16While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols.17So he reasoned in the synagogue with both Jews and God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there.18A group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers began to debate with him. Some of them asked, “What is this babbler trying to say?” Others remarked, “He seems to be advocating foreign gods.” They said this because Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection.19Then they took him and brought him to a meeting of the Areopagus, where they said to him, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting?20You are bringing some strange ideas to our ears, and we would like to know what they mean.”21(All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas.)22Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious.23For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you.24“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands.25And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else.26From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.27God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.28‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’29“Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by human design and skill.30In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.31For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.”32When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, “We want to hear you again on this subject.”33At that, Paul left the Council.34Some of the people became followers of Paul and believed. Among them was Dionysius, a member of the Areopagus, also a woman named Damaris, and a number of others.
1Early in the morning, Jerub-Baal (that is, Gideon) and all his men camped at the spring of Harod. The camp of Midian was north of them in the valley near the hill of Moreh.2The LORD said to Gideon, “You have too many men. I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against me, ‘My own strength has saved me.’3Now announce to the army, ‘Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave Mount Gilead.’ ” So twenty-two thousand men left, while ten thousand remained.4But the LORD said to Gideon, “There are still too many men. Take them down to the water, and I will thin them out for you there. If I say, ‘This one shall go with you,’ he shall go; but if I say, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ he shall not go.”5So Gideon took the men down to the water. There the LORD told him, “Separate those who lap the water with their tongues as a dog laps from those who kneel down to drink.”6Three hundred of them drank from cupped hands, lapping like dogs. All the rest got down on their knees to drink.7The LORD said to Gideon, “With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the others go home.”8So Gideon sent the rest of the Israelites home but kept the three hundred, who took over the provisions and trumpets of the others. Now the camp of Midian lay below him in the valley.9During that night the LORD said to Gideon, “Get up, go down against the camp, because I am going to give it into your hands.10If you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with your servant Purah11and listen to what they are saying. Afterward, you will be encouraged to attack the camp.” So he and Purah his servant went down to the outposts of the camp.12The Midianites, the Amalekites and all the other eastern peoples had settled in the valley, thick as locusts. Their camels could no more be counted than the sand on the seashore.13Gideon arrived just as a man was telling a friend his dream. “I had a dream,” he was saying. “A round loaf of barley bread came tumbling into the Midianite camp. It struck the tent with such force that the tent overturned and collapsed.”14His friend responded, “This can be nothing other than the sword of Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite. God has given the Midianites and the whole camp into his hands.”15When Gideon heard the dream and its interpretation, he bowed down and worshiped. He returned to the camp of Israel and called out, “Get up! The LORD has given the Midianite camp into your hands.”16Dividing the three hundred men into three companies, he placed trumpets and empty jars in the hands of all of them, with torches inside.17“Watch me,” he told them. “Follow my lead. When I get to the edge of the camp, do exactly as I do.18When I and all who are with me blow our trumpets, then from all around the camp blow yours and shout, ‘For the LORD and for Gideon.’ ”19Gideon and the hundred men with him reached the edge of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, just after they had changed the guard. They blew their trumpets and broke the jars that were in their hands.20The three companies blew the trumpets and smashed the jars. Grasping the torches in their left hands and holding in their right hands the trumpets they were to blow, they shouted, “A sword for the LORD and for Gideon!”21While each man held his position around the camp, all the Midianites ran, crying out as they fled.22When the three hundred trumpets sounded, the LORD caused the men throughout the camp to turn on each other with their swords. The army fled to Beth Shittah toward Zererah as far as the border of Abel Meholah near Tabbath.23Israelites from Naphtali, Asher and all Manasseh were called out, and they pursued the Midianites.24Gideon sent messengers throughout the hill country of Ephraim, saying, “Come down against the Midianites and seize the waters of the Jordan ahead of them as far as Beth Barah.” So all the men of Ephraim were called out and they seized the waters of the Jordan as far as Beth Barah.25They also captured two of the Midianite leaders, Oreb and Zeeb. They killed Oreb at the rock of Oreb, and Zeeb at the winepress of Zeeb. They pursued the Midianites and brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon, who was by the Jordan.
