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Exodus 13-14 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 13

Consecration of Firstborn. The Lord spoke to Moses and said: Consecrate to me every firstborn; whatever opens the womb among the Israelites, whether of human being or beast, belongs to me.

Moses said to the people, “Remember this day on which you came out of Egypt, out of a house of slavery. For it was with a strong hand that the Lord brought you out from there. Nothing made with leaven may be eaten. This day on which you are going out is in the month of Abib.[a] Therefore, when the Lord, your God, has brought you into the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perrizites, the Girgashites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, which he swore to your ancestors to give you, a land flowing with milk and honey, you will perform the following service[b] in this month. For seven days you will eat unleavened bread, and the seventh day will also be a festival to the Lord. Unleavened bread may be eaten during the seven days, but nothing leavened and no leaven may be found in your possession in all your territory. And on that day you will explain to your son, ‘This is because of what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt.’ It will be like a sign[c] on your hand and a reminder on your forehead, so that the teaching of the Lord will be on your lips: with a strong hand the Lord brought you out of Egypt. 10 You will keep this statute at its appointed time from year to year.

11 “When the Lord, your God, has brought you into the land of the Canaanites, just as he swore to you and your ancestors, and gives it to you, 12 you will dedicate to the Lord every newborn that opens the womb; and every firstborn male of your animals will belong to the Lord. 13 Every firstborn of a donkey you will ransom with a sheep. If you do not ransom it, you will break its neck. Every human firstborn of your sons you must ransom. 14 And when your son asks you later on, ‘What does this mean?’ you will tell him, ‘With a strong hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt, out of a house of slavery. 15 When Pharaoh stubbornly refused to let us go, the Lord killed every firstborn in the land of Egypt, the firstborn of human being and beast alike. That is why I sacrifice to the Lord every male that opens the womb, and why I ransom every firstborn of my sons.’ 16 It will be like a sign on your hand and a band on your forehead that with a strong hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt.”

IV. The Deliverance of the Israelites from Pharaoh and Victory at the Sea

Toward the Red Sea. 17 Now, when Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them by way of the Philistines’ land,[d] though this was the nearest; for God said: If the people see that they have to fight, they might change their minds and return to Egypt. 18 Instead, God rerouted them toward the Red Sea by way of the wilderness road, and the Israelites went up out of the land of Egypt arrayed for battle. 19 Moses also took Joseph’s bones with him, for Joseph had made the Israelites take a solemn oath, saying, “God will surely take care of you, and you must bring my bones up with you from here.”

20 Setting out from Succoth, they camped at Etham near the edge of the wilderness.

21 The Lord preceded them, in the daytime by means of a column of cloud to show them the way, and at night by means of a column of fire[e] to give them light. Thus they could travel both day and night. 22 Neither the column of cloud by day nor the column of fire by night ever left its place in front of the people.

Chapter 14

Then the Lord spoke to Moses: Speak to the Israelites: Let them turn about and camp before Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea. Camp in front of Baal-zephon,[f] just opposite, by the sea. Pharaoh will then say, “The Israelites are wandering about aimlessly in the land. The wilderness has closed in on them.” I will so harden Pharaoh’s heart that he will pursue them. Thus I will receive glory through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord.

This the Israelites did. When it was reported to the king of Egypt that the people had fled, Pharaoh and his servants had a change of heart about the people. “What in the world have we done!” they said. “We have released Israel from our service!” So Pharaoh harnessed his chariots and took his army with him. He took six hundred select chariots and all the chariots of Egypt, with officers[g] on all of them. The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, so that he pursued the Israelites while they were going out in triumph. The Egyptians pursued them—all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, his horsemen,[h] and his army—and caught up with them as they lay encamped by the sea, at Pi-hahiroth, in front of Baal-zephon.

Crossing the Red Sea. 10 Now Pharaoh was near when the Israelites looked up and saw that the Egyptians had set out after them. Greatly frightened, the Israelites cried out to the Lord. 11 To Moses they said, “Were there no burial places in Egypt that you brought us to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us, bringing us out of Egypt? 12 Did we not tell you this in Egypt, when we said, ‘Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? Far better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.” 13 But Moses answered the people, “Do not fear! Stand your ground and see the victory the Lord will win for you today. For these Egyptians whom you see today you will never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you; you have only to keep still.”

