This article is part of a series of Bible passages, which together are mainly about how the Bible says the Jewish race developed and were given laws, how they settled in ancient Israel, and how it says God sometimes punished them for disobeying his commands, which led to them changing their ways.
This is Part 10 (of 11) in Section 8: "The Kings of Israel and Judah, and Disaster and Prosperity Brought on the Two Kingdoms According to Their Obedience or Disobedience to God".
Some parts of the Old Testament and the Book of Revelation are very unpleasant. If you become offended by anything, please read An Attempt to Explain Gruesome Bible Passages.
The purpose of the Old Testament seems to have been mainly to try to scare lawless societies into behaving decently, giving up the cruel ways the Bible says they were guilty of. Hence much of the gruesomeness, which is at least in part meant to warn people committing cruel and hurtful actions to change.
2 Chronicles chapter 33 (TEV)
1 Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled in Jerusalem for fifty-five years. 2 Following the disgusting practices of the nations whom the Lord had driven out of the land as his people advanced, Manasseh sinned against the Lord. 3 He rebuilt the pagan places of worship that his father Hezekiah had destroyed. He built altars for the worship of Baal, made images of the goddess Asherah, and worshiped the stars. 4 He built pagan altars in the Temple, the place that the Lord had said was where he should be worshiped forever. 5 In the two courtyards of the Temple he built altars for the worship of the stars. 6 He sacrificed his sons in Hinnom Valley as burnt offerings. He practiced divination and magic and consulted fortunetellers and mediums. He sinned greatly against the Lord and stirred up his anger. 7 He placed an image in the Temple, the place about which God had said to David and his son Solomon: "Here in Jerusalem, in this Temple, is the place that I have chosen out of all the territory of the twelve tribes of Israel as the place where I am to be worshiped. 8 And if the people of Israel will obey all my commands and keep the whole Law that my servant Moses gave them, then I will not allow them to be driven out of the land that I gave to their ancestors." 9 Manasseh led the people of Judah to commit even greater sins than those committed by the nations whom the Lord had driven out of the land as his people advanced. 10 Although the Lord warned Manasseh and his people, they refused to listen.
11 So the Lord let the commanders of the Assyrian army invade Judah. They captured Manasseh, stuck hooks in him, put him in chains, and took him to Babylon. 12 In his suffering he became humble, turned to the Lord his God, and begged him for help. 13 God accepted Manasseh's prayer and answered it by letting him go back to Jerusalem and rule again.
This convinced Manasseh that the Lord was God.
14 After this, Manasseh increased the height of the outer wall on the east side of David's City, from a point in the valley near Gihon Spring north to the Fish Gate and the area of the city called Ophel. He also stationed an army officer in command of a unit of troops in each of the fortified cities of Judah. 15 He removed from the Temple the foreign gods and the image that he had placed there, and the pagan altars that were on the hill where the Temple stood and in other places in Jerusalem; he took all these things outside the city and threw them away. 16 He also repaired the altar where the Lord was worshiped, and he sacrificed fellowship offerings and thanksgiving offerings on it. He commanded all the people of Judah to worship the Lord, the God of Israel. 17 Although the people continued to offer sacrifices at other places of worship, they offered them only to the Lord.
20 Manasseh died and was buried at the palace, and his son Amon succeeded him as king.
Modern Western Paganism is devoid of such gruesome practices as child sacrifice and the dedication of girls to the gods as prostitutes. Some Pagans have been slandered by people who imagine that they must be involved in gruesome activities, perhaps because of widespread reports of generational Satanic ritual abuse in which girls are made to breed babies for the purposes of human sacrifice. To find out more about the reports, read the views of a policeman who says there is no physical evidence for such things having happened, and believes the stories to have been invented during harmful therapies: 'Occult Cop' (IPT Journal).
2 Chronicles chapter 33 (TEV)
21 Amon was twenty-two years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled in Jerusalem for two years. 22 Like his father Manasseh, he sinned against the Lord, and he worshiped the idols that his father had worshiped. 23 But unlike his father, he did not become humble and turn to the Lord; he was even more sinful than his father had been.
24 Amon's officials plotted against him and assassinated him in the palace.
25 The people of Judah killed Amon's assassins and made his son Josiah king.
Psalm 107 (NIV)
1 Give thanks to the LORD , for he is good;
his love endures forever.
2 Let the redeemed of the LORD say this-
those he redeemed from the hand of the foe,
3 those he gathered from the lands,
from east and west, from north and south.
4 Some wandered in desert wastelands,
finding no way to a city where they could settle.
