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Numbers 21, 22, 23

The Bronze Serpent

21When the Canaanite, the king of Arad, who lived in the Negeb, heard that Israel was coming by the way of Atharim, he fought against Israel and took some of them captive. 2Then Israel made a vow to the Lord and said, ‘If you will indeed give this people into our hands, then we will utterly destroy their towns.’ 3The Lord listened to the voice of Israel, and handed over the Canaanites; and they utterly destroyed them and their towns; so the place was called Hormah.*

4 From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea,* to go around the land of Edom; but the people became impatient on the way. 5The people spoke against God and against Moses, ‘Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we detest this miserable food.’ 6Then the Lord sent poisonous* serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many Israelites died. 7The people came to Moses and said, ‘We have sinned by speaking against the Lord and against you; pray to the Lord to take away the serpents from us.’ So Moses prayed for the people. 8And the Lord said to Moses, ‘Make a poisonous* serpent, and set it on a pole; and everyone who is bitten shall look at it and live.’ 9So Moses made a serpent of bronze, and put it upon a pole; and whenever a serpent bit someone, that person would look at the serpent of bronze and live.

The Journey to Moab

10 The Israelites set out, and camped in Oboth. 11They set out from Oboth, and camped at Iye-abarim, in the wilderness bordering Moab towards the sunrise. 12From there they set out, and camped in the Wadi Zered. 13From there they set out, and camped on the other side of the Arnon, in* the wilderness that extends from the boundary of the Amorites; for the Arnon is the boundary of Moab, between Moab and the Amorites. 14Wherefore it is said in the Book of the Wars of the Lord,
‘Waheb in Suphah and the wadis.
The Arnon 15and the slopes of the wadis
that extend to the seat of Ar,
and lie along the border of Moab.’*

16 From there they continued to Beer;* that is the well of which the Lord said to Moses, ‘Gather the people together, and I will give them water.’ 17Then Israel sang this song:
‘Spring up, O well!—Sing to it!—
18 the well that the leaders sank,
that the nobles of the people dug,
with the sceptre, with the staff.’
From the wilderness to Mattanah, 19from Mattanah to Nahaliel, from Nahaliel to Bamoth, 20and from Bamoth to the valley lying in the region of Moab by the top of Pisgah that overlooks the waste-land.*

King Sihon Defeated

21 Then Israel sent messengers to King Sihon of the Amorites, saying, 22‘Let me pass through your land; we will not turn aside into field or vineyard; we will not drink the water of any well; we will go by the King’s Highway until we have passed through your territory.’ 23But Sihon would not allow Israel to pass through his territory. Sihon gathered all his people together, and went out against Israel to the wilderness; he came to Jahaz, and fought against Israel. 24Israel put him to the sword, and took possession of his land from the Arnon to the Jabbok, as far as to the Ammonites; for the boundary of the Ammonites was strong. 25Israel took all these towns, and Israel settled in all the towns of the Amorites, in Heshbon, and in all its villages. 26For Heshbon was the city of King Sihon of the Amorites, who had fought against the former king of Moab and captured all his land as far as the Arnon. 27Therefore the ballad-singers say,
‘Come to Heshbon, let it be built;
   let the city of Sihon be established.
28 For fire came out from Heshbon,
   flame from the city of Sihon.
It devoured Ar of Moab,
   and swallowed up* the heights of the Arnon.
29 Woe to you, O Moab!
   You are undone, O people of Chemosh!
He has made his sons fugitives,
   and his daughters captives,
   to an Amorite king, Sihon.
30 So their posterity perished
   from Heshbon* to Dibon,
   and we laid waste until fire spread to Medeba.’*

31 Thus Israel settled in the land of the Amorites. 32Moses sent to spy out Jazer; and they captured its villages, and dispossessed the Amorites who were there.

King Og Defeated

33 Then they turned and went up the road to Bashan; and King Og of Bashan came out against them, he and all his people, to battle at Edrei. 34But the Lord said to Moses, ‘Do not be afraid of him; for I have given him into your hand, with all his people, and all his land. You shall do to him as you did to King Sihon of the Amorites, who ruled in Heshbon.’ 35So they killed him, his sons, and all his people, until there was no survivor left; and they took possession of his land.

