Mark 2; Numbers 2; 2 Corinthians 9; Revelation 11; Song of Solomon 3; Psalm 119; Proverbs 26; 1 Kings 15; Lamentations 1; Acts 7 (New International Version)

Jesus Heals a Paralytic

2:3-12pp -- Mt 9:2-8; Lk 5:18-26

1 A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. 2 So many gathered that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. 3 Some men came, bringing to him a paralytic, carried by four of them. 4 Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus and, after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was lying on. 5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven." 6 Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, 7 "Why does this fellow talk like that? He's blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?" 8 Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, "Why are you thinking these things? 9 Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up, take your mat and walk'? 10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins . . ." He said to the paralytic, 11 "I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home." 12 He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, "We have never seen anything like this!"

The Calling of Levi

2:14-17pp -- Mt 9:9-13; Lk 5:27-32

13 Once again Jesus went out beside the lake. A large crowd came to him, and he began to teach them. 14 As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector's booth. "Follow me," Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him. 15 While Jesus was having dinner at Levi's house, many tax collectors and "sinners" were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 16 When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the "sinners" and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: "Why does he eat with tax collectors and 'sinners'?" 17 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

Jesus Questioned About Fasting

2:18-22pp -- Mt 9:14-17; Lk 5:33-38

18 Now John's disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. Some people came and asked Jesus, "How is it that John's disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees are fasting, but yours are not?" 19 Jesus answered, "How can the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? They cannot, so long as they have him with them. 20 But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them, and on that day they will fast. 21 "No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse. 22 And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, he pours new wine into new wineskins."

Lord of the Sabbath

2:23-28pp -- Mt 12:1-8; Lk 6:1-5 3:1-6pp -- Mt 12:9-14; Lk 6:6-11

23 One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. 24 The Pharisees said to him, "Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?" 25 He answered, "Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? 26 In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions." 27 Then he said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath."

The Arrangement of the Tribal Camps

1 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron: 2 "The Israelites are to camp around the Tent of Meeting some distance from it, each man under his standard with the banners of his family." 3 On the east, toward the sunrise, the divisions of the camp of Judah are to encamp under their standard. The leader of the people of Judah is Nahshon son of Amminadab. 4 His division numbers 74,600. 5 The tribe of Issachar will camp next to them. The leader of the people of Issachar is Nethanel son of Zuar. 6 His division numbers 54,400. 7 The tribe of Zebulun will be next. The leader of the people of Zebulun is Eliab son of Helon. 8 His division numbers 57,400. 9 All the men assigned to the camp of Judah, according to their divisions, number 186,400. They will set out first. 10 On the south will be the divisions of the camp of Reuben under their standard. The leader of the people of Reuben is Elizur son of Shedeur. 11 His division numbers 46,500. 12 The tribe of Simeon will camp next to them. The leader of the people of Simeon is Shelumiel son of Zurishaddai. 13 His division numbers 59,300. 14 The tribe of Gad will be next. The leader of the people of Gad is Eliasaph son of Deuel. 15 His division numbers 45,650. 16 All the men assigned to the camp of Reuben, according to their divisions, number 151,450. They will set out second. 17 Then the Tent of Meeting and the camp of the Levites will set out in the middle of the camps. They will set out in the same order as they encamp, each in his own place under his standard. 18 On the west will be the divisions of the camp of Ephraim under their standard. The leader of the people of Ephraim is Elishama son of Ammihud. 19 His division numbers 40,500. 20 The tribe of Manasseh will be next to them. The leader of the people of Manasseh is Gamaliel son of Pedahzur. 21 His division numbers 32,200. 22 The tribe of Benjamin will be next. The leader of the people of Benjamin is Abidan son of Gideoni. 23 His division numbers 35,400. 24 All the men assigned to the camp of Ephraim, according to their divisions, number 108,100. They will set out third. 25 On the north will be the divisions of the camp of Dan, under their standard. The leader of the people of Dan is Ahiezer son of Ammishaddai. 26 His division numbers 62,700. 27 The tribe of Asher will camp next to them. The leader of the people of Asher is Pagiel son of Ocran. 28 His division numbers 41,500. 29 The tribe of Naphtali will be next. The leader of the people of Naphtali is Ahira son of Enan. 30 His division numbers 53,400. 31 All the men assigned to the camp of Dan number 157,600. They will set out last, under their standards. 32 These are the Israelites, counted according to their families. All those in the camps, by their divisions, number 603,550. 33 The Levites, however, were not counted along with the other Israelites, as the LORD commanded Moses. 34 So the Israelites did everything the LORD commanded Moses; that is the way they encamped under their standards, and that is the way they set out, each with his clan and family. 1 There is no need for me to write to you about this service to the saints. 2 For I know your eagerness to help, and I have been boasting about it to the Macedonians, telling them that since last year you in Achaia were ready to give; and your enthusiasm has stirred most of them to action. 3 But I am sending the brothers in order that our boasting about you in this matter should not prove hollow, but that you may be ready, as I said you would be. 4 For if any Macedonians come with me and find you unprepared, we--not to say anything about you--would be ashamed of having been so confident. 5 So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to visit you in advance and finish the arrangements for the generous gift you had promised. Then it will be ready as a generous gift, not as one grudgingly given.

