Troubling Words in the Bible

The Bible is full of hard teachings we’d rather omit, but we need every page.

Why is that in the Bible?” she asked me, with eyes wide as saucers. My wife is never one to mince words. She had put her finger on a tough moral issue arising from two Old Testament texts. With razor-sharp insight, she called out the sexual immorality of David in 2 Samuel and Solomon in 1 Kings. How could anyone who hoards women in a harem be counted as faithful to God?

Yet the Bible describes David as a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22) and Solomon as a king imbued with divine insight (1 Kings 3:5-15; 1 Kings 5:7). Isn’t there some disconnect between the Bible’s description of these kings and the morality of their actions? How do we deal with these thorny places in Scripture?

If we are honest, several hard sayings in the Bible emerge as we read. Some are God’s commands, some are words that the faithful speak to God, and some of the hard sayings are actions taken by God’s people. For example:

• Abraham gives his wife to another man (twice!) and lies about her identity (Gen. 12:10-20; Gen. 20:1-18).
• God commands Abraham to offer his son as a sacrifice to Him (Gen. 22:1-2).
• God apparently commands genocide against people groups (Deut. 20:10-18; Josh. 6:1-27; Josh. 7:1-26).
• Jephthah offers his daughter to the Lord (Judg. 11:29-40).
• Men of faith complain about divine violence, injustice, or passivity (Psalm 22; Psalm 44; Psalm 88; Lam. 1:1-22; Lam. 2:1-22; Hab. 1:2-4; Jer. 16:1-21).
• Psalmists pray for vengeance against enemies (Psalm 58:7-11; Psalm 94:1-2, Psalm 22; Psalm 23; Psalm 137:7-9; Psalm 139:19-22).

The list above is representative and reveals only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to tough moments in the Bible. Through the years, I have worked with good, God-fearing people who have had a hard time reconciling these difficult sayings with the Holy God of the universe, the Father who gave His one and only Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. I get it, because I share in their struggle. But I believe there is help and hope.

To start, let me say that we must wrestle with difficult passages of Scripture. We cannot and should not ignore them, because our efforts to contend with them will guide us to a deeper faith and a richer love for Jesus. Too often, those far from God have used these difficult portions of Scripture as a kind of bludgeon against Christianity. But the hard sayings of the Bible need not be assaults on the faith. They do make us uncomfortable, to be sure; however, all Scripture is designed to build us up and train us to follow Jesus more closely (2 Tim. 3:16).

There are five basic skills we need to nurture in ourselves if we want to gain a truer understanding of God’s Word as we wrestle with it. Like tools in a toolbox, these skills will enable us to “go to work” with hard sayings:

1. Learning the biblical story
2. Finding treasures of darkness
3. Distinguishing between description and prescription
4. Considering complex characters
5. Hearing Scripture proclaim Jesus

 

The story of the Bible moves from a world gone wrong to a world reconciled to God in Jesus Christ.

Learning the Biblical Story

I enjoy listening to classical music, especially Beethoven or Mozart. When a symphony hall resounds with the music of these masters, it sets my heart on fire. But imagine listening to the music of the symphony stripped of all treble, with only the bass remaining. Of course, the music (if we could call it that) would be deep and rich, robust and powerful. But it would lose all the texture that makes up a master’s work. The full scope of the symphony, with the combination of highs and lows—the trills of the piccolo and the resounding clashes of cymbals, the mournful cry of the violin and the thrumming power of the double bass—would dissolve into a mass of noise with no context.

This illustration helps us to embrace the importance of Scripture’s overall context. The Bible is not a mass of jumbled stories. Rather, its context is built from the foundational symmetry of creation at the beginning (Gen. 1:1-31; Gen. 2:1-25) and new creation at the end (Revelation 21:1-27; Revelation 22:1-21). Its story has a particular direction as well. The story moves from a world gone wrong to a world reconciled to God in Jesus Christ. Understanding the context and direction of Scripture remains key for understanding its more difficult passages.

Getting a Grasp on the Story

The Bible tells the story of God, who creates a lively and life-giving world. Genesis 1–2 teaches that God’s world is “good.” All is well in it, until something goes awry. Human sin brings wrong into God’s good world. Genesis 3 introduces the horrors of sin, when Adam and Eve rebel against their Lord. They wrongly believe that they can find life and wisdom without God’s guidance and protection. The result of their sin is death and curse.

But despite human sin, God proclaims that wickedness will not win the day or destroy His good world. God raises up the people of Israel to be His chosen vessel of blessing. From them, He would choose a king who will rule the nations with perfect justice and love.

Despite God’s blessing on them, the Old Testament reveals that Israel is a broken vessel. Sin marked the first human pair and mars the people of God. Humanity needs someone who will erase the stain of sin, bearing the punishment of sin on their behalf. The Old Testament exposes that this person is the coming Messiah, the King of Israel and the Lord of God’s kingdom. He will bear the sins of the people and the world, and His work will usher in the new creation (Isa. 53:1-12; Isa. 65:1-25). So, the story from creation to the coming Messiah is central to the structure of the Old Testament.

 

The New Testament completes the story, revealing Jesus as the coming Messiah. Jesus brings forgiveness of sins, life out of death, and the kingdom of God. At the close of Scripture, Jesus is on His throne in a new creation, and He proclaims that He makes all things new (Revelation 21:5).

The Canaanite Destruction in the Light of the Story

The broader story of Scripture is helpful when we encounter troubling commands, such as the slaughter of the Canaanites (Deut. 7:2). It reminds us that God’s commands against the Canaanites are neither His first nor last word. As its Creator, God has all authority over His creation. When humanity rebels against Him, He has the right to revoke life and to punish sin. This is true of God’s command against the Canaanites as well. God punishes them because of their sin (Gen. 15:16). But we should also remember God’s great patience with the Canaanites before He punished their wickedness. (He waited 400 years!)

As we read the story of Scripture, we should also note that the commands to “utterly destroy” the people of Canaan (Deut. 20:10-18; Josh. 6-7) appear alongside other more numerous commands to “drive out” and “dispossess” the Canaanites from their land (“drive out”: Deut. 6:19, Deut. 7:1, Deut. 9:4, Deut. 18:12; Josh. 10:28; “dispossess”: Deut. 9:1, Deut. 11:23, Deut. 18:14, Deut. 19:1). Why do we have three separate commands?

God’s commands of wrath are the commands of a holy One who battles idolatry and sin.

These commands reveal God’s desire to expose and defeat the false religion of Canaanites instead of simply obliterating them. You see, in the ancient world, three crucial elements made up the identity of a nation: the people, the land, and their god.

Ancient cultures believed that a god protected the people and provided the land for life. If either land or people were compromised, then the nation assumed their god had lost power. Many, if not all, of Israel’s neighbors thought this way. The Canaanites worshipped the pagan god Baal, among others. The Babylonians worshipped the pagan god Marduk. The Edomites worshipped Chemosh. These gods, so the people thought, gave them their land and ruled over them.

So, if one wanted to show a nation’s deity was false, a simple sermon would not do. Pagan gods were exposed as impotent when a more powerful god drove an enemy from the land or defeated the nation in battle.

When God gives three commands (“to utterly destroy,” “to drive out,” and “to dispossess”), He strikes at the three elements of ancient national identity. As He defeated the Canaanites, drove them from their land, and dispossessed them of it, the true God of Israel would expose the pagan Canaanite gods for what they were.

