Psalm 35; Psalm 36; Acts 25

1 Oppose those who oppose me, Lord, and fight those who fight against me! 2 Take your shield and armor and come to my rescue. 3 Lift up your spear and war ax against those who pursue me. Promise that you will save me. 4 May those who try to kill me be defeated and disgraced! May those who plot against me be turned back and confused! 5 May they be like straw blown by the wind as the angel of the Lord pursues them! 6 May their path be dark and slippery while the angel of the Lord strikes them down! 7 Without any reason they laid a trap for me and dug a deep hole to catch me. 8 But destruction will catch them before they know it; they will be caught in their own trap and fall to their destruction! 9 Then I will be glad because of the Lord; I will be happy because he saved me. 10 With all my heart I will say to the Lord, "There is no one like you. You protect the weak from the strong, the poor from the oppressor." 11 Evil people testify against me and accuse me of crimes I know nothing about. 12 They pay me back evil for good, and I sink in despair. 13 But when they were sick, I dressed in mourning; I deprived myself of food; I prayed with my head bowed low, 14 as I would pray for a friend or a brother. I went around bent over in mourning, as one who mourns for his mother. 15 But when I was in trouble, they were all glad and gathered around to make fun of me; strangers beat me and kept striking me. 16 Like those who would mock a cripple, they glared at me with hate. 17 How much longer, Lord, will you just look on? Rescue me from their attacks; save my life from these lions! 18 Then I will thank you in the assembly of your people; I will praise you before them all. 19 Don't let my enemies, those liars, gloat over my defeat. Don't let those who hate me for no reason smirk with delight over my sorrow. 20 They do not speak in a friendly way; instead they invent all kinds of lies about peace-loving people. 21 They accuse me, shouting, "We saw what you did!" 22 But you, O Lord, have seen this. So don't be silent, Lord; don't keep yourself far away! 23 Rouse yourself, O Lord, and defend me; rise up, my God, and plead my cause. 24 You are righteous, O Lord, so declare me innocent; don't let my enemies gloat over me. 25 Don't let them say to themselves, "We are rid of him! That's just what we wanted!" 26 May those who gloat over my suffering be completely defeated and confused; may those who claim to be better than I am be covered with shame and disgrace. 27 May those who want to see me acquitted shout for joy and say again and again, "How great is the Lord! He is pleased with the success of his servant." 28 Then I will proclaim your righteousness, and I will praise you all day long.
1 Sin speaks to the wicked deep in their hearts; they reject God and do not have reverence for him. 2 Because they think so highly of themselves, they think that God will not discover their sin and condemn it. 3 Their speech is wicked and full of lies; they no longer do what is wise and good. 4 They make evil plans as they lie in bed; nothing they do is good, and they never reject anything evil. 5 Lord, your constant love reaches the heavens; your faithfulness extends to the skies. 6 Your righteousness is towering like the mountains; your justice is like the depths of the sea. People and animals are in your care. 7 How precious, O God, is your constant love! We find protection under the shadow of your wings. 8 We feast on the abundant food you provide; you let us drink from the river of your goodness. 9 You are the source of all life, and because of your light we see the light. 10 Continue to love those who know you and to do good to those who are righteous. 11 Do not let proud people attack me or the wicked make me run away. 12 See where evil people have fallen. There they lie, unable to rise.
1 Three days after Festus arrived in the province, he went from Caesarea to Jerusalem, 2 where the chief priests and the Jewish leaders brought their charges against Paul. They begged Festus 3 to do them the favor of having Paul come to Jerusalem, for they had made a plot to kill him on the way. 4 Festus answered, "Paul is being kept a prisoner in Caesarea, and I myself will be going back there soon. 5 Let your leaders go to Caesarea with me and accuse the man if he has done anything wrong." 6 Festus spent another eight or ten days with them and then went to Caesarea. On the next day he sat down in the judgment court and ordered Paul to be brought in. 7 When Paul arrived, the Jews who had come from Jerusalem stood around him and started making many serious charges against him, which they were not able to prove. 8 But Paul defended himself: "I have done nothing wrong against the Law of the Jews or against the Temple or against the Roman Emperor." 9 But Festus wanted to gain favor with the Jews, so he asked Paul, "Would you be willing to go to Jerusalem and be tried on these charges before me there?" 10 Paul said, "I am standing before the Emperor's own judgment court, where I should be tried. I have done no wrong to the Jews, as you yourself well know. 11 If I have broken the law and done something for which I deserve the death penalty, I do not ask to escape it. But if there is no truth in the charges they bring against me, no one can hand me over to them. I appeal to the Emperor." 12 Then Festus, after conferring with his advisers, answered, "You have appealed to the Emperor, so to the Emperor you will go." 13 Some time later King Agrippa and Bernice came to Caesarea to pay a visit of welcome to Festus. 14 After they had been there several days, Festus explained Paul's situation to the king: "There is a man here who was left a prisoner by Felix; 15 and when I went to Jerusalem, the Jewish chief priests and elders brought charges against him and asked me to condemn him. 16 But I told them that we Romans are not in the habit of handing over any who are accused of a crime before they have met their accusers face-to-face and have had the chance of defending themselves against the accusation. 17 When they came here, then, I lost no time, but on the very next day I sat in the judgment court and ordered the man to be brought in. 18 His opponents stood up, but they did not accuse him of any of the evil crimes that I thought they would. 19 All they had were some arguments with him about their own religion and about a man named Jesus, who has died; but Paul claims that he is alive. 20 I was undecided about how I could get information on these matters, so I asked Paul if he would be willing to go to Jerusalem and be tried there on these charges. 21 But Paul appealed; he asked to be kept under guard and to let the Emperor decide his case. So I gave orders for him to be kept under guard until I could send him to the Emperor." 22 Agrippa said to Festus, "I would like to hear this man myself." "You will hear him tomorrow," Festus answered. 23 The next day Agrippa and Bernice came with great pomp and ceremony and entered the audience hall with the military chiefs and the leading men of the city. Festus gave the order, and Paul was brought in. 24 Festus said, "King Agrippa and all who are here with us: You see this man against whom all the Jewish people, both here and in Jerusalem, have brought complaints to me. They scream that he should not live any longer. 25 But I could not find that he had done anything for which he deserved the death sentence. And since he himself made an appeal to the Emperor, I have decided to send him. 26 But I have nothing definite about him to write to the Emperor. So I have brought him here before you - and especially before you, King Agrippa! - so that, after investigating his case, I may have something to write. 27 For it seems unreasonable to me to send a prisoner without clearly indicating the charges against him."
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