoshua’s death, the Israelites asked Yehovah, “Who should be the first to attack the Canaanites?”

2 Yehovah said, “The Jews should go. I’ve handed the land over to them.”

3 So the Jews said to their Simeonite brothers, “Come up with us into the territory allotted to us, and let’s fight the Canaanites; and we in turn will go with you into the territory allotted you.” So the Simeonites went with them.

4 When the Jews attacked, Yehovah handed the Canaanites over to them and the Perizzites, and they struck down ten thousand men at Bezek. 5 There they found Adoni Bezek in Bezek and fought against him, and they defeated the Canaanites and the Perizzites. 6 Then Adoni Bezek fled, but they chased him and caught him, and cut off his thumbs and big toes.

7 Adoni Bezek said, “Seventy kings with their thumbs and big toes cut off used to gather scraps under my table, as I’ve done, so Elohim has repaid me.” They took him to Jerusalem, and he died there.

8 The Jews fought against Jerusalem and captured it. They attacked with their swords and set the city on fire. 9 Afterward the Jews went down to fight against the Canaanites living in the highlands, in the Negev and in the western foothills. 10 The Jews advanced against the Canaanites who lived in Hebron (formerly called Kiriath Arba) and defeated Sheshai, Ahiman and Talmai.

11 From there they advanced against the inhabitants of Debir (formerly called Kiriath Sepher). 12 Caleb said, “I’ll give my daughter Achsah in marriage to whoever defeats and captures Kiriath Sepher.” 13 Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, captured it; so Caleb gave his daughter Acsah to 'Othniel' in marriage.

14 When she arrived she urged him to ask her father for a field. As she got down from her donkey, Caleb asked to her, “What would you like?”

15 She said, “Give me a blessing. Since you’ve set me in the land of the Negev, give me springs of water as well.” So Caleb gave her the upper and lower springs.

16 The descendants of Moses’ father-in-law, the Kenite, left the City of Palms with the Jews to live among the inhabitants of the Desert of Judah in the Negev near Arad.

17 Then the Jews went with the Simeonites, their brothers, and they attacked the Canaanites living in Zephath, and they totally destroyed it. So they named the city Hormah. [Destruction] 18 And the Jews also captured Gaza, Ashkelon and Ekron, along with their surrounding territories.

19 Yehovah was with the Jews, and they drove out the inhabitants of the highlands, but they failed to drive out the people living in the valley, because they had iron clad chariots. 20 They gave Hebron to Caleb, as Moses had 'promised', and they drove out the three sons of Anak. 21 But the Benjamites didn’t drive out the Jebusites who lived in Jerusalem. So the Jebusites still live with the Benjamites in Jerusalem today.

22 The House of Joseph attacked Bethel, and Yehovah was with them. 23 The House of Joseph scouted out Bethel (previously known as Luz). 24 The scouts saw a man coming out of the city, and they said to him, “Show us the way into the city, and we’ll and we’ll have mercy on you.” 25 So he showed them a way into the city, and they killed the people in the city with their swords, but they let the man and his family go free. 26 The man went to the land of the Hittites and built a city, and called it Luz. That is its name to this day.

27 The tribe of Manasseh failed to drive out the people living in Beth Shan or Taanach or Dor or Ibleam or Armageddon or any of their villages, because the Canaanites were determined to live in the region. 28 When the Israelites became stronger, they forced the Canaanites to work as slaves, but they never did drive them completely out. 29 The tribe of Ephraim failed to drive out the Canaanites living in Gezer, so the Canaanites continued to live in Gezer with them. 30 The tribe of Zebulun failed to drive out the people living in Kitron or Nahalol. So the Canaanites lived with them but were forced to work for them as slaves. 31 The tribe of Asher failed to drive out the people living in Acco, Sidon, Ahlab, Achzib, Helbah, Aphik and Rehob. 32 So the Asherites lived among the Canaanite inhabitants of the land; because they failed to drive them out. 33 The tribe of Naphtali failed to drive out the people living in Beth Shemesh and Beth Anath. So the Naphtalites moved in among the Canaanites. Nevertheless, the people of Beth Shemesh and Beth Anath were forced to work as slaves for the the Naphtalites 34 The Amorites forced the Danites into the highlands, because they wouldn’t allow them to come down to the valley, 35 but the Amorites were determined to live in Mount Heres, in Aijalon and Shaalbim, yet the the House of Joseph became stronger and forced the Amorites to work as slaves. 36 The boundary of the Amorites ran from Scorpion Pass to Sela and continued upward.

JUDGES 2

Yehovah’s Messenger in Bochim

1 The Messenger of Yehovah [1] went up from Gilgal to Bochim and said, “I brought you out of Egypt into the land that I swore to give to your ancestors, and I said, ‘I’ll never break My covenant with you. 2 You must not make any covenants with the inhabitants of this land, and you must break down their altars.” But you haven’t obeyed Me. Why have you done this? 3 So I also said, ‘I won’t drive them out ahead you; they’ll be like thorns in your sides, and their gods will ensnare you.

4 Then when the Messenger of Yehovah presented this 'message' to all the Israelites, the people raised their voices and cried out. 5 So they named that place Bochim [crying], and they offered zebakim [sacrifices] to Yehovah.

6 When Yehoshua dismissed the people, the Israelites each went to settle on their own allotment in order to take possession of the land. 7 The people served Yehovah all the days of Yehoshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Yehoshua, who had seen all the great works that Yehovah had done for Israel.

8 Yehoshua the son of Nun, the servant of Yehovah, died, being one hundred and ten years old. 9 They buried him within the border of his inheritance in Timnath Heres, in the highlands of Ephraim, on the north of the mountain of Gaash.

10 When that entire generation was gathered to their ancestors, and another generation arose after them who didn’t know Yehovah, or the things that he had done for Israel, 11 Again, Yehovah saw Israel resume being evil, and serving the Baals. 12 and they abandoned Yehovah, the Elohim of their ancestors who brought them out of the land of Egypt. They followed various gods, the gods of the people who were around them, and bowed down to them, and they provoked Yehovah to anger. 13 They abandoned Yehovah to serve Baal and the Ashtaroth. 14 Yehovah’s anger burned against Israel. He allowed their 'neighboring' enemies to defeat them. Without intervention they could no longer stand up against them. 15 Whenever they went out to fight, Yehovah 'fought' against them, just as Yehovah had warned and sworn to them, and they were in great tribulation.

16 But then Yehovah empowered judges [judicial and military leaders], who saved them from the grasp of the marauders. 17 But they wouldn’t follow those 'leaders', because they were whoring after other gods, and bowing down to them. They quickly turned from the principles of their ancestors, of obeying the Commandments of Yehovah—they failed to follow their example.

18 Whenever Yehovah raised a judge for them, then Yehovah was with the judge, and rescued them from the grasp of their enemies as long as the judge lived. It grieved Yehovah because He had compassion when He heard their groaning under the brutality and oppression of totalitarians. 19 But after a judge died, they turned back, and became even more corrupt than their ancestors, in following other gods and serving them, and bowing down to them. They refused to give up their wicked practices and stubborn ways.

20 Yehovah burned with anger against Israel, and He said, “Because this nation has violated the covenant I made with their ancestors, and haven’t heeded My instructions, 21 I’ll no longer drive out any of the nations that Yehoshua left unconquered when he died. 22 I’ll use them to test Israel and see whether or not they will 'live' the way of Yehovah as their ancestors did.” 23 That is why Yehovah allowed those nations to remain, not driving them out quickly or allowing Yehoshua to conquer them all.

[1] Wrongly called “the angel of the LORD.” In reality He is the pre-incarnate Messenger of Yehovah, Yeshua (Jesus)

JUDGES 3

Idolatry Leads to Slavery

1 These are the nations that Yehovah left to test the Israelites who had not experienced any of the wars of Canaan. 2 Thy remained to teach warfare to generations of Israelites who had no firsthand experience in battle. 3 These nations were the five Philistine leaders, and all the Canaanites, the Sidonians and the Hivites who lived on Mount Lebanon, from Mount Baal Hermon to Lebo Hamath. 4 They were left to test Israel, to determine whether they would obey the Commandments of Yehovah that He given their ancestors thru Moses.

5 So the Israelites lived among the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 6 They took their daughters in marriage and gave their own daughters to their sons, and served their gods.

7 Again, Yehovah saw Israel resume being evil and they forgot Yehovah their Elohim, and served the Baals and the Asheroth. 8 So Yehovah burned with anger against Israel and he turned them over to King Cushan Rishathaim of Mesopotamia. Cushan Rishathaim ruled over the Israelites for eight years. 9 When the Israelites cried to Yehovah, Yehovah empowered a liberator for the Israelites, to set them free—Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother. 10 'Yehovah’s' spirit [feminine word] empowered him and he became Israel’s 'leader'. When he went to war against the doubly Wicked King Cushan Rishathaim of Mesopotamia, Yehovah handed Cushan Rishathaim over to him. 11 So the land was at peace for forty years, until Othniel son of Kenaz died.

12 Again, Yehovah saw Israel resume being evil. So Yehovah gave Eglon king of Moab power to defeat Israel because again Yehovah saw Israel resume being evil 13 'Eglon' got the Ammonites and the Amalekites to join him. Then he defeated Israel, and they took possession of the City of Palms. 14 The Israelites served Moab’s King Eglon eighteen years

15 Again the Israelites cried out to Yehovah, and again Yehovah empowered a liberator, Ehud the son of Gera, the Benjamite, a left-handed man. The Israelites sent him with tribute to King Eglon of Moab. 16 Ehud made a double edged dagger, about a cubit in length, and he strapped it on his right thigh under his clothes. 17 He brought the tribute money to Eglon, who was a very fat man. 18 When 'Ehud' had finished bringing the offering tribute, he sent the people away who had carried it. 19 But on reaching the stone idols near Gilgal he turned back. He came to Eglon and said, “I have a secret message for you.”

'Eglon' commanded silence, and all of his attendants left him.

20 When Ehud had approached him as he was sitting alone in his 'breezy' upper rooftop room, Ehud said, “I have a message from Elohim for you!” And the king arose from his seat. 21 Then Ehud reached with his left hand, and pulled out the dagger strapped to his right thigh, and plunged it into the king’s belly. 22 Even the hilt of the blade went in, and the fat closed over the blade, because he didn’t pull the dagger out of his body, and excrement came out. 23 Then Ehud went out onto the porch, and shut the doors of the roof chamber on him, and locked them.

24 After 'Ehud' had left, the king’s servants returned and found the doors to the upper room locked, and his servants thought, “He must be relieving himself in the upper chamber.” 25 They waited until they were embarrassed, and still he didn’t open the doors of the upper room, so they took the key, and opened them, and they saw their lord fallen dead on the floor.

26 Ehud escaped while they were hesitating, and he passed by the idols and escaped to Seirah. 27 Then when he arrived in the highlands of Ephraim, he blew a shofar, and the Israelites went down from the highlands, with him leading them.

28 And he shouted, “Follow me! Yehovah has handed your enemies the Moabites over to you.” So they followed him, and seized the crossing places of the Jordan River across from Moab, and didn’t allow anyone to cross. 29 They killed about ten thousand of their strong and experienced Moabites warriors. and not one of them escaped. 30 So Moab was conquered by Israel that day, and they were undisturbed for eighty years.

31 After him came Shamgar the son of Anath, who killed six hundred Philistine men with an oxgoad, and he too saved Israel.

JUDGES 4

Deborah and Barak

1 But after Ehud died, Yehovah again saw Israel resume being evil. 2 So Yehovah 'pawned' them off to king Jabin of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor. The commander of his forces was Sisera who lived in Harosheth of the Nations. 3 The Israelites cried to Yehovah, because he had nine hundred iron clad chariots, and for twenty years he had severely repressed the Israelites.

4 A prophetess named Deborah, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading Israel at that time. 5 She used to sit under the palm tree of Deborah in the highlands of Ephraim between the cities of Ramah and Bethel. And the Israelites would come to her to settle their disputes. 6 She sent a message to Barak the son of Abinoam from Kedesh Naphtali and asked him, “Hasn’t Yehovah, the Elohim of Israel, commanded you, ‘Go and take with you 10,000 men from the Naphtalites and Zebulunites? 7 Then I’ll lure Sisera commander of Jabin’s forces, his chariots, and his many troops to the Kishon River. I will hand Sisera over to you.’”

8 Barak said to her, ‘If you’ll go with me, then I’ll go, but if you won’t go with me, I won’t go.’

9 She said, “I’ll certainly go with you, but you won’t get credit for the victory, because Yehovah will hand the defeat of Sisera to a woman.” Then Deborah got up, and went with Barak to Kedesh. 10 Barak summoned Zebulun and Naphtali together to Kedesh, and 10,000 men followed him, and Deborah went up with him.

11 Now Heber the Kenite had moved away from the Kenites, from the descendants of Hobab the brother-in-law of Moses, and had pitched his tent as far away as the oak in Zaanannim, near Kedesh.

12 When Sisera was told that Barak son of Abinoam had gone up to Mount Tabor, 13 Sisera summoned all nine hundred of his iron clad chariots and all the men who were with him from Harosheth of the Nations to the Kishon River...

14 Then Deborah said to Barak, “Get up! Today is the day that Yehovah will hand Sisera over to you. Yehovah is already ahead of you!” So Barak went down from Mount Tabor with 10,000 men following him. 15 As Barak approached, Yehovah caused a panic to overpower Sisera and his army and chariots. They were defeated with swords, but Sisera jumped out of his chariot and escaped on foot. 16 Barak chased the chariots and the army as far as Harosheth of the Nations, and Sisera’s entire army of was killed with swords; there wasn’t a man left.

17 But Sisera fled away on foot to the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, because there was an alliance between Hazor’s King Jabin and the family of Heber the Kenite. 18 Jael went out to meet Sisera and said to him, “Come into my tent master, don’t be afraid.” So he entered the tent with her, and she hid him under a blanket.

19 And he said to her, “Please give me a little water to drink. I’m thirsty.” So she opened a skin of milk and gave him a drink, and hid him again.

20 And he said to her, “Stand in the doorway of the tent, and if anyone comes and asks you, ‘Is there anyone here?’ say, ‘No.’”

21 But Jael, Heber’s wife, took a tent peg and a hammer and quietly went to 'Sisera' and drove the peg into his temple, and it pierced thru into the ground, because he had been sound asleep and exhausted, so he died.

22 Just then, Barak arrived after chasing Sisera. Jael went out to meet him and said, “Come and I’ll show you the man you’ve been looking for.” So Barak followed her into the tent, and there was Sisera, dead with the tent peg in his head.

23 So Elohim brought down Canaan’s King Jabin before the Israelites. 24 And the 'power' of the Israelites became stronger and stronger over Canaan’s King Jabin until they finally destroyed him.

JUDGES 5

The Song of Deborah

1 That day Deborah and Barak, Abinoam’s son, sang this song:

2 When Nazarite hair is long in Israel, when people willingly offer themselves, bless Yehovah!

3 “Listen, kings. Pay attention mighty rulers! I, yes I, will sing to Yehovah. I’ll sing praise to Yehovah, the Elohim of Israel.”

4 Yehovah, when You set out from Seir, when You advanced across the fields of Edom, the land quaked, and the cloudy skies poured down rain. 5 The mountains quaked at the presence of Yehovah, the One from Sinai, at the presence of Yehovah, the Elohim of Israel.

6 “In the days of Shamgar, Anath’s son, in the days of Jael, the roads were deserted; travelers kept to the 'back' roads. 7 The 'villagers' disappeared; they disappeared in Israel, until you, Deborah, arose, until you arose, a mother in Israel. 8 When Israel chose new gods, war came to the city gates, but not a shield or spear was seen among 40,000 in Israel. 9 My 'sentiments' are toward the commanders of Israel, the volunteers of the people; Bless Yehovah!

10 You who ride on white donkeys, you who sit on saddle blankets, and you who walk along the roads—shout in praise! 11 To the sound of instruments at the watering holes, there they’ll recite the victories of Yehovah, and the victories of His villagers in Israel.

Then Yehovah’s people went down to the city gates.

12 ‘Wake up, wake up, Deborah! Wake up, wake up, sing a song! Get up, Barak, and lead away your captives, son of Abinoam.’

13 Then 'survivors' came down to the nobles. Yehovah came down for me against the mighty. 14 They came down from Ephraim, the former 'heritage' of Amalek. Benjamin, they followed you, among your people. Commanders came down out of Machir, and from Zebulun wielding the staff of scribes. 15 And the princes of Issachar came with Deborah; the people of Issachar were loyal to Barak and they rushed in his footsteps into the valley. But among the clans of Reuben there were serious second thoughts. 16 Why did you linger among the sheepfolds? Was it to hear the music played for your sheep? Among the clans of Reuben there were serious second thoughts. 17 The people of Gilead remained across the Jordan River. And why did Dan linger in ships? Asher sat at the seashore, 'safe' in their harbors. 18 The people of Zebulun risked their lives, Naphtali too on the heights of the battlefield.

19 The Kings came and fought. Then the kings of Canaan fought at Taanach by the springs of Armageddon. But they took no silver plunder. 20 The stars fought from heaven, from their paths they fought against Sisera. 21 The Kishon River swept Sisera’s men away, that old river, the Kishon River. March on, my life, [soul], with strength. 22 Then the horses’ hooves pounded from the galloping, the galloping of his mighty stallions. 23 ‘Curse Meroz,’ said the Messenger of Yehovah. ‘Severely curse its inhabitants, because they didn’t come to the aid of Yehovah, to aid Yehovah against the accomplished warriors!’

24 Most blessed of women is Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite. Most blessed is she among women living in tents. 25 He asked for water. She gave him milk; in a magnificent bowl she brought him 'yogurt'. 26 She grabbed a tent peg, her strong right hand for the worker’s hammer. Then she struck Sisera, she crushed his head; and she shattered and pierced his skull. 27 At her feet he sank, fell and lay flat. Where he sank, there he fell dead.

28 Sisera’s mother looked out thru a window, she looked thru the lattice and cried ‘Why is his chariot so long in returning? Why are there no hoofbeats of his chariot horses’ 29 Her wisest attendants answer; she repeats these words to herself: 30 ‘They must be dividing the loot? A 'concubine' or two for every man. There will be colorful clothes for Sisera, spoils of colorful embroidery and double died embroidery on the necks of the plunderers.’

31 May all your enemies perish like this, Yehovah! But may those who love You rise like the sun in its strength.

Then the land had rest for forty years.

JUDGES 6

Gideon Becomes Israel’s Judge

1 Again, Yehovah saw Israel resume being evil and Yehovah handed them over to the Midianites for seven years. 2 Because the Midianites were so powerful and cruel, the Israelites made for themselves strongholds from crevices and caves in the mountains. 3 Whenever the Israelites were sowing crops, the Midianites, Amalekites, and 'nomads' from the east would come and attack them. 4 They would camp 'in the land' and destroy the crops that the Israelites had planted as far away as Gaza and left nothing to eat in Israel, no sheep, cattle or donkeys. 5 They would come up with their livestock and their tents, they would come in like swarms of locusts. There were so many people and camels they couldn’t count them as they came into the land to ruin it; they invaded the land to destroy it. 6 Israel was very impoverished by the Midianites, and the Israelites cried out to Yehovah.

7 This time when the Israelites cried out to Yehovah because of Midian, 8 Yehovah sent a prophet to the Israelites, who told them, “This is what Yehovah, the Elohim of Israel says: I led you up from Egypt and brought you out of a 'land' of slaves. 9 I rescued you from the grasp of the Egyptians and from the grasp of all your oppressors. I drove them out ahead of you and gave you their land. 10 I told you, ‘I am Yehovah your Elohim; you must not worship the gods of the Amorites whose land you live in.’ But you haven’t obeyed Me.;”

11 Then the Messenger of Yehovah came down and sat under the oak that was in Ophrah that belonged to Yehoash the Abiezrite [Yehovah-fired: is strong}, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to hide the grain from the Midianites. 12 The Messenger of Yehovah appeared to him and told him, “Yehovah is with you, courageous man of valor!”

13 Gideon asked Him, “My master, if Yehovah is with us, then why has all of this happened to us? Where are all His miracles that our ancestors told us about when they asked, “Didn’t Yehovah bring us up from Egypt?” But now Yehovah has abandoned us and handed us over to the Midianites.

14 Yehovah [1] [U] turned to him and said, “You have the strength, go rescue Israel from the grasp of the Midianites. I am sending you!”

15 “But Yehovah, how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I’m the youngest in my family!

16 Yehovah replied, “I will certainly be with you, and you’ll defeat the Midianites as if you were fighting one man.

17 He told Him, “ Now if I’ve found favor in Your sight, then show me a sign that it’s really You speaking with me. 18 Please don’t go away until I come back to you, and bring out my offering, and set it in front of You.

He answered, “I will stay here until you return.”

19 Gideon went inside and 'cooked' a young goat, and unleavened bread 'from' an ephah of flour. He put the meat in a basket and he put the broth in a pot, and brought them out to Him under the oak, and offered them. [No “angel” would accept an offering meant for Yehovah!]

20 The Messenger of Elohim told him, “Take the meat and the unleavened bread, and lay them on this rock, and pour the broth on them. And so he did. 21 Then the Messenger of Yehovah touched the meat and unleavened bread with the tip of the staff in His hand, and fire sprang up from the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened bread. Then the Messenger of Yehovah vanished from his sight. 22 That’s when Gideon realized that he had seen the Messenger [Word/Son] of Yehovah, and Gideon said, “Sovereign YEHOVAH [“Yeshua”], I’m doomed! I’ve seen the Messenger of Yehovah face to face!”

23 But Yehovah reassured him, “Shalom friend! Don’t be afraid. You aren’t going to die!” 24 Then Gideon built an altar there to Yehovah, and called it “Yehovah is Peace.” To this day it still stands in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.

25 Then the same night Yehovah told him, “Take your father’s bull, the second bull seven years old, and tear down your father’s altar to Baal, and cut down the Asherah pole that’s by it. 26 Then build an altar to Yehovah your Elohim on top of this high ground the right way, and take the second bull, and offer a burnt zebak [sacrifice] with the wood of the Asherah pole that you’ll cut down.

27 So Gideon took ten of his servants and did as Yehovah had told him. But he did it at night because he was afraid of his family and the men of the city.

28 When the men of the city got up early in the morning they saw that the altar of Baal had been torn down, and the Asherah pole near it was cut down, and the second bull was offered on the altar that had been built. 29 So they asked each other, “Who did this?”

When they inquired, they said, “Gideon the son of Yehoash has done this.”

30 Then the men of the city said to Yehoash, “Bring out your son. He must die, because he tore down Baal’s altar and cut down the Asherah pole beside it.”

31 But Yehoash shouted to the mob that confronted him, “Are you going to plead Baal’s case. Are you trying to save him? Whoever pleads his case will be put to death by morning! If 'Baal' is a god, he can defend himself, because it was his altar that was torn down.” 32 From then on they called Gideon “Jerubbaal, which means “Let Baal defend himself,” because he broke down Baal’s altar.

33 Then all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the 'people' of the east joined forces, and crossed over the Jordan River and camped in the Jezreel Valley. 34 But Yehovah’s spirit 'covered' Gideon, and he sounded a shofar, and the Abiezrite clan was called together to follow him. 35 He sent messengers thruout Manasseh, and they were also summoned to follow him. Then he sent messengers into Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali, and all of them came.

36 Gideon said to Elohim, “If You’re going to use me to rescue Israel as You’ve said, 37 then I’ll put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor. If there is dew only on the fleece but the 'surrounding' ground is dry, then I’ll know that You are going to rescue Israel thru me, as You’ve said! 38 And that is what happened. When he got up early the next morning and squeezed the fleece and wrung out enough dew from the fleece to fill a bowl of water!

39 Then Gideon said to Elohim, “Don’t be angry with me, but I have a final request. Please let me make just one more test with the fleece: have the fleece to be dry while the ground around it is wet with dew. 40 Elohim did so that night. Only the fleece was dry, but there was dew all over the ground.

[1] Here is an intriguing conversation between Gideon and what is usually phrased “the angel of the LORD”. But these verses definitively show that this is the Messenger of Yehovah, and the message is of such importance that the sopherim (scribes) tried to hide this truth (the v.15 link) by deleting His name! (Older but incomplete Hebrew Bibles predate the alteration of Yehovah to Adonai in verse 15 and 333 other locations!) The Messenger (Son) of Yehovah in verses 11 & 12 interchangably shares the same family name as His Father in verses 15 & 16—Yehovah! Yeshua, the Messenger is also Yehovah the Son! Read the account carefully. Without missing a beat in the context, the supposed ‘angel’—“Yehovah replied, ‘I will certainly be with you...”

JUDGES 7

Gideon’s 300 Chosen Men

1 Then Jerubbaal, (that is Gideon), and all the people with him got up early and camped beside the spring of Harod. Midian’s camp was north of them in the valley by Moreh Hill. 2 Yehovah told Gideon, “There are too many men with you for Me to hand the Midianites over to you, otherwise the Israelites would brag, ‘We saved ourselves.’ 3 So announce where the people can hear, “Anyone who is afraid and worried, can return and leave Mount Gilead.’” So 22,000 of them returned, while 10,000 remained.

4 But Yehovah told Gideon, “There are still too many people. Bring them down to the water, and I’ll sort them out for you there. Whenever I tell you, ‘This one should go with you,’ he should go with you; but whenever I tell you, ‘This one shouldn’t go with you,’ he shouldn’t go.” 5 So he brought the people down to the water, and Yehovah told Gideon, “Separate those who drink water by lapping it up like a dog, from those who kneel to drink.” 6 Only 300 of them drank from cupped hands [1]. All the rest got down on their knees, lapping like dogs to drink.

7 Yehovah told Gideon, “I’ll save you with these 300 men, and hand the Midianites over to you. Send all the other men 'home'.” 8 So the '300' men gathered their supplies and shofars, and 'Gideon' sent all the other Israelites to their tents, but he kept the 300 men.

The Midianite camp was below Gideon in the valley. 9 That night Yehovah told him, “Get up and attack the Midianite camp, because I’ve handed it over to you, 10 But if you are afraid to go down, take your servant Purah down to the camp, 11 and you’ll hear what they are saying, “afterward you will 'have the courage' to attack the camp.”

So 'Gideon' went down with his servant Purah to the guardposts of the army camp.” 12 The Midianites, the Amalekites and all the other 'people' of the east had settled in the valley like a swarm of locusts. Their camels could no more be counted than grains of sand on the seashore.

13 Gideon arrived just as a man was telling a friend about his dream. The man said, I had a dream, and in my dream a loaf of barley bread tumbled down into the Midianite camp. It hit a tent, rolled the tent over upside down, and flattened it.”

14 His friend replied, “Can this be anything other than the sword of Gideon Yehoash’s son, the Israelite. Elohim has handed the Midianites and the whole camp over to him!”

15 When Gideon heard the dream and its interpretation, he bowed in worship. Then he returned to the camp of Israel and said, “Get up, because Yehovah has handed over the Midianite camp to you.” 16 He divided the 300 men into three units, and he handed shofars and empty pitchers to them all, with torches inside the pitchers.

17 Then he said to them, “Watch me and do likewise. When I get to the outskirts of the camp, then you should do what I do. 18 As soon as I and those with me blow our shofars, then you blow 'your' shofars all around the camp and shout, ‘For Yehovah and for Gideon!’”

19 So Gideon, and the 100 men who were with him came to the outskirts of the camp at the beginning of the midnight watch after the sentries had changed guards. Then they blew their shofars and smashed the pitchers that were in their hands. 20 Then all three units blew their shofars, and broke their pitchers, and held torches in their left hands, and shofars in their right hands that they were to blow, and they shouted, “The sword of Yehovah and of Gideon!”

21 While every man surrounding the camp held his position, the entire camp took off running and screaming as they fled. 22 When the 300 Israelites blew their shofars, Yehovah caused the entire camp to turn on each other with their swords. The army fled as far as Beth Shittah toward Zererah and as far as the border of Abel Meholah near Tabbath.

23 The Israelites from Naphtali, Asher, and all of Manasseh were were called out to chase the Midianites. 24 Gideon sent messengers thruout all the highlands of Ephraim, saying, “Come down and attack the Midianites, and take control of the Jordan River!”

So all the men of Ephraim were called out and they seized the 'crossing points' of the Jordan River as far as Beth Barah. 25 They captured Oreb and Zeeb, the two Midianite commanders, and they killed Oreb at Oreb Rock, and they killed Zeeb at the wine press of Zeeb. And they continued to chase the Midianites. Afterward the Israelites brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon on the other side of the Jordan River.

[1] There appears to be a scribal error in verse 7. The Cambridge Commentary notes an inconsistency between verses 6 & 7, while the NLT omits the extra (?) “lapping” altogether from verse 7, which perhaps uniquely states the intent.

JUDGES 8

Gideon Kills Zebah and Zalmunna

1 The men of Ephraim asked 'Gideon', “Why have you treated us this way, not calling us when you went to fight with Midian?” They quarreled with him vehemently.

2 But 'Gideon' replied, “What have I now done in comparison with you? Isn’t the gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim better than the vintage of Abiezer? 3 Elohim has handed over the leaders of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb to you! What was I able to do in comparison with you?” When he said that, their anger against him subsided.

4 Gideon and the 300 men who were with him came to the Jordan River and crossed over, exhausted but still pursuing. 5 'Gideon' said to the men of Succoth, “Please give my soldiers some bread because they are exhausted, and I am chasing Zebah and Zalmunna, the kings of Midian.”

6 The leaders of Succoth said, “The cut-off hands of Zebah and Zalmunna are not in your possession yet, so why should we give bread to your army?”

7 Gideon said, “Alright, then. Once Yehovah has handed Zebah and Zalmunna over to me, then I’ll 'thrash' your 'bodies' with thorns and briers from the wilderness!”

8 Then he went from there to Penuel and and made the same request, and the men of Penuel gave him the same answer that the men of Succoth had. 9 So he also told the men of Penuel, “When I return in peace, I will tear down this tower!”

10 Zebah and Zalmunna and their army were in the city of Karkor. And about 15,000 men were with them who were left from all the forces of the people of the East, because 120,000 swordsmen had been killed. 11 Gideon took the caravan route east of Nobah and Jogbehah and attacked the unsuspecting camp. 12 Zebah and Zalmunna, the two Midianite kings, fled, but 'Gideon' captured them and frightened away their army.

13 Then Gideon the son of Yehoash returned from the battle by the ascent of Heres. 14 Gideon captured a young man from Succoth and interrogated him. The young man listed for Gideon the names of seventy-seven leaders [landowners] and elders of Succoth. 15 He came to the men of Succoth and said, “Here are Zebah and Zalmunna. When we were here before, you said, “The cut-off hands of Zebah and Zalmunna are not in your possession yet, so why should we give bread to your army?” 16 So 'Gideon' took the elders of the city and he took some thorns and briers from the wilderness, and he taught the men of Succoth a lesson. 17 He also tore down the tower of Penuel and killed the men of the city.

18 Then he asked Zebah and Zalmunna, “What kind of men were they who you killed at Tabor?”

They replied, “They were just like you; each one looked like a prince.”

19 He said, “They were my brothers, the sons of my own mother!” As Yehovah lives, I wouldn’t kill you if you hadn’t killed them.” 20 Then 'Gideon' said to Jether, his oldest son, “Kill them.” But Jether was only a boy and was afraid, so he didn’t draw his sword.

21 Then Zebah and Zalmunna said, “Be a man! Kill us yourself!” So Gideon killed them both and took the crescent amulets from the necks of their camels.

22 Then the Israelites said to Gideon, “ Now, we want you and your son and your grandson to rule over us, because you’ve saved us from the grasp of Midian.

23 But Gideon replied, “I won’t rule over you, and my son won’t rule over you. Yehovah will rule over you. 24 Gideon told them, “I want you to do this one thing for me. I want each of you to give me a gold earring from your plunder.” (The Ishmaelites [Midianites] wore gold earrings.)

25 They answered, “We will gladly give you what you want.” So they spread a garment, and everyone threw an earring from his plunder on it. 26 The weight of the gold earrings that he requested was 1,700 shekels of gold, besides the crescent amulets, and the pendants, and the purple clothing that was on the kings of Midian, and besides the neck chains that were around their camels’ necks. 27 Gideon made an ephod from it, and put it Ophrah his hometown, but all Israel prostituted themselves with it there, so it became a snare to Gideon and his family.

28 So Midian was brought down before the Israelites and they didn’t raise their heads again. During Gideon’s lifetime, the land had peace for forty years.

29 Then 'Gideon' the son of Yehoash went back home to live. 30 Gideon had seventy sons of his own, because he had many wives. 31 He also had a concubine in Shechem, who gave birth to a son and he named him Abimelech. 32 Gideon, Yehoash’s son died at a good old age, and was buried in the tomb of Yehoash his father in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.

33 As soon as Gideon died, the Israelites prostituted themselves by worshiping the Baals,and made Baal Berith their god. 34 The Israelites didn’t remember Yehovah their Elohim, who had rescued them from the grasp of all their enemies on every side. 35 They also failed to show any loyalty to the family of Jerubbaal (Gideon) for all the good he had done for them.

JUDGES 9

Abimelech’s Conspiracy

1 One day 'Gideon’s' son Abimelech went to Shechem to visit his uncles—his mother’s brothers. He spoke to them and to the entire clan of the household of his mother’s father: 2 Please speak in the 'hearing' of all the leading citizens of Shechem. Which is better for you: to be ruled by all seventy of 'Gideon’s' sons or by one man” Remember that I’m your bone and your flesh.

3 So his mother’s brothers discussed all of 'this' on his behalf with all the leaders of Shechem. And they were inclined to follow Abimelech because they said, “He’s our relative.” 4 They gave him seventy silver shekels from the 'temple' of Baal Berith, and with this Abimelech hired worthless and reckless guys to follow him. 5 He went to his father’s house in Ophrah and killed his 70 brothers, the sons of 'Gideon', on top of a large stone. But Jotham, 'Gideon’s' youngest son survived, because he hid himself. 6 Then all of the leaders of Shechem and Beth Millo gathered beside the oak tree next to the memorial pillar in Shechem.

7 When they told Jotham, he climbed to the top of Mount Gerizim and shouted “Listen to me you men of Shechem, that so Elohim will listen to you! 8 Once the trees went out to anoint a king over themselves. So they said to the olive tree, ‘Be our king!’

9 But the olive tree replied ‘Should I stop making the oil that blesses both Elohim and man, so that I can go to sway over the other trees?’

10 “Next, the trees said to the fig tree, ‘You be our king!’

11 But the fig tree told them, “Should I quit producing my sweet fruit just to wave back and forth over the trees?’

12 “Then they said to the grapevine, ‘You be our king!’

13 “But the grapevine answered, ‘Should I stop making the wine that cheers both Elohim and humans, so that I can go to sway over the trees?’

14 “Then all the trees finally turned to the thornbush and said, ‘You come and be our king!’

15 And the thornbush replied to the trees, ‘If you truly want to make me your king, come and take shelter in my shade. If not, may fire come out of the thornbush and devour the cedars of Lebanon.’”

16 Jotham continued, “Were you honest and sincere in making Abimelech king, and have you done right by 'Gideon' and all of his descendants. Have you treated him with the honor he deserves for all he accomplished? 17 My father fought for you and risked his life to rescue you from the grasp of the Midianites, 18 but today you’ve risen up against my father’s family, killed his seventy sons on a single stone, and chosen Abimelech, his female servant’s son, king over the leaders of Shechem, because he’s your relative— 19 if you have acted honorably and in good faith toward Gideon and his descendants today, then may you find joy in Abimelech, and may he find joy in you. 20 But if not, may fire come out of Abimelech and burn up you leaders of Shechem and Beth Millo; and may fire come out of the leaders of Shechem and from Beth Millo and burn up Abimelech.”

21 Then Jotham ran away. He fled to the city of Beer. He lived there because he was afraid of his brother Abimelech.

22 Abimelech reigned over Israel for three years. 23 Then Elohim sent a spirit of trouble between Abimelech and the leaders of Shechem, and the leaders revolted against Abimelech, 24 so that the violence done to the seventy sons of 'Gideon' would come, and the shedding of their blood would come back on their brother Abimelech, who killed them, and on the leaders of Shechem, who supported him in killing his brothers. 25 The leaders of Shechem set an ambush for 'Abimelech' on the tops of the mountains, and they robbed everyone going by. So this was reported to Abimelech.

26 A man named Gaal son of Ebed and his relatives moved to Shechem, and the leaders of Shechem trusted him. 27 So they went out to the vineyards to pick grapes, and trampled them, and held a festival; and they went into the house of their god where they ate and drank and cursed Abimelech. 28 Then Gaal the son of Ebed said, “Who is Abimelech, and who are we of Shechem that we should serve him? Isn’t he one of 'Gideon’s' sons, and isn’t Zebul his officer? We should serve the men of Hamor, Shechem’s father. But why should we serve 'Abimelech'? 29 If only these people were under my authority! Then I would do away with Abimelech.” And he said to Abimelech, “Enlarge your army and come out!” Then I would remove Abimelech. He said to Abimelech, “Get a bigger army and come out!”

30 When Zebul, the ruler of Shechem, heard what Gaal son of Ebed said, he became heated with anger. 31 He sent messengers to Abimelech secretly, saying, “Gaal son of Ebed and his relatives have come to Shechem, and they are turning the city against you! 32 You and your men should get up during the night and wait in ambush in the countryside. 33 As soon as the sun comes up in the morning, rush the city. When Gaal and his men come out to fight you, do to them 'whatever' you can.”

34 So Abimelech and all the people who were with him got up at night, and waited in ambush for Shechem in four units.

35 Gaal son of Ebed went out and was standing at the entrance of the city gate. As he was standing there, Abimelech and his soldiers came out from their ambush.

36 When Gaal saw them, he said to Zebul, “Look, people are coming down from the tops of the mountains.”

Zebul replied, “It’s just the shadows on the mountains that look like men.”

37 But again Gaal said, “Look, there are people coming down from the mountains, and another group is coming down the road past the Diviners’ Oak.

38 Zebul said to Gaal, “Where is your big mouth now? You said, ‘Who is Abimelech that we should serve him?’” Aren’t these the people that you’ve despised? Now go and fight them!”

39 So Gaal went out within the sight of the leaders of Shechem and fought against Abimelech. 40 But Abimelech chased him, and many of Shechem’s men were wounded and died on the road as they retreated to the city gate. 41 Then Abimelek stayed in Arumah, and Zebul drove Gaal and his clan out of Shechem.

42 The next day the people of Shechem went out into the fields to battle, and Abimelech heard about it. 43 So he took his men, divided them into three groups, and set an ambush in the fields. As soon as he saw the men coming from the city, they jumped out of their hiding places and attacked them. 44 Abimelech and the companies that were with him, rushed forward, and stood in the gateway of the city, while the other two groups cut them down in the fields. 45 Abimelech fought against the city all day. He captured the city and killed everyone in it. Then he leveled the city and scattered salt over it.

46 When the leaders who lived in the Tower of Shechem heard what had happened, they ran and hid in the temple of Baal Berith. 47 Someone reported to Abimelech that the leaders had gathered in one place. 48 So Abimelech and all the men who were with him went up to Mount Zalmon. He grabbed an ax and cut some branches, and hoisted them onto his shoulder. Then he ordered the men who were with him, “Hurry, do what I did!” 49 So all the men cut branches and followed Abimelech and piled them against the inner chamber of the temple and set them on fire. So all the people who had lived in the tower of Shechem died—about 1,000 men and women.

50 Then Abimelek went to Thebez and besieged it and captured it. 51 But there was a strong tower inside the city, and all the men and women—the entire population—fled to it. They barricaded themselves in and climbed up on the tower roof. 52 Abimelech came to the tower to storm it. But as he approached the tower’s entrance to set it on fire, 53 a woman dropped an upper millstone on Abimelech’s head, and cracked his skull.

54 He quickly cried out to his young armor bearer, “Draw your sword and kill me. Don’t let them say, ‘A woman killed him.’” So his servant stabbed him, and he died. 55 When the Israelites saw that Abimelech was dead, they all disbanded and went home.

56 So Elohim repaid the wickedness of Abimelech for the evil he had done against his father by murdering his seventy brothers. 57 Elohim also repaid the men of Shechem for the evil they had done. So the curse spoken by Jotham, the son of 'Gideon' was fulfilled.

JUDGES 10

Tola Becomes Israel’s Judge

1 After Abimelech died, Tola the son of Puah, the son of Dodo, a man of Issachar rose up to save Israel; He lived in Shamir in the highlands of Ephraim. 2 He judged Israel for twenty-three years. Then he died and was buried in Shamir.

3 After him Jair from the region of Gilead judged Israel for twenty-two years. 4 He had thirty sons who rode on thirty donkeys. These thirty sons controlled thirty villages in Gilead that are called Jair’s Villages to this day. 5 Jair died and was buried in Kamon.

6 Again, Yehovah saw Israel resume being evil. They worshiped the Baals and the Ashtoreth, the gods of Aram, Sidon, and Moab, and the gods of the Ammonites and the Philistines. They abandoned Yehovah and did not worship Him. 7 Yehovah burned with anger against Israel, and He and handed them over to the Philistines and the Ammonites. 8 Starting that year and for the next eighteen years, they crushed the Israelites who lived on the east side of the Jordan River in Gilead, the land of the Amorites. 9 The Ammonites also crossed the Jordan River to make raids into Judah, Benjamin, and the households of Ephraim, so that Israel was severely distressed. 10 The Israelites cried out to Yehovah, “We have sinned against you. we have abandoned our Elohim and worshiped the Baals.”

11 Yehovah asked the Israelites, “Didn’t I already save you from the Egyptians, from the Amorites, from the Ammonites and from the Philistines? 12 Also the Sidonians, the Amalekites and the Maonites also oppressed you, and you cried to Me and I saved you from their grasp. 13 Yet you’ve abandoned Me, and served other gods, so I’m finished rescuing you! 14 Go and cry to the gods you’ve chosen. Let them rescue you in the time of your distress!”

15 But the Israelites pleaded with Yehovah, “We have sinned. Do to us whatever seems good to You, but please rescue us today!” 16 They ditched their foreign gods, and served Yehovah, and He could no longer endure the misery of Israel.

17 The Ammonites called out their army and camped in Gilead, and the Israelites gathered together, and camped in Mizpah. 18 The leaders of the people of Gilead said to each other, “Whoever is willing to lead the attack against the Ammonites will become the leader of everyone in Gilead.”

JUDGES 11

Jephthah, Israel’s Ninth Judge

1 Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a valiant warrior from Gilead, His father was named Gilead, and his mother was a prostitute. 2 Gilead’s wife also had several sons, and when these half brothers grew up, they chased Jephthah off the land and told him, “You’re not going to get any inheritance in our family,” they said, “because you are the son of a prostitute.” 3 So Jephthah fled from his brothers and settled in the land of Tob, and lowlife men banded together with Jephthah, and they went out raiding with him.

4 Then after a while, the Ammonites waged war against Israel. 5 But when the Ammonites attacked Israel, the elders of Gilead went to get Jephthah back from the land of Tob. 6 They said to him, “Come and lead our army so we can fight against the Ammonites.”

7 But Jephthah replied to the elders of Gilead, “Didn’t you hate me and drive me from my father’s house? So why have you come to me now when you are in trouble?”;

8 The elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, “Nevertheless, we are turning to you now; come with us to fight the Ammonites. Then you’ll become the leader of us and everyone who lives in Gilead.”

9 So Jephthah said to Gilead’s elders “If you bring me back to fight with the Ammonites, and Yehovah hands them over to me me, will I really be your leader?”

10 The elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, “Yehovah is witness between us; be assured we will do as you say.” 11 Then Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him leader and commander over them. And Jephthah repeated all of his words in front of Yehovah in Mizpah.

12 So Jephthah sent messengers to the king of the Ammonites, asking, “What have you got against Israel? Why have you come to attack our land?”

13 The king of the Ammonites replied to the Jephthah’s messengers, “When Israel came up from Egypt, you stole my land from the Arnon River to the Jabbok River and all the way to the Jordan River. Now give it back peaceably.

14 Jephthah sent the messengers back to the Ammonite king,

15 and they told him, “Jephthah says that Israel didn’t take any land from Moab or Ammon. 16 When they were coming up from Egypt, the Israelites went thru the wilderness to the Red Sea and then to Kadesh. 17 Then Israel sent messengers to the king of Edom asking for permission to cross your land. But the king of Edom 'refused'. Then they asked the king of Moab and he refused. So Israel stayed at Kadesh.

18 “Finally, they went around Edom and Moab thru the wilderness, along the eastern side of the country of Moab, and camped on the other side of the Arnon; but they never entered the territory of Moab, because the Arnon was the border of Moab.

19 Then Israel sent messengers to King Sihon of the Amorites, who ruled from Heshbon, asking for permission to cross his land to get to their own land. 20 But Sihon didn’t trust Israel to cross his land. So Sidon marshaled his people and camped in Jahaz and attacked Israel.

21 Then Yehovah, the Elohim of Israel, handed Sihon and all his people over to Israel, and they defeated them; so Israel took over all the land of the Amorites who were living in that area, 22 capturing all of it from the Arnon River to the Jabbok River, from the wilderness to the Jordan River.

23 So now Yehovah, the Elohim of Israel has driven out the Amorites from His people Israel, and now you want to force us out? 24 Don’t you take what your god Chemosh gives you? So whatever Yehovah our Elohim has given us, we will keep. 25 Are you any better than Moab’s King Balak, Zippor’s son? Didn’t he make an accusation against the Israelites and go to war with them?

26 Why haven’t you tried to recover the territory during the last three hundred years that the Israelites have lived in Heshbon and its villages, in Aroer and its villages, and in all the towns along the branches of the Arnon? 27 I haven’t sinned against you, you’re doing me wrong by fighting against me. May Yehovah, the Judge, render judgment today between the Israelites and the Ammonites.

28 Yet the king of the Ammonites ignored to the 'message' that Jephthah sent him.

29 Then 'Yehovah’s' spirit came on Jephthah, and he passed thru Gilead and Manasseh, and passed thru Mizpeh of Gilead, and from there he advanced toward the Ammonites. 30 Jephthah made a vow to Yehovah: “If you’ll hand over the Ammonites to me, 31 then whatever comes out from the doors of my house to meet me when I return safely from the 'land of the Ammonites', will be Yehovah’s, and I’ll offer it up as a burnt offering.

32 So Jephthah crossed over to fight against the Ammonites, and Yehovah handed them over to him. 33 He devastated twenty cities from Aroer to the vicinity of Minnith, and as far as Abel Keramim with a very great slaughter. So the Ammonites were defeated by the Israelites.

34 But when Jephthah returned home to Mizpah, his daughter came out to meet him dancing with tambourines in her hands. She was his only child, he had no other sons or daughters. 35 So when he saw her, he tore his clothes and said, “Oh, my daughter! You have brought me disaster, and you have become the cause of great trouble to me because I made a promise to Yehovah, and I can’t take it back.”

36 So she said to him, “My father, if you made a vow to Yehovah, you must do to me what you have vowed, since Yehovah has taken vengeance for you on your enemies the Ammonites. 37 But first let me do this one thing; allow me two months to go up and roam in the hills and cry with my friends, because I will die a virgin.”

38 He said, “Go.” He sent her away for two months, and she left with her friends, and mourned her virginity on the mountains because she would never have children [commentary]. 39 Then at the end of two months, she returned to her father, who did with her what he had vowed, and she was a virgin.

It became a custom in Israel 40 for young Israelite women to go away for four days each year to lament the fate of Jephthah’s daughter.

JUDGES 12

The Stupidest Battle Ever Fought!

1 The men of Ephraim were gathered together, and crossed over northward, and they said to Jephthah, “Why did you cross over to fight against the Ammonites without calling on us to go with you? We will burn your house down over you.”

2 Jephthah told them, “I and my people were in a huge struggle with the Ammonites, and when I called you, you didn’t rescue me from their grasp. 3 So when I saw that you weren’t going to rescue me, I risked my life and crossed over to fight the Ammonites, and Yehovah handed them over to me. So why have you now come to fight me today?”

4 Jephthah gathered together the men of Gilead and fought Ephraim. The Gileadites defeated the Ephraimites who had said, “You Gileadites are renegades in the territory of Ephraim and Manasseh.” 5 The Gileadites seized control of the fords of the Jordan River opposite Ephraim, and whenever any of the survivors of Ephraim said,“Let me go over”, the men of Gilead told him, “Are you an Ephraimite?” If he said, “No,” 6 then they would tell him, “Just say, ‘Shibboleth.’” But he would say, “sibboleth,” because he couldn’t pronounce it correctly. So they would seize him and kill him at the fords of the Jordan River. 42,000 Ephraimites were killed at that time.

7 Jephthah judged Israel for six years. Then Jephthah the Gileadite died, and was buried in one of the cities of Gilead.

8 After Jephthah, Ibzan from Bethlehem led Israel. 9 He had thirty sons and thirty daughters. He let his daughters marry men outside his clan, and brought in thirty young women from outside for his sons. He led Israel for seven years. 10 Ibzan died and was buried in Bethlehem.

11 After him Elon the Zebulunite led Israel for ten years. 12 Then Elon the Zebulunite died and was buried at Aijalon in the land of Zebulun.

13 After Elon, Abdon, Hillel’s son from Pirathon led Israel. 14 He had forty sons and thirty grandsons who rode on seventy donkeys, and he led Israel for eight years. 15 Then Abdon, Hillel’s son from Pirathon, died and was buried in Pirathon in the land of Ephraim, in the highlands of the Amalekites.

JUDGES 13

The Birth of Samson

1 Again, Yehovah saw Israel resume being evil, so Yehovah handed them over to the Philistines for forty years.

2 There was a man from Zorah, from a clan of the Danites, whose name was Manoah. His wife was unable to conceive and have children. 3 The Messenger of Yehovah appeared to the woman, and told her, “Even tho you have been unable to have children, you will soon become pregnant and give birth to a son. 4 Now please be careful not to drink wine or liquor, and don’t eat anything unclean, 5 because you’ll become pregnant and give birth to a son! You must never cut his hair, because the boy will be a Nazarite to Elohim from the womb, and he’ll begin to save Israel from the grasp of the Philistines.

6 Then the woman went and told her husband, “A Man of Elohim came to me, and His face was like the face of the Messenger of Elohim, very awesome, and I didn’t ask Him where He was from, and He didn’t tell me His name, 7 but He told me, “You’ll become pregnant and will have a son. So don’t drink wine or liquor, and don’t eat anything unclean because the child will be a Nazarite to Elohim from the womb to the day of his death!

8 Then Manoah pleaded with Yehovah, and asked “Yehovah, please have the Man of Elohim who You sent come back to us again and teach us what we’ll do with the boy who is to be born.

9 Elohim listened to Manoah, and the Messenger of Elohim returned to the woman as she was sitting in their field, but her husband Manoah, wasn’t with her. 10 The woman hurriedly ran and told her husband, “The Man who appeared to me the other day is here again!”

11 So Manoah got up and followed his wife, and came to the Man and asked Him, “Are You the Man who spoke to my wife?”

He said, “I am.”

12 Manoah asked, “When what you say happens, what rules should governs the boy’s life and 'work'?”

13 The Messenger of Yehovah told Manoah, “Your wife must be careful to do everything I told her. 14 She must not eat anything that comes from a grapevine. Don’t allow her to drink wine or liquor or eat anything unclean. She must do everything I commanded her to do.

15 Manoah told the Messenger of Yehovah, “Please stay here so that we can cook a young goat for You.

16 The Messenger of Yehovah told Manoah, “Even if I stay awhile, I won’t eat your bread, and if you prepare a burnt offering, you must offer it to Yehovah. Manoah didn’t know that He was the Messenger of Yehovah.)

17 Then Manoah asked the Messenger of Yehovah, “What is Your name, so that we can honor You when Your 'announcement' comes true?”

18 The Messenger of Yehovah replied, “Why are you asking for My name? Since it’s a wonderful secret.” [1]

19 So Manoah took a young goat and a grain offering, and offered it on a rock to Yehovah, and He did something wonderful while Manoah and his wife were watching. 20 As the flames from the altar ascended skyward from the altar, the Messenger of Yehovah ascended in the flame. When Manoah and his wife saw this, they fell facedown on the ground.

21 When the Messenger of Yehovah didn’t reappear to Manoah or his wife, Manoah realized that He was the Messenger of Yehovah. 22 So Manoah said to his wife, “We’re certainly going to die, because we have seen Elohim.”

23 But his wife said, “If Yehovah had wanted to kill us, He wouldn’t have accepted our burnt offering and grain offering. He wouldn’t have just now shown us all these things or spoken like this to us.”

24 So the woman gave birth to a son and named him Samson. The child grew up, and Yehovah blessed him. 25 'Yehovah’s' spirit [feminine word] began to move on him in Mahaneh Dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.

[1] Every single reference in the Torah, the Writings and the Prophets about “the Messenger of Yehovah” is a reference to the pre-incarnate Yeshua, and it is still largely a wonderful secret.

JUDGES 14

Samson’s Riddle

1 Samson went down to Timnah and 'while there' he saw a young Philistine woman there. 2 When he came back, he told his father and mother, “I saw a Philistine woman in Timnah. I want you to get her for me to marry.”

3 Then his father and his mother asked him, “Isn’t there a woman among your relatives or among all our people. Do you have to go and get a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?”

But Samson said to his father, “Get her for me, because she 'looks' good to me. 4 But his father and mother didn’t know that this was Yehovah’s doing, because He was looking for an opportunity to confront the Philistines, because they were ruling over Israel at the time.

5 Then Samson and his father and his mother went down to Timnah. As they approached the vineyards of Timnah, a young lion came roaring at 'Samson'. 6 'Yehovah’s' spirit rushed over him, and he tore the lion apart with his bare hands as he might have torn a young goat, but he didn’t tell his father or his mother what he had done. 7 He went down, and talked with the woman, and she looked good to Samson.

8 When he returned later to marry her. On his way he went over to look at the carcass of the dead lion, and saw that a swarm of bees had made some honey in the carcass of the lion. 9 He scooped out some into his hands and went on, eating as he went. When he got to his father and mother, he gave some to them, and they ate it too. But he didn’t tell them that he had taken the honey from the lion’s carcass.

10 His father traveled down to see the woman, and Samson put on a feast there, as was customary for young men. 11 Then when they saw him, they selected thirty young men to be his groomsmen.

12 Samson told them, “I want to tell you a riddle now. If you can explain it to me within the seven days of the feast, and solve it, then I’ll give you thirty linen garments and thirty changes of clothing, 13 but if you can’t explain it to me, then you’ll give me thirty linen garments and thirty changes of clothing.

They replied, “Tell us your riddle, let’s hear it.”

14 Samson said, “Out of the eater comes something to eat. Out of the strong comes something sweet.”

But after three days they couldn’t solve the riddle.

15 Then on the seventh (?) day they said to Samson’s wife, “Entice your husband to explain to us the riddle or we will burn down your father’s house with you in it. Did you invite us here to impoverish us?

16 So Samson’s wife came to him in tears and said, “You really hate me, you don’t love me. You told a riddle to my people but didn’t tell me the answer.” He told her,

“I haven’t even explained it to my father or mother, so why should I explain it to you?” 17 She cried the whole seven days of their feast. Finally, on the seventh day, he told her the answer because she had been nagging him so much. Then she explained the riddle to her people.

18 So before sunset of the seventh day, the men of the city asked him:

“What is sweeter than honey? What is stronger than a lion?”

He told them, “If you hadn’t harrowed [1] with my heifer, you wouldn’t have solved my riddle.

19 'Yehovah’s' spirit came on him powerfully, and he went down to Ashkelon and killed thirty men, stripped off their clothing and gave their clothing to those who had explained the riddle. He was burning with anger as he went back to his father’s house. 20 And Samson’s wife was given to his companion, who had been his best man.

[1] Ancient “plowing” was more like our harrowing—minimal tillage.

JUDGES 15

Samson’s Revenge

1 But after a while, at the time of the wheat harvest, Samson visited his wife with a young goat, and he said, “I’ll go in to my wife into the chamber. But her father wouldn’t allow him to go in.”

2 Her father said, “I most certainly thought that you had completely hated her, so I gave her to your companion. Isn’t her younger sister more beautiful than she? Please take her, instead.

3 Samson told them, “This time I’ll be blameless in regard of the Philistines, when I harm them. 4 Samson went and caught three hundred foxes, and took torches, and turned them tail to tail, and put a torch in the middle between their two tails. 5 When he had set the brands on fire, he let them go into the standing grain of the Philistines, and burnt up both the shocks and the standing grain and the olive groves.

6 Then the Philistines said, “Who did this?”

They said, “Samson, the son-in-law of the Timnite, because he has taken his wife, and given her to his companion. So the Philistines came up, and lit her and her father on fire.

7 Samson told them, “If you behave like this, surely I’ll take vengeance on you, and after that I’ll cease. 8 He struck them hip and thigh with a great slaughter, and he went down and lived in the cleft of the rock of Etam.

9 Then the Philistines went up, and camped in Judah, and spread themselves in Lehi. 10 The Jews asked, “Why did you come up against us?”

They said, “We came up to bind Samson, to do to him what he did to us.”

11 Then three thousand Jews went down to the cleft of the rock of Etam and said to Samson, “Don’t you know that the Philistines are our rulers? Why did you do this to us?”

He answered, “I did to them what they did to me.”

12 They told him, “We have come down to bind you, so that we can hand you over to the Philistines.”

Samson told them, “Swear to me that you won’t fall on me yourselves.”

13 They told him, “No, but we’ll tie you tightly, and hand you over to them, but we certainly won’t kill you.” So they tied him with two new ropes, and brought him up from the rock.

14 When he came to Lehi, the Philistines shouted as they met him, and 'Yehovah’s' spirit came on him strongly, and the ropes on his arms became like burnt flax, and his bands fell off his hands. 15 He found a fresh jawbone of a donkey, and reached out and grabbed it and struck a thousand men with it. 16 Samson said, “With the jawbone of a donkey, heaps on heaps, with the jawbone of a donkey I’ve struck a thousand men.”

17 Then when he was finished speaking, he threw away the jawbone that he was holding, and that place was called Ramath Lehi.

18 He was very thirsty, and called to Yehovah, “You’ve given this great deliverance by the hand of Your servant, and now You’ll allow me die of thirst, and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?” 19 But Elohim split the hollow place that is in Lehi, and water came out of it. When he had drunk, his spirit returned and he revived. That’s why he named it En Hakkore. It is still there in Lehi today.

20 He judged Israel in the days of the Philistines for twenty years.

JUDGES 16

Samson and Delilah

1 One day Samson went to Gaza, and spent the night with a prostitute. 2 When the Gazites heard, “Samson is here!” they surrounded the place and waited in ambush for him all night at the city gate. And they were quiet all night, whispering, “Come dawn we’ll kill him.”

3 But Samson only slept until midnight. And at midnight he got up and grabbed the doors and the two doorposts of the city gate and tore them loose, bar and all and put them on his shoulders and carried them to the top of the hill across from Hebron.

4 Some time later he fell in love with a woman from Sorek Valley named Delilah. 5 The Philistine rulers went to Delilah and said, “Find out what makes him so strong. Trick him into telling you how we can overpower him and and tie him up and weaken him. If you can do this, we will each give you 1,100 pieces of silver.

6 So Delilah said to Samson, “Please tell me the secret of your great strength, and how you could be tied up and weakened.”

7 Samson told her, “If they were to tie me up with seven fresh bowstrings that have not been dried,I would be as weak as any other man.”

8 So the Philistine rulers brought Delilah seven fresh bowstrings, and she tied him up with them. 9 She had some men waiting in 'another' room. She called to him, “The Philistines are coming for you, Samson!” He snapped the bowstrings like a flax thread shatters when it’s scorched by a flame. So the source of his strength remained a secret.

10 Afterward Delilah said to Samson, “You’ve been messing with me and lying to me. Now please tell me how you can really be tied up!”

11 Samson replied, “If someone ties me up with new ropes that had never been used, I would become as weak as any other man.”

12 So Delilah took new ropes and tied him up with them, and shouted, “Samson the Philistines are here for you!” While some men were hiding in another room. He ripped them from his arms like thread.

13 Then Delilah said, “You’re still messing with me and telling me lies! Now tell me how you can be tied up.”

Samson replied, “If you weave the seven braids of my hair with the warp of a loom—[1] 14 And she fastened his hair with a pin and called out to him, “The Philistines are coming for you, Samson!” But he awoke from his sleep and pulled out the pin of the loom and the web.

15 Then Delilah pouted, “How can you tell me, ‘I love you,’ when you don’t trust me? You’ve messed with me three times now, and haven’t told me the source your great strength.” 16 She kept nagging and 'pleading' with him every day until his soul was to the point of death.

17 Finally He told her everything 'he knew'. “No razor has ever touched my head, because I’ve been dedicated to Elohim as a Nazarite since I was born. If I’m shaved, then my strength will leave me, and I’ll become as weak as any other man.”

18 When Delilah realized that he had told her everything he knew, she called on the Philistine leaders, “Come back one more time, because he has told me everything he knows.”Then the Philistine leaders returned with the silver in their hands. 19 She got him to fall asleep with his head on her lap and then she called in a man to shave off the seven braids of his hair. This is how she began to torment him, and his strength left him.

20 She said, “The Philistines are coming for you, Samson!”

He awoke out of his sleep and and thought, “I’ll go out as before and shake myself free.” But he didn’t realize that Yehovah had left him.

21 Then the Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes; and took him down to Gaza and restrained him with bronze shackles, and made him grind grain in the prison. 22 But his hair began to grow back after it was shaved off.

23 “The Philistine leaders gathered to offer a huge sacrifice to Dagon their god, and to celebrate, because they said, “Our god has handed our enemy Samson over to us.”

24 When the people saw him, they praised their god. They were saying “Our god has handed our enemy over to us, the destroyer of our country who killed so many of us.”

25 While they were in high spirits, they shouted, “Bring out Samson to entertain us.” So they called Samson out of the prison, and he performed for them. Then they had him stand between the pillars. 26 Samson said to the boy who led him by the hand, “Put me where I can feel the pillars that support the temple, so I can lean against them.” 27 Now the 'temple' was full of men and women, and all the Philistine leaders were there, and there were about 3,000 men and women were on the roof watching Samson perform. 28 Then Samson called out to Yehovah and said, “Sovereign YEHOVAH [“Yeshua”], remember me and please strengthen me just one more time, O Elohim, so that I can avenge the Philistines for my two eyes at once.” 29 Then Samson put his hands on the two center pillars that held up the 'temple' and braced himself against them with his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other. 30 Samson said, “Let my soul die with the Philistines!” And he pushed outwards powerfully, so that the 'temple' fell on the leaders and all the people who were in it. So he killed more people when he died than he had during his lifetime.

31 Then his brothers and his entire family came down and took him up and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of his father Manoah. He had led Israel for twenty years.

[1] Missing words? Two commentaries: Keil and Delitzsch and Cambridge.

JUDGES 17

Micah’s Idols

1 There was a man named Micah who lived in the highlands of Ephraim. 2 One day he said to his mother, “I heard you place a curse on the person who stole 1,100 pieces of silver from you. 'Well', I have the money. I am the one who stole it.”

Then his mother said, “Yehovah bless you my son for confessing. 3 He returned the 1,100 pieces of silver to his mother, and his mother said, “I am 'personally' handing the silver to Yehovah for my son’s benefit to make a carved image overlaid with silver. So now I’m returning them to you.”

4 When he returned the 1,100 silver to his mother, and she took two hundred pieces of silver and gave them to a silversmith, who made it into a carved image overlaid with silver, and it was placed in Micah’s house. 5 This man Micah had his own shrine of gods, and he made an ephod and teraphim, and appointed one of his sons to be his personal priest. 6 At that time Israel had no king; everyone did 'whatever they wanted'.

7 “There was a young man from Bethlehem Judah, from the family of Judah, who was a Levite, and he was staying there. 8 The man left the city of Bethlehem in Judah, to settle as an immigrant wherever he could find a place, and along the way he happened on Micah’s house in the highlands of Ephraim.

9 Micah asked him, “Where did you come from?”

He told him, “I’m a Levite from Bethlehem Judah, and I’m looking for a place to live.

10 Micah said to him, “Come and live with me, and be my father and priest, and I’ll give you ten shekels of silver a year, a suit of clothing, and your food. So the Levite went 'with him'. 11 The Levite was content to live with the man, and the young man became like one of his sons. 12 Micah appointed the Levite, and the young man became his priest, and lived in Micah’s house. 13 Then Micah said, “Now I know that Yehovah will do good for me, since I have a Levite as my priest.

JUDGES 18

The Danites Settle in Laish

1 In those days there was no king in Israel, and in those days the tribe of Dan was searching for 'territory' to live in, because up until 'then' their allotment hadn’t been assigned to them among the tribes of Israel. 2 So the Danites sent out five strong men from Zorah and Eshtaol representing their several clans to covertly surveil the land: they 'commissioned' them to explore the land!

They came to the highlands of Ephraim, to the house of Micah and spent the night there. 3 When they were near Micah’s house, they recognized the 'accent' of the young Levite, and they 'stopped' there and asked him, “Who brought you here? And what are you doing here?”

4 He told them what Micah had done for him, and that he had been hired as Micah’s personal priest.

5 Then they said to him, “Please ask Elohim whether or not our 'mission' will be successful.”

6 The priest replied, “Go in peace. Yehovah 'is leading the way'.”

7 So the five men went on to Laish, and saw that people there lived in safety, like the Sidonians, undisturbed and secure; since there were no oppressive “public servants” crushing them in any manner in the land, and they were far from Sidon, and had no entanglements with anyone.

8 When they returned to Zorah and Eshtaol their relatives asked them, “What did you find?”

9 They said, “Get up. Let’s go up against them, because we have seen the land, and we see that it’s very good. Why wait? Don’t hesitate to invade and take the land! 10 When you arrive, you’ll find unsuspecting people and a spacious land that Elohim has handed over to us, a place where nothing on earth is lacking.”

11 “So 600 Danites from the clan of Zorah and Eshtaol set out armed for battle. 12 Along the way they set up camp near Kiriath Jearim in Judah. That is why the place west of Kiriath Jearim is called Dan’s Camp to this day. 13 From there they traveled on to the highlands of Ephraim, and showed up at Micah’s house.

14 Then the five men who had scouted out the land around Laish told their kinsmen, “Did you know that one of these houses has an ephod, household idols, and a cast image overlaid with silver? You know what to do.” 15 So they stopped there and went to the young Levite’s house by Micah’s house and greeted him. 16 While the 600 armed Danites stood by the entry gate, 17 the five men who had surveilled the land moved up, went inside, and took the household idols, the ephod and the cast image overlaid with silver, while the priest stood by the gateway with the 600 armed warriors.

18 When these men entered Micah’s house and took the household idols, the ephod and the cast image overlaid with silver, the priest asked them, “What are you doing?”

19 They said, “Be quiet! 'Don’t say a word' and come with us, and be our father and priest. Would you rather be a priest for one man’s house or a priest for a tribe and clan in Israel?” 20 The priest was 'convinced', so he took the ephod, the household idols and the engraved image, and went along with the people. 21 Then they turned back, and put their children, their livestock and everything they owned in front of them.

22 When they had distanced themselves from Micah’s house, the men in the houses near to Micah’s house were called out to pursue them, and they caught up with the Danites. 23 They called to the Danites, who turned to face them, and said to Micah, “What’s wrong with you? Why have you organized?”

24 He said, “You took the gods that I made, the priest, and have gone off; what more do I have? So how can you ask, “What’s wrong with you?”

25 The Danites told him, “Don’t 'argue' with us, or some of our 'hotheaded' men will attack you, and kill you and your family. 26 Then the Danites continued on their way. Micah realizing that they were too strong for him, turned around and went back home.

27 Then, with Micah’s idols and his priest, the 'Danites' went to Laish, to a quiet and unsuspecting, people, and attacked with swords and burned 'down' their city. 28 There was no one to rescue them, because they were far from Sidon, and they had no alliances with anyone. 'Laish' was in a valley near Beth Rehob.

Then the 'Danites' rebuilt the city and settled in it. 29 They renamed the city Dan, after their ancestor Dan, who was born to Israel, but previously the name of the city was Laish. 30 The Danites set up the sculpted image for themselves, and Jonathan son of Gershom and grandson of Moses, [footnotes] and his sons became priests for the Danites until the time of the exile from the land. He and his sons were priests to the tribe of the Danites until the day of the captivity of the land. 31 So they set up the custom made engraved image Micah, and it was there as long as the 'Tabernacle' of Elohim was in Shiloh.

JUDGES 19

A Levite and His Concubine

1 At that 'time' Israel did not have a king. There was a Levite living in a remote area of the highlands of Ephraim who acquired a concubine from Bethlehem Judah. 2 But his concubine considered him disgusting [or was unfaithful]. So she left him and returned to her father’s house in Bethlehem in Judah and stayed there for four months. 3 Her husband set out for Bethlehem to persuade her to come back. He had his servant with him, and a couple of donkeys. She brought him into her father’s house, and when the father of the young lady saw him, he was glad to meet him. 4 His father-in-law, the young lady’s father, persuaded him to stay him for three days. So they ate and drank and spent the night there.

5 On the fourth day, they got up early in the morning, and he got ready to leave, and the young lady’s father said to his son-in-law, “Have something to eat to keep up your strength, after that you can go.” 6 So the two men sat down to eat and drink together. The young woman’s father said to the man, “Why not spend the night and enjoy yourself?” 7 The man got up to leave, but his father-in-law urged him to stay, so he stayed the night.

8 On the morning of the fifth day he got up early to leave. The young woman’s father said, “Have some food for strength, then you can leave later this afternoon.” So the two men ate together. 9 When the man got up to leave with his concubine and servant, his father-in-law, the girl’s father, said to him, “Look, it’s almost evening. Spend the night and enjoy yourself. Then you can get up early tomorrow for your trip, and then head home.” 10 But the man didn’t want to stay that night. So he got up and left, and went as far as Jebus (that is Jerusalem), with his pair of saddled donkeys and his concubine. 11 When they were near Jebus, it was very late in the day. The servant said to his master, “Let’s stop at this Jebusite city” and spend the night 'here'.”

12 His master replied, “We won’t go into a city of foreigners who aren’t Israelites. We’ll go on to Gibeah.” 13 He said to his servant, “Let’s try to reach Gibeah or Ramah and spend the night in one of those places.” 14 So they traveled on, and the sun was setting as they approached Gibeah, a town in Benjamin, 15 So they stopped there there to spend the night in Gibeah. When they got there they sat down in the public square of the city, but surprisingly no one invited them home for the night.

16 Finally, that evening an old man came in from working in the fields. He was from the highlands of Ephraim, and he was living in Gibeah, but the men there were Benjamites. 17 He looked up and saw the travelers in the public square of the city, and the old man asked them, “Where are you heading and where have you come from?”

18 He told him, “We are traveling from Bethlehem Judah to a remote area in the highlands of Ephraim where I’m from. I have been to Bethlehem in Judah. But now I’m going to Yehovah’s 'Temple'. No one has taken me in for the night 19 even tho we have both straw and feed for our donkeys, and bread and wine also for me, 'the' woman, and the young man with us. We don’t need anything.”

20 The old man said, “'You are welcome to stay at my house'. But let me give you whatever you need, just don’t spend the night in the public square.” 21 So he brought him into his house, and gave the donkeys fodder. After they had washed their feet, they had something to eat and drink.

22 While they were relaxing, the men of the city, certain perverted men, surrounded the house and began beating on the door and shouting to the owner of the house, the old man: “Bring out the man who came to your house, so we can have sex with him!”

23 Then the owner of the house, stepped outside to them, and said to them, “No, my friends, don’t act so wickedly, since the man is a guest in my house, don’t commit this vile sin. 24 Take my virgin daughter and 'the man’s' concubine. I will bring them out to you, then rape them and do to them whatever you want. But don’t commit this vile sin against this man.”

25 But the men refused to listen to him. So the 'Levite' grabbed his concubine, and brought her out to them, and they raped her and abused her all night until the morning, and at dawn they let her go. 26 At daybreak, the woman came and collapsed at the door of the man’s house where her master was staying, until daylight.

27 Her master got up in the morning, and opened the doors of the house, and went outside to go on his way, then he saw his concubine lying at the doorway of the house with her hands clutching the doorframe. 28 He said to her, “Get up, and let’s get going!” but no one answered. So the man put her on his donkey and set out for home.

29 When he got home, he took a knife, grabbed his concubine and cut her limb by limb, into twelve pieces, and sent her thruout all the territory of Israel. 30 Everyone who saw it said, “Nothing like this has ever happened or has been seen since the day the Israelites came up out of the land of Egypt until today! Consider it, discuss it, and speak up.

JUDGES 20

Israel’s War with Benjamin

1 Then all the Israelites were of one 'mind', from Dan to Beersheba, including the land of Gilead [east of the Jordan], came together before Yehovah at Mizpah. 2 The leaders of all the people of the tribes of Israel, took their stand in the assembly of the people of Elohim, 400,000 soldiers armed with swords. 3 (The Benjamites heard that the Israelites had gone up to Mizpah.) The Israelites asked, “Tell us, how did this wickedness take place?”

4 So the Levite, the husband of the concubine who was murdered answered, “My concubine and I came to Gibeah in Benjamin to spend the night. 5 During the night some citizens of Gibeah came after me. They surrounded the house and threatened to kill me; instead, they raped my concubine until she was dead. 6 So I took my concubine and cut her in pieces, and sent 'the pieces' thruout Israel’s territory, because they’ve committed an outrageous sin and vile act in Israel. 7 Now, all you Israelites, speak up and tell me what should be done about this!”

8 All the people got up in unison, saying, “None of us will return to our tents, or return to our homes. 9 This is what we’re going to do to Gibeah: we’ll draw lots to decide who will 'attack' it. 10 We’ll choose ten men from every hundred men from all the tribes of Israel, and one hundred from one thousand, and a thousand out of ten thousand to gather supplies for the people. Then the army will go to the city of Gibeah of Benjamin to repay them for the vile sin that they have committed in Israel.” 11 So all the Israelites were gathered against the city in 'complete' unity.

12 The tribes of Israel sent 'messengers' thru the entire tribe of Benjamin, asking, “What about this wickedness that has taken place among you? 13 Now hand over the men, these worthless wicked men from Gibeah, so that we can put them to death, and purge the evil from Israel..”

But the Benjamites refused to comply with the 'demand' of their Israelite brothers. 14 Instead, the Benjamites gathered from the cities to Gibeah, to go out to fight the Israelites. 15 In one day the Benjamites mobilized 26,000 swordsmen from their cities, in addition to the 700 trained men from Gibeah. 16 Among all these soldiers there were 700 chosen left-handed select men, and each one could sling a stone at a hair and not miss.

17 Not counting the Benjamites, Israel had 400,000 swordsmen, and every one of them was experienced.

18 The Israelites set out for Bethel and asked Elohim, “Who should go up first to fight against the Benjamites?”

Yehovah replied, “The Jews will go up first.”

19 The Israelites got up in the morning and camped near Gibeah. 20 The Israelites went out to attack the Benjamites and lined up for battle against them at Gibeah. 21 The Benjamites came out of Gibeah and cut down 22,000 Israelites on the first day. 22 But the Israelites were courageous and lined up in battle formation again in the same place they had lined up the first day.

23 The Israelites went up and cried before Yehovah until evening, and they asked Yehovah, “Should we advance again to fight our relatives the Benjamites?”

And Yehovah said, “'Fight' against them.

24 So the Israelites went out against the Benjamites the second day. 25 But the Benjamites killed another 18,000 Israelites, and all of them were swordsmen.

26 Then all the Israelites, the whole army went up to Bethel, and sat there crying before Yehovah, and fasted that day until evening. And they offered burnt offerings and fellowship offerings to Yehovah. 27 The Israelites asked Yehovah (since the Ark of the Covenant of Elohim was there in those days, 28 and Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, was still ministering before it.) They asked, “Should we fight against our brothers from Benjamin again, or should we stop?”

And Yehovah said, “Go up, because tomorrow I’ll hand them over to you.”

29 So Israel set ambushes all around Gibeah. 30 The Israelites went up against the Benjamites on the third day and lined up against Gibeah as before. 31 When the Benjamites came out to 'attack' them, they were drawn away from the city. And as they had done before, they began to kill the Israelites. About thirty Israelites died in the fields and along the roads leading to Bethel and Gibeah.

32 The Benjamites thought that they were defeating them again. But the Israelites had planned on retreating and drawing them away from the city to the roads.

33 Then all the Israelites got up from their places and took their battle positions at Baal Tamar, while the Israelites in ambush charged from their places in Maareh Geba. 34 Then 10,000 elite Israelite troops advanced against Gibeah. The battle was so fierce that 'the Benjamites' didn’t realize the 'impending' disaster. 35 Yehovah defeated the Benjamites in the presence of Israel, that is the Israelites destroyed 25,100 Benjamites armed with swords. 36 Then the Benjamites realized they had been defeated.

