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64 Bible Verses about Reformation
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Then Samuel said to all the house of Israel, If you are returning to the Lord with all your hearts, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth [female deities] from among you and direct your hearts to the Lord and serve Him only, and He will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.
Then Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, Put away the [images of] strange gods that are among you, and purify yourselves and change [into fresh] garments;
Now therefore, [reverently] fear the Lord and serve Him in sincerity and in truth; put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the [Euphrates] River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. The people answered, Far be it from us to forsake the Lord to serve other gods;read more.
For it is the Lord our God Who brought us and our fathers up out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, Who did those great signs in our sight and preserved us in all the way that we went and among all the peoples through whom we passed. And the Lord drove out before us all the people, the Amorites who dwelt in the land. Therefore we also will serve the Lord, for He is our God. And Joshua said to the people, You cannot serve the Lord, for He is a holy God; He is a jealous God. He will not forgive your transgressions or your sins. If you forsake the Lord and serve strange gods, then He will turn and do you harm and consume you, after having done you good. And the people said to Joshua, No; but we will serve the Lord. Then Joshua said to the people, You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen the Lord, to serve Him. And they said, We are witnesses. Then put away, said he, the foreign gods that are among you and incline your hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel. The people said to Joshua, The Lord our God we will serve; His voice we will obey.
That night the Lord said to Gideon, Take your father's bull, the second bull seven years old, and pull down the altar of Baal that your father has and cut down the Asherah [symbol of the goddess Asherah] that is beside it; And build an altar to the Lord your God on top of this stronghold with stones laid in proper order. Then take the second bull and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the Asherah which you shall cut down. Then Gideon took ten men of his servants and did as the Lord had told him, but because he was too afraid of his father's household and the men of the city to do it by day, he did it by night.
Jehu assembled all the people and said to them, Ahab served Baal a little; but Jehu will serve him much. So call to me all the prophets of Baal, all his worshipers, and all his priests. Let none be missing, for I have a great sacrifice to make to Baal; whoever is missing shall not live. But Jehu did it with trickery, intending to destroy the Baal worshipers. Jehu said, Sanctify a solemn assembly for Baal. And they proclaimed it.read more.
Jehu sent through all Israel, and all the worshipers of Baal came; not a man failed to come. They went to the house or temple of Baal, filling it from one end to the other. And he said to the man over the vestry, Bring vestments for all the worshipers of Baal. And he brought them vestments. Then Jehu with Jehonadab son of Rechab went into the house of Baal and said to the worshipers of Baal, Search and see that there are here with you none of the servants of the Lord -- "but Baal worshipers only. And when they went in to offer sacrifices and burnt offerings, Jehu appointed eighty men outside and said, If any of the men whom I have brought into your hands escape, he who lets him go shall forfeit his own life for his life. As soon as he had finished offering the burnt offering, Jehu said to the guards and to the officers, Go in and slay them; let none escape. And they smote them with the sword; and the guards or runners [before the king] and the officers threw their bodies out and went into the inner dwelling of the house of Baal. They brought out the pillars or obelisks of the house of Baal and burned them. They broke down the pillars of Baal and the house of Baal, and made it [forever unclean] a privy to this day.
And Jehoiada made a covenant between the Lord, the king, and the people that they would be the Lord's people -- "and also between the king and the people. Then all the people of the land went to the house of Baal and destroyed it. His altar and his images they broke completely in pieces, and Mattan the priest of Baal they slew before the altars. And [Jehoiada] the priest appointed watchmen to guard the house of the Lord.
Then Jehoiada made a covenant between himself, all the people, and the king, that they should be the Lord's people. Then all the people went to the house of Baal, tore it down, and broke its altars and its images in pieces, and slew Mattan the priest of Baal before the altars.
Therefore, my dearly beloved, shun (keep clear away from, avoid by flight if need be) any sort of idolatry (of loving or venerating anything more than God).
Little children, keep yourselves from idols (false gods) -- "[from anything and everything that would occupy the place in your heart due to God, from any sort of substitute for Him that would take first place in your life]. Amen (so let it be).
He put away the sodomites (male cult prostitutes) out of the land and removed all the idols that his fathers [Solomon, Rehoboam, and Abijam] had made or promoted. Also Maacah his mother he removed from being queen mother, because she had an image made for [the goddess] Asherah. Asa destroyed her image, burning it by the brook Kidron.
And when Asa heard these words, the prophecy of Oded the prophet, he took courage and put away the abominable idols from all the land of Judah and Benjamin and from the cities which he had taken in the hill country of Ephraim; and he repaired the altar [of burnt offering] of the Lord which was in front of the porch or vestibule [of the house] of the Lord.
And he gathered all Judah and Benjamin and the strangers with them out of Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon, for they came over to Asa out of Israel in large numbers when they saw that the Lord his God was with him. So they gathered at Jerusalem in the third month of the fifteenth year of the reign of Asa. And they sacrificed to the Lord on that day from the spoil which they had brought -- "700 oxen and 7,000 sheep.read more.
And they entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, and to yearn for Him with all their heart's desire and with all their soul; And that whoever would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, should be put to death, whether young or old, man or woman. They took an oath to the Lord with a loud voice, with shouting, with trumpets, and with cornets. And all Judah rejoiced at the oath, for they had sworn with all their heart and sought Him [yearning for Him] with their whole desire, and He was found by them. And the Lord gave them rest and peace round about.
