Day 193 of the Holy Bible One Year Challenge. The Righteous King Josiah is killed by Pharaoh Neco. Introduction to the Book of Romans. Paul thanks the Believers in Rome.

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2 Kings 23

2 Kings 24:1-7

Romans 1:1-17

Psalm 84:1-7

You're listening to the "Holy Bible In 1 Year: Dramatized" with Master Storyteller, Michael Wood. Featuring the Holy Bible Easy-to-Read version and used by permission from Bible League International.

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2 Kings 23

The People Hear the Law

King Josiah told all the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem to come and meet with him. 2 Then the

king went up to the LORD’s Temple. All the people of Judah and the people who lived in Jerusalem went with him. The priests, the prophets and all the people—from the least important to the most important—went with him. Then he read the Book of the Agreement* that was found in the Lord’s Temple. Josiah read the book so that all the people could hear it.

3 The king stood by the royal pillar and made an agreement with the LORD. He agreed to follow the LORD and to obey his commands, the agreement and his rules. He agreed to do this with all his heart and soul, and he agreed to obey the agreement written in this book. All the people stood to show that they agreed to follow the agreement.

4 Then the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest, the other priests and the doorkeepers to bring out of the LORD’s Temple all the dishes and things that were made to honour Baal, Asherah and the stars of heaven. Then Josiah burned those things outside Jerusalem in the fields in Kidron Valley. Then they carried the ashes to Bethel.

5 The kings of Judah had chosen some ordinary men to serve as priests. These false priests were burning incense at the places of worship in every city of Ju- dah and all the towns around Jerusalem. They burned incense to honour Baal, the sun, the moon, the constellations and all the stars in the sky. But Josiah stopped those false priests.

6 Josiah removed the Asherah pole

from the LORD’s Temple. He took the Asherah pole outside the city to the Kidron Valley and burned it there. Then he beat the burned pieces into dust and scattered the dust over the graves of the common people.†

7 Then King Josiah broke down the houses of the male prostitutes who were in the LORD’s Temple. Women also used

these houses and made little tent covers to honor the false goddess Asherah.

8 At that time, priests were living in towns all over Judah. They had been offering sacrifices at places where people worshipped false gods. So King Josiah brought these priests to Jerusalem. He also ruined the places of worship where they had been making offerings, from Geba to Beersheba. And he destroyed the places of worship that were to the left of the main city gate. These were by the gate built by Joshua, the governor of the city. 9 The priests who had made the offerings to false gods were not allowed to serve at the LORD’s altar in Jerusalem. But they were allowed to eat the bread without yeast with the other priests.

10 Topheth was a place in the Valley of Hinnom’s Son where people killed their children and burned them on an altar to honor the false god Molech. Josiah ruined that place so that no one could use it again. 11 Once the kings of Judah had put some horses and a chariot near the entrance to the LORD’s Temple. This was near the room of an important official named Nathan Melech. The horses and chariot were to honor the sun god.¶ Josiah removed the horses and burned the chariot.

12 In the past the kings of Judah had built altars on the roof of Ahab’s building. King Manasseh had also built al- tars in the two courtyards of the LORD’s Temple. Josiah destroyed all the altars and threw the broken pieces into the Kidron Valley.

13 King Solomon had built some places of worship on the south side of Destroyer Hill east of Jerusalem. One of these honored Ashtoreth, that disgusting goddess the people of Sidon worship. He also built one to honor Chemosh, that dis- gusting god the Moabites worship. And he built another to honor Milcom, that disgusting god the Ammonites worship. But King Josiah ruined all these places of worship. 14 He smashed all the stones that were set up to honor false gods, and he cut down the Asherah poles. Then he scattered dead people’s bones over those places.*

15 Josiah also broke down the altar at Bethel. This was the place of worship that Jeroboam son of Nebat set up, which caused Israel to sin.† Josiah de- stroyed the altar, smashed the stones to pieces, and burned everything else, including the Asherah pole. 16 Josiah looked around and saw graves on the mountain. He sent men to take the bones from the graves. Then he burned them on the altar so that it could not be used for worship. This happened just as the man of God had announced when Jeroboam stood beside the altar during a festival.‡

Then Josiah looked around and saw the grave of the man of God who had said these things would happen.¶ 17 Josiah said, “What is that monument I see?”

