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Ezekiel 19-20 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 19

Allegory of the Lions[a]

As for you, raise a lamentation over the princes of Israel, and say:

What a lioness was your mother,
    a lion among lions!
She made her lair among young lions,
    to raise her cubs;
One cub she raised up,
    a young lion he became;
He learned to tear apart prey,
    he devoured people.
Nations heard about him;
    in their pit he was caught;
They took him away with hooks
    to the land of Egypt.[b]
When she realized she had waited in vain,
    she lost hope.
She took another of her cubs,
    and made him a young lion.
He prowled among the lions,
    became a young lion;
He learned to tear apart prey,
    he devoured people.
He ravaged their strongholds,
    laid waste their cities.
The earth and everything in it were terrified
    at the sound of his roar.
Nations laid out against him
    snares all around;
They spread their net for him,
    in their pit he was caught.
They put him in fetters and took him away
    to the king of Babylon,
So his roar would no longer be heard
    on the mountains of Israel.

Allegory of the Vine Branch

10 Your mother was like a leafy vine[c]
    planted by water,
Fruitful and full of branches
    because of abundant water.
11 One strong branch grew
    into a royal scepter.
So tall it towered among the clouds,
    conspicuous in height,
    with dense foliage.
12 But she was torn out in fury
    and flung to the ground;
The east wind withered her up,
    her fruit was plucked away;
Her strongest branch dried up,
    fire devoured it.
13 Now she is planted in a wilderness,
    in a dry, parched land.
14 Fire flashed from her branch,
    and devoured her shoots;
Now she does not have a strong branch,
    a royal scepter!

This is a lamentation and serves as a lamentation.

Chapter 20

Israel’s History of Infidelity. In the seventh year, on the tenth day of the fifth month,[d] some of the elders of Israel came to consult the Lord and sat down before me. Then the word of the Lord came to me: Son of man, speak to the elders of Israel and say to them: Thus says the Lord God: Have you come to consult me? As I live, I will not allow myself to be consulted by you!—oracle of the Lord God.

Will you judge them? Will you judge, son of man? Tell them about the abominations of their ancestors, and say to them: Thus says the Lord God: The day I chose Israel, I swore to the descendants of the house of Jacob; I revealed myself to them in the land of Egypt and swore to them, saying: I am the Lord, your God. That day I swore to bring them out of the land of Egypt to the land I had searched out for them, a land flowing with milk and honey, a jewel among all lands. Then I said to them: Throw away, each of you, the detestable things[e] that held your eyes; do not defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt: I am the Lord, your God.

But they rebelled and refused to listen to me; none of them threw away the detestable things that held their eyes, nor did they abandon the idols of Egypt. Then I considered pouring out my fury and spending my anger against them there in the land of Egypt. I acted for the sake of my name, that it should not be desecrated in the eyes of the nations among whom they were: in the eyes of the nations I had made myself known to them, to bring them out of the land of Egypt. 10 Therefore I led them out of the land of Egypt and brought them into the wilderness. 11 Then I gave them my statutes and made known to them my ordinances, so that everyone who keeps them has life through them. 12 I also gave them my sabbaths to be a sign between me and them, to show that it is I, the Lord, who makes them holy.

13 But the house of Israel rebelled against me in the wilderness. They did not observe my statutes, and they rejected my ordinances that bring life to those who keep them. My sabbaths, too, they desecrated grievously. Then I considered pouring out my fury on them in the wilderness to put an end to them, 14 but I acted for the sake of my name, so it would not be desecrated in the eyes of the nations in whose sight I had brought them out. 15 Nevertheless in the wilderness I swore to them that I would not bring them into the land I had given them—a land flowing with milk and honey, a jewel among all the lands. 16 Their hearts followed after their idols so closely that they did not live by my statutes, but rejected my ordinances and desecrated my sabbaths. 17 But I looked on them with pity, not wanting to destroy them, so I did not put an end to them in the wilderness.

18 Then I said to their children in the wilderness: Do not follow the statutes of your parents. Do not keep their ordinances. Do not defile yourselves with their idols. 19 I am the Lord, your God: follow my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances; 20 keep holy my sabbaths as a sign between me and you so that you may know that I am the Lord, your God. 21 But their children rebelled against me: they did not follow my statutes or keep my ordinances that bring life to those who observe them; my sabbaths they desecrated. Then I considered pouring out my fury on them, spending my anger against them in the wilderness; 22 but I stayed my hand, acting for the sake of my name, lest it be desecrated in the eyes of the nations, in whose sight I had brought them out. 23 Nevertheless I swore to them in the wilderness that I would disperse them among the nations and scatter them in other lands, 24 because they did not carry out my ordinances, but rejected my statutes and desecrated my sabbaths, having eyes only for the idols of their ancestors. 25 Therefore I gave them statutes that were not good,[f] and ordinances through which they could not have life. 26 I let them become defiled by their offerings, by having them make a fiery offering of every womb’s firstborn, in order to ruin them so they might know that I am the Lord.