He removed the high places, broke the images, cut down the Asherim, and broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until then the Israelites had burned incense to it; but he called it Nehushtan [a bronze trifle].
Now when all this was finished, all Israel present there went out to the cities of Judah and broke in pieces the pillars or obelisks, cut down the Asherim, and threw down the high places [of idolatry] and the altars in all Judah and Benjamin, in Ephraim and Manasseh, until they had utterly destroyed them all. Then all the Israelites returned to their own cities, every man to his possession.
In the first year of his reign, in the first month, he opened the doors of the house of the Lord [which his father had closed] and repaired them. He brought together the priests and Levites in the square on the east And said to them, Levites, hear me! Now sanctify (purify and make free from sin) yourselves and the house of the Lord, the God of your fathers, and carry out the filth from the Holy Place.read more.
For our fathers have trespassed and have done what was evil in the sight of the Lord our God, and they have forsaken Him and have turned away their faces from the dwelling place of the Lord and have turned their backs. Also they have closed the doors of the porch and put out the lamps, and they have not burned incense or offered burnt offerings in the place holy to the God of Israel.
Now it is in my heart to make a covenant with the Lord, the God of Israel, that His fierce anger may turn away from us. My sons, do not now be negligent, for the Lord has chosen you to stand in His presence, to serve Him, to be His ministers, and to burn incense to Him.
Hezekiah sent to all Israel [as well as] Judah and wrote letters also to Ephraim and Manasseh to come to the Lord's house at Jerusalem to keep the Passover to the Lord, the God of Israel. For the king and his princes and all the assembly in Jerusalem took counsel to keep the Passover in the second month. For they could not keep it at the set time because not enough priests had sanctified themselves, neither had the people assembled in Jerusalem.read more.
The new time pleased the king and all the assembly. So they decreed to make a proclamation throughout all Israel, from Beersheba to Dan, that the people should come to keep the Passover to the Lord, the God of Israel, at Jerusalem. For they had not kept it collectively as prescribed for a long time. So the posts went with the letters from the king and his princes throughout all Israel and Judah, as the king commanded, saying, O Israelites, return to the Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, that He may return to those left of you who escaped out of the hands of the kings of Assyria. Do not be like your fathers and brethren, who were unfaithful to the Lord, the God of their fathers, so that He gave them up to desolation [to be an astonishment], as you see. Now be not stiff-necked, as your fathers were, but yield yourselves to the Lord and come to His sanctuary, which He has sanctified forever, and serve the Lord your God, that His fierce anger may turn away from you. For if you return to the Lord, your brethren and your children shall find compassion with their captors and return to this land. For the Lord your God is gracious and merciful, and He will not turn away His face from you if you return to Him. So the posts passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh, even to Zebulun, but the people laughed them to scorn and mocked them. Yet, a few of Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem. Also the hand of God came upon Judah to give them one heart to do the commandment of the king and of the princes, by the word of the Lord. And many people came to Jerusalem to keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread in the second month, a very great assembly. They rose up and took away the altars [to idols] that were in Jerusalem, and all the altars and utensils for incense [to the gods] they took away and threw into the Kidron Valley [dumping place for the ashes of such abominations]. Then they killed the Passover lamb on the fourteenth day of the second month. And the priests and the Levites were ashamed and sanctified themselves and brought burnt offerings to the Lord's house. They stood in their accustomed places, as directed in the Law of Moses the man of God. The priests threw [against the altar] the blood they received from the hand of the Levites. For many were in the assembly who had not sanctified themselves [become clean and free from all sin]. So the Levites had to kill the Passover lambs for all who were not clean, in order to make them holy to the Lord. For a multitude of the people, many from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun, had not cleansed themselves, yet they ate the Passover otherwise than Moses directed. For Hezekiah had prayed for them, saying, May the good Lord pardon everyone Who sets his heart to seek and yearn for God -- "the Lord, the God of his fathers -- "even though not complying with the purification regulations of the sanctuary. And the Lord hearkened to Hezekiah and healed the people. And the Israelites who were in Jerusalem kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread for seven days with great joy. The Levites and priests praised the Lord day by day, singing with instruments of much volume to the Lord. Hezekiah spoke encouragingly to all the Levites who had good understanding in the Lord's work. So the people ate the seven-day appointed feast, offering peace offerings, making confession [and giving thanks] to the Lord, the God of their fathers. And the whole assembly took counsel to prolong the feast another seven days; and they kept it another seven days with joy. For Hezekiah king of Judah gave to the assembly 1,000 young bulls and 7,000 sheep, and the princes gave 1,000 young bulls and 10,000 sheep. And a great number of priests sanctified themselves [for service]. All the assembly of Judah, with the priests, the Levites, and all the assembly who with the sojourners came from the land of Israel to dwell in Judah, rejoiced. So there was great joy in Jerusalem, for since the time of Solomon son of David king of Israel there was nothing like this in Jerusalem. Then the priests and Levites arose and blessed the people; and their voice was heard and their prayer came up to [God's] holy habitation in heaven.
And Hezekiah appointed the priests and the Levites after their divisions, each man according to his service, the priests and Levites for burnt offerings and for peace offerings, to minister, to give thanks, and to praise in the gates of the camp of the Lord. King Hezekiah's personal contribution was for the burnt offerings: [those] of morning and evening, for the Sabbaths, for the New Moons, and for the appointed feasts, as written in the Law of the Lord. He commanded the people living in Jerusalem to give the portion due the priests and Levites, that they might [be free to] give themselves to the Law of the Lord.read more.
