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And Samuel spoke unto all the house of Israel, saying, If you do return unto the LORD with all your hearts, then put away the foreign gods and Ashtaroth from among you, and prepare your hearts unto the LORD, and serve him only: and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.
Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the foreign gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments:
Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River, and in Egypt; and serve you the LORD. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom you will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were 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. And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the LORD, to serve other gods; read more.
For the LORD our God, he it is that brought us up and our fathers out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and who did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way that we went, and among all the people through whom we passed: And the LORD drove out from before us all the people, even the Amorites who dwelt in the land: therefore will we also serve the LORD; for he is our God. And Joshua said unto the people, You cannot serve the LORD: for he is a holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins. If you forsake the LORD, and serve foreign gods, then he will turn and do you harm, and consume you, after that he has done you good. And the people said unto Joshua, Nay; but we will serve the LORD. And Joshua said unto the people, You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen the LORD, to serve him. And they said, We are witnesses. Now therefore put away, said he, the foreign gods which are among you, and incline your heart unto the LORD God of Israel. And the people said unto Joshua, The LORD our God will we serve, and his voice will we obey.
And it came to pass the same night, that the LORD said unto him, Take your father's young bullock, even the second bullock of seven years old, and throw down the altar of Baal that your father has, and cut down the idol pole that is by it: And build an altar unto the LORD your God upon the top of this rock, in the ordered place, and take the second bullock, and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the idol pole which you shall cut down. Then Gideon took ten men of his servants, and did as the LORD had said unto him: and so it was, because he feared his father's household, and the men of the city, that he could not do it by day, that he did it by night.
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And Jehu gathered all the people together, and said unto them, Ahab served Baal a little; but Jehu shall serve him much. Now therefore call unto me all the prophets of Baal, all his servants, and all his priests; let none be missing: for I have a great sacrifice to do to Baal; whosoever shall be missing, he shall not live. But Jehu did it in subtlety, to the intent that he might destroy the worshippers of Baal. And Jehu said, Proclaim a solemn assembly for Baal. And they proclaimed it. read more.
And Jehu sent through all Israel: and all the worshippers of Baal came, so that there was not a man left that came not. And they came into the house of Baal; and the house of Baal was full from one end to the other. And he said unto him that was over the vestry, Bring forth vestments for all the worshippers of Baal. And he brought them forth vestments. And Jehu went, and Jehonadab the son of Rechab, into the house of Baal, and said unto the worshippers of Baal, Search, and look that there be here with you none of the servants of the LORD, but the worshippers of Baal only. And when they went in to offer sacrifices and burnt offerings, Jehu appointed fourscore men outside, and said, If any of the men whom I have brought into your hands escape, he that lets him go, his life shall be for the life of him. And it came to pass, as soon as he had finished offering the burnt offering, that Jehu said to the guard and to the captains, Go in, and slay them; let none come forth. And they struck them with the edge of the sword; and the guard and the captains cast them out, and went to the city of the house of Baal. And they brought forth the images out of the house of Baal, and burned them. And they broke down the image of Baal, and broke down the house of Baal, and made it a refuse dump unto this day.
And Jehoiada made a covenant between the LORD and the king and the people, that they should be the LORD's people; between the king also and the people. And all the people of the land went into the house of Baal, and broke it down; its altars and its images broke they in pieces thoroughly, and slew Mattan the priest of Baal before the altars. And the priest appointed officers over the house of the LORD.
And Jehoiada made a covenant between himself, and all the people, and the king, that they should be the LORD's people. Then all the people went to the house of Baal, and broke it down, and broke its altars and its images in pieces, and killed Mattan the priest of Baal before the altars.
And he took away the male prostitutes out of the land, and removed all the idols that his fathers had made. And also Maachah his grandmother, even her he removed from being queen, because she had made an abominable image on an idol pole; and Asa destroyed her idol, and burnt it by the brook Kidron.
And when Asa heard these words, and the prophecy of Oded the prophet, he took courage, and put away the abominable idols out of all the land of Judah and Benjamin, and out of the cities which he had taken in the mountains of Ephraim, and repaired the altar of the LORD, that was before the vestibule of the LORD.
And he gathered all Judah and Benjamin, and the sojourners with them out of Ephraim and Manasseh, and out of Simeon: for they came over to him out of Israel in abundance, when they saw that the LORD his God was with him. So they gathered themselves together at Jerusalem in the third month, in the fifteenth year of the reign of Asa. And they offered unto the LORD on that day some of the plunder which they had brought, seven hundred oxen and seven thousand sheep. read more.
