1 Kings 19–20

1 And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done and how he had executed all the prophets with the sword. 2 Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So let the gods do to me and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.”

3 When he saw that she was serious, he arose and ran for his life to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. 4 But he went a day’s journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a juniper tree and asked that he might die, saying, “It is enough! Now, O Lord, take my life, for I am not better than my fathers.”

5 As he lay and slept under the juniper tree, an angel touched him and said to him, “Arise and eat.” 6 He looked, and there was a cake baked on coals and a jar of water at his head. And he ate and drank and then lay down again.

7 The angel of the Lord came again a second time and touched him and said, “Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you.” 8 He arose and ate and drank and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mountain of God.

9 He came to a cave and camped there, and the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, “Why are you here, Elijah?”

10 And he said, “I have been very zealous for the Lord, Lord of Hosts, for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, thrown down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword, and I alone am left, and they seek to take my life.”

11 He said, “Go and stand on the mountain before the Lord.”

And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind split the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind, an earthquake came, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 And after the earthquake, a fire came, but the Lord was not in the fire, and after the fire, a still, small voice. 13 When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood in the entrance to the cave.

And a voice came to him and said, “Why are you here, Elijah?”

14 And he said, “I have been very zealous for the Lord, Lord of Hosts, because the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, thrown down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword, and I alone am left, and they seek to take my life.”

15 The Lord said to him, “Go, return on the road through the Wilderness of Damascus, and when you arrive, anoint Hazael to be king over Aram. 16 And you shall anoint Jehu, the son of Nimshi, to be king over Israel, and you shall anoint Elisha, the son of Shaphat of Abel Meholah, to be prophet in your place. 17 He who escapes the sword of Hazael will be killed by Jehu, and he who escapes the sword of Jehu will be killed by Elisha. 18 Still, I have preserved seven thousand men in Israel for Myself, all of whose knees have not bowed to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.”

19 So he departed from there and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him and he with the twelfth, and Elijah passed by him and threw his cloak on him. 20 He left the oxen and ran after Elijah and said, “Please let me kiss my father and mother, and then I will follow you.”

And he said to him, “Go back, for what have I done to you?”

21 So he returned from following him and took a yoke of oxen and sacrificed them and boiled their flesh with the yokes from the oxen and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he got up and went after Elijah and ministered to him.

Chapter 20

1 Now Ben-Hadad the king of Aram gathered his army together. Thirty-two kings were with him, with horses and chariots, and he went up and besieged Samaria and fought against it. 2 He sent messengers into the city to Ahab king of Israel and said to him, “Thus says Ben-Hadad: 3 Your silver and gold is mine, as are your most attractive wives and children.”

4 The king of Israel answered, “My lord, O king, just as you have said, I and all that I own are yours.”

5 The messengers came again and said, “Thus says Ben-Hadad: Although I have said that you must give me your silver and gold, your wives and your children, 6 instead I will send my servants tomorrow about this time, and they will search your house and the houses of your servants, and whatever is precious to you, they will put it in their hands and take it away.”

7 Then the king of Israel called all the elders of the land and said, “Please notice how this man is looking for trouble, for he has demanded I give him my wives and children and my silver and gold, and I have not denied his request.”

8 All the elders and all the people said to him, “Do not listen to him or consent to his demands.”

9 Therefore he said to the messengers of Ben-Hadad, “Tell my lord the king: I will comply with the first request of your servant, but this thing I will not do.” And the messengers departed and brought him word again.

10 Then Ben-Hadad sent messengers to him and said, “The gods do to me and then some if the dust of Samaria shall suffice for handfuls for all the people who follow me.”

11 The king of Israel answered, “Tell him: Let not he who puts on his armor boast himself as he who takes it off.”

12 When Ben-Hadad heard this message as he was drinking with the kings in the pavilions, he said to his servants, “Station yourselves!” And they stationed themselves against the city.

13 Then a prophet came to Ahab king of Israel, saying, “Thus says the Lord: Have you seen this great multitude? See, I will deliver it into your hand this day, and you shall know that I am the Lord.”

14 Ahab asked, “By whom?”

And he said, “Thus says the Lord: By the young leaders of the provinces.”

Then he said, “Who shall order the battle?”

And he answered, “You.”

15 Then he counted the young leaders of the provinces, and they were two hundred and thirty-two, and after them he counted all the people, all the children of Israel, and had seven thousand. 16 They went out at noon. But Ben-Hadad and the thirty-two kings who helped him were getting drunk in the pavilions. 17 The young leaders of the provinces went out first.

Ben-Hadad sent out scouts, and they told him, “Men from Samaria have come out.”

18 He said, “If they have come out peacefully, take them alive, and if they have come out for battle, take them alive.”

19 So these young leaders of the provinces came out of the city, followed by the army. 20 Each one killed his man, and the Arameans fled with Israel pursuing them, but Ben-Hadad, the king of Aram, escaped on a horse with the horsemen. 21 The king of Israel went out and attacked the horses and chariots and killed a great number of Arameans.

22 The prophet came to the king of Israel and said, “Go, strengthen yourself and prepare, and see what you do, for next year the king of Aram will come up against you.”

