An oracle concerning the Desert by the Sea: Like whirlwinds sweeping through the southland, an invader comes from the desert, from a land of terror.
A dire vision has been shown to me: The traitor betrays, the looter takes loot. Elam, attack! Media, lay siege! I will bring to an end all the groaning she caused.
At this my body is racked with pain, pangs seize me, like those of a woman in labor; I am staggered by what I hear, I am bewildered by what I see.
My heart falters, fear makes me tremble; the twilight I longed for has become a horror to me.
They set the tables, they spread the rugs, they eat, they drink! Get up, you officers, oil the shields!
This is what the Lord says to me: "Go, post a lookout and have him report what he sees.
When he sees chariots with teams of horses, riders on donkeys or riders on camels, let him be alert, fully alert."
And the lookout shouted, "Day after day, my lord, I stand on the watchtower; every night I stay at my post.
Look, here comes a man in a chariot with a team of horses. And he gives back the answer: 'Babylon has fallen, has fallen! All the images of its gods lie shattered on the ground!' "
O my people, crushed on the threshing floor, I tell you what I have heard from the LORD Almighty, from the God of Israel.
An oracle concerning Dumah: Someone calls to me from Seir, "Watchman, what is left of the night? Watchman, what is left of the night?"
The watchman replies, "Morning is coming, but also the night. If you would ask, then ask; and come back yet again."
An oracle concerning Arabia: You caravans of Dedanites, who camp in the thickets of Arabia,
bring water for the thirsty; you who live in Tema, bring food for the fugitives.
They flee from the sword, from the drawn sword, from the bent bow and from the heat of battle.
This is what the Lord says to me: "Within one year, as a servant bound by contract would count it, all the pomp of Kedar will come to an end.
The survivors of the bowmen, the warriors of Kedar, will be few." The LORD, the God of Israel, has spoken.
Another time he went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there.
Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath.
Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, "Stand up in front of everyone."4
Then Jesus asked them, "Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?" But they remained silent.
He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored.
Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.
Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the lake, and a large crowd from Galilee followed.
When they heard all he was doing, many people came to him from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, and the regions across the Jordan and around Tyre and Sidon.
Because of the crowd he told his disciples to have a small boat ready for him, to keep the people from crowding him.
For he had healed many, so that those with diseases were pushing forward to touch him.
Whenever the evil spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, "You are the Son of God."
But he gave them strict orders not to tell who he was.
Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him.
He appointed twelve--designating them apostles--that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach
and to have authority to drive out demons.
These are the twelve he appointed: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter);
James son of Zebedee and his brother John (to them he gave the name Boanerges, which means Sons of Thunder);
Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot
and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat.
When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, "He is out of his mind."
And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, "He is possessed by Beelzebub ! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons."
So Jesus called them and spoke to them in parables: "How can Satan drive out Satan?24If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.25If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.26And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come.27In fact, no one can enter a strong man's house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can rob his house.28I tell you the truth, all the sins and blasphemies of men will be forgiven them.29But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin."30
He said this because they were saying, "He has an evil spirit."
Then Jesus' mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him.
A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, "Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you."
33"Who are my mother and my brothers?" he asked.
Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, "Here are my mother and my brothers!35Whoever does God's will is my brother and sister and mother."
Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water's edge.
He taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said:
3"Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed.4As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.5Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow.6But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.7Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain.8Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, multiplying thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times."9
Then Jesus said, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."10
When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables.
He told them, "The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables12so that, " 'they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!' "13
Then Jesus said to them, "Don't you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable?14The farmer sows the word.15Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them.16Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy.17But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.18Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word;19but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.20Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop--thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown."
He said to them, "Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don't you put it on its stand?22For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open.23If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear."24"Consider carefully what you hear," he continued. "With the measure you use, it will be measured to you--and even more.25Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him."
He also said, "This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground.27Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how.28All by itself the soil produces grain--first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head.29As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come."
Again he said, "What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it?31It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground.32Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can perch in its shade."33
With many similar parables Jesus spoke the word to them, as much as they could understand.
He did not say anything to them without using a parable. But when he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything.
That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, "Let us go over to the other side."36
Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him.
A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped.
Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, "Teacher, don't you care if we drown?"
He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Quiet! Be still!" Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
He said to his disciples, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?"41
They were terrified and asked each other, "Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!"
An oracle concerning the Valley of Vision: What troubles you now, that you have all gone up on the roofs,
O town full of commotion, O city of tumult and revelry? Your slain were not killed by the sword, nor did they die in battle.
All your leaders have fled together; they have been captured without using the bow. All you who were caught were taken prisoner together, having fled while the enemy was still far away.
Therefore I said, "Turn away from me; let me weep bitterly. Do not try to console me over the destruction of my people."
The Lord, the LORD Almighty, has a day of tumult and trampling and terror in the Valley of Vision, a day of battering down walls and of crying out to the mountains.
Elam takes up the quiver, with her charioteers and horses; Kir uncovers the shield.
Your choicest valleys are full of chariots, and horsemen are posted at the city gates;
the defenses of Judah are stripped away. And you looked in that day to the weapons in the Palace of the Forest;
you saw that the City of David had many breaches in its defenses; you stored up water in the Lower Pool.
You counted the buildings in Jerusalem and tore down houses to strengthen the wall.
You built a reservoir between the two walls for the water of the Old Pool, but you did not look to the One who made it, or have regard for the One who planned it long ago.
The Lord, the LORD Almighty, called you on that day to weep and to wail, to tear out your hair and put on sackcloth.
But see, there is joy and revelry, slaughtering of cattle and killing of sheep, eating of meat and drinking of wine! "Let us eat and drink," you say, "for tomorrow we die!"
The LORD Almighty has revealed this in my hearing: "Till your dying day this sin will not be atoned for," says the Lord, the LORD Almighty.
This is what the Lord, the LORD Almighty, says: "Go, say to this steward, to Shebna, who is in charge of the palace:
What are you doing here and who gave you permission to cut out a grave for yourself here, hewing your grave on the height and chiseling your resting place in the rock?
"Beware, the LORD is about to take firm hold of you and hurl you away, O you mighty man.
He will roll you up tightly like a ball and throw you into a large country. There you will die and there your splendid chariots will remain-- you disgrace to your master's house!
I will depose you from your office, and you will be ousted from your position.
"In that day I will summon my servant, Eliakim son of Hilkiah.
I will clothe him with your robe and fasten your sash around him and hand your authority over to him. He will be a father to those who live in Jerusalem and to the house of Judah.
I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David; what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.
I will drive him like a peg into a firm place; he will be a seat of honor for the house of his father.
All the glory of his family will hang on him: its offspring and offshoots--all its lesser vessels, from the bowls to all the jars.
"In that day," declares the LORD Almighty, "the peg driven into the firm place will give way; it will be sheared off and will fall, and the load hanging on it will be cut down." The LORD has spoken.