I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord.
I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know--God knows.
And I know that this man--whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows--
was caught up to paradise. He heard inexpressible things, things that man is not permitted to tell.
I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses.
Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say.
To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.
Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.
That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
I have made a fool of myself, but you drove me to it. I ought to have been commended by you, for I am not in the least inferior to the "super-apostles," even though I am nothing.
The things that mark an apostle--signs, wonders and miracles--were done among you with great perseverance.
How were you inferior to the other churches, except that I was never a burden to you? Forgive me this wrong!
Now I am ready to visit you for the third time, and I will not be a burden to you, because what I want is not your possessions but you. After all, children should not have to save up for their parents, but parents for their children.
So I will very gladly spend for you everything I have and expend myself as well. If I love you more, will you love me less?
Be that as it may, I have not been a burden to you. Yet, crafty fellow that I am, I caught you by trickery!
Did I exploit you through any of the men I sent you?
I urged Titus to go to you and I sent our brother with him. Titus did not exploit you, did he? Did we not act in the same spirit and follow the same course?
Have you been thinking all along that we have been defending ourselves to you? We have been speaking in the sight of God as those in Christ; and everything we do, dear friends, is for your strengthening.
For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder.
I am afraid that when I come again my God will humble me before you, and I will be grieved over many who have sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual sin and debauchery in which they have indulged.
The sons of Ham: Cush, Mizraim, Put and Canaan.
The sons of Cush: Seba, Havilah, Sabta, Raamah and Sabteca. The sons of Raamah: Sheba and Dedan.
Cush was the father of Nimrod, who grew to be a mighty warrior on earth.
Mizraim was the father of the Ludites, Anamites, Lehabites, Naphtuhites,
Pathrusites, Casluhites (from whom the Philistines came) and Caphtorites.
Canaan was the father of Sidon his firstborn, and of the Hittites,
Jebusites, Amorites, Girgashites,
Hivites, Arkites, Sinites,
Arvadites, Zemarites and Hamathites.
The sons of Shem: Elam, Asshur, Arphaxad, Lud and Aram. The sons of Aram: Uz, Hul, Gether and Meshech.
Arphaxad was the father of Shelah, and Shelah the father of Eber.
Two sons were born to Eber: One was named Peleg, because in his time the earth was divided; his brother was named Joktan.
Joktan was the father of Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah,
Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah,
Obal, Abimael, Sheba,
Ophir, Havilah and Jobab. All these were sons of Joktan.
Shem, Arphaxad, Shelah,
Eber, Peleg, Reu,
Serug, Nahor, Terah
and Abram (that is, Abraham).
The sons born to Keturah, Abraham's concubine: Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak and Shuah. The sons of Jokshan: Sheba and Dedan.
The sons of Midian: Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abida and Eldaah. All these were descendants of Keturah.
The sons of Seir: Lotan, Shobal, Zibeon, Anah, Dishon, Ezer and Dishan.
The sons of Lotan: Hori and Homam. Timna was Lotan's sister.
The sons of Shobal: Alvan, Manahath, Ebal, Shepho and Onam. The sons of Zibeon: Aiah and Anah.
The son of Anah: Dishon. The sons of Dishon: Hemdan, Eshban, Ithran and Keran.
The sons of Ezer: Bilhan, Zaavan and Akan. The sons of Dishan: Uz and Aran.
These were the kings who reigned in Edom before any Israelite king reigned: Bela son of Beor, whose city was named Dinhabah.
When Bela died, Jobab son of Zerah from Bozrah succeeded him as king.
When Jobab died, Husham from the land of the Temanites succeeded him as king.
When Husham died, Hadad son of Bedad, who defeated Midian in the country of Moab, succeeded him as king. His city was named Avith.
When Hadad died, Samlah from Masrekah succeeded him as king.
When Samlah died, Shaul from Rehoboth on the river succeeded him as king.
When Shaul died, Baal-Hanan son of Acbor succeeded him as king.
When Baal-Hanan died, Hadad succeeded him as king. His city was named Pau, and his wife's name was Mehetabel daughter of Matred, the daughter of Me-Zahab.
Hadad also died. The chiefs of Edom were: Timna, Alvah, Jetheth,
Oholibamah, Elah, Pinon,
Kenaz, Teman, Mibzar,
Magdiel and Iram. These were the chiefs of Edom.
The sons of Judah: Er, Onan and Shelah. These three were born to him by a Canaanite woman, the daughter of Shua. Er, Judah's firstborn, was wicked in the LORD's sight; so the LORD put him to death.
Tamar, Judah's daughter-in-law, bore him Perez and Zerah. Judah had five sons in all.
The sons of Perez: Hezron and Hamul.
The sons of Zerah: Zimri, Ethan, Heman, Calcol and Darda--five in all.
The son of Carmi: Achar, who brought trouble on Israel by violating the ban on taking devoted things.
The son of Ethan: Azariah.
The sons born to Hezron were: Jerahmeel, Ram and Caleb.
Ram was the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, the leader of the people of Judah.
Nahshon was the father of Salmon, Salmon the father of Boaz,
Boaz the father of Obed and Obed the father of Jesse.
Jesse was the father of Eliab his firstborn; the second son was Abinadab, the third Shimea,
the fourth Nethanel, the fifth Raddai,
the sixth Ozem and the seventh David.
