1In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food.2So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables.3Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them4and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.”5This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism.6They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.7So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.
8Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed great wonders and signs among the people.9Opposition arose, however, from members of the Synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called)—Jews of Cyrene and Alexandria as well as the provinces of Cilicia and Asia—who began to argue with Stephen.10But they could not stand up against the wisdom the Spirit gave him as he spoke.11Then they secretly persuaded some men to say, “We have heard Stephen speak blasphemous words against Moses and against God.”12So they stirred up the people and the elders and the teachers of the law. They seized Stephen and brought him before the Sanhedrin.13They produced false witnesses, who testified, “This fellow never stops speaking against this holy place and against the law.14For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs Moses handed down to us.”15All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel.
1If you fully obey the LORD your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations on earth.2All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the LORD your God:3You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country.4The fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock—the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks.5Your basket and your kneading trough will be blessed.6You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out.7The LORD will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven.8The LORD will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to. The LORD your God will bless you in the land he is giving you.9The LORD will establish you as his holy people, as he promised you on oath, if you keep the commands of the LORD your God and walk in obedience to him.10Then all the peoples on earth will see that you are called by the name of the LORD, and they will fear you.11The LORD will grant you abundant prosperity—in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your ground—in the land he swore to your ancestors to give you.12The LORD will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none.13The LORD will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the LORD your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom.14Do not turn aside from any of the commands I give you today, to the right or to the left, following other gods and serving them.
15However, if you do not obey the LORD your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come on you and overtake you:16You will be cursed in the city and cursed in the country.17Your basket and your kneading trough will be cursed.18The fruit of your womb will be cursed, and the crops of your land, and the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks.19You will be cursed when you come in and cursed when you go out.20The LORD will send on you curses, confusion and rebuke in everything you put your hand to, until you are destroyed and come to sudden ruin because of the evil you have done in forsaking him.21The LORD will plague you with diseases until he has destroyed you from the land you are entering to possess.22The LORD will strike you with wasting disease, with fever and inflammation, with scorching heat and drought, with blight and mildew, which will plague you until you perish.23The sky over your head will be bronze, the ground beneath you iron.24The LORD will turn the rain of your country into dust and powder; it will come down from the skies until you are destroyed.25The LORD will cause you to be defeated before your enemies. You will come at them from one direction but flee from them in seven, and you will become a thing of horror to all the kingdoms on earth.26Your carcasses will be food for all the birds and the wild animals, and there will be no one to frighten them away.27The LORD will afflict you with the boils of Egypt and with tumors, festering sores and the itch, from which you cannot be cured.28The LORD will afflict you with madness, blindness and confusion of mind.29At midday you will grope about like a blind person in the dark. You will be unsuccessful in everything you do; day after day you will be oppressed and robbed, with no one to rescue you.30You will be pledged to be married to a woman, but another will take her and rape her. You will build a house, but you will not live in it. You will plant a vineyard, but you will not even begin to enjoy its fruit.31Your ox will be slaughtered before your eyes, but you will eat none of it. Your donkey will be forcibly taken from you and will not be returned. Your sheep will be given to your enemies, and no one will rescue them.32Your sons and daughters will be given to another nation, and you will wear out your eyes watching for them day after day, powerless to lift a hand.33A people that you do not know will eat what your land and labor produce, and you will have nothing but cruel oppression all your days.34The sights you see will drive you mad.35The LORD will afflict your knees and legs with painful boils that cannot be cured, spreading from the soles of your feet to the top of your head.36The LORD will drive you and the king you set over you to a nation unknown to you or your ancestors. There you will worship other gods, gods of wood and stone.37You will become a thing of horror, a byword and an object of ridicule among all the peoples where the LORD will drive you.38You will sow