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1 Samuel 11-13 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 11

Defeat of the Ammonites. [a]About a month later, Nahash the Ammonite went up and besieged Jabesh-gilead. All the people of Jabesh begged Nahash, “Make a treaty with us, and we will serve you.” But Nahash the Ammonite replied, “This is my condition for making a treaty with you: I will gouge out the right eye of every man,[b] and thus bring shame on all Israel.” The elders of Jabesh said to him: “Give us seven days to send messengers throughout the territory of Israel. If there is no one to save us, we will surrender to you.” When the messengers arrived at Gibeah of Saul and reported the news in the people’s hearing, they all wept aloud. Just then Saul came in from the field, behind his oxen. “Why are the people weeping?” he asked. They repeated the message of the inhabitants of Jabesh for him. As he listened to this report, the spirit of God rushed upon him and he became very angry. Taking a yoke of oxen, he cut them into pieces and sent them throughout the territory of Israel[c] by messengers saying, “If anyone does not come out to follow Saul and Samuel, the same thing will be done to his oxen!” The dread of the Lord came upon the people and they went forth as one. When Saul reviewed them in Bezek,[d] there were three hundred thousand Israelites and seventy thousand Judahites.

To the messengers who had come he said, “Tell the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead that tomorrow, when the sun grows hot, they will be saved.” The messengers went and reported this to the inhabitants of Jabesh, and they rejoiced. 10 The men of Jabesh said to Nahash, “Tomorrow we will surrender to you, and you may do with us whatever you want.” 11 The next day, Saul arranged his troops in three companies and invaded the camp during the dawn watch. They slaughtered Ammonites until the day had gotten hot; by then the survivors were so scattered that no two of them were left together.

Saul Accepted as King. 12 [e]The people then said to Samuel: “Who questioned whether Saul should rule over us? Hand them over and we will put them to death.” 13 But Saul objected, “No one will be put to death this day, for today the Lord has rescued Israel.” 14 Samuel said to the people, “Come, let us go to Gilgal to renew the kingship there.” 15 So all the people went to Gilgal, and there they made Saul king in the Lord’s presence. They also sacrificed communion offerings there before the Lord, and Saul and all the Israelites rejoiced greatly.

Chapter 12[f]

Samuel’s Integrity. [g]Samuel addressed all Israel: “I have granted your request in every respect,” he said. “I have set a king over you and now the king will lead you. As for me, I am old and gray, and my sons are among you. I was your leader from my youth to the present day. Here I stand! Answer me in the presence of the Lord and the Lord’s anointed. Whose ox have I taken? Whose donkey have I taken? Whom have I cheated? Whom have I wronged? From whom have I accepted a bribe and shut my eyes because of it? I will make restitution to you.” They replied, “You have neither cheated us, nor oppressed us, nor accepted anything from anyone.” So he said to them, “The Lord is witness against you this day, and the Lord’s anointed is witness, that you have found nothing in my possession.” “The Lord is witness,” they said.

Samuel Admonishes the People. Samuel continued: “The Lord is witness, who appointed Moses and Aaron and brought your ancestors up from the land of Egypt. Now take your stand, that I may judge you in the presence of the Lord according to all the gracious acts that the Lord has done for you and your ancestors. When Jacob and his sons went to Egypt and the Egyptians oppressed them, your ancestors cried out to the Lord. The Lord then sent Moses and Aaron to bring them out of Egypt and settled them in this place. But they forgot the Lord their God; and so the Lord sold them into the power of Sisera, the captain of the army of Hazor, the power of the Philistines, and the power of the king of Moab, who made war against them. 10 They cried out to the Lord and said, ‘We have sinned because we abandoned the Lord and served the Baals and Astartes. Now deliver us from the power of our enemies, and we will serve you.’ 11 The Lord sent Jerubbaal, Barak, Jephthah, and Samuel; he delivered you from the power of your enemies on every side, so that you could live in security. 12 Yet, when you saw Nahash, king of the Ammonites, advancing against you, you said to me, ‘No! A king must rule us,’ even though the Lord your God is your king.

Warnings for People and King. 13 “Now here is the king you chose. See! The Lord has given you a king. 14 If you fear and serve the Lord, if you listen to the voice of the Lord and do not rebel against the Lord’s command, if both you and the king, who rules over you, follow the Lord your God—well and good. 15 But if you do not listen to the voice of the Lord and if you rebel against the Lord’s command, the hand of the Lord will be against you and your king. 16 Now then, stand ready to witness the great marvel the Lord is about to accomplish before your eyes. 17 Are we not in the harvest time for wheat?[h] Yet I will call upon the Lord, and he will send thunder and rain. Thus you will see and understand how great an evil it is in the eyes of the Lord that you have asked for a king.” 18 Samuel called upon the Lord, and the Lord sent thunder and rain that day.

