"Brothers, children of Abraham, and you God-fearing Gentiles, it is to us that this message of salvation has been sent.
The people of Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognize Jesus, yet in condemning him they fulfilled the words of the prophets that are read every Sabbath.
Though they found no proper ground for a death sentence, they asked Pilate to have him executed.
When they had carried out all that was written about him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb.
But God raised him from the dead,
and for many days he was seen by those who had traveled with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. They are now his witnesses to our people.
"We tell you the good news: What God promised our fathers
he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus. As it is written in the second Psalm: " 'You are my Son; today I have become your Father. '
The fact that God raised him from the dead, never to decay, is stated in these words: " 'I will give you the holy and sure blessings promised to David.'
So it is stated elsewhere: " 'You will not let your Holy One see decay.'
"For when David had served God's purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his fathers and his body decayed.
But the one whom God raised from the dead did not see decay.
"Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.
Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses.
Take care that what the prophets have said does not happen to you:
" 'Look, you scoffers, wonder and perish, for I am going to do something in your days that you would never believe, even if someone told you.' "
As Paul and Barnabas were leaving the synagogue, the people invited them to speak further about these things on the next Sabbath.
When the congregation was dismissed, many of the Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who talked with them and urged them to continue in the grace of God.
On the next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord.
When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and talked abusively against what Paul was saying.
Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: "We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles.
For this is what the Lord has commanded us: " 'I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.' "
When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.
The word of the Lord spread through the whole region.
But the Jews incited the God-fearing women of high standing and the leading men of the city. They stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their region.
So they shook the dust from their feet in protest against them and went to Iconium.
And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.
Then the LORD said to Joshua:
"Tell the Israelites to designate the cities of refuge, as I instructed you through Moses,
so that anyone who kills a person accidentally and unintentionally may flee there and find protection from the avenger of blood.
"When he flees to one of these cities, he is to stand in the entrance of the city gate and state his case before the elders of that city. Then they are to admit him into their city and give him a place to live with them.
If the avenger of blood pursues him, they must not surrender the one accused, because he killed his neighbor unintentionally and without malice aforethought.
He is to stay in that city until he has stood trial before the assembly and until the death of the high priest who is serving at that time. Then he may go back to his own home in the town from which he fled."
So they set apart Kedesh in Galilee in the hill country of Naphtali, Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim, and Kiriath Arba (that is, Hebron) in the hill country of Judah.
On the east side of the Jordan of Jericho they designated Bezer in the desert on the plateau in the tribe of Reuben, Ramoth in Gilead in the tribe of Gad, and Golan in Bashan in the tribe of Manasseh.
Any of the Israelites or any alien living among them who killed someone accidentally could flee to these designated cities and not be killed by the avenger of blood prior to standing trial before the assembly.
Now the family heads of the Levites approached Eleazar the priest, Joshua son of Nun, and the heads of the other tribal families of Israel
at Shiloh in Canaan and said to them, "The LORD commanded through Moses that you give us towns to live in, with pasturelands for our livestock."
So, as the LORD had commanded, the Israelites gave the Levites the following towns and pasturelands out of their own inheritance:
The first lot came out for the Kohathites, clan by clan. The Levites who were descendants of Aaron the priest were allotted thirteen towns from the tribes of Judah, Simeon and Benjamin.
The rest of Kohath's descendants were allotted ten towns from the clans of the tribes of Ephraim, Dan and half of Manasseh.
The descendants of Gershon were allotted thirteen towns from the clans of the tribes of Issachar, Asher, Naphtali and the half-tribe of Manasseh in Bashan.
The descendants of Merari, clan by clan, received twelve towns from the tribes of Reuben, Gad and Zebulun.
So the Israelites allotted to the Levites these towns and their pasturelands, as the LORD had commanded through Moses.
From the tribes of Judah and Simeon they allotted the following towns by name
(these towns were assigned to the descendants of Aaron who were from the Kohathite clans of the Levites, because the first lot fell to them):
They gave them Kiriath Arba (that is, Hebron), with its surrounding pastureland, in the hill country of Judah. (Arba was the forefather of Anak.)
But the fields and villages around the city they had given to Caleb son of Jephunneh as his possession.
So to the descendants of Aaron the priest they gave Hebron (a city of refuge for one accused of murder), Libnah,
Ain, Juttah and Beth Shemesh, together with their pasturelands--nine towns from these two tribes.
And from the tribe of Benjamin they gave them Gibeon, Geba,
Anathoth and Almon, together with their pasturelands--four towns.