Balak Summons Balaam to Curse Israel

22The Israelites set out, and camped in the plains of Moab across the Jordan from Jericho. 2Now Balak son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites. 3Moab was in great dread of the people, because they were so numerous; Moab was overcome with fear of the people of Israel. 4And Moab said to the elders of Midian, ‘This horde will now lick up all that is around us, as an ox licks up the grass of the field.’ Now Balak son of Zippor was king of Moab at that time. 5He sent messengers to Balaam son of Beor at Pethor, which is on the Euphrates, in the land of Amaw,* to summon him, saying, ‘A people has come out of Egypt; they have spread over the face of the earth, and they have settled next to me. 6Come now, curse this people for me, since they are stronger than I; perhaps I shall be able to defeat them and drive them from the land; for I know that whomsoever you bless is blessed, and whomsoever you curse is cursed.’

7 So the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian departed with the fees for divination in their hand; and they came to Balaam, and gave him Balak’s message. 8He said to them, ‘Stay here tonight, and I will bring back word to you, just as the Lord speaks to me’; so the officials of Moab stayed with Balaam. 9God came to Balaam and said, ‘Who are these men with you?’ 10Balaam said to God, ‘King Balak son of Zippor of Moab has sent me this message: 11“A people has come out of Egypt and has spread over the face of the earth; now come, curse them for me; perhaps I shall be able to fight against them and drive them out.” 12God said to Balaam, ‘You shall not go with them; you shall not curse the people, for they are blessed.’ 13So Balaam rose in the morning, and said to the officials of Balak, ‘Go to your own land, for the Lord has refused to let me go with you.’ 14So the officials of Moab rose and went to Balak, and said, ‘Balaam refuses to come with us.’

15 Once again Balak sent officials, more numerous and more distinguished than these. 16They came to Balaam and said to him, ‘Thus says Balak son of Zippor: “Do not let anything hinder you from coming to me; 17for I will surely do you great honour, and whatever you say to me I will do; come, curse this people for me.” 18But Balaam replied to the servants of Balak, ‘Although Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not go beyond the command of the Lord my God, to do less or more. 19You remain here, as the others did, so that I may learn what more the Lord may say to me.’ 20That night God came to Balaam and said to him, ‘If the men have come to summon you, get up and go with them; but do only what I tell you to do.’ 21So Balaam got up in the morning, saddled his donkey, and went with the officials of Moab.

Balaam, the Donkey, and the Angel

22 God’s anger was kindled because he was going, and the angel of the Lord took his stand in the road as his adversary. Now he was riding on the donkey, and his two servants were with him. 23The donkey saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road, with a drawn sword in his hand; so the donkey turned off the road, and went into the field; and Balaam struck the donkey, to turn it back on to the road. 24Then the angel of the Lord stood in a narrow path between the vineyards, with a wall on either side. 25When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, it scraped against the wall, and scraped Balaam’s foot against the wall; so he struck it again. 26Then the angel of the Lord went ahead, and stood in a narrow place, where there was no way to turn either to the right or to the left. 27When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, it lay down under Balaam; and Balaam’s anger was kindled, and he struck the donkey with his staff. 28Then the Lord opened the mouth of the donkey, and it said to Balaam, ‘What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?’ 29Balaam said to the donkey, ‘Because you have made a fool of me! I wish I had a sword in my hand! I would kill you right now!’ 30But the donkey said to Balaam, ‘Am I not your donkey, which you have ridden all your life to this day? Have I been in the habit of treating you in this way?’ And he said, ‘No.’

31 Then the Lord opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road, with his drawn sword in his hand; and he bowed down, falling on his face. 32The angel of the Lord said to him, ‘Why have you struck your donkey these three times? I have come out as an adversary, because your way is perverse* before me. 33The donkey saw me, and turned away from me these three times. If it had not turned away from me, surely I would by now have killed you and let it live.’ 34Then Balaam said to the angel of the Lord, ‘I have sinned, for I did not know that you were standing in the road to oppose me. Now therefore, if it is displeasing to you, I will return home.’ 35The angel of the Lord said to Balaam, ‘Go with the men; but speak only what I tell you to speak.’ So Balaam went on with the officials of Balak.

