14I myself am convinced, my brothers and sisters, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with knowledge and competent to instruct one another.15Yet I have written you quite boldly on some points to remind you of them again, because of the grace God gave me16to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles. He gave me the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.17Therefore I glory in Christ Jesus in my service to God.18I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done—19by the power of signs and wonders, through the power of the Spirit of God. So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ.20It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation.21Rather, as it is written: “Those who were not told about him will see, and those who have not heard will understand.”22This is why I have often been hindered from coming to you.
23But now that there is no more place for me to work in these regions, and since I have been longing for many years to visit you,24I plan to do so when I go to Spain. I hope to see you while passing through and to have you assist me on my journey there, after I have enjoyed your company for a while.25Now, however, I am on my way to Jerusalem in the service of the Lord’s people there.26For Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the Lord’s people in Jerusalem.27They were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in the Jews’ spiritual blessings, they owe it to the Jews to share with them their material blessings.28So after I have completed this task and have made sure that they have received this contribution, I will go to Spain and visit you on the way.29I know that when I come to you, I will come in the full measure of the blessing of Christ.30I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me.31Pray that I may be kept safe from the unbelievers in Judea and that the contribution I take to Jerusalem may be favorably received by the Lord’s people there,32so that I may come to you with joy, by God’s will, and in your company be refreshed.33The God of peace be with you all. Amen.
1The Philistines gathered all their forces at Aphek, and Israel camped by the spring in Jezreel.2As the Philistine rulers marched with their units of hundreds and thousands, David and his men were marching at the rear with Achish.3The commanders of the Philistines asked, “What about these Hebrews?” Achish replied, “Is this not David, who was an officer of Saul king of Israel? He has already been with me for over a year, and from the day he left Saul until now, I have found no fault in him.”4But the Philistine commanders were angry with Achish and said, “Send the man back, that he may return to the place you assigned him. He must not go with us into battle, or he will turn against us during the fighting. How better could he regain his master’s favor than by taking the heads of our own men?5Isn’t this the David they sang about in their dances: “ ‘Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands’?”6So Achish called David and said to him, “As surely as the LORD lives, you have been reliable, and I would be pleased to have you serve with me in the army. From the day you came to me until today, I have found no fault in you, but the rulers don’t approve of you.7Now turn back and go in peace; do nothing to displease the Philistine rulers.”8“But what have I done?” asked David. “What have you found against your servant from the day I came to you until now? Why can’t I go and fight against the enemies of my lord the king?”9Achish answered, “I know that you have been as pleasing in my eyes as an angel of God; nevertheless, the Philistine commanders have said, ‘He must not go up with us into battle.’10Now get up early, along with your master’s servants who have come with you, and leave in the morning as soon as it is light.”11So David and his men got up early in the morning to go back to the land of the Philistines, and the Philistines went up to Jezreel.
1David and his men reached Ziklag on the third day. Now the Amalekites had raided the Negev and Ziklag. They had attacked Ziklag and burned it,2and had taken captive the women and everyone else in it, both young and old. They killed none of them, but carried them off as they went on their way.3When David and his men reached Ziklag, they found it destroyed by fire and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive.4So David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep.5David’s two wives had been captured—Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal of Carmel.6David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength in the LORD his God.7Then David said to Abiathar the priest, the son of Ahimelek, “Bring me the ephod.” Abiathar brought it to him,8and David inquired of the LORD, “Shall I pursue this raiding party? Will I overtake them?” “Pursue them,” he answered. “You will certainly overtake them and succeed in the rescue.”9David and the six hundred men with him came to the Besor Valley, where some stayed behind.10Two hundred of them were too exhausted to cross the valley, but David and the other four hundred continued the pursuit.11They found an Egyptian in a field and brought him to David. They gave him water to drink and food to eat—12part of a cake of pressed figs and two cakes of raisins. He ate and was revived, for he had not eaten any food or drunk any water for three days and three nights.13David asked him, “Who do you belong to? Where do you come from?” He said, “I am an Egyptian, the slave of an Amalekite. My master abandoned me when I became ill three days ago.14We raided the Negev of the Kerethites, some territory belonging to Judah and the Negev of Caleb. And we burned Ziklag.”15David asked him, “Can you lead me down to this raiding party?” He answered, “Swear to me before God that you will not kill me or hand me over to my master, and I will take