16Once Samson went to Gaza, where he saw a prostitute and went in to her. 2The Gazites were told,* Samson has come here. So they encircled the place and lay in wait for him all night at the city gate. They kept quiet all night, thinking, Let us wait until the light of the morning; then we will kill him. 3But Samson lay only until midnight. Then at midnight he rose up, took hold of the doors of the city gate and the two posts, pulled them up, bar and all, put them on his shoulders, and carried them to the top of the hill that is in front of Hebron.
4 After this he fell in love with a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. 5The lords of the Philistines came to her and said to her, Coax him, and find out what makes his strength so great, and how we may overpower him, so that we may bind him in order to subdue him; and we will each give you eleven hundred pieces of silver. 6So Delilah said to Samson, Please tell me what makes your strength so great, and how you could be bound, so that one could subdue you. 7Samson said to her, If they bind me with seven fresh bowstrings that are not dried out, then I shall become weak, and be like anyone else. 8Then the lords of the Philistines brought her seven fresh bowstrings that had not dried out, and she bound him with them. 9While men were lying in wait in an inner chamber, she said to him, The Philistines are upon you, Samson! But he snapped the bowstrings, as a strand of fibre snaps when it touches the fire. So the secret of his strength was not known.
10 Then Delilah said to Samson, You have mocked me and told me lies; please tell me how you could be bound. 11He said to her, If they bind me with new ropes that have not been used, then I shall become weak, and be like anyone else. 12So Delilah took new ropes and bound him with them, and said to him, The Philistines are upon you, Samson! (The men lying in wait were in an inner chamber.) But he snapped the ropes off his arms like a thread.
13 Then Delilah said to Samson, Until now you have mocked me and told me lies; tell me how you could be bound. He said to her, If you weave the seven locks of my head with the web and make it tight with the pin, then I shall become weak, and be like anyone else. 14So while he slept, Delilah took the seven locks of his head and wove them into the web,* and made them tight with the pin. Then she said to him, The Philistines are upon you, Samson! But he awoke from his sleep, and pulled away the pin, the loom, and the web.
15 Then she said to him, How can you say, I love you, when your heart is not with me? You have mocked me three times now and have not told me what makes your strength so great. 16Finally, after she had nagged him with her words day after day, and pestered him, he was tired to death. 17So he told her his whole secret, and said to her, A razor has never come upon my head; for I have been a nazirite* to God from my mothers womb. If my head were shaved, then my strength would leave me; I would become weak, and be like anyone else.
18 When Delilah realized that he had told her his whole secret, she sent and called the lords of the Philistines, saying, This time come up, for he has told his whole secret to me. Then the lords of the Philistines came up to her, and brought the money in their hands. 19She let him fall asleep on her lap; and she called a man, and had him shave off the seven locks of his head. He began to weaken,* and his strength left him. 20Then she said, The Philistines are upon you, Samson! When he awoke from his sleep, he thought, I will go out as at other times, and shake myself free. But he did not know that the Lord had left him. 21So the Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes. They brought him down to Gaza and bound him with bronze shackles; and he ground at the mill in the prison. 22But the hair of his head began to grow again after it had been shaved.
23 Now the lords of the Philistines gathered to offer a great sacrifice to their god Dagon, and to rejoice; for they said, Our god has given Samson our enemy into our hand. 24When the people saw him, they praised their god; for they said, Our god has given our enemy into our hand, the ravager of our country, who has killed many of us. 25And when their hearts were merry, they said, Call Samson, and let him entertain us. So they called Samson out of the prison, and he performed for them. They made him stand between the pillars; 26and Samson said to the attendant who held him by the hand, Let me feel the pillars on which the house rests, so that I may lean against them. 27Now the house was full of men and women; all the lords of the Philistines were there, and on the roof there were about three thousand men and women, who looked on while Samson performed.