Sowing Generously

6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9 As it is written: "He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever." 10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. 12 This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God's people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. 13 Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. 14 And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. 15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

The Two Witnesses

1 I was given a reed like a measuring rod and was told, "Go and measure the temple of God and the altar, and count the worshipers there. 2 But exclude the outer court; do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles. They will trample on the holy city for 42 months. 3 And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth." 4 These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. 5 If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies. This is how anyone who wants to harm them must die. 6 These men have power to shut up the sky so that it will not rain during the time they are prophesying; and they have power to turn the waters into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they want. 7 Now when they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them. 8 Their bodies will lie in the street of the great city, which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified. 9 For three and a half days men from every people, tribe, language and nation will gaze on their bodies and refuse them burial. 10 The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and will celebrate by sending each other gifts, because these two prophets had tormented those who live on the earth. 11 But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them. 12 Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, "Come up here." And they went up to heaven in a cloud, while their enemies looked on. 13 At that very hour there was a severe earthquake and a tenth of the city collapsed. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the survivors were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven. 14 The second woe has passed; the third woe is coming soon.

The Seventh Trumpet

15 The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever." 16 And the twenty-four elders, who were seated on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, 17 saying: "We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign. 18 The nations were angry; and your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your saints and those who reverence your name, both small and great-- and for destroying those who destroy the earth." 19 Then God's temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a great hailstorm. 1 All night long on my bed I looked for the one my heart loves; I looked for him but did not find him. 2 I will get up now and go about the city, through its streets and squares; I will search for the one my heart loves. So I looked for him but did not find him. 3 The watchmen found me as they made their rounds in the city. "Have you seen the one my heart loves?" 4 Scarcely had I passed them when I found the one my heart loves. I held him and would not let him go till I had brought him to my mother's house, to the room of the one who conceived me. 5 Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you by the gazelles and by the does of the field: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires. 6 Who is this coming up from the desert like a column of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and incense made from all the spices of the merchant? 7 Look! It is Solomon's carriage, escorted by sixty warriors, the noblest of Israel, 8 all of them wearing the sword, all experienced in battle, each with his sword at his side, prepared for the terrors of the night. 9 King Solomon made for himself the carriage; he made it of wood from Lebanon. 10 Its posts he made of silver, its base of gold. Its seat was upholstered with purple, its interior lovingly inlaid by the daughters of Jerusalem. 11 Come out, you daughters of Zion, and look at King Solomon wearing the crown, the crown with which his mother crowned him on the day of his wedding, the day his heart rejoiced.