The Israelites had retreated from the Benjamites, because they were relying on the ambush they had set around Gibeah. 37 Then the men in ambush rushed into Gibeah and killed all the people in the city with swords.

38 The plan between the 'main force' of the Israelites and the men in the ambush was that when they created a huge smoke cloud from the city, 39 signaling the Israelites to return to the battle.

When the Benjamites had killed about thirty Israelites, they were thinking that they were defeating them as in the first battle.” 40 But as a column of smoke began to rise from the city the Benjamites looked behind them and saw that the the sky above the entire city was filling with smoke. 41 Then the main force of the Israelites counterattacked, and the Benjamites were terrified, because they realized that disaster was imminent. 42 So 'the Benjamites' fled from the Israelites toward the wilderness, but the battle followed them, and 'the people' coming out of the surrounding cities [comment] were also annihilated. 43 They surrounded the Benjamites, chased them and trampled them down in the area east of Gibeah. 44 So 18,000 Benjamites fell, all of them were accomplished warriors. 45 The rest turned and fled into the wilderness toward Rimmon Rock, but 'the Israelites ' picked off 5,000 of them along the highways, and chased them all the way to Gidom, and killed 3,000 more of them.

46 So that day 25,000 Benjamite swordsmen fell, all of them accomplished warriors, 47 leaving only 600 men who escaped into the wilderness to Rimmon Rock, where they remained for four months. 48 The Israelites returned to the Benjamites and slaughtered everyone in the city with swords including the livestock. They also burned down every city they came across.

JUDGES 21

Brides for Benjamites

1 Previously the Israelites had sworn in Mizpah, “Not one of us will allow his daughter to marry a Benjamite.”

2 The people went to Bethel, and sat there before Elohim til evening crying intensely. 3 They were crying out, “Yehovah, Elohim of Israel, why has this happened in Israel? 'Why' should there be a tribe missing from Israel today?”

4 Early the next day the people built an altar there, and offered burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. 5 Then the Israelites asked, “Who among the tribes of Israel failed to come to Yehovah in the assembly?” Because they had taken a solemn oath against anyone who refused to come up to Yehovah at Mizpah: “He’ll certainly be put to death.”

6 The Israelites grieved for their Benjamite brothers and said, “Today one tribe has been 'eliminated' from Israel. 7 How can we provide wives for those who remain, since we swore by Yehovah that we wouldn’t give them any of our daughters as wives?”

8 So then they asked, “Was there anyone from the tribes of Israel who refused to come here to Yehovah in Mizpah?” And 'it turned out' that no one from Jabesh Gilead had joined the assembly at the camp. 9 When they counted the people, they realized that none of the people from Jabesh Gilead were there.

10 So the assembly sent 12,000 accomplished warriors to Jabesh Gilead with orders to kill everyone there with swords, including women and children. 11 “This is what you are to do: Completely destroy every male and every woman who is not a virgin.” 12 And they found among the the people living in Jabesh Gilead 400 young virgins who had never slept with a man, and they brought them to the camp at Shiloh in the land of Canaan.

13 Then the entire assembly sent 'messengers' to the Benjamites who were at Rimmon Rock, and offered to make peace with them. 14 So the Benjamites returned at that time, and they gave them the women they had spared from the women of Jabesh Gilead, and still there weren’t enough for them.

15 The people grieved for the Benjamites, because Yehovah had made a gap in the tribes of Israel. 16 So the elders of the assembly asked, “What can we do to provide wives for those who are left, since the Benjamite women have been destroyed? 17 There must be heirs for the surviving Benjamites so that the tribe of Israel is not wiped out. 18 But we can’t give them our own daughters in marriage because we have sworn with a solemn oath that anyone who gives a wife to a Benjamite will be cursed.”

19 But then someone said, “Hey, there is the annual festival of Yehovah in Shiloh, on the north of Bethel, on the east side of the road that goes from Bethel to Shechem, and south of Lebonah. 20 So they told the Benjamites, “Go and lie in wait in the vineyards, 21 and watch. When the young women from Shiloh come out to join in the dancing, rush from the vineyards and each of you catch one of them to be your wife and return to the land of Benjamin. 22 And when their fathers or their brothers come to complain to us, we’ll say to them, “Give them to us voluntarily, because we didn’t take for each 'Benjamite' a wife in battle, and we did’t give 'your daughters' to them, otherwise you would be guilty of breaking your oath.

23 So that is what the Benjamites did. While the young women were dancing, they grabbed as many women as they needed and married them. Then they returned to their 'own territory' and rebuilt the cities and settled in them.

24 Then the Israelites set out from there to their tribes and clans, each to their own property.

25 In those days Israel didn’t have a king. Everyone did 'whatever they wanted'.

“1st” Samuel 1

Chapters 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31

1st & 2nd Samuel Are Really One Book.

The Birth of Samuel

1 There was a certain man from Ramathaim Zophim from the highlands of Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah, the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, a resident of Ephraim. 2 He had two wives, one named Hannah and the other named Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah was childless.

3 This man went up from his city annually to worship and to offer zebakim [sacrifices] to Commander Yehovah in Shiloh. Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas were Yehovah’s priests there. 4 When the day came that Elkanah offered his zebak [sacrifice], he would give portions to his wife Peninnah and all her sons and daughters. 5 But he gave Hannah a double portion because he loved her, even tho Yehovah had kept her from conceiving. 6 Her rival wife provoked her severely and taunted her, because Yehovah had closed her womb. 7 So every year when she went up to Yehovah’s 'Temple', she would provoke her. Then she would cry and wouldn’t eat.

8 Then her husband Elkanah asked her, “Hannah, why are you crying? Why don’t you eat? Why are you so sad and discontent? Aren’t I better for you than ten sons?”

9 So Hannah got up after eating and drinking in Shiloh. Eli the priest was sitting on his chair by the doorpost of the 'Temple' of Yehovah. 10 She was deeply troubled, praying to Yehovah and crying bitterly. 11 She made this vow: “Commander Yehovah, if You’ll only look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but give Your maidservant a son, then I’ll give him to Yehovah all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.”

12 Then, as she continued praying before Yehovah, Eli noticed her 'lips'. 13 As Hannah was 'praying' silently, and tho her lips were moving, her voice couldn’t be heard. So Eli thought she was drunk. 14 Eli said to her, “How long are you going to be drunk? Get rid of your wine!”

15 But Hannah replied, “No, my master, I’m a deeply troubled woman. I haven’t drunk any wine or liquor, but I’ve been pouring out my 'discontent' before Yehovah. 16 Don’t think of your maidservant as a wicked woman; I’ve been 'praying' like this out of my great anguish and grief.”

17 Then Eli replied, “Go in peace, and may the Elohim of Israel grant the petition you’ve requested from Him.”

18 She said, “May your maidservant find favor in your sight.” So the woman left, she ate and no longer looked despondent.

19 They got up early in the morning, and worshiped before Yehovah, and returned, and came to their house in Ramah, and Elkanah was intimate with his wife Hannah, and Yehovah remembered her. 20 It came about in due time, after Hannah had conceived, that she gave birth to a son; she named him Samuel and said, “Because I asked Yehovah for him.”

21 Elkanah and his entire household went up to offer a zebak to Yehovah, the yearly zebak and pay his vow. 22 But Hannah didn’t go up, she told her husband, “After the boy is weaned, I’ll take him and present him before Yehovah, and he’ll live there for the rest of his life.”

23 Her husband Elkanah told her, “Do what seems best to you. Wait until you’ve weaned him; only may Yehovah confirm His word.” So the woman remained and nursed her son until she weaned him.

24 As soon as she had weaned Samuel, she took him with her. She also brought a 'three year old bull', an ephah of meal and a skin of wine and brought him to Yehovah’s 'Temple' in Shiloh, although the child was young. 25 Then they slaughtered the bull and brought the boy to Eli. 26 She said, “Oh, my master, as sure as you live, I’m the woman who stood beside you praying to Yehovah. 27 This is the boy I prayed for, and Yehovah gave me what I asked Him for. 28 So I’ve dedicated him to Yehovah. As long as he lives he is dedicated to Yehovah.” And 'they' [DSS, Syriac and Arabic] worshiped Yehovah there.

1 Samuel 2

Hannah‘s Prayer

1 Hannah prayed:

“'I' rejoice in Yehovah! My 'strength' is increased by Yehovah. My mouth 'ridicules' my enemies because I rejoice in Your deliverance.

2 There is no one 'peerless' like Yehovah, there is no one besides You. There is no Rock like our Elohim.

3 “Don’t boast so arrogantly or allow arrogance to come out of your mouth, because Yehovah is an Elohim of knowledge. He weighs our actions.

4 The bows of the warriors are broken, but those who stumbled are armed with strength 5 The well-fed hire themselves out for 'food', but those who were hungry cease being hungry. The woman who was childless gives birth to seven children, but the woman with many children wastes away.

6 Yehovah puts to death and makes alive; He brings down to sheol and raises up. 7 Yehovah brings poverty and wealth; He humbles and He promotes. 8 He raises the poor from the dust, He lifts the needy from the dunghill and seats them with princes, and has them inherit a throne of splendor. The pillars of the earth belong to Yehovah. He placed the world on them.

9 “He safeguards the 'steps' of His 'special' ones, but the wicked are silenced in darkness because people don’t succeed by their own strength. 10 Those who oppose Yehovah will be broken to pieces. He’ll thunder against them from heaven. Yehovah will judge the remotest regions of the earth. He’ll empower His King and 'increase' the 'strength' of His Messiah.”

11 Then Elkanah went to his home in Ramah, but the boy served Yehovah before Eli the priest.

12 Eli’s sons were lowlifes; they 'had no regard' for Yehovah. 13 The custom of the priests with the people was that when any man offered a zebak, the priest’s servant would come while the meat was boiling with a three-pronged fork in his hand. 14 Then he would plunge it into the pan, kettle, caldron or pot. Whatever the fork brought up the priest would take for himself. This is what they did in Shiloh to all the Israelites who came there. 15 Even before the fat was burned, the priest’s servant would come and say to the man who was offering the zebakim, “Give the priest meat to roast since he won’t accept boiled meat from you, only raw.”

16 If the man said to him, “Burn off the fat first; then you can take whatever you want,” then he would say, “No, hand it over now, or I’ll take it by force.”

17 This sin of the young men was very great in Yehovah’s sight because the men were treating Yehovah’s offering with contempt.

18 Now Samuel was ministering before Yehovah as a boy, wearing a linen ephod. 19 His mother would make him a little robe and bring it to him every year when she come up with her husband to offer the yearly zebak. 20 Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife and say, “May Yehovah give you children by this woman in place of the one she dedicated to Yehovah.” Then they would go home. 21 Yehovah attended to Hannah, and she conceived and gave birth to three sons and two daughters. And the child Samuel grew up in the presence of Yehovah.

22 Now Eli was very old, and he heard about everything his sons were doing to all the people of Israel and how they were lying with the women who served at the entrance to the Meeting Tabernacle. 23 He asked them, “Why are you doing such things? I have heard about your wicked ways from all these people. 24 No, my sons, it’s not a good report that I hear the people of Yehovah circulating. 25 If a person sins against another, Elohim will judge him. However, when a person sins against Yehovah, who can intercede for him?” But they wouldn’t listen to their father, so Yehovah wanted to kill them.

26 But the boy Samuel continued to grow in stature and favor with Yehovah and with the people.

27 Then a man of Elohim came to Eli and told him, “Didn’t I reveal Myself to your ancestral house when they were in Egypt in bondage to Pharaoh’s palace? 28 I chose your ancestors out of all the tribes of Israel to be My priests, to go up to My altar, to burn incense, to wear an ephod before Me. I also gave your ancestral family 'portians of' the smoke offerings of the Israelites. 29 Why do you 'despise' My zebak and My offering that I commanded in My dwelling, and honor your sons more than Me by making yourselves fat with the best cuts of every offering of My people Israel?’

30 “So Yehovah, the Elohim of Israel declares: I said that members of your ancestral house would 'minister' before Me forever.’ But now Yehovah declares: ‘Far be it from me! Those who honor Me I will honor, but those who despise Me will be considered insignificant. 31 The time is coming when I’ll 'break' your 'strength' and the strength of your ancestral 'family', so that no one in your family will reach old age. 32 You’ll see the distress of My habitation, despite all the good that 'I' do for Israel; and no one in your 'family' will ever reach old age. 33 Yet I will not remove every man of your family from My altar so that your eyes will fail from crying and 'you’ll' grieve. All your 'descendants' will die like men.

34 ’This will be the sign for you concerning your two sons Hophni and Phinehas: both of them will die on the same day. 35 “I will raise up a faithful priest for Myself. He will do whatever I have in mind. I will build him a lasting dynasty, and he will 'serve' before My Messiah for the rest of his life [as in 1:22] [Commentary]. 36 Then anyone who is left in your household will come and bow down to him for a piece of silver and a loaf of bread and plead, “Please appoint me to one of the priest’s offices so that I can eat a piece of bread.”’”

1 Samuel 3

Samuel’s Calling

1 The boy Samuel was ministering to Yehovah before Eli. Word from Yehovah was rare in those days and visions were infrequent.

2 During this time as Eli was lying down in his place (his eyes had begun to grow so dim that he couldn’t see well). 3 The lamp of Elohim’s Temple hadn’t gone out yet, and Samuel was lying down in the 'Temple' of Yehovah where the Ark of Elohim was. 4 Then Yehovah called out “Samuel!”

He replied, “Here I am.” 5 He ran to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”

But he replied, “I didn’t call you, lie down again.” And he went and lay down.

6 Yehovah called once again, “Samuel”! Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”

He answered, “I didn’t call my son, lie down again.”

7 Now Samuel didn’t yet know Yehovah, and the Word of Yehovah hadn’t been revealed to him yet.

8 So Yehovah called Samuel a third time. He got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”

Then Eli realized that Yehovah was calling the boy. 9 So Eli told Samuel, “Go, lie down. If He calls you, say, ‘Speak, Yehovah. I’m listening.’” So Samuel went and went back to 'bed'.

10 Then Yehovah came and stood, and called as before, “Samuel! Samuel!”

Then Samuel said, “Speak. Your servant is listening.”

11 Yehovah told Samuel, “I’m about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears about it ring. 12 When That Day Comes* I’m going to do to Eli everything I said about his 'family', from beginning to end. 13 I 'warned' him that I was about to judge his household forever, because of the wickedness that he knew about, because his sons were bringing a curse on themselves, and he failed to restrain them.

14 That’s why I’ve sworn to the house of Eli that the wickedness of Eli’s house will never be atoned for by zebakim or offerings forever.

15 Samuel lay down until the morning. Then he opened the doors of Yehovah’s 'Temple'. But Samuel was afraid to tell Eli 'about' the vision. 16 Then Eli called Samuel and said, “Samuel, my son!”

He said, “Here I am.”

17 Then he said, “What did Yehovah tell you? Please don’t hide it from me. May Elohim do the same to you, and 'worse', if you hide anything at all from me that He told you.” 18 So Samuel told him everything, and hid nothing from him. And 'Eli' said, “It is Yehovah; may He do what seems good 'to Him'.”

19 Samuel grew, and Yehovah was with him, and none of his 'predictions failed'. 20 All of Israel from Dan to Beersheba realized that Samuel was Yehovah’s appointed prophet. 21 Yehovah continued to appear in Shiloh, because Yehovah revealed himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the Word of Yehovah.

1 Samuel 4

Philistines Capture the Ark

1 The 'message' of Samuel came to all Israel. Now Israel went out to meet the Philistines in battle, and camped beside Ebenezer while the Philistines camped in Aphek. 2 The Philistines deployed in battle array against Israel, and when they joined the battle, Israel was defeated by the Philistines, and they killed about 4,000 'soldiers' on the battlefield. 3 When the troops returned to camp, the elders of Israel asked, “Why has Yehovah defeated us today before the Philistines? Let’s bring Yehovah’s Ark’s covenant from Shiloh, so that it [or He] will be with us, and save us from the grasp of our enemies.”

4 So the 'soldiers' sent men to Shiloh and they carried the Ark of the Covenant of Commander Yehovah who sits above the cherubim. Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas were there with the Ark of the Covenant of Elohim.

5 When the Ark of the Covenant of Yehovah entered the camp, all Israel shouted so loudly that the ground shook.

6 When the Philistines heard the shouting, they asked, “What’s all this shouting in the Hebrew camp?”

Then they realized that Yehovah’s Ark had entered the camp. 7 The Philistines were afraid and said, “Elohim has come into the camp.” And they said, “Oh no, nothing like this has happened before. 8 We’re 'finished'! Who will rescue us from the grasp of Elohim? These are the Elohim that struck the Egyptians with all kinds of plagues in the wilderness. 9 Show some courage and act like men, Philistines, or you’ll become slaves to the Hebrews as they were to you. So be men and fight.”

10 So the Philistines fought and Israel was defeated, and every man fled to his tent. The slaughter was massive; Israel lost 30,000 soldiers. 11 The Ark of Elohim was captured. and Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas were killed.

12 A man from the tribe of Benjamin ran from the front line and arrived in Shiloh the same day with his clothes torn and with dust on his head. 13 When he arrived, Eli was sitting on his seat by the road watching, because he was worried about the Ark of Elohim. When the man entered the city and told the news, the whole city cried out.

14 When Eli heard the outcry and asked, “What does this noisy commotion mean?”

So the man came quickly and told Eli. 15 Now Eli was ninety-eight years old; and his gaze was fixed and he couldn’t see. 16 The man told Eli, “I just came from the battlefield. I escaped from the front line today.

He replied, “Tell me what happened, my son?”

17 The man who brought the news replied, “Our troops suffered heavy casualties. Your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas are dead, and the Ark of Elohim has been captured.”

18 When he mentioned the Ark of Elohim, Eli fell from his chair backwards toward the gate, broke his neck and died, because he was a heavy old man. He had judged Israel for forty years.

19 Now his daughter-in-law, Phinehas’ wife, was pregnant and near the time of delivery. So when she heard the news that Yehovah’s Ark had been captured and that her father-in-law and her husband had died, she went into labor and gave birth because her labor pains suddenly began. 20 As she was dying, the women helping her said, “Don’t despair; you have given birth to a son.” But she didn’t answer, she was unresponsive.

21 She named the boy Ichabod and said, “Israel’s splendor is gone,” because the Ark of Elohim was taken, and because of her father-in-law and her husband died. 22 She said, “The splendor has left Israel because the Ark of Elohim has been captured.”

1 Samuel 5

The Ark Captured

1 When the Philistines captured the Ark of Elohim, they brought it from Ebenezer to Ashdod. 2 The Philistines took the Ark of Elohim and brought it into the shrine of Dagon and set it by Dagon. 3 When the people of Ashdod got up early the next day, they saw that Dagon had fallen on his face to the ground before Yehovah’s Ark. They took Dagon and put him back in his place. 4 But when they got up early on the next morning, they saw that Dagon had fallen on his face to the ground before Yehovah’s Ark again. And the head of Dagon and both of his 'hands' were severed and lying on the threshold. The rest remained intact. 5 This is the reason why the priests of Dagon and everyone else who comes into Dagon’s shrine still don’t tread on the threshold of Dagon’ shrine in Ashdod to this day.

6 But Yehovah’s hand was heavy on the people of Ashdod, and He destroyed them by striking the people of Ashdod and the vicinity with tumors. 7 When the men of Ashdod saw this, they said, “The Ark of the Elohim of Israel must not stay with us, because His hand is heavy on us and our god Dagon.” 8 So they called all the Philistine lords together and asked, “What should we do with the Ark of Israel’s Elohim?”

They answered, “The Ark of the Elohim of Israel should be moved to Gath.” So they moved the Ark of the Elohim of Israel there. 9 But after they had moved it to Gath [DSS], Yehovah’s hand was against the city causing a great panic. He afflicted the men of the city, both young and old with an outbreak of tumors.

10 So they sent the Ark of Elohim to Ekron. When the Ark of Elohim arrived in Ekron, the Ekronites cried out, “They have brought the Ark of the Elohim of Israel to us to kill 'us' and 'our' people.” 11 So they called all the Philistine lords together and said, “Send the Ark of the Elohim of Israel away. It must return to its own place so it won’t kill us and our people!” There was a deadly panic thruout the city, the hand of Elohim was very heavy there. 12 The people who didn’t die were struck with tumors, and the screams from the city rose to heaven.

1 Samuel 6

The Ark Returned

1 Yehovah’s Ark had been in Philistine territory for seven months. 2 The Philistines called for the priests and the diviners and asked them, “What should we do with Yehovah’s Ark? Tell us how to return it to its place.”

3 They said, “If you send the Ark of the Elohim of Israel back, don’t send it away empty, by all means return it to Him with a 'restitution' offering, then you’ll be healed, and you’ll know why His hand hasn’t been removed from you.”

4 Then they asked, “What should the 'restitution' offering be that we’ll return to Him?”

They said, “five gold tumors and five gold mice, corresponding to the number of the Philistine lords, because the same plague has struck both you and your lords. 5 You must make images of your tumors, and images of your mice that ravage the land, and pay honor to the Elohim of Israel. Perhaps He’ll lift His hand from you and your gods and your land. 6 Why are you as unreasonable as the Egyptians and as unreasonable as Pharaoh? After he had severely punished them, didn’t they allow the people to go on their way?

7 So get a new cart ready with two dairy cows that have never been yoked. Hitch the cows to the cart and take their calves back home, away from them. 8 Then take Yehovah’s Ark and put it on the cart, and put the gold items beside it that you are returning to Him for a 'restitution' offering in a chest by its side. Then send it on its way, 9 and watch: If it goes up the road to its own territory toward Beth Shemesh, it is He who has brought this great disaster on us, but if not, then we’ll know that it’s not His hand that struck us; that it was a random chance we experienced.”

10 The men did this: They took two dairy cows and hitched them to the cart, and corralled their calves at home. 11 They put Yehovah’s Ark on the cart, along with the box containing the gold mice and the images of their tumors. 12 And the cows went straight toward Beth Shemesh along the highway, lowing all the way, never turning to the right or to the left, and the lords of the Philistine followed them to the border of Beth Shemesh.

13 The people of Beth Shemesh were harvesting wheat in the valley. When they looked up and saw the ark, they rejoiced at the sight. 14 The cart came into the field of Yehoshua of Beth Shemesh, and stopped there near a huge rock. They split the wood of the cart and offered up the cows as a burnt offering to Yehovah. 15 The Levites took down Yehovah’s Ark and the box beside it containing the gold articles, and put them on the huge rock, and the men of Beth Shemesh offered burnt offerings and offered zebakim to Yehovah the same day. 16 When the five lords of the Philistines saw what happened, they returned to Ekron that same day.

17 These are the gold tumors that the Philistines returned as a 'restitution' offering to Yehovah: one for Ashdod, one for Gaza, one for Ashkelon, one for Gath and one for Ekron. 18 The number of gold mice also corresponded to the number of the Philistine cities of the five lords, both the fortified cities and the outlying villages. The huge rock that they set Yehovah’s Ark on is still there today in the field of Yehoshua of Beth Shemesh.

19 'Yehovah' struck down some of the men of Beth Shemesh, because they had looked into Yehovah’s Ark. He struck down seventy [?] of the people, and the people mourned, because Yehovah had struck the people with a great slaughter. 20 The men of Beth Shemesh said, “Who can stand before Yehovah, this 'cherished' Elohim? Who should the Ark go to from here?”

21 So they sent messengers to the people of Kiriath Jearim, who told them, “The Philistines have returned Yehovah’s Ark. Come down and take it 'back' with you.”

1 Samuel 7

Saved from the Philistines

1 So the men of Kiriath Jearim came and took Yehovah’s Ark, and brought it into Abinadab’s house on the hill, and commissioned Eleazar his son to have charge of Yehovah’s Ark. 2 From the day that the Ark resided in Kiriath Jearim, a long time passed, twenty years in all.

The entire House of Israel yearned for Yehovah.

3 Samuel told the whole household of Israel, “If you want to return to Yehovah with all of your being, then get rid of your foreign gods and Ashtoreth [Easter] icons, and establish yourselves with Yehovah, and only serve Him, and He’ll rescue you from the grasp of the Philistines.” 4 So the Israelites got rid of their baalim [Lords], and their Ashtaroth icons, and only served Yehovah.

5 Then Samuel said, “Gather all the Israelites to Mizpah and I’ll pray to Yehovah for you.” 6 So they gathered at Mizpah and drew water and poured it out before Yehovah. They fasted that day, and it was there that they confessed, “We have sinned against Yehovah.” Samuel became the judge of the Israelites in Mizpah.

7 When the Philistines heard that the Israelites had gathered in Mizpah, the lords of the Philistines advanced against Israel. When the Israelites heard about it, they were afraid of the Philistines. 8 The Israelites asked Samuel, “Don’t stop crying to Yehovah our Elohim for us. Ask Him to rescue us from the grasp of the Philistines.” 9 Then Samuel took a nursing lamb and offered it as a whole burnt offering to Yehovah. Samuel cried to Yehovah for Israel, and Yehovah answered him.

10 While Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines approached to fight against Israel. But Yehovah thundered loudly that day against the Philistines and threw them into chaos, and they were defeated by Israel. 11 The Israelites rushed out of Mizpah and chased the Philistines, slaughtering them all the way to Beth Car.

12 Then Samuel took a rock and set it between Mizpah and Shen and named it “Stone of Help” and said, “Yehovah helped us to this point.”

13 So the Philistines were defeated and they didn’t invade Israel’s territory again. Yehovah’s hand was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel. 14 The cities that the Philistines had taken from Israel were returned to Israel, from Ekron all the way to Gath. Israel was delivered from the grasp of the Philistines. And there was peace between Israel and the Amorites.

15 Samuel continued to judge Israel all the days of his life. 16 Every year he would go on a circuit to Bethel, Gilgal and Mizpah and he would judge Israel in all those places. 17 He always returned to Ramah where his house was and he judged Israel there. And he built an altar to Yehovah there.

1 Samuel 8

Israel Demands a King

1 When Samuel was old that he appointed his sons as judges over Israel. 2 His firstborn son’s name was Joel and his second was Abijah. They were judges in Beersheba. 3 His sons didn’t 'live' the way he did. They turned to dishonest gain. They accepted bribes and perverted justice.

4 Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and went to Samuel at Ramah. 5 They told him, “You’re old, and your sons don’t 'live their lives' like you do. So appoint a king for us to rule over us just like all the other nations have.”

6 But Samuel was very angry when they said, “Give us a king to rule over us. So Samuel prayed to Yehovah. 7 Yehovah told Samuel, “Listen to what the people are saying to you, because they haven’t rejected you, but they’ve rejected Me as their King! 8 As with everything they’ve done since the day that I brought them out of Egypt including today, abandoned Me and served other gods, and they’re treating you the same way. 9 So listen to what they’re saying, but you must strongly warn them and explain the rights of the king who will reign over them.”

10 Samuel presented the entire 'message' of Yehovah to the people who were asking him for a king. 11 He said, “This is how the king will reign over you: He’ll draft your sons and make them serve on his chariots or in his 'cavalry' and make them run ahead of his chariots. 12 He’ll appoint some of them to be his commanders over thousands and over fifties, and some for harrowing his ground, harvesting his crops, making his weapons of war or equipment for his chariots. 13 He’ll take your daughters to be perfumers, cooks and bakers. 14 He’ll take the best of your fields, your vineyards and your olive groves and give them to his officials. 15 He’ll give a tenth of your grain and your vineyards to his officers and servants. 16 He’ll take your male and female servants, and your most capable young men, and your donkeys and use them for his own 'purposes'. 17 He’ll take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his servants. 18 When That Day Comes* you’ll cry out because of the king you’ve chosen for yourselves, but Yehovah won’t answer you then.”

19 But the people refused to listen to Samuel, and they said, “No, we want a king over us. 20 Then we’ll be like all the other nations, and our king can judge us, lead us out to war and fight our battles.”

21 When Samuel heard all the people’s 'sentiments', he repeated it to Yehovah. 22 Yehovah told Samuel, “Listen to what they say and appoint them a king.” So Samuel told the Israelites, “Everyone go back to your own city.

1 Samuel 9

Samuel Anoints Saul

1 There was a Benjamite named Kish, Abiel’s son, the grandson of Zeror and great-grandson of Aphiah’s son Becorath, the son of a Benjamite, a courageous man of valor. 2 He had a son named Saul, an impressive young man. There wasn’t a better looking man among the Israelites than he. From his shoulders up he was taller than any of the people.

3 The donkeys that belonged to Saul’s father Kish 'wandered off'. So Kish said to his son Saul, “Take one of the attendants with you and go look for the donkeys.” 4 He traveled thru the highlands of Ephraim and thru the land of Shalishah, but they didn’t find them, then they traveled thru the land of Shaalim, but they weren’t there. Then he traveled thru the territory of Benjamin, but they still didn’t find them.

5 When they came to the land of Zuph, Saul said to his servant who was with him, “Let’s go back, otherwise my father will stop caring about the donkeys and be worried about us.”

6 He told him, “There’s a man of Elohim in this city, and he is a man who is highly respected. Whatever he says comes true. So let’s go there. Maybe he’ll tell us which way to go!”

7 Then Saul said to his servant, “But if we go, what will we bring the man? The food in our sacks is gone and there is no present to bring to the man of Elohim. What do we have?”

8 Again the servant answered, “Look, I have in my hand a quarter of a shekel of silver. I’ll give that to the man of Elohim and he will tell us which way to go.” 9 (In earlier times in Israel when someone went to ask Elohim a question, he would say, “Come, let’s go to the seer,” because a person now called a prophet used to be called a seer.)

10 Then Saul said to his servant, “Well said. Let’s go.” So they headed to the city where the man of Elohim was.

11 As they were climbing the hill to the city they met some young women coming out to draw water, and they asked them, “Is the seer here?”

12 They answered, “He is. He’s just ahead of you. Hurry, he just entered the city today, since there’s a zebak today for the people in the high place.” 13 As soon as you come into the city, you’ll find him just before he goes up to the high place to eat. The people won’t eat until he comes because he blesses the zebak. Then the guests eat. So if you 'leave' now you should find him there now.”

14 So they went up to the city, and as they were entering the city they saw Samuel coming out toward them, heading for the high place.

15 Now a day before Saul came, Yehovah had informed Samuel, 16 “Tomorrow about this time I’ll send a man from the land of Benjamin to you. Anoint him as the leader over My people Israel. He’ll free My people from the grasp of the Philistines, because I’ve seen My people‘s suffering and their cry has come to Me.”

17 When Samuel saw Saul, Yehovah told him, “There’s the man I told you about! He’s the one who will rule over My people!”

18 Saul approached Samuel in the gateway and said, “Please tell me where the seer’s house is.”

19 Samuel replied, “I’m the seer. Go up ahead of me to the high place and you’ll eat with me today. In the morning I’ll let you go and respond to your every 'concern'. 20 As for your donkeys that were lost three days ago, don’t 'worry' about them because they’ve been found. Who are all the Israelites longing for? Isn’t it for you and all of your father’s 'family'?”

21 Saul replied, “I’m a Benjamite from the smallest tribe of Israel. And my family is the smallest of all the clans of the tribe of Benjamin. So why are you talking to me like this?”

22 Samuel brought Saul and his servant to the banquet hall and seated them at the head of the table with those who were invited, about thirty people. 23 Samuel told the cook, “Bring the portion of meat that I gave you, the one I told you to set aside. 24 So the cook picked up the thigh and what was on it and set it in front of Saul. Samuel said, “This has been reserved for you. Eat it, because it was saved for this specified time, ever since I invited the people.” So Saul ate with Samuel that day.

25 Once they came down from the high place into the city, 'Samuel' talked with Saul on the housetop. 26 They got up early at daybreak, and Samuel called to Saul on the housetop, “Get up, and I’ll send you on your way!” So Saul got up and both he and Samuel went outside. 27 As they reached the outskirts of the city, Samuel told Saul to send his servant on ahead, but you stay here for a while, so that I can give you Elohim’s word.”

1 Samuel 10

Saul Anointed by Samuel

1 Then Samuel took a flask of oil and poured it on 'Saul’s' head, kissed him and said, “Yehovah has anointed you to be leader over His inheritance [Israel]. 2 When you leave me today, you’ll find two men by Rachel’s tomb along the border of Benjamin at Zelzah. They’ll tell you that the donkeys that you were looking for have been found and your father is no longer concerned about the donkeys, He’s worried about you. He’s asking, ‘What should I do 'to find' my son?’

3 “Then you’ll go on from there and come to the oak of Tabor. Three men going up to worship Elohim in Bethel will meet you there, one carrying three young goats, another carrying three loaves of bread, and another carrying a wineskin full of wine. 4 They’ll greet you and give you two loaves of bread that you should accept from 'them'.

5 “After that you’ll come to the hill of Elohim where the garrison of the Philistines is, and when you come into the city you’ll meet a group of prophets coming down from the high place with harps, timbrels, pipes and lyres being played before them, and they’ll be prophesying. 6 Then 'Yehovah’s spirit' [feminine] will come over you strongly, and you’ll prophesy with them, and you’ll be changed into a different person! 7 After these signs take place, do what you need to do because Elohim is with you. 8 You’ll go down ahead of me to Gilgal, and I’ll come down to you to zebak and make fellowship zebakim! You must wait seven days until I come to you and show you what to do.”

9 Then, once he had turned his back to leave Samuel, Elohim changed his 'attitude', and all those signs were fulfilled that day. 10 When they came to the hill, a band of prophets met him, and 'Yehovah’s spirit' came on him strongly, and he prophesied along with them! 11 Then when everyone who knew him before saw that he was prophesying with the prophets, the people asked each other, “What’s happened to Kish’s son? Is Saul one of the prophets?”

12 Someone who lived there asked, “Who is their father?” So it became a saying, “Is Saul one of the prophets?”

13Once he was finished prophesying, he went to the high place. 14 Saul’s uncle asked him and his servant, “Where did you go?”

He said, “To look for the donkeys. When we couldn’t find them, we went to Samuel.”

15 Saul’s uncle said, “Please tell me what Samuel said to you.”

16 Saul said to his uncle, “He assured us the donkeys had been found. But he didn’t tell him what Samuel said about his becoming king.”

17 Then Samuel called the people together to Yehovah at Mizpah, 18 and he told the Israelites, “This is what Yehovah, the Elohim of Israel says: I brought Israel out of Egypt, and I rescued you from the grasp of the Egyptians and from the grasp of all the kingdoms that were oppressing you. 19 But today you’ve rejected your Elohim, the One who saves you from all your disasters and distresses. You told Him, ‘No, 'give' us a king.’ So present yourselves before Yehovah by your tribes and clans.”

20 Samuel had all the tribes of Israel come forward, and the tribe of Benjamin was chosen by lot. 21 Then he had the tribe of Benjamin come forward by clans and the Matrite family was selected. Finally Saul son of Kish was selected. But when they looked for him, they couldn’t find him. 22 So they asked Yehovah again, “Has he arrived here yet?”

Yehovah answered, “'Yes', He is hiding among the supplies!” 23 So they ran and got him, and when he stood among the people, he was head and shoulders above the other people.

24 Samuel asked all the people, “Do you see the one Yehovah has chosen? There is no one like him in the entire population.”

Then all the people shouted, “Long live the king!”

25 Then Samuel told the people the regulations of the kingdom, and wrote them in a book, and placed it in front of Yehovah. Then Samuel sent all the people to their own houses.

26 Saul also went home to Gibeah accompanied by some valiant men whose 'honor' Elohim had touched. 27 But certain lowlife men said, “How could this man save us?” They despised him and wouldn’t bring him any presents. But he remained silent.

1 Samuel 11

Saul Rescues Jabesh Gilead

1 Then Nahash the Ammonite came up and laid siege to Jabesh Gilead, and all the men of Jabesh Gilead said to Nahash, “Make a peace treaty with us and we’ll serve you.”

2 Nahash the Ammonite told them, “I’ll make a peace treaty with you on the condition that I gouge out everyone’s right eye and humiliate all Israel.”

3 The elders of Jabesh told him, “Give us seven days to send messengers thruout the territory of Israel, and then if there’s no one to save us, we’ll 'surrender' to you.

4 When the messengers arrived in Gibeah, Saul’s hometown, and 'announced' the 'terms' to the people, they all cried aloud. 5 Just then Saul was returning from a field behind his bulls, and he asked, “What’s the matter? Why is everyone crying?” So they told him what the men from Jabesh had said.

6 'Elohim’s spirit' came on Saul strongly when he heard those words, and he was burning with anger. 7 He took a 'pair' of bulls and cut them in pieces, and sent 'the pieces' thruout the territory of Israel by the hands of messengers, proclaiming, “This is what will happen to the bulls of anyone who doesn’t follow Saul and Samuel.” The terror of Yehovah fell on the people and they came out in solidarity as one man. 8 When Saul counted them in Bezek, there were 300,000 men from Israel and 30,000 Jewish men.

9 They told the messengers who came, “This is what you must tell the men of Jabesh Gilead, ‘Tomorrow, by the time the sun is hot you’ll be rescued.’” When the messengers came and told the men of Jabesh, they were ecstatic!

10 So the men of Jabesh said to Nahash the Ammonite, “Tomorrow we’ll 'surrender' to you, and you can do to us whatever you see fit.” 11 The next day Saul organized the troops into three divisions. During the last watch of the night they attacked the Ammonite camp and slaughtered them until the heat of the day. The survivors were so scattered that no two of them were left together.

12 The people then said to Samuel, “Who are the people who asked, ‘Should Saul reign over us?’ Hand them over to us, so that we can kill them!”

13 Saul said, “No one will be executed today, because Yehovah has rescued Israel today.”

14 Then Samuel said to the people, “Come, let’s go to Gilgal and renew the kingship there.” 15 So all the people went to Gilgal, and made Saul king in the presence of Yehovah in Gilgal, and they zebaked fellowship zebakim 'to' Yehovah there. That is where Saul and all the Israelites celebrated.

1 Samuel 12

Samuel’s Farewell Address

1 Samuel said to all Israel, “I’ve listened to everything you’ve said to me and 'given' you a king! 2 Now the king is 'leading' you, but I’m old and gray-headed and my sons are with you. I’ve 'led' you from my youth until now. 3 Here I am. Testify against me before Yehovah and before His anointed king. Whose bull have I taken? Whose donkey have I taken? Who have I cheated? Who have I exploited, or from whose hands have I taken a bribe to blind my eyes? I’ll make restitution to you.”

4 They said, “You haven’t cheated us or oppressed us, and you haven’t taken anything from anyone’s hands.”

5 He told them, “Yehovah and His anointed is testifying today that you haven’t found anything in my 'possession'.”

They said, “He’s a witness.”

6 Samuel told the people, “It is Yehovah who appointed Moses and Aaron, and who brought your ancestors up from the land of Egypt. 7 Now take your stand, so that I can plead with you before Yehovah concerning all the righteous acts of Yehovah that He did for you and to your ancestors.

8 “When Jacob went to Egypt, your ancestors cried out to Yehovah, then Yehovah sent Moses and Aaron who brought your ancestors out of Egypt and settled them in this place. 9 But they forgot Yehovah their Elohim, so He sold them into the grasp of Sisera, captain of the army of Hazor and into the grasp of the Philistines, and into the grasp of the kings of Moab, and they fought against them.

10 “They cried out to Yehovah and said, ‘We have sinned because we have forsaken Yehovah and served the Baals and the Ashtaroths, but now save us from the grasp of our enemies and we’ll serve You.’ 11 Then Yehovah sent Jerubbaal, Bedan, Jephthah and Samuel and saved you from the grasp of your enemies on every side so that you could live securely.

12 “But when you saw King Nahash of Ammon coming against you, you told Me, “No, we want a king to rule over us,” even tho Yehovah your Elohim was already your king! 13 So here is the king who you’ve requested, who you’ve asked for. Yehovah has 'given' you a king!

14 “If you’ll revere Yehovah, serve Him and listen to His voice, and don’t rebel against Yehovah’s 'instructions', then both you and the king who reigns over you will follow Yehovah your Elohim. 15 But if you don’t obey the voice of Yehovah, but rebel against the 'voice' of Yehovah, then the hand of Yehovah will be against you as it was against your ancestors.

16 “So now, stand still and witness the 'violent phenomenon' that Yehovah is about to do before your very eyes. 17 Isn’t the wheat being harvested today? I’ll call on Yehovah and He will send 'thunder' and rain, and you’ll realize what an evil thing you did in the sight of Yehovah by asking for a king.”

18 So Samuel called to Yehovah, and Yehovah sent 'thunder' and rain that day, and all the people greatly feared Yehovah and Samuel. 19 Then all the people pleaded with Samuel, “Pray to Yehovah your Elohim for your servants, so that we won’t die since we have added to all our sins this evil by asking for a king.”

20 “Don’t be afraid,” Samuel told the people. You’ve certainly done all this evil, yet don’t turn away from following Yehovah. Serve Yehovah with 'a clean' conscience. 21 Don’t turn back because then you would be following useless things that can’t profit or rescue you. They’re absolutely useless! 22 For the sake of His great name, Yehovah won’t abandon His people since Yehovah is willing to make you His people.

23 “As for me, far be it from me to sin against Yehovah in ceasing to pray for you. I’ll continue instructing you in the good and right way. 24 Only revere Yehovah, and serve Him in truth with your whole being, and remember the wonderful things He’s done for you. 25 But if you continue to be wicked, both you and your king will be swept away.”

1 Samuel 13

War with the Philistines

1 Saul was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned over Israel for forty-two years.

2 Saul chose 3,000 Israelite men; 2,000 of them were with Saul in Michmash and in the highlands of Bethel, while 1,000 were with Jonathan in Gibeah of Benjamin. But the rest of the men he sent 'back home' to their tents.

3 Jonathan attacked the Philistine garrison in Geba, and the Philistines heard about it. Saul had shofars blown thruout the land and said, “The Hebrews must hear!” 4 All of Israel heard the news that Saul had destroyed the Philistine garrison, and also that Israel was now hated by the Philistines. As a result the people were then summoned to join Saul at Gilgal.

5 The Philistines gathered to fight against Israel with 30,000 chariots, 6,000 cavalry and soldiers as numerous as the sand on the seashore. They came up and camped in Michmash, east of Beth Aven. 6 When the Israelites saw that they were in a bind (because the people were hard pressed), they hid in caves, in thickets, among the rocks, in cellars and in cisterns. 7 Some of the Hebrews had crossed over the Jordan River to the land of Gawd and Gilead.

But Saul remained in Gilgal, and everyone followed him trembling. 8 He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel, but Samuel didn’t come to Gilgal and the people were scattering from him. 9 So Saul said, “Bring the burnt offering and the fellowship zebakim to me.” And he offered the burnt offering. 10 As soon as he finished offering the burnt offering, Samuel arrived. Saul went out to meet and welcome him.

11 Samuel asked, “What have you done?”

Saul said, “I saw that the people were deserting me and that you hadn’t come within the appointed days, and that the Philistines were gathering at Michmash, 12 So I thought, ‘The Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I haven’t asked for Yehovah’s favor.’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering.”

13 Samuel said to Saul, “You’ve done something foolish. You haven’t obeyed the commandment of Yehovah your Elohim as He commanded you. If you had, Yehovah would have established your 'kingdom' [dynasty] over Israel forever. 14 But now your kingdom won’t endure. Yehovah has found a man with His own 'mindset', and Yehovah has already appointed him as leader over His people because you haven’t followed Yehovah’s command.”

15 Samuel got up and went up from Gilgal to Gibeah of Benjamin. And Saul managed to gather the people who were present with him, only about six hundred men. 16 Saul and his son Jonathan and the people with them stayed in Geba of Benjamin, while the Philistines were camped at Michmash. 17 Raiding parties left the camp of the Philistines in three 'detachments', one turned toward Ophrah, in the vicinity of Shual, 18 and another turned toward Beth Horon, and another turned toward the border that overlooks the Valley of Zeboim near the wilderness.

19 There were no blacksmiths thruout the entire land of Israel, because the Philistines 'thought' the Hebrews would make swords and spears. 20 But all the Israelites went down to the Philistines, and all the men sharpened their harrow blades, mattocks, axes and sickles. 21 The price was two-thirds [?] of a shekel for sharpening a harrow tine or a mattock, and a third [?] of a shekel for sharpening an ax and for repointing cattle prods. 22 So on the day of the battle there wasn’t a sword or a spear to be found in the hands of any of the people who were with Saul and Jonathan. Only Saul and his son Jonathan had them.

23 A detachment of Philistines went out to the pass of Michmash.

1 Samuel 14

Jonathan’s Victory

1 One day Saul’s son Jonathan said to his young armor bearer, “Let’s go over to the Philistines’ garrison on the other side.” But he didn’t tell his father.

2 Saul was staying on the outskirts of Gibeah under a pomegranate tree in Migron, and about six hundred men were with him, 3 including Ahijah, the son of Ahitub, Ichabod’s brother, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eli, the priest of Yehovah in Shiloh. Ahijah was wearing an ephod.

No one realized that Jonathan was gone. 4 Between the passes that Jonathan intended to cross to reach the Philistine garrison, there was a 'steep' cliff on the one side and a steep cliff on the other side. The name of the one was Bozez, and the name of the other was Seneh. 5 The one cliff rose up on the north in front of Michmash, and the other to the south in front of Geba. 6 Jonathan said to his armor bearer, “Let’s cross over to the garrison of these uncircumcised men. Maybe Yehovah will help us because nothing can prevent Yehovah from saving us whether from many or from a few.”

7 His armor bearer told him, “Do everything you have in mind. Go ahead. I’m with you whatever you have in mind.”

8 Jonathan said, “Then we’ll go over to the 'Philistines' and let them see us. 9 If they tell us, ‘Wait until we come to you!’ Then we’ll stay where we are, and we won’t approach them. 10 But if they say, ‘Come up and fight,’ Then we’ll climb up. That will be the sign that Yehovah has handed them over to us!”

11 So they both stood within view of the Philistine garrison, and the Philistines said, “Look, some Hebrews are coming out of the holes they’ve been hiding in!” 12 The men of the garrison told Jonathan and his armor bearer, “Come up to us, and we’ll show you something!”

Jonathan said to his armor bearer, “Follow me, because Yehovah has handed them over to Israel.”

13 Jonathan climbed on his hands and feet, and his armor bearer right behind him. Jonathan struck them down and his armor bearer followed and finished them off. 14 In that first attack Jonathan and his armor killed about twenty men in an area of about half a yolk [half an acre].

15 There was 'panic' in the Philistine camp, in the fields, and among all the people, including the garrison and the raiding parties. The earth quaked and there was a panic sent from Elohim.

16 Saul’s watchmen in Gibeah of Benjamin saw the crowd vanishing as they scattered 'in every direction'. 17 Then Saul told the people who were with him, “'Check' and see who is no longer with us.” After 'searching', they saw that Jonathan and his armor bearer were not there.

18 Then Saul said to Ahijah, “Bring the Ark of Elohim here,” since the Ark of Elohim was with the Israelites at the time. 19 While Saul talked to the priest, the confusion in the Philistine camp continued and increased, and Saul told the priest, “Remove your hand!

20 Then Saul and all the people with him rallied and joined in the battle. They found the 'Philistines' killing their own men with swords in wild confusion. 21 The Hebrews who had previously joined up with the Philistines and had gone up with them to their camp from the surrounding areas even joined the Israelites who were with Saul and Jonathan. 22 When all the Israelites who had hidden in the highlands of Ephraim heard that the Philistines were fleeing, they also 'zealously' pursued them in the battle. 23 So Yehovah saved Israel that day, and the battle spread beyond Beth Aven.

24 The Israelites were worn out that day because Saul had bound the people under oath: “Cursed is the man who eats any food before evening, and before I‘ve gotten revenge on my enemies.” So none of them tasted food. 25 All the people of the land went into the forest, and there was honey on the ground. 26 When the people entered the forest they saw honey trickling from bee hives, but no one put a handful in his mouth, because the people were frightened by the oath.

27 But Jonathan hadn’t heard that his father put the people under oath. He reached out with the end of the staff he was carrying and dipped it into the honeycomb, and when he put his hand to his mouth his 'energy was restored'. 28 Then one of the men said, “Your father strictly put the people under oath that anyone who eats food today is cursed. That’s why the men are 'exhausted'.”

29 Jonathan answered, “My father has made trouble for the country. See how my energy was restored when I ate a little of this honey? 30 How much better it would have been if the men had eaten some of the spoils of their enemies that they found today! The slaughter among the Philistines could have been much greater.”

31 They struck the Philistines down that day from Michmash to Aijalon, and the people were exhausted. 32 At sundown the people rushed to the spoil, and took sheep, cattle and calves, and slaughtered them on the ground, and the people ate them with the blood. 33 Then they told Saul, “The people are sinning against Yehovah by eating meat with the blood.”

He said, “You’ve been unfaithful. Roll a large stone over here 'at once'.” 34 Saul said, “Spread out among the people, and tell them, ‘Each of you, bring me your bull or your sheep and butcher it here and eat. But don’t sin against Yehovah by eating meat with the blood.’”

So each of them brought their bull with him that night and butchered it there. 35 Then Saul built an altar to Yehovah. It was the first altar that he built to Yehovah.

36 Then Saul said, “Let’s go down after the Philistines tonight and plunder them until the morning light, and let’s not leave a man alive.”

“They said, “Do whatever seems right to you.”

Then the priest said, “Let’s consult Elohim here.”

37 So Saul asked Elohim, “Should I go down after the Philistines? Will You hand them over to Israel?” But He didn’t answer him that day.

38 Saul said, “Come here, all you leaders of the people and investigate the sin that has been committed today. 39 As surely as Yehovah lives who saves Israel, if my son Jonathan is guilty he must die!” But there wasn’t a man among the people who said a word.

40 Then he said to all Israel, “You remain on one side, and I and Jonathan my son will stay on the other side.”

The people told Saul, “Do whatever you think is best”

41 Then Saul said, “Render a judgment by lots. Jonathan and Saul were selected, but the people were cleared of guilt. derffffff

42 Saul said, “Cast lots between me and my son Jonathan,” and Jonathan was selected.

43 Then Saul said to Jonathan, “Tell me what you’ve done!” Jonathan told him, “ I tasted a little honey on the end of the staff I had in my hand, so now I must die!”

44 Saul said, “May Elohim do this to me and even more, because you will most certainly die, Jonathan.”

45 The people said to Saul, “Must Jonathan die because he brought about this great victory in Israel? Absolutely not! As Yehovah lives, not one hair of his head will fall to the ground, because he was working with Elohim today!” So the people rescued Jonathan so that he wasn’t killed.

46 Then Saul quit chasing the Philistines, and the Philistines returned to their own 'homeland'.

47 “After Saul had taken over the kingdom Israel, he fought against all his enemies on every side, against Moab, the Ammonites, Edom, the kings of Zobah and the Philistines. Wherever he turned he was victorious. 48 He was valiant and defeated the Amalekites and rescued Israel from the grasp of those who had been plundering them.

49 Saul’s sons were Jonathan, Ishvi and Malchishua. The names of his two daughters were Merab, his firstborn, and Michal, the younger. 50 The name of Saul’s wife was Ahinoam, the daughter of Ahimaaz. The name of the commander of his army was Abner, the son of Saul’s uncle Ner. 51 Kish, Saul’s father, and Ner, Abner’s father, were Abiel’s sons.

52 There was an intense war against the Philistines all the days of Saul, and when Saul saw any courageous or valiant man, he drafted him into his army.

1 Samuel 15

Saul Disobeys Yehovah

1 Samuel told Saul, “Yehovah sent me to anoint you as king over His people Israel. So listen to the 'message from' Yehovah. 2 This is what Commander Yehovah said: I’ll punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they blocked 'them' along the way as 'they' were coming out of Egypt. 3 Now go and attack Amalek, and devote to destruction everything that 'they' have. Spare no one. Kill men and women, children and infants, bulls and sheep, camels and donkeys.”

4 Saul summoned the men, and counted them in Telaim, 200,000 foot soldiers and 10,000 Jewish men. 5 Saul went to the city of Amalek and set an ambush in the valley. 6 Saul told the Kenites, “Get away from the Amalekites so that I don’t destroy you with them, because you showed kindness to all the Israelites when they came up from Egypt.” So the Kenites moved away from the Amalekites.

7 Then Saul defeated the Amalekites all the way from Havilah to Shur, east of Egypt. 8 He captured King Agag of Amalek alive, but he completely destroyed all the rest of the people with swords. 9 But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep and cattle—the fattened animals and lambs—along with everything of value. They were not willing to completely destroy them, but they did completely destroy everything worthless and unwanted .

10 Then the Word of Yehovah came to Samuel: 11 “I regret that I made Saul king because he has turned away from following Me and hasn’t carried out My commands.” Samuel was angry and he cried to Yehovah all night.

12 Samuel got up early in the morning to meet Saul, but he was told, “Saul went to Carmel where he set up a monument for himself. Then he turned around and traveled on to Gilgal.”

13 When Samuel reached Saul, Saul said, “May Yehovah bless you! I’ve carried out Yehovah’s commands.”

14 But Samuel asked, “Then what is this bleating of sheep I’m hearing and the lowing of bulls that I hear?”

15 Saul answered, “The 'men' brought them from the Amalekites and spared the best of the sheep and the bulls to zebak to Yehovah your Elohim, but we completely destroyed the rest.”

16 Then Samuel said to Saul, “Stop. I’ll tell you what Yehovah told me last night!”

He told him, “Tell me.”

17 Samuel said, “Even tho you were once small in your own eyes, you were still made the head of the tribes of Israel. Yehovah anointed you king over Israel, 18 and Yehovah sent you on a 'mission' and said, ‘Go, and completely destroy the sinful Amalekites and fight against them until they are exterminated.’ 19 Why didn’t you obey Yehovah instead of taking the spoils and doing what was evil in Yehovah’s sight?”

20 Saul said to Samuel, “I have obeyed Yehovah, and went on the 'mission' that Yehovah sent me on, and brought back King Agag of Amalek and completely destroyed the Amalekites. 21 But the people took some of the spoil, sheep and cattle, the best of the things devoted to destruction to zebak to Yehovah your Elohim in Gilgal.”

22 So Samuel asked, “Does Yehovah delight in burnt offerings and zebakim as much as in obeying Yehovah? Obedience is better than zebakim, and paying attention is better than the fat of rams.

23 Rebellion is like the sin of witchcraft, and disobedience is like wickedness and idolatry. Because you’ve rejected the Word of Yehovah, He has also rejected you as king.”

24 Then Saul said to Samuel, “I’ve sinned by not following Yehovah’s command or your instructions, because I feared the people and listened to 'them'. 25 Now please forgive my sin and come back with me so that I can worship Yehovah.”

26 But Samuel said to Saul, “I won’t return with you because you’ve rejected the Word of Yehovah, and Yehovah has rejected you as king over Israel!”

27 As Samuel turned to leave, Saul grabbed the hem of his robe and it tore. 28 Samuel told him, “Yehovah has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today and has given it to a neighbor of yours who is better than you. 29 Also the Eminence of Israel won’t lie or change His mind, because He doesn’t grieve His decisions the way people do.”

30 Then he said, “I’ve sinned, but please honor me before the elders of my people and before Israel; and come back with me, so that I can worship Yehovah your Elohim.” 31 So Samuel returned with Saul, and Saul worshiped Yehovah.

32 Then Samuel said, “Bring me King Agag of Amalek!” Agag came to him cheerfully [?]. Agag said, “Surely the bitterness of death is past.” 33 But Samuel said,

“As your sword has made women childless, so your mother will be childless among women!”

And Samuel hacked Agag in pieces before Yehovah in Gilgal.

34 Then Samuel went to Ramah, and Saul went up to his house in Gibeah of Saul.

35 Samuel didn’t see Saul again until the day of his death. Nevertheless, Samuel mourned for Saul. And Yehovah regretted that He had made Saul king over Israel.

1 Samuel 16

Samuel Anoints David

1 Yehovah asked Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, since I’ve rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and go. I’m sending you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, because I’ve selected one of his sons to be king.” 2 But Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears about it, he’ll kill me.”

Yehovah said, “Take a heifer with you, and say, ‘I’ve come to make a zebak to Yehovah.’ 3 Invite Jesse to the zebak, and I’ll show you what to do. You must anoint for Me the one I tell you.” 4 Samuel did what Yehovah said. When he came to Bethlehem, the elders of the city came to meet him trembling and said, “Do you come in peace?” 5 He said, “In peace, I’ve come to make a zebak to Yehovah. Purify yourselves and come with me to the zebak.” He dedicated Jesse and his sons and called them to the zebak.

6 “Once they came, he looked at Eliab, and thought, “Surely Yehovah’s anointed is before Him.” 7 But Yehovah told Samuel, “Don’t consider his appearance or his height because I’ve rejected him. Elohim doesn’t view things the way a man does, because men look at the outward appearance, but Yehovah looks at the 'innermost being'.” 8 Then Jesse called Abinadab, and had him come by Samuel. He said, “Yehovah hasn’t chosen this one either.” 9 Next Jesse had Shammah come by. And he said, “Yehovah hasn’t chosen this one either.” 10 Jesse brought seven of his sons before Samuel, and Samuel told Jesse, “Yehovah hasn’t chosen any of these.” 11 Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?”

He said, “There is still the youngest. He’s out tending the sheep.” Samuel said to Jesse, “Send someone to get him because we won’t 'continue' until he arrives.” 12 He sent someone to get him. Now he was ruddy, with a fine appearance and handsome features. Yehovah said, “Get up and anoint him. He’s the one.” 13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and 'Yehovah’s spirit' came on David strongly from that day forward. So Samuel got up, and went to Ramah.

14 Now 'Yehovah’s spirit' left Saul, and an antagonistic spirit from Yehovah troubled him. 15 Saul’s servants told him, “An antagonistic spirit from Elohim is terrorizing you! 16 Our lord, why don’t you command your officials to look for a man who’s a skillful harp player. Then, when the antagonistic spirit from Elohim comes to you, he’ll strike the strings and you’ll feel better.” 17 Saul told his officials, “Find me a man who can play well and bring him to me.” 18 Then one of the young men said, “I’ve seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite who is a skilled musician, a mighty man of valor, a warrior, discerning in speech, and a handsome man, and Yehovah is with him.” 19 So Saul sent messengers to Jesse and said, “Send me your son David, the shepherd.” 20 Jesse took a donkey loaded with bread, and a skin of wine, and a young goat, and sent them with his son David to Saul. 21 Then David came to Saul and served him. Saul loved him very much, and he became his armor bearer. 22 Saul sent a message to Jesse that said, “Please allow David to be my attendant because I’m pleased with him.” 23 Then whenever the antagonistic spirit from Elohim came to Saul, David would take the harp and strike the strings, and Saul would be refreshed, and the antagonistic spirit would leave him.

1 Samuel 17

David and Goliath

1 The Philistines gathered their armies for battle at Socoh in Judah, and they camped between Socoh and Azekah in Ephes Dammim. 2 Saul and the Israelites gathered and camped in the valley of Elah and formed a battle formation to encounter the Philistines. 3 The Philistines lined up on the mountain on one side and the Israelites were on the mountain on the other side, with a valley between them.

4 And a mighty champion from the camp of the Philistines named Goliath of Gath came out. He was six cubits and a span tall. 5 He wore a bronze helmet on his head, and bronze scale armor that weighed 5,000 shekels [125 pounds] of bronze. 6 He had bronze armor on his shins, and a bronze javelin slung between his shoulders. 7 The shaft of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and his iron spear head weighed six hundred shekels [about 15 pounds], and a shield bearer walked ahead of him. 8 Goliath stood and shouted to the Israels, “Why have you come out lined up in battle array? I’m the Philistine champion and you are servants of Saul. Choose one of your men and have him come down to me. 9 If he’s able to fight and kill me, then we will be your subjects; but if I 'kill' him, then you’ll be our subjects and serve us.” 10 Then the Philistine said, “I defy the ranks of Israel today! Send me a man so we can fight each other!” 11 When Saul and all the Israelites heard what this Philistine 'said', they lost their courage and were terrified.

12 Now David was Jesse’s son, an Ephraimite from Bethlehem in Judah who had eight sons. Jesse had eight sons and during Saul’s reign the man was 'quite' old and advanced in years. 13 Jesse’s three oldest sons had followed Saul to the battle and the names of his three sons who went to the battle were Eliab the firstborn, and next to him Abinadab, and the third was Shammah. 14 David was the youngest. The three oldest had followed Saul, 15 but David kept going back and forth from Saul to tend his father’s sheep in Bethlehem.

16 The Philistine came out every morning and evening for forty days and 'made' his 'challenge'. 17 Jesse told his son David, “Take your brothers this ephah of parched grain and these ten loaves. Run it to 'their' camp. 18 And take these ten cuts of cheese to the commander of their thousand. See how your brothers are and bring back some 'news' about them.” 19 They, along with Saul and all the Israelites are in the Valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines.

20 David got up early in the morning, and left the sheep with a shepherd, picked up the supplies and went as Jesse had commanded him. And he arrived at the encampment just as the army that was heading for the battlefield shouting their battle cry. 21 Israel and the Philistines formed their battle lines, army against army. 22 Then David left his provisions in the care of the supply keeper, and ran to the battle line, went to his brothers and asked how they were. 23 As he talked with them, he saw Goliath, the Philistine champion from Gath coming from the ranks of the Philistines, shouting his usual taunt, and David heard them. 24 When all of the Israelites saw the man, they fled from him in terror.

25 The Israelites said, “Have you seen this man who keeps coming out? He comes out to defy Israel. The king has offered a fortune to anyone who kills him, and will give him his daughter and make his father’s family free of taxation in Israel.“

26 David asked the men who were standing by him, “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes the reproach from Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should insult the army of the living Elohim?”

27 The people 'repeated' the offer: “That is what will be done for the man who kills him.”

28 Eliab, his oldest brother heard when he asked the men, and Eliab burned with anger at David and asked him, “Why have you come down? Who have you left the few sheep in the wilderness with? I know your arrogance and your rotten attitude. You just came to watch the fighting!”

29 David asked, “What have I done now? Can’t I even ask a question?” 30 He turned away from him toward someone else and asked the same question, and the men answered him as before.

31 What David said was overheard and reported to Saul, and 'Saul' sent for him.

32 David said to Saul, “No one should be daunted by him. Your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.”

33 But Saul replied to David, “You can’t go out against this Philistine to fight with him. You’re only a boy, and he’s been a warrior from his youth.”

34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been tending his father’s sheep, and whenever a lion or a bear came and took a lamb from the flock, 35 I went after it, struck it down and rescued the lamb from its mouth. If it reared up against me, I grabbed it by the beard and beat it to death. 36 Your servant has killed lions and bears; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them since he has defied the army of the living Elohim. 37 David said, “Yehovah saved me from the claws of lions and bears and He will save me from the grasp of this Philistine.”

Saul said to David, “Go, and may Yehovah be with you.”

38 Saul had David put on his own and put a bronze helmet on his head and a coat of armor. 39 David strapped 'Saul’s' sword over his armor and tried to walk, but he was not used to them.

So David said to Saul, “I can’t go with these because I am not used to them.” So David took them off. 40 Then he took his staff in his hand, and chose for himself five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in the pouch in his shepherd’s bag, and with his sling in his hand he headed for the Philistine.

41 The Philistine walked out toward David with his shield-bearer in front of him. 42 When the Philistine saw David, he was filled with contempt because he was just a 'handsome red headed boy. 43 The Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog that you come at me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44 The Philistine said to David, “Come to me and I’ll 'feed' your flesh to the birds from the air and the beasts of the field.”

45 Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, a spear and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of Commander Yehovah, the Elohim of the armies of Israel who you have defied. 46 Today Yehovah will hand you over to me. I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. I’ll 'feed' the dead bodies of the army of the Philistines to the birds from the air today, and to the wild animals from the field, so that all the earth can know that there is an Elohim in Israel, 47 and this entire assembly will know that Yehovah doesn’t save with swords and spears, because the battle is Yehovah’s, and He’ll hand all of you over to us.”

48 When the Philistine moved closer to attack David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. 49 David reached in his bag, took out a stone, slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown to the ground.

50 So David defeated the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him, but David wasn’t 'packing' a sword,

51 so David ran and stood over the Philistine, grabbed his sword, and pulled it from its sheath to 'finish him off' by cutting off his head with it.

When the Philistines saw that their champion had been killed, they turned and ran. 52 The Israelites and the Jews [1] 'rushed in' shouting, and chased the Philistines as far as the valley and the gates of Ekron. Fatally wounded Philistines fell along the way to Shaaraim and all the way to Gath and Ekron. 53 When the Israelites returned from chasing down the Philistines, they plundered their camp. 54 David took the Philistine’s head and brought it to Jerusalem; but he kept Goliath’s weapons in his own tent.

55 When Saul saw David going out against the Philistine, he asked Abner, the commander of the army, “Abner, whose son is this young man?”

Abner said, “As surely as you live, O king, I don’t know.”

56 The king said, “Find out whose son the young man is!”

57 When David returned from killing the Philistine, Abner brought him to Saul, still holding the Philistine’s head. 58 Saul asked him, “Whose son are you, young man?”

David answered, “I’m the son of your servant Jesse the Bethlehemite.”

[1] There is a distinction between Israel and the Jews

1 Samuel 18

David’s Success

1 When David finished talking to Saul, Jonathan bonded in spirit with David. Jonathan loved him as much as he loved himself. 2 Saul took 'David' that day and wouldn’t allow him return to his father’s house. 3 Then Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as much as he loved himself. 4 Jonathan stripped himself of the outer robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his armor, including his sword, his bow and his belt.

5 So David went out wherever Saul sent him, and he acted wisely and prospered; and Saul appointed him over the army. And it pleased all the people including Saul’s officers.

6 As the men were returning home after David returned from killing the Philistine, the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet king Saul with tambourines, songs of joy and with musical instruments. 7 The women were singing to each other as they played:

“Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.”

8 Saul was very angry and resented the lyrics that credited tens of thousands to David, but only credited him with thousands, and thought “What more can he have but the kingdom?” 9 So Saul eyed David from that day on.

10 The next day an evil spirit from Elohim overcame Saul, and he began speaking under its influence inside the 'palace' while David was playing his harp, as he did every day, but Saul was holding a spear, 11 Saul hurled a spear, thinking, “I’ll pin David to the wall!” But David eluded him twice.

12 Saul was afraid of David, because Yehovah was with him but had departed from Saul. 13 So Saul reassigned 'David', and made him captain over a thousand. David led the troops out to battle and back again.

14 David continued to be successful in everything he did because Yehovah was with him. 15 When Saul saw how successful he was, he feared him. 16 But everyone in Israel and Judah loved David since he led them to victory in their campaigns.

17 Saul said to David, “I’ll give you my eldest daughter Merab in marriage if you become my warrior and fight Yehovah’s battles.” Saul was thinking, “I won’t lay a hand on him. I’ll let the Philistines handle that.”

18 David responded to Saul, “Who am I, and what is my family or my father’s clan in Israel that I should be the king’s son-in-law?” 19 But at the time when Saul’s daughter Merab should have been given to David, she was given in marriage to Adriel of Meholah.

20 Now Saul’s daughter Michal was in love with David, and when they told Saul 'about it' he was pleased. 21 Saul thought, “I’ll give her to him so that she’ll be a snare to him, and the hand of the Philistines will be against him.” So Saul said to David a second time, “You can now be my son-in-law.”

22 Saul ordered his officers, “Meet with David in secret. Tell him, ‘The king likes you, and all his officers love you; so you should become the king’s son-in-law.”

23 So Saul’s officers reported this 'message' to David in private. But David said, “Is it trivial in your sight to become the king’s son-in-law? I am a poor man, a commoner?”

24 When the officers told Saul what David had said, 25 Saul said, “Tell David that the only dowry the king wants is a hundred Philistine foreskins, to take vengeance on the king’s enemies.” In reality, Saul’s intention was to cause David’s death by the hands of the Philistines.

26 When his officers reported these 'terms' to David, he was pleased to become the king’s son-in-law. So before the 'offer' expired, 27 David and his men went out and killed two hundred Philistines. David presented all of their foreskins to the king so he could become the king’s son-in-law. So Saul gave his daughter Michal to David as his wife.

28 When Saul realized that Yehovah was with David, and that 'his' daughter Michal loved him, 29 Saul became even more afraid of David. So Saul was David’s enemy from then on.

30 The Philistine commanders continued coming out to fight, and whenever they did, David used better strategy than any of Saul’s other officers, and his name was highly esteemed.

1 Samuel 19

Saul Plans to Kill David

1 Saul told his son Jonathan and all his servants to kill David. But Jonathan, Saul’s son, really liked David. 2 So Jonathan told David, “My father Saul wants to kill you. So be on your guard tomorrow morning. Find a hiding place and stay hidden. 3 I’ll go out and stand beside my father in the field where you are, and I’ll talk with my father about you. If I 'learn' anything, I’ll tell you.”

4 Jonathan spoke to his father Saul favorably about David. He told him, “The king shouldn’t sin against his servant David because he hasn’t sinned against you, and his achievements have been very beneficial to you. 5 He 'risked' his life to kill the Philistine, and Yehovah brought about a great victory for all Israel. You saw it and celebrated. So why would you sin against an innocent 'man' by killing David for no reason?”

6 Saul listened to what Jonathan 'said', and Saul vowed, “As Yehovah lives, he won’t be assassinated.”

7 Jonathan called David and told him all 'this'. Jonathan brought David to Saul, and he 'served' him as before.

8 The war continued and David went out and fought against the Philistines. He was slaughtering them so decisively that they fled from him.

9 An evil spirit sent from Yehovah came on Saul as he was sitting in his house with his spear in his hand, while David was playing his harp 'again'. 10 Saul tried to pin David to the wall with 'his' spear. But he dodged it and Saul’s spear stuck in the wall. David fled and escaped that night.

11 Saul sent agents to David’s house to watch for him and murder him in the morning. Michal, David’s wife, warned him, “If you don’t 'run' for your life tonight, you’ll be dead tomorrow.” 12 So Michal lowered David thru a window, and he escaped on foot. 13 Michal took an image, and laid it in the bed, and put a pillow of goats’ hair at its head, and covered it with clothes.

14 And when Saul sent agents to take David, she said, “He’s sick.”

15 Saul sent the agents back to see David, saying, “Bring him to me in 'his' bed so I can kill him.” 16 But when the agents came in they saw the image in the bed with the cover of goat hair at its head!

17 Saul asked Michal, “Why have you deceived me like this, and allowed my enemy to escape?”

Michal answered Saul, “He told me, ‘Let me get away. I don’t need to kill you?’”

18 Now David fled and escaped; he came to Samuel at Ramah and told him everything that Saul had done to him. Then he and Samuel left and stayed at Naioth. 19 When it was reported to Saul that David was at Naioth in Ramah, 20 Saul sent agents to seize David, but when they saw the group of prophets prophesying, with Samuel leading them, 'Yehovah’s spirit' came on Saul’s agents, and they also started prophesying. 21 When Saul heard what had happened, he sent other agents, and they also prophesied. So Saul sent a third 'group' of agents, and they prophesied as well. 22 So he went to Ramah himself, and came as far as the large cistern in Secu, and he asked, “Where are Samuel and David?”

And someone said, “They are at Naioth in Ramah.”

23 So Saul went to Naioth in Ramah. But 'Yehovah’s spirit' came on him too, and he walked along prophesying until he entered Naioth in Ramah. 24 He even stripped off his clothes as he prophesied in Samuel’s presence and lay there naked all day and all night. This is where the saying, “Is Saul one of the prophets?” came from.

1 Samuel 20

Jonathan Protects David

1 David fled from Naioth in Ramah and came to Jonathan and asked, “What have I done? What crime am I guilty of? What sin have I committed against your father that he’s trying to kill me?”

2 He told him, “No, you won’t die. My father does nothing either grand or insignificant without 'telling me about it', so why would my father hide this from me? It just isn’t so.”

3 But David swore: “Your father is well aware that I’ve found favor in your sight, and he 'thinks' ‘Jonathan must not know about this or he’ll be agitated.’ As surely as Yehovah lives, and as you live, there is but a step between me and death.”

4 Then Jonathan told David, “Whatever you want, I’ll do it for you.”

5 So David told Jonathan, “Tomorrow is a New Moon [1] [2] celebration, and I never fail to dine with the king, but I should go and hide myself in the countryside until the evening of the third day. 6 If your father misses me at all, tell him, ‘David asked permission of me him run to Bethlehem, his hometown, because it’s the annual zebak there for the entire family.’ 7 If he says: ‘Very well,’ then your servant is safe, but if he loses his temper, then you can be certain that he has evil intentions. 8 So show kindness to your servant, because you’ve brought him into a covenant with you before Yehovah, but if there is wickedness in me, kill me yourself. Why hand me over to your father?”

9 Jonathan said, “No way. If I were ever to find out that my father has decided to harm you, wouldn’t I tell you about it?”

10 Then David asked Jonathan, “Who will tell me whether or not your father gives you a disturbing answer?”

11 Jonathan said to David, “Let’s go out into that field.” So they both went out into the field.

12 “Jonathan told David, “With Yehovah, the Elohim of Israel as witness, once I’ve discussed this with my father about this time tomorrow or the third day, if he is favorably inclined toward you then I’ll send someone to you to let you know. 13 But if my father wants to do you harm, may Yehovah do the same or more to 'me' if I don’t warn you to safely escape. And may Yehovah be with you as he used to be with my father. 14 And if I survive, show me the faithful love. of Yehovah so that I won’t be killed, 15 and don’t ever withdraw your kindness from my family—not even when Yehovah has eliminated every one of 'your' enemies from the face of the earth.”

16 So Jonathan made a covenant with the household of David, saying, “May Yehovah enforce this covenant by the hands of David’s enemies.” 17 Jonathan made David swear again by his love for him; because he loved him as much as he loved himself.

18 Then Jonathan told him, “Tomorrow is the New Moon, and you’ll be missed when your seat is empty. 19 When you’ve stayed three days you must hurry down to the hideout where you hid on the day this incident began and stay by Ezel rock. 20 I’ll shoot three arrows to the side of it as if I’m aiming at a target. 21 Then I will send a boy, and say, ‘Go, find the arrows.’ If I specifically say to the boy, ‘Look, the arrows are on this side of you, bring them here,’ then return; because it is safe and there is no danger, as Yehovah lives. 22 But if I tell the boy, ‘Look, the arrows are way beyond you,’ then you must leave, because Yehovah has sent you away. 23 As for the agreement you and I discussed, Yehovah is a witness between you and me forever!”

24 So David hid in the field. At the New Moon the king sat down to eat. 25 The king sat at his usual 'place' on the seat by the wall. Jonathan stood while Abner sat next to Saul, but David’s place was empty. 26 But Saul didn’t say anything that day because he thought, “Something has happened to him. He isn’t clean. He must be unclean.” 27 Then the next day, the day after the New Moon, David’s place was still empty, so Saul asked his son Jonathan, “Why hasn’t Jesse’s son been here for dinner either yesterday or today?”

28 Jonathan answered Saul, “David asked for my permission to go to Bethlehem.” 29 He said, ‘Please let me go, because our family has a zebak in the city. My brother told me to be there. If I’ve found favor in your sight, let me slip away so that I can 'visit' my brothers.’ That’s why he didn’t come to the king’s table.”

30 Saul’s anger flared up against Jonathan, and he told him, “You son of a twisted 'wench'. I know you’ve sided with Jesse’s son to your shame and to the shame of your mother’s nakedness? 31 As long as the son of Jesse lives on earth, you and your kingship will never be established. So send someone to bring him to me. He 'needs to' die!”

32 Jonathan asked his father Saul, “Why should he be killed? What has he done?” 33 Then Saul hurled his spear at him to kill him, and Jonathan realized that his father was determined to kill David.

34 So Jonathan got up from the table in fierce anger and ate no food on the second day of the New Moon because was grieved over of his father’s shameful treatment of David.

35 In the morning Jonathan went out to the field for the appointment with David and a young boy was with him. 36 He said to his boy, “Run and find the arrows that I shoot.” As the boy was running, he shot an arrow beyond him. 37 When the boy reached the place where Jonathan’s arrow had fallen, Jonathan called to the boy, “Isn’t the arrow past you?” 38 Jonathan shouted to the boy, “Hurry! Go quickly! Don’t stop!” Jonathan’s boy picked up the arrows and ran back to his lord. 39 The boy had no idea what was going on; only Jonathan and David knew the situation. 40 Then Jonathan gave his weapons to his boy and told him, “Take them back to the city.”

41 As soon as the boy was gone, David got up from the south side of the rock and fell facedown to the ground, and bowed three times. They kissed each other and cried together, but David cried the most.