When read in light of the story of Scripture, the Canaanite slaughter reveals God is not “bloodthirsty,” as some suppose, but holy, righteous, and just. He exposed their false gods as powerless idols, unworthy of worship. Interestingly, “driving out” Canaanites from the land gave the possibility for future repentance. And those who embraced the Lord, like Rahab, experienced salvation and blessing. God’s commands of wrath are not the first or last word in the story of Scripture. They are the commands of a holy One who battles idolatry and sin.

The story of Scripture is the foundational context in which to set the hard moments in the Bible. The story reveals that God exposes idols, promotes life, and punishes sin. The story affirms His commitment to reconciliation and peace in the face of sin. It reveals His plan to bring life out of death, joy out of pain, forgiveness in the face of sin, and also His commitment to make all things new through Jesus.

 

Hard Prayers: Finding Treasures of Darkness

On my shelf is a book about Mesopotamian history and religion, entitled The Treasures of Darkness. The book’s title derives from the prophecy of Isaiah: “I will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden wealth of secret places, so that you may know that it is I, the Lord, the God of Israel, who calls you by your name” (Isa. 45:3). God speaks to Israel in this passage, and He gives a word of hope after they have faced the reality of exile in Babylon. Living under foreign oppression left God’s people deflated, and He provided them comfort in the time of their affliction. This verse especially stands out because it reminds us that the Lord brings treasures from the darkness of life, and when He does, we come to know Him more intimately: “ … so that you may know that it is I, the Lord.”

But the verse also implies that God’s people face darkness. As was true for Israel, it is also true for us. Following the Lord is not always happy or easy. God’s people face dark days of injustice and pain, and in those moments God’s people wonder why the pain exists and how long it will persist. In fact, “why?” and “how long?” are the very popular questions in the book of Psalms! The reason is because the life of faith encounters darkness. What kind of faith does God’s Word provide in these dark days of life, where shadows creep in and menacing uncertainty casts a pale hand over our hearts?

Scripture opens us to prayer, which is a treasure that God gives in dark days. When life turns upside down, our first and best response is to pray: honest, raw, and unfettered communication to the God of the universe.

Prayer allows us to carry our pain and anger to God and leave these difficult emotions with Him.

Take, for example, prayers of vengeance against enemies (see Psalm 58:7-11; Psalm 137:7-9)—how can these be good for us (or our enemies)? Well, prayers of vengeance allow us to voice real frustration and pain to God. Also, praying for retribution prevents us from taking vengeance into our own hands. Rather, they allow us to carry our pain and anger to God and leave these difficult emotions with Him. In fact, psychologists inform us that prayers of lament and vengeance release our negative emotions to the One who can transform them: God Himself. So, these uncomfortable moments give us the vocabulary and grammar to voice our feelings and experiences of injustice, pain, anger, and frustration. They are treasures of darkness.

 

Distinguishing Between Description and Prescription

Children like to imitate their parents. If a father wears cowboy boots, it is not too long before a son or daughter is clumsily plodding through the house in the far-too-big boots up to the child’s hips. Because Scripture is God’s Holy Word, our instinct might be that everything said or done in the Bible serves as a model for us to emulate, just as a child mimics the action of a parent. Sometimes, this instinct is exactly right. For instance, Matthew 16:24 gives a hard saying that we ought to imitate: “Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.’” The meaning is clear: If one seeks to be like Jesus, one must be willing to suffer in obedience to the calling of God.

But in other places, Scripture tells what a person did without indicating we should do likewise. For example, the Bible describes Jephthah sacrificing his daughter, but it certainly does not follow that the Lord prescribes this action for us to imitate.

In some places, Scripture tells what a person did without indicating we should do likewise.

Sharp readers will evaluate action in Scripture based upon three questions: 1) Does the Bible encourage the action in the story? 2) Does the Bible make an assessment, good or bad, about the action in the story? 3) Does the action beautifully picture the loving God who created all things? If the answer to any of these is “no,” we can distinguish description from prescription.

Taking the story of Jephthah’s sacrifice as an example, we can ask, “Does the Bible prescribe this action for us today?” The answer, considering the questions above, is “no.” The Bible neither encourages the action nor makes an overt assessment of it. However, God forbids human sacrifice in the law (Lev. 20:2-5) and seems to provide a way to deal with rash vows. Jephthah would have no need to surrender his daughter (Lev. 27:1-8). Far from revealing God’s love, which is patient and sincere, Jephthah’s action is instead indicative of Israel’s slide into rebellion and violence. In the Bible, there is a significant difference between description and prescription. We will stumble over Scripture’s hard sayings when we confuse the two.

 

Considering Complex Characters

“You can’t judge a book by its cover” has become a phrase we use to highlight the complexity of human beings. After you open the cover and delve into a book, you may discover that what is hidden in the pages is much more lovely (or horrible) than you ever could have imagined.

So it is with various characters in Scripture. Major figures like Abraham or David, for instance, are not simple. They are rarely painted with a single brushstroke. They exhibit good and bad character traits as well as highs and lows in their faithfulness to the Lord. As we deal with the difficult people in Scripture and the troubling things that they say and do, we must learn to understand their complexity.

We need to realize the people in the Bible (except for Jesus) are imperfect. Biblical stories do not present an ideal or perfect world. Such is the realm of science fiction stories, fantasy, or romance novels. The world that the Bible presents is the real world, with all the challenges part and parcel of it. Characters in Scripture are presented with a realism and roughness that mark a people tainted by sin and yet graced by the goodness of God.

Abraham was both a broken and a blessed man. God used Abraham despite his sin.

Take Abraham, for example. He was far from perfect. As mentioned above, he attempted to give his wife to two kings to save his own hide. If this is not a picture of moral turpitude, I don’t know what is. Yet Abraham was both a broken and a blessed man. God used Abraham despite his sin.

The same holds true for David. Perhaps the clearest thing that we know of David is that he knew how terrible he was. As a result, he knew what it was to repent of sin and utterly lean on God. Psalm 51:1-19 plainly demonstrates this. The Bible presents David as a broken leader, unable to save himself or his people. Yet God blesses both out of His grace and according to His plan.

Complexity is a good thing. The complexity of the biblical characters enables us to understand our lives in the light of theirs. As they are broken and yet redeemed by God, it gives us the opportunity to see that we, too, are broken in sin. Yet like them, we can be redeemed by God. The complexity of these characters reminds us that our goal in reading Scripture is to be like the one to whom these people ultimately point: Jesus. He is our model and example. Complexity in the characters of Scripture enables us to relate to their failings, to aspire to their triumphs, and ultimately to desire the same Savior for whom they longed.

 

Hearing Scripture Proclaim Jesus

Scripture proclaims Jesus, and we do well when we measure hard sayings in the Bible against this proclamation. Matthew tells the story of Jesus being transfigured on the mountain as several disciples watch. At that moment, Moses and Elijah appear with Him, signifying the totality of the Old Testament law and all prophetic instruction. There God says, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!” (Matt. 17:5) The transfiguration exposes a significant interpretative key: The Old Testament needs to be read and heard in the light of Jesus.

We are to read Scripture as it proclaims our Savior, the ultimate hero of God’s Word. He alone is the definitive model to follow. Our understanding of God is mediated in Jesus. Our understanding of God’s wrath and mercy are explained by Jesus. Our final hope is in Jesus. Our model for morality is Jesus. He is the all in all, the secret of heaven and earth. As the great German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “He is the centre and the strength of the Bible, of the Church, and of theology, but also of humanity, of reason, of justice and of culture. Everything must return to Him; it is only under His protection that it can live.” The more we read Scripture in the light of Jesus, the more we will understand its hard moments and embrace them as difficult—but good—words that lead us to the Son.

