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Chapter 19

Jehoshaphat Rebuked. When King Jehoshaphat of Judah returned in safety to his palace in Jerusalem, Jehu the seer, the son of Hanani, went forth to meet him, and he said to the king: “Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord? Because of this, the wrath of the Lord will strike you. Even so, some good can be found in you, for you have removed the sacred poles from the land and have set your heart on seeking God.”

Jehoshaphat’s Appointments. Jehoshaphat resided in Jerusalem, but he regularly went forth among the people, from Beer-sheba to the hill country of Ephraim, and brought them back to the Lord, the God of their ancestors. He also appointed judges in the land, in each of the fortified cities of Judah.

Jehoshaphat said to the judges: “Pay careful attention to what you are doing. You are to judge not on behalf of human beings but on behalf of the Lord, who will be with you when you pronounce sentence. Now let the fear of the Lord be upon you. Be careful in your judgments, for the Lord, our God, will not tolerate the perversion of justice, or partiality, or the taking of bribes.”

Jehoshaphat also appointed some of the Levites, priests, and heads of families in Jerusalem to administer justice in the name of the Lord and to settle disputes. He gave them this command: “You shall act at all times in the fear of the Lord, in faithfulness, and with your whole heart. 10 Whenever a case is brought before you from your kinsmen who live in other towns, whether in regard to bloodshed or offenses against the law or the commandments, statutes, or ordinances, then you shall instruct them in such a way that they do not incur guilt before the Lord; and the wrath of the Lord will not descend upon you and your kindred. 11 Amariah, the chief priest, will be your superior in all matters that concern the Lord; and Zebadiah, the son of Ishmael, the leader of the house of Judah, is your superior in all matters that concern the king,[a] while the Levites will serve as your officers. Act firmly and with courage, and may the Lord be with those on the side of the good.”

Footnotes

  1. 2 Chronicles 19:11 Matters that concern the Lord and matters that concern the king: a clear distinction was therefore made between religious authority and secular authority.

Chapter 3

Ruling against Judah and Jerusalem

Now the Lord, the Lord of hosts,
    is about to deprive Jerusalem and Judah
of resources and provisions—
    all supplies of bread and water—
warriors and soldiers,
    judges and prophets,
    fortune tellers and elders,
captains and dignitaries,
    counselors, skilled magicians,
    and expert enchanters.
I will appoint young boys as their princes,
    mere lads to rule over them.
People will oppress one another,
    each one ill-treated by his neighbor.
The young will be arrogant toward their elders,
    as will the lowly toward the honorable.
A man will take hold of his brother
    in their father’s house, saying,
“You have a cloak;
    you will be our leader,
and this heap of ruins
    will be under your rule.”
But on that day
    the other will cry out, saying,
“I am not qualified to undertake this;
    in my house there is neither bread nor clothing.
    You will not make me leader of the people.”
Jerusalem has been brought low
    and Judah has fallen
because by their words and their deeds
    they turned against the Lord
    and defied his glorious presence.
The look on their faces bears witness against them;
    they proclaim their sins like Sodom
    without any effort to conceal them.
Woe to them!
    For they have brought disaster upon themselves.
10 Happy are the righteous,
    for they will eat the fruit of their labors.
11 Woe to the wicked.
    All will go ill with them.
They will be repaid
    as their actions deserve.
12 O my people, children are oppressing you
    and women have become your rulers.
O my people, your rulers are leading you astray
    and putting you on the road to ruin.
13 The Lord has risen to argue his case;
    he stands up to judge his people.
14 The Lord enters into judgment
    against the elders and the princes of his people:
It is you who have ravaged the vineyard;
    the spoils you have taken from the poor
    are in your houses.
15 What right do you have to crush my people
    and grind the faces of the poor?
    says the Lord God of hosts.
16 The Lord said:
    Because the daughters of Zion are haughty,
walking with their heads held high,
    glancing wantonly with their eyes,
moving provocatively with mincing steps
    and with their anklets tinkling,
17 the Lord will cover with scabs
    the scalps of the daughters of Zion,
    and he will lay bare their foreheads.

