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2 Kings 6-7 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 6

The Lost Ax. The guild prophets once said to Elisha: “This place where we live with you is too cramped for us. Let us go to the Jordan, where by getting one beam apiece we can build ourselves a place to live.” Elisha said, “Go.” One of them requested, “Please agree to accompany your servants.” He replied, “Yes, I will come.”

So he went with them, and when they arrived at the Jordan they began to cut down trees. While one of them was felling a tree trunk, the iron ax blade slipped into the water. He cried out, “Oh, no, master! It was borrowed!” “Where did it fall?” asked the man of God. When he pointed out the spot, Elisha cut off a stick, threw it into the water, and brought the iron to the surface. He said, “Pick it up.” And the man stretched out his hand and grasped it.

The Aramean Ambush. When the king of Aram was waging war on Israel, he would make plans with his servants: “I will bivouac at such and such a place.” But the man of God would send word to the king of Israel, “Be careful! Do not pass by this place, for Aram will attack there.” 10 So the king of Israel would send word to the place which the man of God had indicated, and alert it; then they would be on guard. This happened several times.

11 Greatly disturbed over this, the king of Aram called together his officers and asked them, “Will you not tell me who among us is for the king of Israel?” 12 “No one, my lord king,” answered one of the officers. “The Israelite prophet Elisha can tell the king of Israel the very words you speak in your bedroom.” 13 He said, “Go, find out where he is, so that I may take him captive.”

Informed that Elisha was in Dothan, 14 he sent there a strong force with horses and chariots. They arrived by night and encircled the city. 15 Early the next morning, when the servant of the man of God arose and went out, he saw the force with its horses and chariots surrounding the city. “Alas!” he said to Elisha. “What shall we do, my lord?” 16 Elisha answered, “Do not be afraid. Our side outnumbers theirs.” 17 Then he prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes, that he may see.” And the Lord opened the eyes of the servant, and he saw that the mountainside was filled with fiery chariots and horses around Elisha.

18 When the Arameans came down to get him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, “Strike this people blind, I pray you.” And the Lord struck them blind, according to Elisha’s word. 19 Then Elisha said to them: “This is the wrong road, and this is the wrong city. Follow me! I will take you to the man you want.” And he led them to Samaria. 20 When they entered Samaria, Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open their eyes that they may see.” The Lord opened their eyes, and they saw that they were inside Samaria. 21 When the king of Israel saw them, he asked, “Shall I kill them, my father? Shall I kill them?” 22 Elisha replied, “You must not kill them. Do you slay those whom you have taken captive with your sword or bow?[a] Serve them a meal. Let them eat and drink, and then go back to their master.” 23 The king spread a great feast for them. When they had eaten and drunk he sent them away, and they went back to their master. No more Aramean raiders came into the land of Israel.

War Against Aram: Famine. 24 After this, Ben-hadad, king of Aram, mustered his whole army and laid siege to Samaria. 25 Because of the siege the famine in Samaria was so severe that a donkey’s head sold for eighty pieces of silver, and a fourth of a kab of “dove droppings”[b] for five pieces of silver.

26 One day, as the king of Israel was walking on the city wall, a woman cried out to him, “Save us, my lord king!” 27 He replied, “If the Lord does not save you, where could I find means to save you? On the threshing floor? In the wine press?” 28 Then the king asked her, “What is your trouble?” She replied: “This woman said to me, ‘Give up your son that we may eat him today; then tomorrow we will eat my son.’ 29 So we boiled my son and ate him. The next day I said to her, ‘Now give up your son that we may eat him.’ But she hid her son.” 30 When the king heard the woman’s words, he tore his garments. And as he was walking on the wall, the people saw that he was wearing sackcloth underneath, next to his skin.

31 The king exclaimed, “May God do thus to me, and more, if the head of Elisha, son of Shaphat, stays on him today!”

32 Meanwhile, Elisha was sitting in his house in conference with the elders. The king had sent one of his courtiers; but before the messenger reached him, Elisha said to the elders: “Do you know that this murderer is sending someone to cut off my head? When the messenger comes, see that you close the door and hold it fast against him. His master’s footsteps are echoing behind him.” 33 While Elisha was still speaking, the messenger came down to him and said, “This evil is from the Lord. Why should I trust in the Lord any longer?”[c]

Chapter 7

Elisha replied: “Hear the word of the Lord! Thus says the Lord: At this time tomorrow a seah of fine flour will sell for a shekel, and two seahs of barley for a shekel, in the market[d] of Samaria.” But the adjutant, upon whose arm the king leaned, answered the man of God, “Even if the Lord were to make windows in heaven, how could this happen?” Elisha said, “You shall see it with your own eyes, but you shall not eat of it.”