Aleph

1 Blessed are they whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the LORD. 2 Blessed are they who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart. 3 They do nothing wrong; they walk in his ways. 4 You have laid down precepts that are to be fully obeyed. 5 Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying your decrees! 6 Then I would not be put to shame when I consider all your commands. 7 I will praise you with an upright heart as I learn your righteous laws. 8 I will obey your decrees; do not utterly forsake me.

Beth

9 How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. 10 I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. 11 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. 12 Praise be to you, O LORD; teach me your decrees. 13 With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth. 14 I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. 15 I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. 16 I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.

Gimel

17 Do good to your servant, and I will live; I will obey your word. 18 Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law. 19 I am a stranger on earth; do not hide your commands from me. 20 My soul is consumed with longing for your laws at all times. 21 You rebuke the arrogant, who are cursed and who stray from your commands. 22 Remove from me scorn and contempt, for I keep your statutes. 23 Though rulers sit together and slander me, your servant will meditate on your decrees. 24 Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors.

Daleth

25 I am laid low in the dust; preserve my life according to your word. 26 I recounted my ways and you answered me; teach me your decrees. 27 Let me understand the teaching of your precepts; then I will meditate on your wonders. 28 My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word. 29 Keep me from deceitful ways; be gracious to me through your law. 30 I have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart on your laws. 31 I hold fast to your statutes, O LORD; do not let me be put to shame. 32 I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free.

He

33 Teach me, O LORD, to follow your decrees; then I will keep them to the end. 34 Give me understanding, and I will keep your law and obey it with all my heart. 35 Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight. 36 Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain. 37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word. 38 Fulfill your promise to your servant, so that you may be feared. 39 Take away the disgrace I dread, for your laws are good. 40 How I long for your precepts! Preserve my life in your righteousness.

Waw

41 May your unfailing love come to me, O LORD, your salvation according to your promise; 42 then I will answer the one who taunts me, for I trust in your word. 43 Do not snatch the word of truth from my mouth, for I have put my hope in your laws. 44 I will always obey your law, for ever and ever. 45 I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts. 46 I will speak of your statutes before kings and will not be put to shame, 47 for I delight in your commands because I love them. 48 I lift up my hands to your commands, which I love, and I meditate on your decrees.

Zayin

49 Remember your word to your servant, for you have given me hope. 50 My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life. 51 The arrogant mock me without restraint, but I do not turn from your law. 52 I remember your ancient laws, O LORD, and I find comfort in them. 53 Indignation grips me because of the wicked, who have forsaken your law. 54 Your decrees are the theme of my song wherever I lodge. 55 In the night I remember your name, O LORD, and I will keep your law. 56 This has been my practice: I obey your precepts.

Heth

57 You are my portion, O LORD; I have promised to obey your words. 58 I have sought your face with all my heart; be gracious to me according to your promise. 59 I have considered my ways and have turned my steps to your statutes. 60 I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands. 61 Though the wicked bind me with ropes, I will not forget your law. 62 At midnight I rise to give you thanks for your righteous laws. 63 I am a friend to all who fear you, to all who follow your precepts. 64 The earth is filled with your love, O LORD; teach me your decrees.

Teth

65 Do good to your servant according to your word, O LORD. 66 Teach me knowledge and good judgment, for I believe in your commands. 67 Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word. 68 You are good, and what you do is good; teach me your decrees. 69 Though the arrogant have smeared me with lies, I keep your precepts with all my heart. 70 Their hearts are callous and unfeeling, but I delight in your law. 71 It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees. 72 The law from your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold.

Yodh

73 Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding to learn your commands. 74 May those who fear you rejoice when they see me, for I have put my hope in your word. 75 I know, O LORD, that your laws are righteous, and in faithfulness you have afflicted me. 76 May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant. 77 Let your compassion come to me that I may live, for your law is my delight. 78 May the arrogant be put to shame for wronging me without cause; but I will meditate on your precepts. 79 May those who fear you turn to me, those who understand your statutes. 80 May my heart be blameless toward your decrees, that I may not be put to shame.