And they entered into a covenant to seek the LORD God of their fathers with all their heart and with all their soul; That whosoever would not seek the LORD God of Israel should be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman. And they swore unto the LORD with a loud voice, and with shouting, and with trumpets, and with horns. And all Judah rejoiced at the oath: for they had sworn with all their heart, and sought him with their whole desire; and he was found of them: and the LORD gave them rest round about.
He removed the high places, and broke the images, and cut down the idol poles, and broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made: for until those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan.
Now when all this was finished, all Israel that were present went out to the cities of Judah, and broke the sacred pillars in pieces, and cut down the idol poles, and threw down the high places and the altars out of all Judah and Benjamin, in Ephraim also and Manasseh, until they had utterly destroyed them all. Then all the children of Israel returned, every man to his possession, into their own cities.
He in the first year of his reign, in the first month, opened the doors of the house of the LORD, and repaired them. And he brought in the priests and the Levites, and gathered them together into the east street, And said unto them, Hear me, you Levites, sanctify now yourselves, and sanctify the house of the LORD God of your fathers, and carry forth the filth out of the holy place. read more.
For our fathers have trespassed, and done that which was evil in the eyes of the LORD our God, and have forsaken him, and have turned away their faces from the habitation of the LORD, and turned their backs. Also they have shut up the doors of the vestibule, and put out the lamps, and have not burned incense nor offered burnt offerings in the holy place unto the God of Israel.
Now it is in my heart to make a covenant with the LORD God of Israel, that his fierce wrath may turn away from us. My sons, be not now negligent: for the LORD has chosen you to stand before him, to serve him, and that you should minister unto him, and burn incense.
And Hezekiah sent to all Israel and Judah, and wrote letters also to Ephraim and Manasseh, that they should come to the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, to keep the passover unto the LORD God of Israel. For the king had taken counsel, and his princes, and all the congregation in Jerusalem, to keep the passover in the second month. For they could not keep it at that time, because the priests had not sanctified themselves sufficiently, neither had the people gathered themselves together to Jerusalem. read more.
And the thing pleased the king and all the congregation. So they established a decree to make proclamation throughout all Israel, from Beer-sheba even to Dan, that they should come to keep the passover unto the LORD God of Israel at Jerusalem: for they had not done it for a long time in the way in which it was written. So the runners went with the letters from the king and his princes throughout all Israel and Judah, and according to the commandment of the king, saying, You children of Israel, turn again unto the LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, and he will return to the remnant of you, that are escaped out of the hand of the kings of Assyria. And be not like your fathers, and like your brethren, who trespassed against the LORD God of their fathers, who therefore gave them up to desolation, as you see. Now be you not stiff-necked, as your fathers were, but yield yourselves unto the LORD, and enter into his sanctuary, which he has sanctified forever: and serve the LORD your God, that the fierceness of his wrath may turn away from you. For if you turn again unto the LORD, your brethren and your children shall find compassion before them that lead them captive, so that they shall come again into this land: for the LORD your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn away his face from you, if you return unto him. So the runners passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh even unto Zebulun: but they laughed them to scorn, and mocked them. Nevertheless some from Asher and Manasseh and Zebulun humbled themselves, and came to Jerusalem. Also the hand of God was 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 there assembled at Jerusalem many people to keep the feast of unleavened bread in the second month, a very great congregation. And they arose and took away the altars that were in Jerusalem, and all the altars for incense took they away, and cast them into the brook Kidron. Then they killed the passover on the fourteenth day of the second month: and the priests and the Levites were ashamed, and sanctified themselves, and brought in the burnt offerings into the house of the LORD. And they stood in their place according to their custom, according to the law of Moses the man of God: the priests sprinkled the blood, which they received from the hand of the Levites. For there were many in the congregation that were not sanctified: therefore the Levites had charge of the killing of the passover lambs for everyone that was not clean, to sanctify them unto the LORD. For a multitude of the people, even many of Ephraim, and Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun, had not cleansed themselves, yet did they eat the passover contrary to what was written. But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, The good LORD pardon everyone That prepares his heart to seek God, the LORD God of his fathers, though he is not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary. And the LORD hearkened to Hezekiah, and healed the people. And the children of Israel that were present at Jerusalem kept the feast of unleavened bread seven days with great gladness: and the Levites and the priests praised the LORD day by day, singing with loud instruments unto the LORD. And Hezekiah spoke encouragingly unto all the Levites that taught the good knowledge of the LORD: and they did eat throughout the feast seven days, offering peace offerings, and making confession to the LORD God of their fathers. And the whole assembly took counsel to keep another seven days: and they kept another seven days with gladness. For Hezekiah king of Judah did give to the congregation a thousand bullocks and seven thousand sheep; and the princes gave to the congregation a thousand bullocks and ten thousand sheep: and a great number of priests sanctified themselves. And all the congregation of Judah, with the priests and the Levites, and all the congregation that came out of Israel, and the sojourners that came out of the land of Israel, and that dwelt in Judah, rejoiced. So there was great joy in Jerusalem: for since the time of Solomon the son of David king of Israel there was nothing like this in Jerusalem. Then the priests the Levites arose and blessed the people: and their voice was heard, and their prayer came up to his holy dwelling place, even unto heaven.
And Hezekiah appointed the divisions of the priests and the Levites according to their divisions, every man according to his service, the priests and Levites for burnt offerings and for peace offerings, to minister, and to give thanks, and to praise in the gates of the camp of the LORD. He appointed also the king's portion of his possessions for the burnt offerings, the morning and evening burnt offerings, and the burnt offerings for the sabbaths, and for the new moons, and for the set feasts, as it is written in the law of the LORD. Moreover he commanded the people that dwelt in Jerusalem to give the portion due to the priests and the Levites, that they might be encouraged in the law of the LORD. read more.
And as soon as the commandment was spread abroad, the children of Israel brought in abundance the firstfruits of grain, wine, and oil, and honey, and of all the increase of the field; and the tithe of all things brought they in abundantly. And concerning the children of Israel and Judah, that dwelt in the cities of Judah, they also brought in the tithe of oxen and sheep, and the tithe of holy things which were consecrated unto the LORD their God, and laid them in heaps. In the third month they began laying them in heaps, and finished them in the seventh month. And when Hezekiah and the princes came and saw the heaps, they blessed the LORD, and his people Israel. Then Hezekiah questioned the priests and the Levites concerning the heaps. And Azariah the chief priest of the house of Zadok answered him, and said, Since the people began to bring the offerings into the house of the LORD, we have had enough to eat, and have plenty left: for the LORD has blessed his people; and that which is left is this great abundance. Then Hezekiah commanded to prepare chambers in the house of the LORD; and they prepared them, And brought in the offerings and the tithes and the dedicated things faithfully: over which Cononiah the Levite was in charge, and Shimei his brother was next. And Jehiel, and Azaziah, and Nahath, and Asahel, and Jerimoth, and Jozabad, and Eliel, and Ismachiah, and Mahath, and Benaiah, were overseers under the hand of Cononiah and Shimei his brother, at the commandment of Hezekiah the king, and Azariah the ruler of the house of God. And Kore the son of Imnah the Levite, the keeper of the east gate, was over the freewill offerings of God, to distribute the offerings to the LORD, and the most holy things. And under him were Eden, and Miniamin, and Jeshua, and Shemaiah, Amariah, and Shecaniah, in the cities of the priests, assisting him to give the portions to their brethren by divisions, to the old as well as to the young: Besides their males enrolled by genealogy, from three years old and upward, even unto everyone that enters into the house of the LORD, his daily portion for their service in their work according to their divisions; And to the priests enrolled by genealogy according to their fathers' house, and the Levites from twenty years old and upward, in their work by their divisions; And to all enrolled by genealogy, their little ones, their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, through all the congregation: for in their faithfulness they sanctified themselves in holiness: Also of the sons of Aaron the priests, who were in the fields of the pasture lands of their cities, in every city, men were designated by name, to give portions to all the males among the priests, and to all that were listed by genealogies among the Levites.
And it came to pass in the eighteenth year of king Josiah, that the king sent Shaphan the son of Azaliah, the son of Meshullam, the scribe, to the house of the LORD, saying, Go up to Hilkiah the high priest, that he may count the silver which is 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 hand of the doers of the work, that have the oversight of the house of the LORD: and let them give it to the doers of the work who are in the house of the LORD, to repair the damages of the house, read more.
