4Now the wife of a member of the company of prophets* cried to Elisha, Your servant my husband is dead; and you know that your servant feared the Lord, but a creditor has come to take my two children as slaves. 2Elisha said to her, What shall I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house? She answered, Your servant has nothing in the house, except a jar of oil. 3He said, Go outside, borrow vessels from all your neighbours, empty vessels and not just a few. 4Then go in, and shut the door behind you and your children, and start pouring into all these vessels; when each is full, set it aside. 5So she left him and shut the door behind her and her children; they kept bringing vessels to her, and she kept pouring. 6When the vessels were full, she said to her son, Bring me another vessel. But he said to her, There are no more. Then the oil stopped flowing. 7She came and told the man of God, and he said, Go, sell the oil and pay your debts, and you and your children can live on the rest.
8 One day Elisha was passing through Shunem, where a wealthy woman lived, who urged him to have a meal. So whenever he passed that way, he would stop there for a meal. 9She said to her husband, Look, I am sure that this man who regularly passes our way is a holy man of God. 10Let us make a small roof chamber with walls, and put there for him a bed, a table, a chair, and a lamp, so that he can stay there whenever he comes to us.
11 One day when he came there, he went up to the chamber and lay down there. 12He said to his servant Gehazi, Call the Shunammite woman. When he had called her, she stood before him. 13He said to him, Say to her, Since you have taken all this trouble for us, what may be done for you? Would you have a word spoken on your behalf to the king or to the commander of the army? She answered, I live among my own people. 14He said, What then may be done for her? Gehazi answered, Well, she has no son, and her husband is old. 15He said, Call her. When he had called her, she stood at the door. 16He said, At this season, in due time, you shall embrace a son. She replied, No, my lord, O man of God; do not deceive your servant.
17 The woman conceived and bore a son at that season, in due time, as Elisha had declared to her.
18 When the child was older, he went out one day to his father among the reapers. 19He complained to his father, Oh, my head, my head! The father said to his servant, Carry him to his mother. 20He carried him and brought him to his mother; the child sat on her lap until noon, and he died. 21She went up and laid him on the bed of the man of God, closed the door on him, and left. 22Then she called to her husband, and said, Send me one of the servants and one of the donkeys, so that I may quickly go to the man of God and come back again. 23He said, Why go to him today? It is neither new moon nor sabbath. She said, It will be all right. 24Then she saddled the donkey and said to her servant, Urge the animal on; do not hold back for me unless I tell you. 25So she set out, and came to the man of God at Mount Carmel.
When the man of God saw her coming, he said to Gehazi his servant, Look, there is the Shunammite woman; 26run at once to meet her, and say to her, Are you all right? Is your husband all right? Is the child all right? She answered, It is all right. 27When she came to the man of God at the mountain, she caught hold of his feet. Gehazi approached to push her away. But the man of God said, Let her alone, for she is in bitter distress; the Lord has hidden it from me and has not told me. 28Then she said, Did I ask my lord for a son? Did I not say, Do not mislead me? 29He said to Gehazi, Gird up your loins, and take my staff in your hand, and go. If you meet anyone, give no greeting, and if anyone greets you, do not answer; and lay my staff on the face of the child. 30Then the mother of the child said, As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave without you. So he rose up and followed her. 31Gehazi went on ahead and laid the staff on the face of the child, but there was no sound or sign of life. He came back to meet him and told him, The child has not awakened.
32 When Elisha came into the house, he saw the child lying dead on his bed. 33So he went in and closed the door on the two of them, and prayed to the Lord. 34Then he got up on the bed* and lay upon the child, putting his mouth upon his mouth, his eyes upon his eyes, and his hands upon his hands; and while he lay bent over him, the flesh of the child became warm. 35He got down, walked once to and fro in the room, then got up again and bent over him; the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes. 36Elisha* summoned Gehazi and said, Call the Shunammite woman. So he called her. When she came to him, he said, Take your son. 37She came and fell at his feet, bowing to the ground; then she took her son and left.
38 When Elisha returned to Gilgal, there was a famine in the land. As the company of prophets was* sitting before him, he said to his servant, Put the large pot on, and make some stew for the company of prophets.* 39One of them went out into the field to gather herbs; he found a wild vine and gathered from it a lapful of wild gourds, and came and cut them up into the pot of stew, not knowing what they were. 40They served some for the men to eat. But while they were eating the stew, they cried out, O man of God, there is death in the pot! They could not eat it. 41He said, Then bring some flour. He threw it into the pot, and said, Serve the people and let them eat. And there was nothing harmful in the pot.