36 When Balak heard that Balaam had come, he went out to meet him at Ir-moab, on the boundary formed by the Arnon, at the farthest point of the boundary. 37Balak said to Balaam, ‘Did I not send to summon you? Why did you not come to me? Am I not able to honour you?’ 38Balaam said to Balak, ‘I have come to you now, but do I have power to say just anything? The word God puts in my mouth, that is what I must say.’ 39Then Balaam went with Balak, and they came to Kiriath-huzoth. 40Balak sacrificed oxen and sheep, and sent them to Balaam and to the officials who were with him.

Balaam’s First Oracle

41 On the next day Balak took Balaam and brought him up to Bamoth-baal; and from there he could see part of the people of Israel.* 231Then Balaam said to Balak, ‘Build me seven altars here, and prepare seven bulls and seven rams for me.’ 2Balak did as Balaam had said; and Balak and Balaam offered a bull and a ram on each altar. 3Then Balaam said to Balak, ‘Stay here beside your burnt-offerings while I go aside. Perhaps the Lord will come to meet me. Whatever he shows me I will tell you.’ And he went to a bare height.

4 Then God met Balaam; and Balaam said to him, ‘I have arranged the seven altars, and have offered a bull and a ram on each altar.’ 5The Lord put a word in Balaam’s mouth, and said, ‘Return to Balak, and this is what you must say.’ 6So he returned to Balak,* who was standing beside his burnt-offerings with all the officials of Moab. 7Then Balaam* uttered his oracle, saying:
‘Balak has brought me from Aram,
   the king of Moab from the eastern mountains:
“Come, curse Jacob for me;
   Come, denounce Israel!”
8 How can I curse whom God has not cursed?
   How can I denounce those whom the Lord has not denounced?
9 For from the top of the crags I see him,
   from the hills I behold him;
Here is a people living alone,
   and not reckoning itself among the nations!
10 Who can count the dust of Jacob,
   or number the dust-cloud* of Israel?
Let me die the death of the upright,
   and let my end be like his!’

11 Then Balak said to Balaam, ‘What have you done to me? I brought you to curse my enemies, but now you have done nothing but bless them.’ 12He answered, ‘Must I not take care to say what the Lord puts into my mouth?’

Balaam’s Second Oracle

13 So Balak said to him, ‘Come with me to another place from which you may see them; you shall see only part of them, and shall not see them all; then curse them for me from there.’ 14So he took him to the field of Zophim, to the top of Pisgah. He built seven altars, and offered a bull and a ram on each altar. 15Balaam said to Balak, ‘Stand here beside your burnt-offerings, while I meet the Lord over there.’ 16The Lord met Balaam, put a word into his mouth, and said, ‘Return to Balak, and this is what you shall say.’ 17When he came to him, he was standing beside his burnt-offerings with the officials of Moab. Balak said to him, ‘What has the Lord said?’ 18Then Balaam uttered his oracle, saying:
‘Rise, Balak, and hear;
   listen to me, O son of Zippor:
19 God is not a human being, that he should lie,
   or a mortal, that he should change his mind.
Has he promised, and will he not do it?
   Has he spoken, and will he not fulfil it?
20 See, I received a command to bless;
   he has blessed, and I cannot revoke it.
21 He has not beheld misfortune in Jacob;
   nor has he seen trouble in Israel.
The Lord their God is with them,
   acclaimed as a king among them.
22 God, who brings them out of Egypt,
   is like the horns of a wild ox for them.
23 Surely there is no enchantment against Jacob,
   no divination against Israel;
now it shall be said of Jacob and Israel,
   “See what God has done!”
24 Look, a people rising up like a lioness,
   and rousing itself like a lion!
It does not lie down until it has eaten the prey
   and drunk the blood of the slain.’

25 Then Balak said to Balaam, ‘Do not curse them at all, and do not bless them at all.’ 26But Balaam answered Balak, ‘Did I not tell you, “Whatever the Lord says, that is what I must do”?’