All the towns for the priests, the descendants of Aaron, were thirteen, together with their pasturelands.
The rest of the Kohathite clans of the Levites were allotted towns from the tribe of Ephraim:
In the hill country of Ephraim they were given Shechem (a city of refuge for one accused of murder) and Gezer,
Kibzaim and Beth Horon, together with their pasturelands--four towns.
Also from the tribe of Dan they received Eltekeh, Gibbethon,
Aijalon and Gath Rimmon, together with their pasturelands--four towns.
From half the tribe of Manasseh they received Taanach and Gath Rimmon, together with their pasturelands--two towns.
All these ten towns and their pasturelands were given to the rest of the Kohathite clans.
The Levite clans of the Gershonites were given: from the half-tribe of Manasseh, Golan in Bashan (a city of refuge for one accused of murder) and Be Eshtarah, together with their pasturelands--two towns;
from the tribe of Issachar, Kishion, Daberath,
Jarmuth and En Gannim, together with their pasturelands--four towns;
from the tribe of Asher, Mishal, Abdon,
Helkath and Rehob, together with their pasturelands--four towns;
from the tribe of Naphtali, Kedesh in Galilee (a city of refuge for one accused of murder), Hammoth Dor and Kartan, together with their pasturelands--three towns.
All the towns of the Gershonite clans were thirteen, together with their pasturelands.
The Merarite clans (the rest of the Levites) were given: from the tribe of Zebulun, Jokneam, Kartah,
Dimnah and Nahalal, together with their pasturelands--four towns;
from the tribe of Reuben, Bezer, Jahaz,
Kedemoth and Mephaath, together with their pasturelands--four towns;
from the tribe of Gad, Ramoth in Gilead (a city of refuge for one accused of murder), Mahanaim,
Heshbon and Jazer, together with their pasturelands--four towns in all.
All the towns allotted to the Merarite clans, who were the rest of the Levites, were twelve.
The towns of the Levites in the territory held by the Israelites were forty-eight in all, together with their pasturelands.
Each of these towns had pasturelands surrounding it; this was true for all these towns.
So the LORD gave Israel all the land he had sworn to give their forefathers, and they took possession of it and settled there.
The LORD gave them rest on every side, just as he had sworn to their forefathers. Not one of their enemies withstood them; the LORD handed all their enemies over to them.
Not one of all the LORD's good promises to the house of Israel failed; every one was fulfilled.
"But now they mock me, men younger than I, whose fathers I would have disdained to put with my sheep dogs.
Of what use was the strength of their hands to me, since their vigor had gone from them?
Haggard from want and hunger, they roamed the parched land in desolate wastelands at night.
In the brush they gathered salt herbs, and their food was the root of the broom tree.
They were banished from their fellow men, shouted at as if they were thieves.
They were forced to live in the dry stream beds, among the rocks and in holes in the ground.
They brayed among the bushes and huddled in the undergrowth.
A base and nameless brood, they were driven out of the land.
"And now their sons mock me in song; I have become a byword among them.
They detest me and keep their distance; they do not hesitate to spit in my face.
Now that God has unstrung my bow and afflicted me, they throw off restraint in my presence.
On my right the tribe attacks; they lay snares for my feet, they build their siege ramps against me.
They break up my road; they succeed in destroying me-- without anyone's helping them.
They advance as through a gaping breach; amid the ruins they come rolling in.
Terrors overwhelm me; my dignity is driven away as by the wind, my safety vanishes like a cloud.
"And now my life ebbs away; days of suffering grip me.
Night pierces my bones; my gnawing pains never rest.
In his great power [God] becomes like clothing to me; he binds me like the neck of my garment.
He throws me into the mud, and I am reduced to dust and ashes.
"I cry out to you, O God, but you do not answer; I stand up, but you merely look at me.
You turn on me ruthlessly; with the might of your hand you attack me.
You snatch me up and drive me before the wind; you toss me about in the storm.
I know you will bring me down to death, to the place appointed for all the living.
"Surely no one lays a hand on a broken man when he cries for help in his distress.
Have I not wept for those in trouble? Has not my soul grieved for the poor?
Yet when I hoped for good, evil came; when I looked for light, then came darkness.
The churning inside me never stops; days of suffering confront me.
I go about blackened, but not by the sun; I stand up in the assembly and cry for help.
I have become a brother of jackals, a companion of owls.
My skin grows black and peels; my body burns with fever.
My harp is tuned to mourning, and my flute to the sound of wailing.