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I Kings 19, 20, 21

Elijah Flees from Jezebel

19Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. 2Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, ‘So may the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life like the life of one of them by this time tomorrow.’ 3Then he was afraid; he got up and fled for his life, and came to Beer-sheba, which belongs to Judah; he left his servant there.

4 But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a solitary broom tree. He asked that he might die: ‘It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my ancestors.’ 5Then he lay down under the broom tree and fell asleep. Suddenly an angel touched him and said to him, ‘Get up and eat.’ 6He looked, and there at his head was a cake baked on hot stones, and a jar of water. He ate and drank, and lay down again. 7The angel of the Lord came a second time, touched him, and said, ‘Get up and eat, otherwise the journey will be too much for you.’ 8He got up, and ate and drank; then he went in the strength of that food for forty days and forty nights to Horeb the mount of God. 9At that place he came to a cave, and spent the night there.

Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’ 10He answered, ‘I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the Israelites have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are seeking my life, to take it away.’

Elijah Meets God at Horeb

11 He said, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.’ Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; 12and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence. 13When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then there came a voice to him that said, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’ 14He answered, ‘I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the Israelites have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are seeking my life, to take it away.’ 15Then the Lord said to him, ‘Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus; when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael as king over Aram. 16Also you shall anoint Jehu son of Nimshi as king over Israel; and you shall anoint Elisha son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah as prophet in your place. 17Whoever escapes from the sword of Hazael, Jehu shall kill; and whoever escapes from the sword of Jehu, Elisha shall kill. 18Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.’

Elisha Becomes Elijah’s Disciple

19 So he set out from there, and found Elisha son of Shaphat, who was ploughing. There were twelve yoke of oxen ahead of him, and he was with the twelfth. Elijah passed by him and threw his mantle over him. 20He left the oxen, ran after Elijah, and said, ‘Let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you.’ Then Elijah* said to him, ‘Go back again; for what have I done to you?’ 21He returned from following him, took the yoke of oxen, and slaughtered them; using the equipment from the oxen, he boiled their flesh, and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out and followed Elijah, and became his servant.

Ahab’s Wars with the Arameans

20King Ben-hadad of Aram gathered all his army together; thirty-two kings were with him, along with horses and chariots. He marched against Samaria, laid siege to it, and attacked it. 2Then he sent messengers into the city to King Ahab of Israel, and said to him: ‘Thus says Ben-hadad: 3Your silver and gold are mine; your fairest wives and children also are mine.’ 4The king of Israel answered, ‘As you say, my lord, O king, I am yours, and all that I have.’ 5The messengers came again and said: ‘Thus says Ben-hadad: I sent to you, saying, “Deliver to me your silver and gold, your wives and children”; 6nevertheless, I will send my servants to you tomorrow about this time, and they shall search your house and the houses of your servants, and lay hands on whatever pleases them,* and take it away.’

7 Then the king of Israel called all the elders of the land, and said, ‘Look now! See how this man is seeking trouble; for he sent to me for my wives, my children, my silver, and my gold; and I did not refuse him.’ 8Then all the elders and all the people said to him, ‘Do not listen or consent.’ 9So he said to the messengers of Ben-hadad, ‘Tell my lord the king: All that you first demanded of your servant I will do; but this thing I cannot do.’ The messengers left and brought him word again. 10Ben-hadad sent to him and said, ‘The gods do so to me, and more also, if the dust of Samaria will provide a handful for each of the people who follow me.’ 11The king of Israel answered, ‘Tell him: One who puts on armour should not brag like one who takes it off.’ 12When Ben-hadad heard this message—now he had been drinking with the kings in the booths—he said to his men, ‘Take your positions!’ And they took their positions against the city.

Prophetic Opposition to Ahab

13 Then a certain prophet came up to King Ahab of Israel and said, ‘Thus says the Lord, Have you seen all this great multitude? Look, I will give it into your hand today; and you shall know that I am the Lord.’ 14Ahab said, ‘By whom?’ He said, ‘Thus says the Lord, By the young men who serve the district governors.’ Then he said, ‘Who shall begin the battle?’ He answered, ‘You.’ 15Then he mustered the young men who served the district governors, two hundred and thirty-two; after them he mustered all the people of Israel, seven thousand.

16 They went out at noon, while Ben-hadad was drinking himself drunk in the booths, he and the thirty-two kings allied with him. 17The young men who served the district governors went out first. Ben-hadad had sent out scouts,* and they reported to him, ‘Men have come out from Samaria.’ 18He said, ‘If they have come out for peace, take them alive; if they have come out for war, take them alive.’

