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2 Chronicles 30-31 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 30

Invitation to Passover. Hezekiah sent word to all Israel and Judah, and even wrote letters to Ephraim and Manasseh, saying that they should come to the house of the Lord in Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover to the Lord, the God of Israel. The king, his princes, and the entire assembly in Jerusalem had agreed to celebrate the Passover during the second month. They could not celebrate it at the regular time because the priests had not sanctified themselves in sufficient numbers, and the people were not gathered at Jerusalem. This seemed right to the king and the entire assembly, and they issued a decree to be proclaimed throughout all Israel from Beer-sheba to Dan, that everyone should come to celebrate the Passover to the Lord, the God of Israel, in Jerusalem; for not many had kept it in the prescribed manner. By the king’s command, the couriers, with the letters written by the king and his princes, went through all Israel and Judah. They said: “Israelites, return to the Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, that he may return to you, the remnant left from the hands of the Assyrian kings. Do not be like your ancestors and your kin who acted treacherously toward the Lord, the God of their ancestors, so that he handed them over to desolation, as you yourselves now see. Do not be stiff-necked, as your ancestors were; stretch out your hands to the Lord and come to his sanctuary that he has consecrated forever, and serve the Lord, your God, that he may turn his burning anger from you. If you return to the Lord, your kinfolk and your children will find mercy with their captors and return to this land. The Lord, your God, is gracious and merciful and he will not turn away his face from you if you return to him.”

10 So the couriers passed from city to city in the land of Ephraim and Manasseh and as far as Zebulun, but they were derided and scoffed at. 11 Nevertheless, some from Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem. 12 In Judah, however, the hand of God brought it about that the people were of one heart to carry out the command of the king and the princes by the word of the Lord. 13 Thus many people gathered in Jerusalem to celebrate the feast of Unleavened Bread in the second month; it was a very great assembly.

Passover Celebrated. 14 They proceeded to remove the altars that were in Jerusalem as well as all the altars of incense, and cast them into the Wadi Kidron. 15 They slaughtered the Passover on the fourteenth day of the second month. The priests and Levites were shamed into sanctifying themselves and brought burnt offerings into the house of the Lord. 16 They stood in the places prescribed for them according to the law of Moses, the man of God. The priests splashed the blood given them by the Levites; 17 for many in the assembly had not sanctified themselves, and the Levites were in charge of slaughtering the Passover victims for all who were unclean so as to consecrate them to the Lord. 18 The greater part of the people, in fact, chiefly from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun, had not cleansed themselves. Nevertheless they ate the Passover, contrary to the prescription; because Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, “May the good Lord grant pardon to 19 all who have set their heart to seek God, the Lord, the God of their ancestors, even though they are not clean as holiness requires.” 20 The Lord heard Hezekiah and healed the people.

21 Thus the Israelites who were in Jerusalem celebrated the feast of Unleavened Bread with great rejoicing for seven days, and the Levites and the priests sang the praises of the Lord day after day with all their strength. 22 Hezekiah spoke encouragingly to all the Levites who had shown themselves well skilled in the service of the Lord. And when they had completed the seven days of festival, sacrificing communion offerings and singing praises to the Lord, the God of their ancestors, 23 the whole assembly agreed to celebrate another seven days. So with joy they celebrated seven days more. 24 King Hezekiah of Judah had contributed a thousand bulls and seven thousand sheep to the assembly, and the princes a thousand bulls and ten thousand sheep. The priests sanctified themselves in great numbers, 25 and the whole assembly of Judah rejoiced, together with the priests and Levites and the rest of the assembly that had come from Israel, as well as the resident aliens from the land of Israel and those that lived in Judah. 26 There was great rejoicing in Jerusalem, for since the days of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel, there had been nothing like it in the city. 27 Then the levitical priests rose and blessed the people; their voice was heard and their prayer reached heaven, God’s holy dwelling.

Chapter 31

Liturgical Reforms. After all this was over, those Israelites who had been present went forth to the cities of Judah and smashed the sacred pillars, cut down the asherahs, and tore down the high places and altars throughout Judah, Benjamin, Ephraim, and Manasseh, until they were all destroyed. Then the Israelites returned to their cities, each to his own possession.