As soon as the command went abroad, the Israelites gave in abundance the firstfruits of grain, vintage fruit, oil, honey, and of all the produce of the field; and they brought in abundantly the tithe of everything. The people of Israel and Judah who lived in Judah's cities also brought the tithe of cattle and sheep and of the dedicated things which were consecrated to the Lord their God, and they laid them in heaps. In the third month [at the end of wheat harvest] they began to lay the foundation or beginning of the heaps and finished them in the seventh month. When Hezekiah and the princes came and saw the heaps, they blessed the Lord and His people Israel. Then Hezekiah questioned the priests and Levites about the heaps. Azariah the high priest, of the house of Zadok, answered him, Since the people began to bring the offerings into the Lord's house, we have eaten and have plenty left, for the Lord has blessed His people, and what is left is this great store. Then Hezekiah commanded them to prepare chambers [for storage] in the house of the Lord, and they prepared them And brought in the offerings, tithes, and dedicated things faithfully. Conaniah the Levite was in charge of them, and Shimei his brother came next. And Jehiel, Azaziah, Nahath, Asahel, Jerimoth, Jozabad, Eliel, Ismachiah, Mahath, and Benaiah were overseers directed by Conaniah and Shimei his brother, at the appointment of King Hezekiah and Azariah the chief officer of the house of God. Kore son of Imnah the Levite, keeper of the East Gate, was over the freewill offerings to God, to apportion the contributions of the Lord and the most holy things. Under him were Eden, Miniamin, Jeshua, Shemaiah, Amariah, and Shecaniah, in the priests' cities, in their office of trust faithfully to give to their brethren by divisions, to great and small alike, Except those [Levites] registered as males from three years old and upward -- "who were consecrated to the temple service [in Jerusalem, for their daily portion] as the duty of every day required, for their service according to their offices by their divisions. The registration of the priests was according to their fathers' houses; that of the Levites from twenty years old and upward was according to their offices by their divisions; Also there was the registration of all their little ones, their wives, and their older sons and daughters through all the congregation. For in their office of trust they cleansed themselves and set themselves apart in holiness. Also for the sons of Aaron the priests, who were in the fields of the suburbs of their cities or in every city, there were men who were mentioned by name to give portions to all the males among the priests and to all who were registered among the Levites.
In the eighteenth year of King Josiah, he sent Shaphan son of Azaliah, the son of Meshullam, the scribe, to the Lord's house, saying, Go up to Hilkiah the high priest, that he may count the money brought into the house of the Lord, which the keepers of the door have gathered from the people. And let them deliver it into the hands of the workmen who have oversight of the Lord's house, to give to the laborers engaged in the repairing of the Lord's house -- "read more.
That is, to the carpenters, builders, and masons -- "and to buy timber and hewn stone to repair the house. However, there was no accounting required of them for the money delivered into their hands, because they dealt faithfully.
In the eighteenth year of Josiah's reign, when he had purged the land and the [Lord's] house, he sent Shaphan son of Azaliah, and Maaseiah governor of the city, and Joah son of Joahaz, the recorder, to repair the house of the Lord his God. When they came to Hilkiah the high priest, they delivered the money that had been brought into the house of God, which the Levites who kept the doors had collected from Manasseh, Ephraim, all the remnant of Israel, and from all Judah, Benjamin, and Jerusalem. They delivered it to the workmen who had oversight of the Lord's house, who gave it to repair and restore the temple:read more.
To the carpenters and builders to buy hewn stone, and timber for couplings and beams for the houses which the kings of Judah had destroyed [by neglect]. The men did the work faithfully. Their overseers were Jahath and Obadiah, Levites of the sons of Merari, and Zechariah and Meshullam, of the sons of the Kohathites. The Levites -- "all who were skillful with instruments of music -- " Also had oversight of the burden bearers and all who did work in any kind of service; and some of the Levites were scribes, officials, and gatekeepers.
And the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest and the priests of the second rank and the keepers of the threshold to bring out of the temple of the Lord all the vessels made for Baal, for [the goddess] Asherah, and for all the hosts of the heavens; and he burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of the Kidron, and carried their ashes to Bethel [where Israel's idolatry began]. He put away the idolatrous priests whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense in the high places in Judah's cities and round about Jerusalem -- "also those who burned incense to Baal, to the sun, to the moon, to the constellations [or twelve signs of the zodiac], and to all the hosts of the heavens. And Josiah brought the Asherah from the house of the Lord to outside Jerusalem to the brook Kidron and burned it there, and beat it to dust and cast its dust upon the graves of the common people [who had sacrificed to it].read more.
