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Now the king of Syria had ordered his thirty-two chariot commanders, “Do not fight common soldiers or high-ranking officers; 1 fight only the king of Israel.”
So he took his firstborn son, who was to succeed him as king, and offered him up as a burnt sacrifice on the wall. There was an outburst of divine anger against Israel, 1 so they broke off the attack 2 and returned to their homeland.
Now Naaman, the commander of the king of Syria’s army, was esteemed and respected by his master, 1 for through him the Lord had given Syria military victories. But this great warrior had a skin disease. 2
His servants approached and said to him, “O master, 1 if the prophet had told you to do some difficult task, 2 you would have been willing to do it. 3 It seems you should be happy that he simply said, “Wash and you will be healed.” 4
The Lord had caused the Syrian camp to hear the sound of chariots and horses and a large army. Then they said to one another, “Look, the king of Israel has paid the kings of the Hittites and Egypt to attack us!”
Instead you must worship the Lord, who brought you up from the land of Egypt by his great power and military ability; 1 bow down to him and offer sacrifices to him.
The king went up to the Lord’s temple, accompanied by all the people of Judah, all the residents of Jerusalem, the priests, and the prophets. All the people were there, from the youngest to the oldest. He read aloud 1 all the words of the scroll of the covenant that had been discovered in the Lord’s temple.
At that time Solomon and all Israel with him celebrated a festival for seven days. This great assembly included people from Lebo Hamath in the north to the Brook of Egypt in the south. 1
Many of the priests, the Levites, and the leaders 1 – older people who had seen with their own eyes the former temple while it was still established 2 – were weeping loudly, 3 and many others raised their voice in a joyous shout.
Throughout each and every province where the king’s edict and law were announced 1 there was considerable 2 mourning among the Jews, along with fasting, weeping, and sorrow. 3 Sackcloth and ashes were characteristic 4 of many.
His possessions 1 included 2 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, and 500 female donkeys; in addition he had a very great household. 3 Thus he 4 was the greatest of all the people in the east. 5
The Lord’s sword is dripping with blood, it is covered 1 with fat; it drips 2 with the blood of young rams and goats and is covered 3 with the fat of rams’ kidneys. For the Lord is holding a sacrifice 4 in Bozrah, 5 a bloody 6 slaughter in the land of Edom.
“Please, Lord. Remember how I have served you 1 faithfully and with wholehearted devotion, 2 and how I have carried out your will.” 3 Then Hezekiah wept bitterly. 4
“Run for safety, people of Benjamin! Get out of Jerusalem! 1 Sound the trumpet 2 in Tekoa! Light the signal fires at Beth Hakkerem! For disaster lurks 3 out of the north; it will bring great destruction. 4
1 So I will give their wives to other men and their fields to new owners. For from the least important to the most important of them, all of them are greedy for dishonest gain. Prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit.
“Tell these people this, Jeremiah: 1 ‘My eyes overflow with tears day and night without ceasing. 2 For my people, my dear children, 3 have suffered a crushing blow. They have suffered a serious wound. 4
Perhaps then they will ask the Lord for mercy and will all stop doing the evil things they have been doing. 1 For the Lord has threatened to bring great anger and wrath against these people.” 2
Then all the men who were aware that their wives were sacrificing to other gods, as well as all their wives, answered Jeremiah. There was a great crowd of them representing all the people who lived in northern and southern Egypt. 1 They answered,
מ (Mem) With what can I equate 1 you? To what can I compare you, O Daughter Jerusalem? To what can I liken you 2 so that 3 I might comfort you, O Virgin Daughter Zion? Your wound is as deep 4 as the sea. 5 Who can heal you? 6
As I watched, I noticed 1 a windstorm 2 coming from the north – an enormous cloud, with lightning flashing, 3 such that bright light 4 rimmed it and came from 5 it like glowing amber 6 from the middle of a fire.