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2 Kings 6-7Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

The Floating Ax Head

The sons of the prophets said to Elisha, “Please notice that the place where we live under your supervision[a] is too small for us. Please let us go to the Jordan where we can each get a log and can build ourselves a place to live there.”

“Go,” he said.

Then one said, “Please come with your servants.”

“I’ll come,” he answered.

So he went with them, and when they came to the Jordan, they cut down trees. As one of them was cutting down a tree, the iron ax head fell into the water, and he cried out, “Oh, my master, it was borrowed!”

Then the man of God asked, “Where did it fall?”

When he showed him the place, the man of God cut a stick, threw it there, and made the iron float. Then he said, “Pick it up.” So he reached out and took it.

The Aramean War

When the king of Aram was waging war against Israel, he conferred with his servants, “My camp will be at such and such a place.”

But the man of God sent word to the king of Israel: “Be careful passing by this place, for the Arameans are going down there.” 10 Consequently, the king of Israel sent word to the place the man of God had told him about. The man of God repeatedly[b] warned the king, so the king would be on his guard.

11 The king of Aram was enraged because of this matter, and he called his servants and demanded of them, “Tell me, which one of us is for the king of Israel?”

12 One of his servants said, “No one, my lord the king. Elisha, the prophet in Israel, tells the king of Israel even the words you speak in your bedroom.”

13 So the king said, “Go and see where he is, so I can send men to capture him.”

When he was told, “Elisha is in Dothan,” 14 he sent horses, chariots, and a massive army there. They went by night and surrounded the city.

15 When the servant of the man of God got up early and went out, he discovered an army with horses and chariots surrounding the city. So he asked Elisha, “Oh, my master, what are we to do?”

16 Elisha said, “Don’t be afraid, for those who are with us outnumber those who are with them.”

17 Then Elisha prayed, “Lord, please open his eyes and let him see.” So the Lord opened the servant’s eyes. He looked and saw that the mountain was covered with horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

18 When the Arameans came against him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, “Please strike this nation with blindness.” So He struck them with blindness, according to Elisha’s word. 19 Then Elisha said to them, “This is not the way, and this is not the city. Follow me, and I will take you to the man you’re looking for.” And he led them to Samaria. 20 When they entered Samaria, Elisha said, “Lord, open these men’s eyes and let them see.” So the Lord opened their eyes. They looked and discovered they were in Samaria.

21 When the king of Israel saw them, he said to Elisha, “My father, should I kill them? I will kill them.”

22 Elisha replied, “Don’t kill them. Do you kill those you have captured with your sword or your bow? Set food and water in front of them so they can eat and drink and go to their master.”

23 So he prepared a great feast for them. When they had eaten and drunk, he sent them away, and they went to their master. The Aramean raiders did not come into Israel’s land again.

24 Some time later, King Ben-hadad of Aram brought all his military units together and marched up to besiege Samaria. 25 So there was a great famine in Samaria, and they continued the siege against it until a donkey’s head sold for 80 silver shekels,[c] and a cup[d] of dove’s dung[e] sold for five silver shekels.[f]

26 As the king of Israel was passing by on the wall, a woman cried out to him, “My lord the king, help!”

27 He answered, “If the Lord doesn’t help you, where can I get help for you? From the threshing floor or the winepress?” 28 Then the king asked her, “What’s the matter?”

She said, “This woman said to me, ‘Give up your son, and we will eat him today. Then we will eat my son tomorrow.’ 29 So we boiled my son and ate him, and I said to her the next day, ‘Give up your son, and we will eat him,’ but she has hidden her son.”

30 When the king heard the woman’s words, he tore his clothes. Then, as he was passing by on the wall, the people saw that there was sackcloth under his clothes next to his skin. 31 He announced, “May God punish me and do so severely if the head of Elisha son of Shaphat remains on his shoulders today.”

32 Elisha was sitting in his house, and the elders were sitting with him. The king sent a man ahead of him, but before the messenger got to him, Elisha said to the elders, “Do you see how this murderer has sent someone to cut off my head? Look, when the messenger comes, shut the door to keep him out. Isn’t the sound of his master’s feet behind him?”

