August 4-5, 2 Chronicles 32-33, Nahum

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32 After Hezekiah’s faithful deeds, King Sennacherib of Assyria came and entered Judah. He laid siege to the fortified cities and intended[a] to break into them. Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib had come and that he planned[b] war on Jerusalem, so he consulted with his officials and his warriors about stopping up the water of the springs that were outside the city, and they helped him. Many people gathered and stopped up all the springs and the stream that flowed through the land; they said, “Why should the kings of Assyria come and find abundant water?” Then Hezekiah strengthened his position by rebuilding the entire broken-down wall and heightening the towers and the other outside wall. He repaired the supporting terraces of the city of David, and made an abundance of weapons and shields.

He set military commanders over the people and gathered the people in the square of the city gate. Then he encouraged them,[c] saying, “Be strong and courageous! Don’t be afraid or discouraged before the king of Assyria or before the large army that is with him, for there are more with us than with him. He has only human strength,[d] but we have the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles.” So the people relied on the words of King Hezekiah of Judah.

Sennacherib’s Servant’s Speech

After this, while King Sennacherib of Assyria with all his armed forces besieged[e] Lachish, he sent his servants to Jerusalem against King Hezekiah of Judah and against all those of Judah who were in Jerusalem, saying, 10 “This is what King Sennacherib of Assyria says: ‘What are you relying on that you remain in Jerusalem under siege? 11 Isn’t Hezekiah misleading you to give you over to death by famine and thirst when he says, “The Lord our God will keep us from the grasp of the king of Assyria”? 12 Didn’t Hezekiah himself remove his high places and his altars and say to Judah and Jerusalem, “You must worship before one altar, and you must burn incense on it”?

13 “‘Don’t you know what I and my predecessors have done to all the peoples of the lands? Have any of the national gods of the lands been able to rescue their land from my power? 14 Who among all the gods of these nations that my predecessors completely destroyed was able to rescue his people from my power, that your God should be able to deliver you from my power? 15 So now, don’t let Hezekiah deceive you, and don’t let him mislead you like this. Don’t believe him, for no god of any nation or kingdom has been able to rescue his people from my power or the power of my predecessors. How much less will your God rescue you from my power!’”

16 His servants said more against the Lord God and against his servant Hezekiah. 17 He also wrote letters to mock the Lord, the God of Israel, saying against him:

Just like the national gods of the lands that did not rescue their people from my power, so Hezekiah’s God will not rescue his people from my power.

18 Then they called out loudly in Hebrew[f] to the people of Jerusalem, who were on the wall, to frighten and discourage them in order that he might capture the city. 19 They spoke against the God of Jerusalem like they had spoken against the gods of the peoples of the earth, which were made by human hands.

Deliverance from Sennacherib

20 King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz prayed about this and cried out to heaven, 21 and the Lord sent an angel who annihilated every valiant warrior, leader, and commander in the camp of the king of Assyria. So the king of Assyria returned in disgrace to his land. He went to the temple of his god, and there some of his own children struck him down with the sword.

22 So the Lord saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from the power of King Sennacherib of Assyria and from the power of all others. He gave them rest[g] on every side. 23 Many were bringing an offering to the Lord to Jerusalem and valuable gifts to King Hezekiah of Judah, and he was exalted in the eyes of all the nations after that.

Hezekiah’s Illness and Pride

24 In those days Hezekiah became sick to the point of death, so he prayed to the Lord, who spoke to him and gave him a miraculous sign. 25 However, because his heart was proud, Hezekiah didn’t respond according to the benefit that had come to him. So there was wrath on him, Judah, and Jerusalem. 26 Then Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart—he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem—so the Lord’s wrath didn’t come on them during Hezekiah’s lifetime.

Hezekiah’s Wealth and Works

27 Hezekiah had abundant riches and glory, and he made himself treasuries for silver, gold, precious stones, spices, shields, and every desirable item. 28 He made warehouses for the harvest of grain, new wine, and fresh oil, and stalls for all kinds of cattle, and pens for flocks. 29 He made cities for himself, and he acquired vast numbers of flocks and herds, for God gave him abundant possessions.

30 This same Hezekiah blocked the upper outlet of the water from the Gihon Spring and channeled it smoothly downward and westward to the city of David. Hezekiah succeeded in everything he did. 31 When the ambassadors of Babylon’s rulerswere sent[h] to him to inquire about the miraculous sign that happened in the land, God left him to test him and discover what was in his heart.

Hezekiah’s Death

32 As for the rest of the events of Hezekiah’s reign and his deeds of faithful love, note that they are written in the Visions of the Prophet Isaiah son of Amoz, and in the Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel. 33 Hezekiah rested with his ancestors and was buried on the ascent to the tombs of David’s descendants. All Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem paid him honor at his death. His son Manasseh became king in his place.