Kaph

81 My soul faints with longing for your salvation, but I have put my hope in your word. 82 My eyes fail, looking for your promise; I say, "When will you comfort me?" 83 Though I am like a wineskin in the smoke, I do not forget your decrees. 84 How long must your servant wait? When will you punish my persecutors? 85 The arrogant dig pitfalls for me, contrary to your law. 86 All your commands are trustworthy; help me, for men persecute me without cause. 87 They almost wiped me from the earth, but I have not forsaken your precepts. 88 Preserve my life according to your love, and I will obey the statutes of your mouth.

Lamedh

89 Your word, O LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens. 90 Your faithfulness continues through all generations; you established the earth, and it endures. 91 Your laws endure to this day, for all things serve you. 92 If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction. 93 I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have preserved my life. 94 Save me, for I am yours; I have sought out your precepts. 95 The wicked are waiting to destroy me, but I will ponder your statutes. 96 To all perfection I see a limit; but your commands are boundless.

Mem

97 Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long. 98 Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for they are ever with me. 99 I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes. 100 I have more understanding than the elders, for I obey your precepts. 101 I have kept my feet from every evil path so that I might obey your word. 102 I have not departed from your laws, for you yourself have taught me. 103 How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! 104 I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path.

Nun

105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. 106 I have taken an oath and confirmed it, that I will follow your righteous laws. 107 I have suffered much; preserve my life, O LORD, according to your word. 108 Accept, O LORD, the willing praise of my mouth, and teach me your laws. 109 Though I constantly take my life in my hands, I will not forget your law. 110 The wicked have set a snare for me, but I have not strayed from your precepts. 111 Your statutes are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart. 112 My heart is set on keeping your decrees to the very end.

Samek

113 I hate double-minded men, but I love your law. 114 You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word. 115 Away from me, you evildoers, that I may keep the commands of my God! 116 Sustain me according to your promise, and I will live; do not let my hopes be dashed. 117 Uphold me, and I will be delivered; I will always have regard for your decrees. 118 You reject all who stray from your decrees, for their deceitfulness is in vain. 119 All the wicked of the earth you discard like dross; therefore I love your statutes. 120 My flesh trembles in fear of you; I stand in awe of your laws.

Ayin

121 I have done what is righteous and just; do not leave me to my oppressors. 122 Ensure your servant's well-being; let not the arrogant oppress me. 123 My eyes fail, looking for your salvation, looking for your righteous promise. 124 Deal with your servant according to your love and teach me your decrees. 125 I am your servant; give me discernment that I may understand your statutes. 126 It is time for you to act, O LORD; your law is being broken. 127 Because I love your commands more than gold, more than pure gold, 128 and because I consider all your precepts right, I hate every wrong path.

Pe

129 Your statutes are wonderful; therefore I obey them. 130 The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple. 131 I open my mouth and pant, longing for your commands. 132 Turn to me and have mercy on me, as you always do to those who love your name. 133 Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me. 134 Redeem me from the oppression of men, that I may obey your precepts. 135 Make your face shine upon your servant and teach me your decrees. 136 Streams of tears flow from my eyes, for your law is not obeyed.

Tsadhe

137 Righteous are you, O LORD, and your laws are right. 138 The statutes you have laid down are righteous; they are fully trustworthy. 139 My zeal wears me out, for my enemies ignore your words. 140 Your promises have been thoroughly tested, and your servant loves them. 141 Though I am lowly and despised, I do not forget your precepts. 142 Your righteousness is everlasting and your law is true. 143 Trouble and distress have come upon me, but your commands are my delight. 144 Your statutes are forever right; give me understanding that I may live.

Qoph

145 I call with all my heart; answer me, O LORD, and I will obey your decrees. 146 I call out to you; save me and I will keep your statutes. 147 I rise before dawn and cry for help; I have put my hope in your word. 148 My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises. 149 Hear my voice in accordance with your love; preserve my life, O LORD, according to your laws. 150 Those who devise wicked schemes are near, but they are far from your law. 151 Yet you are near, O LORD, and all your commands are true. 152 Long ago I learned from your statutes that you established them to last forever.

