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II Samuel 22, 23, 24

David’s Song of Thanksgiving

22David spoke to the Lord the words of this song on the day when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. 2He said:
The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer,
3   my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield and the horn of my salvation,
   my stronghold and my refuge,
   my saviour; you save me from violence.
4 I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised,
   and I am saved from my enemies.


5 For the waves of death encompassed me,
   the torrents of perdition assailed me;
6 the cords of Sheol entangled me,
   the snares of death confronted me.


7 In my distress I called upon the Lord;
   to my God I called.
From his temple he heard my voice,
   and my cry came to his ears.


8 Then the earth reeled and rocked;
   the foundations of the heavens trembled
   and quaked, because he was angry.
9 Smoke went up from his nostrils,
   and devouring fire from his mouth;
   glowing coals flamed forth from him.
10 He bowed the heavens, and came down;
   thick darkness was under his feet.
11 He rode on a cherub, and flew;
   he was seen upon the wings of the wind.
12 He made darkness around him a canopy,
   thick clouds, a gathering of water.
13 Out of the brightness before him
   coals of fire flamed forth.
14 The Lord thundered from heaven;
   the Most High uttered his voice.
15 He sent out arrows, and scattered them
   —lightning, and routed them.
16 Then the channels of the sea were seen,
   the foundations of the world were laid bare
at the rebuke of the Lord,
   at the blast of the breath of his nostrils.


17 He reached from on high, he took me,
   he drew me out of mighty waters.
18 He delivered me from my strong enemy,
   from those who hated me;
   for they were too mighty for me.
19 They came upon me in the day of my calamity,
   but the Lord was my stay.
20 He brought me out into a broad place;
   he delivered me, because he delighted in me.


21 The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness;
   according to the cleanness of my hands he recompensed me.
22 For I have kept the ways of the Lord,
   and have not wickedly departed from my God.
23 For all his ordinances were before me,
   and from his statutes I did not turn aside.
24 I was blameless before him,
   and I kept myself from guilt.
25 Therefore the Lord has recompensed me according to my righteousness,
   according to my cleanness in his sight.


26 With the loyal you show yourself loyal;
   with the blameless you show yourself blameless;
27 with the pure you show yourself pure,
   and with the crooked you show yourself perverse.
28 You deliver a humble people,
   but your eyes are upon the haughty to bring them down.
29 Indeed, you are my lamp, O Lord,
   the Lord lightens my darkness.
30 By you I can crush a troop,
   and by my God I can leap over a wall.
31 This God—his way is perfect;
   the promise of the Lord proves true;
   he is a shield for all who take refuge in him.


32 For who is God, but the Lord?
   And who is a rock, except our God?
33 The God who has girded me with strength*
   has opened wide my path.*
34 He made my* feet like the feet of deer,
   and set me secure on the heights.
35 He trains my hands for war,
   so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
36 You have given me the shield of your salvation,
   and your help* has made me great.
37 You have made me stride freely,
   and my feet do not slip;
38 I pursued my enemies and destroyed them,
   and did not turn back until they were consumed.
39 I consumed them; I struck them down, so that they did not rise;
   they fell under my feet.
40 For you girded me with strength for the battle;
   you made my assailants sink under me.
41 You made my enemies turn their backs to me,
   those who hated me, and I destroyed them.
42 They looked, but there was no one to save them;
   they cried to the Lord, but he did not answer them.
43 I beat them fine like the dust of the earth,
   I crushed them and stamped them down like the mire of the streets.


44 You delivered me from strife with the peoples;*
   you kept me as the head of the nations;
   people whom I had not known served me.
45 Foreigners came cringing to me;
   as soon as they heard of me, they obeyed me.
46 Foreigners lost heart,
   and came trembling out of their strongholds.


47 The Lord lives! Blessed be my rock,
   and exalted be my God, the rock of my salvation,
48 the God who gave me vengeance
   and brought down peoples under me,
49 who brought me out from my enemies;
   you exalted me above my adversaries,
   you delivered me from the violent.