you down to them.”16He led David down, and there they were, scattered over the countryside, eating, drinking and reveling because of the great amount of plunder they had taken from the land of the Philistines and from Judah.17David fought them from dusk until the evening of the next day, and none of them got away, except four hundred young men who rode off on camels and fled.18David recovered everything the Amalekites had taken, including his two wives.19Nothing was missing: young or old, boy or girl, plunder or anything else they had taken. David brought everything back.20He took all the flocks and herds, and his men drove them ahead of the other livestock, saying, “This is David’s plunder.”21Then David came to the two hundred men who had been too exhausted to follow him and who were left behind at the Besor Valley. They came out to meet David and the men with him. As David and his men approached, he asked them how they were.22But all the evil men and troublemakers among David’s followers said, “Because they did not go out with us, we will not share with them the plunder we recovered. However, each man may take his wife and children and go.”23David replied, “No, my brothers, you must not do that with what the LORD has given us. He has protected us and delivered into our hands the raiding party that came against us.24Who will listen to what you say? The share of the man who stayed with the supplies is to be the same as that of him who went down to the battle. All will share alike.”25David made this a statute and ordinance for Israel from that day to this.26When David reached Ziklag, he sent some of the plunder to the elders of Judah, who were his friends, saying, “Here is a gift for you from the plunder of the LORD’s enemies.”27David sent it to those who were in Bethel, Ramoth Negev and Jattir;28to those in Aroer, Siphmoth, Eshtemoa29and Rakal; to those in the towns of the Jerahmeelites and the Kenites;30to those in Hormah, Bor Ashan, Athak31and Hebron; and to those in all the other places where he and his men had roamed.
1Now the Philistines fought against Israel; the Israelites fled before them, and many fell dead on Mount Gilboa.2The Philistines were in hot pursuit of Saul and his sons, and they killed his sons Jonathan, Abinadab and Malki-Shua.3The fighting grew fierce around Saul, and when the archers overtook him, they wounded him critically.4Saul said to his armor-bearer, “Draw your sword and run me through, or these uncircumcised fellows will come and run me through and abuse me.” But his armor-bearer was terrified and would not do it; so Saul took his own sword and fell on it.5When the armor-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he too fell on his sword and died with him.6So Saul and his three sons and his armor-bearer and all his men died together that same day.7When the Israelites along the valley and those across the Jordan saw that the Israelite army had fled and that Saul and his sons had died, they abandoned their towns and fled. And the Philistines came and occupied them.8The next day, when the Philistines came to strip the dead, they found Saul and his three sons fallen on Mount Gilboa.9They cut off his head and stripped off his armor, and they sent messengers throughout the land of the Philistines to proclaim the news in the temple of their idols and among their people.10They put his armor in the temple of the Ashtoreths and fastened his body to the wall of Beth Shan.11When the people of Jabesh Gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul,12all their valiant men marched through the night to Beth Shan. They took down the bodies of Saul and his sons from the wall of Beth Shan and went to Jabesh, where they burned them.13Then they took their bones and buried them under a tamarisk tree at Jabesh, and they fasted seven days.
1In you, LORD, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame.2In your righteousness, rescue me and deliver me; turn your ear to me and save me.3Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go; give the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.4Deliver me, my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of those who are evil and cruel.5For you have been my hope, Sovereign LORD, my confidence since my youth.6From birth I have relied on you; you brought me forth from my mother’s womb. I will ever praise you.7I have become a sign to many; you are my strong refuge.8My mouth is filled with your praise, declaring your splendor all day long.9Do not cast me away when I am old; do not forsake me when my strength is gone.10For my enemies speak against me; those who wait to kill me conspire together.11They say, “God has forsaken him; pursue him and seize him, for no one will rescue him.”12Do not be far from me, my God; come quickly, God, to help me.13May my accusers perish in shame; may those who want to harm me be covered with scorn and disgrace.14As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more.15My mouth will tell of your righteous deeds, of your saving acts all day long— though I know not how to relate them all.16I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, Sovereign LORD; I will proclaim your righteous deeds, yours alone.17Since my youth, God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds.18Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come.19Your righteousness, God, reaches to the heavens, you who have done great things. Who is like you, God?20Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up.21You will increase my honor and comfort me once more.22I will praise you with the harp for your faithfulness, my God; I will sing praise to you with the lyre, Holy One of Israel.23My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to you— I whom you have delivered.24My tongue will tell of your righteous acts all day long, for those who wanted to harm me have been put to shame and confusion.