5 They were hungry and thirsty,
and their lives ebbed away.
6 Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress.
7 He led them by a straight way
to a city where they could settle.
8 Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for men,
9 for he satisfies the thirsty
and fills the hungry with good things.
10 Some sat in darkness and the deepest gloom,
prisoners suffering in iron chains,
11 for they had rebelled against the words of God
and despised the counsel of the Most High.
12 So he subjected them to bitter labor;
they stumbled, and there was no one to help.
13 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
and he saved them from their distress.
14 He brought them out of darkness and the deepest gloom
and broke away their chains.
15 Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for men,
16 for he breaks down gates of bronze
and cuts through bars of iron.
17 Some became fools through their rebellious ways
and suffered affliction because of their iniquities.
18 They loathed all food
and drew near the gates of death.
19 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
and he saved them from their distress.
20 He sent forth his word and healed them;
he rescued them from the grave.
21 Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for men.
22 Let them sacrifice thank offerings
and tell of his works with songs of joy.
23 Others went out on the sea in ships;
they were merchants on the mighty waters.
24 They saw the works of the LORD ,
his wonderful deeds in the deep.
25 For he spoke and stirred up a tempest
that lifted high the waves.
26 They mounted up to the heavens and went down to the depths;
in their peril their courage melted away.
27 They reeled and staggered like drunken men;
they were at their wits' end.
28 Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble,
and he brought them out of their distress.
29 He stilled the storm to a whisper;
the waves of the sea were hushed.
30 They were glad when it grew calm,
and he guided them to their desired haven.
31 Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for men.
32 Let them exalt him in the assembly of the people
and praise him in the council of the elders.
33 He turned rivers into a desert,
flowing springs into thirsty ground,
34 and fruitful land into a salt waste,
because of the wickedness of those who lived there.
35 He turned the desert into pools of water
and the parched ground into flowing springs;
36 there he brought the hungry to live,
and they founded a city where they could settle.
37 They sowed fields and planted vineyards
that yielded a fruitful harvest;
38 he blessed them, and their numbers greatly increased,
and he did not let their herds diminish.
39 Then their numbers decreased, and they were humbled
by oppression, calamity and sorrow;
40 he who pours contempt on nobles
made them wander in a trackless waste.
41 But he lifted the needy out of their affliction
and increased their families like flocks.
42 The upright see and rejoice,
but all the wicked shut their mouths.
43 Whoever is wise, let him heed these things
and consider the great love of the LORD .
Psalm 69 (NLT)
For the choir director: A psalm of David, to be sung to the tune Lilies.
1 Save me, O God,
for the floodwaters are up to my neck.
2 Deeper and deeper I sink into the mire;
I can't find a foothold to stand on.
I am in deep water,
and the floods overwhelm me.
3 I am exhausted from crying for help;
my throat is parched and dry.
My eyes are swollen with weeping,
waiting for my God to help me.
4 Those who hate me without cause
are more numerous than the hairs on my head.
These enemies who seek to destroy me
are doing so without cause.
They attack me with lies,
demanding that I give back what I didn't steal.
5 O God, you know how foolish I am;
my sins cannot be hidden from you.
6 Don't let those who trust in you stumble because of me,
O Sovereign LORD Almighty.
Don't let me cause them to be humiliated,
O God of Israel.
7 For I am mocked and shamed for your sake;
humiliation is written all over my face.
8 Even my own brothers pretend they don't know me;
they treat me like a stranger.
9 Passion for your house burns within me,
so those who insult you are also insulting me.
10 When I weep and fast before the LORD,
they scoff at me.
11 When I dress in sackcloth to show sorrow,
they make fun of me.
12 I am the favorite topic of town gossip,
and all the drunkards sing about me.
13 But I keep right on praying to you, LORD,
hoping this is the time you will show me favor.
In your unfailing love, O God,
answer my prayer with your sure salvation.
14 Pull me out of the mud;
don't let me sink any deeper!
Rescue me from those who hate me,
and pull me from these deep waters.
15 Don't let the floods overwhelm me,
or the deep waters swallow me,
or the pit of death devour me.
16 Answer my prayers, O LORD,
for your unfailing love is wonderful.
Turn and take care of me,
for your mercy is so plentiful.
17 Don't hide from your servant;
answer me quickly, for I am in deep trouble!
18 Come and rescue me;
free me from all my enemies.
19 You know the insults I endure--
the humiliation and disgrace.
You have seen all my enemies
and know what they have said.
20 Their insults have broken my heart,
and I am in despair.
If only one person would show some pity;
if only one would turn and comfort me.