Unto carpenters, and builders, and masons, and to buy timber and hewn stone to repair the house. However there was no reckoning made with them of the money that was delivered into their hand, because they dealt faithfully.
Now in the eighteenth year of his reign, when he had purged the land, and the house, he sent Shaphan the son of Azaliah, and Maaseiah the governor of the city, and Joah the son of Joahaz the recorder, to repair the house of the LORD his God. And when they came to Hilkiah the high priest, they delivered the money that was brought into the house of God, which the Levites that kept the doors had gathered of the hand of Manasseh and Ephraim, and of all the remnant of Israel, and of all Judah and Benjamin; and they returned to Jerusalem. And they put it in the hand of the workmen that had the oversight of the house of the LORD, and they gave it to the workmen that worked in the house of the LORD, to repair and restore the house: read more.
Even to the craftsmen and builders gave they it, to buy hewn stone, and timber for beams, and to floor the houses which the kings of Judah had destroyed. And the men did the work faithfully: and the overseers of them were Jahath and Obadiah, the Levites, of the sons of Merari; and Zechariah and Meshullam, of the sons of the Kohathites, to have oversight; and other of the Levites, all that were skillful with instruments of music. Also they were over the bearers of burdens, and were overseers of all that did the work in any kind of service: and of the Levites there were scribes, and officers, and gatekeepers.
And the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest, and the priests of the second order, and the keepers of the door, to bring forth out of the temple of the LORD all the vessels that were made for Baal, and for the idol poles, and for all the army of heaven: and he burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of Kidron, and carried the ashes of them unto Beth-el. And he put down the idolatrous priests, whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense in the high places in the cities of Judah, and in the places round about Jerusalem; them also that burned incense unto Baal, to the sun, and to the moon, and to the planets, and to all the hosts of heaven. And he brought out the idol pole from the house of the LORD, outside Jerusalem, unto the brook Kidron, and burned it at the brook Kidron, and stamped it small into powder, and cast the powder thereof upon the graves of the children of the people. read more.
And he broke down the houses of the male prostitutes, that were by the house of the LORD, where the women wove hangings for the idol pole. And he brought all the priests out of the cities of Judah, and defiled the high places where the priests had burned incense, from Geba to Beer-sheba, and broke down the high places of the gates that were in the entrance of the gate of Joshua the governor of the city, which were on a man's left hand at the gate of the city. Nevertheless the priests of the high places came not up to the altar of the LORD in Jerusalem, but they did eat of the unleavened bread among their brethren. And he defiled Topheth, which is in the valley of the children of Hinnom, that no man might make his son or his daughter to pass through the fire to Molech. And he took away the horses that the kings of Judah had given to the sun, at the entrance of the house of the LORD, by the chamber of Nathan-melech the chamberlain, which was in the court, and burned the chariots of the sun with fire. And the altars that were on the top 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, did the king pull down, and broke them down from there, and cast the dust of them into the brook Kidron. And the high places that were east of Jerusalem, which were on the south of the mount of corruption, which Solomon the king of Israel had built for Ashtoreth the abomination of the Sidonians, and for Chemosh the abomination of the Moabites, and for Milcom the abomination of the children of Ammon, did the king defile. And he broke in pieces the images, and cut down the idol poles, and filled their places with the bones of men. Moreover the altar that was at Beth-el, and the high place which Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, had made, both that altar and the high place he broke down, and burned the high place, and crushed it to powder, and burned the idol pole. And as Josiah turned, he saw the sepulchers that were there in the mount, and sent, and took the bones out of the sepulchers, and burned them upon the altar, and polluted it, according to the word of the LORD which the man of God proclaimed, who proclaimed these words. Then he said, What gravestone is that that I see? And the men of the city told him, It is the sepulcher of the man of God, who came from Judah, and proclaimed these things that you have done against the altar of Beth-el. And 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. And all the houses also of the high places that were in the cities of Samaria, which the kings of Israel had made to provoke the LORD to anger, Josiah took away, and did to them according to all the acts that he had done in Beth-el. And he slew all the priests of the high places that were there upon the altars, and burned men's bones upon them, and returned to Jerusalem. Moreover the workers with mediums, and the wizards, and the images, and the idols, and all the abominations that were seen in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, did Josiah put away, that he might perform the words of the law which were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the house of the LORD.