 

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14 But now your kingdom shall not endure. The LORD has sought out for Himself a man after His own heart, and the LORD has appointed him as ruler over His people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you."

22 After He had removed him, He raised up David to be their king, concerning whom He also testified and said, `I HAVE FOUND DAVID the son of Jesse, A MAN AFTER MY HEART, who will do all My will.'

5 In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream at night; and God said, Ask what you wish Me to give you."

6 Then Solomon said, You have shown great lovingkindness to Your servant David my father, according as he walked before You in truth and righteousness and uprightness of heart toward You; and You have reserved for him this great lovingkindness, that You have given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day.

7 Now, O LORD my God, You have made Your servant king in place of my father David, yet I am but a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in.

8 Your servant is in the midst of Your people which You have chosen, a great people who are too many to be numbered or counted.

9 So give Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people to discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?"

10 It was pleasing in the sight of the Lord that Solomon had asked this thing.

11 God said to him, Because you have asked this thing and have not asked for yourself long life, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have you asked for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself discernment to understand justice,

12 behold, I have done according to your words. Behold, I have given you a wise and discerning heart, so that there has been no one like you before you, nor shall one like you arise after you.

13 I have also given you what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that there will not be any among the kings like you all your days.

14 If you walk in My ways, keeping My statutes and commandments, as your father David walked, then I will prolong your days."

15 Then Solomon awoke, and behold, it was a dream. And he came to Jerusalem and stood before the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and made peace offerings, and made a feast for all his servants.

7 When Hiram heard the words of Solomon, he rejoiced greatly and said, Blessed be the LORD today, who has given to David a wise son over this great people."

10 Now there was a famine in the land; so Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe in the land.

11 It came about when he came near to Egypt, that he said to Sarai his wife, See now, I know that you are a beautiful woman;

12 and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, `This is his wife'; and they will kill me, but they will let you live.

13 Please say that you are my sister so that it may go well with me because of you, and that I may live on account of you."

14 It came about when Abram came into Egypt, the Egyptians saw that the woman was very beautiful.

15 Pharaoh's officials saw her and praised her to Pharaoh; and the woman was taken into Pharaoh's house.

16 Therefore he treated Abram well for her sake; and gave him sheep and oxen and donkeys and male and female servants and female donkeys and camels.

17 But the LORD struck Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram's wife.

18 Then Pharaoh called Abram and said, What is this you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife?

19 Why did you say, `She is my sister,' so that I took her for my wife? Now then, here is your wife, take her and go."

20 Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him; and they escorted him away, with his wife and all that belonged to him.

1 Now Abraham journeyed from there toward the land of the Negev, and settled between Kadesh and Shur; then he sojourned in Gerar.

2 Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She is my sister." So Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah.

3 But God came to Abimelech in a dream of the night, and said to him, Behold, you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is married."

4 Now Abimelech had not come near her; and he said, Lord, will You slay a nation, even though blameless?

5 Did he not himself say to me, `She is my sister'? And she herself said, `He is my brother.' In the integrity of my heart and the innocence of my hands I have done this."

6 Then God said to him in the dream, Yes, I know that in the integrity of your heart you have done this, and I also kept you from sinning against Me; therefore I did not let you touch her.

7 Now therefore, restore the man's wife, for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you will live. But if you do not restore her, know that you shall surely die, you and all who are yours."

8 So Abimelech arose early in the morning and called all his servants and told all these things in their hearing; and the men were greatly frightened.

9 Then Abimelech called Abraham and said to him, What have you done to us? And how have I sinned against you, that you have brought on me and on my kingdom a great sin? You have done to me things that ought not to be done."

10 And Abimelech said to Abraham, What have you encountered, that you have done this thing?"

11 Abraham said, Because I thought, surely there is no fear of God in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife.

12 Besides, she actually is my sister, the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother, and she became my wife;

13 and it came about, when God caused me to wander from my father's house, that I said to her, `This is the kindness which you will show to me: everywhere we go, say of me, He is my brother."'"

14 Abimelech then took sheep and oxen and male and female servants, and gave them to Abraham, and restored his wife Sarah to him.

15 Abimelech said, Behold, my land is before you; settle wherever you please."

16 To Sarah he said, Behold, I have given your brother a thousand pieces of silver; behold, it is your vindication before all who are with you, and before all men you are cleared."

17 Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech and his wife and his maids, so that they bore children.

18 For the LORD had closed fast all the wombs of the household of Abimelech because of Sarah, Abraham's wife.

1 Now it came about after these things, that God tested Abraham, and said to him, Abraham!" And he said, Here I am."

2 He said, Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you."

10 When you approach a city to fight against it, you shall offer it terms of peace.

11 If it agrees to make peace with you and opens to you, then all the people who are found in it shall become your forced labor and shall serve you.

12 However, if it does not make peace with you, but makes war against you, then you shall besiege it.

13 When the LORD your God gives it into your hand, you shall strike all the men in it with the edge of the sword.

14 Only the women and the children and the animals and all that is in the city, all its spoil, you shall take as booty for yourself; and you shall use the spoil of your enemies which the LORD your God has given you.

15 Thus you shall do to all the cities that are very far from you, which are not of the cities of these nations nearby.

16 Only in the cities of these peoples that the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, you shall not leave alive anything that breathes.

17 But you shall utterly destroy them, the Hittite and the Amorite, the Canaanite and the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite, as the LORD your God has commanded you,

18 so that they may not teach you to do according to all their detestable things which they have done for their gods, so that you would sin against the LORD your God.

29 Now the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah, so that he passed through Gilead and Manasseh; then he passed through Mizpah of Gilead, and from Mizpah of Gilead he went on to the sons of Ammon.

30 Jephthah made a vow to the LORD and said, If You will indeed give the sons of Ammon into my hand,

31 then it shall be that whatever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me when I return in peace from the sons of Ammon, it shall be the LORD'S, and I will offer it up as a burnt offering."

32 So Jephthah crossed over to the sons of Ammon to fight against them; and the LORD gave them into his hand.

33 He struck them with a very great slaughter from Aroer to the entrance of Minnith, twenty cities, and as far as Abel-keramim. So the sons of Ammon were subdued before the sons of Israel.

34 When Jephthah came to his house at Mizpah, behold, his daughter was coming out to meet him with tambourines and with dancing. Now she was his one and only child; besides her he had no son or daughter.

35 When he saw her, he tore his clothes and said, Alas, my daughter! You have brought me very low, and you are among those who trouble me; for I have given my word to the LORD, and I cannot take it back."

36 So she said to him, My father, you have given your word to the LORD; do to me as you have said, since the LORD has avenged you of your enemies, the sons of Ammon."

37 She said to her father, Let this thing be done for me; let me alone two months, that I may go to the mountains and weep because of my virginity, I and my companions."

38 Then he said, Go." So he sent her away for two months; and she left with her companions, and wept on the mountains because of her virginity.

39 At the end of two months she returned to her father, who did to her according to the vow which he had made; and she had no relations with a man. Thus it became a custom in Israel,

40 that the daughters of Israel went yearly to commemorate the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite four days in the year.

