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Exodus 7-8 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 7

The Lord answered Moses: See! I have made you a god to Pharaoh, and Aaron your brother will be your prophet.[a] You will speak all that I command you. In turn, your brother Aaron will tell Pharaoh to let the Israelites go out of his land. Yet I will make Pharaoh so headstrong that, despite the many signs and wonders that I work in the land of Egypt, Pharaoh will not listen to you. Therefore I will lay my hand on Egypt and with mighty acts of judgment I will bring my armies, my people the Israelites, out of the land of Egypt. All Egyptians will know that I am the Lord, when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring the Israelites out of their midst.

This, then, is what Moses and Aaron did. They did exactly as the Lord had commanded them. Moses was eighty years old, and Aaron eighty-three, when they spoke to Pharaoh.

III. The Contest with Pharaoh

The Staff Turned into a Serpent. The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron: When Pharaoh demands of you, “Produce a sign or wonder,” you will say to Aaron: “Take your staff and throw it down before Pharaoh, and it will turn into a serpent.” 10 Then Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did just as the Lord had commanded. Aaron threw his staff down before Pharaoh and his servants, and it turned into a serpent. 11 Pharaoh, in turn, summoned the wise men and the sorcerers, and they also, the magicians of Egypt, did the same thing by their magic arts. 12 Each one threw down his staff, and they turned into serpents. But Aaron’s staff swallowed their staffs. 13 Pharaoh, however, hardened his heart and would not listen to them, just as the Lord had foretold.

First Plague: Water Turned into Blood.[b] 14 Then the Lord said to Moses: Pharaoh is obstinate[c] in refusing to let the people go. 15 In the morning, just when he sets out for the water, go to Pharaoh and present yourself by the bank of the Nile, holding in your hand the staff that turned into a snake.[d] 16 Say to him: The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, sent me to you with the message: Let my people go to serve me in the wilderness. But as yet you have not listened. 17 Thus says the Lord: This is how you will know that I am the Lord. With the staff here in my hand, I will strike the water in the Nile and it will be changed into blood. 18 The fish in the Nile will die, and the Nile itself will stink so that the Egyptians will be unable to drink water from the Nile.

19 The Lord then spoke to Moses: Speak to Aaron: Take your staff and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt—its streams, its canals, its ponds, and all its supplies of water—that they may become blood. There will be blood throughout the land of Egypt, even in the wooden pails and stone jars.

20 This, then, is what Moses and Aaron did, exactly as the Lord had commanded. Aaron raised his staff and struck the waters in the Nile in full view of Pharaoh and his servants, and all the water in the Nile was changed into blood. 21 The fish in the Nile died, and the Nile itself stank so that the Egyptians could not drink water from it. There was blood throughout the land of Egypt. 22 But the Egyptian magicians did the same[e] by their magic arts. So Pharaoh hardened his heart and would not listen to them, just as the Lord had said. 23 Pharaoh turned away and went into his house, with no concern even for this. 24 All the Egyptians had to dig round about the Nile for drinking water, since they could not drink any water from the Nile.

Second Plague: The Frogs. 25 Seven days passed after the Lord had struck the Nile. 26 Then the Lord said to Moses: Go to Pharaoh and tell him: Thus says the Lord: Let my people go to serve me. 27 If you refuse to let them go, then I will send a plague of frogs over all your territory. 28 The Nile will teem with frogs. They will come up and enter into your palace and into your bedroom and onto your bed, into the houses of your servants, too, and among your people, even into your ovens and your kneading bowls. 29 The frogs will come up over you and your people and all your servants.

Chapter 8

The Lord then spoke to Moses: Speak to Aaron: Stretch out your hand with your staff over the streams, the canals, and the ponds, and make frogs overrun the land of Egypt. So Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt, and the frogs came up and covered the land of Egypt. But the magicians did the same by their magic arts and made frogs overrun the land of Egypt.

Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Pray to the Lord to remove the frogs from me and my people, and I will let the people go to sacrifice to the Lord.” Moses answered Pharaoh, “Please designate for me the time when I am to pray for you and your servants and your people, to get rid of the frogs from you and your houses. They will be left only in the Nile.” “Tomorrow,” he said. Then Moses replied, “It will be as you have said, so that you may know that there is none like the Lord, our God. The frogs will leave you and your houses, your servants and your people; they will be left only in the Nile.”

After Moses and Aaron left Pharaoh’s presence, Moses cried out to the Lord on account of the frogs that he had inflicted on Pharaoh; and the Lord did as Moses had asked. The frogs died off in the houses, the courtyards, and the fields. 10 Heaps of them were piled up, and the land stank. 11 But when Pharaoh saw there was a respite, he became obstinate and would not listen to them, just as the Lord had said.

Third Plague: The Gnats. 12 Thereupon the Lord spoke to Moses: Speak to Aaron: Stretch out your staff and strike the dust of the earth, and it will turn into gnats[f] throughout the land of Egypt. 13 They did so. Aaron stretched out his hand with his staff and struck the dust of the earth, and gnats came upon human being and beast alike. All the dust of the earth turned into gnats throughout the land of Egypt. 14 Though the magicians did the same thing to produce gnats by their magic arts, they could not do so. The gnats were on human being and beast alike, 15 and the magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God.”[g] Yet Pharaoh hardened his heart and would not listen to them, just as the Lord had said.

Fourth Plague: The Flies. 16 Then the Lord spoke to Moses: Early tomorrow morning present yourself to Pharaoh when he sets out toward the water, and say to him: Thus says the Lord: Let my people go to serve me. 17 For if you do not let my people go, I will send swarms of flies upon you and your servants and your people and your houses. The houses of the Egyptians and the very ground on which they stand will be filled with swarms of flies. 18 But on that day I will make an exception of the land of Goshen, where my people are, and no swarms of flies will be there, so that you may know that I the Lord am in the midst of the land. 19 I will make a distinction[h] between my people and your people. This sign will take place tomorrow. 20 This the Lord did. Thick swarms of flies entered the house of Pharaoh and the houses of his servants; throughout Egypt the land was devastated on account of the swarms of flies.

21 Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Go sacrifice to your God within the land.” 22 But Moses replied, “It is not right to do so, for what we sacrifice to the Lord, our God, is abhorrent to the Egyptians.[i] If we sacrifice what is abhorrent to the Egyptians before their very eyes, will they not stone us? 23 We must go a three days’ journey in the wilderness and sacrifice to the Lord, our God, as he commands us.” 24 Pharaoh said, “I will let you go to sacrifice to the Lord, your God, in the wilderness, provided that you do not go too far away. Pray for me.” 25 Moses answered, “As soon as I leave you I will pray to the Lord that the swarms of flies may depart tomorrow from Pharaoh, his servants, and his people. Pharaoh, however, must not act deceitfully again and refuse to let the people go to sacrifice to the Lord.” 26 When Moses left Pharaoh, he prayed to the Lord; 27 and the Lord did as Moses had asked, removing the swarms of flies from Pharaoh, his servants, and his people. Not one remained. 28 But once more Pharaoh became obstinate and would not let the people go.

Footnotes:

  1. 7:1 Prophet: Hebrew nabi, one who can legitimately speak for God and in God’s name to another or others. Just as God spoke to Moses, so Moses will speak to Aaron, who will be a “prophet” to Pharaoh. Cf. 4:16.
  2. 7:14–12:30 After a brief preface (vv. 8–13) drawn from the Priestly source, a narrative depicting the series of ten disasters that God brings upon Pharaoh because of his stubbornness ensues. Although most of these disasters, known traditionally as the “ten plagues of Egypt,” could be interpreted as naturally occurring phenomena, they are clearly represented by the biblical authors as extraordinary events indicative of God’s intervention on behalf of Israel and as occurring exactly according to Moses’ commands. See Ps 78:43–51 and 105:27–36 for poetic versions of these plagues, which also differ significantly from the account here.
  3. 7:14 Pharaoh is obstinate: lit., “Pharaoh’s heart is heavy” (kabed); thus not precisely the same Hebrew idiom as found in vv. 13 and 22, “stubborn,” lit., “Pharaoh’s heart was hard(ened)” (hazaq) (cf. the related idiom with Pharaoh as the object, e.g., 4:21).
  4. 7:15 The staff that turned into a snake: the allusion is to 4:2–4 rather than 7:9–12. The latter comes from the hand of the Priestly writer and features Aaron—with his staff—as the principal actor.
  5. 7:22 The Egyptian magicians did the same: this is an exaggeration, presumably influenced by the similar statement in v. 11; whereas the magicians could turn their staffs into snakes after Aaron had done so, after Aaron’s sign there should not have been any water in Egypt still unchanged to blood for the magicians “to do the same” with it (cf. v. 24).
  6. 8:12, 17 Gnats, flies: it is uncertain what species of troublesome insects are meant here in vv. 12–14 and then in vv. 17–27, the identification as “gnat” (vv. 12–14) and as “fly” (vv. 17–27) being based on the rendering of the Septuagint. Others suggest “lice” in vv. 12–14, while rabbinic literature renders Hebrew ‘arob in vv. 17–27 as a “mixture of wild animals.” In the Hebrew of the Old Testament, the word occurs only in the context of the plagues (see also Ps 78:45 and 105:31).
  7. 8:15 The finger of God: previously the magicians had, for the most part, been able to replicate the signs and wonders Moses performed to manifest God’s power—turning their staffs into snakes (7:11–12), turning water into blood (7:22), and producing frogs to overrun the land of Egypt (8:3). But now for the first time they are unable to compete, and confess a power greater than their own is at work. Cf. Lk 11:20.
  8. 8:19 A distinction: while some uncertainty surrounds the Hebrew here rendered as “distinction,” it is clear that now the Israelites begin to be set apart from the Egyptians, a separation that reaches a climax in the death of the Egyptian firstborn (11:7).
  9. 8:22 Perhaps Moses is deceiving the Pharaoh much like the “God-fearing” midwives (1:16–20), although ancient historians writing about Egypt some time after the period in which the exodus is set do note Egyptian prohibitions on sacrificing cattle or slaughtering sacred animals. As such, the Egyptians might well have fiercely resented certain sacrificial practices of the Israelites. Certain animals were held sacred in Egypt, as the representations of various deities.
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 35 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Psalm 35[a]

Prayer for Help Against Unjust Enemies

Of David.

I

[b]Oppose, O Lord, those who oppose me;
    war upon those who make war upon me.
Take up the shield and buckler;
    rise up in my defense.
Brandish lance and battle-ax
    against my pursuers.
Say to my soul,
    “I am your salvation.”
Let those who seek my life
    be put to shame and disgrace.
Let those who plot evil against me
    be turned back and confounded.
Make them like chaff before the wind,
    with the angel of the Lord driving them on.
Make their way slippery and dark,
    with the angel of the Lord pursuing them.

II

Without cause they set their snare for me;
    without cause they dug a pit for me.
Let ruin overtake them unawares;
    let the snare they have set catch them;
    let them fall into the pit they have dug.
Then I will rejoice in the Lord,
    exult in God’s salvation.
10 My very bones shall say,
    “O Lord, who is like you,
Who rescue the afflicted from the powerful,
    the afflicted and needy from the despoiler?”

III

11 Malicious witnesses rise up,
    accuse me of things I do not know.
12 They repay me evil for good;
    my soul is desolate.
13 [c]Yet I, when they were ill, put on sackcloth,
    afflicted myself with fasting,
    sobbed my prayers upon my bosom.
14 I went about in grief as for my brother,
    bent in mourning as for my mother.
15 Yet when I stumbled they gathered with glee,
    gathered against me and I did not know it.
They slandered me without ceasing;
16     without respect they mocked me,
    gnashed their teeth against me.