Hezekiah re-established the divisions of the priests and the Levites according to their former divisions, assigning to each priest and Levite his proper service, whether in regard to burnt offerings or communion offerings, thanksgiving or praise, or ministering in the gates of the encampment of the Lord. From his own wealth the king allotted a portion for burnt offerings, those of morning and evening and those on sabbaths, new moons, and festivals, as is written in the law of the Lord. He also commanded the people living in Jerusalem to provide for the support of the priests and Levites, that they might firmly adhere to the law of the Lord.

As soon as the order was promulgated, the Israelites brought, in great quantities, the best of their grain, wine, oil, and honey, and all the produce of the fields; they gave a generous tithe of everything. Israelites and Judahites living in other cities of Judah also brought in tithes of oxen, sheep, and votive offerings consecrated to the Lord, their God; these they brought in and heaped up in piles. It was in the third month that they began to establish these heaps, and they completed them in the seventh month.[a] When Hezekiah and the princes had come and seen the piles, they blessed the Lord and his people Israel. Then Hezekiah questioned the priests and the Levites concerning the piles, 10 and the priest Azariah, head of the house of Zadok, answered him, “Since they began to bring the offerings to the house of the Lord, we have eaten, been satisfied, and had much left over, for the Lord has blessed his people. This great supply is what was left over.”

11 Hezekiah then gave orders that chambers be constructed in the house of the Lord. When this had been done, 12 they deposited the offerings, tithes, and votive offerings there for safekeeping. The overseer of these things was Conaniah the Levite, and his brother Shimei was second in command. 13 Jehiel, Azaziah, Nahath, Asahel, Jerimoth, Jozabad, Eliel, Ismachiah, Mahath, and Benaiah were supervisors subject to Conaniah the Levite and his brother Shimei by appointment of King Hezekiah and of Azariah, the prefect of the house of God. 14 Kore, the son of Imnah, a Levite and the keeper of the eastern gate, was in charge of the voluntary offerings made to God; he distributed the offerings made to the Lord and the most holy of the votive offerings. 15 Under him in the priestly cities were Eden, Miniamin, Jeshua, Shemaiah, Amariah, and Shecaniah, who faithfully made the distribution to their brothers, great and small alike, according to their divisions.

16 There was also a register by ancestral houses of males three years of age[b] and over, for all priests who were eligible to enter the house of the Lord according to the daily schedule to fulfill their service in the order of their divisions. 17 The priests were inscribed in their family records according to their ancestral houses, as were the Levites twenty years of age and over according to their various offices and divisions. 18 A distribution was also made to all who were inscribed in the family records, for their little ones, wives, sons and daughters—thus for the entire assembly, since they were to sanctify themselves by sharing faithfully in the votive offerings. 19 The sons of Aaron, the priests who lived on the lands attached to their cities, had in every city men designated by name to distribute portions to every male of the priests and to every Levite listed in the family records.

20 Hezekiah did this in all Judah. He did what was good, upright, and faithful before the Lord, his God. 21 Everything that he undertook, for the service of the house of God or for the law and the commandment, was to seek his God. He did this with all his heart, and he prospered.

Footnotes:

  1. 31:7 Third month…seventh month: between the late spring feast of Weeks or Pentecost and the fall feast of Booths or Tabernacles, there is seldom any rain in Palestine; at the end of this dry period the problem of storage (v. 11) would become acute.
  2. 31:16 Three years of age: this may be a textual error for “thirty years.” According to Nm 4:3, 23, 30, men of the priestly clans served from the ages of thirty to fifty.
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 22:1-16 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 22

