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64 Bible Verses about Reformation
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Samuel told them, "If you are returning to the Lord with all your heart, get rid of the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths that are among you, dedicate yourselves to the Lord, and worship only Him. Then He will rescue you from the hand of the Philistines."
So Jacob said to his family and all who were with him, "Get rid of the foreign gods that are among you. Purify yourselves and change your clothes.
"Therefore, fear the Lord and worship Him in sincerity and truth. Get rid of the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and worship the Lord. But if it doesn't please you to worship the Lord, choose for yourselves today the one you will worship: the gods your fathers worshiped beyond the Euphrates River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living. As for me and my family, we will worship the Lord." The people replied, "We will certainly not abandon the Lord to worship other gods!read more.
For the Lord our God brought us and our fathers out of the land of Egypt, the place of slavery and performed these great signs before our eyes. He also protected us all along the way we went and among all the peoples whose lands we traveled through. The Lord drove out before us all the peoples, including the Amorites who lived in the land. We too will worship the Lord, because He is our God." But Joshua told the people, "You will not be able to worship the Lord, because He is a holy God. He is a jealous God; He will not remove your transgressions and sins. If you abandon the Lord and worship foreign gods, He will turn against [you], harm you, and completely destroy you, after He has been good to you." "No!" the people answered Joshua. "We will worship the Lord." Joshua then told the people, "You are witnesses against yourselves that you yourselves have chosen to worship the Lord." "We are witnesses," they said. "Then get rid of the foreign gods that are among you and offer your hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel." So the people said to Joshua, "We will worship the Lord our God and obey Him."
On that very night the Lord said to him, "Take your father's young bull and a second bull seven years old. Then tear down the altar of Baal that belongs to your father and cut down the Asherah pole beside it. Build a well-constructed altar to the Lord your God on the top of this rock. Take the second bull and offer it as a burnt offering with the wood of the Asherah pole you cut down." So Gideon took 10 of his male 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 in the daytime, he did it at night.
Then Jehu brought all the people together and said to them, "Ahab served Baal a little, but Jehu will serve him a lot. Now, therefore, summon to me all the prophets of Baal, all his servants, and all his priests. None must be missing, for I have a great sacrifice for Baal. Whoever is missing will not live." However, Jehu was acting deceptively in order to destroy the servants of Baal. Jehu commanded, "Consecrate a solemn assembly for Baal." So they called one.read more.
Then Jehu sent [messengers] throughout all Israel, and all the servants of Baal came; there was not a man left who did not come. They entered the temple of Baal, and it was filled from one end to the other. Then he said to the custodian of the wardrobe, "Bring out the garments for all the servants of Baal." So he brought out their garments. Then Jehu and Jehonadab son of Rechab entered the temple of Baal, and Jehu said to the servants of Baal, "Look carefully to see that there are no servants of the Lord here among you-only servants of Baal." Then they went in to offer sacrifices and burnt offerings. Now Jehu had stationed 80 men outside, and he warned [them], "Whoever allows any of the men I am delivering into your hands to escape [will forfeit] his life for theirs." When he finished offering the burnt offering, Jehu said to the guards and officers, "Go in and kill them. Don't let anyone out." So they struck them down with the sword. Then the guards and officers threw [the bodies] out and went into the inner room of the temple of Baal. They brought out the pillars of the temple of Baal and burned them and tore down the pillar of Baal. Then they tore down the temple of Baal and made it a latrine-[which it is] to this day.
Then Jehoiada made a covenant between the Lord, the king, and the people that they would be the Lord's people and [another one] between the king and the people. So all the people of the land went to the temple of Baal and tore it down. They broke its altars and images into pieces, and they killed Mattan, the priest of Baal, at the altars. Then [Jehoiada] the priest appointed guards for the Lord's temple.
Then Jehoiada made a covenant between himself, the king, and the people that they would be the Lord's people. So all the people went to the temple of Baal and tore it down. They broke its altars and images into pieces and killed Mattan, the priest of Baal, at the altars.
He banished the male shrine prostitutes from the land and removed all of the idols that his fathers had made. He also removed his grandmother Maacah from being queen mother because she had made an obscene image of Asherah. Asa chopped down her obscene image and burned it in the Kidron Valley.
When Asa heard these words and the prophecy of [Azariah son of] Oded the prophet, he took courage and removed the detestable idols from the whole land of Judah and Benjamin and from the cities he had captured in the hill country of Ephraim. He renovated the altar of the Lord that was in front of the vestibule of the Lord's [temple].
