Passage: 2 Chronicles 15, 16 (RSV)

2 Chronicles 15

1The Spirit of God came upon Azari'ah the son of Oded,
2and he went out to meet Asa, and said to him, "Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin: The LORD is with you, while you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you.
3For a long time Israel was without the true God, and without a teaching priest, and without law;
4but when in their distress they turned to the LORD, the God of Israel, and sought him, he was found by them.
5In those times there was no peace to him who went out or to him who came in, for great disturbances afflicted all the inhabitants of the lands.
6They were broken in pieces, nation against nation and city against city, for God troubled them with every sort of distress.
7But you, take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded."
8When Asa heard these words, the prophecy of Azari'ah the son of Oded, he took courage, and put away the abominable idols from all the land of Judah and Benjamin and from the cities which he had taken in the hill country of E'phraim, and he repaired the altar of the LORD that was in front of the vestibule of the house of the LORD.
9And he gathered all Judah and Benjamin, and those from E'phraim, Manas'seh, and Simeon who were sojourning with them, for great numbers had deserted to him from Israel when they saw that the LORD his God was with him.
10They were gathered at Jerusalem in the third month of the fifteenth year of the reign of Asa.
11They sacrificed to the LORD on that day, from the spoil which they had brought, seven hundred oxen and seven thousand sheep.
12And they entered into a covenant to seek the LORD, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and with all their soul;
13and that whoever would not seek the LORD, the God of Israel, should be put to death, whether young or old, man or woman.
14They took oath to the LORD with a loud voice, and with shouting, and with trumpets, and with horns.
15And all Judah rejoiced over the oath; for they had sworn with all their heart, and had sought him with their whole desire, and he was found by them, and the LORD gave them rest round about.
16Even Ma'acah, his mother, King Asa removed from being queen mother because she had made an abominable image for Ashe'rah. Asa cut down her image, crushed it, and burned it at the brook Kidron.
17But the high places were not taken out of Israel. Nevertheless the heart of Asa was blameless all his days.
18And he brought into the house of God the votive gifts of his father and his own votive gifts, silver, and gold, and vessels.
19And there was no more war until the thirty-fifth year of the reign of Asa.

2 Chronicles 16

1In the thirty-sixth year of the reign of Asa, Ba'asha king of Israel went up against Judah, and built Ramah, that he might permit no one to go out or come in to Asa king of Judah.
2Then Asa took silver and gold from the treasures of the house of the LORD and the king's house, and sent them to Ben-ha'dad king of Syria, who dwelt in Damascus, saying,
3"Let there be a league between me and you, as between my father and your father; behold, I am sending to you silver and gold; go, break your league with Ba'asha king of Israel, that he may withdraw from me."
4And Ben-ha'dad hearkened to King Asa, and sent the commanders of his armies against the cities of Israel, and they conquered I'jon, Dan, A'bel-ma'im, and all the store-cities of Naph'tali.
5And when Ba'asha heard of it, he stopped building Ramah, and let his work cease.
6Then King Asa took all Judah, and they carried away the stones of Ramah and its timber, with which Ba'asha had been building, and with them he built Geba and Mizpah.
7At that time Hana'ni the seer came to Asa king of Judah, and said to him, "Because you relied on the king of Syria, and did not rely on the LORD your God, the army of the king of Syria has escaped you.
8Were not the Ethiopians and the Libyans a huge army with exceedingly many chariots and horsemen? Yet because you relied on the LORD, he gave them into your hand.
9For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show his might in behalf of those whose heart is blameless toward him. You have done foolishly in this; for from now on you will have wars."
10Then Asa was angry with the seer, and put him in the stocks, in prison, for he was in a rage with him because of this. And Asa inflicted cruelties upon some of the people at the same time.
11The acts of Asa, from first to last, are written in the Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel.
12In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa was diseased in his feet, and his disease became severe; yet even in his disease he did not seek the LORD, but sought help from physicians.
13And Asa slept with his fathers, dying in the forty-first year of his reign.
14They buried him in the tomb which he had hewn out for himself in the city of David. They laid him on a bier which had been filled with various kinds of spices prepared by the perfumer's art; and they made a very great fire in his honor.

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