Mark 7:14-37; 2 Samuel 18; Daniel 11:21-45

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Mark 7:14-37

14 Summoning the crowd again, He told them, "Listen to Me, all of you, and understand:
15 Nothing that goes into a person from outside can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.
16 If anyone has ears to hear, he should listen!"
17 When He went into the house away from the crowd, the disciples asked Him about the parable.
18 And He said to them, "Are you also as lacking in understanding? Don't you realize that nothing going into a man from the outside can defile him?
19 For it doesn't go into his heart but into the stomach and is eliminated." (As a result, He made all foods clean.)
20 Then He said, "What comes out of a person-that defiles him.
21 For from within, out of people's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immoralities, thefts, murders,
22 adulteries, greed, evil actions, deceit, lewdness, stinginess, blasphemy, pride, and foolishness.
23 All these evil things come from within and defile a person."
24 He got up and departed from there to the region of Tyre and Sidon. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it, but He could not escape notice.
25 Instead, immediately after hearing about Him, a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit came and fell at His feet.
26 Now the woman was Greek, a Syrophoenician by birth, and she kept asking Him to drive the demon out of her daughter.
27 He said to her, "Allow the children to be satisfied first, because it isn't right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs."
28 But she replied to Him, "Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs."
29 Then He told her, "Because of this reply, you may go. The demon has gone out of your daughter."
30 When she went back to her home, she found her child lying on the bed, and the demon was gone.
31 Again, leaving the region of Tyre, He went by way of Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, through the region of the Decapolis.
32 They brought to Him a deaf man who also had a speech difficulty, and begged Jesus to lay His hand on him.
33 So He took him away from the crowd privately. After putting His fingers in the man's ears and spitting, He touched his tongue.
34 Then, looking up to heaven, He sighed deeply and said to him, " Ephphatha !" (that is, "Be opened!" ).
35 Immediately his ears were opened, his speech difficulty was removed, and he began to speak clearly.
36 Then He ordered them to tell no one, but the more He would order them, the more they would proclaim it.
37 They were extremely astonished and said, "He has done everything well! He even makes deaf people hear, and people unable to speak, talk!"

2 Samuel 18

1 David reviewed his troops and appointed commanders of hundreds and of thousands over them.
2 He then sent out the troops, one third under Joab, one third under Joab's brother Abishai son of Zeruiah, and one third under Ittai the Gittite. The king said to the troops, "I will also march out with you."
3 "You must not go!" the people pleaded. "If we have to flee, they will not pay any attention to us. Even if half of us die, they will not pay any attention to us because you are worth 10,000 of us. Therefore, it is better if you support us from the city."
4 "I will do whatever you think is best," the king replied to them. So he stood beside the gate while all the troops marched out by hundreds and thousands.
5 The king commanded Joab, Abishai, and Ittai, "Treat the young man Absalom gently for my sake." All the people heard the king's orders to all the commanders about Absalom.
6 Then David's forces marched into the field to engage Israel in battle, which took place in the forest of Ephraim.
7 The people of Israel were defeated by David's soldiers, and the slaughter there was vast that day-20,000 [casualties].
8 The battle spread over the entire region, and that day the forest claimed more people than the sword.
9 Absalom was riding on his mule when he happened to meet David's soldiers. When the mule went under the tangled branches of a large oak tree, Absalom's head was caught fast in the tree. The mule under him kept going, so he was suspended in midair.
10 One of the men saw [him] and informed Joab. He said, "I just saw Absalom hanging in an oak tree!"
11 "You just saw [him]!" Joab exclaimed. "Why didn't you strike him to the ground right there? I would have given you 10 silver pieces and a belt!"
12 The man replied to Joab, "Even if I had the weight of 1,000 pieces of silver in my hand, I would not raise my hand against the king's son. For we heard the king command you, Abishai, and Ittai, 'Protect the young man Absalom for me.'
13 If I had jeopardized my own life-and nothing is hidden from the king-you would have abandoned me."
14 Joab said, "I'm not going to waste time with you!" He then took three spears in his hand and thrust them into Absalom's heart while he was still alive in the oak tree,
15 and 10 young men who were Joab's armor-bearers surrounded Absalom, struck him, and killed him.
16 Afterwards, Joab blew the ram's horn, and the troops broke off their pursuit of Israel because Joab restrained them.
17 They took Absalom, threw him into a large pit in the forest, and piled a huge mound of stones over him. And all Israel fled, each to his tent.
18 When he was alive, Absalom had erected for himself a pillar in the King's Valley, for he had said, "I have no son to preserve the memory of my name." So he gave the pillar his name. It is still called Absalom's Monument today.
19 Ahimaaz son of Zadok said, "Please let me run and tell the king the good news that the Lord has delivered him from his enemies."
20 Joab replied to him, "You are not the man to take good news today. You may do it another day, but today you aren't taking good news, because the king's son is dead."
21 Joab then said to the Cushite, "Go tell the king what you have seen." The Cushite bowed to Joab and took off running.
22 However, Ahimaaz son of Zadok persisted and said to Joab, "No matter what, please let me run too behind the Cushite!" Joab replied, "My son, why do you want to run since you won't get a reward?"
23 "No matter what I want to run!" "Then run!" Joab said to him. So Ahimaaz ran by way of the plain and outran the Cushite.
24 David was sitting between the two gates when the watchman went up to the roof of the gate and over to the wall. The watchman looked out and saw a man running alone.
25 He called out and told the king. The king said, "If he's alone, he bears good news." As the first runner came closer,
26 the watchman saw another man running. He called out to the gatekeeper, "Look! Another man is running alone!" "This one is also bringing good news," said the king.
27 The watchman said, "The way the first man runs looks to me like the way Ahimaaz son of Zadok runs." "This is a good man; he comes with good news," the king commented.
28 Ahimaaz called out to the king, "All is well," and then bowed down to the king with his face to the ground. He continued, "May the Lord your God be praised! He delivered up the men who rebelled against my lord the king."
29 The king asked, "Is the young man Absalom all right?" Ahimaaz replied, "When Joab sent the king's servant and your servant, I saw a big disturbance, but I don't know what [it was]."
30 The king said, "Move aside and stand here." So he stood to one side.
31 Just then the Cushite came and said, "May my lord the king hear the good news: today the Lord has delivered you from all those rising up against you!"
32 The king asked the Cushite, "Is the young man Absalom all right?" The Cushite replied, "May what has become of the young man happen to the enemies of my lord the king and to all who rise up against you with evil intent."
33 The king was deeply moved and went up to the gate chamber and wept. As he walked, he cried, "My son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you, Absalom, my son, my son!"