At the city gate four lepers were asking one another, “Why should we sit here until we die? If we decide to go into the city, we shall die there, for there is famine in the city. If we remain here, we shall die too. So come, let us desert to the camp of the Arameans. If they let us live, we live; if they kill us, we die.” At twilight they left for the Arameans; but when they reached the edge of the camp, no one was there. The Lord had caused the army of the Arameans to hear the sound of chariots and horses, the sound of a large army, and they had reasoned among themselves, “The king of Israel has hired the kings of the Hittites and the kings of Egypt to fight us.” Then in the twilight they had fled, abandoning their tents, their horses, and their donkeys, the whole camp just as it was, and fleeing for their lives.

After the lepers reached the edge of the camp, they went first into one tent, ate and drank, and took silver, gold, and clothing from it, and went out and hid them. Back they came into another tent, took things from it, and again went out and hid them. Then they said to one another: “We are not doing right. This is a day of good news, and we are keeping silent. If we wait until morning breaks, we will be blamed. So come, let us go and inform the palace.” 10 They came and summoned the city gatekeepers. They said, “We went to the camp of the Arameans, but no one was there—not a human voice, only the horses and donkeys tethered, and the tents just as they were left.” 11 The gatekeepers announced this and it was reported within the palace.

12 Though it was night, the king got up; he said to his servants, “Let me tell you what the Arameans have done to us. Knowing that we are starving, they have left their camp to hide in the field. They are thinking, ‘The Israelites will leave the city and we will take them alive and enter it.’” 13 [e]One of his servants, however, suggested: “Let some of us take five of the horses remaining in the city—they are just like the whole throng of Israel that has reached its limit—and let us send scouts to investigate.” 14 They took two chariots, and horses, and the king sent them to reconnoiter the Aramean army with the order, “Go and find out.” 15 They followed the Arameans as far as the Jordan, and the whole route was strewn with garments and other objects that the Arameans had thrown away in their haste. The messengers returned and told the king. 16 The people went out and plundered the camp of the Arameans.

Then a seah of fine flour sold for a shekel and two seahs of barley for a shekel, according to the word of the Lord. 17 The king had put in charge of the gate the officer upon whose arm he leaned; but the people trampled him to death at the gate, just as the man of God had predicted when the messenger came down to him. 18 This was in accordance with the word the man of God spoke to the king: “Two seahs of barley will sell for a shekel, and a seah of fine flour for a shekel at this time tomorrow in the market of Samaria.” 19 The adjutant had answered the man of God, “Even if the Lord were to make windows in heaven, how could this happen?” And Elisha had replied, “You shall see it with your own eyes, but you shall not eat of it.” 20 And that is what happened to him, for the people trampled him to death at the gate.


  1. 6:22 With your sword or bow: since the king would not slay prisoners who had surrendered to his power, much less should he slay prisoners captured by God’s power. This wartime practice stands in contrast to that of holy war, where prisoners were placed under the ban and so devoted to destruction (see 1 Kgs 20:35–43).
  2. 6:25 “Dove droppings”: it is unclear whether this phrase is to be read literally (e.g., dung used as fuel) or as the nickname of a type of edible plant, as attested in Arabic. A kab was probably around a quart.
  3. 6:33 The messenger speaks in the king’s name. Similarly, Elisha’s response in the next verse can be spoken of as delivered to the king (7:18).
  4. 7:1 Market: lit., “gate,” the principal place of trading in ancient walled cities in time of peace.
  5. 7:13 The Hebrew of this verse is difficult and its meaning is uncertain.
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 5:7-23 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

So now, children, listen to me,
    do not stray from the words of my mouth.
Keep your way far from her,
    do not go near the door of her house,
Lest you give your honor[a] to others,
    and your years to a merciless one;
10 Lest outsiders take their fill of your wealth,
    and your hard-won earnings go to another’s house;
11 And you groan in the end,
    when your flesh and your body are consumed;
12 And you say, “Oh, why did I hate instruction,
    and my heart spurn reproof!
13 Why did I not listen to the voice of my teachers,
    incline my ear to my instructors!
14 I am all but ruined,
    in the midst of the public assembly!”
15 Drink water[b] from your own cistern,
    running water from your own well.
16 Should your water sources be dispersed abroad,
    streams of water in the streets?
17 Let them be yours alone,
    not shared with outsiders;
18 Let your fountain be blessed and have joy of the wife of your youth,
19     your lovely hind, your graceful doe.[c]
Of whose love you will ever have your fill,
    and by her ardor always be intoxicated.
20 Why then, my son, should you be intoxicated with a stranger,
    and embrace another woman?
21 Indeed, the ways of each person are plain to the Lord’s sight;
    all their paths he surveys;
22 By their own iniquities the wicked will be caught,
    in the meshes of their own sin they will be held fast;
23 They will die from lack of discipline,
    lost because of their great folly.


