August 7

2 Kings 20

1In those days Hezekiah was ill and near death. And Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, came to him, and said to him, The Lord says, Put your house in order, for your death is near.

2Then, turning his face to the wall, he made his prayer to the Lord, saying,

3O Lord, keep in mind how I have been true to you with all my heart, and have done what is good in your eyes. And Hezekiah gave way to bitter weeping.

4Now before Isaiah had gone out of the middle of the town, the word of the Lord came to him, saying,

5Go back and say to Hezekiah, the ruler of my people, The Lord, the God of David your father, says, Your prayer has come to my ears, and I have seen your weeping; see, I will make you well: on the third day you will go up to the house of the Lord.

6I will give you fifteen more years of life; and I will keep you and this town safe from the hands of the king of Assyria; I will keep this town safe, for my honour, and for the honour of my servant David.

7Then Isaiah said, Take a cake of figs. So they took it and put it on his wound, and he got better.

8And Hezekiah said to Isaiah, What is to be the sign that the Lord will make me well, and that I will go up to the house of the Lord on the third day?

9And Isaiah said, This is the sign the Lord will give you, that he will do what he has said; will the shade go forward ten degrees or back?

10And Hezekiah said in answer, It is a simple thing for the shade to go forward; but let it go back ten degrees.

11Then Isaiah the prophet made prayer to the Lord, and he made the shade go back ten degrees from its position on the steps of Ahaz.

12At that time, Merodach-baladan, the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters with an offering to Hezekiah, because he had news that Hezekiah had been ill.

13And Hezekiah was glad at their coming and let them see all his store of wealth, the silver and the gold and the spices and the oil of great price, and the house of his arms, and everything there was in his stores; there was nothing in all his house or his kingdom which Hezekiah did not let them see.

14Then Isaiah the prophet came to King Hezekiah and said to him, What did these men say and where did they come from? And Hezekiah said, They came from a far country, even from Babylon.

15And he said, What have they seen in your house? And Hezekiah said in answer, They saw everything in my house: there is nothing among my stores which I did not let them see.

16And Isaiah said to Hezekiah, Give ear to the word of the Lord.

17Truly, days are coming when everything in your house, and whatever your fathers have put in store till this day, will be taken away to Babylon: all will be gone, says the Lord.

18And your sons, the offspring of your body, they will take away to be unsexed servants in the house of the king of Babylon.

19Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, Good is the word of the Lord which you have said. Then he said, … if in my time there is peace and righteousness?

20Now the rest of the acts of Hezekiah, and his power, and how he made the pool and the stream, to take water into the town, are they not recorded in the book of the history of the kings of Judah?

21And Hezekiah went to rest with his fathers; and Manasseh his son became king in his place.

2 Kings 21

1Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king; for fifty-five years he was ruling in Jerusalem; and his mother’s name was Hephzi-bah.

2He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, copying the disgusting ways of those nations whom the Lord had sent out before the children of Israel.

3He put up again the high places which had been pulled down by Hezekiah his father; he made altars for Baal, and an Asherah, as Ahab, king of Israel, had done; he was a worshipper and servant of all the stars of heaven.

4And he put up altars in the house of the Lord, of which the Lord had said, In Jerusalem will I put my name.

5And he put up altars for all the stars of heaven in the two outer squares of the house of the Lord.

6And he made his son go through the fire, and made use of secret arts and signs for reading the future; he gave positions to those who had control of spirits and to wonder-workers; he did much evil in the eyes of the Lord, moving him to wrath.

7He put the image of Asherah which he had made in the house of which the Lord had said to David and to Solomon his son, In this house, and in Jerusalem, the town which I have made mine out of all the tribes of Israel, I will put my name for ever.

8And never again will I send the feet of Israel wandering from the land which I gave to their fathers; if only they will take care to do all my orders, and keep all the law which my servant Moses gave them.

9But they did not give ear; and Manasseh made them do more evil than those nations did, whom the Lord gave up to destruction before the children of Israel.

10And the Lord said, by his servants the prophets,

11Because Manasseh, king of Judah, has done these disgusting things, doing more evil than all the Amorites before him, and making Judah do evil with his false gods,

12For this cause, says the Lord, the God of Israel, I will send such evil on Jerusalem and Judah that the ears of all to whom the news comes will be burning.

13And over Jerusalem will be stretched the line of Samaria and the weight of Ahab; Jerusalem will be washed clean as a plate is washed, and turned over on its face.

14And I will put away from me the rest of my heritage, and give them up into the hands of their haters, who will take their property and their goods for themselves;

15Because they have done evil in my eyes, moving me to wrath, from the day when their fathers came out of Egypt till this day.

16More than this, Manasseh took the lives of upright men, till Jerusalem from one end to the other was full of blood; in addition to his sin in making Judah do evil in the eyes of the Lord.

17Now the rest of the acts of Manasseh, and all he did, and his sins, are they not recorded in the book of the history of the kings of Judah?

