19When the Lord your God has cut off the nations whose land the Lord your God is giving you, and you have dispossessed them and settled in their towns and in their houses, 2you shall set apart three cities in the land that the Lord your God is giving you to possess. 3You shall calculate the distances* and divide into three regions the land that the Lord your God gives you as a possession, so that any homicide can flee to one of them.
4 Now this is the case of a homicide who might flee there and live, that is, someone who has killed another person unintentionally when the two had not been at enmity before: 5Suppose someone goes into the forest with another to cut wood, and when one of them swings the axe to cut down a tree, the head slips from the handle and strikes the other person who then dies; the killer may flee to one of these cities and live. 6But if the distance is too great, the avenger of blood in hot anger might pursue and overtake and put the killer to death, although a death sentence was not deserved, since the two had not been at enmity before. 7Therefore I command you: You shall set apart three cities.
8 If the Lord your God enlarges your territory, as he swore to your ancestorsand he will give you all the land that he promised your ancestors to give you, 9provided you diligently observe this entire commandment that I command you today, by loving the Lord your God and walking always in his waysthen you shall add three more cities to these three, 10so that the blood of an innocent person may not be shed in the land that the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, thereby bringing blood-guilt upon you.
11 But if someone at enmity with another lies in wait and attacks and takes the life of that person, and flees into one of these cities, 12then the elders of the killers city shall send to have the culprit taken from there and handed over to the avenger of blood to be put to death. 13Show no pity; you shall purge the guilt of innocent blood from Israel, so that it may go well with you.
14 You must not move your neighbours boundary marker, set up by former generations, on the property that will be allotted to you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you to possess.
15 A single witness shall not suffice to convict a person of any crime or wrongdoing in connection with any offence that may be committed. Only on the evidence of two or three witnesses shall a charge be sustained. 16If a malicious witness comes forward to accuse someone of wrongdoing, 17then both parties to the dispute shall appear before the Lord, before the priests and the judges who are in office in those days, 18and the judges shall make a thorough inquiry. If the witness is a false witness, having testified falsely against another, 19then you shall do to the false witness just as the false witness had meant to do to the other. So you shall purge the evil from your midst. 20The rest shall hear and be afraid, and a crime such as this shall never again be committed among you. 21Show no pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.
21Now the Israelites had sworn at Mizpah, No one of us shall give his daughter in marriage to Benjamin. 2And the people came to Bethel, and sat there until evening before God, and they lifted up their voices and wept bitterly. 3They said, O Lord, the God of Israel, why has it come to pass that today there should be one tribe lacking in Israel? 4On the next day, the people got up early, and built an altar there, and offered burnt-offerings and sacrifices of well-being. 5Then the Israelites said, Which of all the tribes of Israel did not come up in the assembly to the Lord? For a solemn oath had been taken concerning whoever did not come up to the Lord to Mizpah, saying, That one shall be put to death. 6But the Israelites had compassion for Benjamin their kin, and said, One tribe is cut off from Israel this day. 7What shall we do for wives for those who are left, since we have sworn by the Lord that we will not give them any of our daughters as wives?
8 Then they said, Is there anyone from the tribes of Israel who did not come up to the Lord to Mizpah? It turned out that no one from Jabesh-gilead had come to the camp, to the assembly. 9For when the roll was called among the people, not one of the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead was there. 10So the congregation sent twelve thousand soldiers there and commanded them, Go, put the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead to the sword, including the women and the little ones. 11This is what you shall do; every male and every woman that has lain with a male you shall devote to destruction. 12And they found among the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead four hundred young virgins who had never slept with a man and brought them to the camp at Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan.
13 Then the whole congregation sent word to the Benjaminites who were at the rock of Rimmon, and proclaimed peace to them. 14Benjamin returned at that time; and they gave them the women whom they had saved alive of the women of Jabesh-gilead; but they did not suffice for them.
15 The people had compassion on Benjamin because the Lord had made a breach in the tribes of Israel. 16So the elders of the congregation said, What shall we do for wives for those who are left, since there are no women left in Benjamin? 17And they said, There must be heirs for the survivors of Benjamin, in order that a tribe may not be blotted out from Israel. 18Yet we cannot give any of our daughters to them as wives. For the Israelites had sworn, Cursed be anyone who gives a wife to Benjamin. 19So they said, Look, the yearly festival of the Lord is taking place at Shiloh, which is north of Bethel, on the east of the highway that goes up from Bethel to Shechem, and south of Lebonah. 20And they instructed the Benjaminites, saying, Go and lie in wait in the vineyards, 21and watch; when the young women of Shiloh come out to dance in the dances, then come out of the vineyards and each of you carry off a wife for himself from the young women of Shiloh, and go to the land of Benjamin. 22Then if their fathers or their brothers come to complain to us, we will say to them, Be generous and allow us to have them; because we did not capture in battle a wife for each man. But neither did you incur guilt by giving your daughters to them. 23The Benjaminites did so; they took wives for each of them from the dancers whom they abducted. Then they went and returned to their territory, and rebuilt the towns, and lived in them. 24So the Israelites departed from there at that time by tribes and families, and they went out from there to their own territories.
