Acts 21:1-36; Judges 16; Psalms 42

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Acts 21:1-36

1 After we tore ourselves away from them and set sail, we came by a direct route to Cos, the next day to Rhodes, and from there to Patara.
2 Finding a ship crossing over to Phoenicia, we boarded and set sail.
3 After we sighted Cyprus, leaving it on the left, we sailed on to Syria and arrived at Tyre, because the ship was to unload its cargo there.
4 So we found some disciples and stayed there seven days. They said to Paul through the Spirit not to go to Jerusalem.
5 When our days there were over, we left to continue our journey, while all of them, with their wives and children, escorted us out of the city. After kneeling down on the beach to pray,
6 we said good-bye to one another. Then we boarded the ship, and they returned home.
7 When we completed our voyage from Tyre, we reached Ptolemais, where we greeted the brothers and stayed with them one day.
8 The next day we left and came to Caesarea, where we entered the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the Seven, and stayed with him.
9 This man had four virgin daughters who prophesied.
10 While we were staying there many days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea.
11 He came to us, took Paul's belt, tied his own feet and hands, and said, "This is what the Holy Spirit says: 'In this way the Jews in Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt, and deliver him into Gentile hands.' "
12 When we heard this, both we and the local people begged him not to go up to Jerusalem.
13 Then Paul replied, "What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus."
14 Since he would not be persuaded, we stopped talking and simply said, "The Lord's will be done!"
15 After these days we got ready and went up to Jerusalem.
16 Some of the disciples from Caesarea also went with us and brought us to Mnason, a Cypriot and an early disciple, with whom we were to stay.
17 When we reached Jerusalem, the brothers welcomed us gladly.
18 The following day Paul went in with us to James, and all the elders were present.
19 After greeting them, he related one by one what God did among the Gentiles through his ministry.
20 When they heard it, they glorified God and said, "You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are who have believed, and they are all zealous for the law.
21 But they have been told about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to abandon Moses, by telling them not to circumcise their children or to walk in our customs.
22 So what is to be done? They will certainly hear that you've come.
23 Therefore do what we tell you: We have four men who have obligated themselves with a vow.
24 Take these men, purify yourself along with them, and pay for them to get their heads shaved. Then everyone will know that what they were told about you amounts to nothing, but that you yourself are also careful about observing the law.
25 With regard to the Gentiles who have believed, we have written a letter containing our decision that they should keep themselves from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from what is strangled, and from sexual immorality."
26 Then the next day, Paul took the men, having purified himself along with them, and entered the temple, announcing the completion of the purification days when the offering for each of them would be made.
27 As the seven days were about to end, the Jews from the province of Asia saw him in the temple complex, stirred up the whole crowd, and seized him,
28 shouting, "Men of Israel, help! This is the man who teaches everyone everywhere against our people, our law, and this place. What's more, he also brought Greeks into the temple and has profaned this holy place."
29 For they had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian in the city with him, and they supposed that Paul had brought him into the temple complex.
30 The whole city was stirred up, and the people rushed together. They seized Paul, dragged him out of the temple complex, and at once the gates were shut.
31 As they were trying to kill him, word went up to the commander of the regiment that all Jerusalem was in chaos.
32 Taking along soldiers and centurions, he immediately ran down to them. Seeing the commander and the soldiers, they stopped beating Paul.
33 Then the commander came up, took him into custody, and ordered him to be bound with two chains. He asked who he was and what he had done.
34 Some in the mob were shouting one thing and some another. Since he was not able to get reliable information because of the uproar, he ordered him to be taken into the barracks.
35 When Paul got to the steps, he had to be carried by the soldiers because of the mob's violence,
36 for the mass of people were following and yelling, "Kill him!"