And he broke down the houses of the male cult prostitutes, which were by the house of the Lord, where the women wove [tent] hangings for the Asherah [shrines]. And [Josiah] brought all the [idolatrous] priests out of the city of Judah and defiled the high places, where the priests had burned incense, from Geba to Beersheba [north to south], and broke down the high places both at the entrance of the Gate of Joshua the governor of the city and that which was on one's left at the city's gate. However, the priests of the high places were not allowed to sacrifice upon the Lord's altar in Jerusalem, but they ate unleavened bread among their brethren. And Josiah defiled Topheth, which is in the Valley of Ben-hinnom [son of Hinnom], that no man might ever burn there his son or his daughter as an offering to Molech. And he removed the horses that the kings of Judah had devoted to the sun from the entrance of the house of the Lord, by the chamber of Nathan-melech the chamberlain, which was in the area, and he burned the chariots of the sun with fire. And the altars on the roof of the upper chamber of Ahaz, which the kings of Judah had made, and the altars which Manasseh had made in the two courts of the house of the Lord, [Josiah] pulled down and beat them in pieces, and he [ran and] cast their dust into the brook Kidron. And the king defiled the high places east of Jerusalem, south of the Mount of Corruption, which Solomon the king of Israel had built for Ashtoreth the abominable [goddess] of the Sidonians, for Chemosh the abominable god of the Moabites, and for Milcom the abominable [god] of the Ammonites. He broke in pieces the pillars (images) and cut down the Asherim and replaced them with the bones of men [to defile the places forever]. Moreover, the altar at Bethel, the high place made by Jeroboam son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, that altar with the high place Josiah tore down and broke in pieces its stones, beating them to dust, and burned the Asherah. And as Josiah turned, he saw the tombs across on the mount, and he sent and brought the bones out of the tombs and burned them upon the altar and defiled it, in fulfillment of the word of the Lord which the man of God prophesied, who predicted these things [about this altar, naming Josiah before he was born]. Josiah said, What is that monument I see? The men of the city told him, It is the tomb of the man of God who came from Judah and foretold these things that you have just done against the altar of Bethel. He said, Let him alone; let no man move his bones. So they let his bones alone, with the bones of the prophet that came out of Samaria. Also Josiah took away all the houses of the high places in the cities of Samaria which the kings of Israel had made, provoking the Lord to anger, and he did to them all that he had done in Bethel. He slew all the priests of the high places that were there upon the altars and burned men's bones upon them [to defile the places forever]. Then he returned to Jerusalem. The king commanded all the people, Keep the Passover to the Lord your God, as it is written in this Book of the Covenant. Surely such a Passover was not held from the days of Israel's judges, even in all the days of the kings of Israel or Judah. But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah, this Passover was kept to the Lord in Jerusalem. Moreover, Josiah put away the mediums, the wizards, the teraphim (household gods), the idols, and all the abominations that were seen in Judah and in Jerusalem, that he might establish the words of the law written in the book found by Hilkiah the priest in the house of the Lord.
For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet young [sixteen], he began to seek after and yearn for the God of David his father [forefather]; and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of the high places, the Asherim, and the carved and molten images. They broke down the altars of the Baals in his presence; the sun-images that were high above them he hewed down; the Asherim and the graven images and the molten images he broke in pieces and made dust of them and strewed it upon the graves of those who sacrificed to them. Josiah burned the bones of the [idolatrous] priests upon their altars, and so cleansed Judah and Jerusalem.read more.
So he did in the cities of Manasseh, Ephraim, and Simeon, even to Naphtali, in their ruins round about [with their axes], He broke down the altars and the Asherim and beat the graven images into powder and hewed down all the sun-images throughout all the land of Israel. Then he returned to Jerusalem.
And when the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he rent his clothes. And the king commanded Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Achbor son of Micaiah, Shaphan the scribe, and Asaiah servant of the king, Go, inquire of the Lord for me and for the people and for all Judah concerning the words of this book that has been found. For great is the wrath of the Lord that is kindled against us because our fathers have not listened and obeyed the words of this book, to do according to all that is written concerning us.read more.
So Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Achbor, Shaphan, and Asaiah went to Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum son of Tikvah, the son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe -- "now she dwelt in Jerusalem, in the Second Quarter -- "and they talked with her. She said to them, Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Tell the man who sent you to me, Thus says the Lord: Behold, I will bring evil upon this place and upon its inhabitants, according to all the words of the book which the king of Judah has read. Because they have forsaken Me and have burned incense to other gods, provoking Me to anger with all the work of their hands, therefore My wrath will be kindled against this place and will not be quenched. But to the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the Lord, say this, Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, regarding the words you have heard: Because your heart was [tender and] penitent and you humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I said against this place and against its inhabitants, that they should become a desolation, [an astonishment and] a curse, and you have rent your clothes and wept before Me, I also have heard you, says the Lord. Behold, therefore [King Josiah], I will gather you to your fathers, taken to your grave in peace, and your eyes shall not see all the evil which I will bring on this place. And they brought the king word.
When King Josiah had heard the words of the Law, he rent his clothes. And the king commanded Hilkiah, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Abdon son of Micah, Shaphan the scribe, and Asaiah a servant of the king, saying, Go, inquire of the Lord for me and for those who are left in Israel and in Judah about the words of the book that is found. For great is the Lord's wrath that is poured out on us because our fathers have not kept the word of the Lord, to do according to all that is written in this book.read more.
And Hilkiah and they whom the king had appointed went to Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum son of Tokhath, the son of Hasrah, keeper of the wardrobe. She dwelt in Jerusalem, in the Second Quarter. They spoke to her to that effect. And she answered them, Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Tell the man who sent you to me, Thus says the Lord: Behold, I will bring evil upon this place and upon its inhabitants, even all the curses that are written in the book which they have read before the king of Judah. Because they have forsaken Me and have burned incense to other gods, that they might provoke Me to anger with all the works of their hands, therefore My wrath shall be poured out upon this place and shall not be quenched. But say to King Josiah of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the Lord, Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the words which you have heard: Because your heart was tender and penitent and you humbled yourself before God when you heard His words against this place and its inhabitants, and humbled yourself before Me and rent your clothes and wept before Me, I have heard you, says the Lord. Behold, I will gather you to your fathers, and you shall be gathered to your grave in peace, and your eyes shall not see all the evil that I will bring upon this place and its inhabitants. So they brought the king word again.