Judah’s King Manasseh

33 Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem. He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, imitating the detestable practices of the nations that the Lord had dispossessed before the Israelites. He rebuilt the high places that his father Hezekiah had torn down and reestablished the altars for the Baals. He made Asherah poles, and he bowed in worship to all the stars in the sky and served them. He built altars in the Lord’s temple, where the Lord had said, “Jerusalem is where my name will remain forever.” He built altars to all the stars in the sky in both courtyards of the Lord’s temple. He passed his sons through the fire in Ben Hinnom Valley. He practiced witchcraft, divination, and sorcery, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did a huge amount of evil in the Lord’s sight, angering him.

Manasseh set up a carved image of the idol, which he had made, in God’s temple that God had spoken about to David and his son Solomon: “I will establish my name forever[i] in this temple and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel. I will never again remove the feet of the Israelites from the land where I stationed your[j] ancestors, if only they will be careful to do all I have commanded them through Moses—all the law, statutes, and judgments.” So Manasseh caused Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to stray so that they did worse evil than the nations the Lord had destroyed before the Israelites.

Manasseh’s Repentance

10 The Lord spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they didn’t listen. 11 So he brought against them the military commanders of the king of Assyria. They captured Manasseh with hooks, bound him with bronze shackles, and took him to Babylon. 12 When he was in distress, he sought the favor of the Lord his God and earnestly humbled himself before the God of his ancestors. 13 He prayed to him, and the Lord was receptive to his prayer. He granted his request and brought him back to Jerusalem, to his kingdom. So Manasseh came to know that the Lord is God.

14 After this, he built the outer wall of the city of David from west of Gihon in the valley to the entrance of the Fish Gate; he brought it around Ophel, and he heightened it considerably. He also placed military commanders in all the fortified cities of Judah.

15 He removed the foreign gods and the idol from the Lord’s temple, along with all the altars that he had built on the mountain of the Lord’s temple and in Jerusalem, and he threw them outside the city. 16 He built[k] the altar of the Lord and offered fellowship and thanksgiving sacrifices on it. Then he told Judah to serve the Lord, the God of Israel. 17 However, the people still sacrificed at the high places, but only to the Lord their God.

Manasseh’s Death

18 The rest of the events of Manasseh’s reign, along with his prayer to his God and the words of the seers who spoke to him in the name of the Lord, the God of Israel, are written in the Events of Israel’s Kings. 19 His prayer and how God was receptive to his prayer, and all his sin and unfaithfulness and the sites where he built high places and set up Asherah poles and carved images before he humbled himself, they are written in the Events of Hozai. 20 Manasseh rested with his ancestors, and he was buried in his own house. His son Amon became king in his place.

Judah’s King Amon

21 Amon was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned two years in Jerusalem. 22 He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, just as his father Manasseh had done. Amon sacrificed to all the carved images that his father Manasseh had made, and he served them. 23 But he did not humble himself before the Lord like his father Manasseh humbled himself;instead, Amon increased his guilt.

24 So his servants conspired against him and put him to death in his own house. 25 The common people[l] killed all who had conspired against King Amon, and they made his son Josiah king in his place.

Nahum

The pronouncement concerning Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite.

God’s Vengeance

The Lord is a jealous and avenging God;
the Lord takes vengeance
and is fierce in[a] wrath.
The Lord takes vengeance against his foes;
he is furious with his enemies.
The Lord is slow to anger but great in power;
the Lord will never leave the guilty unpunished.
His path is in the whirlwind and storm,
and clouds are the dust beneath his feet.
He rebukes the sea and dries it up,
and he makes all the rivers run dry.
Bashan and Carmel wither;
even the flower of Lebanon withers.
The mountains quake before him,
and the hills melt;
the earth trembles[b][c] at his presence—
the world and all who live in it.
Who can withstand his indignation?
Who can endure his burning anger?
His wrath is poured out like fire;
even rocks are shattered before him.

Destruction of Nineveh

The Lord is good,
a stronghold in a day of distress;
he cares for those who take refuge in him.
But he will completely destroy Nineveh[d]
with an overwhelming flood,
and he will chase his enemies into darkness.

Whatever you[e] plot against the Lord,
he will bring it to complete destruction;
oppression will not rise up a second time.
10 For they will be consumed
like entangled thorns,
like the drink of a drunkard
and like straw that is fully dry.[f]
11 One has gone out from you,[g]
who plots evil against the Lord,
and is a wicked counselor.

Promise of Judah’s Deliverance

12 This is what the Lord says:

Though they are strong[h] and numerous,
they will still be mowed down,
and he[i] will pass away.
Though I have punished you,[j]
I will punish you no longer.
13 For I will now break off his yoke from you
and tear off your shackles.

The Assyrian King’s Demise

14 The Lord has issued an order concerning you:

There will be no offspring
to carry on your name.[k]
I will eliminate the carved idol and cast image
from the house of your gods;
I will prepare your grave,
for you are contemptible.