The people of the city told him, “It is the grave of the man of God who came from Judah. A long time ago he told about the things you have done to the altar at Bethel.”

18 Josiah said, “Leave the man of God alone. Don’t move his bones.” So they left his bones and the bones of the prophet from Samaria.

19 Josiah also destroyed all the temples at the places of worship in the cities of Samaria. The kings of Israel had built those temples, which had made the LORD very angry. Josiah destroyed them, just as he had destroyed the place of worship at Bethel.

20 Then Josiah killed all the priests of the places of worship that were in Samaria. He killed the priests on those altars and burned men’s bones on them so that they could never be used again. Then he went back to Jerusalem.

The People of Judah Celebrate Passover

21 Then King Josiah gave a command to all the people. He said, “Celebrate Passover for the LORD your God. Do this just as it is written in the Book of the Agreement.”

22 The people had not celebrated a Passover like this since the days when the judges ruled Israel, not even during the time of the kings who ruled Israel and Judah. 23 They celebrated this Passover for the LORD in Jerusalem during Josiah’s eighteenth year as king.

24 Josiah also made a law against anyone trying to contact ghosts or spirits of the dead. He destroyed the people’s household gods, their idols, and all the disgusting things people worshipped in Judah and Jerusalem. He did this to follow the teaching written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the LORD’s Temple.

25 There had never been a king like Josiah before. Josiah turned to the LORD with all his heart, with all his soul and with all his strength.* No king had followed all the Law of Moses like Josiah. And there has never been another king like Josiah since that time.

26 But the LORD did not stop being angry with the people of Judah. He was still angry with them for everything that Manasseh had done. 27 The LORD said, “I forced the Israelites to leave their land. I will do the same to Judah. I will take Judah out of my sight. I will not accept Jerusalem. Yes, I chose that city. I was talking about Jerusalem when I said, ‘My name will be there.’ But I will destroy the Temple that is in that place.”

28 Everything else Josiah did is recorded in the book, The History of the Kings of Judah.

The Death of Josiah

29 While Josiah was king, Pharaoh Neco, the king of Egypt, went to fight against the king of Assyria at the Euphrates River. Josiah went out to meet Neco at Megiddo. Pharaoh saw Josiah and killed him. 30 Josiah’s officers put his body in a chariot and carried him from Megiddo to Jerusalem. They buried Josiah in his own tomb.

Then the people took Josiah’s son Jehoahaz and anointed him. They made Jehoahaz the new king after him.

Jehoahaz Becomes King of Judah

31 Jehoahaz was 23 years old when he became king. He ruled for three months in Jerusalem. His mother was Hamutal

daughter of Jeremiah from Libnah. 32 Jehoahaz did what the LORD says is evil. He did all the same things that his ancestors had done.

33 Pharaoh Neco put Jehoahaz in prison at Riblah in the land of Hamath. So Jehoahaz could not rule in Jerusalem. Pharaoh Neco forced Judah to pay 3400 kilogrammes† of silver and 34 kilogrammes of gold.

34 Pharaoh Neco made Josiah’s son Eliakim the new king. Eliakim took the place of Josiah his father. Pharaoh Neco changed Eliakim’s name to Jehoiakim. And Pharaoh Neco took Jehoahaz away to Egypt where he died. 35 Jehoiakim gave the silver and the gold to Pharaoh. But Jehoiakim made the common people pay taxes, and he used that money to give to Pharaoh Neco. So everyone paid their share of silver and gold, and King Jehoiakim gave the money to Pharaoh Neco.

