2 Samuel 23; 2 Samuel 24; Luke 19:1-27

1 David son of Jesse was the man whom God made great, whom the God of Jacob chose to be king, and who was the composer of beautiful songs for Israel. These are David's last words: 2 The spirit of the Lord speaks through me; his message is on my lips. 3 The God of Israel has spoken; the protector of Israel said to me: "The king who rules with justice, who rules in obedience to God, 4 is like the sun shining on a cloudless dawn, the sun that makes the grass sparkle after rain. 5 And that is how God will bless my descendants, because he has made an eternal covenant with me, an agreement that will not be broken, a promise that will not be changed. That is all I desire; that will be my victory, and God will surely bring it about. 6 But godless people are like thorns that are thrown away; no one can touch them barehanded. 7 You must use an iron tool or a spear; they will be burned completely. 8 These are the names of David's famous soldiers: the first was Josheb Basshebeth from Tachemon, who was the leader of "The Three"; he fought with his spear against eight hundred men and killed them all in one battle. 9 The second of the famous three was Eleazar son of Dodo, of the clan of Ahoh. One day he and David challenged the Philistines who had gathered for battle. The Israelites fell back, 10 but he stood his ground and fought the Philistines until his hand was so cramped that he could not let go of his sword. The Lord won a great victory that day. After it was over, the Israelites returned to where Eleazar was and stripped the armor from the dead. 11 The third of the famous three was Shammah son of Agee from Harar. The Philistines had gathered at Lehi, where there was a field of peas. The Israelites fled from the Philistines, 12 but Shammah stood his ground in the field, defended it, and killed the Philistines. The Lord won a great victory that day. 13 Near the beginning of harvest time three of "The Thirty" went down to Adullam Cave, where David was, while a band of Philistines was camping in Rephaim Valley. 14 At that time David was on a fortified hill, and a group of Philistines had occupied Bethlehem 15 David grew homesick and said, "How I wish someone would bring me a drink of water from the well by the gate at Bethlehem!" 16 The three famous soldiers forced their way through the Philistine camp, drew some water from the well, and brought it back to David. But he would not drink it; instead he poured it out as an offering to the Lord 17 and said, "Lord, I could never drink this! It would be like drinking the blood of these men who risked their lives!" So he refused to drink it. Those were the brave deeds of the three famous soldiers. 18 Joab's brother Abishai (their mother was Zeruiah) was the leader of "The Famous Thirty." He fought with his spear against three hundred men and killed them, and became famous among "The Thirty." 19 He was the most famous of "The Thirty" and became their leader, but he was not as famous as "The Three. 20 Benaiah son of Jehoiada from Kabzeel was another famous soldier; he did many brave deeds, including killing two great Moabite warriors. He once went down into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion. 21 He also killed an Egyptian, a huge man who was armed with a spear. Benaiah attacked him with his club, snatched the spear from the Egyptian's hand, and killed him with it 22 Those were the brave deeds of Benaiah, who was one of "The Thirty." 23 He was outstanding among them, but was not as famous as "The Three." David put him in charge of his bodyguard. 24 Other members of "The Thirty" included: 23:Asahel, Joab's brother23:Elhanan son of Dodo from Bethlehem23:Shammah and Elika from Harod23:Helez from Pelet23:Ira son of Ikkesh from Tekoa23:Abiezer from Anathoth23:Mebunnai from Hushah23:Zalmon from Ahoh23:Maharai from Netophah23:Heleb son of Baanah from Netophah23:Ittai son of Ribai from Gibeah in Benjamin23:Benaiah from Pirathon23:Hiddai from the valleys near Gaash23:Abialbon from Arabah23:Azmaveth from Bahurim23:Eliahba from Shaalbon23:The sons of Jashen23:Jonathan23:Shammah from Harar23:Ahiam son of Sharar from Harar23:Eliphelet son of Ahasbai from Maacah23:Eliam son of Ahithophel from Gilo23:Hezro from Carmel23:Paarai from Arab23:Igal son of Nathan from Zobah23:Bani from Gad23:Zelek from Ammon23:Naharai from Beeroth, Joab's armorbearer23:Ira and Gareb from Jattir23:Uriah the Hittite. There were thirty-seven famous soldiers in all.