A good name is more desirable than great riches,
    and high esteem, than gold and silver.[a]
Rich and poor have a common bond:
    the Lord is the maker of them all.
The astute see an evil and hide,
    while the naive continue on and pay the penalty.[b]
The result of humility and fear of the Lord
    is riches, honor and life.[c]
Thorns and snares are on the path of the crooked;
    those who would safeguard their lives will avoid them.
Train the young in the way they should go;
    even when old, they will not swerve from it.[d]
The rich rule over the poor,
    and the borrower is the slave of the lender.[e]
Those who sow iniquity reap calamity,
    and the rod used in anger will fail.[f]
The generous will be blessed,
    for they share their food with the poor.
10 Expel the arrogant and discord goes too;
    strife and insult cease.
11 The Lord loves the pure of heart;
    the person of winning speech has a king for a friend.
12 The eyes of the Lord watch over the knowledgeable,
    but he defeats the projects of the faithless.
13 The sluggard says, “A lion is outside;
    I might be slain in the street.”[g]
14 The mouth of the foreign woman is a deep pit;
    whoever incurs the Lord’s anger will fall into it.
15 Folly is bound to the heart of a youth,
    but the rod of discipline will drive it out.[h]
16 Oppressing the poor for enrichment,
    giving to the rich: both are sheer loss.[i]

Footnotes:

  1. 22:1 “Good name” (Heb. shem) and “high esteem” (Heb. chen) are declared to be of more value than great riches. Human beings belong to a community and without the acceptance of that community, which is built on esteem and trust, human life is grievously damaged. Riches are less essential to the human spirit.
  2. 22:3 The wise see dangers before they are engulfed by them whereas fools, through dullness or boldness, march right on.
  3. 22:4 Humiliation can be an occasion for knowing one’s place in God’s world. Such knowledge is part of fear (or revering) of the Lord. Revering the Lord brings the blessings of wealth, honor, and long life. The saying is perhaps meant to counter the view that humiliation is an unmixed evil; something good can come of it.
  4. 22:6 One of the few exhortations in the collection (cf. 14:7; 16:3; 19:18, 20). “Way” in the first colon has been taken in two different senses: (1) the morally right way, “according to the way one ought to go”; (2) personal aptitude, i.e., the manner of life for which one is destined, as “the way of Egypt” (Is 10:24). Neither interpretation, however, accounts for the pronoun in the Hebrew phrase, lit., “his own way.” The most natural solution is to take the whole as ironic advice (like 19:27): yes, go ahead and let the young do exactly what they want; they will become self-willed adults.
  5. 22:7 An observation on money and power. One who borrows becomes poor in the sense of indebted, a slave to the lender.
  6. 22:8 Agricultural metaphors express the failure of malicious actions. In the first line, bad actions are seeds yielding trouble. In the second line, “the rod” is a flail used to beat grains as in Is 28:27.
  7. 22:13 To avoid the effort required for action, the sluggard exaggerates the difficulties that must be overcome.
  8. 22:15 Folly is attached to children as the husk is attached to the grain. “Rod” here, as in v. 8, seems to be the flail. Discipline is the process of winnowing away the folly.
  9. 22:16 A difficult saying. One possibility is to take it as a seemingly neutral observation on the plight of the poor: taking money from the poor is relatively easy for the powerful but it is dangerous as the poor have the Lord as their defender (24:22–23), who will punish their oppressors. Giving to the rich, perhaps to win their favor by presents and bribes, is equally a waste of money, for the rich will always do what they please in any case.
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 15 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 15

Patience and Self-Denial. We who are strong ought to put up with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves; let each of us please our neighbor for the good, for building up. For Christ did not please himself; but, as it is written, “The insults of those who insult you fall upon me.”[a] For whatever was written previously was written for our instruction, that by endurance and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to think in harmony[b] with one another, in keeping with Christ Jesus, that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

God’s Fidelity and Mercy.[c] Welcome one another, then, as Christ welcomed you, for the glory of God. For I say that Christ became a minister of the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, to confirm the promises to the patriarchs, but so that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written:

“Therefore, I will praise you among the Gentiles
    and sing praises to your name.”

10 And again it says:

“Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.”[d]

11 And again:

“Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles,
    and let all the peoples praise him.”

12 And again Isaiah says:

“The root of Jesse shall come,
    raised up to rule the Gentiles;
in him shall the Gentiles hope.”

13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the holy Spirit.