1 My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning.

2 O my God, I cry by day, but You do not answer; And by night, but I have no rest.

3 Yet You are holy, O You who are enthroned upon the praises of Israel.

4 In You our fathers trusted; They trusted and You delivered them.

5 To You they cried out and were delivered; In You they trusted and were not disappointed.

6 But I am a worm and not a man, A reproach of men and despised by the people.

7 All who see me sneer at me; They separate with the lip, they wag the head, saying,

8 Commit yourself to the LORD; let Him deliver him; Let Him rescue him, because He delights in him."

9 Yet You are He who brought me forth from the womb; You made me trust when upon my mother's breasts.

10 Upon You I was cast from birth; You have been my God from my mother's womb.

11 Be not far from me, for trouble is near; For there is none to help.

12 Many bulls have surrounded me; Strong bulls of Bashan have encircled me.

13 They open wide their mouth at me, As a ravening and a roaring lion.

14 I am poured out like water, And all my bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; It is melted within me.

15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd, And my tongue cleaves to my jaws; And You lay me in the dust of death.

16 For dogs have surrounded me; A band of evildoers has encompassed me; They pierced my hands and my feet.

17 I can count all my bones. They look, they stare at me;

18 They divide my garments among them, And for my clothing they cast lots.

19 But You, O LORD, be not far off; O You my help, hasten to my assistance.

20 Deliver my soul from the sword, My only life from the power of the dog.

21 Save me from the lion's mouth; From the horns of the wild oxen You answer me.

22 I will tell of Your name to my brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will praise You.

23 You who fear the LORD, praise Him; All you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him, And stand in awe of Him, all you descendants of Israel.

24 For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; Nor has He hidden His face from him; But when he cried to Him for help, He heard.

25 From You comes my praise in the great assembly; I shall pay my vows before those who fear Him.

26 The afflicted will eat and be satisfied; Those who seek Him will praise the LORD. Let your heart live forever!

27 All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, And all the families of the nations will worship before You.

28 For the kingdom is the LORD'S And He rules over the nations.

29 All the prosperous of the earth will eat and worship, All those who go down to the dust will bow before Him, Even he who cannot keep his soul alive.

30 Posterity will serve Him; It will be told of the Lord to the coming generation.

31 They will come and will declare His righteousness To a people who will be born, that He has performed it.

1 O God, we have heard with our ears, Our fathers have told us The work that You did in their days, In the days of old.

2 You with Your own hand drove out the nations; Then You planted them; You afflicted the peoples, Then You spread them abroad.

3 For by their own sword they did not possess the land, And their own arm did not save them, But Your right hand and Your arm and the light of Your presence, For You favored them.

4 You are my King, O God; Command victories for Jacob.

5 Through You we will push back our adversaries; Through Your name we will trample down those who rise up against us.

6 For I will not trust in my bow, Nor will my sword save me.

7 But You have saved us from our adversaries, And You have put to shame those who hate us.

8 In God we have boasted all day long, And we will give thanks to Your name forever. Selah.

9 Yet You have rejected us and brought us to dishonor, And do not go out with our armies.

10 You cause us to turn back from the adversary; And those who hate us have taken spoil for themselves.

11 You give us as sheep to be eaten And have scattered us among the nations.

12 You sell Your people cheaply, And have not profited by their sale.

13 You make us a reproach to our neighbors, A scoffing and a derision to those around us.

14 You make us a byword among the nations, A laughingstock among the peoples.

15 All day long my dishonor is before me And my humiliation has overwhelmed me,

16 Because of the voice of him who reproaches and reviles, Because of the presence of the enemy and the avenger.

17 All this has come upon us, but we have not forgotten You, And we have not dealt falsely with Your covenant.

18 Our heart has not turned back, And our steps have not deviated from Your way,

19 Yet You have crushed us in a place of jackals And covered us with the shadow of death.

20 If we had forgotten the name of our God Or extended our hands to a strange god,

21 Would not God find this out? For He knows the secrets of the heart.

22 But for Your sake we are killed all day long; We are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.

23 Arouse Yourself, why do You sleep, O Lord? Awake, do not reject us forever.

24 Why do You hide Your face And forget our affliction and our oppression?

25 For our soul has sunk down into the dust; Our body cleaves to the earth.

26 Rise up, be our help, And redeem us for the sake of Your lovingkindness.

1 O LORD, the God of my salvation, I have cried out by day and in the night before You.

2 Let my prayer come before You; Incline Your ear to my cry!

3 For my soul has had enough troubles, And my life has drawn near to Sheol.

4 I am reckoned among those who go down to the pit; I have become like a man without strength,

5 Forsaken among the dead, Like the slain who lie in the grave, Whom You remember no more, And they are cut off from Your hand.

6 You have put me in the lowest pit, In dark places, in the depths.

7 Your wrath has rested upon me, And You have afflicted me with all Your waves. Selah.

8 You have removed my acquaintances far from me; You have made me an object of loathing to them; I am shut up and cannot go out.

9 My eye has wasted away because of affliction; I have called upon You every day, O LORD; I have spread out my hands to You.

10 Will You perform wonders for the dead? Will the departed spirits rise and praise You? Selah.

11 Will Your lovingkindness be declared in the grave, Your faithfulness in Abaddon?

12 Will Your wonders be made known in the darkness? And Your righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?

13 But I, O LORD, have cried out to You for help, And in the morning my prayer comes before You.

14 O LORD, why do You reject my soul? Why do You hide Your face from me?

15 I was afflicted and about to die from my youth on; I suffer Your terrors; I am overcome.

16 Your burning anger has passed over me; Your terrors have destroyed me.

17 They have surrounded me like water all day long; They have encompassed me altogether.

18 You have removed lover and friend far from me; My acquaintances are in darkness.

2 How long, O LORD, will I call for help, And You will not hear? I cry out to You, Violence!" Yet You do not save.

3 Why do You make me see iniquity, And cause me to look on wickedness? Yes, destruction and violence are before me; Strife exists and contention arises.

4 Therefore the law is ignored And justice is never upheld. For the wicked surround the righteous; Therefore justice comes out perverted.

1 Now Jericho was tightly shut because of the sons of Israel; no one went out and no one came in.

2 The LORD said to Joshua, See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and the valiant warriors.

3 You shall march around the city, all the men of war circling the city once. You shall do so for six days.

4 Also seven priests shall carry seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark; then on the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets.

5 It shall be that when they make a long blast with the ram's horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city will fall down flat, and the people will go up every man straight ahead."

6 So Joshua the son of Nun called the priests and said to them, Take up the ark of the covenant, and let seven priests carry seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark of the LORD."

7 Then he said to the people, Go forward, and march around the city, and let the armed men go on before the ark of the LORD."

8 And it was so, that when Joshua had spoken to the people, the seven priests carrying the seven trumpets of rams' horns before the LORD went forward and blew the trumpets; and the ark of the covenant of the LORD followed them.

9 The armed men went before the priests who blew the trumpets, and the rear guard came after the ark, while they continued to blow the trumpets.

10 But Joshua commanded the people, saying, You shall not shout nor let your voice be heard nor let a word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I tell you, `Shout!' Then you shall shout!"

11 So he had the ark of the LORD taken around the city, circling it once; then they came into the camp and spent the night in the camp.

12 Now Joshua rose early in the morning, and the priests took up the ark of the LORD.

13 The seven priests carrying the seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark of the LORD went on continually, and blew the trumpets; and the armed men went before them and the rear guard came after the ark of the LORD, while they continued to blow the trumpets.

14 Thus the second day they marched around the city once and returned to the camp; they did so for six days.

15 Then on the seventh day they rose early at the dawning of the day and marched around the city in the same manner seven times; only on that day they marched around the city seven times.

16 At the seventh time, when the priests blew the trumpets, Joshua said to the people, Shout! For the LORD has given you the city.

17 The city shall be under the ban, it and all that is in it belongs to the LORD; only Rahab the harlot and all who are with her in the house shall live, because she hid the messengers whom we sent.