15 Look to the mountains—
the feet of the herald,
who proclaims peace.
Celebrate your festivals, Judah;
fulfill your vows.
For the wicked one will never again
march through you;
he will be entirely wiped out.

Attack against Nineveh

One who scatters is coming up against you.
Man the fortifications!
Watch the road!
Brace[l] yourself!
Summon all your strength!

For the Lord will restore the majesty of Jacob,
yes,[m] the majesty of Israel,
though ravagers have ravaged them
and ruined their vine branches.

The shields of his[n] warriors are dyed red;
the valiant men are dressed in scarlet.
The fittings of the chariot flash like fire
on the day of its battle preparations,
and the spears are brandished.
The chariots dash madly through the streets;
they rush around in the plazas.
They look like torches;
they dart back and forth like lightning.
He gives orders to his officers;
they stumble as they advance.
They race to its wall;
the protective shield is set in place.
The river gates are opened,
and the palace erodes away.

Beauty[o] is stripped;[p]
she is carried away;
her ladies-in-waiting moan
like the sound of doves
and beat their breasts.
Nineveh has been like a pool of water
from her first days,[q]
but they are fleeing.
“Stop! Stop!” they cry,
but no one turns back.
“Plunder the silver! Plunder the gold!” 
There is no end to the treasure,
an abundance of every precious thing.
10 Desolation, decimation, devastation!
Hearts melt,
knees tremble,
insides churn,
every face grows pale!

11 Where is the lions’ lair,
or the feeding ground of the young lions,
where the lion and lioness prowled,
and the lion’s cub,
with nothing to frighten them away?
12 The lion mauled whatever its cubs needed
and strangled prey for its lionesses.
It filled up its dens with the kill,
and its lairs with mauled prey.
13 Beware, I am against you.
This is the declaration of the Lord of Armies.
I will make your chariots go up in smoke,[r]
and the sword will devour your young lions.
I will cut off your prey from the earth,
and the sound of your messengers
will never be heard again.

Nineveh’s Downfall

Woe to the city of blood,
totally deceitful,
full of plunder,
never without prey.
The crack of the whip
and rumble of the wheel,
galloping horse
and jolting chariot!
Charging horseman,
flashing sword,
shining spear;
heaps of slain,
mounds of corpses,
dead bodies without end—
they stumble over their dead.
Because of the continual prostitution of the prostitute,
the attractive mistress of sorcery,
who treats nations and clans like merchandise
by her prostitution and sorcery,
I am against you.
This is the declaration of the Lord of Armies.
I will lift your skirts over your face
and display your nakedness to nations,
your shame to kingdoms.
I will throw filth on you
and treat you with contempt;
I will make a spectacle of you.
Then all who see you will recoil from you, saying,
“Nineveh is devastated;
who will show sympathy to her?”
Where can I find anyone to comfort you?

Are you better than Thebes[s]
that sat along the Nile
with water surrounding her,
whose rampart was the sea,
the river[t][u] her wall?
Cush and Egypt were her endless source of strength;
Put and Libya were among her[v] allies.
10 Yet she became an exile;
she went into captivity.
Her children were also dashed to pieces
at the head of every street.
They cast lots for her dignitaries,
and all her nobles were bound in chains.
11 You[w] also will become drunk;
you will hide.[x]
You also will seek refuge from the enemy.

12 All your fortresses are fig trees
with figs that ripened first;
when shaken, they fall—
right into the mouth of the eater!

13 Look, your troops are like women among you;
your land’s city gates
are wide open to your enemies.
Fire will devour the bars of your gates.

14 Draw water for the siege;
strengthen your fortresses.
Step into the clay and tread the mortar;
take hold of the brick-mold!
15 The fire will devour you there;
the sword will cut you down.
It will devour you like the young locust.
Multiply yourselves like the young locust;
multiply like the swarming locust!
16 You have made your merchants
more numerous than the stars of the sky.
The young locust strips[y] the land
and flies away.
17 Your court officials are like the swarming locust,
and your scribes like clouds of locusts,
which settle on the walls on a cold day;
when the sun rises, they take off,
and no one knows where they are.

18 King of Assyria, your shepherds slumber;
your officers sleep.
Your people are scattered across the mountains
with no one to gather them together.
19 There is no remedy for your injury;
your wound is severe.
All who hear the news about you
will clap their hands because of you,
for who has not experienced
your constant cruelty?

The theme of Nahum is God being slow to anger, but assurances of judgment coming for the unrepentant. God is a patient, loving father. He wishes for none to perish and he wants no one to experience his wrath and judgment. But he is a just God. He must punish sin that is not repented of. Today, understand God’s love for you. Understand he wants you to repent and confess your sin so he can restore you, not so he can punish you.

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