O LORD, the God who avenges, O God who avenges, shine forth.
Rise up, O Judge of the earth; pay back to the proud what they deserve.
How long will the wicked, O LORD, how long will the wicked be jubilant?
They pour out arrogant words; all the evildoers are full of boasting.
They crush your people, O LORD; they oppress your inheritance.
They slay the widow and the alien; they murder the fatherless.
They say, "The LORD does not see; the God of Jacob pays no heed."
Take heed, you senseless ones among the people; you fools, when will you become wise?
Does he who implanted the ear not hear? Does he who formed the eye not see?
Does he who disciplines nations not punish? Does he who teaches man lack knowledge?
The LORD knows the thoughts of man; he knows that they are futile.
Blessed is the man you discipline, O LORD, the man you teach from your law;
you grant him relief from days of trouble, till a pit is dug for the wicked.
For the LORD will not reject his people; he will never forsake his inheritance.
Judgment will again be founded on righteousness, and all the upright in heart will follow it.
Who will rise up for me against the wicked? Who will take a stand for me against evildoers?
Unless the LORD had given me help, I would soon have dwelt in the silence of death.
When I said, "My foot is slipping," your love, O LORD, supported me.
When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.
Can a corrupt throne be allied with you-- one that brings on misery by its decrees?
They band together against the righteous and condemn the innocent to death.
But the LORD has become my fortress, and my God the rock in whom I take refuge.
He will repay them for their sins and destroy them for their wickedness; the LORD our God will destroy them.
Some time later there was an incident involving a vineyard belonging to Naboth the Jezreelite. The vineyard was in Jezreel, close to the palace of Ahab king of Samaria.
Ahab said to Naboth, "Let me have your vineyard to use for a vegetable garden, since it is close to my palace. In exchange I will give you a better vineyard or, if you prefer, I will pay you whatever it is worth."
But Naboth replied, "The LORD forbid that I should give you the inheritance of my fathers."
So Ahab went home, sullen and angry because Naboth the Jezreelite had said, "I will not give you the inheritance of my fathers." He lay on his bed sulking and refused to eat.
His wife Jezebel came in and asked him, "Why are you so sullen? Why won't you eat?"
He answered her, "Because I said to Naboth the Jezreelite, 'Sell me your vineyard; or if you prefer, I will give you another vineyard in its place.' But he said, 'I will not give you my vineyard.' "
Jezebel his wife said, "Is this how you act as king over Israel? Get up and eat! Cheer up. I'll get you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite."
So she wrote letters in Ahab's name, placed his seal on them, and sent them to the elders and nobles who lived in Naboth's city with him.
In those letters she wrote: "Proclaim a day of fasting and seat Naboth in a prominent place among the people.
But seat two scoundrels opposite him and have them testify that he has cursed both God and the king. Then take him out and stone him to death."
So the elders and nobles who lived in Naboth's city did as Jezebel directed in the letters she had written to them.
They proclaimed a fast and seated Naboth in a prominent place among the people.
Then two scoundrels came and sat opposite him and brought charges against Naboth before the people, saying, "Naboth has cursed both God and the king." So they took him outside the city and stoned him to death.
Then they sent word to Jezebel: "Naboth has been stoned and is dead."
As soon as Jezebel heard that Naboth had been stoned to death, she said to Ahab, "Get up and take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite that he refused to sell you. He is no longer alive, but dead."
When Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, he got up and went down to take possession of Naboth's vineyard.
Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite:
"Go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, who rules in Samaria. He is now in Naboth's vineyard, where he has gone to take possession of it.
Say to him, 'This is what the LORD says: Have you not murdered a man and seized his property?' Then say to him, 'This is what the LORD says: In the place where dogs licked up Naboth's blood, dogs will lick up your blood--yes, yours!' "
Ahab said to Elijah, "So you have found me, my enemy!" "I have found you," he answered, "because you have sold yourself to do evil in the eyes of the LORD.
'I am going to bring disaster on you. I will consume your descendants and cut off from Ahab every last male in Israel--slave or free.
I will make your house like that of Jeroboam son of Nebat and that of Baasha son of Ahijah, because you have provoked me to anger and have caused Israel to sin.'
"And also concerning Jezebel the LORD says: 'Dogs will devour Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel.'
"Dogs will eat those belonging to Ahab who die in the city, and the birds of the air will feed on those who die in the country."
(There was never a man like Ahab, who sold himself to do evil in the eyes of the LORD, urged on by Jezebel his wife.
He behaved in the vilest manner by going after idols, like the Amorites the LORD drove out before Israel.)
When Ahab heard these words, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and fasted. He lay in sackcloth and went around meekly.
Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite:
"Have you noticed how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself, I will not bring this disaster in his day, but I will bring it on his house in the days of his son."
A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home.
So many gathered that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them.
Some men came, bringing to him a paralytic, carried by four of them.
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.
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,
"Why does this fellow talk like that? He's blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?"
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?9Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up, take your mat and walk'?10But 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!"
Once again Jesus went out beside the lake. A large crowd came to him, and he began to teach them.
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.
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.
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'?"
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."
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?"
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.20But 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.22And 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."
One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain.
The Pharisees said to him, "Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?"
He answered, "Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need?26In 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.28So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath."