10When the governor motioned for him to speak, Paul replied: “I know that for a number of years you have been a judge over this nation; so I gladly make my defense.11You can easily verify that no more than twelve days ago I went up to Jerusalem to worship.12My accusers did not find me arguing with anyone at the temple, or stirring up a crowd in the synagogues or anywhere else in the city.13And they cannot prove to you the charges they are now making against me.14However, I admit that I worship the God of our ancestors as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect. I believe everything that is in accordance with the Law and that is written in the Prophets,15and I have the same hope in God as these men themselves have, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked.16So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man.17“After an absence of several years, I came to Jerusalem to bring my people gifts for the poor and to present offerings.18I was ceremonially clean when they found me in the temple courts doing this. There was no crowd with me, nor was I involved in any disturbance.19But there are some Jews from the province of Asia, who ought to be here before you and bring charges if they have anything against me.20Or these who are here should state what crime they found in me when I stood before the Sanhedrin—21unless it was this one thing I shouted as I stood in their presence: ‘It is concerning the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial before you today.’ ”22Then Felix, who was well acquainted with the Way, adjourned the proceedings. “When Lysias the commander comes,” he said, “I will decide your case.”23He ordered the centurion to keep Paul under guard but to give him some freedom and permit his friends to take care of his needs.24Several days later Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish. He sent for Paul and listened to him as he spoke about faith in Christ Jesus.25As Paul talked about righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, “That’s enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you.”26At the same time he was hoping that Paul would offer him a bribe, so he sent for him frequently and talked with him.27When two years had passed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus, but because Felix wanted to grant a favor to the Jews, he left Paul in prison.
1The men of Israel had taken an oath at Mizpah: “Not one of us will give his daughter in marriage to a Benjamite.”2The people went to Bethel, where they sat before God until evening, raising their voices and weeping bitterly.3“LORD, God of Israel,” they cried, “why has this happened to Israel? Why should one tribe be missing from Israel today?”4Early the next day the people built an altar and presented burnt offerings and fellowship offerings.5Then the Israelites asked, “Who from all the tribes of Israel has failed to assemble before the LORD?” For they had taken a solemn oath that anyone who failed to assemble before the LORD at Mizpah was to be put to death.6Now the Israelites grieved for the tribe of Benjamin, their fellow Israelites. “Today one tribe is cut off from Israel,” they said.7“How can we provide wives for those who are left, since we have taken an oath by the LORD not to give them any of our daughters in marriage?”8Then they asked, “Which one of the tribes of Israel failed to assemble before the LORD at Mizpah?” They discovered that no one from Jabesh Gilead had come to the camp for the assembly.9For when they counted the people, they found that none of the people of Jabesh Gilead were there.10So the assembly sent twelve thousand fighting men with instructions to go to Jabesh Gilead and put to the sword those living there, including the women and children.11“This is what you are to do,” they said. “Kill every male and every woman who is not a virgin.”12They found among the people living in Jabesh Gilead four hundred young women who had never slept with a man, and they took them to the camp at Shiloh in Canaan.13Then the whole assembly sent an offer of peace to the Benjamites at the rock of Rimmon.14So the Benjamites returned at that time and were given the women of Jabesh Gilead who had been spared. But there were not enough for all of them.15The people grieved for Benjamin, because the LORD had made a gap in the tribes of Israel.16And the elders of the assembly said, “With the women of Benjamin destroyed, how shall we provide wives for the men who are left?17The Benjamite survivors must have heirs,” they said, “so that a tribe of Israel will not be wiped out.18We can’t give them our daughters as wives, since we Israelites have taken this oath: ‘Cursed be anyone who gives a wife to a Benjamite.’19But look, there is the annual festival of the LORD in Shiloh, which lies north of Bethel, east of the road that goes from Bethel to Shechem, and south of Lebonah.”20So they instructed the Benjamites, saying, “Go and hide in the vineyards21and watch. When the young women of Shiloh come out to join in the dancing, rush from the vineyards and each of you seize one of them to be your wife. Then return to the land of Benjamin.22When their fathers or brothers complain to us, we will say to them, ‘Do us the favor of helping them, because we did not get wives for them during the war. You will not be guilty of breaking your oath because you did not give your daughters to them.’ ”23So that is what the Benjamites did. While the young women were dancing, each man caught one and carried her off to be his wife. Then they returned to their inheritance and rebuilt the towns and settled in them.24At that time the Israelites left that place and went home to their tribes and clans, each to his own inheritance.25In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.
1God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.2Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,3though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.4There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.5God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.6Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts.7The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.8Come and see what the LORD has done, the desolations he has brought on the earth.9He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire.10He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”11The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.