42 Jonathan told David, “Go in shalom since we have both sworn in the name of Yehovah when we said that Yehovah will be between me and you, and between my descendants and your descendants forever.” Then he got up and left, and Jonathan went into the city.

[1] New Moon celebrations were to occur every month (Numbers 10:10), but the most significant one of the year is during the seventh month—the Feast of Trumpets. Apparently David’s whole family got together annually for this one (verse 6). [2] Today, if the New Moon isn’t visible on day 29, it is the 30th by default. But prior to February 26, 747 BC, according to Worlds in Collision, the entire world always began counting the days of the month beginning with an actual crescent moon—NOT somebody’s calculated New Moon or an invisible conjunction, and every month was 30 days long!

1 Samuel 21

David Flees to Nob

1 David went to Ahimelech the priest at Nob. Ahimelek trembled when he met him. “Why are you alone?” he asked. “Why is no one with you?”

2 David said to Ahimelech the priest, “The king has commissioned me with a matter and told me, ‘Don’t tell anyone about the mission I’m sending you on or what I’ve ordered you to do. I’ve stationed my young men in a certain place.’ 3 Now what do you have on hand? Give me five loaves of bread or whatever you can find.”

4 The priest told him, “There is no ordinary bread on hand, but there is showbread, provided the young men have kept themselves from women.”

5 David answered the priest, “Of course women have been kept away from us as usual when when I set out on an expedition, and the bodies of the young men are 'special' even on ordinary missions, so their bodies are all the more 'special' today.”

6 So the priest gave him the 'special' bread because there was no bread there except for the bread of the Presence that was removed from before Yehovah in order to put hot bread in its place when it was taken away.

7 Now one of Saul’s officials was there that day, obligated to stay in Yehovah’s presence. His name was Doeg the Edomite, Saul’s lead herdsman.

8 David asked Ahimelech, “Do you have a spear or sword on hand? I didn’t bring my sword or my weapons with me because the king’s mission was so urgent.”

9 The priest said, “The sword of Goliath the Philistine who you killed in the valley of Elah is here wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you want to take that, take it. There’s no other weapon here.”

David said, “There’s nothing like it; give it to me.”

10 David got up and fled that day from Saul, and went to King Achish of Gath. 11 The servants of Achish asked him, “Isn’t this David, the king of the land? Don’t they sing about him during their dances:

‘Saul has slain his thousands, but David his tens of thousands’?”

12 David took thee comments 'seriously' and greatly feared King Achish of Gath. 13 So he pretended to be insane when he was 'around them', and he scribbled on the doors of the gate and drooled on his beard.

14 Then Achish said to his servants, “Look at the man! He’s behaving like a crazy person! Why did you bring him to me? 15 Do I have a shortage of crazy people? Is that why you’ve brought this 'guy' here, to act crazy around me? Do I need one in my house?”

1 Samuel 22

David at the Cave of Adullam

1 So David left there and escaped to the Cave at Adullam. When his brothers and all the rest of his family heard about it, they went down to him there. 2 Everyone who was in trouble, in debt or discontent gathered around him, and he became their leader. There were about four hundred men with him.

3 From there David went to Mizpeh in Moab where he said to the king of Moab, “Please let my father and mother stay with you until I know what Elohim will do for me.” 4 He left them with the king of Moab, and they stayed with him during the entire time that David was in the stronghold.

5 The prophet Gawd said to David, “Don’t stay in the stronghold. Leave here and go into the land of Judah.” So David left and went into the forest of Hereth.

6 But Saul heard that David and the men who were with him had been 'spotted'. Saul was sitting in Gibeah, under the tamarisk tree on the height, with his spear in his hand, and all his servants were standing around him.

7 Saul said to his servants who standing around there, “Listen, you Benjamites! Will the son of Jesse give everyone of you fields and vineyards? Will he make you all commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds. 8 Is that why you have all conspired against me? No one tells me when my son makes a deal with the son of Jesse. None of you are concerned about me or tells me that my son has incited my servant to lie in ambush for me, as he does today.”

9 Then Doeg the Edomite, who was standing by Saul’s officials, spoke up. “I saw Jesse‘s son when he came to Ahimelech, Ahitub‘s son in Nob. 10 He inquired of Yehovah for him, gave him provisions and Goliath the Philistine’s sword.”

11 Then the king sent someone to summon Ahimelech the priest, the son of Ahitub and all the men of his family who were the priests at Nob, and they all came to the king. 12 Saul said, “Listen now, son of Ahitub.”

He answered, “I’m here at your service, my lord.”

13 Saul asked him, “Why did you and Jesse’s son conspire against me? You gave him bread and a sword, and inquired of Elohim for him, so he could rebel against me by lying in ambush, as He’s doing today?”

14 Ahimelech replied to the king: “Who of all your servants is as loyal as David? He’s the king’s son-in-law, the commander of your bodyguard and is honored in your house? 15 Did I just begin to inquire of Elohim for him today? 'Absolutely not'! The king shouldn’t blame his servant or anyone in my family for this because your servant didn’t know the slighest detail about this.”

16 The king shouted, “Ahimelech, you and everyone in your 'extended' family are going to die.” 17 The king ordered the guards standing by him, “Turn and kill Yehovah’s priests because they 'sided' with David, and because they knew that he was fleeing and didn’t tell me.”

But the king’s servants wouldn’t lift a hand to execute Yehovah’s priests.

18 The king said to Doeg, “You turn and attack the priests!” Doeg the Edomite turned around attacked the priests. He killed eighty-five men who wore a linen ephod that day. 19 He attacked Nob the city of the priests with the edge of swords. Men and women, children and infants, also all the bulls, donkeys and sheep were killed with swords.

20 One man, Ahimelech’s son Abiathar, a grandson of Ahitub, escaped and raced to David. 21 Abiathar told David that Saul had murdered Yehovah’s priests. 22 Then David said to Abiathar, “I knew that day when Doeg the Edomite was there that he was sure to tell Saul. I am responsible for the death of your whole 'extended' family. 23 Stay with me; don’t be afraid because the man who wants to kill you is trying to kill me too. You’ll be safe with me.”

1 Samuel 23

David Saves the City of Keilah

1 'Someone' told David, “The Philistines are attacking Keilah and raiding the threshing floors!” 2 So David asked Yehovah, “Should I go and attack these Philistines?”

Yehovah told David, “Go attack the Philistines and save Keilah.”

3 David’s men told him, “We’re afraid of just staying here in Judah. Imagine how much more then if we go to Keilah against the 'whole' Philistine army?”

4 Then David asked Yehovah again. Yehovah replied, “Get up and go down to Keilah, because I’ll hand the Philistines over to you.”

5 So David and his men went to Keilah and fought against the Philistines and carried off their livestock. He inflicted heavy losses on the Philistines and rescued the people of Keilah. 6 When Ahimelech’s son Abiathar fled to David in Keilah, he came down with an ephod in his hand.

7 When Saul was told that David had gone to Keilah. Saul said, “Elohim has handed him over to me, because he has trapped himself by entering a city with double gates and bars.” 8 So Saul summoned all the people to go to war, to go down to Keilah and besiege David and his men.

9 When David discovered that Saul was plotting against him, he told Abiathar the priest, “Bring the ephod here.” 10 Then David said, “Oh Yehovah, Elohim of Israel, Your servant has heard for certain that Saul intends to come to Keilah to destroy the city because of me. 11 Will the people of Keilah hand me over to him? Will Saul come down as Your servant has heard? Yehovah, the Elohim of Israel, please tell Your servant.”

Yehovah said, “He will come down.”

12 Then David asked, “Will the people of Keilah hand me over to Saul?”

Yehovah said, “They’ll hand you over.”

13 So David and his men, about six hundred in all, left Keilah at once and moved from place to place. When Saul was told that David had escaped from Keilah he called off the campaign.

14 David stayed in the wilderness strongholds and in the highlands of the Wilderness of Ziph. Saul searched for him every day, but Elohim didn’t hand him over.

15 David was aware that Saul came out to kill him while 'he' was in the wilderness of Ziph at Horesh. 16 And Saul’s son Jonathan went to David in Horesh and 'encouraged his faith' in Elohim. 17 He told him, “Don’t be afraid, because my father Saul won’t lay a hand on you. You’ll be king over Israel and I’ll be your second-in-command, and my father Saul knows it.” 18 So the two of them renewed their covenant before Yehovah. David remained in the woods while Jonathan returned home.

19 Then the Ziphites came up to Saul in Gibeah, and told him, “David is hiding with us in the strongholds at Horesh, on the hill of Hachilah, south of Jeshimon. 20 Now then, O king, come down whenever you want, and we’ll do our part to hand him over to the king.”

21 Saul said, “You are blessed by Yehovah because you’ve had compassion on me. 22 Go and check again. Find the exact place where he is and who has seen him there, because I’ve been told that he is very cunning. 23 Look around and find all the hiding places where he hides, and come back to me with the facts. Then I’ll go with you, and if he’s in the land, I’ll track him down among the thousands of Judah.”

24 So they returned to Ziph ahead of Saul. David and his men were in the Wilderness of Maon, in the Arabah south of Jeshimon. 25 Saul and his men came to look for him. When David was told, he went down to the rock and stayed in the wilderness of Maon. When Saul heard about it, he went into the Wilderness of Maon in pursuit of David.

26 Saul went to one side of the mountain while David and his men were moving on the other side of the mountain. Even tho David was hurrying to get away from Saul, Saul and his men were closing in on David and his men to capture them. 27 But a messenger came to Saul and said, “Come quickly, because the Philistines are raiding the land!” 28 So Saul quit chasing David and went to fight the Philistines. So they called that place the Rock of Escape. 29 From there David went to stay in the strongholds of En Gedi.

1 Samuel 24

David Spares Saul

1 When Saul returned from fighting the Philistines, he was told, “David is in the wilderness of Engedi!” 2 So Saul took 3,000 of his best troops from all over Israel, and went looking for David and his men on the Rocks of the Wild Goats.

3 He came to the sheepfolds along the road where there was a cave, and Saul went in to 'relieve himself'. David and his men were staying in the deepest parts of the cave.

4 David’s men told him, “This is the day that Yehovah spoke of when he told you, ‘I’ll hand your enemy over to you, and you’ll do to him whatever you want!’” Then David got up and secretly cut off the hem of Saul’s robe.

5 Afterward, David’s 'conscience bothered him' because he had cut off the hem of Saul’s robe. 6 He said to his men, “Yehovah forbid that I would do such a thing to my lord, Yehovah’s anointed, to lay a hand on him since he is Yehovah’s anointed.”

7 David persuaded his men by what he 'said', and didn’t allow them to rise against Saul. And Saul got up and left the cave and went on his way.

8 Afterward David also 'left' the cave and called out to Saul, “My master the king!” When Saul looked behind him, David bowed facedown to the ground in homage. 9 Then David shouted to Saul, “Why do you listen when men say, ‘David wants to harm you?’ 10 Today you saw with your own eyes how Yehovah had handed you over to me in the cave. Some urged me to kill you, but I spared you, and I said, ‘I’ll never lay a hand on my lord because he is Yehovah’s anointed.’ 11 My father, notice the hem of your robe in my hand. I cut off the hem of your robe but I didn’t kill you. It’s 'easy' to see my lack of evil intent or treason. Nothing at hand indicates that I’ve sinned against you, even tho you have been hunting me down to kill me. 12 May Yehovah judge between me and you, and may Yehovah take vengeance on you for me, but I’ll never lay a hand on you. 13 As the proverb of the ancients says: ‘Wickedness comes from the wicked.’ but I’ll never lay a hand on you.

14 Who has the king of Israel come after? Who are you chasing? A dead dog? A flea? 15 May Yehovah be our judge and decide between us; may He vindicate me by rescuing me from your grasp.”

16 When David finished saying this to Saul, Saul asked, “Is this your voice, my son David?” Then Saul began to cry. 17 He told David, “You are more righteous than I. You treated me well while I treated you wickedly. 18 You personally told me about the good you did to me; when Yehovah handed me over to you, you didn’t kill me. 19 When a man finds his enemy, does he let him get away unharmed? So may Yehovah reward you well for what you’ve done for me today. 20 Now I know for certain you’ll be king, and the kingdom of Israel will be established in your hands. 21 So swear to me by Yehovah that you won’t kill off my descendants after me and that you won’t 'erase' my name from my father’s family.”

22 David swore to Saul. And Saul went home, but David and his men went up to the stronghold.

1 Samuel 25

Abigail saves David

1 Then Samuel died; and all Israel gathered to mourn for him, and they buried him at his house in Ramah. Then David got up and went down to the wilderness of Paran.

2 There was a man in Maon whose business was in Carmel. He was a very rich man. He had 3,000 sheep and 1,000 goats, and he was shearing his sheep in Carmel. 3 The man’s name was Nabal and his wife’s name was Abigail. The woman was intelligent and beautiful, but the man was 'always' harsh and evil, and he was a Calebite.

4 While David was in the wilderness, he heard that Nabal was shearing his sheep. 5 So David sent ten young men and told them, “Go to Carmel, 'visit' Nabal and greet him in my name. 6 Tell him, ‘Live long and prosper! Peace be to you, and peace be to your house, and peace be to everything that you have.’ 7 I hear that you are shearing. When your shepherds have been with us, we never harassed them, and the whole time they were in Carmel nothing of theirs was missing. 8 Ask your young men and they’ll assure you. So allow our young men to find favor in your sight, because we came on a 'festive' day. Please give whatever you have available to your servants and to your son David.’”

9 When David’s young men arrived, they relayed all these things to Nabal on David’s behalf. Then they waited.

10 Nabal answered David’s servants, “Who is David? Who is the son of Jesse? There are many servants today who are breaking away from their lords. 11 Why should I take my 'food' and water and the meat that I butchered for my shearers and give it to men who came from who knows where?”

12 David’s men made their way back. When they arrived they reported everything 'he said'. 13 David told his men, “Every man strap on your sword!” So every man strapped on his sword; David also strapped on his sword. About four hundred men followed David, while two hundred men stayed behind guarding the gear.

14 But one of the young men told Abigail, Nabal’s wife, “David sent messengers out to the wilderness to 'greet' our lord, but he hurled insults at them. 15 But the men were very good to us, and we were not mistreated, and nothing of ours was missing while we were in the fields. 16 They were like a wall protecting us night and day, the entire time we were herding the sheep. 17 Now consider what you should do because a disaster is being planned against our lord and against his entire family. He’s such a worthless fool nobody can reason with him!”

18 Then Abigail hurriedly took two hundred loaves of bread and two jugs of wine and five butchered sheep and five seahs of roasted grain and a hundred raisin cakes, and two hundred fig cakes, and loaded them on donkeys. 19 She told her young men, “Go ahead of me, I’ll be coming right behind you!” But she didn’t tell her husband Nabal.

20 She was riding on the donkey and coming down part of the mountain hidden from view, David suddenly appeared with his men coming down to meet her, and she met them. 21 David had just been saying, “I guarded everything that belonged to this man in the wilderness for nothing. None of his things were 'lost or stolen'; but he has returned me evil for good. 22 May Elohim 'severely punish me' if by morning I leave even one who whizzes on a wall who belongs to him.”

23 When Abigail saw David, she quickly got off her donkey and fell facedown before David with her face to the ground. 24 She fell at his feet and said, “On me 'alone', my lord, be the blame, and please allow your maidservant to speak to you 'directly', and listen to the words of your maidservant. 25 Please my lord, disregard this worthless fellow Nabal. His name means 'fool,' and he is a fool! I, your maidservant, didn’t see the young men of my master who you sent.

26 “So my lord, as Yehovah lives, and as you live, since Yehovah has restrained you from bloodshed and taking vengeance into your own hands, may your enemies and those who are trying to harm you, my master, be like Nabal! 27 Now allow this gift that your maidservant has brought to my master to be given to the young men who follow my lord. 28 Please forgive your handmaid’s offense. Yehovah will certainly make my master an enduring 'dynasty' because my master fights Yehovah’s battles, and evil will never be found in you as long as you live.

29 When someone comes along and chases after you and tries to kill you, then the life of my master will be bound in the bundle of the living with Yehovah your Elohim; but the lives of your enemies He will sling out as from the pocket of a sling. 30 And when Yehovah has done to my master every good thing He has promised concerning you, and appoints you ruler over Israel, 31 this will not cause you any regrets or a troubled conscience my lord, either of having shed blood needlessly, or by my master having avenged himself. When Yehovah has given you success my lord, then remember your handmaid.”

32 David said to Abigail, “Praise Yehovah, the Elohim of Israel, who sent you to meet me today! 33 May your discernment be blessed and may you be blessed. Today you kept me from bloodshed and from avenging myself by my own hands. 34 Otherwise, as surely as Yehovah, the Elohim of Israel lives, who has prevented me from harming you, unless you had hurried and come to meet me, Nabal wouldn’t have had anyone left who whizzes on a wall by morning light.” 35 So David accepted from her what she brought to him, and he said to her, “Go home in peace. I’ve heeded your 'advice' and granted your request.”

36 When Abigail went to Nabal he was holding a feast in his house fit for a king! Nabal was in 'high spirits' and very drunk; so she didn’t tell him anything at all until morning light. 37 But in the morning, when Nabal 'was sober again', his wife explained everything to him. He had a 'seizure' and became as paralyzed as a stone. 38 Then about ten days later, Yehovah struck Nabal and he died.

39 When David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, “Praise Yehovah, who has upheld my interests against Nabal’s insults, and has prevented His servant from doing evil. Yehovah has turned Nabal’s own wickedness back on 'him'”

David sent 'a proposal' to Abigail asking her to become his wife.

40 When David’s servants came to Abigail at Carmel, they told her, “David sent us to you to take you to him to be his wife.”

41 She arose and bowed with her face to the ground and said, “Your maidservant is a servant ready to wash the feet of my lord’s servants.” 42 Abigail quickly got on a donkey with her five female servants following her. She went with David’s messengers and became his wife.

43 David also married Ahinoam from Jezreel, and they both became his wives. 44 But Saul had given his daughter Michal, David’s wife, to Laish’s son Palti from Gallim.

1 Samuel 26

David Spares Saul Again

1 The Ziphites came to Saul in Gibeah, and told him, “David is hiding on the hill of Hachilah across from Jeshimon.”

2 So Saul went down to the Wilderness of Ziph with 3,000 select 'troops' of Israel with him looking for David in the wilderness of Ziph. 3 Saul camped on the hill of Hachilah near Jeshimon beside the road. When he 'heard' that Saul had come after him in the wilderness, 4 David sent out scouts to verify that Saul was definitely coming.

5 David 'immediately' set out to the place where Saul had camped. And David saw the place where Saul lay, with Abner the son of Ner, the commander of his army. Saul was lying in the circle of the camp with the troops camped all around him.

6 David then asked Ahimelek the Hittite and Zeruiah’s son Abishai, Joab’s brother, “Who will go with me down into Saul’s camp?”

Abishai said, “I’ll go down with you.” 7 So David and Abishai came to the people during the night, and saw Saul lying asleep in the vicinity of the wagons with his spear stuck in the ground near his head, and Abner and the troops were lying around him.

8 Then Abishai said to David, “Elohim has handed your enemy over to you today. So let me pin him to the ground with one stroke. I won’t have to strike him twice!”

9 David said to Abishai, “Don’t kill him! Who can lay a hand on Yehovah’s anointed and be blameless?” 10 David said, “As Yehovah lives, Yehovah will strike him down, or his day to die will come, or he’ll fall in battle and die. 11 Yehovah forbid that I should lay a hand on Yehovah’s anointed. Just take the spear and the jar of water by his head and let’s go.”

12 So David took the spear and the jug of water by Saul’s head, and they left. No one saw them, no one knew about it because no one woke up. They were all sound asleep because a deep sleep from Yehovah had overcome them.

13 Then David crossed to the other side and stood on top of the mountain at a considerable distance between them. 14 Then David shouted to the troops and to Abner son of Ner: “Aren’t you going to answer me, Abner?”

Then Abner answered, “Who are you to shout at the king?” 15 David said to Abner, “Aren’t you a man? Who is like you in Israel? Why didn’t you guard your lord the king? One of the 'soldiers' came in to 'kill' your master the king. 16 What you’ve done is terrible! As Yehovah lives, all of you 'deserve to die' since you didn’t protect your lord, Yehovah’s anointed. Look around; where are the king’s spear and water jug that were by his head?”

17 Saul recognized David’s voice and asked, “Is that your voice my son David?”

David said, “It is my voice, my lord, the king.” 18 He said, “Why then is my master pursuing his servant? What have I done and what wrong am I guilty of? 19 My master the king, please listen to 'what' your servant 'has to say'. If Yehovah has stirred you up against me, then may He accept an offering; but if it is men, cursed are they before Yehovah’s presence, because they have driven me out today from sharing in the inheritance [homeland], essentially having said, ‘Go, serve other gods!’ 20 Don’t allow my blood to fall to the ground away from Yehovah’s presence, because the king of Israel has come out seeking a 'mere' flea, just like someone hunting a partridge calling in the mountains.”

21 Then Saul said, “I’ve sinned. Return my son David, because I’ll never harm you again, because today you 'considered' my life precious. I’ve been a fool and committed a serious error.”

22 David answered, “Here’s the king’s spear. Have one of the young men come over and get it. 23 Yehovah will reward any person who is righteous and faithful. Yehovah handed you over to me today, but I refused to raise a hand against Yehovah’s anointed. 24 Just as I considered your life valuable today, so may Yehovah consider my life valuable and rescue me from all trouble!

25 Then Saul said to David, “May you be blessed my son David; You’ll certainly do great things and prevail.”

So David went on his way and Saul returned 'home'.

1 Samuel 27

David Escapes to the Philistines

1 But David thought to himself, “One of these days I’ll die by the hands of Saul. The best thing for me to do is to escape to Philistine territory. Saul will give up searching for me anymore in the territory of Israel, and I’ll escape from his grasp.”

2 So David set out with his six hundred men and went to Achish the son of Maoch, king of Gath. 3 David and his men settled in Gath with Achish. Each man had his family with him, and David with his two wives, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail of Carmel, Nabal’s widow. 4 Saul was told that David had fled to Gath, and he stopped looking for him.

5 Then David said to Achish, “If I’ve found favor in your sight, have them give me a place in one of the cities in the country so I can live there. Why should your servant live in the royal city with you?”

6 So Achish gave him Ziklag that day. And Ziklag has belonged to the kings of Judah ever since. 7 David lived in the Philistine countryside for a year and four months.

8 David and his men went out on raids against the Geshurites, the Girzites and the Amalekites. They had been the inhabitants of the land 'forever', from Shur all the way to the land of Egypt. 9 When David attacked an area, he never left a man or woman alive. He would take the sheep, the cattle, the donkeys, the camels, and the clothes and then return to Achish.

10 Achish would ask, “Who did you raid today?” And David would say, “the southern plain of Judah,” or “the southern plain of the Jerahmeelites,” or “the southern plain of the Kenites.” 11 David never left a man or a woman alive who could be brought back alive to Gath. “Otherwise,” he thought, “they might talk about us, and say, ‘David did this or that.’” So this was David’s practice during the whole time he lived in the Philistine countryside. 12 So Achish believed David, thinking, “He has alienated himself so badly to his people in Israel that he’ll serve me forever.”

1 Samuel 28

Saul Finds a Medium

1 At that time, the Philistines gathered their troops to fight against Israel. So Achish said to David, “Surely you know that you and your men will accompany me into the battle.”

2 David replied to Achish, “Good, you’ll find out what your servant can do.”

Achish said to David, “Very well, I’ll make you my bodyguard for life.”

3 Now Samuel had died, and all Israel had mourned for him and buried him in Ramah, his own city. Saul had expelled the mediums and psychics from the land.

4 The Philistines rallied together and advanced to Shunem and set up camp, while Saul amassed the whole Israelite army and set up camp in Gilboa. 5 When Saul saw the Philistine army, he was afraid and his heart was pounding. 6 When Saul questioned Yehovah, Yehovah didn’t answer him in dreams or by the Urim or prophets. 7 Then Saul said to his officers, “Find me a woman who is a medium so I can visit her and consult her.”

His officers replied, “There is a woman in Endor who is a medium.” [Commentary]

8 “Saul disguised himself, putting on other clothes, and he and two men left one night and they came to the woman, and he said, “Consult a spirit for me, bring up the one I 'name' from the dead.”

9 But the woman told him, “Surely you know what Saul has done, how he has 'killed' off the mediums and spiritists in the land, so why are you trying to entrap me?—to get me killed?”

10 Saul swore to her by Yehovah, “As Yehovah lives, you will incur no punishment for this.”

11 So the woman asked, “Who do you want me to bring up for you?”

He said, “Bring up Samuel for me.”

12 When the woman saw Samuel, she screamed at Saul, “Why have you deceived me? You are Saul!”

13 The king said to her, “Don’t be afraid. What do you see?”

The woman told Saul, “I see someone great coming up out of the ground.”

14 He asked her, “What does he look like?”

She said, “An old man is coming up wearing a robe.”

Saul knew that it was Samuel himself, [1] and he bowed facedown to the ground and paid respect.”

15 Then Samuel asked Saul, “Why are you bothering me by bringing me up?”

Saul answered, “I’m in serious trouble. The Philistines are at war against me, and Elohim has left me. He no longer answers me either by prophets or by dreams. So I’ve called on you to tell me what I should do.”

16 Samuel said, “So why are you asking me, since Yehovah has abandoned you and become your adversary? 17 Yehovah has done exactly what He predicted thru me. Yehovah has ripped the kingdom out of your hands and given it to your opponent David. 18 You didn’t 'heed' Yehovah, and didn’t carry out His fierce wrath against the Amalekites, so Yehovah has done this to you today. 19 Furthermore, Yehovah will hand Israel over to the Philistines along with you. Tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. Yehovah will hand Israel’s army over to the Philistines!”

20 Saul immediately fell completely flat on the ground [2] and was terrified by what Samuel said, and he was completely exhausted since he hadn’t eaten anything all day or night.

21 The woman came to Saul and saw that he was terrified, and told him, “Your maidservant has listened to you. I put my life in your hands and I listened to 'everything' you told me! 22 Now please 'listen' to your maidservant, and allow me to set a morsel of bread before you to eat to give you the strength to go on your way.”

23 But he refused and said, “I can’t eat!”

But his servants and the woman urged him, and he listened to them. So he got up off the ground and sat on the bed.

24 The woman had a fattened calf in the house. She quickly butchered it, and she took flour, kneaded it and baked unleavened bread from it. 25 She served this to Saul and his servants and they ate. Then they got up and left that night.

See Commentary, [2] Commentators are split on whether or not Samuel was really resurrected by a medium. But remember that the unrighteous fall backwards in the presence of the devil. While they fall face down in the presence of Yehovah: Numbers 22:31, 2 Chronicles 5:14, Ezekiel 3:23, Ezekiel 43:2-3, Ezekiel 44:4 and Matthew 17:6. While in John 18:6; Acts 9:3-4 and Revelation 1:17 they fell backward. Which way do you suppose Saul likely fell?

1 Samuel 29

The Philistines Reject David

1 The Philistines gathered all their troops together in Aphek, while Israel was camped by the spring in Jezreel. 2 The lords of the Philistines were passing in review by hundreds and thousands, while David and his men were in the rear with Achish. 3 Then Philistines commanders asked, “What are these Hebrews doing here?

Achish told the Philistine commanders, “This is David who was an officer of King Saul of Israel. He has been with me 'for years'. From the day he defected until now, I’ve found no fault with him.”

4 But the Philistine commanders were enraged with him. The Philistine commanders told him, “Send the man back! Have him return to the place you assigned him. He can’t go into battle with us. In the battle he could become our enemy. Could there be a better way for him to reconcile himself with his master than handing our heads over to him? 5 Isn’t this the same David who they sang about in their dances,

‘Saul has killed his thousands, but David has killed his tens of thousands!’”

6 Then Achish summoned David and told him, “As surely as Yehovah [1] lives, you’ve been an upstanding man, and your going out and your coming in with me in the army is good in my view, because I haven’t found evil in you since the day you came to me 'until now'. But the lords don’t trust you. 7 So leave peacefully without doing anything to upset the lords of the Philistines.”

8 But David asked “What have I done? What have you learned about your servant from the day I came to you until today? Why can’t I go and fight against the enemies of my master the king?”

9 Achish replied to David, “In my sight you’re like an angel of god. But the lords of the Philistines have said, ‘He can’t go into battle with us.’ 10 So get up early in the morning, both you and your lord’s servants who came with you, and leave as soon as you’re up in the morning and it’s light. 11 So David and his men got up early in the morning to go back to Philistine territory. And the Philistines went up to Jezreel.

[1] While David easily feigned allegiance to the Philistines, he couldn’t feign allegiance to any foreign god, to the extent that Achish knew David’s Elohim by name!

1 Samuel 30

David Destroys the Amalekites

1 David and his men arrived in Ziklag on the third day. The Amalekites had made a raid on the Negev and Ziklag. When they attacked Ziklag they burned it 'down', 2 and had taken captive the women and everyone there, both small and great. They didn’t kill anyone; but carried them off and went on their way.

3 When David and his men came to the city and saw that it was burned 'down' and their wives, their sons and their daughters were taken captive, 4 David and his men cried loudly until they had no strength left to cry anymore. 5 David’s two wives had been taken captive, Ahinoam the Jezreelite and Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite. 6 David was in grave 'danger' because the people were talking about stoning him. The people were bitter because of their sons and daughters. But David found strength in Yehovah his Elohim.

7 David told Ahimelech’s son Abiathar the priest, “Please bring the ephod here to me.” So Abiathar brought the ephod to David. 8 David asked Yehovah, “Should I chase these raiders? Will I catch up with them?”

He replied, “Go after them because you’ll catch up with them and you’ll rescue everyone.”

9 David and the six hundred men with him came to the Besor Gorge where those who were left behind stayed. 10 David and four hundred continued the chase. But two hundred of them were too exhausted to cross the Gorge.

11 They found a famished Egyptian in the countryside and brought him to David. They gave him some bread to eat and water to drink. 12 They gave him a piece of fig cake and two clusters of raisins. Once he ate his spirit was revived since he hadn’t eaten any food or drunk any water for three days and nights.

13 David asked him, “Who do you belong to? Where are you from?” The young man answered,

“I’m from Egypt. I’m the servant of an Amalekite, but my master abandoned me three days ago when I got sick. 14 We raided the Negev [southern part] of the Kerethites, part of Judah and the Negev of Caleb. And we burned 'down' Ziklag.” 15 David asked him, “Will you lead me to these raiders?” And he said, “Swear to me by elohim that you won’t kill me or hand me over to my master and I’ll bring you down to the raiders.”

16 He led them down, and there they were, scattered over the countryside, eating, drinking and celebrating a pilgrim feast due to the vast amount of plunder they had taken from the land of the Philistines and the land of Judah. 17 David slaughtered them from the twilight until the evening of the next day. None of them got away except four hundred young men who fled on camels. 18 David recovered everything that the Amalekites had taken, including his two wives. 19 No one was missing—young or old, sons or daughters. None of the plunder or anything that they had taken was lost. David brought everything back. 20 David 'rounded up' all the raiders flocks and herds and they drove them ahead of the stolen livestock, and people said, “This is David’s spoil.”

21 Then David approached the two hundred men who had been so exhausted that they couldn’t follow 'him', those who had stayed behind by the Besor gorge, and they went out to meet David and to meet the people who were with him. David approached them and asked how they were doing. 22 But then all the wicked and lowlifes among David’s followers said, “Since they didn’t go with us, we won’t give them any of the spoils that we recovered. They should all just take their wives and children and leave.”

23 But David said, “No, my brothers, you won’t do that with what Yehovah has given us. He has protected us and handed over the raiding party that attacked us. 24 Who would agree with you on that plan? The share of those who went down into the battle will be the same as the share of those who stayed with the supplies. It will be divided equally.” 25 So from that day forward, 'David' made it a permanent rule and an regulation for Israel that remains to this day.

26 When David returned to Ziklag, he sent some of the plunder to the Jewish elders and to his friends. He said, “Here is a gift for you from the spoils of the enemies of Yehovah.”

27 He sent gifts to those in Bethel, Ramoth of the Negev, Jattir, 28 to those in Aroer, Siphmoth, Eshtemoa, 29 Racal, the cities of the Jerahmeelites, the cities of the Kenites, 30 Hormah, Bor Ashan, Athach, 31 Hebron, and to those everywhere that David and his men had roamed.

1 Samuel 31

Saul and His Sons Killed

1 When the Philistines attacked Israel, the Israelites fled from the Philistines, and many fell dead on Mount Gilboa. 2 The Philistines closed in on Saul and his sons. The Philistines killed Jonathan, Abinadab and Malchishua. 3 As the battle intensified against Saul, and the archers caught up with them, they severely wounded him.

4 Saul told his armor bearer, “Draw your sword and stab me with it, otherwise these uncircumcised heathens will come and stab me and torture me!”

But his armor bearer refused because he was terrified. So Saul took his sword and fell on it. 5 When his armor bearer saw that Saul was dead, he fell on his sword and died with him. 6 So Saul died with his three sons, his armor bearer and all of his men that same day.

7 When the Israelites who were on the other side of the Jezreel Valley and those who were beyond the Jordan River learned that the Israelites had fled and that Saul and his sons were dead, they abandoned the cities and fled too, and the Philistines came and occupied them.

8 The next day, when the Philistines came to strip the dead, they found Saul and his three sons lying dead on Mount Gilboa. 9 They cut off his head and stripped off his armor, and sent 'messengers' thruout the land of the Philistines to spread the good news in the high places of their idols and among the people. 10 They put his armor in the 'shrine' of the Ashtaroth, and they 'hung' his body on the wall of Beth Shan.

11 When the people of Jabesh Gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, 12 all the valiant men got up and traveled all night, and took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons from the wall of Beth Shan and went to Jabesh, where they burned them. 13 Then they took their bones and buried them under the tamarisk tree in Jabesh, and fasted seven days.

“2nd” Samuel 1

Chapters 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24. 1st and 2nd Samuel are really one book.

David Mourns for Saul and Jonathan

1 After Saul died, when David returned from defeating the Amalekites, David stayed in Ziklag for two days. 2 On the third day a man came from Saul’s camp with torn clothes and 'dirt' on his head. When he came to David, he knelt down in front of him.

3 David asked him, “Where did you come from?”

He told him, “I’ve escaped from the Israelite camp.”

4 David asked him, “How did it go? Please tell me.” He answered,

“The people fled from the battle. Many of them fell and died. Saul and his son Jonathan are dead.”

5 David asked the young man who told him, “How do you know that Saul and his son Jonathan are dead?”

6 The young man who told him said, “I happened to be on Mount Gilboa, and I saw Saul leaning on his spear, and the chariots and the cavalry were close behind him! 7 And when he looked behind him, he saw me, and called to me. I answered, ‘Here I am.’

8 He asked me, “Who are you?”

I replied, “I’m an Amalekite.”

9 “He told me, ‘Stand beside me please and kill me, because the agony of death has seized me, but I’m still alive.’ 10 So I stood beside him and killed him because I was sure that he wouldn’t survive after he had fallen. I took the crown that was on his head and the bracelet that was on his arm, and I’ve brought them here to my lord.”

11 Then David grabbed his clothes and ripped them, as did all the men who were with him. 12 They mourned and cried and fasted until evening for Saul and his son Jonathan and for Yehovah’s army, and for the House of Israel, because they had been killed with swords.

13 David asked the young man, “Where is your home?”

He answered, “I’m the son of a foreigner, an Amalekite.”

14 David asked him, “How is it you were not afraid to reach out and destroy Yehovah’s anointed?”

15 David called one of the young men and said, “Go, 'strike him down'!” So he 'struck' him and he died. 16 David told him, “Your blood is on your own head; you incriminated yourself by admitting, ‘I killed Yehovah’s anointed.’”

17 So David chanted this song of lament about Saul and his son Jonathan, 18 and he ordered them to teach The Song of the Bow. (It’s written in the Book of Jashar):

19 The splendor of Israel lies dead on your heights. See how the mighty have fallen! 20 Don’t mention it in Gath. Don’t announce it in the streets of Ashkelon or the daughters of the Philistines will celebrate; the daughters of the uncircumcised will triumph.

21 You mountains in Gilboa, may there be no dew or rain on you or on your slopes. [?] There the shields of the mighty were defiled. The shield of Saul never again anointed with oil. 22 From the blood of the slain, from the flesh of the mighty, Jonathan’s bow never retreated, Saul’s sword never returned 'sharp'. 23 Saul and Jonathan were loved and delightful in their lives, not parted in life or in death. They were swifter than eagles. They were stronger than lions. 24 Daughters of Israel, cry for Saul, he clothed you in scarlet with jewels; he put ornaments of gold on your clothing.

25 How the mighty have fallen in battle! Jonathan lies dead on your heights. 26 I grieve for you, my brother Jonathan! You were so kind to me. Your love for me was extraordinary, surpassing the love of women.

27 How the valiant have fallen, and their weapons of war are destroyed!

2 Samuel 2

David Anointed King over Judah

1 Some time later, David asked Yehovah, “Should I go to one of the cities of Judah?”

Yehovah told him “Go.”

David asked, “To which one?”

He said, “To Hebron.” 2 So David went there with his two wives, Ahinoam from Jezreel and Abigail the 'widow' of Nabal the Carmelite. 3 David brought his men with him, each with their families, and they settled in the cities of Hebron.

4 Then the men of Judah arrived, and they anointed David king over the house of Judah.

And they told David, “It was the men of Jabesh Gilead who buried Saul.” 5 David sent messengers to the men of Jabesh Gilead, and told them, “May Yehovah blessed you because you’ve shown kindness to your master Saul and buried him. 6 May Yehovah show faithful love. and faithfulness to you. I too will reward you for this kindness because you did this. 7 So 'be' strong and valiant, because your master Saul is dead, and also the house of Judah has anointed me king over them.”

8 But Abner, Ner’s son, the commander of Saul’s army had taken Ishbosheth, Saul’s son, and brought over him to Mahanaim. 9 He made him king over Gilead, Asher, Jezreel, Ephraim and Benjamin—over all the rest of Israel.

10 Saul’s son Ishbosheth was forty years old when he became king over Israel; he ruled for two years. But the house of Judah followed David. 11 The amount of time that David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months.

12 Ner’s son Abner and the servants of Saul’s son Ishbosheth left Mahanaim and went to Gibeon. 13 Zeruiah’s son Joab and some of David’s men went out to meet them by the pool of Gibeon. They sat down there, one group on one side of the pool and the other group on the other side of the pool.

14 Abner said to Joab, “Let’s have the young men compete in a fight.”

Joab said, “Have them come!” 15 So they came forward and were counted as they passed by: twelve from Benjamin and Saul’s son Ishbosheth and twelve of David’s officers. 16 Each man grabbed his opponent by the head and stuck his sword into his opponent’s side so that they both fell dead together. That’s why the place at Gibeon was named The Field of Swords.

17 A fierce battle took place that day, and Abner and the Israelite troops were defeated by David’s men.

18 The three sons of Zeruiah were there: Joab, Abishai and Asahel. Asahel was as swift footed as a gazelle on the range. 19 Asahel chased Abner without turning to the right or to the left as he followed Abner. 20 Then Abner looked behind him and said, “Is that you, Asahel?”

He answered, “It is.”

21 Abner told him, “Turn to your right or your left, and grab one of the young men, and take his weapons.” But Asahel wouldn’t stop chasing him.

22 Once again, Abner warned Asahel, “Stop chasing me. Why should I strike you to the ground? How could I show my face to your brother Joab?”

23 But he refused to turn away. So Abner struck him in the stomach with the back end of his spear. But the spear went thru 'Asahel’s' back. He collapsed to the ground and died where he fell. And everyone who came to the place where Asahel fell and died stopped there.

24 But Joab and Abishai continued to chase Abner. The sun was setting when they came to the hill of Ammah, along the road to the wilderness of Gibeon. 25 The Benjamites rallied behind Abner, forming a single unit. Then they took their positions on the top of a hill.

26 Then Abner called to Joab and said, “Should the sword devour forever? Don’t you realize that this will end bitterly? How long will it take for you to order your men to stop chasing their own relatives?”

27 Joab shouted back “As Elohim lives, if you hadn’t spoken up my men would have chased their relatives all night!” 28 So Joab blew his shofar, and all the men stopped chasing Israel, and the fighting stopped.

29 Then Abner and his men traveled all night thru the Arabah, and they passed over the Jordan River and continued thru the Bithron and came to Mahanaim.

30 Once Joab stopped chasing Abner, he got David’s men together and counted them. There were nineteen missing besides Asahel. 31 But David’s men had killed three hundred and sixty Benjamites who were with Abner. 32 They took Asahel and buried him in his father’s tomb in Bethlehem. Then they traveled all night and reached Hebron by dawn.

2 Samuel 3

lIsrael at War with the Jews

1 The war between the house of Saul and the house of David lasted a long time. David grew stronger and stronger, while the house of Saul grew weaker and weaker.

2 Sons were born to David in Hebron:

His firstborn was Amnon by Ahinoam of Jezreel; 3 and his second, Chileab, by Abigail the widow of Nabal the Carmelite; and the third, Absalom the son of Maacah, daughter of King Talmai from Geshur; 4 the fourth was Adonijah, by Haggith; the fifth was Shephatiah, by Abital; 5 and the sixth was Ithream, by David’s wife Eglah. These were David’s sons who were born in Hebron.

6 During the war between the house of Saul and the house of David, Abner was growing in influence within the house of Saul. 7 Saul had a concubine whose name was Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah; and Ishbosheth asked Abner, “Why did you have sex with my father’s concubine?”

8 Abner got very angry over what Ishbosheth had said and said, “Am I a dog’s head for Judah? All this time I’ve been loyal to the house of your father Saul, to his brothers, and to his friends and haven’t handed you over to David, and yet now you’re accusing me of wrongdoing with this woman! 9 May Elohim 'punish' Abner even more 'severely' if I don’t do for David exactly what Yehovah swore to him, 10 and transfer the kingdom from the house of Saul and establish David’s throne over Israel and the Jews from Dan to Beersheba.” 11 'Ishbosheth' couldn’t say another word to Abner because he was terrified of him.

12 Abner sent some of his messengers to David with this message: saying, “Who owns this land?” and saying, “Cut a deal with me, and I’ll help bring all Israel over to you”

13 He said, “Good, I’ll cut a deal with you under one condition: You can’t come to see me unless you bring Michal, Saul’s daughter, when you come to see 'me'.”

14 Then David sent messengers to Saul’s son Ishbosheth to say, “Give me my wife Michal back. I became engaged to her at the cost of one hundred Philistine foreskins.” 15 So Ishbosheth then sent for Michal and took her from her husband Paltiel, Laish’s son. 16 Her husband went with her, crying as he went, and followed her as far as Bahurim. Then Abner told him, “Go back!” So he went back.

17 Abner met with the elders of Israel and said, “For some time you’ve wanted to make David your king. 18 So do it! Because Yehovah promised David: ‘By the hand of My servant David, I’ll save My people Israel from the grasp of the Philistines, and from the grasp of all their enemies.’” 19 Abner also spoke 'directly' to the Benjamites. Then he went to Hebron to 'tell' David everything that 'seemed good' to Israel and to the entire house of Benjamin.

20 So Abner came to David in Hebron with twenty men, and David held a banquet for him and his men. 21 Abner told David, “Let me go and rally all Israel to my master the king so that they can make a covenant with you. You’ll be ruling over the entirety of Israel, just as you’ve been wanting.” So David sent Abner off, and he went in peace.

22 Right then, David’s soldiers and Joab returned from a raid with a large amount of plundered goods with them, but Abner wasn’t with David in Hebron since he had sent him away, and he had left in peace! 23 When Joab and all the soldiers with him arrived, they told Joab, “Ner’s son Abner visited the king, but David has sent him away, and Abner left peacefully.”

24 Joab went to the king and asked, “What have you done? Abner came to you, and you let him go. He’s long gone now! 25 You know Ner’s son Abner came to deceive you, to learn your troop 'movements' and find out everything you’re doing!”

26 When Joab left David, he sent messengers after Abner, and they brought him back from the well of Sirah, but David didn’t know about it. 27 So when Abner returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside within the gateway to speak with him privately, and stabbed him in the stomach. So Abner died 'in revenge' for the death of Asahel, Joab’s brother.

28 Later, when David heard about it, he said, “I and my kingdom are forever innocent before Yehovah of the blood of Ner’s son Abner. 29 May judgment rest on Joab’s head and on his father’s entire household. May Joab’s family never be without someone with a discharge or a skin disease, someone who leans on a crutch, dies in 'war' or starves to death!”

30 So Joab and his brother Abishai killed Abner because he had killed their brother Asahel in the battle at Gibeon.

31 David said to Joab and to all the people who were with him, “Tear your clothes and put on sackcloth and lament before Abner.” King David followed the open casket. 32 They buried Abner in Hebron, and the king cried aloud at Abner’s tomb, and all the people cried. 33 The king sang a lament for Abner and said:

“Should Abner have died like a fool dies? 34 Your hands weren’t bound, and your feet weren’t shackled. You fell like someone falls victim to gangsters.”

And all the people cried over him again. 35 Everyone tried to persuade David to eat some bread while there was still daylight, but David vowed, “May Elohim treat me harshly or even worse if I eat bread or anything else before the sun goes down.”

36 All the people took note and were pleased, just as everything that the king did pleased everyone. 37 As a result, the entire army and all the Israelites understood that day that it wasn’t the king’s idea to kill Abner, Ner’s son.

38 The king told his staff, “Don’t you realize that one of Israel’s great leaders has died today? 39 Today, even tho I’m the anointed king, I’m weak. These sons of Zeruiah are too 'violent' for me. May Yehovah reward criminals commensurate with their wickedness.”

2 Samuel 4

Ishbosheth Murdered

1 When Saul’s son Ishbosheth heard that Abner had died in Hebron, he lost courage, and all Israel was horrified. 2 Saul’s son had two men who were commanders of raiding parties. One was named Baanah and the other Rechab; they were sons of Rimmon the Beerothite from the 'tribe' of Benjamin. Beeroth is considered part of Benjamin. 3 The Beerothites fled to Gittaim and still live there as foreigners to this very day.

4 Saul’s son Jonathan had a son named Mephibosheth who was lame in both feet. He was five years old when the report about Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel. His nurse picked him up and fled, but as she hurried to leave, he fell and became disabled.

5 So Rekab and Baanah, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, left and came to Ishbosheth’s house in the heat of the day while he was taking his midday nap. 6 They went into the inner part of the house as if to get some wheat, and stabbed him in the stomach. Then Rechab and his brother Baanah escaped. 7 Once they entered the house, they struck him, killed him, and cut off his head while he was lying on his bed in his bedroom. They took his head and traveled by way of the Arabah all night. 8 They brought Ishbosheth’s head to David at Hebron and told the king, “Here’s the head of your enemy Ish-bosheth, Saul’s son who tried to kill you! Today Yehovah has granted vengeance to my master the king against Saul and of his 'descendants'.”

9 David responded to Rechab and his brother Baanah, the sons of Rimmon from Beeroth, “As Yehovah lives, who has saved my life out of every adversity, 10 when someone told me Saul was dead back in Ziklag, thinking he was bringing good news, I seized him and killed him. That was the reward I gave him for his news! 11 How much worse when wicked men kill a righteous man in his own house on his bed! Shouldn’t I avenge his shed blood, your handywork, and incinerate you from the earth?

12 David commanded his young men, and they killed them, and cut off their hands and feet, and hanged them up beside the pool in Hebron. But they took the head of Ishbosheth, and buried it in Abner’s tomb in Hebron.

2 Samuel 5

David Becomes King Over Israel

1 Then all the tribes of Israel came to David in Hebron and said, “We are your own bone and flesh. 2 In the past, while Saul was king over us, you were the one who led Israel out to battle and brought us back. And Yehovah told you, ‘You will shepherd My people Israel, and you’ll be a ruler over Israel.’”

3 So all the elders of Israel came to the king in Hebron, and King David made a covenant with them before Yehovah, and they anointed David king over Israel.

4 David was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned for forty years. 5 In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months, and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty-three years over all of Israel and the Jews.

6 The king and his men went to Jerusalem against the Jebusites who inhabited the land, who said to David, “You’re not coming in here! Even the blind and the lame could turn you back” thinking, “David can’t get in here.” 7 But David did capture the stronghold of Zion, that is, the City of David.

8 That day David said, “Anyone who wants to defeat the Jebusites must reach the lame and the blind who hate me by using the water tunnel.” So there is a saying, “The blind and the lame will never enter the 'Temple'.”

9 So David lived in the stronghold and called it the City of David. David built the city of Jerusalem around it from the terraces [?] inward. 10 David became more and more powerful because Yehovah, Elohim the Commander was with him.

11 Later, King Hiram of Tyre sent a delegation to David with cedar logs, bricklayers and carpenters to build a 'palace' for David. 12 So David realized that Yehovah had established him as king over Israel, and that his kingship was held in high esteem for the sake of His people Israel’s sake.

13 Meanwhile David took more concubines and wives from Jerusalem after he came from Hebron; and more sons and daughters were born to David. 14 These are the names of the 'children' born to him in Jerusalem: Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, Solomon, 15 Ibhar, Elishua, Nepheg, Japhia, 16 Elishama, Eliada and Eliphelet.

17 When the Philistines heard that they had anointed David king over Israel, all the Philistines went looking for David, and when David heard about it he went down to the stronghold. 18 The Philistines arrived and spread out over the Rephaim Valley. 19 David asked Yehovah, “Should I 'attack' the Philistines? Will You hand them over to me?”

Yehovah answered David, “Attack! I will definitely hand the Philistines over to you.” 20 So David went to Baal Perazim and defeated the Philistines there and he said, “Yehovah has broken thru my enemies in front of me like a deluge.” That’s why that place is called Baal Perazim 21 They abandoned their idols there and David and his men hauled them off.

22 Later the Philistines returned and spread out across the Rephaim Valley. 23 When David asked Yehovah, He said, “Don’t attack them directly; circle around behind them and attack them in front of the bajsam trees. 24 Then when you hear the sound of people advancing in the tops of the balsam trees, attack quickly, because Yehovah has gone out before you to 'defeat' the Philistine army.” 25 So David did exactly what Yehovah commanded him, and struck down the Philistines all the way from Geba to Gezer.

2 Samuel 6

The Ark Brought to Jerusalem

1 David again gathered together all 30,000 chosen Israelites. 2 David and all the troops who were with him set out for Baale Judah to bring the Ark of Elohim that bears the Name up from there, the very name of Commander Yehovah who is enthroned above the cherubim. 3 They set the Ark of Elohim on a new cart and brought it out of Abinadab’s house that was on the hill, with Abinadab’s sons Uzzah and Ahio guiding the new cart. 4 They brought 'the cart' with the Ark of Elohim out of the house of Abinadab on the hill, and Ahio walked ahead of the ark. 5 Meanwhile, David and the entire House of Israel were celebrating before Yehovah with all kinds of instruments made of fir wood, and with lyres, harps, tambourines, castanets and cymbals.

6 When they arrived at Nacon’s threshing floor, Uzzah reached out to the Ark of Elohim and grabbed it since the bulls nearly upset it. 7 The anger of Yehovah burned against Uzzah, and Elohim struck him there for his lack of respect, and he died there beside the Ark of Elohim.

8 David became angry because of Yehovah’s outburst against Uzzah, and that place is called Perez Uzzah to this day.

9 So David was afraid of Yehovah that day, and he said, “How can Yehovah’s Ark ever come to me?” 10 And David was unwilling to move Yehovah’s Ark to be with him in the City of David. 'Instead' David rerouted it to the home of Obed Edom the Gittite. 11 Yehovah’s Ark remained in the house of Obed Edom the Gittite’s house for three months, and Yehovah blessed Obed Edom and his whole family.

12 King David was told, “Yehovah has blessed the house of Obed Edom and everything he has because of Elohim’s Ark.” So David went and brought Elohim’s Ark from Obed Edom’s house to the City of David with joy. 13 Then when those who carried Yehovah’s Ark had gone six steps, he zebaked [sacrificed] a bull and a fattened calf. 14 David, dressed in a linen priestly ephod was dancing with all his might before Yehovah. 15 So David and the entire House of Israel were bringing up Yehovah’s Ark with shouting and the shouts of the shofars.

16 As Yehovah’s Ark came into the City of David, Saul’s daughter Michal was watching from a window, and saw King David leaping and dancing before Yehovah, and she despised him 'intensely'.

17 They brought in Yehovah’s Ark and set it in its place inside the Tabernacle that David had set up for it, and David offered burnt offerings and fellowship zebakim before Yehovah. 18 After David finished offering the burnt offering and the peace offering, he blessed the people in the name of the Commander Yehovah. 19 He distributed a loaf of bread, a date cake and a raisin cake to all the people—the entire multitude of Israel, both men and women. Then all the people headed home.

20 When David returned to bless his household, Saul’s daughter Michal came out to meet him and said, “How dignified Israel’s king was today by exposing himself in plain view of the female servants, as some deviant shamelessly exposes himself!”

21 So David replied to Michal, “It was before Yehovah, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house to appoint me ruler over the people of Yehovah, over Israel. So I’ll celebrate before Yehovah. 22 I’ll become even more undignified than this and humiliate myself in my own sight. But by these female servants you spoke of, they will hold me in honor!” 23 Saul’s daughter Michal had no children to the day she died.

2 Samuel 7

David Plans to Build the Temple

1 After the king had settled down in his 'palace' and Yehovah had given him rest on every side from all his enemies, 2 the king said to Nathan the prophet, “I live in a cedar 'palace', while Elohim’s Ark remains in a 'Tabernacle'.”

3 Nathan replied to the king, “Do everything you have in mind, because Yehovah is with you.”

4 But that same night the Word of Yehovah came to Nathan and said:

5 “Go and tell My servant David, ‘This is what Yehovah says: Are you the one who should build a 'Temple' for Me to live in? 6 I haven’t lived in a 'Temple' since the time I brought the Israelites out of Egypt until now. 'Instead' I’ve moved around in a Tabernacle that served as a house for Me to live in. 7 Wherever I’ve moved with all the Israelites, did I ever say a word to any of the tribes of Israel who I commanded to be shepherds of My people Israel, “Why haven’t you built Me a cedar house?”’

8 So tell My servant David: ‘This is what Commander Yehovah says: I took you from the pasture, from following sheep, to be leader of My people Israel. 9 I’ve been with you wherever you went, and annihilated all your enemies right in front of you. Now I’ll make your name as famous as the names of the greatest men on earth. 10 I’ll establish a homeland for My people Israel and plant them so that they can live in a place of their own, never to be disturbed again. The wicked will no longer oppress them as in the past 11 when I appointed judges to lead My people Israel. I’ll cause you to rest from all your enemies.

Yehovah [the Father] tells you that Yehovah [the Son] will build a house [dynasty] for you. 12 When your days are finished and you rest with your ancestors. I’ll set up one of your descendants after you of 'your direct lineage', and I’ll establish his kingdom. 13 He [Solomon] will build a 'Temple' 'dedicated to' My name, and I’ll establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I’ll be his father, and he’ll be My son. If he sins I’ll discipline him with a rod 'wielded by' men—wounds from others. 15 But My favor will not be taken from him like I took it from Saul, who I removed from your presence. 16 Your royal household and your kingdom will endure before Me forever; your throne will be established forever.’”

17 Nathan reported to David all these words exactly, the entire vision.

18 Then King David went in and sat before Yehovah, and he said,

“Who am I, Sovereign YEHOVAH [“Yeshua”], and what is my 'family', that You’ve brought me this far? 19 But even this was insignificant in your eyes, Sovereign YEHOVAH, and You’ve mentioned Your servant’s 'dynasty' in the distant future, and this is instruction for mankind, O Sovereign YEHOVAH!

20 What more can David say to You? You know Your servant, Sovereign YEHOVAH. 21 For the sake of Your word and according to Your will, You’ve done all these astounding things to let Your servant know.

22 That’s why You are so great, Yehovah Elohim. There is no one like You. There is no god except for You, as we have heard with our own ears. 23 And who can compare to Your people Israel? They are the one nation on earth that Elohim went out to redeem as a people for Himself as a people, to make a name for Himself, and to do great things for You, and awesome things for Your land, before Your people who You redeemed for Yourself from Egypt, driving out nations and their gods? 24 You have established Your people Israel as Your own people forever, and You, O Yehovah, have become their Elohim.

25 So now, Yehovah Elohim, the 'message' that You’ve spoken concerning Your servant, and concerning his 'dynasty', confirm it forever and do what You’ve 'promised', 26 so that Your Name will be magnified forever, by saying, ‘Commander Yehovah is Elohim over Israel’, and may the household of Your servant David be established in Your presence.

27 because You, Commander Yehovah, the Elohim of Israel, have revealed to Your servant that You will build a 'dynasty' for him. That is why Your servant has found the courage to pray this prayer to You. 28 Now, Sovereign YEHOVAH, You are Elohim, and Your words are true, and You’ve promised these good things to Your servant. 29 So now may it please You to bless the household of Your servant, so that it will continue forever before You, because You, Sovereign YEHOVAH, have said it. May the 'dynasty' be blessed forever by Your blessing.”

2 Samuel 8

David’s Victories

1 Some time later David 'defeated' the Philistines and subdued them; and David took the dominant city from the grasp of the Philistines. 2 And he 'defeated' Moab, and after making them lie down on the ground, he measured them off with a cord. He measured two lines to put to death and one full line to keep alive. So the 'surviving' Moabites became subject to David and brought him tribute.

3 Next David defeated Zobah’s King Hadadezer, Rehob’s son, as he went to restore his 'dominion' at the Euphrates River. 4 David captured 1,000 chariots and 7,000 charioteers [DSS] and 20,000 foot soldiers from him. David also hamstrung all the chariot horses except enough of them for a hundred chariots.

5 When the Arameans of Damascus came to help King Hadadezer of Zobah, David killed 22,000 Arameans. 6 Then David set up garrisons among the Arameans of Damascus, and the Arameans became his subjects and paid tribute to him. Yehovah gave victory to David wherever he went.

7 David confiscated the gold shields that were carried by the officers of Hadadezer and took them to Jerusalem. 8 David also confiscated a vast quantity of bronze from Betah and Berothai, Hadadezer’s cities.

9 When Hamath’s King Toi heard that David had 'defeated' Hadadezer’s entire army, 10 Toi sent his son Joram to King David, to greet him and to congratulate him for fighting and defeating Hadadezer, because Hadadezer had been at war with Toi. Joram brought with him articles of silver, gold and bronze.

11 King David also dedicated these things to Yehovah, with the silver and gold that he had dedicated from all the nations he subdued: 12 from Edom, Moab, the Ammonites and the Philistines, Amalek, and the spoil 'taken from' King Hadadezer, Rehob’s son from Zobah.

13 David made a name for himself when he returned from killing 18,000 Edomites in the Valley of Salt. 14 He erected garrisons thruout Edom, and all the Edomites became subservient to David. Yehovah gave victory to David wherever he went.

15 David reigned over all of Israel, administering justice and equity for all his people.

16 Zeruiah’s son Joab was in command of the army; and Ahilud’s son Yehoshaphat [Yehovah has judged] was the archivist. 17 Ahitub’s son Zadok and Ahimelech’s son Abiathar were priests; Seraiah was secretary. 18 Yehoiada’s [Yehovah has known] son Benaiah was in command of the Cherethites and the Pelethites; and David’s sons were priests.

2 Samuel 9

David’s Kindness to Mephibosheth

1 David asked, “Is there anyone left from Saul’s 'family' I can show kindness to for Jonathan’s sake?” 2 There was a servant from the household of Saul named Ziba. They summoned him to David, and the king asked him, “Are you Ziba?”

He said, “I am your servant.”

3 So the king asked, “Is there anyone left of Saul’s household that I can show the kindness of Elohim to?”

Ziba told the king, “Jonathan still has a surviving son who is crippled in both feet.” 4 “Where is he?” the king asked.

Ziba replied, “He’s in Lo Debar at the home of Ammiel’s son Makir.”

5 So King David had him brought from the home of Ammiel’s son Machir in Lo Debar. 6 Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s son and Saul’s grandson, came to David and he fell facedown to the ground. And David said, “Mephibosheth?.”

He answered, “I am your servant.”

7 David told him, “Don’t be afraid because I’m going to show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan, and restore the 'homeland' to you that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you’ll always eat at my table.” 8 He bowed down again and asked, “Who am I, your servant, that you would have regard for a dead dog like me?”

9 Then the king summoned Saul’s servant Ziba and said to him, “I have given your master’s grandson everything that belonged to Saul and his family. 10 You and your servants are to farm the land for him, and bring in the crops to provide food for your master’s grandson, but Mephibosheth your master’s grandson will always have a place to eat at my table.” (Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants.)

11 Then Ziba said to the king, “Your servant will do whatever my master the king commands.” So Mephibosheth ate at the king’s table like one of the king’s sons.

12 Mephibosheth had a young son named Mica, and everyone who lived in Ziba’s house became Mephibosheth’s servants. 13 So Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, and he ate at the king’s table regularly. He was lame in both feet.

2 Samuel 10

David Defeats the Ammonites

1 A while later the king of the Ammonites died, and his son Hanun succeeded him as king. 2 David thought, “I’ll show kindness to Hanun as his father Nahash showed me kindness.” So David sent 'envoys' with condolences concerning his father.

But when David’s delegation entered Ammonite territory, 3 the Ammonite officials asked their master Hanun, “Do you really think that David sent 'envoys' to console you and honor your father? David sent his 'envoys' to you to surveil the city as spies, and overthrow it” 4 So Hanun took David’s 'envoys' and shaved off half of their beards, cut their clothes in half at the hips and sent them off.

5 When David was told, he sent someone to meet them because they were deeply humiliated. The king said, “Wait in Jericho until your beards have grown, and then return.”

6 When the Ammonites realized that they had offended David, the Ammonites hired the Arameans from Beth Rehob and the Arameans from Zobah, 20,000 foot soldiers, and the king of Maacah with 1,000 men, and the men of Tob with 12,000 men. 7 When David heard this, he sent Joab and his entire army of elite soldiers. 8 The Ammonites went out in battle formation at the entrance to the city gate, while the Arameans from Zobah and Rehob and the men from Tob and Maacah remained in the countryside.

9 When Joab saw he was under attack on two fronts, he chose some of Israel’s finest men and deployed them against the Arameans. 10 He had his brother Abishai take charge of the rest of the men and deployed them against the Ammonites. 11 He said, “If the Arameans are too strong for me, you must help me. And if the Ammonites are too strong for you, I’ll come and help you. 12 Be strong! We must be courageous for the sake of our people and the cities of our Elohim, and may Yehovah do what is good in His sight.”

13 So Joab and the people with him advanced to fight the Arameans, and they fled before him. 14 When the Ammonites realized that the Arameans had fled, they also fled before Abishai and went into the city. So Joab returned from fighting the Ammonites and returned to Jerusalem.

15 When the Arameans realized that they had been defeated by Israel, they regrouped. 16 Hadadezer sent messengers and brought the Arameans who were across the Euphrates River and they came to Helam, with Shobach the commander of Hadadezer’s army leading them.

17 When David was told of this, he gathered all Israel together and crossed the Jordan River and came to Helam. The Arameans formed a battle line against David and fought with him. 18 But the Arameans retreated from Israel, and David killed '7,000' [1] Aramean charioteers and 40,000 'footmen' [1], and wounded Shobach the captain of their army, and he died there. 19 When all the kings who were subject to Hadadezer saw that Israel had defeated them, they made peace with Israel and became their subjects.

The Arameans were afraid to ever help the Ammonites again.

[1] The Masoretic scribes made two copying mistakes here, since 1 Chronicles 19:18 says 7,000, not 700; and 40,000 footmen, not cavalry. Some versions of the (Greek) Septuagint (LXX) say ‘footmen’ here, agreeing with 1 Chronicles 19:18, indicating that the Masorets accidentally altered this verse from an older (pre masoretic) Hebrew version that the LXX was translated from.

2 Samuel 11

David and Bathsheba

1 Then in the 'beginning' of the year [March/April] when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab and his staff with him and all the Israelites, and they destroyed the Ammonites and blockaded Rabbah, but David remained in Jerusalem.

2 One evening David got up from his couch and was walking around on the roof of the royal 'palace', and from the roof he saw a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful. 3 David sent someone to ask about the woman. The man said, “She’s Bathsheba, daughter of Eliam and wife of Uriah the Hittite.” 4 So David sent messengers to get her, and she came to him, and he had sex with her. (She had been purifying herself after her period.) Then she returned home.

5 The woman conceived, and she sent this message to David: “I’m pregnant.”

6 So David summoned Joab, and told him, “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” So Joab sent Uriah to David. 7 When Uriah came to him, David asked how Joab and the men were doing, and how the war was going. 8 David said to Uriah, “Go down to your house and wash your feet.” So Uriah left the king’s 'palace' and the king followed up by sending a gift. 9 But Uriah slept at the entrance of the royal 'palace' with all the servants of his lord, and didn’t go down to his house.

10 When David was told that Uriah hadn’t gone home, David asked Uriah, “Haven’t you just returned from a journey? Why didn’t you go home?”

11 Uriah said to David, “The Ark and Israel and Judah are staying in tents [sukkot], and my master Joab and the servants of my master are camped in the open fields. How could I go to my house to eat and drink and have sex with my wife? Not in your life! I wouldn’t do such a thing.”

12 Then David said to Uriah, “Stay here today, and tomorrow I’ll send you back.” So Uriah stayed in Jerusalem that day and the 'next'. 13 David invited him to eat and drink with him, and got him drunk. In the evening Uriah went out to sleep in the same place, alongside his lord’s servants, but he didn’t go home.

14 The next morning, David sent a message to Joab, and sent it 'along' with Uriah. 15 In the letter he wrote: Put Uriah on the front line where the fighting is fiercest. Then abandon him, so that he’ll be struck down and die.” 16 Since Joab had kept the city under surveillance, he put Uriah in a place where he knew there were 'experienced' warriors. 17 The men of the city came out and fought with Joab; and some of David’s army staff fell, and Uriah the Hittite also died.

18 Then Joab sent someone to report to David all the details of the battle. 19 And he instructed the messenger, “When you finish telling the king about the battle, 20 if the king starts to get angry and asks you, ‘Why did you get so close the city to fight? Didn’t you know that they would shoot from the wall? 21 Who killed Jerubbaal’s son Abimelech? Didn’t a woman throw an upper millstone on him from the wall so that he died in Thebez? Why did you get so close to the wall?’ Then say, “Your servant Uriah the Hittite is also dead.’”

22 The messenger left, and when he arrived, he reported to David everything than Joab sent him to say. 23 The messenger reported to David, “The men gained an advantage over us and came out against us in the fields, but we drove them back to the entrance of the city gate. 24 Then the archers shot at your servants from the wall. So some of the king’s own staff are dead, and your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead too.”

25 Then David told the messenger, “Say this to Joab: ‘Don’t let this trouble you, because the sword devours one here and another there. Strengthen your attack against the city and destroy it.’ 'say this to' encourage him.”

26 When Uriah’s wife heard that her husband Uriah was dead, she went into mourning for her husband. 27 When her mourning was over, David sent for her and brought her to his home, and she became his wife. Then she gave birth to a son. But what David had done was evil in Yehovah’s sight.

2 Samuel 12

Nathan Confronts David

1 So Yehovah sent Nathan to David. He came to him, and told him, “There were two men in a city, one was rich and the other was poor. 2 The rich man had very many flocks and herds, 3 but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb that he bought and raised. She grew up in his home with his children. She used to share his food and drink from his own cup. It even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him. 4 A traveler came to visit the rich man, but he wasn’t willing to take an animal from one of his own flocks or herds to prepare for the traveler who had come to visit him. Instead, he took the poor man’s ewe lamb and butchered it for the visitor.”

5 Then David’s anger burned intensely against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As Yehovah lives, the man who has done this 'deserves' to die! 6 He must restore the ewe lamb four times over because he did this and had no compassion!”

7 Nathan replied to David, “You are the man. This is what Yehovah, the Elohim of Israel, says: I anointed you king over Israel, and I rescued you from the grasp of Saul. 8 I gave you your master’s house, and put your master’s wives into your arms, and I gave you the House of Israel and Judah, and if that had not been enough, I would have given you much more than that. 9 Why have you despised the Word of Yehovah by doing what is evil in His sight? You’ve murdered Uriah the Hittite with the sword of the Ammonites and taken his wife to be your own. 10 So from this time on, the sword will never leave your household, because you’ve despised Me by taking Uriah’s wife to be your own.”

11 This is what Yehovah says, “I will raise up evil against you from within your own household. I’ll take your wives away before your very eyes and give them to your friend. He’ll have sex with your wives in 'broad' daylight. 12 What you did in secret I’m going to do in 'broad' daylight in front of all Israel.”

13 David responded to Nathan, “I’ve sinned against Yehovah.”

Then Nathan replied to David, “Yehovah has passed over [or overlooked] your sin. You’re not going to die. 14 But since you have given Yehovah’s enemies an opportunity to blaspheme Him, the son born to you will die.”

15 After Nathan had gone home, Yehovah 'afflicted' the child that Uriah’s 'widow' bore to David, and he became sick. 16 David pleaded with Elohim for the boy. He fasted and spent the night lying on the ground. 17 The elders of his household stood beside him in order to lift him up from the ground, but he refused, and he wouldn’t eat any food with them.

18 On the seventh day the baby died. David’s servants were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, because they thought, “If he didn’t listen to 'us' while the child was still alive, how can we tell him that the child is dead? He might harm himself.”

19 But when David noticed his staff whispering, he 'suspected' the child had died. So David asked his staff, “Is the child dead?”

They said, “He is dead.”

20 So David got up from the ground, bathed, anointed himself and changed his clothes. He entered Yehovah’s 'Temple' and worshiped. After that, he returned to his 'palace', they served him food and ate.

21 His staff asked him, “Why are you acting this way? When the child was alive you fasted and cried, but when the child died you got up and ate food.”

22 He replied, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and cried. I asked myself, ‘Who knows? Maybe Yehovah will be merciful to me and allow the child to live?’ 23 But now he is dead, so why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I’ll be going where he is [Acts 2:34], but he won’t return to me.”

24 Then David comforted his wife Bathsheba. He went 'to bed' with her, and she gave birth to a son and he named him Solomon. Yehovah loved him, 25 and sent a message to Nathan the prophet to name 'the baby' Jedidiah (beloved by Yehovah).

26 Meanwhile Joab attacked the Ammonite city of Rabbah and captured the royal fortress. 27 Joab sent messengers to David and said, “I’ve fought against Rabbah and captured the city’s water supply.” 28 So gather the rest of the men together and attack the city and capture it, or I’ll capture the city myself and name it after me.”

29 So David gathered all the people and went to Rabbah, attacked it and captured it. 30 He confiscated the crown of their king from his head and it was placed on David’s head. It weighed one talent [75 pounds] of gold, and it was 'decorated' with precious stones. He took a vast quantity of plunder from the city. 31 He brought out the people who were there and forced them to work with saws, iron picks and iron axes, and to laboring at brickmaking. This is what he did to all the Ammonite cities. Then David and all the men returned to Jerusalem.

2 Samuel 13

Amnon Rapes Tamar

1 Some time later, David’s son Absalom fell in love with Tamar, the beautiful sister of David’s son Absalom. 2 Amnon was so obsessed with his half sister Tamar that he fell sick. It seemed impossible for him to be alone with her because she was a virgin.

3 But Amnon had a friend named Jonadab, who was the son of David’s brother Shimeah; and Jonadab was a very devious man. 4 He asked him, “Why are you, the king’s son, so depressed morning after morning? Won’t you tell me?”

Amnon told him, “I’m in love with my brother Absalom’s sister Tamar.”

5 Jonadab told him, “Lie down in bed and pretend to be sick. When your father comes to see you, tell him, ‘Please have my sister Tamar come and give me some food to eat. Have her prepare it in my 'presence' where I can watch, and have her feed me 'personally'.’”

6 So Amnon lay down and pretended to be sick. When the king came to see him, Amnon asked the king, “Please allow my sister Tamar to come and make me a couple of cakes in my 'presence' and feed me 'personally'.” 7 So David sent for Tamar at the 'palace' and told her, “Please go to your brother Amnon’s house and prepare some food for him.”

8 So Tamar went to her brother Amnon’s house, and while he was lying down she took dough, kneaded it, and made cakes in front of him and baked them. 9 She took the pan and served him the cakes, but he refused to eat.

Amnon said, “Send everyone out of here.” So everyone left him.

10 Then Amnon told Tamar, “Bring the food into the bedroom so that you 'can feed' me.” So Tamar took the cakes that she had made and brought them to her brother Amnon in the bedroom. 11 But when she brought them near him to eat, he grabbed her and said to her, “Come lie with me sister!”

12 But she said to him, “No, my brother! Don’t force me! No such thing should be done in Israel. Don’t do this horrible thing! 13 What about me? Where could I hide my shame? And you, you’ll be 'considered' one of the biggest fools in Israel. So please talk to the king. He won’t withhold me from you.”

14 But he wouldn’t listen to her, and because he was stronger than she was, he raped her. 15 But then Amnon felt intense hatred for her. His hatred far her exceeded the lust he had felt for her. So Amnon told her, “Get up! Leave!” 16 But she said to him, “No, sending me away would be a greater wrong than you’ve already done.”

But he wouldn’t listen to her. 17 So he called his young servant who was attending him and said, “Throw this woman out, and bolt the door behind her.” 18 (Now she was wearing a multicolored gown; since this is how the king’s virgin daughters dressed.) So his servant threw her out, and bolted the door behind her. 19 Tamar rubbed 'ashes' on her head and tore the multicolored gown she was wearing, put her hands on her head, and went away, crying aloud as she went.

20 Her brother Absalom asked her, “Has your brother Amnon been with you? Keep quiet about it for now, sister; he’s your brother. Don’t take this 'personally'.” So Tamar stayed there in her brother Absalom’s house.

21 When King David heard about all this he became very angry, 22 But Absalom never said anything either good or bad to Amnon, because he hated Amnon for raping his sister Tamar.

23 Two full years later, Absalom’s sheepshearers were in Baal Hazor, near Ephraim, and Absalom invited all the king’s sons to a festivity. 24 Absalom came to the king and said, “Your servant has sheepshearers. Please have the king and his advisers come and feast with your servant!”

25 The king said to Absalom, “No, my son, we shouldn’t all go or we’d be a burden to you.” Alto Absalom urged him, the king wasn’t willing to go, tho he did give his blessing. 26 Then Absalom said, “If not, please have my brother Amnon accompany us.”

The king asked him, “Why should he go with you?” 27 But Absalom urged him until he sent Amnon and all the king’s princes with him.

28 Absalom commanded his men, “Watch Amnon until he is 'buzzed' with wine, and when I tell you, strike Amnon down, then kill him. Don’t be afraid. I’ve given you the order, haven’t I? Be courageous and valiant!” 29 So Absalom’s young men did to Amnon just as Absalom had ordered, but the rest of David’s sons got up, jumped onto their mules and fled.

30 While they were on the road, a report came to David, “Absalom has killed all the king’s sons, and not one of them has survived.” 31 The king got up, tore his clothes, and 'fell' to the ground; and all his attendants stood by with their clothes torn.

32 But Jonadab, son of David’s brother Shimeah, responded “My master don’t assume that they’ve killed all the young men, the king’s sons; only Amnon is dead. Absalom has planned this since the day Amnon violated his sister Tamar. 33 So now, my master the king, don’t burden yourself with the 'rumor' that says all the king’s sons are dead, because only Amnon is dead, 34 and Absalom has fled.”

Just then the young watchman spotted many people coming from the Horonaim road behind him 'west of' the mountain! 35 Jonadab told the king, “Look, the king’s sons are coming! It’s exactly what your servant said.” 36 As soon as he said that, he saw the king’s sons arriving, and they raised their voices and cried. The king and all his servants were also crying bitterly. 37 Absalom fled to Geshur’s King Talmai, Ammihud’s son. David mourned for his son every day.

38 After Absalom fled to Geshur, he stayed there for three years. 39 King David began to long to be reunited with his son Absalom, having finished grieving over Amnon’s death.

2 Samuel 14

Absalom Returns

1 Meanwhile, Zeruiah’s son Joab could see that the king 'really missed' Absalom. 2 So Joab sent someone to bring a quick-witted woman from Tekoa and told her, “Pretend to be a mourner and put on mourning clothing. Don’t anoint yourself with oil. Act like a woman who has spent a long time mourning for someone who died. 3 Then go to the king and tell him 'such and such'.” So Joab put the words in her mouth.