Then he gathered all Judah and Benjamin, as well as those from [the tribes of] Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon who had settled among them, for they had defected to him from Israel in great numbers when they saw that the Lord his God was with him. They were gathered in Jerusalem in the third month of the fifteenth year of Asa's reign. At that time they sacrificed to the Lord 700 cattle and 7,000 sheep from all the plunder they had brought.read more.
Then they entered into a covenant to seek the Lord God of their ancestors with all their mind and all their heart. Whoever would not seek the Lord God of Israel would be put to death, young or old, man or woman. They took an oath to the Lord in a loud voice, with shouting, with trumpets, and with rams' horns. All Judah rejoiced over the oath, for they had sworn it with all their mind. They had sought Him with all their heart, and He was found by them. So the Lord gave them rest on every side.
He removed the high places and shattered the sacred pillars and cut down the Asherah [poles]. He broke into pieces the bronze snake that Moses made, for the Israelites burned incense to it up to that time. He called it Nehushtan.
When all this was completed, all Israel who had attended went out to the cities of Judah and broke up the sacred pillars, chopped down the Asherah poles, and tore down the high places and altars throughout Judah and Benjamin, as well as in Ephraim and Manasseh, to the last one.Then all the Israelites returned to their cities, each to his own possession.
In the first year of his reign, in the first month, he opened the doors of the Lord's temple and repaired them. Then he brought in the priests and Levites and gathered them in the eastern public square. He said to them, "Hear me, Levites. Consecrate yourselves now and consecrate the temple of the Lord God of your ancestors. Remove everything detestable from the holy place.read more.
For our fathers were unfaithful and did what is evil in the sight of the Lord our God. They abandoned Him, turned their faces away from the Lord's tabernacle, and turned their backs on Him. They also closed the doors of the vestibule, extinguished the lamps, did not burn incense, and did not offer burnt offerings in the holy place of the God of Israel.
It is in my heart now to make a covenant with the Lord God of Israel so that His fierce wrath may turn away from us. My sons, don't be negligent now, for the Lord has chosen you to stand in His presence, to serve Him, and to be His ministers and burners of incense."
Then Hezekiah sent [word] throughout all Israel and Judah, and he also wrote letters to Ephraim and Manasseh to come to the Lord's temple in Jerusalem to observe the Passover of the Lord God of Israel. For the king and his officials and the entire congregation in Jerusalem decided to observe the Passover of the Lord in the second month because they were not able to observe it at the appropriate time, since not enough of the priests had consecrated themselves and the people hadn't been gathered together in Jerusalem.read more.
The proposal pleased the king and the congregation, so they affirmed the proposal and spread the message throughout all Israel, from Beer-sheba to Dan, to come to observe the Passover of the Lord God of Israel in Jerusalem, for they hadn't observed it often, as prescribed. So the couriers went throughout Israel and Judah with letters from the hand of the king and his officials, and according to the king's command, saying, "Israelites, return to the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel so that He may return to those of you who remain, who have escaped from the grasp of the kings of Assyria. Don't be like your fathers and your brothers who were unfaithful to the Lord God of their ancestors so that He made them an object of horror as you yourselves see. Don't become obstinate now like your fathers did. Give your allegiance to the Lord, and come to His sanctuary that He has consecrated forever. Serve the Lord your God so that He may turn His fierce wrath away from you, for when you return to the Lord, your brothers and your sons [will receive] mercy in the presence of their captors and will return to this land. For the Lord your God is gracious and merciful; He will not turn [His] face away from you if you return to Him." The couriers traveled from city to city in the land of Ephraim and Manasseh as far as Zebulun, but the inhabitants laughed at them and mocked them. But some from Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem. Also, the hand of God was in Judah to give them one heart to carry out the command of the king and his officials by the word of the Lord. A very large assembly of people was gathered in Jerusalem to observe the Festival of Unleavened Bread in the second month. They proceeded to take away the altars that were in Jerusalem, and they took away the incense altars and threw them into the Kidron Valley. They slaughtered the Passover lamb on the fourteenth day of the second