Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, "Go south to the road--the desert road--that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza."
So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians. This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship,
and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the book of Isaiah the prophet.
The Spirit told Philip, "Go to that chariot and stay near it."
Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. "Do you understand what you are reading?" Philip asked.
"How can I," he said, "unless someone explains it to me?" So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.
The eunuch was reading this passage of Scripture: "He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before the shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth.
In his humiliation he was deprived of justice. Who can speak of his descendants? For his life was taken from the earth."
The eunuch asked Philip, "Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?"
Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.
As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, "Look, here is water. Why shouldn't I be baptized?"
And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him.
When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing.
Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and traveled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea.
After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses' aide:
"Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them--to the Israelites.
I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses.
Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates--all the Hittite country--to the Great Sea on the west.
No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.
"Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them.
Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.
Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."
So Joshua ordered the officers of the people:
"Go through the camp and tell the people, 'Get your supplies ready. Three days from now you will cross the Jordan here to go in and take possession of the land the LORD your God is giving you for your own.' "
But to the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh, Joshua said,
"Remember the command that Moses the servant of the LORD gave you: 'The LORD your God is giving you rest and has granted you this land.'
Your wives, your children and your livestock may stay in the land that Moses gave you east of the Jordan, but all your fighting men, fully armed, must cross over ahead of your brothers. You are to help your brothers
until the LORD gives them rest, as he has done for you, and until they too have taken possession of the land that the LORD your God is giving them. After that, you may go back and occupy your own land, which Moses the servant of the LORD gave you east of the Jordan toward the sunrise."
Then they answered Joshua, "Whatever you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go.
Just as we fully obeyed Moses, so we will obey you. Only may the LORD your God be with you as he was with Moses.
Whoever rebels against your word and does not obey your words, whatever you may command them, will be put to death. Only be strong and courageous!"
Then Joshua son of Nun secretly sent two spies from Shittim. "Go, look over the land," he said, "especially Jericho." So they went and entered the house of a prostitute named Rahab and stayed there.
The king of Jericho was told, "Look! Some of the Israelites have come here tonight to spy out the land."
So the king of Jericho sent this message to Rahab: "Bring out the men who came to you and entered your house, because they have come to spy out the whole land."
But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them. She said, "Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they had come from.
At dusk, when it was time to close the city gate, the men left. I don't know which way they went. Go after them quickly. You may catch up with them."
(But she had taken them up to the roof and hidden them under the stalks of flax she had laid out on the roof.)
So the men set out in pursuit of the spies on the road that leads to the fords of the Jordan, and as soon as the pursuers had gone out, the gate was shut.
Before the spies lay down for the night, she went up on the roof
and said to them, "I know that the LORD has given this land to you and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you.
We have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed.
When we heard of it, our hearts melted and everyone's courage failed because of you, for the LORD your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.
Now then, please swear to me by the LORD that you will show kindness to my family, because I have shown kindness to you. Give me a sure sign
that you will spare the lives of my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them, and that you will save us from death."
"Our lives for your lives!" the men assured her. "If you don't tell what we are doing, we will treat you kindly and faithfully when the LORD gives us the land."
So she let them down by a rope through the window, for the house she lived in was part of the city wall.
Now she had said to them, "Go to the hills so the pursuers will not find you. Hide yourselves there three days until they return, and then go on your way."
The men said to her, "This oath you made us swear will not be binding on us
unless, when we enter the land, you have tied this scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and unless you have brought your father and mother, your brothers and all your family into your house.
If anyone goes outside your house into the street, his blood will be on his own head; we will not be responsible. As for anyone who is in the house with you, his blood will be on our head if a hand is laid on him.
But if you tell what we are doing, we will be released from the oath you made us swear."
"Agreed," she replied. "Let it be as you say." So she sent them away and they departed. And she tied the scarlet cord in the window.
When they left, they went into the hills and stayed there three days, until the pursuers had searched all along the road and returned without finding them.
Then the two men started back. They went down out of the hills, forded the river and came to Joshua son of Nun and told him everything that had happened to them.
They said to Joshua, "The LORD has surely given the whole land into our hands; all the people are melting in fear because of us."
Then Job replied:
"Listen carefully to my words; let this be the consolation you give me.
Bear with me while I speak, and after I have spoken, mock on.
"Is my complaint directed to man? Why should I not be impatient?
Look at me and be astonished; clap your hand over your mouth.
When I think about this, I am terrified; trembling seizes my body.
Why do the wicked live on, growing old and increasing in power?
They see their children established around them, their offspring before their eyes.
Their homes are safe and free from fear; the rod of God is not upon them.
Their bulls never fail to breed; their cows calve and do not miscarry.
They send forth their children as a flock; their little ones dance about.
They sing to the music of tambourine and harp; they make merry to the sound of the flute.
They spend their years in prosperity and go down to the grave in peace.
Yet they say to God, 'Leave us alone! We have no desire to know your ways.
Who is the Almighty, that we should serve him? What would we gain by praying to him?'
But their prosperity is not in their own hands, so I stand aloof from the counsel of the wicked.
"Yet how often is the lamp of the wicked snuffed out? How often does calamity come upon them, the fate God allots in his anger?
How often are they like straw before the wind, like chaff swept away by a gale?
[It is said, ] 'God stores up a man's punishment for his sons.' Let him repay the man himself, so that he will know it!
Let his own eyes see his destruction; let him drink of the wrath of the Almighty.
For what does he care about the family he leaves behind when his allotted months come to an end?
"Can anyone teach knowledge to God, since he judges even the highest?
One man dies in full vigor, completely secure and at ease,
his body well nourished, his bones rich with marrow.
Another man dies in bitterness of soul, never having enjoyed anything good.
Side by side they lie in the dust, and worms cover them both.
"I know full well what you are thinking, the schemes by which you would wrong me.
You say, 'Where now is the great man's house, the tents where wicked men lived?'
Have you never questioned those who travel? Have you paid no regard to their accounts--
that the evil man is spared from the day of calamity, that he is delivered from the day of wrath?
Who denounces his conduct to his face? Who repays him for what he has done?
He is carried to the grave, and watch is kept over his tomb.
The soil in the valley is sweet to him; all men follow after him, and a countless throng goes before him.
"So how can you console me with your nonsense? Nothing is left of your answers but falsehood!"