4 When the woman from Tekoa went to the king, she fell facedown to the ground in homage and she said, “Help me, O king!”

5 The king asked her “What is troubling you?”

She answered, “I’ve been a widow since my husband died. 6 Your maidservant had two sons, and the two of them were fighting in a field, and there was no one to separate them, and one struck the other and killed him. 7 Then the whole clan turned against your maidservant, and they’re saying, ‘Hand over the one who killed his brother so we can execute him for murdering his brother and destroy the heir as well.’ They want to snuff out the only 'ember' I have left, leaving my husband without a name or a 'descendant' on the face of the earth.”

8 The king told the woman, “Go home, and I’ll issue a command on your behalf.”

9 The woman from Tekoa told the king, “My master the king, the blame is on me and my 'ancestral' household, but the king and his throne are innocent.”

10 The king said, “If anyone says anything 'against' you, bring him to me, and he’ll never 'bother' you again.”

11 Then she said, “Please, may the king remember Yehovah your Elohim, so that the avenger of blood won’t do any more damage by destroying my son.”

And he said, “As Yehovah lives, not one hair from your son will fall to the ground.”

12 Then the woman said, “Please allow your maidservant to say 'something else' to my master the king.”

He said, “Speak.”

13 The woman asked, “Why then have you planned the 'same' thing against the people of Elohim? In rendering this 'decision' you condemn yourself because the king hasn’t brought back his banished one. 14 We will all die. We’re like water spilled on the ground that can’t be gathered again. But Elohim doesn’t take away life; 'He' makes plans to prevent the banished from staying outcast.

15 “The reason I’ve come to talk about this to my master the king is because the people have made me afraid, and your maidservant thought, ‘I’ll talk to the king. Maybe the king will act on the 'request' of his maidservant. 16 Maybe the king will listen and rescue his servant from the grasp of the man who would destroy both me and my son from the inheritance of Elohim.’

17 “Then your maidservant thought, ‘Hopefully the 'response' of my master the king will be comforting, because my master the king is like a Messenger of Elohim in discerning good and bad. May Yehovah, your Elohim, be with you.’”

18 In reply, the king asked the woman, “Please don’t hide anything from me that I’m about to ask you”

The woman said, “May my master the king please ask.”

19 The king said, “Did Joab have a hand in all this with you?”

The woman answered, “As surely as you live, my master the king, no one can turn to the right or to the left from anything that my master the king says. Yes, it was your servant Joab who put all these words in your maidservant’s mouth 20 in order to change the outcome of this matter. But my lord’s wisdom is like the wisdom of a Messenger of Elohim, being aware of everything that happens on earth.”

21 Then the king told Joab “I’ll do it. Go bring the young man Absalom back.”

22 Joab fell facedown to the ground out of respect, and blessed the king; then Joab said, “Today your servant knows that I’ve found favor in your sight since my master the king has granted the request of his servant.”

23 So Joab got up and went to Geshur and brought Absalom back to Jerusalem. 24 But the king said, “Absalom should return to his own house. He must not see my face.” So Absalom returned to his house and didn’t show his face to the king.

25 Now thruout all Israel there was no one as handsome as Absalom, from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head he didn’t have a single flaw. 26 At the end of every year, he used to cut his hair because it got too heavy for him, he weighed the hair from his head at 200 shekels by the royal standard.

27 Absalom had three sons and a daughter. His daughter’s name was Tamar. She was a beautiful woman.

28 Absalom lived two full years in Jerusalem without ever seeing the king’s face. 29 Absalom called for Joab in order to send him to the king, but Joab refused to come. Absalom sent for him a second time, but he still wouldn’t come. 30 So 'Absalom' said to his servants, “Look, Joab’s field is next to mine, and he has barley planted there. Go set it on fire.” So Absalom’s servants set the field on fire. Then Joab’s servants came to him with their clothes torn and said “Absalom’s servants set the field on fire.” [1]

31 So Joab got up and went to Absalom’s house and asked him, “Why did your servants set my field on fire?”

32 Absalom answered Joab, “I sent someone to tell you to come here so that I could send you to the king to ask why I needed to come from Geshur. I would be better off if I were still there! So let me see the king; if he finds me guilty of anything, then he should kill me.”

33 So Joab went to the king and told him of the encounter. Then the king called for Absalom, and Absalom came to the king and bowed facedown to the ground before the king, and the king kissed Absalom.

[1] The last sentence “appears in the Dead Seas Scrolls, the LXX and the Latin, but not the Masoret. The writers note that this may well have been a scribal error in that the scribe’s eye wrote ‘field on fire’, looked, then looked back, and maybe his eyes skipped ahead to the second place where it said ‘set the field on fire’, thus failing to copy the quotation, but only the original narrative.”

2 Samuel 15

Absalom’s Conspiracy

1 Some time later, Absalom acquired a chariot, horses and fifty men to run ahead of him. 2 Absalom would get up early and stand beside the roadway to the city gate. Then when any man had a lawsuit to bring before the king, Absalom would call to him, “Which city are you from?” And he would say, “Your servant is from”, and then name one of the tribes of Israel. 3 Then Absalom would say to him, “No doubt your claims are correct and defensible, but there is no one deputized by the king to hear you.” 4 And Absalom would add, “If only someone would appoint me judge in the land! Then everyone who had a dispute could come to me and I would give them justice.”

5 And when anyone approached him and bowed down, 'Absalom' would reach out his hand, grab him and kiss him. 6 This is how Absalom treated every Israelite who came to the king for judgment. So Absalom stole the affection of the Israelites.

7 Then at the end of four [1] years, Absalom told the king, “Please let me go to Hebron so I can pay the vow that I made to Yehovah. 8 Your servant 'made' a vow while I was living at Geshur in Aram, I vowed, ‘If Yehovah ever brings me back to Jerusalem, then I’ll serve Yehovah in Hebron.’”

9 The king told him, “Go in peace.” So he got up and went to Hebron.

10 But Absalom sent loyal supporters thruout all the tribes of Israel, telling them, “As soon as you hear the shofar sound, you shout, ‘Absalom is king in Hebron!’” 11 Two hundred men from Jerusalem went with Absalom as invited guests; but were totally unaware of his plot. 12 Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David’s counselor from his city Giloh while he was offering zebakim. The conspiracy grew stronger, and the people with Absalom kept increasing.

13 A messenger came to David, to inform him, “The 'sentiments' of the Israelites are 'with' Absalom.”

14 So David told all his officials who were with him in Jerusalem, “Get up, let’s get out of here or none of us will escape from Absalom. Let’s leave right away, or he’ll overtake us quickly and bring disaster on us and strike the city with the edge of swords.”

15 The king’s officials told the king, “Your servants are ready to do whatever our master the king decides!”

16 So the king left with his entire household following him, but he left ten concubines to take care of the 'palace'. 17 The king went out, with all the people following him, and they stopped at the last house. 18 All his servants passed on beside him, all the Cherethites, all the Pelethites and all the Gittites, six hundred men who had accompanied him from Gath passed on before the king.

19 Then the king asked Ittai the Gittite, “Why are you coming with us too? Go back and stay with the new king. You are a foreigner and an exile from your 'homeland'. 20 You just got here yesterday. Should I make you wander around with us while I go wherever I can? Go back and take your countrymen with you. May mercy and truth be with you.”

21 But Ittai answered the king, “As Yehovah lives, and as my master the king lives, wherever my master the king may be, 'facing' death or 'facing' life, that’s where I’ll be your servant.”

22 So David replied to Ittai, “Then come along!” So Ittai the Gittite came along with all of his men and all of his children.

23 While the whole countryside cried loudly, and all the people crossed over, the king also crossed over the Kidron Valley, and all the people crossed over on the wilderness road.

24 Zadok was there too, and all the Levites with him carrying the Ark of the Covenant of Elohim, and they set down the Ark of Elohim, and Abiathar 'remained' while all the people finished abandoning the city.

25 The king said to Zadok, “Take the Ark of Elohim back into the city. If I find favor in Yehovah’s sight, He’ll bring me back again, and let me see both it and the place where it 'rests', 26 but if He says: ‘I’m not pleased with you,’ well then, here I am. He can do to me whatever He considers right.”

27 The king also said to Zadok the priest, “You are a seer. Return to the city in safety, along with your two sons, your son Ahimaaz and Jonathan the son of Abiathar. 28 I’ll wait at the river crossings in the wilderness until I 'hear' from you!” 29 So Zadok and Abiathar returned the Ark of Elohim to Jerusalem and stayed there.

30 But David went up the ascent of the Mount of Olives, and cried as he went with his head covered and walking barefoot. All of the people who were with him covered their own heads and climbed up, crying as they went. 31 Someone told David, “Ahithophel is one of Absalom’s conspirators!” So David prayed, “O Yehovah, please turn Ahithophel’s advice into insanity.”

32 When David came to the summit where people worshipped Elohim, Hushai the Archite came to meet him with his coat torn and dirt on his head. 33 David told him, “If you cross over with me, then you’ll be a burden to me. 34 But if you return to the city and tell Absalom, ‘I’ll be your servant, O king. I was your father’s servant in the past, but now I’ll be your servant,’ then you can undermine Ahithophel’s counsel for me. 35 The priests Zadok and Abiathar will be with you there. So whenever you hear anything from the king’s 'palace' you should inform Zadok and Abiathar the priests. 36 Their two sons, Zadok’s son Ahimaaz and Abiathar’s son Jonathan are also there. Send them to report anything you hear to me. 37 So David’s friend Hushai went back into the city, just as Absalom was entering the city.

[1] Some MT, Peshitta, LXX, Josephus, etc

2 Samuel 16

David and Ziba

1 When David was a little past the summit, Ziba, Mephibosheth’s servant, met him with a pair of saddled donkeys, carrying two hundred loaves of bread, one hundred clusters of raisins, one hundred summer fruits and a skin of wine.

2 The king asked Ziba, “Why have you brought these?”

Ziba answered, “The donkeys are for the king’s household to ride on, and the bread and summer fruit are for the young men to eat. The wine is for those who become tired and thirsty in the wilderness to drink.”

3 The king said, “Where is your master’s grandson?”

Ziba told the king, “He’s staying in Jerusalem,” Ziba replied to the king, ‘because he thinks, ‘Today the House of Israel will restore to me my grandfather’s kingdom.’”

4 Then the king said to Ziba, “Everything that belonged to Mephibosheth is yours!”

Ziba replied, “I bow before you. May I find favor in your sight, my master the king.”

5 When King David came to Bahurim, a man came out of the village cursing them. His name was Shimei son of Gera, a relative of Saul’s 'clan'. 6 He threw stones at David and at all the King David’s officials, and all the people and all the valiant men who were on his right and on his left. 7 Shimei shouted while he cursed, “Get out, get out, you bloodthirsty man! You worthless 'scoundrel'! 8 Yehovah has repaid you for all the blood you shed in the house of Saul, in whose place you rule! Yehovah has handed over the kingdom to your son Absalom! Your own evil has caught up with you, because you’re a bloodthirsty man!”

9 Then Zeruiah’s son Abishai asked the king, “Why should this dead dog curse my master the king? Do I have permission to go over and 'cut' off his head?”

10 But the king said, “What does this have to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? If he is cursing because Yehovah told him, ‘Curse David,’ then who should ask, ‘Why did you do that?’

11 David then said to Abishai and all his officials, “My son who came from my own body intends to take my life. How much more then this Benjamite? Leave him alone and let him curse, because Yehovah has 'directed' him. 12 Perhaps Yehovah will consider the wrong done to me, and Yehovah will repay me with good for this cursing today.”

13 So David and his men kept walking down the road, while Shimei walked along the hillside next to him, cursing as he went, throwing rocks and dirt at him. 14 The king and all the people who were with him arrived and rested there.

15 Now Absalom and all the Israelites entered Jerusalem, and Ahithophel was with him. 16 When David’s friend Hushai the Archite approached Absalom, Hushai said to Absalom, “Long live the king! Long live the king!”

17 Absalom said to Hushai, “Is this your loyal commitment to your friend? Why didn’t you go with your friend?”

18 Hushai answered Absalom, “No, I want to stay with the one who Yehovah, these people, and all the men Israel have chosen. I’ll side with him and stay with him. 19 Again, who should I serve? Shouldn’t I serve in the presence of his son? I’ll serve you the same way I served your father.”

20 Then Absalom asked Ahithophel, “What’s your advice? What should we do?”

21 Ahithophel said to Absalom, “Have sex with your father’s concubines, the ones he left to take care of the 'palace'. Then all Israel will hear that your father despises you. This will strengthen the resolve of everyone who is on your side.” 22 So they set up a tent for Absalom on the 'palace' roof, and Absalom had sex with his father’s concubines in plain sight of all Israel.

23 In those days Ahithophel’s council was regarded as a revelation [not oracle] from Elohim. Ahithophel’s counsel was regarded this way by both David and Absalom.

2 Samuel 17

Hushai’s Counsel

1 Then Ahithophel told Absalom, “Let me select 12,000 men, and I’ll set out tonight in pursuit of David. 2 I’ll 'raid' him while he is weak and 'exhausted' and throw him into a panic, and all the people who are with him will flee. I’ll only strike down the king. 3 I’ll bring all the people back to you. Since you are only going to take one life, and everyone else can be at peace.” 4 The 'advice' seemed great to Absalom and all the elders of Israel.

5 Then Absalom said, “Now call Hushai the Archite, and let’s hear what he has to say.” 6 When Hushai approached Absalom, Absalom told him, “Here is Ahithophel’s plan. Should we do what he says? If not, speak up.”

7 So Hushai said to Absalom, “This time Ahithophel’s advice is no good.” 8 Hushai went on to say, “You know that your father and his men are fierce warriors, as enraged as a bear robbed of her cubs in the 'wild'. Your father is a 'tactical' warrior, he won’t spend the night with the rest of the people. 9 He has already hidden in one of the ravines or some other place! Then when some of them are killed in the initial attack, someone will report, ‘Absalom’s men are being slaughtered!’ 10 Then even the most valiant of them with the 'courage' of lions will completely melt because every Israeli knows your father is a powerful 'warrior' and that those who are with him are valiant men.

11 My advice is this: Muster all the Israelites from Dan to Beersheba, an army as countless as sand on the seashore, and you should personally lead the charge. 12 Then we’ll 'attack' him wherever he’s 'hiding', and we’ll fall on him like dew falling on the ground. None of them will survive—not him or any of the men with him. 13 If he escapes into a city, then all Israel will bring ropes to that city, and we’ll drag it into the river valley until there isn’t even a pebble left there.”

14 Then Absalom and all the Israelis said, “The advice of Hushai the Archite is better than Ahithophel’s!” Yehovah was determined to thwart Ahithophel’s 'logical' advice. Yehovah’s intent was to bring a disaster on Absalom.

15 Then Hushai told the priests Zadok and Abiathar, “This is how Ahithophel advised Absalom and the elders of Israel, and this is 'the proposal' I advised. 16 So send messengers quickly, and tell David, ‘Don’t spend the night at the fords of the wilderness, but by all means cross over immediately, otherwise the king and all the people with him will be 'killed'.’”

17 Jonathan and Ahimaaz were waiting at En Rogel. A female servant would come and report to them, and they would then travel and report to King David, beause they couldn’t risk being seen coming into the city. 18 But a boy saw them and reported it to Absalom. So they both went away immediately, and came to the house of a man in Bahurim who had a well in his courtyard, and they climbed down into it. 19 The man’s wife grabbed a sheet, covered the mouth of the well with it, and spread grain chaff over it so that no one would notice.

20 Absalom’s servants came to the woman at the house, and they asked, “Where are Ahimaaz and Jonathan?”

The woman told them, “They crossed the brook. They looked around and couldn’t find them, so they returned to Jerusalem.”

21 After they left, the men climbed out of the well and went and told King David, “Get up and quickly and cross over the water, because Ahithophel has counseled against you.” 22 So David and all the people who were with him crossed over the Jordan River. By daybreak there wasn’t one of them who hadn’t crossed over the Jordan River. 23 When Ahithophel saw that his advice hadn’t been followed, he saddled his donkey and traveled home to his city, made his final requests, and hanged himself and died. He was buried in his father’s tomb.

24 David had already arrived in Mahanaim by the time Absalom and all the Israelites with him crossed the Jordan River. 25 Absalom had put Amasa in charge of the army instead of Joab. Amasa was the son of a man named Ithra the Ishmaelite who 'had married' Abigail the daughter of Nahash, sister to Zeruiah, Joab’s mother. 26 Israel and Absalom camped in the territory of Gilead.

27 When David arrived in Mahanaim, Shobi, son of Nahash from Rabbah in Ammon, and Machir the son of Ammiel from Lo Debar, and Barzillai the Gileadite from Rogelim 28 brought beds, basins, pottery, wheat, barley, flour, parched grain, beans, lentils, parched grain, 29 honey, curds, sheep and cheese from the herd, so that David and the people who were with him could eat, since they realized that the people would be hungry, weary and thirsty in the wilderness.

2 Samuel 18

Absalom’s death

1 Then David mustered the men who were with him, and appointed commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds. 2 David sent the people out, a third of them under the 'command' of Joab, a third of them under the 'command' of Abishai, Zeruiah’s son, Joab’s brother, and a third of them under the 'command' of Ittai the Gittite. The king said to the men, “I’m going out into battle with you.”

3 But the people said, “You should’t go 'with us', because if we retreat they won’t care about us, and if half of us die, they won’t care either. But you’re worth 10,000 of us. It’s better if you support us from the city.”

4 The king told them, “I’ll do whatever you think is best.”

So the king stood beside the gate, and all the people went out by hundreds and by thousands. 5 The king gave orders to Joab, Abishai and Ittai: “Treat the young man Absalom gently for my sake.” And everyone heard what the king ordered all the commanders about Absalom.

6 So the people went out into the battlefield against Israel, and the battle was fought in the forest of Ephraim. 7 The people of Israel were defeated there by David’s servants. A huge slaughter of 20,000 men took place that day. 8 The battle spread over the surface of the entire countryside, and the forest 'claimed' more people that day than the swords.

9 Absalom happened to meet some of David’s men. Absalom was riding on a mule, and the mule went under the thick boughs of a huge oak. And Absalom’s head got caught in the oak, and he was left hanging between the sky and earth, while the mule under him kept on going.

10 One of the men saw this and told Joab, “I saw Absalom hanging in an oak!”

11 Joab said to the man who told him, “You saw him? Why didn’t you strike him to the ground right there? I would have given you ten pieces of silver and a warrior’s belt.”

12 The man said to Joab, “Even if a thousand silver shekels were weighed out into my hands, I wouldn’t raise a hand against the king’s son, because we heard the king command you, Abishai and Ittai, ‘Protect the young man Absalom for my sake.’ 13 If I had jeopardized my [or his] life (and there is nothing hidden from the king), then you yourself would have kept your distance from me.” [?]

14 Then Joab said, “I’m not going to waste time like this with you.” So he took three spears in his hand, and thrust them into Absalom’s heart while he was still alive in the oak tree. 15 Then ten of Joab’s young armor-bearers surrounded Absalom, struck him and killed him.

16 Joab blew a shofar, and the people stopped chasing the Israelites, because Joab held the people back. 17 They took Absalom’s body, and threw it into a deep pit in the forest, and piled a large heap of stones over it. Then all the Israelites fled to their tents.

18 While Absalom was still alive he had erected a pillar for himself in the King’s Valley, because he said, “I don’t have a son to carry on my family name.” He named the pillar after himself, and it’s called Absalom’s Monument to this day.

19 Then Zadok’s son Ahimaaz said, “Please let me run and bring the king news that Yehovah has vindicated him from the grasp of his enemies.”

20 Joab said to him, “You aren’t the man to bring the news today. You can report the news some other day. You must not report the news today because the king’s son is dead.”

21 Then Joab told a Cushite, “Go tell the king what you’ve seen!” The Cushite bowed to Joab and took off running.

22 Then Zadok’son Ahimaaz repeated to Joab, “Come what may, please let me also run after the Cushite.”

Joab asked him, “Why do you want to run, my son? There’s no reward in it for you.”

23 But come what may,” he said, “I want to run.” So he told him, “Run!” Then Ahimaaz ran by the Jordan Valley road and outran the Cushite.

24 Now David was sitting between the two gateways, and the watchman went up to the roof of the gateway by the wall. As he 'looked' he saw a man running alone. 25 The watchman called out and reported this to the king.

The king responded, “If he’s alone, he’s bringing good news to report.” And he came closer and closer.

26 Then the watchman saw another man running, and the watchman called to the gatekeeper and said, “Look, another man running alone!”

The king said, “He must be bringing good news too.”

27 The watchman said, “It seems to me that the first one runs like Zadok’s son Ahimaaz.”

The king said, “He’s a good man and comes with good news.”

28 Ahimaaz called out to the king, “All is well.” He bowed facedown before the king and said, ‘Blessed is Yehovah your Elohim, who has handed over the men who lifted up their hands against my master the king.”

29 The king asked, “Is the young man Absalom safe?”

Ahimaaz answered, “I saw a large disturbance just as Joab was about to send the king’s servant and me, your servant, but I don’t know what it was.”

30 The king said, “Move aside and stand here.” So he stepped aside and stood there.

31 Then the Cushite arrived and said, “My master the king, hear the good news! Yehovah has vindicated you today by rescuing you from the 'grasp' of everyone who rebelled against you!”

32 Then the king asked the Cushite, “Is the young man Absalom 'safe'?”

The Cushite answered, “May your enemies and everyone who turned against you 'end up' like that young man!”

33 The king was deeply moved. He went to the room above the gate and cried. As he went, he said, “My son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! I wish I had died instead of you, Absalom, my son, my son!”

2 Samuel 19

David Returns to the Throne

1 Joab was told, “The king is crying and mourning for Absalom.” 2 So the victory that day was turned into mourning for all the people because they heard that day that the king was grieving for his son. 3 The men crept back into the city that day as if they had fled from a battle and were ashamed of it. 4 The king covered his face and cried loudly, “My son Absalom, Absalom, my son, my son!”

5 Joab went up to the king’s 'palace' and said, “Today you’ve humiliated everyone who just saved your life, and the lives of your sons and of your daughters, and the lives of your wives and concubines! 6 You love those who hate you and hate those who love you. You’ve made it clear that your officers and the men under them mean nothing to you. I know that if Absalom were alive today and the rest of us had died, that you would be pleased. 7 Now get up, go out, and encourage your men. I swear by Yehovah, if you don’t go out, no one will stay with you tonight. This would be worse for you than all the trouble you’ve had in your entire life.” 8 So the king got up and took a seat in the gateway. All of the men were told, “The king is sitting in the gate”! So all the people came before the king. Meanwhile, all the Israelites had fled to their tents.

9 Everyone was arguing thruout all the tribes of Israel, saying, “The king rescued us from our enemies and saved us from the grasp of the Philistines; and now he has fled from the land because of Absalom. 10 And Absalom, the one we anointed over us died in battle. So why are you silent about bringing the king back?”

11 So King David sent this message to Zadok and Abiathar the priests, “Ask the elders of Judah: ‘Why are you the last to bring the king back to his 'palace' since the 'talk' of all Israel has come to the king at his palace? 12 You’re my relatives! You’re my own flesh and bones. So why should you be the last to bring the king back?’ 13 Ask Amasa, ‘Aren’t you my bone and my flesh? So may Elohim 'punish' me 'severely' or 'worse', if from this day forward you don’t become commander of my army instead of Joab!’

14 So he won over the sentiments of all the men of Judah, they were in 'total agreement'. So they sent the king this message: “Come back with all your servants.” 15 So the king then returned and came as far as the Jordan River.

And Judah came to Gilgal in order to meet the king, to bring the king across the Jordan River. 16 Gera’s son Shimei, the Benjamite from Bahurim, hurried down with the men of Judah to meet King David. 17 There were a thousand Benjamites with him, with Ziba, the servant of the house of Saul, and his fifteen sons and his twenty servants with him, and they rushed to the Jordan River ahead of the king 18 while the crossing was taking place, to bring over the king’s household, and to do whatever he wanted.

Shimei, Gera’s son, bowed down in front of the king as he was about to cross the Jordan River. 19 He said to the king, “My lord, don’t hold me guilty, and don’t remember your servant’s wrongdoing on the day my master the king left Jerusalem. May the king not 'take' it 'personally'. 20 'I' know I’ve sinned. So I’ve come today, the first person from the entire House of Joseph to come down to meet my master the king.”

21 Zeruiah’s son Abishai responded, “Shouldn’t Shimei be put to death for this—for cursing Yehovah’s anointed?”

22 But David said, “What does this have to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? Have you become an adversay? Should anyone in Israel be put to death today? Don’t you realize that I’m king over Israel 'again'?” 23 The king promised Shimei, “You won’t die,” and the king swore to it.

24 Mephibosheth, Saul’s grandson, also came down to meet the king. He hadn’t taken care of his feet, trimmed his mustache or washed his clothes from the day the king left until the day he returned safely. 25 When he arrived from Jerusalem to meet the king, the king asked him, “Why didn’t you come with me, Mephibosheth?”

26 He answered, “My servant deceived me, my lord. Since I’m disabled, I said, ‘I’ll saddle a donkey for me so I can ride along with the king.’ 27 'Ziba' has slandered your servant to my master and king, but my master and king is a messenger of Elohim. So do what you think is 'best'. 28 Everyone from my grandfather’s household deserved death from my master the king, yet you seated me with those who ate at your table. So what right do I have to 'beg' for anything more from the king?”

29 In response, the king told him, “Why are you still talking about this? I said, you and Ziba will divide the land.”

30 Mephibosheth told the king, “Let him take everything since my master the king has come home safely.”

31 Barzillai the Gileadite also had come down from Rogelim; he accompanied the king to the Jordan River to escort him over the Jordan River. 32 Barzillai was very old, eighty years of age, and he had provided food for the king while he stayed in Mahanaim, because he was a very 'wealthy' man. 33 So the king said to Barzillai, “Cross the Jordan River with me and I’ll provide for you in Jerusalem.”

34 But Barzillai replied to the king, “How many more years do I have 'left' to make moving with the king to Jerusalem practical? 35 I’m eighty years old. I can barely distinguish between what is pleasant and what is not. Your servant can’t taste what he eats or drinks. I can’t 'appreciate' the voices of male and female singers. So why should your servant be an added burden to my master the king? 36 Your servant will go a little way over the Jordan River with the king, but why should the king repay me with such a reward? 37 Please let 'me' return so that I can die in my own city near the grave of my father and mother. But here is your servant Chimham. Have him cross over with my master the king; and do for him whatever seems best to you.”

38 The king answered, “Chimham will cross over with me, and I’ll do for him whatever seems best to you. I’ll do anything for you that you want!”

39 Then all the people crossed the Jordan River and the king crossed over too. The king then kissed Barzillai and blessed him, and he returned to his 'home'.

40 As the king crossed over to Gilgal, Chimham went with him; all the people of Judah and half the people of Israel crossed over with the king.

41 Then everyone in Israel came and asked the king, “Why have our relatives, the men of Judah. stolen you away and brought the king and his household and all David’s men over the Jordan River with him?”

42 Then all the people of Judah answered the Israelites, “Because the king is closely related to us. So why are you angry about this? We haven’t eaten anything at the king’s expense, and nothing has been taken from us.”

43 The people of Israel answered the people of Judah, “We have ten shares [tribes] in the monarchy, and a greater claim on David than you have. So why do you despise us? Weren’t we the first to recommend bringing our king back?”

But what the people of Judah had 'to say' was harsher than what the people of Israel 'were saying'.

2 Samuel 20

Sheba’s Rebellion

1 There happened to be a scoundrel named Sheba there, the son of Bichri, a Benjamite, and he blew a shofar announcing, “We have no 'representation' in David, no inheritance in Jesse’s son! Everyone to your tents, Israel!” 2 So all the Israelites left David to follow Bichri’s son Sheba. But the people of Judah remained 'loyal' to their king all the way from the Jordan River to Jerusalem.

3 When David arrived at his 'palace' in Jerusalem, the king took the ten women, the concubines he had left to tend the 'palace' and put them under guard. He provided for them, but he didn’t have sex with them. They were cared for until the day they died, and lived like widows.

4 Then the king told Amasa, “Muster the 'army' of Judah here within three days, and be here yourself!” 5 So Amasa went to call the 'army' of Judah together, but he took longer to do it than the time he had been allotted.

6 David told Abishai, “Bichri’s son Sheba is about to do more harm than Absalom did. Take 'my guards' and chase him down before he finds one of the fortified cities and escapes from us.” 7 So Joab’s men went out after him, along with his bodyguards and his couriers and all the special forces; and they left Jerusalem in pursuit of Bichri’s son Sheba.

8 When they reached the great stone in Gibeon, Amasa came to meet them. Joab was wearing his military attire, and over it was a belt with a sword in its sheath fastened at his waist; and as he walked forward it fell out.

9 Joab asked Amasa, “How are you, my brother?” and Joab took Amasa by the beard with his right hand to kiss him. 10 But Amasa didn’t notice the sword in Joab’s hand. Joab stabbed him in the stomach and his intestines spilled out on the ground. He died without being stabbed again. Then Joab and his brother pursued Bichri’s son Sheba.

11 One of Joab’s young men stood by Amasa and announced, “Whoever is in favor of Joab and David should follow Joab!” 12 While Amasa was wallowing in his blood in the middle of the highway, everyone who passed by was stopping to stare at him. So a man carried Amasa off of the highway and into a field and threw a robe over him. 13 Once 'Amasa' was removed from the highway, everyone followed Joab in pursuit of Bichri’s son Sheba.

14 'Sheba' went thru all the tribes of Israel to Abel of Beth Maacah, and all the Berites gathered together and followed him. 15 'Joab’s men' came and blockaded 'Sheba' in Abel of Beth Maacah. They built a siege ramp against the ramparts of the city, and all the people who were with Joab were battering the wall to knock it down. 16 Then a wise woman called from the city, “Listen! Listen! Tell Joab, ‘Come here, I want to talk to him.’” 17 So he approached her, and the woman asked, “Are you Joab?”

He answered, “I am.” Then she said to him, “Listen to what your maidservant has to say!” And he replied, “I’m listening.”

18 So she said, “There’s an old saying: ‘If they inquire in Abel, disputes will be settled.’ 19 I’m one of the peaceful and faithful citizens of Israel. You’re trying to devour a mother city in Israel. Why would you annihilate Yehovah’s inheritance?”

20 Joab replied, “Absolutely not, absolutely not! I’m not here to devour or destroy!” 21 That’s not the case. A man named Sheba, Bichri’s son, from Ephraim’s highlands has 'rebelled' against King David. Just hand him over and I’ll withdraw from the city.”

The woman replied to Joab, “All right. His head will be thrown over the wall to you!”

22 Then the woman in her wisdom went to all the people. And they beheaded Sheba the son of Bichri and threw it to Joab. So He blew his shofar and they left the city, every man to his tent. And Joab returned to Jerusalem to the king.

23 Joab was 'in command' of the entire army of Israel, and Benaiah the son of Yehoiada [Yehovah-known] was 'in command' of the bodyguards and his couriers and all the special forces. 24 Adoram was in charge of forced labor; Ahilud’s son Yehoshaphat was the recorder. 25 Sheva was the secretary, and Zadok and Abiathar were priests; 26 and Ira the Jairite was David’s priest.

2 Samuel 21

Avenging the Gibeonites

1 During the reign of David there was a famine that went on for three straight years, so David inquired of Yehovah. Yehovah said, “It’s because of the bloody house of Saul when he killed the Gibeonites.”

2 So the king called the Gibeonites, and told them (now the Gibeonites were not Israelites, but the 'survivors' of the Amorites, and altho the Israelites had sworn to spare them, Saul tried to kill them in his zeal for Israel and Judah). 3 So David asked the Gibeonites, “What can I do for you? And how can I make amends so that you can bless the inheritance [people] of Yehovah?”

4 The Gibeonites answered, “It’s not a matter of silver or gold between us and Saul or his 'family', and we can’t put anyone in Israel to death.”

'David' said, “I’ll do whatever you ask for.”

5 They replied to the king, “'Saul' planned to exterminate us and prevent our remaining within the territory of Israel, 6 so give us seven of his 'descendants' and we’ll hang them in the presence of Yehovah in Gibeah that belonged to Saul, Yehovah’s chosen.”

The king said, “I’ll give them to you.”

7 But the king spared Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s son and Saul’s grandson because of the oath of Yehovah that was between them, between David and Saul’s son Jonathan. 8 So the king 'arrested' the two sons of Aiah’s daughter Rizpah, Armoni and [another] Mephibosheth who she had borne to Saul, and the five sons of Saul’s daughter Merab, who she had borne to Barzillai the Meholathite’s son Adriel. 9 He handed them over to the Gibeonites, and they hanged them on the mountain before Yehovah, and all seven of them 'died' together. They were executed during the first days of the harvest as the barley began to be gathered.

10 Then Aiah’s daughter Rizpah took some sackcloth and spread it out for herself on the rock from the beginning of harvest until rain fell from the heavens on their bodies, and she didn’t allow birds from the air to light on them during the day or wild animals at night. 11 When David was told what Saul’s concubine Rizpah, daughter of Aiah, had done, 12 David went and got the bones of Saul and of his son Jonathan from the men of Jabesh Gilead, who had stolen them from the 'public' square of Beth Shan, where the Philistines had hung them during the time when the Philistines killed Saul in Gilboa. 13 He brought up the bones of Saul and the bones of his son Jonathan from there, and they gathered the bones of those who had been 'hanged'.

14 They buried the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan in the country of Benjamin in Zela in the tomb of his father Kish, and they did everything that the king commanded. After that Elohim 'answered' the prayers for the land.

15 Once again war broke out between the Philistines and Israel. So David and his men went to fight the Philistines, but David became exhausted. 16 Then Ishbibenob, one of the descendants of the giants Rephaim, intended to kill David. The weight of his bronze spear was three hundred shekels, and he was wearing a new sword. 17 But Zeruiah’s son Abishai came and rescued David. He killed the Philistine. Then David’s men swore to him: “You must never again go out with us into battle. Israel’s lamp must never be extinguished”

18 After this there was another battle with the Philistines at Gob; here Sibbecai the Hushathite killed Saph, another descendant of the giant.

19 In yet another battle with the Philistines at Gob, Elhanan, Jair’s son from Bethlehem killed Goliath the Gittite’s brother [1], who had a spear with a shaft like a weaver’s beam.

20 In another battle at Gath, there was another giant. He had six fingers on each hand, and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in number; he also had been born to the giant. 21 When he defied Israel, Jonathan, son of David’s brother Shimei, killed him.

22 These four were also descendants of the giants Raphaim from Gath, and they fell by the hands of David and his 'soldiers'.

[1] 1 Chronicles 20:5; Lahmi, the brother of Goliath

2 Samuel 22

David’s Psalm of Rescue

1 David sang the words of this song to Yehovah on the day Yehovah rescued him from the 'grasp' of all his enemies, and from the 'grasp' of Saul. 2 He said,

“Yehovah is my rock, my fortress and my rescuer, 3 Elohim is my rock, in Him I’ll take refuge. He is my shield and the 'strength' of my deliverance, my high tower and my refuge. You save me from violence. 4 I’ll call on Yehovah who is worthy to be praised, I’ll be saved from my enemies.

5 Waves of death engulfed me. Torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. 6 The ropes of sheol surrounded me. The snares of death confronted me. 7 In my distress I called to Yehovah. Yes, I called to my Elohim. He heard my voice from His 'Temple'. My cry reached His ears.

8 Then the earth shook and trembled. The foundations of the heavens trembled and quaked because He was angry. 9 Smoke rose from His nostrils, and devouring fire from His mouth. Coals were set fire by it. 10 He bent [1] the heavens and came down with thick darkness under His feet. 11 He rode on a cherub and flew, and He appeared on the wings of the wind. 12 He made darkness a sukkah [booth] around Himself, amassing water and thick clouds from the skies. 13 Out of the brightness of His presence coals burst into flames. 14 Yehovah thundered from heaven. The Supreme One allowed His voice to be heard! 15 He shot arrows and scattered 'His enemies'; and His lightning threw them into confusion. 16 Then the channels of the sea were exposed and the foundations of the world were laid bare by the reprimand of Yehovah, at the blast of the breath from His nostrils.

17 “He reached down from high above and took hold of me; He pulled me out of the 'raging' water. 18 He rescued me from my powerful enemies, from those who hated me, since they were too strong for me.

19 They confronted me during the time of my disaster, but Yehovah supported me. 20 He brought me out into an expanse. He rescued me because He delighted in me.

21 Yehovah compensated me for having been fair. He paid me back for having kept my hands clean [innocence], 22 because I’ve obeyed the ways of Yehovah. I haven’t acted wickedly against my Elohim. 23 I kept all His regulations 'in mind'. I never abandoned His unchanging tenets 24 I am blameless before Him. I refrained from sinning. 25 Yehovah compensated me commensurate with my righteousness in His sight.

26 With the merciful you’ll show yourself merciful. With the 'special' ones You’ll show Yourself perfect. 27 You are loyal to the loyal and You’re faithful to the faithful. 28 You rescue an oppressed people, but You always look to bring the arrogant down. 29 You are my lamp, Yehovah. Yehovah lights up my darkness. 30 With you I can charge into a line of troops. By my Elohim I can leap over a wall.

31 Elohim’s ways are perfect. The Word of Yehovah is proven. He shields everyone who takes refuge in Him.

32 Who is Elohim but Yehovah? Who is a rock other than our Elohim? 33 Elohim is my strong fortress. He keeps me 'in line'. 34 He makes me as surefooted as a deer and keeps me standing on the heights. 35 He disciplines my hands for battle, so that my arms can draw back a bronze bow. 36 You’ve given me the shield of Your deliverance. Your answers make me great. 37 You widen the 'path' for my feet, and my feet haven’t slipped.

38 I’ve pursued my enemies and destroyed them. I didn’t turn back until they were 'wiped out'. 39 I 'destroyed' them! I 'struck them down'! They won’t be getting up. They fell beneath my feet. 40 You equipped me with strength for battle. You 'crushed' those who opposed me. 41 You’ve made my enemies turn their backs on me so I could quash those who hated me. 42 They looked around, but there was no one to save them—they looked to Yehovah, but he refused to answer. 43 I pulverized them like dust on the ground; I stomped them like mud in the streets.

44 You rescued me from my own contentious people. You made me the leader of nations; people I don’t even know serve me. 45 Foreigners grovel before me; as soon as I speak they obey me. 46 Foreigners lose their 'nerve' and come 'trembling' from their strongholds.

47 Yehovah lives! Blessed be my Rock! May Elohim, the Rock of my salvation be lifted high! 48 He’s the Elohim who avenges me and brings people under my authority. 49 You free me from my enemies. You even lift me above those who rise up against me; You rescue me from violent men. 50 So I’ll give thanks to You, Yehovah, in the presence of the nations, and I’ll sing praises to Your name. 51 He gives great victories to His king, and shows faithful love. to his anointed, to David and to his 'descendants', forever.”

[1] “But if space is bent, it has to be bent in at least a fourth dimension, which is likely to be that space is bent in time. If mass is really a thickness in quantum time, then the faster an object moves, and the more apparent mass it has because of that motion, and space is bent in time, then as one becomes thicker in time the bending would increase proportional to the thickness.”

2 Samuel 23

David’s Last Words

1 These are the last words of David:

The declaration of David the son of Jesse and the declaration of the man who was empowered concerning the messiah [1] [anointed one] of the Elohim of Jacob, the sweet psalmist of Israel:

2 “'Yehovah’s spirit' spoke thru me. His 'message' was on my tongue. 3 The Elohim of Israel said: The Rock of Israel told me: ‘The one who rules the people with justice, who rules with reverence of Elohim 4 is like the sunrise on a cloudless day, or like the glistening grasslands covering the earth in the sunshine after the rain.

5 Most certainly my household is NOT [2] with Elohim, yet He has made an EVERLASTING COVENANT with me, complete and unchanging in every detail. He insures my safety and brings my every desire into fruition.

6 But every single worthless person will be thrown away like thorns because they can’t be safely handled. 7 Whoever handles them must be armed with iron tools or the shaft of a spear. They’ll be completely burned to ashes where they 'lie'!

8 These are the names of David’s special forces: Josheb Basshebeth a Tahchemonite, who was leader of the Three, he was nicknamed Thin as a Spear after he killed eight hundred men in a single battle.

9 Next was Eleazar, Dodo’s son and Ahohi’s grandson, one of the Three special forces with David when they defied the Philistines who had gathered there for battle when the Israelite army had 'fled'. 10 'Eleazar' remained standing and fought the Philistines until his hand cramped and froze to the sword. Yehovah brought about a great victory that day. The rest of the army only returned to plunder the dead.

11 Next was Agee’s son Shammah a Hararite. One time the Philistines gathered at Lehi where there was a plot of ground 'planted' in lentils, and the 'Israelites' fled from the Philistines, 12 but 'Shammah' stood in the middle of the plot and defended it and struck down the Philistines, and Yehovah brought about a great victory.

13 Once during the harvest while David was at the cave of Adullam, the Philistine army was camped in the valley of the giants. Then Three of the Thirty special forces went down to meet him there. 14 David was staying in the stronghold while a Philistine garrison was occupying Bethlehem.

15 David remarked longingly, “If only someone could give me a drink of water from the well by the gate in Bethlehem!” 16 So the Three special forces broke into the Philistine camp and got some water from the Bethlehem well next to the city gate and brought it to David. But he refused to drink it and poured it out to Yehovah. 17 He said, “Yehovah forbid that I should 'drink' this! It’s like the blood of the men who risked their lives.” So he wouldn’t drink it.

These were the kinds of things the Three special forces did.

18 Zeruiah’s son Abishai, Joab’s brother, was the leader of the Thirty. He raised his spear against three hundred and killed them, and made a name for himself along with the Three. 19 He was the most honored of the Thirty, so he was made their commander; but he never attained the stature of the Three.

20 Yehoiada’s son Benaiah, the son of a special forces 'soldier' from Kabzeel did some amazing things. He killed the two sons of Ariel from Moab. He also went down into a pit and killed a lion on a snowy day. 21 He also killed an impressive Egyptian. The Egyptian had a spear in his hand, but 'Benaiah' went down to him with a club and grabbed the spear from the Egyptian’s hand and killed him with his own spear. 22 These were the kinds of things Yehoiada’s son Benaiah did. He made a name for himself comparable to the Three special forces men. 23 He was honored among the Thirty, but he wasn’t as honored as the Three. David made him the leader of his bodyguards.

24 Among the Thirty were:

Joab’s brother Asahel, Dodo’s son Elhanan from Bethlehem, 25 Shammah from Harod; Elika from Harod, 26 Helez from Pelet; Ira, Ikkesh’s son from Tekoa; 27 Abiezer from Anathoth; Mebunnai the Hushathite; 28 Zalmon from Ahoh; Maharai from Netophah; 29 Baanah’s son Heleb from Netophah; Ribai’s son Ittai from Gibeah of the descendants of Benjamin; 30 Benaiah from Pirathon; Hiddai from the brooks of Gaash; 31 Abi Albon the Arbathite; Azmaveth from Bahurim; 32 Eliahba from Shaalbon; Jashen the Gizonite; Jonathan, 33 Shammah from Harar; Ahiam the son of Sharar from Harar; 34 Eliphelet, Ahasbai’s son from Maacah; Eliam, Ahithophel’s son from Giloh; 35 Hezro from Carmel; Paarai from Erab; 36 Igal, Nathan’s son from Zobah; Bani the Gadite; 37 Zelek the Ammonite; Naharai from Beeroth, the armor bearers for Zeruiah’s son Joab 38 Ira from Ither and Gaeb from Ither, 39 Uriah the Hittite.

There were thirty-seven in all.

[1] As expressed in the Targums, according to Gill’s Exposition, verse 1. [2] All 10 newer translations I checked indicate that David’s family was in great shape—completely changing the meaning. All older translations and revised KJV versions indicate the opposite. Commentary: See v.5. AND Isaiah 55:3!

2 Samuel 24

David’s Census

1 Again the anger of Yehovah burned against Israel, and it incited David against them to say, “Go take a 'census' of Israel and Judah.”

2 So the king said to Joab, the commander of the army who was with him, “Go thruout all the tribes of Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, and 'take a census' of the people so that I can know how many people there are.”

3 But Joab replied to the king, “May Yehovah your Elohim increase the number of people to a hundred times as many as there are, and may my master the king live to see it. But why does my master the king want to do this?”

4 Yet the king’s order overruled Joab and the commanders of the army. So Joab and the commanders of the army left the king to 'take a census' of the people of Israel. 5 They crossed the Jordan River and camped in Aroer on the right side of the city in the middle of the valley of Gawd and then on to Jazer. 6 Then they went to Gilead and to Tahtim Hodshi and then to Dan Jaan and around to Sidon. 7 They went to the fortress of Tyre and all the cities of the Hivites and Canaanites. Then they went to Beersheba to the south of Judah.

8 So when they had traversed the entire land, they came to Jerusalem at the end of nine months and twenty days. 9 Joab reported the 'census figures' to the king, and there were 800,000 valiant men who could draw a sword, and in Judah there were 500,000 men.

10 After David counted the people his conscience 'troubled' him. David said to Yehovah, “I’ve sinned greatly by what I’ve done. But now, Yehovah, please remove the sin of Your servant because I’ve acted very foolishly.”

11 When David got up in the morning, the Word of Yehovah came to the prophet Gawd, David’s seer: 12 “Go tell David, ‘This is what Yehovah says: I’m offering you three choices. Choose the one you want Me to do to you.’”

13 So Elohim came to David and asked him, “Should seven years of famine come to you and your land? Or should you flee for three months before your enemies as they chase you? Or should there be three days of plague in your land? Now think it over and decide how I should answer the One who sent me.”

14 David said to Gawd, “I’m in a desperate situation! Let’s fall into Yehovah’s hands because His mercy is great. But don’t let me fall into human hands!”

15 So Yehovah sent a plague on Israel from morning until the allotted time, and 70,000 men in the 'nation' died from Dan to Beersheba. 16 When the Messenger stretched out his hand toward Jerusalem to destroy it, Yehovah regretted the disaster and told the Messenger who was destroying the people, “Enough! Stay your hand!” At that time the Messenger of Yehovah was by the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.

17 Then David spoke to Yehovah when he saw the Messenger who was striking down the people and said, “I’m the one who sinned! I’m the one who has done wrong. But these sheep, what have they done? Please 'turn' Your hand against me and my 'household'!”

18 That same day the prophet Gawd approached David and told him, “Go up and build an altar on Araunah the Jebusite’s threshing floor to Yehovah.”

19 So David went up in obedience to Gawd’s order, just as Yehovah had commanded. 20 When Araunah looked down, he saw the king and his 'soldiers' approaching him. Araunah rushed out and bowed before the king with his face to the ground. 21 Then Araunah asked, “Why has my master the king come to his servant?”

David replied, “To buy your threshing floor and to build an altar to Yehovah, so the plague will stop killing the people.” 22 Araunah said to David, “May my master the king offer whatever seems best in his sight. Here are the bulls for the burnt offering and the threshing sledges and the bulls yokes for the wood. 23 My king, Araunah gives everything here to the king.” Araunah told the king, “May Yehovah your Elohim accept you.”

24 The king said to Araunah, “No, I absolutely must pay for it. I won’t offer burnt offerings to Yehovah my Elohim that costs me nothing.”

So David bought the threshing floor and the bulls for fifty shekels of silver.

25 David built an altar to Yehovah there and offered burnt offerings and fellowship zebakim. So Yehovah answered his prayer for the land and the plague in Israel came to an end.

1st KINGS 1

1st & 2nd Kings Are Really One Book.

Chapters 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22

David in His Old Age

1 King David had become very old. His servants covered him with blankets, but he couldn’t get warm. 2 So his servants told him, “We should find our master the king a young virgin and have her take care of the king, and cherish you, and have her lie in your 'arms', so our master the king can remain warm.”

3 So they searched for a beautiful girl thruout the territory of Israel, and found Abishag the Shunammite, and brought her to the king. 4 The girl was very beautiful. She took care of the king and served him, but the king didn’t a sexual relationship with her.

5 Meanwhile, Adonijah the son of David by Haggith 'took the opportunity' to say, “I’ll be king”, and he prepared chariots and cavalry and fifty men to run ahead of him. 6 His father had never challenged him by asking, “Why have you done this?” He was also a very handsome man, and he was born after Absalom.

7 He had the support of Zeruiah’s son Joab and Abiathar the priest who followed 'Adonijah' and gave him their support. 8 But Zadok the priest, Benaiah the son of Yehoiada, Nathan the prophet, Shimei and Rei, and David’s special forces didn’t side with Adonijah.

9 Adonijah zebaked [sacrificed] sheep and bulls and fattened cattle by the Serpent Stone near Rogel Spring. He invited his brothers, the other sons of the king and all the 'royal officials' of Judah. 10 But he didn’t invite the prophet Nathan, Benaiah, 'David’s' special forces or his brother Solomon.

11 Then Nathan asked Bathsheba, Solomon’s mother, “Have you heard that Adonijah the son of Haggith has become king, and our master David doesn’t even know it yet? 12 So please come and let me advise you. Save your life and the life of your son Solomon. 13 Go to King David and ask him, “Didn’t you, my lord, O king, swear to your maidservant that my son Solomon would be king after you, and that he would sit on your throne? So why has Adonijah become king?” 14 Then, while you’re still there talking to the king, I’ll come in after you and coinfirm everything you 'said'.”

15 So Bathsheba went in to the king in his bedroom where Abishag the Shunammite was taking care of the king. 16 Bathsheba knelt and bowed down before the king, and the king asked her,

“What do you want?”

17 She replied, “My lord, you swore to your maidservant by Yehovah your Elohim, ‘Your son Solomon will certainly be king after me, and he’ll sit on my throne.’ 18 But Adonijah has already been made king, and you, my master the king don’t even know about it. 19 He has made zebakim [sacrifices] of bulls and fattened cattle and sheep in abundance, and has invited all the king’s sons, Abiathar the priest and Joab the commander of the army, but he didn’t invite your servant Solomon. 20 Now as for you, my master the king, the eyes of all Israel are on you to tell them who will sit on the throne of my master the king after you. 21 Otherwise, as soon as my master the king is laid to rest with his ancestors, my son Solomon and I will be considered 'outlaws'.”

22 While she was still speaking with the king, the prophet Nathan came in. 23 They informed the king, “Nathan the prophet is here.”

When he came in before the king, he bowed before the king with his face to the ground. 24 Nathan said, “My master the king, did you say, ‘Adonijah will reign after me, and sit on my throne?’ 25 Earlier today he made zebakim of bulls and fattened cattle and sheep in abundance, and invited all the king’s sons, and the commanders of the army, and Abiathar the priest. Right now they are eating and drinking in his presence and saying, ‘Long live king Adonijah!’ 26 But he didn’t invite me or Zadok the priest or Yehoiada’s son Benaiah or your servant Solomon. 27 Has my master the king really done this without letting your servants know who would sit on the throne of my master the king after him?”

28 Then King David said, ‘Call Bathsheba to me.’ She came into the king’s presence and stood before the king.

29 The king repeated his vow and said, “As Yehovah lives, who 'rescued' me from every danger, 30 just as surely as I swore to you by Yehovah, the Elohim of Israel, ‘Your son Solomon will be king after me and he’ll sit on my throne in my place.’ I’m going to make this happen today!”

31 Then Bathsheba bowed with her face to the ground before the king and said, “May my master King David live forever!”

32 Then King David said, “Bring me Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet and Yehoiada’s son Benaiah.” And they came before the king. 33 The king told them, “Take the servants of your master with you and have my son Solomon ride on my own mule and bring him down to Gihon. 34 Have Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anoint him as king over Israel there. Blow a shofar and announce, ‘Long live King Solomon!’ 35 Then escort him back here, and he’ll come and sit on my throne since he’ll be king in my place. I’ve appointed him to be ruler over Israel and Judah.”

36 Yehoiada’s son Benaiah replied to the king, “Aw-main'. May Yehovah, the Elohim of my master the king make it so. 37 As Yehovah has been with my master the king, may He also be with Solomon and make his throne greater than the throne of my master King David.”

38 So Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, Yehoiada’s son Benaiah, the special forces and mercenaries went down and had Solomon ride on King David’s mule, and brought him to Gihon. 39 Zadok the priest took the horn of oil out of the Tabernacle and anointed Solomon. They blew a shofar, and all the people said, “Long live King Solomon!” 40 All the people followed him. The people were playing flutes and celebrated with so much joy that the ground shook from the noise.

41 Adonijah and all the guests who were with him heard this as they were finishing their meal. When Joab heard the sound of the shofar, he asked, “Why is the city in such an uproar?”

42 While he was still speaking Abiathar’s son Jonathan the priest arrived, and Adonijah said, “Come in, since you are an honorable man bringing good news.”

43 But Jonathan replied to Adonijah, “No! Our master King David has made Solomon king. 44 The king sent Zadok the priest with him, Nathan the prophet, Yehoiada’s son Benaiah, the special forces and mercenaries, and they’ve had him ride on the king’s mule. 45 Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet have anointed him king in Gihon. They’ve just returned from there rejoicing, and that’s why the city is in an uproar. That’s the noise you heard. 46 Besides, Solomon is already sitting on the throne of the kingdom. 47 And the king’s servants came to bless our master King David, they’re saying, ‘May your Elohim make Solomon’s name better known than your name and his throne greater than your throne.’ And the king bowed down in his bed. 48 The king also said, ‘Blessed be Yehovah, the Elohim of Israel, who has allowed me to see the successor to my throne today with my own eyes’”

49 All of Adonijah’s guests were terrified. Each 'scattered' a different way. 50 Adonijah was afraid of Solomon, so he got up and took hold of the horns of the altar. 51 Solomon was told, “Adonijah is terrified of King Solomon! He’s taken hold on the horns of the altar, and is asking, “Have King Solomon swear to me today that he won’t kill his servant with a sword.”

52 Solomon said, “If he 'proves to be' an honorable man, not one of his hairs will fall to the ground, but if evil is found in him, he will die.” 53 So King Solomon summoned 'Adonijah', and they took him down from the altar. He came and bowed down to King Solomon, and Solomon told him, “Go home.”

1 KINGS 2

David’s Advice to Solomon

1 As David’s time to die was nearing, he instructed his son Solomon,

2 “I’m about 'to return to the ground'. Have courage and be a man. 3 Obey the requirements of Yehovah your Elohim by 'living' by His ways, keeping His unchanging tenets, His commandments, His regulations and His declarations [judicial regulations] according to what is written in the Torah of Moses. Then you’ll prosper in everything you do and wherever you go, 4 so that Yehovah can carry out His 'message' that He spoke about me: ‘If your descendants live before Me in truth in all their 'thoughts' and with all their 'being', you won’t fail to have a man on the throne of Israel.’

5 “You should know what Zeruiah’s son Joab did to me and to those two commanders of the armies of Israel, Ner’s son Abner and Jether’s son Amasa, who he murdered, shedding the blood of war in peace, 'staining' the belt he wears around his waist and the sandals he wears on his feet. 6 So act wisely: don’t let his gray hair go down to sheol in peace.

7 But show kindness to the descendants of Barzillai the Gileadite and allow them to eat at your table, because they came to me when I fled from your brother Absalom.

8 Now as for this Shimei, the son of Gera, the Benjamite from Bahurim who cursed me viciously the day when I went to Mahanaim. When he came down to meet me at the Jordan River, I swore to him by Yehovah, ‘I won’t put you to death with a sword.’ 9 So don’t let him go unpunished. You are wise and know what you should to do to him, and you must bring his gray head down to sheol covered with blood.”

10 David 'died' and was 'buried' with his ancestors in the City of David. 11 David reigned over Israel for forty years, he reigned seven years in Hebron, and he reigned thirty-three years in Jerusalem. 12 Solomon sat on his father David’s throne, and his kingdom was firmly established.

13 Haggith’s son Adonijah came to Bathsheba, Solomon’s mother. And she asked, “Are you coming in peace?”

And he said, “Peacefully.” 14 Then he said, “I have something to tell you.”

She said, “Go ahead.” 15 So he said, “You know that the kingdom was mine and that all Israel expected me to be king. But the kingdom has turned around, and became my brother’s because Yehovah gave it to him. 16 So now I’m asking one thing from you. Don’t turn me down.” And she said to him, “Speak.”

17 He said, “Please ask King Solomon to give me Abishag the Shunammite as a wife, since he won’t turn you down.”

18 Bathsheba said, “ Very well; I will speak to the king for you.”

19 So Bathsheba went to King Solomon to talk with him about Adonijah. The king got up to meet her, and bowed down to her, and sat down on his throne, and had a throne set up for the queen mother, and she sat on his right.

20 She said, “I have a small request for you. Don’t turn me down.”

The king replied, “Mother, ask me. I won’t refuse you.”

21 So she said, “Give Abishag the Shunammite to your brother Adonijah as a wife.”

22 King Solomon answered his mother, “Why are you asking Abishag the Shunammite for Adonijah?” Why not ask me to give him the kingdom as well, because he is my older brother and has the support of Abiathar the priest and Zeruiah’s son Joab?”

23 Then King Solomon swore by Yehovah, “Elohim do so to me, and even 'worse' if Adonijah hasn’t made this 'request at the cost of' his life! 24 So as sure as Yehovah lives who has established me and placed me on my father David’s throne, and established a dynasty exactly as He promised, surely Adonijah will be executed today. 25 So King Solomon sent for Yehoiada’s son Benaiah, and he struck him down and he died.

26 The king also told Abiathar the priest, “Go to your fields in Anathoth because you deserve to die. But I won’t put you to death now, because you carried the Ark of the Sovereign YEHOVAH [“Yeshua”] in front of my father David and you shared in all my father’s hardships.” 27 So Solomon deposed Abiathar from being priest to Yehovah in order to fulfill the 'burdensome prophecy' that Yehovah had made about the household of Eli in Shiloh.

28 Now the news reached Joab because he had supported Adonijah, tho he hadn’t conspired with Absalom. Joab fled to Yehovah’s Tabernacle and clung to the horns of the altar. 29 King Solomon was told that Joab had fled to Yehovah’s Tabernacle and was now beside the altar. So Solomon sent Yehoiada’s son Benaiah to strike him down!

30 Benaiah came to Yehovah’s Tabernacle, and told him, “The king says to come out!”

But 'Joab' answered, “No, I’ll die here.”

Benaiah reported to the king, “This is what Joab told me.”

31 The king told him, “Do what he said. Strike him down and bury him to remove the blame of Joab’s senseless bloodshed from me and from my father’s household. 32 Yehovah will return his bloodshed to his own head because he struck down and killed two men more righteous and better than him without my father David’s knowledge: Abner the son of Ner, commander of the army of Israel, and Amasa the son of Jether, commander of the army of Judah. 33 So their blood will return on Joab’s head and on the head of his descendants forever. But to David and to his descendants, and to his house and to his throne there will be peace forever from Yehovah.”

34 Yehoiada’s son Benaiah returned, attacked him and killed him, and he was buried at his own house in the wilderness. 35 The king appointed Yehoiada’s son Benaiah over the army in his place, and the king installed Zadok the priest in the place of Abiathar.

36 The king sent for Shimei and told him, “Build yourself a house in Jerusalem and stay in the city, but don’t go anywhere else. 37 The day you leave and cross the Kidron 'Valley' you’ll know for certain that you’ll be killed. Your blood will be on your own head.”

38 Shimei replied, “Your sentence is fair; I’ll do whatever my master the king commands.” So Shimei stayed in Jerusalem for a long time.

39 But three years later two of Shimei’s servants ran off to King Achish in Gath, son of Maacah, king of Gath. And someone told Shimei, “Your servants went to Gath!” 40 Shimei got up and saddled his donkey and went to Achish in Gath to look for his servants. So Shimei went ahead and brought his servants from Gath.

41 'Someone' told Solomon that Shimei had left Jerusalem, gone to Gath, and had returned. 42 So the king sent for Shimei and asked him “Didn’t I make you swear by Yehovah, and warn you not to go anywhere else or you would surely die?’ And you told me, ‘The 'sentense' I heard is 'fair'.’ 43 So why haven’t you kept the oath you made to Yehovah and the command that I gave you?”

44 The king also reminded Shimei, “You are certainly aware of all the evil things that you did to my father David. So Yehovah is going to return your evil on your own head. 45 But King Solomon will be blessed and David’s throne will be established before Yehovah forever.” 46 So the king gave orders to Yehoiada’s son Benaiah, and he went out and struck Shimei down and he died.

So the kingdom was firmly established in Solomon’s hands.

1 KINGS 3

Solomon Asks for Wisdom

1 Solomon formed a marriage alliance with Pharaoh king of Egypt when he married Pharaoh’s daughter. He brought her to live in the City of David until he could finish building his 'palace' and Yehovah’s 'Temple' and the wall around Jerusalem. 2 The people were still sacrificing on the pagan high places, because the 'Temple' honoring the name of Yehovah had not yet been built. 3 Solomon loved Yehovah and lived by the unchanging rulings that his father David, but he made offerings and burned incense in the high places.

4 The king went to Gibeon to zebak [sacrifice] there because it was the 'famous' high place [1]. Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar.

5 In Gibeon Yehovah appeared to Solomon in a dream one night, and Elohim said, “Ask Me what I should give you.”

6 Solomon responded, “You’ve shown great and faithful love. to Your servant David my father, because he 'lived' before You in truth and righteousness, and was 'faithful' to You. You’ve continued this great and faithful love. by giving him a son to sit on his throne today.

7 Now, Yehovah my Elohim, You’ve made Your servant king instead of David my father. But I’m like a little child who doesn’t know coming from going. 8 Your servant is among Your own chosen people, a nation too numerous to be counted. 9 So give Your servant a discerning mind to 'govern' Your people and know the difference between good and evil. Who is able to 'govern' Your great people?”

10 Yehovah was pleased that Solomon had made this request. 11 Elohim told him, “Because you’ve asked for this rather than asking for 'long life' or wealth for yourself, or for the life [death] of your enemies, but you’ve asked for the discernment to understand governance, 12 I’m doing what you asked for! I’ve given you a wise and discerning intellect, like no one has had before you or ever will have after you! 13 I’ve also given you what you haven’t asked for: wealth and splendor. There won’t be another king like you during your 'lifetime'. 14 If you 'live' in My ways and obey My unchanging rulings and My Commandments, like your father David 'lived', I’ll prolong your 'life'.”

15 Then Solomon woke up and realized that it was a dream. He returned to Jerusalem, and stood in front of the Ark of the Covenant of Yehovah, and offered burnt offerings and offered fellowship zebakim, and held a banquet for all his servants.

Solomon’s Wisdom

16 Later two prostitutes came to the king and stood in front of him. 17 The one woman said, “Oh, my lord, this woman and I live in the same house, and I had a baby while she was in the house. 18 On the third day after I gave birth this woman also gave birth. We were alone together. There weren’t any strangers with us in the house, just the two of us in the house.

19 This woman’s son died one night because she rolled over 'him'. 20 So she got up in the middle of the night and took my son from my side while I was asleep. She laid him on her chest and laid her dead son on mine. 21 When I got up in the morning to nurse my son, I saw that he was dead! But when I looked more closely in the daylight, I saw that it wasn’t the son I gave birth to.”

22 Then the other woman said, “No, the living baby is my son and the dead one is your son.”

But the first woman said, “No! The dead one is your son and the living one is my son.” This was their argument before the king.

23 The king said, “This one claims, ‘My son is alive—your son is dead,’ and that one claims, ‘No! Your son is dead—my son is alive.’” 24 The king said, “Someone bring me a sword.” So they brought a sword to the king.

25 Then the king said, “Cut the baby in half! Give half to one woman and half to the other.”

26 The woman whose child was still alive 'cried out' to the king, “Oh, my lord, give her the living child, by no means kill him.”

But the other woman said, “He won’t be mine or yours. Cut him.”

27 Then the king answered, “Give the first woman the living child and by no means kill him. She is his mother.”

28 When everyone in Israel heard about the judgment that the king had made, they were in awe of the king because they saw that the wisdom of Elohim was in him to administer justice.

[1] It was the location of the tabernacle and the brazen altar.

1 KINGS 4

Solomon’s Officials

1 Now King Solomon was king over all Israel. 2 These were his officials:

Zadok’s son Azariah was the 'prime minister', 3 Shisha’s sons Elihoreph and Ahijah were his executive secretaries, Ahilud’s son Yehoshaphat was recorder, 4 Yehoiada’s son Benaiah 'commanded' the army, Zadok and Abiathar served as priests, 5 Nathan’s son Azariah supervised the governors, Nathan’s son Zabud the priest was the king’s adviser. 6 Ahishar was in charge of the 'palace'. Abda’s son Adoniram supervised conscripted labor.

7 Solomon had twelve regional officers over all Israel. They supplied the king and his 'palace' with food. Each man had to provide the food for one month of the year. 8 Here are their names:

Ben Hur in the highlands of Ephraim; 9 Ben Deker was in charge in Makaz, Shaalbim, Beth Shemesh and Elon Beth Hanan. 10 Ben Hesed was in charge in Arubboth, Socoh and the region of Hepher. 11 Ben Abinadab had the heights of Dor (he married Solomon’s daughter Taphath.) 12 Ahilud’s son Baana had Taanach and Armageddon, and all of Beth Shean beside Zarethan below Jezreel, from Beth Shean to Abel Meholah as far as the other side of Jokmeam. 13 Ben Geber, in Ramoth Gilead, including the settlements of Jair the son of Manasseh in Gilead. He also had the region of Argob in Bashan—sixty large walled cities with bronze bars; 14 Iddo’s son Ahinadab had in Mahanaim; 15 Ahimaaz had Naphtali (he was married to Solomon’s daughter Basemath); 16 Hushai’s son Baana had Asher and Bealoth; 17 Yehoshaphat the son of Paruah, in Issachar. 18 Ela’s son Shimei, in Benjamin, 19 and Uri’s son Geber in the land of Gilead, in the territories of Sihon king of the Amorites and king Og of Bashan, and he was the only regional officer who was in the land of Judah [?].

20 Judah and Israel became as numerous as the grains of sand on the seashore. They were eating and drinking and celebrating. 21 Solomon ruled over all the kingdoms from the Euphrates River to the territory of the Philistines and to the border of Egypt. These kingdoms brought tribute and served Solomon 'thruout' his lifetime.

22 Solomon’s 'provision' for one day was thirty kors of refined flour and sixty kors of coarsely ground flour, 23 ten grain-fed bulls, twenty pasture-fed bulls, a hundred sheep, as well as deer, gazelles, roebucks and 'domestic' poultry.

24 He had dominion over everything 'west' of the Euphrates River from Tiphsah to Gaza, and over all the kings 'west of the' Euphrates River. He had peace on all his surrounding borders. 25 So Judah and Israel lived in safety, everyone under their own grapevines and under their own fig trees. from Dan to Beersheba 'thruout' his lifetime.

26 Solomon had 40,000 stalls for chariot horses and 12,000 cavalry.

27 Those officers supplied King Solomon with provisions, for everyone who joined King Solomon’s table, each in his month. Nothing was ever lacking. 28 They also brought barley and straw for the horses and 'chariot teams' to wherever it was needed, each man fulfilling his assignment.

29 Elohim gave Solomon wisdom, great discernment and breadth of 'mind' as plentiful as sand on the seashore. 30 Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the people of the east, and anyone in Egypt. 31 He was wiser than anyone including Ethan the Ezrahite, Heman, and wiser than Mahol’s sons Calcol and Darda. His reputation spread thruout the surrounding nations. 32 He 'composed' 3,000 proverbs and he wrote 1,005 songs. 33 He 'classified' trees from the cedars of Lebanon to the hyssop trees that grow from a wall. He also classified animals, birds, reptiles and fish. 34 Kings from every nation sent 'representatives' to listen to Solomon’s wisdom.

1 KINGS 5

Preparation For Building the Temple

1 King Hiram of Tyre sent 'ambassadors' to Solomon when he heard that they had anointed him king in place of his father, because Hiram had been David’s 'lifelong' friend. 2 Solomon sent the following message to Hiram:

3 “You know that my father David wasn’t able to build a 'Temple' for the name of Yehovah his Elohim, because he was busy fighting wars all around him until Yehovah put them under the soles of his feet. 4 But now Yehovah my Elohim has given me rest on every side. There are no enemies or crises. 5 So now I’m planning to build a 'Temple' to honor the name of Yehovah my Elohim, just as Yehovah 'promised' my father David when He said, ‘Your son who I’ll set on your throne to replace you will build the 'Temple' to honor My name!’

6 So now commission men to cut cedar trees for me from Lebanon. My servants will 'work' with your servants, and I’ll pay your servants whatever price you ask, because you know that none of us knows how to cut timber like the Sidonians.”

7 When Hiram heard Solomon’s 'message' he was overjoyed and said, “Yehovah is blessed today. He has given David a wise son 'to rule' this great 'nation'.”

8 So Hiram sent this reply to Solomon:

“I have received your message, and I’ll do whatever you want about the cedar and cypress timber. 9 My people will transport the timber down from Lebanon to the sea where we’ll make them into rafts and float them by sea to the port that you specify. We’ll dismantle them and you can take them away. You can reciprocate by supplying provisions for my household.”

10 So Hiram gave Solomon as much cedar and cypress timber as he wanted. 11 In return, Solomon paid Hiram 20,000 kors of wheat for his household, and twenty kors of crushed olive oil. Solomon provided this to Hiram every year. 12 Yehovah gave Solomon wisdom as he had promised, and there was peace between Hiram and Solomon, and the two of them made a treaty.

13 Then King Solomon conscripted laborers from all over Israel. The work force numbered 30,000 men. 14 He sent them to Lebanon, 10,000 a month in relays where they spent a month in Lebanon, and two months at home. Adoniram was in charge of the conscripted labor. 15 Solomon 'employed' 70,000 laborers and 80,000 stonecutters in the highlands. 16 This doesn’t include Solomon’s 3,300 men supervising the 'project' and managing the people doing the construction. 17 At the king’s command, they quarried huge expensive stones to lay the foundation of the 'Temple' with precision cut stones. 18 So Solomon’s builders and Hiram’s builders and the Gebalites quarried the stone and prepared the timber and the stones to build the 'Temple'.

1 KINGS 6

Temple Construction Begins

1 Then in the four hundred and eightieth year after the Israelites left the land of Egypt [1], in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month of Ziv, the second month, he began to build Yehovah’s 'Temple'.

2 The 'Temple' that King Solomon built for Yehovah was sixty cubits [2] long, twenty cubits wide and thirty cubits high. 3 The portico in front of the main hall of the 'Temple' was twenty cubits long, corresponding to the width of the 'Temple'. Along the front of the 'Temple' its 'depth' was ten cubits. 4 He also made windows with lattices for the 'Temple'. 5 Against the walls of the 'Temple' he built rooms that surrounded the exterior of the 'Temple', both the central area and the inner 'Cherished' Place. So he built side chambers all around. 6 The lowest story was five cubits wide, the middle was six cubits wide and the third was seven cubits wide. On the outside he made offsets in the wall of the 'Temple' all around so that beams wouldn’t protrude thru the walls of the 'Temple'.

7 While the 'Temple' was being built, it was built with stone 'precut' at the quarry. There were no hammers, axes or any other iron tools heard in the 'Temple' while it was being built.

8 The door to the [lower] side chamber was constructed on the 'south' side of the 'Temple'. Winding stairs went up to the middle story and from the middle to the third floor. 9 So he built the 'Temple' and finished it by covering the 'Temple' with beams and cedar planks. 10 Again, he built chambers along the entire 'Temple', each five cubits high, and they were fastened to the 'Temple' with cedar timbers.

11 The Word of Yehovah came to Solomon and said: 12 “Concerning this 'Temple' that you’re building, if you 'live by' My unchanging rulings and obey My regulations and guard all of My Commandments by 'livjng by' them, then I’ll fulfill My promise to you that I made to your father David. 13 I’ll live among the Israelites and not abandon My people Israel.”

14 So Solomon finished building the 'Temple'. 15 Then he built the inside walls of the 'Temple' with cedar planks paneled from the floor to the ceiling. And he overlaid the floor of the 'Temple' with cypress boards. 16 At the back of the 'Temple' he 'lined' twenty cubits with cedar boards from the floor to the ceiling. He built it to serve as an inner 'Cherished' Place, the most 'Cherished' Place. 17 The main hall in front of the 'Temple’s' inner 'Cherished' Place was forty cubits long. 18 The inside walls of the 'Temple' were completely lined with cedar, with carvings in the shape of gourds and open flowers. No stones were visible.

19 He prepared a 'Cherished' Place in the middle of the 'Temple' where the Ark of the Covenant of Yehovah would be placed. 20 The inner 'Cherished' Place was twenty cubits long, twenty cubits wide and twenty cubits high and overlaid with pure gold. He also overlaid the altar with cedar. 21 So Solomon overlaid the inside of the 'Temple' with pure gold. He placed gold chains in front of the inner 'Cherished' Place, and he overlaid it with gold. 22 He overlaid the whole 'Temple' with gold until the 'Temple' was finished. He also covered the whole altar in the inner 'Cherished' Place with gold.

23 Inside the inner 'Cherished' Place he made two cherubim from olive wood, each ten cubits high. 24 Each cherub wing of the first was five cubits long, and each wing of the other cherub was five cubits long, so that the distance from the end of one wing to the end of the other wing was ten cubits. 25 The 'second' cherub also measured ten cubits, both of the cherubim were the same size and shape. 26 The height of the 'first' cherub was ten cubits, 'just like' the other cherub. 27 He put the cherubim in the center of the inner 'Cherished' Place and the wings of the cherubim were stretched out so that the wing of the one touched the one wall and the wing of the other cherub touched the other wall, and their wings touched each other in the center of the 'Temple'. 28 He also overlaid the cherubim with gold.

29 'Solomon' also inlaid all the walls of the 'Temple', both the inner and outer rooms with carved figures of cherubim, palm trees and blooming flowers. 30 He overlaid the floor of the inner and outer rooms of the 'Temple' with gold.

31 He made the doors of the inner 'Cherished' Place from olive wood; the lintel and the doorposts were five-sided. 32 He installed two olive wood doors, inlaying them with carvings of cherubim, palm trees and blooming flowers, and overlaid them with gold and spread gold on the cherubim and on the palm trees.

33 He made the door of the main hall from olive wood with four-sided doorposts 34 and two doors of cypress wood. One of the doors had two leaves that turned on pivots, and both of the 'leaves' on the other door turned on pivots. 35 He carved cherubim, palm trees and blossoming flowers on them, and he overlaid them with gold that was evenly applied over the carvings.

36 He built the inner courtyard with three courses of cut stone and a course of cedar beams.

37 In the fourth year the foundation of Yehovah’s 'Temple' was laid in the month of Ziv. 38 In the eleventh year, in the month of Bul, the eighth month, the 'Temple' was finished in every detail and according to every specification. He built it in seven years.

[1] Note Well: This 480 year period mentioned in First Kings 6:1 is a most important chronological reference. It means exactly 480 years and it is not a round number.” [2] A cubit was about eighteen inches.

1 KINGS 7

Solomon’s Palace

1 It took Solomon thirteen years to complete the construction of his entire 'palace' complex. 2 He built the 'palace' of the Forest of Lebanon one hundred cubits long, fifty cubits wide and thirty cubits high, with four rows of cedar pillars, and cedar beams 'supporting' the pillars. 3 It was paneled with cedar above the side chambers that 'supported' forty-five pillars, fifteen in each row. 4 There were window frames in three rows, and window opposite window in three tiers. 5 All the doorways and doorposts had squared artistic frames, and window was opposite window in three tiers.

6 Then 'Solomon' made the Hall of Pillars, it was fifty cubits long and thirty cubits wide, and a portico in front of them, and pillars and a threshold in front of them.

7 He made the Hall of 'Justice' where he was to judge from his throne, and it was paneled with cedar from floor to floor. 8 His house where he was to live, the other courtyard behind the Hall of Justice, was similar in design. He also made a house like this Hall for Pharaoh’s daughter, who Solomon had married.

9 All of these were made of expensive stones, cut to specifications with saws, inside and outside, from the foundation to the eaves, and from the outside to the great courtyard. 10 The foundation was made of huge expensive stones, including large stones eight and ten cubits long. 11 And above the foundation were expensive stones, stones cut according to specifications, as well as cedar. 12 The great courtyard was surrounded by three courses of cut stone, and a course of cedar beams, just like the inner courtyard of Yehovah’s 'Temple' and the portico surrounding the 'Temple'.

13 King Solomon brought in Hiram from Tyre. 14 Hiram was the son of a widow from the tribe of Naphtali. His father was from Tyre, a bronze worker who was filled with wisdom and understanding, skilled in all sorts of work in bronze. He came to king Solomon and did all of his bronze work.