VII. Conclusion

Apostle to the Gentiles. 14 [e]I myself am convinced about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness,[f] filled with all knowledge, and able to admonish one another. 15 But I have written to you rather boldly in some respects to remind you, because of the grace given me by God 16 to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in performing the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering up of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the holy Spirit. 17 In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to boast in what pertains to God. 18 For I will not dare to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to lead the Gentiles to obedience by word and deed, 19 by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit [of God], so that from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum[g] I have finished preaching the gospel of Christ. 20 Thus I aspire[h] to proclaim the gospel not where Christ has already been named, so that I do not build on another’s foundation, 21 but as it is written:

“Those who have never been told of him shall see,
    and those who have never heard of him shall understand.”[i]

Paul’s Plans; Need for Prayers. 22 That is why I have so often been prevented from coming to you. 23 But now, since I no longer have any opportunity in these regions and since I have desired to come to you for many years, 24 I hope to see you in passing as I go to Spain and to be sent on my way there by you, after I have enjoyed being with you for a time. 25 [j]Now, however, I am going to Jerusalem to minister to the holy ones. 26 For Macedonia and Achaia[k] have decided to make some contribution for the poor among the holy ones in Jerusalem; 27 they decided to do it, and in fact they are indebted to them, for if the Gentiles have come to share in their spiritual blessings, they ought also to serve them in material blessings. 28 So when I have completed this and safely handed over this contribution to them, I shall set out by way of you to Spain; 29 and I know that in coming to you I shall come in the fullness of Christ’s blessing.

30 I urge you, [brothers,] by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in the struggle by your prayers to God on my behalf, 31 that I may be delivered from the disobedient in Judea, and that my ministry for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the holy ones, 32 so that I may come to you with joy by the will of God and be refreshed together with you. 33 The God of peace be with all of you. Amen.

Footnotes:

  1. 15:3 Liberation from the law of Moses does not make the scriptures of the old covenant irrelevant. Much consolation and motivation for Christian living can be derived from the Old Testament, as in the citation from Ps 69:10. Because this psalm is quoted several times in the New Testament, it has been called indirectly messianic.
  2. 15:5 Think in harmony: a Greco-Roman ideal. Not rigid uniformity of thought and expression but thoughtful consideration of other people’s views finds expression here.
  3. 15:7–13 True oneness of mind is found in pondering the ultimate mission of the church: to bring it about that God’s name be glorified throughout the world and that Jesus Christ be universally recognized as God’s gift to all humanity. Paul here prepares his addressees for the climactic appeal he is about to make.
  4. 15:10 Paul’s citation of Dt 32:43 follows the Greek version.
  5. 15:14–33 Paul sees himself as apostle and benefactor in the priestly service of the gospel and so sketches plans for a mission in Spain, supported by those in Rome.
  6. 15:14 Full of goodness: the opposite of what humanity was filled with according to Rom 1:29–30.
  7. 15:19 Illyricum: Roman province northwest of Greece on the eastern shore of the Adriatic.
  8. 15:20 I aspire: Paul uses terminology customarily applied to philanthropists. Unlike some philanthropists of his time, Paul does not engage in cheap competition for public acclaim. This explanation of his missionary policy is to assure the Christians in Rome that he is also not planning to remain in that city and build on other people’s foundations (cf. 2 Cor 10:12–18). However, he does solicit their help in sending him on his way to Spain, which was considered the limit of the western world. Thus Paul’s addressees realize that evangelization may be understood in the broader sense of mission or, as in Rom 1:15, of instruction within the Christian community that derives from the gospel.
  9. 15:21 The citation from Is 52:15 concerns the Servant of the Lord. According to Isaiah, the Servant is first of all Israel, which was to bring the knowledge of Yahweh to the nations. In Rom 9–11 Paul showed how Israel failed in this mission. Therefore, he himself undertakes almost singlehandedly Israel’s responsibility as the Servant and moves as quickly as possible with the gospel through the Roman empire.
  10. 15:25–27 Paul may have viewed the contribution he was gathering from Gentile Christians for the poor in Jerusalem (cf. 2 Cor 8–9) as a fulfillment of the vision of Is 60:5–6. In confidence that the messianic fulfillment was taking place, Paul stresses in Rom 14–16 the importance of harmonious relationships between Jews and Gentiles.
  11. 15:26 Achaia: the Roman province of southern Greece.
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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