Acts 15:22-41; Judges 1; Job 33

Acts 15:22-41

The Letter to the Gentile Believers

22 Then the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, decided to select men from among them and to send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas: Judas, called Barsabbas, and Silas, both leading men among the brothers. 23 They wrote this letter to be delivered by them: From the apostles and the elders, your brothers, To the brothers from among the Gentiles in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia: Greetings. 24 Because we have heard that some to whom we gave no authorization went out from us and troubled you with their words and unsettled your hearts, 25 we have unanimously decided to select men and send them to you along with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 Therefore we have sent Judas and Silas, who will personally report the same things by word of mouth. 28 For it was the Holy Spirit's decision-and ours-to put no greater burden on you than these necessary things: 29 that you abstain from food offered to idols, from blood, from eating anything that has been strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these things, you will do well. Farewell.

The Outcome of the Jerusalem Letter

30 Then, being sent off, they went down to Antioch, and after gathering the assembly, they delivered the letter. 31 When they read it, they rejoiced because of its encouragement. 32 Both Judas and Silas, who were also prophets themselves, encouraged the brothers and strengthened them with a long message. 33 After spending some time there, they were sent back in peace by the brothers to those who had sent them. 35 But Paul and Barnabas, along with many others, remained in Antioch teaching and proclaiming the message of the Lord.

Paul and Barnabas Part Company

36 After some time had passed, Paul said to Barnabas, "Let's go back and visit the brothers in every town where we have preached the message of the Lord, and see how they're doing." 37 Barnabas wanted to take along John Mark. 38 But Paul did not think it appropriate to take along this man who had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not gone on with them to the work. 39 There was such a sharp disagreement that they parted company, and Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed off to Cyprus. 40 Then Paul chose Silas and departed, after being commended to the grace of the Lord by the brothers. 41 He traveled through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.

Judges 1

Judah's Leadership against the Canaanites

1 After the death of Joshua, the Israelites inquired of the Lord, "Who will be the first to fight for us against the Canaanites?" 2 The Lord answered, "Judah is to go. I have handed the land over to him." 3 Judah said to his brother Simeon, "Come with me to my territory, and let us fight against the Canaanites. I will also go with you to your territory." So Simeon went with him. 4 When Judah attacked, the Lord handed the Canaanites and Perizzites over to them. They struck down 10,000 men in Bezek. 5 They found Adoni-bezek in Bezek, fought against him, and struck down the Canaanites and Perizzites. 6 When Adoni-bezek fled, they pursued him, seized him, and cut off his thumbs and big toes. 7 Adoni-bezek said, "Seventy kings with their thumbs and big toes cut off used to pick up [scraps] under my table. God has repaid me for what I have done." They brought him to Jerusalem, and he died there. 8 The men of Judah fought against Jerusalem and captured it. They put the city to the sword and set it on fire. 9 Afterwards, the men of Judah marched down to fight against the Canaanites who were living in the hill country, the Negev, and the Judean foothills. 10 Judah also marched against the Canaanites who were living in Hebron (Hebron was formerly named Kiriath-arba). They struck down Sheshai, Ahiman, and Talmai. 11 From there they marched against the residents of Debir (Debir was formerly named Kiriath-sepher). 12 Caleb said, "Whoever strikes down and captures Kiriath-sepher, I will give my daughter Achsah to him as a wife." 13 So Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb's youngest brother, captured it, and Caleb gave his daughter Achsah to him as his wife. 14 When she arrived, she persuaded Othniel to ask her father for a field. As she got off her donkey, Caleb asked her, "What do you want?" 15 She answered him, "Give me a blessing. Since you have given me land in the Negev, give me springs of water also." So Caleb gave her both the upper and lower springs. 16 The descendants of the Kenite, Moses' father-in-law, had gone up with the men of Judah from the City of Palms to the Wilderness of Judah, which was in the Negev of Arad. They went to live among the people. 17 Judah went with his brother Simeon, struck the Canaanites who were living in Zephath, and completely destroyed the town. So they named the town Hormah. 18 Judah captured Gaza and its territory, Ashkelon and its territory, and Ekron and its territory. 19 The Lord was with Judah and enabled them to take possession of the hill country, but they could not drive out the people who were living in the valley because those people had iron chariots. 20 Judah gave Hebron to Caleb, just as Moses had promised. Then Caleb drove out the three sons of Anak who lived there.

