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A Plague of Locusts

10 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Return to Pharaoh and make your demands again. I have made him and his officials stubborn[a] so I can display my miraculous signs among them. I’ve also done it so you can tell your children and grandchildren about how I made a mockery of the Egyptians and about the signs I displayed among them—and so you will know that I am the Lord.”

So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, “This is what the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, says: How long will you refuse to submit to me? Let my people go, so they can worship me. If you refuse, watch out! For tomorrow I will bring a swarm of locusts on your country. They will cover the land so that you won’t be able to see the ground. They will devour what little is left of your crops after the hailstorm, including all the trees growing in the fields. They will overrun your palaces and the homes of your officials and all the houses in Egypt. Never in the history of Egypt have your ancestors seen a plague like this one!” And with that, Moses turned and left Pharaoh.

Pharaoh’s officials now came to Pharaoh and appealed to him. “How long will you let this man hold us hostage? Let the men go to worship the Lord their God! Don’t you realize that Egypt lies in ruins?”

So Moses and Aaron were brought back to Pharaoh. “All right,” he told them, “go and worship the Lord your God. But who exactly will be going with you?”

Moses replied, “We will all go—young and old, our sons and daughters, and our flocks and herds. We must all join together in celebrating a festival to the Lord.”

10 Pharaoh retorted, “The Lord will certainly need to be with you if I let you take your little ones! I can see through your evil plan. 11 Never! Only the men may go and worship the Lord, since that is what you requested.” And Pharaoh threw them out of the palace.

12 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Raise your hand over the land of Egypt to bring on the locusts. Let them cover the land and devour every plant that survived the hailstorm.”

13 So Moses raised his staff over Egypt, and the Lord caused an east wind to blow over the land all that day and through the night. When morning arrived, the east wind had brought the locusts. 14 And the locusts swarmed over the whole land of Egypt, settling in dense swarms from one end of the country to the other. It was the worst locust plague in Egyptian history, and there has never been another one like it. 15 For the locusts covered the whole country and darkened the land. They devoured every plant in the fields and all the fruit on the trees that had survived the hailstorm. Not a single leaf was left on the trees and plants throughout the land of Egypt.

16 Pharaoh quickly summoned Moses and Aaron. “I have sinned against the Lord your God and against you,” he confessed. 17 “Forgive my sin, just this once, and plead with the Lord your God to take away this death from me.”

18 So Moses left Pharaoh’s court and pleaded with the Lord. 19 The Lord responded by shifting the wind, and the strong west wind blew the locusts into the Red Sea.[b] Not a single locust remained in all the land of Egypt. 20 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart again, so he refused to let the people go.

A Plague of Darkness

21 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Lift your hand toward heaven, and the land of Egypt will be covered with a darkness so thick you can feel it.” 22 So Moses lifted his hand to the sky, and a deep darkness covered the entire land of Egypt for three days. 23 During all that time the people could not see each other, and no one moved. But there was light as usual where the people of Israel lived.

24 Finally, Pharaoh called for Moses. “Go and worship the Lord,” he said. “But leave your flocks and herds here. You may even take your little ones with you.”

25 “No,” Moses said, “you must provide us with animals for sacrifices and burnt offerings to the Lord our God. 26 All our livestock must go with us, too; not a hoof can be left behind. We must choose our sacrifices for the Lord our God from among these animals. And we won’t know how we are to worship the Lord until we get there.”

27 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart once more, and he would not let them go. 28 “Get out of here!” Pharaoh shouted at Moses. “I’m warning you. Never come back to see me again! The day you see my face, you will die!”

29 “Very well,” Moses replied. “I will never see your face again.”

Footnotes

  1. 10:1 Hebrew have made his heart and his officials’ hearts heavy.
  2. 10:19 Hebrew sea of reeds.

Jesus Rejected at Nazareth

Jesus left that part of the country and returned with his disciples to Nazareth, his hometown. The next Sabbath he began teaching in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. They asked, “Where did he get all this wisdom and the power to perform such miracles?” Then they scoffed, “He’s just a carpenter, the son of Mary[a] and the brother of James, Joseph,[b] Judas, and Simon. And his sisters live right here among us.” They were deeply offended and refused to believe in him.

Then Jesus told them, “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his relatives and his own family.” And because of their unbelief, he couldn’t do any miracles among them except to place his hands on a few sick people and heal them. And he was amazed at their unbelief.

Jesus Sends Out the Twelve Disciples

Then Jesus went from village to village, teaching the people. And he called his twelve disciples together and began sending them out two by two, giving them authority to cast out evil[c] spirits. He told them to take nothing for their journey except a walking stick—no food, no traveler’s bag, no money.[d] He allowed them to wear sandals but not to take a change of clothes.

10 “Wherever you go,” he said, “stay in the same house until you leave town. 11 But if any place refuses to welcome you or listen to you, shake its dust from your feet as you leave to show that you have abandoned those people to their fate.”