15 He 'cast' the two bronze pillars, each eighteen cubits high, and it took a measuring line of twelve cubits to measure the circumference of both. 16 He made two capitals of cast bronze to set on top of the pillars. The height of the 'first' capital was five cubits, and the height of the 'second' capital was five cubits. 17 There was a network of latticework and twisted threads of chainwork for the capitals that were on top of the pillars; seven for the first capital and seven for the second. 18 So 'Hiram' made the pillars with two rows of pomegranates to surround the latticework covering the top of each pillar. 19 The capitals that were on the top of the pillars on the portico were shaped like lilies, each four cubits tall. 20 'Directly' above the rounded projection next to the filigree were two hundred pomegranates placed in rows around both of the capitals on top of the pillars. 21 'Hiram' set up the pillars at the portico of the 'Temple'. He named the south pillar 'Established'. When he set up the left pillar, he named it 'Strength'. 22 After putting the lily designs on top of the pillars, the work on the pillars was finished.

23 He made the sea of cast metal ten cubits from brim to brim, circular in shape, and five cubits tall, and 'measuring' thirty cubits in circumference. 24 Under its brim, completely encircling the sea were double rows of gourds, ten per cubit, cast with the 'mold'.

25 'The sea' stood on twelve bulls, three facing north, three facing west, three facing the south and three facing east. The sea was set on top of them, and all their rear parts pointed inward. 26 It was a hand width thick, and its rim was fashioned like the rim of a cup, like a lily blossom. It held 2,000 baths [11,000 gallons].

27 'Hiram' also made ten bronze stands. Each stand was four cubits wide, four cubits long and three cubits high. 28 This is how the stands were made: There were panels connected between the crossbars, 29 and on the borders between the crossbars were lions, bulls and cherubim. A pedestal was placed above the crossbars, and beneath the lions and bulls were beveled additions. 30 Each cart had four bronze wheels with bronze axles, and its four feet had supports; beneath the basin were cast supports with designs on the sides. 31 Its opening inside the crown at the top measured a cubit, and its opening was round like the design of a pedestal, a cubit and a half. There was engraving around the opening, and their borders were square, not round. 32 The four wheels were underneath the borders, and the axles of the wheels were on the stand, and the height of a wheel was a cubit and a half. 33 The wheels were made like a chariot wheel: their axles, their rims, their spokes and their hubs were all cast metal.

34 The four supports at the four corners of each stand were part of the stand itself. 35 On the top of the stand there was a circular band half a cubit high, and on the top of the stand its supports and borders formed a single 'unit'. 36 'Hiram' engraved cherubim on the plates of its stays and on its borders, lions and palm trees on the surfaces of each, with artwork all around. 37 He made the ten stands. They were all cast in the 'same' dimensions in molds of identical shape.

38 He made ten bronze basins, each basin held forty baths, and every basin was four cubits wide. There was one basin on each of the ten stands. 39 He put five stands on the 'south' side of the 'Temple' and five on the 'north' side of the 'Temple', and he set the cast metal sea on the 'south' side of the 'Temple' toward the southeast.

40 Hiram also made the basins and the shovels and the bowls.

This concluded all the work Huram had undertaken for King Solomon in Yehovah’s 'Temple'; 41 the two pillars and the two bowls of the capitals on top of the pillars, and the two sets of filigree to cover the two bowls of the capitals that were on the top of the pillars, 42 the four hundred pomegranates for the two sets of filigree (two rows of pomegranates for each filigree to cover the two bowls of the capitals that were on the pillars); 43 and the ten stands with the ten basins on the stands; 44 the single bronze sea and the twelve bulls under the sea, 45 and the ash pails and the shovels and the bowls.

All the utensils that Hiram made for King Solomon for Yehovah’s 'Temple' were made from burnished bronze. 46 The king cast them in clay 'molds' in the Jordan River Valley between Succoth and Zarethan.

47 Solomon left all the utensils unweighed, because there were so many the weight of the bronze couldn’t be determined.

48 Solomon made all the furnishings that were in Yehovah’s 'Temple':

the gold altar and the gold table where the showbread was placed, 49 the pure gold menorahs, five on the right side, and five on the left in front of the 'Cherished' Place, the flowers, the lamps and the tongs—all made of gold, 50 the cups, the snuffers, the bowls, the spoons, the fire pans—all made of pure gold; the hinges, both for the doors of the inner 'Temple', the most 'Cherished' Place, and the main hall of the Temple, also made of gold.

51 When all King Solomon’s work on Yehovah’s 'Temple' was finished, he brought in the articles dedicated by his father David, the silver and the gold and the utensils, and put them in the treasuries of Yehovah’s 'Temple'.

1 KINGS 8

Solomon Dedicates the Temple

1 Then Solomon gathered the elders of Israel, and all the heads of the tribes, the leaders of the ancestral households of the Israelites to king Solomon in Jerusalem, to bring the Ark of the Covenant of Yehovah from Zion, the City of David. 2 So all the Israelites gathered together to meet with King Solomon at the Feast [of Tabernacles] in the month Ethanim, the seventh month.

3 All the elders of Israel came, and the priests carried the Ark. 4 They brought Yehovah’s Ark, and the Tabernacle of assembly, and all the 'special' utensils that were in the Tabernacle, and the priests and the Levites brought them up. 5 King Solomon and the entire Israelite assembly that had joined him before the Ark zebaked [sacrificed] so many sheep and bulls that they couldn’t be counted or inventoried.

6 The priests brought Yehovah’s Ark of the Covenant to the innermost part of the 'Cherished' Place of the 'Temple', to the Most 'Cherished' Place, under the wings of the cherubim. 7 The cherubim spread their wings over the place where the Ark rested, overshadowing the Ark and its carrying poles from above. 8 The poles were so long that the ends of the poles could be seen from the 'Cherished' Place before the Innermost Room, but they were not visible outside, and they are still there today. 9 There was nothing in the Ark other than the two stone tables that Moses put there at Horeb where Yehovah made a covenant with the Israelites when they left of the land of Egypt.

10 When the priests left the 'Cherished' Place, the cloud filled Yehovah’s 'Temple'. 11 The priests couldn’t continue to serve, because of the cloud, since the splendor of Yehovah filled Yehovah’s 'Temple'.

12 Then Solomon said, “Yehovah has said that He would live in the thick cloud. 13 I’ve surely built You a lofty 'Temple' to live in, a place where You can live forever.”

Solomon’s Speech at the Completion of the Work

14 The king turned around to face the entire assembly of Israel while all the assembly of Israel remained standing. 15 He said:

“Blessed is Yehovah, the Elohim of Israel, who spoke 'directly' to my father David, and then 'personally' fulfilled it when He said: 16 ‘Since the day I brought My people Israel out of Egypt, I haven’t chosen a city from all the tribes of Israel to build a 'Temple' where My name could reside. But I chose David to be over My people Israel.’

17 “My father David wanted to build a 'Temple' for the name of Yehovah, the Elohim of Israel. 18 But Yehovah told my father David: ‘‘You wanted to build a 'Temple' for My name, and your 'intentions' were good. 19 But you must not build the 'Temple'. Your son who will be born to you will build the 'Temple' for My name.’

20 “Yehovah has fulfilled the 'promise' He 'made', because I’ve risen in the place of my father David and sit on the throne of Israel as Yehovah promised, and have built the 'Temple' for the name of Yehovah, the Elohim of Israel. 21 There I’ve provided a place for the Ark that 'contains' the covenant of Yehovah that He made with our ancestors when He brought them out of the land of Egypt.”

Solomon’s Prayer

22 Then Solomon stood before the altar of Yehovah in the presence of the entire assembly of Israel, and spread out his hands toward heaven, 23 and he said:

“O Yehovah,Elohim of Israel, there is no Elohim like You in heaven above or on earth below who keeps covenant and faithful love. with Your servants who 'live' before You 'resolutely'. 24 You have kept Your promise to my father, Your servant David that You made to him. Indeed, You made a 'commitment' to my father David and then 'personally' fulfilled what You promised today.

25 “So Yehovah, O Elohim of Israel, keep Your promise with my father David, Your servant that You promised when You said, ‘You will never fail to have an 'heir' to sit on the throne of Israel as long as your descendants guard their lives and 'live' in My presence as you have 'lived’” 26 So now, Elohim of Israel, please confirm what You promised to Your servant, my father David.

27 “But will Elohim really live on earth? Heaven and the 'highest' heaven can’t contain You, how much less this 'Temple' that I’ve built! 28 Yet have regard for the prayer of Your servant, and for his plea for mercy, Yehovah my Elohim, to listen to the cry and the prayer that Your servant prays before You today. 29 May your eyes be open toward this 'Temple' night and day, even toward the place that You’ve said, ‘My name will be there,’ to listen to the prayer that Your servant will pray toward this place. 30 Listen to the request of Your servant and Your people Israel when they pray toward this place. Hear us from heaven where You live, and when You hear, forgive.

31 “When anyone sins against their neighbor and is required to take an oath, and comes to take the oath before Your altar in this 'Temple', 32 then listen from heaven and judge Your servants’ claims. Condemn the guilty party by bringing down on his own head what he has done, and vindicate the innocent and give both of them what they deserve.

33 “When Your people Israel are defeated by their enemies because they’ve sinned against You, and they return to You and 'confess' [or praise] Your name, and pray and plead with You for mercy in this 'Temple', 34 then hear from heaven and forgive the sins of Your people Israel, and bring them back to the land that You gave to their ancestors.

35 “When the skies are shut up and there is no rain because they’ve sinned against You, if they pray toward this place [Jerusalem] and acknowledge Your name and turn from their sin when You punish them, 36 then hear in heaven and forgive the sin of Your servants and of Your people Israel. Teach them the right way to 'live', and send rain on Your land that You gave Your people as an inheritance.

37 “If there is famine in the land or murrain or blights or mildew, locusts or grasshoppers, or if their enemies attack them in the land of their 'cities', whatever the epidemic' or sickness, 38 whenever a prayer or request for help is made by one person or by all the people in Israel whose 'consciences' acknowledge their pain and reach out their hands toward this 'Temple', 39 then listen in heaven where You live and forgive them and take action. Deal with everyone commensurate with their behavior, whose 'motives' You know, (because You alone know the 'motives' of every human being.) 40 Then they’ll revere You as long as they live in the land that You gave our ancestors.

41 “Even foreigners who don’t belong to Your people Israel will come from distant lands because of Your name [reputation]. 42 Once they hear about Your great name and Your powerful 'deeds' and Your outstretched arm, they’ll come and pray 'facing' this 'Temple'. 43 Then listen from Your heavenly home, and grant what the foreigners ask You for, so that all the people on earth can know Your name and revere You as Your people Israel do. They too will know that this 'Temple' I have built bears Your name!

44 “When Your people go to war against their enemies, regardless of where You send them, and they pray to Yehovah in the direction of the city that You’ve chosen and in the direction of the 'Temple' that I’ve built for Your name, 45 then listen to their prayers and their requests from heaven and uphold their cause.

46 “When they sin against You—because there isn’t a single human being who doesn’t sin—and You become angry with them and hand them over to their enemies who takes them away as prisoners to enemy territories, whether near or far; 47if they change their 'minds' in the land where they’re held captive and repent and plead with You in the land of their captors, and admit, ‘We have sinned, we have done wrong, we have acted wickedly’” 48 and if they return to You with all their 'sentiments' and with all their 'being' in the enemy territory where they’ve been taken captive, and pray to You in the direction of the land that You gave to their ancestors, toward the city that You’ve chosen, and the 'Temple' that I’ve built for Your name, 49 then hear their prayers and their pleas for mercy in Your heavenly home, and uphold their cause 50 and forgive Your people who have sinned against You of all the offenses they’ve committed against You. Show them Your compassion in the presence of those who have taken them captive to 'encourage' them to show them mercy; 51 because they are Your people and Your heritage who You 'liberated' from Egypt, from amid an iron melting furnace.

52 Open Your eyes to Your servant’s request and the plea for mercy of Your people Israel. Listen to them whenever they call to You. 53 You set them apart from all the people on earth as Your heritage as You spoke thru Your servant Moses, when You brought our ancestors out of Egypt, O Sovereign YEHOVAH [“Yeshua”].”

Solomon Blesses Israel

54 Once Solomon had finished praying this entire prayer and petition to Yehovah, he got up from before Yehovah’s altar where he had been kneeling with his hands outstretched toward heaven. 55 He stood and in a loud voice blessed the entire assembly of Israel. He said:

56 “Praise Yehovah who has given rest to His people Israel, just as He promised. Not one of the great 'promises' that He spoke thru His servant Moses has failed. 57 May Yehovah our Elohim be with us as He was with our ancestors. May He never leave us or abandon us. 58 May He give us the desire to 'live' in all His ways and obey His Commandments and His unchanging rulings and His regulations that He 'gave' our ancestors. 59 May the words I have made before Yehovah remain near Yehovah our Elohim day and night, so that He will defend the cause of His servant and the cause of His people Israel, as every day requires, 60 so that all the people on earth will know that Yehovah is Elohim; there are no more. 61 So may you be committed to Yehovah our Elohim by 'living' by His unchanging tenets, and obeying His Commandments as we are doing today.”

62 Then the king and all Israel with him offered zebakim [sacrifices] to Yehovah. 63 Solomon zebaked 22,000 head of cattle and 120,000 sheep to Yehovah as fellowship zebakim. So the king and all the Israelites dedicated Yehovah’s 'Temple'.

64 The same day the king dedicated the middle of the court that was before Yehovah’s 'Temple', because that was where he offered the burnt offering and the grain offering and the fat of the fellowship zebakim since the bronze altar in Yehovah’s presence was too small to hold the burnt offering and the grain offering and the fat of the fellowship zebakim.

65 So Solomon celebrated the Feast [of Tabernacles] at that time, and all Israel with him, a great assembly, from the entrance of Hamath to the Brook of Egypt to appear in the presence of Yehovah our Elohim, for seven days and seven more days, fourteen days in all. 66 On the eighth day he dismissed the people and they blessed the king. Then they went back to their tents rejoicing and with gratitude for all the good things that Yehovah had done for His servant David and His people Israel.

1 KINGS 9

Yehovah Appears to Solomon

1 Once Solomon finished building Yehovah’s 'Temple', the king’s 'palace' and everything else he wanted to do, 2 Yehovah appeared to Solomon a second time, just as He had appeared to him in Gibeon. 3 Yehovah told him:

“I’ve heard your prayer and your petition for mercy that you made to Me. I’ve set this 'Temple' that you’ve built apart by putting My name there forever. My eyes and My sentiments will always be there.

4 “Now as for you, if you 'live your life' for Me like your father David 'did', with integrity and virtue doing everything that I’ve commanded you by obeying My unchanging rulings and My regulations, 5 then I’ll defend your royal 'dynasty' over Israel forever as I promised your father David when I said, ‘You will never fail to have a 'descendant' on the throne of Israel.’

6 “But if you or your descendants 'reject' Me and fail to obey My Commandments and My unchanging rulings that I’ve set before you, and go off to serve other gods and worship them, 7 then I’ll 'remove' Israel from the land that I’ve given them. And I’ll hurl this 'Temple' that I’ve made 'special' for My name out of My sight, and Israel will be a farce and a euphemism among the nations. 8 Even tho this 'Temple' is very high, everyone who passes by will be astonished and hiss. They’ll ask, ‘Why has Yehovah done this to this land and to this 'Temple'?’

9 “Others will answer, ‘Because they abandoned Yehovah their Elohim who brought their ancestors out of the land of Egypt, and they adopted other gods and worshiped them and served them. So Yehovah has brought all this ruin on them.’”

10 It took twenty years for Solomon to build the two 'building', Yehovah’s 'Temple' and the king’s 'palace'. 11 King Hiram of Tyre gave Solomon all the cedar and cypress timber and gold that he wanted, and King Solomon gave Hiram twenty cities in the region of Galilee. 12 But when Hiram came from Tyre to see the cities that Solomon had given him, he was not at all pleased 13 So Hiram remarked, “Brother, are these cities you’ve given me good for anything?” That’s why these cities are called “the Land of Cabal” [Good for Nothing] to this day. 14 Hiram sent the king one hundred twenty talents [about 4.4 tons] of gold anyway.

15 This is the record of the conscripted labor that King Solomon required to build Yehovah’s 'Temple' and his own 'palace', the citadel, the wall of Jerusalem, Hazor, Armageddon and Gezer. 16 Pharaoh, the king of Egypt captured Gezer, burned it down, and killed the Canaanites living in the city. He had given it as a dowry for his daughter, Solomon’s wife. 17 So Solomon rebuilt Gezer, lower Beth Horon 18 Baalath and Tamar in the wilderness in the land of Judah, 19 along with all 'his' storage cities, including the cities for his chariots and his cavalry, and whatever he wanted to build in Jerusalem, Lebanon and thruout all of the land under his control.

20 As for all the surviving Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites who were not related to the Israelites, 21 and whose descendants had survived them and were still living in the land. Since the Israelites were unable to completely eliminate them, Solomon placed under conscripted labor to this very day. 22 But Solomon didn’t draft any of the Israelites into forced labor; they were his soldiers, servants, leaders, officers, charioteer commanders and cavalry. 23 They were the chief officers who were over Solomon’s projects, five hundred fifty managing the people doing the work.

24 Pharaoh’s daughter arrived from the City of David to live in the 'palace' that Solomon had built for her, then he built the Millo.

25 Three times a year Solomon offered burnt offerings and fellowship zebakim on the altar that he built for Yehovah, burning incense there on the altar in the presence of Yehovah. So he finished the 'Temple'.

26 King Solomon also constructed a fleet of ships in Ezion Geber, near Eloth on the coast of the Red Sea [1] in the land of Edom. 27 Hiram sent his servants to sail with the fleet of experienced sailors who knew the sea, and they accompanied Solomon’s worker force. 28 They sailed to Ophir and acquired four hundred and twenty talents of gold [16 tons] and brought it back to King Solomon.

[1] “In other biblical references, yam suph means Red Sea or its arms, the Gulf of Suez and Gulf of Aqaba. In 1 Kings 9:26 we read: “King Solomon also built a fleet of ships at Ezion Geber, which is near Elath on the shore of the Red Sea (yam suph), in the land of Edom.” If this were a marshy lake [“reed” sea] close to Egypt, this would certainly be a strange place for Solomon to build his great fleet. But geographers know Elath is a port at the northernmost end of the Gulf of Aqaba.”

1 KINGS 10

The Queen of Sheba

1 When the queen of Sheba heard of Solomon’s fame in regard to Yehovah’s name, she came to test him with difficult questions. 2 She came to Jerusalem with a very large entourage—with camels carrying spices, large quantities of gold and precious stones. When she met with Solomon, she talked with him about everything that was on her mind. 3 Solomon answered all of her questions; there was nothing too esoteric for the king to provide her an answer. 4 Once the queen of Sheba had personally witnessed all of Solomon’s wisdom and had seen the 'Temple' he had built, 5 the food on his table, his officials who sat with him, the attending servants in their robes, his cupbearers and even his personal stairway up to Yehovah’s 'Temple', it took her breath away.

6 And she said to the king, “The reports were true that I heard in my own land of your 'observations' and your wisdom. 7 But I didn’t believe what I heard until I came and saw it with my own eyes. I hadn’t heard half of it! Your wisdom and prosperity far surpasses the reports I heard. 8 Your people and these servants who continually serve you are blessed to listen to your wisdom! 9 Blessed is Yehovah your Elohim who delighted in you and set you on the throne of Israel! Because of Yehovah’s eternal love for Israel, He has made you king to uphold justice and righteousness.”

10 She gave the king one hundred and twenty talents of gold, large quantities of spices and precious stones. Never again did a comparable quantity of spices arrive as those the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.

11 Hiram’s fleet that brought in gold from Ophir also brought in a vast amount of algum logs and precious stones from Ophir. 12 The king used the almug wood to make pillars [?] for Yehovah’s 'Temple' and for the king’s 'palace' and lyres and harps for the musicians. Never before had so much almug wood been imported into Israel or been seen since that day.

13 King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba anything she wanted, whatever she asked for, besides what Solomon gave her from his royal bounty. Then she and her servants returned to her own country.

14 The weight of the gold that came to Solomon in one year was 666 talents, 15 not counting the gold that came from the merchants and traders, and all the [tribute silver] from the Arabian kings and the governors of the land.

16 King Solomon made two hundred bucklers of hammered gold, six hundred shekels of gold went into each buckler. 17 He made 300 shields of hammered gold 'using' three minas of gold in each shield. The king put them in the 'palace' of the Forest of Lebanon [his armory].

18 The king also made a large ivory throne and overlaid it with refined gold. 19 There were six steps to the throne, and the back of the throne was rounded at the top with 'armrests' on each side of the seat and two lions standing beside the 'armrests'. 20 Twelve lions were standing there on the six steps, one on each end of each step. Nothing comparable 'existed' in any other kingdom. 21 All of King Solomon’s drinking cups were made of gold and all the items in the 'palace' of the Forest of Lebanon were made of pure gold. Nothing was made of silver since it wasn’t considered valuable in Solomon’s 'lifetime'. 22 The king had ships of Tarshish at sea with Hiram’s fleet. Once every three years the fleet of ships from Tarshish would arrive with gold, silver, ivory, apes and peacocks.

23 As a result, King Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth in wealth and in wisdom. 24 The whole world wanted an audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom that Elohim had 'downloaded' into his mind. 25 Year after year everyone kept bringing him gifts, articles of silver and gold, clothing, weapons, spices, horses and mules.

26 Solomon kept accumulating chariots and cavalry until he had 1,400 chariots and 12,000 cavalry stationed in the chariot cities and some near the king in Jerusalem. 27 The king made silver as common as stones in Jerusalem and he made cedar timber as common as sycamore trees in the foothills. 28 Solomon’s horses were imported from Egypt and Kue, and the king’s buyers acquired them at market price from Kue. 29 A chariot imported from Egypt cost 600 silver shekels and a horse cost 150, and then they were exported to all the Hittite kings and to the Aramean kings.

1 KINGS 11

Solomon’s Many Wives

1 King Solomon 'collected' many foreign women. Besides Pharaoh’s daughter he married women from Moab, Ammon, Edom, Sidon and Hittite women, 2 all of them from nations that Yehovah told the Israelites, “You must not intermarry with them, and they must not intermarry with you, because they’ll most certainly turn your 'sentiments' toward their gods.” Solomon clung to these women in love. 3 He 'accumulated' seven hundred wives and princesses and three hundred concubines, and his wives turned his 'resolve' away. 4 As Solomon grew older his wives continued turning his 'affections' toward other gods. He was not completely devoted to Yehovah his Elohim as his father David had been.[1] 5 Solomon 'worshiped' Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians and pursued Milcom the detestable idol of the Ammonites. 6 Solomon did evil in Yehovah’s sight, and wasn’t completely devoted to Yehovah like his father David.

7 Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh, the highly detestable god of Moab, on the mountain 'east' of Jerusalem, and for Moloch the highly detestable god of the Ammonites. 8 He also did this for all his foreign wives who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods.

9 So Yehovah was angry with Solomon because his 'loyalty' had turned away from Yehovah, the Elohim of Israel who had appeared to him twice, 10 and had commanded 'Solomon' about this very thing, that he shouldn’t advocate other gods; but he didn’t obey Yehovah’s command. 11 So Yehovah told Solomon, “Since you have done this and haven’t kept My covenant and My unchanging rulings that I commanded you, I am sure to rip the kingdom away from you and give it to your servant. 12 But I won’t do it during your lifetime for your father David’s sake, but I’ll rip it from your son’s hands. 13 Yet I won’t rip away the entire kingdom. I’ll give one tribe to your son for My servant David’s sake and for the sake of Jerusalem that I’ve chosen.”

14 Then Yehovah empowered an adversary to Solomon, Hadad the Edomite, from the royal line in Edom. 15 Earlier, when David was in Edom and Joab the commander of the army had gone to bury the dead, he killed all the males in Edom, 16 (because Joab and all Israel remained there six months, until he had eliminated every male in Edom). 17 But Hadad escaped to Egypt with some Edomites who had served his father while Hadad was a young boy. 18 They left Midian and went to Paran. They took men with them from Paran and came to Egypt, to Pharaoh king of Egypt, who gave him a house and provided his food and gave him land.

19 Hadad found great favor in the sight of Pharaoh, so he gave him one of his wife’s sisters to marry, a sister of Queen Tahpenes. 20 The sister of Tahpenes bore him a son named Genubath. Tahpenes 'raised' Genubath in Pharaoh’s 'palace' among Pharaoh’s children.

21 When Hadad learned in Egypt that David 'died' and was 'buried' with his ancestors and that Joab the commander of the army was dead, Hadad said to Pharaoh, “Please send me away so that I can return to my homeland.”

22 Pharaoh asked him, “What don’t you have here with me that makes you want to go back to your homeland?”

He answered, “Nothing, but let me leave anyway.”

23 Elohim empowered another adversary to him, Rezon, Eliada’s son, who had escaped from Zobah’s King Hadadezer. 24 'Rezon' recruited men and became leader of a marauding band after David killed those who lived in Zobah. And they went to Damascus and lived there and made him king in Damascus. 25 He was an adversary to Israel during Solomon’s entire reign, adding to the evil that Hadad did, but he abhorred Israel while he reigned over Aram.

26 Nebat’s son Jeroboam was an Ephraimite from Zeredah. His mother’s name was Zeruah, one of Solomon’s servants, a widow who also rebelled against the king. 27 This is why he rebelled against the king: Solomon built the citadel and repaired the breach of the city of his father David. 28 Jeroboam was a valiant warrior, and Solomon saw that the young man was industrious, and he put him in charge the conscripted labor of the House of Joseph.

29 During that time, Jeroboam left Jerusalem and the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite encountered him on the road. Ahijah was wearing a new garment. The two of them were alone in the countryside. 30 Ahijah grabbed the new garment he was wearing and tore it into twelve pieces! 31 He told Jeroboam, “Take ten pieces, because Yehovah, the Elohim of Israel says, ‘I’ll rip the kingdom from the grasp of Solomon and give you ten tribes. 32 But for the sake of My servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem, the city I chose from all the tribes of Israel, I’ll leave him one tribe. 33 I’m doing this because they’ve abandoned Me, and worshiped Ashtoreth, the goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh the god of Moab and Milcom the god of the Ammonites. They haven’t 'lived by' My ways or done what is right in My sight and obeyed My unchanging rulings and My regulations like his father David did.

34 But I won’t take the entire kingdom out of his hands, I’ll let him reign for the rest of his life for the sake of My servant David, who I chose, who obeyed My Commandments and My unchanging tenets. 35 I’ll take the kingdom out his son’s hands and give you ten tribes! 36 But I’ll give one tribe to his son, so that My servant David will always have a lamp shining in My presence in Jerusalem, the city where I have chosen to put My name. 37 I’ll accept you, and you’ll reign over whatever you want. You’ll be king over Israel. 38 Then if you listen to everything that I command you and 'live' by My ways, and do what is right in My sight and obey My unchanging rulings and My Commandments like My servant David did, then I’ll be with you and build you a 'lasting dynasty' just like I built for David, and I’ll give you Israel. 39 This is how I’m going to burden David’s descendants, but not forever.’”

40 Solomon tried to execute Jeroboam, but Jeroboam fled to King Shishak of Egypt, and stayed there until Solomon died.

41 The rest of the significant events of Solomon’s reign, everything else he did, and his wisdom are recorded in the Book of the Acts of Solomon. 42 The duration of Solomon’s reign in Jerusalem over all of Israel was forty years. 43 Solomon died and was buried with his ancestors in the city of his father David, and his son Rehoboam succeeded him.

[1] Solomon encouraged syncretism, a degenerative process clearly illustrated in the book review: Pagan Christianity.

1 KINGS 12

Judah Against Israel

1 Rehoboam went to Shechem since all of Israel had gone to Shechem to make him king. 2 Now when Jeroboam the son of Nebat heard about it, 'he' was living in Egypt (because he was still in Egypt, where he had fled from King Solomon). 3 So they summoned him, and Jeroboam and the entire assembly of Israel came and spoke to Rehoboam. They said, 4 “Your father made our 'workload' unbearable, so lighten the harsh labor demands of your father and the heavy burdens that he put on us and we’ll serve you.”

5 He told them, “Leave me for three days and then return.” So the people left.

6 King Rehoboam conferred with the elders who had served his father Solomon while he was alive. He asked them, “What is your advice as to how I should respond to these people?”

7 They advised him, “If you want to serve these people today, serve them by saying good things to them, then they’ll be your servants forever.”

8 But 'Rehoboam' ignored the counsel that his elder advisers had given him, and consulted with the young men who grew up with him and were now his advisers. 9 So he asked them, “How should I answer these people who want me to lighten the workload that my father imposed on them?”

10 The young men who had grown up with him told him; “You should tell these people who told you, ‘Your father made our 'workload' unbearable, so lighten the harsh labor demands of your father and the heavy burdens that he put on us!’ Tell them, ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s waist. 11 My father made your 'workload' unbearable, but I’m going to add to that burden. My father scourged you with whips, but I’ll 'torture' you with scorpions.”

12 So Jeroboam and all the people returned to Rehoboam on the third day just as the king had specified when he said, “Come back to me in three days.” 13 The king answered the people harshly and ignored the counsel that the elders had given him, 14 Instead, 'Rehoboam' spoke to them in agreement with the advice of the young men and said, “My father made your 'workload' unbearable, but I’m going to add to that burden. My father scourged you with whips, but I’ll 'torture' you with scorpions.” 15 So the king didn’t listen to the people because this turn of events was brought about by Yehovah in order to fulfill the 'promise' that Yehovah had spoken thru Ahijah the Shilonite to Nebat’s son Jeroboam.

16 When all the Israelites realized that the king wasn’t listening to them, the people told the king:

“What stake do we have in David? We don’t have a 'legacy' in the son of Jesse. Back to your tents, Israel! Look out for your own house, David!”

So Israel went to their tents. 17 But Rehoboam reigned over the Israelites who lived in the cities of Judah.

18 When King Rehoboam sent Adoram to them (he was in charge of conscripted labor), all the Israelites stoned him to death. And King Rehoboam hurriedly got into his chariot and fled to Jerusalem. 19 So Israel [the ten northern tribes] has been in rebellion against the [Jewish] House of David to this day.

20 When all the Israelites heard that Jeroboam had returned, they called an assembly and made him king over all Israel. Nothing was left of David’s 'dynasty' except for the House of Judah.

21 When Rehoboam returned to Jerusalem he 'mobilized' the entire House of Judah and the tribe of Benjamin, 180,000 elite soldiers to fight against the House of Israel and restore the kingdom to Solomon’s son Rehoboam.

22 But this 'message' from Elohim came to Shemaiah a man of Elohim: 23 “Tell Solomon’s son Rehoboam, king of Judah, the entire House of Judah, Benjamin and the rest of the people, 24 ‘This is what Yehovah says: Don’t go out to fight against your brothers the Israelites. Everyone return home because this eventuality is from Me.’” So they heeded Yehovah’s 'admonition' and went 'back home' in accord with the 'message' from Yehovah.

25 Then Jeroboam built Shechem in the highlands of Ephraim and lived there. From there he went out and rebuilt Penuel.

26 Jeroboam thought to himself, “The kingdom will apparently return to the House of David. 27 If these people keep going up to offer zebakim in Yehovah’s 'Temple' in Jerusalem, then the 'sentiments' of these people will return to their master King Rehoboam of Judah. They’ll kill me and return Judah’s King Rehoboam.”

28 So under advisement, the king made two gold calves. He told the people, “It’s too difficult for you to go up to Jerusalem. Look Israel, here are the gods who brought you out of the land of Egypt!” 29 He put one of them in Bethel and the other one in Dan. 30 But this was a great sin because the people went as far as Dan to worship one of the idols there.

31 'Jeroboam' built 'Temples' on the high places and appointed priests from all kinds of extreme people, but none were descended from Levi. 32 Jeroboam instituted an alternative feast on the fifteenth day of the eighth month 'imitating' the Feast [of Tabernacles] in Judah, and he went up to the altar in Bethel and offered zebakim [sacrifices] to the calves he had made, and he stationed priests in Bethel for the high places he had set up. 33 Then he went to his altar in Bethel on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, in the very month that he had concocted from his own 'imagination', and he instituted a feast for the Israelites and went up to the altar to smoke incense.

1 KINGS 13

Jeroboam’s Demise

1 A man of Elohim came from Judah to Bethel inspired by the Word of Yehovah, while Jeroboam was standing by the altar smoking incense. 2 He 'condemned' the altar inspired by the Word of Yehovah: “Altar, altar! This is what Yehovah says: A son named Josiah will be born to the House of David. He’ll sacrifice the priests of the high places as offerings on you. Those who burn incense on you and human bones will burn on you.” 3 He gave a sign the same day, he said, “This is the sign that Yehovah has spoken: This altar will be split apart and the ashes on it will be dumped.”

4 When 'Jeroboam' heard the man of Elohim 'condemning' the altar in Bethel, he 'pointed' as he stood by the altar and said, “Seize him!” But the hand he used to point him out became paralyzed and he couldn’t use it. 5 The altar also split apart and the ashes were dumped from the altar in accord with the sign that the man of Elohim had given by the Word of Yehovah.

6 The king cried out to the man of Elohim, “Please ask Yehovah your Elohim to restore my hand” So the man of Elohim asked Yehovah, and the king’s hand was restored to the way it was before.

7 Then the king said to the man Elohim, “Come to the 'palace' with me for a meal, and I’ll give you a gift.”

8 The man of Elohim told the king, “Even if you were to give me half of your 'palace' I wouldn’t go with you or eat food or drink water in this place, 9 because I was commanded by the Word of Yehovah: ‘Don’t eat any bread or drink any water or return by the same way you came.’” 10 So he took an 'alternate' route and didn’t return the same way he came to Bethel.

11 There was an old prophet living in Bethel, and his son came and told him everything that the man of Elohim had done that day in Bethel. He also told his father what the man had told the king. 12 His father asked him, “Which way did he go?” His son had seen which way the man of Elohim who came from Judah had gone. 13 He told his sons, “Saddle the donkey for me.” So they saddled the donkey for him and he rode away on it. 14 He went after the man of Elohim and found him sitting under an oak tree. He asked him, “Are you the man of Elohim who came from Judah?”

Yes, I am,” he replied.

15 Then he told him, “Come home with me and eat some 'food'.”

16 He said, “I can’t return with you and I can’t eat food or drink water with you in this place 17 because of a command to me from the Word of Yehovah: ‘You must not eat any food or drink any water or return by the same way you came.’”

18 He told him, “I’m a prophet like you, and a Messenger spoke to me by the Word of Yehovah, who said, ‘Bring him back with you to your house so that he can eat bread and drink water.’” [1] But he was lying. 19 So he went back with him and ate 'food' in his house and drank water.

20 Then as they sat at the table, the Word of Yehovah came to the prophet who had brought him back, 21 and he cried out to the man of Elohim who came from Judah, “This is what Yehovah says: ‘Because you’ve been disobedient to the 'word' of Yehovah, and didn’t obey the commandment that Yehovah your Elohim 'gave' you, 22 but came back and ate 'food' and drank water in the place where He told you, “Eat no 'food' and drink no water”, your corpse will never reach the grave of your ancestors.’”

23 Then after he had eaten bread and after he had drunk, 'the old prophet' saddled the donkey for the prophet he had brought back. 24 When he had gone, a lion encountered him along the road and killed him. His body fell to the road. The donkey remained beside it, and the lion was also standing next to the body. 25 People passing by saw the body lying on the road, and the lion standing by the body, and they came and told people in the city where the old prophet lived.

26 And when the prophet who had brought him back from the road heard about it, he 'thought', “It is the man of Elohim who disobeyed the Word of Yehovah. So Yehovah gave him to the lion that mauled him and killed him, just like the Word of Yehovah had told him.”

27 He told his sons, “Saddle the donkey for me.” And they saddled it. 28 He went and found the body lying on the road with the donkey and the lion standing beside the body. The lion hadn’t eaten the body or mauled the donkey. 29 The prophet picked up the body of the man of Elohim and put it on the donkey and brought it back. He came to the city of the old prophet to mourn and to bury him. 30 He laid his body in his own grave and they mourned over him, saying, “Oh no, my brother!”

31 After 'the old prophet' buried him, he told his sons, “When I die, bury me in the tomb where the man of Elohim is buried. Put my bones beside his bones, 32 because the 'burdensome prophecy' that he cried out [inspired by] by the Word of Yehovah against the altar in Bethel and against all the high places in the cities of Samaria will come to pass.”

33 Even after this, Jeroboam didn’t repent of his evil ways. Instead, he appointed even more priests for the high places including` the most extreme people. He 'ordained' anyone who wanted to be a priest for the high places. 34 This was the sin that ended the House [dynasty] of Jeroboam, eradicating it from the face of the earth.

[1] RED FLAG! When a man of “religious authority” assures you that something, anything is right, and your conscience is telling you otherwise, be extremely careful!

1 KINGS 14

Ahijah Prophesies against Jeroboam

1 At that time Jeroboam’s son Abijah became sick. 2 Jeroboam said to his wife, “'Please' get up and disguise yourself so that you won’t be recognized as the wife of Jeroboam. Go to Shiloh where the prophet Ahijah is. He told me that I would be king over these people! 3 Take with you ten loaves, some cakes and a jar of honey, and go to him. He’ll tell you what will happen to the boy.”

4 So Jeroboam’s wife got 'underway' and went to Shiloh and arrived at Ahijah’s house.

Ahijah couldn’t see. His eyes had dimmed due to his age. 5 Yehovah had told Ahijah, “Jeroboam’s wife is coming to ask you about her son who is sick! Say such and such to her. When she arrives she’ll be pretending to be another woman.”

6 So when Ahijah heard the sound of her feet coming thru the doorway, he said, “Come in, Jeroboam’s wife! Why are you pretending to be someone else? I have bad news for you. 7 Go tell Jeroboam that this is what Yehovah, the Elohim of Israel says: ‘I raised you up from among the people and made you leader over My people Israel, 8 and ripped the kingdom away from the House of David and gave it you, and yet you haven’t been like My servant David who kept My Commandments and followed Me with all his being by doing only what is right in My sight. 9 Instead, you have done more evil than anyone before you, and have proceeded to make other gods and cast images for yourself. You provoked Me to anger by 'turning' your back on Me. 10 So I’m going to bring disaster on the House [dynasty] of Jeroboam, and eliminate from Jeroboam everyone who whizzes against the wall, both slave and free in Israel. I’ll make a clean sweep of the dynasty of Jeroboam like someone sweeping away manure until it’s all gone. 11 Anyone who belongs to Jeroboam and dies in the city will be eaten by dogs. Anyone who dies in the fields will be eaten by the birds from the air. Yehovah has spoken.’”

12 “Now get up and go home. Once you’ve set foot in the city the child will die. 13 Everyone in Israel will mourn for him and bury him. He is the only one of Jeroboam’s family who will be buried, because in him alone Yehovah, the Elohim of Israel, found something good out of the entire household of Jeroboam.

14 “Yehovah will raise up for Himself a king over Israel who will eradicate Jeroboam’s House from this day forward! 15 Yehovah will strike Israel like a reed swaying in the water. He’ll uproot Israel from this good land that He gave to their ancestors and scatter them beyond the Euphrates River because they’ve made their Asherah poles [steeples], provoking Yehovah to anger. 16 He’ll give Israel up because of Jeroboam’s sins, and consequently Israel’s sins.”

17 Then Jeroboam’s wife left and went to Tirzah. Once she crossed the threshold of the house, the boy died. 18 He was buried, and everyone in Israel mourned for him in accord with the Word of Yehovah that He spoke thru His servant Ahijah the prophet.

19 The rest of the events of Jeroboam’s reign, how he waged war and the way he reigned are recorded in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel. 20 Jeroboam reigned for twenty-two years, and he died and was buried with his ancestors, and Nadab his son succeeded him as king.

21 Meanwhile, Solomon’s son Rehoboam reigned in Judah. Rehoboam was forty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city that Yehovah chose from among all the tribes of Israel to put His name there. His mother was an Ammonite named Naamah.

22 Judah did evil that Yehovah 'condemned'. They provoked Him to jealousy with the sins that they committed beyond anything that their ancestors had committed. 23 They had built themselves high places, obelisks and Asherah poles on every high hill and under every evergreen tree. 24 There were also sodomites in the land, people engaged in all the highly detestable things of the nations that Yehovah drove out prior to the Israelites.

25 Then in the fifth year of king Rehoboam, Shishak king of Egypt went 'to war' against Jerusalem. 26 He seized the treasures of Yehovah’s 'Temple' and the treasures of the king’s 'palace'. He took everything, 'notably' the gold shields that Solomon had made. 27 So King Rehoboam replaced them with bronze shields and committed them to the officers of the guard who protected the entry of the king’s 'palace'. 28 Whenever the king entered Yehovah’s 'Temple' the guards would carry them and then return them to the armory.

29 The rest of the events of Rehoboam’s reign, and all of his 'achievements' are recorded in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah. 30 There was constant warfare between Rehoboam and Jeroboam. 31 Rehoboam died and was buried with his ancestors in the City of David. His mother’s name had been Naamah from Ammon. Abijam his son succeeded him as king.

1 KINGS 15

Abijam Rules in Judah

1 'Beginning' in the eighteenth year of Nebat’s son Jeroboam’s reign, Abijah began to reign over Judah. 2 He reigned three years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Maacah [aka Micaiah] the daughter of Abishalom.

3 He committed the same sins that his father before him had committed. He wasn’t 'completely devoted' to Yehovah his Elohim the way his ancestor David had been. 4 But for David’s sake Yehovah his Elohim 'preserved' his lamp [dynasty] in Jerusalem by setting up his son after him and stabilizing Jerusalem, 5 because David did what was right in the sight of Yehovah, and didn’t deviate from anything that He commanded him all the days of his life, except in the case of Uriah the Hittite.

6 Now there was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam all the days of 'Rehoboam’s' life. 7 The rest of the events of Abijam’s reign and all of his 'achievements' are recorded in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah. There was also war between Abijam and Jeroboam. 8 Abijam died and was buried with his ancestors in the City of David. His son Asa succeeded him as king.

9 In the twentieth year of Israel’s King Jeroboam, Asa became king of Judah. 10 He reigned forty-one years in Jerusalem, and his mother’s name was Maacah, the daughter of Abishalom.

11 Asa did what was right in the sight of Yehovah just like his ancestor David had done. 12 He banished the male cult prostitutes [sodomites] from the land and removed all the idols that his ancestors had made. 13 He also deposed Maacah his grandmother from her position as Queen Mother because she had made a horrid image on an Asherah pole. Asa cut her horrid image down and burned it in the Kidron Valley. 14 Altho the high places were not removed, Asa was fully devoted to Yehovah all of his life. 15 He brought into Yehovah’s 'Temple' the 'special' things that he and his father had dedicated—silver, gold and utensils.

16 There was war between Asa and King Baasha of Israel all their days. 17 King Baasha of Israel invaded Judah and fortified Ramah to deny anyone access to Judah’s King Asa.

18 Then Asa took all the silver and gold that remained in the treasuries of Yehovah’s 'Temple' and from his royal 'palace' and gave it to his officials, and then sent them to Tabrimmon’s son King Benhadad of Aram, the grandson of Hezion who lived in Damascus and said:

19 “Let’s make a treaty between you and me like there was between my father and your father. I’ve already sent you a gift of silver and gold to break your treaty with King Baasha of Israel so that he’ll leave me alone.”

20 Benhadad listened to king Asa and sent the commanders of his armies against the cities of Israel, and conquered Ijon, Dan, Abel Beth Maacah, and all Chinneroth and the territory of Naphtali. 21 When Baasha heard about it, he quit fortifying Ramah and stayed in Tirzah. 22 Then king Asa published a proclamation for every Judean without exception, and they hauled away the stones and timbers that Baasha had been fortifying Judah with. King Asa used them to fortify Geba in Benjamin and Mizpah.

23 All the rest of the events of Asa’s reign and all of his accomplishments and the cities he built are recorded in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah. But in his old age he developed a severe foot disease. 24 Asa died and was buried with his ancestors in the City of David his ancestor, and his son Yehoshaphat succeeded him as king.

25 Jeroboam’s son Nadab became king over Israel in the second year of the reign of King Asa over Judah. He reigned over Israel for two years. 26 He did evil in Yehovah’s sight and followed the practices of his father who encouraged Israel to sin.

27 So Ahijah’s son Baasha from the house of Issachar conspired against him, and Baasha struck him at Gibbethon in Philistia while Nadab and all the Israelites were besieging Gibbethon. 28 So Baasha killed him during the third year of the reign of King Asa of Judah and succeeded him as king.

29 Then as soon as he was king he killed everyone in the house of Jeroboam. He didn’t leave Jeroboam a single survivor. He destroyed them completely, just as Yehovah had spoken thru his servant Ahijah the Shilonite, 30 This was because of the sins that Jeroboam had committed, and because he led Israel into sin, and continually provoked Yehovah, the Elohim of Israel.

31 The rest of the events of Nadab’s reign and all of his 'achievements' are recorded in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel. 32 There was war between Asa and Baasha king of Israel all their days.

33 In the third year of the reign of King Asa of Judah, Ahijah’s son Baasha became king over all of Israel. He reigned for twenty-four years in Tirzah. 34 He did evil that Yehovah 'condemned', living like Jeroboam did and leading Israel into sin.

1 KINGS 16

Prophecy against Baasha

1 The Word of Yehovah came to Hanani’s son Jehu against Baasha and said: 2 “I raised you up from the dust and made you leader over My people Israel, but you’ve been 'living' like Jeroboam, causing My people Israel to sin, provoking Me to anger with their sins. 3 So I’ll completely incinerate Baasha and his house. I’ll make your house like the house of Jeroboam, Nebat’s son! 4 Anyone from Baasha’s 'family' who dies in the city will be eaten by dogs, and anyone from his 'family' who dies in the countryside will be eaten by the birds of the sky.”

5 The rest of all the events of Baasha’s reign and all his 'achievements' are recorded in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel. 6 Baasha died and was buried with his ancestors in Tirzah. His son Elah succeeded him as king.

7 Also the 'message' of Yehovah against Baasha and his 'family' came thru Hanani’s son Jehu the prophet, both because of all of the things that Baasha had done in Yehovah’s sight, provoking Him to anger by the way he handled things, acting just like Jeroboam’s 'family' and also because 'Baasha' had destroyed it.

8 In the twenty-sixth year of King Asa of Judah, Baasha’s son Elah became king over Israel and reigned in Tirzah for two years.

9 His servant Zimri, commander of half his chariot forces. Elah was in Tirzah at the time, getting drunk in the home of Arza, supervisor of the 'palace' in Tirzah. 10 Zimri went inside and killed 'Elah' in the twenty-seventh year of the reign of King Asa of Judah, and succeeded him as king.

11 Once 'Zimri' became king, as soon as he sat on his throne, he killed Baasha’s entire 'family'. He didn’t leave him anyone who whizzes on a wall, whether a relative or even a friend. 12 So Zimri destroyed the entire household of Baasha in accord with the Word of Yehovah that He spoke against Baasha thru the prophet Jehu, 13 due to all the sins that Baasha and his son Elah had committed and because they led Israel into sin, provoking the anger of Yehovah, the Elohim of Israel with their 'idols'.

14 The rest of the events of Elah’s reign and all of his 'achievements' are recorded in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel.

15 Zimri reigned for seven days in Tirzah during the twenty-seventh year of the reign of King Asa of Judah. At that time, the 'army' was besieging Gibbethon of Philistia. 16 The army at the encampment heard about it and said, “Zimri has conspired against the king and killed him..” So all Israel made Omri the commander of the army, king over Israel that day in the camp. 17 Then Omri and the entire Israeli army left Gibbethon and blockaded Tirzah. 18 When Zimri saw that the city was captured, he went into the citadel of the royal 'palace' and burned the 'palace' down on top of himself and died 19 because of the sins that he committed by doing what was evil in the sight of Yehovah, 'living' as Jeroboam had and influencing Israel to sin.

20 The rest of the events of Zimri’s reign and the conspiracy he committed are recorded in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel.

21 Then the people of Israel were divided into two parts. Half of the people followed Ginath’s son Tibni and wanted to make him king, and half followed Omri. 22 But the people who followed Omri proved stronger than the people who followed Ginath’s son Tibni. So Tibni died and Omri became king.

23 In the thirty-first year of Judah’s King Asa, Omri became king over Israel. He reigned for twelve years. He reigned six years in Tirzah. 24 He bought the hill Samaria of Shemer for two talents of silver. He fortified the hill, and named the city Samaria after Shemer, the previous owner of the hill.

25 Omri did evil that Yehovah 'condemned', and perpetrated more evils than anyone who preceded him. 26 He 'lived' exactly like Nebat’s son Jeroboam, and by his sinful example he caused Israel to sin, provoking Yehovah, the Elohim of Israel with their worthless 'idols'.

27 The rest of the events of Omri’s reign and all of his 'achievements' are recorded in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel. 28 So Omri died and was buried with his ancestors in Samaria, and his son Ahab succeeded him as king.

29 In the thirty-eighth year of Judah’s King Asa, Ahab, Omri’s son, became king of Israel. He ruled over Israel in Samaria for twenty-two years. 30 Omri’s son Ahab did evil that Yehovah 'condemned' above and beyond any of the kings who preceded him. 31 And as if it had been something trivial for him to 'live' like Nebat’s son Jeroboam, Ahab married Jezebel, the daughter of King Ethbaal of Sidon, and then proceeded to serve Baal and worship him. 32 He erected an altar for Baal in the 'shrine' of Baal that he had built in Samaria. 33 Ahab also erected an Asherah. Ahab did more to provoke Yehovah, the Elohim of Israel to anger than any the kings of Israel who had preceded him.

34 In his days Hiel the Bethelite built Jericho, he laid its foundation at the cost of Abiram his firstborn, and laid its foundation at the cost of his youngest son Segub, according to the Word of Yehovah that was delivered thru Nun’s son Joshua.

1 KINGS 17

Elijah Raises the Widow's Son

1 Elijah the Tishbite, one of the settlers of Gilead, said to Ahab, “As Yehovah, the Elohim of Israel lives who I 'serve', there will be no dew or rain in the years ahead until I give the word!”

2 The Word of Yehovah came to him and said: 3 “Leave here and turn east, and hide out by the Cherith Brook 'east' of the Jordan River. 4 You can drink from the brook. I’ve directed the ravens to provide food for you there.”

5 So 'Elijah' left and did what the Word of Yehovah told him. He left and lived beside the Cherith Brook 'east' of the Jordan River. 6 The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook. 7 But after a while the brook dried up because there was no rain in the land.

8 The Word of Yehovah said to Elijah, 9 “Get up and go to Zarephath near Sidon and stay there. I’ve commanded a widow there to feed you.”

10 So 'Elijah' got up and went to Zarephath, and when he got to the city gate, he saw a widow there gathering sticks, and he called to her and said, “Please give me a little water in a cup so I can drink.” 11 As she was going to get it, he called to her and said, “Also please 'pick up' a bit of bread.”

12 She said, “As surely as Yehovah your Elohim lives, I don’t have any 'bread', only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. I’m gathering a couple of sticks so that I can go in and bake it for me and my son. Then we’re going to eat it and die.”

13 But Elijah told her, “Don’t be afraid; go and do what you said, but make me a little 'bread' from it first, and bring it out to me. Then make some for you and for your son. 14 This is what Yehovah the Elohim of Israel says: The jar of flour will not be emptied and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day Yehovah sends rain to the land.”

15 So she went and did what Elijah 'told' her to do, and the woman, Elijah and her son ate for many days. 16 The jar of flour was never emptied and the jug of oil never ran dry, just as the Word of Yehovah had 'promised' thru Elijah.

17 Sometime later, the son of the woman who owned the house became sick. His sickness deteriorated until he stopped breathing. 18 She said to Elijah, “What do you have 'against' me, man of Elohim? Did you come here to remind me of my sins and to put my son to death?”

19 'Elijah' replied, “Give me your son.” He took him from her 'arms' and carried him up into the upper room where he was staying, and laid him on his bed. 20 He cried out to Yehovah, “Yehovah my Elohim, have You brought another disaster on the widow who I’m staying with by bringing about her son’s death?”

21 Then he stretched himself over the boy three times and cried out to Yehovah and said, “Yehovah, my Elohim, please allow this child’s life to return to him.” 22 Yehovah listened to Elijah’s voice, and the life of the child returned to him again and he revived. 23 Elijah took the boy and brought him down from the upper room into the house and gave him to his mother, and Elijah said, “Look, your son is alive!”

24 The woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of Elohim, and that the Word of Yehovah that you 'speak' is the truth.”

1 KINGS 18

Elijah Comes to King Ahab

1 Some time later, in the third year of the drought, the Word of Yehovah came to Elijah and said, “Go and present yourself to Ahab, and I’ll send rain on the surface of the land.” 2 So Elijah went to show himself to Ahab.

The famine was severe in Samaria. 3 Ahab called for Obadiah who was in charge of the 'palace'. (Now Obadiah feared Yehovah greatly 4 because when Jezebel was killing Yehovah’s prophets, Obadiah took a hundred prophets, hid them in two caves, fifty in each, and supplied them with food and water.) 5 Ahab said to Obadiah, “Go thru the land to every spring of water, and to all the brooks. Maybe we can find grass and save the horses and mules lives, so we don’t have to kill any of the cattle.” 6 So they divided the land between them to survey it. Ahab went one way by himself, while Obadiah went a different way by himself.

7 While Obadiah was on the road, he saw Elijah and met up with him and he recognized him and fell facedown and said, “Is it you, my master Elijah?”

8 Elijah replied, “Yes, it is. Go tell your lord, ‘Elijah is here!’”

9 Then Obadiah said, “What sin have I committed for you to be handing me, your servant, over to Ahab so he can kill me?” 10 As surely as Yehovah your Elohim lives, there is no nation or kingdom where my master hasn’t sent people looking for you. When they said, ‘He isn’t here,’ he made the kingdom or nation swear that they couldn’t find you. 11 And now you’re saying, ‘Go tell your lord, “Elijah is here.” 12 But as soon as I’ve left you, 'Yehovah’s spirit' might carry you off to who knows where. [1] Then when I go and tell Ahab, and he can’t find you, he’ll kill me. Tho I your servant have revered Yehovah from my youth. 13 Lord, haven’t you heard what I did when Jezebel killed Yehovah’s prophets? I hid one hundred of Yehovah’s prophets, fifty to a cave, and provided them with bread and water. 14 And now you tell me to go to my master and say, ‘Elijah is here.’ He will kill me!”

15 Elijah said, “As Commander Yehovah lives, in whose presence I stand, I’ll surely show myself to him today.”

16 So Obadiah went to meet Ahab and told him, and Ahab went to meet Elijah. 17 Then when Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said, “Is that you, you agitator of Israel?”

18 He answered, “I haven’t agitated Israel, but you and your ancestor’s house have by abandoning the Commandments of Yehovah and 'venerating' the Baals. 19 Now convene all Israel to Me at Mount Carmel along with the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of the Asherah who eat at Jezebel’s table.”

20 So Ahab sent a directive to all the Israelites to convene the prophets at Mount Carmel. 21 Elijah approached all the people and asked, “How long will you falter between two opinions? If Yehovah is Elohim, follow Him, but if Baal, then follow him.” But the people didn’t say a word.

22 Then Elijah told the people, “I’m the only prophet of Yehovah left, but Baal has four hundred and fifty mouthpieces. 23 So have them provide two oxen; and have them choose one bull for themselves, and cut it up and lay it on the wood, but 'light' no fire under it. I’ll prepare the other bull and place it on the wood, but not 'light' a fire under it. 24 You call on the name of your god, and I’ll call on the name of Yehovah. The Elohim who answers by fire is the 'real' Elohim. All the people answered, ‘That’s a terrific idea.”

25 Then Elijah told the prophets of Baal, “Choose a bull for yourselves and prepare it first since there are so many of you. Then call on the name of your god but don’t light a fire.”

26 So they took the bull that was given to them, prepared it, and called on the name of Baal from early morning until noon, they 'prayed', “Baal, answer us.” But there was no voice, no one answered. They were staggering around the altar they had made.

27 At noon Elijah began mocking them, he said, “Shout louder! He’s a god, maybe he’s busy or relieving himself or he’s on a journey. Or maybe he’s asleep and needs to wake up.” 28 So they cried even louder and cut themselves with swords and lances until blood gushed out on them. 29 When midday was past they prophesied until the time of the evening zebakim; but there was no voice, no one answered and no one paid attention.

30 Elijah announced to all the people, “Come here!” So everyone approached him. And he repaired the altar of Yehovah that had been torn down. 31 Elijah took twelve stones, one to represent each of the tribes of Jacob that the Word of Yehovah had come to, saying, “Your name will be Israel.” 32 So with the stones he built an altar in the name of Yehovah. He made a trench around the altar large enough to contain two measures [about five gallons] of 'grain'. 33 Then he arranged the wood and cut the bull in pieces and laid it on the wood. He said,

“Fill four pitchers with water, and pour it on the burnt offering and on the wood.”

34 Then he said, “Do it again,” and they did it again. And he said, “Do it a third time,” and they did it a third time. 35 The water flowed around the altar, and he also filled the trench with water.

36 Then at the time of offering the evening zebak, Elijah the prophet approached and said, “Yehovah, the Elohim of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, make it known today that you are Elohim in Israel, and that I’m your servant and I’ve done all these things at Your 'request'. 37 Answer me, Yehovah, answer me, so that these people will know that You, Yehovah, are Elohim, and that You’ve turned their sentiments back again.”

38 'Immediately' Yehovah’s fire fell and incinerated the burnt offering, the wood, the stones and the dust, and even licked up the water in the trench. 39 When all the people saw it, they fell facedown and said, “Yehovah, He is Elohim! Yehovah, He is Elohim!”

40 Elijah told them, “Seize Baal’s prophets! Don’t let one of them escape!” So they seized them. Elijah brought them down to the Kishon Brook and executed them there.

41 After this, Elijah told Ahab, “Get up and have something to eat and drink because there’s the sound of a coming rainstorm” 42 So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Mount Carmel and he bowed down to the ground and put his face between his knees.

43 He said to his servant, “Go up and look toward the sea.”

So he went up, looked and said, “There’s nothing.”

Seven times Elijah said, “Go back.” 44 Then after the seventh time, he said, “A small cloud the size of a human hand is coming up from the sea!”

Then Elijah said, “Go and tell Ahab, ‘Get your chariot ready to go down so that the pouring rain doesn’t stop you.’”

45 After a little while the sky turned dark with storm clouds, and the wind brought in a huge downpour. Ahab was already riding on his way to Jezreel. 46 The hand of Yehovah was on Elijah, and he tucked his coat into his belt and outran Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.

[1] It seems as tho Elijah was no stranger to being whisked away! This is before he was whisked off in a chariot of fire in 2 Kings 2:11, only to write a letter to the next king—King Yehoram, about seven years later: 2 Chronicles 21:12-15. See also 2 Kings 2:12-16 and Acts 8:39-40.

1 KINGS 19

Elijah Flees from Jezebel

1 Ahab told Jezebel everything that Elijah had done, about how he had killed all 'Baal’s' prophets with a sword. 2 Then Jezebel sent a messenger to tell Elijah, “May the gods 'punish' me 'severelyly' or 'worse' if I haven’t made you like of one of them by tomorrow about this time!”

3 'Elijah' was terrified and fled for his life [soul] to Beersheba in Judah, and left his 'aide' there. 4 But he went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a juniper tree and sat under it and 'prayed' for his own death, and said, “I’ve had enough! Yehovah, take my life because I’m no better than my ancestors.”

5 He laid down under the juniper tree.

Suddenly a Messenger touched him who told him, “Get up and eat!” 6 He looked up and saw that by his head there was a cake baked over hot stones and a jar of water. He ate and drank and laid down again.

7 The Messenger of Yehovah returned a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, or the journey will be too much for you.” 8 So he got up, and ate and drank, and went empowered by that food for forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the Mount of Elohim.

9 He arrived at a cave and stayed there.

The Word of Yehovah came to him! He asked him,

“What are you doing here, Elijah?”

10 He replied, “I’ve been very zealous for Yehovah, Elohim the Commander, because the Israelites have forsaken Your [the Word’s] covenant, knocked down Your altars and killed Your prophets with swords. I’m the only one left and they’re trying to kill me too.”

11 Then He said, “Go out and stand on the mountain before Yehovah.” And there he saw Yehovah passing by! A very strong wind tore thru the mountains breaking the rocks to pieces before Yehovah, but Yehovah wasn’t in the wind! After the wind there was an earthquake, but Yehovah wasn’t in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake there was a fire, but Yehovah wasn’t in the fire, and after the fire there was the sound of a 'soft whisper'. 13 When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his coat and went outside and stood at the entrance to the cave.

'Suddenly' a voice came to him and asked, “Why are you here, Elijah?”

14 He said, “I’ve been very zealous for Yehovah, Elohim the Commander. The Israelites have abandoned Your covenant, torn down your altars and killed Your prophets with swords. I’m the only one left and they’re trying to end my life too.”

15 Yehovah told him, “Go back thru the wilderness to Damascus, and when you get there anoint Hazael as king over Aram. 16 Also anoint Jehu, Nimshi’s son as king of Israel; and anoint Elisha from Abel Meholah, Shaphat’s son to take your place. 17 Then anyone who escapes from Hazael’s sword, Jehu will kill, and anyone who escapes from Jehu’s sword Elisha will kill. 18 But I’ve safeguarded 7,000 survivors in Israel who haven’t bowed to Baal and whose mouths haven’t kissed him.”

19 So 'Elijah' left there, and found Elisha, Shaphat’s son. He was harrowing [1] with twelve yoke of bulls [12 pairs] in front of him, and he was working the twelfth team. Elijah went over to him and tossed his coat over him. 20 'Elisha' abandoned the bulls, and ran after Elijah and said, “Please let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I’ll follow you.”

He told him, “Go back again. What have I done to restrain you?”

21 So 'Elisha' left him and went back. Then he took a yoke of bulls, and zebaked [sacrificed] them, boiling their flesh by burning the farm instruments of the bulls and gave it to the people and they ate. Then he got up and followed Elijah and assisted him.

[1] “A primitive root; to scratch”: Strong's Exhaustive Concordance. Ancient “plowing” resembled modern no-till more than mold board plowing: “One early type of plow used in the United States was little more than a crooked stick with an iron point attached, sometimes with rawhide, which simply scratched the ground.” Beating a sword into a plowshare would only require curving it!

1 KINGS 20

War with Aram

1 Benhadad the king of Aram mustered his entire army together along with thirty-two other kings, their 'cavalry' and chariots, and he went up and laid siege to Samaria and fought against it. 2 Then he sent messengers to the city to Ahab king of Israel and told him, “This is what Benhadad says: 3 ‘Your silver and gold is mine. Your most beautiful wives and children are mine!’”

4 And the king of Israel answered, “As you say, my lord, my king. I’m yours, along with everything I have.”

5 Then the messengers returned and said, “Benhadad’s 'messengers' are saying: ‘You must hand over your silver, your gold, your wives and your children to me. 6 About this time tomorrow I’ll send my 'officers' to you, and they’ll search your 'palace' and the houses of your officers. They’ll lay hands on anything you 'view' as valuable and haul it away.’”

7 Then the king of Israel called all the elders of the land and said, “Please know and understand that this man is looking for trouble. He sent a message to me demanding my wives, my children, my silver and my gold, and I didn’t turn him down.”

8 All the elders and all the people told him, “Don’t agree and don’t give in!”

9 So he told Benhadad’s messengers, “Tell my master the king that everything you demanded of your servant the first time, I’ll do, but I can’t do this.” The messengers left and brought him back the 'message'.

10 Benhadad sent back this reply: “May the gods 'punish' me 'severely' or 'worse' if the dust in Samaria’s amounts to more than a handful for each 'soldier' who follows me.”

11 The king of Israel replied, “Tell him, ‘A 'man' strapping on his armor shouldn’t brag like the 'man' taking it off.’”

12 When Benhadad heard this message as he and his allies were drinking in their tents, he said to his servants, “Take your positions!.” So they took their positions against the city!

13 'Just' then a prophet approached King Ahab of Israel and told him, “This is what Yehovah says: “Do you see this vast army? I’ll hand them over to you today. Then you’ll realize that I am Yehovah!’”

14 Ahab asked, “Who will do this?”

He replied, “This is what Yehovah says: The junior officers under the provincial commanders will do it.”

Then he said, “Who will initiate the battle?”

He answered, “You.” 15 Then he mustered the young men of the provincial leaders, and there were two hundred and thirty-two; and after them he mustered the entire Israelite 'army', 7,000. 16 They went out at noon while Benhadad and the thirty-two kings allied with him were getting drunk in their tents. 17 The young men of the provincial leaders went out first.

Benhadad sent out scouts who reported to him, “Some men have come out from Samaria.”

18 He said, “If they’ve come out for peace, take them alive; and if they’ve come out for war, take them alive as well.”

19 So the young men of the provincial leaders left the city and the army followed them. 20 Each man struck down his opponent. The Arameans fled and Israel chased them. King Benhadad of Aram escaped on horseback with his cavalry. 21 The king of Israel went out and destroyed the horses and chariots and killed the Arameans in a massive slaughter.

22 Then the prophet approached the king of Israel and told him, “Reinforce your 'army' and consider what you have to do, because at the 'beginning' of the year [about March] the king of Aram will attack again.”

23 The 'advisers' to the king of Aram told him, “Their gods are gods of the highlands. That’s why they were stronger than we were. But if we fight against them on the plains, we’re certain to be stronger than they are. 24 So do this: remove the kings from their positions and replace them with commanders! 25 Then replace the army that you lost, horse for horse and chariot for chariot. We’ll fight against them on the plain, and we will certainly be stronger than they are.” He listened to their 'advice' and 'carried' it out.

26 At the 'beginning' of the year, Benhadad mustered the Arameans and 'invaded' Aphek to fight against Israel. 27 The Israelites were prepared and supplied and went out to engage them. The Israelite encampment was like two little flocks of goats, while the Arameans covered the countryside!

28 A man of Elohim came forward and told the king of Israel, “This is what Yehovah says: Because the Arameans have said, ‘Yehovah is a god of the highlands, but He isn’t a god of the valleys,’ I’ll hand them over to you today. Then you’ll realize that I am Yehovah.”

29 They remained in opposing camps for seven days. On the seventh day the battle ensued, and the Israelites killed 100,000 Aramean foot soldiers in a single day! 30 But the rest fled to Aphek into the city where a wall fell on 27,000 men who were left. Benhadad fled and 'hid' in a bedroom in the city.

31 His advisers told him, “We’ve heard that the kings of the House of Israel are merciful kings. Allow us to go to the king of Israel with sackcloth around our waists and ropes around our necks. Maybe he’ll let you live.”

32 So they dressed in sackcloth and put ropes around their necks. They went to the king of Israel and said, “Your servant Benhadad says, ‘Please let me live.’”

And he said, “Is he still alive? He is my brother.”

33 Now the men took this as good divination and quickly picked up on his words, and they repeated, “Your brother is Benhadad!” Then he said, “Bring him here.” When Benhadad arrived, 'Ahab' had him come up into the chariot.

34 Benhadad told him, “I’ll return the cities that my father took from your father. You can establish marketplaces for yourself in Damascus just like my father did in Samaria.”

So 'Ahab' made a treaty with 'Benhadad' and let him go.

35 A certain man from the 'Guild' of Prophets said to his neighbor by the Word of Yehovah, “Hit me!” But the man refused to hit him. 36 Then he said to him, “Because you haven’t obeyed the voice of Yehovah, as soon as you leave me a lion will kill you.” As soon as he left him a lion found him and killed him.

37 Then he found another man and said, “Hit me.” So the man hit him hard, wounding him.

38 So the prophet left and waited for King Ahab by the road and disguised himself with a bandage over his eyes. 39 As the king was passing by he cried out to the king, “Your servant was in the middle of the battle and a soldier turned aside and brought a 'prisoner' to me and said, ‘Guard this man. If he escapes it will be your life for his or be fined a talent of silver.’ 40 But while your servant was busy here and there, he disappeared.”

The king of Israel told him, ‘So your judgment is settled, you’ve resolved it.’

41 Then 'the prophet' quickly took the bandage away from his eyes, and the king of Israel recognized him as one of the prophets. 42 He told him, “This is what Yehovah says: Because you allowed the man I had dedicated to destruction to escape, you must die instead of him, and your people will die 'instead of' his people.” 43 So the king of Israel went to his 'palace' in Samaria resentful and agitated.

1 KINGS 21

Naboth’s Vineyard Stolen

1 Sometime later, Naboth from Jezreel had a vineyard in Jezreel next to King Ahab’s 'palace'. 2 Ahab told Naboth, “Give me your vineyard so that I can make it a vegetable garden, because it’s near my house. I’ll give you a better vineyard in exchange. If you prefer, I’ll give you the equivalent in silver.

3 Naboth said to Ahab, “Yehovah forbids me from selling the inheritance of my ancestors to you!”

4 Ahab went home resentful and irritated because of what Naboth the Jezreelite had told him, because he had said, “I won’t 'sell' you my ancestral inheritance.” 'Ahab' laid down on his bed and turned his face away and wouldn’t eat any food.

5 But his wife Jezebel came to him and asked, “Why are you so upset and refusing to eat?”

6 He told her “I spoke to Naboth the Jezreelite and asked him to sell his vineyard for silver, or if he preferred, I’d give him another vineyard in exchange. But he said, ‘I can’t 'sell' you my vineyard.’”

7 Then his wife Jezebel said to him, “Aren’t you reigning over the kingdom of Israel? Get up and eat. Cheer up. I’ll give you Naboth the Jezreelite’s vineyard.”

8 So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name and sealed them with his seal, and sent the letters to the elders and the nobles who lived with Naboth in his city. 9 She wrote in the letters, “Announce a fast and seat Naboth in a 'prominent place'. 10 Seat two lowlifes in front of him and have them accuse him of cursing Elohim and the king. Then take him out and stone him to death.”

11 So the men of his city, the elders and the nobles who lived in his city did exactly what Jezebel had instructed them to do in the letters she had sent them. 12 They announced a fast, and seated Naboth in a 'prominent place' before the people. 13 The two lowlife men came in and sat in front of him. The lowlifes testified against Naboth in the presence of the people: “Naboth cursed Elohim and the king!” Then they took him outside the city and stoned him to death. 14 Then they sent a message to Jezebel that said, “Naboth has been stoned. He’s dead.”

15 Then when Jezebel heard that Naboth had been stoned to death she said to Ahab, “Get up and annex Naboth’s vineyard that he refused to sell you for silver. Naboth is no longer alive; he’s dead.” 16 When Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, he got up and went down to Naboth’s vineyard and confiscated it.

17 The Word of Yehovah came to Elijah the Tishbite and said: 18 “Get up and go down to meet King Ahab of Israel in Samaria. He’s gone down to Naboth’s vineyard to take possession of it. 19 Tell him, ‘This is what Yehovah says: You’ve murdered someone just to steal his property.’ Then tell him ‘This is what Yehovah says: In the place where dogs licked up Naboth’s blood, dogs will lick your own blood!’”

20 Ahab replied to Elijah, “So you’ve found me, my enemy.”

He answered, “I’ve found you because you’ve sold yourself to do evil in the sight of Yehovah. 21 So now, Yehovah says: I’ll bring disaster on you, and completely sweep you away and eliminate from Ahab everyone who whizzes against a wall, whether indentured servant or freeman in Israel. 22 I’ll make your household like the household of Nebat’s son Jeroboam or like the household of Ahijah’s son Baasha because of how you’ve provoked My anger and caused Israel to sin.”

23 Yehovah also said: “The dogs will devour Jezebel in the plot of land in Jezreel.

24 Dogs will eat anyone who dies from Ahab’s family in the city, and birds from the sky will descend and eat those who die in the country.”

25 There was never anyone who sold himself to do evil in the sight of Yehovah like Ahab did under the influence of his wife Jezebel. 26 He acted very abominably in following idols just like the Amorites who Yehovah drove out ahead of the Israelites.”

27 When Ahab heard this message, he tore his clothing and 'put on' sackcloth and fasted, he even slept in sackcloth and 'wandered' around depressed.

28 The Word of Yehovah came to Elijah the Tishbite and said: 29 “Have you seen how Ahab has humbled himself in My presence? Since he humbled himself in My presence, I won’t bring the 'disaster' during his 'lifetime'. But in his son’s 'lifetime' I’ll bring the 'disaster' on his family.”

1 KINGS 22

Yehoshaphat and Ahab

1 Three years passed without war between Aram and Israel. 2 Then in the third year, King Yehoshaphat of Judah came down to visit the king of Israel. 3 The king of Israel asked his servants, “Do you know that Ramoth Gilead is ours, but we’re still not doing anything to free it from the king of Aram’s grasp?”

4 He said to Yehoshaphat, “Will you join me in battle against Ramoth Gilead?”

Yehoshaphat told the king of Israel, “I’m with you, my people with your people, my horses with your horses.” 5 But Yehoshaphat also asked the king of Israel, “But first let’s consult the Word of Yehovah.”

6 Then the king of Israel gathered the false prophets [Targum] together, about four hundred men, and asked them, “Should I go against Ramoth Gilead to battle or not?”

They said, “Go up because Yehovah will hand it over to the king.”

7 But Yehoshaphat asked, “Isn’t there a [true] prophet of Yehovah left here to ask?”

8 The king of Israel said to Yehoshaphat, “There is still one man who could consult Yehovah for us, Micaiah the son of Imlah, but I hate him because he doesn’t prophesy anything good about me, only 'bad'.”

But Yehoshaphat replied, “A king shouldn’t say 'things like that'.”

9 Then the king of Israel called an officer and said, “Hurry and get Imla’s son Micaiah.”

10 Now the king of Israel and King Yehoshaphat of Judah were each sitting on their thrones dressed in their royal robes at the threshing floor at the entrance of the gate of Samaria, and all the prophets were prophesying in front of them. 11 Chenaanah’s son Zedekiah made some iron horns and told them, “This is what Yehovah says: With these you’ll gore the Arameans until they are eliminated!”

12 And all the prophets were prophesying the same: “'Attack' Ramoth Gilead and succeed because Yehovah will hand it over to the king!”

13 Meanwhile, the messenger who had gone after Micaiah advised him, “The 'admonitions' of the prophets are unanimously in agreement with the king. You need to 'respond' like any one of them and prophesy success.”

14 But Micaiah replied, “As surely as Yehovah lives, whatever Yehovah tells me is what I’ll say.”

15 When 'Micaiah' arrived, the king asked him, “Micaiah, should we go to war with Ramoth Gilead or not?”

He replied sarcastically, “Go up and prosper, and Yehovah will hand it over to the king!”

16 The king asked him, “How many times have I asked you to tell me nothing but the truth in the name of Yehovah?”

17 So 'Micaiah' replied, “I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains like sheep without a shepherd! And Yehovah said, ‘They have no master. They should all go home in peace.’”

18 The king of Israel said to Yehoshaphat, “Didn’t I tell you that he wouldn’t prophesy anything good about me, just disaster?”

19 Then Micaiah said, “Listen to the Word of Yehovah. I saw Yehovah sitting on His throne and the whole army of heaven standing by Him at His right and at His left. 20 Yehovah asked, ‘Who will persuade Ahab to go up and fall dead at Ramoth Gilead?’

“One suggested this, and another that. 21 But then a spirit approached and stood before Yehovah and said, ‘I’ll persuade him.’

22 Yehovah asked him, “How?”

He said, “I’ll go out and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.” He replied, “You will persuade him and then prevail. Go out and do it.”

23 So now Yehovah has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all of your prophets and Yehovah has pronounced disaster against you.”

24 Then Chenaanah’s son Zedekiah approached Micaiah and slapped Micaiah on the cheek and said, “Exactly how did Yehovah’s spirit go from me to speak to you?”

25 Micaiah answered, “You’ll see on the day you try to hide in a bedroom!”

26 And the king of Israel said, “Seize Micaiah and return him to Amon the governor of the city and to Yehoash, the king’s son. 27 Say, ‘This is what the king says: Put this man in the prison and feed him 'survival rations' until I return safely.’”

28 Micaiah said, “If you ever return safely, Yehovah hasn’t spoken thru me.” And he said, “Listen 'everyone'!”

29 So the king of Israel and King Yehoshaphat of Judah 'advanced' on Ramoth Gilead. 30 The king of Israel said to Yehoshaphat, “I’ll disguise myself when we go into the battle [1] but you wear your robes. So the king of Israel disguised himself and went into the battle.

31 Meanwhile, the king of Aram had ordered his thirty-two chariot commanders, “Don’t attack anyone of 'any rank' except the king of Israel.” 32 So when the chariot commanders saw Yehoshaphat, they assumed that he was the king of Israel. So they turned to fight against him, but Yehoshaphat cried out. 33 Then when the chariot commanders saw that it wasn’t the king of Israel, they turned back from pursuing him.

