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A Letter to Gentiles Who Had Faith in the Lord

22 The apostles, the leaders, and all the church members decided to send some men to Antioch along with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Silas and Judas Barsabbas,[a] who were two leaders of the Lord's followers. 23 They wrote a letter that said:

We apostles and leaders send friendly greetings to all of you Gentiles who are followers of the Lord in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia.

24 We have heard that some people from here have terribly upset you by what they said. But we did not send them! 25 So we met together and decided to choose some men and to send them to you along with our good friends Barnabas and Paul. 26 These men have risked their lives for our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 We are also sending Judas and Silas, who will tell you in person the same things that we are writing.

28 The Holy Spirit has shown us that we should not place any extra burden on you. 29 (A) But you should not eat anything offered to idols. You should not eat any meat that still has the blood in it or any meat of any animal that has been strangled. You must also not commit any terrible sexual sins. If you follow these instructions, you will do well.

We send our best wishes.

30 The four men left Jerusalem and went to Antioch. Then they called the church members together and gave them the letter. 31 When the letter was read, everyone was pleased and greatly encouraged. 32 Judas and Silas were prophets, and they spoke a long time, encouraging and helping the Lord's followers.

33 The men from Jerusalem stayed on in Antioch for a while. And when they left to return to the ones who had sent them, the followers wished them well. 34-35 But Paul and Barnabas stayed on in Antioch, where they and many others taught and preached about the Lord.[b]

Paul and Barnabas Go Their Separate Ways

36 Sometime later Paul said to Barnabas, “Let's go back and visit the Lord's followers in the cities where we preached his message. Then we will know how they are doing.” 37 Barnabas wanted to take along John, whose other name was Mark. 38 (B) But Paul did not want to, because Mark had left them in Pamphylia and had stopped working with them.

39 Paul and Barnabas argued, then each of them went his own way. Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus, 40 but Paul took Silas and left after the followers had placed them in God's care. 41 They traveled through Syria and Cilicia, encouraging the churches.

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  1. 15.22 Judas Barsabbas: He may have been a brother of Joseph Barsabbas (see 1.23), but the name “Barsabbas” was often used by the Jewish people.
  2. 15.34,35 Verse 34, which says that Silas decided to stay on in Antioch, is not in some manuscripts.

The Tribes of Judah and Simeon Fight the Canaanites

After the death of Joshua, the Israelites asked the Lord, “Which of our tribes should attack the Canaanites first?”

“Judah!” the Lord answered. “I'll help them take the land.”

The people of Judah went to their relatives, the Simeon tribe, and said, “Canaanites live in the land God gave us. Help us fight them, and we will help you.”

Troops from Simeon came to help Judah. 4-5 Together they attacked an army of 10,000 Canaanites and Perizzites at Bezek, and the Lord helped Judah defeat them. During the battle, Judah's army found out where the king of Bezek[a] was, and they attacked there. The king tried to escape, but soldiers from Judah caught him. They cut off his thumbs and big toes, and he said, “I've cut off the thumbs and big toes of 70 kings and made those kings crawl around under my table for scraps of food. Now God is paying me back.”

The army of Judah took the king of Bezek along with them to Jerusalem, where he died. They attacked Jerusalem,[b] captured it, killed everyone who lived there, and then burned it to the ground.

Judah's army fought the Canaanites who lived in the hill country, the Southern Desert, and the foothills to the west. 10 After that, they attacked the Canaanites who lived at Hebron, defeating the three clans called[c] Sheshai, Ahiman, and Talmai. At that time, Hebron was called Kiriath-Arba.

11 From Hebron, Judah's army went to attack Debir, which at that time was called Kiriath-Sepher. 12 Caleb[d] told his troops, “The man who captures Kiriath-Sepher can marry my daughter Achsah.”

13 Caleb's nephew Othniel captured Kiriath-Sepher, so Caleb let him marry Achsah. Othniel was the son of Caleb's younger brother Kenaz.[e] 14 Right after the wedding, Achsah started telling Othniel that he[f] ought to ask her father for a field. She went to see her father, and while she was getting down from[g] her donkey, Caleb asked, “What's bothering you?”