King Josiah sent and gathered to him all the elders of Judah and of Jerusalem. The king went up to the house of the Lord, and with him all the men of Judah, all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the priests, the prophets, and all the people, both small and great. And he read in their ears all the words of the Book of the Covenant, which was found in the Lord's house. The king stood [on the platform] by the pillar and made a covenant before the Lord -- "to walk after the Lord and to keep His commandments, His testimonies, and His statutes with all his heart and soul, to confirm the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people stood to join in the covenant.
Then King Josiah sent and gathered all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. And [he] went up into the house of the Lord, as did all the men of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the priests, the Levites, and all the people, great and small; and he [the king] read in their hearing all the words of the Book of the Covenant that was found in the Lord's house. Then the king stood in his place and made a covenant before the Lord -- "to walk after the Lord and to keep His commandments, His testimonies, and His statutes with all his heart and with all his soul, to perform the words of the covenant that are written in this book.read more.
And he caused all who were present in Jerusalem and Benjamin to stand in confirmation of it. And the inhabitants of Jerusalem did according to the covenant of God, the God of their fathers.
The king stood [on the platform] by the pillar and made a covenant before the Lord -- "to walk after the Lord and to keep His commandments, His testimonies, and His statutes with all his heart and soul, to confirm the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people stood to join in the covenant.
Then the king stood in his place and made a covenant before the Lord -- "to walk after the Lord and to keep His commandments, His testimonies, and His statutes with all his heart and with all his soul, to perform the words of the covenant that are written in this book. And he caused all who were present in Jerusalem and Benjamin to stand in confirmation of it. And the inhabitants of Jerusalem did according to the covenant of God, the God of their fathers.
The king commanded all the people, Keep the Passover to the Lord your God, as it is written in this Book of the Covenant. Surely such a Passover was not held from the days of Israel's judges, even in all the days of the kings of Israel or Judah. But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah, this Passover was kept to the Lord in Jerusalem.
Josiah kept the Passover to the Lord in Jerusalem; they killed the Passover lamb on the fourteenth day of the first month. He appointed the priests to their positions and encouraged them in the service of the house of the Lord. To the Levites who taught all Israel and were holy to the Lord he said: Put the holy ark in the house which Solomon son of David king of Israel, built; it shall no longer be a burden carried on your shoulders. Now serve the Lord your God and His people Israel.read more.
Prepare yourselves according to your fathers' houses by your divisions, after the directions of David king of Israel and of Solomon his son. And stand in the holy court of the priests according to the sections of the fathers' families of your kinsmen, the common people, and let there be a section of the Levites [to attend] to each division of the families of the people. Kill the Passover lambs and sanctify yourselves and prepare for your brethren to do according to the word of the Lord by Moses. Then Josiah contributed to the lay people lambs and kids of the flock as Passover offerings for all who were present, to the number of 30,000, and 3,000 young bulls -- "all from the king's possessions. And his princes gave for a freewill offering to the people, to the priests, and the Levites. Hilkiah, Zechariah, and Jehiel, chief officers of God's house, gave the priests for the Passover offerings 2,600 [lambs and kids] and 300 bulls. Conaniah also, and Shemaiah and Nethanel his brothers, and Hashabiah, Jeiel, and Jozabad, chiefs of the Levites, gave to the Levites for Passover offerings 5,000 [lambs and kids] and 500 bulls. When the service was ready, the priests stood in their place and the Levites in their divisions as the king commanded. They killed the Passover lambs, and the priests sprinkled the blood they received from the Levites who skinned the animals. Then they removed the burnt offerings, that they might distribute them according to the divisions of the lay families to offer to the Lord, as directed in the Book of Moses. And so they did with the bulls. And they roasted the Passover lambs with fire according to the ordinance; and they cooked the holy offerings in pots, in caldrons, and in pans and carried them quickly to all the people. Afterward [the Levites] prepared for themselves and the priests, because the priests, the sons of Aaron, were busy in offering the burnt offerings and the fat until night; so the Levites prepared for themselves and also for the priests, the sons of Aaron. The singers, the sons of Asaph, were in their places according to the command of David, Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun the king's seer. And the gatekeepers were at every gate; they did not need to leave their service, for their brethren the Levites prepared for them. So all the Lord's service was prepared the same day to keep the Passover and to offer burnt offerings upon the Lord's altar, as King Josiah commanded. And the Israelites who were present kept the Passover at that time, and the Feast of Unleavened Bread for seven days. No Passover like it had been kept in Israel since the days of Samuel the prophet, even by any of the kings of Israel, as was kept by Josiah and the priests, the Levites, and all Judah and Israel who were present, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. In the eighteenth year of the reign of Josiah this Passover was kept.
And Shecaniah [II] son of Jehiel [one of the congregation], of the sons of Elam, said to Ezra: We have broken faith and dealt treacherously against our God and have married foreign women of the peoples of the land; yet now there is still hope for Israel in spite of this thing. Therefore let us make a covenant with our God to put away all the foreign wives and their children, according to the counsel of my lord and of those who tremble at the command of our God; and let it be done according to the Law.