28 Then Samson called to the Lord and said, Lord God, remember me and strengthen me only this once, O God, so that with this one act of revenge I may pay back the Philistines for my two eyes.* 29And Samson grasped the two middle pillars on which the house rested, and he leaned his weight against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other. 30Then Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines. He strained with all his might; and the house fell on the lords and all the people who were in it. So those he killed at his death were more than those he had killed during his life. 31Then his brothers and all his family came down and took him and brought him up and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of his father Manoah. He had judged Israel for twenty years.
17There was a man in the hill country of Ephraim whose name was Micah. 2He said to his mother, The eleven hundred pieces of silver that were taken from you, about which you uttered a curse, and even spoke it in my hearingthat silver is in my possession; I took it; but now I will return it to you.* And his mother said, May my son be blessed by the Lord! 3Then he returned the eleven hundred pieces of silver to his mother; and his mother said, I consecrate the silver to the Lord from my hand for my son, to make an idol of cast metal. 4So when he returned the money to his mother, his mother took two hundred pieces of silver, and gave it to the silversmith, who made it into an idol of cast metal; and it was in the house of Micah. 5This man Micah had a shrine, and he made an ephod and teraphim, and installed one of his sons, who became his priest. 6In those days there was no king in Israel; all the people did what was right in their own eyes.
7 Now there was a young man of Bethlehem in Judah, of the clan of Judah. He was a Levite residing there. 8This man left the town of Bethlehem in Judah, to live wherever he could find a place. He came to the house of Micah in the hill country of Ephraim to carry on his work.* 9Micah said to him, From where do you come? He replied, I am a Levite of Bethlehem in Judah, and I am going to live wherever I can find a place. 10Then Micah said to him, Stay with me, and be to me a father and a priest, and I will give you ten pieces of silver a year, a set of clothes, and your living.* 11The Levite agreed to stay with the man; and the young man became to him like one of his sons. 12So Micah installed the Levite, and the young man became his priest, and was in the house of Micah. 13Then Micah said, Now I know that the Lord will prosper me, because the Levite has become my priest.
18In those days there was no king in Israel. And in those days the tribe of the Danites was seeking for itself a territory to live in; for until then no territory among the tribes of Israel had been allotted to them. 2So the Danites sent five valiant men from the whole number of their clan, from Zorah and from Eshtaol, to spy out the land and to explore it; and they said to them, Go, explore the land. When they came to the hill country of Ephraim, to the house of Micah, they stayed there. 3While they were at Micahs house, they recognized the voice of the young Levite; so they went over and asked him, Who brought you here? What are you doing in this place? What is your business here? 4He said to them, Micah did such and such for me, and he hired me, and I have become his priest. 5Then they said to him, Inquire of God that we may know whether the mission we are undertaking will succeed. 6The priest replied, Go in peace. The mission you are on is under the eye of the Lord.
7 The five men went on, and when they came to Laish, they observed the people who were there living securely, after the manner of the Sidonians, quiet and unsuspecting, lacking* nothing on earth, and possessing wealth.* Furthermore, they were far from the Sidonians and had no dealings with Aram.* 8When they came to their kinsfolk at Zorah and Eshtaol, they said to them, What do you report? 9They said, Come, let us go up against them; for we have seen the land, and it is very good. Will you do nothing? Do not be slow to go, but enter in and possess the land. 10When you go, you will come to an unsuspecting people. The land is broadGod has indeed given it into your handsa place where there is no lack of anything on earth.
11 Six hundred men of the Danite clan, armed with weapons of war, set out from Zorah and Eshtaol, 12and went up and encamped at Kiriath-jearim in Judah. On this account that place is called Mahaneh-dan* to this day; it is west of Kiriath-jearim. 13From there they passed on to the hill country of Ephraim, and came to the house of Micah.
