Thematic Bible: Church and state


Thematic Bible



Then, in the seventh year, Jehoiada sent [messengers] and brought in the commanders of hundreds, the Carites, and the guards. He had them come to him in the Lord's temple, where he made a covenant with them and put them under oath. He showed them the king's son and commanded them, "This is what you are to do: one third of you who come on duty on the Sabbath are to provide protection for the king's palace. A third are to be at the Sur gate and a third at the gate behind the guards. You are to take turns providing protection for the palace. read more.
Your two divisions that go off duty on the Sabbath are to provide protection for the Lord's temple. You must completely surround the king with weapons in hand. Anyone who approaches the ranks is to be put to death. You must be with the king in all his daily tasks." So the commanders of hundreds did everything Jehoiada the priest commanded. They each brought their men-those coming on duty on the Sabbath and those going off duty-and went to Jehoiada the priest. The priest gave to the commanders of hundreds King David's spears and shields that were in the Lord's temple. Then the guards stood with their weapons in hand surrounding the king-from the right side of the temple to the left side, by the altar and by the temple. He brought out the king's son, put the crown on him, gave him the testimony,and made him king. They anointed him and clapped their hands and cried, "Long live the king!"

The Lord said to Samuel, "How long are you going to mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and go. I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem because I have selected a king from his sons." Samuel asked, "How can I go? Saul will hear [about it] and kill me!" The Lord answered, "Take a young cow with you and say, 'I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.' Then invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will let you know what you are to do. You are to anoint for Me the one I indicate to you." read more.
Samuel did what the Lord directed and went to Bethlehem. When the elders of the town met him, they trembled and asked, "Do you come in peace?" "In peace," he replied. "I've come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice." Then he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice. When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and said, "Certainly the Lord's anointed one is here before Him." But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or his stature, because I have rejected him. Man does not see what the Lord sees, for man sees what is visible, but the Lord sees the heart." Jesse called Abinadab and presented him to Samuel. "The Lord hasn't chosen this one either," Samuel said. Then Jesse presented Shammah, but Samuel said, "The Lord hasn't chosen this one either." After Jesse presented seven of his sons to him, Samuel told Jesse, "The Lord hasn't chosen any of these." Samuel asked him, "Are these all the sons you have?" "There is still the youngest," he answered, "but right now he's tending the sheep." Samuel told Jesse, "Send for him. We won't sit down to eat until he gets here." So Jesse sent for him. He had beautiful eyes and a healthy, handsome appearance. Then the Lord said, "Anoint him, for he is the one." So Samuel took the horn of oil, anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and the Spirit of the Lord took control of David from that day forward. Then Samuel set out and went to Ramah.