month. The priests and Levites were ashamed, and they consecrated themselves and brought burnt offerings to the Lord's temple. They stood at their prescribed posts, according to the law of Moses the man of God. The priests sprinkled the blood [received] from the hand of the Levites, for there were many in the assembly who had not consecrated themselves, and so the Levites were in charge of slaughtering the Passover [lambs] for every unclean person to consecrate [the lambs] to the Lord. For a large number of the people-many from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun-were unclean, yet they had eaten the Passover contrary to what was written. But Hezekiah had interceded for them, saying, "May the good Lord provide atonement on behalf of whoever sets his whole heart on seeking God, the Lord God of his ancestors, even though not according to the purification [rules] of the sanctuary." So the Lord heard Hezekiah and healed the people. The Israelites who were present in Jerusalem observed the Festival of Unleavened Bread seven days with great joy, and the Levites and the priests praised the Lord day after day with loud instruments. Then Hezekiah encouraged all the Levites who performed skillfully before the Lord. They ate the appointed feast for seven days, sacrificing fellowship offerings and giving thanks to the Lord God of their ancestors. The whole congregation decided to observe seven more days, so they observed seven days with joy, for Hezekiah king of Judah contributed 1,000 bulls and 7,000 sheep for the congregation. Also, the officials contributed 1,000 bulls and 10,000 sheep for the congregation, and many priests consecrated themselves. Then the whole assembly of Judah with the priests and Levites, the whole assembly that came from Israel, the foreigners who came from the land of Israel, and those who were living in Judah, rejoiced. Such rejoicing had not been seen in Jerusalem since the days of Solomon son of David, the king of Israel. Then the priests and the Levites stood to bless the people, and God heard their voice, and their prayer came into His holy dwelling place in heaven.
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.
In the eighteenth year of King Josiah, the king sent the court secretary Shaphan son of Azaliah, son of Meshullam, to the Lord's temple, saying, "Go up to Hilkiah the high priest so that he may total up the money brought into the Lord's temple-[the money] the doorkeepers have collected from the people. It is to be put into the hands of those doing the work-those who oversee the Lord's temple. They [in turn] are to give it to the workmen in the Lord's temple to repair the damage.read more.
[They are to give it] to the carpenters, builders, and masons to buy timber and quarried stone to repair the temple. But no accounting is to be required from them for the money put into their hands since they work with integrity."
In the eighteenth year of his reign, in order to cleanse the land and the temple, Josiah sent Shaphan son of Azaliah, along with Maaseiah the governor of the city and the recorder Joah son of Joahaz, to repair the temple of the Lord his God. So they went to Hilkiah the high priest, and gave him the money brought into God's temple. The Levites and the doorkeepers had collected [money] from Manasseh, Ephraim, and from the entire remnant of Israel, and from all Judah, Benjamin, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. They put it into the hands of those doing the work-those who oversaw the Lord's temple. They [in turn] gave it to the workmen who were working in the Lord's temple, to repair and restore the temple;read more.
they gave it to the carpenters and builders and [also used it] to buy quarried stone and timbers-for joining and to make beams-for the buildings that Judah's kings had destroyed. The men were doing the work with integrity. Their overseers were Jahath and Obadiah the Levites from the Merarites, and Zechariah and Meshullam from the Kohathites as supervisors. The Levites were all skilled on musical instruments. [They were] also over the porters and were supervising all those doing the work task by task. Some of the Levites were secretaries, officers, and gatekeepers.
Then the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest and the priests of the second rank and the doorkeepers to bring out of the Lord's temple all the articles made for Baal, Asherah, and the whole heavenly host. He burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of the Kidron and carried their ashes to Bethel Then he did away with the idolatrous priests the kings of Judah had appointed to burn incense at the high places in the cities of Judah and in the areas surrounding Jerusalem. They had burned incense to Baal, and to the sun, moon, constellations, and the whole heavenly host. He brought out the Asherah pole from the Lord's temple to the Kidron Valley outside Jerusalem. He burned it at the Kidron Valley, beat it to dust, and threw its dust on the graves of the common people.read more.