Resh

153 Look upon my suffering and deliver me, for I have not forgotten your law. 154 Defend my cause and redeem me; preserve my life according to your promise. 155 Salvation is far from the wicked, for they do not seek out your decrees. 156 Your compassion is great, O LORD; preserve my life according to your laws. 157 Many are the foes who persecute me, but I have not turned from your statutes. 158 I look on the faithless with loathing, for they do not obey your word. 159 See how I love your precepts; preserve my life, O LORD, according to your love. 160 All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal.

Sin and Shin

161 Rulers persecute me without cause, but my heart trembles at your word. 162 I rejoice in your promise like one who finds great spoil. 163 I hate and abhor falsehood but I love your law. 164 Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous laws. 165 Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble. 166 I wait for your salvation, O LORD, and I follow your commands. 167 I obey your statutes, for I love them greatly. 168 I obey your precepts and your statutes, for all my ways are known to you.

Taw

169 May my cry come before you, O LORD; give me understanding according to your word. 170 May my supplication come before you; deliver me according to your promise. 171 May my lips overflow with praise, for you teach me your decrees. 172 May my tongue sing of your word, for all your commands are righteous. 173 May your hand be ready to help me, for I have chosen your precepts. 174 I long for your salvation, O LORD, and your law is my delight. 175 Let me live that I may praise you, and may your laws sustain me. 176 I have strayed like a lost sheep. Seek your servant, for I have not forgotten your commands. 1 Like snow in summer or rain in harvest, honor is not fitting for a fool. 2 Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow, an undeserved curse does not come to rest. 3 A whip for the horse, a halter for the donkey, and a rod for the backs of fools! 4 Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself. 5 Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes. 6 Like cutting off one's feet or drinking violence is the sending of a message by the hand of a fool. 7 Like a lame man's legs that hang limp is a proverb in the mouth of a fool. 8 Like tying a stone in a sling is the giving of honor to a fool. 9 Like a thornbush in a drunkard's hand is a proverb in the mouth of a fool. 10 Like an archer who wounds at random is he who hires a fool or any passer-by. 11 As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly. 12 Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him. 13 The sluggard says, "There is a lion in the road, a fierce lion roaming the streets!" 14 As a door turns on its hinges, so a sluggard turns on his bed. 15 The sluggard buries his hand in the dish; he is too lazy to bring it back to his mouth. 16 The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who answer discreetly. 17 Like one who seizes a dog by the ears is a passer-by who meddles in a quarrel not his own. 18 Like a madman shooting firebrands or deadly arrows 19 is a man who deceives his neighbor and says, "I was only joking!" 20 Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down. 21 As charcoal to embers and as wood to fire, so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife. 22 The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man's inmost parts. 23 Like a coating of glaze over earthenware are fervent lips with an evil heart. 24 A malicious man disguises himself with his lips, but in his heart he harbors deceit. 25 Though his speech is charming, do not believe him, for seven abominations fill his heart. 26 His malice may be concealed by deception, but his wickedness will be exposed in the assembly. 27 If a man digs a pit, he will fall into it; if a man rolls a stone, it will roll back on him. 28 A lying tongue hates those it hurts, and a flattering mouth works ruin.

Abijah King of Judah

15:1-2,6-8pp -- 2Ch 13:1-2,22-14:1

1 In the eighteenth year of the reign of Jeroboam son of Nebat, Abijah became king of Judah, 2 and he reigned in Jerusalem three years. His mother's name was Maacah daughter of Abishalom. 3 He committed all the sins his father had done before him; his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his forefather had been. 4 Nevertheless, for David's sake the LORD his God gave him a lamp in Jerusalem by raising up a son to succeed him and by making Jerusalem strong. 5 For David had done what was right in the eyes of the LORD and had not failed to keep any of the LORD's commands all the days of his life--except in the case of Uriah the Hittite. 6 There was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam throughout [Abijah's] lifetime. 7 As for the other events of Abijah's reign, and all he did, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah? There was war between Abijah and Jeroboam. 8 And Abijah rested with his fathers and was buried in the City of David. And Asa his son succeeded him as king.