1Now the Ephraimites asked Gideon, “Why have you treated us like this? Why didn’t you call us when you went to fight Midian?” And they challenged him vigorously.2But he answered them, “What have I accomplished compared to you? Aren’t the gleanings of Ephraim’s grapes better than the full grape harvest of Abiezer?3God gave Oreb and Zeeb, the Midianite leaders, into your hands. What was I able to do compared to you?” At this, their resentment against him subsided.4Gideon and his three hundred men, exhausted yet keeping up the pursuit, came to the Jordan and crossed it.5He said to the men of Sukkoth, “Give my troops some bread; they are worn out, and I am still pursuing Zebah and Zalmunna, the kings of Midian.”6But the officials of Sukkoth said, “Do you already have the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna in your possession? Why should we give bread to your troops?”7Then Gideon replied, “Just for that, when the LORD has given Zebah and Zalmunna into my hand, I will tear your flesh with desert thorns and briers.”8From there he went up to Peniel and made the same request of them, but they answered as the men of Sukkoth had.9So he said to the men of Peniel, “When I return in triumph, I will tear down this tower.”10Now Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor with a force of about fifteen thousand men, all that were left of the armies of the eastern peoples; a hundred and twenty thousand swordsmen had fallen.11Gideon went up by the route of the nomads east of Nobah and Jogbehah and attacked the unsuspecting army.12Zebah and Zalmunna, the two kings of Midian, fled, but he pursued them and captured them, routing their entire army.13Gideon son of Joash then returned from the battle by the Pass of Heres.14He caught a young man of Sukkoth and questioned him, and the young man wrote down for him the names of the seventy-seven officials of Sukkoth, the elders of the town.15Then Gideon came and said to the men of Sukkoth, “Here are Zebah and Zalmunna, about whom you taunted me by saying, ‘Do you already have the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna in your possession? Why should we give bread to your exhausted men?’ ”16He took the elders of the town and taught the men of Sukkoth a lesson by punishing them with desert thorns and briers.17He also pulled down the tower of Peniel and killed the men of the town.18Then he asked Zebah and Zalmunna, “What kind of men did you kill at Tabor?” “Men like you,” they answered, “each one with the bearing of a prince.”19Gideon replied, “Those were my brothers, the sons of my own mother. As surely as the LORD lives, if you had spared their lives, I would not kill you.”20Turning to Jether, his oldest son, he said, “Kill them!” But Jether did not draw his sword, because he was only a boy and was afraid.21Zebah and Zalmunna said, “Come, do it yourself. ‘As is the man, so is his strength.’ ” So Gideon stepped forward and killed them, and took the ornaments off their camels’ necks.
22The Israelites said to Gideon, “Rule over us—you, your son and your grandson—because you have saved us from the hand of Midian.”23But Gideon told them, “I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. The LORD will rule over you.”24And he said, “I do have one request, that each of you give me an earring from your share of the plunder.” (It was the custom of the Ishmaelites to wear gold earrings.)25They answered, “We’ll be glad to give them.” So they spread out a garment, and each of them threw a ring from his plunder onto it.26The weight of the gold rings he asked for came to seventeen hundred shekels, not counting the ornaments, the pendants and the purple garments worn by the kings of Midian or the chains that were on their camels’ necks.27Gideon made the gold into an ephod, which he placed in Ophrah, his town. All Israel prostituted themselves by worshiping it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and his family.
28Thus Midian was subdued before the Israelites and did not raise its head again. During Gideon’s lifetime, the land had peace forty years.29Jerub-Baal son of Joash went back home to live.30He had seventy sons of his own, for he had many wives.31His concubine, who lived in Shechem, also bore him a son, whom he named Abimelek.32Gideon son of Joash died at a good old age and was buried in the tomb of his father Joash in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.33No sooner had Gideon died than the Israelites again prostituted themselves to the Baals. They set up Baal-Berith as their god34and did not remember the LORD their God, who had rescued them from the hands of all their enemies on every side.35They also failed to show any loyalty to the family of Jerub-Baal (that is, Gideon) in spite of all the good things he had done for them.
1“At this my heart pounds and leaps from its place.2Listen! Listen to the roar of his voice, to the rumbling that comes from his mouth.3He unleashes his lightning beneath the whole heaven and sends it to the ends of the earth.4After that comes the sound of his roar; he thunders with his majestic voice. When his voice resounds, he holds nothing back.5God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding.6He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth,’ and to the rain shower, ‘Be a mighty downpour.’7So that everyone he has made may know his work, he stops all people from their labor.8The animals take cover; they remain in their dens.9The tempest comes out from its chamber, the cold from the driving winds.10The breath of God produces ice, and the broad waters become frozen.11He loads the clouds with moisture; he scatters his lightning through them.12At his direction they swirl around over the face of the whole earth to do whatever he commands them.13He brings the clouds to punish people, or to water his earth and show his love.14“Listen to this, Job; stop and consider God’s wonders.15Do you know how God controls the clouds and makes his lightning flash?16Do you know how the clouds hang poised, those wonders of him who has perfect knowledge?17You who swelter in your clothes when the land lies hushed under the south wind,18can you join him in spreading out the skies, hard as a mirror of cast bronze?19“Tell us what we should say to him; we cannot draw up our case because of our darkness.20Should he be told that I want to speak? Would anyone ask to be swallowed up?21Now no one can look at the sun, bright as it is in the skies after the wind has swept them clean.22Out of the north he comes in golden splendor; God comes in awesome majesty.23The Almighty is beyond our reach and exalted in power; in his justice and great righteousness, he does not oppress.24Therefore, people revere him, for does he not have regard for all the wise in heart? ”