The prophet Elisha called one of the sons of the prophets and said, "Tuck your mantle under your belt, take this flask of oil with you, and go to Ramoth-gilead. When you get there, look for Jehu son of Jehoshaphat, son of Nimshi. Go in, get him away from his colleagues, and take him to an inner room. Then, take the flask of oil, pour it on his head, and say, 'This is what the Lord says: "I anoint you king over Israel." ' Open the door and escape. Don't wait." read more.
So the young prophet went to Ramoth-gilead. When he arrived, the army commanders were sitting there, so he said, "I have a message for you, commander." Jehu asked, "For which one of us?" He answered, "For you, commander." So Jehu got up and went into the house. The young prophet poured the oil on his head and said, "This is what the Lord God of Israel says: 'I anoint you king over the Lord's people, Israel. You are to strike down the house of your master Ahab so that I may avenge the blood shed by the hand of Jezebel-the blood of My servants the prophets and of all the servants of the Lord. The whole house of Ahab will perish, and I will eliminate all of Ahab's males, both slave and free, in Israel. I will make the house of Ahab like the house of Jeroboam son of Nebat and like the house of Baasha son of Ahijah. The dogs will eat Jezebel in the plot of land at Jezreel-no one will bury her.' " Then the young prophet opened the door and escaped. When Jehu came out to his master's servants, they asked, "Is everything all right? Why did this crazy person come to you?" Then he said to them, "You know the sort and their ranting." But they replied, "[That's] a lie! Tell us!" So Jehu said, "He talked to me about this and that and said, 'This is what the Lord says: I anoint you king over Israel.' " Each man quickly took his garment and put it under Jehu on the bare steps.They blew the ram's horn and proclaimed, "Jehu is king!" Then Jehu son of Jehoshaphat, son of Nimshi, conspired against Joram. Joram and all Israel had been at Ramoth-gilead on guard against Hazael king of Aram. But King Joram had returned to Jezreel to recover from the wounds that the Arameans had inflicted on him when he fought against Aram's King Hazael. Jehu said, "If you [commanders] wish [to make me king], then don't let anyone escape from the city to go tell about it in Jezreel." Jehu got into his chariot and went to Jezreel since Joram was laid up there and Ahaziah king of Judah had gone down to visit Joram. Now the watchman was standing on the tower in Jezreel. He saw Jehu's troops approaching and shouted, "I see troops!" Joram responded, "Choose a rider and send him to meet them and have him ask, '[Do you come in] peace?' " So a horseman went to meet Jehu and said, "This is what the king asks: '[Do you come in] peace?' " Jehu replied, "What do you have to do with peace? Fall in behind me." The watchman reported, "The messenger reached them but hasn't started back." So he sent out a second horseman, who went to them and said, "This is what the king asks: '[Do you come in] peace?' " Jehu answered, "What do you have to do with peace? Fall in behind me." Again the watchman reported, "He reached them but hasn't started back. Also, the driving is like that of Jehu son of Nimshi-he drives like a madman." "Harness!" Joram shouted, and they harnessed his chariot. Then Joram king of Israel and Ahaziah king of Judah set out, each in his own chariot, and met Jehu at the plot of land of Naboth the Jezreelite. When Joram saw Jehu he asked, "[Do you come in] peace, Jehu?" He answered, "What peace can there be as long as there is so much prostitution and witchcraft from your mother Jezebel?" Joram turned around and fled, shouting to Ahaziah, "It's treachery, Ahaziah!" Then Jehu drew his bow and shot Joram between the shoulders. The arrow went through his heart, and he slumped down in his chariot. Jehu said to Bidkar his aide, "Pick him up and throw him on the plot of ground belonging to Naboth the Jezreelite. For remember when you and I were riding side by side behind his father Ahab, and the Lord uttered this oracle against him: 'As surely as I saw the blood of Naboth and the blood of his sons yesterday,' this is the Lord's message, 'so will I repay you on this plot of land,' this is the Lord's message. So now, according to the word of the Lord, pick him up and throw him on the plot of land."


He waited seven days for the appointed time that Samuel had set, but Samuel didn't come to Gilgal, and the troops were deserting him. So Saul said, "Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings." Then he offered the burnt offering. Just as he finished offering the burnt offering, Samuel arrived. So Saul went out to greet him, read more.
and Samuel asked, "What have you done?" Saul answered, "When I saw that the troops were deserting me and you didn't come within the appointed days and the Philistines were gathering at Michmash, I thought: The Philistines will now descend on me at Gilgal, and I haven't sought the Lord's favor. So I forced myself to offer the burnt offering." Samuel said to Saul, "You have been foolish. You have not kept the command which the Lord your God gave you. It was at this time that the Lord would have permanently established your reign over Israel, but now your reign will not endure. The Lord has found a man loyal to Him,and the Lord has appointed him as ruler over His people, because you have not done what the Lord commanded."