Judges 16

1 Samson went to Gaza, where he saw a prostitute and went to bed with her.
2 When the Gazites [heard] that Samson was there, they surrounded the place and waited in ambush for him all that night at the city gate. While they were waiting quietly, they said, "Let us wait until dawn; then we will kill him."
3 But Samson stayed in bed until midnight when he got up, took hold of the doors of the city gate along with the two gateposts, and pulled them out, bar and all. He put them on his shoulders and took them to the top of the mountain overlooking Hebron.
4 Some time later, he fell in love with a woman named Delilah, who lived in the Sorek Valley.
5 The Philistine leaders went to her and said, "Persuade him to tell you where his great strength comes from, so we can overpower him, tie him up, and make him helpless. Each of us will then give you 1,100 pieces of silver."
6 So Delilah said to Samson, "Please tell me, where does your great strength [come from]? How could [someone] tie you up and make you helpless?"
7 Samson told her, "If they tie me up with seven fresh bowstrings that have not been dried, I will become weak and be like any other man."
8 The Philistine leaders brought her seven fresh bowstrings that had not been dried, and she tied him up with them.
9 While the men in ambush were waiting in her room, she called out to him, "Samson, the Philistines are here!" But he snapped the bowstrings as a strand of yarn snaps when it touches fire. [The secret of] his strength remained unknown.
10 Then Delilah said to Samson, "You have mocked me and told me lies! Won't you please tell me how you can be tied up?"
11 He told her, "If they tie me up with new ropes that have never been used, I will become weak and be like any other man."
12 Delilah took new ropes, tied him up with them, and shouted, "Samson, the Philistines are here!" But while the men in ambush were waiting in her room, he snapped the ropes off his arms like a thread.
13 Then Delilah said to Samson, "You have mocked me all along and told me lies! Tell me how you can be tied up." He told her, "If you weave the seven braids on my head with the web of a loom-"
14 She fastened the braids with a pin and called to him, "Samson, the Philistines are here!" He awoke from his sleep and pulled out the pin, with the loom and the web.
15 "How can you say, 'I love you,' " she told him, "when your heart is not with me? This is the third time you have mocked me and not told me what makes your strength so great!"
16 Because she nagged him day after day and pled with him until she wore him out,
17 he told her the whole truth and said to her, "My hair has never been cut, because I am a Nazirite to God from birth. If I am shaved, my strength will leave me, and I will become weak and be like any other man."
18 When Delilah realized that he had told her the whole truth, she sent this message to the Philistine leaders: "Come one more time, for he has told me the whole truth." The Philistine leaders came to her and brought the money with them.
19 Then she let him fall asleep on her lap and called a man to shave off the seven braids on his head. In this way, she rendered him helpless, and his strength left him.
20 Then she cried, "Samson, the Philistines are here!" When he awoke from his sleep, he said, "I will escape as I did before and shake myself free." But he did not know that the Lord had left him.
21 The Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes. They brought him down to Gaza and bound him with bronze shackles, and he was forced to grind grain in the prison.
22 But his hair began to grow back after it had been shaved.
23 Now the Philistine leaders gathered together to offer a great sacrifice to their god Dagon. They rejoiced and said: Our god has handed over our enemy Samson to us.
24 When the people saw him, they praised their god and said: Our god has handed over to us our enemy who destroyed our land and who multiplied our dead.
25 When they were drunk, they said, "Bring Samson here to entertain us." So they brought Samson from prison, and he entertained them. They had him stand between the pillars.
26 Samson said to the young man who was leading him by the hand, "Lead me where I can feel the pillars supporting the temple, so I can lean against them."
27 The temple was full of men and women; all the leaders of the Philistines were there, and about 3,000 men and women were on the roof watching Samson entertain [them].
28 He called out to the Lord: "Lord God , please remember me. Strengthen me, God, just once more. With one act of vengeance, let me pay back the Philistines for my two eyes."
29 Samson took hold of the two middle pillars supporting the temple and leaned against them, one on his right hand and the other on his left.
30 Samson said, "Let me die with the Philistines." He pushed with all his might, and the temple fell on the leaders and all the people in it. And the dead he killed at his death were more than those he had killed in his life.
31 Then his brothers and his father's family came down, carried him back, and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of his father Manoah. So he judged Israel 20 years.

Psalms 42

1 As a deer longs for streams of water, so I long for You, God.
2 I thirst for God, the living God. When can I come and appear before God?
3 My tears have been my food day and night, while all day long people say to me, "Where is your God?"
4 I remember this as I pour out my heart: how I walked with many, leading the festive procession to the house of God, with joyful and thankful shouts.
5 Why am I so depressed? Why this turmoil within me? Put your hope in God, for I will still praise Him, my Savior and my God.
6 I am deeply depressed; therefore I remember You from the land of Jordan and the peaks of Hermon, from Mount Mizar.
7 Deep calls to deep in the roar of Your waterfalls; all Your breakers and Your billows have swept over me.
8 The Lord will send His faithful love by day; His song will be with me in the night- a prayer to the God of my life.
9 I will say to God, my rock, "Why have You forgotten me? Why must I go about in sorrow because of the enemy's oppression?"
10 My adversaries taunt me, as if crushing my bones, while all day long they say to me, "Where is your God?"
11 Why am I so depressed? Why this turmoil within me? Put your hope in God, for I will still praise Him, my Savior and my God.