Asa King of Judah

15:9-22pp -- 2Ch 14:2-3; 15:16-16:6 15:23-24pp -- 2Ch 16:11-17:1

9 In the twentieth year of Jeroboam king of Israel, Asa became king of Judah, 10 and he reigned in Jerusalem forty-one years. His grandmother's name was Maacah daughter of Abishalom. 11 Asa did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, as his father David had done. 12 He expelled the male shrine prostitutes from the land and got rid of all the idols his fathers had made. 13 He even deposed his grandmother Maacah from her position as queen mother, because she had made a repulsive Asherah pole. Asa cut the pole down and burned it in the Kidron Valley. 14 Although he did not remove the high places, Asa's heart was fully committed to the LORD all his life. 15 He brought into the temple of the LORD the silver and gold and the articles that he and his father had dedicated. 16 There was war between Asa and Baasha king of Israel throughout their reigns. 17 Baasha king of Israel went up against Judah and fortified Ramah to prevent anyone from leaving or entering the territory of Asa king of Judah. 18 Asa then took all the silver and gold that was left in the treasuries of the LORD's temple and of his own palace. He entrusted it to his officials and sent them to Ben-Hadad son of Tabrimmon, the son of Hezion, the king of Aram, who was ruling in Damascus. 19 "Let there be a treaty between me and you," he said, "as there was between my father and your father. See, I am sending you a gift of silver and gold. Now break your treaty with Baasha king of Israel so he will withdraw from me." 20 Ben-Hadad agreed with King Asa and sent the commanders of his forces against the towns of Israel. He conquered Ijon, Dan, Abel Beth Maacah and all Kinnereth in addition to Naphtali. 21 When Baasha heard this, he stopped building Ramah and withdrew to Tirzah. 22 Then King Asa issued an order to all Judah--no one was exempt--and they carried away from Ramah the stones and timber Baasha had been using there. With them King Asa built up Geba in Benjamin, and also Mizpah. 23 As for all the other events of Asa's reign, all his achievements, all he did and the cities he built, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah? In his old age, however, his feet became diseased. 24 Then Asa rested with his fathers and was buried with them in the city of his father David. And Jehoshaphat his son succeeded him as king.

Nadab King of Israel

25 Nadab son of Jeroboam became king of Israel in the second year of Asa king of Judah, and he reigned over Israel two years. 26 He did evil in the eyes of the LORD, walking in the ways of his father and in his sin, which he had caused Israel to commit. 27 Baasha son of Ahijah of the house of Issachar plotted against him, and he struck him down at Gibbethon, a Philistine town, while Nadab and all Israel were besieging it. 28 Baasha killed Nadab in the third year of Asa king of Judah and succeeded him as king. 29 As soon as he began to reign, he killed Jeroboam's whole family. He did not leave Jeroboam anyone that breathed, but destroyed them all, according to the word of the LORD given through his servant Ahijah the Shilonite-- 30 because of the sins Jeroboam had committed and had caused Israel to commit, and because he provoked the LORD, the God of Israel, to anger. 31 As for the other events of Nadab's reign, and all he did, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel? 32 There was war between Asa and Baasha king of Israel throughout their reigns.

