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2 Chronicles 13-15 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 13

War Between Abijah and Jeroboam. In the eighteenth year of King Jeroboam, Abijah became king of Judah; he reigned three years in Jerusalem. His mother was named Micaiah, daughter of Uriel of Gibeah. There was war between Abijah and Jeroboam.

[a]Abijah joined battle with a force of four hundred thousand picked warriors, while Jeroboam lined up against him in battle with eight hundred thousand picked and valiant warriors. Abijah stood on Mount Zemaraim, which is in the highlands of Ephraim, and said: “Listen to me, Jeroboam and all Israel! Do you not know that the Lord, the God of Israel, has given David kingship over Israel forever, to him and to his sons, by a covenant of salt?[b] Yet Jeroboam, son of Nebat, the servant of Solomon, son of David, arose and rebelled against his lord! Worthless men, scoundrels, joined him and overcame Rehoboam, son of Solomon, when Rehoboam was young and inexperienced, and no match for them. But now, do you think you are a match for the kingdom of the Lord led by the descendants of David, simply because you are a huge multitude and have with you the golden calves which Jeroboam made you for gods? Have you not expelled the priests of the Lord, the sons of Aaron, and the Levites, and made for yourselves priests like the peoples of other lands? Everyone who comes to consecrate himself with a young bull and seven rams becomes a priest of no-gods. 10 But as for us, the Lord is our God, and we have not abandoned him. The priests ministering to the Lord are sons of Aaron, and the Levites also have their offices. 11 They sacrifice burnt offerings to the Lord and fragrant incense morning after morning and evening after evening; they set out the showbread on the pure table, and the lamps of the golden menorah burn evening after evening; for we observe our duties to the Lord, our God, but you have abandoned him. 12 See, God is with us, at our head, and his priests are here with trumpets to sound the attack against you. Israelites, do not fight against the Lord, the God of your ancestors, for you will not succeed!”

13 But Jeroboam had an ambush go around them to come at them from the rear; so that while his army faced Judah, his ambush lay behind them. 14 When Judah turned and saw that they had to battle on both fronts, they cried out to the Lord and the priests sounded the trumpets. 15 Then the Judahites shouted; and when they shouted, God struck down Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah. 16 The Israelites fled before Judah, and God delivered them into their power. 17 Abijah and his people inflicted a severe defeat upon them; five hundred thousand picked men of Israel fell slain. 18 The Israelites were humbled on that occasion, while the Judahites were victorious because they relied on the Lord, the God of their ancestors. 19 Abijah pursued Jeroboam and seized cities from him: Bethel and its dependencies, Jeshanah and its dependencies, and Ephron and its dependencies. 20 Jeroboam did not regain power during Abijah’s time; the Lord struck him down and he died, 21 while Abijah continued to grow stronger. He married fourteen wives and fathered twenty-two sons and sixteen daughters.

Death of Abijah. 22 The rest of the acts of Abijah, his deeds and his words, are recorded in the midrash of the prophet Iddo. 23 Abijah rested with his ancestors; they buried him in the City of David and his son Asa succeeded him as king. During his time, the land had ten years of peace.

Chapter 14

Asa’s Initial Reforms. Asa did what was good and right in the sight of the Lord, his God. He removed the illicit altars and the high places, smashed the sacred pillars, and cut down the asherahs. He told Judah to seek the Lord, the God of their ancestors, and to observe the law and the commandment. He removed the high places and incense stands from all the cities of Judah, and under him the kingdom had peace. He built fortified cities in Judah, for the land had peace and no war was waged against him during these years, because the Lord had given him rest. He said to Judah: “Let us build these cities and surround them with walls, towers, gates and bars. The land is still ours, for we have sought the Lord, our God; we sought him, and he has given us rest on every side.” So they built and prospered.

The Ethiopian Invasion.[c] Asa had an army of three hundred thousand shield- and lance-bearers from Judah, and from Benjamin two hundred and eighty thousand who carried bucklers and were archers, all of them valiant warriors. Zerah the Ethiopian advanced against them with a force of one million men and three hundred chariots, and he came as far as Mareshah. Asa went out to meet him and they drew up for battle in the valley of Zephathah, near Mareshah. 10 Asa called upon the Lord, his God: “Lord, there is none like you to help the powerless against the strong. Help us, Lord, our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this multitude. You are the Lord, our God; do not let men prevail against you.” 11 And so the Lord defeated the Ethiopians before Asa and Judah, and the Ethiopians fled. 12 Asa and those with him pursued them as far as Gerar, and the Ethiopians fell until there were no survivors, for they were crushed before the Lord and his army, which carried away enormous spoils. 13 Then the Judahites conquered all the cities around Gerar, for the fear of the Lord was upon them; they plundered all the cities, for there was much plunder in them. 14 They also attacked the tents of the cattle-herders and carried off a great number of sheep and camels. Then they returned to Jerusalem.

