Numbers 21–22

Arad Destroyed

21 When the Canaanite, the king of Arad, who lived in the Negeb, heard that Israel was coming by the way of Atharim, he fought against Israel, and took some of them captive. And Israel vowed a vow to the LORD and said, “If you will indeed give this people into my hand, then I will devote their cities to destruction.”That is, set apart (devote) as an offering to the Lord (for destruction); also verse 3′>1And the LORD heeded the voice of Israel and gave over the Canaanites, and they devoted them and their cities to destruction. So the name of the place was called Hormah.Hormah means destruction‘>2

The Bronze Serpent

From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom. And the people became impatient on the way. And the people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food.” Then the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. And the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD and against you. Pray to the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. And the LORD said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.” So Moses made a bronzeOr copper‘>3 serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.

The Song of the Well

And the people of Israel set out and camped in Oboth. And they set out from Oboth and camped at Iye-abarim, in the wilderness that is opposite Moab, toward the sunrise. From there they set out and camped in the Valley of Zered. From there they set out and camped on the other side of the Arnon, which is in the wilderness that extends from the border of the Amorites, for the Arnon is the border of Moab, between Moab and the Amorites. Therefore it is said in the Book of the Wars of the LORD,

  “Waheb in Suphah, and the valleys of the Arnon,
  and the slope of the valleys
  that extends to the seat of Ar,
  and leans to the border of Moab.”

And from there they continued to Beer;Beer means well‘>4 that is the well of which the LORD said to Moses, “Gather the people together, so that I may give them water.” Then Israel sang this song:

  “Spring up, O well!—Sing to it!—
  the well that the princes made,
  that the nobles of the people dug,
  with the scepter and with their staffs.”

And from the wilderness they went on to Mattanah, and from Mattanah to Nahaliel, and from Nahaliel to Bamoth, and from Bamoth to the valley lying in the region of Moab by the top of Pisgah that looks down on the desert.Or Jeshimon‘>5

King Sihon Defeated

Then Israel sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, saying, “Let me pass through your land. We will not turn aside into field or vineyard. We will not drink the water of a well. We will go by the King’s Highway until we have passed through your territory.” But Sihon would not allow Israel to pass through his territory. He gathered all his people together and went out against Israel to the wilderness and came to Jahaz and fought against Israel. And Israel defeated him with the edge of the sword and took possession of his land from the Arnon to the Jabbok, as far as to the Ammonites, for the border of the Ammonites was strong. And Israel took all these cities, and Israel settled in all the cities of the Amorites, in Heshbon, and in all its villages. For Heshbon was the city of Sihon the king of the Amorites, who had fought against the former king of Moab and taken all his land out of his hand, as far as the Arnon. Therefore the ballad singers say,

  “Come to Heshbon, let it be built;
    let the city of Sihon be established.
  For fire came out from Heshbon,
    flame from the city of Sihon.
  It devoured Ar of Moab,
    and swallowedSeptuagint; Hebrew the lords of‘>6 the heights of the Arnon.
  Woe to you, O Moab!
    You are undone, O people of Chemosh!
  He has made his sons fugitives,
    and his daughters captives,
    to an Amorite king, Sihon.
  So we overthrew them;
    Heshbon, as far as Dibon, perished;
    and we laid waste as far as Nophah;
    fire spread as far as Medeba.”Compare Samaritan and Septuagint; Hebrew and we laid waste as far as Nophah, which is as far as Medeba‘>7

King Og Defeated

Thus Israel lived in the land of the Amorites. And Moses sent to spy out Jazer, and they captured its villages and dispossessed the Amorites who were there. Then they turned and went up by the way to Bashan. And Og the king of Bashan came out against them, he and all his people, to battle at Edrei. But the LORD said to Moses, “Do not fear him, for I have given him into your hand, and all his people, and his land. And you shall do to him as you did to Sihon king of the Amorites, who lived at Heshbon.” So they defeated him and his sons and all his people, until he had no survivor left. And they possessed his land.