Baasha King of Israel

33 In the third year of Asa king of Judah, Baasha son of Ahijah became king of all Israel in Tirzah, and he reigned twenty-four years. 34 He did evil in the eyes of the LORD, walking in the ways of Jeroboam and in his sin, which he had caused Israel to commit. 1 How deserted lies the city, once so full of people! How like a widow is she, who once was great among the nations! She who was queen among the provinces has now become a slave. 2 Bitterly she weeps at night, tears are upon her cheeks. Among all her lovers there is none to comfort her. All her friends have betrayed her; they have become her enemies. 3 After affliction and harsh labor, Judah has gone into exile. She dwells among the nations; she finds no resting place. All who pursue her have overtaken her in the midst of her distress. 4 The roads to Zion mourn, for no one comes to her appointed feasts. All her gateways are desolate, her priests groan, her maidens grieve, and she is in bitter anguish. 5 Her foes have become her masters; her enemies are at ease. The LORD has brought her grief because of her many sins. Her children have gone into exile, captive before the foe. 6 All the splendor has departed from the Daughter of Zion. Her princes are like deer that find no pasture; in weakness they have fled before the pursuer. 7 In the days of her affliction and wandering Jerusalem remembers all the treasures that were hers in days of old. When her people fell into enemy hands, there was no one to help her. Her enemies looked at her and laughed at her destruction. 8 Jerusalem has sinned greatly and so has become unclean. All who honored her despise her, for they have seen her nakedness; she herself groans and turns away. 9 Her filthiness clung to her skirts; she did not consider her future. Her fall was astounding; there was none to comfort her. "Look, O LORD, on my affliction, for the enemy has triumphed." 10 The enemy laid hands on all her treasures; she saw pagan nations enter her sanctuary-- those you had forbidden to enter your assembly. 11 All her people groan as they search for bread; they barter their treasures for food to keep themselves alive. "Look, O LORD, and consider, for I am despised." 12 "Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Look around and see. Is any suffering like my suffering that was inflicted on me, that the LORD brought on me in the day of his fierce anger? 13 "From on high he sent fire, sent it down into my bones. He spread a net for my feet and turned me back. He made me desolate, faint all the day long. 14 "My sins have been bound into a yoke; by his hands they were woven together. They have come upon my neck and the Lord has sapped my strength. He has handed me over to those I cannot withstand. 15 "The Lord has rejected all the warriors in my midst; he has summoned an army against me to crush my young men. In his winepress the Lord has trampled the Virgin Daughter of Judah. 16 "This is why I weep and my eyes overflow with tears. No one is near to comfort me, no one to restore my spirit. My children are destitute because the enemy has prevailed." 17 Zion stretches out her hands, but there is no one to comfort her. The LORD has decreed for Jacob that his neighbors become his foes; Jerusalem has become an unclean thing among them. 18 "The LORD is righteous, yet I rebelled against his command. Listen, all you peoples; look upon my suffering. My young men and maidens have gone into exile. 19 "I called to my allies but they betrayed me. My priests and my elders perished in the city while they searched for food to keep themselves alive. 20 "See, O LORD, how distressed I am! I am in torment within, and in my heart I am disturbed, for I have been most rebellious. Outside, the sword bereaves; inside, there is only death. 21 "People have heard my groaning, but there is no one to comfort me. All my enemies have heard of my distress; they rejoice at what you have done. May you bring the day you have announced so they may become like me. 22 "Let all their wickedness come before you; deal with them as you have dealt with me because of all my sins. My groans are many and my heart is faint."

