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Joshua 7; Joshua 8; Joshua 9; Luke 1:21-38

1 The Israelites did a disrespectful thing concerning the items reserved for God. Achan was the son of Carmi, grandson of Zabdi, great-grandson of Zerah. He was from the tribe of Judah. He took some of the things reserved for God. So the LORD was furious with the Israelites. 2 Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is near Beth-aven to the east of Bethel. He said to them, "Go up. Scout out the land." So the men went up and scouted out Ai. 3 They came back to Joshua and said to him, "There is no need for all of the people to go up. Two or three thousand men could go up and strike Ai. Don't make all of the people bother going there. There are just a few of them." 4 So about three thousand men from the people went up in that direction. But they fled from the men of Ai. 5 The men of Ai struck down approximately thirty-six of them. They chased them from outside the gate as far as Shebarim. They struck them down on the slope. Then the hearts of the people melted and turned to water. 6 Joshua ripped open his clothes. He, along with the elders of Israel, lay flat on their faces before the LORD's chest until evening. They put dust on their heads. 7 Then Joshua said, "Oh no, LORD God! Why did you ever bring this people across the Jordan? Was it to hand us over to the power of the Amorites, to destroy us? If only we had been prepared to live on the other side of the Jordan! 8 Please forgive me, LORD. What can I say now that Israel has retreated before its enemies? 9 The Canaanites and the whole population of the land will hear of it. They will surround us and make our name disappear from the earth. What will you do about your great name then?" 10 The LORD said to Joshua, "Get up! Why do you lie flat on your face like this? 11 Israel has sinned. They have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep. They have taken some of the things reserved for me and put them with their own things. They have stolen and kept it a secret. 12 The Israelites can't stand up to their enemies. They retreat before their enemies because they themselves have become a doomed thing reserved for me. I will no longer be with you unless you destroy the things reserved for me that are present among you. 13 Go and make the people holy. Say, ‘Get ready for tomorrow by making yourselves holy. This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: 'Israel! Things reserved for me are present among you. You won't be able to stand up to your enemies until you remove from your presence the things reserved for me.'' 14 In the morning, come forward tribe by tribe. Whichever tribe the LORD selects must come forward clan by clan. Whichever clan the LORD selects must come forward family by family. Whichever family the LORD selects will come forward by individual soldiers. 15 The person selected, who has the things reserved for God, must be put to death by burning. Burn everything that belongs to him too. This is because he has violated the LORD's covenant and has committed an outrage in Israel." 16 Joshua got up early in the morning. He made Israel come forward tribe by tribe. The tribe of Judah was selected. 17 He made the clans of Judah come forward. He selected the clan of Zerah. He made the clan of Zerah come forward as individual soldiers. Zabdi was selected. 18 He made each soldier of his family come forward. Achan was selected. He was a son of Carmi, grandson of Zabdi, great-grandson of Zerah, and of the tribe of Judah. 19 Joshua said to Achan, "My son, give glory to the LORD the God of Israel. Tell me what you have done. Don't hide anything from me." 20 Achan answered Joshua, "It's true. I've sinned against the LORD, the God of Israel. This is what I have done: 21 Among the booty I saw a single beautiful robe in the Babylonian style, two hundred shekels of silver, and a single gold bar weighing fifty shekels. I desired them and took them. Now they are hidden in the ground inside my tent, with the silver on the bottom." 22 Then Joshua sent messengers. They ran to the tent. There it was, hidden in his tent, with the silver on the bottom. 23 They took the things from inside the tent. They brought them to Joshua and to all the Israelites and emptied them out before the LORD. 24 Then Joshua seized Achan, Zerah's son, along with the silver, the robe, the gold bar, his sons and daughters, his cattle, donkeys, flocks, tent, and everything that belonged to him. All Israel joined Joshua. They brought them up to Achor Valley. 25 Joshua said, "You have brought disaster to us! May the LORD bring disaster to you today!" Then all Israel stoned him. They burned them with fire and stoned them with stones. 26 They raised over him a great pile of stones that is still there today. Then the LORD turned away from his fury. So he named that place Achor Valley. It is still called that today.