15 She answered, “I need your help. The land you gave me is in the Southern Desert, so please give me some spring-fed ponds for a water supply.”

Caleb gave her a couple of small ponds named Higher Pond and Lower Pond.[h]

16 The people who belonged to the Kenite clan were the descendants of the father-in-law of Moses. They left Jericho[i] with the people of Judah and settled near Arad in the Southern Desert of Judah not far from the Amalekites.[j]

17 Judah's army helped Simeon's army attack the Canaanites who lived at Zephath. They completely destroyed[k] the town and renamed it Hormah.[l]

18-19 The Lord helped the army of Judah capture Gaza, Ashkelon, Ekron, and the land near those towns. They also took the hill country. But the people who lived in the valleys had iron chariots, so Judah was not able to make them leave or to take their land.

20 (A) The tribe of Judah gave the town of Hebron to Caleb, as Moses had told them to do. Caleb defeated the three Anakim[m] clans[n] and took over the town.

The Benjamin Tribe Does Not Capture Jerusalem

21 (B) The Jebusites were living in Jerusalem, and the Benjamin tribe did not defeat them or capture the town. That's why Jebusites still live in Jerusalem along with the people of Benjamin.

The Ephraim and Manasseh Tribes Capture Bethel

22-23 The Ephraim and Manasseh tribes[o] were getting ready to attack Bethel, which at that time was called Luz. And the Lord helped them when they sent spies to find out as much as they could about Bethel. 24 While the spies were watching the town, a man came out, and they told him, “If you show us how our army can get into the town,[p] we will make sure that you aren't harmed.” 25 The man showed them, and the two Israelite tribes attacked Bethel, killing everyone except the man and his family. The two tribes made the man and his family leave, 26 so they went to the land of the Hittites,[q] where he built a town. He named the town Luz, and that is still its name.

Israel Does Not Get Rid of All the Canaanites

27-28 (C) Canaanites lived in the towns of Beth-Shan, Taanach, Dor, Ibleam, Megiddo, and all the villages nearby. The Canaanites were determined to stay, and the Manasseh tribe never did get rid of them. But later on, when the Israelites grew more powerful, they made slaves of the Canaanites.

29 (D) The Ephraim tribe did not get rid of the Canaanites who lived in Gezer, so the Canaanites lived there with Israelites all around them.

30 The Zebulun tribe did not get rid of the Canaanites who lived in Kitron and Nahalol, and the Canaanites stayed there with Israelites around them. But the people of Zebulun did force the Canaanites into slave labor.

31-32 The Asher tribe did not get rid of the Canaanites who lived in Acco, Sidon, Ahlab, Achzib, Helbah, Aphik, and Rehob, and the Asher tribe lived with Canaanites all around them.

33 The Naphtali tribe did not get rid of the Canaanites who lived in Beth-Shemesh and Beth-Anath, but they did force the Canaanites into slave labor. The Naphtali tribe lived with Canaanites around them.

34 The Amorites[r] were strong enough to keep the tribe of Dan from settling in the valleys, so Dan had to stay in the hill country.

35 The Amorites on Mount Heres and in Aijalon and Shaalbim were also determined to stay. Later on, as Ephraim and Manasseh grew more powerful, they forced those Amorites into slave labor.