But when he became strong, he grew arrogant and it led to his own destruction. He acted unfaithfully against the Lord his God by going into the Lord's sanctuary to burn incense on the incense altar. Azariah the priest, along with 80 brave priests of the Lord, went in after him. They took their stand against King Uzziah and said, "Uzziah, you have no right to offer incense to the Lord-only the consecrated priests, the descendants of Aaron, have the right to offer incense. Leave the sanctuary, for you have acted unfaithfully! You will not receive honor from the Lord God." read more.
Uzziah, with a censer in his hand to offer incense, was enraged. But when he became enraged with the priests, in the presence of the priests in the Lord's temple beside the altar of incense, a skin disease broke out on his forehead. Then Azariah the chief priest and all the priests turned to him and saw that he was diseased on his forehead. They rushed him out of there. He himself also hurried to get out because the Lord had afflicted him. So King Uzziah was diseased to the time of his death. He lived in quarantinewith a serious skin disease and was excluded from access to the Lord's temple, while his son Jotham was over the king's household governing the people of the land.


“Organize your ancestral houses by your divisions according to the written instruction of David king of Israel and that of his son Solomon.


In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, the word of the Lord spoken through Jeremiah was fulfilled. The Lord put it into the mind of King Cyrus of Persia to issue a proclamation throughout his entire kingdom and also [to put it] in writing: This is what King Cyrus of Persia says: The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and has appointed me to build Him a temple at Jerusalem in Judah. Whoever among you of His people may go up, and may the Lord his God be with him.


He did what was evil in the Lord's sight, imitating the detestable practices of the nations that the Lord had dispossessed before the Israelites. He rebuilt the high places that his father Hezekiah had torn down and reestablished the altars for the Baals. He made Asherah poles, and he worshiped the whole heavenly host and served them. He built altars in the Lord's temple, where the Lord had said: "Jerusalem is where My name will remain forever." read more.
He built altars to the whole heavenly host in both courtyards of the Lord's temple. He passed his sons through the fire in the Valley of Hinnom. He practiced witchcraft, divination, and sorcery, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did a great deal of evil in the Lord's sight, provoking Him. Manasseh set up a carved image of the idol he had made, in God's temple, about which God had said to David and his son Solomon: "I will establish My name forever in this temple and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel. I will never again remove the feet of the Israelites from upon the land where I stationed your ancestors, if only they will be careful to do all that I have commanded them through Moses-all the law, statutes, and judgments." So Manasseh caused Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to stray so that they did worse evil than the nations the Lord had destroyed before the Israelites.

He removed the foreign gods and the idol from the Lord's temple, along with all the altars that he had built on the mountain of the Lord's temple and in Jerusalem, and he threw them outside the city. He built the altar of the Lord and offered fellowship and thank offerings on it. Then he told Judah to serve the Lord God of Israel. However, the people still sacrificed at the high places, but only to the Lord their God.


Samuel replied, "Then what is this sound of sheep and cattle I hear?" Saul answered, "The troops brought them from the Amalekites and spared the best sheep and cattle in order to offer a sacrifice to the Lord your God, but the rest we destroyed." "Stop!" exclaimed Samuel. "Let me tell you what the Lord said to me last night." "Tell me," he replied. read more.
Samuel continued, "Although you once considered yourself unimportant, have you not become the leader of the tribes of Israel? The Lord anointed you king over Israel and then sent you on a mission and said: 'Go and completely destroy the sinful Amalekites. Fight against them until you have annihilated them.' So why didn't you obey the Lord? Why did you rush on the plunder and do what was evil in the Lord's sight?" "But I did obey the Lord!" Saul answered. "I went on the mission the Lord gave me: I brought back Agag, king of Amalek, and I completely destroyed the Amalekites. The troops took sheep and cattle from the plunder-the best of what was set apart for destruction-to sacrifice to the Lord your God at Gilgal." Then Samuel said: Does the Lord take pleasure in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? Look: to obey is better than sacrifice, to pay attention [is better] than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and defiance is like wickedness and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He has rejected you as king. Saul answered Samuel, "I have sinned. I have transgressed the Lord's command and your words. Because I was afraid of the people, I obeyed them. Now therefore, please forgive my sin and return with me so I can worship the Lord." Samuel replied to Saul, "I will not return with you. Because you rejected the word of the Lord, the Lord has rejected you from being king over Israel." When Samuel turned to go, Saul grabbed the hem of his robe, and it tore. Samuel said to him, "The Lord has torn the kingship of Israel away from you today and has given it to your neighbor who is better than you. Furthermore, the Eternal One of Israel does not lie or change His mind, for He is not man who changes his mind." Saul said, "I have sinned. Please honor me now before the elders of my people and before Israel. Come back with me so I can bow and worship the Lord your God." Then Samuel went back, following Saul, and Saul bowed down to the Lord. Samuel said, "Bring me Agag king of Amalek." Agag came to him trembling, for he thought, "Certainly the bitterness of death has come." Samuel declared: As your sword has made women childless, so your mother will be childless among women. Then he hacked Agag to pieces before the Lord at Gilgal. Samuel went to Ramah, and Saul went up to his home in Gibeah of Saul. Even to the day of his death, Samuel never again visited Saul. Samuel mourned for Saul, and the Lord regretted He had made Saul king over Israel.


