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Mark 1:1-20; 2 Samuel 2; 2 Samuel 3:1; Daniel 1

Mark 1:1-20

The Messiah's Herald

1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. 2 As 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!" 4 John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 The 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. 6 John wore a camel-hair garment with a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey. 7 He 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. 8 I have baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."

The Baptism of Jesus

9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized in the Jordan by John. 10 As 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. 11 And a voice came from heaven: You are My beloved Son; I take delight in You!

The Temptation of Jesus

12 Immediately the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness. 13 He was in the wilderness 40 days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and the angels began to serve Him.

Ministry in Galilee

14 After John was arrested, Jesus went to Galilee, preaching the good news of God: 15 "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe in the good news!"

The First Disciples

16 As 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!" 18 Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. 19 Going on a little farther, He saw James the son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in their boat mending their nets. 20 Immediately He called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed Him.

2 Samuel 2

David, King of Judah

1 Some 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. 2 So David went there with his two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelite and Abigail, the widow of Nabal the Carmelite. 3 In addition, David brought the men who were with him, each one with his household, and they settled in the towns near Hebron. 4 Then 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." 5 David 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. 6 Now, 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. 7 Therefore, be strong and courageous, for though Saul your lord is dead, the house of Judah has anointed me king over them." 8 Abner son of Ner, commander of Saul's army, took Saul's son Ish-boshethand moved him to Mahanaim. 9 He made him king over Gilead, Asher, Jezreel, Ephraim, Benjamin-over all Israel. 10 Saul'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. 11 The length of time that David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months. 12 Abner son of Ner and soldiers of Ish-bosheth son of Saul marched out from Mahanaim to Gibeon. 13 So 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. 14 Then Abner said to Joab, "Let's have the young men get up and compete in front of us." "Let them get up," Joab replied. 15 So they got up and were counted off-12 for Benjamin and Ish-bosheth son of Saul, and 12 from David's soldiers. 16 Then 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. 17 The battle that day was extremely fierce, and Abner and the men of Israel were defeated by David's soldiers. 18 The three sons of Zeruiah were there: Joab, Abishai, and Asahel. Asahel was a fast runner, like one of the wild gazelles. 19 He chased Abner and did not turn to the right or the left in his pursuit of him. 20 Abner glanced back and said, "Is that you, Asahel?" "Yes it is," Asahel replied. 21 Abner 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. 22 Once 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?" 23 But 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, 24 but 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. 25 The Benjaminites rallied to Abner; they formed a single unit and took their stand on top of a hill. 26 Then 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." 28 Then Joab blew the ram's horn, and all the troops stopped; they no longer pursued Israel or continued to fight. 29 So Abner and his men marched through the Arabah all that night. They crossed the Jordan, marched all morning, and arrived at Mahanaim. 30 When Joab had turned back from pursuing Abner, he gathered all the troops. In addition to Asahel, 19 of David's soldiers were missing, 31 but they had killed 360 of the Benjaminites and Abner's men. 32 Afterwards, 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.

2 Samuel 3:1

Civil War

1 The war between the house of Saul and the house of David was long and drawn out, with David growing stronger and the house of Saul becoming weaker.

Daniel 1

Daniel's Captivity in Babylon

1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and laid siege to it. 2 The 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. 3 The king ordered Ashpenaz, the chief of his court officials, to bring some of the Israelites from the royal family and from the nobility- 4 young 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. 5 The 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. 6 Among them, from the descendants of Judah, were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. 7 The chief official gave them [different] names: to Daniel, he gave the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego.

Faithfulness in Babylon

8 Daniel 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. 9 God had granted Daniel favor and compassion from the chief official, 10 yet 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." 11 So 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. 13 Then 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." 14 He agreed with them in this matter and tested them for 10 days. 15 At the end of 10 days they looked better and healthier than all the young men who were eating the king's food. 16 So the guard continued to remove their food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables.

Faithfulness Rewarded

17 God gave these four young men knowledge and understanding in every kind of literature and wisdom. Daniel also understood visions and dreams of every kind. 18 At the end of the time that the king had said to present them, the chief official presented them to Nebuchadnezzar. 19 The 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. 20 In 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. 21 Daniel remained there until the first year of King Cyrus.
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