19 But these had already come out of the city: the young men who served the district governors, and the army that followed them. 20Each killed his man; the Arameans fled and Israel pursued them, but King Ben-hadad of Aram escaped on a horse with the cavalry. 21The king of Israel went out, attacked the horses and chariots, and defeated the Arameans with a great slaughter.

22 Then the prophet approached the king of Israel and said to him, ‘Come, strengthen yourself, and consider well what you have to do; for in the spring the king of Aram will come up against you.’

The Arameans Are Defeated

23 The servants of the king of Aram said to him, ‘Their gods are gods of the hills, and so they were stronger than we; but let us fight against them in the plain, and surely we shall be stronger than they. 24Also do this: remove the kings, each from his post, and put commanders in place of them; 25and muster an army like the army that you have lost, horse for horse, and chariot for chariot; then we will fight against them in the plain, and surely we shall be stronger than they.’ He heeded their voice, and did so.

26 In the spring Ben-hadad mustered the Arameans and went up to Aphek to fight against Israel. 27After the Israelites had been mustered and provisioned, they went out to engage them; the people of Israel encamped opposite them like two little flocks of goats, while the Arameans filled the country. 28A man of God approached and said to the king of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord: Because the Arameans have said, “The Lord is a god of the hills but he is not a god of the valleys”, therefore I will give all this great multitude into your hand, and you shall know that I am the Lord.’ 29They encamped opposite one another for seven days. Then on the seventh day the battle began; the Israelites killed one hundred thousand Aramean foot-soldiers in one day. 30The rest fled into the city of Aphek; and the wall fell on twenty-seven thousand men that were left.

Ben-hadad also fled, and entered the city to hide. 31His servants said to him, ‘Look, we have heard that the kings of the house of Israel are merciful kings; let us put sackcloth around our waists and ropes on our heads, and go out to the king of Israel; perhaps he will spare your life.’ 32So they tied sackcloth around their waists, put ropes on their heads, went to the king of Israel, and said, ‘Your servant Ben-hadad says, “Please let me live.” ’ And he said, ‘Is he still alive? He is my brother.’ 33Now the men were watching for an omen; they quickly took it up from him and said, ‘Yes, Ben-hadad is your brother.’ Then he said, ‘Go and bring him.’ So Ben-hadad came out to him; and he had him come up into the chariot. 34Ben-hadad* said to him, ‘I will restore the towns that my father took from your father; and you may establish bazaars for yourself in Damascus, as my father did in Samaria.’ The king of Israel responded,* ‘I will let you go on those terms.’ So he made a treaty with him and let him go.

A Prophet Condemns Ahab

35 At the command of the Lord a certain member of a company of prophets* said to another, ‘Strike me!’ But the man refused to strike him. 36Then he said to him, ‘Because you have not obeyed the voice of the Lord, as soon as you have left me, a lion will kill you.’ And when he had left him, a lion met him and killed him. 37Then he found another man and said, ‘Strike me!’ So the man hit him, striking and wounding him. 38Then the prophet departed, and waited for the king along the road, disguising himself with a bandage over his eyes. 39As the king passed by, he cried to the king and said, ‘Your servant went out into the thick of the battle; then a soldier turned and brought a man to me, and said, “Guard this man; if he is missing, your life shall be given for his life, or else you shall pay a talent of silver.” 40While your servant was busy here and there, he was gone.’ The king of Israel said to him, ‘So shall your judgement be; you yourself have decided it.’ 41Then he quickly took the bandage away from his eyes. The king of Israel recognized him as one of the prophets. 42Then he said to him, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Because you have let the man go whom I had devoted to destruction, therefore your life shall be for his life, and your people for his people.” 43The king of Israel set out towards home, resentful and sullen, and came to Samaria.

Naboth’s Vineyard

21Later the following events took place: Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard in Jezreel, beside the palace of King Ahab of Samaria. 2And Ahab said to Naboth, ‘Give me your vineyard, so that I may have it for a vegetable garden, because it is near my house; I will give you a better vineyard for it; or, if it seems good to you, I will give you its value in money.’ 3But Naboth said to Ahab, ‘The Lord forbid that I should give you my ancestral inheritance.’ 4Ahab went home resentful and sullen because of what Naboth the Jezreelite had said to him; for he had said, ‘I will not give you my ancestral inheritance.’ He lay down on his bed, turned away his face, and would not eat.

5 His wife Jezebel came to him and said, ‘Why are you so depressed that you will not eat?’ 6He said to her, ‘Because I spoke to Naboth the Jezreelite and said to him, “Give me your vineyard for money; or else, if you prefer, I will give you another vineyard for it”; but he answered, “I will not give you my vineyard.” 7His wife Jezebel said to him, ‘Do you now govern Israel? Get up, eat some food, and be cheerful; I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.’