14 Then the five men who had gone to spy out the land (that is, Laish) said to their comrades, Do you know that in these buildings there are an ephod, teraphim, and an idol of cast metal? Now therefore consider what you will do. 15So they turned in that direction and came to the house of the young Levite, at the home of Micah, and greeted him. 16While the six hundred men of the Danites, armed with their weapons of war, stood by the entrance of the gate, 17the five men who had gone to spy out the land proceeded to enter and take the idol of cast metal, the ephod, and the teraphim.* The priest was standing by the entrance of the gate with the six hundred men armed with weapons of war. 18When the men went into Micahs house and took the idol of cast metal, the ephod, and the teraphim, the priest said to them, What are you doing? 19They said to him, Keep quiet! Put your hand over your mouth, and come with us, and be to us a father and a priest. Is it better for you to be priest to the house of one person, or to be priest to a tribe and clan in Israel? 20Then the priest accepted the offer. He took the ephod, the teraphim, and the idol, and went along with the people.
21 So they resumed their journey, putting the little ones, the livestock, and the goods in front of them. 22When they were some distance from the home of Micah, the men who were in the houses near Micahs house were called out, and they overtook the Danites. 23They shouted to the Danites, who turned around and said to Micah, What is the matter that you come with such a company? 24He replied, You take my gods that I made, and the priest, and go away, and what have I left? How then can you ask me, What is the matter? 25And the Danites said to him, You had better not let your voice be heard among us or else hot-tempered fellows will attack you, and you will lose your life and the lives of your household. 26Then the Danites went on their way. When Micah saw that they were too strong for him, he turned and went back to his home.
27 The Danites, having taken what Micah had made, and the priest who belonged to him, came to Laish, to a people quiet and unsuspecting, put them to the sword, and burned down the city. 28There was no deliverer, because it was far from Sidon and they had no dealings with Aram.* It was in the valley that belongs to Beth-rehob. They rebuilt the city, and lived in it. 29They named the city Dan, after their ancestor Dan, who was born to Israel; but the name of the city was formerly Laish. 30Then the Danites set up the idol for themselves. Jonathan son of Gershom, son of Moses,* and his sons were priests to the tribe of the Danites until the time the land went into captivity. 31So they maintained as their own Micahs idol that he had made, as long as the house of God was at Shiloh.
1 Give ear, O my people, to my teaching;
incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
2 I will open my mouth in a parable;
I will utter dark sayings from of old,
3 things that we have heard and known,
that our ancestors have told us.
4 We will not hide them from their children;
we will tell to the coming generation
the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might,
and the wonders that he has done.
5 He established a decree in Jacob,
and appointed a law in Israel,
which he commanded our ancestors
to teach to their children;
6 that the next generation might know them,
the children yet unborn,
and rise up and tell them to their children,
7 so that they should set their hope in God,
and not forget the works of God,
but keep his commandments;
8 and that they should not be like their ancestors,
a stubborn and rebellious generation,
a generation whose heart was not steadfast,
whose spirit was not faithful to God.
9 The Ephraimites, armed with* the bow,
turned back on the day of battle.
10 They did not keep Gods covenant,
but refused to walk according to his law.
11 They forgot what he had done,
and the miracles that he had shown them.
12 In the sight of their ancestors he worked marvels
in the land of Egypt, in the fields of Zoan.
13 He divided the sea and let them pass through it,
and made the waters stand like a heap.
14 In the daytime he led them with a cloud,
and all night long with a fiery light.
15 He split rocks open in the wilderness,
and gave them drink abundantly as from the deep.
16 He made streams come out of the rock,
and caused waters to flow down like rivers.
17 Yet they sinned still more against him,
rebelling against the Most High in the desert.
18 They tested God in their heart
by demanding the food they craved.
19 They spoke against God, saying,
Can God spread a table in the wilderness?
20 Even though he struck the rock so that water gushed out
and torrents overflowed,
can he also give bread,
or provide meat for his people?
