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Deuteronomy 17-18 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 17

You shall not sacrifice to the Lord, your God, an ox or a sheep with any serious defect; that would be an abomination to the Lord, your God.

If there is found in your midst, in any one of the communities which the Lord, your God, gives you, a man or a woman who does evil in the sight of the Lord, your God, and transgresses his covenant, by going to serve other gods, by bowing down to them, to the sun or the moon or any of the host of heaven, contrary to my command; and if you are told or hear of it, you must investigate it thoroughly. If the truth of the matter is established that this abomination has been committed in Israel, you shall bring the man or the woman who has done this evil deed out to your gates[a] and stone the man or the woman to death. Only on the testimony of two or three witnesses shall a person be put to death; no one shall be put to death on the testimony of only one witness. The hands of the witnesses shall be the first raised to put the person to death, and afterward the hands of all the people. Thus shall you purge the evil from your midst.

Judges. If there is a case for judgment which proves too baffling for you to decide, in a matter of bloodshed or of law or of injury, matters of dispute within your gates, you shall then go up to the place which the Lord, your God, will choose, to the levitical priests or to the judge who is in office at that time. They shall investigate the case and then announce to you the decision. 10 You shall act according to the decision they announce to you in the place which the Lord will choose, carefully observing everything as they instruct you. 11 You shall carry out the instruction they give you and the judgment they pronounce, without turning aside either to the right or left from the decision they announce to you. 12 Anyone who acts presumptuously and does not obey the priest[b] who officiates there in the ministry of the Lord, your God, or the judge, shall die. Thus shall you purge the evil from Israel. 13 And all the people, on hearing of it, shall fear, and will never again act presumptuously.

The King. 14 When you have come into the land which the Lord, your God, is giving you, and have taken possession of it and settled in it, should you then decide, “I will set a king over me, like all the surrounding nations,” 15 you may indeed set over you a king whom the Lord, your God, will choose. Someone from among your own kindred you may set over you as king; you may not set over you a foreigner, who is no kin of yours. 16 [c]But he shall not have a great number of horses; nor shall he make his people go back again to Egypt to acquire many horses, for the Lord said to you, Do not go back that way again. 17 Neither shall he have a great number of wives, lest his heart turn away, nor shall he accumulate a vast amount of silver and gold. 18 When he is sitting upon his royal throne, he shall write a copy of this law[d] upon a scroll from the one that is in the custody of the levitical priests. 19 [e]It shall remain with him and he shall read it as long as he lives, so that he may learn to fear the Lord, his God, and to observe carefully all the words of this law and these statutes, 20 so that he does not exalt himself over his kindred or turn aside from this commandment to the right or to the left, and so that he and his descendants may reign long in Israel.

Chapter 18

Priests. The levitical priests, the whole tribe of Levi, shall have no hereditary portion with Israel; they shall eat the fire offerings of the Lord and the portions due to him. They shall have no heritage among their kindred; the Lord himself is their heritage, as he has told them. This shall be the due of the priests from the people: those who are offering a sacrifice, whether an ox or a sheep, shall give the priest the shoulder, the jowls and the stomach. The first fruits of your grain, your wine, and your oil, as well as the first shearing of your flock, you shall also give him. For the Lord, your God, has chosen him out of all your tribes to be in attendance to minister in the name of the Lord, him and his descendants for all time.

When a Levite goes from one of your communities anywhere in Israel in which he has been residing, to visit, as his heart may desire, the place which the Lord will choose, and ministers there in the name of the Lord, his God, like all his fellow Levites who stand before the Lord there, he shall receive the same portions to eat, along with his stipends and patrimony.[f]

Prophets. When you come into the land which the Lord, your God, is giving you, you shall not learn to imitate the abominations of the nations there. 10 Let there not be found among you anyone who causes their son or daughter to pass through the fire,[g] or practices divination, or is a soothsayer, augur, or sorcerer, 11 or who casts spells, consults ghosts and spirits, or seeks oracles from the dead. 12 Anyone who does such things is an abomination to the Lord, and because of such abominations the Lord, your God, is dispossessing them before you. 13 You must be altogether sincere with the Lord, your God. 14 Although these nations whom you are about to dispossess listen to their soothsayers and diviners, the Lord, your God, will not permit you to do so.