50 For this I will extol you, O Lord, among the nations,
   and sing praises to your name.
51 He is a tower of salvation for his king,
   and shows steadfast love to his anointed,
   to David and his descendants for ever.

The Last Words of David

23Now these are the last words of David:
The oracle of David, son of Jesse,
   the oracle of the man whom God exalted,*
the anointed of the God of Jacob,
   the favourite of the Strong One of Israel:


2 The spirit of the Lord speaks through me,
   his word is upon my tongue.
3 The God of Israel has spoken,
   the Rock of Israel has said to me:
One who rules over people justly,
   ruling in the fear of God,
4 is like the light of morning,
   like the sun rising on a cloudless morning,
   gleaming from the rain on the grassy land.


5 Is not my house like this with God?
   For he has made with me an everlasting covenant,
   ordered in all things and secure.
Will he not cause to prosper
   all my help and my desire?
6 But the godless are* all like thorns that are thrown away;
   for they cannot be picked up with the hand;
7 to touch them one uses an iron bar
   or the shaft of a spear.
   And they are entirely consumed in fire on the spot.*

David’s Mighty Men

8 These are the names of the warriors whom David had: Josheb-basshebeth a Tahchemonite; he was chief of the Three;* he wielded his spear* against eight hundred whom he killed at one time.

9 Next to him among the three warriors was Eleazar son of Dodo son of Ahohi. He was with David when they defied the Philistines who were gathered there for battle. The Israelites withdrew, 10but he stood his ground. He struck down the Philistines until his arm grew weary, though his hand clung to the sword. The Lord brought about a great victory that day. Then the people came back to him—but only to strip the dead.

11 Next to him was Shammah son of Agee, the Hararite. The Philistines gathered together at Lehi, where there was a plot of ground full of lentils; and the army fled from the Philistines. 12But he took his stand in the middle of the plot, defended it, and killed the Philistines; and the Lord brought about a great victory.

13 Towards the beginning of harvest three of the thirty* chiefs went down to join David at the cave of Adullam, while a band of Philistines was encamped in the valley of Rephaim. 14David was then in the stronghold; and the garrison of the Philistines was then at Bethlehem. 15David said longingly, ‘O that someone would give me water to drink from the well of Bethlehem that is by the gate!’ 16Then the three warriors broke through the camp of the Philistines, drew water from the well of Bethlehem that was by the gate, and brought it to David. But he would not drink of it; he poured it out to the Lord, 17for he said, ‘The Lord forbid that I should do this. Can I drink the blood of the men who went at the risk of their lives?’ Therefore he would not drink it. The three warriors did these things.

18 Now Abishai son of Zeruiah, the brother of Joab, was chief of the Thirty.* With his spear he fought against three hundred men and killed them, and won a name beside the Three. 19He was the most renowned of the Thirty,* and became their commander; but he did not attain to the Three.

20 Benaiah son of Jehoiada was a valiant warrior* from Kabzeel, a doer of great deeds; he struck down two sons of Ariel* of Moab. He also went down and killed a lion in a pit on a day when snow had fallen. 21And he killed an Egyptian, a handsome man. The Egyptian had a spear in his hand; but Benaiah went against him with a staff, snatched the spear out of the Egyptian’s hand, and killed him with his own spear. 22Such were the things Benaiah son of Jehoiada did, and won a name beside the three warriors. 23He was renowned among the Thirty, but he did not attain to the Three. And David put him in charge of his bodyguard.