Benjamin's Failure

21 At the same time the Benjaminites did not drive out the Jebusites who were living in Jerusalem. The Jebusites have lived among the Benjaminites in Jerusalem to this day.

Success of the House of Joseph

22 The house of Joseph also attacked Bethel, and the Lord was with them. 23 They sent spies to Bethel (the town was formerly named Luz). 24 The spies saw a man coming out of the town and said to him, "Please show us how to get into town, and we will treat you well." 25 When he showed them the way into the town, they put the town to the sword but released the man and his entire family. 26 Then the man went to the land of the Hittites, built a town, and named it Luz. That is its name to this day.

Failure of the Other Tribes

27 At that time Manasseh failed to take possession of Beth-shean and its villages, or Taanach and its villages, or the residents of Dor and its villages, or the residents of Ibleamand its villages, or the residents of Megiddo and its villages. But the Canaanites refused to leave this land. 28 When Israel became stronger, they made the Canaanites serve as forced labor but never drove them out completely. 29 At that time Ephraim failed to drive out the Canaanites who were living in Gezer, so the Canaanites have lived among them in Gezer. 30 Zebulun failed to drive out the residents of Kitron or the residents of Nahalol, so the Canaanites lived among them and served as forced labor. 31 Asher failed to drive out the residents of Acco or of Sidon, or Ahlab, Achzib, Helbah, Aphik, or Rehob. 32 The Asherites lived among the Canaanites who were living in the land, because they failed to drive them out. 33 Naphtali did not drive out the residents of Beth-shemesh or the residents of Beth-anath. They lived among the Canaanites who were living in the land, but the residents of Beth-shemesh and Beth-anath served as their forced labor. 34 The Amorites forced the Danites into the hill country and did not allow them to go down into the valley. 35 The Amorites refused to leave Har-heres, Aijalon, and Shaalbim. When the house of Joseph got the upper hand, the Amorites were made to serve as forced labor. 36 The territory of the Amorites extended from the ascent of Akrabbim, that is from Sela upward.

Job 33

Elihu Confronts Job

1 But now, Job, pay attention to my speech, and listen to all my words. 2 I am going to open my mouth; my tongue will form words on my palate. 3 My words [come from] my upright heart, and my lips speak what they know with sincerity. 4 The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life. 5 Refute me if you can. Prepare your case against me; take your stand. 6 I am just like you before God; I was also pinched off from [a piece of] clay. 7 Fear of me should not terrify you; the pressure I exert against you will be light. 8 Surely you have spoken in my hearing, and I have heard these very words: 9 "I am pure, without transgression; I am clean and have no guilt. 10 But He finds reasons to oppose me; He regards me as his enemy. 11 He puts my feet in the stocks; He stands watch over all my paths." 12 But I tell you that you are wrong in this [matter], since God is greater than man. 13 Why do you take Him to court for not answering anything a person asks? 14 For God speaks time and again, but a person may not notice it. 15 In a dream, a vision in the night, when deep sleep falls on people as they slumber on [their] beds, 16 He uncovers their ears at that time and terrifies them with warnings, 17 in order to turn a person [from his] actions and suppress his pride. 18 God spares his soul from the Pit, his life from crossing the river [of death]. 19 A person may be disciplined on his bed with pain and constant distress in his bones, 20 so that he detests bread, and his soul [despises his] favorite food. 21 His flesh wastes away to nothing, and his unseen bones stick out. 22 He draws near the Pit, and his life to the executioners. 23 If there is an angel on his side, one mediator out of a thousand, to tell a person what is right for him 24 and to be gracious to him and say, "Spare him from going down to the Pit; I have found a ransom," 25 then his flesh will be healthier than in his youth, and he will return to the days of his youthful vigor. 26 He will pray to God, and God will delight in him. That man will behold His face with a shout of joy, and God will restore his righteousness to him. 27 He will look at men and say, "I have sinned and perverted what was right; yet I did not get what I deserved. 28 He redeemed my soul from going down to the Pit, and I will continue to see the light." 29 God certainly does all these things two or three times to a man 30 in order to turn him back from the Pit, so he may shine with the light of life. 31 Pay attention, Job, and listen to me. Be quiet, and I will speak. 32 But if you have something to say, answer me; speak, for I would like to justify you. 33 If not, then listen to me; be quiet, and I will teach you wisdom.
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