33 While Elisha was still speaking with them, the messenger[g] came down to him. Then he said, “This disaster is from the Lord. Why should I wait for the Lord any longer?”

Aram Defeated

Elisha replied, “Hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Lord says: ‘About this time tomorrow at the gate of Samaria, six quarts[h] of fine meal will sell for a shekel[i] and 12 quarts[j] of barley will sell for a shekel.’”[k]

Then the captain, the king’s right-hand man, responded to the man of God, “Look, even if the Lord were to make windows in heaven, could this really happen?”

Elisha announced, “You will in fact see it with your own eyes, but you won’t eat any of it.”

Four men with a skin disease were at the entrance to the gate. They said to each other, “Why just sit here until we die? If we say, ‘Let’s go into the city,’ we will die there because the famine is in the city, but if we sit here, we will also die. So now, come on. Let’s go to the Arameans’ camp. If they let us live, we will live; if they kill us, we will die.”

So the diseased men got up at twilight to go to the Arameans’ camp. When they came to the camp’s edge, they discovered that there was not a single man there, for the Lord[l] had caused the Aramean camp to hear the sound of chariots, horses, and a great army. The Arameans had said to each other, “The king of Israel must have hired the kings of the Hittites and the kings of Egypt to attack us.” So they had gotten up and fled at twilight, abandoning their tents, horses, and donkeys. The camp was intact, and they had fled for their lives.

When these men came to the edge of the camp, they went into a tent to eat and drink. Then they picked up the silver, gold, and clothing and went off and hid them. They came back and entered another tent, picked things up, and hid them. Then they said to each other, “We’re not doing what is right. Today is a day of good news. If we are silent and wait until morning light, our sin will catch up with us. Let’s go tell the king’s household.”

10 The diseased men went and called to the city’s gatekeepers and told them, “We went to the Aramean camp and no one was there—no human sounds. There was nothing but tethered horses and donkeys, and the tents were intact.” 11 The gatekeepers called out, and the news was reported to the king’s household.

12 So the king got up in the night and said to his servants, “Let me tell you what the Arameans have done to us. They know we are starving, so they have left the camp to hide in the open country, thinking, ‘When they come out of the city, we will take them alive and go into the city.’”

13 But one of his servants responded, “Please, let messengers take five of the horses that are left in the city. Their fate is like the entire Israelite community who will die,[m] so let’s send them and see.”

14 The messengers took two chariots with horses, and the king sent them after the Aramean army, saying, “Go and see.” 15 So they followed them as far as the Jordan. They saw that the whole way was littered with clothes and equipment the Arameans had thrown off in their haste. The messengers returned and told the king. 16 Then the people went out and plundered the Aramean camp.

It was then that six quarts[n] of fine meal sold for a shekel[o] and 12 quarts[p] of barley sold for a shekel,[q] according to the word of the Lord. 17 The king had appointed the captain, his right-hand man, to be in charge of the gate, but the people trampled him in the gateway. He died, just as the man of God had predicted when the king came to him. 18 When the man of God had said to the king, “About this time tomorrow 12 quarts[r] of barley will sell for a shekel[s] and six quarts[t] of fine meal will sell for a shekel[u] at the gate of Samaria,” 19 this captain had answered the man of God, “Look, even if the Lord were to make windows in heaven, could this really happen?” Elisha had said, “You will in fact see it with your own eyes, but you won’t eat any of it.” 20 This is what happened to him: the people trampled him in the gateway, and he died.