18 But as for you, only keep yourselves from the things under the ban, so that you do not covet them and take some of the things under the ban, and make the camp of Israel accursed and bring trouble on it.

19 But all the silver and gold and articles of bronze and iron are holy to the LORD; they shall go into the treasury of the LORD."

20 So the people shouted, and priests blew the trumpets; and when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, the people shouted with a great shout and the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight ahead, and they took the city.

21 They utterly destroyed everything in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox and sheep and donkey, with the edge of the sword.

22 Joshua said to the two men who had spied out the land, Go into the harlot's house and bring the woman and all she has out of there, as you have sworn to her."

23 So the young men who were spies went in and brought out Rahab and her father and her mother and her brothers and all she had; they also brought out all her relatives and placed them outside the camp of Israel.

24 They burned the city with fire, and all that was in it. Only the silver and gold, and articles of bronze and iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the LORD.

25 However, Rahab the harlot and her father's household and all she had, Joshua spared; and she has lived in the midst of Israel to this day, for she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.

26 Then Joshua made them take an oath at that time, saying, Cursed before the LORD is the man who rises up and builds this city Jericho; with the loss of his firstborn he shall lay its foundation, and with the loss of his youngest son he shall set up its gates."

27 So the LORD was with Joshua, and his fame was in all the land.

1 But the sons of Israel acted unfaithfully in regard to the things under the ban, for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, from the tribe of Judah, took some of the things under the ban, therefore the anger of the LORD burned against the sons of Israel.

2 Now Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is near Beth-aven, east of Bethel, and said to them, Go up and spy out the land." So the men went up and spied out Ai.

3 They returned to Joshua and said to him, Do not let all the people go up; only about two or three thousand men need go up to Ai; do not make all the people toil up there, for they are few."

4 So about three thousand men from the people went up there, but they fled from the men of Ai.

5 The men of Ai struck down about thirty-six of their men, and pursued them from the gate as far as Shebarim and struck them down on the descent, so the hearts of the people melted and became as water.

6 Then Joshua tore his clothes and fell to the earth on his face before the ark of the LORD until the evening, both he and the elders of Israel; and they put dust on their heads.

7 Joshua said, Alas, O Lord GOD, why did You ever bring this people over the Jordan, only to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us? If only we had been willing to dwell beyond the Jordan!

8 O Lord, what can I say since Israel has turned their back before their enemies?

9 For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land will hear of it, and they will surround us and cut off our name from the earth. And what will You do for Your great name?"

10 So the LORD said to Joshua, Rise up! Why is it that you have fallen on your face?

11 Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them. And they have even taken some of the things under the ban and have both stolen and deceived. Moreover, they have also put them among their own things.

12 Therefore the sons of Israel cannot stand before their enemies; they turn their backs before their enemies, for they have become accursed. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy the things under the ban from your midst.

13 Rise up! Consecrate the people and say, `Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, for thus the LORD, the God of Israel, has said, There are things under the ban in your midst, O Israel. You cannot stand before your enemies until you have removed the things under the ban from your midst."

14 In the morning then you shall come near by your tribes. And it shall be that the tribe which the LORD takes by lot shall come near by families, and the family which the LORD takes shall come near by households, and the household which the LORD takes shall come near man by man.

15 It shall be that the one who is taken with the things under the ban shall be burned with fire, he and all that belongs to him, because he has transgressed the covenant of the LORD, and because he has committed a disgraceful thing in Israel.'"

16 So Joshua arose early in the morning and brought Israel near by tribes, and the tribe of Judah was taken.

17 He brought the family of Judah near, and he took the family of the Zerahites; and he brought the family of the Zerahites near man by man, and Zabdi was taken.

18 He brought his household near man by man; and Achan, son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, from the tribe of Judah, was taken.

19 Then Joshua said to Achan, My son, I implore you, give glory to the LORD, the God of Israel, and give praise to Him; and tell me now what you have done. Do not hide it from me."

20 So Achan answered Joshua and said, Truly, I have sinned against the LORD, the God of Israel, and this is what I did:

21 when I saw among the spoil a beautiful mantle from Shinar and two hundred shekels of silver and a bar of gold fifty shekels in weight, then I coveted them and took them; and behold, they are concealed in the earth inside my tent with the silver underneath it."

22 So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent; and behold, it was concealed in his tent with the silver underneath it.

23 They took them from inside the tent and brought them to Joshua and to all the sons of Israel, and they poured them out before the LORD.

24 Then Joshua and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, the silver, the mantle, the bar of gold, his sons, his daughters, his oxen, his donkeys, his sheep, his tent and all that belonged to him; and they brought them up to the valley of Achor.

25 Joshua said, Why have you troubled us? The LORD will trouble you this day." And all Israel stoned them with stones; and they burned them with fire after they had stoned them with stones.

26 They raised over him a great heap of stones that stands to this day, and the LORD turned from the fierceness of His anger. Therefore the name of that place has been called the valley of Achor to this day.

1 How lonely sits the city That was full of people! She has become like a widow Who was once great among the nations! She who was a princess among the provinces Has become a forced laborer!

2 She weeps bitterly in the night And her tears are on her cheeks; She has none to comfort her Among all her lovers. All her friends have dealt treacherously with her; They have become her enemies.

3 Judah has gone into exile under affliction And under harsh servitude; She dwells among the nations, But she has found no rest; All her pursuers have overtaken her In the midst of distress.

4 The roads of Zion are in mourning Because no one comes to the appointed feasts. All her gates are desolate; Her priests are groaning, Her virgins are afflicted, And she herself is bitter.

5 Her adversaries have become her masters, Her enemies prosper; For the LORD has caused her grief Because of the multitude of her transgressions; Her little ones have gone away As captives before the adversary.

6 All her majesty Has departed from the daughter of Zion; Her princes have become like deer That have found no pasture; And they have fled without strength Before the pursuer.

7 In the days of her affliction and homelessness Jerusalem remembers all her precious things That were from the days of old, When her people fell into the hand of the adversary And no one helped her. The adversaries saw her, They mocked at her ruin.

8 Jerusalem sinned greatly, Therefore she has become an unclean thing. All who honored her despise her Because they have seen her nakedness; Even she herself groans and turns away.

9 Her uncleanness was in her skirts; She did not consider her future. Therefore she has fallen astonishingly; She has no comforter. See, O LORD, my affliction, For the enemy has magnified himself!"

10 The adversary has stretched out his hand Over all her precious things, For she has seen the nations enter her sanctuary, The ones whom You commanded That they should not enter into Your congregation.

11 All her people groan seeking bread; They have given their precious things for food To restore their lives themselves. See, O LORD, and look, For I am despised."

12 Is it nothing to all you who pass this way? Look and see if there is any pain like my pain Which was severely dealt out to me, Which the LORD inflicted on the day of His fierce anger.

13 From on high He sent fire into my bones, And it prevailed over them. He has spread a net for my feet; He has turned me back; He has made me desolate, Faint all day long.

14 The yoke of my transgressions is bound; By His hand they are knit together. They have come upon my neck; He has made my strength fail. The Lord has given me into the hands Of those against whom I am not able to stand.

15 The Lord has rejected all my strong men In my midst; He has called an appointed time against me To crush my young men; The Lord has trodden as in a wine press The virgin daughter of Judah.

16 For these things I weep; My eyes run down with water; Because far from me is a comforter, One who restores my soul. My children are desolate Because the enemy has prevailed."