Their sisters were Zeruiah and Abigail. Zeruiah's three sons were Abishai, Joab and Asahel.
Abigail was the mother of Amasa, whose father was Jether the Ishmaelite.
Caleb son of Hezron had children by his wife Azubah (and by Jerioth). These were her sons: Jesher, Shobab and Ardon.
When Azubah died, Caleb married Ephrath, who bore him Hur.
Hur was the father of Uri, and Uri the father of Bezalel.
Later, Hezron lay with the daughter of Makir the father of Gilead (he had married her when he was sixty years old), and she bore him Segub.
Segub was the father of Jair, who controlled twenty-three towns in Gilead.
(But Geshur and Aram captured Havvoth Jair, as well as Kenath with its surrounding settlements--sixty towns.) All these were descendants of Makir the father of Gilead.
After Hezron died in Caleb Ephrathah, Abijah the wife of Hezron bore him Ashhur the father of Tekoa.
The sons of Jerahmeel the firstborn of Hezron: Ram his firstborn, Bunah, Oren, Ozem and Ahijah.
Jerahmeel had another wife, whose name was Atarah; she was the mother of Onam.
The sons of Ram the firstborn of Jerahmeel: Maaz, Jamin and Eker.
The sons of Onam: Shammai and Jada. The sons of Shammai: Nadab and Abishur.
Abishur's wife was named Abihail, who bore him Ahban and Molid.
The sons of Nadab: Seled and Appaim. Seled died without children.
The son of Appaim: Ishi, who was the father of Sheshan. Sheshan was the father of Ahlai.
The sons of Jada, Shammai's brother: Jether and Jonathan. Jether died without children.
The sons of Jonathan: Peleth and Zaza. These were the descendants of Jerahmeel.
Sheshan had no sons--only daughters. He had an Egyptian servant named Jarha.
Sheshan gave his daughter in marriage to his servant Jarha, and she bore him Attai.
Attai was the father of Nathan, Nathan the father of Zabad,
Zabad the father of Ephlal, Ephlal the father of Obed,
Obed the father of Jehu, Jehu the father of Azariah,
Azariah the father of Helez, Helez the father of Eleasah,
Eleasah the father of Sismai, Sismai the father of Shallum,
Shallum the father of Jekamiah, and Jekamiah the father of Elishama.
The sons of Caleb the brother of Jerahmeel: Mesha his firstborn, who was the father of Ziph, and his son Mareshah, who was the father of Hebron.
The sons of Hebron: Korah, Tappuah, Rekem and Shema.
Shema was the father of Raham, and Raham the father of Jorkeam. Rekem was the father of Shammai.
The son of Shammai was Maon, and Maon was the father of Beth Zur.
Caleb's concubine Ephah was the mother of Haran, Moza and Gazez. Haran was the father of Gazez.
The sons of Jahdai: Regem, Jotham, Geshan, Pelet, Ephah and Shaaph.
Caleb's concubine Maacah was the mother of Sheber and Tirhanah.
She also gave birth to Shaaph the father of Madmannah and to Sheva the father of Macbenah and Gibea. Caleb's daughter was Acsah.
These were the descendants of Caleb. The sons of Hur the firstborn of Ephrathah: Shobal the father of Kiriath Jearim,
Salma the father of Bethlehem, and Hareph the father of Beth Gader.
The descendants of Shobal the father of Kiriath Jearim were: Haroeh, half the Manahathites,
and the clans of Kiriath Jearim: the Ithrites, Puthites, Shumathites and Mishraites. From these descended the Zorathites and Eshtaolites.
The descendants of Salma: Bethlehem, the Netophathites, Atroth Beth Joab, half the Manahathites, the Zorites,
and the clans of scribes who lived at Jabez: the Tirathites, Shimeathites and Sucathites. These are the Kenites who came from Hammath, the father of the house of Recab.
A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet. On "shigionoth".
LORD, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O LORD. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy.
God came from Teman, the Holy One from Mount Paran. "Selah" His glory covered the heavens and his praise filled the earth.
His splendor was like the sunrise; rays flashed from his hand, where his power was hidden.
Plague went before him; pestilence followed his steps.
He stood, and shook the earth; he looked, and made the nations tremble. The ancient mountains crumbled and the age-old hills collapsed. His ways are eternal.
I saw the tents of Cushan in distress, the dwellings of Midian in anguish.
Were you angry with the rivers, O LORD? Was your wrath against the streams? Did you rage against the sea when you rode with your horses and your victorious chariots?
You uncovered your bow, you called for many arrows. "Selah" You split the earth with rivers;
the mountains saw you and writhed. Torrents of water swept by; the deep roared and lifted its waves on high.
Sun and moon stood still in the heavens at the glint of your flying arrows, at the lightning of your flashing spear.
In wrath you strode through the earth and in anger you threshed the nations.
You came out to deliver your people, to save your anointed one. You crushed the leader of the land of wickedness, you stripped him from head to foot. "Selah"
With his own spear you pierced his head when his warriors stormed out to scatter us, gloating as though about to devour the wretched who were in hiding.
You trampled the sea with your horses, churning the great waters.
I heard and my heart pounded, my lips quivered at the sound; decay crept into my bones, and my legs trembled. Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity to come on the nation invading us.
Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.
The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights. For the director of music. On my stringed instruments.