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Acts 22:30; Acts 23:1-22; Judges 19; Psalm 44

Acts 22:30

Paul before the Sanhedrin

30 The next day, since he wanted to find out exactly why Paul was being accused by the Jews, he released him and instructed the chief priests and all the Sanhedrin to convene. Then he brought Paul down and placed him before them.

Acts 23:1-22

1 Paul looked intently at the Sanhedrin and said, "Brothers, I have lived my life before God in all good conscience until this day." 2 But the high priest Ananias ordered those who were standing next to him to strike him on the mouth. 3 Then Paul said to him, "God is going to strike you, you whitewashed wall! You are sitting there judging me according to the law, and in violation of the law are you ordering me to be struck?" 4 And those standing nearby said, "Do you dare revile God's high priest?" 5 "I did not know, brothers," Paul said, "that it was the high priest. For it is written, You must not speak evil of a ruler of your people. " 6 When Paul realized that one part of them were Sadducees and the other part were Pharisees, he cried out in the Sanhedrin, "Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees! I am being judged because of the hope of the resurrection of the dead!" 7 When he said this, a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. 8 For the Sadducees say there is no resurrection, and no angel or spirit, but the Pharisees affirm them all. 9 The shouting grew loud, and some of the scribes of the Pharisees' party got up and argued vehemently: "We find nothing evil in this man. What if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?" 10 When the dispute became violent, the commander feared that Paul might be torn apart by them and ordered the troops to go down, rescue him from them, and bring him into the barracks.

The Plot against Paul

11 The following night, the Lord stood by him and said, "Have courage! For as you have testified about Me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome." 12 When it was day, the Jews formed a conspiracy and bound themselves under a curse: neither to eat nor to drink until they had killed Paul. 13 There were more than 40 who had formed this plot. 14 These men went to the chief priests and elders and said, "We have bound ourselves under a solemn curse that we won't eat anything until we have killed Paul 15 So now you, along with the Sanhedrin, make a request to the commander that he bring him down to you as if you were going to investigate his case more thoroughly. However, before he gets near, we are ready to kill him." 16 But the son of Paul's sister, hearing about their ambush, came and entered the barracks and reported it to Paul. 17 Then Paul called one of the centurions and said, "Take this young man to the commander, because he has something to report to him." 18 So he took him, brought him to the commander, and said, "The prisoner Paul called me and asked me to bring this young man to you, because he has something to tell you." 19 Then the commander took him by the hand, led him aside, and inquired privately, "What is it you have to report to me?" 20 "The Jews," he said, "have agreed to ask you to bring Paul down to the Sanhedrin tomorrow, as though they are going to hold a somewhat more careful inquiry about him. 21 Don't let them persuade you, because there are more than 40 of them arranging to ambush him, men who have bound themselves under a curse not to eat or drink until they kill him. Now they are ready, waiting for a commitment from you." 22 So the commander dismissed the young man and instructed him, "Don't tell anyone that you have informed me about this."