36 Jehoiakim was 25 years old when he became king. He ruled for eleven years in Jerusalem. His mother was Zebidah daughter of Pedaiah from Rumah. 37 Jehoiakim did what the LORD says is evil. He did all the same things his ancestors had done.

2 Kings 24:1-7

King Nebuchadnezzar Comes to Judah

In the time of Jehoiakim, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came to the country of Judah. Jehoiakim served Nebuchadnezzar for three years. Then Jehoiakim turned against Nebuchadnezzar and broke away from his rule. 2 The LORD sent groups of Babylonians, Arameans, Moabites, and Ammonites to fight against Jehoiakim. He sent them to destroy Judah. This happened just as the LORD had said through his servants the prophets.

3 This happened to Judah because the LORD commanded it. He wanted to send them all away from the land because of the many sins Manasseh had committed. 4 He did this because Manasseh killed many innocent people and filled Jerusalem with their blood. The LORD would not forgive these sins.

5 The other things that Jehoiakim did are recorded in the book, The History of the Kings of Judah. 6 Jehoiakim died and his son Jehoiachin became the new king after him.

7 The king of Babylon captured all the land between the Brook of Egypt and the Euphrates River, land that had been controlled by Egypt. So the king of Egypt did not leave Egypt anymore.

Romans 1:1-17

Paul’s greetings to the churches and closing words about the Good News (16:1-27)

Greetings from Paul, a servant belonging to Christ Jesus.

God chose me to be an apostle and gave me the work of telling his Good News. 2 God promised this Good News long ago by what his prophets said in the Holy Scriptures 3 about his Son. As a human, the Son came from the family of David. 4 And when he was raised from

death by the Holy Spirit,† he was given full authority to rule as God’s Son. He is Jesus Christ our Lord.

5 Through him, God showed me his kindness. He gave me the special work of an apostle—to go to the people of all nations and lead them to trust and obey him. I do all this to honor Christ. 6 And you are some of those people he sent me to. God has chosen you to belong to Jesus Christ.

7 This letter is to all of you in Rome. God loves you and has chosen you to be his holy people.

I pray that God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ will give you grace and peace.

A Prayer of Thanks

8 First I want to say that I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you. I thank him because people everywhere in the world are talking about your great faith. 9–10 Every time I pray, I remember you. God knows that this is true. He is the one I serve with all my heart by telling people the Good News about his Son. I keep praying that now at last God will somehow open a way for me to come to you. 11 I want very much to see you and give you a spiritual gift of some kind to make your faith stronger. 12 I mean that I want us to help each other with the faith that we have. Your faith will help me, and my faith will help you.

13 Brothers and sisters, I want you to know that I have planned many times to come to you, but something always happens to change my plans. I would like to see the same good result among you that I have had from my work among the other non-Jewish people.

14 I must serve all people, whether they are civilized or savages,* educated or ignorant. 15 That is why I want so much to tell the Good News to you there in Rome.

16 For me there is no shame† in telling the Good News. No, because it is the power God uses to save everyone who believes—the Jews first, and now also those who are not Jews. 17 Yes, the faithful goodness of God is made clear in the Good News by the faithfulness of one, which leads to the faithfulness of many. As the Scriptures say, “The one who is right with God by faith will live.”‡

Psalm 84:1-7

For the music director: on the gittith. A psalm from the Korah family.

LORD All-Powerful,

the place where you live is so beautiful!

2 LORD, I cannot wait to enter your Temple.

I am so excited!

Every part of me cries out to be with the living God.

3 LORD All-Powerful, my King, my God,

even the birds have found a home in your Temple.

They make their nests near your altar, and there they have their babies.

4 Great blessings belong to those who live at your Temple!

They continue to praise you. Selah

5 Great blessings belong to those who de- pend on you for strength!

Their heart’s desire is to make the journey to your Temple.

6 As they travel through dry Baca Valley,

it becomes a place of springs.

The autumn rains form pools of water.

7 They grow stronger as they near Jerusalem and reach Zion,

where each one will meet with the God who is above all gods.