34 But someone drew his bow at random and hit the king of Israel 'between' a joint in his armor. So he told his chariot driver, “Turn 'around' and take me out of the 'battlefield'. I’m badly wounded!”

35 The battle 'raged' that day, and the king was propped up in his chariot facing the Arameans. The blood from his wound ran down to the floor of his chariot, and that evening he died. 36 Then about sundown a cry went thruout the army, “Every man to his city and every man to his country!”

37 So the king died and was brought back to Samaria and they buried the king in Samaria. 38 They washed the chariot by the pool of Samaria, and the dogs licked up his blood where the prostitutes went to bathe, exactly as the Word of Yehovah had said.

39 The rest of the events of Ahab’s reign and all of his 'achievements' and the ivory house that he built and all the cities that he built are recorded in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel. 40 So Ahab died and was 'buried' with his ancestors, and his son Ahaziah succeeded him as king.

41 Asa’s son Yehoshaphat became king over Judah during the fourth year of the reign of King Ahab of Israel. 42 Yehoshaphat was thirty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned twenty-five years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Azubah the daughter of Shilhi. 43 He 'lived' in all the ways of his father Asa. He never deviated from them, doing what was right in the sight of Yehovah, yet the high places were not removed. The people still sacrificed and burned incense in the high places. 44 Yehoshaphat also made peace with the king of Israel.

45 The rest of the events of Yehoshaphat’s reign, and his 'great' accomplishments, and how he fought in battle are recorded in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah. 46 He also purged the land of the cult prostitutes who still remained from the time of his father Asa. 47 There was no king in Edom, a deputy served as king.

48 Yehoshaphat built Tarshish styled ships to 'sail' to Ophir for gold. But the ships never 'set sail' because they were shipwrecked at Ezion Geber. 49 Then Ahab’s son Ahaziah said to Yehoshaphat, “Allow my sailors to 'sail' with your sailors on the ships.” But Yehoshaphat refused.

50 Yehoshaphat died and was buried with his ancestors in the City of David. And his son Yehoram [Yehovah has raised] succeeded him as king.

51 Ahab’s son Ahaziah became king over Israel in Samaria during the seventeenth year of Yehoshaphat king of Judah, and he reigned over Israel two years. 52 He did evil in Yehovah’s sight, 'living just like' his father and mother, and like Nebat’s son Jeroboam who led Israel into sin. 53 He served Baal and worshiped him and provoked Yehovah, the Elohim of Israel to anger, just like his father had done.

[1] Commentary

“2nd” KINGS 1

Chapters 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25. 1st and 2nd Kings are really one book!

Elijah Confronts King Ahaziah

1 After Ahab died, Moab rebelled against Israel.

2 King Ahaziah fell thru a window lattice in his upstairs room in Samaria and injured himself. So he sent messengers and told them, “Go ask Baalzebub, the god of Ekron if I’ll recover from this injury.”

3 But the Messenger of Yehovah told Elijah the Tishbite, “Get up and meet the messengers of the king of Samaria and ask them, ‘Is it because there is no Elohim in Israel that you’re going to inquire of Baalzebub, the god of Ekron? 4 This is what Yehovah says: ‘You will never leave the bed you are lying on. You’ll certainly die.’” Then Elijah left.

5 When the messengers returned to him he asked them, “Why did you come back?”

6 They told him, “A man came up to meet us and said, ‘Go back to the king who sent you and tell him ‘This is what Yehovah asks: Is it because there is no Elohim in Israel that you’re going to inquire of Baalzebub, the god of Ekron? Because of this, you won’t get up from your sickbed. You will most certainly die!’”

7 'The king' asked them, “Describe the man who met you and said these things.”

8 They answered, “He was a hairy man with a leather sash around his waist.” The king’ said, “That was Elijah the Tishbite.”

9 Then Ahaziah sent out a commander with fifty soldiers. He went up to 'Elijah' and saw that he was sitting on a hilltop. He told him, “Man of Elohim, the king says, ‘Come down!’”

10 Elijah replied to the commander of the fifty soldiers, “If I’m a man of Elohim, fire will come down from the heaven and 'incinerate' you and your fifty men!” Then fire came down from the heaven and 'incinerated' him and his fifty men. 11 'Ahaziah' then sent another commander with fifty soldiers. The commander said to 'Elijah', “Man of Elohim, the king said, ‘Come down quickly!’

12 Elijah answered them, “If I’m a man of Elohim, fire will come down from the heaven and incinerate you and your fifty men!” The fire of Elohim came down from the heaven and 'incinerated' him and his fifty men.

13 Then the king sent a third commander with fifty soldiers. He knelt before Elijah and begged him, “Man of Elohim, please consider my life and the lives of these servants of yours as precious! 14 Fire came down from the heaven and incinerated the two former commanders with their fifties. But consider my life as something precious.”

15 The Messenger of Yehovah told Elijah, “Go down with him. Don’t be afraid of him.” So he got up and went down with him to the king.

16 Then 'Elijah' told 'the king', “This is what Yehovah asks: Is it because there is no Elohim in Israel for you to consult that you have sent messengers to consult Baalzebub, the god of Ekron? Because of your idolatry you will never leave your sickbed. You will certainly die.”ť

17 So Ahaziah died in accord with the Word of Yehovah that Elijah had spoken.

Because he didn’t have a son, Yehoram [his younger brother] began to reign in his place in the second year of Yehoram the son of Yehoshaphat king of Judah.

18 The rest of the events of Ahaziah’s reign and all of his 'achievements' are recorded in The Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel.

2 KINGS 2

Elijah’s ‘Sabbatical’ Flight

1 Then when Yehovah was about to take Elijah up by a whirlwind into heaven, Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal. 2 Elijah said to Elisha, “Wait here because Yehovah is sending me all the way to Bethel.”

Elisha said, “As Yehovah lives and as you yourself live, I won’t leave you.” So they went on to Bethel.

3 The 'Guild' of Prophets who were in Bethel came out to Elisha and asked him, “Do you know that Yehovah is going to take your master away from you today?”

He answered, “Yes, I know it, 'calm down'.”

4 Elijah told him, “Wait here Elisha because Yehovah has sent me to Jericho.”

He said, “As Yehovah lives and as you yourself live, I won’t leave you.” So they went to Jericho.

5 The 'Guild' of Prophets who were in Jericho approached Elisha and asked him, “Do you know that Yehovah is going to take your master away from you today?”

He answered, “Yes, I know it, 'calm down'.”

6 Elijah told him, “Wait here because Yehovah has sent me to the Jordan River.” He said, ‘As Yehovah lives and as you yourself live, I won’t leave you.’ So the two of them moved on.

7 Fifty men from the 'Guild' of Prophets went and stood facing them from a distance while they were both standing by the Jordan River.

8 Elijah took his coat and rolled it up and struck the water and it parted to the right and left. Then the two of them crossed over on dry ground.

9 Then once they had crossed over, Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me, what can I do for you before I’m taken from you.”

Elisha said, “Let me inherit a double share [1] of your spirit.”

10 He said, “You’ve asked for something difficult. If you see me after I’ve been taken from you, it will happen for you, but if not, it won’t happen.”

11 As they were walking along and talking, 'suddenly' a fiery chariot with fiery horses appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up into the sky in a whirlwind! [2] 12 Elisha saw it, and yelled, “My father, my father, the chariots and cavalry of Israel!” When he couldn’t see him anymore, he grabbed onto his own clothes and tore them in two.

13 He also took Elijah’s coat that fell from him, and went back and stood by the bank of the Jordan River. 14 He took Elijah’s coat that fell from him and struck the water and asked, “Where is Yehovah, the Elohim of Elijah?” Once he struck the water it parted to the right and left, and Elisha crossed over.

15 When the 'Guild' of Prophets who were in Jericho saw him from a distance, they said, “'Yehovah’s spirit' [feminine word] of Elijah is resting on Elisha!” They came to meet him, and bowed to the ground in front of him. 16 They told him, “There are fifty able bodied men among your servants. Please let them go out and search for your master Elijah. Perhaps 'Yehovah’s spirit' has taken him up and put him on one of the mountains or into one of the valleys.”

He said, “Don’t send them.” 17 But they urged him until he was frustrated, so he said, “Send them.” So they sent fifty men, and they searched for three days, but they couldn’t find him. 18 They returned to him while he was staying in Jericho, and he told them, “Didn’t I tell you not to go?”

19 The citizens of the city said to Elisha, “As 'you can see' this city is in a great location, as my master is aware, but the water is bad and the land is unproductive.”

20 He said, “Bring me a new jar and put some salt in it.” So they brought it to him.

21 He went out to the spring and threw the salt into it and said, “This is what Yehovah says: ‘I’ve healed this water. There will be no more death or 'crop failures'.” 22 To this day the water has remained pure, just as Elisha said.

23 As he traveled from there to Bethel and was walking along the road some punks came out of the city and harassed him by yelling, “Get out of here, baldy. Get out of here, baldy!” 24 He looked behind him and saw them, and cursed them in the name of Yehovah. Then two female bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of them. 25 From there 'Elisha' went to Mount Carmel, and from there he returned to Samaria.

[1] The double portion indicated that Elisha was granted honorary firstborn status. This explains the “father” comment of verse 12. [2] Most commentators have great difficulty reconciling this event with the letter Elijah sent perhaps seven years after his amazing exit recorded in 2 Chronicles 21:12. The problem is that people assume that Elijah 1) died and 2) went to the highest heaven rather than having experienced a dramatic ending of his mission there and then. Verse 16 is more like what happened (again 1 Kings 18:12). See more on Elijah here by scrolling to the heading: “The Fifth Coming of Elijah!” Elijah never left low atmosphere: John 3:13 (Also see here.)

2 KINGS 3

King Yehoram of Israel

1 Now Yehoram [“Yehovah is exalted”] the son of Ahab began to reign over Israel in Samaria in the eighteenth year of Yehoshaphat [Yehovah has judged] king of Judah, and reigned for twelve years. 2 He did evil that Yehovah 'condemned', but not like his father and mother, because he removed the pillar of Baal that his father had made. 3 Nevertheless, he clung to the sins that Nebat’s son Jeroboam had done, causing Israel to 'commit' sin. He never abandoned them.

4 King Mesha of Moab was a sheep breeder. His 'annual tribute' to the king of Israel was 100,000 lambs and the wool of 100,000 rams. 5 But after Ahab died, the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel. 6 So King Yehoram left Samaria at 'once' and called all Israel into action. 7 As he was leaving he sent this message to King Yehoshaphat of Judah: “The king of Moab has rebelled against me. Will you go with me to fight against Moab?”

He replied, “I’ll go. You and I are as one. My troops are your troops and my horses are your horses.”

8 He said, “Which road should we take?” He answered, “The road thru the Edomite wilderness.”

9 So the king of Israel went with the king of Judah and the king of Edom. They made a circuit of seven days’ journey until there was no water left for the army or for the cattle that followed them.

10 Then the king of Israel said, “Oh no! Yehovah has summoned three kings only to hand them over to Moab.”

11 But Yehoshaphat said, “Isn’t there a prophet of Yehovah 'around' who we could question Yehovah thru?”

One of the king of Israel’s servants answered, “Elisha, Shaphat’s son is here. He used to pour water on Elijah’s hands.”

12 Yehoshaphat said, “The Word of Yehovah is with him.” So the king of Israel and Yehoshaphat and the king of Edom went down to see him.

13 Elisha asked the king of Israel, “What have I to do with you? Go to the prophets of your father and your mother!”

The king of Israel told him, “No. Yehovah has summoned these three kings to hand them over to Moab.”

14 Elisha said, “As Commander Yehovah lives in whose presence I stand, were it not that I regard the presence of Yehoshaphat the king of Judah, I wouldn’t notice you or even look at you! 15 Now bring me a musician.”

So while a musician played, Yehovah’s hand rested on 'Elisha', 16 He said, “This is what Yehovah says: ‘Fill this valley with trenches.’ 17 This is what Yehovah says: “You won’t see any wind or rain, but that streambed will be filled with water and you’ll be able to drink, you, your livestock and your animals. 18 Yehovah 'considers' this an easy thing to do. He’ll also hand the Moabites over to you. 19 You will conquer every fortified city and every 'major' city. You will cut down every good tree, seal all of the 'artesian' springs and impair all the best fields with stones.”

20 The next morning, about the time of the zebak [sacrifice], water 'flowed' in from the direction of Edom and the country was filled with water.

21 Now all the Moabites heard that the kings had come up to fight against them. Everyone able to put on armor and older was summoned and stood on the border. 22 They got up early in the morning, and the sun shone on the water, and the Moabites saw the water across from them as red as blood. 23 They said, “This is blood. Those kings must have 'destroyed' each other! Now Moabites, let’s collect the spoils!”

24 But when they arrived at the Israelite encampment, the Israelites rose up and attacked them. The Moabites fled from them. Then 'Israel' moved into the land slaughtering the Moabites. 25 They destroyed the cities, and all of them threw stones onto every parcel of crop land. They filled in all of the 'artesian' springs and cut down all the useful trees, until only the stones walls of Kir Hareseth were left. Then men with slings surrounded the city and attacked it.

26 When the king of Moab realized that he was losing the battle, he took seven hundred swordsmen with him to break thru to the king of Edom, but they failed. 27 Then he took his oldest son who would have reigned in his place, and offered him as a burned sacrifice on the wall. As a result there was intense hatred against Israel, and they withdrew from him and returned to their homeland.

2 KINGS 4

The Widow’s Olive Oil

1 The wife of a member of the 'Guild' of Prophets cried to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead. You know that your servant feared Yehovah. Now a creditor is coming to take my two children away as slaves.”

2 Elisha said to her, “What can I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?”

She said, “Your maidservant has nothing in the house except a jar of oil.”

3 Then he said, “Go, borrow containers from of all your neighbors, empty containers. Don’t just get a few. 4 Then you and your sons come inside and shut the door behind you. Pour oil into all those containers and set each one aside when it’s full.”

5 So she left him and shut the door behind her and her sons. They were bringing containers to her while she kept pouring oil. 6 Then when the containers were full she said to her son, “Bring me another container.”

But he replied, “There aren’t any more.” Then the oil stopped flowing.

7 Then she went and told the man of Elohim. He said, “Go sell the oil and pay your debt, and you and your son can live on the rest.”

8 One day Elisha went to Shunem where there was a prominent woman who persuaded him to eat. So whenever he was in the area, he stopped there to eat. 9 She said to her husband, “I know that this is a 'chosen' man of Elohim who comes by us continually. 10 Let’s make a small room upstairs and put a bed, a table, a chair and a menorah there for him. Then when he comes to us, he can turn in there.”

11 One day he came there, and he turned into the upper room and rested there. 12 He said to Gehazi his servant, “Call this Shunammite.” So he called her and she stood before him. 13 He told him, “Tell her, ‘You’ve shown considerable 'concern' for us. What can I do for you? Can we put in a good word for you to the king or to the commander of the army?’”

She answered, “I’m content to live with my own people.”

14 'Elisha' asked, “Then what can be done for her?”

Gehazi answered, “Well, she doesn’t have a son, and her husband is old.”

15 He said, “Call her.” When he had called her, she stood in the doorway. 16 He said, “About this time next year you will be holding a son in your arms.”

She said, “No master, you man of Elohim, don’t mislead your servant.”

17 The woman conceived and gave birth to a son about the same time the next year, as Elisha had told her.

18 When the child had grown, he went out one day to his father and the reapers. 19 He said to his father, “My head! My head!”

He said to his servant: “Carry him to his mother.” 20 So he picked up the boy and brought him to his mother. The boy sat on her 'lap' until noon and then died. 21 She went upstairs and laid him on the bed of the man of Elohim and shut the door behind him and left.

22 Then she called her husband and said, “Please send me one of the servants and one of the donkeys so that I can hurry to the man of Elohim and return.”

23 He said, “Why are you going to him today? It’s not a New Moon or the Sabbath.”

But she said, “It will be all right.”

24 Then she saddled a donkey and said to her servant, “Hurry let’s go! Don’t slow the pace for me unless I tell you to.”

25 So she left and came to the man of Elohim at Mount Carmel.

Then when the man of Elohim saw her from a distance, he said to Gehazi his servant, “Look, there’s the Shunammite.” 26 Run out to meet her and ask, ‘Are you all right? Is your husband all right? Is your son all right?’”

She said, “Everything is alright.”

27 When she came to the man of Elohim on the hill, she clung to his feet. Gehazi came up to push her away, but the man of Elohim said, “Leave her alone! She is deeply troubled, and Yehovah has hidden 'the reason' from me, and hasn’t told me why.”

28 Then she said, “Did I ask my master for a son? Didn’t I say, ‘Don’t raise my hopes?’”

29 'Elisha' told Gehazi, “Put on your belt, grab my staff and take to the road. If you meet anyone don’t chat with them, and if anyone greets you, don’t stop to greet them. Then lay my staff on the boy’s face.”

30 The child’s mother said, “As long as Yehovah and you live, I won’t leave you.” Then he got up and followed her.

31 Gehazi went ahead of them and laid the staff on the boy’s face, but there was no sound or 'response'. So he went back to meet him and told him, “The boy didn’t wake up.”

32 When Elisha came into the house he saw the boy lying dead on 'Elisha’s' bed! 33 He went in and shut the door behind them both, and prayed to Yehovah. 34 He went up and lay on the boy, and put his mouth on 'the child’s' mouth, and his eyes on his eyes, and his hands on his hands. As he stretched himself over the boy his flesh began to warm. 35 Then 'Elisha' went back downstairs and paced back and forth, then went up, and stretched himself on him. The boy sneezed seven times and 'he' opened his eyes.

36 He called Gehazi and said, “Call the Shunammite!” So he called her. When she came in to him, he said, “Take your son back!” 37 Then she went in and fell at his feet, bowing to the ground. Then she took back her son, and left.

The Deadly Stew

38 When Elisha returned to Gilgal, there was a famine in the land. The 'Guild' of Prophets were sitting before him, and he said to his servant, “Put on a large pot and cook stew for the 'Guild' of Prophets.”

39 So one of them went out to the field to gather some herbs, and found a wild vine, and gathered a lap full of wild gourds. He came and cut them up into the pot of stew, but no one knew what they were. 40 They poured some out for the men to eat. Then, as they were eating the stew, they cried out and said, “Man of Elohim, the pot of stew is deadly!” And they were unable to eat.

41 But he said, “Then get some flour.” He tossed it into the pot and said, “Serve it to the people so they can eat.” Then there was nothing harmful in the pot.

42 Later on, a man from Baal Shalishah came and brought the man of Elohim twenty loaves of barley bread in a sack as a firstfruit offering made from fresh ears of grain. He said, “Give it to the people so they can eat.”

43 His servant said, “How can I feed one hundred men with just this?”

But he said, “Serve the people so they can eat, because Yehovah said: ‘They’ll eat and there will be leftovers.’” 44 So he served them, and they ate and had leftovers, according to the Word of Yehovah.

2 KINGS 5

Naaman’s Disease Healed

1 Naaman was commander of the army of the king of Aram. He was a great man and highly regarded by his master, because by him Yehovah had given victory to Aram. He was also a courageous man of valor, but he had a serious contagious skin disease.

2 Now the Arameans had gone out in bands and had taken captive a little girl from the land of Israel, and she became a servant to Naaman’s wife. 3 She said to her mistress, “I wish that my master would 'visit' the prophet from Samaria! Then he would cure him of his skin disease.”

4 'Naaman' went in and told his master what the girl from the land of Israel had said. 5 So the king of Aram said, “Go now, and I’ll send a letter to the king of Israel.” So he went, taking with him ten talents of silver, 6,000 shekels of gold and ten changes of clothing. 6 He brought the letter to the king of Israel, and it read: “When this letter reaches you, 'know' that I’ve sent my servant Naaman to you, so you can cure him of his skin disease.”

7 When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, “Can I kill and restore life? But this king writes me, asking me to cure someone of his skin disease? Don’t you realize he’s trying to pick a fight with me.”

8 When Elisha the man of Elohim heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, he sent a message to the king, asking, “Why have you torn your clothes? Have him come to me and he’ll know that there is a prophet in Israel.” 9 So Naaman arrived with his horses and chariots and stood at the doorway of Elisha’s house. 10 Elisha sent a messenger out to him, who told him, “Go wash in the Jordan River seven times, and your flesh will be restored for you and you’ll be clean.”

11 But Naaman got angry and left and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and call on the name of Yehovah his Elohim, and wave his hand over the 'infection' and cure the skin disease. 12 Aren’t Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the water of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be clean?” So he turned and left in a rage.

13 His servants approached and asked him “My father, if the prophet had asked you do something great, wouldn’t you have done it? Why is it not more preferable that he told you, ‘Wash and be clean?’” 14 So he went down and dipped in the Jordan River seven times, just like the man of Elohim had said, and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.

15 When he returned to the man of Elohim, he and all his associates, stood before him, he said, “Now I know that there is no Elohim in all the earth other than in Israel. So please take a 'gift' from your servant.”

16 But 'Elisha' replied, “As surely as Yehovah lives, who I stand before, I won’t accept anything.” 'Naaman' urged him to take it, but he refused.

17 Naaman said, “If not, then please allow me to load two of my mules with Israelite soil from this place, and I will take it back home with me, because from now on your servant will no longer offer burnt offering or zebak to any other gods, but to Yehovah. 18 In this one instance may Yehovah pardon your servant: when my master goes into the 'shrine' of Rimmon to worship, and he leans on my 'arm' for support, and I too bow in the house of Rimmon—when I bow down in the 'shrine' of Rimmon, may Yehovah pardon your servant in this instance.”

19 He told him, “Go in peace.”

So when 'Naaman' had gone a 'short' distance from 'Elisha', 20 Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of Elohim 'thought', “My master has spared this Naaman the Aramean by not accepting the gift he brought! As Yehovah lives, I’ll run after him and get something from him.”

21 So Gehazi ran after Naaman. When Naaman noticed someone running toward him, he got down from his chariot to greet him and asked, “Is everything all right?”

22 He said, “Everything is fine. My master has sent me to say, ‘Look, just now two young men from the 'Guild' of Prophets have come to me from the highlands of Ephraim. Please give them a talent of silver and two changes of clothing.’”

23 Naaman said, “Please take two talents.” He urged him, and bound two talents of silver in two bags along with two changes of clothing, and gave them to two of his servants who carried them ahead of 'Gehazi'. 24 When he came to the hill, he took the items from their 'custody' and hid them in his house, and he sent the men away, and they left.

25 He went in and stood before his master, and Elisha asked him, “Where have you been, Gehazi?”

He replied, “Your servant didn’t go anywhere.”

26 He said to him, “Didn’t my heart go out for you when the man turned from his chariot to greet you? [sarcasm]. Is this the time to accept silver and clothing, olive groves and vineyards, sheep and bulls, male and female servants? 27 So Naaman’s skin disease will cling to you and to your descendants forever.” When he left him, Gehazi had a disease that made his skin as flaky as snow.

2 KINGS 6

The Floating Ax Head

1 The 'Guild' of Prophets told Elisha, “Look, the place where we now live with you is too small for us. 2 Please let us go to the Jordan River where we can each get a timber to build ourselves a place to live.”

So he said, “Go.”

3 Someone said, “Please come with your servants.”

He answered, “I’ll go.” 4 So he went with them.

When they came to the Jordan River they cut down some trees. 5 As one of them was cutting down a tree, his ax head 'flew off' into the water. Then he cried and said, “Oh no master! It was borrowed.”

6 The man of Elohim asked, “Where did it fall?” He showed him the place. 'Elisha' cut off a branch and threw it in there and made the iron axe head float. 7 He said, “Pick it up.” So he reached out and grabbed it.

Chariots of Fire

8 Once when the king of Aram was warring against Israel, he was asking for advice from his officers and mentioned, “I’ll camp at such and such a place.”

9 The man of Elohim sent a message to the king of Israel: “Be sure not to pass by this place because the Arameans are going down there.” 10 The king of Israel sent someone to the place that the man of Elohim mentioned and warned him. Having been forewarned, he protected himself there more than once or twice.

11 The king of Aram was enraged over this. He called his officers and demanded, “Tell me which of us 'is siding' with the king of Israel?”

12 One of his officers said, “No one, my master the king. Elisha the prophet in Israel tells the king of Israel what you say in your bedroom!”

13 He said, “Go and find out where he is so that I can 'arrange' to capture him.” And soon he was told, “He’s in Dothan!” 14 So he sent horses and chariots and an 'elite' army there, and they came one night and surrounded the city.

15 The assistant of the man of Elohim had risen early and went outside, and there were the elite forces surrounding the city. So his assistant asked Elisha, “Oh, my master, what should we to do?”

16 'Elisha' replied, “Don’t be afraid, because those who are with us outnumber those who are with them!”

17 Elisha prayed and said, “Yehovah, please open his eyes so that he can see.” Yehovah opened the assistant’s eyes, and he saw that the mountain was covered with horses and chariots of fire surrounding Elisha!

18 When 'the Arameans' approached him, Elisha spoke to Yehovah and said, “Please strike these people with blindness.” So He struck them with blindness just as Elisha had asked.

19 Then Elisha told them, “This is the wrong road and the wrong city. Follow me, and I’ll lead you to the man you’re looking for.” And he led them to Samaria.

20 When they arrived in Samaria, Elisha said, “Yehovah, open the eyes of these men so they can see.” So Yehovah opened their eyes and they saw that they were in the middle of Samaria!

21 When the king of Israel saw Elisha, he asked him, “My father, should I kill them? Should I kill them?”

22 He answered, “Don’t kill them. Would you kill 'people' you have captured with your sword or your bow? Give them food and water to eat and drink and return them to their master!” 23 So he prepared a great feast for them. When they had eaten and drunk, he sent them away, and they went to their master. After that, Aramean raiding parties never came to Israel again.

24 Some time later, King Benhadad from Aram gathered his entire army and went up and blockaded Samaria. 25 As a result, there was a severe famine in Samaria as they blockaded it until a donkey's head was sold for eighty silver shekels, and a fourth of a kab of vetches for five silver shekels!

26 As the king of Israel was passing by on the wall, a woman cried to him: “My master the king, help!”

27 He said, “If Yehovah doesn’t help you, where can I find you help? From the threshing floor or from the wine press?” 28 Then the king asked her, “What’s the matter?”

She answered, “This woman told me, ‘Give me your son so we can eat him today, and we’ll eat my son tomorrow.’ 29 So we boiled my son and ate him, and I told her on the next day, ‘Give up your son. We’ll eat him,’ but she had hidden her son.”

30 When the king heard what the woman said, he ripped his clothes. As he was walking along the wall the people noticed he was wearing sackcloth under his 'clothes'. 31 Then he said, “May Elohim do so to me, and even more if the head of Elisha the son of Shaphat remains on him today.”

32 Elisha was sitting in his house with the elders of Israel when the king sent a messenger to summon him. But before the messenger arrived, Elisha told the elders, “Do you see how this son of [Jezebel] a murderer has sent people to take off my head? When the messenger comes, shut the door and hold the door shut against him! We’ll soon hear his master’s footsteps behind him.” 33 While he was still talking with them, the messenger arrived! Then he said, “This 'disaster' is from Yehovah! Why should I wait for Yehovah any longer?”

2 KINGS 7

Elisha Promises Food

1 Then Elisha said, “Listen to the Word of Yehovah. This is what Yehovah says: Tomorrow about this time a seah [approx 11 qts] of fine flour will sell for a shekel, or two seahs of barley for a shekel at the gate of Samaria.”

2 Then the king’s 'right-hand man' leaned over and told the man of Elohim, “'Even' if Yehovah made windows in heaven, how could that happen?”

He said, “You’ll see it with your own eyes, but you won’t eat any of it!”

3 Now there were four men with a serious skin disease at the entrance of the city gate. They said to each other, “Why are we sitting here waiting to die? 4 If we say ‘Let’s go into the city’, then we’ll die of famine in the city, and if we sit still here we’ll still die. So let’s go to the Arameans’ camp. If they spare us we’ll live and if they kill us we’ll just die.”

5 So they got up at twilight and went to the Arameans’ camp. But when they arrived at the outskirts of the Aramean camp there was no one there! 6 Yehovah had caused the army of the Arameans to hear the sound of chariots and horses and a huge army, and they said each other, “The king of Israel has hired the Hittite and Egyptian kings to 'attack' us!” 7 So they got up and fled at twilight. They abandoned their tents, their horses and their donkeys. They left the entire camp just as it was and fled for their lives.

8 When these men with the skin disease came to the outskirts of the camp, they went into a tent and ate and drank, and carried off some silver, gold and clothing and went out and hid it. Then they returned and went into another tent, looted it too, and went and hid that.

9 Then they said to each other, “What we’re doing isn’t right. There is great news today, but if we remain silent until morning light, we’re sure to be punished! So let’s go and tell the king’s household.”

10 So they left and called out to the city gatekeepers, and told them, “We went to the camp of the Arameans and we didn’t see anyone there or hear anyone—nothing but tethered horses and donkeys and tents left just as they were!” 11 The gatekeepers shouted out the news within the king’s household.

12 The king got up in the night and said to his servants, “Let me explain what the Arameans are doing. They know that we’re hungry. So they’ve left their encampment to hide in the fields, thinking, ‘When they come out of the city we’ll capture them alive and invade the city.’”

13 One of his servants said, “Please let some of us take five of the horses still remaining in the city. They’ll be no worse off than all the Israelites left here in the city who have already died! So let’s send them and see.”

14 So they took two chariots with horses, and the king sent them toward the Aramean army and said, “Go and see!” 15 So they went after them as far as the Jordan River, and found the entire roadway strewn with clothes and equipment that the Arameans had thrown away in their rush to leave! So the messengers returned and told the king. 16 The people went out and plundered the camp of the Arameans. So a seah of fine flour was sold for a silver shekel and two seahs of barley for a shekel, in accord with the Word of Yehovah.

17 The king put 'his right-hand man' in charge of the gate, but the people trampled him to death in the gateway, just as the man of Elohim had foretold when the king came down to him. 18 It happened just like the man of Elohim had told the king: “Tomorrow about this time a seah of fine flour will be sold for a shekel and two seahs of barley for a shekel at the gate of Samaria.”

19 But the officer had replied to the man of Elohim, “'Even' if Yehovah made windows in heaven, could that happen?” And he said, “You’ll see it with your own eyes, but you won’t eat any of it!” 20 And that is precisely what happened to him. The people trampled him to death at the city gate.

2 KINGS 8

The Woman from Shunem Returns

1 Elisha had told the woman whose son he had brought back to life, “Go away with your family and stay for a while wherever you can because Yehovah has called for a famine on the land that will last for seven years.” 2 So the woman went and did what the man of Elohim said. She left with her family and stayed in the territory of the Philistines for seven years.

3 At the end of seven years the woman returned from the territory of the Philistines. She went to appeal to the king for her house and her field. 4 The king was talking with Gehazi, the assistant of the man of Elohim, asking him, “Tell me all the great things Elisha has done.” 5 As he was relating to the king how he had restored someone who was dead to life, the woman whose son he had brought back to life began to appeal to the king for her house and her land!

Gehazi said, “My master, the king, this is the woman and this is her son, the one Elisha brought back to life!” 6 When the king questioned the woman she told him the story.

So the king appointed an official to help her 'with instructions': “Return everything that was hers including all the 'income' from the field from the day she left the country until now.”

7 Later Elisha traveled to Damascus while Benhadad the king of Aram was sick. 'The king' was told, “The man of Elohim has come here.” 8 The king said to Hazael, “Take presents in hand and go and meet the man of Elohim, and question Yehovah thru him. Ask, ‘Will I recover from this sickness?’”

9 So Hazael went to meet him, and took a present with him: forty camel loads of Damascus’ finest 'stock', and came and stood before him and said, “Your son Benhadad, the king of Aram sent me to ask, ‘Will I recover from this sickness?’”

10 Elisha told him, “Go tell him, ‘You will definitely recover,’ but Yehovah has actually shown me that he is sure to die.” 11 'Elisha' gazed steadfastly at him, until he was ashamed. Then the man of Elohim began to cry.

12 Hazael asked, “Master why are you crying?”

He answered, “Because I know the violence you’ll do to the Israelites. You’ll burn down their fortified cities, kill their young men with swords, slash their children to pieces and rip open their pregnant women.”

13 Hazael asked, “How could your servant who is just a dog do such horrible things?” Elisha answered, “Yehovah has shown me that you’ll be king over Aram.”

14 Then 'Hazael' left Elisha and returned to his master, who asked him, “What did Elisha tell you?” And he replied,“He told me that you would certainly recover.” 15 But the next day, he took a blanket, soaked it in water and suffocated Benhadad to death. Then Hazael succeeded him as king.

16 In the fifth year of the reign of of Israel’s King Joram, Ahab’s son, Jehoram, the son of Judah’s King became king. 17 He was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem. 18 He 'lived' his life like the kings of Israel, just like Ahab’s 'dynasty' had done when he married Ahab’s daughter. He did evil that Yehovah 'condemned'. 19 However Yehovah remained unwilling to destroy Judah for the sake of His servant David, since He had promised to 'preserve' a lamp for David and his descendants forever.

20 During 'Yehoram’s lifetime', Edom rebelled against Judah’s 'power' and appointed their own king. 21 Then Joram crossed over to Zair with all his chariots. He got up at night and struck the Edomites who had surrounded him and the commanders of his chariots; but his 'army' fled to their tents. 22 So Edom has been 'independent' of Judah to this day. Libnah revolted at the same time.

23 The rest of the events of Joram’s reign and all of his 'achievements' are recorded in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah. 24 Yehoram died and was buried with his ancestors in the City of David, and his son Ahaziah succeeded him as king.

25 Yehoram’s son Ahaziah began to reign as king of Judah in the twelfth year of the reign of Ahab’s son Joram, king of Israel. 26 Ahaziah was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem for one year. His mother’s name was Athaliah, a granddaughter of King Omri of Israel. 27 He 'lived like' Ahab’s dynasty and did evil that Yehovah 'condemned', as did the 'family' of Ahab, because he had 'married into' Ahab’s 'family'.

28 Then he 'sided' with Ahab’s son Joram to fight against King Hazael of Aram at Ramoth Gilead, and the Arameans wounded Joram. 29 So King Joram returned to recover in Jezreel from the wounds that the Arameans had inflicted on him in Ramah when he fought against Hazael king of Aram.

Yehoram’s son Ahaziah king of Judah went to visit Ahab’s son Joram in Jezreel, because Joram was sick.

2 KINGS 9

Jehu rules Israel

1 The prophet Elisha called to a man from the 'Guild' of Prophets and told him, “Put on your 'silver belt', and take this vial of oil in hand and go to Ramoth Gilead. 2 When you get there, find Yehoshaphat’s son Jehu, the grandson of Nimshi. Go to him and have him leave his associates, and take him to an inner room. 3 Then take the flask of oil and pour it on his head and say, ‘This is what Yehovah says: I’ve anointed you king over Israel.’ Then open the door and escape. Don’t wait.”

4 So the young man, the assistant of the prophet, went to Ramoth Gilead. 5 When he came, he saw that the commanders of the army were sitting.

Then he said, “Commander, I have a 'message' for you.”

Jehu asked, “For which of us?”

He said, “For you Commander.”

6 'Jehu' got up and went into the house. Then he poured the oil on his head and told him, “This is what Yehovah, the Elohim of Israel says: ‘I’ve anointed you king over the people of Yehovah, over Israel. 7 You are to strike down the house of your master Ahab so that I can avenge the blood of My servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of Yehovah by the hands of Jezebel. 8 The whole house of Ahab will die. I’ll eliminate from Ahab everyone who whizzes against a wall whether bond or free in Israel. 9 I’ll make the house of Ahab like the house of Nebat’s son Jeroboam and the house of Ahijah’s son Baasha. 10 The dogs will eat Jezebel in the territory of Jezreel, and no one will bury her.” Then he opened the door and escaped.

11 Then Jehu came to the servants of his master, and someone asked him, “Is everything all right? Why did this crazy person come to you?”

He told them, “You know the man and his babbling.”

12 They said, “That’s a lie. Tell us now.” 'Jehu' replied, “This is what he told me: ‘This is what Yehovah says: I anoint you king of Israel.’”

13 Then each of them hurriedly took their garments, and put them under him at the top of the stairs, and blew a shofar and announced, “Jehu is king!”

Jehu Assinates Joram and Ahaziah

14 So Jehu, son of Yehoshaphat and grandson of Nimshi conspired against Joram, while Joram and all Israel were 'defending' Ramoth Gilead against Aram’s King Hazael, 15 but King Joram [or Yehoram] had gone back to Jezreel to recover from wounds that the Arameans inflicted on him when he fought against Hazael king of Aram. Jehu said, “If this is your thinking, then don’t let anyone leave the city to report it in Jezreel.”

16 Then Jehu got into his chariot and went to Jezreel since Joram was lying there. Judah’s King Ahaziah had also come to visit Joram.

17 Now the watchman was standing guard on the tower in Jezreel, and he spotted a crowd of people coming with Jehu and said, “I see a crowd coming.”

Joram said, “Send out a rider to ask if they are coming in peace.”

18 So a 'rider' went to meet 'Jehu' and said,

“The king wants to know if you are coming in peace.”

Jehu replied, “What do you have to do with peace? Fall in behind me!”

The lookout said, “The messenger went to them, but he hasn’t returned.”

19 Then he sent out a second 'rider' who went out to them and said, “The king asks, ‘Do you come in peace?’”

Jehu answered, “What do you have to do with peace? Fall in behind me!”

20 The watchman said, “He reached them, but he isn’t returning. His chariot driving is like Nimshi’s son Jehu. He drives like a madman.”

21 Joram said, “Get ready!” And they got his chariot ready. Joram king of Israel and Ahaziah king of Judah went out, each in his chariot to meet Jehu and they found him on the property of Naboth the Jezreelite. 22 When Joram saw Jehu, he asked, “Do you come in peace, Jehu?”

He answered, “What peace, so long as the prostitution of your mother Jezebel and her witchcraft continues?”

23 Joram reined his 'chariot' around to flee and cried out to Ahaziah, “Treachery Ahaziah!”

24 Jehu drew his bow with his full strength and shot Joram between his arms. The arrow went thru his heart and he collapsed in his chariot. 25 Then Jehu said to Bidkar his captain, “Pick him up and throw him onto the plot of the field of Naboth the Jezreelite. Remember how you and I were driving chariot teams behind his father Ahab when Yehovah made this pronouncement against him: 26 ‘As surely as I saw the blood of Naboth and the blood of his sons yesterday—declares Yehovah—I’ll repay you in this plot of ground,” says Yehovah. “So take him and throw him onto that plot of ground, in accord with the Word of Yehovah.”

27 When King Ahaziah of Judah saw this, he attempted to flee by the garden house road. And Jehu chased him shouting, “Shoot him too!” So they shot him in his chariot at the ascent to Gur near Ibleam, but he fled to Armageddon and died there. 28 'Ahaziah’s' servants carried him in a chariot to Jerusalem and buried him in his tomb with his ancestors in the City of David. 29 In the eleventh year of Joram the son of Ahab, Ahaziah began to reign over Judah.

30 When Jehu came to Jezreel, Jezebel heard about it, so she painted her eyes, fixed her 'hair' and looked down from the window. 31 As Jehu entered the gateway, she asked, “Is everything 'alright', Zimri, murderer of your master?”

32 'Jehu' looked up and saw her at the window and shouted, “Who is on my side? Anyone?” Two or three officials looked down at him. 33 He said, “Throw her down!” So they threw her down and some of her blood splattered on the wall and on the horses, and 'Jehu' trampled her underfoot.

34 When he came in, he ate and drank, and he said, “'Take care of' that cursed woman and bury her because she was a king’s daughter.” 35 They went to bury her, but they found nothing more of her than her skull, her feet and her hands. 36 So they came back and told 'Jehu', “This is the Word of Yehovah that He spoke by His servant Elijah the Tishbite: ‘Dogs will eat Jezebel’s body at the property in Jezreel. 37 Jezebel’s corpse will be like manure on the ground in the fields surrounding Jezreel, so no one will be able to say: ‘This was Jezebel.’”

2 KINGS 10

Ahab’s Family Killed

1 Ahab had seventy sons [and grandsons] in Samaria. So Jehu wrote letters and sent them to Samaria, to the rulers of Jezreel, the elders and to the guardians of Ahab’s descendants in Samaria, that said, 2 “When this letter reaches you, since your master’s sons are with you, and you have chariots, horses, a fortified city and weaponry, 3 select the best and most qualified of your master’s sons, set him on his father’s throne and fight for your master’s house.”

4 But they were terrified and reasoned, “If two kings couldn’t stand up to him, how could we?”

5 So the 'palace' administrator, the 'mayor' of the city, the elders and the guardians sent a message to Jehu that read, “We are your servants, and will do whatever you ask us, but we won’t make any man king. Do what is best in your sight.”

6 Then he wrote a second letter to them that said, “If you are on my side, and if you intend to obey 'me', then take the heads of your master’s sons and bring them to me in Jezreel by this time tomorrow.”

Now the king’s seventy sons were with the leading men of the city who were their guardians.

7 So when the letter arrived, they arrested the king’s sons, slaughtered all seventy of them, put their heads in baskets and sent them to him in Jezreel. 8 A messenger came and told him, “They have brought the heads of the king’s sons.”

He said, “Pile them in two heaps at the entrance of the city gate until morning.”

9 Then in the morning 'Jehu' went out and stood and announced to all the people, “You are innocent. I conspired against my master and killed him, but who killed all these men? 10 Know for certain that not a word will fall to the ground that Yehovah said against the house of Ahab. For Yehovah has done what He said thru His servant Elijah.” 11 So Jehu killed everyone who remained of the house of Ahab in Jezreel, all his most powerful men and close friends and priests until he left him without a survivor.

12 He got up and left for Samaria. Along the way as he arrived at the shearing house of the shepherds. 13 Jehu encountered the relatives of King Ahaziah of Judah. He asked them, “Who are you?” They answered, “We are the relatives of Ahaziah, and we have come down to 'visit' with the king’s sons and the queen mother.”

14 He said, “Take them alive!” So they took them alive and killed them by the pit of the shearing house, all forty-two men. He didn’t leave any 'survivors'.

15 After he left there, he met Yehonadab [Yehovah largessed], son of Rechab, who was coming to meet him. He greeted him and asked him, “Are you as 'loyal' to me as I am to you?”

“I am,” Jehu replied.

“If you are, give me your hand.” So he took his hand, and Jehu helped him up into the chariot. 16 He said, “Come with me and see my zeal for Yehovah.” So he had Yehonadab ride in his chariot.

17 When 'Jehu' arrived in Samaria he destroyed everyone associated with Ahab in Samaria, in accord with the Word of Yehovah that he spoke to Elijah.

18 Jehu gathered all the people together and told them, “Ahab served Baal a little, but Jehu will serve him much more. 19 Summon all the prophets of Baal, all of his worshipers and all of his priests. Make sure no one is absent because I have a great sacrifice for Baal. Whoever is absent will not live.” But Jehu was acting deceptively in order to destroy anyone who worshiped Baal.

20 Jehu said, “Proclaim a solemn convention for Baal!” And they announced it. 21 Jehu sent the proclamation thruout Israel and all the Baal worshipers came, there wasn’t a man left who didn’t come. They came into the 'shrine' of Baal and filled 'it' from one end to another. 22 Then 'Jehu' ordered the person in charge of the wardrobe, “Bring out robes for all of Baal’s worshipers!” So he brought out robes for them.

23 Jehu and Rechab’s son Yehonadab entered Baal’s 'shrine'. Then he told the Baal worshipers, “Make sure there are no servants of Yehovah here, only Baal worshipers.” 24 Then they went in to offer sacrifices and burnt offerings. Meanwhile Jehu had stationed eighty men outside and said, “If any of the men I’ve placed in your hands escapes, you will forfeit your life for theirs.”

25 So when Jehu finished offering the burnt offering, Jehu told the guards and the officers, “Go in and kill everyone! Don’t let anyone escape!” So they killed them with swords, and the guards and the officers threw them out and went into the inner room of the 'shrine' of Baal. 26 They brought out the obelisks that were in the 'shrine' of Baal and burned them. 27 They broke down the obelisk of Baal, and demolished the 'shrine' of Baal, turned it into a latrine. It is still a latrine today.

28 That’s how Jehu exterminated Baal from Israel. 29 However, Jehu never eliminated the sins of Nebat’s son Jeroboam who caused Israel to sin, specifically the 'worship of' the gold calves that were in Bethel and Dan.

30 Yehovah told Jehu, “Because you’ve done well in executing what is right in My eyes, and have done to the house of Ahab everything that 'I had' in 'mind', your descendants will sit on the throne of Israel for four generations. 31 But Jehu was not careful to 'follow' the Torah of Yehovah, the Elohim of Israel with 'true resolve'. He didn’t turn from the sins of Jeroboam that had caused Israel to sin.

32 So in those days Yehovah began to cut off portions of Israel. Hazael defeated the Israelites thruout the territory of Israel 33 from the Jordan River eastward, the entire territory of Gilead (the region of Gad, Reuben and Manasseh) from Aroer by the Arnon valley thru Gilead and Bashan.

34 The rest of the events of Jehu’s reign and all of his 'activities' and all his achievements are recorded in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel.

35 Jehu died and was buried with his ancestors in Samaria. Yehoahaz, [Yehovah has seized] his son succeeded him as king. 36 Jehu reigned over Israel in Samaria for twenty-eight years.

2 KINGS 11

Athaliah Queen of Judah

1 When Ahaziah’s mother Athaliah 'learned' that her son was dead, she 'proceeded' to annihilate all the royal 'bloodline'. 2 But King Joram’s daughter Yehosheba [Yehovah is an oath] and Ahaziah’s sister, took Ahaziah’s son Joash and stole him away from the rest of king’s sons who were being killed and 'hid' him and his nurse in a bedroom. So they evaded Athaliah and he wasn’t killed. 3 He remained hidden with his nurse in Yehovah’s 'Temple' for six years while Athaliah ruled over the country.

4 But in the seventh year Yehoiada sent for the commanders of the Carites and the guards and had them come into Yehovah’s 'Temple'. Then he made a covenant with them and put them under oath in Yehovah’s 'Temple', and showed them the king’s son. 5 He ordered them, “This is what you must do: a third of you who come in on Sabbath duty will provide protection for the king’s 'palace', 6 another third will be at the Sur gate, and a third at the gate behind the guards will protect the 'Temple'. 7 The two divisions that go 'off duty' on the Sabbath are to protect Yehovah’s 'Temple' for the king. 8 You must surround the king with your weapons in hand. Whoever comes near your ranks must be killed. Stay with the king when he leaves and when he returns.”

9 So the unit commanders did everything that Yehoiada the priest commanded. They each brought their men who were coming on duty on the Sabbath, with those who were to go off duty on the Sabbath, and came to Yehoiada the priest. 10 The priest gave the unit commanders the spears and shields that had been King David’s that were in Yehovah’s 'Temple'. 11 The guard stood with their weapons in their hands, from the right side of the 'Temple' to the left side of the 'Temple', by the altar and by the 'Temple' proper, surrounding the king.

12 Then he brought out the king’s son and put the crown on him, and gave him the Testimony, and they made him king and anointed him, and they clapped their hands and said, “Long live the king!”

13 When Athaliah heard the noise of the guard and of the people, she approached the people in Yehovah’s 'Temple'. 14 As she looked, there was the king standing by the pillarr, as was the custom, and the captains and the trumpeteers by the king, and all the people of the land celebrated and blew trumpets. Then Athaliah tore her clothes and screamed, “Treason! Treason!”

15 Yehoiada the priest commanded the unit commanders who were in charge of the army: “Take her out under guard and kill anyone who follows her with a sword.” The priest said, “Don’t kill her in Yehovah’s 'Temple'.” 16 So they grabbed her as she reached the entrance of the Horse Gate at the royal 'palace' and executed her there.

17 Then Yehoiada made a covenant between Yehovah, the king and the people that they would be Yehovah’s people. The king and the people also entered a covenant. 18 Then all of the people of the land entered Baal’s 'shrine' and smashed its altars and images to pieces. They executed Mattan, Baal’s priest in front of the altars.

And Yehoiada the priest appointed 'guards' over Yehovah’s 'Temple'. 19 Then he took the unit commanders, the Carites, the guards and all the people of the land, and they brought the king down from Yehovah’s 'Temple', and came by way of the guards’ gate to the king’s 'palace'. He [little Yehoash] sat on the throne of the kings. 20 So all the people of the land celebrated and the city was at peace now that Athaliah had been executed with a sword at the king’s 'palace'. 21 Yehoash [Yehovah fired] was seven years old when he became king.

2 KINGS 12

Yehoash Reigns over Judah

1 In the seventh year of Jehu, Yehoash became king, and he reigned forty years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Zibiah from Beersheba. 2 Yehoash did what was right in the sight of Yehovah all his days because Yehoiada the priest was teaching him. 3 But the high places were not removed; the people still sacrificed and burned incense on the high places.

4 Yehoash told the priests, “All the silver [money] brought into Yehovah’s 'Temple' that is dedicated for 'special' purposes—the silver collected in the census, the 'weighed' silver, both the silver of each man’s assessment and all the silver 'voluntarily contributed' for Yehovah’s 'Temple' 5 should have the priests receiving the contributions from their 'donors', and use it for whatever repairs are needed for the 'Temple'.

6 But by the twenty-third year of the reign of King Yehoash, the priests still hadn’t made any repairs in the 'Temple'. 7 Then king Yehoash called for Yehoiada the priest and the other priests and asked them, “Why aren’t you making repairs to the 'Temple'? Don’t take any more silver from your donors; instead, pay for repairing the 'Temple' directly.” 8 So the priests agreed they wouldn’t take more silver from donors and that they shouldn’t repair the damages of the 'Temple' themselves.

9 But Yehoiada the priest took a chest, bored a hole in its lid, and set it on the right side of the altar at the entrance of Yehovah’s 'Temple'. The priests who guarded the threshold put all the silver that was brought into Yehovah’s 'Temple' in 'the chest'. 10 And whenever they saw that there was a large amount of silver in the chest, the king’s scribe and the high priest would go to Yehovah’s 'Temple' and count the silver found there and tie it up in bags. 11 They handed the silver that was weighed out to those who did the work, who had the oversight of Yehovah’s 'Temple'. They paid it out to the carpenters and the builders who worked on Yehovah’s 'Temple', 12 and to the masons and the stone cutters, and for buying timber and cut stone needed for repairs to Yehovah’s 'Temple'. They also used it to pay miscellaneous repair expenses for the 'Temple'.

13 But there were no silver cups, snuffers, basins, trumpets, any vessels of gold, or vessels of silver made for Yehovah’s 'Temple' from the silver that was brought into Yehovah’s 'Temple' 14 because they gave that directly to those who did the repair work on Yehovah’s 'Temple'. 15 Furthermore, they didn’t demand an accounting from the men who were receiving the silver to give to those who did the work because they worked with integrity. 16 The silver for the 'restitution' offerings and the silver for the sin offerings wasn’t brought into Yehovah’s 'Temple'; it belonged to the priests.

17 Then Hazael king of Aram invaded and attacked Gath and captured it. Then he 'planned' to 'advance' against Jerusalem. 18 Yehoash king of Judah took all the 'special' things that Yehoshaphat and Yehoram and Ahaziah, his ancestors, kings of Judah had dedicated, and his own 'special' things, and all the gold that was found in the treasuries of Yehovah’s 'Temple' and in the king’s 'palace' and 'paid off' King Hazael of Aram. And Hazael withdrew from Jerusalem.

19 The rest of the events of Yehoash’s reign and all of his 'achievements' are recorded in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah. 20 His servants plotted against him and assassinated 'Joash' at the house of Millo on the road going down to Silla. 21 It was Shimeath’s son Jozacar and Shomer’s son Yehozabad [Yehovah has endowed], his servants, who attacked him and killed him, and they buried him with his ancestors in the City of David, and his son Amaziah succeeded him as king.

2 KINGS 13

Yehoahaz Reigns over Israel

1 In the twenty-third year of the reign of Ahaziah’s son Joash, king of Judah, Jehu’s son Yehoahaz became king over Israel in Samaria and reigned seventeen years. 2 He did evil that Yehovah 'condemned', and continued the sins of Nebat’s son Jeroboam 'who caused' Israel to sin, he didn’t 'reverse' them. 3 So the anger of Yehovah was kindled against Israel, and He continually handed them over to King Hazael of Aram and to Hazael’s son Benhadad.

4 But Yehoahaz sought favor from Yehovah, and Yehovah listened to him because He saw how badly Aram’s king was oppressing Israel. 5 So Yehovah sent Israel a liberator and they escaped the Aramean oppression. Then the Israelites lived in their tents as in the past. 6 But they didn’t abandon the sins of the house of Jeroboam 'that caused' Israel to sin; he 'perpetuated' them, and he also left the Asherah in Samaria.

7 'The Arameans' didn’t leave Yehoahaz an army other than fifty charioteers and ten chariots and 10,000 foot soldiers because the king of Aram had destroyed them, making them like chaff 'following a' threshing.

8 The rest of the events of Yehoahaz’s reign and all of his 'achievements' are recorded in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel. 9 Yehoahaz died and was buried with his ancestors in Samaria, and his son Yehoash succeeded him as king.

10 During the thirty-seventh year of the reign of King Yehoash of Judah, Yehoahaz’s son Yehoash became king over Israel in Samaria. He reigned for sixteen years. 11 He did evil that Yehovah 'condemned'. He never rejected any of the sins of Nebat’s son Jeroboam that caused Israel to sin; he 'perpetuated' them.

12 The rest of the events of Yehoash’s reign and his fight against King Amaziah of Judah are recorded in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel. 13 Yehoash died and was buried with his ancestors, and Jeroboam sat on his throne. Yehoash was buried in Samaria with the kings of Israel.

14 Once Elisha became 'terminally' ill, Yehoash the king of Israel went down to him and cried over him, “My father, my father, the chariots of Israel and its cavalry!”

15 Elisha replied, “Pick up a bow and some arrows.” So he got a bow and arrows. 16 Then 'Elisha' told the king of Israel, “Put your hand on the bow,” so he put his hand on it. Elisha laid his hands on the king’s hands.

17 He said, “Open the window toward the east,” so he opened it. Then Elisha said, “Shoot!” So he shot. He said, “Yehovah’s arrow of victory, the arrow of victory over Aram. You’ll 'defeat' the Arameans at Aphek until you’ve put an end to them.”

18 Then 'Elisha' said, “Take the arrows,” so he took them. He told the king of Israel, “Strike the ground,” so he struck it three times, and 'stopped'. 19 The man of Elohim got angry with him and said, “You should have struck it five or six times. Then you would have struck Aram until you had put an end to them, but now you’ll strike Aram just three times.”

20 So Elisha died and they buried him.

Now the bands of the Moabites would invade the land at the 'beginning' of the year. 21 Then, as they were burying a man they spotted a raiding party, so they threw the man into Elisha’s tomb, and as soon as the man touched Elisha’s bones, the man came to life and stood on his feet!

22 King Hazael of Aram had been oppressing Israel thruout the reign of Yehoahaz. 23 But Yehovah was kind and merciful to them, and they were not totally destroyed because of His covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and He wouldn’t destroy them or 'banish' them from His presence up until that time.

24 After King Hazael of Aram died, his son Benhadad succeeded him as king. 25 Then Yehoahaz’s son Yehoash reconquered the cities that Benhadad had taken from his father Yehoahaz in war. Yehoash defeated him three times and recovered the cities of Israel.

2 KINGS 14

Amaziah Reigns over Judah

1 During the second year of the reign of Joahaz’s son Joash, Amaziah, son of Judah’s King Joash became king. 2 He was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Yehoaddin [Yehovah pleased] of Jerusalem. 3 He did what was right in the sight of Yehovah, but not like his 'ancestor' David, he did everything that his father Yehoash had done. 4 But the high places were never removed; the people still sacrificed and burned incense on the high places.

5 Later on, as soon as the kingdom was firmly in his 'grasp', he executed the officials who had assassinated his father the king, 6 but he didn’t kill the children of the assassins, because of the instructions written in the Book of the Torah of Moses, as Yehovah commanded: “Fathers must not be put to death because of children, and children must not be put to death because of fathers. Everyone should die for their own sin.”

7 'Joash' killed 10,000 Edomites in the Valley of Salt, and took Sela in battle and renamed it Joktheel, the name it has to this day.

8 Then Amaziah sent messengers to Yehoahaz’s son Yehoash, king of Israel, saying, “Come, let’s 'fight' each other face 'to face'.”

9 But King Yehoash sent this message to Amaziah king of Judah: “A thorn bush in Lebanon sent a message to a cedar in Lebanon: ‘Give your daughter to my son in marriage.’ But then a wild animal in Lebanon came along and trampled the thistle. 10 You’ve defeated Edom and have become arrogant. Enjoy the 'victory' but stay home. Why should you provoke trouble and your own downfall and take Judah with you?”

11 But Amaziah wouldn’t listen. So Yehoash king of Israel went up, and he and Amaziah king of Judah met one another face 'to face' in Beth Shemesh, part of Judah. 12 Judah was defeated by Israel, and every man fled to his tent. 13 Then King Yehoash of Israel captured Judah’s King Amaziah, Yehoash’s son and Ahaziah’s grandson, at Bethshemesh. He came to Jerusalem and broke down the wall of Jerusalem from the Ephraim Gate to the Corner Gate, four hundred cubits. 14 He took all the gold and silver and all the utensils he could find in Yehovah’s 'Temple' and the treasures in the 'palace' along with some hostages and returned to Samaria.

15 The rest of the events of Yehoash’s reign and all of his 'achievements', and how he fought with Judah’s King Amaziah are recorded in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel. 16 Yehoash died and was buried with his ancestors in Samaria with the kings of Israel, and his son Jeroboam succeeded him as king.

17 Judah’s King Amaziah, Yehoash’s son, lived fifteen years after the death of Israel’s King Joash, Yehoahaz’s son.

18 The rest of the events of Amaziah’s reign are recorded in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah.

19 They conspired against him in Jerusalem, and he fled to Lachish. But they sent men after him to Lachish and murdered him there. 20 They carried him back on horses, and he was buried in Jerusalem with his 'ancestors' in the City of David.

21 Then all the people of Judah took Azariah and made him king in the place of his father Amaziah. He was sixteen years old. 22 He rebuilt Elath and restored it to Judah after king Amaziah rested with his ancestors.

23 In the fifteenth year of the reign of Amaziah the son of Yehoash, king of Judah, Jeroboam the son of Yehoash king of Israel began to reign in Samaria, and he reigned for forty-one years. 24 He did evil that Yehovah 'condemned', he never rejected the sins of Nebat’s son Jeroboam, who made Israel sin. 25 He reestablished Israel’s border from the entrance of Hamath as far as the Sea of the Arabah [Dead Sea], according to the Word of Yehovah, the Elohim of Israel, that He spoke thru His servant Jonah, Amittai’s son, the prophet who was from Gathhepher.

26 Yehovah saw that the affliction of Israel was very bitter. There was no one left, bond or free to help Israel. 27 Yehovah never said that He would blot out the name of Israel from under the sky. Rather, He saved them thru by Joash’s son Jeroboam.

28 The rest of the events of Jeroboam’s reign and all of his 'achievements', how he fought and how he recovered Damascus and Hamath for Israel, that had belonged to Judah are recorded in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel. 29 Jeroboam died and was buried with his ancestors, the kings of Israel, and his son Zechariah succeeded him as king.

2 KINGS 15

Azariah Reigns in Judah

1 In the twenty-seventh year of King Jeroboam of Israel’s reign, Amaziah’s son Azariah became king of Judah. 2 He was sixteen years old when he became king, and he reigned fifty-two years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jecoliah; she 'was from' Jerusalem. 3 He did what was right in the sight of Yehovah 'just as' his father Amaziah had done. 4 But the high places were not removed. People still sacrificed and burned incense on the high places.

5 Yehovah afflicted the king with a skin disease that he had to the day of his death. He lived in a separate house while his son Jotham managed the king’s household and governed the people of the land.

6 The rest of the events of Azariah’s reign and all of his 'achievements' are recorded in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah. 7 Azariah rested with his ancestors in the City of David, and they buried him. His son Jotham succeeded him as king.

8 In the thirty-eighth year of the reign of Azariah king of Judah, Jeroboam’s son Zachariah reigned over Israel in Samaria for six months. 9 He did evil that Yehovah 'condemned' as his ancestors had done. He never rejected the sins of Nebat’s son Jeroboam, who caused Israel to sin.

10 So Jabesh’s son Shallum conspired against him and struck him down in public and killed him, and succeeded him as king.

11 The rest of the events of Zechariah’s reign are recorded in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel. 12 This was the word of Yehovah that He spoke to Jehu, “Your descendants will sit on the throne of Israel for four generations.” And so it was.

13 Jabesh’s son Shallum became king in the thirty-ninth year of the reign of Uzziah, king of Judah, and he reigned for a month in Samaria. 14 Then Gadi’s son Menahem came from Tirzah to Samaria and attacked Jabesh’s son Shallum and killed him and succeeded him as king.

15 The rest of the events of Shallum’s reign including the conspiracy he led are recorded in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel.

16 Then Menahem attacked Tiphsah, and everyone with him there, and all the surrounding territory 'as far as' Tirzah because they didn’t surrender to him; so he attacked it and ripped open all the pregnant women.

17 In Azariah’s thirty-ninth year as king of Judah, Gadi’s son Menahem became king over Israel and reigned in Samaria for ten years. 18 He did evil that Yehovah 'condemned', he never rejected the sins of Nebat’s son Jeroboam, who caused Israel to sin.

19 King Pul of Assyria came against the land. So Menahem 'bribed' Pul with a thousand silver talents to gain his 'support' in tightening his grip on the kingdom. 20 Menahem extorted the money from Israel, from all the wealthy influential men. Each man 'surrendered' fifty shekels of silver to the King of Assyria. So the king of Assyria turned back and didn’t remain in the land.

21 The rest of the events of Menahem’s reign and all of his 'achievements' are recorded in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel. 22 Menahem died and rested with his ancestors, and his son Pekahiah succeeded him as king.

23 In Azariah’s fiftieth year as king of Judah, Menahem’s son Pekahiah became king over Israel in Samaria and reigned for two years. 24 He did evil that Yehovah 'condemned'. He never rejected the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat who caused Israel to sin. 25 Then Remaliah’s son Pekah, his officer, conspired against him with Argob and Arieh in Samaria in the citadel of the royal 'palace'. There were fifty Gileadite men with 'Pekah'. He killed 'Pekahiah' and succeeded him as king.

26 The rest of the events of Pekahiah’s reign and all of his 'achievements' are recorded in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel.

27 In the fifty-second year of King Azariah of Judah’s reign, Remaliah’s son Pekah became king over Israel in Samaria and reigned for twenty years. 28 He did evil that Yehovah 'condemned'. He never rejected the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat who caused Israel to sin.

29 During the 'lifetime' of King Pekah of Israel, King Tiglath Pileser king of Assyria 'attacked' and captured the cities of Ijon, Abel Beth Maacah, Janoah, Kedesh, Hazor, Gilead, Galilee and the entire territory of Naphtali, and deported the people to Assyria. 30 Elah’s son Hoshea conspired against Remaliah’s son Pekah, attacked him, executed him, and succeeded him as king in the twentieth year 'of the reign of' Uzziah’s son Jotham.

31 The rest of the events of Pekah’s reign and everything that he accomplished are recorded in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel.

32 In the second year of the reign of Remaliah’s son Pekah, king of Israel. Uzziah’s son Jotham became king over Judah. 33 He was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. Zadok’s daughter Jerusha was his mother. 34 He did what was right in the sight of Yehovah, he did everything his father Uzziah had done. 35 Yet the high places were not removed and the people still sacrificed and burned incense on the high places. He rebuilt the upper gate of Yehovah’s 'Temple'.

36 The rest of the events of Jotham’s reign and all of his 'achievements' are recorded in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah. 37 In those days Yehovah began to send King Rezin of Aram and Remaliah’s son Pekah against Judah. 38 Jotham died and rested with his ancestors and was buried in the City of David his ancestor, and his son Ahaz succeeded him as king.

2 KINGS 16

Israel At War Against Judah

1 In the seventeenth year of the reign of Remaliah’s son Pekah, Jotham’s son Ahaz became king of Judah. 2 Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. He didn’t do what was right in the sight of Yehovah his Elohim like his ancestor David had done. 3 But he 'lived' the way of the kings of Israel, and 'burned his son alive' [as a burnt sacrifice], imitating the highly detestable things of the nations that Yehovah had driven out ahead of the Israelites! 4 He also sacrificed and burned incense on the high places and on the hill tops and under every evergreen tree.

5 Later, King Rezin of Aram and Remaliah’s son Pekah, king of Israel came up to wage war against Jerusalem. They blockaded Ahaz, but weren’t able to defeat him. 6 At that time Aram’s King Rezin recovered Elath for the Arameans, driving the Jews [1] from Elath. The Arameans returned to Elath and have lived there to this day.

7 Ahaz (king of Judah v.1) sent messengers to Assyria’s King Tiglath Pileser, saying, “I’m your servant and your son. Come up and save me from the grasp of the king of Aram and from the grasp of the king of Israel who are rising up against me.” 8 Ahaz took the silver and gold that was found in Yehovah’s 'Temple' and in the treasures of the king’s 'palace' and sent them as a present to the King of Assyria. 9 So the king of Assyria listened to him. And the King of Assyria attacked Damascus. He captured it and sent its citizens into exile to Kir. He also killed Rezin.

10 When King Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglath Pileser king of Assyria, he saw the altar in Damascus, and king Ahaz sent a blueprint of the altar and a model in exacting detail for its construction to Uriah the priest. 11 Urijah the priest built an altar using everything that King Ahaz had sent from Damascus. By the time King Ahaz returned from Damascus, Uriah the priest had constructed it. 12 When the king arrived from Damascus, he saw the altar. The king approached the altar and 'made offerings on' it. 13 He 'offered' his burnt offering and his grain offering, and poured out his drink offering and sprinkled the blood of his fellowship zebakim on the altar. 14 He took the bronze altar that was before Yehovah from the forefront of the 'Temple', from between his altar and Yehovah’s 'Temple', and put it on the north side of the new altar.

15 King Ahaz commanded Urijah the priest, “On this great altar burn the morning burnt offering and the evening grain offering and the king’s burnt offering and his grain offering, with the burnt offering of all the people of the land and their grain offering and their drink offerings; and sprinkle on it all the blood of the burnt offering, and all the blood of the zebak [sacrifice]. But the bronze altar will be for me to seek guidance.” 16 Urijah the priest did everything that king Ahaz had commanded.

17 King Ahaz cut off the side panels of the stands and removed the basin from them. He took the bronze sea down from the bronze bulls and placed it on the stone pavement. 18 'Ahaz' removed the covered walkway 'used on' the Sabbath that they had built in the 'Temple' and the king’s entry outside. He turned to Yehovah’s 'Temple' in deference to the King of Assyria.

19 The rest of the events of Ahaz’s reign are recorded in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah. 20 Ahaz rested with his ancestors and was buried with 'them' in the City of David, and his son Hezekiah succeeded him as king.

[1] This is the first reference to “Jews” in the Tanak [Hebrew Bible]. The Jews were at war with Israel, next verse. See also 1 Kings 12:21 (and you thought the Jews were Israel?)

2 KINGS 17

Hoshea Reigns in Israel

1 In the twelfth year of Ahaz king of Judah, Elah’s son Hoshea became king over Israel and reigned for nine years. 2 He did evil that Yehovah 'condemned', but not like the kings of Israel who were before him.

3 King Shalmaneser of Assyria attacked him, and Hoshea became his vassal and paid him tribute. 4 But the King of Assyria discovered Hoshea’s conspiracy. He had sent envoys to So, king of Egypt, and offered no tribute to the King of Assyria as he had been doing annually, so the King of Assyria arrested him and put him in prison. 5 Then the King of Assyria invaded the whole land, went up to Samaria and laid siege against it for three years. 6 In the ninth year of Hoshea, the King of Assyria captured Samaria and deported the Israelites to Assyria, and settled them in Halah along the Habor River in Gozan and in the cities of the Medes.

7 All this took place because the Israelites had sinned against Yehovah their Elohim, who had brought them out of Egypt from under the 'fist' of Pharaoh, king of Egypt and because they had worshiped other gods 8 and 'followed the customs' of the nations that Yehovah had driven out before the Israelites as well as the customs that the kings of Israel had introduced. 9 The Israelites did things secretly that weren’t right with Yehovah their Elohim. They built their high places in all their cities from watchtowers to fortified cities. 10 They set up sacred pillars and Asherah poles on every high hill and under every evergreen tree. 11 They burned incense in all the high places just like the nations that Yehovah had driven away before them had done. They did wicked things to provoke Yehovah to anger, [this sounds deliberate]. 12 They worshiped idols even tho Yehovah had told them, “You must never do that.” 13 Yet Yehovah warned Israel and Judah thru all His prophets and every seer, saying, “Turn from your evil ways and keep My commandments and My unchanging rulings in accordance with the entire Torah that I commanded your ancestors and sent to you thru My servants the prophets.”

14 Yet they didn’t listen, but stiffened their necks like their ancestors who refused to trust Yehovah their Elohim. 15 They rejected His unchanging tenets, and the covenant that He made with their ancestors, and the warnings He gave them. They persued idols, and became worthless. They imitated the nations around them, that Yehovah had commanded that they shouldn’t imitate.

16 They abandoned all the commandments of Yehovah their Elohim: They made two calves out of cast metal. They made an Ashera pole dedicated to the goddess Asherah. They prayed to the entire army of heaven, and they worshiped Baal. 17 They passed their sons and daughters thru the fire, and practiced divination and interpreted omens, and devoted themselves to do evil in the sight of Yehovah, provoking Him to anger.

18 So Yehovah was very angry with Israel and removed them from His presence. Only the house of Judah remained. 19 Even Judah failed to obey the Commandments of Yehovah their Elohim. They 'adopted' the 'practices' that Israel had introduced. 20 Yehovah rejected all the descendants of Israel, afflicted them, and handed them over to their attackers until He had banished them from His presence.

21 He tore Israel away from the house of David, and they made Jeroboam the son of Nebat their king. Then Jeroboam drove Israel away from following Yehovah, and encouraged them to commit a serious sin. 22 The people of Israel 'persisted' in all the sins that Jeroboam had committed, and never wavered from them. 23 Finally, Yehovah removed Israel from His sight just as He warned He would do thru all His servants the prophets. So Israel was exiled from their land to Assyria where they remain to this day.

24 The King of Assyria brought men from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath and Sepharvaim and settled them in the cities of Samaria instead of the Israelites, and they took possession of Samaria and lived in its cities. 25 When they first began to live there, they didn’t worship Yehovah, so Yehovah sent lions among them that killed some of them.

Local gods?

26 So the 'immigrants' appealed to the King of Assyria: “The nations you sent into exile and resettled in the cities of Samaria don’t know the requirements of the 'local' god.” So He has sent lions among them, and they’re killing them because they don’t know the requirements of the 'local' god.

27 Then the King of Assyria commanded: “Send one of the priests you deported back and have him live there. Have him teach them the requirements of the 'local' god.” 28 So one of the priests who had been exiled from Samaria came and lived in Bethel and taught them how they should revere Yehovah.

29 But every nation still made its own gods and put them in the high places that the Samaritans had made. Each nationality did this in whichever cities they lived. 30 The Babylonians made the god Succoth Benoth, the Cutheans made Nergal and the 'people' of Hamath made Ashima. 31 The Avvites made Nibhaz and Tartak, and the Sepharvites burnt their children in the fire to Adrammelech and Anammelech, the gods of Sepharvaim. 32 They also feared Yehovah and 'chose their own people' to officiate for them as priests for the 'shrines' of the high places. 33 They feared Yehovah, and served their own gods as was the common practice of nations that had been deported.

34 To this day they’re doing what they did before, they don’t really revere Yehovah or 'live by' the unchanging rulings and regulations of the Torah or the Commandments that Yehovah 'gave' the descendants of Jabob, who He renamed Israel. 35 Yehovah made a covenant and commanded them: “You must never fear other gods or bow to them or serve them or offer zebakim to them. 36 You must revere Yehovah. He brought you up out of the land of Egypt with great power and with an outstretched arm. Bow down to him! Offer zebakim to Him!” 37 The unchanging rulings and the regulations and the Torah and the Commandments that He wrote for you, see to it that you do forever. Don’t 'worship' other gods. 38 Don’t forget the covenant that I made with you. Don’t worship other gods. 39 But you must 'worship' Yehovah your Elohim, and He’ll rescue you from the grasp of all your enemies.

40 But they wouldn’t listen, they continued following their former practices.

41 So these nations professed to 'worship' Yehovah, but they also served their engraved images. Their children and grandchildren are doing the very same thing their ancestors did. To this day they do the same things. [Syncretism: a modern day example].

2 KINGS 18

Hezekiah Reigns over Judah

1 Now during the third year of the reign of Elah’s son Hoshea king of Israel, Ahaz’s son Hezekiah king of Judah became king. 2 He was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Abi. She was Zechariah’s daughter. 3 He did what was right in the sight of Yehovah just as his ancestor David had done. 4 He removed the high places, smashed the obelisks, cut down the Asherah poles and shattered the bronze serpent that Moses had made, because in those days the Israelites burnt incense to it. They called it Nehushtan.

5 'Hezekiah' trusted in Yehovah, the Elohim of Israel. There wasn’t anyone like him among all of Judah’s kings, either before him or after him. 6 He clung to Yehovah and never stopped following Him. He obeyed the Commandments that Yehovah had commanded Moses. 7 Yehovah was with him, and 'Hezekiah' prospered wherever he went. He rebelled against the King of Assyria and wouldn’t serve him. 8 He 'defeated' the Philistines as far as Gaza and its territory, from watchtower to the fortified city.

9 In the fourth year of King Hezekiah’s reign, in what was the seventh year of Elah’s son Hoshea’s reign as king of Israel, Assyria’s King Shalmaneser advanced against Samaria and blockaded it. 10 At the end of three years they captured it. Samaria was captured in Hezekiah’s sixth year, which was Hoshea’s ninth year. 11 Then the king of Assyria deported the Israelites to Assyria and settled them in Halah and on the Habor, the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes 12 because they didn’t obey the voice of Yehovah their Elohim, but transgressed His covenant, and everything that Moses the servant of Yehovah commanded. They wouldn’t listen or do it.

13 Now in the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah, Sennacherib King of Assyria 'attacked' all the fortified cities of Judah and seized them. 14 King Hezekiah of Judah sent a message to the King of Assyria at Lachish: “I’ve done wrong, Withdraw from me and I’ll pay whatever you impose on me.” So the king of Assyria exacted from King Hezekiah of Judah three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold. 15 Hezekiah gave him all the silver found in Yehovah’s 'Temple' and in the treasures of the king’s 'palace'.

16 At that time King Hezekiah of Judah stripped the gold from the doors of Yehovah’s 'Temple' and from the doorposts that 'he' had previously overlaid with gold and gave it to the King of Assyria.

17 The King of Assyria sent Tartan and Rabsaris and the field commander from Lachish with a large army to King Hezekiah in Jerusalem. They went up to Jerusalem. When they arrived they came and stood by the aqueduct of the Upper Pool on the highway to the fuller’s field. 18 When they called for the king, Hilkiah’s son Eliakim, who was in charge of the 'palace' and Shebnah the scribe and Asaph’s son Joah the recorder went out to them.

19 The Rabshakeh [field commander] told them, “Tell Hezekiah:

This is what the great king, the king of Assyria says: “Why are you so confident? 20 You’re saying—but they’re only empty words—‘I have enough strategy and power for war?’ Now who do you trust in enough to have rebelled against me? 21 It appears that you’re 'leaning' on a staff, a 'splintered' reed—Egypt. If you lean on it, it will collapse and pierce your hand. This is what Pharaoh king of Egypt is to everyone who trusts in him. 22 But if you tell me, “We trust in Yehovah our Elohim,” Isn’t it He whose high places and altars Hezekiah removed, telling Judah and Jerusalem, “You must worship before this altar in Jerusalem?

23 “So make a deal with my master, the king of Assyria, and I’ll give you two thousand horses if you can put riders on them. 24 How could you repel a single official from the least from my master’s servants, and rely on Egypt for chariots and charioteers? 25 Have I come up against this place to destroy it without Yehovah’s approval? Yehovah told me, ‘Attack this land and destroy it.’”

26 Then Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, Shebnah and Joah, said to the Rabshakeh, “Please speak to your servants in Aramaic because we understand it, but don’t speak the language of Judah to us within earshot of the people on the wall.”