21 But instead, they give me poison for food;
they offer me sour wine to satisfy my thirst.
22 Let the bountiful table set before them become a snare,
and let their security become a trap.
23 Let their eyes go blind so they cannot see,
and let their bodies grow weaker and weaker.
24 Pour out your fury on them;
consume them with your burning anger.
25 May their homes become desolate
and their tents be deserted.
26 To those you have punished, they add insult to injury;
they scoff at the pain of those you have hurt.
27 Pile their sins up high,
and don't let them go free.
28 Erase their names from the Book of Life;
don't let them be counted among the righteous.
29 I am suffering and in pain.
Rescue me, O God, by your saving power.
30 Then I will praise God's name with singing,
and I will honor him with thanksgiving.
31 For this will please the LORD more than sacrificing an ox
or presenting a bull with its horns and hooves.
32 The humble will see their God at work and be glad.
Let all who seek God's help live in joy.
33 For the LORD hears the cries of his needy ones;
he does not despise his people who are oppressed.
34 Praise him, O heaven and earth,
the seas and all that move in them.
35 For God will save Jerusalem
and rebuild the towns of Judah.
His people will live there
and take possession of the land.
36The descendants of those who obey him will inherit the land,
and those who love him will live there in safety.
2 Chronicles chapter 34 (TEV)
1 Josiah was eight years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled in Jerusalem for thirty-one years. 2 He did what was pleasing to the Lord; he followed the example of his ancestor King David, strictly obeying all the laws of God. 3 In the eighth year that Josiah was king, while he was still very young, he began to worship the God of his ancestor King David. Four years later he began to destroy the pagan places of worship, the symbols of the goddess Asherah, and all the other idols. 4 Under his direction the altars where Baal was worshiped were smashed, and the incense altars near them were torn down. They ground to dust the images of Asherah and all the other idols and then scattered the dust on the graves of the people who had sacrificed to them. 5 He burned the bones of the pagan priests on the altars where they had worshiped. By doing all this, he made Judah and Jerusalem ritually clean again.
6 He did the same thing in the cities and the devastated areas of Manasseh, Ephraim, and Simeon, and as far north as Naphtali. 7 Throughout the territory of the Northern Kingdom he smashed the altars and the symbols of Asherah, ground the idols to dust, and broke into bits all the incense altars.
Then he returned to Jerusalem.
2 Kings chapter 23 (TEV)
4 Then Josiah ordered the High Priest Hilkiah, his assistant priests, and the guards on duty at the entrance to the Temple to bring out of the Temple all the objects used in the worship of Baal, of the goddess Asherah, and of the stars.
The king burned all these objects outside the city near Kidron Valley and then had the ashes taken to Bethel.
5 He removed from office the priests that the kings of Judah had ordained to offer sacrifices on the pagan altars in the cities of Judah and in places near Jerusalem-all the priests who offered sacrifices to Baal, to the sun, the moon, the planets, and the stars. 6 He removed from the Temple the symbol of the goddess Asherah, took it out of the city to Kidron Valley, burned it, pounded its ashes to dust, and scattered it over the public burying ground.
7 He destroyed the living quarters in the Temple occupied by the temple prostitutes. (It was there that women wove robes used in the worship of Asherah.)
8 He brought to Jerusalem the priests who were in the cities of Judah, and throughout the whole country he desecrated the altars where they had offered sacrifices.
He also tore down the altars dedicated to the goat demons near the gate built by Joshua, the city governor, which was to the left of the main gate as one enters the city. 9 Those priests were not allowed to serve in the Temple, but they could eat the unleavened bread provided for their fellow priests.
10 King Josiah also desecrated Topheth, the pagan place of worship in Hinnom Valley, so that no one could sacrifice his son or daughter as a burnt offering to the god Molech.
11 He also removed the horses that the kings of Judah had dedicated to the worship of the sun, and he burned the chariots used in this worship. (These were kept in the temple courtyard, near the gate and not far from the living quarters of Nathan Melech, a high official.)
12 The altars which the kings of Judah had built on the palace roof above King Ahaz' quarters, King Josiah tore down, along with the altars put up by King Manasseh in the two courtyards of the Temple; he smashed the altars to bits and threw them into Kidron Valley.
13 Josiah desecrated the altars that King Solomon had built east of Jerusalem, south of the Mount of Olives, for the worship of disgusting idols-Astarte the goddess of Sidon, Chemosh the god of Moab, and Molech the god of Ammon.
15 Josiah also tore down the place of worship in Bethel, which had been built by King Jeroboam son of Nebat, who led Israel into sin.
