Numbers 5; Numbers 6; Mark 4:1-20

1 The Lord said to Moses, 2 "Command the people of Israel to expel from the camp everyone with a dreaded skin disease or a bodily discharge and everyone who is unclean by contact with a corpse. 3 Send all these ritually unclean people out, so that they will not defile the camp, where I live among my people." 4 The Israelites obeyed and expelled them all from the camp. 5 The Lord gave Moses 6 the following instructions for the people of Israel. When any of you are unfaithful to the Lord and commit a wrong against someone, 7 you must confess your sin and make full repayment, plus an additional 20 percent, to the person you have wronged. 8 But if that person has died and has no near relative to whom payment can be made, it shall be given to the Lord for the priest. This payment is in addition to the ram used to perform the ritual of purification for the guilty person. 9 Also every special contribution which the Israelites offer to the Lord belongs to the priest to whom they present it. 10 Each priest shall keep the offerings presented to him. 11 The Lord commanded Moses 12 to give the Israelites the following instructions. It may happen that a man becomes suspicious that his wife is unfaithful to him and has defiled herself by having intercourse with another man. But the husband may not be certain, for his wife may have kept it secret - there was no witness, and she was not caught in the act. Or it may happen that a husband becomes suspicious of his wife, even though she has not been unfaithful. 15 In either case the man shall take his wife to the priest. He shall also take the required offering of two pounds of barley flour, but he shall not pour any olive oil on it or put any incense on it, because it is an offering from a suspicious husband, made to bring the truth to light. 16 The priest shall bring the woman forward and have her stand in front of the altar. 17 He shall pour some holy water into a clay bowl and take some of the earth that is on the floor of the Tent of the Lord's presence and put it in the water to make it bitter. 18 Then he shall loosen the woman's hair and put the offering of flour in her hands. In his hands the priest shall hold the bowl containing the bitter water that brings a curse. 19 Then the priest shall make the woman agree to this oath spoken by the priest: "If you have not committed adultery, you will not be harmed by the curse that this water brings. 20 But if you have committed adultery, 21 may the Lord make your name a curse among your people. May he cause your genital organs to shrink and your stomach to swell up. 22 May this water enter your stomach and cause it to swell up and your genital organs to shrink." The woman shall respond, "I agree; may the Lord do so." 23 Then the priest shall write this curse down and wash the writing off into the bowl of bitter water. 24 Before he makes the woman drink the water, which may then cause her bitter pain, 25 the priest shall take the offering of flour out of the woman's hands, hold it out in dedication to the Lord, and present it on the altar. 26 Then he shall take a handful of it as a token offering and burn it on the altar. Finally, he shall make the woman drink the water. 27 If she has committed adultery, the water will cause bitter pain; her stomach will swell up and her genital organs will shrink. Her name will become a curse among her people. 28 But if she is innocent, she will not be harmed and will be able to bear children. 29 This is the law in cases where a man is jealous and becomes suspicious that his wife has committed adultery. The woman shall be made to stand in front of the altar, and the priest shall perform this ritual. 31 The husband shall be free of guilt, but the woman, if guilty, must suffer the consequences.
