Week 33, Day 1

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The reading for today is 2 Kings 15-16; Matthew 21.

2 Kings 15

In the twenty-seventh year of Jeroboam king of Israel, Azariah the son of Amaziah king of Judah began to reign. He was sixteen years old when he became king, and he reigned fifty-two years in Jerusalem. The name of his mother was Jecoliah of Jerusalem. He did right in the eyes of Yahweh, according to all that Amaziah his father had done. Only he did not remove the high places; the people were still sacrificing and burning incense on the high places. Yahweh struck the king, and he was infected with a skin disease until the day of his death. He lived in a separate house, while Jotham the son of the king was over the house, governing the people of the land. The remainder of the acts of Azariah, and all that he did, are they not written on the scroll of the events of the days of the kings of Judah? So Azariah slept with his ancestors, and they buried him with his ancestors in the city of David, and Jotham his son became king in his place.

In the thirty-eighth year of Azariah king of Judah, Zechariah the son of Jeroboam reigned over Israel in Samaria for six months. He did evil in the eyes of Yahweh as his ancestors had done. He did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat which he caused Israel to sin. Shallum the son of Jabesh conspired against him, struck him in front of the people, killed him, and reigned in his place. Now the remainder of the acts of Zechariah, look, they are written on the scroll of the events of the days of the kings of Israel. This is the word of Yahweh which he spoke to Jehu, saying, "Sons of a fourth generation shall sit for you on the throne of Israel," and it was so.

Shallum the son of Jabesh began to reign in the thirty-ninth year of Uzziah king of Judah, and he reigned a full month in Samaria. Then Menahem the son of Gadi came up from Tirzah, and he came to Samaria and struck down Shallum the son of Jabesh in Samaria and killed him. Then he became king in place of him. Now the remainder of the acts of Shallum, and his conspiracy which he conspired; look, they are written on the scroll of the events of the days of the kings of Israel. At that time Menahem destroyed Tiphsah, all who were in it, and all its territory from Tirzah, because it had not opened to him, so he destroyed it and ripped open all of its pregnant women.

In the thirty-ninth year of Azariah king of Judah, Menahem the son of Gadi began to reign over Israel for ten years in Samaria. But he did evil in the eyes of Yahweh. He did not depart all of his days from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat which he caused Israel to sin.

Pul the king of Assyria came against the land, so Menahem gave a thousand talents of silver to Pul so that his hand would be with him to strengthen his hold on the kingdom. Menahem exacted the money from Israel, from all the very rich, to give to the king of Assyria fifty shekels of silver for each one. Then the king of Assyria returned and did not stay there in the land. Now the rest of the acts of Menahem, and all that he did, are they not written in the scroll of the events of the days of the kings of Israel? So Menahem slept with his ancestors, and Pekahiah his son became king in his place.

In the fiftieth year of Azariah king of Judah, Pekahiah the son of Menahem began to reign over Israel in Samaria for two years. But he did evil in the eyes of Yahweh. He did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat which he caused Israel to sin. Pekah the son of Remaliah, his captain, conspired against him, so he attacked him in Samaria in the citadel fortress of the palace of the king, with Argob and Arieh. With him also were fifty men from the children of the Gileadites, and he killed him and became king in his place. Now the remainder of the acts of Pekahiah and all that he did, look, they are written in the scroll of the events of the days of the kings of Israel.

In the fifty-second year of Azariah king of Judah, Pekah the son of Remaliah began to reign over Israel in Samaria for twenty years. He did evil in the eyes of Yahweh. He did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat which he caused Israel to sin.

In the days of Pekah king of Israel, Tiglath-Pileser the king of Assyria came and took Ijon, Abel-Beth-Maacah, Janoah, Kedesh, Hazor, the Gilead, the Galilee, and all the land of Naphtali; then he deported them to Assyria. Hoshea the son of Elah conspired against Pekah the son of Remaliah, and he attacked and killed him. He reigned in place of him in the twentieth year of Jotham the son of Uzziah. Now the remainder of the acts of Pekah and all that he did, look, they are written in the scroll of the events of the days of the kings of Israel.

In the second year of Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, Jotham the son of Uzziah king of Judah began to reign. He was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem, and the name of his mother was Jerusha the daughter of Zadok. He did what was right in the eyes of Yahweh, according to all that Uzziah his father had done. Only the high places were not removed; the people still were sacrificing and offering incense on the high places. He built the upper gate of the temple of Yahweh. Now the remainder of the acts of Jotham which he did, are they not written on the scroll of the events of the days of the kings of Judah? (Now, in those days, Yahweh began to send Rezin the king of Aram and Pekah the son of Remaliah against Judah.) So Jotham slept with his ancestors and was buried with his ancestors in the city of David his ancestor, and his son Ahaz became king in his place.

2 Kings 16

In the seventeenth year of Pekah the son of Remaliah, Ahaz the son of Jotham king of Judah began to reign. Ahaz was twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. He did not do right in the eyes of Yahweh his God as David his ancestor. He walked in the way of the kings of Israel; he even let his son pass through the fire according to the detestable things of the nations which Yahweh drove out from before the Israelites. He sacrificed and offered incense on the high places, on the hills, and under every green tree. Then Rezin the king of Aram went up with Pekah the son of Remaliah king of Israel against Jerusalem for battle, and they besieged Ahaz but were not able to defeat him. At that time, Rezin king of Aram recovered Elath for Aram and drove out the Judeans from Elath. The Arameans came to Elath and have lived there until this day.