18 [a]On that day the Lord will take away their finery: anklets, headbands, and crescents; 19 pendants, bracelets, and shawls; 20 headdresses, bangles, necklaces, perfume boxes, and amulets; 21 signet rings and nose rings; 22 fine dresses, wraps, cloaks, and purses; 23 mirrors, linen garments, turbans, and veils.

24 Then instead of perfume there will be a stench,
    and instead of a sash, a rope;
instead of a lovely hair setting, baldness,
    instead of a rich gown, a sackcloth[b] dress,
    and instead of beauty, branding marks.
25 O Zion, your men will fall by the sword
    and your warriors will perish in battle.
26 Your gates will lament and mourn;
    ravaged, you will sit desolate on the ground.

Footnotes

  1. Isaiah 3:18 Of these various garments and jewels some would have had a magical or idolatrous significance.
  2. Isaiah 3:24 Sackcloth: a coarse cloth of which sacks were made.

Chapter 9

The Healing of a Paralyzed Man.[a] Therefore, Jesus got into a boat and, crossing over the lake, arrived at his hometown.[b] Some people then approached him, carrying a paralyzed man lying on a bed. On perceiving their faith, Jesus said to the man, “Take heart, son. Your sins are forgiven.”

On hearing this, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.”[c] Jesus perceived what they were thinking, and he said, “Why do you harbor evil thoughts in your hearts? [d]Which is easier, to say: ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say: ‘Stand up and walk’? But so that you may come to realize that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralyzed man—“Stand up, take your bed, and go to your home.” The man got up and returned to his home. When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe, and they glorified God for having given such authority to men.

Jesus Calls Matthew.[e] As Jesus walked on from there, he noticed a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. Jesus said to him, “Follow me,” and he got up and followed him.

10 Jesus Dines with Sinners. When he was sitting at dinner in the house, many tax collectors[f] and sinners were seated with Jesus and his disciples. 11 On seeing this, the Pharisees said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 When Jesus heard this, he said, “It is not the healthy who need a physician, but rather those who are sick. 13 Go and learn what this text means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.”

14 A Time of Joy and Grace.[g] Then the disciples of John came to him and asked, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast but your disciples do not do so?” 15 Jesus answered, “How can the wedding guests mourn while the bridegroom is still with them? But the time will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.

16 “No one sews a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak, because the patch eventually pulls away from the cloak and a worse tear results. 17 Nor do people pour new wine into old wineskins, for if they do, the wineskins burst, the wine spills forth, and the skins are ruined. Rather, they pour new wine into fresh wineskins. In this way both are preserved.”

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Footnotes

  1. Matthew 9:1 The two preceding accounts have attested Jesus’ power over the frightful forces of nature and the unchained powers of hell. Here Christ delivers human beings from sin itself. For the first time he proclaims the forgiveness of sins—which is an act of God.
  2. Matthew 9:1 His hometown: Capernaum, which Jesus had made his headquarters.
  3. Matthew 9:3 Blaspheming: i.e., usurping God’s prerogative to forgive sins.
  4. Matthew 9:5 Christ indicates that it is easier to heal a person physically than to heal him spiritually. It is easier to heal a broken leg than a broken heart. As Son of Man, in his human nature, Christ has the power to forgive sins. Therefore, he could also bestow it on his apostles (see Mt 18:18; Jn 20:22); and just as they worked miracles only in his name (see Acts 3:6), they and their successors can forgive sins only in his name and by his authority.
  5. Matthew 9:9 Jesus calls Matthew the tax collector to follow him, then eats at Matthew’s house together with “many tax collectors” and “sinners.” The Jews are shocked, but Jesus reminds them that it is the sick who need a doctor and God desires mercy rather than sacrifice.
  6. Matthew 9:10 Tax collectors: see note on Mt 5:46.
  7. Matthew 9:14 The time when Jesus lived on earth was one of joy and grace. Later there would be a time for Jesus’ disciples to fast, for the Bridegroom would be taken from them. In ancient times, goatskins were used to hold wine. As the wine fermented, it would expand and the new wineskins would stretch. But a used wineskin could not expand any more and would break. In the same way, the teaching that Jesus brings cannot be kept in the old forms.