12 So the disciples went out, telling everyone they met to repent of their sins and turn to God. 13 And they cast out many demons and healed many sick people, anointing them with olive oil.

The Death of John the Baptist

14 Herod Antipas, the king, soon heard about Jesus, because everyone was talking about him. Some were saying,[e] “This must be John the Baptist raised from the dead. That is why he can do such miracles.” 15 Others said, “He’s the prophet Elijah.” Still others said, “He’s a prophet like the other great prophets of the past.”

16 When Herod heard about Jesus, he said, “John, the man I beheaded, has come back from the dead.”

17 For Herod had sent soldiers to arrest and imprison John as a favor to Herodias. She had been his brother Philip’s wife, but Herod had married her. 18 John had been telling Herod, “It is against God’s law for you to marry your brother’s wife.” 19 So Herodias bore a grudge against John and wanted to kill him. But without Herod’s approval she was powerless, 20 for Herod respected John; and knowing that he was a good and holy man, he protected him. Herod was greatly disturbed whenever he talked with John, but even so, he liked to listen to him.

21 Herodias’s chance finally came on Herod’s birthday. He gave a party for his high government officials, army officers, and the leading citizens of Galilee. 22 Then his daughter, also named Herodias,[f] came in and performed a dance that greatly pleased Herod and his guests. “Ask me for anything you like,” the king said to the girl, “and I will give it to you.” 23 He even vowed, “I will give you whatever you ask, up to half my kingdom!”

24 She went out and asked her mother, “What should I ask for?”

Her mother told her, “Ask for the head of John the Baptist!”

25 So the girl hurried back to the king and told him, “I want the head of John the Baptist, right now, on a tray!”

26 Then the king deeply regretted what he had said; but because of the vows he had made in front of his guests, he couldn’t refuse her. 27 So he immediately sent an executioner to the prison to cut off John’s head and bring it to him. The soldier beheaded John in the prison, 28 brought his head on a tray, and gave it to the girl, who took it to her mother. 29 When John’s disciples heard what had happened, they came to get his body and buried it in a tomb.

Jesus Feeds Five Thousand

30 The apostles returned to Jesus from their ministry tour and told him all they had done and taught. 31 Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat.

32 So they left by boat for a quiet place, where they could be alone. 33 But many people recognized them and saw them leaving, and people from many towns ran ahead along the shore and got there ahead of them. 34 Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.

35 Late in the afternoon his disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. 36 Send the crowds away so they can go to the nearby farms and villages and buy something to eat.”

37 But Jesus said, “You feed them.”

“With what?” they asked. “We’d have to work for months to earn enough money[g] to buy food for all these people!”

38 “How much bread do you have?” he asked. “Go and find out.”

They came back and reported, “We have five loaves of bread and two fish.”

39 Then Jesus told the disciples to have the people sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups of fifty or a hundred.

41 Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he kept giving the bread to the disciples so they could distribute it to the people. He also divided the fish for everyone to share. 42 They all ate as much as they wanted, 43 and afterward, the disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftover bread and fish. 44 A total of 5,000 men and their families were fed.[h]

Jesus Walks on Water

45 Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and head across the lake to Bethsaida, while he sent the people home. 46 After telling everyone good-bye, he went up into the hills by himself to pray.

47 Late that night, the disciples were in their boat in the middle of the lake, and Jesus was alone on land. 48 He saw that they were in serious trouble, rowing hard and struggling against the wind and waves. About three o’clock in the morning[i] Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. He intended to go past them, 49 but when they saw him walking on the water, they cried out in terror, thinking he was a ghost. 50 They were all terrified when they saw him.

But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage! I am here![j] 51 Then he climbed into the boat, and the wind stopped. They were totally amazed, 52 for they still didn’t understand the significance of the miracle of the loaves. Their hearts were too hard to take it in.

53 After they had crossed the lake, they landed at Gennesaret. They brought the boat to shore 54 and climbed out. The people recognized Jesus at once, 55 and they ran throughout the whole area, carrying sick people on mats to wherever they heard he was. 56 Wherever he went—in villages, cities, or the countryside—they brought the sick out to the marketplaces. They begged him to let the sick touch at least the fringe of his robe, and all who touched him were healed.

Footnotes

  1. 6:3a Some manuscripts read He’s just the son of the carpenter and of Mary.
  2. 6:3b Most manuscripts read Joses; see Matt 13:55.
  3. 6:7 Greek unclean.
  4. 6:8 Greek no copper coins in their money belts.
  5. 6:14 Some manuscripts read He was saying.
  6. 6:22 Some manuscripts read the daughter of Herodias herself.
  7. 6:37 Greek It would take 200 denarii. A denarius was equivalent to a laborer’s full day’s wage.
  8. 6:44 Some manuscripts read fed from the loaves.
  9. 6:48 Greek About the fourth watch of the night.
  10. 6:50 Or The ‘I am’ is here; Greek reads I am. See Exod 3:14.

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