19It was told Joab, The king is weeping and mourning for Absalom. 2So the victory that day was turned into mourning for all the troops; for the troops heard that day, The king is grieving for his son. 3The troops stole into the city that day as soldiers steal in who are ashamed when they flee in battle. 4The king covered his face, and the king cried with a loud voice, O my son Absalom, O Absalom, my son, my son! 5Then Joab came into the house to the king, and said, Today you have covered with shame the faces of all your officers who have saved your life today, and the lives of your sons and your daughters, and the lives of your wives and your concubines, 6for love of those who hate you and for hatred of those who love you. You have made it clear today that commanders and officers are nothing to you; for I perceive that if Absalom were alive and all of us were dead today, then you would be pleased. 7So go out at once and speak kindly to your servants; for I swear by the Lord, if you do not go, not a man will stay with you this night; and this will be worse for you than any disaster that has come upon you from your youth until now. 8Then the king got up and took his seat in the gate. The troops were all told, See, the king is sitting in the gate; and all the troops came before the king.
Meanwhile, all the Israelites had fled to their homes. 9All the people were disputing throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, The king delivered us from the hand of our enemies, and saved us from the hand of the Philistines; and now he has fled out of the land because of Absalom. 10But Absalom, whom we anointed over us, is dead in battle. Now therefore why do you say nothing about bringing the king back?
11 King David sent this message to the priests Zadok and Abiathar, Say to the elders of Judah, Why should you be the last to bring the king back to his house? The talk of all Israel has come to the king.* 12You are my kin, you are my bone and my flesh; why then should you be the last to bring back the king? 13And say to Amasa, Are you not my bone and my flesh? So may God do to me, and more, if you are not the commander of my army from now on, in place of Joab. 14Amasa* swayed the hearts of all the people of Judah as one, and they sent word to the king, Return, both you and all your servants. 15So the king came back to the Jordan; and Judah came to Gilgal to meet the king and to bring him over the Jordan.
16 Shimei son of Gera, the Benjaminite, from Bahurim, hurried to come down with the people of Judah to meet King David; 17with him were a thousand people from Benjamin. And Ziba, the servant of the house of Saul, with his fifteen sons and his twenty servants, rushed down to the Jordan ahead of the king, 18while the crossing was taking place,* to bring over the kings household, and to do his pleasure.
Shimei son of Gera fell down before the king, as he was about to cross the Jordan, 19and said to the king, May my lord not hold me guilty or remember how your servant did wrong on the day my lord the king left Jerusalem; may the king not bear it in mind. 20For your servant knows that I have sinned; therefore, see, I have come this day, the first of all the house of Joseph to come down to meet my lord the king. 21Abishai son of Zeruiah answered, Shall not Shimei be put to death for this, because he cursed the Lords anointed? 22But David said, What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah, that you should today become an adversary to me? Shall anyone be put to death in Israel this day? For do I not know that I am this day king over Israel? 23The king said to Shimei, You shall not die. And the king gave him his oath.
24 Mephibosheth* grandson of Saul came down to meet the king; he had not taken care of his feet, or trimmed his beard, or washed his clothes, from the day the king left until the day he came back in safety. 25When he came from Jerusalem to meet the king, the king said to him, Why did you not go with me, Mephibosheth?* 26He answered, My lord, O king, my servant deceived me; for your servant said to him, Saddle a donkey for me,* so that I may ride on it and go with the king. For your servant is lame. 27He has slandered your servant to my lord the king. But my lord the king is like the angel of God; do therefore what seems good to you. 28For all my fathers house were doomed to death before my lord the king; but you set your servant among those who eat at your table. What further right have I, then, to appeal to the king? 29The king said to him, Why speak any more of your affairs? I have decided: you and Ziba shall divide the land. 30Mephibosheth* said to the king, Let him take it all, since my lord the king has arrived home safely.
31 Now Barzillai the Gileadite had come down from Rogelim; he went on with the king to the Jordan, to escort him over the Jordan. 32Barzillai was a very aged man, eighty years old. He had provided the king with food while he stayed at Mahanaim, for he was a very wealthy man. 33The king said to Barzillai, Come over with me, and I will provide for you in Jerusalem at my side. 34But Barzillai said to the king, How many years have I still to live, that I should go up with the king to Jerusalem? 35Today I am eighty years old; can I discern what is pleasant and what is not? Can your servant taste what he eats or what he drinks? Can I still listen to the voice of singing men and singing women? Why then should your servant be an added burden to my lord the king? 36Your servant will go a little way over the Jordan with the king. Why should the king recompense me with such a reward? 37Please let your servant return, so that I may die in my own town, near the graves of my father and my mother. But here is your servant Chimham; let him go over with my lord the king; and do for him whatever seems good to you. 38The king answered, Chimham shall go over with me, and I will do for him whatever seems good to you; and all that you desire of me I will do for you. 39Then all the people crossed over the Jordan, and the king crossed over; the king kissed Barzillai and blessed him, and he returned to his own home. 40The king went on to Gilgal, and Chimham went on with him; all the people of Judah, and also half the people of Israel, brought the king on his way.