Assistance Promised. Then all the people feared the Lord and Samuel. 19 They said to Samuel, “Pray to the Lord your God for us, your servants, that we may not die for having added to all our other sins the evil of asking for a king.” 20 “Do not fear,” Samuel answered them. “You have indeed committed all this evil! Yet do not turn from the Lord, but serve him with your whole heart. 21 Do not turn aside to gods who are nothing,[i] who cannot act and deliver. They are nothing. 22 For the sake of his own great name[j] the Lord will not abandon his people, since the Lord has decided to make you his people. 23 As for me, far be it from me to sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you and to teach you the good and right way. 24 But you must fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart, for you have seen the great things the Lord has done among you. 25 If instead you continue to do evil, both you and your king shall be swept away.”

III. Saul and David

Chapter 13

[Saul was…years old when he became king and he reigned…-two years over Israel.][k]

Saul Offers Sacrifice. Saul chose three thousand of Israel, of whom two thousand remained with him in Michmash and in the hill country of Bethel, and one thousand were with Jonathan in Gibeah of Benjamin. He sent the rest of the army back to their tents. Now Jonathan struck the Philistine garrison[l] in Gibeah, and the Philistines got word of it. Then Saul sounded the horn throughout the land, saying, “Let the Hebrews hear!” Then all Israel heard the report, “Saul has struck the garrison of the Philistines! Israel has become odious to the Philistines!” Then the army was called up to Saul in Gilgal. The Philistines also assembled for battle against Israel, with thirty thousand chariots,[m] six thousand horsemen, and foot soldiers as numerous as the sand on the seashore. They came up and encamped in Michmash, east of Beth-aven. When the soldiers saw they were in danger because the army was hardpressed, they hid themselves in caves, thickets, rocks, caverns, and cisterns. Other Hebrews crossed the Jordan into the land of Gad and Gilead. Saul, however, held out in Gilgal, all his army trembling in fear behind him.[n] He waited seven days, until the appointed time Samuel had set, but Samuel did not come, and the army deserted Saul. He then said, “Bring me the burnt offering and communion offerings!” Then he sacrificed the burnt offering.

King Saul Reproved. 10 As he finished sacrificing the burnt offering, there came Samuel! So Saul went out toward him in order to greet him. 11 Samuel asked him, “What have you done?” Saul explained: “When I saw that the army was deserting me and you did not come on the appointed day, and that the Philistines were assembling at Michmash, 12 I said to myself, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not yet sought the Lord’s blessing.’ So I thought I should sacrifice the burnt offering.” 13 Samuel replied to Saul: “You have acted foolishly! Had you kept the command the Lord your God gave you, the Lord would now establish your kingship in Israel forever; 14 but now your kingship shall not endure. The Lord has sought out a man after his own heart[o] to appoint as ruler over his people because you did not observe what the Lord commanded you.”

Philistine Invasion. 15 Then Samuel set out from Gilgal and went his own way; but what was left of the army went up after Saul to meet the soldiers, going from Gilgal to Gibeah of Benjamin. Saul then counted the soldiers he had with him, about six hundred. 16 Saul, his son Jonathan, and the soldiers they had with them were now occupying Geba of Benjamin, and the Philistines were encamped at Michmash. 17 Meanwhile, raiders left the camp of the Philistines in three bands. One band took the Ophrah road toward the district of Shual; 18 another turned in the direction of Beth-horon; and the third took the road for Geba that overlooks the Valley of the Hyenas toward the desert.

Disarmament of Israel.[p] 19 Not a single smith was to be found anywhere in Israel, for the Philistines had said, “Otherwise the Hebrews will make swords or spears.” 20 All Israel, therefore, had to go down to the Philistines to sharpen their plowshares, mattocks, axes, and sickles. 21 The price for the plowshares and mattocks was two thirds of a shekel, and a third of a shekel for sharpening the axes and for setting the ox-goads. 22 And so on the day of battle neither sword nor spear could be found in the hand of any of the soldiers with Saul or Jonathan. Only Saul and his son Jonathan had them.

Jonathan’s Exploit. 23 An outpost of the Philistines had pushed forward to the pass of Michmash.