Footnotes:

  1. 2 Kings 6:1 Lit we are living before you
  2. 2 Kings 6:10 Lit not once and not twice
  3. 2 Kings 6:25 About 2 pounds of silver
  4. 2 Kings 6:25 Lit a fourth of a kab
  5. 2 Kings 6:25 Or seedpods, or wild onions
  6. 2 Kings 6:25 About 2 ounces of silver
  7. 2 Kings 6:33 Some emend to king
  8. 2 Kings 7:1 Lit a seah
  9. 2 Kings 7:1 About ½ ounce of silver
  10. 2 Kings 7:1 Lit two seahs
  11. 2 Kings 7:1 About ½ ounce of silver
  12. 2 Kings 7:6 Some Hb mss read Lord
  13. 2 Kings 7:13 Some Hb mss, LXX, Syr, Vg; other Hb mss read left in it. Indeed, they are like the whole multitude of Israel that are left in it; indeed, they are like the whole multitude of Israel who will die.
  14. 2 Kings 7:16 Lit a seah
  15. 2 Kings 7:16 About ½ ounce of silver
  16. 2 Kings 7:16 Lit two seahs
  17. 2 Kings 7:16 About ½ ounce of silver
  18. 2 Kings 7:18 Lit two seahs
  19. 2 Kings 7:18 About ½ ounce of silver
  20. 2 Kings 7:18 Lit a seah
  21. 2 Kings 7:18 About ½ ounce of silver

Acts 15:36-16:15Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

Paul and Barnabas Part Company

36 After some time had passed, Paul said to Barnabas, “Let’s go back and visit the brothers in every town where we have preached the message of the Lord and see how they’re doing.” 37 Barnabas wanted to take along John Mark.[a] 38 But Paul did not think it appropriate to take along this man who had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not gone on with them to the work. 39 There was such a sharp disagreement that they parted company, and Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed off to Cyprus. 40 Then Paul chose Silas and departed, after being commended to the grace of the Lord by the brothers. 41 He traveled through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.

Paul Selects Timothy

16 Then he went on to Derbe and Lystra, where there was a disciple named Timothy, the son of a believing Jewish woman, but his father was a Greek. The brothers at Lystra and Iconium spoke highly of him. Paul wanted Timothy[b] to go with him, so he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those places, since they all knew that his father was a Greek. As they traveled through the towns, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and elders at Jerusalem for them to observe. So the churches were strengthened in the faith and increased in number daily.

Evangelization of Europe

They went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia and were prevented by the Holy Spirit from speaking the message in Asia. When they came to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. So, bypassing Mysia, they came down to Troas. During the night a vision appeared to Paul: A Macedonian man was standing and pleading with him, “Cross over to Macedonia and help us!” 10 After he had seen the vision, we[c] immediately made efforts to set out for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to evangelize them.

Lydia’s Conversion

11 Then, setting sail from Troas, we ran a straight course to Samothrace, the next day to Neapolis, 12 and from there to Philippi, a Roman colony, which is a leading city of that district of Macedonia. We stayed in that city for a number of days. 13 On the Sabbath day we went outside the city gate by the river, where we thought there was a place of prayer. We sat down and spoke to the women gathered there. 14 A woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God, was listening. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was spoken by Paul. 15 After she and her household were baptized, she urged us, “If you consider me a believer in the Lord, come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us.

Footnotes:

  1. Acts 15:37 Lit John who was called Mark
  2. Acts 16:3 Lit wanted this one
  3. Acts 16:10 The use of we in this passage probably indicates that the author Luke is joining Paul’s missionary team here.

Psalm 142Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

Psalm 142

A Cry of Distress

A Davidic Maskil. When he was in the cave. A prayer.

I cry aloud to the Lord;
I plead aloud to the Lord for mercy.
I pour out my complaint before Him;
I reveal my trouble to Him.
Although my spirit is weak within me,
You know my way.

Along this path I travel
they have hidden a trap for me.
Look to the right and see:[a]
no one stands up for me;
there is no refuge for me;
no one cares about me.

I cry to You, Lord;
I say, “You are my shelter,
my portion in the land of the living.”
Listen to my cry,
for I am very weak.
Rescue me from those who pursue me,
for they are too strong for me.
Free me from prison
so that I can praise Your name.
The righteous will gather around me
because You deal generously with me.

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 142:4 DSS, LXX, Syr, Vg, Tg read I look to the right and I see

Proverbs 17:24-25Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

24 Wisdom is the focus of the perceptive,
but a fool’s eyes roam to the ends of the earth.

25 A foolish son is grief to his father
and bitterness to the one who bore him.

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