15 Then the Lord said to Moses: Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to set out. 16 And you, lift up your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea, and split it in two, that the Israelites may pass through the sea on dry land. 17 But I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them, and I will receive glory through Pharaoh and all his army, his chariots and his horsemen. 18 The Egyptians will know that I am the Lord, when I receive glory through Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen.

19 The angel of God,[i] who had been leading Israel’s army, now moved and went around behind them. And the column of cloud, moving from in front of them, took up its place behind them, 20 so that it came between the Egyptian army and that of Israel. And when it became dark, the cloud illumined the night; and so the rival camps did not come any closer together all night long.[j] 21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord drove back the sea with a strong east wind all night long and turned the sea into dry ground. The waters were split, 22 so that the Israelites entered into the midst of the sea on dry land, with the water as a wall to their right and to their left.

Rout of the Egyptians. 23 The Egyptians followed in pursuit after them—all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots and horsemen—into the midst of the sea. 24 But during the watch just before dawn, the Lord looked down from a column of fiery cloud upon the Egyptian army and threw it into a panic; 25 and he so clogged their chariot wheels that they could drive only with difficulty. With that the Egyptians said, “Let us flee from Israel, because the Lord is fighting for them against Egypt.”

26 Then the Lord spoke to Moses: Stretch out your hand over the sea, that the water may flow back upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots and their horsemen. 27 So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at daybreak the sea returned to its normal flow. The Egyptians were fleeing head on toward it when the Lord cast the Egyptians into the midst of the sea. 28 As the water flowed back, it covered the chariots and the horsemen. Of all Pharaoh’s army which had followed the Israelites into the sea, not even one escaped. 29 But the Israelites had walked on dry land through the midst of the sea, with the water as a wall to their right and to their left. 30 Thus the Lord saved Israel on that day from the power of Egypt. When Israel saw the Egyptians lying dead on the seashore 31 and saw the great power that the Lord had shown against Egypt, the people feared the Lord. They believed in the Lord and in Moses his servant.

Footnotes:

  1. 13:4 Abib: lit., “ear (of grain),” the old Canaanite name for this month; Israel later called it “Nisan.” It was the first month in their liturgical calendar (cf. Ex 12:2).
  2. 13:5 The following service: the celebration of the feast of Unleavened Bread now constitutes the Israelites’ service, in contrast to the “service” they performed for Pharaoh as his slaves.
  3. 13:9 Sign: while here observance of the feast of Unleavened Bread is likened only metaphorically to a physical sign of one’s piety that can be worn as a kind of badge in commemoration of the exodus, from ancient times Jews have seen in this verse also the basis for the wearing of phylacteries. These are small receptacles for copies of biblical verses which Jewish men bind to the arms and forehead as a kind of mnemonic device for the observance of the Law.
  4. 13:17 By way of the Philistines’ land: the most direct route from Egypt to Palestine, along the shore of the Mediterranean.
  5. 13:21 A column of cloud…a column of fire: probably one and the same extraordinary phenomenon, a central nucleus of fire surrounded by smoke; only at night was its luminous nature visible; cf. 40:38.
  6. 14:2 Pi-hahiroth…Migdol…Baal-zephon: these places have not been definitively identified. Even the relative position of Pi-hahiroth and Baal-zephon is not clear; perhaps the former was on the west shore of the sea, where the Israelites were, and the latter on the opposite shore.
  7. 14:7 Officers: cf. 1 Kgs 9:22; Ez 23:15. The Hebrew word shalish, rendered in 1 Kgs 9:22 as “adjutant,” has yet to have its meaning convincingly established. Given the very possible etymological connection with the number “three,” others suggest the translation “three-man crew” or, less likely, the “third man in the chariot” although Egyptian chariots carried two-man crews. The author of the text may have been describing the chariots of his experience without direct historical knowledge of Egyptian ways.
  8. 14:9 Horsemen: the usage here may be anachronistic, since horsemen, or cavalry, play a part in warfare only at the end of the second millennium B.C.
  9. 14:19 Angel of God: Hebrew mal’ak ha’elohim (Septuagint ho angelos tou theou) here refers not to an independent spiritual being but to God’s power at work in the world; corresponding to the column of cloud/fire, the expression more clearly preserves a sense of distance between God and God’s creatures. The two halves of the verse are parallel and may come from different narrative sources.
  10. 14:20 The reading of the Hebrew text here is uncertain. The image is of a darkly glowing storm cloud, ominously bright, keeping the two camps apart.
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 39 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Psalm 39[a]