1 The LORD said to Joshua, "Don't be afraid or terrified. Take the entire army with you. Start to go up to Ai. Look! I have given the king of Ai, his people, his city, and his land into your power. 2 Do to Ai and its king what you did to Jericho and its king. But you may take its booty and cattle as plunder. Set your ambush behind the city." 3 So Joshua and the whole army got ready to go up to Ai. Joshua chose thirty thousand brave soldiers. He sent them out by night. 4 He commanded them, "Look. You are to ambush the city from behind. Don't move too far away from the city. Be ready, all of you. 5 I will approach the city with all the people. When they come out against us the same way as before, we will flee from them. 6 They will come out after us until we have drawn them away from the city. They will think, They are fleeing from us as before. So we will flee from them. 7 But you will rise up from the ambush and take over the city. The LORD your God will give it into your power. 8 As soon as you seize the city, set it on fire. Act according to the LORD's word. Indeed, I have given you an order!" 9 Joshua sent them off, and they went to set the ambush. They stayed between Bethel and Ai, to the west of Ai. Joshua spent that night among the people. 10 Joshua got up early in the morning and mustered the people. Then he and the elders of Israel went up in front of the people to Ai. 11 The entire army that was with him went up. They moved in close, in front of the city. Then they camped north of Ai, with the valley between them and Ai. 12 He took about five thousand men and positioned them as an ambush between Bethel and Ai to the west of the city. 13 The people positioned the main camp on the north side of the city and its rear guard on its west side. That night, Joshua went into the middle of the valley. 14 As soon as the king of Ai saw this, he and all his troops, the men of the city, hurried out early in the morning to meet Israel in battle. They moved out to the battleground on the slopes down toward the Jordan. He didn't know that there was an ambush set against him behind the city. 15 Then Joshua and all Israel let themselves be beaten before them. They fled in the direction of the desert. 16 Next, all the troops who were still in the city were called out to chase them. They chased after Joshua and so let themselves be drawn away from the city. 17 No one who hadn't gone out after Israel was left in either Ai or Bethel. They left the city wide open and chased after Israel. 18 The LORD said to Joshua, "Point the dagger in your hand toward Ai, because I will give it into your power." So Joshua pointed the dagger in his hand toward the city. 19 The ambush quickly rose from its place. As soon as he reached out his hand, it charged. They entered the city and captured it. They set the city on fire at once. 20 Then the men of Ai turned around. They caught sight of the smoke of the city rising toward the sky. They had no chance to flee one way or the other. The troops who were fleeing toward the desert turned against the pursuit. 21 Joshua and all Israel saw that the ambush had captured the city and that the smoke of the city was rising. So they turned and struck down the men of Ai. 22 When other Israelites came out of the city to confront them, the men of Ai were caught in the middle. Some Israelites were on one side of them and some on the other. The Israelites struck them down until there was no one left to escape. 23 But they seized the king of Ai alive and brought him to Joshua. 24 Israel finished killing the entire population of Ai that had chased them out into the open wasteland. All of them were finished off without mercy. Then all Israel went back to Ai and struck it down without mercy. 25 Twelve thousand men and women died that day, all the people of Ai. 26 Joshua didn't pull back the hand that was stretched out holding a dagger until he had wiped out the whole population of Ai as something reserved for God. 27 However, Israel did take the cattle and other booty of that city as plunder for themselves, in agreement with the command that the LORD had given Joshua. 28 Then Joshua burned Ai. He made it a permanently deserted mound. That is still the case today. 29 He hanged the king of Ai on a tree until evening. At sundown, Joshua gave an order, and they took his body down from the tree. They threw it down at the opening of the city gate. Then they raised over it a great pile of stones that is still there today. 30 Then Joshua built an altar on Mount Ebal to the LORD, the God of Israel. 31 This was exactly what Moses the LORD's servant had commanded the Israelites. It is what is written in the Instruction scroll from Moses: "an altar of crude stones against which no iron tool has swung." On it they offered entirely burned offerings to the LORD and sacrificed well-being offerings. 32 There, in the presence of the Israelites, Joshua wrote on the stones a copy of the Instruction from Moses, which Moses had written earlier. 33 All Israel—with its elders, officers, and judges—were standing on either side of the chest. They were facing the levitical priests who carry the LORD's chest containing the covenant. They included both immigrants and full citizens. Half stood facing Mount Gerizim and half stood facing Mount Ebal. This was exactly what Moses the LORD's servant had initially commanded for the blessing of the Israelite people. 34 Afterward, Joshua read aloud all the words of the Instruction, both blessing and curse, in agreement with everything written in the Instruction scroll. 35 There wasn't a single word of all that Moses had commanded that Joshua failed to read aloud in the presence of the entire assembly of Israel. This assembly included the women and small children, along with the immigrants who lived among them.