8 So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name and sealed them with his seal; she sent the letters to the elders and the nobles who lived with Naboth in his city. 9She wrote in the letters, ‘Proclaim a fast, and seat Naboth at the head of the assembly; 10seat two scoundrels opposite him, and have them bring a charge against him, saying, “You have cursed God and the king.” Then take him out, and stone him to death.’ 11The men of his city, the elders and the nobles who lived in his city, did as Jezebel had sent word to them. Just as it was written in the letters that she had sent to them, 12they proclaimed a fast and seated Naboth at the head of the assembly. 13The two scoundrels came in and sat opposite him; and the scoundrels brought a charge against Naboth, in the presence of the people, saying, ‘Naboth cursed God and the king.’ So they took him outside the city, and stoned him to death. 14Then they sent to Jezebel, saying, ‘Naboth has been stoned; he is dead.’

15 As soon as Jezebel heard that Naboth had been stoned and was dead, Jezebel said to Ahab, ‘Go, take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, which he refused to give you for money; for Naboth is not alive, but dead.’ 16As soon as Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, Ahab set out to go down to the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, to take possession of it.

Elijah Pronounces God’s Sentence

17 Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying: 18Go down to meet King Ahab of Israel, who rules* in Samaria; he is now in the vineyard of Naboth, where he has gone to take possession. 19You shall say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord: Have you killed, and also taken possession?’ You shall say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord: In the place where dogs licked up the blood of Naboth, dogs will also lick up your blood.’

20 Ahab said to Elijah, ‘Have you found me, O my enemy?’ He answered, ‘I have found you. Because you have sold yourself to do what is evil in the sight of the Lord, 21I will bring disaster on you; I will consume you, and will cut off from Ahab every male, bond or free, in Israel; 22and I will make your house like the house of Jeroboam son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha son of Ahijah, because you have provoked me to anger and have caused Israel to sin. 23Also concerning Jezebel the Lord said, “The dogs shall eat Jezebel within the bounds of Jezreel.” 24Anyone belonging to Ahab who dies in the city the dogs shall eat; and anyone of his who dies in the open country the birds of the air shall eat.’

25 (Indeed, there was no one like Ahab, who sold himself to do what was evil in the sight of the Lord, urged on by his wife Jezebel. 26He acted most abominably in going after idols, as the Amorites had done, whom the Lord drove out before the Israelites.)

27 When Ahab heard those words, he tore his clothes and put sackcloth over his bare flesh; he fasted, lay in the sackcloth, and went about dejectedly. 28Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite: 29‘Have you seen how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself before me, I will not bring the disaster in his days; but in his son’s days I will bring the disaster on his house.’

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Psalm 104

God the Creator and Provider


1 Bless the Lord, O my soul.
   O Lord my God, you are very great.
You are clothed with honour and majesty,
2   wrapped in light as with a garment.
You stretch out the heavens like a tent,
3   you set the beams of your* chambers on the waters,
you make the clouds your* chariot,
   you ride on the wings of the wind,
4 you make the winds your* messengers,
   fire and flame your* ministers.


5 You set the earth on its foundations,
   so that it shall never be shaken.
6 You cover it with the deep as with a garment;
   the waters stood above the mountains.
7 At your rebuke they flee;
   at the sound of your thunder they take to flight.
8 They rose up to the mountains, ran down to the valleys
   to the place that you appointed for them.
9 You set a boundary that they may not pass,
   so that they might not again cover the earth.


10 You make springs gush forth in the valleys;
   they flow between the hills,
11 giving drink to every wild animal;
   the wild asses quench their thirst.
12 By the streams* the birds of the air have their habitation;
   they sing among the branches.
13 From your lofty abode you water the mountains;
   the earth is satisfied with the fruit of your work.


14 You cause the grass to grow for the cattle,
   and plants for people to use,*
to bring forth food from the earth,
15   and wine to gladden the human heart,
oil to make the face shine,
   and bread to strengthen the human heart.
16 The trees of the Lord are watered abundantly,
   the cedars of Lebanon that he planted.
17 In them the birds build their nests;
   the stork has its home in the fir trees.
18 The high mountains are for the wild goats;
   the rocks are a refuge for the coneys.
19 You have made the moon to mark the seasons;
   the sun knows its time for setting.
20 You make darkness, and it is night,
   when all the animals of the forest come creeping out.
21 The young lions roar for their prey,
   seeking their food from God.
22 When the sun rises, they withdraw
   and lie down in their dens.
23 People go out to their work
   and to their labour until the evening.