18So Manasseh went to rest with his fathers, and was put into the earth in the garden of his house, in the garden of Uzza; and Amon his son became king in his place.

19Amon was twenty-two years old when he became king, ruling in Jerusalem for two years; his mother’s name was Meshullemeth, the daughter of Haruz of Jotbah.

20He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, as Manasseh his father had done.

21He went in all the ways of his father, being a servant and worshipper of the false gods to which his father had been a servant;

22Turning away from the Lord, the God of his fathers, and not walking in his ways.

23And the servants of Amon made a secret design against him, and put the king to death in his house.

24But the people of the land put to death all those who had taken part in the design against the king, and made Josiah his son king in his place.

25Now the rest of the acts which Amon did, are they not recorded in the book of the history of the kings of Judah?

26He was put in his last resting-place in the garden of Uzza, and Josiah his son became king in his place.

Nahum 2

1A crusher has come up before your face: keep a good look-out, let the way be watched, make yourself strong, let your power be greatly increased.

2For the Lord will make good the vine of Jacob, as well as the vine of Israel: for the wasters have made them waste and sent destruction on the branches of their vine.

3The body-covers of his fighting men have been made red, the men of war are clothed in bright red: the war-carriages are like flames of fire in the day when he gets ready, the horses are shaking.

4The war-carriages are rushing through the streets, pushing against one another in the wide ways, looking like burning lights, running like thunder-flames.

5He takes the record of his great men: they go falling on their way; they go quickly to the wall, the cover is made ready.

6The river doorways are forced open, and the king’s house is flowing away.

7And the queen is uncovered, she is taken away and her servant-girls are weeping like the sound of doves, hammering on their breasts.

8But Nineveh is like a pool of water whose waters are flowing away; Keep your place, they say; but no one is turning back.

9Take silver, take gold; for there is no end to the store; take for yourselves a weight of things to be desired.

10Everything has been taken from her, all is gone, she has nothing more: the heart is turned to water, the knees are shaking, all are twisted in pain, and colour has gone from all faces.

11Where is the lions’ hole, the place where the young lions got their food, where the lion and the she-lion were walking with their young, without cause for fear?

12Food enough for his young and for his she-lions was pulled down by the lion; his hole was full of flesh and his resting-place stored with meat.

13See, I am against you, says the Lord of armies, and I will have your war-carriages burned in the smoke, and your young lions will be food for the sword: you will no longer get your food by force on the earth, and the voice of your she-lions will be stopped for ever.

2 Corinthians 8

1And now we give you news, brothers, about the grace of God which has been given to the churches of Macedonia;

2How while they were undergoing every sort of trouble, and were in the greatest need, they took all the greater joy in being able to give freely to the needs of others.

3For I give them witness, that as they were able, and even more than they were able, they gave from the impulse of their hearts,

4Seriously requesting us that they might have a part in this grace of being servants to the needs of the saints:

5And going even farther than our hope, they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us after the purpose of God.

6So that we made a request to Titus that, as he had made a start before, so he might make this grace complete in you.

7And that as you are full of every good thing, of faith, of the word, of knowledge, of a ready mind, and of love to us, so you may be full of this grace in the same way.

8I am not giving you an order, but using the ready mind of others as a test of the quality of your love.

9For you see the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, how though he had wealth, he became poor on your account, so that through his need you might have wealth.

10And in this I give my opinion: for it is to your profit, who were the first to make a start a year before, not only to do this, but to make clear that your minds were more than ready to do it.

11Then make the doing of it complete; so that as you had a ready mind, you may give effect to it as you are able.

12For if there is a ready mind, a man will have God’s approval in the measure of what he has, and not of what he has not.

13And I am not saying this so that others may get off free, while the weight comes on you:

14But so that things may be equal; that from those things of which you have more than enough at the present time their need may be helped, and that if you are in any need they may be a help to you in the same way, making things equal.

15As it says in the Writings, He who had taken up much had nothing over and he who had little had enough.

16But praise be to God, who puts the same care for you into the heart of Titus.

17For while he gladly gave ear to our request, he was interested enough to go to you from the impulse of his heart.

18And with him we have sent a brother whose praise in the good news has gone through all the churches;

19And not only so, but he was marked out by the churches to go with us in the grace of this giving which we have undertaken to the glory of the Lord and to make clear that our mind was ready:

20And so that no man might be able to say anything against us in the business of this giving which has been put into our hands:

21For the business has been so ordered by us as to have the approval, not only of the Lord, but of men.

22And we have sent with them our brother, whose ready spirit has been made clear to us at times and in ways without number, but it is now all the more so because of the certain faith which he has in you.

23If any question comes up about Titus, he is my brother-worker, working with me for you; or about the others, they are the representatives of the churches to the glory of Christ.

24Make clear then to them, as representatives of the churches, the quality of your love, and that the things which we have said about you are true.

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