Balak Summons Balaam

22 Then the people of Israel set out and camped in the plains of Moab beyond the Jordan at Jericho. And Balak the son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites. And Moab was in great dread of the people, because they were many. Moab was overcome with fear of the people of Israel. And Moab said to the elders of Midian, “This horde will now lick up all that is around us, as the ox licks up the grass of the field.” So Balak the son of Zippor, who was king of Moab at that time, sent messengers to Balaam the son of Beor at Pethor, which is near the RiverThat is, the Euphrates’>8 in the land of the people of Amaw,Or the people of his kindred‘>9 to call him, saying, “Behold, a people has come out of Egypt. They cover the face of the earth, and they are dwelling opposite me. Come now, curse this people for me, since they are too mighty for me. Perhaps I shall be able to defeat them and drive them from the land, for I know that he whom you bless is blessed, and he whom you curse is cursed.”

So the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian departed with the fees for divination in their hand. And they came to Balaam and gave him Balak’s message. And he said to them, “Lodge here tonight, and I will bring back word to you, as the LORD speaks to me.” So the princes of Moab stayed with Balaam. And God came to Balaam and said, “Who are these men with you?” And Balaam said to God, “Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, has sent to me, saying, ‘Behold, a people has come out of Egypt, and it covers the face of the earth. Now come, curse them for me. Perhaps I shall be able to fight against them and drive them out.’” God said to Balaam, “You shall not go with them. You shall not curse the people, for they are blessed.” So Balaam rose in the morning and said to the princes of Balak, “Go to your own land, for the LORD has refused to let me go with you.” So the princes of Moab rose and went to Balak and said, “Balaam refuses to come with us.”

Once again Balak sent princes, more in number and more honorable than these. And they came to Balaam and said to him, “Thus says Balak the son of Zippor: ‘Let nothing hinder you from coming to me, for I will surely do you great honor, and whatever you say to me I will do. Come, curse this people for me.’” But Balaam answered and said to the servants of Balak, “Though Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not go beyond the command of the LORD my God to do less or more. So you, too, please stay here tonight, that I may know what more the LORD will say to me.” And God came to Balaam at night and said to him, “If the men have come to call you, rise, go with them; but only do what I tell you.” So Balaam rose in the morning and saddled his donkey and went with the princes of Moab.

Balaam’s Donkey and the Angel

But God’s anger was kindled because he went, and the angel of the LORD took his stand in the way as his adversary. Now he was riding on the donkey, and his two servants were with him. And the donkey saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road, with a drawn sword in his hand. And the donkey turned aside out of the road and went into the field. And Balaam struck the donkey, to turn her into the road. Then the angel of the LORD stood in a narrow path between the vineyards, with a wall on either side. And when the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she pushed against the wall and pressed Balaam’s foot against the wall. So he struck her again. Then the angel of the LORD went ahead and stood in a narrow place, where there was no way to turn either to the right or to the left. When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she lay down under Balaam. And Balaam’s anger was kindled, and he struck the donkey with his staff. Then the LORD opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?” And Balaam said to the donkey, “Because you have made a fool of me. I wish I had a sword in my hand, for then I would kill you.” And the donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your donkey, on which you have ridden all your life long to this day? Is it my habit to treat you this way?” And he said, “No.”

Then the LORD opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, with his drawn sword in his hand. And he bowed down and fell on his face. And the angel of the LORD said to him, “Why have you struck your donkey these three times? Behold, I have come out to oppose you because your way is perverseOr reckless‘>10 before me. The donkey saw me and turned aside before me these three times. If she had not turned aside from me, surely just now I would have killed you and let her live.” Then Balaam said to the angel of the LORD, “I have sinned, for I did not know that you stood in the road against me. Now therefore, if it is evil in your sight, I will turn back.” And the angel of the LORD said to Balaam, “Go with the men, but speak only the word that I tell you.” So Balaam went on with the princes of Balak.

When Balak heard that Balaam had come, he went out to meet him at the city of Moab, on the border formed by the Arnon, at the extremity of the border. And Balak said to Balaam, “Did I not send to you to call you? Why did you not come to me? Am I not able to honor you?” Balaam said to Balak, “Behold, I have come to you! Have I now any power of my own to speak anything? The word that God puts in my mouth, that must I speak.” Then Balaam went with Balak, and they came to Kiriath-huzoth. And Balak sacrificed oxen and sheep, and sent for Balaam and for the princes who were with him.