21 Therefore, when the Lord heard, he was full of rage;
a fire was kindled against Jacob,
his anger mounted against Israel,
22 because they had no faith in God,
and did not trust his saving power.
23 Yet he commanded the skies above,
and opened the doors of heaven;
24 he rained down on them manna to eat,
and gave them the grain of heaven.
25 Mortals ate of the bread of angels;
he sent them food in abundance.
26 He caused the east wind to blow in the heavens,
and by his power he led out the south wind;
27 he rained flesh upon them like dust,
winged birds like the sand of the seas;
28 he let them fall within their camp,
all around their dwellings.
29 And they ate and were well filled,
for he gave them what they craved.
30 But before they had satisfied their craving,
while the food was still in their mouths,
31 the anger of God rose against them
and he killed the strongest of them,
and laid low the flower of Israel.
32 In spite of all this they still sinned;
they did not believe in his wonders.
33 So he made their days vanish like a breath,
and their years in terror.
34 When he killed them, they sought for him;
they repented and sought God earnestly.
35 They remembered that God was their rock,
the Most High God their redeemer.
36 But they flattered him with their mouths;
they lied to him with their tongues.
37 Their heart was not steadfast towards him;
they were not true to his covenant.
38 Yet he, being compassionate,
forgave their iniquity,
and did not destroy them;
often he restrained his anger,
and did not stir up all his wrath.
39 He remembered that they were but flesh,
a wind that passes and does not come again.
12Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 2There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him. 3Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus feet, and wiped them* with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. 4But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said, 5Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii* and the money given to the poor? 6(He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.) 7Jesus said, Leave her alone. She bought it* so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. 8You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.
9 When the great crowd of the Jews learned that he was there, they came not only because of Jesus but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 10So the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death as well, 11since it was on account of him that many of the Jews were deserting and were believing in Jesus.
12 The next day the great crowd that had come to the festival heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem.
13So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, shouting,
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord
the King of Israel!
14Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it; as it is written:
15 Do not be afraid, daughter of Zion.
Look, your king is coming,
sitting on a donkeys colt!
16His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written of him and had been done to him. 17So the crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to testify.* 18It was also because they heard that he had performed this sign that the crowd went to meet him. 19The Pharisees then said to one another, You see, you can do nothing. Look, the world has gone after him!
20 Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. 21They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, Sir, we wish to see Jesus. 22Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. 23Jesus answered them, The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honour.
27 Now my soul is troubled. And what should I sayFather, save me from this hour? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. 28Father, glorify your name. Then a voice came from heaven, I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again. 29The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, An angel has spoken to him. 30Jesus answered, This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. 31Now is the judgement of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. 32And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people* to myself. 33He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die. 34The crowd answered him, We have heard from the law that the Messiah* remains for ever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man? 35Jesus said to them, The light is with you for a little longer. Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness may not overtake you. If you walk in the darkness, you do not know where you are going. 36While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of light.
After Jesus had said this, he departed and hid from them.
37Although he had performed so many signs in their presence, they did not believe in him.
38This was to fulfil the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah:
Lord, who has believed our message,
and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
39And so they could not believe, because Isaiah also said,
40 He has blinded their eyes
and hardened their heart,
so that they might not look with their eyes,
and understand with their heart and turn
and I would heal them.
41Isaiah said this because* he saw his glory and spoke about him. 42Nevertheless many, even of the authorities, believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they did not confess it, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; 43for they loved human glory more than the glory that comes from God.
44 Then Jesus cried aloud: Whoever believes in me believes not in me but in him who sent me.
45And whoever sees me sees him who sent me.
46I have come as light into the world, so that everyone who believes in me should not remain in the darkness.
47I do not judge anyone who hears my words and does not keep them, for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.
48The one who rejects me and does not receive my word has a judge; on the last day the word that I have spoken will serve as judge,
49for I have not spoken on my own, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment about what to say and what to speak.
50And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I speak, therefore, I speak just as the Father has told me.
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