much seed in the field but you will harvest little, because locusts will devour it.39You will plant vineyards and cultivate them but you will not drink the wine or gather the grapes, because worms will eat them.40You will have olive trees throughout your country but you will not use the oil, because the olives will drop off.41You will have sons and daughters but you will not keep them, because they will go into captivity.42Swarms of locusts will take over all your trees and the crops of your land.43The foreigners who reside among you will rise above you higher and higher, but you will sink lower and lower.44They will lend to you, but you will not lend to them. They will be the head, but you will be the tail.45All these curses will come on you. They will pursue you and overtake you until you are destroyed, because you did not obey the LORD your God and observe the commands and decrees he gave you.46They will be a sign and a wonder to you and your descendants forever.47Because you did not serve the LORD your God joyfully and gladly in the time of prosperity,48therefore in hunger and thirst, in nakedness and dire poverty, you will serve the enemies the LORD sends against you. He will put an iron yoke on your neck until he has destroyed you.49The LORD will bring a nation against you from far away, from the ends of the earth, like an eagle swooping down, a nation whose language you will not understand,50a fierce-looking nation without respect for the old or pity for the young.51They will devour the young of your livestock and the crops of your land until you are destroyed. They will leave you no grain, new wine or olive oil, nor any calves of your herds or lambs of your flocks until you are ruined.52They will lay siege to all the cities throughout your land until the high fortified walls in which you trust fall down. They will besiege all the cities throughout the land the LORD your God is giving you.53Because of the suffering your enemy will inflict on you during the siege, you will eat the fruit of the womb, the flesh of the sons and daughters the LORD your God has given you.54Even the most gentle and sensitive man among you will have no compassion on his own brother or the wife he loves or his surviving children,55and he will not give to one of them any of the flesh of his children that he is eating. It will be all he has left because of the suffering your enemy will inflict on you during the siege of all your cities.56The most gentle and sensitive woman among you—so sensitive and gentle that she would not venture to touch the ground with the sole of her foot—will begrudge the husband she loves and her own son or daughter57the afterbirth from her womb and the children she bears. For in her dire need she intends to eat them secretly because of the suffering your enemy will inflict on you during the siege of your cities.58If you do not carefully follow all the words of this law, which are written in this book, and do not revere this glorious and awesome name—the LORD your God—59the LORD will send fearful plagues on you and your descendants, harsh and prolonged disasters, and severe and lingering illnesses.60He will bring on you all the diseases of Egypt that you dreaded, and they will cling to you.61The LORD will also bring on you every kind of sickness and disaster not recorded in this Book of the Law, until you are destroyed.62You who were as numerous as the stars in the sky will be left but few in number, because you did not obey the LORD your God.63Just as it pleased the LORD to make you prosper and increase in number, so it will please him to ruin and destroy you. You will be uprooted from the land you are entering to possess.64Then the LORD will scatter you among all nations, from one end of the earth to the other. There you will worship other gods—gods of wood and stone, which neither you nor your ancestors have known.65Among those nations you will find no repose, no resting place for the sole of your foot. There the LORD will give you an anxious mind, eyes weary with longing, and a despairing heart.66You will live in constant suspense, filled with dread both night and day, never sure of your life.67In the morning you will say, “If only it were evening!” and in the evening, “If only it were morning!”—because of the terror that will fill your hearts and the sights that your eyes will see.68The LORD will send you back in ships to Egypt on a journey I said you should never make again. There you will offer yourselves for sale to your enemies as male and female slaves, but no one will buy you.
1My spirit is broken, my days are cut short, the grave awaits me.2Surely mockers surround me; my eyes must dwell on their hostility.3“Give me, O God, the pledge you demand. Who else will put up security for me?4You have closed their minds to understanding; therefore you will not let them triumph.5If anyone denounces their friends for reward, the eyes of their children will fail.6“God has made me a byword to everyone, a man in whose face people spit.7My eyes have grown dim with grief; my whole frame is but a shadow.8The upright are appalled at this; the innocent are aroused against the ungodly.9Nevertheless, the righteous will hold to their ways, and those with clean hands will grow stronger.10“But come on, all of you, try again! I will not find a wise man among you.11My days have passed, my plans are shattered. Yet the desires of my heart12turn night into day; in the face of the darkness light is near.13If the only home I hope for is the grave, if I spread out my bed in the realm of darkness,14if I say to corruption, ‘You are my father,’ and to the worm, ‘My mother’ or ‘My sister,’15where then is my hope— who can see any hope for me?16Will it go down to the gates of death? Will we descend together into the dust?”