41 Then all the people of Israel came to the king, and said to him, Why have our kindred the people of Judah stolen you away, and brought the king and his household over the Jordan, and all Davids men with him? 42All the people of Judah answered the people of Israel, Because the king is near of kin to us. Why then are you angry over this matter? Have we eaten at all at the kings expense? Or has he given us any gift? 43But the people of Israel answered the people of Judah, We have ten shares in the king, and in David also we have more than you. Why then did you despise us? Were we not the first to speak of bringing back our king? But the words of the people of Judah were fiercer than the words of the people of Israel.
20Now a scoundrel named Sheba son of Bichri, a Benjaminite, happened to be there. He sounded the trumpet and cried out,
We have no portion in David,
no share in the son of Jesse!
Everyone to your tents, O Israel!
2So all the people of Israel withdrew from David and followed Sheba son of Bichri; but the people of Judah followed their king steadfastly from the Jordan to Jerusalem.
3 David came to his house at Jerusalem; and the king took the ten concubines whom he had left to look after the house, and put them in a house under guard, and provided for them, but did not go in to them. So they were shut up until the day of their death, living as if in widowhood.
4 Then the king said to Amasa, Call the men of Judah together to me within three days, and be here yourself. 5So Amasa went to summon Judah; but he delayed beyond the set time that had been appointed him. 6David said to Abishai, Now Sheba son of Bichri will do us more harm than Absalom; take your lords servants and pursue him, or he will find fortified cities for himself, and escape from us. 7Joabs men went out after him, along with the Cherethites, the Pelethites, and all the warriors; they went out from Jerusalem to pursue Sheba son of Bichri. 8When they were at the large stone that is in Gibeon, Amasa came to meet them. Now Joab was wearing a soldiers garment and over it was a belt with a sword in its sheath fastened at his waist; as he went forward it fell out. 9Joab said to Amasa, Is it well with you, my brother? And Joab took Amasa by the beard with his right hand to kiss him. 10But Amasa did not notice the sword in Joabs hand; Joab struck him in the belly so that his entrails poured out on the ground, and he died. He did not strike a second blow.
Then Joab and his brother Abishai pursued Sheba son of Bichri. 11And one of Joabs men took his stand by Amasa, and said, Whoever favours Joab, and whoever is for David, let him follow Joab. 12Amasa lay wallowing in his blood on the highway, and the man saw that all the people were stopping. Since he saw that all who came by him were stopping, he carried Amasa from the highway into a field, and threw a garment over him. 13Once he was removed from the highway, all the people went on after Joab to pursue Sheba son of Bichri.
14 Sheba* passed through all the tribes of Israel to Abel of Beth-maacah;* and all the Bichrites* assembled, and followed him inside. 15Joabs forces* came and besieged him in Abel of Beth-maacah; they threw up a siege-ramp against the city, and it stood against the rampart. Joabs forces were battering the wall to break it down. 16Then a wise woman called from the city, Listen! Listen! Tell Joab, Come here, I want to speak to you. 17He came near her; and the woman said, Are you Joab? He answered, I am. Then she said to him, Listen to the words of your servant. He answered, I am listening. 18Then she said, They used to say in the old days, Let them inquire at Abel; and so they would settle a matter. 19I am one of those who are peaceable and faithful in Israel; you seek to destroy a city that is a mother in Israel; why will you swallow up the heritage of the Lord? 20Joab answered, Far be it from me, far be it, that I should swallow up or destroy! 21That is not the case! But a man of the hill country of Ephraim, called Sheba son of Bichri, has lifted up his hand against King David; give him up alone, and I will withdraw from the city. The woman said to Joab, His head shall be thrown over the wall to you. 22Then the woman went to all the people with her wise plan. And they cut off the head of Sheba son of Bichri, and threw it out to Joab. So he blew the trumpet, and they dispersed from the city, and all went to their homes, while Joab returned to Jerusalem to the king.
23 Now Joab was in command of all the army of Israel;* Benaiah son of Jehoiada was in command of the Cherethites and the Pelethites; 24Adoram was in charge of the forced labour; Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud was the recorder; 25Sheva was secretary; Zadok and Abiathar were priests; 26and Ira the Jairite was also Davids priest.
21Now there was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year; and David inquired of the Lord. The Lord said, There is blood-guilt on Saul and on his house, because he put the Gibeonites to death. 2So the king called the Gibeonites and spoke to them. (Now the Gibeonites were not of the people of Israel, but of the remnant of the Amorites; although the people of Israel had sworn to spare them, Saul had tried to wipe them out in his zeal for the people of Israel and Judah.) 3David said to the Gibeonites, What shall I do for you? How shall I make expiation, that you may bless the heritage of the Lord? 4The Gibeonites said to him, It is not a matter of silver or gold between us and Saul or his house; neither is it for us to put anyone to death in Israel. He said, What do you say that I should do for you? 5They said to the king, The man who consumed us and planned to destroy us, so that we should have no place in all the territory of Israel 6let seven of his sons be handed over to us, and we will impale them before the Lord at Gibeon on the mountain of the Lord.* The king said, I will hand them over.