Judges 19

Outrage in Benjamin

1 In those days, when there was no king in Israel, a Levite living in a remote part of the hill country of Ephraim acquired a woman from Bethlehem in Judah as his concubine. 2 But she was unfaithful to him and left him for her father's house in Bethlehem in Judah. She was there for a period of four months. 3 Then her husband got up and went after her to speak kindly to her and bring her back. His servant and a couple of donkeys were with him. So she brought him to her father's house, and when the girl's father saw him, he gladly welcomed him. 4 His father-in-law, the girl's father, detained him, and he stayed with him for three days. They ate, drank, and spent the nights there. 5 On the fourth day, they got up early in the morning and prepared to go, but the girl's father said to his son-in-law, "Have something to eat to keep up your strength and then you can go." 6 So they sat down and the two of them ate and drank together. Then the girl's father said to the man, "Please agree to stay overnight and enjoy yourself." 7 The man got up to go, but his father-in-law persuaded him, so he stayed and spent the night there again. 8 He got up early in the morning of the fifth day to leave, but the girl's father said to him, "Please keep up your strength." So they waited until late afternoon and the two of them ate. 9 The man got up to go with his concubine and his servant, when his father-in-law, the girl's father, said to him, "Look, night is coming. Please spend the night. See, the day is almost over. Spend the night here, enjoy yourself, then you can get up early tomorrow for your journey and go home." 10 But the man was unwilling to spend the night. He got up, departed, and arrived opposite Jebus (that is, Jerusalem). The man had his two saddled donkeys and his concubine with him. 11 When they were near Jebus and the day was almost gone, the servant said to his master, "Please, why not let us stop at this Jebusite city and spend the night here?" 12 But his master replied to him, "We will not stop at a foreign city where there are no Israelites. Let's move on to Gibeah." 13 "Come on," he said, "let's try to reach one of these places and spend the night in Gibeah or Ramah." 14 So they continued on their journey, and the sun set as they neared Gibeah in Benjamin. 15 They stopped to go in and spend the night in Gibeah. The Levite went in and sat down in the city square, but no one took them into their home to spend the night. 16 In the evening, an old man came in from his work in the field. He was from the hill country of Ephraim but was residing in Gibeah, and the men of that place were Benjaminites. 17 When he looked up and saw the traveler in the city square, the old man asked, "Where are you going, and where do you come from?" 18 He answered him, "We're traveling from Bethlehem in Judah to the remote hill country of Ephraim, where I am from. I went to Bethlehem in Judah, and now I'm going to the house of the Lord. No one has taken me into his home, 19 although we have both straw and feed for our donkeys, and bread and wine for me, your female servant, and the young man with your servant. There is nothing we lack." 20 "Peace to you," said the old man. "I'll take care of everything you need. Only don't spend the night in the square." 21 So he brought him to his house and fed the donkeys. Then they washed their feet and ate and drank. 22 While they were enjoying themselves, all of a sudden, perverted men of the city surrounded the house and beat on the door. They said to the old man who was the owner of the house, "Bring out the man who came to your house so we can have sex with him!" 23 The owner of the house went out and said to them, "No, don't do [this] evil, my brothers. After all, this man has come into my house. Don't do this horrible thing. 24 Here, let me bring out my virgin daughter and the man's concubine now. Use them and do whatever you want to them. But don't do this horrible thing to this man." 25 But the men would not listen to him, so the man seized his concubine and took her outside to them. They raped her and abused her all night until morning. At daybreak they let her go. 26 Early that morning, the woman made her way back, and as it was getting light, she collapsed at the doorway of the man's house where her master was. 27 When her master got up in the morning, opened the doors of the house, and went out to leave on his journey, there was the woman, his concubine, collapsed near the doorway of the house with her hands on the threshold. 28 "Get up," he told her. "Let's go." But there was no response. So the man put her on his donkey and set out for home. 29 When he entered his house, he picked up a knife, took hold of his concubine, cut her into 12 pieces, limb by limb, and sent her throughout the territory of Israel. 30 Everyone who saw it said, "Nothing like this has ever happened or been seen since the day the Israelites came out of the land of Egypt to this day. Think it over, discuss it, and speak up!"

Psalm 44

Israel's Complaint

For the choir director. A Maskil of the sons of Korah.

1 God, we have heard with our ears- our forefathers have told us- the work You accomplished in their days, in days long ago: 2 to plant them, You drove out the nations with Your hand; to settle them, You crushed the peoples. 3 For they did not take the land by their sword- their arm did not bring them victory- but by Your right hand, Your arm, and the light of Your face, for You were pleased with them. 4 You are my King, my God, who ordains victories for Jacob. 5 Through You we drive back our foes; through Your name we trample our enemies. 6 For I do not trust in my bow, and my sword does not bring me victory. 7 But You give us victory over our foes and let those who hate us be disgraced. 8 We boast in God all day long; we will praise Your name forever. Selah 9 But You have rejected and humiliated us; You do not march out with our armies. 10 You make us retreat from the foe, and those who hate us have taken plunder for themselves. 11 You hand us over to be eaten like sheep and scatter us among the nations. 12 You sell Your people for nothing; You make no profit from selling them. 13 You make us an object of reproach to our neighbors, a source of mockery and ridicule to those around us. 14 You make us a joke among the nations, a laughingstock among the peoples. 15 My disgrace is before me all day long, and shame has covered my face, 16 because of the voice of the scorner and reviler, because of the enemy and avenger. 17 All this has happened to us, but we have not forgotten You or betrayed Your covenant. 18 Our hearts have not turned back; our steps have not strayed from Your path. 19 But You have crushed us in a haunt of jackals and have covered us with deepest darkness. 20 If we had forgotten the name of our God and spread out our hands to a foreign god, 21 wouldn't God have found this out, since He knows the secrets of the heart? 22 Because of You we are slain all day long; we are counted as sheep to be slaughtered. 23 Wake up, Lord! Why are You sleeping? Get up! Don't reject us forever! 24 Why do You hide Yourself and forget our affliction and oppression? 25 For we have sunk down to the dust; our bodies cling to the ground. 26 Rise up! Help us! Redeem us because of Your faithful love.
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