Afterward, the officials came to me and said, The Israelites and the priests and Levites have not separated themselves from the peoples of the lands, but have committed the abominations of the Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Jebusites, Ammonites, Moabites, Egyptians, and Amorites. For they have taken as wives some of their daughters for themselves and for their sons, so that the holy offspring have mixed themselves with the peoples of the lands. Indeed, the officials and chief men have been foremost in this wicked act and direct violation [of God's will]. When I heard this, I rent my undergarment and my mantle, I pulled hair from my head and beard and sat down appalled.read more.
Then all those who trembled at the words of the God of Israel because of the offensive violation of His will by the returned exiles gathered around me as I sat astounded until the evening sacrifice. At the evening sacrifice I arose from my depression, and, having rent my undergarment and my mantle, I fell on my knees and spread out my hands to the Lord my God, Saying, O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift my face to You, my God, for our iniquities have risen higher than our heads and our guilt has mounted to the heavens. Since the days of our fathers we have been exceedingly guilty; and for our willfulness we, our kings, and our priests have been delivered into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, captivity, plundering, and utter shame, as it is today. And now, for a brief moment, grace has been shown us by the Lord our God, Who has left us a remnant to escape and has given us a secure hold in His holy place, that our God may brighten our eyes and give us a little reviving in our bondage. For we are bondmen; yet our God has not forsaken us in our bondage, but has extended mercy and steadfast love to us before the kings of Persia, to give us some reviving to set up the house of our God, to repair its ruins, and to give us a wall [of protection] in Judah and Jerusalem. Now, O our God, what can we say after this? For we have forsaken Your commands Which You have commanded by Your servants the prophets, saying, The land which you are entering to possess is an unclean land with the pollutions of the peoples of the lands, through their abominations which have filled it from one end to the other with their filthiness. Therefore, do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons; and never seek their peace or prosperity, that you may be strong and eat the good of the land and leave it as an inheritance to your children always. And after all that has come upon us for our evil deeds and for our great guilt, seeing that You, our God, have punished us less than our iniquities deserved and have given us such a remnant, Shall we break Your commandments again and intermarry with the peoples who practice these abominations? Would You not be angry with us till You had consumed us, so that there would be no remnant nor any to escape? O Lord, the God of Israel, You are rigidly just and righteous, for we are left a remnant that is escaped, as it is this day. Behold, we are before You in our guilt, for none can stand before You because of this.
Then Ezra arose and made the chiefs of the priests, the Levites, and all Israel swear that they would do as had been said. So they took the oath. Then Ezra came from before the house of God and went into the lodging place of Jehohanan son of Eliashib [for the night]. There he ate no bread and drank no water, for he mourned over the returned exiles' faithlessness [and violation of God's law]. And proclamation was made throughout Judah and Jerusalem to all the returned exiles, that they should assemble in Jerusalem,read more.
And that whoever did not come within three days, by order of the officials and the elders, all his property should be forfeited and he himself banned from the assembly of the exiles. Then all the men of Judah and Benjamin gathered at Jerusalem within three days. It was the twentieth day of the ninth month, and all the people sat in the open space before the house of God, trembling because of this matter and because of the heavy rain. And Ezra the priest stood up and said to them, You have acted wickedly and broken faith [with God] and have married foreign (heathen) women, increasing the guilt of Israel. So now make confession and give thanks to the Lord, the God of your fathers [for not consuming you], and do His will. Separate yourselves from the peoples of the land and from [your] foreign (heathen) wives. Then all the assembly answered with a loud voice, As you have said, so must we do. But the people are many and it is a time of heavy rain; we cannot stand outside. Nor can this work be done in a day or two, for we have greatly transgressed in this matter. Let our officials stand for the whole assembly; let all in our cities who have foreign wives come by appointment, and with each group the elders of that city and its judges, until the fierce wrath of our God over this matter is turned away from us. Only Jonathan son of Asahel and Jahzeiah son of Tikvah opposed this, and Meshullam and Shabbethai the Levite supported them. Then the returned exiles did so. Ezra the priest and certain heads of fathers' houses were selected, according to their fathers' houses, each of them by name; and they sat down on the first day of the tenth month to investigate the matter. And by the first day of the first month they had come to the end of the cases of the men married to foreign wives.
In those days also I saw Jews who had married wives from Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab. And their children spoke half in the speech of Ashdod, and could not speak the Hebrew, but in the language of each people. And I contended with them and reviled them and beat some of them and pulled out their hair and made them swear by God, saying, You shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor take their daughters for your sons or for yourselves.read more.
Did not Solomon king of Israel act treacherously against God and miss the mark on account of such women? Among many nations there was no king like him. He was loved by his God, and God made him king over all Israel; yet strange women even caused him to sin [when he was old he turned treacherously away from the Lord to other gods, and God rent his kingdom from him]. Shall we then listen to you to do all this great evil and act treacherously against our God by marrying strange (heathen) women?
Now before this, Eliashib the priest, who was appointed over the chambers of the house of our God, and was related [by marriage] to Tobiah [our adversary], Prepared for Tobiah a large chamber where previously they had put the cereal offerings, the frankincense, the vessels, and the tithes of grain, new wine, and oil which were given by commandment to the Levites, the singers, and gatekeepers, and the contributions for the priests. But in all this time I was not at Jerusalem, for in the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes [Persian] king of Babylon I went to the king. Then later I asked leave of himread more.