17 Zion stretches out her hands; There is no one to comfort her; The LORD has commanded concerning Jacob That the ones round about him should be his adversaries; Jerusalem has become an unclean thing among them.

18 The LORD is righteous; For I have rebelled against His command; Hear now, all peoples, And behold my pain; My virgins and my young men Have gone into captivity.

19 I called to my lovers, but they deceived me; My priests and my elders perished in the city While they sought food to restore their strength themselves.

20 See, O LORD, for I am in distress; My spirit is greatly troubled; My heart is overturned within me, For I have been very rebellious. In the street the sword slays; In the house it is like death.

21 They have heard that I groan; There is no one to comfort me; All my enemies have heard of my calamity; They are glad that You have done it. Oh, that You would bring the day which You have proclaimed, That they may become like me.

22 Let all their wickedness come before You; And deal with them as You have dealt with me For all my transgressions; For my groans are many and my heart is faint."

1 How the Lord has covered the daughter of Zion With a cloud in His anger! He has cast from heaven to earth The glory of Israel, And has not remembered His footstool In the day of His anger.

2 The Lord has swallowed up; He has not spared All the habitations of Jacob. In His wrath He has thrown down The strongholds of the daughter of Judah; He has brought them down to the ground; He has profaned the kingdom and its princes.

3 In fierce anger He has cut off All the strength of Israel; He has drawn back His right hand From before the enemy. And He has burned in Jacob like a flaming fire Consuming round about.

4 He has bent His bow like an enemy; He has set His right hand like an adversary And slain all that were pleasant to the eye; In the tent of the daughter of Zion He has poured out His wrath like fire.

5 The Lord has become like an enemy. He has swallowed up Israel; He has swallowed up all its palaces, He has destroyed its strongholds And multiplied in the daughter of Judah Mourning and moaning.

6 And He has violently treated His tabernacle like a garden booth; He has destroyed His appointed meeting place. The LORD has caused to be forgotten The appointed feast and sabbath in Zion, And He has despised king and priest In the indignation of His anger.

7 The Lord has rejected His altar, He has abandoned His sanctuary; He has delivered into the hand of the enemy The walls of her palaces. They have made a noise in the house of the LORD As in the day of an appointed feast.

8 The LORD determined to destroy The wall of the daughter of Zion. He has stretched out a line, He has not restrained His hand from destroying, And He has caused rampart and wall to lament; They have languished together.

9 Her gates have sunk into the ground, He has destroyed and broken her bars. Her king and her princes are among the nations; The law is no more. Also, her prophets find No vision from the LORD.

10 The elders of the daughter of Zion Sit on the ground, they are silent. They have thrown dust on their heads; They have girded themselves with sackcloth. The virgins of Jerusalem Have bowed their heads to the ground.

11 My eyes fail because of tears, My spirit is greatly troubled; My heart is poured out on the earth Because of the destruction of the daughter of my people, When little ones and infants faint In the streets of the city.

12 They say to their mothers, Where is grain and wine?" As they faint like a wounded man In the streets of the city, As their life is poured out On their mothers' bosom.

13 How shall I admonish you? To what shall I compare you, O daughter of Jerusalem? To what shall I liken you as I comfort you, O virgin daughter of Zion? For your ruin is as vast as the sea; Who can heal you?

14 Your prophets have seen for you False and foolish visions; And they have not exposed your iniquity So as to restore you from captivity, But they have seen for you false and misleading oracles.

15 All who pass along the way Clap their hands in derision at you; They hiss and shake their heads At the daughter of Jerusalem, Is this the city of which they said, `The perfection of beauty, A joy to all the earth'?"

16 All your enemies Have opened their mouths wide against you; They hiss and gnash their teeth. They say, We have swallowed her up! Surely this is the day for which we waited; We have reached it, we have seen it. "

17 The LORD has done what He purposed; He has accomplished His word Which He commanded from days of old. He has thrown down without sparing, And He has caused the enemy to rejoice over you; He has exalted the might of your adversaries.

18 Their heart cried out to the Lord, O wall of the daughter of Zion, Let your tears run down like a river day and night; Give yourself no relief, Let your eyes have no rest.

19 Arise, cry aloud in the night At the beginning of the night watches; Pour out your heart like water Before the presence of the Lord; Lift up your hands to Him For the life of your little ones Who are faint because of hunger At the head of every street."

20 See, O LORD, and look! With whom have You dealt thus? Should women eat their offspring, The little ones who were born healthy? Should priest and prophet be slain In the sanctuary of the Lord?

21 On the ground in the streets Lie young and old; My virgins and my young men Have fallen by the sword. You have slain them in the day of Your anger, You have slaughtered, not sparing.

22 You called as in the day of an appointed feast My terrors on every side; And there was no one who escaped or survived In the day of the LORD'S anger. Those whom I bore and reared, My enemy annihilated them.

1 The word of the LORD also came to me saying,

2 You shall not take a wife for yourself nor have sons or daughters in this place."

3 For thus says the LORD concerning the sons and daughters born in this place, and concerning their mothers who bear them, and their fathers who beget them in this land:

4 They will die of deadly diseases, they will not be lamented or buried; they will be as dung on the surface of the ground and come to an end by sword and famine, and their carcasses will become food for the birds of the sky and for the beasts of the earth."

5 For thus says the LORD, Do not enter a house of mourning, or go to lament or to console them; for I have withdrawn My peace from this people," declares the LORD, My lovingkindness and compassion.

6 Both great men and small will die in this land; they will not be buried, they will not be lamented, nor will anyone gash himself or shave his head for them.

7 Men will not break bread in mourning for them, to comfort anyone for the dead, nor give them a cup of consolation to drink for anyone's father or mother.

8 Moreover you shall not go into a house of feasting to sit with them to eat and drink."

9 For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I am going to eliminate from this place, before your eyes and in your time, the voice of rejoicing and the voice of gladness, the voice of the groom and the voice of the bride.

10 Now when you tell this people all these words, they will say to you, `For what reason has the LORD declared all this great calamity against us? And what is our iniquity, or what is our sin which we have committed against the LORD our God?'

11 Then you are to say to them, ` It is because your forefathers have forsaken Me,' declares the LORD, `and have followed other gods and served them and bowed down to them; but Me they have forsaken and have not kept My law.

12 You too have done evil, even more than your forefathers; for behold, you are each one walking according to the stubbornness of his own evil heart, without listening to Me.

13 So I will hurl you out of this land into the land which you have not known, neither you nor your fathers; and there you will serve other gods day and night, for I will grant you no favor.'

14 Therefore behold, days are coming," declares the LORD, when it will no longer be said, `As the LORD lives, who brought up the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt,'

15 but, `As the LORD lives, who brought up the sons of Israel from the land of the north and from all the countries where He had banished them.' For I will restore them to their own land which I gave to their fathers.

16 Behold, I am going to send for many fishermen," declares the LORD, and they will fish for them; and afterwards I will send for many hunters, and they will hunt them from every mountain and every hill and from the clefts of the rocks.

17 For My eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from My face, nor is their iniquity concealed from My eyes.

18 I will first doubly repay their iniquity and their sin, because they have polluted My land; they have filled My inheritance with the carcasses of their detestable idols and with their abominations."

19 O LORD, my strength and my stronghold, And my refuge in the day of distress, To You the nations will come From the ends of the earth and say, Our fathers have inherited nothing but falsehood, Futility and things of no profit."

20 Can man make gods for himself? Yet they are not gods!

21 Therefore behold, I am going to make them know-- This time I will make them know My power and My might; And they shall know that My name is the LORD."

