Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council.
He came to Jesus at night and said, "Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him."
In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again."4
"How can a man be born when he is old?" Nicodemus asked. "Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!"
Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.6Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.7You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.'8The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit."9
"How can this be?" Nicodemus asked.
10"You are Israel's teacher," said Jesus, "and do you not understand these things?11I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony.12I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things?13No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven--the Son of Man.14Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,15that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.16"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.19This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.20Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.21But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God."
These were the men who came to David at Ziklag, while he was banished from the presence of Saul son of Kish (they were among the warriors who helped him in battle;
they were armed with bows and were able to shoot arrows or to sling stones right-handed or left-handed; they were kinsmen of Saul from the tribe of Benjamin):
Ahiezer their chief and Joash the sons of Shemaah the Gibeathite; Jeziel and Pelet the sons of Azmaveth; Beracah, Jehu the Anathothite,
and Ishmaiah the Gibeonite, a mighty man among the Thirty, who was a leader of the Thirty; Jeremiah, Jahaziel, Johanan, Jozabad the Gederathite,
Eluzai, Jerimoth, Bealiah, Shemariah and Shephatiah the Haruphite;
Elkanah, Isshiah, Azarel, Joezer and Jashobeam the Korahites;
and Joelah and Zebadiah the sons of Jeroham from Gedor.
Some Gadites defected to David at his stronghold in the desert. They were brave warriors, ready for battle and able to handle the shield and spear. Their faces were the faces of lions, and they were as swift as gazelles in the mountains.
Ezer was the chief, Obadiah the second in command, Eliab the third,
Mishmannah the fourth, Jeremiah the fifth,
Attai the sixth, Eliel the seventh,
Johanan the eighth, Elzabad the ninth,
Jeremiah the tenth and Macbannai the eleventh.
These Gadites were army commanders; the least was a match for a hundred, and the greatest for a thousand.
It was they who crossed the Jordan in the first month when it was overflowing all its banks, and they put to flight everyone living in the valleys, to the east and to the west.
Other Benjamites and some men from Judah also came to David in his stronghold.
David went out to meet them and said to them, "If you have come to me in peace, to help me, I am ready to have you unite with me. But if you have come to betray me to my enemies when my hands are free from violence, may the God of our fathers see it and judge you."
Then the Spirit came upon Amasai, chief of the Thirty, and he said: "We are yours, O David! We are with you, O son of Jesse! Success, success to you, and success to those who help you, for your God will help you." So David received them and made them leaders of his raiding bands.
Some of the men of Manasseh defected to David when he went with the Philistines to fight against Saul. (He and his men did not help the Philistines because, after consultation, their rulers sent him away. They said, "It will cost us our heads if he deserts to his master Saul.")
When David went to Ziklag, these were the men of Manasseh who defected to him: Adnah, Jozabad, Jediael, Michael, Jozabad, Elihu and Zillethai, leaders of units of a thousand in Manasseh.
They helped David against raiding bands, for all of them were brave warriors, and they were commanders in his army.
Day after day men came to help David, until he had a great army, like the army of God.
These are the numbers of the men armed for battle who came to David at Hebron to turn Saul's kingdom over to him, as the LORD had said:
men of Judah, carrying shield and spear--6,800 armed for battle;
men of Simeon, warriors ready for battle--7,100;
men of Levi--4,600,
including Jehoiada, leader of the family of Aaron, with %"3,700 men,
and Zadok, a brave young warrior, with 22 officers from his family;
men of Benjamin, Saul's kinsmen--3,000, most of whom had remained loyal to Saul's house until then;
men of Ephraim, brave warriors, famous in their own clans--20,800;
men of half the tribe of Manasseh, designated by name to come and make David king--18,000;
men of Issachar, who understood the times and knew what Israel should do--200 chiefs, with all their relatives under their command;
men of Zebulun, experienced soldiers prepared for battle with every type of weapon, to help David with undivided loyalty--50,000;
men of Naphtali--1,000 officers, together with 37,000 men carrying shields and spears;
men of Dan, ready for battle--28,600;
men of Asher, experienced soldiers prepared for battle--40,000;
and from east of the Jordan, men of Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh, armed with every type of weapon--120,000.
All these were fighting men who volunteered to serve in the ranks. They came to Hebron fully determined to make David king over all Israel. All the rest of the Israelites were also of one mind to make David king.
The men spent three days there with David, eating and drinking, for their families had supplied provisions for them.
Also, their neighbors from as far away as Issachar, Zebulun and Naphtali came bringing food on donkeys, camels, mules and oxen. There were plentiful supplies of flour, fig cakes, raisin cakes, wine, oil, cattle and sheep, for there was joy in Israel.
Then I looked up--and there before me was a man with a measuring line in his hand!
I asked, "Where are you going?" He answered me, "To measure Jerusalem, to find out how wide and how long it is."
Then the angel who was speaking to me left, and another angel came to meet him
and said to him: "Run, tell that young man, 'Jerusalem will be a city without walls because of the great number of men and livestock in it.
And I myself will be a wall of fire around it,' declares the LORD, 'and I will be its glory within.'
"Come! Come! Flee from the land of the north," declares the LORD, "for I have scattered you to the four winds of heaven," declares the LORD.
"Come, O Zion! Escape, you who live in the Daughter of Babylon!"
For this is what the LORD Almighty says: "After he has honored me and has sent me against the nations that have plundered you--for whoever touches you touches the apple of his eye--
I will surely raise my hand against them so that their slaves will plunder them. Then you will know that the LORD Almighty has sent me.
"Shout and be glad, O Daughter of Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you," declares the LORD.
"Many nations will be joined with the LORD in that day and will become my people. I will live among you and you will know that the LORD Almighty has sent me to you.
The LORD will inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land and will again choose Jerusalem.
Be still before the LORD, all mankind, because he has roused himself from his holy dwelling."