27 But the Rabshakeh asked them, “Has my master sent me to talk about this with only your master and you, and not also to the men who are sitting on the wall, the ones who will have to eat their own dung and drink their own urine along with you.”

28 Then the Rabshakeh stood and shouted in a loud voice in 'Hebrew': “Listen to the 'message' of the great king, the King of Assyria. 29 This is what the king says: ‘Don’t let Hezekiah deceive you, because he won’t be able to rescue you from my 'grasp'. 30 Don’t allow Hezekiah to persuade you to trust in Yehovah by saying, ‘Yehovah will certainly rescue us. This city won’t be handed over to the King of Assyria.’

31 Don’t listen to Hezekiah because the King of Assyria says: “Make peace with me and surrender to me! Everyone will eat from their own grapevines and fig trees and drink water from their own cisterns 32 until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive trees and honey. Then you will live and not die!

Don’t listen to Hezekiah because he will mislead you by saying, ‘Yehovah will rescue us.’ 33 Have any of the gods of the nations ever rescued their lands from the grasp of the King of Assyria? 34 Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena and Ivvah? Have they rescued Samaria from my 'grasp'? 35 Which of the gods of those lands has rescued their country from my 'grasp'? So could Yehovah rescue Jerusalem from my 'grasp'”

36 But the people remained silent and did’t say a word to him because the king had commandmed, “Don’t answer him.”

37 But Hilkiah’s son Eliakim, who managed the household, Shebna the scribe and Asaph’s son Joah the recorder came to Hezekiah with their clothes torn and told him what the Rabshakeh had said.

2 KINGS 19

Isaiah Reassures Hezekiah

1 When king Hezekiah heard this, he tore his clothes, covered himself with sackcloth and went into Yehovah’s 'Temple'. 2 He sent Eliakim, the 'palace' administrator, Shebna the scribe and the senior priests covered with sackcloth to Amoz’s son, the prophet Isaiah. 3 They told him, “This is what Hezekiah says: Today is a day of distress, punishment and rejection because children have come to the point of birth, but there is no strength to deliver them. 4 It could be that Yehovah your Elohim will hear the 'message' of the Rabshakeh who the King of Assyria his master has sent to defy the living Elohim and punish him for the words that Yehovah your Elohim has heard. So offer a prayer for the remnant that still survives.”

5 So the servants of king Hezekiah came to Isaiah. 6 Isaiah said to them, “Say this to your master: ‘This is what Yehovah says: Don’t be afraid of the blasphemous 'message' you’ve heard from the servants of the King of Assyria. 7 I’ll put a spirit in him so that he will hear a rumor and return to his own land where I’ll cause him to fall by a sword in his own land.’”

8 So the Rabshakeh returned and found the King of Assyria fighting against Libnah, because he had heard that he had left Lachish.

9 When 'the king' learned that Cush’s King Tirhakah was on his way to fight against him, he sent messengers again to Hezekiah saying, 10 “Say this to Judah’s King Hezekiah: Don’t let your Elohim who you trust in deceive you by saying that Jerusalem won’t be 'handed' over to the King of Assyria. 11 You’ve heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all the other lands; they completely destroyed them. Will you be spared? 12 Did the gods of the nations that my ancestors destroyed save them—Gozan, Haran and Rezeph and the people of Eden who were in Telassar? 13 Where is the king of Hamath, the king of Arpad, the king of the city of Sepharvaim, Hena and Ivvah?”

14 Hezekiah took the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it. Then he went up to Yehovah’s 'Temple' and spread it before Yehovah. 15 Hezekiah prayed before Yehovah and said, “Yehovah, the Elohim of Israel, You are 'enthroned' above the cherubim, you are Elohim, You alone of all the kingdoms of the earth. You made heaven and earth. 16 'Turn' your ear to listen, Yehovah. Open your eyes, Yehovah, and see. Hear the 'message' that Sennacherib sent to insult the living Elohim.

17 Truly, Yehovah, the kings of Assyria have devastated the nations and their lands. 18 'The Assyrians' threw their gods into fires because they were not gods, but the work of men’s hands—wood and stone. So they’ve destroyed them. 19 Yehovah our Elohim, please save us from his 'grasp' so that all the kingdoms of the earth will know that You, Yehovah, are the only Elohim.”

20 Then Amoz’s son Isaiah sent a message to Hezekiah, that said, “This is what Yehovah, the Elohim of Israel says: ‘Since you’ve prayed to Me about King Sennacherib of Assyria, I have heard you.’ 21 This is the 'message' that Yehovah has spoken against him:

“The virgin daughter of Zion has despised you and ridiculed you. The maiden Jerusalem has shaken her head at you, the daughter of Jerusalem! 22 Who have you defied and blasphemed? Who have you exalted your voice against and arrogantly raised your eyes to on high? Against the 'special' One of Israel!

23 By your messengers you’ve defied Yehovah. You have said,

‘I ascended the highest mountains with my many chariots, to the farthest reaches of Lebanon. I cut down its tall cedars and the best of its cypress trees. I entered its farthest outpost, its densest forest. 24 I dug wells and drank foreign water. I dried up all the streams of Egypt with the sole of my foot.

25 Haven’t you heard? I arranged it long ago. I planned it in the distant past! I just made it happen. You turned fortified cities into piles of rubble. 26 The citizens lost their power. They were dismayed and put to shame. They were like plants in the fields, and tender green shoots, like grass on rooftops is scorched before it matures.

27 But I know when you sit down, when you go out and when you come in, and how you rage against Me. 28 Because of your raging against Me and because your arrogance has reached My ears, I’ll put My hook in your nose and my 'bit' in your 'mouth'. Then I’ll spin you around on the road you came in on.

29 “This will be the sign for you:

“This year you will eat what grows on its own, next year you’ll eat what grows from that, and in the third year you’ll sow, reap, plant vineyards and eat the fruit. 30 Once again the 'survivors' who have escaped of the house of Judah will take root downward and bear fruit upward. 31 A remnant will leave Jerusalem, and survivors will escape from Mount Zion.

The zeal of Yehovah will do this.

32 So this is what Yehovah says about the King of Assyria: “He won’t come to this city or shoot an arrow here. He won’t approach the city with defensive shields or pitch a siege ramp against it. 33 He’ll return the same way he came. He will never enter this city, declares Yehovah. 34 I’ll defend this city and rescue it for My own sake and for the sake of My servant David.”

35 That night the Messenger of Yehovah went out and struck down 185,000 in the Assyrian camp. When 'the Israelites' got up early in the morning they saw all their dead bodies! 36 So King Sennacherib of Assyria left. He returned to his home in Nineveh.

37 Later, while he was worshipping in the 'shrine' of his god Nisroch, Adrammelech and Sharezer killed him with swords, and they escaped to the land of Ararat. His son Esarhaddon succeeded him as king.

2 KINGS 20

Hezekiah’s Sickness and Recovery

1 During this 'time' Hezekiah became terminally ill. The prophet Isaiah, Amoz’s son, came to him and said, “This is what Yehovah says: ‘Set your 'affairs' in order because you are about to die. You won’t recover.’”

2 Then he turned his face to the wall and prayed to Yehovah: 3 “Yehovah, please remember how I 'lived' before you in truth and sincerity and have done what is good in Your sight.” And Hezekiah cried bitterly.

4 Before Isaiah had left the middle courtyard, the Word of Yehovah came to him and said: 5 “Return and tell Hezekiah the leader of My people, ‘This is what Yehovah says: The Elohim of your 'ancestor' David says: I’ve heard your prayer. I’ve seen your tears. I’ll heal you! Three days from now you will go up to Yehovah’s 'Temple'. 6 I’ll add fifteen years to your life. I’ll deliver you and this city out of the 'grasp' of the King of Assyria. I’ll defend this city for My own sake and for the sake of My servant David.’”

7 Then Isaiah said, “Get a cake of figs.” They brought and applied it to the boil, and he recovered.

8 And Hezekiah asked Isaiah, “What is the sign that Yehovah is healing me and that I’ll be going up to Yehovah’s 'Temple' three days from now?”

9 Isaiah said, “This is the sign to you from Yehovah that Yehovah will do what He has said. Do you want the shadow to go forward ten steps or go backward ten steps?”

10 Hezekiah answered, “It’s easy for the shadow to go forward ten steps, so have the shadow go backward ten steps.”

11 Isaiah the prophet called out to Yehovah and He brought the shadow back ten steps after it had descended ten steps down Ahaz’s stairway.

12 At that time Merodach Baladan, son of Babylon’s King Baladan, sent letters and a gift to Hezekiah because he had heard that Hezekiah had been sick. 13 Hezekiah listened to them, and showed them his entire treasury—the silver, the gold, the spices and the precious oil, his armory and everything in his treasures. There was nothing in his 'palace' or in his entire realm that Hezekiah didn’t show them. 14 Then Isaiah the prophet came to King Hezekiah and asked him,

“What did these men say, and where did they come to you from?” Hezekiah said, “They came from a distant country, from Babylon.”

15 He asked, “What did they see in your palace?”

Hezekiah answered, “They saw everything in my 'palace', and I showed them everything in my treasury.”

16 Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Listen to the Word of Yehovah.” 17 Yehovah says, “The time is coming when everything that is in your 'palace' and everything your ancestors have collected up to this time will be hauled off to Babylon. Nothing will be left. 18 They’ll take away some of your descendants who will be born to you, and they’ll be eunuchs in the 'palace' of the king of Babylon.”

19 Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “The Word of Yehovah that you’ve spoken is good.” He was 'thinking', “At least it’s good that there will be peace and security during my 'lifetime'.”

20 The rest of the events of Hezekiah’s reign, and all of his 'achievements', and how he made the pool and the aqueduct and brought water into the city are recorded in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah. 21 Hezekiah rested with his ancestors, and his son Manasseh succeeded him as king.

2 KINGS 21

Manasseh Reigns in Judah

1 Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Hephzibah. 2 He did evil that Yehovah 'condemned', imitating the highly detestable things of the nations that Yehovah drove out before the Israelites. 3 He rebuilt the high places that his father Hezekiah had destroyed and he erected altars for Baal and made an Asherah, just like King Ahab of Israel had done, and he worshiped the entire army of the heavens and served them. 4 He built altars in Yehovah’s 'Temple', where Yehovah said, “I’ll put My name in Jerusalem.” 5 And he built altars for the entire army of the heavens in the two courts of Yehovah’s 'Temple'. 6 He 'burned his son alive', practiced witchcraft, used divination and dealt with mediums and psychics. He did a great deal of evil in the sight of Yehovah, provoking Him to anger.

7 'Manasseh' had a carved image of Asherah made and set it up in the 'Temple' that Yehovah had told David and his son Solomon, “I’ll establish My name forever in this 'Temple' and in Jerusalem that I chose from all the tribes of Israel. 8 I’ll never again make Israel’s feet wander from the land that I gave to their ancestors if only they’ll be sure to do everything that I’ve commanded them, in accord with the entire Torah that My servant Moses commanded them.” 9 But they didn’t listen, and Manasseh seduced them to do more evil than the nations that Yehovah had destroyed before the Israelites entered the land.

10 Yehovah said by his servants the prophets: 11 “Because King Manasseh of Judah has committed these highly detestable things, having done more evil than anything that the Amorites did who preceded him, and has led Judah into sin with his idols, 12 this is what Yehovah, the Elohim of Israel says: I’m going to bring such a disaster on Jerusalem and Judah that the ears of everyone who hears about it will tingle! 13 I’ll stretch over Jerusalem the measuring line of Samaria and the plumb line 'used against' the house of Ahab. I’ll wipe Jerusalem like someone wiping a dish, wiping it and turning it upside down. 14 I’ll abandon the survivors of My heritage and hand them over to their enemies. They’ll become plunder and spoil for all their enemies 15 because they’ve done what is evil in My sight and have been provoking Me to anger since the day their ancestors came out of Egypt to this very day.”

16 Manasseh also shed so much innocent blood that he filled Jerusalem from one end to another, in addition to the sins that he caused Judah to do by doing evil in the sight of Yehovah.

17 The rest of the events of Manasseh and all of his 'achievements' and the sins that he committed are recorded in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah. 18 Manasseh rested with his ancestors in the garden of his own 'palace', in the garden of Uzza, and his son Amon succeeded him as king.

19 Amon was twenty-two years old when he became king and he reigned two years in Jerusalem. His mother was named Meshullemeth, the daughter of Haruz from Jotbah. 20 He did evil in Yehovah’s sight, as his father Manasseh had done. 21 He 'embraced' his father’s entire 'lifestyle' and served the idols that his father served and worshiped them. 22 He abandoned Yehovah, the Elohim of his ancestors and didn’t 'live' in the way of Yehovah.

23 Amon’s officials conspired against him and assassinated the king in his own 'palace'. 24 But the people of the land killed everyone who had conspired against King Amon and made his son Josiah king in his place.

25 The rest of the events of Amon’s reign are recorded in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah. 26 He was buried in his tomb in the Garden of Uzza, and his son Josiah succeeded him as king.

2 KINGS 22

Josiah Reigns in Judah

1 Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jedidah; she was Adaiah’s daughter; and she was from Bozkath. 2 He did what was right in Yehovah’s sight and 'lived out' all the ways of his ancestor David. He never deviated to the right or to the left.

3 In the eighteenth year of King Josiah’s reign, the king sent Shaphan son of Azaliah and grandson of Meshullam, the court secretary, to Yehovah’s 'Temple' to say: 4 “Go to the high priest Hilkiah so he can count the silver that has been brought into Yehovah’s 'Temple' that the doorkeepers have collected from the people. 5 It should be given to the supervisors in charge of Yehovah’s 'Temple', and have them 'distribute' it to the workmen in Yehovah’s 'Temple' to repair the damages of the 'Temple', 6 to the carpenters, the builders, the masons, and for buying timber and quarried stone to repair the 'Temple'. 7 But you won’t need to account for the silver handed to them because they’re faithful.”

8 Then Hilkiah the high priest told Shaphan the scribe, “I’ve found the Book of the Torah in Yehovah’s 'Temple'.” And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan who read it. 9 Shaphan the scribe went to the king and reported to him: “Your officials have emptied out the silver that was found in the 'Temple' and handed it to the workmen who have the oversight of Yehovah’s 'Temple'.” 10 Shaphan the scribe told the king, “Hilkiah the priest has handed a book to me.” Shaphan read it to the king. 11 When the king heard what was written in the Book of the Torah, he tore his clothes. 12 The king ordered Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam the son of Shaphan, Achbor the son of Micaiah, Shaphan the scribe, and Asaiah the servant of the king: 13 “Go and ask Yehovah for me and for the people and for all Judah about the contents of this book, because Yehovah’s wrath is greatly burning against us, because our ancestors never listened to the words of this book in order to do everything written about us.”

14 So Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Achbor, Shaphan and Asaiah went to Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Tikvah’s son Shallum, the grandson of Harhas and keeper of the wardrobe who lived in the Second Quarter of Jerusalem, and they talked with her.

15 She told them, “Yehovah, the Elohim of Israel say: Tell the man who sent you to me, 16 ‘This is what Yehovah says: I’ll bring disaster on this place and on the people living here, everything written in the book that the king of Judah has read. 17 Because they’ve abandoned Me, and burned incense to other gods in order to provoke Me to anger with all their handiwork. My wrath burns against this place and it won’t be quenched.’ 18 But to the king of Judah who sent you to question Yehovah, this is what you’re to tell him, ‘This is what Yehovah, the Elohim of Israel says about the words you’ve heard: 19 Since your 'conscience' was 'receptive' and you humbled yourself in Yehovah’s presence when you heard what I said against this place and against its people—that they would be destroyed and cursed—and have torn your clothes and cried before Me, I have heard you,’ declares Yehovah. 20 ‘So I’ll have you join your ancestors, and you’ll go to your grave in peace. You won’t 'experience' the 'disaster' that I’ll bring on this place.’”

Then they 'reported' back to the king.

2 KINGS 23

Josiah Bans Baal Worship

1 Then the king 'summoned' all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. 2 The king went up to Yehovah’s 'Temple' with all the men of Judah and all the residents of Jerusalem, and the priests, the prophets, and all the people, both 'poor' and 'rich', and he read where they could hear all the words of the Book of the Covenant that was found in Yehovah’s 'Temple'. 3 The king stood by the pillar and made a covenant 'with' Yehovah to 'follow' Yehovah and to obey His Commandments and His testimony and His unchanging rulings with all his mind, and all his being, to carry out the words of this covenant that were written in this book, and all the people 'agreed to' the covenant.

4 The king ordered Hilkiah the high priest and the priests of the second order and the doorkeepers to remove from Yehovah’s 'Temple' all of the stuff that was made for Baal, the grove poles, and the entire army of heaven. He burned it outside of Jerusalem in the fields of the Kidron Valley and hauled their ashes to Bethel [where Israel’s idolatry began]. 5 He got rid of the pagan priests that the kings of Judah had appointed to burn incense in the high places in the cities of Judah, and in the areas around Jerusalem, those also who burned incense to Baal, to the sun, the moon, the constellations and to the entire army of the heavens. 6 He hauled the Asherah pole from Yehovah’s 'Temple' to the Kidron Valley outside of Jerusalem and burned it at the Kidron Valley, ground it to dust, and threw the dust on the graves of the 'pagan' people. 7 He also tore down the quarters of the male 'Temple' prostitutes that were in Yehovah’s 'Temple', where the women were weaving tents for the Asherah shrines.

8 Then he brought all the pagan priests from the cities of Judah, and defiled the high places where the priests had burned incense, from Geba to Beersheba. He tore down the high places at the entrance to the gate of Yehoshua, the governor of 'Jerusalem' that was left of the city gate. 9 However, the priests of the high places did not come up to the altar of Yehovah in Jerusalem, but they ate unleavened bread with their 'fellow priests'.

10 'Josiah' defiled Topheth in the Ben Hinnom Valley so no one could 'burn their child alive' [sacrifice] to Moloch. 11 He removed the horses that the kings of Judah had dedicated to the sun, at the entrance to Yehovah’s 'Temple', in the precincts by the chamber of Nathan Melech the court official; and he incinerated the chariots of the sun.

12 The king also tore down the altars that were on the roof of Ahaz’s upper story, that the kings of Judah had made, and the altars that Manasseh had made in the two courts of the 'Temple' of Yehovah, and he crushed them there and threw their dust into the Kidron Valley. 13 The king defiled the high places facing Jerusalem, 'south' of the Mountain of Destruction that Solomon the king of Israel had built for Ashtoreth, the abomination of the Sidonians, and for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, and for Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. 14 He smashed the sacred pillars and cut down the Asherah poles, then filled their places with human bones.

15 'Josiah' also broke down the altar that had been in Bethel and the high place constructed by Nebat’s son Jeroboam, who had caused Israel to sin. He demolished its stones, ground them to dust, and burned the Asherah. 16 When Josiah turned around, he noticed the tombs that were there on the hillside, he sent men to take the bones out of the tombs and burn them on the altar to make them unclean. This happened just as the Word of Yehovah announced thru the man of Elohim who predicted these things.

17 Then he said, “What is this monument I see?” The people of the city told him, “It is the tomb of the man of Elohim who came from Judah and proclaimed these things that you’ve done against the altar of Bethel.”

18 So Josiah said, “Leave him alone. Don’t disturb his bones.” So they left his bones alone, along with the bones of the prophet who came from Samaria.

19 Josiah also removed all the 'shrines' on the high places that were in the cities of Samaria. The kings of Israel had made them provoking Yehovah to anger, and did to them 'everything' he had done in Bethel. 20 'Josiah' executed all the priests of those high places on the altars and burned human bones on them. Then he returned to Jerusalem.

21 Then the king commanded all the people to celebrate the Passover to Yehovah their Elohim as it is written in this Book of the Covenant.” 22 There had not been a Passover celebration like that since the 'time' when the judges governed in Israel, or during the entire 'time' of the kings of Israel and Judah. 23 But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah’s reign this Passover was celebrated to Yehovah in Jerusalem.

24 Furthermore, Josiah removed the mediums and the spiritists and the teraphim and the idols and all the highly detestable things that were seen in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem. In this way Josiah fulfilled the words of the Torah that were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in Yehovah’s 'Temple'. 25 There had never been a king like him before who turned to Yehovah with all his mind and with all his life and with all his might committed to the entire Torah of Moses, and no one like him arose after him.

26 Even so, Yehovah didn’t turn from the fierceness of His great wrath. His anger was kindled against Judah, because of all the 'despicable things' that Manasseh had done to provoke Him. [Commentary] 27 Yehovah said, “I’ll remove Judah from My sight the way I removed Israel and I’ll reject Jerusalem, the city I chose, and the 'Temple' where I said My name would be.”

28 The rest of the events of Josiah’s reign and all of his 'achievements' are recorded in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah.

29 In his days Pharaoh Neco king of Egypt went up against the King of Assyria at the Euphrates River, and king Josiah went against him, but King Neco killed him when they met at Armageddon. 30 His officers carried his dead body in a chariot from Armageddon to Jerusalem and buried him in his own tomb. The people of the land took Yehoahaz, Josiah’s son, and anointed him, and made him king in his father’s place.

31 Yehoahaz was twenty-three years old when he became king, and he reigned three months in Jerusalem. His mother was Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah from Libnah. 32 He did evil that Yehovah 'condemned' just like all of his ancestors had done. 33 Pharaoh Neco imprisoned him at Riblah in the land of Hamath, so that he couldn’t reign in Jerusalem, and imposed on the land a tribute of one hundred talents of silver and a talent of gold. 34 Pharaoh Neco made Josiah’s son Eliakim king to replace his father Josiah and changed his name to Yehoiakim [Yehovah will raise], but he took Yehoahaz away and brought him to Egypt, and he died there. 35 Yehoiakim gave the silver and the gold to Pharaoh by taxing the land to 'acquire' the silver just as the Pharaoh had ordered, he extracted the silver and the gold from the people of the land, from everyone according to his assessment to pay off Pharaoh Neco.

36 Yehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Zebidah. She was the daughter of Pedaiah of Rumah. 37 He did evil that Yehovah 'condemned'l just like his ancestors had done.

2 KINGS 24

Nebuchadnezzar Raids Jerusalem

1 During Yehoiakim’s 'reign', Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon 'invaded' Judah. Yehoiakim became his vassal for three years, but then he turned and rebelled against him. 2 Yehovah sent bands of Chaldean, Aramean, Moabite and Ammonite raiding parties against 'Yehoiakim'. He sent them against Judah to destroy it, according to the Word of Yehovah that He had spoken thru His servants the prophets. [1] 3 This happened to Judah, without doubt, at the command of Yehovah to remove them from His sight, because of the sins of Manasseh and everything that he had done, 4 and because of the innocent blood that he had shed since he filled Jerusalem with innocent blood, and Yehovah wouldn’t forgive that.

5 The rest of the events of Yehoiakim’s reign, and all of his 'achievements' are recorded in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah.

6 So Yehoiakim [Yehovah will establish] rested with his ancestors, and his son Yehoiachin succeeded him as king.

7 The king of Egypt never left his land again because the king of Babylon had taken everything that belonged to the king of Egypt from the Brook of Egypt to the Euphrates River.

8 Yehoiachin was eighteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem for three months. His mother’s name was Nehushta the daughter of Elnathan from Jerusalem. 9 He did evil that Yehovah 'condemned', just like his ancestors had done.

10 At that time the officers of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon attacked Jerusalem and the city came under siege. 11 And Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon arrived at the city while his officers were besieging it. 12 Yehoiachin the king of Judah 'surrendered' to the king of Babylon, along with his mother, his servants, his officers, and his officials.

So the king of Babylon took him captive in the eighth year of his reign. 13 'Nebuchadnezzar' carried off all of the treasures from Yehovah’s 'Temple', and the treasures from the king’s 'palace', and he cut all the gold articles that Solomon king of Israel had made for the 'Temple' of Yehovah to pieces, as Yehovah had foretold. 14 Then 'Nebuchadnezzar' exiled all of Jerusalem and all the princes, and all the warriors of valor, ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and the smiths, no one remained except for the poorest people in the land.

15 He took Yehoiachin away into exile to Babylon, as well as the king’s mother, the king’s wives, his eunuchs, and the leading men of the land, and he exiled them from Jerusalem to Babylon. 16 The king of Babylon deported to Babylon all seven thousand men of valor, and one thousand craftsmen and the smiths, all of the exiles were strong and fit for war. 17 The king of Babylon made Mattaniah, Yehoiachin’s uncle, king is his place and changed his name to Zedekiah.

Zedekiah Made King

18 Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Hamutal. She was Jeremiah’s daughter and was from Libnah. 19 He did evil that Yehovah 'condemned' just like Yehoiakim had done. 20 This happened in Jerusalem and Judah because of the anger of Yehovah until He banished them from His presence.

And Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon.

[1] Would this not be a divorce?

2 KINGS 25

The Fall of Jerusalem

1 So in the ninth year of Zedekiah’s reign, on the tenth day of the tenth month, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and his entire army attacked Jerusalem. They camped beside the city and built a siege wall all around it. 2 The city remained under siege until the eleventh year of the reign of King Zedekiah.

3 By the ninth day of the fourth month the famine was so severe in the city that there was no 'food' for the people of the land. 4 Then the city was broken into, and all the warriors fled one night thru the gate between the two walls beside the king’s garden, even tho the Chaldeans surrounded the city, and they escaped along the route to the Arabah. 5 But the Chaldean army chased King Zedekiah and overtook him in the plains of Jericho, where his entire army was scattered. 6 Then they captured the king.

They brought him to the king of Babylon at Riblah, and his punishment was determined. 7 They made Zedekiah 'watch' as they slaughtered his sons. Then they gouged out Zedekiah’s eyes, bound him in bronze shackles and took him to Babylon.

8 On the seventh day of the fifth month in the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar’s reign in Babylon, Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard, and an officer of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem. 9 He burned Yehovah’s 'Temple' [1] and the king’s 'palace' and all the houses of Jerusalem. He burned down every important 'building'. 10 The entire 'Babylonian' army who were with the captain of the guard broke down the walls around Jerusalem. 11 Then Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, exiled the rest of the people who were left in the city, those who had already surrendered, and the rest of the population to the king of Babylon. 12 But the captain of the guard left some of the poorest of the land to work as vinedressers and farmers.

13 The Chaldeans smashed the bronze pillars that were in Yehovah’s 'Temple' and the stands and the bronze sea that were in Yehovah’s 'Temple' and hauled the bronze to Babylon. 14 They also stole the pots, the shovels, the snuffers, the spoons and all the bronze articles that had been used in Temple service. 15 The captain of the guard also took the fire pans and the sprinkling bowls that were made of pure gold and pure silver.

16 The bronze in the two pillars, the sea, and the stands that Solomon had made for Yehovah’s 'Temple' was too heavy to weigh. 17 Each pillar was eighteen cubits high. The bronze capital on top of the first pillar was three cubits high. A bronze latticework carved in the form of pomegranates encircled the capital. And the second pillar and its lattices were just like the first.

18 The captain of the guard took Seraiah the chief priest and Zephaniah the second priest and the three doorkeepers. 19 Of those who remained in the city, 'Nebuzaradan' captured one official who was in charge of the military and five royal advisers. He also took away the army commander’s secretary, who was in charge of recruitment; and sixty other citizens found in the city. 20 Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard grabbed them and brought them to the king of Babylon at Riblah. 21 Then the king of Babylon struck them down and killed them at Riblah in the land of Hamath.

So Judah was taken into exile from their land.

22 As for the people who were left behind in the land of Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon appointed Ahikam’s son Gedaliah, the grandson of Shaphan to govern. 23 When all the captains of the forces, and their men heard that the king of Babylon had appointed Gedaliah as governor, they went to Gedaliah at Mizpah, namely, Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, Johanan the son of Kareah, Seraiah the son of Tanhumeth the Netophathite, Jaazaniah the son of the Maacathite and all their men. 24 Gedaliah swore to them and to their men, “Don’t be afraid of the Chaldean officials. 'Stay' in the land and serve the king of Babylon, and things will go well for you.”

25 But in the seventh month, Nethaniah’s son Ishmael, the grandson of Elishama from the 'royal family' came with ten men and attacked Gedaliah, and he died. They also killed the Judeans and the Chaldeans who were with him at Mizpah. 26 Then all the people of Judah, from the least [weakest] to the greatest [strongest], and the military commanders, 'fled' to Egypt because they were afraid of the Babylonians (Chaldeans).

27 Then in the thirty-seventh year of the captivity of Yehoiachin king of Judah, on twenty-seventh day of the twelfth month, Evilmerodach king of Babylon, released Yehoiachin king of Judah from prison in the year he began to reign, 28 and he spoke kindly to him, and gave him a seat of honor higher than the other kings who were with him in Babylon. 29 So Yehoiachin exchanged his prison clothing [for regular clothes] and had regular meals in the king’s presence every day for the rest of his life, 30 and for his allowance, a regular allowance was given to him by the king for his daily needs for the rest of his life.

[1] What Happened on the Ninth of Av?

ISAIAH 1

Chapters 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 Commentary

Judah’s Rebellion

1 This is the vision that Amoz’s son Isaiah saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem during the 'reign' of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.

2 Listen, heavens, and hear earth, because Yehovah has spoken: “I’ve reared children and brought them up, but they’ve rebelled against My Word*.

3 a bull knows its owner and a donkey its master’s feeding trough, but Israel doesn’t know, My people don’t understand.”

4 Oh sinful nation, a people weighed down with disgusting injustice, descendants of criminals, depraved children! They’ve forsaken Yehovah. They’ve despised the 'special' One of Israel and turned their backs on Him.

5 Why should you be beaten any more? Why do you keep on rebelling? Your whole head is sick and your whole 'mentality' is failing.

6 From the sole of your foot to the top of your head there is no sign of logic—only bruises, sores and filthy festering wounds, not bandaged or soothed with olive oil.

7 Your land lies desolate; your cities have been incinerated. Your fields are being raided by foreigners as you look on; it’s been devastated, overrun by foreigners. 8 The maiden Zion is left like an abandoned shelter in a vineyard, like a watchman’s hut in a cucumber field or like a city under siege. 9 If Commander Yehovah hadn’t left us a few survivors, we would have become like Sodom, we would have been like Gomorrah.

10 Hear the Word of Yehovah, you rulers of Sodom! Heed the Torah of our Elohim, you people of Gomorrah! 11 Yehovah asks, “What good are your numerous zebakim [sacrifices] to Me? I’ve had enough of your burnt offerings of rams and the fat of well-fed animals; and I take no pleasure in the blood of bulls, lambs or goats. 12 When you come to appear before Me, who insists that you trample My Temple courts? 13 Stop bringing worthless offerings! Your incense is an abomination to Me. I can’t stand YOUR New Moons, Sabbaths, public assemblies and the disgusting injustice within a solemn assembly. 14 My Word* hates YOUR New Moons and YOUR appointed feasts. They’ve become a burden to Me. I’m tired of enduring them. 15 When you spread out your hands in prayer, I’ll hide My eyes from you. Even if you continually pray, I won’t listen because your hands are covered with blood.

16 Wash yourselves. Become clean. Rid your evil behavior from the presence of My Word*. Stop being evil.

17 Learn to do good. Seek justice. Relieve the oppressed. Defend orphans. Fight for the rights of widows.

18 “Come now, let’s reason together,” says Yehovah, “Even if your sins are like scarlet, they’ll be as white as snow. Tho they are crimson red, they’ll look like wool. 19 If you’re willing to obey, you’ll eat the best the land produces; 20 but if you refuse to obey My Word* and rebel, you’ll be 'killed' by swords.” The Word* of Yehovah has spoken.

21 See how the faithful city has become a whore! She had been completely just. Righteousness used to reside there, but now only murderers live there. 22 Your silver has become lead ore, your wine is diluted with water. 23 Your leaders are rebels, the cohorts of thieves. Everyone loves bribes, and demands kickbacks. They don’t defend orphans or pay attention to a widow’s pleas.

24 So the Sovereign, Commander Yehovah, the Mighty One of Israel says: “Now I’ll avenge Myself against My enemies! 25 I’ll turn My hand against you and smelt away your dross as with lye and remove your impurity [lit: tin] entirely. 26 Then I’ll restore your judges as before, and your advisers as in the beginning. Afterward you’ll be called ‘The City of Righteousness, the Faithful City.”

27 Zion will be redeemed with justice, and those who return will be pardoned by righteousness. 28 But rebels and sinners will all be crushed, and those who forsake Yehovah will be terminated.

29 “'You' will be ashamed of the oak trees you so desired, and you’ll be embarrassed by the gardens you chose. 30 You’ll be like an oak whose leaves are withering or like an unwatered garden. 31 The strongest of you will be like tinder, and their work like a spark. They’ll both burn together with no one to quench the flames.

ISAIAH 2

Yehovah’s Mountain Home

1 The message that Amoz’s son Isaiah envisioned concerning Judah and Jerusalem: 2 In the future, at the end of the 'age', Yehovah’s mountainous 'Temple' [1] will be established on the summits of the mountains and be borne above the hills, and all nations will beam [or flow] into it.

Torah Rule Worldwide

3 People from many nations will come and say, “Come, let’s go up to the mountain of Yehovah, to the House of Jacob’s Elohim. He’ll teach us His path to life and we’ll 'live' His way.” The Torah will go out from Zion and the Word of Yehovah from Jerusalem.” 4 He’ll govern the nations and 'settle the feuds' of many nations, and they’ll beat their swords into harrows and their spears into pruning hooks. Nations won’t raise swords against other nations and they won’t learn how to wage war any more. 5 Come, House of Jacob, let’s 'live' in the light of Yehovah.

6 You’ve abandoned Your people, House of Jacob, because they are filled with influences from the east, they are fortune-tellers like the Philistines, and they make deals shaking hands with foreigners. 7 Their land has been filled with silver and gold, there is no end of their treasures; their land is filled with horses and there are endless chariots. 8 Their land has been filled with idols; they worship the work of their hands, things their own fingers made. 9 So humanity will be put down, and everyone’s stature lowered, so don’t lift them [U] [2].”

The Day of Reckoning

10 Hide among the rocks or hide in the debris from the terror of Yehovah and from the splendor of His majesty. 11 When That Day Comes* the arrogant looks of humanity will be humbled. The proud will be brought down, and Yehovah alone will be exalted.

12 Commander Yehovah will have a Day of Reckoning for everyone who is arrogant and proud, their pompous pride will become humiliation 13 against all the cedars of Lebanon that are high and exalted, against all the oaks of Bashan, 14 against all the high mountains, and against all the lofty hills, 15 against every high tower and every fortified wall, 16 against all the ships of Tarshish and every pleasant craft. 17 When That Day Comes the pride of humanity will be humbled, and the arrogance of men will be laid low. Yehovah alone will be exalted. 18 The idols will completely vanish.

19 Men will go into rock caves and into holes in the ground for reverence of Yehovah and the splendor of His majesty when He determines to terrify the land. 20 When That Day Comes, people will throw away their silver and gold idols that they made for themselves to the moles and the bats. [sarcasm] 21 They’ll escape to caverns in the rocks and crevices in cliffs from the dread of Yehovah, and from the splendor of His majesty when He arises to terrify the land.

22 Stop trusting people, their breath of life depends on their nose. What good are they?

[1] There is no distinct word for Temple in Hebrew. House is the literal word. [2] The word ‘lift’ here is almost universally translated as ‘forgive’ in this verse (monkey see, monkey do), yet it far more frequently means lift. Actually the survivors of “Judah and Jerusalem” will have their pride lowered, not lifted, but they’ll be forgiven! Rather than phrase it “do not forgive them”, the story of forgiveness for the humbled survivors is found just a few chapters ahead in Isaiah 11:11-13.

ISAIAH 3

Judah’s Next Holocaust

1 Note this! The Sovereign, Commander Yehovah is going to remove from Jerusalem and Judah both sustenance and security: all the food supplies and all the water supplies, 2 He’ll remove the heroes and warriors, the judges and prophets, the fortune-tellers and elders, 3 the commanders of fifty, the honorable men, the counselors, the skilled craftsmen and the skilled mediums.

4 I’ll have boys [in mentality] become their leaders, and unpredictable babies [in warlike might] will rule over them.

5 And the people will be oppressed—'man' against 'man', neighbor against neighbor. Deranged young against the elders, the worthless against the honorable.

6 A man will grab one of his brothers in their father’s houses, and say, ‘You have a cape—you be our leader! These ruins should be under your control.” 7 When That Day Comes* he’ll cry out, “I can’t be a healer, there isn’t even food or clothing in my house. Don’t appoint me as leader of the people!”

8 Jerusalem has stumbled and Judah has fallen, their words and deeds are against Yehovah, in defiance of His magnificent presence. 9 The look on their faces gives them away. They flaunt their sin like Sodom; they no longer conceal it. It will be dreadful for them! They’ve brought disaster on themselves!”

10 Tell the righteous that it will go well for them! They’ll savor the fruit of their deeds.

The Wicked Condemned

11 It will be dreadful for the wicked! Too bad for them. What they’ve done will be done to them. 12

Children oppress My people and women rule over them. My people, your guides lead you astray—sending you down the wrong path.” 13 Yehovah rises to argue the case and stands to judge the people. 14 Yehovah enters into judgment with the elders and leaders of His people: “You’ve devastated the vineyard. The plunder of the poor 'collects' in your houses. 15 What do you mean by crushing My people and grinding the faces of the poor?” Asks the Sovereign, Yehovih [a variant spelling] the Commander,

16 Yehovah says: “The maidens of Zion are arrogant, walking along with outstretched necks, flirting with their eyes, prancing along as they walk and jingling their ankle bracelets, 17 so Yehovah will bring sores on the heads of the women of Zion; and Yehovah will strip them naked.”

18 When That Day Comes, Yehovah will strip away their beautiful anklets, headbands, crescent necklaces, 19 pendants, bracelets, veils, 20 hats, ankle chains, sashes, perfumes, amulets, 21 signet rings, nose rings, 22 party clothes, capes, shawls, purses, 23 mirrors, lovely lingerie, tiaras and veils.

24 Then instead of sweet fragrances, there will a stench; instead of belts, ropes; instead of beautifully styled hair, a plucked-out scalp; instead of fine clothes, sackcloth; and branding instead of beauty.

25 Your men will fall in 'war' and your warriors in battle. 26 Her city gates will lament and mourn; destitute, she’ll sit on the ground.

ISAIAH 4

The Jerusalem Above Mount Zion!

1 When That Day Comes, seven women will grab a man and say, ‘We’ll eat our own bread and cloth ourselves. Just let us take on your name thru marriage and take away our stigma.”

2 When That Day Comes, Yehovah’s branch will be beautiful and splendid, and the 'harvest' of the land will be the beauty and splendor of the refugees of Israel. 33 Then anyone left alive in Zion, anyone who is left behind in Jerusalem [1] will be called 'special', everyone who is recorded among the living in Jerusalem, 4 once Yehovah has washed away the filth of the maidens of Zion, and rinsed the bloodstains from Jerusalem by a spirit of justice and a spirit that sets ablaze! 5 Yehovah will create ABOVE the entire site of Mount Zion and ABOVE her assemblies a cloud during the day and smoke, and a bright flaming fire during the night; because ABOVE all the splendor there will be a chuppah [canopy of protection] [2]. 6 It will be a sukkah [tabernacle] to provide 'shade' in the daytime from the heat and for a refuge and shelter from storms and rain.

[1] The Hebrew name Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) is plural! An “im” ending like on seraphim or cherubim or Elohim makes it plural, just like an “s” ending in English. The age old question is: “Why is Jerusalem plural?” The age old answer is that there are two! As above, so below. It’s not really a secret, it’s just that Christians don’t seem to know about it yet (even with that big clue in Revelation 21)! [2] A chuppah is a bride and bridegroom’s chamber—Brown-Driver-Briggs. This is elaborated on in Revelation 19:7-9, “and His bride has made herself ready.”

ISAIAH 5

Captivity Due to Ignorance

1 I’ll sing a song for the one I love about His vineyard: The one I love had a vineyard on a 'very fertile hill'. 2 He fenced it and cleared away the stones and planted it with select grapevines, built a tower in the middle and carved out a wine press. He thought it would yield good grapes, but it produced worthless grapes.

3 “So now, residents of Jerusalem and people of Judah, please judge between Me and My vineyard. 4 What more could I have been done for My vineyard that I haven’t already done? Why did it yield worthless grapes when I expected it to produce good ones? 5 Now I’ll tell you what I’m going to do to My vineyard. I’ll remove its thorny hedge, and it will be eaten up. “I’ll break down its stone wall and it will be trampled down. 6 I’ll make it a wasteland. It won’t be pruned or hoed, rather, it will be overgrown with briers and thorns. I’ll also command the clouds not to rain on it.”

7 The vineyard of Commander Yehovah is the House of Israel and the people of Judah are His delightful garden. He looked for justice, but saw bloodshed; for righteousness, but heard cries of distress.

8 It will be dreadful for those who 'accumulate' houses and buy field after field until there is no room for others to live, thinking that they should live alone in the land! [Targum clarified]

9 In my ears Commander Yehovah said: “Surely many houses will be desolate, fine mansions will be unoccupied. 10 Ten 'acres' [lit: a team of oxen] of vineyard will yield only one bath [6 gallons], and a homer [50 gallons] of seed will yield an ephah [23.3 quarts].”

11 How dreadful it will be for those who get up early in the morning so they can chase down strong liquor, who stay up late at night as wine inflames them! 12 At their feasts they have lyres, harps, tambourines, flutes and wine, but they have no regard for what Yehovah is doing, and they don’t consider His handiwork. 13 “So My people go into captivity due to ignorance [or apathy or lack of discernment]; their dignitaries are starving, and many others are parched with thirst. 14 So sheol increased its appetite and opened its limitless mouth, and her splendor, her masses, her brawlers and the revelers among them descend into it. 15 So humanity will be humbled and the 'elite' degraded, and the eyes of arrogant will be brought down, 16 but Commander Yehovah will be praised as the honored Judge, and Elohim the 'special' One is distinguished by His righteousness. 17 When That Day Comes* lambs will graze freely as if in their own pastures and 'nomads' will eat among the ruins of the 'wealthy'.

The Wicked Anticipate His Return!

18 It will be dreadful for those who drag wickedness with cords of deceit and haul sin as with cart ropes, 19 who say, “He should hurry, He [Yeshua] should rush His work so we can see it. [1] May the plan of the 'special' One of Israel happen sooner so that we can understand it!”

20 It will be dreadful for those who call evil good and good evil, who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness, who substitute bitterness for sweetness and sweetness for bitterness!

21 “It will be dreadful for those who consider themselves wise, the 'experts' in their own sight! 22 It will be dreadful for the spirited wine drinkers, the champions in mixing liquors, 23 who acquit the guilty for bribes and deny justice to the innocent. 24 So like flames devouring chaff and like dry grass shriveling down in a flame, that is how their roots will rot, and their blossoms will rise like dust, because they rejected the Torah of Commander Yehovah, AND spurned the Word*, the 'special' One of Israel. 25 That’s why Yehovah’s anger burns against His people, and He has raised His 'fist' against them and struck them down. The mountains tremble, and their corpses are like refuse in the middle of streets. After all this His anger still isn’t finished, and His 'fist' is still raised.

A Swift and Unstoppable Exodus!

26 He’ll lift up an emblem to the [hostile] distant nations and whistle for them from the far reaches of the earth. Watch them advance, how swiftly they speed! 27 No one is weary, no one stumbles, and no one slumbers or sleeps. Not one belt is loosened at the waist, no sandal strap is broken. 28 Their arrows are sharp and all their bows are strung. Their horses’ hooves seem like flint and their wheels like whirlwinds. 29 Their roaring is like a lioness, they roar like young lions; they growl as they seize their prey and carry it off where no one can save them! 30 When That Day Comes*, 'Judah' will roar against them like the roaring sea. When someone looks across the land they’ll see darkness and distress; even the daylight is darkened by clouds.

[1] People who believe that their wishes and prayers will affect the punctuality of the Messiah’s “second coming” don’t understand His 7,000 year plan and will be disappointed. Here and here are fairly close timelines.

ISAIAH 6

Here I am. Send me!

1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw Yehovah sitting on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of His robe filled the 'Temple'. 2 The seraphim stood above Him, each with six wings: with two 'they' covered 'their' faces, with two 'they' covered 'their' feet, and with two 'they' flew. 3 They were calling to one another:

“'cherished', 'cherished', 'cherished' is Commander Yehovah! The whole earth is filled with His splendor!”

4 The foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of the one who called, and the 'Temple' was filled with smoke.

5 Then I said, “How dreadful for me, I’m ruined! I’m a man with unclean lips, and I live among people with unclean lips. I’ve seen Commander Yehovah with my own eyes!”

6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a glowing coal in his hand that he had taken from the altar with tongs. 7 He touched my mouth with it and said, “This has touched your lips. Now your wickedness is gone and your sin is atoned for!”

8 Then I heard the voice of the Word* of Yehovah, saying, “Who should I send? Who will go for US?” Then I said, “Here I am. Send me!”

9 And He replied: “Go and tell these people to keep listening, but never understanding; keep looking, but never comprehending.” 10 Desensitize the 'minds' of these people: deafen their ears and dim their 'vision'. Otherwise they might see with their eyes and hear with their ears, comprehend, turn back and be healed.”

11 Then I asked, “For how long, Yehovah?”

And He replied:

“Until the cities are devastated and without inhabitants—houses without people, and the land is completely wasted, 12 until Yehovah has removed His people far away, and there are many abandoned places thruout the land. 13 And tho a tenth of the people remain in 'the land', it will be burned again. But like terebinth and oak stumps remain when they’re cut down, the 'special' 'stump' remains alive [“to raise up seed”—Targum].”

ISAIAH 7

Briars and Thorns

1 When Jotham’s son Ahaz, Uzziah’s grandson was king of Judah, King Rezin of Aram and Remaliah’s son Pekah, king of Israel approached Jerusalem to wage war against it, but they couldn’t 'conquer it'.

2 When David’s family was told that the Arameans were allied with Ephraim, 'Ahaz' and his people were 'deeply disturbed' and shaken, like trees in a forest shaking in the wind.

3 Then Yehovah told Isaiah, “Go out with your son Shear Jashub to meet Ahaz at the end of the aqueduct of the Upper Pool along the highway to Launderer’s Field. 4 Tell him, ‘Be careful, stay calm. Don’t be afraid or cowardly because of these two incendiary firebrands—at the fierce anger of Rezin and Aram and Remaliah’s son. 5 Because Aram, Ephraim and Remaliah’s son have plotted to harm you. They’re saying, 6 ‘Let’s attack Judah, harass and terrorize it, divide it among ourselves and instate Tabeel’s son as king!” 7 This is what the Sovereign YEHOVAH [“Yeshua”] says:

“It won’t take place. It will never happen. 8 The 'capitol' of Aram is Damascus and the head of Damascus is Rezin. Within another sixty-five years the Kingdom of Ephraim will cease to exist. 9 The head of Ephraim is Samaria and the head of Samaria is Remaliah’s son. If you don’t believe, then you won’t remain.”

10 Then Yehovah spoke to Ahaz again: 11 “Ask Yehovah your Elohim for a sign, whether in the depths of the earth or heights of heaven.”

12 But Ahaz said, “I won’t ask; I won’t tempt Yehovah.”

13 Then 'Isaiah' said, “Listen now, family of David! Isn’t it enough for you to try the patience of people, and now you’re trying the patience of my Elohim as well? 14 So Yehovah will Personally give you a sign. A virgin will conceive and give birth to a Son, and she will name Him Immanuel! [1] 15 He’ll eat curds and honey until He knows enough to reject evil and choose what’s right. 16 But before the child knows enough to reject evil and choose what’s right, the land whose kings you dread will be abandoned. 17 “Yehovah will bring on you and your people and on your father’s house, a 'time' unlike any since Ephraim seceded from Judah—the king of Assyria is coming.”

18 When That Day Comes* Yehovah will whistle for flies from the headwaters of Egypt’s rivers and for bees from the land of Assyria. 19 They’ll come and settle in the steep ravines and in the rocky crevices, in all the thorn bushes and on all the pastures. 20 When That Day Comes, Yehovah will hire a “razor” from beyond the Euphrates River—the king of Assyria—and use it to shave off your hair from head to foot, and even your beard. 21 When That Day Comes, a person will only be able to keep a young cow and two sheep alive. 22 And because of the abundance of milk produced they’ll eat butter. Everyone who is left in the land will only eat butter and honey.

23 When That Day Comes*, every place where there used to be a thousand grapevines worth a thousand shekels of silver, there will only be briers and thorns. 24 People will come there with bows and arrows because the entire land will be briers and thorns. 25 As for all the hills that used to be tended with hoes, you won’t go there any more due to the briers and thorns. They’ll be places for pasturing bulls and letting sheep run.

[1] “Probably no portion of the Bible has been regarded as so difficult of interpretation, and has given rise to so great a variety of expositions, as the prophecy which is commenced in this chapter, and which is closed in Isaiah 9:7.”–Barnes Commentary continues here.

ISAIAH 8

The Rock of Stumbling

1 Yehovah told me, “Take a large tablet and write on it with an ordinary pen: ‘Hurry to the booty, speed to the spoil.” 2 Then I’ll call in Uriah the priest and Jeberechiah’s son Zechariah as My reliable witnesses.” 3 After I was intimate with the prophetess, she became pregnant and bore a son. Then Yehovah told me, “Name him Maher Shalal Hash Baz, 4 because before the boy knows how to cry out ‘My father’ or ‘My mother’, the wealth of Damascus and the spoils of Samaria will be carried away by the King of Assyria.”

5 The Word* of Yehovah spoke to me once again and said,

6 “These people have refused the gently flowing water of Shiloah, and are delighted with Rezin and Remaliah’s son. 7 That is why Yehovah is going to cause the Euphrates River to rise against the king of Assyria and all his power. It will overflow all its channels and run over all its banks. 8 It will rush into Judah. It will overflow and pass thru, it will reach neck-deep and its outspread wings will cover the width of your land, Emmanuel.

9“Be broken, you nations; be crushed! Pay attention all you distant countries. Prepare for battle, but be terrified! 10 Devise your strategy, tho it will fail; make a 'proposal', but it won’t stand, since Elohim is with us.”

11 Yehovah has given me a strong 'warning', instructing me not to 'live' the way these people do. He said:

12 “Don’t say that everything these people call a conspiracy is a conspiracy. Don’t share their fears. Don’t dread it. 13 Commander Yehovah is the One you must regard as 'special'. He is the One you should fear. He is the One you should dread. 14 He [Yeshua Jesus] will be a safe haven. But for both houses of Israel, He’ll be a Stone to trip over, and a Rock to stumble over. He’ll be a trap and a snare for the residents of Jerusalem. [1]. 15 A great many will stumble over Him, fall, be broken, be snared and captured.”

16 In a time of distress, bind up [2] the Testimony and put a seal on [3] the Torah among My disciples. 17 I’ll wait for Yehovah who has 'turned away' from the House of Jacob, and I’ll eagerly look for Him.

18 I and the children [disciples] who Yehovah has given Me are for signs and miracles in Israel from Commander Yehovah who lives on Mount Zion!”

19 When they tell you to consult with mediums who use ventriloquism and wizards who whisper and mutter, shouldn’t people consult their Elohim? Should they consult the dead regarding the living?

The Torah AND the Testimony!

20 To the Torah AND to the Testimony! If people don’t speak in agreement with these Words, it’s because it [the truth] hasn’t dawned on them [4]! 21 They’ll pass thru 'the land' greatly distressed and famished, and when they are famished they’ll become enraged, and as they look up they’ll curse their king and their Elohim, 22 or they’ll look to the earth, and see distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish, and they’ll be thrown into darkness.

[1] This is how it reads in the oldest known Scriptures, the Aramaic Targums, “And if you won’t obey, His Word* will come among you for revenge, as a stumbling stone and as a rock of offense to both houses of the leaders of Israel, for destruction and as a snare, because they are fighting against the House of Judah who are living in Jerusalem.” [See 1 Peter 2:4-8] [2] See why the Testimony was written during a time of distress. [3] Literally, “Seal. This is like a seal of approval or a signature on a contract.” It’s a completed deal. [4] Or, as the New Living Translation says: “People who contradict His Word are completely in the dark.”

ISAIAH 9

A Son is Given

1 But there will be no more gloom for those who were in anguish. In the past, He treated the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali with contempt, but in the end time He’ll bring honor to the road by the sea, the land beyond the Jordan River, multinational Galilee.

2 The people walking in darkness will see a great light. The light will shine on those living in a land of deep darkness. 3 You’ll enlarge the nation. You’ll increase their joy. They’ll celebrate before You in the festivities of the harvest, like men celebrate when they’re dividing spoils. 4 You will make the yoke of his burden and the staff on their shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, you have broken as on the day Midian was defeated. 5 All of the commotion of battle is heard with terror [1], and the clothing rolled in blood will be burned, fuel for the fire. 6 A Child will be born for us, a Son is given to us. The government will rest on His shoulders. He’ll be named Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty Elohim, Everlasting Father, Peaceful Leader. 7 The expansion of His dominion and prosperity will never end, from David’s throne and over His kingdom, arranging it and maintaining it with justice and righteousness from that time on—forever. The zeal of the Word* of Commander Yehovah will make it happen.

8 Yehovah has sent a message against Jacob, and it will fall on Israel. 9 All the people will know it—Ephraim and the inhabitants of Samaria, asserting in pride and in arrogance: 10 “The bricks have fallen down, but we’ll rebuild with hewn stone. The sycamores have been cut down, but we’ll replace them with cedars.” 11 So Yehovah has raised adversaries from Rezin against him, and spurs their enemies on, 12 the Arameans on the east and Philistines on the west, and they’ll devour Israel with wide open mouths. Despite all this, His anger has not subsided and His 'fist' is still raised to strike.

13 Yet the people don’t turn to the One who struck them. They don’t seek Commander Yehovah. 14 So Yehovah will eliminate from Israel both the head and the tail, palm branches and bulrushes in a single day. 15 Elders and honored men are the head, and the prophets who teach fables are the tail. 16 The leaders of these people are leading them astray, and those they mislead are confused. 17 That’s why Yehovah has no pity on their young men, and He won’t show compassion toward their orphans and widows, since every one of them is profane and evil and every mouth is speaking foolishness.

After all of this His anger hasn’t diminished, and His 'fist' is still raised to strike.

18 Wickedness burns like a fire. It devours briers and thorns; it even sets the thickets in the forest ablaze, and they roll up in a column of smoke. 19 The land is burnt up by the wrath of Commander Yehovah, and the people are like fuel for the fire; no one spares their neighbor. 20 They carve food with their right hand, but are still hungry, they eat with the left hand, but they’re not satisfied. Everyone will eat the flesh of their own children [or arm], 21 Manasseh is against Ephraim. Ephraim is against Manasseh, and together they are against Judah. Yet after all this His anger has not subsided, and His fist is still 'raised'.

[1] Aramaic (Syriac) Barnes footnotes.

ISAIAH 10

'Survivors' Will Return

1 How dreadful it will be for those who enact evil laws and for those who write oppressive regulations 2 to deprive the needy of justice and to rob the poor of My people of their rights, so that widows are their 'victims', and steal from orphans. 3 What will you do on the Fateful Day when devastation comes from afar? Who will you flee to for help, and where will you stash your 'cash'? 4 There will be nothing to do but to crouch among the captives or fall among the dead.

After all of this His anger hasn’t subsided, and His 'fist' is still raised to strike.

5 “It will be dreadful for Assyria, the rod of My anger, the one handling the staff of My wrath! 6 I’ll send him against a 'secular' [profane, heathen, apostate] nation, against the people who anger Me. I’ll give him the command to take loot and to seize plunder and trample them down like mud in the streets. 7 But it’s not something they planned, it wasn’t something premeditated, it’s just in their nature to destroy, to conquer 'one nation after another'. 8 He asks, ‘Aren’t all of my commanders kings? 9 Isn’t Calno like Carchemish? Isn’t Hamath like Arpad? Isn’t Samaria like Damascus? 10 I grasped the idolatrous kingdoms whose carved images excelled those of Jerusalem and of Samaria, 11 so shouldn’t I deal with Jerusalem and her images the way I dealt with Samaria and her idols?’”

12 When Yehovah has finished all His work against Mount Zion and Jerusalem, He’ll punish the king of Assyria for his pride and his arrogant 'countenance'. 13 He has said: “I’ve handled this by my own power and wisdom, because I’m so resourceful. I eliminated national boundaries and looted their treasures; as a mighty conqueror I brought down people who sat on thrones. 14 I found the wealth of the people like 'robbing' a nest; like someone gathering abandoned eggs, I gathered the entire 'region'. Not one of them flapped a wing or chirped.”

15 Does an ax rise against the person who splits with it? Does a saw become greater than the person who saws with it? Can a rod strike without someone to move it, can a cane lift someone up? 16 So the Sovereign, Commander Yehovah will send a wasting disease among 'Assyria’s' elite warriors. And under his splendor He will kindle a blazing flame. 17 Israel’s Light will become a fire and His 'special' One a flame, and it will burn and devour his thorns and briers in a single day. [1]. 18 He’ll destroy the majestic forest and the orchards, both 'life' and body, like when a sick person wastes away. 19 The remaining trees in his forest will be so few that a child could 'count' them.

20 When That Day Comes* the remainder of Israel and the survivors of the house of Jacob will never again rely on the one who struck them, but will truly rely on the Word* of Yehovah, the Cherished [holy] One of Israel. 21 'Survivors' will return, 'survivors' of Jacob to the Mighty Elohim. 22 Tho your people Israel are like grains of sand on the seashore, only a few survivors will return. Righteous destruction is necessary. 23 The Sovereign, Yehovih [a variant spelling] the Commander has decreed complete destruction on the 'region'.

24 So the Sovereign, Yehovih [variant spelling] the Commander, says:

“My people who live in Zion, don’t be afraid of the Assyrian who beats you with a rod and raises his staff against you the way Egypt did. 25 In just a little while My anger against you will be finished, and My anger will turn to their destruction.”

26 Commander Yehovah will raise a whip against him, like the slaughter of Midian at the rock of Oreb; His rod will be over the Red Sea, and He’ll lift it up the way He did in Egypt. 27 When That Day Comes, his burden will be lifted from your shoulders and his yoke from your neck, and the yoke will be destroyed because you’ve grown fat.

28 'The Assyrian' has come to Aiath and passed thru Migron, storing his equipment in Michmash. 29 They’ve gone thru the pass saying, “We’ll spend the night in Geba.” Ramah trembles; Gibeah of Saul has fled. 30 Cry out loud daughter of Gallimm! Pay attention Laish and miserable Anathoth! 31 Madmenah is a fugitive. The people of Gebim fled for safety.

32 Today he [the Assyrian] will stop at Nob, shaking his fist at the mountain of the maiden Zion at Jerusalem’s hill.

33 The Sovereign, Commander Yehovah will lop the boughs with terrifying force! The tall will be cut down, and the lofty will be felled. 34 He’ll cut down the thickets of the forest with an iron ax. Lebanon will fall in front of the Majestic One.

[1] This is how it reads in the oldest known Scriptures, the Aramaic Targums, “Then Yehovah, the Light of Israel and His 'special' One, His Word*, strong as fire, and His word as a flame will kill and put an end to his rulers and governors in one day.”

ISAIAH 11

Wolves Will Live With Lambs

1 Then a shoot will sprout from the stump of Jesse, and a BRANCH from his roots will take root. 2 'Yehovah’s spirit' will rest on Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and power, the spirit of knowledge and of the reverence of Yehovah. 3 He’ll delight in reverencing Yehovah.

He won’t judge by appearances, or make judgments based on hearsay. 4 He’ll judge the poor with righteousness, making decisions with equality for the poor of the earth. He’ll strike the earth with the scepter of His mouth, and with a breath from His lips He’ll destroy the wicked. 5 Righteousness will be the belt around His waist, and faithfulness the belt around His hips.

6 When That Day Comes, wolves will live with lambs, and leopards will lie down with young goats. Calves, young lions and fattened calves grazing together, and little children will lead them. 7 Cows and bears will graze together, and their young ones will lie down together. Lions will eat straw like oxen. 8 Babies will play with dragons, and young children will reach into cockatrice dens. 9 They won’t hurt or destroy on all [1] My 'special' mountain, because the land [eretz: region, vs 10-11] will be as filled with the knowledge of Yehovah as the water covering the sea. [2]

10 When That Day Comes* the nations will seek the root of Jesse, who stands as a rallying banner for the nations. His resting place will be majestic. 11 When That Day Comes, Yehovah will extend His hand a second time to recover the survivors of His people from Assyria [Iraq/Turkey], Egypt, Pathros [Upper Egypt], Cush [Ethiopia], Elam [SW Iran], Shinar [Babylon], Hamath [Upper Syria] and from the islands of the sea.

12 He’ll raise a banner 'among' the nations and gather the exiles of Israel, AND gather together the scattered people of Judah from the four corners of the earth.

13 Ephraim’s jealousy will vanish, and those who harass Judah will be cut down. Ephraim won’t envy Judah, and Judah won’t show hostility toward Ephraim. 14 They’ll swoop down on the slopes of the Philistines on the west, and together they’ll plunder the nations to the east. They’ll take possession of Edom and Moab, and the Ammonites will be subject to them. 15 Yehovah will completely 'dry up' the 'gulf' of the Sea of Egypt [Red Sea] with His scorching wind. He’ll wave His hand over the Euphrates River, and split it into seven streams so that people can across in sandals. 16 There will be a highway for the survivors of His people from Assyria like there was for Israel during the day when they came out of Egypt.

[1] Of the 30 places where 'special (holy) mountain' appears, almost every reference is to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, but a few apparently include all of Jerusalem. [2] Notice that the “knowledge of Yehovah” fills the Land of Israel (not really the earth) (v.9) completely before making much of a dent beyond Israel. Verses 10-11 make it abundantly clear that Israel must be fixed before the neighbors begin to “recover”.

ISAIAH 12

Proclaim His Name

1 When That Day Comes* you’ll say:

“I’ll praise You, Yehovah, because tho You were angry with me, You turned Your anger away from me and You comfort me. 2 Surely Elohim will save me. I’ll trust and not be afraid, because Yah, Yehovah, is my strength, my song, and He has become my deliverer.” 3 With joy you will all draw water from the springs of deliverance.

4 When That Day Comes, you’ll all say:

“Give thanks to Yehovah! Proclaim His name. Tell the nations what He is doing. Let them know that His name is highly honored! 5 Sing to Yehovah, because He has done excellent things! Make this known thruout the earth! 6 Shout aloud and sing for joy, citizens of Zion, because the great 'special' One of Israel is among you.”

ISAIAH 13

The Destruction of Babylon

1 The 'burdensome prophecy' against Babylon that Amoz’s son Isaiah saw:

2 “Raise a banner on the bare mountain! Raise your voice to them! Wave them on as they enter the gates of the nobles. 3 I’ve commanded My chosen ones; I’ve summoned My warriors to execute My anger, and they will rejoice when I am exalted.”

4 Commotion on the mountains like that of many people! There’s an uproar among the kingdoms, like nations being gathered together! Commander Yehovah is mobilizing the army for the battle. 5 They’re coming from distant countries [1] , from the farthest horizons, Yehovah and the weapons of His wrath—to destroy the entire land.

The Day of the LORD Yehovah is Coming

6 Cry loudly, because the Day of Yehovah is near! It will come like destruction from the Sovereign. 7 That’s why everyone’s hands will go limp, and everyone’s courage will fail. 8 They’ll be terrified. Pain and sorrows will overcome them. They’ll writhe in pain like a woman in labor. They’ll look at each other in astonishment. Their faces aflame with fear.

9 The Day of Yehovah is coming—a cruel day with wrath and fierce anger, to make the land a desolation and to destroy all the sinners within it. 10 The stars in the sky and their constellations will no longer shine. The sun will be darkened when it rises, and the moon won’t reflect its light. [This event precedes the shaking of v.13, when the Day of Yehovah is “at hand”] 11 “I’ll punish the land for its evil and the wicked for their wickedness. I’ll put an end to the arrogance of the proud and humble the pride of the ruthless. 12 I’ll make people scarcer than pure gold, and mankind more rare than the gold of Ophir. 13 So I’ll make the 'sky above' tremble and the land will be shaken out of its place at the wrath of Commander Yehovah during the Day of His fierce anger.”

14 Like hunted gazelle, like sheep without a 'shepherd', they’ll each return to their own people, and each will flee to their own land. [It’s a land of immigrants!] 15 Anyone who is found will be stabbed to death, and whoever is caught will be 'executed'. 16 Their babies will be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses will be ransacked and their wives raped.

17 “I’ll stir up the Medes against them. They don’t value silver and have no desire for gold. 18 Their bows will cut young men to pieces. They’ll have no mercy on the 'children', and they won’t have compassion on the babies.” 19 And Babylon, the jewel of the kingdoms, the splendor and pride of the 'Babylonians' will be overthrown by Elohim like Sodom and Gomorrah. 20 'Babylon' will never be inhabited. No one will settle there from generation to generation. Shepherds won’t even let their flocks rest there. 21 But desert animals will lie there, and owls will fill the houses. Ostriches will also live there, and shaggy goats will frolic there. 22 Hyenas will howl in their castles, and dragons * in the luxurious palaces. Her time is about to come and the 'time' will not be postponed.

[1] Eretz is an interesting Hebrew word. It’s used twice in Isaiah 13:5. The second usage is far more important. Is the whole land/country going to be destroyed or is it the earth/world? On this compilation of 38 translations, see how ofter it’s translated as land/country vs earth/world. While there type in “land” on your keyboard and how often land shows up. They all appear for a moment, but then vanish, so punch F3 and count away. (Hint context in verse 1.) The translation of eretz can be a real game changer, such as in Zechariah 14:9!

ISAIAH 14

Fallen From Heaven

1 Yehovah will have mercy on Jacob and choose Israel again, and settle them in their own land. Immigrants [voluntary proselytes] will join them and merge with Jacob’s descendants. 2 The nations will escort them to their 'homeland'. The House of Israel will take their captors captive and rule over their oppressors, making them servants and handmaids—ruling over their oppressors in Yehovah’s chosen land.

3 During this time Yehovah will give you rest from your sorrow and trouble and from the harsh labor that you endured.

4 You’ll taunt the king of Babylon by saying:

“How the tyrant has ceased! The slave driver has ceased! 5 Yehovah has broken the staff of the wicked, the scepter of the rulers 6 who struck people down with wrath and incessant blows, who furiously subdued the nations with relentless tyranny. 7 The whole earth is at rest and quiet. They burst into shouts of joy. 8 Even the cypress trees and the cedars of Lebanon gloat over you and say, ‘Since you were downed, no lumberjack has come against us.’

9 “Sheol [the grave; “hell”: KJV] below is excited about meeting you at your coming. It wakes up the spirits of the dead for you, all the lead goats of the earth; it raises all the kings of the nations from their thrones. 10 They will all say to you, ‘You’ve become as weak as we are! You’re just like one of us! 11 Your pride has been brought down to sheol, along with the sound of your stringed instruments. Maggots are spread out like a bed beneath you and worms are your covers.’

12 “How you’ve fallen from heaven, Morning Star [not Lucifer!], son of the dawn! You’ve been cut down to the ground, you who brought down the nations! 13 You said to yourself, ‘I’ll ascend to heaven! I’ll raise my throne above the stars of Elohim! I’ll sit on the mount of assembly in the furthest parts of the north! 14 I’ll ascend above the highest clouds! I’ll make myself comparable to the Supreme!’ 15 Yet you’ll be brought down to sheol, to the depths of the pit.

16 Those who see you will gaze at you and ponder, ‘Is this the man [1] who caused the earth to quake and made the kingdoms tremble, 17 who made the world like a wilderness and overthrew its cities, who wouldn’t allow his captives to go home?’

18 “The kings of the nations all lie sleeping in splendor, each in his own tomb. 19 But you were hurled from your tomb like a highly detestable branch, covered with the slain who were impaled with swords, who descend to the stones of the pit like a trampled corpse. 20 You won’t join them in burial because you’ve destroyed your land and slaughtered your people. May the offspring of wicked people never be mentioned again! 21 Prepare a slaughter house for his children because of the sins of their ancestors [that they imitate] so they’ll never rise up and take over the earth or fill the surface of the earth with such cities.”

22 “I’ll rise up against them,” says Commander Yehovah “and wipe out Babylon’s [royal] name [reputation?], offspring and posterity,” says Yehovah. 23 “I’ll make it a home for hedgehogs [or owls, etc] and pools of water. I’ll sweep it with a broom of destruction,” says Commander Yehovah.

The Assyrian Crushed

24 Commander Yehovah has sworn, “Just as I intended, so it will happen, and just as I planned, so it will stand. 25 I’ll crush the Assyrian in My land, and I’ll trample him under foot on My mountains. Then his yoke will be removed from them and his burden removed from their shoulders.” 26 This is the plan in store for the whole earth; and this is the hand that is reaching out against all the nations. 27 Commander Yehovah has planned it, and who can stop it? Once His hand is reached out; who could turn it back?”

28 This 'burdensome prophecy' came during the year that king Ahaz died:

29 None of you Philistines should be celebrating now that the [Jewish] rod that struck you is broken, because from the serpent’s stock a viper will emerge, and his 'offspring' will be a flying dragon. 30 The 'poorest' of the poor will eat, and the needy will lie down in safety. But I’ll destroy your root with famine, and your survivors will be killed.

31 Wail, you gates! Cry out, city! Melt in fear, Philistia, because a dust cloud is coming from the north. There are no stragglers. Everyone is in their appointed place. 32 What should we tell the ambassadors of the nations? Tell them, “Yehovah has founded Zion, and in her the afflicted of His people WILL TAKE REFUGE.”

[1] So is this about a man or Satan? Is it possible for a Spirit Being to be converted to flesh and then killed? Isn’t that what happened to Yeshua?

ISAIAH 15

Against Moab

1 The 'burdensome prophecy' against Moab:

;Ar in Moab is devastated, destroyed in one night. Kir of Moab is laid waste in one night—ruined 2 They’ve gone up to the high place and Dibon, to the high places to weep. Moab wails over Nebo and over Medeba. Every head is shaved and every beard is cut off. 3 In the streets they wear sackcloth; on their housetops and in their squares everyone is wailing and going around crying. 4 Heshbon and Elealeh cry out, their voices are heard as far as Jahaz. So the armed men of Moab cry aloud, trembling from within.

5 My 'spirit' cries out for Moab; his fugitives flee as far as Zoar and Eglath Shelishiyah. They go up the slope of Luhith crying. They cry aloud over the destruction on the road to Horonaim. 6 The water of Nimrim is desolate and the grass has withered away; new growth has ceased and nothing green is left. 7 So they’ll carry away the wealth they’ve acquired and their belongings over the Brook of the Willows. 8 Their cry of distress has echoed thruout the territory of Moab; her wailing reaches as far as Eglaim, their lamentation as far as Beer Elim. 9 The streams of Dimon are full of blood, but I’ll bring even more on Dimon—lions for the fugitives of Moab, and those who remain behind.

ISAIAH 16

Fugitives in ‘Petra’

1 You [Moabite fugitives in Edom] send tribute lambs to the ruler of the land, from Selah [Petra] thru the wilderness to the mountain of the maiden Zion. 2 The daughters of Moab will be like fluttering birds forced from their nest at the fords of the Arnon River.

3 “Give us advice and make a decision! Cast your shadow like night at high noon! Shelter the fugitives! Don’t betray the refugees! 4 Allow My fugitives of Moab to stay with you! Be a hiding place to them from the destroyer.”

The oppressor has come to an end, and destruction has ceased. Marauders have vanished from the land. 5 A throne will be established in faithfulness. Someone from the tent of David will sit on it who seeks justice, a Righteous Judge who swiftly does what is right.

6 We’ve heard about Moab’s pride, such extreme pride—his arrogance, his conceit, his wrath and his groundless lies. 7 So Moab will wail for Moab. All of the Moabites will wail. Lament and grieve over the ruins [or raisin cakes] of Kir Hareseth. 8 The fields of Heshbon have withered as well as the vineyards of Sibmah; the rulers of the nations have trampled down its choice clusters that reached as far as Jazer and spread toward the desert. Its tendrils spread out and reached the sea.

9 So I’ll cry bitterly for Jazer and the vineyards of Sibmah; I’ll 'drench' Heshbon and Elealeh with My tears since the shouts of joy over your summer fruit and your grain harvest have fallen silent. 10 Joy and gladness have been taken away from the orchards; no one is singing or shouting for joy in the vineyards. No one treads out wine in the presses. I’ve made the shouting stop. 11 So my 'insides' moan like a harp for Moab, as does my innermost being for Kir Heres. 12 So when Moab appears at his high place, he only tires himself out; when he enters his sanctuary to pray, he won’t be able.

13 This is the 'message' [Lit: word] that Yehovah gave to Moab in the past. 14 But now Yehovah says, “Within three years, as a hireling bound by a contract would count them, the splendor of Moab will be degraded 'despite' her large population, and her survivors will be very few and insignificant.”

ISAIAH 17

Damascus Destroyed and Another Jewish Holocaust!

1 The 'burdensome prophecy' against Damascus: “Damascus is about to become a heap of ruins rather than a city! [1] 2 The cities of Oraru [Dead Seas Scrolls] will be deserted. They’ll be places for flocks to lie down, and no one will frighten them. 3 The fortified cities will disappear from Ephraim [Tel Aviv area], and sovereignty from Damascus. The survivors of Aram [Syria] will be like the splendor of the Israelites,” declares Commander Yehovah.

4 “When That Day Comes* the splendor of Jacob [Israel] will 'fade', and his fattened 'body' will become gaunt. 5 It will be like a harvester gathering standing grain [by the armful], and harvesting the ears with the [other] arm. It will be like gathering grain in the Rephaim Valley [between Jerusalem and Bethlehem]. 6 But some gleanings will remain in 'Israel' like an olive tree that had been beaten—two or three olives on the highest branch, four or five on its fruitful branches,” declares Yehovah, the Elohim of Israel.

7 When That Day Comes, people will look to their Creator and they’ll 'see' the Word, the 'special' One of Israel [2]. 8 They’ll disregard the altars they made with their hands, they won’t respect what their fingers made or the Asherah poles or the sun images.

9 When That Day Comes, their strong cities will be like abandoned places in the forest, or like places abandoned to thickets and undergrowth [like the land of the Hivites and Amorites] [3] were abandoned before the Israelites; and the 'homeland' will be devastated.

10 You’ve forgotten the Elohim of your deliverance, and haven’t remembered the Rock whose Word* was your strength. So you plant luscious plants and propagate exotic cuttings. 11 On the day that you transplant them, you fence them in. One morning you nurture them so they’ll grow, but the expected harvest becomes a pile of brush in a time of grief and unbearable sorrow.

12 How terrible it will be for many people who rage like the roaring sea! The uproar of nations is like the roar of 'rushing' water! 13 Tho the nations roar like a surge of rushing water, He’ll reprimand them, and they’ll scatter far away, driven like chaff in the mountains before the wind, or like whirling dust before a gale. 14 In the evening, sudden terror! By morning they no longer exist! This is the 'fate' of those who plunder us, and what will happen to those who rob us.

[1] No city in history has experienced such total and permanent destruction—yet, not even Hiroshima or Nagasaki! Verse 14 also indicates instantaneous destruction; both modern Israel and Damascus can expect destruction within a single day. Damascus is the oldest continuously occupied city in the world. This is not history! [2] This is how it reads in the oldest known Scriptures, the Aramaic Targum: . And they’ll hopefully see the Word, the 'special' One of Israel with their own eyes.” [3] For once the LXX, with access to older texts then, apparently preserved a phrase that seems lacking in the Hebrew. See the Benson & Cambridge Commentaries.

ISAIAH 18

Against Ethiopia (or Egypt?)

1 How terrible it will be for the land of whirring wings that lies beyond the rivers of Cush, 2 that sends ambassadors by the sea in papyrus boats over the water.

Go, swift messengers to a nation of tall and smoothed skinned people feared far and wide, a powerful and oppressive nation whose land is divided by rivers.

3 Listen all you inhabitants of the world, everyone who lives on the earth. When a warning banner is raised on the mountain, you’ll see it! When the shofar sounds, you’ll hear it! 4 This is what Yehovah told me: “I’ll remain quiet and watch from My dwelling place like shimmering heat in the sunshine, like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest.” 5 Tho before the harvest, when the blossoming is over and sour grapes become ripening grapes, He’ll cut off the shoots with a pruning knife and clear away the spreading branches. 6 They’ll be left to the mountains’ ravenous birds and the wild animals from the land. The ravenous birds will summer on them, and all of wild animals of the land will winter on them.

7 When That Day Comes, tribute will be brought to Commander Yehovah from a tall and smooth skinned people who are feared 'far and wide', a powerful and oppressive nation, whose land is divided by rivers, to the place where Commander Yehovah is renouned—Mount Zion.