1 All the kings on the west side of the Jordan heard about this, including those in the highlands, the lowlands, and along the entire coast of the Mediterranean Sea toward Lebanon. They were Hittites and Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. 2 They formed an alliance to fight Joshua and Israel. 3 In contrast, when the population of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, 4 they acted cleverly. They set out pretending to be messengers. They took worn-out sacks for their donkeys and worn-out wineskins that were split and mended. 5 They had worn-out, patched sandals on their feet and were wearing worn-out clothes. All the bread in their supplies was dry and crumbly. 6 They went to Joshua at the camp at Gilgal. They said to him and to Israel, "We have come from a distant country. So now, make a treaty with us." 7 Israel said to the Hivites, "Perhaps you live among us. How then could we make a treaty with you?" 8 Then they said to Joshua, "We are your servants." Joshua said to them, "Who are you? Where have you come from?" 9 They said to him, "Your servants have come from a very distant country because of the reputation of the LORD your God. We have heard a report about him and everything he did in Egypt. 10 We heard about everything he did to the two kings of the Amorites on the east side of the Jordan, Heshbon's King Sihon and Bashan's King Og, who was in Ashtaroth. 11 Our elders and all the population of our land said to us, ‘Take along supplies for the journey. Go meet them and say to them, 'We are your servants. So now make a treaty with us.'' 12 This is our bread. On the day we left to come to you we took it warm from our houses as supplies. But now here it is, dried up and crumbly. 13 These wineskins were new when we filled them. But here they are, split open. These clothes and sandals of ours are worn out from the very long journey." 14 The Israelites took some of their supplies, but they didn't ask for any decision from the LORD. 15 Joshua made peace with them. He made a treaty with them to protect their lives. The leaders of the community made a solemn pledge to them. 16 Three days after the Israelites made a treaty with the Gibeonites, the Israelites heard that they were actually their neighbors and were living among them. 17 So on the third day the Israelites marched out and came to their cities: Gibeon, Chephirah, Beeroth, and Kiriath-jearim. 18 But the Israelites didn't strike at them. This was because the leaders of the community had made a solemn pledge to them by the LORD, the God of Israel. The entire community grumbled against the leaders. 19 Then all the leaders said to the whole community, "We have made a solemn pledge to them by the LORD, the God of Israel. So we can't touch them now. 20 This is what we'll do with them. We'll let them live so that wrath won't come down on us because of the solemn pledge that we made to them." 21 The leaders went on to say to them, "Let them live." So they became woodcutters and water haulers for the whole community, exactly as the leaders had intended for them. 22 Joshua called for the Gibeonites and spoke to them: "Why have you deceived us by saying, ‘We live very far away from you,' when actually you live among us? 23 So now you are cursed. Some of you will always serve as woodcutters and water haulers for my God's house." 24 They answered Joshua, "Your servants had been told that the LORD your God had commanded his servant Moses to give you the entire land and to wipe out all its population on your account. So we feared for our very lives because of you and did this thing. 25 Now, here we are in your power. Do to us whatever seems good and proper to you." 26 So Joshua treated them in this way. He spared them from the power of the Israelites, and they didn't kill them. 27 That day Joshua assigned them as woodcutters and water haulers for the community and for the LORD's altar, located wherever God would choose. That is still the case today.
21 Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah, and they wondered why he was in the sanctuary for such a long time. 22 When he came out, he was unable to speak to them. They realized he had seen a vision in the temple, for he gestured to them and couldn't speak. 23 When he completed the days of his priestly service, he returned home. 24 Afterward, his wife Elizabeth became pregnant. She kept to herself for five months, saying, 25 "This is the Lord's doing. He has shown his favor to me by removing my disgrace among other people." 26 When Elizabeth was six months pregnant, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a city in Galilee, 27 to a virgin who was engaged to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David's house. The virgin's name was Mary. 28 When the angel came to her, he said, "Rejoice, favored one! The Lord is with you!" 29 She was confused by these words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 The angel said, "Don't be afraid, Mary. God is honoring you. 31 Look! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be great and he will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of David his father. 33 He will rule over Jacob's house forever, and there will be no end to his kingdom." 34 Then Mary said to the angel, "How will this happen since I haven't had sexual relations with a man?" 35 The angel replied, "The Holy Spirit will come over you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, the one who is to be born will be holy. He will be called God's Son. 36 Look, even in her old age, your relative Elizabeth has conceived a son. This woman who was labeled ‘unable to conceive' is now six months pregnant. 37 Nothing is impossible for God." 38 Then Mary said, "I am the Lord's servant. Let it be with me just as you have said." Then the angel left her.
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