15 A prophet like me[h] will the Lord, your God, raise up for you from among your own kindred; that is the one to whom you shall listen. 16 This is exactly what you requested of the Lord, your God, at Horeb on the day of the assembly, when you said, “Let me not again hear the voice of the Lord, my God, nor see this great fire any more, or I will die.” 17 And the Lord said to me, What they have said is good. 18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their kindred, and will put my words into the mouth of the prophet; the prophet shall tell them all that I command. 19 Anyone who will not listen to my words which the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will hold accountable for it. 20 But if a prophet presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded, or speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.

21 Should you say to yourselves, “How can we recognize that a word is one the Lord has not spoken?”, 22 if a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord but the word does not come true, it is a word the Lord did not speak. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; do not fear him.

Footnotes:

  1. 17:5 Out to your gates: outside the gates, so as not to defile the city; cf. Lv 24:14; Nm 15:36; Acts 7:58; Hb 13:12.
  2. 17:12 The priest: the high priest; the judge: a layman. The court system here, involving lay and priestly officials, resembles the one whose establishment is attributed to King Jehoshaphat in 2 Chr 19:8–11 (cf. Ex 18:17–23 and Dt 1:17).
  3. 17:16–17 This restriction on royal acquisitions may have in mind the excesses of Solomon’s reign mentioned in 1 Kgs 10:1–11:6. Horses: chariotry for war. Egypt engaged in horse trading, and the danger envisioned here is that some king might make Israel a vassal of Egypt for military aid.
  4. 17:18 A copy of this law: the source of the name Deuteronomy, which in Hebrew is literally “double” or “copy”; in the Septuagint translated as deuteronomion, literally “a second law.” In Jerome’s Latin Vulgate as deuteronium.
  5. 17:19 The only positive requirement imposed upon the king is strict adherence to the Mosaic or Deuteronomic law. In that respect, the king’s primary task was to be a model Israelite.
  6. 18:8 His stipends and patrimony: meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.
  7. 18:10–11 Causes their son or daughter to pass through the fire: to Molech. See note on Lv 18:21. Such human sacrifices are classed here with various occult and magical practices because they were believed to possess powers for averting a calamity; cf. 2 Kgs 3:27. Three other categories of magic are listed here: divination of the future (by a soothsayer or augur); black magic (by a sorcerer or one who casts spells); and necromancy (by one who consults ghosts and spirits, or seeks oracles from the dead to divine the future).
  8. 18:15 A prophet like me: from the context (opposition to the practices described in vv. 10–11) it seems that Moses is referring in general to all the true prophets who were to succeed him. This passage came to be understood in a quasi-Messianic sense in the New Testament (Mt 17:5; Jn 6:14; 7:40; Acts 3:22; 7:37).
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.

Psalm 96 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Psalm 96[a]

God of the Universe

I

Sing to the Lord a new song;
    sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, bless his name;
    proclaim his salvation day after day.
Tell his glory among the nations;
    among all peoples, his marvelous deeds.

II

[b]For great is the Lord and highly to be praised,
    to be feared above all gods.
For the gods of the nations are idols,
    but the Lord made the heavens.
Splendor and power go before him;
    power and grandeur are in his holy place.

III

Give to the Lord, you families of nations,
    give to the Lord glory and might;
    give to the Lord the glory due his name!
Bring gifts and enter his courts;
    bow down to the Lord, splendid in holiness.
Tremble before him, all the earth;
10     declare among the nations: The Lord is king.
The world will surely stand fast, never to be shaken.
    He rules the peoples with fairness.

IV

11 Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice;
    let the sea and what fills it resound;
12     let the plains be joyful and all that is in them.
Then let all the trees of the forest rejoice
13     before the Lord who comes,
    who comes to govern the earth,
To govern the world with justice
    and the peoples with faithfulness.