The Amorite-Edomite Border

36 The old Amorite-Edomite border used to go from Sela through Scorpion Pass[s] into the hill country.[t]


  1. 1.4,5 king of Bezek: Or “Adoni-Bezek.”
  2. 1.8 Jerusalem: This probably refers to towns and villages belonging to Jerusalem but lying in Judah's territory south of the city wall. Jerusalem itself was just inside Benjamin's territory, but was not captured by Israel at this time (see verse 21; Joshua 15.5-9; 18.15-18).
  3. 1.10 clans called: Or “warriors.”
  4. 1.12 Caleb: One of the leaders of Judah; see Joshua 14.6-14 and Numbers 13.6,30; 14.6,10, 20-24. For verses 12-15, see Joshua 15.13-19.
  5. 1.13 Othniel was the son of … Kenaz: Or “Othniel and Caleb both belonged to the Kenaz clan, but Othniel was younger than Caleb.”
  6. 1.14 Achsah … Othniel … he: Hebrew; two ancient translations “Othniel … Achsah … she.”
  7. 1.14 getting down from: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  8. 1.15 spring-fed ponds … small ponds … Higher Pond and Lower Pond: Or “wells … wells … Higher Well and Lower Well.”
  9. 1.16 Jericho: The Hebrew text has “Town of Palm Trees,” another name for Jericho.
  10. 1.16 not far … Amalekites: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  11. 1.17 completely destroyed: The Hebrew word means that the town was given completely to the Lord, and since it could not be used for normal purposes anymore, it had to be destroyed.
  12. 1.17 Hormah: In Hebrew “Hormah” sounds like “completely destroyed.”
  13. 1.20 Anakim: Perhaps a group of very tall people that lived in Palestine before the Israelites (see Numbers 13.33 and Deuteronomy 2.10,11, 20,21).
  14. 1.20 clans: See the note at 1.10.
  15. 1.22,23 The Ephraim and Manasseh tribes: The Hebrew text has “The Joseph family,” which was divided into these two tribes named after Joseph's sons.
  16. 1.24 If you … town: Sometimes there were small doors in the town wall that could be opened from the inside even when the main town gates were shut and locked.
  17. 1.26 land of the Hittites: The Hittites had an empire centered in what is now Turkey. At one time their empire reached south into Syria, north of Israel.
  18. 1.34 Amorites: Used in the general sense of nations that lived in Canaan before the Israelites.
  19. 1.36 Scorpion Pass: Or “Akrabbim Pass.”
  20. 1.36 country: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 36.

Elihu Speaks

Job, Listen to Me!

33 Job, listen to me!
    Pay close attention.
* Everything I will say
    is true and sincere,
just as surely as the Spirit
of God All-Powerful[a]
    gave me the breath of life.
Now line up your arguments
    and prepare to face me.
We each were made from clay,
    and God has no favorites,
so don't be afraid of me
    or what I might do.

I Have Heard You Argue

I have heard you argue
that you are innocent,
    guilty of nothing.
10 You claim that God
    has made you his enemy,
11 (A) that he has bound your feet
    and blocked your path.
12 But, Job, you're wrong—
God is greater
    than any human.
13 So why do you challenge God
    to answer you?[b]
14 God speaks in different ways,
and we don't always
    recognize his voice.
* 15 (B) Sometimes in the night,
he uses terrifying dreams
16     to give us warnings.
17 God does this to make us turn
    from sin and pride
18 and to protect us
from being swept away
    to the world of the dead.

19 Sometimes we are punished
with a serious illness
    and aching joints.
20 Merely the thought
of our favorite food
    makes our stomachs sick,
21 and we become so skinny
    that our bones stick out.
22 We feel death and the grave
    taking us in their grip.

23 One of a thousand angels
then comes to our rescue
    by saying we are innocent.
24 The angel shows kindness,
commanding death to release us,
    because the price was paid.
25 Our health is restored,
we feel young again,
26     and we ask God to accept us.
Then we joyfully worship God,
and we are rewarded
    because we are innocent.
27 When that happens,
    we tell everyone,
“I sinned and did wrong,
    but God forgave me
28 and rescued me from death!
    Now I will see the light.”

29 God gives each of us
    chance after chance
30 to be saved from death
and brought into the light
    that gives life.
31 So, Job, pay attention
    and don't interrupt,
32 though I would gladly listen
to anything you say
    that proves you are right.
33 Otherwise, listen in silence
    to my wisdom.


  1. 33.4 the Spirit of God All-Powerful: Or “God All-Powerful.”
  2. 33.13 answer you: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 13.

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