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21 September 2017 Bible Reading

During the Assyrian siege, Hezekiah built a tunnel to provide water to the city. 2 Kings 20:20 provides some detail and 2 Chronicles 32 tells us that he prepared for the siege by “blocking the source of the waters of the upper Gihon, and leading them straight down on the west to the City of David”.

The tunnel leads from the Gihon Spring to the Pool of Siloam. The Gihon Spring was already protected by a massive tower in the city’s defensive wall system. This tunnel provided a way to keep the entire outflow of the spring inside the walled area, which included the downstream Pool of Siloam. This would prevent the Assyrians outside the walls from having access to the water.

The curving tunnel is 533 m long, and by using the 30 cm altitude difference between its two ends, which corresponds to a 0.6‰ gradient, the engineers managed to convey the water from the spring to the pool.

According to the Siloam inscription, the tunnel was excavated by two teams, one starting at each end of the tunnel and then meeting in the middle. The inscription is partly unreadable at present, and may originally have conveyed more information than this.

Isaiah 37-38
37 When king Hezekiah heard it, he tore his clothes, covered himself with sackcloth, and went into Yahweh’s house. 2 He sent Eliakim, who was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and the elders of the priests, covered with sackcloth, to Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz. 3 They said to him, “Thus says Hezekiah, ‘Today is a day of trouble, and of rebuke, and of rejection; for the children have come to the birth, and there is no strength to give birth. 4 It may be Yahweh your God will hear the words of Rabshakeh, whom the king of Assyria his master has sent to defy the living God, and will rebuke the words which Yahweh your God has heard. Therefore lift up your prayer for the remnant that is left.’” 5 So the servants of king Hezekiah came to Isaiah.
6 Isaiah said to them, “Tell your master, ‘Yahweh says, “Don’t be afraid of the words that you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me. 7 Behold, I will put a spirit in him and he will hear news, and will return to his own land. I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land.”’”
8 So Rabshakeh returned, and found the king of Assyria warring against Libnah, for he had heard that he was departed from Lachish. 9 He heard news concerning Tirhakah king of Ethiopia, “He has come out to fight against you.” When he heard it, he sent messengers to Hezekiah, saying, 10 “Thus you shall speak to Hezekiah king of Judah, saying, ‘Don’t let your God in whom you trust deceive you, saying, “Jerusalem won’t be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.” 11 Behold, you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands, by destroying them utterly. Shall you be delivered? 12 Have the gods of the nations delivered them, which my fathers have destroyed, Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the children of Eden who were in Telassar? 13 Where is the king of Hamath, and the king of Arpad, and the king of the city of Sepharvaim, of Hena, and Ivvah?’”
14 Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it. Then Hezekiah went up to Yahweh’s house, and spread it before Yahweh. 15 Hezekiah prayed to Yahweh, saying, 16 “Yahweh of Armies, the God of Israel, who is enthroned among the cherubim, you are the God, even you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. 17 Turn your ear, Yahweh, and hear. Open your eyes, Yahweh, and behold. Hear all of the words of Sennacherib, who has sent to defy the living God. 18 Truly, Yahweh, the kings of Assyria have destroyed all the countries and their land, 19 and have cast their gods into the fire; for they were no gods, but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone; therefore they have destroyed them. 20 Now therefore, Yahweh our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you are Yahweh, even you only.”
21 Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying, “Yahweh, the God of Israel says, ‘Because you have prayed to me against Sennacherib king of Assyria, 22 this is the word which Yahweh has spoken concerning him. The virgin daughter of Zion has despised you and ridiculed you. The daughter of Jerusalem has shaken her head at you. 23 Whom have you defied and blasphemed? Against whom have you exalted your voice and lifted up your eyes on high? Against the Holy One of Israel. 24 By your servants, have you defied the Lord, and have said, “With the multitude of my chariots I have come up to the height of the mountains, to the innermost parts of Lebanon. I will cut down its tall cedars and its choice cypress trees. I will enter into its farthest height, the forest of its fruitful field. 25 I have dug and drunk water, and with the sole of my feet I will dry up all the rivers of Egypt.” 26 Have you not heard how I have done it long ago, and formed it in ancient times? Now I have brought it to pass, that it should be yours to destroy fortified cities, turning them into ruinous heaps. 27 Therefore their inhabitants had little power. They were dismayed and confounded. They were like the grass of the field, and like the green herb, like the grass on the housetops, and like a field before its crop has grown. 28 But I know your sitting down, your going out, your coming in, and your raging against me. 29 Because of your raging against me, and because your arrogance has come up into my ears, therefore will I put my hook in your nose and my bridle in your lips, and I will turn you back by the way by which you came. 30 This shall be the sign to you. You will eat this year that which grows of itself, and in the second year that which springs from the same; and in the third year sow and reap and plant vineyards, and eat their fruit. 31 The remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah will again take root downward, and bear fruit upward. 32 For out of Jerusalem a remnant will go out, and survivors will escape from Mount Zion. The zeal of Yahweh of Armies will perform this.’ 33 Therefore Yahweh says concerning the king of Assyria, ‘He will not come to this city, nor shoot an arrow there, neither will he come before it with shield, nor cast up a mound against it. 34 By the way that he came, by the same he shall return, and he shall not come to this city,’ says Yahweh. 35 ‘For I will defend this city to save it, for my own sake, and for my servant David’s sake.’”
36 Yahweh’s angel went out and struck one hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the camp of the Assyrians. When men arose early in the morning, behold, these were all dead bodies. 37 So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, went away, returned to Nineveh, and stayed there. 38 As he was worshiping in the house of Nisroch his god, Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons struck him with the sword; and they escaped into the land of Ararat. Esar Haddon his son reigned in his place.
38 In those days was Hezekiah sick and near death. Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, came to him, and said to him, “Yahweh says, ‘Set your house in order, for you will die, and not live.’”
2 Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to Yahweh, 3 and said, “Remember now, Yahweh, I beg you, how I have walked before you in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in your sight.” Hezekiah wept bitterly.
4 Then Yahweh’s word came to Isaiah, saying, 5 “Go, and tell Hezekiah, ‘Yahweh says, the God of David your father, “I have heard your prayer. I have seen your tears. Behold, I will add fifteen years to your life. 6 I will deliver you and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria, and I will defend this city. 7 This shall be the sign to you from Yahweh, that Yahweh will do this thing that he has spoken. 8 Behold, I will cause the shadow on the sundial, which has gone down on the sundial of Ahaz with the sun, to return backward ten steps. So the sun returned ten steps on the sundial on which it had gone down.”’”
9 The writing of Hezekiah king of Judah, when he had been sick, and had recovered of his sickness.
10 I said, “In the middle of my life I go into the gates of Sheol.
I am deprived of the residue of my years.”
11 I said, “I won’t see Yah,
Yah in the land of the living.
I will see man no more with the inhabitants of the world.
12 My dwelling is removed,
and is carried away from me like a shepherd’s tent.
I have rolled up, like a weaver, my life.
He will cut me off from the loom.
From day even to night you will make an end of me.
13 I waited patiently until morning.
He breaks all my bones like a lion.
From day even to night you will make an end of me.
14 I chattered like a swallow or a crane.
I moaned like a dove.
My eyes weaken looking upward.
Lord, I am oppressed.
Be my security.”
15 What will I say?
He has both spoken to me, and himself has done it.
I will walk carefully all my years because of the anguish of my soul.
16 Lord, men live by these things;
and my spirit finds life in all of them:
you restore me, and cause me to live.
17 Behold, for peace I had great anguish,
but you have in love for my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption;
for you have cast all my sins behind your back.
18 For Sheol can’t praise you.
Death can’t celebrate you.
Those who go down into the pit can’t hope for your truth.
19 The living, the living, he shall praise you, as I do today.
The father shall make known your truth to the children.
20 Yahweh will save me.
Therefore we will sing my songs with stringed instruments all the days of our life in Yahweh’s house.
21 Now Isaiah had said, “Let them take a cake of figs, and lay it for a poultice on the boil, and he shall recover.” 22 Hezekiah also had said, “What is the sign that I will go up to Yahweh’s house?”
Galatians 6World English Bible (WEB)
6 Brothers, even if a man is caught in some fault, you who are spiritual must restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; looking to yourself so that you also aren’t tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if a man thinks himself to be something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But let each man test his own work, and then he will take pride in himself and not in his neighbor. 5 For each man will bear his own burden. 6 But let him who is taught in the word share all good things with him who teaches. 7 Don’t be deceived. God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption. But he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 Let us not be weary in doing good, for we will reap in due season, if we don’t give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let’s do what is good toward all men, and especially toward those who are of the household of the faith.
11 See with what large letters I write to you with my own hand. 12 As many as desire to look good in the flesh, they compel you to be circumcised; only that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13 For even they who receive circumcision don’t keep the law themselves, but they desire to have you circumcised, that they may boast in your flesh. 14 But far be it from me to boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15 For in Christ Jesus neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. 16 As many as walk by this rule, peace and mercy be on them, and on God’s Israel. 17 From now on, let no one cause me any trouble, for I bear the marks of the Lord Jesus branded on my body.
18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen.