1 The Lord commanded Moses 2 to give the following instructions to the people of Israel. Any of you, male or female, who make a special vow to become a nazirite and dedicate yourself to the Lord 3 shall abstain from wine and beer. You shall not drink any kind of drink made from grapes or eat any grapes or raisins. 4 As long as you are a nazirite, you shall not eat anything that comes from a grapevine, not even the seeds or skins of grapes. 5 As long as you are under the nazirite vow, you must not cut your hair or shave. You are bound by the vow for the full time that you are dedicated to the Lord, and you shall let your hair grow. 6 Your hair is the sign of your dedication to God, and so you must not defile yourself by going near a corpse, not even that of your father, mother, brother, or sister. 8 As long as you are a nazirite, you are consecrated to the Lord. 9 If your consecrated hair is defiled because you are right beside someone who suddenly dies, you must wait seven days and then shave your head; and so you become ritually clean. 10 On the eighth day you shall bring two doves or two pigeons to the priest at the entrance of the Tent of the Lord's presence. 11 The priest shall offer one as a sin offering and the other as a burnt offering, to perform the ritual of purification for you because of your contact with a corpse. On the same day you shall reconsecrate your hair 12 and rededicate to the Lord your time as a nazirite. The previous period of time doesn't count, because your consecrated hair was defiled. As a repayment offering you shall bring a one-year-old lamb. 13 When you complete your nazirite vow, you shall perform this ritual. You shall go to the entrance of the Tent 14 and present to the Lord three animals without any defects: a one-year-old male lamb for a burnt offering, a one-year-old ewe lamb for a sin offering, and a ram for a fellowship offering. 15 You shall also offer a basket of bread made without yeast: thick loaves made of flour mixed with olive oil and thin cakes brushed with olive oil, and in addition the required offerings of grain and wine. 16 The priest shall present all these to the Lord and offer the sin offering and the burnt offering. 17 He shall sacrifice the ram to the Lord as a fellowship offering, and offer it with the basket of bread; he shall also present the offerings of grain and wine. 18 At the entrance of the Tent you nazirites shall shave off your hair and put it on the fire on which the fellowship offering is being burned. 19 Then, when the shoulder of the ram is boiled, the priest shall take it and put it, together with one thick loaf of bread and one thin cake from the basket, into the hands of the nazirite. 20 Next, the priest shall present them as a special gift to the Lord; they are a sacred offering for the priest, in addition to the breast and the leg of the ram which by law belong to the priest. After that, the nazirite may drink wine. 21 These are the regulations for you nazirites; but if you promise an offering beyond what your vow requires you to give, you must fulfill exactly the promise you made. 22 The Lord commanded Moses 23 to tell Aaron and his sons to use the following words in blessing the people of Israel: 24 May the Lord bless you and take care of you; 25 May the Lord be kind and gracious to you; 26 May the Lord look on you with favor and give you peace. 27 And the Lord said, "If they pronounce my name as a blessing upon the people of Israel, I will bless them."
1 Again Jesus began to teach beside Lake Galilee. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it. The boat was out in the water, and the crowd stood on the shore at the water's edge. 2 He used parables to teach them many things, saying to them: 3 "Listen! Once there was a man who went out to sow grain. 4 As he scattered the seed in the field, some of it fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some of it fell on rocky ground, where there was little soil. The seeds soon sprouted, because the soil wasn't deep. 6 Then, when the sun came up, it burned the young plants; and because the roots had not grown deep enough, the plants soon dried up. 7 Some of the seed fell among thorn bushes, which grew up and choked the plants, and they didn't bear grain. 8 But some seeds fell in good soil, and the plants sprouted, grew, and bore grain: some had thirty grains, others sixty, and others one hundred." 9 And Jesus concluded, "Listen, then, if you have ears!" 10 When Jesus was alone, some of those who had heard him came to him with the twelve disciples and asked him to explain the parables. 11 "You have been given the secret of the Kingdom of God," Jesus answered. "But the others, who are on the outside, hear all things by means of parables, 12 so that, "They may look and look, yet not see; they may listen and listen, yet not understand. For if they did, they would turn to God, and he would forgive them.' " 13 Then Jesus asked them, "Don't you understand this parable? How, then, will you ever understand any parable? 14 The sower sows God's message. 15 Some people are like the seeds that fall along the path; as soon as they hear the message, Satan comes and takes it away. 16 Other people are like the seeds that fall on rocky ground. As soon as they hear the message, they receive it gladly. 17 But it does not sink deep into them, and they don't last long. So when trouble or persecution comes because of the message, they give up at once. 18 Other people are like the seeds sown among the thorn bushes. These are the ones who hear the message, 19 but the worries about this life, the love for riches, and all other kinds of desires crowd in and choke the message, and they don't bear fruit. 20 But other people are like seeds sown in good soil. They hear the message, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirty, some sixty, and some one hundred."
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