Ahaz sent messengers to Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria, saying, "I am your servant and your son. Come up and rescue me from the hand of the king of Aram and from the hand of the king of Israel who are rising up against me." Ahaz took the silver and gold found in the house of Yahweh and in the treasury rooms of the palace of the king, and he sent a gift to the king of Assyria. So the king of Assyria listened to him and he went up to Damascus and captured it and deported them to Kir. He also killed Rezin.

So King Ahaz went to meet Tiglath-Pileser the king of Assyria in Damascus, and he saw the altar which was in Damascus, so King Ahaz sent to Uriah the priest the builder’s plan of the altar and the exact model of how it had been made. So Uriah the priest built the altar according to all that King Ahaz had sent from Damascus; thus Uriah the priest did before King Ahaz came from Damascus. When the king came from Damascus, the king saw the altar, so he went near to the altar and went up on it. Then he offered his burnt offerings and his grain offerings, he poured his libations and dashed the blood of his fellowship offerings against the altar. Now the bronze altar which was before Yahweh, he brought over from the front of the temple, from between his altar and the temple of Yahweh, and he placed it at the side of his altar to the north. Then King Ahaz commanded Uriah the priest, saying, "On the great altar burn the morning burnt offering and the grain offering of the evening, the burnt offering of the king and his grain offering, the burnt offering of all of the people of the land, their offerings, their libations, and all of the blood of the burnt offerings, the blood of the sacrifices you must dash on it. But the bronze altar shall be for me to inquire by." So Uriah the priest did according to all that King Ahaz commanded. Then King Ahaz cut off the side panels of the water carts and removed from upon them the basin, and the sea he took down from the bronze oxen that were under it and put it on a stone base. The covering for the Sabbath which they had built in the palace and in the entrance of the king to the outside, he removed from the temple of Yahweh because of the presence of the king of Assyria. Now the remainder of the acts of Ahaz which he did, are they not written in the scroll of the events of the days of the kings of Judah? So Ahaz slept with his ancestors and was buried with his ancestors in the city of David, and Hezekiah his son reigned in his place.

Matthew 21

And when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, "Go into the village before you, and right away you will find a donkey tied and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. And if anyone says anything to you, you will say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once." Now this took place so that what was spoken through the prophet would be fulfilled, saying,

"Say to the daughter of Zion,
‘Behold, your king is coming to you,
humble and mounted on a donkey,
and on a colt, the foal of a pack animal.’"

So the disciples went and did just as Jesus directed them, and brought the donkey and the colt and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. And a very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them on the road. And the crowds who went ahead of him and the ones who followed were shouting, saying,

"Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!"

And when he entered into Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, "Who is this?" And the crowds were saying, "This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth of Galilee!"

And Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all those who were selling and buying in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those who were selling doves. And he said to them, "It is written, ‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a cave of robbers!"

And the blind and the lame came up to him in the temple courts and he healed them. But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children shouting in the temple courts and saying, "Hosanna to the Son of David!" they were indignant. And they said to him, "Do you hear what these children are saying?" So Jesus said to them, "Yes, have you never read, ‘Out of the mouths of children and nursing babies you have prepared for yourself praise’?" And leaving them, he went outside of the city to Bethany and spent the night there.

Now early in the morning, as he was returning to the city, he was hungry. And seeing a single fig tree by the road, he went to it and found nothing on it except leaves only. And he said to it, "May there be no more fruit from you forever, and the fig tree withered at once. And when they saw it, the disciples were astonished, saying, "How did the fig tree wither at once?" And Jesus answered and said to them, "Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will do not only what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea," it will happen! And whatever you ask in prayer, if you believe, you will receive."

And after he arrived at the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came up to him while he was teaching, saying, "By what authority are you doing these things? And who gave you this authority?" And Jesus answered and said to them, "I also will ask you one question. If you tell the answer to me, I also will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. From where was the baptism of John—from heaven or from men?" And they began to discuss this among themselves, saying, "If we say ‘From heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From men,’ we are afraid of the crowd, because they all look upon John as a prophet." And they answered and said to Jesus, "We do not know." And he said to them, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.

"Now what do you think? A man had two sons. He approached the first and said, ‘Son, go work in the vineyard today.’ And he answered and said, ‘I do not want to!’ But later he changed his mind and went. And he approached the second and said the same thing. So he answered and said, ‘I will, sir,’ and he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?" They said, "The first." Jesus said to them, "Truly I say to you that the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going ahead of you into the kingdom of God! For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did believe him. And when you saw it, you did not even change your minds later so as to believe in him.

"Listen to another parable: There was a man—a master of a house—who planted a vineyard, and put a fence around it, and dug a winepress in it, and built a watchtower, and leased it to tenant farmers, and went on a journey. And when the season of fruit drew near, he sent his slaves to the tenant farmers to collect his fruit. And the tenant farmers seized his slaves, one of whom they beat, and one of whom they killed, and one of whom they stoned. Again, he sent other slaves, more than the first ones, and they did the same thing to them. So finally he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But when the tenant farmers saw the son, they said among themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and have his inheritance!’ And they seized him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. Now when the master of the vineyard arrives, what will he do to those tenant farmers?" They said to him, "He will destroy those evil men completely and lease the vineyard to other tenant farmers who will give him the fruits in their season." Jesus said to them, "Have you never read in the scriptures,

‘The stone which the builders rejected,
this has become the cornerstone.
This came about from the Lord,
and it is marvelous in our eyes’?

For this reason, I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and will be given to a people who produce its fruits. And the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, and the one on whom it falls—it will crush him!" And when the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they knew that he was speaking about them, and although they wanted to arrest him, they were afraid of the crowds, because they looked upon him as a prophet.

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