And the king commanded all the people, saying, Keep the passover unto the LORD your God, as it is written in the book of this covenant. Surely there was not held such a passover from the days of the judges that judged Israel, nor in all the days of the kings of Israel, nor of the kings of Judah; But in the eighteenth year of king Josiah, in which this passover was kept to the LORD in Jerusalem.
For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet young, he began to seek after the God of David his father: and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem from the high places, and the idol poles, and the carved images, and the molten images. And they broke down the altars of Baalim in his presence; and the images, that were on high above them, he cut down; and the idol poles, and the carved images, and the molten images, he broke in pieces, and made dust of them, and scattered it upon the graves of them that had sacrificed unto them. And he burnt the bones of the priests upon their altars, and cleansed Judah and Jerusalem. read more.
And so did he in the cities of Manasseh, and Ephraim, and Simeon, even unto Naphtali, in their ruins round about. And when he had broken down the altars and the idol poles, and had beaten the graven images into powder, and cut down all the incense altars throughout all the land of Israel, he returned to Jerusalem.
And Josiah took away all the abominations out of all the country that belonged to the children of Israel, and made all that were present in Israel to serve, even to serve the LORD their God. And all his days they departed not from following the LORD, the God of their fathers.
And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the book of the law, that he tore his clothes. And the king commanded Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Achbor the son of Michaiah, and Shaphan the scribe, and Asaiah a servant of the king's, saying, Go you, inquire of the LORD for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that is found: for great is the wrath of the LORD that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not hearkened unto the words of this book, to do according unto all that which is written concerning us. read more.
So Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam, and Achbor, and Shaphan, and Asaiah, went unto Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the 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. And she said unto them, Thus says the LORD God of Israel, Tell the man that sent you to me, Thus says the LORD, Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, and upon the inhabitants thereof, even all the words of the book which the king of Judah has read: Because they have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, that they might provoke me to anger with all the works of their hands; therefore my wrath shall be kindled against this place, and shall not be quenched. But to the king of Judah who sent you to inquire of the LORD, thus shall you say to him, Thus says the LORD God of Israel, Concerning the words which you have heard; Because your heart was tender, and you have humbled yourself before the LORD, when you heard what I spoke against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and have torn your clothes, and wept before me; I also have heard you, says the LORD. Behold therefore, I will gather you unto your fathers, and you shall be gathered into your grave in peace; and your eyes shall not see all the evil which I will bring upon this place. And they brought the king word again.
And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the law, that he tore his clothes. And the king commanded Hilkiah, and Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Abdon the son of Micah, and Shaphan the scribe, and Asaiah a servant of the king, saying, Go, inquire of the LORD for me, and for them that are left in Israel and in Judah, concerning the words of the book that is found: for great is the wrath of the LORD that is poured out upon 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 that the king had appointed, went to Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tokhath, the son of Hasrah, keeper of the wardrobe; (now she dwelt in Jerusalem in the second quarter:) and they spoke to her to that effect. And she answered them, Thus says the LORD God of Israel, Tell the man that sent you to me, Thus says the LORD, Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, and upon the inhabitants thereof, 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 unto 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. And as for the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the LORD, so shall you say unto him, Thus says the LORD God of Israel concerning the words which you have heard; Because your heart was tender, and you did humble yourself before God, when you heard his words against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, and humbled yourself before me, and did tear your clothes, and weep before me; I have even heard you also, says the LORD. Behold, I will gather you to your fathers, and you shall be gathered to your grave in peace, neither shall your eyes see all the evil that I will bring upon this place, and upon its inhabitants. So they brought the king word again.
And the king sent, and they gathered unto him all the elders of Judah and of Jerusalem. And the king went up into the house of the LORD, and all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem with him, and the priests, and the prophets, and all the people, both small and great: and he read in their hearing all the words of the book of the covenant which was found in the house of the LORD.
And the king stood by a pillar, and made a covenant before the LORD, to walk after the LORD, and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all their heart and all their soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people joined in to the covenant.
Then the king sent and gathered together all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. And the king went up into the house of the LORD, and all the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and the priests, and the Levites, and all the people, great and small: and he read in their hearing all the words of the book of the covenant that was found in the house of the LORD.
And the king stood in his place, and made a covenant before the LORD, to walk after the LORD, and to keep his commandments, and his testimonies, and his statutes, with all his heart, and with all his soul, to perform the words of the covenant which are written in this book. And he caused all that were present in Jerusalem and Benjamin to stand to it. And the inhabitants of Jerusalem did according to the covenant of God, the God of their fathers.
