1"I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber.2The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep.3The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.4When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.5But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger's voice."6
Jesus used this figure of speech, but they did not understand what he was telling them.
Therefore Jesus said again, "I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep.8All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them.9I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture.10The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.11"I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.12The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it.13The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.14"I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me--15just as the Father knows me and I know the Father--and I lay down my life for the sheep.16I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.17The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life--only to take it up again.18No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father."19
At these words the Jews were again divided.
Many of them said, "He is demon-possessed and raving mad. Why listen to him?"
But others said, "These are not the sayings of a man possessed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?"
At the end of twenty years, during which Solomon built the temple of the LORD and his own palace,
Solomon rebuilt the villages that Hiram had given him, and settled Israelites in them.
Solomon then went to Hamath Zobah and captured it.
He also built up Tadmor in the desert and all the store cities he had built in Hamath.
He rebuilt Upper Beth Horon and Lower Beth Horon as fortified cities, with walls and with gates and bars,
as well as Baalath and all his store cities, and all the cities for his chariots and for his horses--whatever he desired to build in Jerusalem, in Lebanon and throughout all the territory he ruled.
All the people left from the Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites (these peoples were not Israelites),
that is, their descendants remaining in the land, whom the Israelites had not destroyed--these Solomon conscripted for his slave labor force, as it is to this day.
But Solomon did not make slaves of the Israelites for his work; they were his fighting men, commanders of his captains, and commanders of his chariots and charioteers.
They were also King Solomon's chief officials--two hundred and fifty officials supervising the men.
Solomon brought Pharaoh's daughter up from the City of David to the palace he had built for her, for he said, "My wife must not live in the palace of David king of Israel, because the places the ark of the LORD has entered are holy."
On the altar of the LORD that he had built in front of the portico, Solomon sacrificed burnt offerings to the LORD,
according to the daily requirement for offerings commanded by Moses for Sabbaths, New Moons and the three annual feasts--the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks and the Feast of Tabernacles.
In keeping with the ordinance of his father David, he appointed the divisions of the priests for their duties, and the Levites to lead the praise and to assist the priests according to each day's requirement. He also appointed the gatekeepers by divisions for the various gates, because this was what David the man of God had ordered.
They did not deviate from the king's commands to the priests or to the Levites in any matter, including that of the treasuries.
All Solomon's work was carried out, from the day the foundation of the temple of the LORD was laid until its completion. So the temple of the LORD was finished.
Then Solomon went to Ezion Geber and Elath on the coast of Edom.
And Hiram sent him ships commanded by his own officers, men who knew the sea. These, with Solomon's men, sailed to Ophir and brought back four hundred and fifty talents of gold, which they delivered to King Solomon.
Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart.
But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold.
For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong.
They are free from the burdens common to man; they are not plagued by human ills.
Therefore pride is their necklace; they clothe themselves with violence.
From their callous hearts comes iniquity; the evil conceits of their minds know no limits.
They scoff, and speak with malice; in their arrogance they threaten oppression.
Their mouths lay claim to heaven, and their tongues take possession of the earth.
Therefore their people turn to them and drink up waters in abundance.
They say, "How can God know? Does the Most High have knowledge?"
This is what the wicked are like-- always carefree, they increase in wealth.
Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure; in vain have I washed my hands in innocence.
All day long I have been plagued; I have been punished every morning.
If I had said, "I will speak thus," I would have betrayed your children.
When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me
till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.
Surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin.
How suddenly are they destroyed, completely swept away by terrors!
As a dream when one awakes, so when you arise, O Lord, you will despise them as fantasies.
When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered,
I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you.
Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.
But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.