7 But the king spared Mephibosheth,* the son of Sauls son Jonathan, because of the oath of the Lord that was between them, between David and Jonathan son of Saul. 8The king took the two sons of Rizpah daughter of Aiah, whom she bore to Saul, Armoni and Mephibosheth;* and the five sons of Merab* daughter of Saul, whom she bore to Adriel son of Barzillai the Meholathite; 9he gave them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they impaled them on the mountain before the Lord. The seven of them perished together. They were put to death in the first days of harvest, at the beginning of the barley harvest.
10 Then Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth, and spread it on a rock for herself, from the beginning of harvest until rain fell on them from the heavens; she did not allow the birds of the air to come on the bodies* by day, or the wild animals by night. 11When David was told what Rizpah daughter of Aiah, the concubine of Saul, had done, 12David went and took the bones of Saul and the bones of his son Jonathan from the people of Jabesh-gilead, who had stolen them from the public square of Beth-shan, where the Philistines had hung them up, on the day the Philistines killed Saul on Gilboa. 13He brought up from there the bones of Saul and the bones of his son Jonathan; and they gathered the bones of those who had been impaled. 14They buried the bones of Saul and of his son Jonathan in the land of Benjamin in Zela, in the tomb of his father Kish; they did all that the king commanded. After that, God heeded supplications for the land.
15 The Philistines went to war again with Israel, and David went down together with his servants. They fought against the Philistines, and David grew weary. 16Ishbi-benob, one of the descendants of the giants, whose spear weighed three hundred shekels of bronze, and who was fitted out with new weapons,* said he would kill David. 17But Abishai son of Zeruiah came to his aid, and attacked the Philistine and killed him. Then Davids men swore to him, You shall not go out with us to battle any longer, so that you do not quench the lamp of Israel.
18 After this a battle took place with the Philistines, at Gob; then Sibbecai the Hushathite killed Saph, who was one of the descendants of the giants. 19Then there was another battle with the Philistines at Gob; and Elhanan son of Jaare-oregim, the Bethlehemite, killed Goliath the Gittite, the shaft of whose spear was like a weavers beam. 20There was again war at Gath, where there was a man of great size, who had six fingers on each hand, and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in number; he too was descended from the giants. 21When he taunted Israel, Jonathan son of Davids brother Shimei, killed him. 22These four were descended from the giants in Gath; they fell by the hands of David and his servants.
1 O sing to the Lord a new song;
sing to the Lord, all the earth.
2 Sing to the Lord, bless his name;
tell of his salvation from day to day.
3 Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvellous works among all the peoples.
4 For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
he is to be revered above all gods.
5 For all the gods of the peoples are idols,
but the Lord made the heavens.
6 Honour and majesty are before him;
strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.
7 Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
8 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
bring an offering, and come into his courts.
9 Worship the Lord in holy splendour;
tremble before him, all the earth.
10 Say among the nations, The Lord is king!
The world is firmly established; it shall never be moved.
He will judge the peoples with equity.
11 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
12 let the field exult, and everything in it.
Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy
13 before the Lord; for he is coming,
for he is coming to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with righteousness,
and the peoples with his truth.
11Now the apostles and the believers* who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also accepted the word of God.
2So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers* criticized him,
3saying, Why did you go to uncircumcised men and eat with them?
4Then Peter began to explain it to them, step by step, saying,
5I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision. There was something like a large sheet coming down from heaven, being lowered by its four corners; and it came close to me.
6As I looked at it closely I saw four-footed animals, beasts of prey, reptiles, and birds of the air.
7I also heard a voice saying to me, Get up, Peter; kill and eat.
8But I replied, By no means, Lord; for nothing profane or unclean has ever entered my mouth.
9But a second time the voice answered from heaven, What God has made clean, you must not call profane.
10This happened three times; then everything was pulled up again to heaven.
11At that very moment three men, sent to me from Caesarea, arrived at the house where we were.
12The Spirit told me to go with them and not to make a distinction between them and us.* These six brothers also accompanied me, and we entered the mans house.
13He told us how he had seen the angel standing in his house and saying, Send to Joppa and bring Simon, who is called Peter;
14he will give you a message by which you and your entire household will be saved.
15And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as it had upon us at the beginning.
16And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said, John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.
17If then God gave them the same gift that he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could hinder God?
18When they heard this, they were silenced. And they praised God, saying, Then God has given even to the Gentiles the repentance that leads to life.
19 Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that took place over Stephen travelled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, and they spoke the word to no one except Jews. 20But among them were some men of Cyprus and Cyrene who, on coming to Antioch, spoke to the Hellenists* also, proclaiming the Lord Jesus. 21The hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number became believers and turned to the Lord. 22News of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23When he came and saw the grace of God, he rejoiced, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast devotion; 24for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were brought to the Lord. 25Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for an entire year they associated with* the church and taught a great many people, and it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called Christians.
27 At that time prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28One of them named Agabus stood up and predicted by the Spirit that there would be a severe famine over all the world; and this took place during the reign of Claudius. 29The disciples determined that according to their ability, each would send relief to the believers* living in Judea; 30this they did, sending it to the elders by Barnabas and Saul.
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