2 Kings 6 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
The Miracle of the Ax Head
6 Now the company of prophets[a] said to Elisha, “As you see, the place where we live under your charge is too small for us. 2 Let us go to the Jordan, and let us collect logs there, one for each of us, and build a place there for us to live.” He answered, “Do so.” 3 Then one of them said, “Please come with your servants.” And he answered, “I will.” 4 So he went with them. When they came to the Jordan, they cut down trees. 5 But as one was felling a log, his ax head fell into the water; he cried out, “Alas, master! It was borrowed.” 6 Then the man of God said, “Where did it fall?” When he showed him the place, he cut off a stick, and threw it in there, and made the iron float. 7 He said, “Pick it up.” So he reached out his hand and took it.
The Aramean Attack Is Thwarted
8 Once when the king of Aram was at war with Israel, he took counsel with his officers. He said, “At such and such a place shall be my camp.” 9 But the man of God sent word to the king of Israel, “Take care not to pass this place, because the Arameans are going down there.” 10 The king of Israel sent word to the place of which the man of God spoke. More than once or twice he warned such a place[b] so that it was on the alert.
11 The mind of the king of Aram was greatly perturbed because of this; he called his officers and said to them, “Now tell me who among us sides with the king of Israel?” 12 Then one of his officers said, “No one, my lord king. It is Elisha, the prophet in Israel, who tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedchamber.” 13 He said, “Go and find where he is; I will send and seize him.” He was told, “He is in Dothan.” 14 So he sent horses and chariots there and a great army; they came by night, and surrounded the city.
15 When an attendant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. His servant said, “Alas, master! What shall we do?” 16 He replied, “Do not be afraid, for there are more with us than there are with them.” 17 Then Elisha prayed: “O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the Lord opened the eyes of the servant, and he saw; the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 18 When the Arameans[c] came down against him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, and said, “Strike this people, please, with blindness.” So he struck them with blindness as Elisha had asked. 19 Elisha said to them, “This is not the way, and this is not the city; follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom you seek.” And he led them to Samaria.
20 As soon as they entered Samaria, Elisha said, “O Lord, open the eyes of these men so 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 said to Elisha, “Father, shall I kill them? Shall I kill them?” 22 He answered, “No! Did you capture with your sword and your bow those whom you want to kill? Set food and water before them so that they may eat and drink; and let them go to their master.” 23 So he prepared for them a great feast; after they ate and drank, he sent them on their way, and they went to their master. And the Arameans no longer came raiding into the land of Israel.
Ben-hadad’s Siege of Samaria
24 Some time later King Ben-hadad of Aram mustered his entire army; he marched against Samaria and laid siege to it. 25 As the siege continued, famine in Samaria became so great that a donkey’s head was sold for eighty shekels of silver, and one-fourth of a kab of dove’s dung for five shekels of silver. 26 Now as the king of Israel was walking on the city wall, a woman cried out to him, “Help, my lord king!” 27 He said, “No! Let the Lord help you. How can I help you? From the threshing floor or from the wine press?” 28 But then the king asked her, “What is your complaint?” She answered, “This woman said to me, ‘Give up your son; we will eat him today, and we will eat my son tomorrow.’ 29 So we cooked my son and ate him. The next day I said to her, ‘Give up your son and we will eat him.’ But she has hidden her son.” 30 When the king heard the words of the woman he tore his clothes—now since he was walking on the city wall, the people could see that he had sackcloth on his body underneath— 31 and he said, “So may God do to me, and more, if the head of Elisha son of Shaphat stays on his shoulders today.” 32 So he dispatched a man from his presence.
Now Elisha was sitting in his house, and the elders were sitting with him. Before the messenger arrived, Elisha said to the elders, “Are you aware that this murderer has sent someone to take off my head? When the messenger comes, see that you shut the door and hold it closed against him. Is not the sound of his master’s feet behind him?” 33 While he was still speaking with them, the king[d] came down to him and said, “This trouble is from the Lord! Why should I hope in the Lord any longer?”
1 Timothy 3 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Qualifications of Bishops
3 The saying is sure:[a] whoever aspires to the office of bishop[b] desires a noble task. 2 Now a bishop[c] must be above reproach, married only once,[d] temperate, sensible, respectable, hospitable, an apt teacher, 3 not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, and not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own household well, keeping his children submissive and respectful in every way— 5 for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church? 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may be puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace and the snare of the devil.
Qualifications of Deacons
8 Deacons likewise must be serious, not double-tongued, not indulging in much wine, not greedy for money; 9 they must hold fast to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 And let them first be tested; then, if they prove themselves blameless, let them serve as deacons. 11 Women[e] likewise must be serious, not slanderers, but temperate, faithful in all things. 12 Let deacons be married only once,[f] and let them manage their children and their households well; 13 for those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and great boldness in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.
The Mystery of Our Religion
14 I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these instructions to you so that, 15 if I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth. 16 Without any doubt, the mystery of our religion is great:
Daniel 10 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Conflict of Nations and Heavenly Powers
10 In the third year of King Cyrus of Persia a word was revealed to Daniel, who was named Belteshazzar. The word was true, and it concerned a great conflict. He understood the word, having received understanding in the vision.
2 At that time I, Daniel, had been mourning for three weeks. 3 I had eaten no rich food, no meat or wine had entered my mouth, and I had not anointed myself at all, for the full three weeks. 4 On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was standing on the bank of the great river (that is, the Tigris), 5 I looked up and saw a man clothed in linen, with a belt of gold from Uphaz around his waist. 6 His body was like beryl, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and the sound of his words like the roar of a multitude. 7 I, Daniel, alone saw the vision; the people who were with me did not see the vision, though a great trembling fell upon them, and they fled and hid themselves. 8 So I was left alone to see this great vision. My strength left me, and my complexion grew deathly pale, and I retained no strength. 9 Then I heard the sound of his words; and when I heard the sound of his words, I fell into a trance, face to the ground.
10 But then a hand touched me and roused me to my hands and knees. 11 He said to me, “Daniel, greatly beloved, pay attention to the words that I am going to speak to you. Stand on your feet, for I have now been sent to you.” So while he was speaking this word to me, I stood up trembling. 12 He said to me, “Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words. 13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia opposed me twenty-one days. So Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, and I left him there with the prince of the kingdom of Persia,[a] 14 and have come to help you understand what is to happen to your people at the end of days. For there is a further vision for those days.”
15 While he was speaking these words to me, I turned my face toward the ground and was speechless. 16 Then one in human form touched my lips, and I opened my mouth to speak, and said to the one who stood before me, “My lord, because of the vision such pains have come upon me that I retain no strength. 17 How can my lord’s servant talk with my lord? For I am shaking,[b] no strength remains in me, and no breath is left in me.”
18 Again one in human form touched me and strengthened me. 19 He said, “Do not fear, greatly beloved, you are safe. Be strong and courageous!” When he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, “Let my lord speak, for you have strengthened me.” 20 Then he said, “Do you know why I have come to you? Now I must return to fight against the prince of Persia, and when I am through with him, the prince of Greece will come. 21 But I am to tell you what is inscribed in the book of truth. There is no one with me who contends against these princes except Michael, your prince.
Psalm 119:1-24 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
The Glories of God’s Law
1 Happy are those whose way is blameless,
9 How can young people keep their way pure?
17 Deal bountifully with your servant,