Moreover Josiah kept a passover unto the LORD in Jerusalem: and they killed the passover on the fourteenth day of the first month. And he set the priests in their duties, and encouraged them for the service of the house of the LORD, And said unto the Levites that taught all Israel, who were holy unto the LORD, Put the holy ark in the house which Solomon the son of David king of Israel did build; it shall no longer be a burden upon your shoulders: serve now the LORD your God, and his people Israel, read more.
And prepare yourselves according to your fathers' houses, according to your divisions, according to the writings of David king of Israel, and according to the writings of Solomon his son. And stand in the holy place according to the divisions of the fathers' houses of your brethren the lay people, and according to the division of the families of the Levites. So kill the passover, and sanctify yourselves, and prepare your brethren, that they may do according to the word of the LORD by the hand of Moses. And Josiah gave to the people, from the flock, lambs and kids, all for the passover offerings, for all that were present, to the number of thirty thousand, and three thousand bullocks: these were of the king's possessions. And his princes gave willingly unto the people, to the priests, and to the Levites: Hilkiah and Zechariah and Jehiel, rulers of the house of God, gave unto the priests for the passover offerings two thousand and six hundred small cattle, and three hundred oxen. Conaniah also, and Shemaiah and Nethanel, his brethren, and Hashabiah and Jeiel and Jozabad, chiefs of the Levites, gave unto the Levites for the passover offerings five thousand small cattle, and five hundred oxen. So the service was prepared, and the priests stood in their places, and the Levites in their divisions, according to the king's commandment. And they killed the passover, and the priests sprinkled the blood from their hands, and the Levites skinned them. And they removed the burnt offerings, that they might give according to the divisions of the families of the people, to offer unto the LORD, as it is written in the book of Moses. And so did they with the oxen. And they roasted the passover with fire according to the ordinance: but the other holy offerings boiled they in pots, and in caldrons, and in pans, and divided them quickly among all the lay people. And afterward they made ready for themselves, and for the priests: because the priests the sons of Aaron were busy in the offering of burnt offerings and the fat until night; therefore the Levites prepared for themselves, and for the priests the sons of Aaron. And the singers the sons of Asaph were in their place, according to the commandment of David, and Asaph, and Heman, and Jeduthun the king's seer; and the gatekeepers waited at every gate; they did not need to depart from their service; for their brethren the Levites prepared for them. So all the service of the LORD was prepared the same day, to keep the passover, and to offer burnt offerings upon the altar of the LORD, according to the commandment of king Josiah. And the children of Israel that were present kept the passover at that time, and the feast of unleavened bread seven days. And there was no passover like that kept in Israel from the days of Samuel the prophet; neither did all the kings of Israel keep such a passover as Josiah kept, and the priests, and the Levites, and all Judah and Israel that were present, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. In the eighteenth year of the reign of Josiah was this passover kept.
And Shecaniah the son of Jehiel, one of the sons of Elam, answered and said unto Ezra, We have trespassed against our God, and have married foreign wives of the people of the land: yet now there is hope in Israel concerning this thing. Now therefore let us make a covenant with our God to put away all the wives, and such as are born of them, according to the counsel of my lord, and of those that tremble at the commandment of our God; and let it be done according to the law.
Now when these things were done, the leaders came to me, saying, The people of Israel, and the priests, and the Levites, have not separated themselves from the people of the lands, in regard to their abominations, even of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites. For they have taken of their daughters as wives for themselves, and for their sons: so that the holy race has mixed itself with the people of those lands: yea, the hand of the leaders and rulers has been foremost in this trespass. And when I heard this thing, I tore my garment and my mantle, and plucked off the hair of my head and of my beard, and sat down appalled. read more.