ISAIAH 19

Against Egypt

1 The 'burdensome prophecy' against Egypt:

Yehovah rides on a swift cloud and is about to come to Egypt! The idols of Egypt will tremble at His presence, and the 'courage' of the Egyptians will melt from within them.

2 I”ll incite Egyptians against Egyptians; and everyone will fight against their brothers, everyone against their neighbors, city against city and kingdom against kingdom. 3 The spirits of the Egyptians within them will be drained of courage, and I’ll frustrate their plans. They’ll resort to idols and ghosts of the dead and to mediums and spiritists. 4 I’ll hand over the Egyptians to a cruel lord. A fierce king will rule over them,” declares the Sovereign, Commander Yehovah.

5 The water sources [DSS] of the sea will dry up and the [Nile] riverbed will become parched and dry. 6 The canals will stink and the streams of Egypt will dwindle and dry up. The reeds and rushes will wither away. 7 The bulrushes along the Nile, at the edge of the Nile, and all the fields planted beside the Nile river will dry up, be blow away and vanish. 8 The fishermen will lament, and everyone who fishes in the Nile will mourn, anyone who casts nets on the water will waste away. 9 Those who make linen from combed flax, and those who weave white cloth will despair. 10 Those who are pillars will be crushed, and all her wage earners will be demoralized.

11 The princes of Zoan are complete fools; Pharaoh’s wisest advisers give senseless advice. How can you say to Pharaoh, “I’m a descendant of wise men, a descendant of ancient kings”?

12 So where then are your wise men? They should speak up now, and reveal what Yehovah the 'Commander’s plan is for Egypt. 13 The officials of Zoan have become fools; the princes of Memphis are delusional. The cornerstones of her tribes have led Egypt astray. 14 Yehovah has poured a spirit of confusion on her. 'Her leaders' have led Egypt astray in everything that it does like a drunk sliding around in his own vomit. 15 There will be nothing that Egypt can do—from the head to the tail, palm branch or bulrush.

16 When That Day Comes* the Egyptians will be like women. They’ll tremble in reverence because Commander Yehovah is shaking His 'fist', He’s shaking it 'at' them. 17 The mere mention of the land of Judah [not all 12 tribes] will terrify Egypt because of what Commander Yehovah is planning against it.

18 When That Day Comes there will be five cities in Egypt that will speak the language of Canaan [Hebrew] and swear by Commander Yehovah. One will be called the City of Destruction [1].

19 When That Day Comes, there will be an altar to Yehovah in the center of the land of Egypt, and a monument to Yehovah at its border. 20 It will become a sign and a witness to Commander Yehovah in Egypt. When they cry out to Yehovah because of their oppressors, He’ll send them a Liberator [The Son] and Champion [Mighty One] who will rescue them. 21 When That Day Comes, Yehovah will reveal Himself to Egypt, and the Egyptians will know Yehovah. They’ll even worship with zebakim [sacrifices] and offerings, and make vows to Yehovah and keep them. 22 Yehovah will strike Egypt with a plague, striking but then healing. They’ll turn to Yehovah, and He’ll respond to them and heal them.

23 When That Day Comes, there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. The Assyrians will travel to Egypt and the Egyptians to Assyria. The Egyptians will worship with the Assyrians. 24 When That Day Comes, Israel will be part of a triple alliance with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing amid the earth. 25 Commander Yehovah will bless them, saying, “Blessed is Egypt My people, Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel My heritage.”

[1] Some of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Masoretic manuscripts read “City of the Sun ”, while most Masoretic texts read “City of Destruction.”

ISAIAH 20

Ancient Assyria Against Egypt

1 During the year when King Sargon of Assyria sent his commander to fight against Ashdod, he captured it. 2 At that time Yehovah spoke thru Amoz’s son Isaiah: “Go and untie the sackcloth from your waist, and remove your sandals from your feet.” So he went around around naked and barefoot.

3 Then Yehovah said, “Just as My servant Isaiah has gone around naked and barefoot for three years as a sign and a harbinger against Egypt and Cush, 4 in the same way the king of Assyria will lead away Egyptian captives and the exiles of Cush, young and old, naked and barefoot, with bare butts—to Egypt’s shame. 5 They’ll be shattered and humiliated because of Cush their hope and Egypt their pride. 6 When That Day Comes, people on this coast will say, ‘Look at what happened to those we relied on for help and rescue from the king of Assyria! Now, how can we escape?’”

ISAIAH 21

Babylon Has Fallen—And Will Again

1 The 'burdensome prophecy' against the desert by the sea: Like whirlwinds sweeping thru the Negev, it comes from the wilderness, from a land of terror.

2 A troubling vision has been shown to me: A traitor betrays, and a destroyer destroys. Go up Elam, attack Media! I’ve put an end to the groaning she caused.

3 So my stomach is filled with anguish; pangs have seized me like the pangs of a woman in labor; I’m in so much pain that I can’t hear. I’m so terrified I can’t see. 4 My 'mind' is reeling, horror overwhelms me; the twilight I longed for has turned into terror.

5 They set the tables, they spread the carpets, they eat, they drink! Get up captains, oil your shields!

6 This is what Yehovah told me: “Go, station a lookout and have him report what he sees. 7 When he sees chariots, cavalry in pairs, a troop of donkeys, riders on donkeys and riders on camels, have him pay close attention, very close attention.”

8 Then the lookout called like a lion, “Yehovah, I stand continually on the watchtower during the day, and I stay at my guard post every night. 9 Here comes chariots, cavalry in pairs!” And one of them is saying: ‘Babylon has fallen, has fallen! And He has smashed all the images of her gods to the ground.”

10 You are my crushed people 'lying' on the threshing floor! What I’ve heard from Commander Yehovah, the Elohim of Israel, I’m announceing to you.

11 The 'burdensome prophecy' against Dumah [Edom]: “Someone keeps calling to me from Seir, ‘Watchman, what is left of the night? Watchman, what is left of the night?’ 12 The watchman replies, ‘Morning is coming, but also the night. If you want to ask, then ask! Come back again.”

13 The 'burdensome prophecy' against Arabia: Caravans of Dedanites will camp for the night in the thickets in Arabia. 14 People of Tema, bring water for the thirsty and meet the fugitives with their bread. 15 They fled from the swords, from drawn swords, and from bent bows and from the 'heat' of battle.”

16 This is what Yehovah told me: “Within a year, as a hired worker counts 'years', all the splendor of Kedar will have gone. 17 When That Day Comes* the surviving Kedarite archers will be few in number, as Yehovah, the Elohim of Israel has spoken.”

ISAIAH 22

“The verbs [in ch 22] which in the English version are in the past tense are really in a kind of prophetic present, painting the future as if actually passing before the prophet’s gaze.” Ellicott's Commentary. Of the 112 places in the Prophets where “in that day” or as I word it When That Day Comes, every reference concerns the Day of Yehovah (following the Great Tribulation) or else the very beginning of the 7th millennium!

The Key of David

1 The 'burdensome prophecy' against the Valley of Vision:

What is troubling you? Why have you all gone up to the housetops? 2 You [Jerusalem] were filled with noise, a jubilant city, a city of revelry; your dead weren’t killed by 'violence'; they didn’t die in battle. 3 All your rulers fled at once, and have been captured without their bows [unarmed]. All the fugitives who were found were rounded up, tho they had fled far away. 4 So I said, “Don’t look at me. Allow me to cry bitterly. Don’t insist on consoling me about the destruction of the daughter of my people.”

5 The Sovereign Commander Yehovah has planned a day of panic, trampling and perplexity, battering down walls and crying to the mountain [1] in the Valley of Vision. 6 Elam took up their quivers with chariots, 'infantry' and cavalry. Kir uncovers its shields. 7 Your favored valleys were full of chariots, and the cavalry took up fixed positions at the gates. 8 He stripped away the defenses of Judah. When that day came you depended on the weapons of the House of the Forest of Lebanon [1 Kings 7:2-6]. 9 You saw the many breaches in the wall of the City of David, so you stored water from the Lower Pool. 10 Then you numbered the houses of Jerusalem and tore 'some' down to fortify the wall. 11 You built a reservoir between the two walls 'to store' water from the Old Pool. But you didn’t 'depend' on its Maker or take into consideration the One who planned it long ago.

12 The Sovereign, Yehovih [a variant spelling] the Commander called for crying and mourning that day, for 'shaving heads' and wearing sackcloth. 13 Instead, there is joy and revelry, butchering cattle and slaughtering sheep, eating meat and drinking wine, they were thinking, “Let’s eat and drink, because tomorrow we die.”

14 Commander Yehovah 'Personally' told me: “Surely your wickedness won’t be forgiven until you die” [2], says the Sovereign Commander Yehovah.

15 This is what the Sovereign Yehovih [a variant spelling] the Commander says, “Go to Shebna, the treasurer in charge of the 'palace' and ask him:

16 ‘What are you doing here. What right do you have to carve out a tomb for yourself, hewing your grave on an elevated site, chiseling your resting place out of rock? 17 Yehovah is about to firmly grab you and violently hurl you away! 18 He’ll roll you around and around and throw you like a ball into a vast country. You’ll die and your splendid chariots will remain there. You’re a shame to your master’s house.

19 “I’ll remove you from your office. You’ll be thrown out of your position. 20 When That Day Comes* I’ll call for My servant, Hilkiah’s son Eliakim. 21 I’ll give 'Eliakim' your robe to wear and tie your sash securely around him. I’ll hand him your authority, and he’ll be like a father to the residents of Jerusalem and the house of Judah. 22 I’ll place the key of David’s dynasty on his shoulder. What he opens no one will shut, and what he shuts no one will open. 23 I’ll drive him [Eliakim, v.20] like a nail into a secure place. He’ll be a throne of honor to his father’s family. 24 They’ll hang on him all the honor of his father’s family, the descendants and offspring, and every small utensil, from the cups to all the jars.”

25 When That Day Comes, declares Commander Yehovah, “The nail that was firmly driven will give way. It will sheer off and fall, as will the load hanging from it.” Yehovah has spoken.”

[1] Compare this mountain to Isaiah 2:2-3, Micah 4:2 and Zechariah 8:3 [2] The Targum interpretation is the second death: no forgiveness even after they die—Gills.

ISAIAH 23

Modern Tyre Forgotten Seventy Years

1 The 'burdensome prophecy' [not oracle] against Tyre:

“Wail, you ships of Tarshish! Tyre is laid waste without house or harbor! Reports have come in from the land of Kittim. [1] 2 Be silent you people of the [British] Islands, you merchants from Sidon, whose seafarers are overflowing with merchandise. 3 On 'the Mediterranean' the grain of the Nile came as her revenue. She had been the marketplace for the nations. [A seafaring Superpower!]

4 Be ashamed, Sidon, the stronghold by the sea has spoken, “I’ve never labored or given birth, raised young men or brought up virgins.” 5 When the news reaches Egypt, they’ll be in anguish over the report about Tyre. 6 Cross over to Tarshish! Wail inhabitants of the coastland! 7 Is this your blissful city founded in antiquity, whose 'fast pace' carried her people to colonize distant lands?

8 Who planned this against Tyre, the giver of crowns, whose merchants are princes, whose importers are among the honored people on earth? 9 Commander Yehovah has planned it to humiliate the arrogant beauties and to humiliate all the renowned people of the earth. 10 Pour over your land like the Nile, daughter of Tarshish. There is nothing left to restrain you. 11 He has stretched out His hand over the sea and made its kingdoms tremble. Yehovah has ordered the destruction of Canaan’s fortresses. 12 He said, “You will no longer celebrate, oppressed virgin daughter of Sidon. Get up and cross over to Kittim—even there you’ll find no rest.”

13 Consider the land of the Chaldeans. Their nation didn’t exist until the Assyrians founded it for the wild amimals. They set up their siege towers and stripped its palaces, they made it a ruin.

14 Wail, ships of Tarshish, because your fortress is destroyed!”

15 When That Day Comes* Tyre will be forgotten for seventy years, like the reign of a MONARCH [2]. At the end of seventy years, Tyre will become like the prostitute in the song:

16 “Take a harp and 'strut' around the city, you forgotten whore. Play a sweet melody. Sing many songs, so you’ll be remembered.”

17 Then when the seventy years have elapsed, Yehovah will revive Tyre, and she’ll return to her hire as a prostitute with all the kingdoms on the face of the earth. [Compare to Ezekiel 27 & 28.] 18 Her merchandise and her profits will be set apart for Yehovah. It won’t be stored or hoarded. Her merchandise will be for those who live in the presence of Yehovah, an abundance of food and fine clothing.

[1] In Genesis 10, Kittim is listed as a son of Javan, the son of Japheth, likely representing the Japanese and the Chinese. My reference beginning under heading “A Clue that Identifies the Chinese.” [2] The Hebrew word malak is generally translated as “king” but it can also just mean “monarch”, or even “royal” as in Genesis 49:20, 1 Samuel 25:36, 2 Samuel 14:26; 1 Kings 10:13; Amos 7:1 and Amos 7:13. The Isaiah 23 context continuously references a personified female (sort of like Britannia) culminating in a monarch reigning for 70 years. When it says “the days of a monarch’s reign”, the indication is that it is pinpointing a literal seventy year administration of a particular monarch’s actual governance. An exceedingly rare occurrence! In fact only one monarch in world history has surpassed a 70 year reign! Queen “Elizabeth II is [was] the longest-lived and longest-reigning British monarch, the longest-serving female head of state in history, the oldest living and longest-reigning current monarch, and the oldest and longest-serving incumbent head of state.” She [was] the only person alive who could have had a seventy year long monarchy.

ISAIAH 24

Earth Shaken Violently

1 Yehovah is going to lay waste the earth and devastate it, mar its surface and scatter its inhabitants! 2 It will be the same for priest as with other people, servants like masters, mistresses like maids, buyers like sellers, lenders like borrowers, creditors like debtors. 3 The earth will be completely emptied and completely spoiled because Yehovah has spoken this 'message'.

4 The earth mourns and withers. The world decays and fades away. The prominent leaders of the earth will be helpless. 5 The earth is polluted by its inhabitants because they transgressed the Torah, violated the unchanging rulings and broke the everlasting covenant. 6 So a curse devours the earth, and those who live there are found guilty. The earth’s inhabitants are burned up, and few people survive.

7 The wine 'grapes' mourn as the vines wither. All the carousers groan. 8 The delightful sound of tambourines has stopped. The sound of jubilation ends. The delightful sound of harps has ceased. 9 They no longer sing 'when they' drink wine; alcohol 'seems' bitter to those who drink it. 10 The chaotic city deteriorates; every house is closed to entry. 11 In the streets 'they' cry for wine. All cheer is darkened. Joy is banished from the earth. 12 The city is devastated, its gate is battered to pieces. 13 That’s how it will be on earth among the nations—like shaking of an olive tree [to gather strays], or like gleaning grapes when the harvest is over.”

14 They raise their voices; they shout for joy; they cry aloud from the 'west' about the majesty of Yehovah. 15 So honor Yehovah in the east, in Yehovah’s name, the Elohim of Israel, in the islands of the sea! 16 From the remotest parts of the earth we have heard singing: ‘The Splendor of the Righteous One.’

But I say, ‘I’m wasting away! I’m wasting away! The treacherous continue their treachery, the treacherous are very treacherous.’”

17 Terror, pit and snare confront the inhabitants of the earth. 18 Whoever flees at the sound of the terror will fall into a pit, and whoever climbs up out of the pit will be caught in a snare, because the windows [Literally] 'from high above' are opened, and the foundations of the earth tremble.

19 The earth is broken up. The earth is split apart. The earth is shaken violently. 20 The earth will reel like a drunkard and sway back and forth like a portable shelter. Its rebellion weighs heavy on it. It [rebellion, comp v.23] will fall and never rise again [1]. 21 When That Day Comes* Yehovah will punish the army of angels in the heavenly heights, and the kings of the earth, on earth. 22 (They’ll be rounded up like prisoners in a dungeon. They’ll be confined in prison, and after many days they’ll be punished.) 23 Then the moon will be humiliated and the sun ashamed, because Commander Yehovah will reign on Mount Zion, He’ll display His splendor in the presence of His elders.

[1] There is an attempted coup after a thousand years (Revelation 20:7-10), but it will not prevail.

ISAIAH 25

No Death or Tears for the Israelite Survivors Being Saved!

1 Yehovah, You are my Elohim. I’ll exalt You! I’ll praise Your name, because You’ve done wonderful things, things planned long ago in complete faithfulness and truth. 2 You turn cities [plural Aramaic] into waves of rubble, fortified cities into ruins, the foreigners’ strongholds are cities no more. They will never be rebuilt. 3 So strong people will honor You; cities of ruthless nations will revere You.

4 You’ve been a refuge to the poor, a stronghold to the needy in their distress, a shade from the heat, because the breath of the ruthless is like a violent storm pummeling a wall. 5 [1] Like a thick cloud tempering the heat of the sun on a burnt land, Your intervention 'silences' the victory songs of the powerful.

6 Commander Yehovah will prepare a 'lavish' banquet on this mountain using the 'best foods' for every nation, a banquet with well aged wines, of 'choice' cuts full of marrow and refined wines. 7 On this mountain He (Commander Yehovah) will remove the shroud that looms over all people, the veil that 'overshadows' every nation. 8 He (Commander Yehovah)) will devour death forever! The Sovereign YEHOVAH [2] [“Yeshua”] will wipe away the tears from every face. He’ll eliminate the scorn of His people from the entire earth. Yehovah has spoken!

9 When That Day Comes* Israel will be saying, “This is our Elohim! We have been waiting for Him to save us! This is Yehovah! We’ve been waiting for Him. Let’s rejoice and celebrate His salvation!”

10 Yehovah’s hand will rest on this mountain. But Moab will be trampled under 'foot' like urine soaked straw is trampled into manure in a 'stall'! 11 'The Moabites' will spread out their hands in 'the manure' like someone swimming spreads out their hands to swim, but 'Yehovah' will dash their pride along with their slight of hands. 12 He’ll bring down the “unassailable” fortifications of their walls, lay them low and raze them to the ground, to the very dust.

[1] This verse was clarified by the oldest known Scriptures, the Aramaic Targums. [2] Note the context of the next verse—death ceasing (for the righteous) when Messiah returns. Your Bible most likely says “Lord GOD” in verse 8, but in truth it is “adonai (Sovereign) YHVH”! He, the Alpha and the Omega (Yeshua), is the One who will wipe away the tears! Revelation 21:4-6. Ignore the “GOD”, check the Hebrew: 3069 [e], a slight variant of the name YHVH. See Adonai (Adonai)

ISAIAH 26

Yehovah is Coming!

1 When That Day Comes this song will be sung in the land of Judah: “We have a strong city;

He sets up walls and ramparts for security. 2 Open the gates so that the righteous nation that remains faithful can enter. 3 Those whose minds remain focused will stay in perfect peace because they trust in You. 4 Trust in Yehovah forever, because in Yah, Yehovah, is an everlasting Rock. 5 He has brought down those who live in the high and unassailable city. He brings it down; He brings it down to the ground; He throws it to the dust. 6 It is trampled underfoot by the feet of the oppressed, by the footsteps of the oppressed.

7 The road of the righteous is level; the Upright One levels the path of the righteous. 8 In the path of Your judgments, Yehovah, have we waited expectantly for You; Your name and Your Torah [DSS] are the desire of our lives! 9 I long for You in the night. My spirit within me earnestly searches for You, because when Your judgments are on the earth the world’s inhabitants will learn righteousness. 10 Even if favor is shown to the wicked, they still don’t learn to do what is right. Even in a land of righteousness they go on doing evil and disregard Yehovah’s majesty. 11 Yehovah, Your hand is lifted up to strike, yet they don’t see it. They’ll see Your zeal for the people and be ashamed. Indeed, fire will devour Your enemies.

12 Yehovah, You’ll establish peace for us since You’ve already done everything else for us. 13 Yehovah our Elohim, other masters besides You have ruled over us, but we only acknowledge Your name. 14 They are dead, they won’t live again. Those departed spirits won’t arise. You’ve punished them and destroyed them, and deleted all memory of them. 15 You’ve enlarged the nation, Yehovah. You’ve enlarged the nation. You’ve gained honor. You’ve expanded all the borders of the land.

16 Yehovah, they came to You in their distress. They could only whisper a prayer when You were chastening them. 17 Like a pregnant woman about to give birth writhes and cries out in her pain, so were we before You, Yehovah. 18 We have been pregnant. We writhed in pain. We gave birth, it seems, only to wind. We haven’t brought any delivery to the earth; no births of people into the world.”

19 Your dead will live. Their bodies will rise. Those who lie in the dust will wake up and sing for joy [first resurrection]. Your dew reflects a delightful light, and the earth will push out her dead.

20 Come, My people, enter your rooms [1] and shut your doors behind you. Hide yourselves briefly until 'His' fury has ended. 21 Yehovah is coming out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their wickedness. The earth will reveal her bloodshed and will no longer cover her slain [resurrection of the wicked]”.

[1] A look at 34 usages of this word is often associated with comfort, but never a tomb. This is a place of tranquility during Yehovah’s Day of great wrath, the parallel of “the fifth seal” in Revelation 6:9-11—New Jerusalem!

ISAIAH 27

The Great Shofar Sounds

1 When That Day Comes* [Ch 27:21 above] Yehovah will punish Leviathan with His fierce, large and very sharp sword, the fugitive Leviathan, that twisted serpent. He’ll kill the dragon * in the sea.

2 “When That Day Comes, sing about a pleasant vineyard! 3 I, Yehovah watch over it. I water it continuously. I guard it night and day so that no one will harm it. 4 I’m no longer furious [with Israel]. I wish I had briers and thorns confronting Me! I would set them all on fire. 5 He should come to Me for refuge, so that he could make peace with Me. He should make peace with Me!” 6 In times to come, Jacob will take root. Israel will blossom and sprout. They’ll fill the surface of the earth with fruit.

7 Has He [Yehovah] struck them [Israel] the way He struck those who struck them? Or have they been killed the way their killers were killed? 8 You contended with them incrementally [Barnes] by banishing them, by sending them away. He has expelled them with His fierce wind on the day of the east wind. 9 So thru this the wickedness of Jacob will be atoned for, and this is the full 'price' of 'pardoning' his sin: When he makes all the [pagan] alter stones look like crushed chalk stones, no Ashera poles or incense altars will remain standing. 10 When That Day Comes fortified cities will be deserted, pastures abandoned and forsaken like a wilderness. Calves graze there; they lie down there and feed on its branches. 11 When its branches dry out, they’ll be broken off, and women will come and light fires with them. They are a people without understanding. Their Maker won’t have compassion on them; their Creator will show them no mercy.

12 When That Day Comes, Yehovah will thresh [harvest] from the 'Euphrates' river valley to the Nile * of Egypt. You Israelites will be gleaned [rescued] one by one. 13 When That Day Comes, the Great Shofar will sound, and those who were dying in the land of Assyria and those who were banished to the land of Egypt will come and worship Yehovah on the 'special' Mountain in Jerusalem.

ISAIAH 28

Covenant With Death Canceled

1 How terrible it will be for the arrogant crown of the drunks of Ephraim and the fading flower of its beautiful splendor on the head of the fertile valley of those who are overcome with wine! 2 Yehovah [DSS] has a mighty and strong 'agent'! Like a hailstorm, like a storm with strong flooding water—He has cast it down to the ground with His hand. 3 The arrogant crown of the drunks of Ephraim will be trampled underfoot. 4 The fading flower of his splendid beauty at the head of the fertile valley will be like the first-ripe figs prior to summer—whenever someone sees it, they swallow it as soon as it’s in their hand.

5 When That Day Comes, Commander Yehovah will become a magnificent crown and a beautiful diadem for the survivors of His people. 6 He’ll give a spirit of justice to your judges, and strength to those who repel the 'onslaught' at the gate.

7 They also reel with wine and stagger from liquor. Priests and prophets reel with liquor; they are confused by wine, they stagger from liquor; they reel while seeing visions and stagger when rendering decisions. 8 All their tables are covered with vomit, with not a clean spot left.

9 Who is He trying to teach? Who would He explain the message to? Those just weaned from milk; those just taken from the breast? 10 [The drunkards mockingly say] “Rule after rule, rule after rule, order after order, order after order, a little here, a little there.”

11 So He’ll speak to these people thru stammering speech and a foreign 'language'. 12 He had told them: “This is a place of rest, allow the weary to rest. This is a place of tranquility”—but they wouldn’t listen. 13 So the Word of Yehovah to them will be: “Rule after rule, rule after rule, order after order, order after order, a little here, a little there,”—so they’ll go stumbling backward, to be broken, trapped and taken captive.

14 So listen to the 'message' from Yehovah, you nitwits who rule these people in Jerusalem, 15 You said, ‘We’ve made a covenant with death, and we made an agreement with sheol. So when the overwhelming scourge passes by it won’t reach us, since we’ve made lies our refuge and concealed ourselves with deception.’

16 So the Sovereign Yehovah says:

“I [the Father] am laying a foundation Stone in Zion, a Rock, a tested Stone, a precious Cornerstone, a sure Foundation; [The Son, 1 Peter 2:4-8]! Those who maintain their faith won’t act hastily. 17 I’ll make justice the measuring line, and righteousness the mason’s level. The hail will sweep away the refuge of lies, and water will flood your hiding place. 18 Your covenant with death will be canceled, and your agreement with sheol won’t stand. When the overflowing scourge passes by you’ll be trampled. 19 As often as it passes by it will seize you; morning after morning, by day and by night, and it will be sheer terror to understand what it means.” 20 The bed is too short to stretch out on, and the blanket is too narrow to wrap yourself in.

21 Yehovah will stand on Mount Perazim. He’ll be angry as in the Gibeon Valley in order to do His work, His strange work, and to do His task—His alien task! 22 So don’t be nitwits, or your shackles will become stronger. I’ve heard from the Sovereign, Yehovih [a variant spelling] the Commander of destruction for the whole earth [or land].

23 Listen to what I 'say'. Pay attention to what I’m saying. 24 Does a man harrow nonstop to sow seeds? Does he continuously harrow to prepare the ground? 25 Once he has leveled the surface, he sows black cumin and cumin seed. He plants spelt in rows and barley in plots with rye around its borders. [1] 26 His Elohim instructs and teaches him the right way to plant. 27 The black cumin isn’t threshed with a threshing sledge, and a cart wheel isn’t rolled over cumin. Black cumin is threshed with a rod, and cumin with a club. 28 Grain for bread must be ground; you don’t keep threshing it forever. Tho he runs the wheel of his threshing cart over it, his horses aren’t grinding it. 29 This also comes from Commander Yehovah, whose counsel is wonderful and whose wisdom is magnificent.

[1] This is an example of a companion planting system.

ISAIAH 29

Scoffers Will Cease!

1 “It will be dreadful for Ariel! Ariel, the city where David camped! Year after year, celebrate the feasts in the annual cycle. 2 Then I’ll pressure Ariel, there will be mourning and crying. She’ll be like an altar hearth to Me. 3 I’ll lay siege against you on every side and blockade you with towers. I’ll raise siege works against you. 4 You’ll fall down and speak from the ground. Your voice will emanate from the dust. Your voice will resemble a medium’s coming out of the ground. Your voice will whisper from the dust.

5 “Your many enemies will be like fine dust. The ruthless hordes will be like chaff flying in the wind. It will happen suddenly, instantaneously. 6 Commander Yehovah will come [not Yeshua alone] with thunder clouds, an earthquake, intense howling from hurricanes and whirlwinds and the flames of a consuming fire. 7 The horde of nations that go to war against Ariel, everyone who attacks her and her fortifications and besieges her will be like a dream, a vision in the night. 8 They will be like a hungry man who dreams he is eating, but when he wakes up he’s still hungry, or like when a thirsty man dreams of drinking, but when he wakes up, he is still faint and thirsty. That is how it will be for the hordes of all the nations that fight against Mount Zion.”

9 Stop and be amazed! Blind yourselves and be blind! They are drunk, but not with wine, they stagger, but not from liquor. 10 It’s because Yehovah has poured over you a spirit of deep sleep, and closed the eyes of your prophets, and He has covered the heads of your 'star gazers'.”

11 For you this whole vision will be like words in a sealed scroll. When people give it to someone who can read, and ask, “Read this, please,” they’ll say, ‘I can’t because it’s sealed.’ 12 Then the book is handed to someone who is illiterate and asked, ‘Please read this.’ And he’ll say, “I can’t read.”

13 Then Yehovah said,

“These people draw near with their mouths and honor Me with their lips, but they’ve removed their thoughts far from Me, and their awe of Me is based on human dogma.

14 So watch out! I’ll proceed to do a marvelous work among these people, a marvelous work and a wonder, and the wisdom of their wise men will die, and the understanding of their prudent men will be hidden.”

15 I pity those who try to hide their plans from Yehovah, whose works are done in the dark, and who say, “Who sees us?” And, “Who knows about us?” 16 You turn things upside down! Should a potter be thought to be like clay, so that something he made should say about the one who made it, “He didn’t make me,” or the thing formed say of the one who formed it, “He has no understanding?”

17 In a very little while Lebanon will be turned into a fruitful field, and a fruitful field will be thought of as a forest? 18 When That Day Comes* the deaf will hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind will see out of obscurity and out of darkness. 19 The humble also will increase their joy in Yehovah, and the poor among men will celebrate in the 'special' One of Israel. 20 The ruthless are brought to nothing and nitwits will cease, and all the evil scammers will be killed off— 21 those who falsely incriminate others, who set a trap for the defense in court, needlessly depriving the innocent of justice with their lies.

22 So this is what Yehovah who redeemed Abraham says about the descendants of Jacob:

“Jacob will no longer be ashamed and his face will no longer turn pale. 23 But when they see their children, My handiwork among them, they’ll revere My name. They’ll honor the 'special' One of Jacob AND stand in awe of the Elohim of Israel. 24 Those who are confused will learn the truth, and those who complain will accept instruction.

ISAIAH 30

Your Teachers Revealed

1 Yehovah says, “You rebellious children who carry out plans that are not from Me, and who make an alliance, but not by My spirit, piling sin on top of sin. 2 They proceed down to Egypt without consulting Me; seeking refuge under Pharaoh’s protection, and seeking shelter in Egypt’s shadow! 3 So Pharaoh’s protection will be to your shame, and refuge in Egypt’s shadow your humiliation. [DSS: your longing] 4 Tho they have officials in Zoan and ambassadors as far as Hanes, 5 they’ll all be ashamed because of a people who can’t benefit them, who are of no help or advantage, but only shame and reproach.”

6 The 'burdensome prophecy' about the animals of the Negev: “Thru the land of trouble and anguish, home of lionesses and lions, vipers and flying serpents, they carry their riches on the backs of young donkeys, and their treasures on the humps of camels, to a people [Egyptians] who will not help them. 7 Egypt’s help is totally worthless; call her “Rahab who just sits still.”

8 Now go, write it on a tablet in their presence, and inscribe it on a scroll, so that in the future it will serve as a witness forever. 9 They are rebellious people, deceptive children, children unwilling to hear Yehovah’s Torah. 10 They say to the seers, “Don’t see visions,” and to the prophets, “Don’t prophesy the truth to us. Tell us pleasant things. Prophesy illusions. 11 Get out of the way! Get off of the path. Stop bothering us with the 'special' One of Israel.”

12 So the 'special' One of Israel says: “Since you’ve rejected this 'message' and relied on oppression and deceit and have depended on them, 13 this sin will be like a bulging breach in a high wall that collapses 'very' suddenly on you. 14 Its collapse will be like when a potter’s vessel is smashed, crushed so savagely that no one could find a shard among the broken pieces big enough to scoop fire from a hearth or to dip water from a cistern.”

15 This is what the Sovereign YEHOVAH, the 'special' One of Israel says: “You’ll be saved by returning and resting. Your strength is in calmness and trust”. But you were not willing. 16 You said, “No, we’ll escape on horses.” So you’ll flee! And “We’ll ride on the swift horses.” But those who chase you will be swifter! 17 A thousand will flee being threatened by one; being threatened by five you’ll flee until you are left like a flagpole on a mountain top, or like a banner on a hill.”

The Restoration of Israel

18 Nevertheless, Yehovah is longing to show you mercy. He awaits high above to have compassion on you, because Yehovah is an Elohim of justice. Everyone waiting for Him is blessed. 19 The people of Zion, living in Jerusalem will no longer cry. He’ll surely be merciful to you at the sound of your cry. When He hears you, He’ll answer you. 20 Even tho Yehovah gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers [yes, it’s plural] won’t be hidden any longer. You’ll see your teachers with your own eyes. [Commentary] 21 When you stray to the right or to the left you will hear a voice behind you saying, “This is the right path [Targum], follow it.” [1]

Idolaters Saved!

22 You’ll acknowledge that your silver-plated idols and your gold-plated images are unclean. You’ll throw them away like menstrual rags, and say to them, “Good riddance!”

23 When That Day Comes* He’ll send rain for the seed that you will sow in the soil, and the food that comes from the land will be nutritious and bountiful. When That Day Comes your livestock will graze in spacious pastures. 24 The bulls and the donkeys that work the ground will eat salted fodder that people winnow with shovels and forks. [Say good-by big ag.] 25 When That Day Comes* there will be brooks and streams of water on every high mountain and on every high hill on the day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall [earthquake]. 26 When That Day Comes the light from the moon will be like the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be seven times brighter, like the light of seven days, on the day when Yehovah bandages the fracture of His people and heals the wounds He inflicted.

27 The name of Yehovah comes from far away, with burning anger amid thick rising smoke! His lips are filled with fury and His tongue is like a devouring fire. 28 His breath is like an inundation that rises to the neck. He’ll sift the nations in a sieve of destruction, and put a bridle in their jaws to lead them astray.

29 You’ll sing a song as you would on nights when you celebrate a 'special' Festival. You’ll be filled with joy like someone dancing to the sound of a flute, going up to Yehovah’s mountain to the Rock of Israel. [2]

30 Yehovah will cause His majestic voice to be heard, and reveal the descending of His arm striking in fierce anger, and in the flame of a consuming fire, with cloudburst, thunderstorm and hail. 31 Assyria will be terrified by the voice of Yehovah when He strikes them with His scepter. 32 Every blow from the staff of 'punishment' that Yehovah will lay on him will be to the sound of tambourines and lyres, as He fights them brandishing weapons in battle. 33 The Fire Pit [Gehenna] has long been prepared; truly it is for the [Assyrian] king. He has made it deep and large, a pyre of fire with more than enough wood; Yehovah’s breath, like a stream of burning brimstone, will set it ablaze.

[1] The adage is said to be from when shepherds saw nothing but tails waging and they had to shout from behind since the sheep were straying. In the kingdom of Elohim, when Israel begins to stray, spirit born shepherds will be there to intervene immediately. On leading sheep. [2] It is a common notion of the Jews that the slaughter of the Assyrian army was on the night of the Passover—and it will be at evening time that the latter day [splendor] shall break out, and songs of joy be heard from the uttermost parts of the earth, Zechariah 14:7.”—Gills

ISAIAH 31

Yehovah Shields Jerusalem

1 How dreadful it will be for 'the people' who go down to Egypt for help, and who depend on horses! They trust in their numerous chariots and their mighty cavalry, but don’t look to the 'special' One of Israel or seek Yehovah! 2 In His wisdom He’ll bring disaster. He doesn’t go back on what He says. But He’ll arise up against the house of the wicked, and against the allies of those who do evil. 3 The Egyptians are men, not gods, and their horses flesh, not spirits. When Yehovah reaches out His hand, the helper [Egypt] will stumble and the one who is helped [Judah] will fall; and all of them will perish together.

4 This is what Yehovah told me: “A lion, even a young lion growls over its prey; and even when a band of shepherds is called out against it, it isn’t frightened by their shouts or disturbed by their commotion, similarly Commander Yehovah will come down to fight on Mount Zion and on its heights. 5 Like birds hovering overhead, Commander Yehovah will shield Jerusalem. He’ll protect and save it. He’ll ‘Pass-over’ [1] it and rescue it.”

6 You Israelites! Return to the One you’ve blatantly rebelled against. 7 When That Day Comes* everyone will throw away their hand made silver and gold idols that you made in sin.

8 “The Assyrian/s will fall by a sword, but not by a human made sword—a sword not wielded by humans will devour them, and his young men will become forced laborers. 9 Their 'strength' will fail due to terror, and their commanders will be terrified because of the battle standard,” declares Yehovah, whose fire is in Zion and whose furnace in Jerusalem.

[1] This Hebrew word that literally means to “pass over” is often associated with Passover, as it is here.

ISAIAH 32

Eyes No Longer Closed

1 You see, a king will reign in righteousness and rulers will rule with justice. 2 Each will be like a shelter from the wind and a shelter from storms, like streams of water in the desert and like the shade of a 'huge' rock in a 'parched' land.

3 Then the eyes of those who see won’t be 'closed', and the ears of those who hear will listen. 4 The 'minds' of the reckless will discern the truth, and the tongues of those who stammer will hurry to speak clearly. 5 When That Day Comes, fools will no longer be called noble, and scoundrels won’t be highly regarded. 6 Fools speaks nonsense, their minds are preoccupied with evil. They practice unrighteousness and spread lies about Yehovah, depriving the hungry of food and the thirsty of water. 7 A scoundrel’s methods are wicked. He devises wicked schemes to destroy poor people with lies, even when the needy people plead for justice. 8 But those who are noble devise noble things, and they stand up for noble causes.

9 Rise up, you ladies of leisure and listen to me! You overconfident daughters, listen to what I am saying! 10 In a little more than a year you overconfident women will shudder; the grape harvest will fail; there will be no harvest. 11 Shudder, you ladies of leisure; tremble with fear, you overconfident daughters. Strip down to the waist. Then wrap yourselves in sackcloth and beat your breasts [DSS]. 12 Beat your breasts over the pleasant fields, over the fruitful grapevines, 13 and over the land of My people growing thorns and briers, yes, mourn over all the joyful houses and over this city of revelry. 14 The 'palace' will be abandoned. The populous city will be deserted. The citadel and the watchtowers will become animal lairs before long, a [1] [U] a playground for wild donkeys, pasture for flocks, 15 until the spirit is poured on us from high above, and a wilderness becomes a fertile field, and a fertile field is considered a forest.

16 Then justice will settle into the wilderness, and righteousness will occupy the fertile fields. 17 The result of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and security forever. 18 My people will live in a peaceful environment, in secure homes, and in undisturbed resting places. 19 But hail will level the forest, and the woodland [DSS] will be completely leveled. 20 How blessed those of you will be when you sow crops along the rivers, and allow your bulls and donkeys free range.

[1] My “before long” used here (in connection with verse 10) is incredibly more logical than the word other versions use here: 'forever'. The very first word of verse 15: “until” and the rest of the chapter precludes Jerusalem being a wasteland “forever” (not to mention history and prophecy and that city in the news).

ISAIAH 33

Your Eyes Will See the King

1 It will be dreadful for the destroyer, tho you weren’t destroyed. How horrible it will be for you, betrayer, tho you haven’t been betrayed! Once you’re finished destroying, you’ll be destroyed; and once you’re finished betraying, you’ll be betrayed.”

2 Yehovah, be merciful to us. We have waited for You. Be our strength every morning, our deliverance in times of trouble.

3 At the sound of thunder the people flee. When You rise up, the nations scatter. 4 Your plunder is like a locust 'invasion'. People will swarm over it like an infestation of locusts.

5 Yehovah is exalted, because He lives high above. He has filled Zion with justice and righteousness. 6 When That Day Comes* there will be stability in your time, an abundance of deliverance, wisdom and knowledge. The reverence of Yehovah is your treasure.

7 Listen! Their warriors cry out in the streets; the ambassadors of peace cry bitterly. 8 The highways are deserted; travel has ceased. The Covenant has been broken. He [the enemy] despises the cities and respects no one. 9 The land mourns and wastes away, Lebanon is ashamed and withers; Sharon is like a desert plain, and Bashan and Carmel lose their leaves.

10 “Now I’ll rise up,” Yehovah says, “Now I’ll be exalted. Now I’ll be lifted up. 11 You conceive chaff, you give birth to stubble; your breath will incinerate you like a fire. 12 The people will be burned to ashes, like cut thorns they’ll be set ablaze. 13 Those of you who are far away, listen to what I’ve done; and you who are near, know My strength.”

14 The sinners in Zion are terrified. Trembling has seized the secular people. “Could any of us live thru the devouring fire? Which of us could live with continual burning?” 15 Those who 'live' the right way and speak the truth, who despise profiting from oppression, who wave their hands refusing a bribe, who stop their ears from hearing plots of murder and refuse to 'endorse' evil 16 will live high above. Their refuge will be the mountain fortress [Matthew 24:16]. Their bread will be supplied, their water will be assured [obviously still human].

17 Your eyes will see the King in His splendor. You’ll see a land that stretches into the distance. 18 You’ll meditate on the terror. “Where is the accountant? Where is the one who weighs the silver? Where is the one who counts the towers?” [1] 19 You’ll no longer see the 'barbarians', people with a 'foreign' language that none of you can comprehend, whose stammering 'speech' is incomprehensible.

20 Look at Zion, the city of our appointed Feasts. Your eyes will see Jerusalem, a quiet home, an immovable tent; it’s stakes will never be pulled up, and none of its ropes will be severed. 21 But the majestic Yehovah will be there with us, a place of broad rivers and streams, where no galley with oars will go or any powerful ship pass by. 22 Because Yehovah is our judge. Yehovah writes our laws. Yehovah is our King. He’ll rescue us. 23 Your rigging is insecure. You can’t fasten the base of the mast and spread the sail. Then an abundance of plunder will be divided, and even the lame will take plunder. 24 No one living there will say, “I’m sick.” The people who live there will be forgiven of their disgusting injustice.

[1] Possibly the “engineer, to take care of the fortifications”: Gills

ISAIAH 34

The Year of Payback

1 Come near you nations and listen. Pay attention you people! The earth and everything on it should hear, the world and every living thing. 2 Yehovah is angry with all the nations and furious with their armies. He has devoted them to destruction. He has doomed them to slaughter. 3 Their slain will be thrown out, and the stench of their dead bodies will rise. The mountains will be drenched with their blood. 4 The entire array of stars will disappear. The sky will roll down like a scroll, and all of its stars will fall [1] like withered leaves falling from a grapevine or a fig tree.

5 When My sword is drenched with blood in the sky, it will descend on Edom, a nation I have doomed for destruction. 6 Yehovah’s sword is drenched with blood. It’s covered with fat and with the blood of lambs and goats, with fat from the kidneys of rams. Yehovah 'will receive' a zebak in Bozrah, a great slaughter in the land of Edom. 7 Men as strong as a monoclonius [KJV unicorn] will fall next to them, young bulls with strong ones. Their land will be saturated with blood and their soil will be greasy with fat.

8 It is the Day Yehovah’s Vengeance, a Year of Payback settling the dispute (retribution) over Zion!

9 Edom’s streams will be turned into pitch, and the ground turned to burning sulfur, and its land will become burning pitch. 10 It won’t be quenched night or day. Its smoke will go up forever. From generation to generation it will remain deserted. No one will ever travel thru it. 11 But pelicans [?] and porcupines [?] will take over, and owls and ravens will be at home. 'Elohim' will stretch a measuring line of chaos over it, and a plumb line of emptiness. 12 Her nobles will have no one left to proclaim king, and all her princes will vanish. 13 Her 'palaces' will be overgrown with thorns; her fortified cities with nettles and thistles. It will be a haunt for dragons *, the habitat of ostriches! 14 The desert creatures will meet with the hyenas, and hairy goats will cry to each other. Liliths will settle there, finding their resting places. 15 Arrow snakes [?] will make their nests there and lay their eggs, hatch them and gather their young under the shadow of their wings. Raptors will gather there, each with its mate.

16 Search in Yehovah’s book, and read: Not one of these will be missing. Not one will lack a mate. He 'spoke' the command, and His own spirit gathers them. 17 He has cast a lot for them, and His hand has divided it to them with a measuring line forever. From generation to generation they’ll live there.

[1] This would seem to be another polar shift. Perhaps the New Jerusalem entering our orbit will shift the earth making Jerusalem, both new and old, the new north pole, allowing for a stable rotation. As the earth moves, the stars will appear to be falling to the south. As the motion accelerates they’ll seemingly disappear, just like stars disappear from the image of a moving camera (provided there are not too many frames on a time lapsed video). Psalm 48:1-2 says: Yehovah is great, and greatly to be praised, in the city of our Elohim, on His 'special' mountain. 2 Beautiful in elevation, Mount Zion [New Jerusalem] is the joy of the whole earth, in the extreme north, the city of the great King.

ISAIAH 35

The 'special' Highway

1 The wilderness and the parched land will be overjoyed; the desert will be delighted and blossom like a rose [or crocus?] [1]. 2 It will blossom profusely, and celebrate with joy and singing. It will have Lebanon’s splendor, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They’ll see Yehovah’s splendor, the majesty of our Elohim. 3 Encourage the 'exhausted', steady the shaking knees! 4 Tell those who are afraid, “Be strong. Don”t be afraid. Your Elohim will come with vengeance, Elohim’s retribution is coming, but He’ll save you.”

5 Then the eyes of the blind will be opened, and the ears of the deaf will be unimpeded. 6 Then the lame will leap like deer, and the 'mute' will sing for joy. Water will flow in the wilderness and streams in the desert. 7 The scorched sand will become pools, and thirsty ground artesian springs. The haunts where dragons * once lived will become grass, reeds and papyrus.

8 A highway will be there, a roadway, and it will be called The 'special' Highway. The unclean won’t travel on it, but it will be for those who walk the Way. Fools won’t wander onto it. 9 There won’t be any lions there or any other ferocious beasts getting on it. They won’t be found there, but the redeemed will walk there. 10 Those Yehovah has ransomed will return, will enter Zion with singing with everlasting joy crowning their heads. They’ll be overcome with gladness and joy, as sorrow and mourning flee away.

[1] This has nothing to do with 1948, desalination plants or irrigation (see Isaiah 30:18). Not another verse in this chapter or any verse from Chapter 24 to the end of this chapter (all referencing the same future time) is ever cited by the false prophets who claim that the desert blooming like a rose is being fulfilled now. Same goes for Jeremiah 31:31. Try Isaiah 34:8 for context!

ISAIAH 36

Sennacherib Attacks Judah

1 During the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah’s reign, King Sennacherib of Assyria attacked all the fortified cities of Judah and seized them. 2 The king of Assyria sent his field commander from Lachish to Jerusalem to king Hezekiah with a large army. And he stood by the aqueduct of the Upper Pool on the highway to the Fuller’s Field.

3 Then Hilkiah’s son Eliakim, the 'palace' administrator, and Shebna the secretary, and Asaph’s son Joah the archivist went out to him.

4 The field commander said to them: Tell Hezekiah, “This is what the great king, the king of Assyria, asks: Why are you so confident? 5 I say that your strategy and preparedness for the war are only futile words. Now who are you relying on that you’re rebelling against me? 6 If you’re relying on Egypt, that shattered reed of a staff will pierce the hand of anyone who leans on it. That is what Pharaoh king of Egypt is to anyone who relies on him!

7 “But if you tell me, ‘We trust in Yehovah our Elohim,’ isn’t it He whose high places and whose altars Hezekiah has taken away, while he told Judah and Jerusalem, ‘You will worship before this altar?’

8 “So now, come and make a deal with my master the king of Assyria, and I’ll give you two thousand horses if you’re able to put riders for them! 9 So how can you 'repel' a single commander among the weakest of my master’s 'officials', and rely on Egypt for chariots and cavalry? 10 Have I advanced against this land without Yehovah’s approval to destroy it? Yehovah Himself told me, ‘Advance against this land destroy it.’”

11 Then Eliakim, Shebna and Joah said to the field commander, “Please speak to your servants in Aramaic, since we understand it, and don’t speak to us in the Judean language where the people on the wall can hear it.”

12 But the field commander asked, “Has my master only sent me to your master and to you to say these 'things', and not to the men who sit on the wall—who, like you, are doomed to eat their own excrement and drink their own urine?”

13 Then the field commander stood, and called out with a loud voice in the Judean language and said, “Listen to the 'message' of the great king, the King of Assyria! 14 This is what the king says: Don’t let Hezekiah deceive you. He is unable to save you! 15 Don’t let Hezekiah persuade you to rely on Yehovah when he says, ‘Yehovah will really rescue us. The city will never be handed over to the king of Assyria!’

16 “Don’t listen to Hezekiah, because the King of Assyria says: ‘Make peace with me and come out to me, and each of you will eat from your own vine and from your own fig tree, and each of you will drink water from your own cistern 17 until I come and take you to a land like your own land, a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards.’

18 “Be careful not to let Hezekiah mislead you when he says,‘Yehovah will save us.’ Have any of the gods of the nations rescued his land from the 'grasp' of the king of Assyria? 19 Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? And when have they rescued Samaria from my grasp? 20 Who among all the gods of these countries has released their country from my grasp? So why would Yehovah rescue Jerusalem from my grasp?”

21 But they remained silent and said nothing in reply, because the king’s commandment was, “Don’t answer him.”

22 Then Hilkiah’s son Eliakim the 'palace' administrator and Shebna the secretary and Asaph’s son Joah, the archivist, went to Hezekiah with their clothes torn, and told him what the field commander had said.

ISAIAH 37

Sennacherib Killed

1 When King Hezekiah heard this, he tore his clothes and covered himself with sackcloth, and entered Yehovah’s 'Temple'. 2 He sent Eliakim, who was the 'palace' administrator, Shebna the scribe and the elders of the priests, all wearing sackcloth, to the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz. 3 They told him “This is what Hezekiah is saying: Today is a day of distress, rebuke and shame. Children have come to the point of birth, but there isn’t the strength to deliver. 4 Perhaps Yehovah your Elohim will hear the 'message' of the field commander, who his master the King of Assyria has sent to defy the living Elohim, and reprimand him for the words that Yehovah your Elohim has heard. So pray for the 'survivors' that remain.”

5 King Hezekiah’s servants went to Isaiah. 6 Isaiah answered them, “Tell your master, ‘This is what Yehovah says: Don’t be frightened by the message you heard—words that the underlings of the King of Assyria have blasphemed Me with. 7 Listen! I’m going to put a spirit in him, and he too will hear a message. He’ll return to his own country where I’ll have him cut down with a sword.’”

8 When the field commander returned, he found the King of Assyria fighting against Libnah, because he had heard that the king had left Lachish.

9 Now 'Sennacherib' got word that Tirhakah, the Cushite king was coming out to fight against him. When he heard it, he again sent messengers to Hezekiah to say: 10 “Tell King Hezekiah of Judah, ‘Don’t let the Elohim who you trust in deceive you when He says, “Jerusalem won’t be handed over to the King of Assyria.” 11 You’ve heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all the other countries, destroying them completely! So will you be spared? 12 Did the gods of the nations that my ancestors destroyed rescue them—Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the people of Eden who were in Telassar? 13 Where is the king of Hamath, and the king of Arpad, and the king of the city of Sepharvaim, Hena and Ivvah?”

14 Hezekiah took the letter from the messengers hand, and read it. Then Hezekiah went up to Yehovah’s 'Temple' and spread it before Yehovah. 15 And Hezekiah prayed to Yehovah: 16 “Oh Commander Yehovah, the Elohim of Israel, the One enthroned between the cherubim, You alone are the Elohim of all the kingdoms of the earth. You made heaven and earth. 17 Bend your ear, Yehovah, and listen. Open your eyes, Yehovah, and look. Listen to the 'message' that Sennacherib has sent to defy the living Elohim.

18 “Truly, Yehovah, the kings of Assyria have devastated many nations and their lands, 19 and have thrown their gods into the fire since they weren’t the real Elohim, just wood and stone, sculptured by human hands. So 'the Assyrians' destroyed them. 20 Now, Yehovah our Elohim, rescue us from his grasp so that all the kingdoms of the earth will know that you are Yehovah, You alone.”

21 Then Amoz’s son Isaiah sent a message to Hezekiah, that said: “This is what Yehovah, the Elohim of Israel says: Since you’ve prayed to Me about Sennacherib King of Assyria, 22 this is the 'message' that Yehovah has spoken against him: “The virgin maiden of Zion despises you and scorns you. The maiden Jerusalem wags her head at your back sides as you flee [U]!

23 “Who have you mocked and blasphemed? Who have you shouted at and 'glared' at so arrogantly? Against the 'special' One of Israel! 24 By your servants you’ve mocked Yehovah and have said, ‘With my numerous chariots I’ve ascended the highest mountains, the remotest peaks of Lebanon. I cut down its tallest cedars and its finest cypress trees. I’ll reach its highest peak, its most verdant forest. 25 I’ve dug wells and drunk water, and with the sole of my feet I’ve dried up all the rivers of Egypt.’

26 Then Yehovah said: “Haven’t you heard? I destined it long ago. I planned it in ancient times. I’ve caused you to crush fortified cities into heaps of rubble. 27 Their inhabitants were weak. They were frightened and confused. They were like vegetation in the fields, like green herbs, like grass on the housetops, scorched before it matures.

28 “But Sennacherib, I know where you live, when you leave and when you return, and how you rage against Me. 29 Because of your rage against Me, and because your arrogance has reached My ears, I’ll put My hook in your nose and My bridle in your mouth, and I’ll turn you back by the road you came.”

30 “This will be the sign for you: “You’ll eat what grows by itself this year, and in the second year [Jubilee] what springs up from that. But in the third year you’ll sow and harvest and plant vineyards, and eat their fruit. 31 The remaining survivors of the house of Judah will again put roots down and raise a crop. 32 A few survivors will leave Jerusalem, a band of survivors from Mount Zion. The passionate commitment of Commander Yehovah will cause this.’

33 “But this is what Yehovah says about the King of Assyria: He won’t come to this city, or shoot an arrow here. He won’t approach it with a shield or shove a siege ramp against it. 34 The road that he came in by is the road he’ll leave by. He won’t enter this city,” says Yehovah! 35 “Because I’ll defend this city and save it for My own sake, and for the sake of My servant David!”

36 The Messenger of Yehovah went out and struck 185,000 soldiers in the camp of the Assyrians. When the people got up early in the morning, all they saw was corpses! 37 King Sennacherib of Assyria trekked back home to Nineveh where he stayed.

38 Then, as he was worshiping in the 'shrine' of his god Nisroch, his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer struck him down with a sword, and they escaped to the land of Ararat. His son Esarhaddon succeeded him as king.

ISAIAH 38

A Sign for Hezekiah

1 In those days Hezekiah became deathly ill. Amoz’s son Isaiah the prophet went to visit him and told him, “This is what Yehovah says: ‘Set your house in order, because you are going to die, you won’t recover.’”

2 Hezekiah turned facing the wall and prayed to Yehovah, 3 and said, “Please remember, Yehovah, how I’ve lived in Your presence in truth and sincerity, and have done what is good in Your sight.” Hezekiah cried bitterly.

4 Then the Word of Yehovah came to Isaiah, 5 “Go, and tell Hezekiah, “This is what Yehovah, the Elohim of your ancestor David says: I’ve heard your prayer. I’ve seen your tears. I’ll add fifteen years to your life! 6 I’ll rescue you and this city out of the grasp of the King of Assyria. I’ll defend this city! 7 Isaiah said, “This will be the sign to you from Yehovah that Yehovah will do what He has promised: 8 I’ll cause the shadow on the stairway that has moved down Ahaz’s stairway to move backward ten steps!” So the sun moved backward ten steps on the stairway that it had just gone down.’”

9 King Hezekiah of Judah wrote this after his illness and recovery: 10 I said, “In mid life am I to enter the gates of sheol? Am I to be deprived of the rest of my years?” 11 I said, “I won’t see Yah, Yah in the land of the living. I won’t see the inhabitants of the world any more. 12 Like a shepherd’s tent my home is pulled up and removed from me. Like a weaver I have rolled up my life, and He cuts me off from the loom. You ended my life in a day and a night. 13 I waited patiently until dawn for reprieve, but like a lion He broke all my bones [1]. You ended my life in a day and a night. 14 I chattered like a swallow or a crane. I moaned like a dove. My eyes are weary from looking upward. Yehovah, I’m oppressed. Be my security.”

15 But what could I say now that He has spoken to me, and Personally caused it. I’ll wander around the rest of my years because of the bitterness of my life. 16 Yehovah, people live with these things, and my spirit finds life in them too. You restore my health and allow me to live! 17 Surely it was for my benefit that I had such anguish. You’ve lovingly kept me from the rotting pit. You’ve tossed all my sins behind Your back. 18 Sheol doesn’t thank You. Death doesn’t praise You. Those who go down into the pit can never anticipate Your truth. 19 The living, only the living, praise You, as I do today. A Father must tell his sons about Your truth. 20 Yehovah will save me. So we’ll play my songs on stringed instruments all the days of our life in Yehovah’s 'Temple'.

21 Isaiah had said, “Take a poultice of figs and apply it to the boil and he’ll recover.”

22 Hezekiah had asked, “What is the sign that I’ll go up to Yehovah’s 'Temple'?”

[1] “You ended my life in a day and a night” “is not repeated at the end of this verse in the Syriac version; and a MS. omits it. It seems to have been inserted a second time in the Hebrew text by mistake.”

ISAIAH 39

Babylon Visits the Temple

1 At that time Merodach-Baladan son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a present to Hezekiah since he heard that he had been sick and had recovered. 2 Hezekiah was delighted with them, and showed them everything in his treasure house, the silver, the gold, the spices, and the precious oil, the entire armory and everything contained in his treasury. There was nothing in his 'palace' or in his entire kingdom that Hezekiah didn’t show them.

3 Then Isaiah the prophet went the king Hezekiah and asked him, “What did those men say, and where did they come to you from?”

Hezekiah said, “They came to me from a distant country, from Babylon.”

4 Then he asked, “What did they see in your 'palace'?”

.Hezekiah replied. “They’ve seen everything in my 'palace'. There is nothing in my treasuries that I didn’t show them.”

5 Then Isaiah told Hezekiah, “Listen to the 'message' of Commander Yehovah, 6 ‘The time is coming when everything in your 'palace' and everything that your predecessors have stored up to this day will be carried off to Babylon! Nothing will be left,’ says Yehovah. 7 ‘They’ll take some of your descendants who come from you, and they’ll become eunuchs in the king of Babylon’s 'palace'.’”

8 Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “Yehovah’s words that you’ve spoken are good”, since he thought: “There will be peace and security during my 'lifetime'.”

ISAIAH 40

Yehovah is Coming!

1 “Comfort, comfort My people,” says your Elohim. 2 “Speak kindly to Jerusalem, and announce to her that her warfare is over, that her injustice has been pardoned and that she has received from Yehovah’s hand double for all her sins.”

3 A voice is calling, “Prepare the way for Yehovah in the wilderness! Make a smooth and straight highway in the wilderness for our Elohim. 4 Every valley will be raised, and every mountain and hill will be lowered. Steep terrain will be leveled, and rugged terrain will become broad valleys. 5 Then the splendor of Yehovah will be revealed, and all 'humanity' will see it together, because Yehovah has spoken.”

6 The voice said, “Shout!” Then I asked, “What should I shout?

“All 'humanity' is like grass, and all its splendor is like a field of wildflowers. 7 The grass withers and flowers fade away when Yehovah’s breath blows on 'them'. Surely the people are grass. 8 The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our Elohim endures forever.”

9 O Zion, climb a mountain and herald the good news! Jerusalem, herald of good news, raise your voice fearlessly. Say to the cities of Judah, “Here is your Elohim!” 10 The Sovereign YEHOVAH [“Yeshua”] will come in power [Matthew 24:30] and His Arm will rule for Him! His reward is with Him [Revelation 22:12-13]—His compensation accompanies Him! 11 He’ll tend His flock like a shepherd; He’ll gather the lambs in His arm, and carry them in His arms. He’ll gently lead the nursing ewes.

12 Who has measured the water in the sea [DSS] in the hollow of His hand, marked off the heavens with a hand span, calculated the dust of the earth in a third of a measure, weighed the mountains in a balance and the hills in a pair of scales?

13 Who has fathomed 'Yehovah’s spirit', or has taught Yehovah as His counselor? 14 Who did He consult, and who enlightened Him, and taught Him the path of justice. Who was the mentor who showed Him the path of understanding?

15 The nations are like a drop in a bucket, like specks of dust on a balance beam scale! He raises islands as if they were specks of dirt. 16 Lebanon can’t supply sufficient fuel or enough animals for a burnt offering. 17 All the nations are like nothing before Him [See v.12 comment]. They are regarded by Him as non-existent, as primordial chaos.

18 So who will you compare Elohim to? Or what would you say He is like? 19 A craftsman casts an idol, and a goldsmith overlays it with gold and attaches silver chains to it. 20 Someone too impoverished for such an offering chooses a rot resistant wood. He then finds an artisan to set up an engraved image for him that won’t fall over.

21 You know, don’t you? You’ve heard, haven’t you? Haven’t you been told from the beginning? Haven’t you understood from the founding of the earth? 22 It’s the One who sits above the horizons [or circle] of the earth, and views its inhabitants like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them out like a tent to live in. 23 He reduces dignitaries to nothing, and voids the judges of the earth. 24 No sooner than they are planted, no sooner than they’ve been sown and taken root in the ground, He merely blows on them and they wither, and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff.

25 “So who will you compare Me to? Who is My equal?” asks the 'special' One. 26 'Look' high above and see who has created these stars, the One who mobilizes the innumerable advance, calling them all by name. Because of His great power and 'incomparable' strength, not one of them is missing.

27 Jacob, why do you say, and Israel, why do you assert, “My 'situation' is hidden from Yehovah, and the justice due me is ignored by my Elohim?”

28 Don’t you realize? Haven’t you heard? The everlasting Elohim, Yehovah, the Creator of the farthest reaches of the earth doesn’t grow tired or weary, and there is no limit to His understanding. 29 He empowers the weary and He strengthens the powerless. 30 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 31 but those who anticipate Yehovah will regain their strength. They’ll soar on wings like eagles; they’ll run without tiring, they’ll walk and not grow tired.”

ISAIAH 41

A Fresh Start for Israel

1 “Distant lands beyond the ocean! [Commentary], listen to Me in silence as the nations renew their strength. Now come and speak, and allow them to make claims. Let’s come together for judgment.

2 “Who has roused 'him' up from the east, calling Him to His 'feet' in righteousness? He hands nations over to him, and makes him ruler over kings. He turns them to dust with his sword, to windblown chaff with his bow. 3 He pursues them, passing by unscathed on a path his feet had never traversed before. 4 Who has worked and done this, summoning the generations from the beginning? It is I, Yehovah, the first and the last—I am the One!” [1]

[1] FOOTNOTE COMMENT

5 The 'distant lands beyond the ocean' have seen and are afraid; those from the far reaches of the earth tremble. They approach and come forward. 6 Everyone helps their neighbors. They say to their companions, ‘Be strong!’ 7 So the craftsman encourages the goldsmith, and the hammer maker encourages the 'blacksmith' in striking the anvil, saying “The soldering is good.” And he fastens it with nails so that it won’t topple.

8 “But you, Israel, My servant, Jacob who I’ve chosen, descendants of My friend Abraham, 9 I took you from the far reaches of the eart. I called from its farthest corners, I said to you: ‘You are My servant, I’ve chosen you and haven’t tossed you aside.’ 10 Don’t be afraid, because I’m with you. Don’t be intimidated because I’m your Elohim. I’ll strengthen you. I’ll help you; I’ll uphold you with My righteous right hand.

11 “Everyone who is angry with you will be put to shame and humiliated! Those who strive against you will come to nothing and die. 12 You’ll look for those who quarreled with you, but not find them. Those who fought against you will become absolutely non-existent.

13 I, Yehovah your Elohim hold your right hand tell you, “Don’t be afraid, I’ll help you.” 14 Don’t be afraid, you worm Jacob, you Israelites. I’ll help you, declares Yehovah, your Redeemer, the 'special' One of Israel.” 15 I’ve made you into a new sharp threshing instrument with teeth! You’ll thresh the mountains and pulverize them, and turn the hills to chaff. 16 You’ll winnow them and the wind will lift them up, and a whirlwind will scatter them. You’ll celebrate in Yehovah. Your splendor is in the 'special' One of Israel.

17 “The poor and needy search for water, yet there is none; their tongues are parched with thirst. I, Yehovah, will answer them. As the Elohim of Israel, I won’t abandon them. 18 I’ll open rivers on the bare heights and springs amid the valleys. I’ll put pools of water in the wilderness and springs of water will spring from the parched land. 19 I’ll 'plant' cedar, acacia, myrtle and olive trees in the wilderness. And I’ll also 'plant' fir trees, pines and cypresses in the deserts, 20 so that everyone can see, know, consider and understand that Yehovah has handled this, and that the 'special' One of Israel has created it.

21 “Present your case,” Yehovah says, “Submit your best arguments,” says Jacob’s King. 22 “Have them come and tell us what is going to happen. Explain past events so that we can consider them and discern the ultimate outcome—foretell the future. 23 Prophecy the future so that we will know that you are gods. Do something good or evil, so that we can be both astonished and afraid.” 24 You are worthless and your work amounts to nothing. Anyone who chooses you is detestable!

25 “I’ve empowered someone from the north, and he is coming—from the rising of the sun he calls on My name, and he’ll tread on rulers as if they were mortar, like a potter trampling clay. 26 “Who predicted this from the beginning, so that we could know, or from times past, so that we could say, ‘He is right’? There was certainly no one who foretold it! There was certainly no one with a proclamation! No one heard you speak. 27 I’m the first to say to Zion, ‘Here they are!’ And to Jerusalem: ‘I’ll send a messenger with good news. 28 But when I look, there is no one; there is no counselor among them, no one who can give an answer when I ask them. 29 They are all false! What they do amounts to nothing. Their metal images are like the wind and primordial chaos.

[1] Compare with Revelation 1:1 & 11

ISAIAH 42

Yeshua, My Servant

1 “This is My Servant, the One I back, My Chosen One, I delight in Him. I’ll put [1] My Spirit on Him; He’ll bring justice to the nations! 2 He won’t shout or raise His voice or be heard crying out in the streets. 3 He won’t break a bruised reed, and He won’t snuff out a smoldering wick. He’ll faithfully bring justice. 4 He won’t grow faint or be discouraged before He has established justice on the earth, and distant lands beyond the ocean will wait expectantly for His Torah.” [Commentary]

5 This is what El, Yehovah—the Creator of the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it and 'life' to those who walk on it says, 6 “I, Yehovah, have called You [Yeshua] in righteousness, and I’ll hold Your hand and watch over You, and give You as a covenant for the people and a light for the nations, 7 to open blind eyes, to free prisoners from dungeons, and release those sitting in darkness from prison. [Luke 4:16-19]

8 “I am Yehovah. That is My name. I won’t give My splendor to another or My praise to carved idols. 9 Previous events have come and gone, but now I’m announcing new things. I’ll tell you about them before they spring into being!”

10 Sing to Yehovah a new song, sing His praise from the remotest parts of the earth, you who 'travel' by sea and by everything in it, you 'distant lands beyond the oceans' and those who live there. 11 The wilderness and its cities will raise their voices, along with the villages that Kedar inhabits. The inhabitants of Sela will sing. They’ll shout from the mountain tops! 12 They’ll give honor to Yehovah and announce His praise on the 'distant lands beyond the oceans'. 13 Yehovah will advance out like a warrior. He’ll stir up His passion like a soldier. He’ll shout, He’ll give a cry. He’ll triumph over His enemies.

14 I’ve remained silent for a long time. I’ve been quiet and restrained Myself. Now I’ll cry out like a woman during childbirth. I’ll gasp and pant. 15 I’ll lay waste mountains and hills, and dry up all their vegetation. I’ll turn the rivers into islands and dry up the pools. 16 I’ll lead the blind by a way that they don’t know, along unfamiliar paths. I’ll turn darkness into light before them and turn rough places into level ground. These are the things I’ll do. I won’t forsake them. 17 Those who trust in carved images, who say to cast images, ‘You are our gods,’ will be turned back in utter shame

18 “Hear, you deaf, and look, you blind, so you can see. 19 Who is blind but My servant [Israel]? Or who is as deaf as the messenger I send? Who is as blind as the one [claiming] commitment to Me, and as blind as Yehovah’s servant? 20 You’ve seen many things, but you discern nothing. Your ears are open, but you hear nothing.” 21 It pleased Yehovah for His righteousness sake to magnify the Torah and make it majestic. 22 But these are a robbed and plundered people; all of them are trapped in pits or hidden away in prisons. They have become targets with no one to rescue them, and fair game, and no one says, ‘Send them back.’

23 Which of you will listen to this and consider it in the time to come?

24 Who gave Jacob to looters, and Israel to plunderers? Wasn’t it Yehovah, the One we have sinned against? They wouldn’t follow His ways; they disobeyed His Torah. 25 So He drenched him with His burning anger, the violence of war, and the fire completely engulfed him, but he didn’t understand; it burned him, but he 'paid no attention'.

[1] This verse perfectly illustrates “traditional translation”—merely revising previous versions. Of the 21 versions linked here, 17 of them say “have put” My spirit on Him, 2 say “have placed”, and 1 says “have given”—all past tense. Only the NIV, “a completely original translation” (with a very good Tanak) says “will put” My spirit on Him, consistent with the first seven verses being obviously a future prophecy—not something taking place eight centuries BC. Yeshua did not have the spirit “put” on Him until He came in the flesh! Matthew 12:17-21 specifically explains this. The pre-incarnate Yeshua was the literal personification of the spirit until He emptied Himself to become human—Philippians 2:6-8.

ISAIAH 43

The Chosen People

1 But now this is what Yehovah says, Your Creator who formed you, O Israel. “Don’t be afraid, because I’ve redeemed [reclaimed] you; I’ve called you by name; you are Mine! 2 When you travel the 'sea', I’ll be with you. When you go thru rivers, they won’t overwhelm you. When you walk thru fire, you won’t be burned and the flames won’t harm you. 3 Because I am Yehovah your Elohim, the 'special' One of Israel, your Deliverer. I’ve given Egypt as your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba instead of you. 4 Since you’re precious and honored in My sight, and I love you, I’ll give other people in exchange for you, other nations in exchange for your life.” 5 “Don’t be afraid, because I’m with you. I’ll bring your descendants from the east and gather you from the west. 6 I’ll say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ and to the south, ‘Don’t hold them back!’ Bring My sons from afar, and my daughters from the remotest parts of the earth— 7 everyone who is called by My name, and created for My splendor—everyone I’ve formed and made.’”

8 Bring out a people who are blind but have eyes, and are deaf, tho they have ears. 9 All the nations have gathered together so the people can assemble. Who among them can 'foretell' this, and declare previous events? They should present their witnesses to vindicate themselves, so they can hear and attest, ‘It’s true. 10 “You are My witnesses,” declares Yehovah, “as well as My Servant who I’ve chosen, so that you can know and believe Me and understand that I am He. No Elohim was formed before Me, and there will be none after Me. 11 I, I am Yehovah, and there is no Savior besides Me. 12 I’ve revealed and saved and proclaimed. There were no foreign gods among you. So you are My witnesses,” says Yehovah, “that I am Elohim. 13 “From the first day, I am He, and there is no one who can deliver out of My hand. When I act, who can reverse it?”

14 This is what Yehovah says—Your Redeemer, the 'special' One of Israel: “For your sake I have sent to Babylon, and I’ll bring all of them down as fugitives, even the Chaldeans, in the ships they were so proud of. 15 I am Yehovah, your 'special' One, the Creator of Israel, your King.

16 This is what Yehovah says—who makes a way in the sea, and a path thru the rushing water, 17 who brings out chariots and horses, armies and mighty warriors (they lie down together, never to rise again. They have been quenched, extinguished like a wick): 18 “Don’t think about previous events; don’t dwell on things of the past. 19 I’m about to do something new! It is approaching right now. Don’t you realize it? I’ll make a highway in the wilderness, and pathways [DSS] in the desert. 20 The wild animals will honor Me, the dragons * and ostriches, because I provide water in the wilderness and rivers in the desert to provide 'water' for My people, My chosen people [1]. 21 The people that I formed for Myself will announce My praise.

22 “Yet you haven’t called on Me. Israel, you’ve grown tired of Me. 23 You haven’t brought Me your sheep for burnt offerings or honored Me with your zebakim. I haven’t burdened you with meal offerings or wearied you with demands for incense. 24 You haven’t bought Me any sweet cane with silver, or satisfied Me with the fat of your zebakim, but you’ve burdened Me with your sins. You’ve made me tired of your wickedness.

25 “I, I’m the One who wipes out your rebellious acts for My own sake, remembering your sins no more. 26 Remind Me of your merits; let’s debate your case; state your case so that you can be vindicated. 27 Your first ancestor sinned, and your spiritual advisers have rebelled against Me. 28 So I’ll pierce the leaders of the 'Temple'; I’ll oust Jacob to destruction and Israel to defamation.

[1] The KJV has no reference to Israel being the “chosen people”, using the exact commonly used term, but the Masoretic text has it once here. The KJV’s only reference to “chosen people” applies to Israel’s enemy in Daniel 11:15.

ISAIAH 44

The First and the Last

1 “But now listen, Jacob My servant, and Israel My chosen. 2 This is what Yehovah who made you and formed you from the womb, and who will help you says: “Don’t be afraid, Jacob My servant, the virtuous one [Jeshurun] I’ve chosen. 3 I’m going to pour out water on those who are thirsty, and streams on the dry ground. I’ll pour My spirit on your descendants, and My blessing on your descendants. 4 They’ll spring up like grass, like willows by streams of water. 5 Some will say, ‘I am Yehovah’s,’ others will name themselves after Jacob; others will write on their hands ‘Belonging to Yehovah’, and adopt the name of Israel.”

6 This is what Yehovah, the King of Israel [the Father] AND His Redeemer [the Son], Commander Yehovah, says: “I am the first and I am the last, and there is no Elohim besides Me. 7 Who is like Me? Have him make the claim! Have him explain to Me the sequence of events from the time that I established the ancient people? Have him announce future events! 8 Don’t tremble or be afraid. Didn’t I reveal this to you long ago? You are My witnesses. Is there any Elohim besides Me? There is no other Rock; I know of none.”

9 Anyone who makes idols is as worthless as the things they treasure. Their advocates are blinded and will be put to shame. 10 Who would fashion a god or cast an idol for no profit? 11 All of his friends will be put to shame; the craftsmen are mere men. They should all get together and take their stand, be terrified and humiliated together.

12 A blacksmith takes a tool, works with it in the coals, fashions 'the idol' with hammers, working it with his strong arm. He gets hungry, and loses his strength, he drinks no water and becomes weak. 13 A carpenter stretches out a measuring line. He marks 'the idol' out with red chalk. He shapes it with planes. He outlines it with a stylus, and makes it into a human figurine, a beautiful person, to occupy a shrine. 14 He cuts down cedars for himself, or maybe a cypress or an oak and lets it grow strong among the trees of his forest. Or he plants a fir tree, and the rain makes it grow. 15 Then it becomes fuel for someone to burn, so he takes some of it and warms himself; and with some he kindles a fire to bake bread. He fashions a god and worships it. He also makes an engraved image and falls down and worships it! 16 He burns half of it in a fire, and on that half he roasts meat and is satisfied. Yes, he warms himself, and says “Ah! I’m warm 'basking by' the fire.” 17 From the rest he makes a god, his engraved image. He falls down before it and worships. He prays to it, and says, “Save me because you are my god!” 18 They don’t realize; they don’t consider, because He has 'glazed over' their eyes so they can’t see, and closed their minds so they can’t understand. 19 No one considers, no one has the perception or insight to say, “I burned half of it in the fire. I baked bread on its coals. I roasted meat and ate it. So then I made the rest of it into an abomination? Should I fall down before a block of wood!” 20 He feeds on ashes. A deceived mind has turned him aside. He can’t save himself, or ask “Isn’t this thing in my right hand a lie?”

21 “Remember these things, Jacob, Israel, because you are My servant. I’ve formed you, you are My servant. Israel, I will never forget you! 22 I’ve swept away your defiant conduct like a thick cloud, and your sins like a heavy mist. Return to Me, because I’ve redeemed you.”

23 Shout for joy, sky, because Yehovah has acted! Shout, you depths of the earth! Break into shouts of joy, you mountains, forests and every tree on them, because Yehovah has redeemed Jacob, and shows His splendor in Israel.”

24 This is what Yehovah your Redeemer, and the one who formed you from the womb says, “I am Yehovah who made everything. I stretched out the heavens by Myself. Who was with Me when I fashioned the earth? 25 Frustrating the signs of the 'false prophets' and making fools of diviners, and causing their fortune-tellers to back off, 'exposing' the foolishness of their 'knowledge', 26 confirming the 'words' of His servants, and carrying out the 'predictions' of His messengers, who says of Jerusalem, ‘She’ll be inhabited,’ and of the cities of Judah,