He also tore down the houses of the male shrine prostitutes that were in the Lord's temple, in which the women were weaving tapestries for Asherah. Then Josiah brought all the priests from the cities of Judah, and he defiled the high places from Geba to Beer-sheba, where the priests had burned incense. He tore down the high places of the gates at the entrance of the gate of Joshua the governor of the city (on the left at the city gate). The priests of the high places, however, did not come up to the altar of the Lord in Jerusalem; instead, they ate unleavened bread with their fellow priests. He defiled Topheth, which is in the Valley of Hinnom, so that no one could make his son or his daughter pass through the fire to Molech. He did away with the horses that the kings of Judah had dedicated to the sun. [They had been] at the entrance of the Lord's temple in the precincts by the chamber of Nathan-melech the court official, and he burned up the chariots of the sun. The king tore down the altars that were on the roof-Ahaz's upper chamber that the kings of Judah had made-and the altars that Manasseh had made in the two courtyards of the Lord's temple. Then he smashed them there and threw their dust into the Kidron Valley. The king also defiled the high places that were across from Jerusalem, to the south of the Mount of Destruction, which Solomon king of Israel had built for Ashtoreth, the detestable idol of the Sidonians; for Chemosh, the detestable idol of Moab; and for Milcom, the abomination of the Ammonites. He broke the sacred pillars into pieces, cut down the Asherah poles, then filled their places with human bones. He even tore down the altar at Bethel and the high place that Jeroboam son of Nebat, who caused Israel to sin, had made. Then he burned the high place, crushed it to dust, and burned the Asherah. As Josiah turned, he saw the tombs there on the mountain. He sent [someone] to take the bones out of the tombs, and he burned them on the altar. He defiled it according to the word of the Lord proclaimed by the man of God who proclaimed these things. Then he said, "What is this monument I see?" The men of the city told him, "It is the tomb of the man of God who came from Judah and proclaimed these things that you have done to the altar at Bethel." So he said, "Let him rest. Don't let anyone disturb his bones." So they left his bones undisturbed with the bones of the prophet who came from Samaria. Josiah also removed all the shrines of the high places that were in the cities of Samaria, which the kings of Israel had made to provoke [the Lord]. Josiah did the same things to them that he had done at Bethel He slaughtered on the altars all the priests of the high places who were there, and he burned human bones on the altars. Then he returned to Jerusalem. The king commanded all the people, "Keep the Passover of the Lord your God as written in the book of the covenant." No such Passover had ever been kept from the time of the judges who judged Israel through the entire time of the kings of Israel and Judah. But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah, this Passover was observed to the Lord in Jerusalem. In addition, Josiah removed the mediums, the spiritists, household idols, images, and all the detestable things that were seen in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem. He did this in order to carry out the words of the law that were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the Lord's temple.
In the eighth year of his reign, while he was still a youth, Josiah began to seek the God of his ancestor David, and in the twelfth year he began to cleanse Judah and Jerusalem of the high places, the Asherah poles, the carved images, and the cast images. Then in his presence the altars of the Baals were torn down, and the incense altars that were above them he chopped down. The Asherah poles, the carved images, and the cast images he shattered, crushed to dust, and scattered over the graves of those who had sacrificed to them. He burned the bones of the priests on their altars. So he cleansed Judah and Jerusalem.read more.
[He did the same] in the cities of Manasseh, Ephraim, and Simeon, and as far as Naphtali [and] on their surrounding mountain shrines. He tore down the altars, and he smashed the Asherah poles and the carved images to powder. He chopped down all the incense altars throughout the land of Israel and returned to Jerusalem.
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.
When the king heard the words of the book of the law, he tore his clothes. Then he commanded Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Achbor son of Micaiah, Shaphan the court secretary, and the king's servant Asaiah: "Go and inquire of the Lord for me, the people, and all Judah about the instruction in this book that has been found. For great is the Lord's wrath that is kindled against us because our ancestors have not obeyed the words of this book in order to do everything written about us."read more.
So Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Achbor, Shaphan, and Asaiah went to the prophetess Huldah, wife of Shallum son of Tikvah, son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe. She lived in Jerusalem in the Second District. They spoke with her. She said to them, "This is what the Lord God of Israel says, 'Say to the man who sent you to Me: This is what the Lord says: I am about to bring disaster on this place and on its inhabitants, [fulfilling] all the words of the book that the king of Judah has read, because they have abandoned Me and burned incense to other gods in order to provoke Me with all the work of their hands. My wrath will be kindled against this place, and it will not be quenched. Say this to the king of Judah who sent you to inquire of the Lord: This is what the Lord God of Israel says: As for the words that you heard, because your heart was tender and you humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I spoke against this place and against its inhabitants, that they would become a desolation and a curse, and because you have torn your clothes and wept before Me, I Myself have heard you-declares the Lord. Therefore, I will indeed gather you to your fathers, and you will be gathered to your grave in peace. Your eyes will not see all the disaster that I am bringing on this place.'" Then they reported to the king.
When the king heard the words of the law, he tore his clothes. Then he commanded Hilkiah, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Abdon son of Micah, Shaphan the court secretary, and the king's servant Asaiah, "Go. Inquire of the Lord for me and for those remaining in Israel and Judah, concerning the words of the book that was 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 in order to do everything written in this book."read more.