  1. 5:9 Honor: the words “life” and “wealth” have also been read in this place. A merciless one: the offended husband; cf. 6:34–35.
  2. 5:15–16 Water: water may have an erotic meaning as in Sg 4:15, “[You are] a garden fountain, a well of living water.” Eating and drinking can be metaphors expressing the mutuality of love. The wife is the opposite of the adulterous woman; she is not an outsider, not unfeeling, not a destroyer of her husband’s self and goods. The best defense against adultery is appreciating and loving one’s spouse. The best defense against folly is to appreciate and love wisdom.
  3. 5:19 Lovely hind…graceful doe: ancient Near Eastern symbols of feminine beauty and charm; cf. Sg 2:7, 9, 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.

1 Corinthians 14 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 14

Prophecy Greater than Tongues. [a]Pursue love, but strive eagerly for the spiritual gifts, above all that you may prophesy. [b]For one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to human beings but to God, for no one listens; he utters mysteries in spirit. On the other hand, one who prophesies does speak to human beings, for their building up,[c] encouragement, and solace. Whoever speaks in a tongue builds himself up, but whoever prophesies builds up the church. Now I should like all of you to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. One who prophesies is greater than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may be built up.

[d]Now, brothers, if I should come to you speaking in tongues, what good will I do you if I do not speak to you by way of revelation, or knowledge, or prophecy, or instruction? Likewise, if inanimate things that produce sound, such as flute or harp, do not give out the tones distinctly, how will what is being played on flute or harp be recognized? And if the bugle gives an indistinct sound, who will get ready for battle? Similarly, if you, because of speaking in tongues, do not utter intelligible speech, how will anyone know what is being said? For you will be talking to the air. 10 It happens that there are many different languages in the world, and none is meaningless; 11 but if I do not know the meaning of a language, I shall be a foreigner to one who speaks it, and one who speaks it a foreigner to me. 12 So with yourselves: since you strive eagerly for spirits, seek to have an abundance of them for building up the church.

Need for Interpretation.[e] 13 Therefore, one who speaks in a tongue should pray to be able to interpret. 14 [For] if I pray in a tongue, my spirit[f] is at prayer but my mind is unproductive. 15 So what is to be done? I will pray with the spirit, but I will also pray with the mind. I will sing praise with the spirit, but I will also sing praise with the mind. 16 Otherwise, if you pronounce a blessing [with] the spirit, how shall one who holds the place of the uninstructed say the “Amen” to your thanksgiving, since he does not know what you are saying? 17 For you may be giving thanks very well, but the other is not built up. 18 I give thanks to God that I speak in tongues more than any of you, 19 but in the church I would rather speak five words with my mind, so as to instruct others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue.

Functions of These Gifts. 20 [g]Brothers, stop being childish in your thinking. In respect to evil be like infants, but in your thinking be mature. 21 It is written in the law:

“By people speaking strange tongues
    and by the lips of foreigners
I will speak to this people,
    and even so they will not listen to me,

says the Lord.” 22 Thus, tongues are a sign not for those who believe but for unbelievers, whereas prophecy is not for unbelievers but for those who believe.

23 [h]So if the whole church meets in one place and everyone speaks in tongues, and then uninstructed people or unbelievers should come in, will they not say that you are out of your minds? 24 But if everyone is prophesying, and an unbeliever or uninstructed person should come in, he will be convinced by everyone and judged by everyone, 25 and the secrets of his heart will be disclosed, and so he will fall down and worship God, declaring, “God is really in your midst.”

Rules of Order. 26 [i]So what is to be done, brothers? When you assemble, one has a psalm, another an instruction, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Everything should be done for building up. 27 If anyone speaks in a tongue, let it be two or at most three, and each in turn, and one should interpret. 28 But if there is no interpreter, the person should keep silent in the church and speak to himself and to God.

29 Two or three prophets should speak, and the others discern. 30 But if a revelation is given to another person sitting there, the first one should be silent. 31 For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all be encouraged. 32 Indeed, the spirits of prophets are under the prophets’ control, 33 since he is not the God of disorder but of peace.

As in all the churches of the holy ones,[j] 34 women should keep silent in the churches, for they are not allowed to speak, but should be subordinate, as even the law says. 35 But if they want to learn anything, they should ask their husbands at home. For it is improper for a woman to speak in the church. 36 Did the word of God go forth from you? Or has it come to you alone?

37 If anyone thinks that he is a prophet or a spiritual person, he should recognize that what I am writing to you is a commandment of the Lord. 38 If anyone does not acknowledge this, he is not acknowledged. 39 So, [my] brothers, strive eagerly to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues, 40 but everything must be done properly and in order.