The Vanity of Life

For the leader, for Jeduthun. A psalm of David.

I

I said, “I will watch my ways,
    lest I sin with my tongue;
    I will keep a muzzle on my mouth.”
Mute and silent before the wicked,
    I refrain from good things.
But my sorrow increases;
    my heart smolders within me.
In my sighing a fire blazes up,
    and I break into speech:

II

Lord, let me know my end, the number of my days,
    that I may learn how frail I am.
To be sure, you establish the expanse of my days;
    indeed, my life is as nothing before you.
    Every man is but a breath.
Selah

III

Man goes about as a mere phantom;
    they hurry about, although in vain;
    he heaps up stores without knowing for whom.
And now, Lord, for what do I wait?
    You are my only hope.
From all my sins deliver me;
    let me not be the taunt of fools.

10 I am silent and do not open my mouth
    because you are the one who did this.
11 Take your plague away from me;
    I am ravaged by the touch of your hand.
12 You chastise man with rebukes for sin;
    like a moth you consume his treasures.
    Every man is but a breath.
Selah
13 Listen to my prayer, Lord, hear my cry;
    do not be deaf to my weeping!
For I am with you like a foreigner,
    a refugee, like my ancestors.
14 Turn your gaze from me, that I may smile
    before I depart to be no more.

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 39 The lament of a mortally ill person who at first had resolved to remain silently submissive (Ps 39:2–4). But the grief was too much and now the psalmist laments the brevity and vanity of life (Ps 39:5–7), yet remaining hopeful (Ps 39:8–10). The psalmist continues to express both acceptance of the illness and hope for healing in Ps 39:11–13.
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.

Matthew 22:1-22 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 22

The Parable of the Wedding Feast.[a] Jesus again in reply spoke to them in parables, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who gave a wedding feast[b] for his son. [c]He dispatched his servants to summon the invited guests to the feast, but they refused to come. A second time he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those invited: “Behold, I have prepared my banquet, my calves and fattened cattle are killed, and everything is ready; come to the feast.”’ Some ignored the invitation and went away, one to his farm, another to his business. The rest laid hold of his servants, mistreated them, and killed them. [d]The king was enraged and sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. Then he said to his servants, ‘The feast is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy to come. Go out, therefore, into the main roads and invite to the feast whomever you find.’ 10 The servants went out into the streets and gathered all they found, bad and good alike,[e] and the hall was filled with guests. 11 [f]But when the king came in to meet the guests he saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment. 12 He said to him, ‘My friend, how is it that you came in here without a wedding garment?’ But he was reduced to silence. 13 [g]Then the king said to his attendants, ‘Bind his hands and feet, and cast him into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’ 14 Many are invited, but few are chosen.”

Paying Taxes to the Emperor.[h] 15 Then the Pharisees[i] went off and plotted how they might entrap him in speech. 16 They sent their disciples to him, with the Herodians,[j] saying, “Teacher, we know that you are a truthful man and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. And you are not concerned with anyone’s opinion, for you do not regard a person’s status. 17 [k]Tell us, then, what is your opinion: Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?” 18 Knowing their malice, Jesus said, “Why are you testing me, you hypocrites? 19 [l]Show me the coin that pays the census tax.” Then they handed him the Roman coin. 20 He said to them, “Whose image is this and whose inscription?” 21 They replied, “Caesar’s.”[m] At that he said to them, “Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.” 22 When they heard this they were amazed, and leaving him they went away.