42 A man came from Baal-shalishah, bringing food from the first fruits to the man of God: twenty loaves of barley and fresh ears of grain in his sack. Elisha said, Give it to the people and let them eat. 43But his servant said, How can I set this before a hundred people? So he repeated, Give it to the people and let them eat, for thus says the Lord, They shall eat and have some left. 44He set it before them, they ate, and had some left, according to the word of the Lord.
5Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Aram, was a great man and in high favour with his master, because by him the Lord had given victory to Aram. The man, though a mighty warrior, suffered from leprosy.* 2Now the Arameans on one of their raids had taken a young girl captive from the land of Israel, and she served Naamans wife. 3She said to her mistress, If only my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.* 4So Naaman* went in and told his lord just what the girl from the land of Israel had said. 5And the king of Aram said, Go then, and I will send along a letter to the king of Israel.
He went, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, and ten sets of garments. 6He brought the letter to the king of Israel, which read, When this letter reaches you, know that I have sent to you my servant Naaman, that you may cure him of his leprosy.* 7When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, Am I God, to give death or life, that this man sends word to me to cure a man of his leprosy?* Just look and see how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me.
8 But when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, he sent a message to the king, Why have you torn your clothes? Let him come to me, that he may learn that there is a prophet in Israel. 9So Naaman came with his horses and chariots, and halted at the entrance of Elishas house. 10Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, Go, wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored and you shall be clean. 11But Naaman became angry and went away, saying, I thought that for me he would surely come out, and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and would wave his hand over the spot, and cure the leprosy!* 12Are not Abana* and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them, and be clean? He turned and went away in a rage. 13But his servants approached and said to him, Father, if the prophet had commanded you to do something difficult, would you not have done it? How much more, when all he said to you was, Wash, and be clean? 14So he went down and immersed himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God; his flesh was restored like the flesh of a young boy, and he was clean.
15 Then he returned to the man of God, he and all his company; he came and stood before him and said, Now I know that there is no God in all the earth except in Israel; please accept a present from your servant. 16But he said, As the Lord lives, whom I serve, I will accept nothing! He urged him to accept, but he refused. 17Then Naaman said, If not, please let two mule-loads of earth be given to your servant; for your servant will no longer offer burnt-offering or sacrifice to any god except the Lord. 18But may the Lord pardon your servant on one count: when my master goes into the house of Rimmon to worship there, leaning on my arm, and I bow down in the house of Rimmon, when I do bow down in the house of Rimmon, may the Lord pardon your servant on this one count. 19He said to him, Go in peace.
But when Naaman had gone from him a short distance, 20Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, thought, My master has let that Aramean Naaman off too lightly by not accepting from him what he offered. As the Lord lives, I will run after him and get something out of him. 21So Gehazi went after Naaman. When Naaman saw someone running after him, he jumped down from the chariot to meet him and said, Is everything all right? 22He replied, Yes, but my master has sent me to say, Two members of a company of prophets* have just come to me from the hill country of Ephraim; please give them a talent of silver and two changes of clothing. 23Naaman said, Please accept two talents. He urged him, and tied up two talents of silver in two bags, with two changes of clothing, and gave them to two of his servants, who carried them in front of Gehazi.* 24When he came to the citadel, he took the bags* from them, and stored them inside; he dismissed the men, and they left.
25 He went in and stood before his master; and Elisha said to him, Where have you been, Gehazi? He answered, Your servant has not gone anywhere at all. 26But he said to him, Did I not go with you in spirit when someone left his chariot to meet you? Is this a time to accept money and to accept clothing, olive orchards and vineyards, sheep and oxen, and male and female slaves? 27Therefore the leprosy* of Naaman shall cling to you, and to your descendants for ever. So he left his presence leprous,* as white as snow.
6Now the company of prophets* said to Elisha, As you see, the place where we live under your charge is too small for us. 2Let us go to the Jordan, and let us collect logs there, one for each of us, and build a place there for us to live. He answered, Do so. 3Then one of them said, Please come with your servants. And he answered, I will. 4So he went with them. When they came to the Jordan, they cut down trees. 5But as one was felling a log, his axehead fell into the water; he cried out, Alas, master! It was borrowed. 6Then the man of God said, Where did it fall? When he showed him the place, he cut off a stick, and threw it in there, and made the iron float. 7He said, Pick it up. So he reached out his hand and took it.