1 O LORD, God of vengeance, God of vengeance, shine forth!

2 Rise up, O Judge of the earth, Render recompense to the proud.

1 My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning.

2 O my God, I cry by day, but You do not answer; And by night, but I have no rest.

3 Yet You are holy, O You who are enthroned upon the praises of Israel.

4 In You our fathers trusted; They trusted and You delivered them.

5 To You they cried out and were delivered; In You they trusted and were not disappointed.

6 But I am a worm and not a man, A reproach of men and despised by the people.

7 All who see me sneer at me; They separate with the lip, they wag the head, saying,

8 Commit yourself to the LORD; let Him deliver him; Let Him rescue him, because He delights in him."

9 Yet You are He who brought me forth from the womb; You made me trust when upon my mother's breasts.

10 Upon You I was cast from birth; You have been my God from my mother's womb.

11 Be not far from me, for trouble is near; For there is none to help.

12 Many bulls have surrounded me; Strong bulls of Bashan have encircled me.

13 They open wide their mouth at me, As a ravening and a roaring lion.

14 I am poured out like water, And all my bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; It is melted within me.

15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd, And my tongue cleaves to my jaws; And You lay me in the dust of death.

16 For dogs have surrounded me; A band of evildoers has encompassed me; They pierced my hands and my feet.

17 I can count all my bones. They look, they stare at me;

18 They divide my garments among them, And for my clothing they cast lots.

19 But You, O LORD, be not far off; O You my help, hasten to my assistance.

20 Deliver my soul from the sword, My only life from the power of the dog.

21 Save me from the lion's mouth; From the horns of the wild oxen You answer me.

22 I will tell of Your name to my brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will praise You.

23 You who fear the LORD, praise Him; All you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him, And stand in awe of Him, all you descendants of Israel.

24 For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; Nor has He hidden His face from him; But when he cried to Him for help, He heard.

25 From You comes my praise in the great assembly; I shall pay my vows before those who fear Him.

26 The afflicted will eat and be satisfied; Those who seek Him will praise the LORD. Let your heart live forever!

27 All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, And all the families of the nations will worship before You.

28 For the kingdom is the LORD'S And He rules over the nations.

29 All the prosperous of the earth will eat and worship, All those who go down to the dust will bow before Him, Even he who cannot keep his soul alive.

30 Posterity will serve Him; It will be told of the Lord to the coming generation.

31 They will come and will declare His righteousness To a people who will be born, that He has performed it.

1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.

2 He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.

3 He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name's sake.

4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows.

6 Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

7 Remember, O LORD, against the sons of Edom The day of Jerusalem, Who said, Raze it, raze it To its very foundation."

8 O daughter of Babylon, you devastated one, How blessed will be the one who repays you With the recompense with which you have repaid us.

9 How blessed will be the one who seizes and dashes your little ones Against the rock.

19 O that You would slay the wicked, O God; Depart from me, therefore, men of bloodshed.

20 For they speak against You wickedly, And Your enemies take Your name in vain.

21 Do I not hate those who hate You, O LORD? And do I not loathe those who rise up against You?

22 I hate them with the utmost hatred; They have become my enemies.

16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;

1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

2 The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.

3 Then God said, Let there be light"; and there was light.

4 God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.

5 God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.

6 Then God said, Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters."

7 God made the expanse, and separated the waters which were below the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so.

8 God called the expanse heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day.

9 Then God said, Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear"; and it was so.

10 God called the dry land earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas; and God saw that it was good.

11 Then God said, Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them"; and it was so.

12 The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit with seed in them, after their kind; and God saw that it was good.

13 There was evening and there was morning, a third day.

14 Then God said, Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years;

15 and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth"; and it was so.

16 God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also.

17 God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth,

18 and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good.

19 There was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.

20 Then God said, Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens."

21 God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind; and God saw that it was good.

22 God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth."

23 There was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.

24 Then God said, Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind"; and it was so.

25 God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good.

26 Then God said, Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."

27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

28 God blessed them; and God said to them, Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth."

29 Then God said, Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you;

30 and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food"; and it was so.

31 God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

1 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts.

2 By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.

3 Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.

4 This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made earth and heaven.

5 Now no shrub of the field was yet in the earth, and no plant of the field had yet sprouted, for the LORD God had not sent rain upon the earth, and there was no man to cultivate the ground.

6 But a mist used to rise from the earth and water the whole surface of the ground.

7 Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.

8 The LORD God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed.

9 Out of the ground the LORD God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

10 Now a river flowed out of Eden to water the garden; and from there it divided and became four rivers.

11 The name of the first is Pishon; it flows around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold.

12 The gold of that land is good; the bdellium and the onyx stone are there.

13 The name of the second river is Gihon; it flows around the whole land of Cush.

14 The name of the third river is Tigris; it flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.

15 Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.

16 The LORD God commanded the man, saying, From any tree of the garden you may eat freely;

17 but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die."

18 Then the LORD God said, It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him."

19 Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name.

20 The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him.

21 So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place.

22 The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man.

23 The man said, This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man."

24 For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.

25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea.

2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.

3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them,

4 and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away."

5 And He who sits on the throne said, Behold, I am making all things new." And He said, Write, for these words are faithful and true."

6 Then He said to me, It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost.

7 He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son.

8 But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death."

9 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and spoke with me, saying, Come here, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb."

10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God,

11 having the glory of God. Her brilliance was like a very costly stone, as a stone of crystal-clear jasper.

12 It had a great and high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels; and names were written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel.

13 There were three gates on the east and three gates on the north and three gates on the south and three gates on the west.

14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

15 The one who spoke with me had a gold measuring rod to measure the city, and its gates and its wall.

16 The city is laid out as a square, and its length is as great as the width; and he measured the city with the rod, fifteen hundred miles; its length and width and height are equal.

17 And he measured its wall, seventy-two yards, according to human measurements, which are also angelic measurements.

18 The material of the wall was jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass.

19 The foundation stones of the city wall were adorned with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation stone was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald;

20 the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprase; the eleventh, jacinth; the twelfth, amethyst.

21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was a single pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.

22 I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.

23 And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb.

24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it.

25 In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed;

26 and they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it;

27 and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life.

1 Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb,

2 in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

3 There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him;

4 they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads.

5 And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever.

6 And he said to me, These words are faithful and true"; and the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent His angel to show to His bond-servants the things which must soon take place.

7 And behold, I am coming quickly. Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book."

8 I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed me these things.

9 But he said to me, Do not do that. I am a fellow servant of yours and of your brethren the prophets and of those who heed the words of this book. Worship God."

10 And he said to me, Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near.

11 Let the one who does wrong, still do wrong; and the one who is filthy, still be filthy; and let the one who is righteous, still practice righteousness; and the one who is holy, still keep himself holy."

12 Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.

13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end."

14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city.

15 Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying.

16 I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star."

17 The Spirit and the bride say, Come." And let the one who hears say, Come." And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.

18 I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book;

19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.

20 He who testifies to these things says, Yes, I am coming quickly." Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.

1 Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?

2 For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, And like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty That we should look upon Him, Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.

3 He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

4 Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted.

5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.

6 All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him.

7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth.

8 By oppression and judgment He was taken away; And as for His generation, who considered That He was cut off out of the land of the living For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due?

9 His grave was assigned with wicked men, Yet He was with a rich man in His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.

10 But the LORD was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand.

11 As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities.

12 Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, And He will divide the booty with the strong; Because He poured out Himself to death, And was numbered with the transgressors; Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, And interceded for the transgressors.