IV

17 O Lord, how long will you look on?
    Restore my soul from their destruction,
    my very life from lions!
18 Then I will thank you in the great assembly;
    I will praise you before the mighty throng.
19 Do not let lying foes rejoice over me,
    my undeserved enemies wink knowingly.
20 They speak no words of peace,
    but against the quiet in the land
    they fashion deceitful speech.
21 They open wide their mouths against me.
    They say, “Aha! Good!
    Our eyes have seen it!”
22 You see this, Lord; do not be silent;
    Lord, do not withdraw from me.
23 Awake, be vigilant in my defense,
    in my cause, my God and my Lord.
24 Defend me because you are just, Lord;
    my God, do not let them rejoice over me.
25 Do not let them say in their hearts,
    “Aha! Our soul!”[d]
Do not let them say,
    “We have devoured that one!”
26 Put to shame and confound
    all who relish my misfortune.
Clothe with shame and disgrace
    those who lord it over me.
27 But let those who favor my just cause
    shout for joy and be glad.
May they ever say, “Exalted be the Lord
    who delights in the peace of his loyal servant.”
28 Then my tongue shall recount your justice,
    declare your praise, all the day long.

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 35 A lament of a person betrayed by friends. The psalmist prays that the evildoers be publicly exposed as unjust (Ps 35:1–8), and gives thanks in anticipation of vindication (Ps 35:9–10). Old friends are the enemies (Ps 35:11–16). May their punishment come quickly (Ps 35:17–21)! The last part (Ps 35:22–26) echoes the opening in praying for the destruction of the psalmist’s persecutors. The Psalm may appear vindictive, but one must keep in mind that the psalmist is praying for public redress now of a public injustice. There is at this time no belief in an afterlife in which justice will be redressed.
  2. 35:1–6 The mixture of judicial, martial, and hunting images shows that the language is figurative. The actual injustice is false accusation of serious crimes (Ps 35:11, 15, 20–21). The psalmist seeks lost honor through a trial before God.
  3. 35:13, 15–17 The Hebrew is obscure.
  4. 35:25 Aha! Our soul!: an ancient idiomatic expression meaning that we have attained what we wanted.
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 20:1-16 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 20

The Workers in the Vineyard.[a] “The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. Going out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace, [b]and he said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard, and I will give you what is just.’ So they went off. [And] he went out again around noon, and around three o’clock, and did likewise. Going out about five o’clock, he found others standing around, and said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’ They answered, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard.’ [c]When it was evening the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Summon the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and ending with the first.’ When those who had started about five o’clock came, each received the usual daily wage. 10 So when the first came, they thought that they would receive more, but each of them also got the usual wage. 11 And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner, 12 saying, ‘These last ones worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us, who bore the day’s burden and the heat.’ 13 He said to one of them in reply, ‘My friend, I am not cheating you.[d] Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? 14 [e]Take what is yours and go. What if I wish to give this last one the same as you? 15 [Or] am I not free to do as I wish with my own money? Are you envious because I am generous?’ 16 [f]Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

The Third Prediction of the Passion.[g]

Footnotes:

  1. 20:1–16 This parable is peculiar to Matthew. It is difficult to know whether the evangelist composed it or received it as part of his traditional material and, if the latter is the case, what its original reference was. In its present context its close association with Mt 19:30 suggests that its teaching is the equality of all the disciples in the reward of inheriting eternal life.
  2. 20:4 What is just: although the wage is not stipulated as in the case of those first hired, it will be fair.
  3. 20:8 Beginning with the last…the first: this element of the parable has no other purpose than to show how the first knew what the last were given (Mt 20:12).
  4. 20:13 I am not cheating you: literally, “I am not treating you unjustly.”
  5. 20:14–15 The owner’s conduct involves no violation of justice (Mt 20:4, 13), and that all the workers receive the same wage is due only to his generosity to the latest arrivals; the resentment of the first comes from envy.
  6. 20:16 See note on Mt 19:30.
  7. 20:17–19 Cf. Mk 10:32–34. This is the third and the most detailed of the passion predictions (Mt 16:21–23; 17:22–23). It speaks of Jesus’ being handed over to the Gentiles (Mt 27:2), his being mocked (Mt 27:27–30), scourged (Mt 27:26), and crucified (Mt 27:31, 35). In all but the last of these points Matthew agrees with his Marcan source, but whereas Mark speaks of Jesus’ being killed (Mk 10:34), Matthew has the specific to be…crucified.
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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