Footnotes:

  1. 11:1 A text from Qumran (1QSama) introduces this chapter with the report that Nahash, king of the Ammonites, had attacked the Gadites and the Reubenites, gouging out their right eyes. Seven thousand of them had fled to Jabesh-gilead. This additional information would explain why Nahash besieged Jabesh-gilead. There is no consensus among scholars whether the Qumran text represents an original reading or a secondary expansion.
  2. 11:2 Right eye of every man: thus rendering them incapable of military action.
  3. 11:7 Throughout the territory of Israel: Saul’s gesture summons the Israelite confederacy to a coordinated response against Nahash; cf. Jgs 19:29 for a similar action. Dread of the Lord: often a panic that immobilizes Israel’s enemies; here, however, it has the opposite effect and incites the Israelites to battle.
  4. 11:8 Bezek: probably modern Khirbet Ibziq, northeast of Shechem, on the west slope of the Jordan valley, opposite Jabesh-gilead.
  5. 11:12–14 With the defeat of the Ammonites, Saul demonstrates his ability to command Israel’s army and defend the land. At Gilgal, Saul’s kingship is ratified; ironically, he loses his kingship at the same place (13:7).
  6. 12:1–25 This chapter narrates the transition from the leadership of the judges to the rule of the king. The Deuteronomistic redactor has Samuel contrast the wickedness of Israel’s ancestors with the Lord’s gracious deliverance (vv. 6–12). The people realize that their demand for a king has compounded that wickedness. Now that the Lord has given them a king, Samuel urges the people and their king to serve the Lord wholeheartedly (vv. 13–25).
  7. 12:1–5 Samuel’s upright leadership is set in sharp contrast to the despotic powers of the king described in chap. 8. By their testimony, the people witness to Samuel’s righteousness.
  8. 12:17 Harvest time for wheat: in May–June. Since this is a period of little or no rainfall in Israel, the people will not mistake the sign for a natural phenomenon.
  9. 12:21 Gods who are nothing: Hebrew tohu, lit., “emptiness,” cf. Gn 1:2 (…webohu); here, idols without power or substance, as in Is 41:29.
  10. 12:22 His own great name: were the Lord to abandon his people, even if they abandon him, he would diminish his stature or reputation in the divine council or among the nations (e.g., Ez 20:9). Throughout the Old Testament the Lord is encouraged to deliver Israel, despite its evil, “for the sake of his name.”
  11. 13:1 A formula like that of 2 Sm 5:4 was introduced here at some time; but the age of Saul when he became king remains a blank, and the two years assigned for his reign in the Masoretic text cannot be correct. Acts 13:21 offers the round number of forty years.
  12. 13:3–4 The Philistine garrison: see note on 10:5. Let the Hebrews hear: a different reading of these verses, based on the Greek, would yield: “And the Philistines heard that the Hebrews (or: the slaves) had revolted. Saul in the meantime sounded the trumpet throughout all the land (v. 4), and all Israel heard that Saul….”
  13. 13:5 Thirty thousand chariots: some Greek manuscripts read “three thousand chariots.”
  14. 13:7–15 These verses, like 10:8, anticipate the rejection of Saul; a different occasion and motivation for this are given in chap. 15 and 28:17–18.
  15. 13:14 After his own heart: i.e., of his choosing, for his purpose. While the verse undoubtedly refers to David, it concerns the Lord’s decision to continue the kingship, even though he has rejected Saul, by selecting the heir to Saul’s throne.
  16. 13:19–22 These details emphasize the Philistines’ military power and superior technology, a reminder that an Israelite victory depends on God.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Psalm 121 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Psalm 121[a]

The Lord My Guardian

A song of ascents.

I raise my eyes toward the mountains.[b]
    From whence shall come my help?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the maker of heaven and earth.

He will not allow your foot to slip;
    or your guardian to sleep.
Behold, the guardian of Israel
    never slumbers nor sleeps.
[c]The Lord is your guardian;
    the Lord is your shade
    at your right hand.
By day the sun will not strike you,
    nor the moon by night.
The Lord will guard you from all evil;
    he will guard your soul.
The Lord will guard your coming and going
    both now and forever.

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 121 A blessing given to someone embarking on a dangerous journey whether a soldier going on a campaign or a pilgrim returning home from the Temple. People look anxiously at the wooded hills. Will God protect them on their journey (Ps 121:1)? The speaker declares that God is not confined to a place or a time (Ps 121:2), that every step is guarded (Ps 121:3–4); night and day (Ps 121:5–6) God watches over their every movement (Ps 121:7–8).
  2. 121:1 The mountains: possibly Mount Zion, the site of the Temple and hence of safety, but more probably mountains as a place of dangers, causing anxiety to the psalmist.
  3. 121:5–6 The image of shade, a symbol of protection, is apt: God as shade protects from the harmful effects that ancients believed were caused by the sun and moon.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Mark 6:30-56 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

The Return of the Twelve. 30 The apostles[a] gathered together with Jesus and reported all they had done and taught. 31 [b]He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” People were coming and going in great numbers, and they had no opportunity even to eat. 32 So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place. 33 People saw them leaving and many came to know about it. They hastened there on foot from all the towns and arrived at the place before them.