So the king sent [messengers] and gathered all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. Then the king went up to the Lord's temple with all the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, as well as the priests and the Levites-all the people from great to small. He read in their hearing all the words of the book of the covenant that had been found in the Lord's temple. Next the king stood at his post and made a covenant in the Lord's presence to follow the Lord and to keep His commandments, His decrees, and His statutes with all his heart and with all his soul in order to carry out the words of the covenant written in this book. read more.
Then he had all those present in Jerusalem and Benjamin enter [the covenant]. So all the inhabitants of Jerusalem carried out the covenant of God, the God of their ancestors. So Josiah removed everything that was detestable from all the lands belonging to the Israelites, and he required all who were present in Israel to serve the Lord their God. Throughout his reign they did not turn aside from following the Lord God of their ancestors.


Jeroboam said to himself, "[The way things are going] now, the kingdom might return to the house of David. If these people regularly go to offer sacrifices in the Lord's temple in Jerusalem, the heart of these people will return to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah. They will murder me and go back to the king of Judah." So the king sought advice. Then he made two gold calves, and he said to the people, "Going to Jerusalem is too difficult for you. Israel, here is your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt." read more.
He set up one in Bethel, and put the other in Dan. This led to sin; the people walked [in procession] before one of the calves all the way to Dan. Jeroboam also built shrines on the high places and set up priests from every class of people who were not Levites. Jeroboam made a festival in the eighth month on the fifteenth day of the month, like the festival in Judah. He offered sacrifices on the altar; he made this offering in Bethel to sacrifice to the calves he had set up. He also stationed in Bethel the priests for the high places he had set up. He offered sacrifices on the altar he had set up in Bethel on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, the month he had decided on his own. He made a festival for the Israelites, offered sacrifices on the altar, and burned incense.


King Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria. When he saw the altar that was in Damascus, King Ahaz sent a model of the altar and complete plans for its construction to Uriah the priest. Uriah built the altar according to all [the instructions] King Ahaz sent from Damascus. Therefore, by the time King Ahaz came back from Damascus, Uriah the priest had made it. When the king came back from Damascus, he saw the altar. Then he approached the altar and ascended it. read more.
He offered his burnt offering and his grain offering, poured out his drink offering, and sprinkled the blood of his fellowship offerings on the altar. He took the bronze altar that was before the Lord in front of the temple between [his] altar and the Lord's temple, and put it on the north side of [his] altar. Then King Ahaz commanded Uriah the priest, "Offer on the great altar the morning burnt offering, the evening grain offering, and the king's burnt offering and his grain offering. [Also offer] the burnt offering of all the people of the land, their grain offering, and their drink offerings. Sprinkle on the altar all the blood of the burnt offering and all the blood of sacrifice. The bronze altar will be for me to seek guidance." Uriah the priest did everything King Ahaz commanded.


The king said to Abiathar the priest, "Go to your fields in Anathoth. Even though you deserve to die, I will not put you to death today, since you carried the ark of the Lord God in the presence of my father David and you suffered through all that my father suffered." So Solomon banished Abiathar from being the Lord's priest, and it fulfilled the Lord's prophecy He had spoken at Shiloh against Eli's family.