Chapter 15

Further Reforms. The spirit of God came upon Azariah, son of Oded. He went forth to meet Asa and said to him: “Hear me, Asa and all Judah and Benjamin! The Lord is with you when you are with him, and if you seek him he will be found; but if you abandon him, he will abandon you. For a long time Israel was without a true God, without a priest-teacher, without instruction, but when in their distress they turned to the Lord, the God of Israel, and sought him, he was found by them. At that time there was no peace for anyone to go or come; rather, there were many terrors upon the inhabitants of the lands. Nation crushed nation and city crushed city, for God overwhelmed them with every kind of distress. But as for you, be strong and do not slack off, for there shall be a reward for what you do.”

When Asa heard these words and the prophecy (Oded the prophet), he was encouraged to remove the detestable idols from the whole land of Judah and Benjamin and from the cities he had taken in the highlands of Ephraim, and to restore the altar of the Lord which was before the vestibule of the Lord. Then he gathered all Judah and Benjamin, together with those of Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon who were resident with them; for many had defected to him from Israel when they saw that the Lord, his God, was with him. 10 They gathered at Jerusalem in the third month[d] of the fifteenth year of Asa’s reign, 11 and sacrificed to the Lord on that day seven hundred oxen and seven thousand sheep from the spoils they had brought. 12 They entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their ancestors, with all their heart and soul; 13 and everyone who would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, was to be put to death, from least to greatest, man or woman. 14 They swore an oath to the Lord with a loud voice, with shouting and with trumpets and horns. 15 All Judah rejoiced over the oath, for they had sworn it with their whole heart and sought him with complete desire. The Lord was found by them, and gave them rest on every side.

16 He also deposed Maacah, the mother[e] of King Asa, from her position as queen mother because she had made an obscene object for Asherah; Asa cut down this object, smashed it, and burnt it in the Wadi Kidron. 17 The high places did not disappear from Israel, yet Asa’s heart was undivided as long as he lived. 18 He brought into the house of God his father’s and his own votive offerings: silver, gold, and vessels. 19 There was no war until the thirty-fifth year of Asa’s reign.

Footnotes:

  1. 13:3–21 This passage is a free composition of the Chronicler based on the reference in 1 Kgs 15:6 to the war between Abijam (so in Kings, “Abijah” in Chronicles) and Jeroboam.
  2. 13:5 Covenant of salt: see note on Nm 18:19.
  3. 14:7–14 This Ethiopian invasion of Judah is not mentioned in 1 Kings. The account is likely a legend intended to show the pious King Asa being rewarded with divine assistance. It could, however, reflect an incursion by nomads from the Negeb in Asa’s time.
  4. 15:10–12 With this description of a covenant ceremony in “the third month” of a year beginning in the spring, the Chronicler provides a basis for the later understanding of the ancient Jewish spring feast of Weeks as a commemoration of the covenant on Mount Sinai; see Ex 19:1–3; Lv 23:16 and note on Lv 23:16–21. In the Greek period the feast came to be called Pentecost, from the Greek word for “fifty,” i.e., fifty days or seven weeks after Passover. The Chronicler’s presentation here has also influenced the celebration of Christian Pentecost as the “birthday of the Church”; cf. Acts 2.
  5. 15:16 Mother: see note on 1 Kgs 15:10.
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.

Proverbs 19:1-14 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 19

Better to be poor and walk in integrity
    than rich and crooked in one’s ways.
Desire without knowledge is not good;
    and whoever acts hastily, blunders.[a]
Their own folly leads people astray;
    in their hearts they rage against the Lord.[b]
Wealth adds many friends,
    but the poor are left friendless.
The false witness will not go unpunished,
    and whoever utters lies will not escape.[c]
Many curry favor with a noble;
    everybody is a friend of a gift giver.
All the kin of the poor despise them;
    how much more do their friends shun them![d]
Those who gain sense truly love themselves;
    those who preserve understanding will find success.[e]
The false witness will not go unpunished,
    and whoever utters lies will perish.
10 Luxury is not befitting a fool;
    much less should a slave rule over princes.
11 It is good sense to be slow to anger,
    and an honor to overlook an offense.[f]
12 The king’s wrath is like the roar of a lion,
    but his favor, like dew on the grass.[g]
13 The foolish son is ruin to his father,
    and a quarrelsome wife is water constantly dripping.[h]
14 Home and possessions are an inheritance from parents,
    but a prudent wife is from the Lord.