  1. 14:1–5 1 Cor 14:1b returns to the thought of 1 Cor 12:31a and reveals Paul’s primary concern. The series of contrasts in 1 Cor 14:2–5 discloses the problem at Corinth: a disproportionate interest in tongues, with a corresponding failure to appreciate the worth of prophecy. Paul attempts to clarify the relative values of those gifts by indicating the kind of communication achieved in each and the kind of effect each produces.
  2. 14:2–3a They involve two kinds of communication: tongues, private speech toward God in inarticulate terms that need interpretation to be intelligible to others (see 1 Cor 14:27–28); prophecy, communication with others in the community.
  3. 14:3b–5 They produce two kinds of effect. One who speaks in tongues builds himself up; it is a matter of individual experience and personal perfection, which inevitably recalls Paul’s previous remarks about being inflated, seeking one’s own good, pleasing oneself. But a prophet builds up the church: the theme of “building up” or “edifying” others, the main theme of the letter, comes to clearest expression in this chapter (1 Cor 14:3, 4, 5, 12, 17). It has been anticipated at 1 Cor 8:1 and 1 Cor 10:23, and by the related concept of “the beneficial” in 1 Cor 6:12; 10:23; 12:7; etc.
  4. 14:6–12 Sound, in order to be useful, must be intelligible. This principle is illustrated by a series of analogies from music (1 Cor 14:7–8) and from ordinary human speech (1 Cor 14:10–11); it is applied to the case at hand in 1 Cor 14:9, 12.
  5. 14:13–19 The charism of interpretation lifts tongues to the level of intelligibility, enabling them to produce the same effect as prophecy (cf. 1 Cor 14:5, 26–28).
  6. 14:14–15 My spirit: Paul emphasizes the exclusively ecstatic, nonrational quality of tongues. The tongues at Pentecost are also described as an ecstatic experience (Acts 2:4, 12–13), though Luke superimposes further interpretations of his own. My mind: the ecstatic element, dominant in earliest Old Testament prophecy as depicted in 1 Sm 10:5–13; 19:20–24, seems entirely absent from Paul’s notion of prophecy and completely relegated to tongues. He emphasizes the role of reason when he specifies instruction as a function of prophecy (1 Cor 14:6, 19, 31). But he does not exclude intuition and emotion; cf. references to encouragement and consolation (1 Cor 14:3, 31) and the scene describing the ideal exercise of prophecy (1 Cor 14:24–25).
  7. 14:20–22 The Corinthians pride themselves on tongues as a sign of God’s favor, a means of direct communication with him (2:28). To challenge them to a more mature appraisal, Paul draws from scripture a less flattering explanation of what speaking in tongues may signify. Isaiah threatened the people that if they failed to listen to their prophets, the Lord would speak to them (in punishment) through the lips of Assyrian conquerors (Is 28:11–12). Paul compresses Isaiah’s text and makes God address his people directly. Equating tongues with foreign languages (cf. 1 Cor 14:10–11), Paul concludes from Isaiah that tongues are a sign not for those who believe, i.e., not a mark of God’s pleasure for those who listen to him but a mark of his displeasure with those in the community who are faithless, who have not heeded the message that he has sent through the prophets.
  8. 14:23–25 Paul projects the possible missionary effect of two hypothetical liturgical experiences, one consisting wholly of tongues, the other entirely of prophecy. Uninstructed (idiōtai): the term may simply mean people who do not speak or understand tongues, as in 1 Cor 14:16, where it seems to designate Christians. But coupled with the term “unbelievers” it may be another way of designating those who have not been initiated into the community of faith; some believe it denotes a special class of non-Christians who are close to the community, such as catechumens. Unbelievers (apistoi): he has shifted from the inner-community perspective of 1 Cor 14:22; the term here designates non-Christians (cf. 1 Cor 6:6; 7:15; 10:27).
  9. 14:26–33a Paul concludes with specific directives regarding exercise of the gifts in their assemblies. Verse 26 enunciates the basic criterion in the use of any gift: it must contribute to “building up.”
  10. 14:33b–36 Verse 33b may belong with what precedes, so that the new paragraph would begin only with 1 Cor 14:34. 1 Cor 14:34–35 change the subject. These two verses have the theme of submission in common with 1 Cor 14:11 despite differences in vocabulary, and a concern with what is or is not becoming; but it is difficult to harmonize the injunction to silence here with 1 Cor 11 which appears to take it for granted that women do pray and prophesy aloud in the assembly (cf. 1 Cor 11:5, 13). Hence the verses are often considered an interpolation, reflecting the discipline of later churches; such an interpolation would have to have antedated our manuscripts, all of which contain them, though some transpose them to the very end of the chapter.
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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