Then Joash said to the priests, "All the dedicated money brought to the Lord's temple, census money, money from vows, and all money voluntarily given for the Lord's temple, each priest is to take from his assessor and repair whatever damage to the temple is found. But by the twenty-third year [of the reign] of King Joash, the priests had not repaired the damage to the temple. read more.
So King Joash called Jehoiada the priest and the other priests and said, "Why haven't you repaired the temple's damage? Since you haven't, don't take any money from your assessors; instead, hand it over for the repair of the temple." So the priests agreed they would not take money from the people and they would not repair the temple's damage. Then Jehoiada the priest took a chest, bored a hole in its lid, and set it beside the altar on the right side as one enters the Lord's temple; in it the priests who guarded the threshold put all the money brought into the Lord's temple. Whenever they saw there was a large amount of money in the chest, the king's secretary and the high priest would go to the Lord's temple and count the money found there and tie it up in bags. Then they would put the counted money into the hands of those doing the work-those who oversaw the Lord's temple. They [in turn] would pay it out to those working on the Lord's temple-the carpenters, the builders, the masons, and the stonecutters-and [would use it] to buy timber and quarried stone to repair the damage to the Lord's temple and for all spending for temple repairs. However, no silver bowls, wick trimmers, sprinkling basins, trumpets, or any articles of gold or silver were made for the Lord's temple from the money brought into the temple. Instead, it was given to those doing the work, and they repaired the Lord's temple with it. No accounting was required from the men who received the money to pay those doing the work, since they worked with integrity. The money from the restitution offering and the sin offering was not brought to the Lord's temple since it belonged to the priests. At that time Hazael king of Aram marched up and fought against Gath and captured it. Then he planned to attack Jerusalem. So King Joash of Judah took all the consecrated items that his ancestors-Judah's kings Jehoshaphat, Jehoram, and Ahaziah-had consecrated, along with his own consecrated items and all the gold found in the treasuries of the Lord's temple and in the king's palace, and he sent [them] to Hazael king of Aram. Then Hazael withdrew from Jerusalem.


Hezekiah reestablished the divisions of the priests and Levites for the burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, for ministry, for giving thanks, and for praise in the gates of the camp of the Lord, each division corresponding to his service among the priests and Levites. The king contributed from his own possessions for the regular morning and evening burnt offerings, the burnt offerings of the Sabbaths, of the New Moons, and of the appointed feasts, as written in the law of the Lord. He told the people who lived in Jerusalem to give a contribution for the priests and Levites so that they could devote their energy to the law of the Lord. read more.
When the word spread, the Israelites gave liberally of the best of the grain, wine, oil, honey, and of all the produce of the field, and they brought an abundant tenth of everything. As for the Israelites and Judahites who lived in the cities of Judah, they also [brought] a tenth of the cattle and sheep, and a tenth of the dedicated things that were consecrated to the Lord their God. They gathered [them] into large piles. In the third month they began building up the piles, and they finished in the seventh month. When Hezekiah and his officials came and viewed the piles, they praised the Lord and His people Israel. Hezekiah asked the priests and Levites about the piles. Azariah, the chief priest of the household of Zadok, answered him, "Since they began bringing the offering to the Lord's temple, we eat and are satisfied and there is plenty left over because the Lord has blessed His people; this abundance is what is left over." Hezekiah told them to prepare chambers in the Lord's temple, and they prepared [them]. The offering, the tenth, and the dedicated things were brought faithfully. Conaniah the Levite was the officer in charge of them, and his brother Shimei was second. Jehiel, Azaziah, Nahath, Asahel, Jerimoth, Jozabad, Eliel, Ismachiah, Mahath, and Benaiah were deputies under the authority of Conaniah and his brother Shimei by appointment of King Hezekiah and of Azariah the ruler of God's temple. Kore son of Imnah the Levite, the keeper of the East Gate, was over the freewill offerings to God to distribute the contribution to the Lord and the consecrated things. Eden, Miniamin, Jeshua, Shemaiah, Amariah, and Shecaniah in the cities of the priests were to faithfully distribute [it] under his authority to their brothers by divisions, whether large or small. In addition, [they distributed it] to males registered by genealogy three years old and above; to all who would enter the Lord's temple for their daily duty, for their service in their responsibilities according to their divisions. [They distributed also] to those recorded by genealogy of the priests by their ancestral families and the Levites 20 years old and above, by their responsibilities in their divisions; to those registered by genealogy-with all their infants, wives, sons, and daughters-of the whole assembly (for they had faithfully consecrated themselves as holy); and to the descendants of Aaron, the priests, in the common fields of their cities, in each and every city. [There were] men who were registered by name to distribute a portion to every male among the priests and to every Levite recorded by genealogy.