So Hilkiah and those the king had designated went to the prophetess Huldah, the wife of Shallum son of Tokhath, son of Hasrah, keeper of the wardrobe. She lived in Jerusalem in the Second District. They spoke with her about this. She said to them, "This is what the Lord God of Israel says: Say to the man who sent you to Me, 'This is what the Lord says: I am about to bring disaster on this place and on its inhabitants, [fulfilling] all the curses written in the book that they read in the presence of the king of Judah, because they have abandoned Me and burned incense to other gods in order to provoke Me with all the works of their hands. My wrath will be poured out on this place, and it will not be quenched.' Say this to the king of Judah who sent you to inquire of the Lord: 'This is what the Lord God of Israel says: As for the words that you heard, because your heart was tender and you humbled yourself before God when you heard His words against this place and against its inhabitants, and because you humbled yourself before Me, and you tore your clothes and wept before Me, I Myself have heard'-this is the Lord speaking. 'I will indeed gather you to your fathers, and you will be gathered to your grave in peace. Your eyes will not see all the disaster that I am bringing on this place and on its inhabitants.' " Then they reported to the king.
So the king sent [messengers], and they gathered to him all the elders of Jerusalem and Judah. Then the king went to the Lord's temple with all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, as well as the priests and the prophets-all the people from the youngest to the oldest. As they listened, he read all the words of the book of the covenant that had been found in the Lord's temple. Next, the king stood by the pillar and made a covenant in the presence of the Lord to follow the Lord and to keep His commandments, His decrees, and His statutes with all his mind and with all his heart, and to carry out the words of this covenant that were written in this book; all the people agreed to the covenant.
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.
Next, the king stood by the pillar and made a covenant in the presence of the Lord to follow the Lord and to keep His commandments, His decrees, and His statutes with all his mind and with all his heart, and to carry out the words of this covenant that were written in this book; all the people agreed to the covenant.
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. 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.
The king commanded all the people, "Keep the Passover of the Lord your God as written in the book of the covenant." No such Passover had ever been kept from the time of the judges who judged Israel through the entire time of the kings of Israel and Judah. But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah, this Passover was observed to the Lord in Jerusalem.
Josiah observed the Lord's Passover and slaughtered the Passover [lambs] on the fourteenth day of the first month. He appointed the priests to their responsibilities and encouraged them to serve in the Lord's temple. He said to the Levites who taught all Israel the holy things of the Lord, "Put the holy ark in the temple built by Solomon son of David king of Israel. Since you do not have to carry it on your shoulders, now serve the Lord your God and His people Israel.read more.
"Organize your ancestral houses by your divisions according to the written instruction of David king of Israel and that of his son Solomon. Serve in the holy place by the divisions of the ancestral houses for your brothers, the lay people, and the distribution of the tribal household of the Levites. Slaughter the Passover [lambs], consecrate yourselves, and make preparations for your brothers to carry out the word of the Lord through Moses." Then Josiah donated 30,000 sheep, lambs, and kid goats, plus 3,000 bulls from his own possessions, for the Passover sacrifices for all the lay people who were present. His officials also donated willingly for the people, the priests, and the Levites. Hilkiah, Zechariah, and Jehiel, leaders of God's temple, gave 2,600 Passover sacrifices and 300 bulls for the priests. Conaniah and his brothers Shemaiah and Nethanel, and Hashabiah, Jeiel, and Jozabad, officers of the Levites, donated 5,000 Passover sacrifices for the Levites, plus 500 bulls. So the service was established; the priests stood at their posts and the Levites in their divisions according to the king's command. Then they slaughtered the Passover [lambs], and while the Levites were skinning the [animals], the priests sprinkled the blood they had been given. They removed the burnt offerings so that they might be given to the divisions of the ancestral houses of the lay people to offer to the Lord, according to what is written in the book of Moses; [they did] the same with the bulls. They roasted the Passover [lambs] with fire according to regulation. They boiled the holy [sacrifices] in pots, in kettles, and in bowls; and they quickly brought [them] to the lay people. Afterwards, they made preparations for themselves and for the priests, since the priests, the descendants of Aaron, were busy offering up burnt offerings and fat until night. So the Levites made preparations for themselves and for the priests, the descendants of Aaron. The singers, the descendants of Asaph, were at their stations according to the command of David, Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun the king's seer. Also, the gatekeepers were at each gate. Because their Levite brothers had made preparations for them, none of them left their tasks. So all the service of the Lord was established that day for observing the Passover and for offering burnt offerings on the altar of the Lord, according to the command of King Josiah. The Israelites who were present [in Judah] also observed the Passover at that time and the Festival of Unleavened Bread for seven days. No Passover had been observed like it in Israel since the days of Samuel the prophet. None of the kings of Israel ever observed a Passover like the one that Josiah observed with the priests, the Levites, all Judah, the Israelites who were present [in Judah], and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. In the eighteenth year of Josiah's reign, this Passover was observed.