25 In those days there was no king in Israel; all the people did what was right in their own eyes.
1 Deliver me from my enemies, O my God;
protect me from those who rise up against me.
2 Deliver me from those who work evil;
from the bloodthirsty save me.
3 Even now they lie in wait for my life;
the mighty stir up strife against me.
For no transgression or sin of mine, O Lord,
4 for no fault of mine, they run and make ready.
Rouse yourself, come to my help and see!
5 You, Lord God of hosts, are God of Israel.
Awake to punish all the nations;
spare none of those who treacherously plot evil.
8 But you laugh at them, O Lord;
you hold all the nations in derision.
9 O my strength, I will watch for you;
for you, O God, are my fortress.
10 My God in his steadfast love will meet me;
my God will let me look in triumph on my enemies.
11 Do not kill them, or my people may forget;
make them totter by your power, and bring them down,
O Lord, our shield.
12 For the sin of their mouths, the words of their lips,
let them be trapped in their pride.
For the cursing and lies that they utter,
13 consume them in wrath;
consume them until they are no more.
Then it will be known to the ends of the earth
that God rules over Jacob.
14 Each evening they come back,
howling like dogs
and prowling about the city.
15 They roam about for food,
and growl if they do not get their fill.
16 But I will sing of your might;
I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning.
For you have been a fortress for me
and a refuge on the day of my distress.
17 O my strength, I will sing praises to you,
for you, O God, are my fortress,
the God who shows me steadfast love.
17Jesus* said to his disciples, Occasions for stumbling are bound to come, but woe to anyone by whom they come! 2It would be better for you if a millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea than for you to cause one of these little ones to stumble. 3Be on your guard! If another disciple* sins, you must rebuke the offender, and if there is repentance, you must forgive. 4And if the same person sins against you seven times a day, and turns back to you seven times and says, I repent, you must forgive.
5 The apostles said to the Lord, Increase our faith! 6The Lord replied, If you had faith the size of a* mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, Be uprooted and planted in the sea, and it would obey you.
7 Who among you would say to your slave who has just come in from ploughing or tending sheep in the field, Come here at once and take your place at the table? 8Would you not rather say to him, Prepare supper for me, put on your apron and serve me while I eat and drink; later you may eat and drink? 9Do you thank the slave for doing what was commanded? 10So you also, when you have done all that you were ordered to do, say, We are worthless slaves; we have done only what we ought to have done!
11 On the way to Jerusalem Jesus* was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. 12As he entered a village, ten lepers* approached him. Keeping their distance, 13they called out, saying, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us! 14When he saw them, he said to them, Go and show yourselves to the priests. And as they went, they were made clean. 15Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. 16He prostrated himself at Jesus* feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. 17Then Jesus asked, Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? 18Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner? 19Then he said to him, Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.
20 Once Jesus* was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, and he answered, The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; 21nor will they say, Look, here it is! or There it is! For, in fact, the kingdom of God is among* you.
22 Then he said to the disciples, The days are coming when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. 23They will say to you, Look there! or Look here! Do not go, do not set off in pursuit. 24For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day.* 25But first he must endure much suffering and be rejected by this generation. 26Just as it was in the days of Noah, so too it will be in the days of the Son of Man. 27They were eating and drinking, and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed all of them. 28Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot: they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, 29but on the day that Lot left Sodom, it rained fire and sulphur from heaven and destroyed all of them 30it will be like that on the day that the Son of Man is revealed. 31On that day, anyone on the housetop who has belongings in the house must not come down to take them away; and likewise anyone in the field must not turn back. 32Remember Lots wife. 33Those who try to make their life secure will lose it, but those who lose their life will keep it. 34I tell you, on that night there will be two in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. 35There will be two women grinding meal together; one will be taken and the other left.* 37Then they asked him, Where, Lord? He said to them, Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.
The New Revised Standard Version (Anglicized Edition), copyright 1989, 1995 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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10 February 2011