8 Once when the king of Aram was at war with Israel, he took counsel with his officers. He said, At such and such a place shall be my camp. 9But the man of God sent word to the king of Israel, Take care not to pass this place, because the Arameans are going down there. 10The king of Israel sent word to the place of which the man of God spoke. More than once or twice he warned such a place* so that it was on the alert.
11 The mind of the king of Aram was greatly perturbed because of this; he called his officers and said to them, Now tell me who among us sides with the king of Israel? 12Then one of his officers said, No one, my lord king. It is Elisha, the prophet in Israel, who tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedchamber. 13He said, Go and find where he is; I will send and seize him. He was told, He is in Dothan. 14So he sent horses and chariots there and a great army; they came by night, and surrounded the city.
15 When an attendant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. His servant said, Alas, master! What shall we do? 16He replied, Do not be afraid, for there are more with us than there are with them. 17Then Elisha prayed: O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see. So the Lord opened the eyes of the servant, and he saw; the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 18When the Arameans* came down against him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, and said, Strike this people, please, with blindness. So he struck them with blindness as Elisha had asked. 19Elisha said to them, This is not the way, and this is not the city; follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom you seek. And he led them to Samaria.
20 As soon as they entered Samaria, Elisha said, O Lord, open the eyes of these men so that they may see. The Lord opened their eyes, and they saw that they were inside Samaria. 21When the king of Israel saw them he said to Elisha, Father, shall I kill them? Shall I kill them? 22He answered, No! Did you capture with your sword and your bow those whom you want to kill? Set food and water before them so that they may eat and drink; and let them go to their master. 23So he prepared for them a great feast; after they ate and drank, he sent them on their way, and they went to their master. And the Arameans no longer came raiding into the land of Israel.
24 Some time later King Ben-hadad of Aram mustered his entire army; he marched against Samaria and laid siege to it. 25As the siege continued, famine in Samaria became so great that a donkeys head was sold for eighty shekels of silver, and one-fourth of a kab of doves dung for five shekels of silver. 26Now as the king of Israel was walking on the city wall, a woman cried out to him, Help, my lord king! 27He said, No! Let the Lord help you. How can I help you? From the threshing-floor or from the wine press? 28But then the king asked her, What is your complaint? She answered, This woman said to me, Give up your son; we will eat him today, and we will eat my son tomorrow. 29So we cooked my son and ate him. The next day I said to her, Give up your son and we will eat him. But she has hidden her son. 30When the king heard the words of the woman he tore his clothesnow since he was walking on the city wall, the people could see that he had sackcloth on his body underneath 31and he said, So may God do to me, and more, if the head of Elisha son of Shaphat stays on his shoulders today. 32So he dispatched a man from his presence.
Now Elisha was sitting in his house, and the elders were sitting with him. Before the messenger arrived, Elisha said to the elders, Are you aware that this murderer has sent someone to take off my head? When the messenger comes, see that you shut the door and hold it closed against him. Is not the sound of his masters feet behind him? 33While he was still speaking with them, the king* came down to him and said, This trouble is from the Lord! Why should I hope in the Lord any longer?
1 O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures for ever.
2 Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
those he redeemed from trouble
3 and gathered in from the lands,
from the east and from the west,
from the north and from the south.*
4 Some wandered in desert wastes,
finding no way to an inhabited town;
5 hungry and thirsty,
their soul fainted within them.
6 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress;
7 he led them by a straight way,
until they reached an inhabited town.
8 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
for his wonderful works to humankind.
9 For he satisfies the thirsty,
and the hungry he fills with good things.
10 Some sat in darkness and in gloom,
prisoners in misery and in irons,
11 for they had rebelled against the words of God,
and spurned the counsel of the Most High.
12 Their hearts were bowed down with hard labour;
they fell down, with no one to help.
13 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he saved them from their distress;
14 he brought them out of darkness and gloom,
and broke their bonds asunder.
15 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
for his wonderful works to humankind.
16 For he shatters the doors of bronze,
and cuts in two the bars of iron.
17 Some were sick* through their sinful ways,
and because of their iniquities endured affliction;
18 they loathed any kind of food,
and they drew near to the gates of death.
19 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he saved them from their distress;
20 he sent out his word and healed them,
and delivered them from destruction.
21 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
for his wonderful works to humankind.