24Lord, how manifold are your works!
   In wisdom you have made them all;
   the earth is full of your creatures.
25 Yonder is the sea, great and wide,
   creeping things innumerable are there,
   living things both small and great.
26 There go the ships,
   and Leviathan that you formed to sport in it.


27 These all look to you
   to give them their food in due season;
28 when you give to them, they gather it up;
   when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.
29 When you hide your face, they are dismayed;
   when you take away their breath, they die
   and return to their dust.
30 When you send forth your spirit,* they are created;
   and you renew the face of the ground.


31 May the glory of the Lord endure for ever;
   may the Lord rejoice in his works—
32 who looks on the earth and it trembles,
   who touches the mountains and they smoke.
33 I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;
   I will sing praise to my God while I have being.
34 May my meditation be pleasing to him,
   for I rejoice in the Lord.
35 Let sinners be consumed from the earth,
   and let the wicked be no more.
Bless the Lord, O my soul.
Praise the Lord!

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Acts 19

Paul in Ephesus

19While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul passed through the inland regions and came to Ephesus, where he found some disciples. 2He said to them, ‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?’ They replied, ‘No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.’ 3Then he said, ‘Into what then were you baptized?’ They answered, ‘Into John’s baptism.’ 4Paul said, ‘John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, in Jesus.’ 5On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6When Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied— 7altogether there were about twelve of them.

8 He entered the synagogue and for three months spoke out boldly, and argued persuasively about the kingdom of God. 9When some stubbornly refused to believe and spoke evil of the Way before the congregation, he left them, taking the disciples with him, and argued daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus.* 10This continued for two years, so that all the residents of Asia, both Jews and Greeks, heard the word of the Lord.

The Sons of Sceva

11 God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, 12so that when the handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were brought to the sick, their diseases left them, and the evil spirits came out of them. 13Then some itinerant Jewish exorcists tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, ‘I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.’ 14Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. 15But the evil spirit said to them in reply, ‘Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?’ 16Then the man with the evil spirit leapt on them, mastered them all, and so overpowered them that they fled out of the house naked and wounded. 17When this became known to all residents of Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks, everyone was awestruck; and the name of the Lord Jesus was praised. 18Also many of those who became believers confessed and disclosed their practices. 19A number of those who practised magic collected their books and burned them publicly; when the value of these books* was calculated, it was found to come to fifty thousand silver coins. 20So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed.

The Riot in Ephesus

21 Now after these things had been accomplished, Paul resolved in the Spirit to go through Macedonia and Achaia, and then to go on to Jerusalem. He said, ‘After I have gone there, I must also see Rome.’ 22So he sent two of his helpers, Timothy and Erastus, to Macedonia, while he himself stayed for some time longer in Asia.

23 About that time no little disturbance broke out concerning the Way. 24A man named Demetrius, a silversmith who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought no little business to the artisans. 25These he gathered together, with the workers of the same trade, and said, ‘Men, you know that we get our wealth from this business. 26You also see and hear that not only in Ephesus but in almost the whole of Asia this Paul has persuaded and drawn away a considerable number of people by saying that gods made with hands are not gods. 27And there is danger not only that this trade of ours may come into disrepute but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be scorned, and she will be deprived of her majesty that brought all Asia and the world to worship her.’

28 When they heard this, they were enraged and shouted, ‘Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!’ 29The city was filled with the confusion; and people* rushed together to the theatre, dragging with them Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians who were Paul’s travelling-companions. 30Paul wished to go into the crowd, but the disciples would not let him; 31even some officials of the province of Asia,* who were friendly to him, sent him a message urging him not to venture into the theatre. 32Meanwhile, some were shouting one thing, some another; for the assembly was in confusion, and most of them did not know why they had come together. 33Some of the crowd gave instructions to Alexander, whom the Jews had pushed forward. And Alexander motioned for silence and tried to make a defence before the people. 34But when they recognized that he was a Jew, for about two hours all of them shouted in unison, ‘Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!’ 35But when the town clerk had quietened the crowd, he said, ‘Citizens of Ephesus, who is there that does not know that the city of the Ephesians is the temple-keeper of the great Artemis and of the statue that fell from heaven?* 36Since these things cannot be denied, you ought to be quiet and do nothing rash. 37You have brought these men here who are neither temple-robbers nor blasphemers of our* goddess. 38If therefore Demetrius and the artisans with him have a complaint against anyone, the courts are open, and there are proconsuls; let them bring charges there against one another. 39If there is anything further* you want to know, it must be settled in the regular assembly. 40For we are in danger of being charged with rioting today, since there is no cause that we can give to justify this commotion.’ 41When he had said this, he dismissed the assembly.

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