And came to Jerusalem. Then I discovered the evil that Eliashib had done for Tobiah in preparing him [an adversary] a chamber in the courts of the house of God! And it grieved me exceedingly, and I threw all the house furnishings of Tobiah out of the chamber. Then I commanded, and they cleansed the chambers; and I brought back there the vessels of the house of God, with the cereal offerings and the frankincense. And I perceived that the portions of the Levites had not been given them, so that the Levites and the singers who did the work [forced by necessity] had each fled to his field. Then I contended with the officials and said, Why is the house of God neglected and forsaken? I gathered the Levites and singers and set them in their stations. Then all Judah brought the tithe of the grain, the new wine, and the oil to the storerooms. I set treasurers over the storerooms: Shelemiah the priest, Zadok the scribe, and Pedaiah of the Levites; assisting them was Hanan son of Zaccur, the son of Mattaniah, for they were counted faithful, and their task was to distribute to their brethren.
In those days I saw in Judah men treading winepresses on the Sabbath, bringing in sheaves or heaps of grain with which they loaded donkeys, as well as wine, grapes, figs, and all sorts of burdens, which they brought into Jerusalem on the Sabbath day. And I protested and warned them on the day they sold the produce.
There dwelt men of Tyre there also who brought fish and all kinds of wares and sold on the Sabbath to the people of Judah and in Jerusalem. Then I reproved the nobles of Judah and said, What evil thing is this that you do -- "profaning the Sabbath day? Did not your fathers do thus, and did not our God bring all this evil upon us and upon this city? Yet you bring more wrath upon Israel by profaning the Sabbath.read more.
And when it began to get dark at the gates of Jerusalem before the Sabbath [day began], I commanded that the gates should be shut and not be opened till after the Sabbath. And I set some of my servants at the gates to prevent any burden being brought in on the Sabbath day. So the merchants and sellers of all kinds of wares lodged outside Jerusalem once or twice. But I reproved and warned them, saying, Why do you lodge by the wall? If you do so again, I will lay hands on you. Then they stopped coming on the Sabbath. And I commanded the Levites to cleanse themselves and come and guard the gates to keep the Sabbath day holy. O my God, [earnestly] remember me concerning this also and spare me according to the greatness of Your mercy and loving-kindness.
Thus Jehu rooted Baal out of Israel. But Jehu did not give up the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, by which he made Israel to sin, that is, the golden calves at Bethel and Dan.
He did evil in the sight of the Lord, but not like his father and mother; for he put away the pillar of Baal that his father had made. Yet he clung to the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which made Israel to sin; he departed not from them.
Joash did right in the sight of the Lord all his days in which Jehoiada the priest instructed him. Yet the high places were not taken away; the people still sacrificed and burned incense in the high places.
Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place.
If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves, pray, seek, crave, and require of necessity My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.
Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes! Cease to do evil, Learn to do right! Seek justice, relieve the oppressed, and correct the oppressor. Defend the fatherless, plead for the widow.
Seek, inquire for, and require the Lord while He may be found [claiming Him by necessity and by right]; call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the Lord, and He will have love, pity, and mercy for him, and to our God, for He will multiply to him His abundant pardon.
Now therefore say to the men of Judah and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, Thus says the Lord: Behold, I am shaping evil against you and devising a plan against you. Return now each one from his evil way; reform your [accustomed] ways and make your [individual] actions good and right.
Therefore now amend your ways and your doings and obey the voice of the Lord your God; then the Lord will relent and reverse the decision concerning the evil which He has pronounced against you.
I have sent also to you all My servants the prophets earnestly and persistently, saying, Return now every man from his evil way and amend your doings and go not after other gods to serve them; and then you shall dwell in the land which I have given to you and to your fathers. But you did not submit and consent to Me or listen to and obey Me.
Therefore say to them [the Jews of this day], Thus says the Lord of hosts: Return to Me, says the Lord of hosts, and I will return to you; it is the utterance of the Lord of hosts.
So repent (change your mind and purpose); turn around and return [to God], that your sins may be erased (blotted out, wiped clean), that times of refreshing (of recovering from the effects of heat, of reviving with fresh air) may come from the presence of the Lord; And that He may send [to you] the Christ (the Messiah), Who before was designated and appointed for you -- "even Jesus, Whom heaven must receive [and retain] until the time for the complete restoration of all that God spoke by the mouth of all His holy prophets for ages past [from the most ancient time in the memory of man].read more.
Thus Moses said to the forefathers, The Lord God will raise up for you a Prophet from among your brethren as [He raised up] me; Him you shall listen to and understand by hearing and heed in all things whatever He tells you. And it shall be that every soul that does not listen to and understand by hearing and heed that Prophet shall be utterly exterminated from among the people. Indeed, all the prophets from Samuel and those who came afterwards, as many as have spoken, also promised and foretold and proclaimed these days. You are the descendants (sons) of the prophets and the heirs of the covenant which God made and gave to your forefathers, saying to Abraham, And in your Seed (Heir) shall all the families of the earth be blessed and benefited. It was to you first that God sent His Servant and Son Jesus, when He raised Him up [ provided and gave Him for us], to bless you in turning every one of you from your wickedness and evil ways.