22 And let them offer thanksgiving sacrifices,
and tell of his deeds with songs of joy.
23 Some went down to the sea in ships,
doing business on the mighty waters;
24 they saw the deeds of the Lord,
his wondrous works in the deep.
25 For he commanded and raised the stormy wind,
which lifted up the waves of the sea.
26 They mounted up to heaven, they went down to the depths;
their courage melted away in their calamity;
27 they reeled and staggered like drunkards,
and were at their wits end.
28 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he brought them out from their distress;
29 he made the storm be still,
and the waves of the sea were hushed.
30 Then they were glad because they had quiet,
and he brought them to their desired haven.
31 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
for his wonderful works to humankind.
32 Let them extol him in the congregation of the people,
and praise him in the assembly of the elders.
33 He turns rivers into a desert,
springs of water into thirsty ground,
34 a fruitful land into a salty waste,
because of the wickedness of its inhabitants.
35 He turns a desert into pools of water,
a parched land into springs of water.
36 And there he lets the hungry live,
and they establish a town to live in;
37 they sow fields, and plant vineyards,
and get a fruitful yield.
38 By his blessing they multiply greatly,
and he does not let their cattle decrease.
39 When they are diminished and brought low
through oppression, trouble, and sorrow,
40 he pours contempt on princes
and makes them wander in trackless wastes;
41 but he raises up the needy out of distress,
and makes their families like flocks.
42 The upright see it and are glad;
and all wickedness stops its mouth.
43 Let those who are wise give heed to these things,
and consider the steadfast love of the Lord.
22Brothers and fathers, listen to the defence that I now make before you.
2 When they heard him addressing them in Hebrew,* they became even more quiet. Then he said:
3 I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, educated strictly according to our ancestral law, being zealous for God, just as all of you are today. 4I persecuted this Way up to the point of death by binding both men and women and putting them in prison, 5as the high priest and the whole council of elders can testify about me. From them I also received letters to the brothers in Damascus, and I went there in order to bind those who were there and to bring them back to Jerusalem for punishment.
6 While I was on my way and approaching Damascus, about noon a great light from heaven suddenly shone about me. 7I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? 8I answered, Who are you, Lord? Then he said to me, I am Jesus of Nazareth* whom you are persecuting. 9Now those who were with me saw the light but did not hear the voice of the one who was speaking to me. 10I asked, What am I to do, Lord? The Lord said to me, Get up and go to Damascus; there you will be told everything that has been assigned to you to do. 11Since I could not see because of the brightness of that light, those who were with me took my hand and led me to Damascus.
12 A certain Ananias, who was a devout man according to the law and well spoken of by all the Jews living there, 13came to me; and standing beside me, he said, Brother Saul, regain your sight! In that very hour I regained my sight and saw him. 14Then he said, The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will, to see the Righteous One and to hear his own voice; 15for you will be his witness to all the world of what you have seen and heard. 16And now why do you delay? Get up, be baptized, and have your sins washed away, calling on his name.
17 After I had returned to Jerusalem and while I was praying in the temple, I fell into a trance 18and saw Jesus* saying to me, Hurry and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about me. 19And I said, Lord, they themselves know that in every synagogue I imprisoned and beat those who believed in you. 20And while the blood of your witness Stephen was shed, I myself was standing by, approving and keeping the coats of those who killed him. 21Then he said to me, Go, for I will send you far away to the Gentiles.
22 Up to this point they listened to him, but then they shouted, Away with such a fellow from the earth! For he should not be allowed to live. 23And while they were shouting, throwing off their cloaks, and tossing dust into the air, 24the tribune directed that he was to be brought into the barracks, and ordered him to be examined by flogging, to find out the reason for this outcry against him. 25But when they had tied him up with thongs,* Paul said to the centurion who was standing by, Is it legal for you to flog a Roman citizen who is uncondemned? 26When the centurion heard that, he went to the tribune and said to him, What are you about to do? This man is a Roman citizen. 27The tribune came and asked Paul,* Tell me, are you a Roman citizen? And he said, Yes. 28The tribune answered, It cost me a large sum of money to get my citizenship. Paul said, But I was born a citizen. 29Immediately those who were about to examine him drew back from him; and the tribune also was afraid, for he realized that Paul was a Roman citizen and that he had bound him.
30 Since he wanted to find out what Paul* was being accused of by the Jews, the next day he released him and ordered the chief priests and the entire council to meet. He brought Paul down and had him stand before them.
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