19 In every city of Israel King Josiah tore down all the pagan places of worship which had been built by the kings of Israel, who thereby aroused the Lord's anger. He did to all those altars what he had done in Bethel.
Isaiah Chapter 44 (NLT)
9 How foolish are those who manufacture idols to be their gods. These highly valued objects are really worthless. They themselves are witnesses that this is so, for their idols neither see nor know. No wonder those who worship them are put to shame. 10 Who but a fool would make his own god - an idol that cannot help him one bit! 11 All who worship idols will stand before the LORD in shame, along with all these craftsmen - mere humans - who claim they can make a god. Together they will stand in terror and shame.
12 The blacksmith stands at his forge to make a sharp tool, pounding and shaping it with all his might. His work makes him hungry and thirsty, weak and faint.
13 Then the wood-carver measures and marks out a block of wood, takes the tool, and carves the figure of a man. Now he has a wonderful idol that cannot even move from where it is placed! 14 He cuts down cedars; he selects the cypress and the oak; he plants the cedar in the forest to be nourished by the rain. 15 And after his care, he uses part of the wood to make a fire to warm himself and bake his bread. Then - yes, it's true - he takes the rest of it and makes himself a god for people to worship! He makes an idol and bows down and praises it! 16 He burns part of the tree to roast his meat and to keep himself warm. 17 Then he takes what's left and makes his god: a carved idol!
He falls down in front of it, worshiping and praying to it. "Rescue me!" he says. "You are my god!" 18 Such stupidity and ignorance! Their eyes are closed, and they cannot see. Their minds are shut, and they cannot think. 19 The person who made the idol never stops to reflect, "Why, it's just a block of wood! I burned half of it for heat and used it to bake my bread and roast my meat. How can the rest of it be a god? Should I bow down to worship a chunk of wood?" 20 The poor, deluded fool feeds on ashes. He is trusting something that can give him no help at all. Yet he cannot bring himself to ask, "Is this thing, this idol that I'm holding in my hand, a lie?"
2 Chronicles chapter 34 (TEV)
8 In the eighteenth year of his reign, after he had purified the land and the Temple by ending pagan worship, King Josiah sent three men to repair the Temple of the Lord God: Shaphan son of Azaliah, Maaseiah, the governor of Jerusalem, and Joah son of Joahaz, a high official. 9 The money that the Levite guards had collected in the Temple was turned over to Hilkiah the High Priest. (It had been collected from the people of Ephraim and Manasseh and the rest of the Northern Kingdom, and from the people of Judah, Benjamin, and Jerusalem.) 10 This money was then handed over to the three men in charge of the Temple repairs, and they gave it to 11 the carpenters and the builders to buy the stones and the timber used to repair the buildings that the kings of Judah had allowed to decay. 12 The men who did the work were thoroughly honest. They were supervised by four Levites: ... (The Levites were all skillful musicians.) 13 Other Levites were in charge of transporting materials and supervising the workers on various jobs, and others kept records or served as guards.
14 While the money was being taken out of the storeroom, Hilkiah found the book of the Law of the Lord, the Law that God had given to Moses. 15 He said to Shaphan, "I have found the book of the Law here in the Temple." He gave Shaphan the book, 16 and Shaphan took it to the king. He reported, "We have done everything that you commanded. 17 We have taken the money that was kept in the Temple and handed it over to the workers and their supervisors." 18 Then he added, "I have here a book that Hilkiah gave me." And he read it aloud to the king.
19 When the king heard the book being read, he tore his clothes in dismay 20 and gave the following order to Hilkiah, to Ahikam son of Shaphan, to Abdon son of Micaiah, to Shaphan, the court secretary, and to Asaiah, the king's attendant: 21 "Go and consult the Lord for me and for the people who still remain in Israel and Judah. Find out about the teachings of this book. The Lord is angry with us because our ancestors have not obeyed the word of the Lord and have not done what this book says must be done."
22 At the king's command, Hilkiah and the others went to consult a woman named Huldah, a prophet who lived in the newer part of Jerusalem. (Her husband Shallum, ... was in charge of the Temple robes.) They described to her what had happened, 23 and she told them to go back to the king and give him 24 the following message from the Lord:
"I am going to punish Jerusalem and all its people with the curses written in the book that was read to the king. 25 They have rejected me and have offered sacrifices to other gods, and so have stirred up my anger by all they have done. My anger is aroused against Jerusalem, and it will not die down.