Then were assembled unto me every one that trembled at the words of the God of Israel, because of the transgression of those that had been carried away; and I sat appalled until the evening sacrifice. And at the evening sacrifice I arose up from my heaviness; and having torn my garment and my mantle, I fell upon my knees, and spread out my hands unto the LORD my God, And said, O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to you, my God: for our iniquities have risen higher than our head, and our trespass has grown up unto the heavens. Since the days of our fathers have we been in a great trespass unto this day; and for our iniquities have we, our kings, and our priests, been delivered into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, and to plunder, and to humiliation, as it is this day. And now for a little while grace has been shown from the LORD our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us security in his holy place, that our God may enlighten our eyes, and give us a little reviving in our bondage. For we were slaves; yet our God has not forsaken us in our bondage, but has extended mercy unto us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to give us a reviving, to rebuild the house of our God, and to repair its ruins, and to give us a wall in Judah and in Jerusalem. And now, O our God, what shall we say after this? for we have forsaken your commandments, Which you have commanded by your servants the prophets, saying, The land, unto which you go to possess it, is an unclean land with the filthiness of the people of the lands, with their abominations, which have filled it from one end to another with their uncleanness. Now therefore give not your daughters unto their sons, neither take their daughters unto your sons, nor seek their peace or their wealth forever: that you may be strong, and eat the good of the land, and leave it for an inheritance to your children forever. And after all that is come upon us for our evil deeds, and for our great trespass, seeing that you our God has punished us less than our iniquities deserve, and has given us such deliverance as this; Should we again break your commandments, and join in marriage with the people of these abominations? would not you be angry with us till you had consumed us, so that there should be no remnant nor escaping? O LORD God of Israel, you are righteous: for we remain yet escaped, as it is this day: behold, we are before you in our trespasses: for we cannot stand before you because of this.
Then arose Ezra, and made the leading priests, the Levites, and all Israel, to swear that they should do according to this word. And they swore. Then Ezra rose up from before the house of God, and went into the chamber of Jehohanan the son of Eliashib: and when he came there, he did eat no bread, nor drink water: for he mourned because of the transgression of them that had been carried away. And they made proclamation throughout Judah and Jerusalem unto all the children of the captivity, that they should gather themselves together unto Jerusalem; read more.
And that whosoever would not come within three days, according to the order of the leaders and the elders, all his substance should be forfeited, and he himself separated from the congregation of those that had been carried away. Then all the men of Judah and Benjamin gathered themselves together unto Jerusalem within three days. It was the ninth month, on the twentieth day of the month; and all the people sat in the open square before the house of God, trembling because of this matter, and because of the heavy rain. And Ezra the priest stood up, and said unto them, You have transgressed, and have taken foreign wives, to increase the trespass of Israel. Now therefore make confession unto the LORD God of your fathers, and do his pleasure: and separate yourselves from the people of the land, and from the foreign wives. Then all the congregation answered and said with a loud voice, As you has said, so must we do. But the people are many, and it is a time of heavy rain, and we are not able to stand outside, neither is this a work of one day or two: for we are many that have transgressed in this thing. Let now our rulers of all the congregation stand, and let all them who have taken foreign wives in our cities come at appointed times, and with them the elders of every city, and the judges thereof, until the fierce wrath of our God for this matter is turned from us. Only Jonathan the son of Asahel and Jahzeiah the son of Tikvah opposed this matter: and Meshullam and Shabbethai the Levite supported them. And the children of the captivity did so. And Ezra the priest, with certain heads of the fathers' houses, according to their fathers' houses, and each of them by name, were set apart, and sat down in the first day of the tenth month to examine the matter. And they finished with all the men that had taken foreign wives by the first day of the first month.
In those days also saw I Jews that had married wives of Ashdod, of Ammon, and of Moab: And their children spoke half in the speech of Ashdod, and could not speak in the language of Judah, but according to the language of each people. And I contended with them, and pronounced them cursed, and struck certain of them, and plucked off their hair, and made them swear by God, saying, You shall not give your daughters unto their sons, nor take their daughters unto your sons, or for yourselves. read more.
Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things? yet among many nations was there no king like him, who was beloved of his God, and God made him king over all Israel: nevertheless even him did foreign women cause to sin. Shall we then hearken unto you to do all this great evil, to transgress against our God in marrying foreign wives?
And before this, Eliashib the priest, having the oversight of the chamber of the house of our God, was allied unto Tobiah: And he had prepared for him a great chamber, where previously they stored the grain offerings, the frankincense, and the vessels, and the tithes of the grain, the new wine, and the oil, which was commanded to be given to the Levites, and the singers, and the gatekeepers; and the offerings of the priests. But in all this time I was not at Jerusalem: for in the two and thirtieth year of Artaxerxes king of Babylon came I unto the king, and after certain days obtained I leave of the king: read more.