Stephen's Speech to the Sanhedrin

1 Then the high priest asked him, "Are these charges true?" 2 To this he replied: "Brothers and fathers, listen to me! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran. 3 'Leave your country and your people,' God said, 'and go to the land I will show you.' 4 "So he left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. After the death of his father, God sent him to this land where you are now living. 5 He gave him no inheritance here, not even a foot of ground. But God promised him that he and his descendants after him would possess the land, even though at that time Abraham had no child. 6 God spoke to him in this way: 'Your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years. 7 But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves,' God said, 'and afterward they will come out of that country and worship me in this place.' 8 Then he gave Abraham the covenant of circumcision. And Abraham became the father of Isaac and circumcised him eight days after his birth. Later Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob became the father of the twelve patriarchs. 9 "Because the patriarchs were jealous of Joseph, they sold him as a slave into Egypt. But God was with him 10 and rescued him from all his troubles. He gave Joseph wisdom and enabled him to gain the goodwill of Pharaoh king of Egypt; so he made him ruler over Egypt and all his palace. 11 "Then a famine struck all Egypt and Canaan, bringing great suffering, and our fathers could not find food. 12 When Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent our fathers on their first visit. 13 On their second visit, Joseph told his brothers who he was, and Pharaoh learned about Joseph's family. 14 After this, Joseph sent for his father Jacob and his whole family, seventy-five in all. 15 Then Jacob went down to Egypt, where he and our fathers died. 16 Their bodies were brought back to Shechem and placed in the tomb that Abraham had bought from the sons of Hamor at Shechem for a certain sum of money. 17 "As the time drew near for God to fulfill his promise to Abraham, the number of our people in Egypt greatly increased. 18 Then another king, who knew nothing about Joseph, became ruler of Egypt. 19 He dealt treacherously with our people and oppressed our forefathers by forcing them to throw out their newborn babies so that they would die. 20 "At that time Moses was born, and he was no ordinary child. For three months he was cared for in his father's house. 21 When he was placed outside, Pharaoh's daughter took him and brought him up as her own son. 22 Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action. 23 "When Moses was forty years old, he decided to visit his fellow Israelites. 24 He saw one of them being mistreated by an Egyptian, so he went to his defense and avenged him by killing the Egyptian. 25 Moses thought that his own people would realize that God was using him to rescue them, but they did not. 26 The next day Moses came upon two Israelites who were fighting. He tried to reconcile them by saying, 'Men, you are brothers; why do you want to hurt each other?' 27 "But the man who was mistreating the other pushed Moses aside and said, 'Who made you ruler and judge over us? 28 Do you want to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?' 29 When Moses heard this, he fled to Midian, where he settled as a foreigner and had two sons. 30 "After forty years had passed, an angel appeared to Moses in the flames of a burning bush in the desert near Mount Sinai. 31 When he saw this, he was amazed at the sight. As he went over to look more closely, he heard the Lord's voice: 32 'I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.' Moses trembled with fear and did not dare to look. 33 "Then the Lord said to him, 'Take off your sandals; the place where you are standing is holy ground. 34 I have indeed seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their groaning and have come down to set them free. Now come, I will send you back to Egypt.' 35 "This is the same Moses whom they had rejected with the words, 'Who made you ruler and judge?' He was sent to be their ruler and deliverer by God himself, through the angel who appeared to him in the bush. 36 He led them out of Egypt and did wonders and miraculous signs in Egypt, at the Red Sea and for forty years in the desert. 37 "This is that Moses who told the Israelites, 'God will send you a prophet like me from your own people.' 38 He was in the assembly in the desert, with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our fathers; and he received living words to pass on to us. 39 "But our fathers refused to obey him. Instead, they rejected him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt. 40 They told Aaron, 'Make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who led us out of Egypt--we don't know what has happened to him!' 41 That was the time they made an idol in the form of a calf. They brought sacrifices to it and held a celebration in honor of what their hands had made. 42 But God turned away and gave them over to the worship of the heavenly bodies. This agrees with what is written in the book of the prophets: " 'Did you bring me sacrifices and offerings forty years in the desert, O house of Israel? 43 You have lifted up the shrine of Molech and the star of your god Rephan, the idols you made to worship. Therefore I will send you into exile' beyond Babylon. 44 "Our forefathers had the tabernacle of the Testimony with them in the desert. It had been made as God directed Moses, according to the pattern he had seen. 45 Having received the tabernacle, our fathers under Joshua brought it with them when they took the land from the nations God drove out before them. It remained in the land until the time of David, 46 who enjoyed God's favor and asked that he might provide a dwelling place for the God of Jacob. 47 But it was Solomon who built the house for him. 48 "However, the Most High does not live in houses made by men. As the prophet says: 49 " 'Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me? says the Lord. Or where will my resting place be? 50 Has not my hand made all these things?' 51 "You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit! 52 Was there ever a prophet your fathers did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him-- 53 you who have received the law that was put into effect through angels but have not obeyed it."

The Stoning of Stephen

54 When they heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. 55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 "Look," he said, "I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God." 57 At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, 58 dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." 60 Then he fell on his knees and cried out, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." When he had said this, he fell asleep.
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