26 "As for the king himself, this is what I, the Lord God of Israel, say:
You listened to what is written in the book, 27 and you repented and humbled yourself before me, tearing your clothes and weeping, when you heard how I threatened to punish Jerusalem and its people. I have heard your prayer, 28 and the punishment which I am going to bring on Jerusalem will not come until after your death. I will let you die in peace."
2 Chronicles chapter 34 (CEV)
29 King Josiah called together the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem. 30 Then he went to the LORD's temple, together with all the people of Judah and Jerusalem, the priests, and the Levites.
Finally, when everybody was there, he read aloud The Book of God's Law that had been found in the temple.
31 After Josiah had finished reading, he stood in the place reserved for the king. He promised in the LORD's name to faithfully obey the LORD and to follow his laws and teachings that were written in the book. 32 Then he asked the people of Jerusalem and Benjamin to make that same promise and to obey the God their ancestors had worshiped.
33 Josiah destroyed all the idols in the territories of Israel, and he commanded everyone in Israel to worship only the LORD God. The people did not turn away from the LORD God of their ancestors for the rest of Josiah's rule as king.
2 Kings chapter 23 (TEV)
24 In order to enforce the laws written in the book that the High Priest Hilkiah had found in the Temple, King Josiah removed from Jerusalem and the rest of Judah all the mediums and fortunetellers, and all the household gods, idols, and all other pagan objects of worship.
25 There had never been a king like him before, who served the Lord with all his heart, mind, and strength, obeying all the Law of Moses; nor has there been a king like him since.
26 But the Lord's fierce anger had been aroused against Judah by what King Manasseh had done, and even now it did not die down. 27 The Lord said, "I will do to Judah what I have done to Israel: I will banish the people of Judah from my sight, and I will reject Jerusalem, the city I chose, and the Temple, the place I said was where I should be worshiped."
The Bible does not instruct Christians and ordinary people to be violent towards Pagans or to destroy their places of worship. The Bible indicates that God illustrated in Old Testament times how much he objects to the worship of other gods and disobedience to his commands. The Bible instructs Christians and ordinary individuals to behave in a very different way to the way in which God wanted the kings of Israel and Judah to behave. To find out more, visit What The Bible Says About Violence, Anger, Jealousy, Arguments, And Living In Peace With Each Other.
The next file in this section (Part 11), is entitled: "The Last Years Of The Kings Of Judah; And God's Call Of Some Of The Prophets Who Predicted The Disasters That Came On The Two Kingdoms".
The main Bible pages on this site:
|Bible Part 1: Bible Quotations, The Holy Spirit, People And Their Stories|
|Bible Part 2: The Lives and Suffering of the Ancient Israelites|
|Bible Part 3: The Bible, Articles About Alleged Inaccuracies in it, And Stories of People who Became Christians.|
|If you have found parts of the Old Testament or the Book of Revelation offensive, please read An Attempt to Explain Gruesome Bible Passages.|
The selections of Bible quotations have been put together by Diana Holbourn.
Throughout this series, wherever the initials TEV appear, they stand for Today's English Version (The Good News Bible).Other initials:
Don't be afraid to question the truth of what a religious authority figure tells you, or even the Bible or other holy books themselves, or certain people's interpretation of them. Nothing to do with religion or the supernatural is so well established in fact it shouldn't be questioned. To find out why caution is a good idea, visit:
Are you up to trying the challenges of the New Testament's moral guidelines, and would you like to know more of what it says about the love of Jesus? Here are some links to Bible quotes about the beautiful ideals the New Testament encourages Christians to try to live up to:
There are a lot of pages on this website with quotations from the Old Testament on them. Many of these are unfortunately rather gruesome, since the main theme of the Old Testament is warnings and stories about how it says societies were punished for mass lawless and hurtful behaviour, even to the extent of having war brought on them by God, that seem to have been designed to scare societies where crime and violence were rampant into behaving more ethically. In case there is any misunderstanding, it should be understood that this website does not endorse war as anything other than a last resort. The position of the website owner can be gleaned from the articles:
Fancy some light relief or laughter therapy? Then go to the first of our jokes pages:
If you have a problem affecting your mental health or well-being, like depression, a difficulty with life-damaging worry, panic attacks, phobias or OCD, marriage problems, an addiction, an eating disorder, recovering from the trauma of sexual abuse or domestic violence, coping with bullies in the workplace, or bullying and teasing at school, trying to lose weight, raising difficult teenagers, caring for someone with a disease like Alzheimer's, wanting to recover from anorexia or self-harm, or grieving for someone you were close to or feeling lonely, and you'd like some ideas on coping or getting past it, visit our Self-help series.
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Go to the Broadcaster.org.uk home page to find out more.....