24 Among the Thirty were Asahel brother of Joab; Elhanan son of Dodo of Bethlehem; 25Shammah of Harod; Elika of Harod; 26Helez the Paltite; Ira son of Ikkesh of Tekoa; 27Abiezer of Anathoth; Mebunnai the Hushathite; 28Zalmon the Ahohite; Maharai of Netophah; 29Heleb son of Baanah of Netophah; Ittai son of Ribai of Gibeah of the Benjaminites; 30Benaiah of Pirathon; Hiddai of the torrents of Gaash; 31Abi-albon the Arbathite; Azmaveth of Bahurim; 32Eliahba of Shaalbon; the sons of Jashen: Jonathan 33son of* Shammah the Hararite; Ahiam son of Sharar the Hararite; 34Eliphelet son of Ahasbai of Maacah; Eliam son of Ahithophel the Gilonite; 35Hezro* of Carmel; Paarai the Arbite; 36Igal son of Nathan of Zobah; Bani the Gadite; 37Zelek the Ammonite; Naharai of Beeroth, the armour-bearer of Joab son of Zeruiah; 38Ira the Ithrite; Gareb the Ithrite; 39Uriah the Hittite—thirty-seven in all.

David’s Census of Israel and Judah

24Again the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, ‘Go, count the people of Israel and Judah.’ 2So the king said to Joab and the commanders of the army,* who were with him, ‘Go through all the tribes of Israel, from Dan to Beer-sheba, and take a census of the people, so that I may know how many there are.’ 3But Joab said to the king, ‘May the Lord your God increase the number of the people a hundredfold, while the eyes of my lord the king can still see it! But why does my lord the king want to do this?’ 4But the king’s word prevailed against Joab and the commanders of the army. So Joab and the commanders of the army went out from the presence of the king to take a census of the people of Israel. 5They crossed the Jordan, and began from* Aroer and from the city that is in the middle of the valley, towards Gad and on to Jazer. 6Then they came to Gilead, and to Kadesh in the land of the Hittites;* and they came to Dan, and from Dan* they went round to Sidon, 7and came to the fortress of Tyre and to all the cities of the Hivites and Canaanites; and they went out to the Negeb of Judah at Beer-sheba. 8So when they had gone through all the land, they came back to Jerusalem at the end of nine months and twenty days. 9Joab reported to the king the number of those who had been recorded: in Israel there were eight hundred thousand soldiers able to draw the sword, and those of Judah were five hundred thousand.

Judgement on David’s Sin

10 But afterwards, David was stricken to the heart because he had numbered the people. David said to the Lord, ‘I have sinned greatly in what I have done. But now, O Lord, I pray you, take away the guilt of your servant; for I have done very foolishly.’ 11When David rose in the morning, the word of the Lord came to the prophet Gad, David’s seer, saying, 12‘Go and say to David: Thus says the Lord: Three things I offer* you; choose one of them, and I will do it to you.’ 13So Gad came to David and told him; he asked him, ‘Shall three* years of famine come to you on your land? Or will you flee for three months before your foes while they pursue you? Or shall there be three days’ pestilence in your land? Now consider, and decide what answer I shall return to the one who sent me.’ 14Then David said to Gad, ‘I am in great distress; let us fall into the hand of the Lord, for his mercy is great; but let me not fall into human hands.’

15 So the Lord sent a pestilence on Israel from that morning until the appointed time; and seventy thousand of the people died, from Dan to Beer-sheba. 16But when the angel stretched out his hand towards Jerusalem to destroy it, the Lord relented concerning the evil, and said to the angel who was bringing destruction among the people, ‘It is enough; now stay your hand.’ The angel of the Lord was then by the threshing-floor of Araunah the Jebusite. 17When David saw the angel who was destroying the people, he said to the Lord, ‘I alone have sinned, and I alone have done wickedly; but these sheep, what have they done? Let your hand, I pray, be against me and against my father’s house.’

David’s Altar on the Threshing-Floor

18 That day Gad came to David and said to him, ‘Go up and erect an altar to the Lord on the threshing-floor of Araunah the Jebusite.’ 19Following Gad’s instructions, David went up, as the Lord had commanded. 20When Araunah looked down, he saw the king and his servants coming towards him; and Araunah went out and prostrated himself before the king with his face to the ground. 21Araunah said, ‘Why has my lord the king come to his servant?’ David said, ‘To buy the threshing-floor from you in order to build an altar to the Lord, so that the plague may be averted from the people.’ 22Then Araunah said to David, ‘Let my lord the king take and offer up what seems good to him; here are the oxen for the burnt-offering, and the threshing-sledges and the yokes of the oxen for the wood. 23All this, O king, Araunah gives to the king.’ And Araunah said to the king, ‘May the Lord your God respond favourably to you.’