23 The servants of the king of Aram said to him, “Their gods are gods of the hills. That is why they were stronger than us, but if we fight against them in the plain, we will surely be stronger than they. 24 Do this: Dismiss the kings, each from his position, and put commanders in their places, 25 and assemble an army like the army that you lost, horse for horse and chariot for chariot, and we will fight them in the plain and will surely be stronger than they.” And he listened to their advice and followed it.

26 The next year Ben-Hadad assembled the Arameans and went up to Aphek to fight against Israel. 27 The children of Israel were assembled and were all present, and they went against them, and the children of Israel camped in front of them like two little flocks of kids, while the Arameans filled the country.

28 A man of God came and spoke to the king of Israel and said, “Thus says the Lord: Because the Arameans have said, ‘The Lord is God of the hills, but He is not God of the valleys,’ I will deliver all this great multitude into your hand, and you will know that I am the Lord.”

29 They camped opposite each other for seven days, and on the seventh day, the battle was joined. The children of Israel killed a hundred thousand Aramean footmen in one day. 30 But the rest fled into the city of Aphek, where a wall fell on twenty-seven thousand of the men who were left. And Ben-Hadad fled and came into the city into an inner chamber.

31 His servants said to him, “We have heard that the kings of the house of Israel are merciful kings. Please let us put sackcloth on our loins and ropes on our heads and go out to the king of Israel. Perhaps he will spare your life.”

32 So they girded sackcloth on their loins and put ropes on their heads and came to the king of Israel and said, “Your servant Ben-Hadad says, ‘Please let me live.’”

And he said, “Is he still alive? He is my brother!”

33 Now the men were diligently looking for a positive sign and quickly took hold of it, and they said, “Your brother Ben-Hadad!”

Then he said, “Go. You bring him.” Then Ben-Hadad came to him and got into the chariot.

34 Ben-Hadad said to him, “I will restore the cities which my father took from your father, and you shall make streets for yourself in Damascus, as my father made in Samaria.”

Then Ahab said, “I will send you away with this covenant.” So he made a covenant with him and sent him away.

35 Speaking in the word of the Lord, a certain man of the sons of the prophets said to his neighbor, “Strike me, please.” But the man refused to strike him.

36 Then he said to him, “Because you have not obeyed the voice of the Lord, as soon as you leave me, a lion will kill you.” And as soon as he left him, a lion found and killed him.

37 Then he found another man and said, “Strike me, please.” And the man struck him so that he was wounded. 38 So the prophet departed and waited by the road for the king and disguised himself with ashes on his face. 39 As the king passed by, he cried to the king and said, “Your servant went out into the midst of the battle, and a man turned aside and brought a man to me and said, ‘Keep this man, and if by any means he goes missing, then your life shall be given for his life, or else you shall pay a talent of silver.’ 40 As your servant was busy here and there, he disappeared.”

And the king of Israel said to him, “So shall your judgment be; you have decided it yourself.”

41 He quickly took the ashes away from his face, and the king of Israel recognized him as one of the prophets. 42 He said to him, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Because you have let go out of your hand a man whom I had appointed to utter destruction, you shall pay for his life with your life and his people with your people.’” 43 The king of Israel went to his house in Samaria angry and depressed.

Luke 23:1–25

1 Then the whole assembly rose and led Him to Pilate. 2 And they began to accuse Him, saying, “We found this Man perverting our nation, and forbidding us to pay taxes to Caesar, and saying that He Himself is Christ a King.”

3 So Pilate asked Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?”

He answered, “You truly say so.”

4 Then Pilate said to the chief priests and to the people, “I find no fault in this Man.”

5 But they insisted, saying, “He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee to here.”

6 When Pilate heard of Galilee, he asked whether the Man was a Galilean. 7 When he learned that He belonged to Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent Him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time.

8 When Herod saw Jesus, he greatly rejoiced, for he had desired to see Him for a long time, because he had heard many things of Him, and he was hoping to see some miracle performed by Him. 9 He questioned Him with many words, but He gave no answer. 10 The chief priests and the scribes stood by, vehemently accusing Him. 11 Then Herod with his soldiers despised Him, and mocked Him, and dressed Him in a fine robe, and sent Him back to Pilate. 12 On the same day Pilate and Herod became friends with each other, having previously been at enmity with each other.

13 Pilate called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people, 14 and said to them, “You have brought this Man to me as one who incites the people. And truly, I, having examined Him before you, have found no fault in this Man concerning those things of which you accuse Him. 15 No, neither has Herod, for he sent him back to us. Look, nothing worthy of death has been done by Him. 16 I will therefore chastise Him and release Him.” 17 For he was obligated to release one man to them at the feast.

18 But they all cried out at once saying, “Take this Man away and release Barabbas to us!” 19 This man had been thrown in prison for an insurrection in the city and for murder.

20 Therefore Pilate spoke to them again, desiring to release Jesus. 21 But they cried out, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”

22 He said to them a third time, “Why, what evil has He done? I have found in Him no cause worthy of death. I will therefore chastise Him and release Him.”

23 But they insisted with loud voices, asking that He be crucified. And the voices of these men and of the chief priests prevailed. 24 So Pilate gave the sentence as they demanded. 25 He released to them the man who was thrown in prison for insurrection and murder, whom they asked for. But he sentenced Jesus according to their will.