The Question About the Resurrection.[n]

Footnotes:

  1. 22:1–14 This parable is from Q; see Lk 14:15–24. It has been given many allegorical traits by Matthew, e.g., the burning of the city of the guests who refused the invitation (Mt 22:7), which corresponds to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in A.D. 70. It has similarities with the preceding parable of the tenants: the sending of two groups of servants (Mt 22:3, 4), the murder of the servants (Mt 22:6), the punishment of the murderers (Mt 22:7), and the entrance of a new group into a privileged situation of which the others had proved themselves unworthy (Mt 22:8–10). The parable ends with a section that is peculiar to Matthew (Mt 22:11–14), which some take as a distinct parable. Matthew presents the kingdom in its double aspect, already present and something that can be entered here and now (Mt 22:1–10), and something that will be possessed only by those present members who can stand the scrutiny of the final judgment (Mt 22:11–14). The parable is not only a statement of God’s judgment on Israel but a warning to Matthew’s church.
  2. 22:2 Wedding feast: the Old Testament’s portrayal of final salvation under the image of a banquet (Is 25:6) is taken up also in Mt 8:11; cf. Lk 13:15.
  3. 22:3–4 Servants…other servants: probably Christian missionaries in both instances; cf. Mt 23:34.
  4. 22:7 See note on Mt 22:1–14.
  5. 22:10 Bad and good alike: cf. Mt 13:47.
  6. 22:11 A wedding garment: the repentance, change of heart and mind, that is the condition for entrance into the kingdom (Mt 3:2; 4:17) must be continued in a life of good deeds (Mt 7:21–23).
  7. 22:13 Wailing and grinding of teeth: the Christian who lacks the wedding garment of good deeds will suffer the same fate as those Jews who have rejected Jesus; see note on Mt 8:11–12.
  8. 22:15–22 The series of controversies between Jesus and the representatives of Judaism (see note on Mt 21:23–27) is resumed. As in the first (Mt 21:23–27), here and in the following disputes Matthew follows his Marcan source with few modifications.
  9. 22:15 The Pharisees: while Matthew retains the Marcan union of Pharisees and Herodians in this account, he clearly emphasizes the Pharisees’ part. They alone are mentioned here, and the Herodians are joined with them only in a prepositional phrase of Mt 22:16. Entrap him in speech: the question that they will pose is intended to force Jesus to take either a position contrary to that held by the majority of the people or one that will bring him into conflict with the Roman authorities.
  10. 22:16 Herodians: see note on Mk 3:6. They would favor payment of the tax; the Pharisees did not.
  11. 22:17 Is it lawful: the law to which they refer is the law of God.
  12. 22:19 They handed him the Roman coin: their readiness in producing the money implies their use of it and their acceptance of the financial advantages of the Roman administration in Palestine.
  13. 22:21 Caesar’s: the emperor Tiberius (A.D. 14–37). Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar: those who willingly use the coin that is Caesar’s should repay him in kind. The answer avoids taking sides in the question of the lawfulness of the tax. To God what belongs to God: Jesus raises the debate to a new level. Those who have hypocritically asked about tax in respect to its relation to the law of God should be concerned rather with repaying God with the good deeds that are his due; cf. Mt 21:41, 43.
  14. 22:23–33 Here Jesus’ opponents are the Sadducees, members of the powerful priestly party of his time; see note on Mt 3:7. Denying the resurrection of the dead, a teaching of relatively late origin in Judaism (cf. Dn 12:2), they appeal to a law of the Pentateuch (Dt 25:5–10) and present a case based on it that would make resurrection from the dead ridiculous (Mt 22:24–28). Jesus chides them for knowing neither the scriptures nor the power of God (Mt 22:29). His argument in respect to God’s power contradicts the notion, held even by many proponents as well as by opponents of the teaching, that the life of those raised from the dead would be essentially a continuation of the type of life they had had before death (Mt 22:30). His argument based on the scriptures (Mt 22:31–32) is of a sort that was accepted as valid among Jews of the time.
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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