Footnotes:

  1. 19:2 When not guided by wisdom, appetite—or desire—is not good. “Running feet” (so the Hebrew) miss the mark, i.e., do not reach their destination.
  2. 19:3 One’s own folly destroys one’s life. It is an indication of that folly that one blames God rather than oneself.
  3. 19:5 The punishment fits the crime: those who abuse the legal system will be punished by the same system. They will not be acquitted.
  4. 19:7 Closely related to vv. 4 and 6. An observation, not without sympathy, on the social isolation of poor people.
  5. 19:8 Wisdom benefits the one who practices it.
  6. 19:11 The paradox is that one obtains one thing by giving up another.
  7. 19:12 An observation on the exercise of royal power. Both images suggest royal attitudes are beyond human control. Colon A is a variant of 20:2a and colon B of 16:15b.
  8. 19:13 One of many sayings about domestic happiness. The perspective is male; the two greatest pains to a father is a malicious son and an unsuitable wife. The immediately following saying is on the noble wife, perhaps to make a positive statement about women.
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.

Romans 9 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

V. Jews and Gentiles in God’s Plan[a]

Chapter 9

Paul’s Love for Israel.[b] I speak the truth in Christ, I do not lie; my conscience joins with the holy Spirit in bearing me witness that I have great sorrow and constant anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and separated from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kin according to the flesh. They are Israelites; theirs the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; theirs the patriarchs, and from them, according to the flesh, is the Messiah. God who is over all[c] be blessed forever. Amen.

God’s Free Choice. But it is not that the word of God has failed. For not all who are of Israel are Israel, nor are they all children of Abraham because they are his descendants; but “It is through Isaac that descendants shall bear your name.” This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as descendants. For this is the wording of the promise, “About this time I shall return and Sarah will have a son.” 10 And not only that, but also when Rebecca had conceived children by one husband, our father Isaac[d] 11 before they had yet been born or had done anything, good or bad, in order that God’s elective plan might continue, 12 not by works but by his call—she was told, “The older shall serve the younger.” 13 As it is written:

“I loved Jacob
    but hated Esau.”[e]

14 [f]What then are we to say? Is there injustice on the part of God? Of course not! 15 For he says to Moses:

“I will show mercy to whom I will,
    I will take pity on whom I will.”

16 So it depends not upon a person’s will or exertion, but upon God, who shows mercy. 17 For the scripture says to Pharaoh, “This is why I have raised you up, to show my power through you that my name may be proclaimed throughout the earth.” 18 Consequently, he has mercy upon whom he wills, and he hardens whom he wills.[g]

19 [h]You will say to me then, “Why [then] does he still find fault? For who can oppose his will?” 20 But who indeed are you, a human being, to talk back to God? Will what is made say to its maker, “Why have you created me so?” 21 Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for a noble purpose and another for an ignoble one? 22 What if God, wishing to show his wrath and make known his power, has endured with much patience the vessels of wrath made for destruction? 23 This was to make known the riches of his glory to the vessels of mercy, which he has prepared previously for glory, 24 namely, us whom he has called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles.

Witness of the Prophets. 25 As indeed he says in Hosea:

“Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’
    and her who was not beloved[i] I will call ‘beloved.’
26 And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’
    there they shall be called children of the living God.”

27 And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel, “Though the number of the Israelites were like the sand of the sea, only a remnant will be saved; 28 for decisively and quickly will the Lord execute sentence upon the earth.” 29 And as Isaiah predicted:

“Unless the Lord of hosts had left us descendants,
    we would have become like Sodom
    and have been made like Gomorrah.”

Righteousness Based on Faith.[j] 30 What then shall we say? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have achieved it, that is, righteousness that comes from faith; 31 but that Israel, who pursued the law of righteousness, did not attain to that law? 32 Why not? Because they did it not by faith, but as if it could be done by works. They stumbled over the stone that causes stumbling,[k] 33 as it is written:

“Behold, I am laying a stone in Zion
    that will make people stumble
    and a rock that will make them fall,
and whoever believes in him shall not be put to shame.”