The Feeding of the Five Thousand. 34 When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. 35 [c]By now it was already late and his disciples approached him and said, “This is a deserted place and it is already very late. 36 Dismiss them so that they can go to the surrounding farms and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” 37 He said to them in reply, “Give them some food yourselves.” But they said to him, “Are we to buy two hundred days’ wages worth of food and give it to them to eat?” 38 He asked them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” And when they had found out they said, “Five loaves and two fish.” 39 So he gave orders to have them sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 [d]The people took their places in rows by hundreds and by fifties. 41 Then, taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to [his] disciples to set before the people; he also divided the two fish among them all.[e] 42 They all ate and were satisfied. 43 And they picked up twelve wicker baskets full of fragments and what was left of the fish. 44 Those who ate [of the loaves] were five thousand men.

The Walking on the Water.[f] 45 Then he made his disciples get into the boat and precede him to the other side toward Bethsaida,[g] while he dismissed the crowd. 46 [h]And when he had taken leave of them, he went off to the mountain to pray. 47 When it was evening, the boat was far out on the sea and he was alone on shore. 48 Then he saw that they were tossed about while rowing, for the wind was against them. About the fourth watch of the night, he came toward them walking on the sea.[i] He meant to pass by them. 49 But when they saw him walking on the sea, they thought it was a ghost and cried out. 50 [j]They had all seen him and were terrified. But at once he spoke with them, “Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!” 51 He got into the boat with them and the wind died down. They were [completely] astounded. 52 They had not understood the incident of the loaves.[k] On the contrary, their hearts were hardened.

The Healings at Gennesaret. 53 After making the crossing, they came to land at Gennesaret and tied up there. 54 As they were leaving the boat, people immediately recognized him. 55 They scurried about the surrounding country and began to bring in the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. 56 Whatever villages or towns or countryside he entered, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak; and as many as touched it were healed.

Footnotes:

  1. 6:30 Apostles: here, and in some manuscripts at Mk 3:14, Mark calls apostles (i.e., those sent forth) the Twelve whom Jesus sends as his emissaries, empowering them to preach, to expel demons, and to cure the sick (Mk 6:13). Only after Pentecost is the title used in the technical sense.
  2. 6:31–34 The withdrawal of Jesus with his disciples to a desert place to rest attracts a great number of people to follow them. Toward this people of the new exodus Jesus is moved with pity; he satisfies their spiritual hunger by teaching them many things, thus gradually showing himself the faithful shepherd of a new Israel; cf. Nm 27:17; Ez 34:15.
  3. 6:35–44 See note on Mt 14:13–21. Compare this section with Mk 8:1–9. The various accounts of the multiplication of loaves and fishes, two each in Mark and in Matthew and one each in Luke and in John, indicate the wide interest of the early church in their eucharistic gatherings; see, e.g., Mk 6:41; 8:6; 14:22; and recall also the sign of bread in Ex 16; Dt 8:3–16; Ps 78:24–25; 105:40; Wis 16:20–21.
  4. 6:40 The people…in rows by hundreds and by fifties: reminiscent of the groupings of Israelites encamped in the desert (Ex 18:21–25) and of the wilderness tradition of the prophets depicting the transformation of the wasteland into pastures where the true shepherd feeds his flock (Ez 34:25–26) and makes his people beneficiaries of messianic grace.
  5. 6:41 On the language of this verse as eucharistic (cf. Mk 14:22), see notes on Mt 14:19, 20. Jesus observed the Jewish table ritual of blessing God before partaking of food.
  6. 6:45–52 See note on Mt 14:22–33.
  7. 6:45 To the other side toward Bethsaida: a village at the northeastern shore of the Sea of Galilee.
  8. 6:46 He went off to the mountain to pray: see Mk 1:35–38. In Jn 6:15 Jesus withdrew to evade any involvement in the false messianic hopes of the multitude.
  9. 6:48 Walking on the sea: see notes on Mt 14:22–33 and on Jn 6:19.
  10. 6:50 It is I, do not be afraid!: literally, “I am.” This may reflect the divine revelatory formula of Ex 3:14; Is 41:4, 10, 14; 43:1–3, 10, 13. Mark implies the hidden identity of Jesus as Son of God.
  11. 6:52 They had not understood…the loaves: the revelatory character of this sign and that of the walking on the sea completely escaped the disciples. Their hearts were hardened: in Mk 3:5–6 hardness of heart was attributed to those who did not accept Jesus and plotted his death. Here the same disposition prevents the disciples from comprehending Jesus’ self-revelation through signs; cf. Mk 8:17.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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