27 Therefore speak to the house of Israel, son of man, and tell them: Thus says the Lord God: In this way also your ancestors blasphemed me, breaking faith with me. 28 When I brought them to the land I had sworn to give them, and they saw all its high hills and leafy trees, there they offered sacrifices, there they made offerings to provoke me, there they sent up sweet-smelling oblations, there they poured out their libations. 29 So I said to them, “What is this high place[g] to which you go?” Thus its name became “high place” even to this day. 30 Therefore say to the house of Israel: Thus says the Lord God: Will you defile yourselves in the way your ancestors did? Will you lust after their detestable idols? 31 By offering your gifts, by making your children pass through the fire, you defile yourselves with all your idols even to this day. Shall I let myself be consulted by you, house of Israel? As I live—oracle of the Lord God—I swear I will not let myself be consulted by you!

32 What has entered your mind shall never happen: You are thinking, “We shall be like the nations, like the peoples of foreign lands, serving wood and stone.” 33 As I live—oracle of the Lord God—with mighty hand and outstretched arm, with wrath poured out, I swear I will be king over you! 34 With mighty hand and outstretched arm, with wrath poured out, I will bring you out from the nations and gather you from the countries over which you are scattered; 35 [h]I will lead you to the wilderness of the peoples and enter into judgment with you face to face. 36 Just as I entered into judgment with your ancestors in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so will I enter into judgment with you—oracle of the Lord God. 37 Thus I will make you pass under the staff[i] and will impose on you the terms of the covenant. 38 I will sort out from you those who defied me and rebelled against me; from the land where they resided as aliens I will bring them out, but they shall not return to the land of Israel. Thus you shall know that I am the Lord.

39 As for you, house of Israel, thus says the Lord God: Go! each of you, and worship your idols. Listen to me! You shall never again desecrate my holy name with your offerings and your idols! 40 For on my holy mountain,[j] on the highest mountain in Israel—oracle of the Lord God—there the whole house of Israel shall worship me; there in the land I will accept them all, there I will claim your tributes, the best of your offerings, from all your holy things. 41 As a sweet-smelling oblation I will accept you, when I bring you from among the nations and gather you out of the lands over which you were scattered; and through you I will manifest my holiness in the sight of the nations. 42 Thus you shall know that I am the Lord, when I bring you back to the soil of Israel, the land I swore to give your ancestors. 43 There you shall remember your ways, all the deeds by which you defiled yourselves; and you shall loathe yourselves because of all the evil you did. 44 And you shall know that I am the Lord when I deal with you thus, for the sake of my name, not according to your evil ways and wanton deeds, house of Israel—oracle of the Lord God.

Footnotes:

  1. 19:1–9 Some commentators identify Jehoahaz and Zedekiah, sons of the same mother, as the “two young lions”; they were deported to Egypt and Babylon respectively. Cf. 2 Kgs 23:31–34; 24:18–20.
  2. 19:4 A common fate for royal prisoners: e.g., Assurbanipal claims he put a ring in the jaw of a captive king and a dog collar around his neck (cf. v. 9). A wall relief shows Esarhaddon holding two royal captives with ropes tied to rings in their lips.
  3. 19:10–14 Vine: Judah. One strong branch: the Davidic king. This allegory describes the deportation of the Davidic dynasty to Babylon and laments the destruction of the house of David. From Ezekiel’s perspective, the arrogance of Judah’s kings leads to this tragedy (vv. 12–14).
  4. 20:1 The seventh year…the fifth month: August 14, 591 B.C.
  5. 20:7 Detestable things: in the Book of Ezekiel, Israel’s continued worship of idols in Egypt and in the wilderness, despite the Lord’s powerful deeds on their behalf, is the reason God punishes them so severely; they must learn and acknowledge that he is their only Lord. Cf., e.g., Exodus (5:1–6:9; 14:10–30; 16:1–36) and Numbers (11:1–15; 14:1–12; 20:1–9), where the people’s failure to trust Moses and the Lord brings punishment.
  6. 20:25–26 I gave them statutes that were not good: because Israel rejected the Lord’s life-giving laws, he “gave” laws (e.g., the sacrifice of every firstborn) that would lead only to death and destruction. Dt 12:29–31; Jer 7:31; 19:4–5 may address a popular assumption that the Lord accepted and perhaps required child sacrifice, especially as evidence of great trust during national emergencies (2 Kgs 3:27; Mi 6:7). By combining language from Ex 22:28 with the vocabulary of child sacrifice, Ezekiel suggests that firstborn sons were regularly sacrificed in Israel.
  7. 20:29 High place: a cultic site, originally a hilltop, but often a raised platform in a sacred area. Until Deuteronomy’s insistence that official and legitimate worship of the Lord take place only in Jerusalem, these local shrines were popular places for worship (e.g., 1 Sm 9–10) or for consulting the Lord (1 Kgs 3:4–5). In order to unite the Kingdom of Judah politically and religiously, Dt 12:2 demands destruction of the high places. Ezekiel, like other prophets, condemns Israelite worship at these places and identifies this illegitimate worship as one reason for the punishment of exile.
  8. 20:35–38 Exile among other lands occasions a new exodus and a new wilderness journey back to Israel. The Lord will eliminate the rebellious, as he did on the first journey, and use the surviving remnant to reveal his power to the nations.
  9. 20:37 Pass under the staff: in Lv 27:32–33, a method of counting off animals to select those to be dedicated for the tithe. In Ezekiel, on the other hand, those who survive the selection process are marked for destruction for violating the covenant.
  10. 20:40 Holy mountain: the Temple mount and Jerusalem in contrast to “every high hill” in v. 28 (cf. the royal Zion theology in Ps 48:2). Acceptable worship takes place here among a restored people, a theme taken up in chaps. 40–48 (cf. 40:2).
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.

Ben Sira 30:14-25 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Health and Cheerfulness[a]

14 Better the poor in vigorous health
    than the rich with bodily ills.
15 I would rather have bodily health than any gold,
    and contentment of spirit than pearls.
16 No riches are greater than a healthy body;
    and no happiness than a joyful heart.
17 Better is death than a wretched life,
    everlasting sleep than constant illness.
18 Good things set before one who cannot eat
    are like food offerings placed before a tomb.[b]
19 What good is an offering to an idol
    that can neither eat nor smell?
So it is with the one being punished by the Lord,
20     who groans at what his eyes behold.

21 Do not give in to sadness,
    or torment yourself deliberately.
22 Gladness of heart is the very life of a person,
    and cheerfulness prolongs his days.
23 Distract yourself and renew your courage,
    drive resentment far away from you;
For grief has killed many,
    and nothing is to be gained from resentment.
24 Envy and anger shorten one’s days,
    and anxiety brings on premature old age.
25 Those who are cheerful and merry at table
    benefit from their food.[c]

Footnotes:

  1. 30:14–25 Health of mind and body and joy of heart Ben Sira judges to be more precious than wealth (vv. 14–16), whereas bitterness, constant illness, and affliction are more difficult to bear than death (vv. 17–20). Sadness, resentment, anxiety, envy, and anger shorten days; they should be dispelled by cheerfulness and gladness of heart, which help to prolong one’s days (vv. 21–25).
  2. 30:18 The saying ridicules the practice of putting food and drink on the tombs of the dead.
  3. 30:25(27) Because of the dislocation of the Greek text, the numbering of this verse follows Ziegler’s edition. There are no verses 25–26.
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.

1 John 2 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 2

Christ and His Commandments. My children,[a] I am writing this to you so that you may not commit sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one. He is expiation for our sins, and not for our sins only but for those of the whole world. The way we may be sure[b] that we know him is to keep his commandments. Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps his word, the love of God is truly perfected in him. This is the way we may know that we are in union with him: whoever claims to abide in him ought to live [just] as he lived.

The New Commandment.[c] Beloved, I am writing no new commandment to you but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. And yet I do write a new commandment to you, which holds true in him and among you,[d] for the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining. Whoever says he is in the light, yet hates his brother, is still in the darkness. 10 Whoever loves his brother remains in the light, and there is nothing in him to cause a fall. 11 Whoever hates his brother is in darkness; he walks in darkness and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

Members of the Community.[e] 12 I am writing to you, children, because your sins have been forgiven for his name’s sake.[f]

13 I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning.

I am writing to you, young men, because you have conquered the evil one.

14 I write to you, children, because you know the Father.

I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning.

I write to you, young men, because you are strong and the word of God remains in you, and you have conquered the evil one.