Then Shecaniah son of Jehiel, an Elamite, responded to Ezra: "We have been unfaithful to our God by marrying foreign women from the surrounding peoples, but there is still hope for Israel in spite of this. Let us therefore make a covenant before our God to send away all the [foreign] wives and their children, according to the counsel of my lord and of those who tremble at the commandment of our God. Let it be done according to the law.
After these things had been done, the leaders approached me and said: "The people of Israel, the priests, and the Levites have not separated themselves from the surrounding peoples whose detestable practices are like those of the Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Jebusites, Ammonites, Moabites, Egyptians, and Amorites. Indeed, they have taken some of their daughters as wives for themselves and their sons, so that the holy people has become mixed with the surrounding peoples. The leaders and officials have taken the lead in this unfaithfulness!" When I heard this report, I tore my tunic and robe, pulled out some of the hair from my head and beard, and sat down devastated.read more.
Everyone who trembled at the words of the God of Israel gathered around me, because of the unfaithfulness of the exiles, while I sat devastated until the evening offering. At the evening offering, I got up from my humiliation, with my tunic and robe torn. Then I fell on my knees and spread out my hands to the Lord my God. And I said: My God, I am ashamed and embarrassed to lift my face toward You, my God, because our iniquities are higher than [our] heads and our guilt is as high as the heavens. Our guilt has been terrible from the days of our fathers until the present. Because of our iniquities we have been handed over, along with our kings and priests, to the surrounding kings, and to the sword, captivity, plundering, and open shame, as it is today. But now, for a brief moment, grace has come from the Lord our God to preserve a remnant for us and give us a stake in His holy place. Even in our slavery, God has given us new life and light to our eyes. Though we are slaves, our God has not abandoned us in our slavery. He has extended grace to us in the presence of the Persian kings, giving us new life, so that we can rebuild the house of our God and repair its ruins, to give us a wall in Judah and Jerusalem. Now, our God, what can we say in light of this? For we have abandoned the commandments You gave through Your servants the prophets, saying: "The land you are entering to possess is an impure land. The surrounding peoples have filled it from end to end with their uncleanness by their impurity and detestable practices. So do not give your daughters to their sons in marriage or take their daughters for your sons. Never seek their peace or prosperity, so that you will be strong, eat the good things of the land, and leave [it] as an inheritance to your sons forever." After all that has happened to us because of our evil deeds and terrible guilt-though You, our God, have punished [us] less than our sins [deserve] and have allowed us to survive- should we break Your commandments again and intermarry with the peoples who commit these detestable practices? Wouldn't You become [so] angry with us that You would destroy us, leaving no survivors? Lord God of Israel, You are righteous, for we survive as a remnant today. Here we are before You with our guilt, though no one can stand in Your presence because of this.
Then Ezra got up and made the leading priests, Levites, and all Israel take an oath to do what had been said; so they took the oath. Ezra then went from the house of God, walked to the chamber of Jehohanan son of Eliashib, where he spent the night. He did not eat food or drink water, because he was mourning over the unfaithfulness of the exiles. They circulated a proclamation throughout Judah and Jerusalem that all the exiles should gather at Jerusalem.read more.
Whoever did not come within three days would forfeit all his possessions, according to the decision of the leaders and elders, and would be excluded from the assembly of the exiles. So all the men of Judah and Benjamin gathered in Jerusalem within the three days. On the twentieth [day] of the ninth month, all the people sat in the square at the house of God, trembling because of this matter and because of the heavy rain. Then Ezra the priest stood up and said to them, "You have been unfaithful by marrying foreign women, adding to Israel's guilt. Therefore, make a confession to the Lord God of your fathers and do His will. Separate yourselves from the surrounding peoples and [your] foreign wives." Then all the assembly responded with a loud voice: "Yes, we will do as you say! But there are many people, and it is the rainy season. We don't have the stamina to stay out in the open. This isn't something that can be done in a day or two, for we have rebelled terribly in this matter. Let our leaders represent the entire assembly. Then let all those in our towns who have married foreign women come at appointed times, together with the elders and judges of each town, in order to avert the fierce anger of our God concerning this matter." Only Jonathan son of Asahel and Jahzeiah son of Tikvah opposed this, with Meshullam and Shabbethai the Levite supporting them. The exiles did what had been proposed. Ezra the priest selected men who were family leaders, all [identified] by name, to represent their ancestral houses. They convened on the first day of the tenth month to investigate the matter, and by the first day of the first month they had dealt with all the men who had married foreign women.