24 But the king said to Araunah, ‘No, but I will buy them from you for a price; I will not offer burnt-offerings to the Lord my God that cost me nothing.’ So David bought the threshing-floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. 25David built there an altar to the Lord, and offered burnt-offerings and offerings of well-being. So the Lord answered his supplication for the land, and the plague was averted from Israel.

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Psalm 97

The Glory of God’s Reign


1 The Lord is king! Let the earth rejoice;
   let the many coastlands be glad!
2 Clouds and thick darkness are all around him;
   righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.
3 Fire goes before him,
   and consumes his adversaries on every side.
4 His lightnings light up the world;
   the earth sees and trembles.
5 The mountains melt like wax before the Lord,
   before the Lord of all the earth.


6 The heavens proclaim his righteousness;
   and all the peoples behold his glory.
7 All worshippers of images are put to shame,
   those who make their boast in worthless idols;
   all gods bow down before him.
8 Zion hears and is glad,
   and the towns* of Judah rejoice,
   because of your judgements, O God.
9 For you, O Lord, are most high over all the earth;
   you are exalted far above all gods.


10 The Lord loves those who hate* evil;
   he guards the lives of his faithful;
   he rescues them from the hand of the wicked.
11 Light dawns* for the righteous,
   and joy for the upright in heart.
12 Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous,
   and give thanks to his holy name!

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Acts 12

James Killed and Peter Imprisoned

12About that time King Herod laid violent hands upon some who belonged to the church. 2He had James, the brother of John, killed with the sword. 3After he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. (This was during the festival of Unleavened Bread.) 4When he had seized him, he put him in prison and handed him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending to bring him out to the people after the Passover. 5While Peter was kept in prison, the church prayed fervently to God for him.

Peter Delivered from Prison

6 The very night before Herod was going to bring him out, Peter, bound with two chains, was sleeping between two soldiers, while guards in front of the door were keeping watch over the prison. 7Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He tapped Peter on the side and woke him, saying, ‘Get up quickly.’ And the chains fell off his wrists. 8The angel said to him, ‘Fasten your belt and put on your sandals.’ He did so. Then he said to him, ‘Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.’ 9Peter* went out and followed him; he did not realize that what was happening with the angel’s help was real; he thought he was seeing a vision. 10After they had passed the first and the second guard, they came before the iron gate leading into the city. It opened for them of its own accord, and they went outside and walked along a lane, when suddenly the angel left him. 11Then Peter came to himself and said, ‘Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hands of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.’

12 As soon as he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many had gathered and were praying. 13When he knocked at the outer gate, a maid named Rhoda came to answer. 14On recognizing Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed that, instead of opening the gate, she ran in and announced that Peter was standing at the gate. 15They said to her, ‘You are out of your mind!’ But she insisted that it was so. They said, ‘It is his angel.’ 16Meanwhile, Peter continued knocking; and when they opened the gate, they saw him and were amazed. 17He motioned to them with his hand to be silent, and described for them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he added, ‘Tell this to James and to the believers.’* Then he left and went to another place.

18 When morning came, there was no small commotion among the soldiers over what had become of Peter. 19When Herod had searched for him and could not find him, he examined the guards and ordered them to be put to death. Then he went down from Judea to Caesarea and stayed there.

The Death of Herod

20 Now Herod* was angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon. So they came to him in a body; and after winning over Blastus, the king’s chamberlain, they asked for a reconciliation, because their country depended on the king’s country for food. 21On an appointed day Herod put on his royal robes, took his seat on the platform, and delivered a public address to them. 22The people kept shouting, ‘The voice of a god, and not of a mortal!’ 23And immediately, because he had not given the glory to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died.

24 But the word of God continued to advance and gain adherents. 25Then after completing their mission Barnabas and Saul returned to* Jerusalem and brought with them John, whose other name was Mark.

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10 February 2011

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