And in the morning Balak took Balaam and brought him up to Bamoth-baal, and from there he saw a fraction of the people.

Luke 11:37–12:12

Woes to the Pharisees and Lawyers

While JesusGreek he‘>1 was speaking, a Pharisee asked him to dine with him, so he went in and reclined at table. The Pharisee was astonished to see that he did not first wash before dinner. And the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You fools! Did not he who made the outside make the inside also? But give as alms those things that are within, and behold, everything is clean for you.

“But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the best seat in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces. Woe to you! For you are like unmarked graves, and people walk over them without knowing it.”

One of the lawyers answered him, “Teacher, in saying these things you insult us also.” And he said, “Woe to you lawyers also! For you load people with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers. Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets whom your fathers killed. So you are witnesses and you consent to the deeds of your fathers, for they killed them, and you build their tombs. Therefore also the Wisdom of God said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and persecute,’ so that the blood of all the prophets, shed from the foundation of the world, may be charged against this generation, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, it will be required of this generation. Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter yourselves, and you hindered those who were entering.”

As he went away from there, the scribes and the Pharisees began to press him hard and to provoke him to speak about many things, lying in wait for him, to catch him in something he might say.

Beware of the Leaven of the Pharisees

12 In the meantime, when so many thousands of the people had gathered together that they were trampling one another, he began to say to his disciples first, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops.

Have No Fear

“I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell.Greek Gehenna‘>2 Yes, I tell you, fear him! Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies?Greek two assaria; an assarion was a Roman copper coin worth about 1/16 of a denarius (which was a day’s wage for a laborer)”>3 And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.

Acknowledge Christ Before Men

“And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God, but the one who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God. And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”

Psalm 73

Book Three

God Is My Strength and Portion Forever

A Psalm of Asaph.

73   Truly God is good to Israel,
    to those who are pure in heart.
  But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled,
    my steps had nearly slipped.
  For I was envious of the arrogant
    when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

  For they have no pangs until death;
    their bodies are fat and sleek.
  They are not in trouble as others are;
    they are not stricken like the rest of mankind.
  Therefore pride is their necklace;
    violence covers them as a garment.
  Their eyes swell out through fatness;
    their hearts overflow with follies.
  They scoff and speak with malice;
    loftily they threaten oppression.
  They set their mouths against the heavens,
    and their tongue struts through the earth.
  Therefore his people turn back to them,
    and find no fault in them.Probable reading; Hebrew the waters of a full cup are drained by them‘>1
  And they say, “How can God know?
    Is there knowledge in the Most High?”
  Behold, these are the wicked;
    always at ease, they increase in riches.
  All in vain have I kept my heart clean
    and washed my hands in innocence.
  For all the day long I have been stricken
    and rebuked every morning.
  If I had said, “I will speak thus,”
    I would have betrayed the generation of your children.

  But when I thought how to understand this,
    it seemed to me a wearisome task,
  until I went into the sanctuary of God;
    then I discerned their end.

  Truly you set them in slippery places;
    you make them fall to ruin.
  How they are destroyed in a moment,
    swept away utterly by terrors!
  Like a dream when one awakes,
    O Lord, when you rouse yourself, you despise them as phantoms.
  When my soul was embittered,
    when I was pricked in heart,
  I was brutish and ignorant;
    I was like a beast toward you.

  Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
    you hold my right hand.
  You guide me with your counsel,
    and afterward you will receive me to glory.
  Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
  My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strengthHebrew rock‘>2 of my heart and my portion forever.

  For behold, those who are far from you shall perish;
    you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you.
  But for me it is good to be near God;
    I have made the Lord GOD my refuge,
    that I may tell of all your works.

Proverbs 12:12–14

  Whoever is wicked covets the spoil of evildoers,
    but the root of the righteous bears fruit.
  An evil man is ensnared by the transgression of his lips,Or In the transgression of the lips, there is an evil snare‘>1
    but the righteous escapes from trouble.
  From the fruit of his mouth a man is satisfied with good,
    and the work of a man’s hand comes back to him.

 

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