1 On another occasion the Lord was angry with Israel, and he made David bring trouble on them. The Lord said to him, "Go and count the people of Israel and Judah." 2 So David gave orders to Joab, the commander of his army: "Go with your officers through all the tribes of Israel from one end of the country to the other, and count the people. I want to know how many there are." 3 But Joab answered the king, "Your Majesty, may the Lord your God make the people of Israel a hundred times more numerous than they are now, and may you live to see him do it. But why does Your Majesty want to do this?" 4 But the king made Joab and his officers obey his order; they left his presence and went out to count the people of Israel. 5 They crossed the Jordan and camped south of Aroer, the city in the middle of the valley, in the territory of Gad. From there they went north to Jazer, 6 and on to Gilead and to Kadesh, in Hittite territory. Then they went to Dan, and from Dan they went west to Sidon. 7 Then they went south to the fortified city of Tyre, on to all the cities of the Hivites and the Canaanites, and finally to Beersheba, in the southern part of Judah. 8 So after nine months and twenty days they returned to Jerusalem, having traveled through the whole country. 9 They reported to the king the total number of men capable of military service: 800,000 in Israel and 500,000 in Judah. 10 But after David had taken the census, his conscience began to hurt, and he said to the Lord, "I have committed a terrible sin in doing this! Please forgive me. I have acted foolishly." 11 The Lord said to Gad, David's prophet, "Go and tell David that I am giving him three choices. I will do whichever he chooses." The next morning, after David had gotten up, 13 Gad went to him, told him what the Lord had said, and asked, "Which is it to be? Three years of famine in your land or three months of running away from your enemies or three days of an epidemic in your land? Now think it over, and tell me what answer to take back to the Lord." 14 David answered, "I am in a desperate situation! But I don't want to be punished by people. Let the Lord himself be the one to punish us, for he is merciful." 15 So the Lord sent an epidemic on Israel, which lasted from that morning until the time that he had chosen. From one end of the country to the other seventy thousand Israelites died. 16 When the Lord's angel was about to destroy Jerusalem, the Lord changed his mind about punishing the people and said to the angel who was killing them, "Stop! That's enough!" The angel was by the threshing place of Araunah, a Jebusite. 17 David saw the angel who was killing the people, and said to the Lord, "I am the guilty one. I am the one who did wrong. What have these poor people done? You should punish me and my family." 18 That same day Gad went to David and said to him, "Go up to Araunah's threshing place and build an altar to the Lord." 19 David obeyed the Lord's command and went as Gad had told him to. 20 Araunah looked down and saw the king and his officials coming up to him. He threw himself on the ground in front of David 21 and asked, "Your Majesty, why are you here?" David answered, "To buy your threshing place and build an altar for the Lord, in order to stop the epidemic." 22 "Take it, Your Majesty," Araunah said, "and offer to the Lord whatever you wish. Here are these oxen to burn as an offering on the altar; here are their yokes and the threshing boards to use as fuel." 23 Araunah gave it all to the king and said to him, "May the Lord your God accept your offering." 24 But the king answered, "No, I will pay you for it. I will not offer to the Lord my God sacrifices that have cost me nothing." And he bought the threshing place and the oxen for fifty pieces of silver. 25 Then he built an altar to the Lord and offered burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. The Lord answered his prayer, and the epidemic in Israel was stopped.
1 Jesus went on into Jericho and was passing through. 2 There was a chief tax collector there named Zacchaeus, who was rich. 3 He was trying to see who Jesus was, but he was a little man and could not see Jesus because of the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead of the crowd and climbed a sycamore tree to see Jesus, who was going to pass that way. 5 When Jesus came to that place, he looked up and said to Zacchaeus, "Hurry down, Zacchaeus, because I must stay in your house today." 6 Zacchaeus hurried down and welcomed him with great joy. 7 All the people who saw it started grumbling, "This man has gone as a guest to the home of a sinner!" 8 Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, "Listen, sir! I will give half my belongings to the poor, and if I have cheated anyone, I will pay back four times as much." 9 Jesus said to him, "Salvation has come to this house today, for this man, also, is a descendant of Abraham. 10 The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost." 11 While the people were listening to this, Jesus continued and told them a parable. He was now almost at Jerusalem, and they supposed that the Kingdom of God was just about to appear. 12 So he said, "There was once a man of high rank who was going to a country far away to be made king, after which he planned to come back home. 13 Before he left, he called his ten servants and gave them each a gold coin and told them, "See what you can earn with this while I am gone.' 14 Now, his own people hated him, and so they sent messengers after him to say, "We don't want this man to be our king.' 15 "The man was made king and came back. At once he ordered his servants to appear before him, in order to find out how much they had earned. 16 The first one came and said, "Sir, I have earned ten gold coins with the one you gave me.' 17 "Well done,' he said; "you are a good servant! Since you were faithful in small matters, I will put you in charge of ten cities.' 18 The second servant came and said, "Sir, I have earned five gold coins with the one you gave me.' 19 To this one he said, "You will be in charge of five cities.' 20 Another servant came and said, "Sir, here is your gold coin; I kept it hidden in a handkerchief. 21 I was afraid of you, because you are a hard man. You take what is not yours and reap what you did not plant.' 22 He said to him, "You bad servant! I will use your own words to condemn you! You know that I am a hard man, taking what is not mine and reaping what I have not planted. 23 Well, then, why didn't you put my money in the bank? Then I would have received it back with interest when I returned.' 24 Then he said to those who were standing there, "Take the gold coin away from him and give it to the servant who has ten coins.' 25 But they said to him, "Sir, he already has ten coins!' 26 "I tell you,' he replied, "that to those who have something, even more will be given; but those who have nothing, even the little that they have will be taken away from them. 27 Now, as for those enemies of mine who did not want me to be their king, bring them here and kill them in my presence!' "
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