1 I permitted Myself to be sought by those who did not ask for Me; I permitted Myself to be found by those who did not seek Me. I said, `Here am I, here am I,' To a nation which did not call on My name.

2 I have spread out My hands all day long to a rebellious people, Who walk in the way which is not good, following their own thoughts,

3 A people who continually provoke Me to My face, Offering sacrifices in gardens and burning incense on bricks;

4 Who sit among graves and spend the night in secret places; Who eat swine's flesh, And the broth of unclean meat is in their pots.

5 Who say, `Keep to yourself, do not come near me, For I am holier than you!' These are smoke in My nostrils, A fire that burns all the day.

6 Behold, it is written before Me, I will not keep silent, but I will repay; I will even repay into their bosom,

7 Both their own iniquities and the iniquities of their fathers together," says the LORD. Because they have burned incense on the mountains And scorned Me on the hills, Therefore I will measure their former work into their bosom."

8 Thus says the LORD, As the new wine is found in the cluster, And one says, `Do not destroy it, for there is benefit in it,' So I will act on behalf of My servants In order not to destroy all of them.

9 I will bring forth offspring from Jacob, And an heir of My mountains from Judah; Even My chosen ones shall inherit it, And My servants will dwell there.

10 Sharon will be a pasture land for flocks, And the valley of Achor a resting place for herds, For My people who seek Me.

11 But you who forsake the LORD, Who forget My holy mountain, Who set a table for Fortune, And who fill cups with mixed wine for Destiny,

12 I will destine you for the sword, And all of you will bow down to the slaughter. Because I called, but you did not answer; I spoke, but you did not hear. And you did evil in My sight And chose that in which I did not delight."

13 Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD, Behold, My servants will eat, but you will be hungry. Behold, My servants will drink, but you will be thirsty. Behold, My servants will rejoice, but you will be put to shame.

14 Behold, My servants will shout joyfully with a glad heart, But you will cry out with a heavy heart, And you will wail with a broken spirit.

15 You will leave your name for a curse to My chosen ones, And the Lord GOD will slay you. But My servants will be called by another name.

16 Because he who is blessed in the earth Will be blessed by the God of truth; And he who swears in the earth Will swear by the God of truth; Because the former troubles are forgotten, And because they are hidden from My sight!

17 For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former things will not be remembered or come to mind.

18 But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create; For behold, I create Jerusalem for rejoicing And her people for gladness.

19 I will also rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in My people; And there will no longer be heard in her The voice of weeping and the sound of crying.

20 No longer will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, Or an old man who does not live out his days; For the youth will die at the age of one hundred And the one who does not reach the age of one hundred Will be thought accursed.

21 They will build houses and inhabit them; They will also plant vineyards and eat their fruit.

22 They will not build and another inhabit, They will not plant and another eat; For as the lifetime of a tree, so will be the days of My people, And My chosen ones will wear out the work of their hands.

23 They will not labor in vain, Or bear children for calamity; For they are the offspring of those blessed by the LORD, And their descendants with them.

24 It will also come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear.

25 The wolf and the lamb will graze together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox; and dust will be the serpent's food. They will do no evil or harm in all My holy mountain," says the LORD.

5 And He who sits on the throne said, Behold, I am making all things new." And He said, Write, for these words are faithful and true."

2 and when the LORD your God delivers them before you and you defeat them, then you shall utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them and show no favor to them.

16 Then in the fourth generation they will return here, for the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet complete."

19 by driving out all your enemies from before you, as the LORD has spoken.

1 When the LORD your God brings you into the land where you are entering to possess it, and clears away many nations before you, the Hittites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and stronger than you,

4 Do not say in your heart when the LORD your God has driven them out before you, `Because of my righteousness the LORD has brought me in to possess this land,' but it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD is dispossessing them before you.

12 For whoever does these things is detestable to the LORD; and because of these detestable things the LORD your God will drive them out before you.

28 Now Joshua captured Makkedah on that day, and struck it and its king with the edge of the sword; he utterly destroyed it and every person who was in it. He left no survivor. Thus he did to the king of Makkedah just as he had done to the king of Jericho.

1 Hear, O Israel! You are crossing over the Jordan today to go in to dispossess nations greater and mightier than you, great cities fortified to heaven,

23 then the LORD will drive out all these nations from before you, and you will dispossess nations greater and mightier than you.

14 For those nations, which you shall dispossess, listen to those who practice witchcraft and to diviners, but as for you, the LORD your God has not allowed you to do so.

1 When the LORD your God cuts off the nations, whose land the LORD your God gives you, and you dispossess them and settle in their cities and in their houses,

3 I will give you the treasures of darkness And hidden wealth of secret places, So that you may know that it is I, The LORD, the God of Israel, who calls you by your name.

24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.

2 You shall also say to the sons of Israel: `Any man from the sons of Israel or from the aliens sojourning in Israel who gives any of his offspring to Molech, shall surely be put to death; the people of the land shall stone him with stones.

3 I will also set My face against that man and will cut him off from among his people, because he has given some of his offspring to Molech, so as to defile My sanctuary and to profane My holy name.

4 If the people of the land, however, should ever disregard that man when he gives any of his offspring to Molech, so as not to put him to death,

5 then I Myself will set My face against that man and against his family, and I will cut off from among their people both him and all those who play the harlot after him, by playing the harlot after Molech.

1 Again, the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,

2 Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, `When a man makes a difficult vow, he shall be valued according to your valuation of persons belonging to the LORD.

3 If your valuation is of the male from twenty years even to sixty years old, then your valuation shall be fifty shekels of silver, after the shekel of the sanctuary.

4 Or if it is a female, then your valuation shall be thirty shekels.

5 If it be from five years even to twenty years old then your valuation for the male shall be twenty shekels and for the female ten shekels.

6 But if they are from a month even up to five years old, then your valuation shall be five shekels of silver for the male, and for the female your valuation shall be three shekels of silver.

7 If they are from sixty years old and upward, if it is a male, then your valuation shall be fifteen shekels, and for the female ten shekels.

8 But if he is poorer than your valuation, then he shall be placed before the priest and the priest shall value him; according to the means of the one who vowed, the priest shall value him.

1 Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions.

2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity And cleanse me from my sin.

3 For I know my transgressions, And my sin is ever before me.

4 Against You, You only, I have sinned And done what is evil in Your sight, So that You are justified when You speak And blameless when You judge.

5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.

6 Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being, And in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom.

7 Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

8 Make me to hear joy and gladness, Let the bones which You have broken rejoice.

9 Hide Your face from my sins And blot out all my iniquities.

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.

11 Do not cast me away from Your presence And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation And sustain me with a willing spirit.

13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners will be converted to You.

14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, the God of my salvation; Then my tongue will joyfully sing of Your righteousness.

15 O Lord, open my lips, That my mouth may declare Your praise.

16 For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; You are not pleased with burnt offering.

17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.

18 By Your favor do good to Zion; Build the walls of Jerusalem.

19 Then You will delight in righteous sacrifices, In burnt offering and whole burnt offering; Then young bulls will be offered on Your altar.

5 While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!"

7 Let them flow away like water that runs off; When he aims his arrows, let them be as headless shafts.

8 Let them be as a snail which melts away as it goes along, Like the miscarriages of a woman which never see the sun.

9 Before your pots can feel the fire of thorns He will sweep them away with a whirlwind, the green and the burning alike.

10 The righteous will rejoice when he sees the vengeance; He will wash his feet in the blood of the wicked.

11 And men will say, Surely there is a reward for the righteous; Surely there is a God who judges on earth!"

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