Rouse yourselves and keep awake, and strengthen and invigorate what remains and is on the point of dying; for I have not found a thing that you have done [any work of yours] meeting the requirements of My God or perfect in His sight. So call to mind the lessons you received and heard; continually lay them to heart and obey them, and repent. In case you will not rouse yourselves and keep awake and watch, I will come upon you like a thief, and you will not know or suspect at what hour I will come.
It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, impurity of a sort that is condemned and does not occur even among the heathen; for a man has [his own] father's wife. And you are proud and arrogant! And you ought rather to mourn (bow in sorrow and in shame) until the person who has done this [shameful] thing is removed from your fellowship and your midst! As for my attitude, though I am absent [from you] in body, I am present in spirit, and I have already decided and passed judgment, as if actually present,read more.
In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, on the man who has committed such a deed. When you and my own spirit are met together with the power of our Lord Jesus, You are to deliver this man over to Satan for physical discipline [to destroy carnal lusts which prompted him to incest], that [his] spirit may [yet] be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. [About the condition of your church] your boasting is not good [indeed, it is most unseemly and entirely out of place]. Do you not know that [just] a little leaven will ferment the whole lump [of dough]? Purge (clean out) the old leaven that you may be fresh (new) dough, still uncontaminated [as you are], for Christ, our Passover [Lamb], has been sacrificed. Therefore, let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with leaven of vice and malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened [bread] of purity (nobility, honor) and sincerity and [unadulterated] truth. I wrote you in my [previous] letter not to associate [closely and habitually] with unchaste (impure) people -- " Not [meaning of course that you must] altogether shun the immoral people of this world, or the greedy graspers and cheats and thieves or idolaters, since otherwise you would need to get out of the world and human society altogether! But now I write to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of [Christian] brother if he is known to be guilty of immorality or greed, or is an idolater [whose soul is devoted to any object that usurps the place of God], or is a person with a foul tongue [railing, abusing, reviling, slandering], or is a drunkard or a swindler or a robber. [No] you must not so much as eat with such a person. What [business] of mine is it and what right have I to judge outsiders? Is it not those inside [the church] upon whom you are to pass disciplinary judgment [passing censuring sentence on them as the facts require]? God alone sits in judgment on those who are outside. Drive out that wicked one from among you [expel him from your church].
Remember then from what heights you have fallen. Repent (change the inner man to meet God's will) and do the works you did previously [when first you knew the Lord], or else I will visit you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you change your mind and repent.
I know your [record of] works and what you are doing; you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth! For you say, I am rich; I have prospered and grown wealthy, and I am in need of nothing; and you do not realize and understand that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.read more.
Therefore I counsel you to purchase from Me gold refined and tested by fire, that you may be [truly] wealthy, and white clothes to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nudity from being seen, and salve to put on your eyes, that you may see. Those whom I [dearly and tenderly] love, I tell their faults and convict and convince and reprove and chasten [I discipline and instruct them]. So be enthusiastic and in earnest and burning with zeal and repent [changing your mind and attitude]. Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears and listens to and heeds My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will eat with him, and he [will eat] with Me.
So get rid of all uncleanness and the rampant outgrowth of wickedness, and in a humble (gentle, modest) spirit receive and welcome the Word which implanted and rooted [in your hearts] contains the power to save your souls.
Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].
Strip yourselves of your former nature [put off and discard your old unrenewed self] which characterized your previous manner of life and becomes corrupt through lusts and desires that spring from delusion; And be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude], And put on the new nature (the regenerate self) created in God's image, [Godlike] in true righteousness and holiness.
So kill (deaden, deprive of power) the evil desire lurking in your members [those animal impulses and all that is earthly in you that is employed in sin]: sexual vice, impurity, sensual appetites, unholy desires, and all greed and covetousness, for that is idolatry (the deifying of self and other created things instead of God). It is on account of these [very sins] that the [holy] anger of God is ever coming upon the sons of disobedience (those who are obstinately opposed to the divine will), Among whom you also once walked, when you were living in and addicted to [such practices].read more.
But now put away and rid yourselves [completely] of all these things: anger, rage, bad feeling toward others, curses and slander, and foulmouthed abuse and shameful utterances from your lips! Do not lie to one another, for you have stripped off the old (unregenerate) self with its evil practices, And have clothed yourselves with the new [spiritual self], which is [ever in the process of being] renewed and remolded into [fuller and more perfect knowledge upon] knowledge after the image (the likeness) of Him Who created it.
But be doers of the Word [obey the message], and not merely listeners to it, betraying yourselves [into deception by reasoning contrary to the Truth]. For if anyone only listens to the Word without obeying it and being a doer of it, he is like a man who looks carefully at his [own] natural face in a mirror; For he thoughtfully observes himself, and then goes off and promptly forgets what he was like.read more.
But he who looks carefully into the faultless law, the [law] of liberty, and is faithful to it and perseveres in looking into it, being not a heedless listener who forgets but an active doer [who obeys], he shall be blessed in his doing (his life of obedience).
So be subject to God. Resist the devil [stand firm against him], and he will flee from you. Come close to God and He will come close to you. [Recognize that you are] sinners, get your soiled hands clean; [realize that you have been disloyal] wavering individuals with divided interests, and purify your hearts [of your spiritual adultery]. [As you draw near to God] be deeply penitent and grieve, even weep [over your disloyalty]. Let your laughter be turned to grief and your mirth to dejection and heartfelt shame [for your sins].read more.
Humble yourselves [feeling very insignificant] in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you [He will lift you up and make your lives significant].