Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: "Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say.
These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It's only nine in the morning!
No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
" 'In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.
Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.
I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke.
The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'
"Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know.
This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.
But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.
David said about him: " 'I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will live in hope,
because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay.
You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.'
"Brothers, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day.
But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne.
Seeing what was ahead, he spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay.
God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact.
Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.
For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said, " 'The Lord said to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet." '
"Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ."
When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?"
Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off--for all whom the Lord our God will call."
With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, "Save yourselves from this corrupt generation."
Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.
They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles.
All the believers were together and had everything in common.
Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.
Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,
praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
At the end of every seven years you must cancel debts.
This is how it is to be done: Every creditor shall cancel the loan he has made to his fellow Israelite. He shall not require payment from his fellow Israelite or brother, because the LORD's time for canceling debts has been proclaimed.
You may require payment from a foreigner, but you must cancel any debt your brother owes you.
However, there should be no poor among you, for in the land the LORD your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you,
if only you fully obey the LORD your God and are careful to follow all these commands I am giving you today.
For the LORD your God will bless you as he has promised, and you will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. You will rule over many nations but none will rule over you.
If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother.
Rather be openhanded and freely lend him whatever he needs.
Be careful not to harbor this wicked thought: "The seventh year, the year for canceling debts, is near," so that you do not show ill will toward your needy brother and give him nothing. He may then appeal to the LORD against you, and you will be found guilty of sin.
Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to.
There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.
If a fellow Hebrew, a man or a woman, sells himself to you and serves you six years, in the seventh year you must let him go free.
And when you release him, do not send him away empty-handed.
Supply him liberally from your flock, your threshing floor and your winepress. Give to him as the LORD your God has blessed you.
Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the LORD your God redeemed you. That is why I give you this command today.
But if your servant says to you, "I do not want to leave you," because he loves you and your family and is well off with you,
then take an awl and push it through his ear lobe into the door, and he will become your servant for life. Do the same for your maidservant.
Do not consider it a hardship to set your servant free, because his service to you these six years has been worth twice as much as that of a hired hand. And the LORD your God will bless you in everything you do.
Set apart for the LORD your God every firstborn male of your herds and flocks. Do not put the firstborn of your oxen to work, and do not shear the firstborn of your sheep.
Each year you and your family are to eat them in the presence of the LORD your God at the place he will choose.
If an animal has a defect, is lame or blind, or has any serious flaw, you must not sacrifice it to the LORD your God.
You are to eat it in your own towns. Both the ceremonially unclean and the clean may eat it, as if it were gazelle or deer.
But you must not eat the blood; pour it out on the ground like water.
Observe the month of Abib and celebrate the Passover of the LORD your God, because in the month of Abib he brought you out of Egypt by night.
Sacrifice as the Passover to the LORD your God an animal from your flock or herd at the place the LORD will choose as a dwelling for his Name.
Do not eat it with bread made with yeast, but for seven days eat unleavened bread, the bread of affliction, because you left Egypt in haste--so that all the days of your life you may remember the time of your departure from Egypt.
Let no yeast be found in your possession in all your land for seven days. Do not let any of the meat you sacrifice on the evening of the first day remain until morning.
You must not sacrifice the Passover in any town the LORD your God gives you
except in the place he will choose as a dwelling for his Name. There you must sacrifice the Passover in the evening, when the sun goes down, on the anniversary of your departure from Egypt.
Roast it and eat it at the place the LORD your God will choose. Then in the morning return to your tents.
For six days eat unleavened bread and on the seventh day hold an assembly to the LORD your God and do no work.
Count off seven weeks from the time you begin to put the sickle to the standing grain.
Then celebrate the Feast of Weeks to the LORD your God by giving a freewill offering in proportion to the blessings the LORD your God has given you.
And rejoice before the LORD your God at the place he will choose as a dwelling for his Name--you, your sons and daughters, your menservants and maidservants, the Levites in your towns, and the aliens, the fatherless and the widows living among you.
Remember that you were slaves in Egypt, and follow carefully these decrees.
Celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days after you have gathered the produce of your threshing floor and your winepress.
Be joyful at your Feast--you, your sons and daughters, your menservants and maidservants, and the Levites, the aliens, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns.
For seven days celebrate the Feast to the LORD your God at the place the LORD will choose. For the LORD your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete.
Three times a year all your men must appear before the LORD your God at the place he will choose: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks and the Feast of Tabernacles. No man should appear before the LORD empty-handed:
Each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way the LORD your God has blessed you.
Appoint judges and officials for each of your tribes in every town the LORD your God is giving you, and they shall judge the people fairly.
Do not pervert justice or show partiality. Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of the righteous.
Follow justice and justice alone, so that you may live and possess the land the LORD your God is giving you.
Then Zophar the Naamathite replied:
"Are all these words to go unanswered? Is this talker to be vindicated?
Will your idle talk reduce men to silence? Will no one rebuke you when you mock?
You say to God, 'My beliefs are flawless and I am pure in your sight.'
Oh, how I wish that God would speak, that he would open his lips against you
and disclose to you the secrets of wisdom, for true wisdom has two sides. Know this: God has even forgotten some of your sin.
"Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty?
They are higher than the heavens--what can you do? They are deeper than the depths of the grave--what can you know?
Their measure is longer than the earth and wider than the sea.
"If he comes along and confines you in prison and convenes a court, who can oppose him?
Surely he recognizes deceitful men; and when he sees evil, does he not take note?
But a witless man can no more become wise than a wild donkey's colt can be born a man.
"Yet if you devote your heart to him and stretch out your hands to him,
if you put away the sin that is in your hand and allow no evil to dwell in your tent,
then you will lift up your face without shame; you will stand firm and without fear.
You will surely forget your trouble, recalling it only as waters gone by.
Life will be brighter than noonday, and darkness will become like morning.
You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety.
You will lie down, with no one to make you afraid, and many will court your favor.
But the eyes of the wicked will fail, and escape will elude them; their hope will become a dying gasp."