Daniel 11:21-45

21 "In his place a despised person will arise; royal honors will not be given to him, but he will come during a time of peaceand seize the kingdom by intrigue.
22 A flood of forces will be swept away before him; they will be shattered, as well as the covenant prince.
23 After an alliance is made with him, he will act deceitfully. He will rise to power with a small nation.
24 During a time of peace, he will come into the richest parts of the province and do what his fathers and predecessors never did. He will lavish plunder, loot, and wealth on his followers, and he will make plans against fortified cities, but only for a time.
25 "With a large army he will stir up his power and his courage against the king of the South. The king of the South will prepare for battle with an extremely large and powerful army, but he will not succeed, because plots will be made against him.
26 Those who eat his provisions will destroy him; his army will be swept away, and many will fall slain.
27 The two kings, whose hearts are bent on evil, will speak lies at the same table but to no avail, for still the end will come at the appointed time.
28 The king of the North will return to his land with great wealth, but his heart will be set against the holy covenant; he will take action, then return to his own land.
29 "At the appointed time he will come again to the South, but this time will not be like the first.
30 Ships of Kittimwill come against him, and being intimidated, he will withdraw. Then he will rage against the holy covenant and take action. On his return, he will favor those who abandon the holy covenant.
31 His forces will rise up and desecrate the temple fortress. They will abolish the daily sacrifice and set up the abomination of desolation.
32 With flattery he will corrupt those who act wickedly toward the covenant, but the people who know their God will be strong and take action.
33 Those who are wise among the people will give understanding to many, yet they will die by sword and flame, and be captured and plundered for a time.
34 When defeated, they will be helped by some, but many others will join them insincerely.
35 Some of the wise will fall so that they may be refined, purified, and cleansed until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time.
36 "Then the king will do whatever he wants. He will exalt and magnify himself above every god, and he will say outrageous things against the God of gods. He will be successful until the time of wrath is completed, because what has been decreed will be accomplished.
37 He will not show regard for the gods of his fathers, the god longed for by women, or for any other god, because he will magnify himself above all.
38 Instead, he will honor a god of fortresses-a god his fathers did not know-with gold, silver, precious stones, and riches.
39 He will deal with the strongest fortresses with [the help of] a foreign god. He will greatly honor those who acknowledge him, making them rulers over many and distributing land as a reward.
40 "At the time of the end, the king of the South will engage him in battle, but the king of the North will storm against him with chariots, horsemen, and many ships. He will invade countries and sweep through them like a flood.
41 He will also invade the beautiful land, and many will fall. But these will escape from his power: Edom, Moab, and the prominent people of the Ammonites.
42 He will extend his power against the countries, and not even the land of Egypt will escape.
43 He will get control over the hidden treasures of gold and silver and over all the riches of Egypt. The Libyans and Cushites will also be in submission.
44 But reports from the east and the north will terrify him, and he will go out with great fury to destroy and annihilate many.
45 He will pitch his royal tents between the sea and the beautiful holy mountain, but he will meet his end with no one to help him.