Psalm 65
For the Chief Musician. A Psalm by David. A song.
65 Praise waits for you, God, in Zion.
To you shall vows be performed.
2 You who hear prayer,
to you all men will come.
3 Sins overwhelmed me,
but you atoned for our transgressions.
4 Blessed is one whom you choose, and cause to come near,
that he may live in your courts.
We will be filled with the goodness of your house,
your holy temple.
5 By awesome deeds of righteousness, you answer us,
God of our salvation.
You who are the hope of all the ends of the earth,
of those who are far away on the sea;
6 Who by his power forms the mountains,
having armed yourself with strength;
7 who stills the roaring of the seas,
the roaring of their waves,
and the turmoil of the nations.
8 They also who dwell in faraway places are afraid at your wonders.
You call the morning’s dawn and the evening with songs of joy.
9 You visit the earth, and water it.
You greatly enrich it.
The river of God is full of water.
You provide them grain, for so you have ordained it.
10 You drench its furrows.
You level its ridges.
You soften it with showers.
You bless it with a crop.
11 You crown the year with your bounty.
Your carts overflow with abundance.
12 The wilderness grasslands overflow.
The hills are clothed with gladness.
13 The pastures are covered with flocks.
The valleys also are clothed with grain.
They shout for joy!
They also sing.

Proverbs 23:24-25
24 The father of the righteous has great joy.
Whoever fathers a wise child delights in him.
25 Let your father and your mother be glad!
Let her who bore you rejoice!

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