After these things I looked, and here was 1 an enormous crowd that no one could count, made up of persons from every nation, tribe, 2 people, and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb dressed in long white robes, and with palm branches in their hands.
All the people, 1 rulers, 2 leaders, and judges were standing on either side of the ark, in front of the Levitical priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord. Both resident foreigners and native Israelites were there. 3 Half the people stood in front of Mount Gerizim and the other half in front of Mount Ebal, as Moses the Lord’s servant had previously instructed to them to do for the formal blessing ceremony. 4
Her mother-in-law asked her, 1 “Where did you gather grain today? Where did you work? May the one who took notice of you be rewarded!” 2 So Ruth 3 told her mother-in-law with whom she had worked. She said, “The name of the man with whom I worked today is Boaz.”
When David’s 1 oldest brother Eliab heard him speaking to the men, he became angry 2 with David and said, “Why have you come down here? To whom did you entrust those few sheep in the desert? I am familiar with your pride and deceit! 3 You have come down here to watch the battle!”
These words of Ish-bosheth really angered Abner and he said, “Am I the head of a dog that belongs to Judah? This very day I am demonstrating 1 loyalty to the house of Saul your father and to his relatives 2 and his friends! I have not betrayed you into the hand of David. Yet you have accused me of sinning with this woman today! 3
Gad went to David and told him, “Shall seven 1 years of famine come upon your land? Or shall you flee for three months from your enemy with him in hot pursuit? Or shall there be three days of plague in your land? Now decide 2 what I should tell the one who sent me.”
Now, O Lord, God of Israel, keep the promise you made to your servant, my father David, when you said, ‘You will never fail to have a successor ruling before me on the throne of Israel, 1 provided that your descendants watch their step and serve me as you have done.’ 2
three 1 years of famine, or three months being chased by your enemies and struck down by their swords, 2 or three days being struck down by the Lord, during which a plague will invade the land and the Lord’s messenger will destroy throughout Israel’s territory.’ 3 Now, decide what I should tell the one who sent me.”
“And you, Solomon my son, obey 1 the God of your father and serve him with a submissive attitude and a willing spirit, 2 for the Lord examines all minds and understands every motive of one’s thoughts. If you seek him, he will let you find him, 3 but if you abandon him, he will reject you permanently.
Now, O Lord God of Israel, keep the promise you made to your servant, my father David, when you said, ‘You will never fail to have a successor ruling before me on the throne of Israel, 1 provided that your descendants watch their step and obey my law as you have done.’ 2
When all Israel saw that the king refused to listen to them, the people answered the king, “We have no portion in David – no share in the son of Jesse! 1 Return to your homes, O Israel! 2 Now, look after your own dynasty, O David!” 3 So all Israel returned to their homes. 4
He said to the people of Judah: 1 “Let’s build these cities and fortify them with walls, towers, and barred gates. 2 The land remains ours because we have followed 3 the Lord our God and he has made us secure on all sides.” 4 So they built the cities 5 and prospered.
When all this was over, the Israelites 1 who were in the cities of Judah went out and smashed the sacred pillars, cut down the Asherah poles, and demolished 2 all the high places and altars throughout Judah, Benjamin, Ephraim, and Manasseh. 3 Then all the Israelites returned to their own homes in their cities. 4
In the second year after they had come to the temple of God in Jerusalem, 1 in the second month, Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Jeshua the son of Jozadak initiated the work, 2 along with the rest of their associates, 3 the priests and the Levites, and all those who were coming to Jerusalem from the exile. They appointed 4 the Levites who were at least twenty years old 5 to take charge of the work on the Lord’s temple.
Then 1 I, the Lord, promise that 2 I will hand over King Zedekiah of Judah, his officials, and any of the people who survive the war, starvation, and disease. I will hand them over to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and to their enemies who want to kill them. He will slaughter them with the sword. He will not show them any mercy, compassion, or pity.’
For 1 the Lord God of Israel who rules over all 2 says, ‘If you go to Egypt, I will pour out my wrath on you just as I poured out my anger and wrath on the citizens of Jerusalem. 3 You will become an object of horror and ridicule, an example of those who have been cursed and that people use in pronouncing a curse. 4 You will never see this place again.’ 5
Instead we will do everything we vowed we would do. 1 We will sacrifice and pour out drink offerings to the goddess called the Queen of Heaven 2 just as we and our ancestors, our kings, and our leaders previously did in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. For then we had plenty of food, were well-off, and had no troubles. 3
“When a righteous person turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and I set an obstacle 1 before him, he will die. If you have not warned him, he will die for his sin. The righteous deeds he performed will not be considered, but I will hold you accountable for his death.
Now if you are ready, when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, trigon, harp, pipes, and all kinds of music, you must bow down and pay homage to the statue that I had made. If you don’t pay homage to it, you will immediately be thrown into the midst of the furnace of blazing fire. Now, who is that god who can rescue you from my power?” 1