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 96 A hymn inviting all humanity to praise the glories of Israel’s God (Ps 96:1–3), who is the sole God (Ps 96:4–6). To the just ruler of all belongs worship (Ps 96:7–10); even inanimate creation is to offer praise (Ps 96:11–13). This Psalm has numerous verbal and thematic contacts with Is 40–55, as does Ps 98. Another version of the Psalm is 1 Chr 16:23–33.
  2. 96:4 For references to other gods, see comments on Ps 58 and 82.
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.

Acts 24 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 24

Trial Before Felix. Five days later the high priest Ananias came down with some elders and an advocate, a certain Tertullus, and they presented formal charges against Paul to the governor. When he was called, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying, “Since we have attained much peace through you, and reforms have been accomplished in this nation through your provident care, we acknowledge this in every way and everywhere, most excellent Felix, with all gratitude. But in order not to detain you further, I ask you to give us a brief hearing with your customary graciousness. We found this man to be a pest; he creates dissension among Jews all over the world and is a ringleader of the sect of the Nazoreans.[a] He even tried to desecrate our temple, but we arrested him. [][b] If you examine him you will be able to learn from him for yourself about everything of which we are accusing him.” The Jews also joined in the attack and asserted that these things were so.

10 [c]Then the governor motioned to him to speak and Paul replied, “I know that you have been a judge over this nation for many years and so I am pleased to make my defense before you. 11 As you can verify, not more than twelve days have passed since I went up to Jerusalem to worship. 12 Neither in the temple, nor in the synagogues, nor anywhere in the city did they find me arguing with anyone or instigating a riot among the people. 13 Nor can they prove to you the accusations they are now making against me. 14 But this I do admit to you, that according to the Way, which they call a sect, I worship the God of our ancestors and I believe everything that is in accordance with the law and written in the prophets. 15 I have the same hope in God as they themselves have that there will be a resurrection of the righteous and the unrighteous. 16 Because of this, I always strive to keep my conscience clear before God and man. 17 After many years, I came to bring alms for my nation and offerings. 18 While I was so engaged, they found me, after my purification, in the temple without a crowd or disturbance. 19 But some Jews from the province of Asia, who should be here before you to make whatever accusation they might have against me— 20 or let these men themselves state what crime they discovered when I stood before the Sanhedrin, 21 unless it was my one outcry as I stood among them, that ‘I am on trial before you today for the resurrection of the dead.’”

22 Then Felix, who was accurately informed about the Way, postponed the trial, saying, “When Lysias the commander comes down, I shall decide your case.” 23 He gave orders to the centurion that he should be kept in custody but have some liberty, and that he should not prevent any of his friends from caring for his needs.

Captivity in Caesarea. 24 [d]Several days later Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish. He had Paul summoned and listened to him speak about faith in Christ Jesus. 25 But as he spoke about righteousness and self-restraint and the coming judgment, Felix became frightened and said, “You may go for now; when I find an opportunity I shall summon you again.” 26 At the same time he hoped that a bribe would be offered him by Paul, and so he sent for him very often and conversed with him.

27 Two years passed and Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus. Wishing to ingratiate himself with the Jews, Felix left Paul in prison.[e]

Footnotes:

  1. 24:5 Nazoreans: that is, followers of Jesus of Nazareth.
  2. 24:7 The Western text has added here a verse (really Acts 24:6b–8a) that is not found in the best Greek manuscripts. It reads, “and would have judged him according to our own law, but the cohort commander Lysias came and violently took him out of our hands and ordered his accusers to come before you.”
  3. 24:10–21 Whereas the advocate Tertullus referred to Paul’s activities on his missionary journeys, the apostle narrowed the charges down to the riot connected with the incident in the temple (see Acts 21:27–30; 24:17–20). In his defense, Paul stresses the continuity between Christianity and Judaism.
  4. 24:24, 25 The way of Christian discipleship greatly disquiets Felix, who has entered into an adulterous marriage with Drusilla, daughter of Herod Agrippa I. This marriage provides the background for the topics Paul speaks about and about which Felix does not want to hear.
  5. 24:27 Very little is known of Porcius Festus who was a procurator of Judea from A.D. 60 to 62.
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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