1The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.2As it is written in Isaiah the prophet: Look, I am sending My messenger ahead of You, who will prepare Your way. 3 A voice of one crying out in the wilderness: "Prepare the way for the Lord; make His paths straight!" 4John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.5The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were flocking to him, and they were baptized by him in the Jordan River as they confessed their sins.6John wore a camel-hair garment with a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey.7He was preaching: "Someone more powerful than I will come after me. I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the strap of His sandals.8I have baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."
9In those days Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized in the Jordan by John.10As soon as He came up out of the water, He saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending to Him like a dove.11And a voice came from heaven: You are My beloved Son; I take delight in You!
16As He was passing along by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew, Simon's brother. They were casting a net into the sea, since they were fishermen. 17 "Follow Me," Jesus told them, "and I will make you fish for people!" 18Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.19Going on a little farther, He saw James the son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in their boat mending their nets.20Immediately He called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed Him.
1Some time later, David inquired of the Lord: "Should I go to one of the towns of Judah?" The Lord answered him, "Go." Then David asked, "Where should I go?" "To Hebron," the Lord replied. 2So David went there with his two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelite and Abigail, the widow of Nabal the Carmelite.3In addition, David brought the men who were with him, each one with his household, and they settled in the towns near Hebron.4Then the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah. They told David: "It was the men of Jabesh-gilead who buried Saul." 5David sent messengers to the men of Jabesh-gilead and said to them, "The Lord bless you, because you have shown this special kindness to Saul your lord when you buried him.6Now, may the Lord show special kindness and faithfulness to you, and I will also show the same goodness to you because you have done this deed.7Therefore, be strong and courageous, for though Saul your lord is dead, the house of Judah has anointed me king over them." 8Abner son of Ner, commander of Saul's army, took Saul's son Ish-boshethand moved him to Mahanaim.9He made him king over Gilead, Asher, Jezreel, Ephraim, Benjamin-over all Israel.10Saul's son Ish-bosheth was 40 years old when he began his reign over Israel; he ruled for two years. The house of Judah, however, followed David.11The length of time that David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months. 12Abner son of Ner and soldiers of Ish-bosheth son of Saul marched out from Mahanaim to Gibeon.13So Joab son of Zeruiah and David's soldiers marched out and met them by the pool of Gibeon. The two groups took up positions on opposite sides of the pool. 14Then Abner said to Joab, "Let's have the young men get up and compete in front of us." "Let them get up," Joab replied. 15So they got up and were counted off-12 for Benjamin and Ish-bosheth son of Saul, and 12 from David's soldiers.16Then each man grabbed his opponent by the head and [thrust] his sword into his opponent's side so that they all died together. So this place, which is in Gibeon, is named Field of Blades. 17The battle that day was extremely fierce, and Abner and the men of Israel were defeated by David's soldiers.18The three sons of Zeruiah were there: Joab, Abishai, and Asahel. Asahel was a fast runner, like one of the wild gazelles.19He chased Abner and did not turn to the right or the left in his pursuit of him.20Abner glanced back and said, "Is that you, Asahel?" "Yes it is," Asahel replied. 21Abner said to him, "Turn to your right or left, seize one of the young soldiers, and take whatever you can get from him." But Asahel would not stop chasing him.22Once again, Abner warned Asahel, "Stop chasing me. Why should I strike you to the ground? How could I ever look your brother Joab in the face?" 23But Asahel refused to turn away, so Abner hit him in the stomach with the end of his spear. The spear went through his body, and he fell and died right there. When all who came to the place where Asahel had fallen and died, they stopped,24but Joab and Abishai pursued Abner. By sunset, they had gone as far as the hill of Ammah, which is opposite Giah on the way to the wilderness of Gibeon. 25The Benjaminites rallied to Abner; they formed a single unit and took their stand on top of a hill.26Then Abner called out to Joab: "Must the sword devour forever? Don't you realize this will only end in bitterness? How long before you tell the troops to stop pursuing their brothers?" 27"As God lives," Joab replied, "if you had not spoken up, the troops wouldn't have stopped pursuing their brothers until morning."28Then Joab blew the ram's horn, and all the troops stopped; they no longer pursued Israel or continued to fight.29So Abner and his men marched through the Arabah all that night. They crossed the Jordan, marched all morning, and arrived at Mahanaim. 30When Joab had turned back from pursuing Abner, he gathered all the troops. In addition to Asahel, 19 of David's soldiers were missing,31but they had killed 360 of the Benjaminites and Abner's men.32Afterwards, they carried Asahel to his father's tomb in Bethlehem and buried him. Then Joab and his men marched all night and reached Hebron at dawn.
1In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and laid siege to it.2The Lord handed Jehoiakim king of Judah over to him, along with some of the vessels from the house of God. Nebuchadnezzar carried them to the land of Babylon, to the house of his god, and put the vessels in the treasury of his god. 3The king ordered Ashpenaz, the chief of his court officials, to bring some of the Israelites from the royal family and from the nobility-4young men without any physical defect, good-looking, suitable for instruction in all wisdom, knowledgeable, perceptive, and capable of serving in the king's palace-and to teach them the Chaldean language and literature.5The king assigned them daily provisions from the royal food and from the wine that he drank. They were to be trained for three years, and at the end of that time they were to serve in the king's court.6Among them, from the descendants of Judah, were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.7The chief official gave them [different] names: to Daniel, he gave the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego.
8Daniel determined that he would not defile himself with the king's food or with the wine he drank. So he asked permission from the chief official not to defile himself.9God had granted Daniel favor and compassion from the chief official,10yet he said to Daniel, "My lord the king assigned your food and drink. I'm afraid [of what would happen] if he saw your faces looking thinner than those of the other young men your age. You would endanger my life with the king." 11So Daniel said to the guard whom the chief official had assigned to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah,12"Please test your servants for 10 days. Let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink.13Then examine our appearance and the appearance of the young men who are eating the king's food, and deal with your servants based on what you see."14He agreed with them in this matter and tested them for 10 days.15At the end of 10 days they looked better and healthier than all the young men who were eating the king's food.16So the guard continued to remove their food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables.
17God gave these four young men knowledge and understanding in every kind of literature and wisdom. Daniel also understood visions and dreams of every kind.18At the end of the time that the king had said to present them, the chief official presented them to Nebuchadnezzar.19The king interviewed them, and among all of them, no one was found equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. So they began to serve in the king's court.20In every matter of wisdom and understanding that the king consulted them about, he found them 10 times better than all the diviner-priests and mediums in his entire kingdom.21Daniel remained there until the first year of King Cyrus.