15 Do not love the world or the things of the world.[g] If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, sensual lust,[h] enticement for the eyes, and a pretentious life, is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 Yet the world and its enticement are passing away. But whoever does the will of God remains forever.

Antichrists. 18 Children, it is the last hour;[i] and just as you heard that the antichrist was coming, so now many antichrists have appeared. Thus we know this is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not really of our number;[j] if they had been, they would have remained with us. Their desertion shows that none of them was of our number. 20 But you have the anointing that comes from the holy one,[k] and you all have knowledge. 21 I write to you not because you do not know the truth but because you do, and because every lie is alien to the truth. 22 [l]Who is the liar? Whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Whoever denies the Father and the Son, this is the antichrist. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father, but whoever confesses the Son has the Father as well.

Life from God’s Anointing. 24 Let what you heard from the beginning remain in you. If what you heard from the beginning remains in you, then you will remain in the Son and in the Father.[m] 25 And this is the promise that he made us: eternal life. 26 I write you these things about those who would deceive you. 27 As for you, the anointing that you received from him remains in you, so that you do not need anyone to teach you. But his anointing teaches you about everything and is true and not false; just as it taught you, remain in him.

Children of God. 28 [n]And now, children, remain in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not be put to shame by him at his coming. 29 If you consider that he is righteous, you also know that everyone who acts in righteousness is begotten by him.

Footnotes:

  1. 2:1 Children: like the term “beloved,” this is an expression of pastoral love (cf. Jn 13:33; 21:5; 1 Cor 4:14). Advocate: for the use of the term, see Jn 14:16. Forgiveness of sin is assured through Christ’s intercession and expiation or “offering”; the death of Christ effected the removal of sin.
  2. 2:3–6 The way we may be sure: to those who claim, “I have known Christ and therefore I know him,” our author insists on not mere intellectual knowledge but obedience to God’s commandments in a life conformed to the example of Christ; this confirms our knowledge of him and is the love of God…perfected. Disparity between moral life and the commandments proves improper belief.
  3. 2:7–11 The author expresses the continuity and freshness of mutual charity in Christian experience. Through Christ the commandment of love has become the light defeating the darkness of evil in a new age. All hatred as darkness is incompatible with the light and Christian life. Note also the characteristic Johannine polemic in which a positive assertion is emphasized by the negative statement of its opposite.
  4. 2:8 Which holds true in him and among you: literally, “a thing that holds true in him and in you.”
  5. 2:12–17 The Christian community that has experienced the grace of God through forgiveness of sin and knowledge of Christ is armed against the evil one.
  6. 2:12 For his name’s sake: because of Christ our sins are forgiven.
  7. 2:15 The world: all that is hostile toward God and alienated from him. Love of the world and love of God are thus mutually exclusive; cf. Jas 4:4.
  8. 2:16 Sensual lust: literally, “the lust of the flesh,” inordinate desire for physical gratification. Enticement for the eyes: literally, “the lust of the eyes,” avarice or covetousness; the eyes are regarded as the windows of the soul. Pretentious life: literally, “pride of life,” arrogance or ostentation in one’s earthly style of life that reflects a willful independence from God and others.
  9. 2:18 It is the last hour: literally, “a last hour,” the period between the death and resurrection of Christ and his second coming. The antichrist: opponent or adversary of Christ; the term appears only in 1 John–2 John, but “pseudochrists” (translated “false messiahs”) in Mt 24:24 and Mk 13:22, and Paul’s “lawless one” in 2 Thes 2:3, are similar figures. Many antichrists: Matthew, Mark, and Revelation seem to indicate a collectivity of persons, here related to the false teachers.
  10. 2:19 Not really of our number: the apostate teachers only proved their lack of faith by leaving the community.
  11. 2:20 The anointing that comes from the holy one: this anointing is in the Old Testament sense of receiving the Spirit of God. The holy one probably refers to Christ. True knowledge is the gift of the Spirit (cf. Is 11:2), and the function of the Spirit is to lead Christians to the truth (Jn 14:17, 26; 16:13).
  12. 2:22–23 Certain gnostics denied that the earthly Jesus was the Christ; to deny knowledge of the Son is to deny the Father, since only through the Son has God been fully revealed (Jn 1:18; 14:8–9).
  13. 2:24 Continuity with the apostolic witness as proclaimed in the prologue is the safeguard of right belief.
  14. 2:28–29 Our confidence at his judgment is based on the daily assurance of salvation. Our actions reflect our true relation to him.
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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