27 So Balak said to Balaam, ‘Come now, I will take you to another place; perhaps it will please God that you may curse them for me from there.’ 28So Balak took Balaam to the top of Peor, which overlooks the waste-land.* 29Balaam said to Balak, ‘Build me seven altars here, and prepare seven bulls and seven rams for me.’ 30So Balak did as Balaam had said, and offered a bull and a ram on each altar.

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Psalm 47

God’s Rule over the Nations

To the leader. Of the Korahites. A Psalm.
1 Clap your hands, all you peoples;
   shout to God with loud songs of joy.
2 For the Lord, the Most High, is awesome,
   a great king over all the earth.
3 He subdued peoples under us,
   and nations under our feet.
4 He chose our heritage for us,
   the pride of Jacob whom he loves.
          Selah


5 God has gone up with a shout,
   the Lord with the sound of a trumpet.
6 Sing praises to God, sing praises;
   sing praises to our King, sing praises.
7 For God is the king of all the earth;
   sing praises with a psalm.*


8 God is king over the nations;
   God sits on his holy throne.
9 The princes of the peoples gather
   as the people of the God of Abraham.
For the shields of the earth belong to God;
   he is highly exalted.

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Luke 5

Jesus Calls the First Disciples

5Once while Jesus* was standing beside the lake of Gennesaret, and the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, 2he saw two boats there at the shore of the lake; the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. 3He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little way from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. 4When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, ‘Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.’ 5Simon answered, ‘Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets.’ 6When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break. 7So they signalled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that they began to sink. 8But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, ‘Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!’ 9For he and all who were with him were amazed at the catch of fish that they had taken; 10and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. Then Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.’ 11When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.

Jesus Cleanses a Leper

12 Once, when he was in one of the cities, there was a man covered with leprosy.* When he saw Jesus, he bowed with his face to the ground and begged him, ‘Lord, if you choose, you can make me clean.’ 13Then Jesus* stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, ‘I do choose. Be made clean.’ Immediately the leprosy* left him. 14And he ordered him to tell no one. ‘Go’, he said, ‘and show yourself to the priest, and, as Moses commanded, make an offering for your cleansing, for a testimony to them.’ 15But now more than ever the word about Jesus* spread abroad; many crowds would gather to hear him and to be cured of their diseases. 16But he would withdraw to deserted places and pray.

Jesus Heals a Paralytic

17 One day, while he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting nearby (they had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem); and the power of the Lord was with him to heal.* 18Just then some men came, carrying a paralysed man on a bed. They were trying to bring him in and lay him before Jesus;* 19but finding no way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the middle of the crowd* in front of Jesus. 20When he saw their faith, he said, ‘Friend,* your sins are forgiven you.’ 21Then the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, ‘Who is this who is speaking blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?’ 22When Jesus perceived their questionings, he answered them, ‘Why do you raise such questions in your hearts? 23Which is easier, to say, “Your sins are forgiven you”, or to say, “Stand up and walk”? 24But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’—he said to the one who was paralysed—‘I say to you, stand up and take your bed and go to your home.’ 25Immediately he stood up before them, took what he had been lying on, and went to his home, glorifying God. 26Amazement seized all of them, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, ‘We have seen strange things today.’

Jesus Calls Levi

27 After this he went out and saw a tax-collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, ‘Follow me.’ 28And he got up, left everything, and followed him.

29 Then Levi gave a great banquet for him in his house; and there was a large crowd of tax-collectors and others sitting at the table* with them. 30The Pharisees and their scribes were complaining to his disciples, saying, ‘Why do you eat and drink with tax-collectors and sinners?’ 31Jesus answered, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; 32I have come to call not the righteous but sinners to repentance.’

The Question about Fasting

33 Then they said to him, ‘John’s disciples, like the disciples of the Pharisees, frequently fast and pray, but your disciples eat and drink.’ 34Jesus said to them, ‘You cannot make wedding-guests fast while the bridegroom is with them, can you? 35The days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days.’ 36He also told them a parable: ‘No one tears a piece from a new garment and sews it on an old garment; otherwise the new will be torn, and the piece from the new will not match the old. 37And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and will be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed. 38But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. 39And no one after drinking old wine desires new wine, but says, “The old is good.” *

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10 February 2011

From the oremus Bible Browser http://bible.oremus.org v2.2.7 10 February 2011.