In those days I also saw Jews who had married women from Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab. Half of their children spoke the language of Ashdod or of one of the other peoples but could not speak Hebrew. I rebuked them, cursed them, beat some of their men, and pulled out their hair. I forced them to take an oath before God and said: "You must not give your daughters in marriage to their sons or take their daughters as wives for your sons or yourselves!read more.
Didn't King Solomon of Israel sin in matters like this? There was not a king like him among many nations. He was loved by his God and God made him king over all Israel, yet foreign women drew him into sin. Why then should we hear about you doing all this terrible evil and acting unfaithfully against our God by marrying foreign women?"
Now before this, Eliashib the priest had been put in charge of the storerooms of the house of our God. He was a relative of Tobiah and had prepared a large room for him where they had previously stored the grain offerings, the frankincense, the articles, and the tenths of grain, new wine, and oil prescribed for the Levites, singers, and gatekeepers, along with the contributions for the priests. While all this was happening, I was not in Jerusalem, because I had returned to King Artaxerxes of Babylon in the thirty-second year of his [reign]. It was only later that I asked the king for a leave of absenceread more.
so I could return to Jerusalem. Then I discovered the evil that Eliashib had done on behalf of Tobiah by providing him a room in the courts of God's house. I was greatly displeased and threw all of Tobiah's household possessions out of the room. I ordered that the rooms be purified, and I had the articles of the house of God restored there, along with the grain offering and frankincense. I also found out that because the portions for the Levites had not been given, each of the Levites and the singers performing the service had gone back to his own field. Therefore, I rebuked the officials, saying, "Why has the house of God been neglected?" I gathered the Levites and singers together and stationed them at their posts. Then all Judah brought a tenth of the grain, new wine, and oil into the storehouses. I appointed as treasurers over the storehouses Shelemiah the priest, Zadok the scribe, and Pedaiah of the Levites, with Hanan son of Zaccur, son of Mattaniah to assist them, because they were considered trustworthy. They were responsible for the distribution to their colleagues.
At that time I saw people in Judah treading wine presses on the Sabbath. They were also bringing in stores of grain and loading [them] on donkeys, along with wine, grapes, and figs. All kinds of goods were being brought to Jerusalem on the Sabbath day. So I warned [them] against selling food on that day.
The Tyrians living there were importing fish and all kinds of merchandise and selling them on the Sabbath to the people of Judah in Jerusalem. I rebuked the nobles of Judah and said to them: "What is this evil you are doing-profaning the Sabbath day? Didn't your ancestors do the same, so that our God brought all this disaster on us and on this city? And now you are rekindling [His] anger against Israel by profaning the Sabbath!"read more.
When shadows began to fall on the gates of Jerusalem just before the Sabbath, I gave orders that the gates be closed and not opened until after the Sabbath. I posted some of my men at the gates, so that no goods could enter during the Sabbath day. Once or twice the merchants and those who sell all kinds of goods camped outside Jerusalem, but I warned them, "Why are you camping in front of the wall? If you do it again, I'll use force against you." After that they did not come again on the Sabbath. Then I instructed the Levites to purify themselves and guard the gates in order to keep the Sabbath day holy. Remember me for this also, my God, and look on me with compassion in keeping with Your abundant, faithful love.
Jehu eliminated Baal [worship] from Israel, but he did not turn away from the sins that Jeroboam son of Nebat had caused Israel to commit-[worshiping] the golden calves that were in Bethel and Dan.
He did what was evil in the Lord's sight, but not like his father and mother, for he removed the sacred pillar of Baal his father had made. Nevertheless, Joram clung to the sins that Jeroboam son of Nebat had caused Israel to commit. He did not turn away from them.
Throughout the time Jehoiada the priest instructed him, Joash did what was right in the Lord's sight. Yet the high places were not taken away; the people continued sacrificing and burning incense on the high places.