Footnotes:

  1. 9:1–11:36 Israel’s unbelief and its rejection of Jesus as savior astonished and puzzled Christians. It constituted a serious problem for them in view of God’s specific preparation of Israel for the advent of the Messiah. Paul addresses himself here to the essential question of how the divine plan could be frustrated by Israel’s unbelief. At the same time, he discourages both complacency and anxiety on the part of Gentiles. To those who might boast of their superior advantage over Jews, he warns that their enjoyment of the blessings assigned to Israel can be terminated. To those who might anxiously ask, “How can we be sure that Israel’s fate will not be ours?” he replies that only unbelief can deprive one of salvation.
  2. 9:1–5 The apostle speaks in strong terms of the depth of his grief over the unbelief of his own people. He would willingly undergo a curse himself for the sake of their coming to the knowledge of Christ (Rom 9:3; cf. Lv 27:28–29). His love for them derives from God’s continuing choice of them and from the spiritual benefits that God bestows on them and through them on all of humanity (Rom 9:4–5).
  3. 9:5 Some editors punctuate this verse differently and prefer the translation, “Of whom is Christ according to the flesh, who is God over all.” However, Paul’s point is that God who is over all aimed to use Israel, which had been entrusted with every privilege, in outreach to the entire world through the Messiah.
  4. 9:10 Children by one husband, our father Isaac: Abraham had two children, Ishmael and Isaac, by two wives, Hagar and Sarah, respectively. In that instance Isaac, although born later than Ishmael, became the bearer of the messianic promise. In the case of twins born to Rebecca, God’s elective procedure is seen even more dramatically, and again the younger, contrary to Semitic custom, is given the preference.
  5. 9:13 The literal rendering, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated,” suggests an attitude of divine hostility that is not implied in Paul’s statement. In Semitic usage “hate” means to love less; cf. Lk 14:26 with Mt 10:37. Israel’s unbelief reflects the mystery of the divine election that is always operative within it. Mere natural descent from Abraham does not ensure the full possession of the divine gifts; it is God’s sovereign prerogative to bestow this fullness upon, or to withhold it from, whomsoever he wishes; cf. Mt 3:9; Jn 8:39. The choice of Jacob over Esau is a case in point.
  6. 9:14–18 The principle of divine election does not invite Christians to theoretical inquiry concerning the nonelected, nor does this principle mean that God is unfair in his dealings with humanity. The instruction concerning divine election is a part of the gospel and reveals that the gift of faith is the enactment of God’s mercy (Rom 9:16). God raised up Moses to display that mercy, and Pharaoh to display divine severity in punishing those who obstinately oppose their Creator.
  7. 9:18 The basic biblical principle is: those who will not see or hear shall not see or hear. On the other hand, the same God who thus makes stubborn or hardens the heart can reconstruct it through the work of the holy Spirit.
  8. 9:19–29 The apostle responds to the objection that if God rules over faith through the principle of divine election, God cannot then accuse unbelievers of sin (Rom 9:19). For Paul, this objection is in the last analysis a manifestation of human insolence, and his “answer” is less an explanation of God’s ways than the rejection of an argument that places humanity on a level with God. At the same time, Paul shows that God is far less arbitrary than appearances suggest, for God endures with much patience (Rom 9:22) a person like the Pharaoh of the Exodus.
  9. 9:25 Beloved: in Semitic discourse means “preferred” or “favorite” (cf. Rom 9:13). See Hos 2:1.
  10. 9:30–33 In the conversion of the Gentiles and, by contrast, of relatively few Jews, the Old Testament prophecies are seen to be fulfilled; cf. Rom 9:25–29. Israel feared that the doctrine of justification through faith would jeopardize the validity of the Mosaic law, and so they never reached their goal of righteousness that they had sought to attain through meticulous observance of the law (Rom 9:31). Since Gentiles, including especially Greeks and Romans, had a great regard for righteousness, Paul’s statement concerning Gentiles in Rom 9:30 is to be understood from a Jewish perspective: quite evidently they had not been interested in “God’s” righteousness, for it had not been revealed to them; but now in response to the proclamation of the gospel they respond in faith.
  11. 9:32 Paul discusses Israel as a whole from the perspective of contemporary Jewish rejection of Jesus as Messiah. The Old Testament and much of Jewish noncanonical literature in fact reflect a fervent faith in divine mercy.
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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