Samuel told Saul, "The Lord sent me to anoint you as king over His people Israel. Now, listen to the words of the Lord. This is what the Lord of Hosts says: 'I witnessed what the Amalekites did to the Israelites when they opposed them along the way as they were coming out of Egypt. Now go and attack the Amalekites and completely destroy everything they have. Do not spare them. Kill men and women, children and infants, oxen and sheep, camels and donkeys.' " read more.
Then Saul summoned the troops and counted them at Telaim: 200,000 foot soldiers and 10,000 men from Judah.


King Darius gave the order, and they searched in the library of Babylon in the archives. But it was in the fortress of Ecbatana in the province of Media that a scroll was found with this record written on it: In the first year of King Cyrus, he issued a decree concerning the house of God in Jerusalem: Let the house be rebuilt as a place for offering sacrifices, and let its [original] foundations be retained. Its height is to be 90 feet and its width 90 feet, read more.
with three layers of cut stones and one of timber. The cost is to be paid from the royal treasury. The gold and silver articles of God's house that Nebuchadnezzar took from the temple in Jerusalem and carried to Babylon must also be returned. They are to be brought to the temple in Jerusalem, where they belong, and put into the house of God. Therefore, you must stay away from that place, Tattenai governor of the region west of the Euphrates River, Shethar-bozenai, and your colleagues, the officials in the region. Leave the construction of this house of God alone. Let the governor and elders of the Jews rebuild this house of God on its [original] site. I hereby issue a decree concerning what you must do, so that the elders of the Jews can rebuild this house of God: The cost is to be paid in full to these men out of the royal revenues from the taxes of the region west of the Euphrates River, so that the [work] will not stop. Whatever is needed-young bulls, rams, and lambs for burnt offerings to the God of heaven, or wheat, salt, wine, and oil, as requested by the priests in Jerusalem-let it be given to them every day without fail, so that they can offer sacrifices of pleasing aroma to the God of heaven and pray for the life of the king and his sons. I also issue a decree concerning any man who interferes with this directive: Let a beam be torn from his house and raised up; he will be impaled on it, and his house will be made into a garbage dump because of this [offense]. May the God who caused His name to dwell there overthrow any king or people who dares to harm or interfere with this house of God in Jerusalem. I, Darius, have issued the decree. Let it be carried out diligently. Then Tattenai governor of the region west of the Euphrates River, Shethar-bozenai, and their colleagues diligently carried out what King Darius had decreed. So the Jewish elders continued successfully with the building under the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah son of Iddo. They finished the building according to the command of the God of Israel and the decrees of Cyrus, Darius, and King Artaxerxes of Persia.


Samuel took the flask of oil, poured it out on Saul’s head, kissed him, and said, “Hasn’t the Lord anointed you ruler over His inheritance?


Be advised that tribute, duty, and land tax must not be imposed on any priests, Levites, singers, doorkeepers, temple servants, or other servants of this house of God.


Then Hiram sent a reply to Solomon, saying, “I have heard your message; I will do everything you want regarding the cedar and cypress timber.


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