"This is what the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel, says: Correct your ways and your deeds, and I will allow you to live in this place.
and My people who are called by My name humble themselves, pray and seek My face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.
"Wash yourselves. Cleanse yourselves. Remove your evil deeds from My sight. Stop doing evil. Learn to do what is good. Seek justice. Correct the oppressor. Defend the rights of the fatherless. Plead the widow's cause.
Seek the Lord while He may be found; call to Him while He is near. Let the wicked one abandon his way, and the sinful one his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, so He may have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will freely forgive.
So now, say to the men of Judah and to the residents of Jerusalem: This is what the Lord says: I am about to bring harm to you and make plans against you. Turn now, each from your evil way, and correct your ways and your deeds.
So now, correct your ways and deeds and obey the voice of the Lord your God so that He might relent concerning the disaster that He warned about.
Time and time again I have sent you all My servants the prophets, proclaiming: Turn, each one from his evil way of life, and correct your actions. Stop following other gods to serve them. Live in the land that I gave you and your ancestors. But you would not pay attention or obey Me.
So tell the people: This is what the Lord of Hosts says: Return to Me"-[this is] the declaration of the Lord of Hosts-"and I will return to you, says the Lord of Hosts.
Therefore repent and turn back, that your sins may be wiped out so that seasons of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and He may send Jesus, who has been appointed Messiah for you. Heaven must welcome Him until the times of the restoration of all things, which God spoke about by the mouth of His holy prophets from the beginning.read more.
Moses said: The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from among your brothers. You must listen to Him in everything He will say to you. And it will be that everyone who will not listen to that Prophet will be completely cut off from the people. "In addition, all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and those after him, have also announced these days. You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your forefathers, saying to Abraham, And in your seed all the families of the earth will be blessed. God raised up His Servant and sent Him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your evil ways."
Be alert and strengthen what remains, which is about to die, for I have not found your works complete before My God. Remember therefore what you have received and heard; keep it, and repent. But if you are not alert, I will come like a thief, and you have no idea at what hour I will come against you.
It is widely reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and the kind of sexual immorality that is not even condoned among the Gentiles-a man is living with his father's wife. And you are inflated with pride, instead of filled with grief so that he who has committed this act might be removed from among you. For though absent in body but present in spirit, I have already decided about him who has done this thing as though I were present.read more.
In the name of our Lord Jesus, when you are assembled, along with my spirit and with the power of our Lord Jesus, turn that one over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the Day of the Lord. Your boasting is not good. Don't you know that a little yeast permeates the whole batch of dough? Clean out the old yeast so that you may be a new batch, since you are unleavened. For Christ our Passover has been sacrificed. Therefore, let us observe the feast, not with old yeast, or with the yeast of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. I wrote to you in a letter not to associate with sexually immoral people- by no means referring to this world's immoral people, or to the greedy and swindlers, or to idolaters; otherwise you would have to leave the world. But now I am writing you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother who is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a reviler, a drunkard or a swindler. Do not even eat with such a person. For what is it to me to judge outsiders? Do you not judge those who are inside? But God judges outsiders. Put away the evil person from among yourselves.
Remember then how far you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. Otherwise, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place-unless you repent.
I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I am going to vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, 'I'm rich; I have become wealthy, and need nothing,' and you don't know that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked,read more.
I advise you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire so that you may be rich, and white clothes so that you may be dressed and your shameful nakedness not be exposed, and ointment to spread on your eyes so that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and discipline. So be committed and repent. Listen! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and have dinner with him, and he with Me.
Therefore, ridding yourselves of all moral filth and evil excess, humbly receive the implanted word, which is able to save you.
Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.
you took off your former way of life, the old man that is corrupted by deceitful desires; you are being renewed in the spirit of your minds; you put on the new man, the one created according to God's [likeness] in righteousness and purity of the truth.
Therefore, put to death whatever in you is worldly: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, God's wrath comes on the disobedient, and you once walked in these things when you were living in them.read more.
But now you must also put away all the following: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and filthy language from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his practices and have put on the new man, who is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of his Creator.
But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. Because if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man looking at his own face in a mirror; for he looks at himself, goes away, and right away forgets what kind of man he was.read more.
But the one who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer who acts-this person will be blessed in what he does.
Therefore, submit to God. But resist the Devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, double-minded people! Be miserable and mourn and weep. Your laughter must change to mourning and your joy to sorrow.read more.
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you.