And I came to Jerusalem, and discovered the evil that Eliashib did for Tobiah, in preparing him a chamber in the courts of the house of God. And it grieved me greatly: therefore I cast forth all the household goods of Tobiah out of the chamber. Then I commanded, and they cleansed the chambers: and there I brought again the articles of the house of God, with the grain offering and the frankincense. And I perceived that the portions of the Levites had not been given them: for the Levites and the singers, that did the work, were fled every one to his field. Then contended I with the rulers, and said, Why is the house of God forsaken? And I gathered them together, and set them in their place. Then brought all Judah the tithe of the grain and the new wine and the oil unto the storehouse. And I made treasurers over the storehouse, Shelemiah the priest, and Zadok the scribe, and of the Levites, Pedaiah: and next to them was Hanan the son of Zaccur, the son of Mattaniah: for they were counted faithful, and their duty was to distribute unto their brethren.
In those days saw I in Judah some treading wine presses on the sabbath, and bringing in sheaves, and loading donkeys; and also wine, grapes, and figs, and all manner of burdens, which they brought into Jerusalem on the sabbath day: and I testified against them about the day in which they sold provisions.
There dwelt men of Tyre also there, who brought fish, and all manner of wares, and sold on the sabbath unto the people of Judah, and in Jerusalem. Then I contended with the nobles of Judah, and said unto them, What evil thing is this that you do, and profane the sabbath day? Did not your fathers 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 it came to pass, that when the gates of Jerusalem began to be dark before the sabbath, I commanded that the gates should be shut, and charged that they should not be opened till after the sabbath: and some of my servants set I at the gates, that there should no burden be brought in on the sabbath day. So the merchants and sellers of all kinds of wares lodged outside of Jerusalem once or twice. Then I testified against them, and said unto them, Why lodge you before the wall? if you do so again, I will lay hands on you. From that time forth came they no more on the sabbath. And I commanded the Levites that they should cleanse themselves, and that they should come and keep the gates, to sanctify the sabbath day. Remember me, O my God, concerning this also, and spare me according to the greatness of your mercy.
Thus Jehu destroyed Baal out of Israel. However from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, Jehu departed not from after them, that is, from the golden calves that were in Beth-el, and that were in Dan.
And he did evil in the sight of the LORD; but not like his father, and like his mother: for he put away the image of Baal that his father had made. Nevertheless he clung unto the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin; he departed not from them.
And Jehoash did that which was right in the sight of the LORD all his days in which Jehoiada the priest instructed him. But the high places were not taken away: the people still sacrificed and burnt 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, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
Wash you, make yourself clean; put away the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil; Learn to do good; seek justice, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.
Seek you the LORD while he may be found, call you upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
Now therefore go, speak to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, Thus says the LORD; Behold, I am shaping evil against you, and devise a plan against you: return you now everyone from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good.
Therefore now amend your ways and your doings, and obey the voice of the LORD your God; and the LORD will relent concerning the evil that he has pronounced against you.
I have sent also unto you all my servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them, saying, Return you now every man from his evil way, and amend your doings, and go not after other gods to serve them, and you shall dwell in the land which I have given to you and to your fathers: but you have not inclined your ear, nor hearkened unto me.
Repent therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, who before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. read more.
For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall you hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, who will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people. Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days. You are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in your descendants shall all the families of the earth be blessed. Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.
Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found your works perfect before God. Remember therefore how you have received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore you will not watch, I will come on you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you.
It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife. And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that has done this deed might be taken away from among you. For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that has so done this deed, read more.
In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, To deliver such a one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. Your glorying is not good. Know you not that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, as you are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: Yet not entirely with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must you needs go out of the world. But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such a one no not to eat. For what have I to do to judge them also that are outside? do not you judge them that are within? But them that are outside God judges. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.
Remember therefore from where you are fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto you quickly, and will remove your lampstand out of its place, except you repent.
I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot: I would that you were cold or hot. So then because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth. Because you say, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and know not that you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: read more.
I counsel you to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that you may be rich; and white clothing, that you may be clothed, and that the shame of your nakedness does not appear; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hears my voice, and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will eat with him, and he with me.
And be not conformed to this world: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
That you put off concerning the former way of life the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that you put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things' sake the wrath of God comes on the children of disobedience: In which you also once walked, when you lived in them. read more.
But now you also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy talk out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that you have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, that is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:
But be you doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a mirror: For he beholds himself, and goes his way, and immediately forgets what manner of man he was. read more.
But whoever looks into the perfect law of liberty, and continues in it, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. read more.
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.